October 2004 News Archive

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Copyright 2004 by Bill Fox All rights reserved.
Last Updated: Oct. 29, 2004

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[10/27] Details of QuickTime 6.5.2 Security Fix: As we noted below, QuickTime 6.5.2 was released yesterday by Apple. It should now be available via the Software Update preference pane as well as via the QuickTime web page. QuickTime 6.5.2 delivers two security enhancements, one for Windows only and one for Mac OS X and Windows--here is the Mac fix:

CVE-ID: CAN-2004-0926

Available for: Mac OS X v10.3.x, Mac OS X Server v10.3.x, Mac OS X
v10.2.8, Mac OS X Server v10.2.8, Microsoft Windows XP, Microsoft
Windows 2000, Microsoft Windows ME and Microsoft Windows 98
Impact: A heap buffer overflow could allow attackers to execute
arbitrary code

Description: Flaws in decoding the BMP image type could overwrite
heap memory and potentially allow the execution of arbitrary code
hidden in an image. This is the same security enhancement that was
made available in Security Update 2004-09-30, and can be deployed on
the additional system configurations covered by this QuickTime

[10/27] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers:

CDW|MacWarehouse has great deals on cool Mac products, including Logitech's MX-1000 Laser Cordless Mouse, LaCie 160GB External FireWire Hard Drive, SanDiskl 1GB SD Card, Lexmark C510 Color Laser Printer, Canon Pixma P6000D Color Photo Printer, Markzware Flightcheck Designer 5.5, Xerox Phaser 6250N Color Laser Printer with $300 mail-in rebate, Hewlett Packard DesignJet 130nr Color Printer, and much more.

MacMall has fantastic prices on essential Mac products, including Guitar Rig, Microsoft Office 2004 Student and Teacher Edition, Lexar Media 1GB JumpDrive Secure USB 2.0 Portable Flash Drive, Canon 20D Digital SLR Camera with Lens and FREE LowePRO Case, Imaginova Starry Night Complete Space and Astronomy Pack, Adobe Photoshop Elements 3.0, PG Music Band in a Box, Corel Painter IX with FREE Sketchbook, and much more.

[10/27] Win a DYMO LabelWriter 330 Printer from BeLight Software: BeLight Software, developers of Mac OS X business productivity software, offers a Mail Factory Drawing, a great event to take part in! To win the Grand Prize - a DYMO LabelWriter 330 printer, participants need to purchase Mail Factory, a tool to print envelopes and mailing labels, from October 27th to November 27th, 2004. Each participant gets also 50% discount for Business Card Composer, the elegant software to make business cards. We have favorably reviewed both Mail Factory and Business Card Composer.

[10/27] The Maine Story--Not Another Tech Buy: Here is the one-pager produced by the Maine Learning Technology Initiative iBook program that has been widely used to provide basic information about it. The white paper includes comments on leadership, professional development, learning and teaching, the supporting five networks and the technology, meaning Apple Computer, with the statement,

Apple as strong corporate partner, working very hard for us to be successful.

  • Regular iBooks with software - CD-ROM, AppleWorks (including word processing and presentation), web browsers, email software, iMovie, iPhoto, & more.
  • Wireless networks in each school.
  • Equipment management and tracking system.
  • Maintenance & repair system - dedicated tech support line 3 day turnaround in most cases.
  • 2 day introductory training.
  • Provide yearly all day tech workshops for the tech coordinators.
  • Participate in all Regional leadership development activities.

[Dana Baggett]

[10/27] Alarm Timer 1.0 for Mac OS X is Out: Alarm Timer ($5 shareware) is a useful repeating timer and simple alarm clock. What makes Alarm Timer different from others is that you can have it signal to you continuously, without the need to constantly close dialog boxes.

[10/27] Envision Free Web Show of the Week--Postage Stamps: This week's Envision Show of the Week from Open Door Networks presents an excellent overview of US postage stamps. It's based on the National Postal Museum at the Smithsonian Institution. Previous Shows of the Week are available in the Show of the Week archive.

[10/27] Apple iPod Update 2004-10-20 and iTunes 4.7 are Available as Stand Alone Updaters from this Apple support web page. There's nothing new in the iPod Update for iPods earlier than the new iPod Photo. iTunes 4.7 enables iPod Photo functions on your Mac.

[10/27] QuickTime 6.5.2 Update is Available from the Apple QuickTime web page but not via the Software Update preference pane nor from Apple's support web page as of late yesterday. According to Apple, v6.5.2 is for Mac OS X 10.2 and later:

Version 6.5.2 is an important release that includes a security update and bug fixes. This release also includes enhancements in the Apple Lossless Encoder and AAC codecs, as well as improved support for iTunes and other QuickTime-based applications.

We downloaded and installed iTunes 4.7 and QuickTime 6.5.2 with no problem. We don't have an iPod Photo (not yet anyway) so we can't test iTunes 4.7's new features. But we got our free song of the week (John Legend's "Used to Love U") from the iTunes Music Store with v4.7 and played the Apple/U2 Special Music Event video stream using QuickTime 6.5.2.

[10/27] Apple Special Music Event, Steve Jobs with U2, Available as QuickTime Streaming Video from the QuickTime web site. The video is about 45 minutes long. It came in crystal clear last night using QuickTime 6.5.2 on our 17" 1.5GHz PowerBook G4. We watched it using a Wi-Fi service while sitting in the lounge of our hotel after watching Game 3 of the World Series.

[10/27] Griffin Technology Announced an iTrip Matching the Black U2 Special Edition iPod: The black-colored iTrip will be available at the end of November for $35.

[10/26] Apple Announces New iPods, Photo and U2, and iTunes 4.7 at Its Special Music Event Today: The music news event involving Apple's Steve Jobs and U2's Bono and The Edge started at about 10 am PDT and shortly thereafter, as a sure sign of new hardware coming out, the Apple Store closed with the note "We are updating the store for you and will be back within the hour." It reopened at about 11:10 am PDT.

The U2 iPod holds 20GB and is black with a red click wheel and engraved with the Irish rock band's signatures. It will be available in mid November and cost $349. Apple has also created the first digital box set entitled "The Complete U2" with over 400 tracks that wil be available from the iTunes Music Store for $149 in late November. U2 iPod purchasers will get a $50 discount on the digital box set.

The iPod Photo features a color LCD that displays 65,536 colors with either 40GB or 60GB of storage. The screen is 220x170 pixels, allowing one to scroll through up to 25,000 pictures, 25 thumbnails at a time. They hold 10,000 to 15,000 songs, play songs for up to 15 hours or show photos for up to 5. The two models are priced as 40GB at $499 and 60GB at $599 and are available today.

iTunes 4.7 which implements the photo aspect of the new iPods is available for download.

[10/26] New Dual 1.42GHz G4 CPU Upgrades Announced by Giga Designs: The dual 1.42GHZ and 1.4GHz G4 CPUs will fit the original 2002 "Mirrored Drive Door" Power Mac G4s through those released subsequently in 2003 and cost $699 according to Giga Design's press release. The module uses a copper heat sink and a quieter fan than those in the original Power Mac G4s.

Check out our October 2003 Dual 1.42GHz G4 vs Dual 2GHz G5 Power Mac comparo for some idea of relative speed--the G4 did surprisingly well--and our original Dual 1.42 GHz speed test in July 2003 that compared it against a G4 Cube upgraded with a single 1.2 GHz G4 CPU.

[10/26] VA Tech's Mac Super Computer Tests at 12.25 TFs, a Near 20% Increase, putting its System X back up to fourth place among the world's super computers that have announced their Linpak benchmark results. Virginia Tech replaced System X's original 1100 dual 2GHz desktop Power Mac G5s with 1100 dual 2.3GHz Xserve G5s. That, along with optimized sofware, produced the nearly 20% boost in performance.

System X with 12.25 TeraFLOP performance will fall to 6th or 7th place when the world results are announced in November because larger and more expensive systems have been built or are being built by IBM and three U.S. government entities: NASA, Lawrernce Livermore National Laboratory and Los Alamos National Laboratory. Still, System X will be the fastest academic super computer in the world and at $5.8 million will have the best price performance ratio among all super computers by a factor of 2 or more. System X is currently operational contributing to science as it was designed to do.

[10/26] Apple and U2 are Hosting a Special Music Event Today While Competition Heats Up: It is expected that Apple and the Irish rock band U2 will jointly announce a music deal today. To commemorate the deal, it is also expected that Apple will announce a limited edition black-colored iPod pre-loaded with U2 music. We added our wild speculation last week when we noted the upcoming event. We'll report on the event later today.

According to the Irish Examiner, some U2 fans are angry that the band has "sold out" to a multinational corporation, Apple Computer. They need to get real--the band itself is a multinational corporation.

Meanwhile, Apple continues to dominate the market with a 70 per cent share. But this AP article claims it can't be sustained without constant innovation at the same price point, something Apple has been superb at, and /or entering the flash player market directly, a market that has a much lower price point than the current iPods. The AP article also explores some of Apple's competition which continues to heat up fiercely as the holiday season approaches. [Dana Baggett].

[10/26] Apple Initiates Tiger Developer Overview Series: According to Apple, the next version of Apple's innovative UNIX-based operating system, Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger, will be the most important release for developers since Mac OS X was first released in 2001. So the Apple Developer Connection has kicked off a new series of technical articles to examine some of the powerful new features, APIs, and frameworks in Tiger on this web page.

[10/26] iJames Lullaby v0.1 Released--Automates Mac OS X System Volume: iJames Lullaby was created by James McMahan, a former Genius in Apple's Tysons Corner retail store and now a George Washington University student. He decribes his newest application as:

"iJames Lullaby allows you to automate your computer's system volume. What does this mean? It means that you can tell your computer to silence itself when iTunes is done playing OR have the volume slowly fade away over time. For me, it is the perfect solution with which I can to fall asleep to music and not worry about being bothered by the system sounds that follow a new email or a 4AM video chat request."

You can download it from James' web site.

[10/26] Marketcircle Releasd DayLite v1.7, Its Powerful Business Relationship Manager: V1.7 is a free upgrade and includes a new Quick Status window, a revised toolbar, improved auto-linking, improved performance in multi-user environments and more. All registered customers also get a free license to MailDrop 1.3.4 - US$59 values! DayLite is sold for US$149 per seat.

[10/26] Custom-Designed Wallpaper for Apple 30" Cinema Display Released: PlasmaDesign specializes in high quailty images in formats and sizes suitable for use on the complete range of Apple's displays, both consumer and pro. All of the images have been created using Macs exclusively. They have just added 6 new wallpapers designed for use on Apple's new 30" displays (three landscape, three abstract). These painstakenly rendered images can be previewed on PlasmaDesign's web page. A one-time membership fee of £7 is required to access the entire collection of 150+ high resolution wallpapers. This one-time payment guarantees access to the complete back catalogue of images as well as to all new creations for the lifetime of the PlasmaDesign site.

