July 2004 News Archive
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Check out the details on this Apple web page.
[7/31] Feral Interactive's Bionicle Goes Beta according to a note from Feral. Fear and destruction threaten the peaceful Matoran villagers of the island of Mata Nui. The dark spirit Makuta has returned, determined to conquer the land and rule its inhabitants. Makuta's power grows and our time is limited, so be guided by my words young Toa...prose this overwrought and melodramatic can only mean one thing....yes, Bionicle for the Mac has reached Beta.
[7/30] Apple's "Present Your Passion" in Keynote Contest Winner is Meg Spoto according to an announcement we received from Apple. She won a 23" Apple Cinema Display, the Grand Prize. First Prize was won by Cathy Carter and Second Prize was won by David Joyce. There's a list of six Honorable Mention winners on this Apple web page, which also has links to view all of the winners' works.
[7/30] Washington Apple Pi General Meeting is Saturday: July's WAPi General Meeting will be 9 am to 11:30 am. It will feature "Getting Into Digital Photography." Chris Butcher of Penn Camera is going to explore consumer choices for digital photography neophytes. Penn Camera is a relatively new Apple Reseller, so let's give Chris a big welcome! WAPi is the greater Washington DC area AMUG.
[7/29] Find a Wireless Internet Access Point Near You: Boston.com has a directory listing wireless internet access points all over the USA. You can browse by a specific address, a city, state, country, airport or zip code to find nearby access points. New York City has 719 and our new global HQ city, San Diego, has 168 listings. [Dana Baggett]
[7/29] $9.25 Million Proposed Settlement Ready in Paypal Litigation: We received an email from Paypal providing notice that all people who opened a Paypal account between 10/99 and 1/04 and whose account was restricted in certain ways and lost money belong to a settlement class and can now file a claim. Paypal, an online payment service now owned by eBay, was accused of violating the Electronic Fund Transfer Act. The settlement provides for nearly $3.5 million in legal fees and costs and $4.3 million for the settlement class. It's not clear to us where the other $1.5 million goes. The email provided this link http://www.paypal.com/settlement/ which redirects to http://www.settlement4onlinepayments.com/, a third party site set up by the claim administrator.
You may file a claim if PayPal caused you to lose money because of any of the following:
So if you opened a Paypal account and had it restricted in certain ways and lost money, check it out. You may be entitled to $50 or so. Once again, it appears that the class action lawyers are the clear winners.
[7/28] Mozilla to Fix Major Security Bugs in a Week: There are serious bugs in the way that the Mozilla web site authenticates web sites with security certificates that dates back to the parent Netscape web browser code. One bug allows a malicious Web site to trick a visitor into believing that the web site is a trusted site, like a bank web site, and then to gather damaging personal information in the process. The other allows an authentic certificate to be corrupted. According to this ZDNet article, the fix is about a week away. [Dana Baggett]
[7/28] U.S. Judge Provides RIAA a Roadmap for Discovering Identity of Suspected Pirates: U.S. District Judge Dennis Chin ruled that the RIAA and others seeking to use the Digital Millenium Copyright Act to prosecute those who violate copyrights with peer-to-peer networks or other means may obtain the identity of suspected pirates if they prove that they have a good case according to this ZDNet article. Judge Chin balanced the interest of First Amendment anonymity with the interest of copyright holders. [Dana Baggett]
[7/27] Apple and Motorola to Enable iTunes on Cell Phones: Apple and Motorola late yesterday announced they are working together to allow millions of music lovers to transfer their favorite songs from iTunes on their PC or Mac, including songs from Apple's iTunes Music Store, to Motorola’s next-generation “always with you” mobile cell phones. The transfer may be made via a USB or Bluetooth connection. Apple will create a new iTunes mobile music player, which Motorola will make the standard music application on all their mass-market music phones, expected to be available in the first half of next year. Hopefully, Moto's new phones will rise to the level of Sony-Ericsson and Nokia. Here is the Apple-Moto press release. [Dana Baggett]
[7/27] Registration is now Open for the 2004 O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference: Mac book publisher O'Reilly sent us a note that registration is now open for their third annual Mac OS X Conference. It's happening October 25-28 in Santa Clara, CA, where Mac developers, sys admins, digital musicians, and users can master the must-have tools and goodies that Apple and other companies are churning out in the wake of Mac OS X's success. The O'Reilly conference offers practical sessions dealing with:
[7/27] Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Updater 7.2 is Out and available for download from MacUpdate.com. Version 7.2 fixes bugs in the English language version of Flash MX 2004 and Flash MX Professional 2004 to improve performance and stability. [Dana Baggett]
[7/26] Initial Hands-On Report--Apple AirPort Express Base Station: Apple introduced the AirPort Express Base Station on June 7th (press release) for $129. In addition to being a small wireless fast Wi-Fi (802.11g/b) access point with a USB printer port, the base station was designed for three principal purposes: streaming music from your Mac to your stereo wirelessly using iTunes and AirTunes built into the AirPort Express, wirelessly extending your AirPort Express network and providing a much more portable alternative to Apple's Extreme (or graphite or snow) Base Station.
