June 2005 News Archive
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Copyright 2005 by Bill Fox All rights reserved.
Last Updated: June 30, 2005
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[6/30] Will the Sales of Macs Decline Until MacIntels Debut? The answer is yes according to a number of reader polls posted on various Mac Web sites and comments from so-called analysts quoted here and there. In fact, no one knows how sales of Macs based on Freescale’s G4 and IBM’s G5 CPUs will fair until the Macs with an Intel CPU inside begin to flow a year from now.
Our guess is that sales will not dip during the transition, at least not as a result of people waiting for the MacIntels. And why should they? Mac users benefit from Apple’s innovation but as a whole they tend not to be early adopters. So why would one expect that if they needed a new computer now or in six months that they would wait to buy the initial MacIntels in one to two and a half years hence?
Over the years people have written us many times wondering whether or not they should buy a new Mac right then because Apple may just be ready to release an updated version. Our answer has always been the same: if you really need a new computer get one. This is because if one waits for the next update one will wait forever since Macs get updated continuously just like every other personal computer. Besides, the market for slightly-used Macs thrives in case a new Mac comes out with a must-have feature. Why is now any different?
But Apple will be changing CPUs. What if you buy a Mac with a G4 or G5 in the interim, will Apple support it for at least 5 years? Of course, Apple will but the best predictor is history. Our main day job Mac is a Power Mac G4 Cube purchased in August, 2000, within five weeks of 5 years ago. It runs Mac OS X 10.4.1 Tiger just fine and all of the current versions of applications that we used in 2000. Less than three years after we bought the Cube (and 2 others) Apple switched to a totally different CPU, the IBM G5. Going back even further, our new Power Mac 7100 ran Mac OS 7.1 through 9.1 and all of the Classic OS applications for more than 5 years. Yes, it had a PowerPC CPU but the radically different PowerPC G3 and G4s came out during that period and Apple didn’t obsolete the 7100. In fact, it still runs great today with a G3 upgrade CPU.
Our only concern for a sales dip is if Apple’s offerings stagnate between now and when they are replaced by their MacIntel version. With today’s rapid evolution of graphics, wireless networking and storage technologies we don’t think that stagnation is in the cards. Hey, IBM may even hit 3GHz in the G5 in the next six months and Freescale’s low power G4s may hit 2GHz.
So what’s the big worry? If you need a new Mac today or next year, get one. You won’t regret it even if it doesn’t have an Intel inside.
what you think. [Bill Fox]
[6/30] Apple Dropped Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL and Added ATI Radeon X850 XT Graphics for Power Mac G5s--Why? One can no longer order a Power Mac G5 with the top of the Mac line Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL graphics card (Nv6800UL). The Nv6800UL was the first card that Apple produced to drive its 30" Cinema Display. In fact, the Nv6800UL can drive two of them at the same time but uses the space of two slots. In its place, Apple has resurrected the slower and cheaper Nvidia GeForce 6800 GT DDR that was itself once dropped from the available cards. While slower, the Nv6800GT still drives two 30" Cinema Displays and takes up two slots like the Nv6800UL. The Nv6800GT costs $350-400 as a CTO option or $499 as an aftermarket kit. Shipping time on the latter is a long 3-4 weeks.
Apple finally added the best of ATI for the Mac, a Radeon X850 XT, as a CTO option for the same $350-400 as the Nv6800GT. The X850 XT is a slightly faster model of the X800 XT that has been shipping in quantity since April. It can drive only one 30" Cinema Display but it has an ADC port for legacy Cinema Displays and takes up the space of only the graphics card slot. Unfortunately, it's not yet offered as an aftermarket kit.
In our top of the line graphics card comparo, we recommended the now discontinued Nv6800UL over the ATI X800 XT for use with a 30" Cinema Display because it was generally a bit faster overall in our tests and far less problematic. The small speed margin of Nvidia over ATI is surely lost between the slower Nv6800GL and the faster X850 XT that are now available.
Why did Apple do this? Perhaps the sales of the Nv6800UL at $599 tanked after the introduction of the X800 XT at $499 but with discounts. Or perhaps, it's in anticipation of Apple shipping an OEM version the new, faster, better Nvidia GeForce 7800. We think this is more likely since the Nv6800GT is showing a long wait time. In any case, right now the ATI Radeon X850 XT is king of the hill. [Bill Fox]
[6/30] Black Cat Systems Released Health Tracker 3.0: Health Tracker is a simple yet powerful program which helps you keep track of and graph any health related measurement. For example, if you are diabetic you could track your blood glucose levels. For weight loss, you could track your weight, measurements for various body parts, or your % body fat. Or, if you keep track of your blood pressure, you could use Health Tracker for that. Health Tracker also keeps track of your rate of losses or gains for each measurement, and evaluates your time to goal (if a goal is entered) based on that rate, which is valuable if you are using it to track weight losses or gains. The more information entered, the more accurate the program becomes in it's estimates. A copy may be downloaded from the Black Cat Systems Web site. Registration is $19.99. [Bill Fox]
[6/30] Apple Reported on the National Educational Computing Conference--With Photos: The NECC began Monday and ends today in Philadelphia. Apple's booth features the iPod, iTunes 4.9, podcasting, digital authoring, PowerSchool software and a 4-hr iBook Loaner Program. There will be over 12,000 attendees. More... [Dana Baggett]
[6/30] Nvu 1.0--FREE Open Source Web Publishing Tool Released: Nvu 1.0, the latest version of the free, easy-to-use Web authoring system for desktop Linux, Macintosh and Microsoft Windows users, was released today. Nvu (pronounced "n-view") is the open-source equivalent to programs such as Microsoft FrontPage and Macromedia Dreamweaver. Nvu gives non-technical computer users the power to create, edit and publish professional, attractive Web sites without requiring programming or HTML coding skills. It is available for download at www.nvu.com.
Nvu 1.0 has several new features and improvements, including better performance and stability, a default in-line spell checker, a new user guide, and an expanded help section. In addition, Nvu 1.0 now complies with strict HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0 standards, producing even cleaner code than before and ensuring that Web sites developed with Nvu function across a wide number of browsers.
Nvu is a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML editor, meaning users can create Web pages as easily as they would create a word processing document. Instead of typing in HTML code and guessing what the published Web site may look like, Nvu allows users to constantly see how their site will look even before it is posted online. While the user works in a friendly, visual environment much like a word processor, Nvu creates the HTML code in the background - code that can also be easily previewed and directly edited.
For more advanced users or those wishing to learn HTML programming, Nvu makes it easy to toggle between the WYSIWYG editing view and the HTML code view. This way, these users can easily observe the interaction between the HTML code and what will actually appear in the Web browser. Nvu also includes one of the best cascading style sheet (CSS) editors available, giving users a powerful tool for transforming and controlling the look and feel of their Web sites. To see more features of Nvu, visit the Nvu Web page. [Dana Baggett]
[6/29] The Apple Developer Connection Published Ready for the Future: Chronos Switches to Cocoa. Chronos rewrote their award-winning notes application StickyBrain in Cocoa and using the Xcode Tools, in order to take full advantage of the features available on Mac OS X Tiger. In the bargain, when Apple announced the transition to the Intel processor, Chronos found they were able to quickly recompile StickyBrain in the new universal binary format--meaning they are already prepared for the transition. For complete details, visit this Web page. [Bill Fox]
[6/29] Hands-On Report--Apple's New iTunes 4.9 & Podcasts: iTunes 4.9 was released by Apple and it is available for download from the Mac OS X System Preferences Software update pane or as a standalone file from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,
With iTunes 4.9, you can now browse and subscribe to podcasts from within the iTunes Music Store. Podcasts are frequently updated radio-style shows downloadable over the Internet. You can also transfer podcasts to iPod, for listening on the go.
We downloaded and installed iTunes 4.9 both ways on Macs running 10.4.1 and 10.3.9 with no problems. When iTunes 4.9 is launched, a new Source called "Podcasts" appears in the left section under "Library." It holds podcasts subscribed to from the iTunes Music Store (iTMS) and is not a playlist. Podcasts obtained the old fashioned way, i.e. downloading, dragging and dropping an MP3 file onto the music "Library" window, do not appear in the "Podcasts" window.
Near the lower left center of the Podcasts window is a link to the podcast directory in the iTMS and a link for reporting concerns. To the right are buttons that allow one to unsubscribe from a podcast and to enter podcast preference settings. Clicking the directory link accesses the iTMS and brings up its podcasts section.
All podcasts are currently free and none are hosted on Apple's servers. The podcasts are simply linked from their RSS feed and download from their "home" server. They are classified into 21 categories so whoever predicted 8 was wrong. There is also a listing of the top 100 podcasts and a search engine.
When we first intalled iTunes 4.9 yesterday morning, there were only 18 podcasts listed in the top 100, now there are 100 thanks to the iTMS feature that allows one to publish one's own podcast. Clicking on the "Publish a Podcast" link provides a simple step by step process for proposing a podcast for publication. It's listed on iTMS after Apple approves the proposal (see the "Learn more" FAQ for details).
Clicking on a particular podcast, e.g. #2 Inside Mac Radio, takes one to a listing of the RSS feed episodes for that podcast. Inside Mac Radio had 13 as of publiction time. There is a button to subscribe, a button to get a single episode and a link to the originating web site. There is also a link to report a concern. We subscribed to Inside Mac Radio (#2) and Engaget Podcasts (#3) to test iTunes 4.9's new feature. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]
[6/29] Hands-On Report--Apple's iPod Updater 2005-06-26: The update is available from Mac OS X's System Preferences Software Update pane or as a standalone updater from this Apple Web page. iPod software update 2005-06-26 delivers iPod Software 1.2 for iPod with color display, iPod mini Software 1.4 for iPod mini and iPod Software 3.1 for iPod with Click Wheel which provide integration with iTunes 4.9 for downloading and listening to podcasts. The updater contains the same software versions as iPod Updater 2005-03-23 for all other iPod models.
We updated our iPod mini with no problem. Podcasts subscribed to via iTunes 4.9 show up as a sub-entry under the "Music" menu. We had to change our existing "Podcasts" playlist to "More Podcasts" to avoid having two entries with the same name. [Bill Fox]
[6/29] Apple Offers FREE 4GB iPod mini with Back to School Mac Purchase: In a promotion entitled "Student union." Apple is offering a free 4GB iPod mini with each Mac purchased through September 24th. One can also appply the cost of the iPod mini as a discount for a higher priced iPod. More... [Dana Baggett]
[6/29] Apple Trimmed iPod Lines to Three Models, All with Color Screens--$299-399: Apple combined the iPod and iPod photo lines into one line with three models: a $299 20GB iPod, a $329 U2 Special Edition iPod and a $399 60GB iPod. All three have color screens and are essentially iPod photos but are just called iPods now. Their battery is rated at 15 hours for music alone. In addition to the pricing changes for iPods, Apple also reduced the price of the 1GB iPod shuffle to $129. More... [Bill Fox]
[6/29] Hands-On Report--Microsoft Virtual PC for Mac Version 7.0.2 Update: It is available for download from this Microsoft Web page. According to Microsoft,
This update is recommended for all users who are using Virtual PC for Mac Version 7.0 or 7.0.1. This update improves overall stability of Virtual PC and allows Virtual PC to run on Mac OS X Version 10.4.1.
We had no problems running VPC v7.0.1 with Mac OS X 10.4.1 on our PowerBook G4. On our Power Mac G5, however, launching VPC v7.0.1 launched the VPC installer which required a restart. Launching VPC 7.0.1 again just brought up the installer again in an endless cycle. After installing the VPC 7.0.2 Update, VPC again runs fine on our Power Mac G5. We notice no difference on our PowerBook G4. [Bill Fox]
[6/29] Hands-On Report--Adobe Acrobat Reader and Acrobat Standard/Professional Updater to v7.0.2: If you are running v7.0 or 7.0.1 of either application, the updater to v7.0.2 can be downloaded via the application's update feature under the "Help" menu. Otherwise, a standalone v7.0.2 updater is available for Reader and the Standard/Professional editions.
We note that if you have v7.0.0 of Acrobat Reader installed, it must first be updated to v7.0.1 before applying the v7.0.2 updater. We had no problem updating either application from within the application or from the standalone updater on several Macs. [Dana Baggett]
[6/28] Follow Up on Macs Only!’s Podcast Proposal: The replies to last week's proposal to start up a MO!-Take Out podcast were mixed. The majority, but not a vast one, of the replies encouraged us to give it a shot. However, a surprising number said to forget it because most podcasts are "junk." We tend to agree but there are some that are quite good and they will only get better with time, especially when someone figures out how to make real money with them.