[10/26] Maine Students Buy G5 Server for Simple Machines Go Live! Project: The Maine Learning Technology Intiative that brought iBooks to every seventh and eighth grader and many ninth graders in the state continues to spawn innovation in computer literacy. The students at the Bruce M. Whittier Middle School in Poland received an Innovative Idea grant from National Semiconductor for their Simple Machines Go Live! Project. With part of the funds they bought a G5 Server to provide QuickTime video streaming of student videos of the Rube Goldberg machines to the web site. [Dana Baggett]

[10/25] Hands-On Review--Mail Factory v.1.4: Mail Factory from BeLight Software "manufactures" envelopes, address labels and shipping labels on your Mac. One uses Mail Factory to design and print the labels and/or envelopes. The application is now up to version 1.4 (released last week), the version that this review is based on. We have also favorably reviewed Belight's other major Mac application, Business Card Composer.

Here are Mail Factory's main features:

  • Print single envelopes and labels or batch print addresses from Mac OS X's Address Book, Entourage, Eudora, Now Contact, MS Excel, FileMaker, vCards or any tab-delimited text files.
  • Print USPS POSTNET and UK Royal Mail barcodes on labels and envelopes to help expedite delivery.
  • Correctly format addresses for more than 50 countries. Mail Factory conforms to postal guidelines and supports FIM-A Codes.
  • The unique Address Recognition feature allows the pasting of an address as text from other applications. Mail Factory automatically formats it to the chosen postal standards and applies correct the barcode.
  • Mail Factory automatically supports DYMO LabelWriter printers and ready-made labels from most popular companies including: Avery, APLI, A-One, and more.
  • The position of the initial label can be chosen so that partially used label sheets can be used.
  • Add a personalized look to mailings with dozens of ready-made designs or insert custom images, apply masks and control transparency. More than 500 clipart images are included with Mail Factory.

Check out BeLight's Samples page for ideas on how to use Mail Factory.

We used Mail Factory to quickly make an address label for Macs Only!'s envelopes. Launching the application opened the Assistant:

We selected the label image in the upper left corner, Return Address Label from the pop-up menu and the label manufacturer/type from the left window. An image of the label sheet shows in the right window to confirm the correct selection. We clicked the "Next" button.

In Step 2 the design of the label is selected. We added Macs Only!'s original logo to the collection of clip art from a folder on our hard drive and clicked the "Next" button.

In Step 3 the address for the label is selected. We chose ours from Mac OS X 10.3.5's Address Book and clicked the "Finish" button. The completed label is shown below.

One can still edit the label further as needed. The editor has handy automatic alignment guides (the blue dashed line in the image above) that help to perfectly align logo and text.

Once again BeLight has released a terrific application. Like Business Card Composer, Mail Factory is very easy to use and produces outstanding results. Mail Factory is $29.95 (download version, $39.95 for a CD) or $59.95 when bundled as a download with the $39.95 Business Card Composer.

[10/25] Apple Revised the Offerings from Three Hot Deals Retailers:

Office Depot has fantastic deals on essential products for your Mac, including Hewlett Packard's Scanjet 3970 Digital Flatbed Scanner, Casio QV-R51 Digital Camera, SanDisk 64MB Secure Digital Memory Card, KDS DX-7b 17" CRT Display, and much more.

Tech Depot has exclusive Hot Deals on great products for your Mac, including IOGear BOSS 120GB Network Server Appliance, Dicota Trendsetters Start Off Notebook Bag with $5 instant rebate at checkout, Tripp Lite Internet 750U UPS Back-up with $5 instant rebate at checkout, SanDisk Cruzer 256MB Flash Drive with $5 instant rebate at checkout, Microsoft Office 2004 Stand Edition with $5 instant rebate at checkout, and much more.

Sweetwater has fantastic deals on a wide range of audio products for your Mac, including Digidesign's Mbox, IK Multimedia Sonik Capsule Groove, AKG K55 Professional Headphones, Gary Garritan Personal Orchestra, Event Tuned Reference 6 Studio Speakers, Evolution UC-33e, M-Audio Keystation 61es, and much more.

[10/25] Apple Design Award Cube Innards Revealed: Students Alexander Griekspoor and Tom Groothuis won the Apple Design Award for Best Mac OS X Student Product at the WWDC in June 2004 for an application called 4Peaks. The Apple Design Award is a metal cube with an Apple logo on top. When the cube is touched, the Apple logo on the cube glows. Curious about how this works, the students decided to run their award cube through a CT scanner to see what is inside rather than to open it up and possibly damage it. The linked pictures and QuickTime movies (including VR) here and here show what the innards of the Award cube look like--pretty cool.

[10/25] Broward County Florida Students Get iBooks in $5M Pilot Project: Some may not know how to punch holes in voting cards in Florida, but several Broward County (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) schools know what it takes to significantly improve education. Miramar High School, Attucks Middle School, Monarch High School and Broward Estates Elementary School are distributing iBooks to all of their students according to this Miami Herald article. The $5 million project with Apple is a pilot that can be expanded to more Broward County schools.

Kudos go to Howard Gittelson, Miramar High's technology specialist for the past seven years, who heads the Miramar effort. Support for Miramar High's 3000 iBooks and school-wide wireless network is provided by Gittelson, two assistants and a team of 50 students.

[10/25] NetNewsWire and NetNewsWire Lite RSS News Reader Updates to v2.0b6 are Available for download from Ranchero Software's web site. The 2.0 versions are still betas but we have been using the free Lite version without problems.

[10/23] iPod Minis Now Shipping Right Away according to to our New England editor's experience. Dana Baggett wrote, "Wednesday night I ordered a personalized iPod Mini as an Xmas present. I received an e-mail dated 9:45 AM Thursday morning EDT that it shipped! It left Shanghai at 8:21 PM on Oct. 21. While there is a date/time difference, nonetheless that's pretty close to same day service, on a personalized iPod Mini to boot! A second, non-personalized iPod Mini on the same order shipped Friday. These two Minis are on a Free Shipping promotion at The Apple Store on-line."

[10/23] Virex 7.x Virus Definitions Updated: The file carries an October 14th or 20th date and can be downloaded via the application's eUpdate feature or from MacUpdate.com.

[10/23] NAV 9.0 Virus Definitions Updated Again in October: The file is available for download via the application's LiveUpdate feature or from Symantec's web site. [Dana Baggett]

[10/23] O'Reilly Released "Mac OS X Power Hound:" Fans of the Macintosh have spent years collecting and sharing tips, tricks, and secrets--a keyboard shortcut here, an undocumented double-click there--and then Mac OS X 10.3 came along. "This OS, which has tripped up more than one computer veteran, is unlike anything that came before," says Rob Griffiths, author of the new "Mac OS X Power Hound, Panther Edition" (O'Reilly, US $24.95). Mac OS X Panther harbors as many (or more) delicious secrets as any operating system that came before--only users need to know where to find them. "Mac OS X Power Hound" is the perfect resource for just that.

[10/23] Feral Interactive Weekend Game Report--Ford Racing 2 On Its Way! News fresh in from the Feral pits–-Ford Racing 2 has screeched out of the workshop, headed straight for the open road and into manufacturing. Our latest racing title will be hugging the games corner at Mac stores near you in 2 to 3 weeks. This game is such a rush we almost put seatbelts in the system requirements--so wipe down your screens, adjust your steering wheels and lube up your keyboards!

[10/22] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers:

O'Reilly has exclusively Hot Deals discounts for many of it's most popular Mac titles, including "iPod & iTunes Hacks," "Inside .Mac," "Mac OS X Panther in a Nutshell, 2nd Edition," "Mac OS X Power Hound, Panther Edition," "Modding Mac OS X," and much more.

CompUSA has money saving deals on a bevy of Mac products, including Epson's Stylus Photo R300 Color Printer with $30 mail-in rebate, Canon EOS Rebel Digital Camera with $100 mail-in rebate, Iomega 80GB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive with $20 mail-in rebate, Sony HS93 19" LCD Flat Panel Display with $100 mail-in rebate, Intuit Quicken 2005 with $20 mail-in rebate, and much more.

[10/22] Mariner Write 3.6.4 and Mariner Calc 5.3.1 are Out: Mariner Software today announced the simultaneous release of Mariner Write 3.6.4 and Mariner Calc 5.3.1. The latest versions introduce several bug fixes and enhancement additions. The products are immediately available for download from the Mariner Software web site at this web page.

Included in the releases are the following new features and additions:

Mariner Write 3.6.4

Added - New graphics and icons.
Added - Architecture enhancement to RTF translation.
Fixed - Crash with certain Input Methods when deleting.
Fixed - Redraw issues with TSM unconfirmed text.
Fixed - Scroll bar update when opening RTF and TEXT files.
Fixed - Save file command on server volumes.

Mariner Calc 5.3.1

Fixed - online help display.
Fixed - redraw bug when editing in cells.
Fixed - corrected Application Tab error

[10/22] O'Reilly Released "Adobe InDesign CS One-on-One:" The new "Adobe InDesign CS One-on-One" (O'Reilly, US $44.95) is the closest thing possible to private InDesign lessons with author and Adobe Certified Expert Deke McClelland, the world-renowned digital publishing guru whose more than seventy books on computer design and imaging have won numerous industry awards, according to O'Reilly. In this highly visual, full-color book, McClelland guides readers through a dozen topic-driven lessons, each with step-by-step, project-based exercises. Readers will learn what to do--and why--as they develop both the skills and understanding they need to become InDesign experts.

[10/22] October 2004 ATI Radeon Universal ROM Updater is Available for Download from the ATI web site. The ROM Update is for retail graphics cards only, not Apple OEM cards:


Here are the Release Notes. [Dana Baggett]

[10/22] Cool Mac Software--Endicia: Endicia is the only software for the Mac that is licensed by the US Postal Service to print Internet Postage on shipping labels. With Endicia for Mac, printing postage is as simple as a few clicks. No more waiting in lines at the post office. No more over-paying for postage. If you ship packages using the mail, then you need Endicia for Mac. Endicia's features include:

• Automatically Calcualtes Rates
• Electronic Delivery Confirmation
• Integration with Apple's Address Book
• Supports Domestic and International Mail
• Built-in Support for Electronic Postal Scales
• Endicia Insurance - Less Expensive than the Post Office
• Automatic Address Verfication
• Supports High-Speed Label Printers
• Interactive Shipping Log

Endicia is $15.95 per month or $174.95 per year so you need to mail a lot of things to make this service worthwhile. [Dana Baggett]

[10/22] Rob Pegararo and Dr. Mac on The Mac Night Owl LIVE! Tonight: This week hosts Gene and Grayson Steinberg will talk about the latest Mac and technology developments with Rob Pegoraro, Consumer Technology Editor for The Washington Post. In addition, Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus will be on hand for an extended conversation about the Mac, music and other subjects. Tune in from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern.