The AirPort Express began shipping on July 14 with 80,000 pre-orders. Unfortunately, we were not one of them. Instead, we had planned to pick one up at a local retail Apple Store, partly not heeding Apple's penchant for greatly under-estimating initial demand for their products and partly because we planned to move our global HQ around the time it was to ship. Well, neither of the two retail Apple Stores in San Diego County had any for sale to a "walk-in"--all went to those who had pre-ordered and they still had backorders. We even checked the South Coast Apple Store in neighboring Orange County and struck out. But our intrepid New England Editor, Dana Baggett, had better luck, finding two for sale at the Salem, NH, Apple Store and 60 in the Peabody, MA, Apple Store. We wanted one to replace the full size AirPort Base Station that we take with us on travel and Dana wanted a couple of them to extend the AirPort network in our New England HQ. Saturday, Dana drove the 6-hour round trip from Maine to Peabody and bought two of the roughly 45 that the store still had in stock.
Here is Dana's report:
We've used the original Graphite AirPort base station since it came out in 1999. We also have used the Snow (aka Dual Ethernet) base station. Both have worked flawlessly. We had no need for an AirPort Extreme base station since we're using Macs with just standard Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11b) capability. The only problem we've encountered is the limited range of our Titanium PowerBook G4 500 (PB) as compared with our original Tangerine iBook, a common issue. Each room at our New England Headquarters is individually insulated with fiberglass in the ceiling, walls and floor to provide for economical use of electric heat in our Maine coastal climate. Is some insulation foil-backed? Possibly. If so, it could curtail the broadcast signal, according to Apple.
Also, we recall reading that the Graphite base station has a stronger horizontal than vertical signal. The cautionary note we read said for that reason, mounting the Graphite base station on a wall (with the Apple-supplied mounting) could reduce the horizontal broadcast range. Since we have our ABS sitting flat, that might also explain why we can get a signal on our PB throughout the main floor but not on the second floor.
In any event, our PB is limited to use on the main floor. Enter AirPort Express with its claim of "Extending the range of your current wireless network." We located a supply of AirPort Express Base Stations at a retail Apple Store "down the road a piece." We bought two, since an Express unit will only extend the range of an AirPort Extreme or Express network (IEEE802.11g), not a standard Wi-Fi 802.11b network. We used the first unit to establish an Express network and the second unit to extend it.
Are you into packaging? Since the AirPort Extreme box contains a CD with AirPort 4.0 software and iTunes v. 4.6, it dictates the size of the box, about 5 3/8" x 5 3/8" and 2 1/2" thick. Besides the CD, the box--another clever package from Apple--contains a 46-page "AirPort Express Setup Guide" (more about this later), and a document containing the details of the One Year Limited Warranty. The AirPort Express itself is all white, about 3 3/4" x 3" x 1" thick. It weighs about 6 3/4 oz according to Apple. It has two pop-up prongs that plug directly into a 110 volt outlet. The plug pops off just like the one on an Apple AC adapter but Apple does not supply an electrical cord like it does with the AC adpater. The box is white and bright blue, which was the color of the Apple tee shirts being worn by the staff on the floor of the Apple Store when we were there. A trend? We hope not; we prefer Panther black.
Setup and Use
We're on a Verizon DSL internet connection. We got it up and running some months ago by directly connecting the DSL modem via an RJ-45 Ethernet cable to our Cube. Then, we connected the DSL modem via the Ethernet cable directly to our Graphite base station and transferred the settings using the AirPort Setup Assistant. It worked like a charm. We hoped for the same experience with the AirPort Express.
We disconnected the Graphite base station from the DSL modem and connected the Express unit to the modem via the Ethernet cable in the same location on the main floor. We powered it up using a small power strip with an on-off switch which the Express unit lacks. Then we ran the software installer from the CD. One needs Panther (Mac OS 10.3 or higher) to administer the Express units. After the required reboot, an AirPort Express Assistant opened to provide migration of computer settings to the Express. All seemed to go well but when finished we couldn't establish an internet connection. Oh-oh! Upon investigation, we discovered that the AirPort Express Assistant failed to set up the Express with our DSL account name and password. Once we entered the information correctly (we'll spare you the painful details of Murphy's Law involving keying errors by this typist) we were on!
In the interest of science, we decided to see if our new Express unit now serving as our main base station on the ground floor could be seen by our PB on the second floor. Nope. Then we plugged in the second Express unit in at a central location on the second floor and went back to our Cube to see if it could find it via the first Express unit. Yes! We invoked the AirPort Express Assistant setup procedure for adding an Express unit to an existing network and Bingo! We had lift off. It was connected. Now, the PB can connect to the internet while on the second floor. In short, the Express works as advertised to extend the range of our wireless Express network.
We tried wireless printing from the PB. The printer we use is an HP PSC 2110 All-in-One which works readily from the PB when connected via a USB cable. The PB is running Jaguar Mac OS 10.2.8 and Apple states that wireless printing requires Mac OS 10.2.7 or later. While the PB could see the printer, it couldn't print to it wirelessly. If we switched the printer USB cable from the Express unit back to the PB and the same document prints. The problem? This printer isn't supported by AirPort Express. The list of "AirPort Extreme, Express: Base station-compatible USB Printers" is in AppleCare Knowledge Base Document 107418. Well, we didn't buy the AirPort Express for this feature but it would be nice if our printer were supported. Hopefully it will be supported in a future software update. The lesson is, make sure your printer is supported if you want to use USB printing wirelessly.