There are three types of good podcasts: those that are informative, those that are entertaining and those that are both. In the Mac world, we like the podcasts of Scott Sheppard’s Inside Mac Radio (IMR) and Shawn King’s occasional Your Mac Life (YML) podcast. They are both DJ-like, entertaining and informative. Dave Hamilton and John Braun’s initial TMO-To-Go podcast is one of the best of those that are simply informativetwo experts talking Mac. As an aside, we especially enjoy Gene Steinberg’s informative The Tech Night Owl LIVE. Unfortunately, while Gene’s weekly webcasts are available as a stream from an online archive, he has yet to issue any as a podcast.
The best thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them with your iPod at any time you like. We loaded our iPod mini with 10 hours of the recent IMR, YML and TMO podcasts before our recent trip which involved some 30 hours in the air roundtrip. We listened to them interspersed between 12 hours of movies and the remaining hours of our music. We like being able to do our own audio programming. Of course, there are podcasts on subjects other than Mac. Just use iPodder X or any other podcast aggregator to keep up on them.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs recently announced that Apple will be providing access to podcasts with iTunes 4.9. No one outside Apple’s inner circle knows exactly what that means just yet but we will find out real soon. Apple also announced that it has entered into a deal with Sundance to provide podcasts via iTunes Music Store. Sundance is known for video syndication rather than audio so it’s hard to guess how that deal will shape podcasting. But one of the big questions is how money will be made from podcasting and maybe the Apple-Sundance deal will provide an answer.
In our own case, we didn’t get many suggestions on content or format. But we believe we have developed an interesting formula, not another DJ-style mixture of jokes and interviews or just two guys just talking Mac. The remaining issue for us, and a big one for most podcasters for that matter, is securing the bandwidth required for a reasonable download speed and cost. Podcast files easily run 10’s of MB in size. We are looking into several options but will probably wait until Apple releases iTunes 4.9 to see if Apple provides a feasible option. [Bill Fox]
[6/25] Apple Won Three IDEAs for Best Product Design in 2005: With three IDEAs, Apple tied for fourth in the list of corporations winning the 2005 Industrial Design Excellence Awards (IDEAs). Apple received gold awards for the Mac mini in the computer equipment category and iPod Shuffle in the consumer products category and a silver award for AirPort Express in the computer equipment category. Surprisingly, HP was the top corporation winner in 2005 with 5 IDEAs. Over the past five years, Apple's 17 IDEAs ranks second only to Samsung with 19 and just ahead of IBM with 15. More... [Bill Fox]
[6/24] Apple Released WebObjects 5.3 Update for Mac OS X Server 10.4: The update is available for download from this Apple Web page. It updates the Application Server components in Mac OS X Server 10.4 to WebObjects 5.3. Learn more about WebObjects at: WebObjects. [Bill Fox]
[6/24] Apple Revised the Offerings of One Hot Deals Retailer:
B&H Photo and Video has fantastic prices of superb products for your Mac, including Canon PowerShot S2-IS 5MP Digital Camera, Nkon D70s 6.1MP Digital SLR Camera with 18-70mm DX Zoom Lens, Samsung SC-D6550 MiniDV Camcorder with 5MP CCD, DLO Jam Jacket for iPod Shuffle (3-pack), Epson Stylus Photo R2 400 Photo Quality Inkjet Printer, and much more.
[6/24] Aspyr Media Game Report: The Sims 2 is now on store shelves, and Aspyr hopes you are enjoying the result of all their hard work for the last 8 months. In early June, they released a free utility, The Sims Body Shop, which lets you create and share Sims with your friends. One of the nice Mac touches added to Body Shop was the ability to upload your Sims directly to your .Mac iDisk, to share. The .Mac SDK from Apple made this process very easy, and Aspyr loves being able to implement Mac specific features into their games.
The development effort internally at Aspyr is shifting to Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2005 and Stubbs the Zombie. Tiger 2005 is coming to the end of its beta cycle, and they think they will set the bar for Mac golf games higher than ever before with this installment. Besides the dazzling course graphics, the game has an almost endless amount of customizations for creating your golfer. Stubbs the Zombie continues to move along, Aspyr has been working on technology that allows the Xbox graphics code to run on Mac OS X through a common OpenGL implementation. This will provide a very good framework to build the rest of the game on, and should also help Aspyr in future projects.
Aspyr Game Agent is undergoing some major renovations, and Aspyr plans to release a new version in the summer that has an updated user interface and some great new features. If you haven't tried out Game Agent, download it free from Aspyr.com. [Bill Fox]
[6/24] Review--Logitech Wireless iPod Headphones: CNet posted a review of Logitech's new Bluetooth wireless iPod headphones. They gave them an 8.0 rating out of 10. The review calls them well-designed, light and comfortable. The sound is very good though not as loud as the stock earbuds. CNet got about 9 hours out of the headset's rechargeable batteries. [Dana Baggett]
[6/24] Eggplant 2.2 is Out with Mac OS X 10.4 Compatibility: Eggplant is the automated test tool for Mac OS X. Designed specifically for GUI-level testing, Eggplant combines image-capture-and-compare technology with a powerful scripting language that allows QA teams to automate tests and other repetitive tasks. Although Eggplant resides on the Mac OS X platform it is capable of testing a second computer running almost any operating system. Current customers use Eggplant to test Windows, Mac OS 9, Mac OS X, Solaris, HP-UX, AIX, and Linux.
This release is available for free download to all existing customers with a current maintenance agreement. Free trial licenses are available through a request form on the company's Web site for anyone wishing to learn firsthand about the benefits of true user-level automation. [Bill Fox]
[6/24] Peer-to-Peer File Swapping May Become Legitimate: According to an AP report, major recording studios are entering into contracts with file-swapping services to legitimize the business. The classic "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" response by the recording industry seems to be taking hold on their thinking. More... [Dana Baggett]
[6/23] Hands-On Confirmation of Browser Dialog Origin Vulnerability in Safari 2.0, Firefox 1.0.4, Opera 8.0.1 and Internet Explorer 5.2.3: Secunia posted a new security vulnerabilty for multiple web browsers:
Secunia Research has discovered a vulnerability in various browsers, which can be exploited by malicious web sites to spoof dialog boxes.
Secunia's Web page provides suggestions on how to deal with the vulnerability until the web browsers are updated. [Bill Fox]
[6/23] The Osborne Effect and Steve Jobs--Urban Myth RIP: References have resurfaced on the web to the so-called Osborne Effect when supposedly in 1983, Adam Osborne announced a better computer before it was available, thereby undercutting sales of the existing computer model and bankrupting his company. We have been told in the past that Steve Jobs' insistence on Apple not commenting on models before they are released stems from Osborne's mistake.
Some fear Steve Jobs' announcement this month of Apple's shift to Intel chips in 2006 will recreate the Osborne Effect for Apple.
All of which prompted us to look more closely at what has been said about the Osborne Effect in the past and currently. Is the story true?
Our first recollection of the story was in Owen Linzmayer's book "Apple Confidential." Linzmayer says he has covered Apple as a journalist since the early 1980's. My edition is a paperback published in 1999. The story is told in two sentences as a side bar on page 64. No source given.
Robert Cringly recently interviewed an ex-Osborne employee who said that it was competition from Kaypro, which marketed a computer with a bigger screen for less money, that really caused Osborne Computer Corp.'s demise. More.
On June 20 The Register published a piece including interviews with contemporaries of Osborne who cite different reasons--bad business decisions--for Osborne Computer going belly-up. Bottom line: "There never was an 'Osborne Effect,' and the fate of Osborne Computer wasn't sealed by pre-announcing hardware that didn't exist."
Finally, Andy Hertzfeld's new book "Revolution in the Valley: The Insanely Great Story of How the Mac was Made" recounts an interesting story of an encounter with Adam Osborne on pp. 39-40. But no mention of the Osborne Effect story.
Osborne Effect story: RIP. [Dana Baggett]
[6/23] Smart Scroll X 1.3 is Out: Smart Scroll X brings new scrolling options and enhancements to Mac OS X:
- Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" Compatibility
- Scroll Wheel support and Live Scrolling for FileMaker Pro 6 and 7.
- Grab Scroll lets you scroll by clicking and dragging anywhere in a window. Currently for Cocoa applications.
- A "High Gear" for your scroll wheel, so you can have super-fast scrolling when you need it.
- Universal Scroll Keys to scroll without having to reach for the mouse. Scroll keys are the same in every application, giving you fast & dependable scrolling right from the keyboard.
- Live Scrolling and proportional thumbs for AppleWorks 6.
Smart Scroll X is $15 for a single user license--free trial available. For more info and to download Smart Scroll X, visit Marc Moini's Web page. [Bill Fox]
[6/23] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--Casanova, Dalrymple Van Buskirk and Rizzo: This week co-hosts Gene and Grayson Steinberg will talk about QuickTime with Apple's resident expert, Frank Casanova. We'll also be joined by MacCentral's Jim Dalrymple, and mp3.com's digital music expert, Eliot Van Buskirk. Special added attraction: John Rizzo, author of "Mac Annoyances." Tune in the broadcast Thursday night from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]
[6/23] Apple Revised the Offerings from Four Hot Deals Retailers:
CDW|MacWarehouse has great deals on cool Mac products, including Canon Pixma iP 1500 Color Photo Printer, LaCie 500GB Big Disk/Extensis Portfolio 7 Bundle, Corel Painter IX with FREE Wacom Graphire 3 Graphics Tablet, Adobe Creative Suite 2 Premium/Apple Mac OS X Tiger 10.4 Bundle, Nikon CoolPix 5900 Digital Camera with FREE Corel Painter Essentials, and much more.
Apple's Clearance Section of Hot Deals dedicated entirely to end-of-life and clearance Mac OS X products from all of your favorite retailers, boasts some newly added offers, including Comnet FastDraw, Smart Media 128MB Secure Digital Card, Dr. Bott ExtendAir Direct WiFi Wireless Antenna, Epson L-410 Digital Camera, Microsoft Optical USB Mouse by Starck, and much more.
ClubMac has great deals on essential Mac products, including inMotion IM3 Portable iPod Audio System, Portable Sales oPod WaterProof iPod Case, Speck iPod Accessory Kit, Avid Xpress Pro with Avid Mojo Bundle, Allume Poser 6.0, Macromedia Studio MX 2004 with Flash Pro Upgrade Version, and much more.
J&R has great prices on top quality Mac products, including Aspyr Media Doom 3, Audiotrak PCI Multimedia Digital Audio Interface with Breakout Box, Brother MFC-8220 Laser Multi-Function Center, Canon ZR300 MiniDV Digital Camcorder, Destineer Close Combat: First to Fight, DVForge GarageKey MIDI Keyboard for GarageBand, and much more.
[6/22] Apple Dropped the Single-CPU Model from the Power Mac G5 Line but Why? Last week the single-CPU 1.8GHz Power Mac G5 model was dropped from the online Apple Store in the U.S. without an announcement. The least expensive Power Mac G5 retailed for $1,499, some $500 less than the next level model with dual 2GHz G5 CPUs. The capability of the single G5 model was limited in ways other than the single CPU--it had a slower front-side bus, slower PCI slots and could hold only 4GB RAM. However, it was expandable so that one could add a top-of-the-line graphics card, up to 4GB RAM, more and larger internal hard drives and PCI cards for controlling more drives or other peripheral devices.
Apple's official word is:
"The 1.8 GHz Power Mac G5 is no longer available at the online Apple Store but is available in other channels while supplies last. The Power Mac G5 line is now all dual processor and delivers the ultimate in performance for our most advanced customers."
If one is looking for a single-chip machine, Apple stated that "...the new iMac G5 is a very popular solution."
This is a statement of fact that does not supply a reason, so why did Apple do it?
Money, of course. Making more money is why corporations do anything. There's nothing evil about it, that's just their nature. It's hard to believe that there's more profit in other Apple products like the 17" or 20" iMac G5 with a 2GHz G5 CPU or a dual 2GHz Power Mac G5. But there may be since they are the alternative products. Perhaps sales of the single-CPU Power Mac G5 were so low so as to make the model unprofitable in its own right. The latter is possible since the introduction of the Mac mini and the recent refresh of the eMac and iMac lines which provide far more value, except for expandability, than the former low end Power Mac G5. [Bill Fox]
[6/22] Apple Released Xsan Update 1.1 for Mac OS X 10.4.x and 10.3.9: The updates may be downloaded from this Web page for 10.4.x and for 10.3.9.
For 10.4.x it includes fixes for:
- using Xsan on computers running Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server version 10.4
- providing metadata controller services to 10.3.9 and 10.4 systems running Xsan 1.1
- accessing Xsan volumes larger than 16 terabyte in size
- greater server stability when resharing Xsan volumes via NFS
- handling quotas with no associated user or group name
- maintaining access to Xsan volumes when metadata controller failovers occur
- operating Xsan in environments with a mix of 10.3.9 and 10.4 systems
For 10.3.9 it includes fixes for:
- greater server stability when resharing Xsan volumes via NFS
- handling quotas with no associated user or group name
- maintaining access to Xsan volumes when metadata controller failovers occur
- operating Xsan in environments with a mix of 10.3.9 and 10.4 systems
[6/22] Apple Released Xsan Admin 1.1 Update for Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.3.9: The update is available for download from this Apple Web page.