[10/22] iTunes Versions Earlier than v.4.6 No Longer Work at iTunes Music Store according to this CNet article. One receives a warning that the earlier versions are no longer welcome when trying to connect to the store with them. It's time to upgrade to iTunes v4.6.

[10/21] Apple Pro Tip of the Week--Use Comments Instead of Labels: If you’re not a big fan of labels (color-coding files and folders by adding a ring of color around their name), you might want to try adding a comment instead. See the details on the Apple Pro Tip of the Week web page. [Dana Baggett]

[10/21] Envision Web Show of the Week Features Trains: This week's Envision Show of the Week from Open Door Networks, Inc. highlights one of the many excellent train sites on the Web, and includes a number of very impressive photos. The show file can be downloaded from the Show of the Week web site. Previous Shows of the Week are available in the Show of the Week archive.

[10/21] Review--Mac Nvidia 6800 Ultra DDL Graphics Card: We are still waiting for our NV6800 and our 30" Cinema Display, ordered shortly after they were annnounced and demoed at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2004, but Mike Breeden of AccelerateYourMac got his hands on an NV6800 and posted his usual excellent review. The NV6800 performed outstandingly in some respects but disappointingly in others using the initial drivers that came with the card. Hopefully, these are just driver issues that will disappear with future driver updates.

[10/21] From the Dark Side--Microsoft Office Dumped by Singapore Defense Ministry: In a defensive move against being ripped off and improving security, the Defense Ministry of Singapore said this week that it's turning to the OpenOffice application suite rather than updating its older versions of Microsoft Office. With some 20,000 PCs, the Singapore Defense Ministry is so far the largest government entity to adopt open source software in place of its older M$ software.

[10/20] Amazon.com Re-opens Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" Pre-Ordering for $129.99 but this time projecting June 30, 2005, availability. Last week Amazon.com opened a page for pre-orders with a projected shipping date of March 31, 2005. That date is right in the middle of the time period that Apple has mentioned for the release of Tiger, i.e. the first half of 2005. The date and pre-ordering capablity were quickly taken down a day later but not the page as we previously noted. But today the pre-ordering capability is back with a June 30 date, the last day of the first half of 2005. There's no real significance to this other than one may now once again place pre-orders with Amazon.com for $129.99 and it will be shipped when it is released. We doubt that Apple's planned released date has slipped by 3 months as some have interpreted this to mean.

[10/20] Apple Revised the Offerings from Four Hot Deals Retailers:

CDW|MacWarehouse has great deals on cool Mac products, including Wacom's Intuos3 6x8 Graphics Tablet with Pen and Mouse, Epson Stylus C86 Color Inkjet Printer with $50 mail-in rebate when purchased with any Apple Macintosh, Corel Painter IX, Xerox Phaser 6250N Color Laser Printer with $300 mail-in rebate, LaCie 1 Terabyte Big Disk FireWire External Hard Drive, and much more.

ClubMac has fantastic prices on essential Mac products, including the Freeverse Massive Assault, Harman Multimedia JBL OnTour Portable Music Box, Corel Painter IX, Hewlett Packard PhotoSmart 2710 All-in-One Device, Sorenson Squeeze 4, Konica Minolta MagiColor 5430DL Color Laser Printer with $100 mail-in rebate, UbiSoft Myst IV Revelation, Speck 4G iPod FlipStand Clear Case, and much more.

Publishing Perfection has great deals on a variety of design and print products for your Mac, including Vertigo 3D PopArt 2.0, Alien Skin Image Doctor, Pacific Image PowerSlide 3600 Slide Scanner, Nikon D-70 Digital SLR Camera with Lens, AutoFX Photographic Edges 6, Epson StylusPhoto 2200 Color Printer, Eovia Amapi Designer 7, and much more.

Ramjet has super low prices on RAM upgrades for your Mac, including 2GB DDR400 Kit for Power Mac G5, 1GB DDR for iMac G4, 512MB Module for Aluminum PowerBook G4, 512MB Module for Titanium PowerBook G4, 1GB DDR User Slot Module for iMac G4, 1GB DDR Kit for eMac 1.25GHz and above, and much more.

[10/20] SmartDisk Expanded FireLite Line of Portable Hard Drives to 100GB: SmartDisk Corporation, a company that develops and markets portable storage and digital multimedia products, today introduced three new versions of its popular FireLite portable hard drives: FireWire 800 FireLite 80GB, FireWire FireLite 100GB and USB FireLite 100GB. All models are available now through retailers and distributors as well as through the company's web site.The 100GB FireWire model is $359.99.

[10/20] Iomega Introduced the Iomega REV Professional Backup Kit. The Iomega REV Professional Backup Kit transforms network and desktop backup. Its revolutionary removable hard disk-based technology provides unprecedented price and performance advantages over traditional tape solutions according to Iomega. The Professional Backup Kit includes everything that is needed to keep critical data safe and secure:

• One Iomega REV 35GB/90GB drive
• Six Iomega REV disks
• Iomega Automatic Backup Pro software
• Yosemite TapeWare® for REV™ drive software

The REV Professional Backup Kit runs $579.99.

[10/20] Apple Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" Early Start Kit Available for $500 bundled with an ADC Select-level developer membership. Get your hands on Tiger now along with an ADC Select membership. Start building competitive solutions for Mac OS X with the Tiger Early Start Kit for Developers. The Kit provides everything you need to develop for Tiger, including:

- Pre-release versions of Mac OS X v10.4 "Tiger" and Xcode 2.0.
- One-on-one engineering consultation to get your application Tiger-ready.
- A special developer discount on the latest Apple hardware.

The Tiger Early Start Kit for Developers also includes a free DVD-ROM filled with Tiger session videos from the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2004. This disc contains hours of detailed engineering instruction, along with presentation slides and sample code, on essential Tiger development topics. Order your Tiger Early Start Kit to begin development today.

Current ADC Select and Premier developers already have the pieces of the kit and can write for a copy of the DVD.

[10/20] Charles Gaba's Mac vs PC System Shootouts Have Been Updated: The System Shootouts have been updated with the new Apple iBooks. The updates include:

--$1,000 Laptop Shootout
--$1,300 Laptop Shootout
--Apple Laptop Lineup
--12" iBook vs. 12" PowerBook
--Educational Laptop Shootout

Charles also revamped the old, unwieldy navigation layout with a simpler drop-down menu layout.

[10/19] Apple Bumps Speed of iBooks and Offers Lower Priced Entry iBook G4 and Power Mac G5: The entry 12" iBook G4 is now just $999 with a 1.2GHz G4 CPU, a combo optical drive and 30GB hard drive. The higher end 14" models move up to a 1.33GHz G4 CPU. All three come with AirPort Extreme already installed like the PowerBooks.

The entry Power Mac G5 at just $1499 has a single processor running at 1.8GHz with a 600MHz frontside bus, similar to the top end iMac G5. Otherwise, the new Power Mac model appears identical to the $1999 dual 1.8 GHz model.

[10/19] Apple Xserve RAID Storage System Updated: Apple today updated its Xserve RAID storage system, a 3U high-availability, rack storage system to deliver a massive 5.6 terabytes of storage capacity at the industry’s most aggressive price for storage of just over $2 per GB. Apple has also expanded support for heterogeneous environments with certification from Cisco and SUSE Linux and optimized the system to work with its Xsan Storage Area Network file system. Apple offers configurations that range from $5,999 to $12,999.

[10/19] WAPi's October Meeting this Saturday includes 3D Modeling and Introspective Sessions: The October meeting of the Greater Washington DG MUG, Washington Apple Pi (WAPi), is this Saturday, October 23. The special features on the agenda are a 45-min presentation on "3D Modeling and Animation for Kids of All Ages" by Golly Gee Software's Jonathan Blocksom and a session on feedback to the Board, "Washington Apple Pi - Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats," that will be moderated by Steve Roberson.

[10/19] Yes, a New iPod will be Revealed Next Week by Apple and the Irish Band U2 according to Forbes. The new iPod will be a special edition, black in color and loaded with U2 music. The Forbes article posted late yesterday says in part:

"Rock band U2 has cut a deal with Apple Computer to sell custom iPods promoting the band's forthcoming album.

Sources close to the group say the U2 edition of the popular digital music player will come preloaded with the band's new album, How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb, along with portions of the Irish supergroup's 25-year catalogue. The iPods will be black and will be made available the same week as the band's 11th studio album, which is slated to be released in the U.S. by Universal Music Group's Interscope Records on November 23.

The deal is expected to be announced officially next week in San Jose, Calif. at a conference held by singer Bono, guitarist The Edge and Apple [...] founder Steve Jobs. Both Apple and Interscope representatives declined to comment."

There's more to the deal but there's nothing in the Forbes article about the custom iPod having a color screen like a cell phone's, playing QuickTime song video clips from the iTunes Music Store or having a 60GB capacity. It looks like our wonderful silver iPod Mini is safe for the moment but with Steve Jobs at Apple's helm you just never know.... [Dana Baggett]

[10/19] Cool New Software--Videocue from Varasoft: Videocue is a simple teleprompter for recording "talking head" video presentations or just giving a talk, accompanied by media or not. One uses a video camera like iSight to capture the video while Videocue plays the text (see image at right). MSRP is $99. Looks cool to us--check it out.

[10/18] Apple Special Event Next Week--New iPod Coming with Video Clip Technology? According to this CNet article, Apple will hold a Special Event on October 26. While we have yet to receive notice of the event, CNet reported that the event will include Bono and The Edge of the band U2 leading to speculation that the Event will include a new iPod release. The U2 song "Vertigo" is featured in the latest iPod commercial which one can see at this Apple web page.

The iTunes Music Store now has video clips, at least one for U2's Vertigo (as a commercial), so our speculation is that Apple will offer video clips for download along with songs that will play in color on a new iPod. If so, will the video clip be free with the song? We can imagine other terrific uses for a QT video and audio player! Hmmm...we may just have to give up our iPod Mini. Calm down, it's just speculation....

[10/18] Apple Revised the Offerings from One Hot Deals Retailer:

J&R has fantastic prices on essential Mac products, including Micromat's TechTool Pro 4, Brother DCP-8045D All-in-One Device, Creative Labs TravelSound i300 Speaker System, Case Closed Bags Slim Sheldon iPod Case, Epson CX6600 All-in-One Device, IRIS IrisPen Executive USB Hand Scanner with $50 mail-in rebate, Microsoft Wireless Optical Desktop Pro 2.0, Final Draft 7/Final Draft AV 2 Bundle, and much more.

[10/18] AssistiveWare's SwitchXS v1.6 is Out, Adds Layout Editor: AssistiveWare today announced the release of SwitchXS(R) 1.6. SwitchXS provides virtually complete access to Mac OS X and all standard Mac applications for people who can only use one or more switches. It offers full mouse and keyboard emulation by means of a so-called scanning mode. With each click on the switch the user selects an action, such as "move the cursor up" or "type B", from a "scanning" menu. SwitchXS is typically used by people who are, for example, quadriplegic due to an accident, or suffering from neuromotor diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) or Cerebral Palsy (CP) with very limited limb movement.