We only read manuals after all else fails, probably like most Mac users. Ever since our first Mac 512K, we've subscribed to the plug-n-play approach. Perhaps it is just as well. We found the 46 page Apple Express Setup Guide wanting in some respects, by the way. The manual is CD-size, about quarter the size of an 8 1/2" x 11" letter-sized page so its 46 pages may translate to about 12 full size pages. Generally, it provides a good grasp of the obvious. More than once it advises "Use the AirPort Express Assistant to...." We found the illustrations maddening in some respect. In "Using AirPort Express on an Existing Wireless Network to Stream Music to your Home Stereo" on page 12, "What it looks like" illustrates the use of an AirPort Express with an Extreme base station network. On page 22 "Extending the Range of an Existing AirPort Extreme or AirPort Express Network" the illustration of "What is looks like" shows the Express extending an Extreme base station network. Get the picture? There isn't a single illustration of two AirPort Express units working together. The words are there but "What it looks like" isn't. Not reassuring if one looks at the pictures for reassurance that two Express units can indeed work together.
The CD contains "Designing AirPort Networks" in PDF format. Chapter Five starting on page 67 is entitled "Using AirPort Express." It illustrates using the AirPort Express Assistant. Chapter Six "Behind the Scenes" has been updated to include a brief reference to AirPort Express. Otherwise, this document is about using AirPort Extreme.
For reasons known only to Apple, the best and somewhat hard-to-find, detailed document exclusively about AirPort Express is the (mis)titled AirPort Express Technology Overview July 2004. It runs 31 (full-sized) pages and is very informative. It is the guide that should be in the box as it is not overly technical despite its title. The illustrations include only Express units. A helpful section on page 13 advises road warriors on how to adjust the power of an Express base station downward for use in a hotel room so you are not providing a signal that others can use.
The User Guide page 40 says "To register AirPort Express (if you didn't do it when you installed the software on the AirPort Express CD), go to www.apple.com/register." Sure. If you follow the suggested link, you will find that AirPort Express is not listed as a product that you can register there. On the AirPort Express Tech Specs page we learn that one can "Purchase the AppleCare Protection Plan to extend the service and support for the AirPort Express Base Station." But if you follow the link, there is no such plan specifically for the Express. If you already have AppleCare for your computer, your Apple Express is covered under the same AppleCare Protection Plan that covers your Mac: "Comprehensive coverage--The AppleCare Protection Plan covers your Mac, as well as an AirPort Card or AirPort Extreme Card, an AirPort Express or AirPort Extreme Base Station, and Apple RAM used with your Mac."
AirPort Express works well for the primary purpose that we puchased ours, i.e. to create and extended Wi-Fi network in our New England HQ. Since the units only cost $129 each, we spent only $258 for our extended network. When our editor in chief is able to obtain an Express unit, we will report on the other features. [Dana Baggett]
[7/24] Feral Interactive Posts "Enemy Engaged" Demo Guide: After the release of the Enemy Engaged demo last week, Feral received plenty of feedback. It ranged from praise for the simulation, pleasant surprise at the light system requirements to moaning about the graphics according to the weekend report we received from Feral Interactive. One frequent and very reasonable request has been for more information on how to play the game. So in order to help get one off the ground and get the best out of the game, Feral has made available a strategy guide that takes one through everything one needs to know from helicopter basics, through campaign objectives to the best tactics when attacking a Hokum head on! Feral awaits further feedback....
[7/24] Listen to the Executive Summary of the 9/11 Commission Report on Your iPod July 28th: Audible.com will make the Executive Summary of the 9/11 Commission Report available for download on July 28th according to this audible.com press release. The downloaded audio file can be transferred to any AudibleReady portable audio player like Apple's iPod, burned on an CD, or listened to on one's Mac. Get the file from audible.com. [Dana Baggett]
[7/24] Integrate Your Phone and Your Mac with Phone Valet: O'Reilly posted a positive short review of Phone Valet by Gordon Meyer. Looks to us like a technology worth pursuing. [Dana Baggett]
[7/24] BeLight's Mail Factory Released--Print Envelopes and Labels in Mac OS X: BeLight Software, Ltd. released Mail Factory, a Mac OS X software application to design and print envelopes, shipping and address labels. Mail Factory integrates with data from Apple Address Book, Microsoft Entourage, Now Contact, Eudora, supports most popular label paper, and can print to DYMO label printers. Mail Factory costs $29.95 for Mac OS X 10.2 or later.
[7/23] Commentary--Is the Senate Running Amok to Prevent Copyright Infringement, Threatening Technology Innovation? Read for yourself these statements attributed to leading members of the Senate Judiciary Committee published by CNet,
The first will obviously establish a field day for lawsuits and nothing or no one will be safe from allegations. The second is just stupid--we can hardly think of anything that someone hasn't used or couldn't use wrongly or for an illegal purpose.
While these statements were published without their context, we think it might be wise for the Senate to take a deep breath, calm down and begin to think of ways to surgically make copyright law more enforceable against those actually violating it rather than setting off a monsterous bomb that will leave a wide path of destruction. Isn't the Senate our institution for wisdom? [Dana Baggett]
[7/23] Which has the Faster Graphics card, Nvidia or ATI? In April we posted a note that Nvidia's 6800 Ultra blew away the ATI 9800 XT. Then, in May we noted a review by CNet that claimed that the newer ATI X800 trounced the Nvidia 6800 Ultra. Now [H]ard|OCP has posted a shootout using the latest drivers and upcoming Doom 3 that claims just the reverse, i.e. the Nvidia 6800 Ultra, and even the lesser 6800 GT, beat the ATI X800XT-PE significantly. Of course, all of these comparo's used Wintel machines and were conducted at different stages of hardware and driver development. We hope the NVidia 6800 Ultra proves superior to the ATI X800 because it will come to the Power Mac G5 as an option late next month. ATI has made no announcements regarding its X800 technology and the Mac.