It includes fixes for:
- labeling Fibre Channel LUNs and creating new Xsan volumes
- displaying progress messages while performing lengthy operations
- preventing manually modified configuration settings from being overwritten during a save
- accurately reporting Fibre Channel multipathing errors
[6/22] O'Reilly Published Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger: For Dave Taylor, author of Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger (O'Reilly, US $19.95), the upshot of the upgrade from OS 9 is, in a word, power. The Unix system underpinning OS X is "ready to leap into action at a moment's notice," Taylor says. "All you have to do is command Unix to take action."
Command is the operative word here, since understanding the command line is fundamental to using any Unix system. But why would a contented Mac user want to type in a string of Unix commands instead of just clicking the mouse? Simple, Taylor says: because the mouse gives you access to only a fraction of Mac OS X's functionality. "To really know what your Mac's doing" and to "make it match what you want and need your Mac to do," Taylor believes you have to get acquainted with the Unix side of OS X. [Bill Fox]
[6/22] Mozilla's Firefox 1.0.5 and Thunderbird 1.0.5 Due Out Soon: Nightly builds of the next releases of the Firefox Web browser and Thunderbird email client are appearing on Mozilla's servers. The next release will provide some security updates. More... [Dana Baggett]
[6/22] FREE Envision Web Show of the Week--Summer: Summer begins this week in the northern hemisphere. This week's Envision Web Show of the Week is a collection of beach photographs. The Envision Web Show of the Week 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. [Bill Fox]
[6/21] Apple Sued by David Contois over Alleged Patent Infringement by iTunes' Design: According to AppleInsider, Apple has been sued by Mr. David C. Contois of Vermont who owns U.S. Patent 5,864,868 issued January 26, 1999, "Computer control system and user interface for media playing devices." His patent application is dated February 13, 1996.
Here is the abstracted description of Mr. Contois' patent:
A computer system and method for controlling a media playing device. The system provides a user interface for allowing a user access to media pieces stored in a media database. The interface is also for controlling a media playing device, like a player piano or movie playing video device, that is coupled to the computer to play the accessed or selected piece of media. In one embodiment there is a computer interface that allows a user to display only music that relates to a selected category, like jazz or classical music. Another embodiment allows the user to direct the media playing device to automatically play selected music pieces that are related to a selected music category. Another embodiment allows a user to direct the media playing device to automatically play selected music pieces that are related to the selected music composer or artist.
Here is one of eight drawings showing his interface concept:
Here is another of eight drawings showing his process for selecting a song:
Well, what do you think? Is it really an invention or not? Does iTunes infringe or not? This will be an interesting case to follow. [Bill Fox]
[6/21] Apple Getting "Short Stick" on iPod Battery Settlement? When the news first broke on the settlement between Apple and several individuals, i.e. the named plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit, we noted that we would have to decide whether or not to stick Apple for $50 each on the iPods we've purchased over the years. Our iPods' batteries have behaved more or less like lithium ion batteries are supposed to behave in losing their charge over the years down to 3-5 hours today. We are sure that some batteries have completely given up the ghost but certainly not all. If ours had, $50 would not be enough. The plaintiffs' lawyers, of course, are not getting the short end of the stick with a $2.8 million fee and neither are the named-plaintiffs as we noted previously, i.e. at $1,500 each.
We think that reader Bill Teawell summed up our view very well with his note,
I think Apple has gotten the "short-stick" on this issue. I received paperwork because I had purchased a 3rdG iPod without dock (in November 2003) and nowhere does it say what constitutes a fully charged battery. When I first got mine I put in on the charger and four or five hours later the "lightning bolt" had stopped moving indicating the battery was "fully" charged. But when I looked at the battery charge indicator in the upper right-hand corner of the screen, it was only about a quarter of the way. So, I put it on the AC charger again and four or five hours later the "bolt" stopped moving. I looked at the battery charge indicator again and now it was about half-way across. So I repeated the process several times more. Finally it looked like it was fully charged.
Like all new batteries, it immediately started losing its charge. ( I have a battery powered edger that the instructions say should be left on the charging stand whenever not in use to maintain a full charge.) If my iPod sat on the shelf (or dresser) for a few days it usually lost half its charge. I called Apple support on this and was told (and I believe rightly) that this is normal behavior due to the new battery standards and design. They ask if I would fully charge the battery and let it play for however long it would. I did and it went past eight hours. Spend a day recharging the battery and again ran the test. Again, the battery played for eight hours. So, before I used my iPod I made sure it was charged.
When I got the settlement papers I tried the test again. After making sure it was fully charged, I let it play. Again it played for the minimum eight hours. I don't believe that Apple fraudulently claimed that the iPod would play for eight hours. I do think that Apple can be faulted for not creating better battery management software. When it takes several attempts to fully charge the battery, users that are inattentive may not realize that the battery is not fully charged when the moving "lightning bolt" stops moving. I always charged mine in the "Off" state with the AC adaptor.
How do you feel about this? [Bill Fox]
[6/21] Gefen Released 1x4 DVI Monitor Switcher: Gefen’s new 1x4 DVI Monitor Switcher works in reverse from its traditional switchers, supporting the connection of up to four displays to one high definition video source. It is designed to switch the video between several monitors for applications commonly used in broadcast, post-production, entertainment, retail, security and educational industries. Users select which monitor will display the video with an IR remote control. Switching is performed with no down time and high resolutions up to 1080p and 1920x1200 are supported. Gefen’s 1x4 DVI Monitor Switcher is also HDCP (high bandwidth digital content protection) compliant and will pass through high definition video intact. Gefen's 1x4 DVI Monitor Switcher (MSRP $399) comes equipped with one DVI input, four DVI outputs and one 5v power supply. It is available to order online at www.gefen.com or through an authorized Gefen reseller. [Bill Fox]
[6/20] FREE Apple Live Webcast This Week--Cost-effective Storage Deployments for Research Computing: This free Apple webcast is for general audiences. It will be webcast live on Thursday, June 23, at 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM PT. Learn how to achieve better data accessibility and faster storage retrieval in a more cost-effective way with industry-leading solutions. Pre-Registration is required. [Bill Fox]
[6/20] To Podcast or Not--What do You Think? Over the weekend we have been toying with the idea of producing a Macs Only! podcast, spiced with California slang and a great Maine accent. What is a podcast, you ask? Well, it's an audio recording, like a radio broadcast, that is encoded in MP3 or AAC, downloaded, imported into iTunes and then transferred to one's iPod to be listened to whenever one wants. We find them to be a convenient source of entertainment and education when we travel. We listen to the few that we can find as an alternative and useful diversion in between stretches of our music.
So why do one? Partly because there are so few that cover the Mac (see iPodder.org) and partly because podcasting is slated to be the next big thing with Apple's iTunes v4.9 and the iTunes Music Store so we interested in learning the technology.
There are at least two good internet radio shows (webcasts) that cover all things Mac that we listen to from time to time, Your Mac Life with Shawn King on Wednesdays and The Tech Night Owl LIVE with Gene and Grayson Steinberg on Thursdays. They both produce an archive of their shows that can be listened to at any time but they are streamed so one must be hooked up to the internet to listen. We'd like to be able to download and import them into our iPod and listen when we had the chance. For example, Inside Mac Radio makes podcasts of their shows and The Mac Observer just issued their first last week. That's what we are thinking about doing but shorter--maybe 15 minutes.
Fortunately, it does not appear to be particularly difficult nor expensive to produce a podcast. Glenn Fleishman's article entitled How to Record a Podcast provides a great starting point. All it takes is time. But since time is scarce commodity for us we are still just toying with the idea.
what you think about the possibility of a Macs Only! podcast and what you would like to hear in it. [Bill Fox, Dana Baggett & Brian Nakamoto]
[6/20] TechRestore Announced iPod Battery Freedom Service--Lifetime iPod Battery Replacement: TechRestore, Inc. announced today that they have begun offering a new lifetime iPod battery replacement service. The iPod Battery Freedom service offers owners of the worlds most popular audio player a way to eliminate the headaches and high costs associated with replacing their iPod battery, for as long as they own their iPod. The iPod Battery Freedom service is available starting today at a cost of just $99.99. All full-sized iPod models are eligible for the service, including the original 1st generation iPod, 2nd generation, 3rd generation, 4th generation, iPod photo and iPod mini series. The service includes installation of a replacement high capacity iPod battery with at least 30% more capacity than the original iPod battery and return overnight shipping for the first battery replacement. The users old iPod battery is then recycled in conjunction with the Rechargeable Battery Recycling Corporation. [Bill Fox]
[6/18] [Updated] Quantum Published A Definitive Guide to Backup, Recovery and Archive of Data--FREE eBook: With Quantum's eBook, you can flip through 24 pages packed with everything you need to know to improve the backing up, recovery, and archiving of your critical data. Here are some sections:
- Simplify your Backup
We simplify the concepts of backup and recovery and offer tips for easily protecting your critical data.
- Choosing a Solution
How to calculate the cost of tape and disk solutions and decide which configuration is right for you.
- Creating Value through Compliance
How compliance with legislation will drive best practices in backup, recovery and archive.
- Why Upgrade your Tape
Are you falling behind the technology curve? We highlight improvements in tape performance, reliability and compatibility.
- Benefits of Disk-Based Backup
Are you under pressure to meet your backup and restore windows? Read independent research from 235 organizations like yours.
Download it from this Quantum Web page (registration required). [Update: Sorry but the file is an .exe file and is unusable by Mac OS directly. However, it works fine in VirtualPC 7 running Windows XP.] [Bill Fox]
[6/18] O'Reilly Published Web Mapping Illustrated: Mapping technology will bring additional dimensions into the information/knowledge management world. Maps are powerful; having the tools and the ability to map the world you live in is even more powerful. In his book, Web Mapping Illustrated (O'Reilly, US $39.95), Tyler Mitchell shows readers how to create maps, including interactive maps, using free tools such as MapServer, OpenEV, GDAL/OGR, and PostGIS. He also explains how to find, collect, understand, use, and share mapping data over the Web and through other services. [Bill Fox]
[6/18] Feral Interactive's Weekend Game Report--Flashtastic Commandos Battle Pack: In Feral's ongoing campaign to deliver a more rewarding website, they have revamped their Commandos minisite making it full of flashtastic elements. Feral encourages you to scuttle over to find movies, character profiles, desktops and screenshots. Best of all, it includes a screen-by-screen walkthrough of how to complete the very first mission in Commandos 2 without losing your head and several commandos to the enemy. [Bill Fox]
[6/18] No Deal on Next Gen HD Video Standard: Apple has supported Blu-Ray as the next generation High Definition video standard. The competing format is HD-DVD. Sony has called off negotiations and declared that its Playstation3 game machine will use Blu-Ray. Sony needs to go into production and can no longer wait so it looks like there will be at least two standards. More... [Dana Baggett]
[6/18] Apple Revised the Offerings from Five Hot Deals Retailers:
Publishing Perfection has great deals on a variety of design and print products for your Mac, including AutoFX Photo/Graphic Edges Volume 6, Allume Systems Creative Essentials, Comnet LogoSpruce, Curious Labs Shade 7 Designer LE, Epson Stylus R800 Photo Printer, Sony DSC-P150 7.2MP Digital Camera, Stock Layouts for Adobe InDesign, and much more.
MacMall has fantastic prices on essential Mac products, including ATI Radeon 9200 Mac Edition 128MB Video Card, Microsoft Virtual PC 7.0, Macromedia, Studio MX 2004, Roxio Toast with Jam 6, Riverdeep Printshop for Mac, Klipsch Promedia GMX-A 2.1 Speaker system, Altec Lansing inMotion IM3 Portable iPod Audio System, and much more.
Ramjet has super low prices on RAM upgrades for your Mac, including 2GB DDR Kit for Power Mac G5, 512MB DDR DIMM for Power Mac G4, 512MB PC-2700 Module for Aluminum PowerBook G4, 1GB Module for Aluminum PowerBook G4, and much more.
MacZone has fantastic prices on essential Mac products, including Adobe Acrobat 7 Pro with FREE 128MB Flash Drive, Triton Sound Bite USB Portable Speaker System, MacAlly Professional Noise Cancelling Headset for iPod, Belkin TuneDok Car Holder for iPod, Kensington USB Digital PocketSpeakers, Belkin Leather iPod Cases, and much more.
Small Dog Electronics has great prices on top quality Mac products, including Eskie 512MB USB Flash Drive, Canon Elura 80 MiniDV Camcorder with Canon Pixma P4000 Color Photo Printer, M-Audio Radium 61-Key USB MIDI Keyboard, Shure E2C Sound Isolating Earphones, Circus Ponies Notebook, Brother HL-2070N Networkable Laser Printer, and much more.