With LayoutKitchen the user can edit built-in scan panels and create his/her own scan panels for use with SwitchXS 1.6 and later. It currently allows users to make scan panels with buttons that speak, that type text, that open documents or applications, that generate keyboard shortcuts and much more. LayoutKitchen opens many new doors for switch users.

[10/18] Review--Bose SoundDock for iPods and iPod Mini: The SoundDock is a speaker system for 3G and 4G iPods, i.e. those models with a dock connector, and the iPod Mini. Just fit it into the dock built into the front of the speakers. A basic remote controller is included. CNet's review gives it an 8.0 (very good) and, even though the review claimed poor stereo separation at any distance from the SoundDock, they stated it is the best iPod speaker system they have tried. It had better be at an MSRP of $300. [Dana Baggett]

[10/18] Univ. N. Carolina System Tests Free File-sharing Service: The service, which includes Apple's iTunes, allows free downloading of copyrighted songs, movies and other material during the test. According to this Boston Hearald article, once the test is over the service will carry a small monthly charge if it is extended. [Dana Baggett]

[10/18] Photos of Rockaway, NJ, Apple "Mini" Retail Store Opening: Billl George sent us a link to the 10 photos he took at the Rockaway, NJ, Apple Mini Retail Store opening yesterday. The photos were taken around 10:30am EDT. Note the cool self checkout system that extends from and then receeds into the stainless steel wall and the new speaker set for his wife's iPod.

[10/17] New NAV 9.0 for Mac OS X Virus Definitions Update Released: The virus definitions bearing the date 10/14/04 are available via the LiveUpdate feature or from this Symantec web page. [Dana Baggett]

[10/16] Amazon.com Cancels Pre-Ordering of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and no longer offers the projected shipping date of March 31, 2005, according to their Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger page. Apple projected that Tiger would ship sometime in the first half of 2005. Amazon.com took the mid-point, March 31, and began taking pre-orders late last week sparking a lot of yammer on the web that that was the shipping date. Give us a break! [Dana Baggett]

[10/16] Broadband Internet over Power Lines Approved by FCC: The rules to allow broadband internet to be provided over power lines were approved Thursday according to this NewsFactor article. You may be able to get internet through your electrical outlets in your house in the near future. [Dana Baggett]

[10/16] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers:

The Special Deals section of the Apple Store has updated it's selection of quality Apple Certified reconditioned products. Apple Certified 30GB iPods for only $279, 40GB iPods for only $329, Apple Certified iBook 12-inch for only $949, Apple Certified PowerBook's starting as low as $1,349. There are also a variety of other products available at great prices. But, hurry as supplies are limited. You can also find current Sale Products, Promos and Rebates on Apple hardware and software, as well as third-party accessories in the Special Deals section of the Apple Store. All details available at the following URL under the "Special Deals" tile.

B&H Photo and Video has fantastic prices of superb products for your Mac, including Kodak's EasyShare DX7590 Digital Camera, Olympus Stylus Verve Digital Camera, Canon ZR-85 MiniDV Camcorder with Accessory Kit, Canon MultiPASS MP390 Multi-Function All-in-One Machine, SmartDisk FlashTrax 20GB Stand Alone Data Storage Unit, Hewlett Packard ScanJet 3670 Flatbed Scanner, and much more.

[10/15] NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL Graphics Cards as Accessories are Shipping, 30" Cinema Displays Right Behind: The NVIDIA GeForce 6800 Cards, the hottest graphics card for a Mac according to early tests by Bare Feats, are now shipping separately as accessories. Reader Nick Keck wrote that he took delivery of his from FedEx yesterday. Better yet, he wrote that Apple told him that his 30" Cinema Display was "...on the dock and that I'd receive e-mail notification SOON." It should arrive within a few days. Since seeing them at WWDC 2004 in June, we can hardly wait for ours to arrive. The 30" Cinema Display only works with the NVIDIA card, a slightly scary prospect.

[10/15] Apple .Mac Members Get 300 GarageBand Loops FREE, $99 Off 3 Jam Packs: Apple recently announced the addition of two new Jam Pack products for the groundbreaking iLife application GarageBand. Jam Pack 2: Remix Tools delivers beats, bass lines, synth hooks, and keyboard riffs, and Jam Pack 3: Rhythm Section provides drum kits, percussion, basses, guitars, and more. You'll find a total sampling of 300 loops from all three Jam Packs in the Members Only folder inside your iDisk's Software folder. You can download, experiment with, and use them as you will, whether you're rocking out with GarageBand or scoring your own iMovies. If you'd like still more loops from the Jam Packs, you can take advantage of a special .Mac member opportunity available until Dec. 15, 2004—get all three Jam Packs for US$198 (a $99 savings). All the Jam Packs are available in English, French, German, and Japanese.

Be warned that the three free GarageBand .dmg files total 328 MB and copying from iDisk is not particularly fast. It took over 30 minutes to get our copies using a 4Mbps cable internet connection.

[10/15] Apple .Mac iCards Feature Artist is John Dailey for the Next Few Weeks: John Dailey is an Assistant Professor of Multimedia at Ball State University in Muncie, IN. As a photographer, he aims to capture what happens to things left outside as time and weather do their work--literally "wrinkles in time." He also likes to shoot in early spring when new leaves feather winter's limbs with fresh green without yet obscuring them. You can view his work—and send his images as iCards—for the next several weeks in the iCards Featured Artist category.

[10/15] Steve Jobs Sighting "Yes, I'm Back." Apple CEO Steve Jobs presided over a pre-opening event for the first new Apple mini store in Palo Alto, CA, (Stanford Shopping Center) according to this Reuters article. During Wednesday's Q4 financial conference call, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer mentioned that 6 of the new boutique-style retail Apple Stores will open by tomorrow. The other five minis are Oakridge (San Jose, CA), Rockaway (Rockaway, NJ), Santa Rosa Plaza (Santa Rosa, CA), Southcenter (Tukwila, WA) and Bridgewater (Bridgewater, NJ).

The design of Apple's new "mini" retail store features a stunning all-new design with stainless steel walls and seamless white floors and ceilings (see photo at right courtesy of Apple Computer, Inc.). The mini store is half the size of Apple’s smallest store to date, which will allow it to be placed in a variety of new locations to introduce Apple’s innovative products to even more customers. The new Apple mini stores feature:

  • Apple’s full line of portables plus the new iMac G5 desktop computers;
  • Apple’s full line of iPods;
  • An assortment of the best third party products to help customers get more out of their iPod or Mac;
  • The Genius Bar, where anyone can get their questions answered by an Apple “Genius;” and
  • On-site repair on all Apple products, including next day turnaround for customers with a ProCare service card.

[Dana Baggett]

[10/15] ClipClavin 1.0 is Out, Copies Safari Text and URLs: ClipClavin from If Then Software Solutions is a fun little utility that sits up in the menubar and will allow you to quickly copy & send Safari text, Safari URL's and even your clipboard to you or any other eMail address–it can even store your clippings to the iPod if you have one! We always found ourselves wishing to send a small paragraph or text, or even a URL from Safari to other friends–it got tedious to select the text, copy the text, move to Mail, create a new mail, paste the text, pick an address, and hit send...We always wanted a fast way to just select a block of text in Safari and just have it send instantly. On other occasions, we found that we liked to send clippings to our own eMail addresses, and found the numerous steps above to be just to cumbersome.

There are small JavaScripts out there that attempt to put this functionality into Safari, but we found they were just not feature-rich enough for our liking. Plus, what about sending our clipboard contents to ourselves or another user or saving the text to our iPod? ClipClavin to the rescue! You can even highlight a phone number on a Safari webpage and have it entered right into your Mac OS X address book! This version will launch 5 times before asking you to puchase the software for $4.95.

[10/14] Apple Blows Away Q4 Analysts' Consensus Earnings Estimate by 44 Per Cent with $106 Million Profit: What a quarter! Revenues were up to $2.35B (+37%), gross margins were up to 27% and profits were up to $106M (+141%) as compared with the fourth quarter of last year. Earnings were up to 26 cents per diluted share beating the consensus analysts' estimate of 18 cents by over 44 per cent. For the fiscal year that ended September 30th, Apple reported a net income of $276 million on revenue of $8.28 billion compared to a net income of $69 million on revenue of $6.21 billion in 2003. Apple has moved back up to an $8+ billion company with the highest quarterly revenue in 9 years.

Here is a summary of unit sales by product type:

Q4 2003
Q4 2004
Per Cent Change
Power Mac/Xserve

There was a small drop in sales of the iMac/eMacs but a large increase in iBook sales and a huge increase in the consumer iPod and iPod Mini. Sales also increased in Apple's professional laptop models but decreased in the Power Mac/Xserve group for a net increase of 6 per cent for computers overall. The decline in iMac and Power Mac sales was expected due to the delayed shipping of the G5 model iMac and constrained G5 CPU supplies.

Other tidbits are that revenues were up in all regional areas, finally including Japan, revenue was up 95% in Apple's retail stores and revenue from music other than iPods was up 600%.

During yesterday afternoon's conference call, Apple noted that the Apple retail stores were profitable, earning a net $18 million. In response to a question about an under $500 Mac, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer deflected the question by stating that Apple had invested in the music business rather than stating the usual no comment on unannounced products. He expects the G5 CPU supply to improve except for the high end 2.5 GHz model which will remain constrained. He also expects Q1 revenue for the current 2005 fiscal year to grow to $2.8-2.9 billion with earnings around 40 cents per diluted share.

[10/14] Apple Revised the Offerings from Four Hot Deals Retailers:

CDW|MacWarehouse has great deals on cool Mac products, including Wacom's Intuos3 6x8 Graphics Tablet with Pen and Mouse, Maxtor 300GB OneTouch II FireWire/USB External Hard Drive, SanDisk 1GB Secure Digital Memory Card, Logitech MX1000 Cordless Mouse, Extensis Photo Imaging Suite, Belkin TuneDok for iPod mini, Microsoft Virtual PC 7.0 for Mac: Windows XP Professional, and much more.

MacZone has fantastic prices on essential Mac products, including the Epson Stylus CX4600 Photo All-in-One Printer/Copier/Scanner, LaCie 16x DVD-RW FireWire/USB 2.0 External Drive, Edge 120GB USB 2.0/FireWire 800 External Hard Drive with $30 mail-in rebate, Kanguru 256MB Fire Flash FireWire Drive, BTI Lithium Ion Battery for 3rd Generation iPod and iPod mini, Microsoft Office 2004 Standard Edition with FREE MYOB FirstEdge, and much more.