[7/23] Apple's "Rendezvous" Might Become "OpenTalk" in settling the lawsuit from TIBCO according to this eWeek article. Apple was sued by TIBCO for infringing on its trademark shortly after Apple released its automatic network configuration technology in 2002 and called it "Rendezvous". TIBCO had marketed a messaging technology called "Rendezvous" since 1994. [Dana Baggett]
[7/22] Review--Apple AirPort Express Base Station by David Pogue in this NY Times article. Apple released the tiny Fast Wi-Fi base station last week. It's slighlty larger than an Apple AC adapter so it makes for a great portable wireless base station. We have been toting around an Apple AirPort Base Station since the graphite model first came out and we look forward to lightening our load a bit and reducing its volume a lot. AirPort Express also has a USB printer port but handles only 10 simultaneous users. It also has the exclusive AirTunes for wirelessly steaming digital music via iTunes from your Mac to your stereo. Pogue likes it. It is also Time's Gadget of the Week. We have one on order--they are as scarce as iPod Mini's at the moment. [Dana Baggett]
[7/22] U.S. Copyright Office May Support Law That Threatens iPods: According to this CNet news article,
The law would make peer-to-peer networks illegal and make things that aid piracy illegal as well. Could that refer to an iPod? Is that smell Microsoft droppings...? Maybe but we think it unlikely that Congress would outlaw the iPod and other legitimate digital music devices that are so popular with consumers.[Dana Baggett]
[7/22] Apple Signed Up Major European Independent Labels for iTunes Music Store in Europe: Apple announced that it has signed licensing agreements with three of the largest European independent music labels, Beggars Group, Sanctuary Records Group and V2, adding tens of thousands of additional independent tracks from leading artists to the iTunes Music Store in the UK, France and Germany. With three of the most influential independent record labels on board, iTunes Music Store customers in Europe now have access to an impressive catalog of independent artists including Basement Jaxx, The Crystal Method, Interpol, The Libertines, Morrissey, the Pixies, Prodigy, Stereophonics, Paul Weller and The White Stripes. Here is Apple's press release.
[7/21] ISP WildBlue Launched Own Satellite for Rural Internet Service according to this USA Today article. WildBlue plans to provide rural internet service using its own satellite that was launched last weekend. Boeing built the satellite and the French launched it. Fees will be about $50 per month. WildBlue has started building a second satellite. [Dana Baggett]
[7/21] Apple Sued Over Alleged Patent Infringement in Mac OS X Software Update Technology: BTG and Teleshuttle filed suits against Apple and Microsoft for infringement of patents held by Richard Reisman, president of Teleshuttle, in their web-enabled software update technologies according to this CNet article.
[7/21] Wi-Fi Access Comes to Caribou Coffee, a Starbuck's Competitor, according to this Internetnews.com article. Caribou Coffee has stores in Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington, D.C. Caribou has partnered with SBC and will use Cisco equipment. Mac users beware! Cisco equipment is occasionally set up in a way that is incompatible with Macs. The only Holiday Inn Express that we stayed at during our migration cross country whose high speed internet was incompatible with out PowerBook running Mac OS X 10.3.4 was using Cisco equipment. We could get on the network but the Cisco equipment would not give us an IP address. Even if we entered a valid IP address manually, the Cisco equipment still would not provide us an internet stream. [Dana Baggett]
[7/20] Apple AirPort (Dual Ethernet) Base Station Firmware Update v4.0.9 is Out and available for download from this Apple web page.
The "Dual Ethernet" model is also known as the snow Base Station.
[7/20] Clear FlipStand for iPod Mini is Available from Speck Products. The Mini FlipStand's see-through case provides the maximum protection available while providing easy access to the scroll wheel, headphone jack, hold button, and FireWire sync port. Flip open the scroll wheel door all the way and the case becomes a desktop stand. [Dana Baggett]
[7/20] Safari Magic 1.0 is Out: Safari Magic enables Safari users to instantly and selectively collect and edit/organize text, graphics, and pictures from multiple web pages and non-contiguous sources. Safari Magic also enables users to instantly and selectively save or print anything they find on the Internet. And Safari Magic lets users instantly add their own notes and time-date stamps to their data. It's $19.95 from MacEase software.
[7/19] Apple Released iPod Updater 2004-7-15 for All iPods and Mini: The new iPod software is available for download from this Apple web page. Here is what's new:
[7/19-Updated] Apple Released 4th Generation iPods Today: The new 4G iPods come in 20-GB and 40-GB models only, at least for now. Toshiba has announced a 60-GB drive that could be used in the iPod but it is not available yet. The new 20-GB model sells or $299, same as the 3G 15-GB model, and is similarly equipped: earbud headphones, AC adapter, FireWire cable, USB 2.0 cable, 4-pin-to-6-pin FireWire adapter. It does not include the remote controller, dock or carrying case like the 3G 20-GB model that sold for $399. The new 40-GB model sells for $399 and is more fully equipped, including the dock but not the remote controller and carrying case. [Update--This morning the Tech Specs stated that the remote and case were included with the 40-GB model. That has now been changed to reflect that they are not.]