[6/17] Cool Mac Software--Alarm Clock Pro 7.1.3 is Out: Alarm Clock Pro from Koingo Software is a modern replacement for your old alarm clock. One can easily glide through the creation process by specifying what type of alert you wish to set and what happens when it executes. Select audio files, movies, Internet radio stations, iTunes play lists and even CD audio tracks! Here is a list of new features:
- Adjust the play rate of movies all the way up to 16x.
- View alarm events on the Calendar by clicking the day.
- Days with alarm items on them now appear with a red underline on the calendar.
- Today appears as a red number on the calendar.
- New alarm creation wizard.
- System alert text now shows in the main list if some is specified.
- Download latest version option added to Software Update.
Alarm Clock Pro retails for US$15.95 and has a 15-day free trial version. [Billl Fox]
[6/17] Pod Genius--Prosoft Announced New iPod Maintenance Software: Pod Genius is a comprehensive software utility geared specifically toward iPod users. Recover lost or damaged music, repair corrupted data structures, backup your iPod to an exact copy, permanently delete unwanted files, or optimize the file layout of your music.
Pod Genius's utilities in one package are:
- Backup: Make an exact clone of your iPod for safe keeping. Use your backup as protection against data loss.
- Optimize: Increase battery life and minimize wear-and-tear. Your songs get optimized in the order that you want to hear them, minimizing hard drive access and reducing the work your iPod has to do.
- Undelete: Accidentally deleted music? Undelete quickly recovers them in perfect condition.
- Shred: Permanently delete your songs and files from your iPod. Do your part to protect against music piracy... if you sell or donate your iPod, shred your music to prevent unauthorized use.
- Duplicate: Make an exact copy of your iPod on another iPod perfect when you are migrating your music to a newer iPod model.
- Scan: Analyze your iPod’s hard drive for media defects that can endanger your music files.
- Info: Display detailed information about your iPod’s hard drive to enable sophisticated troubleshooting.
[6/17] iBook AirPort Antenna from QuickerTek: QuickerTek announced the first antenna for all Apple iBooks with AirPort wireless capability, including AirPort Extreme. This new antenna is an external device that features 5.5dBi of power and improves the wireless range and signal strength in all wireless environments. This new iBook antenna works with all iBook models and is available for $99.95 from QuickerTek. [Bill Fox]
[6/17] Brief Hands-On Report--Opera 8.0.1 Released Yesterday: Opera Software released Opera 8.0.1 for Macintosh, available for Mac OS X versions 10.2 and higher. Opera 8.0 has been out for several months as a public beta. Faster than ever before, this comprehensive Web surfing package gives Macintosh users Opera's extensive functionality and an optional 15 languages standard upon download.
Opera touts its latest Mac release as the most Macintosh-like version ever. The browser has improved its support for Apple's Human Interface Guidelines and added Full Keyboard Access functionality.
Opera 8 for Macintosh includes the same functionality as Opera 8 for Windows and Linux, which was released April 19, 2005. Opera 8 introduced innovative security solutions, such as the new security field that indicates the level of security and the certificate-owner of a secure site. Native Scalable Vector Graphic support (SVG 1.1 Tiny), introduced in Opera 8, is also included in the Macintosh version. Other features offered in Opera 8 include a "delete private data" option, a "trash can" that saves closed pages and blocked pop-ups during a session, and Opera's Extensible Rendering Architecture (ERA) which automatically re-adjusts page content to fit the window width.
Opera 8.0.1 for Macintosh is available for download from this Opera Web page. We use the free version and have found that Opera 8 is indeed very fast. It is especially good with the many forms of Java found on the Web. The little ad in the free version is not very intrusive so we can recommend it. [Bill Fox]
[6/16] Apple's Loyalty Base Building, Planning to Buy More: The Wise Marketer cites a MetaFacts.com statement by principal analyst Dan Ness,
"The Apple-faithful make up more than half of Apple's customers for the first time in more than a decade, and are up slightly from last year. Even better news for Apple is that the percentage of Apple households planning to buy another Apple home computer has also increased."
More... [Dana Baggett]
[6/16] Apple Revised the Offerings from Five Hot Deals Retailers:
The Apple Store has updated it's selection of special deal products, and it's a huge iPod extravaganza. You'll find Apple Certified Refurbished non-click wheel iPods starting at only $179, click-wheel iPods starting at only $249, iPod minis for $149, and more. There are also great prices on Refurbished Power Mac G5s, iMac G5s, Cinema Displays, and much more. But, hurry as supplies are limited and products are removed from the Apple Store when supplies are sold out. All details available under the "Special Deals" tile.
J&R has great prices on top quality Mac products, including Aspyr Media's Doom 3, Adobe Creative Suite 2 Premium Upgrade, Addlogix FirePod iPod Car Charger, American Covers iSnug iPod Case, Brother MFC-210C Color Flatbed Multi-Function Machine, DLO iBoom Boom Box for iPod, Griffin RoadTrip All-in-One Car Solution for iPod and iPod mini, and much more.
Publishing Perfection has great deals on a variety of design and print products for your Mac, including AutoFX Photo/Graphic Edges Volume 6, Stock Layouts for Adobe InDesign Volume 1, Dedicated Digital akHD Reptiles, MagicFrames 2, Gluon JobCapture 5.0, ColorBlind Prove It, Jenka Dielines, and much more.
CompUSA has money saving deals on a bevy of Mac products, including Roxio Toast 6 Titanium with $20 mail-in rebate, Microsoft VirtualPC with $30 mail-in rebate, Symantec Norton SystemWorks with $50 mail-in rebate, Nikon CoolPix 8800 Digital Camera with $100 mail-in rebate, QuickBooks Pro 2005 for Mac with $100 mail-in rebate, and much more.
Mac Game Store has great deals on the hottest games for the Mac, including MacSoft Tropico 2: Pirate Cove, Virtual Programming X2: The Threat, Aspyr Media Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003, THQ The Incredibles, Feral Interactive Commandos Battle Pack, MacSoft Unreal Tournament 2004, MacSoft Halo, and more.
[6/16] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--Andy Ihnatko, Jason Snell, Pieter Paulson and Centurion Technologies: This week co-hosts Gene and Grayson Steinberg will continue coverage of the deal between Apple and Intel to put Intel Inside future Macs. Long-time Mac columnist Andy Ihnatko, author of "The Mac OS X Tiger Book," will be on hand to offer his unique insights. We'll also be joined by Jason Snell, Editorial Director of Mac Publishing, the company behind Macworld. Noted computer guru Pieter Paulson will put the whole affair into perspective from the IT person's standpoint. You'll also hear from the folks at Centurion Technologies, publishers of MacShield and MacShield Enhanced Edition. Tune in the internet radio broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]
[6/16] FREE Envision Web Show of the Week--NPPA Photos: This week's Envision Web Show of the Week is from the National Press Photographers Association Web site. The show includes thousands of gripping images from the association's many competitions. The Envision Web Show of the Week 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. [Bill Fox]
[6/15] Sign Up Today for Tomorrow's LIVE Webcast Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server for High Performance Computing For General Audiences: It's tomorrow at 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM. Learn about the technical underpinnings of Apple's latest OS, and how new features and updates will benefit users of Mac OS X-based clusters and grids. Sign up today. [Bill Fox]
[6/15] MacIntel? Come to ADHOC the Conference Formerly Known as MacHack: Held in Dearborn, Michigan from July 27th through 31st (a little over a month after WWDC), ADHOC has always been focused on giving developers the edge when it comes to using the latest & greatest technologies to navigate your code from start to finish. Now that Mac OS developers have yet another transition to deal with, the conference also known as MacHack is here as always to help the navigation go smoothly.
In addition to talking about the move to Intel, developers will also be networking and talking about their experiences using open source code (where to find it and how to use it), developing for a multi-platform world, getting tasks programmed easily and quickly using RealBasic and Cocoa, how to take advantage of the latest enhancements to Mac OS 10.4.
Here is just a sampling of the sessions already on the schedule:
- Supporting Intel Macs: The Easy Stuff
- Supporting Intel Macs: The Nitty Gritty
- Cross-Platform Approaches from a Macintosh Perspective
- Inside Dashboard Widgets
- Techniques for Using Network or Local Resources under Carbon
- Hacking the Press (getting your software noticed by the media, so it gets noticed by your potential customers!)
- How to Write Windows Mobile Plugins & Palm Conduits
- Successful Project Management
Take a look at the list on this ADHOC Web page. More sessions to be scheduled soon!
Because ADHOC is a conference organized by developers for developers, if you have talents & techniques & tips you'd like to share with your peers, please consider presenting your own session as well. Speakers who contribute to the content of ADHOC get an additional discount on registration, and the last day for early registration is June 30th, so register today! [Bill Fox]
[6/15] Free AirPort Radar Dashboard Widget from MacWireless: AirPort Radar is a free and convenient tool for quickly scanning the area for AirPort and other wireless networks. It will work with AirPort cards, MacWireless 11g PC Cards, and 11g PCI cards. Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger is required. Here are the features:
Signal Strength at a Glance - Visual signal meters tell you the strength of the AirPort signal for an easy-to-read radar screen.
Sortable Network List - Click on a category to sort the list of networks by that category. Click on the radio waves symbol to sort by signal strength.
Connect to Open Networks - By simply clicking on the name you can connect to any network that is not password protected.
Remember Lost Networks - When a network falls "below radar" it won't disappear from your radar screen right away. This is particularly useful when a network is right on the threshold - with AirPort Radar it won't jump on and off the radar screen, it will just turn grey temporarily while it is too weak to connect to. You can choose how many scans a lost network stays on-screen with the "Scan Memory" setting on the back side of the widget.
Auto-Resizing for Various List Lengths - The AirPort Radar widget will automatically resize itself to accomodate longer or shorter lists of wireless networks.
AirPort Radar is available for download from this MacWireless Web page. [Bill Fox]
[6/14] ATI Released Firmware Update v109 (June 2005) for Radeon X800 XT Graphics Card--Fixes 3D Game Full Screen Issue: Later the same day that we posted our shootout between ATI's Radeon X800 XT and Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL (see below), ATI released a new version of its firmware for the Radeon X800 XT. The ROM file updater can be downloaded from this ATI Web page. Here are the Release Notes.
We do not know all of what firmware v109 fixed but it fixed the problem we had getting 3D games to play full screen at resolutions less than the native resolution of the monitor. We noted that problem with firmware v108 in yesterday's shootout (posted below) between ATI's best and Nvidia's best.
We re-ran the DOOM 3 and Halo benchmarks and got exactly the same framerates. So our advice is unalterred. Except, of course, the issue with getting full screen play on th eATI card no longer exists. [Bill Fox]
[6/14] Absoft, Maker of a Mac FORTRAN Compiler, Pledges Mac Support on Intel and IBM CPU's: Apple's Science and Technology list that we belong to received the following note (edited slightly) from Jeff Livesay, COO of Absoft:
Dear Fortran Community,
Apple's announcement at WWDC to migrate to Intel-based hardware over the next 24 months has given rise to much speculation regarding continued support for and availability of Fortran software development and migration tools on Apple platforms, especially on the heels of IBM's recent web site announcement that 64-bit Tiger support is currently unavailable for their popular XL compilers.
Absoft would like to briefly present its official position on Apple's announcement to the readers of this list.
1. Absoft is committed to continue developing and supporting software tools for Apple OS X computers based on both IBM and Intel processors. Absoft has supported Apple computers for more than two decades and we have made previous similar transitions with our friends at Apple (i.e. from the Motorola 68000 to the PowerPC).
2. Absoft has many years experience supporting software development tools for Intel-based hardware (both 32-bit and 64-bit) and has been marketing Fortran compilers and debugging solutions for Intel-based systems for over 15 years.
3. Absoft remains committed to providing the best tools available to help our customers migrate code from OS X based on IBM processors to OS X based on Intel processors. Absoft compilers are already source compatible between IBM POWER-based systems and Intel-based systems. No other compiler manufacturer offers this level of compatibility and platform independence. Further, Absoft compilers contain features such as big-endian, little-endian conversion to ease application migration between platforms.
4. Beyond the two new product announcements we made last week at WWDC, Absoft has many more exciting product announcements in store for Apple customers, to be made public at the right time; we will preserve the nature of this forum by reserving those announcements for our normal marketing channels.
A more detailed position statement is posted on Absoft's web site.
For additional information on Absoft products available on processors from both Intel and IBM, please visit our site. You may also sign up for our mailing list to receive news announcements from Absoft as soon as they are available.
Thank you for your longstanding loyalty to Absoft, Apple, and for the many recent kind words about Absoft and its products.
Chief Operating Officer
We used Absoft's product when we used to develop extensive software for the Mac.