MacMall has fantastic deals on great products for your Mac, including Guitar Rig, Lexar 1GB 80x Professional Comput Flash Card, LaCie Photon19vision 19" Flat Panel LCD Display, LaCie 500GB BigDisk Dual Interface External Hard Drive, Miglia Technology Alchemy TV DVR, El Gato EyeTV 500, Apple Final Cut Pro HD with FREE ShuttlePro 2.0 Controller, and much more.

AudioMIDI has fantastic deals on a wide range of audio products for your Mac, including Submersible Music Drumcore, Garritan Personal Orchestra, KRK RP5 Rokit Powered Monitor Speakers, Ableton Live 4 with FREE Evolution X-Session Controller, Apple iLife '04 with Extra Jams, , and much more.

[10/14] iWatermark 2.0 is Out--It Secures and Protects Your Digital Photos: iWatermark is a watermarking application for the Mac and Script Software just released a major upgrade. Version 2.0 features new effects like aqua and emboss. Includes information on how to use with iPhoto. iWatermark is now faster and even easier to use according to the developer. Watermarking is essential for anyone with a digital camera, professionals and beginners. One may download iWatermark and try it out for 30 days. It sells for $20.

[10/14]Mac OS X is Best Unix according to this eWeek article. While some may claim, like in this article, that Linux will bury the Mac OS X, the two OS's are entirely different beasts. As Steven Vaughan-Nichols points out in his eWeek article, Linux is the Unix choice of those who know the intricate details of Unix and want supreme power over their computer and the way it functions while the Mac OS X pursues just the opposite philosophy of ease of use for the powerful Unix OS. Neither will stamp out the other. Of course, being BSD Unix at its foundation the Mac OS X also offers control freaks lots of opportunity as well. [Dana Baggett]

[10/13] Apple's Q4 and Annual Financial Conference Call Webcast is Today: We have given two previous early notices of today's financial conference call so that you can clear your calendar and listen in. We have also noted that the analysts' consensus estimate is that Apple will close Q4 with an 18 cents per diluted share profit. Since Steve Jobs' company has always beaten the consensus etimate, we expect the actual Q4 profit to be a bit higher. The calls often provide interesting prospective information as well as a financial summary of the just-completed quarter so tune in today with QuickTime to hear the audio broadcast at 2pm PDT (5pm EDT) from this Apple web site.

[10/13] Microsoft Posted Security Updates/Bug Fixes for Office 2004, Office v.X and Office 2001 for the Mac yesterday afternoon. The installers can be downloaded from this Microsoft web page.

We still use Office v.X after not finding much reason, given our use, to buy the relatively expensive upgrade to Office 2004. We downloaded the updater for v.X and installed it (v10.1.6) with no problem. A quick check of Word, Excel and PowerPoint showed they work fine.

[10/13] Apple CHUD 4.0 Final is Out and available for download via MacUpdate.com. The Computer Hardware Understanding Developer Tools (CHUD Tools) are designed to help hardware and software developers measure and optimize the performance of PowerPC Macintosh systems running their products under MacOS X. We use one of the tools, Skidmarks GT, to measure CPU performance in integer, floating point and vector calculations.

New in CHUD 4.0:

• Shark
-Code browser enhancements: side-by-side assembly and source, translucent selection, self and total counts/time stats.
-Improved profile charting, easier navigation.
-Network profiling of other machines.
-Simultaneous "Tree" and "Heavy" profile views.
-Sophisticated data mining and filtering of profiles.
-Easier to use config editor and PMC configuration.
-Malloc and Function tracing.
-Java profiling (time, alloc and function).
-Greater user configurability.
-Stability and performance improvements.
• Big Top
-Improved interface, additional stats.
• PMC Index
-Added memory controller and operating system PMCs.
-Browse all events matching a substring.
• Cache Basher
-Compare multiple runs side by side, chart results.
-User customizable test range and step size.
• simg5
-Upgraded to latest IBM version (724).

Dual G4 Power Mac owners will be happy to know that the final 4.0 version allows NAP to be disabled in G4 systems while preventing such in G5 systems.

[10/13] Apple's Wednesday Pro Tip of the Week--Removing Toolbar Icons is located on this Apple web page. It states,

To remove an icon from the toolbar, you don’t have to go digging through the View menu to get the Customize Toolbar dialog. Instead, just hold the Command key, click on the icon, and simply drag it off the toolbar. When you release the mouse button the icon will disappear in a puff of smoke.

[Dana Baggett]

[10/12] Apple's New Dual 2.5 GHz Power Mac G5--How Fast Is It?--Part I. Our new dual 2.5 GHz Power Mac G5 (D2.5) showed up last week. Supplies of the latest "Fastest Mac on the Planet" have been severely constrained and still show a 3-5 week time to ship after ordering on the online Apple Store. The new D2.5 replaces our dual 2.0 GHz Power Mac which previously held that title. The press of other business kept us from setting it up and running it through its paces until this past weekend but we were able to spend enough time to bring you this first part of our report.

Aside from the obvious 25 per cent increase in CPU power, the new King of the Hill has a brand new liquid cooling system, 8x vs 4x SuperDrive, USB 2.0 ports and a RAM bump in the ATI graphics card. The new graphics card is an ATI Radeon 9600 XT with 128 MB of video ram on the card, up from and ATI 9600 Pro with 64 MB in the dual 2. All we have done to our D2.5 so far is to add 1 GB of PC 3200 (400MHz) RAM for a total of 1.5 GB. However, we have an Nvidia 6800 graphics card on order along with one of Apple's incredible 30" Cinema Displays which will replace our 23" Cinema, probably near the end of October.

So how fast is it? Using a test file with Adobe Photoshop 8.0 (CS) Apple claims that the D2.5 is nearly twice as fast as a Dell 3.4 GHz Wintel and some 72 per cent faster (see Apple's chart at right). Apple's chart also indicates that the D2.5 is some 9 percent faster than the D2.0. To findout for ourselves, we ran part of our complete suite of speed tests on a fully updated Mac OS X 10.3.5.

The complete test suite consists of a number of "canned" benchmarks and several so-called "real world" tests. They are described in detail in our G4 Cube 1.2-GHz upgrade review and are simple enough for anyone to repeat on their own Mac for comparison. For Part 1 of our report we have included only the benchmarks. In Part 2, after we have used the D2.5 for awhile, we will include the "real word" tests.

The results from our new D2.5 are shown in the table below along with those from our dual 2-GHz Power Mac G5, also stock except for 1.5-GB RAM. Each test was run three times with a reboot in between and the average score or number of seconds computed.

Power Mac G5 Speed Tests (average scores or secs).
Test G5 dual 2.0-GHz
G5 dual 2.5-GHz
Per Cent Change
Mac OS X Version:
Altivec Fractal 1.1.3 (GFLOPS)
Cinebench 2003 - Rendering
- OpenGL Hardware Lighting
Let1kWindowsBloom 1.0 (sec)
Xbench 1.1.3 - CPU
- Threading
- Memory
- Quartz Graphics
- OpenGL Graphics
- User Interface Graphics
- Hard Disk
"Real World" Tests:
Startup (sec)**
Shutdown (sec)
Launch Classic Mode (sec)
Dup. 700 MB Folder 3600 Files (sec)
Scroll 142p Acrobat Reader File (sec)
Encode MP3 in iTunes 4.5 (sec)
Export QT Movie in iMovie 3.0.3 (sec)
Quake III Arena 1.32 (frames/sec)

*Using the stock ATI RADEON 9600 Pro graphics card--previous tests used a RADEON 9800 Pro.
**First number is after upgrade and second number is after applying SpeedStart.

The D 2.5's CPU is 25 per cent faster than the D2.0's and this is reflected in the Altivec Fractal and Xbench CPU tests. But based on the other benchmarks, the new D2.5 is for the most part some 15-22 percent faster at tasks than our former champ. This is generally better than Apple's chart above. The G5s performance seems to scale a little bit better to clock speed than did the G4s.

We have a couple of salient observations made during the short time using our new D2.5. The D2.5 runs hotter at the heatsink, some 172 dF versus 140 dF, than our D2.0 model according to ThermographX. It is also noticeably noisier but not appreciably so most of the time. The fans are activated and they run faster (louder) when the CPU is set to "Highest" performance in the Energy Saver preference pane. When a CPU intensive task is runing the fans rev up quickly and then rev down just as quickly when the task is completed--these adjustments are much quicker than our D2.0 accomplished.

In summary, the new Dual 2.5 GHz Power Mac G5 measures and actually "feels" faster than the former champ, just as expected. Those with a real need for speed will find this new Power Mac from Apple just right for them. And the new liquid cooling system is just plain cool, no pun intended.

[10/12] Apple Revised the Offerings from One Hot Deals Retailer:

The Apple Store has launched a new promo titled, "One publishing powerhouse. One great offer." The way the promo works is simple: Between October 11, 2004 and January 10, 2005, purchase a Power Mac G5 or PowerBook G4 and a full version of QuarkXPress 6, and get $300 back via mail-in rebate. Or purchase a Power Mac G5 or PowerBook G4 and a qualifying QuarkXPress 6 Upgrade, and get $100 back via mail-in rebate.

[10/12] Macromedia MAX 2004 is Coming Up Soon. In just a few short weeks to be exact, November 1-4. One can register now and join Macromedia in New Orleans to discover the power of experience. At MAX 2004, Macromedia says you'll learn the best techniques from industry experts, discover new products, and share ideas in a forum dedicated to delivering the next wave of great websites and applications. The MAX agenda includes over 90 unique sessions, organized into seven tracks so one can easily focus on the content that interests one the most.

For an advance look at the MAX session content go to the Macromedia Developer Center and check out the MAX Session Preview articles. One can also read about MAX in the latest edition of the Macromedia Edge Newsletter. MAX is an invaluable opportunity to learn new skills, discover new technologies, and share knowledge with industry experts and peers according to Macromedia. Be part of it by registering today.

[10/12] Check Out Delicious Library, Coming Soon for the Mac: Really cool software is coming out for the Mac and Delicious Library looks like it has the makings of a killer app to us. The delicious-monster.com description of Delicious Library reads:

Run your very own library from your home or office using our impossibly simple interface. Delicious Library's digital shelves act as a visual card-catalog of your books, movies, music and video games. A scan of a barcode is all Delicious Library needs to add an item to your digital shelves, downloading tons of info from the internet like the author, release date, current value, description, and even a high-resolution picture of the cover. Import your entire library using our exclusive full-speed iSight video barcode scanner, our Flic® Wireless Laser Bar Code Scanner, or (the slow way) entering the titles by hand. Once you have all of your items in your Mac, you can browse though your digital shelves, check stuff out to friends using Apple's built-in Address Book and calendar, and find new items to read, watch, and play using Library's recommendations. Delicious Library is coming very soon, so bear with us. We promise it will be worth the wait!