The 20-GB model weighs 5.6oz and the 40-GB model weighs 6.2oz. The new models are white with a gray click wheel controller adapted from the iPod Mini and get up to 12 hours use with improved battery management.
The 4G iPods are available today. Hewlett Packard's version of the 4G iPod will be out in September. Here is Apple's press release.
[7/19] iTunes Gets New features to Fend Off Rivals according to this NY Times article. Apple's vice president for applications and Internet services Eddy Cue pointed to iMix and iTunes Original as two recently-added features to help keep people coming to Apple's iTunes Music Store with 70 per cent of the legal online song market.
[7/19] QuickerTek Shipping Whip WiFi Antenna for 12" PowerBook G4: According to a note from QuickerTek, they are ready to ship the Whip Antenna for the 12-inch aluminum PowerBook. Quickertek claims that their exclusive wireless signal technology used in the Whip Antenna typically increases signal strength up to 50%, and increases line-of-sight distance by an average of 250 yards. This new wireless antenna is $89.95.
[7/19] Feral Interactive's Enemy Engaged Demo Released: This demo lets you experience the thrill of flying either a RAH-66 Comanche or KA-52 Hokum helicopters over the dangerous terrain of the Lebanon. We suggest that to begin with you cruise around in a passive environment until you get your head around the controls. Then, when you are ready to get serious with the bad guys switch the demo to hostile environment mode and experienced that heady mixture of fear and exhiliration that comes from being both hunter and hunted.
[7/18] Newsweek "Leaks" New iPod Design with its 7/26 Issue Cover Photo: Reminiscent of Time Magazine's cover story which "leaked" the new flat panel iMac's design, Newsweek has done it with the new iPod design. It's shown on Newsweek's July 26th cover posted to its web site. The cover highlight's Steven Levy's story iPod Nation and depicts Apple's CEO Steve Jobs holding an iPod with no buttons and a control wheel similar to that of the iPod Mini. The control wheel appears to be a different color than the white iPod.
[Update] Here is the Newsweek article on the new iPod to be introduced this week. In addition to the previously mentioned iPod Mini click wheel instead of 4 buttons and a control wheel, the new iPod is 1mm slimmer, the battery lasts 12 hours instead of 8 through improved battery management, the software menus are more efficient and the cost is reduced for the same capacity, i.e. $299 for 20-GB and $399 for 40-GB models. There is no 15-GB model and no larger one, at least not right now.
[7/17] Apple's Developer Connection Published "The GNU Compiler Collection on Mac OS X": Apple's developer tool Xcode uses the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC) under the hood for building executable images from source code. And the GNU Debugger (GDB), a companion to GCC, comprises the foundation of the Xcode debugger. Knowing these open-source Unix tools is very useful when developing on Mac OS X. You may read this article to learn about these tools, and their enhancements and options specific to Mac OS X.
[7/17] XLR8 InterView 3.0--Daystar Ships "New, High Quality" USB Video Capture Technology: XLR8 InterView 3.0 includes all the hardware and software any user needs to grab video/audio from any normal camera, recorder or deck. It is also excellent for webcam and security camera applications. Its universal drivers support a wide range of applications and allow multiple cameras on the same system (one Interview for each camera).
[7/15] The "Phishing" Season May End with ITPEA according to this CNet article. "Phishing" is using email to steer people to phony web sites set up to look like the real ones, usually bank or credit card web sites, to steal confidential information. The new Identity Theft Penalty Enhancement Act (ITPEA) targets phishing as one mode of identity theft for mandatory prison terms. Phishing attempts have blossomed nationwide since September of 2003. We now get several phishing emails per week for bank and credit card accounts and they are quite convincing these days to an unwary eye. Originally, they were easy to spot because of poor grammar and spelling errors.
[7/15] Mozilla 1.8a2 was Released on First Anniversary of Mozilla Foundation: This is the latest preview release of the Mozilla application suite, including Navigator, Messenger, and Composer. The next release will be the beta version. Mozilla v1.8a2 is available for download and the release notes are here.
This is Mozilla Foundation's first anniversary as well. Mozilla listed its accomplishments and plans on its home page. [Dana Baggett]
[7/15] Apple's Q3 $61-million Profit Beat Analysts Estimates: The consensus analyst earnings estimate for Apple reported by Forbes was 15 cents per diluted share. As we noted yesterday, Apple usually beats the estimate and actually posted 16 cents per diluted share in earnings for the third quarter, nearly 7 per cent higher. Apple sold 876,000 CPUs with revenues of $2.014 billion, up 14 and 30 per cent respectively over last year's Q3.
Here are the year over year third quarter unit sales in thousands:
All sales are up significantly except for the iMac. Apple's retail store revenue increased 86 per cent. The only region not showing sales growth was Japan. Sales from Apple's iTunes Music Store and iPod accessories together were up a whopping 508 per cent.
During the webcast conference call, now available for rebroadcast from this Apple web page, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer mentioned that the new iMac will have a G5 CPU and that the delay in releasing it has been caused by IBM's manufacturing problems.