[6/14] Apple Revised the Offerings from Three Hot Deals Retailers:
Sweetwater has fantastic deals on a wide range of audio products for your Mac, including Audio Technica's AT2020 Studio Cardioid Condenser Mic, M-Audio FastTrack USB Audio Interface, M-Audio Keystation 49e MIDI Controller, Edirol MA-15D Desktop Monitors, Mackie Tracktion 2, Pro Tools Clinic, and much more.
AudioMIDI has fantastic deals on a wide range of audio products for your Mac, including Edirol R1 Portable Recording Device, PSP Nitro, Native Instruments Reaktor 5 Upgrade, Blue Sky 2.1 Monitor Speakers, Korg EM 16-Pad Sequencer with 144 Drum Waves, G-Drive 160GB External FireWire 400/800 Hard Drive, and much more.
CDW|MacWarehouse has great deals on cool Mac products, including Epson Stylus Photo R2400, Logitech MX1000 Cordless Laser Mouse, Minolta DiMAGE 25 Digital Camera with FREE Corel Painter Essentials 2, El Gato EyeTV 200, Canon Elura 90 Digital Camcorder, Extensis Photo Imaging Suite, Adobe Acrobat Pro and Enfocus Pitstop 6.5 Bundle, and much more.
[6/13] The Top-End Mac Graphics Cards, ATI Radeon X800 XT vs Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra--How Fast Is It? [Updated] We have been waiting long time to pit production units of the two top graphics cards for the Macintosh against one another. Last October, we received the Apple-made Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL graphics card for our dual 2.5GHz Power Mac G5 needed to drive our 30" Apple Cinema Display. All three pieces of our system had been ordered at the same time from Apple right after they were announced but they arrived separately over the month of October 2004--life on the cutting edge.
Our review of the new Nvidia graphics card was posted on November 8. Not only did it drive the fabulous 30" Cinema Display beautifully (it can actually drive two at the same time), it provided exception performance for 3D games. The Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL with 256MB of VRAM is a behemoth graphics card, taking up the full length of the 8X AGP graphics slot and covering the PCI-X slot next to it as well. Still, its performance on other graphics benchmarks was disappointingly on par with the ATI 9600 XT that came stock with our Power Mac G5.
In the works at the time was ATI's response, a Radeon X800 XT for the Mac that would also have 256MB of VRAM and drive Apple's 30" Cinema Display through a multi-link DVI port. Early reviews of the Windows version were mixed. They first gave the crown to ATI based on tests with Unreal Tournament 2003 but then it shifted to Nvidia based on tests with DOOM 3.
Prior to Macworld in January, only a few pre-production units had found their way into the hands of selected reviewers. We first got our hands on ATI's much-touted Radeon X800 XT for the Mac in January at Macworld San Francisco and were very impressed with its performance. We were told by ATI executives that commercial production was underway and that the Radeon X800 XT would be in the retail channel the following week. To make a long story short, despite ordering right away our Radeon X800 showed up in late April just few days before ATI released a firmware v107 update and an ATI Displays 4.5 update that immediately rendered our Radeon X800 XT useless.
By the time ATI thought they had the firmware and Displays issues fixed, Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.4.1 were released and its late May. So ATI released another firmware update v108 and it also had issues with our setup, i.e. unable to run 3D games full screen and unexpected quits and freezes using ATI Displays 4.5.1 to adjust anisotropic filtering. We waited awhile for ATI's support to get back to us and ATI's advice was to downgrade back to the original firmware v104. It's now early June, the WWDC 2005 is on and there are rumors of an ATI Radeon X850 XT for the Mac. While we still don't have an ATI Radeon X800 XT that works with the latest firmware and our system, it's been 6 months since we were promised one and 7 months since we got our Nvidia 6800 Ultra so we ran our shootout anyway. [Note: Later in the day, June 13, ATI released firmware 109 which fixed the problem of running 3D games at full screen.]
First, we ran benchmarks on four popular 3D games: the venerable Quake III Arena, Call of Duty, Halo and the most recent "system-buster" DOOM 3. Our 30" Cinema Display has a native resolution of 2560x1600 pixels and Halo is the only game that supports it. We normally play full screen at a resolution of 1024x768 to allow enabling most eye candy and still get a frame rate of 60 or better. The way we test and the settings are listed in our SpeedFAQ. For this shootout we retained all setting but simply increased the resolution to stress the cards' performance. Then we used ATI Displays to alter the Radeon X800 XT's OpenGL settings to illustrate the excellent degree of control that you get with an ATI Radeon graphics card.
Here are the results using our dual 2.5GHz Power Mac G5 with 1.5GB RAM running Mac OS X 10.4.1:
3D Games--ATI X800 XT vs Nvidia 6800 Ultra Graphics Cards (frames per second)
*Blue is better in each card comparison within the same resolution.
|Quake III Arena
|- ATI X800 XT
|- NV 6800 Ultra
|Call of Duty
|- ATI X800 XT
|- NV 6800 Ultra
|- ATI X800 XT
|- NV 6800 Ultra
|- ATI X800 XT
|- NV 6800 Ultra
n/a means that the particular resolution is not available for that game.
In the 3D game tests there is no clear overall winner in speed. Nor is there a clear winner in appearance--both do a terrific job of rendering excellent graphics in these games. For the older 3D games (Quake III Arena and Call of Duty), the ATI mostly does better than the Nvidia by a few percentage points at the lower resolutions tested but runs out of gas and is bested significantly at the highest resolution that the game supports. If Halo is your game, however, the ATI really shines all the way up through the native resolution of our 30" Apple Cinema Display. On the other hand, if DOOM 3 is your game, the Nvidia significantly bests the ATI at both supported resolutions.
Other Graphics Card Benchmarks
Next we ran our other benchmarks that relate to graphics performance. We also ran a benchmark not usually associated with graphics performance, the Startup time, when we noticed a significant difference during use and testing of other benchmarks They are described in our SpeedFAQ. Here are the results, either as a score where higher is better or as time in seconds where lower is better:
Other Graphics--ATI X800 XT vs Nvidia 6800 Ultra Graphics Cards (score or seconds)
*Quartz 2D Extreme Enabled
ATI X800 XT
NV 6800 Ultra
|Cinebench 2003 Rendering
|Cinebench 2003 OpenGL HW
|Xbench Quartz Graphics
|Xbench OpenGL Graphics
|Xbench User Interface
|Scroll 142p File (sec)
**Blue is better in each card comparison
Cinebench 2003 is a wash. Even though the numbers are different for Cinebench 2003, they are not significantly different given the variability in individual runs and that the results are for an average of three runs. In every other test except the Xbench OpenGL Graphics test, the Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL card is faster and in many cases much faster. Curiously, starting up (chime to a complete desktop) is affected by the ATI card. Virtually all of the difference is during the black screen phase, i.e. before the gray screen with the dark gray Apple logo.
We are surprised that the Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL performed better overall than the ATI Radeon X800 XT. The Nvidia will also drive two 30" Apple Cinema Displays where the ATI will only drive one. It is also a bit quieter to our ears than the ATI card. The downside is that the Nvidia costs $100 more than the ATI offering and takes an extra PCI slot. The other ATI positive is that the card has an ADC port while the Nvidia has 2 DVI ports so if one has an older Apple display or non-Apple monitor that's a significant benefit.
We are disappointed in the problems that we have experienced with the ATI Radeon X800 XT, a first for us. Our previous ATI's cards have always been top-performers and generally problem free. And, according to postings on other web sites and forums, it's not just our card that has been having the problems. ATI claims that only a small set of system configurations have experienced the problems, although it is still a fairly vocal set of owners if not a large number. Since we continue to have firmware issues as noted above, the remaining problems may lie with the multi-link port and its associated firmware/software needed to drive the 30" Cinema Display.
We recommend those with 30" Apple Cinema Displays fork over the additional $100 for the better all around and problem-free performance of the Apple-made Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL. However, others have many reasons to go with the ATI Radeon X800 XT which is less expensive and has somewhat different features. [Note: Later in the day, June 13, ATI released firmware 109 that fixed the problem running 3D games at full screen. We reran the benchmarks for DOOM 3 but got the same frame rate as noted above. Later we re-ran all of the benchmarks and got significant differences for Quake III Arena and Xbench so we revised the tables.--Bill Fox]
[6/13] Apple CEO Steve Jobs Delivered the Commencement Keynote Address at Stanford U. on Sunday: In his address to the 114th commencement at Stanford University in his home town of Palo Alto, CA, Steve Jobs covered his life story from being adopted to being ousted from the company he started to being diagnosed with deadly pancreatic cancer. He delivered his history with turns and reasons for events in his life that vary from those told in many books on his life and career--a softer and more caring person than has been portrayed. From his remarks, we learned for the first time that he was told that he had only six months to live when his pancreatic cancer was first diagnosed. His message was that one must see opportunity in adversity while pursuing one's dreams, something that his life and his accomplishments epitomize. In introducing Steve Jobs, Stanford University President John Hennessy praised him for being bold and striking out in new directions, a visionary who has partnered with academia almost from the outset to get computers in the hands of students and in classrooms. More... [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]
[6/11] Apple Posted The 2005 Design Award Winners: Each year at the Worldwide developers Conference, Apple announces their Design Awards from nominations made before the WWDC. The 2005 Apple Design Award winners are:
Best Mac OS X Tiger Technology Adoption
Winner: Transmit 3.2, Panic, Inc.
Runner Up: iSale 1.7, equinux USA, Inc.
Special Mention: OmniOutliner 3.0.3, The Omni Group
Best Mac OS X User Experience
Winner: Delicious Library 1.5, Delicious Monster Software
Runner Up: 3D Weather Globe & Atlas Mac OS X Edition, The Software MacKiev Company
Best Product New to Mac OS X
Winner: ComicLife 1.1, plasq
Runner Up: Delicious Library 1.5, Delicious Monster Software
Special Mention: eDrawings for Mac 2006, SolidWorks
Best Mac OS X Entertainment Product
Winner: World of Warcraft 1.3.1, Blizzard Entertainment
Runner Up: Jammin' Racer 1.01, DanLabGames
Best Use of Open Source
Winner: OsiriX 1.6.4, Antoine Rosset, Osman Ratib, Lance Pysher, David Davies-Payne, Luca Spadola, Bruce Rakes
Runner Up: Blender 2.36, Blender Foundation
Special Mention: AdiumX, Evan Schoenberg, Adam Iser
Best Mac OS X Scientific Computing Solution
Winner: DataTank 2005-5, Visual Data Tools, Inc.
Runner Up: OsiriX 1.6.4, Antoine Rosset, Osman Ratib, Lance Pysher, David Davies-Payne, Luca Spadola, Bruce Rakes
Special Mention: Mathematica, Wolfram Research Inc.
Best Mac OS X Server Solution
Winner: Quicksilver InfiniBand Software for Mac OS X, SilverStorm Technologies, Small Tree Communications
Runner Up: Elektron 1.0.1, Corriente Networks LLC
Best Mac OS X Student Product
Winner: GraphClick, Simon Bovet
Runner Up: iMap 3.1, Peter Schols
Special Mention: Sonic Birth, Antoine Missout
[6/10] Apple Released Mail Server Update 1.0 for Mac OS X Server 10.3.9: The Server Update is available via the System Preferences Software Update pane if one is running Mac OS X Server v10.3.9 or as a standalone download from this Apple Web page. According to the Readme file,
The Mail Server Update delivers overall improved reliability and is recommended for all systems running mail services on Mac OS X Server version 10.3.9. It includes improvements for:
- more accurate reconstruction of mail database files
Apple further noted that the cyrus mail database may need to be reconstructed:
This update addresses an issue in which cyrus mail services on Mac OS X Server 10.3.9 may eventually stop working, leaving the mail database in an unsettled state after the cyrus mailbox database has been reconstructed.
If you have already encountered mail server issues, you should reconstruct the cyrus mailbox database using these steps:
1. Stop the cyrus (IMAP/POP) server.
2. Execute the following command in Terminal:
sudo -u cyrus /usr/bin/cyrus/bin/reconstruct -i
3. Restart the cyrus (IMAP/POP) server, and verify that mail is working.
We installed the update on our Mac OS X Server v10.3.9 without issue but we do not use mail services so we can not confirm any problems or fixes. [Bill Fox]
[6/10] Apple Released Desktop Video Update v1.2.1 for Final Cut Pro and Express HD: The update is available for download from this Apple Web page. Acccording to the ReadMe file,
Desktop Video Out Update addresses an issue with Final Cut Pro HD 4.5 and Final Cut Express HD 3.0 when using Digital Cinema Desktop Preview (Main).
This update is recommended for Final Cut Pro HD 4.5 and Final Cut Express HD 3.0 customers.