Check it out! [Brian Nakamoto]

[10/12] IBM's New Blade Servers to Contain PowerPC G5s Running at 2.2 GHz according to this ARNnet article. IBMs new blade servers will apparently use the same CPU, a PowerPC 970 running at 2.2 GHz, as Apple uses in its Power Mac G5s and iMac G5s. The supply of G5s, particularly the speedier ones over 2 GHz, have been constrained due to manufacturing problems at IBM. We hope this development means that the constraint has eased considerably. But the online Apple Store still indicates a 3-5 week delay from order to shipping as it has for a month or so. [Dana Baggett]

[10/12] Apple Remote Desktop Admin 2.1 is Out and available for download via the Software Update preference pane provided a previous version is installed. From the Read Me file,

The Apple Remote Desktop Admin version 2.1 Update delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for Apple Remote Desktop 2 and is recommended for all users of Apple Remote Desktop.

Key enhancements include:
• Support for full screen mode when controlling and observing remote computers
• Support for controlling and observing remote computers with multiple monitors
• Support for mouse scroll wheel and right-click when controlling remote computers
• Support for computer restart for packages that require a restart
• Improved reporting of output for the Send UNIX command
• Improved printing of hardware and software reports
• Improved remote data collection
• Improved file copy for files on networked home directories
• Enhanced column sorting in Administration application

For detailed information on this Update, please visit this website: http://www.info.apple.com/kbnum/n108086

[10/11] "Retiring...to a PRISM:" From time to time we have linked to a column by now ex-teacher Steve Wood, View from the Classroom. Steve became frustrated with the education system which, among many things, included adoption of a closed-mind approach to information technology and a switch to all Wintel systems. He took early retirement following the end of the last school year. He has joined the staff of the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology's PRISM Project. PRISM (Portal Resources for Indiana Science and Mathematics) provides access to online resources primarily for Indiana middle school faculty and staff through it's web site. Here is his update on his current activities.

[10/11] From the Dark Side--Spyware/Adware the Scourage of Wintels: The problem for Wintel computer users is recounted in this Washington Post article on Yahoo News. Both are programs that are usually inadvertently downloaded from the web and they control a PCs web browser so strongly that one is often faced with ditching the computer altogether to get rid of it. So far few, if any, such programs run on Mac OS X. [Dana Baggett]

[10/9] Feral Interactive's Weekend Game Report--Commandos Battle Pack for the Mac: Feral goes Commando and apart from digging a whole new sense of freedom, we are delighted to announce that both Commandos 2 and 3 will be arriving on the Mac simultaneously in one fantastic Commandos Battle Pack. Both games are at beta and looking good for release before the end of the year.

[10/9] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers:

The Special Deals section of the Apple Store has updated it's selection of quality Apple Certified reconditioned products. Apple Certified 40GB iPods for only $329, Apple Certified iBook 12-inch for only $949, Apple Certified PowerBook's starting as low as $1,349. There are also a variety of other products available at great prices. But, hurry as supplies are limited. You can also find current Sale Products, Promos and Rebates on Apple hardware and software, as well as third-party accessories in the Special Deals section of the Apple Store. All details available under the "Special Deals" tile.

Ramjet has super low prices on RAM upgrades for your Mac, including 2GB DDR400 Kit for Power Mac G4, 1GB DDR for iMac G5, 512MB Module for Aluminum PowerBook G4, 512MB Module for Titanium PowerBook G4, 1GB DDR User Slot Module for iMac G4, 1GB DDR Kit for eMac 1.25GHz and above, and much more.

[10/9] Pangea Software Shipping "Pangea Software’s Ultimate Game Programming Guide for Mac OS X:" Pangea Software, Inc. announced that they have begun shipping their new Mac game programming book "Pangea Software’s Ultimate Game Programming Guide for Mac OS X." The book was originally slated to be released on October 27th, but since the printer was ahead of schedule it is being released a few weeks early. It's $39.99 with a 20 per ce3nt discount for ordering directly from Pangea.

[10/9] Griffin PodPod for iPod and iPod Mini is Shipping: Griffin Technology Inc. announced the Griffin PodPod is now shipping. The soft foam Griffin PodPod slips into any auto cup holder and provides a safe secure ride for any iPod or iPod mini. It also places the iPod in comfortable reach for easy adjustment and perfect placement for the iPod or iPod mini with an iTrip on top. The PodPod is available immediately for $9.99.

[10/8] More on iMac G5 AirPort Connection Stability Issue: Yesterday we noted that if one gets a new iMac G5 (maybe any new Mac) and are using AirPort Express units then one should install the Express software since it doesn't come loaded on the new machine. This helped some with Dana Baggett's iMac G5 AirPort connection issue.

Frank Danna noted that he also had connectivity problems with his new iMac G5 but with a graphite AirPort Base Station. His solution was to enable "Use Interference Robustness" from the AirPort pull-down menu. Dana Baggett then wrote that this also completely solved the connectivity stability problem with his AirPort Express.

He wrote:

The info is contained this Apple Support Document. The reason why my older iBook connects every time and my new iMac G5 didn't, is explained there, i.e.

Client computers with AirPort Extreme Cards must choose Use Interference Robustness from the AirPort status menu in the menu bar in order to take advantage of this feature. Client computers with earlier AirPort Cards will already take advantage of the feature.

[10/8] WAPi to hold Introspective Session at October General Meeting: Washington Apple Pi (WAPi) is the Greater Washington DC Area Apple Macintosh user group. At the September 25th General meeting a number of members requested some sort of a session that would provide a forum for members to feed ideas for the Pi's future back to the Board of Directors.

Steve Roberson has agreed to act as facilitator for such a session as the second half of the October 23 General Meeting.

- Overview - Where we are today. (10 minute) [Provided by WAPi President]
- What do we do well? (10 minutes)
- Where do we need improvement? (10 minutes)
- What is really important to you at the Pi? (20 minutes)
- What are the next steps. (10 minutes)

The last four items are to be devoted entirely to comments from the membership.

Members who cannot make the meeting or who want to offer suggestions ahead of time are encouraged to send e-mails to WAPi's President. Please keep them brief and in line with the list given above.

These comments will be collated with the comments at the meeting into a redacted transcript that the Board can use to guide its activities in the coming months.

[10/8] House Spyware Bill Provides Prison Time: People who install spyware on a person's computer can get up to 5 years in prison. The bill also provides increased funding to attack phishing, a form of identity theft fraud. The bill passed the US House 415-0 according to this AP article. [Dana Baggett]

[10/8] Tonight on The Mac Night Owl LIVE--Macworld's Christopher Breen and MacFixIt Founder Ted Landau: This week the hosts, Gene and Grayson Steinberg, will explore the scourge of junk mail that affects everyone. They’ll be featuring Macworld's Christopher Breen, who recently completed an extensive investigation of the subject. They’ll also explore the current crop of replacements for the old fashioned floppy disk and other topics with Ted Landau, well-known Mac author and founder of MacFixIt. Tune in to the broadcast from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific (9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern). An archive of the show will be available for listening at your convenience within eight hours of the original broadcast.

In other news, The Mac Night Owl LIVE is moving to Thursday night effective Thursday, October 28th, same time: 8-10 pm Central, 6-8 Pacific, 9-11 Eastern.

[10/8] SoftRAID 3.1 Provides Bootable RAID Volumes: SoftRAID LLC announced the arrival of SoftRAID 3.1, the first bootable version of its acclaimed RAID software for the Mac. With the delivery of bootable SoftRAID volumes, SoftRAID achieves new heights of reliabilty and data protection. SoftRAID 3.1 is available for $129.00 and may be purchased through SoftRAID's web site. Version 3.0.x users will receive a free upgrade via email.

[10/7] iMac G5 FireWire Ports Remain "Hot" Even When iMac is Off: From Dana Baggett,

I have discovered that the FW ports on the iMac G5 are hot, i.e., they don't shut off when the computer shuts down. This is confirmed by the iMac G5 Developer Note, pg. 30:

The FireWire PHY on the iMac G5 does not operate from external bus
power. As long as the computer is plugged into an active AC power
outlet, the FireWire PHY is active and the FireWire bus remains
connected. If AC power is interrupted, the PHY will stop operating
and data on the bus cannot be repeated.

[10/7] iMac G5 TIP--Apply AirPort Express Software if Using AirPort Express: Apparently, AirPort Express software does not come installed on new iMac G5s. So, if you are using an AirPort Express unit, be sure to apply its software from its CD and then update it from the Software Update preference panel. Dana Baggett learned this the hard way:

After applying all the various updates to the iMac G5 software, connection to the Airport Express network here became flaky. It didn't connect routinely upon booting up. The original Tangerine iBook does.   :-\   When I went to connect manually, I kept getting Airport error messages. I'd have to go into preferences, log out and then log in, etc.

I finally decided to install the Airport Express software that came with the units. There's been an Airport 4.0.1 update to the original Airport 4.0 on the CD which I also applied. Also, I downloaded and ran the AirPort Card Update 2004-08-31. All of the installers ran to completion successfully. None said the software was already installed. In any event the problem seems to have been solved. Connections have been automatic this morning. Now I just have to find a way to dismiss the overeager Airport Express Assistant.

[10/7] Wednesdays are Pro Days at Apple Stores--October Schedule: Every Wednesday is Pro Day at the Apple Stores which means that you can see great presentations that are designed to improve your business productivity. Here is the schedule for October (yes we know we missed yesterday, sorry):

10/06 - Managing Your Data with the New FileMaker Pro and FileMaker Server

10/13 - How to Unwire Your Business on a Mac

10/20 - Managing Your Finances with QuickBooks: Pro 6.0 for Mac

10/27 - Server Solutions for Your Business

10/27 - Special Design and Print Event—Apple and Quark: Improving Design Workflow
Efficiencies (select stores only)

Check with your local Apple Store for times.

[10/7] Apple Revised the Offerings from Three Hot Deals Retailers:

CDW|MacWarehouse has great deals on cool Mac products, including the LaCie's 16x DVD+RW External USB 2.0/FireWire Drive, Sony CyberShot DSC-F828 Digital Camera with FREE 512MB MemoryStick Pro, SimpleTech 128MB Full Speed USB 2.0 Flash Drive, El Gato EyeHome, Avid Xpress Pro, Epson Stylus CX4600 All-in-One with $50 mail-in rebate, Corel Painter IX, and much more.

TechDepot has exclusive, fantastic prices on essential Mac products, including Altec Lansing's inMotion, Hewlett Packard LaserJet 3015 All-in-One, Tripp Lite Internet Office 300 UPS Back-up, Canon PowerShot A75 Digital Camera, Netgear WGT624 Wireless 802.11g Firewall Router, Lexar 512MB Jump Drive, Planar PL2010M-BL 20" LCD Flat Panel Monitor, IOGear 120GB FireWire/USB 2.0 External Hard Drive, and much more.