Here is Apple's press release.
[7/15] Apple AirPort Express with AirTunes Shipping according to Apple. AirPort Express is a small AirPort Extreme base station with USB printing and AirTunes in a $129 package slightly larger than a white Apple AC adapter. Apple had over 80,000 pre-orders according to their press release.
[7/14] Apple's Q3 Financial Results to be Webcast Today. Apple will release its third quarter financial results in a webcast conference call today. The call can be heard at 2p PT (5p ET) from this Apple web page using QuickTime Player.
The "analysts" expect earnings of 15 cents per diluted share, up from 5 cents for the third quarter of last year according to this Forbes article. However, Apple CEO Steve Jobs likes to beat the analysts' projections and always seems to. Look for higher earnings. [Dana Baggett]
[7/14] Picture Rescue for Mac OS X is Out: Prosoft Engineering announced the availability of Picture Rescue for Mac OS X. Picture Rescue is a software utility built for Mac OS X that recovers deleted pictures. It costs $59.
[7/13] Giga Designs Ships Dual G4 CPU Upgrades to 1.4 GHz: Giga Designs is now shipping the fastest (1.4 GHz) G4 dual processor upgrades available for Apple Power Macintosh AGP Graphics (Sawtooth) and Gigabit Ethernet models. The new M Series Dual processor family also includes a 1.33GHz model for Digital Audio, Quicksilver 2001, and Quicksilver 2002 Power Macs; and features a multi-voltage power sharing architecture. The dual 1.4 and 1.33 are $699 and the dual 1.3 is $669. Here is Giga Designs' press release.
[7/13] Office Depot is Now an Apple Authorized Reseller. Yes, it's true--check out this Office Depot web page. [Dana Baggett]
[7/12] Apple iTunes Music Store Recorded 100 million Song Sales Last Night. Kevin Britten of Hays, Kansas, downloaded "Somersault (Dangermouse remix)" by Zero 7, the 100 millionth song purchased from the iTunes music store at 10:21 p.m. PT. As a result, Apple will award him a 17-inch PowerBook, a 40GB iPod and a gift certificate for 10,000 iTunes songs to create the ultimate music library for his new iPod. Apple also posted a list of many of the 50 20-GB iPod winners at each 100,000 songs sold. Here is Apple's press release. [Dana Baggett]
[7/12] Macs Only! Adds RSS News Feed: RSS is the latest means for making news on Macs Only! available. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. In Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" Safari will have a built-in RSS news reader and search engine. You can download an RSS reader and try it out on Macs Only!'s new RSS news feed.
[7/12] Apple's Q3 Financial Results to be Webcast Wednesday. Apple will release its third quarter financial results in a webcast conference call on Wednesday. The call can be heard at 2p PT (5p ET) from this Apple web page using QuickTime Player. [Dana Baggett]
[7/12] Apple's Stock Rises with iPod Sales. The value of Apple's stock has increased more than 50% since January. Investors are looking at Apple differently since it has taken the market lead in digital music and player sales according to this Reuters article. [Dana Baggett]
[7/12] Macworld Conference & Expo 2004 Boston Starts Today: IDG moved it's summer Macworld from New York City back to Boston from whence it came, away from Apple's huge New York graphics media customer base. Apple's CEO Steve Jobs was livid at the change of venue and pulled Apple out of the summer event, probably costing IDG's CEO his job. Despite the lack of Apple's presence and that of other major third party companies, it should still be an interesting event for East Coast Mac users. Macworld Boston runs July 12-15 in Boston's brand new conference center. [Dana Baggett]
[7/8] Apple's iMac--What Next? Did Apple just do what Steve Jobs, according to various books on the Apple CEO, is absolutely paranoid about? Apple just announced a new model of the iMac at least two months ahead of it being available in September. The story is that Steve Jobs learned not to annouce new products until they were ready to go from the Osborne Computer experience in the early days of personal computers. After Osborne announced that a newer-faster-better model was in the works, sales of the current model tanked as most people waited for the new model depriving Osborne Computer of the cash it needed to stay in business to produce the new model.
The answer depends on how one interprets the situation but we would say not. Why? Because Apple has frequently been slow by several months to deliver at least some models in a line of newly-announced Macs, Apple is not presently financially dependent on just the iMac, Apple has a huge cash reserve approaching $5 billion and Apple has not divulged any details about the new iMac to cause people to stop buying what's already in the retail channel. It's simply an announcement of the fact that one can no longer order an iMac from the online Apple Store until at least September.
On the other hand, is this a big screw up as some media pundits have alleged, one that will cost Apple tons of money in lost sales that will be impossible to make up? We say not. Current iMacs remain in the retail channel so, perhaps, Apple has decided to dispose of the remaining stock via its retail partners rather than in direct competition via its online store. Sales of the current iMac model have slipped to their nadir and perhaps the partner retail channel can handle all the sales that there would be in two months anyway--a nice bone to them as well as making sure they are not stuck with lots of the older model when the newer one comes out. Perhaps Apple has also learned from its supply problems with the initial introduction of the current iMac and the iPod Mini that it loses a greater ton of money by not having a sufficient supply of consumer products available to meet the initial demand. The Apple Store announcement is consistent with this, a nice bit of self-deprecation and the drop of a small tantalzing morsel for the future and more detailed announcement. Of course, we are just speculating like the nay-sayers. Only Apple executives know for sure.