[6/10] Aspyr Media's Aspyrations Contest Ends Today: Friday is the last day to submit entries for a chance to win one of the many great prizes: iPod (1), iPod Shuffle (1), Sims 2 (5) or an Aspyr t-shirt (15). Aspyr is kicking off the launch of their new logo, with a fabulous contest. They're going bigger and bolder with their new logo, and they're looking to project an attitude that expresses that. They've tossed around a few ideas. For example, "We 'Aspyr' to entertain the world... to set a good example... to create products that rule... to say please and thank you... to make Mom proud... to Wang Chung tonight... etc." Get the idea? Now they're asking for your help. To enter the contest, simply fill out the form on this Apsyr Web page. The deadline for all entries is Friday, June 10th--today!
The only skill needed to win is good luck. Winners will be drawn randomly and announced in Aspyr's June newsletter, the week of June 20th. If you aren't registered for Aspyr's monthly newsletter, you can sign up on this Web page. [Bill Fox]
[6/10] O'Reilly Published Essential Mac OS X Panther Server Administration: If you're a systems or network administrator plying your craft in a Macintosh or mixed-platform environment, that means, Essential Mac OS X Panther Server Administration (Bartosh and Faas, O'Reilly, US $49.95) may be for you. Michael Bartosh and Ryan Faas say they wrote Mac OS X Panther Server Administration after discovering that current Mac OS X Server and Mac OS X systems administration reference guides were insufficient. "We realized you simply couldn't fill all the holes in the available knowledge with web-based discussion forums or articles," says Faas. [Bill Fox]
[6/9] Details on Apple's Security Update 2005-006 for Mac OS X 10.4.1 and 10.3.9 Client and Server: Security Update 2005-006 is available via the System Preferences Software Update pane for Mac oS X 10.4.1 and 10.3.9, client and server versions, or from the Apple Support Downloads Web page. According to the 10.4.1 ReadMe file,
Security Update 2005-006 [for Mac OS X 10.4.1] delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users. This update includes the following components:
Here are the details on the security aspects of each component update:
Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.1, Mac OS X Server v10.4.1
Impact: A buffer overflow in support for legacy clients could permit
the running of arbitrary code
Description: The Mac OS X AFP Server supports a number of legacy
clients. A buffer overflow in the support for one of these clients
could permit the running of arbitrary code. This update modifies the
AFP Server to correct this buffer overflow. This issue does not
affect systems prior to Mac OS X 10.4.
Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.1, Mac OS X Server v10.4.1
Impact: On an AFP server using an ACL enabled volume for storage,
the copying of a file with POSIX-only permissions can leave an ACL
Description: When copying a local file to an AFP Server that is
using an ACL enabled volume for storage, a temporary ACL is attached
to the remote object during the copy process. This ACL can be left
behind if the file copy was into a directory that was not using ACLs.
The ACL that is left behind could cause confusion as it will
override the POSIX file permissions for the file owner. The ACL does
not permit other users to access the file. This update modifies the
AFP Server so that it correctly removes the ACL that is used for
copying the file. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS
Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.1, Mac OS X Server v10.4.1, Mac OS X
v10.3.9, Mac OS X Server v10.3.9
Impact: Directory traversal via Bluetooth object exchange
Description: Due to insufficient input checking, the Bluetooth
object exchange services could be used to access files outside of the
default file exchange directory. This update provides an additional
security improvement over the previous release by adding enhanced
filtering for path-delimiting characters. Credit to
kf_lists[at]digitalmunition[dot]com for reporting this issue.
Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.1, Mac OS X Server v10.4.1
Impact: Applications using either PDFKit or CoreGraphics to render
poorly formed PDF documents could abort due to a NULL pointer
Description: If a poorly-formed PDF document is passed to PDFKit or
CoreGraphics for rendering, the rending engine will detect an error
and stop processing. As part of the cleanup process, a check for a
NULL pointer was omitted. This omission can cause an application
that handles PDF documents to abort - requiring that the application
be restarted. CoreGraphics is updated to correctly handle the
cleanup of poorly-formed PDF documents. This issue does not affect
systems prior to Mac OS X 10.4. Credit to Chris Evans for reporting
Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.1, Mac OS X Server v10.4.1
Impact: Console users can gain root privileges
Description: The CoreGraphics Window Server is updated to disallow
unprivileged users from launching commands into root sessions. This
issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4.
Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.1, Mac OS X Server v10.4.1
Impact: Potential file race condition via world- and group-writable
permissions on two directories
Description: Secure folder permissions are applied to protect the
system's cache folder and the Dashboard system widgets. This
exposure does not exist in systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4. Credit
to Michael Haller at firstname.lastname@example.org for reporting this issue.
Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.1, Mac OS X Server v10.4.1
Impact: The setuid program launchd can allow local privilege
Description: A vulnerability in launchd allows local users to gain
ownership of arbitrary files. The launchd command is updated to
safely change ownership of files. Credit to Neil Archibald of
Suresec LTD for reporting this issue. This issue does not affect
systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4.
Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.1, Mac OS X Server v10.4.1
Impact: File extensions and mime types marked as unsafe but not
mapped to an Apple UTI could bypass download safety checks
Description: Mac OS X 10.4 contains a database of known unsafe file
extensions and mime types. If an addition to the database of unsafe
types was made, without a corresponding Apple UTI (Uniform Type
Identifier), then a query on certain forms of the file extension or
mime type would not be marked as unsafe. All entries in the current
unsafe type database are mapped to an Apple UTI. This update
corrects the query code to correctly identify unsafe file extensions
and mime types regardless of the presence of an Apple UTI. This
issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X 10.4.
Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.1, Mac OS X Server v10.4.1
Impact: Portable Home Directory credentials may be available to
local system users
Description: MCX Client is updated to not log portable home
directory mounting credentials. This issue does not affect systems
prior to Mac OS X v10.4.
Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.1, Mac OS X Server v10.4.1
Impact: An NFS export restricted using -network / -mask flags will
export to "everyone"
Description: The use of -network and -mask on a filesystem listed in
the NFS exports file would result in that filesystem being exported
to "everyone". This update modifies the NFS exporting code to
correctly set the network and mask parameters. This issue does not
affect systems prior to Mac OS X 10.4.
CVE-ID: CAN-2005-0524, CAN-2005-0525, CAN-2005-1042, CAN-2005-1043
Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.1, Mac OS X Server v10.4.1, Mac OS X
v10.3.9, Mac OS X Server v10.3.9
Impact: Multiple vulnerabilities in PHP, including remote denial of
service and execution of arbitrary code
Description: PHP is updated to version 4.3.11 to address several
issues. The PHP release announcement for version 4.3.11 is located at
Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.1, Mac OS X Server v10.4.1
Impact: A local user can obtain root privileges if the system is
being used as a VPN server
Description: A buffer overflow in "vpnd" could be used by a local
user to obtain root privileges if the system is configured as a VPN
server. This problem does not occur on systems that are configured
as a VPN client. This issue cannot be exploited remotely. This
update prevents the buffer overflow from occurring. This issue was
fixed for Mac OS X v10.3.9 via Security Update 2005-005. Credit to
Pieter de Boer of the master SNB at the Universiteit van Amsterdam
(UvA) for reporting this issue.
According to the ReadMe file for Mac OS X 10.3.9,
Security Update 2005-006 [for Mac OS X 10.3.9] delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users. This update includes the following components:
The details for the two updates are also noted in the paragraphs above on Bluetooth and PHP.
We downloaded and installed both versions via the Sotware Update pane on several Macs running Mac OS X 10.4.1 and 10.3.9 Server without incident. Use thereafter has shown no apparent problems. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]
[6/9] Reaction to Apple's Switch to Intel Inside Remains Mixed but Mostly Positive following several days of additional information, thinking and reflecting--according to many published reports.
For the most part, developers attending Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, where the announcement was made, are positive. This may be in part due to the presence of Appple's engineers at the conference. Also, the extensive hands-on labs at WWDC are providing the developers the opportunity to see how easy it will be to run their applications on Rosetta, a Mac edition cross-platform portability application (QuickTransit made by Transitive Corp), or to recompile it with Xcode 2.1 and mae universal binaries so the application runs on the PowerPC and x86 Intel CPU under Mac OS X.
Only those developers whose applications take advantage of the G4 and G5 AltiVec unit (Apple calls it the Velocity Engine) like 3D games and 3D CAD applications mention concern according to various news reports. This is because Rosetta doesn't work with AltiVec and a recompile is a bit more complicated. However, Intel has similar floating point capability and Mac OS X has the Accelerate.framework. WWDC sessions will expressly address this issue with the attendees so their concern should be relieved.
Some involved in porting games to Mac OS X are concerned that sales of games for Mac OS X may decline if the Intel Macs run Windows. People may just buy the Windows version. However, there are usually extra features in the Mac versions that take advantage of special and unique Mac capabilities so this issue may be moderated.
There is a similar concern among retailers that some loss of sales may occur in the interim while Apple gears up for Macs with Intel CPUs inside. The key question is, will those in need of an upgraded computer decide to wait out and forego purchase of Macs with IBM and Freescale CPUs inside. We wouldn't expect this to be much of a problem, if a problem at all. Macs get upgraded all the time, at least every 6-9 months or so and people do not wait two years when the feel the need for more speed, features or a newer computer. In fact, many people do not buy on the bleeding edge so one might expect even greater sales from those who might "stock up" to get past the first few renditions of the Intel Macs before buying them.
Finally, every Mac user we know is either excited or neutral, mostly the former. So are the Windows users but mostly they are neutral or clueless. No one is overtly negative, at least after a bit of discussion and rumor quashing. This bodes very well for the Macs with Intel CPUs if our acquantances are representative of the general computer population. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]
[6/9] WebKit is Now an Open Source Project: Check it out on the WebKit OpenDarwin.org Web site. There was even a special session on WebKit's breakout yesterday at WWDC 2005. The KHTML people who had gently complained that Apple had not made it easy to integrate Apple's improvements in Safari can be happier now. More... [Brian Nakamoto]
[6/9] O'Reilly Released Mac OS X Tiger for Unix Geeks: With Apple's release of Tiger, Mac OS X 10.4, Mac OS X Tiger for Unix Geeks (Jepson and Rothman, O'Reilly, US $34.95), the latest edition of the popular book, has been revised and expanded to cover further changes to what is now, ironically, the world's most widely-used Unix system. According to coauthor Brian Jepson, developers faced an unexpected learning curve. "Hacking code on a Mac is similar to hacking code on other Unix systems, but there are subtle differences between the Unix they're accustomed to and how things are done in Mac OS X," remarks Jepson. [Bill Fox]
[6/9] Technology Grease--Patent Law to Change, Improve? We have often railed here against patents that we find ridiculous, i.e. those that vaguely describe some simple process that even history's dimwits had already figured out for themselves many times over. Like "a process to copy a piece of information using transportable media from one location to another." These patents have been the bane of the internet and computing technology development, including at Apple, in recent years as people have tried to use the courts to enrich themselves by enforcing some ridiculous patent they somehow got through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Anyway, Congress now has a piece of legislation that would set up an appeals process with a panel of three administrative law judges for patents that people wanted to challenge. We can't speak for the specific legislation but it sounds like a good step to us. More... [Dana Baggett]
[6/9] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--The "Intel Inside" Mac: This week co-hosts Gene and Grayson Steinberg will present exclusive interviews direct from the WWDC, where Apple announced it would switch to "Intel Inside" over the net two and a half years. Guests include Macworld's Christopher Breen, Leander Kahney, author of "The Cult of Mac," industry analyst Joe Wilcox, and we'll pay a visit to "The David Biedny Zone," where David will provide his unique insights into the big change coming to the Mac platform. You'll also hear from Adam Fingerman, Director, Product Management, for Roxio. To hear the internet radio broadcast, tune in tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]
[6/8] Let's Dispel Some Rising Myths About the Mac's Transition to Intel CPUs:
First, Mac OS X will only run on an Apple-made computer and not on a Dell PC nor any other Wintel as far as Apple can help it. At the very least, it will not happen in the beginning and maybe never officially unless Apple sees doing so as a way to significantly more than make up for lost hardware sales on a sustainable basis.
Second, according to Apple VP Phil Schiller, Windows will run on the Intel-based Mac. This means there will no longer be a need for Microsoft's Virtual PC for the Mac. Even Microsoft Access will finally run on a Mac. The Mac in the enterprise will no longer be under the Microsoft boot. With Mac OS X security, we see Apple eating big chunks of Microsoft's enterprise lunch.
Third, an Intel-based Mac will be no less secure than it is today because malware is designed for the operating system, not the CPU.
Fourth, while the current transition efforts are designed to be conducted on a Mac running a typical but high-end x86-based 3.6GHz Pentium 4, you can bet your bippy that it won't be a standard x86 Intel CPU that powers the future Intel-based Macs. Just think about it. Where did Steve Jobs get the 70-to-15 performance units per watt comparison of Intel vs IBM CPUs? Why is it going to take two plus years to make the full transition? Somethings are coming from Intel that will thoroughly whip the IBM Power4-based G5 hands down and will fit into a sleek Apple-designed PowerBook while whipping Freescale's best G4. Hmm...will it still be called a PowerBook?