Publishing Perfection has great deals on a variety of design and print products for your Mac, including nik Color Efex Pro 2.0, Lasersoft Silverfast: The Official Guide, Epson Stylus C86 Color Inkjet Printer, Eovia Amapi Designer 7, AFX Plug-in Bundle, Bosser 100DX CD Destroyer, LizardTech Genuine Fractals 3.5, Konica-Minolta Magicolor 3300DN Color Laser Printer, and much more.

[10/7] Radio Shacks are Selling iPods, HP Flavor: From Dana Baggett, My monthly Radio Shack flyer landed in my mail box today. On the back page

"Why should Mac users have all the fun? Now for your PC:
"RadioShack presents the Apple iPod from HP!"

I never thought I'd see the day. The prices are $299.99 for the 20 GB and $399.99 for the 40 GB. Also, iPod accessories are offered.

[10/6] The Early Consensus Estimate of Apple Q4 Earnings is Up 125% over the fourth quarter of last fiscal year according to StockSelector.com. The annual earnings estimate they report is up about 800% over last year. Apple will issue its Q4 financial report a week from today on October 13. The conference call announcing the report will be webcast in QuickTime audio from this Apple web page. [Dana Baggett]

[10/6] Envision Web Show of the Week Highlights the Ferrari Automobile: This week's Envision Web Show of the Week from Open Door Networks is of hi-res cars from DesktopMachine.com. They're highlighting Ferrari's with their show, but the site contains over sixty different makes, so you can experiment with shows of your own personal favorites, using their show as a base. The high resolution of these photos makes them great for use as desktop pictures or screen savers, a task for which Envision is particularly well suited. The show file can be downloaded from the Show of the Week web site.

[10/6] FileMaker Pro and Developer 7.0v3 Updaters are Out and available for download via MacUpdate.com (Pro and Developer). A long list of what's fixed is also available on the MacUpdate web pages.

We downloaded the Pro version updater and ran it on our copy of FileMaker Pro 7 with no apparent problems. Our databases seem to work fine after applying the update.

[10/6] Microsoft Virtual PC 7 is Officially Available: There are many updates in the new Virtual PC 7 including how graphics are handled but the main one is that VPC will now run on the G5 CPU. M$ claims that VPC 7 is 10-30% faster than VPC 6.1.1 but we wonder which Macs were used to conduct these tests. The only edition shipping is the full version with Windows XP Professional for $249. Other editions, like an upgrade from v6.1.1 costing only $99, may be pre-ordered at this time. We are waiting for the upgrade edition.

[10/6] High Praise for iMac G5 Continues with Detroit Free Press Review by Mike Wendland: To summarize, he states:

The new G5 iMac is the finest personal computer I've ever used, hands down. Nothing comes close.

Enough said. [Dana Baggett]

[10/6] Extensis Suitcase Server X1 Released: Extensis Suitcase Server X1 provides administrators with added control over the usage of fonts across a workgroup or an entire organization. Suitcase Server combines the control administrators require with the ease of use creative professionals demand according to Extensis.

[10/5] Details on Apple's Security Update 2004-09-30 for Mac OS X 10.3.5 and 10.2.8: Security Update 2004-09-30 for client or server is now available for download via the Software Update preference pane or as a stand-alone updater (10.3.5 or 10.2.8). It delivers the following security enhancements:

AFP Server
Available for: Mac OS X v10.3.5 and Mac OS X Server v10.3.5
CVE-ID: CAN-2004-0921
Impact: A denial of service permitting a guest to disconnect AFP
Description: An AFP volume mounted by a guest could be used to
terminate authenticated user mounts from the same server by modifying
SessionDestroy packets. This issue does not affect systems prior to
Mac OS X v10.3 or Mac OS X Server v10.3.

AFP Server
Available for: Mac OS X v10.3.5 and Mac OS X Server v10.3.5
CVE-ID: CAN-2004-0922
Impact: Write-only AFP Drop Box may be set as read-write
Description: A write-only Drop Box on an AFP volume mounted by a
guest could sometimes be read-write due to an incorrect setting of
the guest group id. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac
OS X v10.3 or Mac OS X Server v10.3.

Available for: Mac OS X v10.3.5, Mac OS X Server v10.3.5, Mac OS X
v10.2.8, Mac OS X Server v10.2.8
CVE-ID: CAN-2004-0558
Impact: A denial of service causing the printing system to hang
Description: The Internet Printing Protocol (IPP) implementation in
CUPS can hang when a certain UDP packet is sent to the IPP port.

Available for: Mac OS X v10.3.5, Mac OS X Server v10.3.5, Mac OS X
v10.2.8, Mac OS X Server v10.2.8
CVE-ID: CAN-2004-0923
Impact: Local disclosure of user passwords
Description: Certain methods of authenticated remote printing could
disclose user passwords in the printing system log files. Credit to
Gary Smith of the IT Services department at Glasgow Caledonian
University for reporting this issue.

NetInfo Manager
Available for: Mac OS X v10.3.5 and Mac OS X Server v10.3.5
CVE-ID: CAN-2004-0924
Impact: Incorrect indication of account status
Description: The NetInfo Manager utility can enable the "root"
account, but after a single "root" login it is no longer possible to
use NetInfo Manager to disable the account and it incorrectly appears
to be disabled. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X
v10.3 or Mac OS X Server v10.3.

Available for: Mac OS X v10.3.5 and Mac OS X Server v10.3.5
CVE-ID: CAN-2004-0925
Impact: A denial of service when SMTPD AUTH has been enabled
Description: When SMTPD AUTH has been enabled in postfix, a buffer
containing the username is not correctly cleared between
authentication attempts. Only users with the longest usernames will
be able to authenticate. This issue does not affect systems prior to
Mac OS X v10.3 or Mac OS X Server v10.3. Credit to Michael
Rondinelli of EyeSee360 for reporting this issue.

Available for: Mac OS X v10.3.5, Mac OS X Server v10.3.5, Mac OS X
v10.2.8, Mac OS X Server v10.2.8
CVE-ID: CAN-2004-0926
Impact: A heap buffer overflow could allow attackers to execute
arbitrary code
Description: Flaws in decoding the BMP image type could overwrite
heap memory and potentially allow the execution of arbitrary code
hidden in an image.

Available for: Mac OS X Server v10.3.5 and Mac OS X Server v10.2.8
CVE-ID: CAN-2004-0927
Impact: Client - Server communication with ServerAdmin can be read
by decoding captured sessions
Description: Client - Server communication with ServerAdmin uses
SSL. All systems come installed with the same example self signed
certificate. If that certificate has not been replaced, then
ServerAdmin communication may be decrypted. The fix replaces the
existing self-signed certificate with one that has been locally and
uniquely generated.

We installed it on several Power Mac G4s, G5s, PowerBook G4s and an iMac G5 with no problems. [Dana Baggett]

[10/5] Safari Magic 1.1 is Out and available from MacEase. 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. A free, fully functional demonstration version of Safari Magic is available from MacEase. Safari Magic includes a 30-day money back satisfaction guarantee and costs $19.95.

[10/5] Are Fuel Cells Coming for PowerBook Batteries? Maybe. DoCoMo and Fujitsu have developed a prototype fuel cell for cell phones that will, according to them, dramatically increase the time between charges. Fuel cells work off hydrogen and methanol and are recharged using methanol cartriges. The DoCoMo fuel cell is 152x57x16 mm and weighs just 190 grams (6.7 oz) according to the company as noted in this MobilePipeline article.

[10/5] Apple Revised the Offerings from a Hot Deals Retailer:

J&R has fantastic prices on essential Mac products, including Micromat's TechTool Pro 4, Digital Age iSoundz Carcast FM Transmitter, DLO Transpod All-in-One Car Solution for iPod with FM Transmitter, Davidson StarCraft Battle Chest, Eagle Games Tournament Poker: No LImit Texas Hold 'Em, Final Draft 7 and Final Draft AV 2.0 Bundle, MacAlly IceStand iMac/Monitor Stand,, and much more.

[10/4] Early Alert--Apple Fourth Quarter Financial Results Conference Call to be Webcast on Wednesday October 13: According to Apple,

Apple’s conference call webcast discussing Qtr 4 - 2004 financial results will begin at 2pm PT/5pm ET on Wednesday, October 13, 2004.

Please note that comments made during this call may include forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from these forward-looking statements. For more information on the factors that could influence results, please refer to Apple’s SEC filings.

You can tune in using QuickTime next week at this Apple web page.

[10/4] 2004 Turbo Tax Deluxe with Free State Return is $10 Less than for 2003: From Dana Baggett,

It's almost tax time. Again?! How can that be? Oh well, the good news from Intuit is that TurboTax Deluxe for Mac (which includes a free state download) has dropped $10 in price from last year. Also, Intuit has expanded the product line for Mac to mirror what has been available for Windows. Finally, the Mac product ships on the same CD as the Windows product. That may mean the retail product on store shelves will also be for both Mac and Windows, making the Mac product more readily available on store shelves. :-)

[10/2] More Initial Impressions of My New 20" 1.8 GHz iMac G5:

Dana Baggett
New England Editor

[Dana's brand new 20" 1.8 GHz iMac G5 with Bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse arrived Wednesday. Hooked on silent computing, he bought the iMac G5 to replace his upgraded 1 GHz G4 Cube and 17" Apple LCD Studio Display. Yesterday, he reported on his first impressions. Today, he reports on the remainder of his initial impressions. _Editor in Chief]

Continued from yesterday....

Getting inside. The first thing I did after getting my 20" iMac G5 out of the box was put it face down on a soft cloth and open the back so I could install a second 512MB memory stick. The first impression I got was of the superb fit and finish of this iMac. The back panel is so precisely made and fits into the body of the iMac so well that it is hard to believe that it isn't one piece. The now famous three Phillips metal screws on the bottom of the iMac appear ordinary enough. We were told in Paris that they are captive screws; they won't fall out once loosened. What I did not know is that they do not back out of the sockets in which they sit; they twist in place counter clockwise to unfasten and there are built-in stops. You can tell when you've turned them enough in either direction. Did I already tell you that this machine is superbly designed right down to the nuts and bolts? Except for the nut behind the keyboard of course.

Adding memory. Adding memory is a cinch. Apple even provides a template on the inside of the back cover to ensure that you have the correct size and form of memory stick before you attempt to insert it. At first I had difficulty getting the added memory stick into the slot. I did not insert the memory stick into its slot at an angle first. Which I would have known had I read the manual first.

The Manual. There is a nice 95 page Manual for the iMac G5. At least it looks nice. I read the manual only When All Else Fails. I feel sorry for the Apple staff who write easy to understand manuals, which is not easy to do. Many Mac users tend to believe that the Mac should be so intuitive that a manual isn't needed. Unless All Else Fails. So Apple manual writers don't get the praise they deserve. Let's hope their psychic compensation is that they least get to see the products before everyone else does.