What about the new iMacs? No one knows anything outside of Apple's top inner circle so we won't pretend that we do. We do think that Apple needs to forge some new ground with the new iMac in order to get it's consumer desktop's sales roaring again. A new case design with some speed and storage capacity bumps may produce a good seller but probably not a stellar one.
What are some of the areas that could be forged? In our opinion, there are at least three possibilities. The first is to put a single, lower powered G5 in it. Then Apple's consumer desktop would have speed bragging rights over the offerings from the Wintel crowd in its price range. The second is make it into a tiny screenless case, not much bigger than a SuperDrive. This rendition would probably have to retain a G4 up to 1.5 GHz but it seems feasible given how small the 12" PowerBook and iBook are. If Apple started it at around $500 or so, sales would be hot. But would they be hot enough? Apple has learned with the iPod that it can make a ton of money off items selling for substatially less than $1000 if it has a hit. Is now the time for Apple to take the risk with a computer? We think the time couldn't be better, especially if it were coupled with a similarly designed 17" flat panel screen for around another $500. The third is to explicitly exploit the digital music movement in some new and imaginative ways beyond our ability to fathom--we could only come up with an integrated iPod dock.
What do you think?
[7/7] Apple's iPod Mini Goes International July 24th: Still amid very constained availability in the U.S., Apple announced today that iPod Mini sales outside of the U.S. will begin on July 24th. The iPod Mini has been a huge hit since they were released despite the claims of many media pundits that they were too expensive at $249. The demand has so outstripped the supply that sales have been limited to the U.S. market. That restriction will lift in a couple of weeks which we hope means that the iPod Mini's supply will improve dramatically. Today the online Apple Store says that there's still a 4-week wait to shipping.
While we got one the day they first came out and another a couple of weeks later as the last of the first 100,000 were sold, they have been scarce as hen's teeth since. Their eBay prices have greatly exceeding the $249 Apple charges when you can find one. We got lucky a couple of weeks ago when looking in the Fashion Valley Apple Store for a gift for our graduating niece. We spied a young lady waiting in line to return the rarest iPod Mini, a pink one, and she took our offer of cash for it before she reached the register. Fortunately, we were traveling the next day and had just been to the bank. We must be living right for that series of events to have lined up in our favor.
Here is Apple's press release.
-- Holiday Weekend, July 3-5 --
-- TGIF, July 2 --
Wednesdays are Pro Days at Apple Stores--July's Schedule: Each Wednesday the retail Apple Stores offer free workshops and demos for business professionals. July brings an all-new lineup of workshops and demonstrations. Here is the schedule of presentations for July:
Presentation times do vary by store so check with the Apple Store near you.
Virex 7.2 DAT File Update is Available via the eUpdate feature in the application or from this McAfee web page. Virex 7.2 is distributed to .Mac members. The new virus definitions update is dated June 25, 2004.
Apple Announced New iMacs Coming in September with a note on the online Apple Store. Apple has stopped taking orders for the current iMac so there will be about a 60-day or so gap as the final supply gets sold. Here is Apple's statement:
No details on the new iMacs were available. We expect that the new iMacs will have a G5 CPU, maybe two at the upper end, to really spark sales of this consumer model. [Dana Baggett]
Are the Courts Sufficiently High Tech? Maine is Running Mac OS X: Long time readers know that our New England Editor, Dana Baggett, was the administrator for the Maine state court system when they became computerized. He chose to install Macs and they are still using Apple's technology according to this Iowa Law article. It states in part:
Apple to Mark 100 Millionth Song Sold from iTunes Music Store: Today, Apple expects the 95 millionth song to be sold from the iTunes Music Store, either in the U.S., U.K., France or Germany. The count-down to 100 million songs will be marked at each subsequent 100,000 songs sold with a free 20-GB iPod for the lucky 100,000th song purchaser in either of the four countries. The customer who buys the 100 millionth song will get a 17" PowerBook G4, a 40-GB iPod, a gift certificate for 10,000 songs and the opportunity to create a playlist to be posted on the iTunes Music Store. Here is Apple's press release.
Tiger Chat Tonight on the Mac Night Owl LIVE: This week, host Gene Steinberg and his son Grayson will talk about the next great version of Mac OS X, Tiger. They’ll be joined by Macworld’s Editor-in-Chief Jason Snell and Macworld Contributing Editor Christopher Breen. Tune in to the broadcast from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern.
-- Thursday, July 1 --
[4p EDT] Speck Products Announced Skin-Tight Armband for iPod Mini: The Skin-Tight iPod Mini Armband includes the armband and an iPod Mini Skin. The iPod Mini is housed in the skin and then snapped onto the armband so the iPod Mini is fully protected. The armband attaches to itself with velcro for a comfortable fit and it includes cable clips to keep the cords out of the way. The armband with skin sells for $29.95 and will begin shipping on July 3rd. [Dana Baggett]
[11:45a EDT] PowerLogix Reduced Prices on G4 CPU Upgrades Added 1.1 GHz Model for beige and blue & white G3s according to a press release that was sent to us by PowerLogix. Priced at only $349.00 and operating at 1.1 GHz, the all new PowerForce G3 ZIF offers up to five times the original clock speed of original G3 Power Mac computers. It's the fastest processor ever designed for PowerMac G3 Beige and "Blue and White" computers. The PowerForce G3 ZIF 1.1 GHz is now shipping and is compatible with OS 9 and OS X.