Fifth, Intel-based Macs will still be more reliable than today's Intel-based PCs. Apple currently enjoys top marks for reliability and customer service among all manufacturers in the desktop and laptop computer markets. Mac users expect this level of quality and it would be a disaster for Apple to compromise it in any way. Apple will definitely use parts and manufacturing processes that preserve Apple's trademark reliability.
Sixth, there is no reason for Intel-based Macs to have a higher price on a value basis than their counterparts in the Windows world--just like today. Apple has worked very hard to get to this point today and it will do everything in its power to stay there. Apple needs to gain ground by the transition, not to give it up by losing value.
[6/8] Two Scientific/Technical Computing LIVE Webcasts from Apple Coming--Register Early: The first is just next week,
Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server for High Performance Computing is Jun 16, 2005, at 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM. It's for general audiences and one can learn about the technical underpinnings of Apple's latest OS, and how new features and updates will benefit users of Mac OS X-based clusters and grids.
Cost-effective Storage Deployments for Research Computing is Jun 23, 2005 at 10:00 AM - 11:15 AM. Also for general audiences, learn how to achieve better data accessibility and faster storage retrieval in a more cost-effective way with industry-leading solutions.
Register soon because these Apple webcasts are very popular and bandwidth is limited. [Bill Fox]
[6/8] Cool Mac Software--FREE Mactracker 4.0beta1 for Mac OS X is Available for download. In addition to all the latest Apple hardware, the major new features include a rewritten search engine, Smart Categories (similar to Smart Playlists in iTunes), color labels, independent database updating, spell check and Unicode support for notes, a new category called "This Mac" which shows the current Mac, and the addition of Apple Hardware Test versions. This is one of the most interesting applications for any Mac-o-phile. We downloaded a copy and it seems to perform just fine. [Dana Baggett]
[6/8] FREE Envision Web Show of the Week--Russian Design Posters: This week's Envision Web Show of the Week is from a top Russian design firm, Art. Lebedev Studio. The show includes a large number of high resolution (1600x1200) images of the company's posters. The Envision Web Show of the Week 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. [Bill Fox]
[6/8] Mail Factory Home Edition was Released: BeLight Software released Mail Factory Home Edition, a special version of its tool to design and print envelopes, address and shipping labels. According to BeLight, this simple-to-use program ideally suits the requirements of home users and allows them to create good-looking mailing pieces.
Key Features of Mail Factory Home Edition:
-Takes addresses from Apple Address Book, vCards and text files.
-More than 700 clipart images, 100 unique masks.
-A variety of ready-made designs to choose from.
-Wide choice of editing tools: control transparency, crop, tile and rotate images, etc.
-Prints on all available label and envelope stock.
Mail Factory Home Edition is priced at $19.95, half the full version. We have favorably reviewed Mail Factory. [Bill Fox]
[6/7] The I-Mac Lives! No, Not the iMac but a Mac with an Intel CPU or CPUs Inside is coming our way initially mid-2006 with a complete transition over the next two years. Yes, it's true, i.e. the latest rumor buzz which began with a speculative Wall Street Journal article last month and was followed by a solid news report Friday by CNet's Steve Shankland. Apple CEO Steve Jobs confirmed it in his keynote address yesterday to the largest gathering at an Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in recent history (3800+). He also confirmed the longstanding rumor of an Intel CPU skunkworks project at Apple--all Mac OS X releases over the past 5 years have been compiled for Intel CPUs.
In justifying the transition from the PowerPC to Intel CPUs, Steve Jobs stated:
"I stood up here two years ago in front of you and I promised you this [a 3.0GHz Power Mac G5] and we have not been able to deliver that to you yet. I think a lot of you would like a G5 in your PowerBook and we haven't been able to deliver that to you yet." He said. "When we look at future roadmaps projected out mid-2006 and beyond, what we see is the PowerPC gives us sorta 15 units of performance per watt but the Intel roadmap in the future gives us 70." He added.
It's not earth shattering news that those are precisely the bases that we raised last month and repeated in yesterday's article (below) published before the keynote.
Steve Jobs also mentioned the smooth transition from the Motorola 68xxx CPU to the PowerPC in the mid-1990's and that it was "...a good move..." for Apple as we recounted from experience earlier yesterday morning. And he added the recent OS transition from Mac OS 9 to OS X as further proof that Apple is willing and able to take on such significant transitions "...to provide [their] customers with the best personal computers in the world...."
The transition for software developers appears even easier than we had imagined. Cocoa applications need only minor tuning (a few days) and Carbon applications need only a bit more (a few weeks) and then both need to be recompiled using Apple's Xcode. The process, called making universal binaries, is much less onerous than the "Carbonizing" that was needed to move applications from OS 9 to OS X. Wolfram Research's co-founder Theo Gray demonstrated for Mathematica that just 2 hours work and 20 lines of source code were needed to get a working version using the new Xcode 2.1 released to developers at WWDC 2005.
Apple will provide software called Rosetta, a dynamic binary translator, which will allow current applications to run "as is" on Intel CPUs until they get converted. Apple will also provide a software development kit and an I-Mac to developers for a $999 "lease" since it has to be returned at the end of 2006. Steve Jobs demo'ed Microsoft Office, Intuit Quicken and Adobe Photoshop CS2 running on Rosetta on a 3.6GHz Intel Pentium 4 CPU. Testimonials followed from Microsoft, Adobe and Intel's CEO, Paul Otellini.
By the way, do we call a Mac with an Intel CPU an I-Mac, a Mactel or a Macintel? Does it matter? No. It will still be the best personal computer ever.
Steve Jobs clearly answered the questions with regard to Intel versus Freescale and IBM that we posed in yesterday's commentary. He also answered our question on edging into Intel CPUs over two years versus all at once. He did not answer some of the more detailed questions like which existing Mac line will first get an Intel CPU or if there would be a new Mac line. He also mentioned nothing about the corollary hardware opportunities like graphics but we wouldn't have expected to hear that from Apple at this point.
What about Classic mode? Is it dead? It is hard to tell at this point. While according to this CNet article, the Rosetta documentation mentions that it does not support OS 8 or OS 9 programs, this falls short of saying that Classic mode is not supported. With Apple's Phil Schiller's quoted indirect statement, the decision may be pending or may be executed in Apple's backhanded way, i.e. it works but without explicit support.
How has this announcement been received by the Mac community? We wrote that Mac users should not only be unconcerned but should rejoice at the opportunities--we are sure excited. And we hoped that developers would be supportive. It seems that both are happening, at least according to Wired News.
Here are Apple's press release and a great QuickTime video stream of Steve Jobs' keynote address. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]
[6/7] Leopard and Podcasting, Two Other Major WWDC 2005 Keynote Announcements: In two other announcements in his WWDC 2005 keynote address, Apple CEO Steve Jobs stated that the next version of Mac OSX would be named Leopard and confirmed Apple's commitment to Podcasting.
Tiger is off to a great start with 2 million copies sold in only 6 weeks, best ever for an OS, he claimed (Apple's press release). According to Steve Jobs, that 2 million is 16 per cent of Apple's Mac OS X user base with 49 per cent using Panther and 25 per cent still using Jaguar. That leaves another 10 per cent using all other versions. Apple expects Tiger (10.4.x) to be at 50 per cent in June of 2006.
If Apple's naming convention for Mac OS X continues, then Leopard is Apple's cat name for Mac OS X 10.5. Steve Jobs mentioned that it is projected to be released at the end of 2006 or in early 2007, mid way in Apple's transition to Intel CPUs and around the projected release time of Microsoft's Longhorn OS. And Steve Jobs closed his WWDC 2005 keynote with a reference to Leopard:
"The soul of the Mac is its operating system and we're not standing still."
Earlier in his keynote, Steve Jobs covered podcasting, the latest development in audio. Apple plans to take podcasting into the mainstream and support it with the iTunes Music Store. A directory for podcasts will be available at the iTMS in a revamp of iTunes. Apple will support podcasting directly. [Bill Fox]
[6/6] Commentary--WWDC 2005 Kicks Off Today with Steve Jobs' Keynote--Will the Intel CPU Rumor be Confirmed? Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) for 2005 begins today at 10 a.m. PT with its keynote address by Apple CEO Steve Jobs in the Presidio Room of San Francisco's West Moscone Conference Center. Unlike last year when Apple pre-announced that a new version of Mac OS X, Tiger, would be the featured WWDC topic, there were no such announcements this year. The WWDC 2005 promotion focussed on developers taking advantage of Tiger, just released publicly in April. Last year there was also the surprise hardware announcement of the new aluminum Cinema Displays, with the fabulous 30" model and Nvidia GeForce 6800 Ultra DDL graphics card. This year we have the Intel CPU rumor and its potential hardware ramifications.
When the rumor of Apple moving to Intel CPUs surfaced again recently, we wrote that we thought it was highly unlikely but, if true, it would likely address immediate concerns for lagging PowerBook performance due to G5 heat issues and longer-range desktop performance since the dual G5s and iMac G5s still do very well in the performance department. We stated that we really don't care which CPU Apple uses to maintain performance (capability as well as speed) because Apple's value is primarily in its software, hardware innovation and hardware design. We also noted the potential negatives in the cost of software transition and user-base reaction to at least partially "giving in" to the dark side. We dismissed the latter, since the dark side is really Windows not Intel, but not the former.
Well, in the ensuing two weeks our thinking on software transition has been modified some by a number of published revelations on the portability of Mac software to other CPUs and our own recollection of the mid-90's transition to the PowerPC CPU. At that time, our workhorse Mac was a Quadra 700 running Mac OS System 7 on a 25MHz Motorola 68040 CPU and our home Mac was a Quadra 605 running the same OS on a 68LC040 CPU, i.e. a 68040 with no floating point component.
When the new Power Macs arrived on the scene, we watched with interest as some of our colleagues switched to them. The much-rumored slowdown in software compiled for the older 68xxx CPUs was without merit--it was a virtual wash given how much faster the PowerPC was. Since instability did not increase either, we plunged in and outfitted our Quadra 700 with a PowerLogix PowerPC CPU upgrade and "ditched" our Quadra 605 for a Power Mac 7100 (actually we still have both). Later problems with the initial versions of Mac OS System 7.5 notwithstanding, the transition from 68xxx to PowerPC was fairly seamless from both software and hardware perspectives.
The major loss in Apple's market share around the same time was due to almost exclusively to the introduction of Microsoft's Mac OS rip-off, Windows 95, and the huge price gap that had developed between off-brand PCs and Macs. It was not the CPU transition as suggested by some. The transition to the much faster PowerPC actually helped to conserve Apple's market share, perhaps even saved Apple's enterprise toe-hold at the time, as it ran the initial Connectix VirtualPC Widows emulation software with acceptable performance. And, until the G4's performance hit a flatspot at 450-500MHz, the PowerPC's performance reigned supreme in the realm of desktop computers. The transition in CPU was, indeed, a very good thing so we are not particularly concerned about another.
Has a similar point in history been reached again? Motorola spun off it's CPU business as Freescale which makes Apple's PowerBook, iBook and Mac mini G4 CPU. Without mama Moto's largess, Freescale has to focus on areas that clearly promise high profitability. Do they include a computer CPU, one with dual cores? IBM is also becoming more focussed on areas of higher profitability, divesting itself of its PC business and winning big time in the huge game machine CPU market. How adaptable are the IBM game machine CPUs to Macs, how committed is IBM to its server hardware business and how adaptable will be their future CPUs to Macs?
Is Apple's CPU business with Freescale and IBM headed for marginalization in the scheme of things? If so, would Apple edge into using Intel CPUs by replacing the aging Freescale G4s in the PowerBooks, iBooks or Mac minis or in all three lines? Or will it be in something new like a real consumer tablet Mac or an innovative Mac PDA? Then, what about the iMac G5, Power Mac G5 and Xserve G5 with their IBM server Power4 derivative CPUs with the potential of the Power5 and multi-core CPUs on the horizon? Our mind boggles at the many possibilities.
There is a corollary to the CPU issues--what about graphics card GPUs? Can Apple's market share continue to support a separate line of graphics cards? Wouldn't an Intel CPU chipset assist Apple financially or technologically in being able to more easily exploit the innovative edge of graphics hardware which is poised to explode in the near future? With Apple's successful penchance for innovation and design versus the PC world's built-in inertia and with Apple's terrific software graphics in Mac OS X, Apple could become THE trailblazer in the use of graphics hardware, hardware that would eventually end up in the masses of computers, rather than a small sideline that is too frequently a step or so behind in hardware.
We don't pretend to be able to answer definitively any of these questions. The persistence and growth of the recent rendition of the rumor about Apple adopting Intel CPUs in some way in the near future has given us cause to think more broadly and seriously about the possibility. We are more inclined to believe that such a propitious moment for Apple exists than we were just a couple of weeks ago. And, because of the iPod's success, Apple does have the cash to do it. We don't want to hype the rumor but if Apple embarks on the Intel route there may be potential opportunities, so we will applaud the decision excitedly as confirming those opportunities.