Look, Ma! No wires! After transferring data between my Cube and my new iMac, it was time to move the Cube to a new location where another family member will use it. I got a chuckle out of it. I had forgotten just how many wires were attached to my beloved Cube. Many. After putting the new iMac into the same space and connecting up four peripherals to the back of the iMac, my working space still looks... well, wireless. No wires are visible from the front side of the iMac. Yea! BTW. The hole in the back of the stand is intended primarily for the power cord. Apple has illustrations of other wires connecting directly to the ports on the back. Nonetheless, I easily routed four cables plus the power cord through the hole in the stand, which is rimmed with plastic to eliminate any sharp metal edges cutting the cables. Another example of Apple paying attention to detail.

Up and running in minutes. As I previously mentioned, my first personal computer was a 512k Mac. I was up and running with it in minutes and had produced my first business letter within an hour after opening the box. Not bad, especially considering that this was almost 20 years ago. Things today are more complicated. Right? Not really. I was up and running on the internet within minutes after opening the box. But, then, you shouldn't be surprised. It's a Mac.

"Parking" the keyboard and mouse. If you are a clean desk neatnik, consider that you can park the mouse and the keyboard on top of the foot of the stand, i.e., under the iMac. Drop a dust cloth over the iMac as a tent and everything is hidden. Neat. Literally.

Browsing for printer drivers. My Samsung laser printer ML-1710 driver was not installed when I went to print from it for the first time on the iMac. Hmm. Apparently it didn't transfer properly from my Cube. Oh swell, I said. Or words to that effect. But the Printer Setup Utility was 'way ahead of me. "Would I like to browse for the latest printer driver?" it asked. Huh? Sure, I said in wonderment. I'm still not sure if "it" browsed my files or the world wide web, but within a few seconds it identified the proper printer driver and installed it. Only on a Mac.

Comparison with the 17" Studio Display. The 20" iMac G5 is - you guessed it - larger than the 17" Studio LCD display I have been using. Let me clarify.  Actually, it is about 4" wider across the bottom of the screen - nominally 17" versus 13". I think it is just the right size for my needs. I can now put two browser windows side by side if I have data to compare. The iMac display seems brighter when sitting next to my three year old 17" Studio Display, which is probably an unfair comparison. The iMac 20" display has an optimum resolution of 1680 x 1050. The 17" Studio Display has an optimum resolution of 1280 x 1024. The iMac Font Smoothing Style in the Appearance pane in System Preferences was not set to Medium - Best for Flat Panel so I changed it. It is a superb display. By the way. If you are moving from a CRT to a new iMac and you wear glasses, you may need a new prescription to really appreciate the iMac display. (I am not kidding.)

A worthy successor. It occurs to me that we are discussing a consumer computer here, using words that might be better suited to a high end desktop machine not unlike the Cube. I owned two of the teardrop first generation iMacs. Still in service, by the way. Running Mac OS 10.3.5. Then I fell in love with the Cube. The iMac 20" G5 is a worthy successor. It's fit and finish is remarkable for a machine that is intended to appeal to a mass market audience.

And appeal it does.

[10/2] Apple Revised the Offerings from Three Hot Deals Retailers:

Sweetwater has great deals on audio and music products for your Mac, including Lexicon's Omega USB Audio Interface, AKG K55 Professional Headphones, MOTU Producing Music with Digital Performer, Samson C01 Studio Quality Large Diaphragm Microphone, Native Instruments Intakt, Roland DM-2100 Desktop Monitor Speaker System, Evolution UC-33e, M-Audio Keystation 61es, and much more.

ClubMac has great deals on cool Mac products, including the Corel's new Painter iX Upgrade, SanDisk 4GB CompactFlash Memory Card, Microsoft Office 2004 Professional Edition with Microsoft IntelliMouse, Bare Bones Software BBEdit 8.0, DataViz MacLinkPlus Deluxe v15, Aspyr Media Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic, Fiberline 7-in-1 USB 2.0 Card Reader, MacAlly iPodFM Transmitter, Lexar 1GB 4x CompactFlash Card, and much more.

MacConnection has fantastic deals on essential products for your Mac, including Epson's C86 Color Inkjet Printer, Xerox Phaser 8400b Solid Ink Color Printer with 6 FREE Black Ink Sticks, Microsoft Optical Mouse by Starck, Microsoft Virtual PC 7.0, Belkin Tunecast II Mobile FM Transmitter, Altec Lansing inMotion Portable Audio Speaker System for iPod, and much more.

[10/1] First Impressions of My BTO 20" iMac G5 with Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard and Mouse.

Dana R. Baggett
New England Editor

Although I ordered my 20" 1.8 GHz iMac G5 within two hours of the initial rollout in Paris, I just received it on September 29. That is apparently because I ordered it with the Build to Order (BTO) option of a Bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse, and a 512MB stick of memory instead of the 256MB standard. At this point there have been lots of reports on the web elsewhere about the new iMac. So I'll report on impressions and observations I made in the process of getting my iMac G5 up and running today that were new to me. BTW, it is replacing my upgraded 1 GHz G4 Cube and 17" Apple LCD Studio Display.

The "Message in the box". I have been exclusively using Macs for productivity since the 512k model came out in 1984. The packaging of each new product has always caught my eye. I think Apple sends a "message in the box," if not a bottle. It says "We care about this product." The packaging of the new iMac exceeded even my expectations in terms of the care in which each component is wrapped and protected from damage in transit, and presented to the user in a manner that reeks of class. If there is a fault to find, it is that the shipping box also has a pictures and text on its sides and it's a white box. Or, it was until Fedex got hold of it. Why not encase the display box in a thin cardboard outer case, such as the way the PowerBooks ship? I know. Picky, picky. The box is about 23" tall, nearly 10" wide and 24" long. A handle on the narrow top helps to ensure that it will be carried narrow side up. But since someone in shipping put my address label at about floor level on the narrow side of the box, guess how the delivery person stowed the box. The packaging is so substantial that the box is not labeled "This side up." Apparently, it doesn't matter. Mine came through without a scratch.

Bigger and heavier than I thought. There's a tendency to look at the 20" iMac initially--in the box anyway--as if it is a display only. In that context it is heavier and more substantial than I'd expected when I went to get it out of the box. Apple has published a KB article that says to carry the iMac by its sides. That is virtually impossible to do while you're trying to get it out of the shipping box. There's a perforated metal screen along the bottom of the iMac for ventilation and sound. Avoid curling your fingers around the edge of the iMac and pushing up against the screen. Otherwise, it comes out easily by wrapping your fingers across the entire underside.

The stand. The metal stand appears to be brushed aluminum. It ships with a clear, protective, peel off, adhesive film on it. The stand is attached permanently to the back of the iMac G5. It is plenty wide and sturdy enough to support the computer solidly. Some early "analysts" speculated that the 20" iMac might be "tippy," especially if/when cords were attached to the back of it. Obviously, the "analysts" didn't have one when they wrote such tripe. The machine is rock-solid on its base which has a plastic insert strip on the bottom front and two sides, making it easy to turn without scratching whatever it sits on.

The plastic case. While the case is white, what catches my eye is the 1/8" clear acrylic edge. The color is on the underside of the case. A surface scratch, as awful as it sounds, is not likely to show. It certainly won't take the color off.

Sound. There is none in normal operation. Great for a Cube fan migrating to the new iMac G5. I tried to boot from a CD which did not have the latest version of Panther on it, and then the fans kicked in. Noticeable but not really loud.

Panther. The System Profiler identifies the operating system as Mac OS X 10.3.5 (7P35). The latest version on another Mac in the house is Mac OS 10.3.5 (7M34).

Memory. The 512MB memory stick installed by Apple is identified by the System Profiler as Type: DDR SDRAM  Speed: PC3200U-30330. It is labeled Hynix.

Greatest thing since sliced bread. Transferring files from one's previous Mac to the new iMac G5 via the Setup Assistant is unbelievably great. It takes the biggest hassle of getting a new Mac out of the picture. I checked all options for transferring files. Initially, the Set Up Assistant forecast it would take over an hour but it actually took about half that time. I transfered the files as the first order of business although it is possible to bypass the procedure and do it later. After it was done, the Mac booted up for the usual Registration procedure--most of the information was already filled in--and then the Desktop appeared, looking just like my "old" computer. I got on our Apple Express wireless network without fiddling with any settings. All my browser bookmarks, files, etc., were transferred as were my Quicken 4 and AppleWorks 6 data. Amazing. (BTW. Can you remember when store-bought bread wasn't routinely sliced? I can.) :-\

What Mother didn't tell me. The first order of business when you boot up a Bluetooth enabled iMac for the first time is the Bluetooth Setup Assistant which walks you through the procedure to discover and link the wireless keyboard and mouse. They work slick and, contrary to what I had read elsewhere, perform all the usual functions of a wired keyboard, invoking restart/sleep/cancel/shut down software by pressing the control and eject keys, ejecting removable media with the eject key, etc. However, what Mother didn't tell me (among other things) is that as far as I can tell, the Bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse do not work when booted from a CD! Even the iMac G5 Install CD does not support the Bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse. This suggests to me that one should have a wired keyboard and mouse for use when Murphy's Law strikes.

That's it for my first impressions. More later. Suffice it to say, this is a sweet machine.

[10/1] Macworld Conference & Expo 2005 Registration Now Open--FREE Expo Pass: The Macworld Conference & Expo 2005 will be held in San Francisco, January 10-14. Register for Macworld on line by November 5, 2004 (11:59 pm EST) with PRIORITY CODE: B0201 to receive a Free Exhibit Hall pass. Or with the same priority code, save with Early Bird Pricing on one's choice of conference package until December 10, 2004. Register on this web page.

[10/1] Apple Released Two New Jam Packs for GarageBand: Apple introduced two new Jam Packs for its GarageBand music creation software, giving musicians and aspiring musicians alike all of the loops and software instruments they need to create music in the genre of their choice. Jam Pack 2: Remix Tools makes it easy to produce compelling dance, hip-hop and electronica tracks; and Jam Pac

k 3: Rhythm Section offers songwriters a complete backing band to help build a professional sounding foundation for their rock, alternative and country music.

[10/1] Apple Released Two New Audio Applications, An All-New Logic Pro 7 and Logic Express 7:

Logic Pro 7 features new instruments and effects, state-of-the-art loop composition tools as well as optimizations for the PowerPC G5 processor and Mac OS X, forming a highly productive system that will change the way you compose, record, edit and mix music in any studio environment. The latest version provides near unlimited processing resources through the simple addition of Macintosh computers. Logic Pro 7 sells for $999 ($299 upgrade).

Logic Express 7 lets you produce a convincing demo of your band, create a remix of your favorite track or score QuickTime movies. This affordable virtual studio integrates a rich feature set for both music and audio production in one application. In addition to the Apple Loops you’re familiar with from GarageBand, you’ll enjoy the wide variety of software instruments. These provide, for example, faithful emulations of vintage keyboard classics as well as synthetic sounds, ranging from digital to virtual analog. Composers and music theory teachers will also appreciate the full-featured score editor. Logic Express 7 sells for $299 ($99 upgrade)

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