Prices have also been reduced across the board by $40-$150 on PowerLogix G4 CPU upgrades. Models are available in both single and dual CPU configurations and based on the most advanced G4 microprocessor, the PowerPC 7457.
Here is the press release.
On-Scene Report--WWDC 2004, the Public Features: We've attended three days of sessions at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco that cover Apple's focus on scientific computing and new technologies like VoiceOver to be included with Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger". Unfortunately, the infomation provided in those sessions is proprietary and covered by an NDA so there's not much to write about except that we're very pleased with Apple's aggressive move back into scientific computing and the new Tiger technologies are very impressive. We hope that Apple's scientific computing focus will expand into fields other than genomics.
There are other things going on at the WWDC that we can report on: the gaming area, the exhibit fair, the O'Reilly Press sales booth, the DevDepot sales booth and the BMWs and Mini Coopers with an integrated iPod installation.
The gaming area is set up to show off the latest 3D games in multiplayer (LAN) mode and to demonstrate how well they play on the 20 Power Mac G5s with 23" Cinema HD Displays. Some have Bose headphones and some have Harman Kardon Creature speaker systems turned way down. The newest game is Battlefield 1942 but others I've seen running include Call of Duty (CoD), Unreal Tournament 2004 and Halo. While Unreal Tournament 2004 won the Apple Design Award for entertainment, the most popular game, as determined by the number of players when we've passed by the gaming area, is Call of Duty. CoD is followed in popularity by Battlefield 1942.
We managed to get a seat and try out Battlefield 1942. It took awhile to figure out most of the controls and maps since Battlefield 1942 is a fairly complex FPS war game. Some we have yet to master. A neat feature is that one's spawning point can be selected on the map at each spawning. This avoids spawning campers and gets one into the action of choice more quickly than having to run through the entire map since the geographical area of the maps is quite large.
The key feature of Battlefield 1942 is that one can hop into and drive, fly or steer various vehicles including tanks, battle wagons, jeeps, several aircraft, landing craft and ships and use their weaponry like in Halo but there are many more vehicles than in Halo. Multiple players can share riding in most vehicles as passengers and use the additional weaponry of the vehicle. It did't take us long to competently fly the two vehicles in Halo but in our short time at the table we were unable to master flying the various aircraft in Battlefield 1942, crashing right after takeoff most of the time or going into a wing-over death spiral soon after takeoff.
The realism of the player models in war FPS games keeps improving and Battlefield 1942 continues this development. The weapons are very similar to those in Medal of Honor (MoH). The scope on the sniper rifle has an unrealistically large field of vision like MoH's, but even larger, instead of the more realistic field in CoD.
Battlefield 1942 is a fun game.
The Exhibit Fair consists of stand-up booths about 6 feet wide, except for Sun Microsystems which has two booths set side by side. There are some 75 exhibitors, mostly dealing with application developments that, of course, are of interest to software engineers.
In addition, here are a few interesting things for non-engineers that we saw among the exhibts:
The O'Reilly Press sales booth was jammed between sessions every time we passed by. By our guess they have some 50-100 titles available for sale at a show special price of 20% off.
The DevDepot sales booth has many Mac accessories for sale at special prices just like at Macworld.
BMW has a 330i convertible, a Z4 convertible, an X-3 and three Mini Coopers, two softtops and a hardtop, on display that have the built-in iPod adapter. All are playing music from the iPod through the cars' sound systems all day. They are quite popular among attendees as one might expect. The adapter consists of a single cable in the glove compartment to connect the iPod's power port with the stock radio controls on the dash and steering wheel. The adapter costs a mere $149 plus installation (supposedly less than $100) and tax. The setup needs a 3G iPod running v2.2 of the iPod software or an iPod Mini.
Brief Hands-On Report--RealPlayer 10b for Mac OS X is out and available for download. The new features since RealOne Player for Mac OS X are:
We downloaded a copy and tried it out on several RealPlayer video feeds from News.com with no noticeable problems. As noted in the "Known Issues" we first used the File menu's Get Info window to change all .rm and .ram files to be opened with ReaPlayer since they are frequently interpreted by Safari as Adobe GoLive files.
New Web Browser Plug In Standard Under Development as an alternative to Microsoft's ActiveX used in Internet Explorer according to this News.com article. Microsoft's architecture has many security problems and is proprietary so everybody else who makes a web browser, including Apple, plus all of the web browser plug in vendors are getting together with Mozilla to create an alternative standard. [Dana Baggett]
M$ Antitrust Lawsuit Finally Ends with M$ the Clear Winner as the U.S. Court of Appeals yesterday rejected Massachusetts appeal for higher penalties than were contained in the settlement Microsoft obtained from the U.S. Department of Justice according to this News.com article. How sad. It seems the Sherman Antitrust Act is out of date and can no longer protect the market from illegal acts of monopolists. [Dana Baggett]
Apple Broadens Reach of Rendezvous to All Major OS Platforms according to this Apple web page. The platforms include Java clients, Linux, Solaris, FreeBSD and Windows 2000 & XP (as a technology preview). Rendezvous is Apple's automatic network device and service configuration technology. It is an open protocol and Apple has submitted it to the IETF as part of the ongoing standards-creation process.
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