If so, will it be announced today? We have no sound foundation upon which to speculate. We have only several big news institutions writing that it will be and some potentially confirming idle chatter picked up recently in several after-hour establishments around Silicon Valley. In a few hours we will all know for sure...stay tuned! [Bill Fox & Brian Nakamoto]
[6/6] Apple Revised the Offerings from Six Hot Deals Retailers:
MacMall has fantastic prices on essential Mac products, including LaCie's D2 500GB Big Disk Triple Interface External Hard Drive, Lexmark Z816 Photo Jet Printer with $30 mail-in rebate, Western Digital 120GB FireWire/USB Light-Up External Hard Drive, D-Link Wireless Cable/DSL Router with $30 mail-in rebate, Kensington Turbo Mouse 5.0, and much more.
B&H Photo and Video has fantastic prices of superb products for your Mac, including Nikon's CoolPix 7900 7.1MP Digital Camera with Lexar 1GB SD Card, Avid Xpress Pro with Mojo Portable Nonlinear Accelerator, Canon i9900 Photo Quality Color Bubble Jet Printer with FREE High Gloss Photo Paper Pro, Adobe Creative Suite 2 Standard for Mac, and much more.
Ramjet has super low prices on RAM upgrades for your Mac, including 2GB DDR Kit for Power Mac G5, 512MB DDR DIMM for Power Mac G4, 512MB PC-2700 Module for Aluminum PowerBook G4, 1GB Module for Aluminum PowerBook G4, and much more.
O'Reilly has exclusively Hot Deals discounts for many of it's most popular Mac titles, including Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Tiger Edition, Essential Mac OS X Panther Server Administration, Learning Unix for Mac OS X Tiger, Mac OS X Tiger for Unix Geeks, iPod & iTunes: The Missing Manual, 3rd Edition, and much more.
AudioMIDI has fantastic deals on a wide range of audio products for your Mac, including M-Audio iControl, M-Audio Ozonic, Arturia Vintage Collection Package, Native Instruments Reaktor 5 Update, Propellerhead Reason 3 Upgrade, Edirol R1 Recorder, Cycling 74 Mode, Cubase SX3 Ed Tutorial DVD Level 1, and much more.
Publishing Perfection has great deals on a variety of design and print products for your Mac, including Auto FX Photo/Graphic Edges Volume 6 Upgrade, Stock Layouts, for Adobe InDesign, Dedicated Digital akHD Reptiles, MagicFrames 2, Gluon JobCapture 5.0, Colorblind Prove It, Pantone Color Bridge, and much more.
[6/4] Get inside Tiger--Advanced Backup Architectures for Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger: The upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference 2005, June 6-10, will focus on the latest edition of Mac OS X, i.e. "Tiger" or 10.4. Backups enable administrators to ensure business continuance. Learn about advanced backup architectures such as mirroring, replication, snap-shots, and more traditional disk-to-disk-to-tape. See how Apple customers deploy Xserve, Xserve RAID, and Xsan to solve business challenges regarding backup. Check out the details on what will be covered at WWDC 2005 on this Apple Web page. [Biill Fox]
[6/4] New Goodies for .Mac Member--HomePage Templates, Sims 2--The Body Shop, $10 Aspyr Game Discounts: If you are a .Mac member, check them out.
Thirteen new templates have been added to HomePage, pushing the total to more than 80. Two of the new iMovie templates display bigger images for all movies, and also replace the "letterbox" look with true widescreen for iMovie HD widescreen movies. New photo album templates pick up the popular Travel and Watercolor book themes from iPhoto, and you can now use the Graphite and Archival themes to achieve a common look across the different types of pages you can create with HomePage. More...
If you are a Sims fan you can take advantage of early access to one of the new features coming in The Sims 2 The Body Shop, with a huge selection of facial features, hairstyles, outfits (and even makeup) to choose among. Sharing your creations with friends via your iDisk Public folder is built-in, and, if you pre-order a copy of The Sims 2 before June 15, 2005, you automatically qualify for a $10 discount on one of many selected Aspyr games. More...
[6/4] Apple iPod Recycling and Discount Program Announced: Apple announced a free iPod recycling program. Today, customers can bring iPods they no longer want to any of Apple’s 100 retail stores in the US for free environmentally friendly disposal, and those who drop off an iPod, iPod mini or iPod photo will receive a 10 percent discount on the purchase of a new iPod that day. iPods received for recycling in the U.S. are processed domestically and no hazardous material is shipped overseas. More details of Apple’s worldwide recycling programs are available at this Apple Web page. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]
[6/4] Feral Friday News - New Redesigned Website - Colin McRae Minisite - Commandos Battle Pack Shipping: Feral unveiled its new look website yesterday. The intention is to make it easier to use, more useful and more entertaining--check it out.
A flashtastic minisite devoted to the upcoming game, Colin McRae Rally 2005, has now been posted. Over the coming months more info on both the game and rallying will be added to the site, including screenshots from the mac version in development culminating in a demo just prior to release.
Finally, Commandos Battle Pack is now shipping everywhere. A fantastic review awarded the Commandos Battle Pack a maximum 5 stars out of 5 and a MacFormat Choice Award: "Difficulty issues aside, Commandos Battle Pack is like acting every part in one of the best (make that two of the best) World War II movies ever." [Bill Fox]
[6/4] Billings 1.1 Released, Highlighted at WWDC 2005: Marketcircle announced the release of Billings v1.1, the intuitive time tracking and billing application for the individual Mac professional. This update provides over 25 improvements including the ability to handle local currency symbols and Roman Alphabet characters, a new template style and more.
"I'm also very proud to announce that Billings will be featured at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in the 'Cutting-Edge Interface Design for Mac OS X' session on Tuesday June 7th." Said Aly Daya, VP for Sales & Markeying. "This session will cover how to develop highly focussed, user centric and well-designed Mac OS X software."
Billings v1.1 is available at an introductory price of $39.00 USD from the Marketcircle Online Store. Users can download a free 21 day trial. Billings requires Mac OS X v10.3.5 or higher and includes Spotlight support on Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger". [Bill Fox]
[6/4] IOExperts Released IOXWebcam 1.1: IOXperts, Inc. announced IOXWebcam 1.1, a unified driver replacing the Mac OS X versions of their Universal USB and FireWire Webcam drivers. The new release supports Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" and includes many new features and enhancements. IOXwebcam 1.1 is $19.95--It is a free update for customers who have purchased a retail USB or FireWire Webcam Driver directly from IOXperts. [Bill Fox]
[6/3] Get inside Tiger--Advanced Document-based Application Techniques in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger: The upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference 2005, June 6-10, will focus on the latest edition of Mac OS X, i.e. "Tiger" or 10.4. Move beyond the default document handling capabilities of Cocoa. Learn how to properly customize and extend Cocoa's document classes to support multiple windows displaying views of a single document, displaying data from multiple documents within a single window, advanced error handling, plugins, and much more. Check out the details on what will be covered at WWDC 2005 on this Apple Web page. [Bill Fox]
[6/3] Details on Proposed Settlement of Class-Action iPod Battery Suit--Get an Apple $50 Purchase Certificate: Here we go again. First, there is a somewhat dubious class action lawsuit (does any battery live up to its claim?). Then, the class members get certificates that to collect on cause them to spend even more money on products from the entity they sued (since it's Apple, we'll probably all do that anyway). And finally, the attorneys take home a huge multimillion dollar fee ($2.8 million here). Oh, and the named plaintiffs occasionally get an additional benefit over othe class members ($1,500 here)
In this case, several people sued Apple because they claimed that the battery in their iPod did not substantilly live up to Apple's claims of a 10-hour play time for the life of their iPod. The settlement provides a $50 certificate for each qualifying iPod bought new and an extension of the iPod's warranty from one to two years. The suit covers first, second and third (iPod with 4 round buttons) generation iPods bought before May 1, 2004, so only the 3G model owners are likely to benefit from the extended warranty. Of course, the battery has to have failed too, i.e. it runs for less than 5 hours for 1G and 2G iPods and less than 4 hours for 3G iPods. The settlement also provides for up to $50 reimbursement for to those who paid to have their batteries replaced.
The $50 certificates can be used to purchase additional Apple products except for iTunes songs and gift certificates. If you bought multiple iPods, however, the $50 certificates cannot be aggregated on a single Apple product.
All of the details are covered on the Apple iPod Settlement Web site. It includes PDF files of the notice of proposed settlement, the claim form and instructions for filing the claim form. It also includes a generally useless FAQ that largely just refers to paragraphs in the notice and a listing of deadlines. Generally, you have until September 30, 2005, to apply--maybe longer if you recently bought a new 3G iPod.
Our four 1G iPods all get less than 5 hours play time on a full charge today so we'll have to decide if we want to skewer Apple for some nearly-free wireless keyboards or mice or something.... [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]
[6/3] Apple's Tiger Tip of the Week--RSS Feed in Screen Saver: Safari 2.0 included with Tiger has a built-in RSS (really simple syndication) news reader. Using RSS feeds is a simple and effective way to check for news on the web across many web sites. While RSS will not replace such gems as MacSurfer and MacUpdate, it is a great asset for reducing one's surfing time if one is comfortable with just headlines or headlines plus a small blurb. Guess what? Tiger's screen saver includes bringing RSS news feeds. Not only the default Apple RSS feed is available, but using the "Options" button (not key) allows one to select the RSS feed from any Web site bookmarked in Safari. More... [Dana Baggett]
[6/3] Daystar Issued Tiger-Compatible XLR8 MAChSpeed Control Utility v3.4 for CPU Upgrades: Daystar Technology announced the upgraded release of its XLR8 MAChSpeed Control, CPU performance software. The new version of MAChSpeed Control incorporates a wide array of tools for CPU/Cache configuration, profiling, testing and compatibility. The update (version 3.4) also includes compatibility with all Apple operating systems from Mac OS 9 though Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger). MAChSpeed Control is available via download or USPS, direct from Daystar's web site. It is sold in versions for Mac OS 9, Mac OS X and combo packages. It is a free upgrade for those who bought a product in the past 12 months. [Bill Fox]
[6/2] Big Opportunity for Apple Dashboard Widget Developers--Don't Miss It! Apple's terrific Worldwide Developers Conference kicks off next Monday. As is the case with events such as the WWDC, global attention will be focused on Apple and its Web site. That translates into an excellent opportunity to get your own new Dashboard Widget in front of millions of potential customers. Don't miss this opportunity to effectively market your Dashboard Widget; just submit your Widget to Apple's official Mac OS X Tiger Dashboard Widget Web site before Monday, June 6. [Bill Fox]
[6/2] Hands-On Report--Symantec Norton Antivirus for Mac 10.0 for Tiger: Our CD edition of Norton Antivirus for Mac 10.0 arrived via Priority Mail late last week, two days after shipment from Symantec Distribution in Minnesota. The retail box contains an installation CD and a 44 page printed User's Guide. It has been re-stickered as an "upgrade" edition.
Installation was a breeze. The installer automatically removes NAV 9.x. If you have an earlier version of NAV installed on your hard drive, you have to remove it yourself. (The original installer CD may have an uninstall option.)
Initial impressions are that the graphics are better and there are more features than NAV 9.x..
New features of v.10.0 compared with prior versions are described in the accompanying Read Me and in more detail here. Here's a summary by topic:
- Compatible with Macintosh OS X 10.4 (code named Tiger)
- Global Threat Assessment Dashboard (for OS X 10.4)
- Contextual menu support
- Custom Auto-Protect Safe Zones
- Smart volume scanning
- "Learn More" virus encyclopedia links
- Automatic engine reloading
- Compressed scan feedback
- Definition (subscription) expiration date. The virus definition subscription expiration date is now displayed in the main Norton AntiVirus program window.
- Delete from Scan window
- Expanded mount scan options
- QuickMenu additions. You can now start Norton AntiVirus and LiveUpdate from the QuickMenu.
- Reset to default Preferences
- Symantec Uninstaller installed in Symantec Solutions folder
The installer asked permission to run LiveUpdate before it finished. The virus definitions were updated and a program update also occurred, described here as a fix to the Symantec Alerts Widget, a new feature of NAV 10.
The application has more links to the Symantec web site than in the past, including "Late-breaking news for Norton AntiVirus for Macintosh" (see the web page here). Also, the NAV 10.0 installer includes StuffIt Expander 9.0.2.
Count us among those who feared NAV 10.0 would be little more than a minor update to NAV 9.x issued as a "New version" because of Tiger compatibility. But it appears that the entire application has been re-worked. The Dashboard Widget, for example, is not a gimmick and provides
"... the latest threat information from the Security Response Web site (updated every 5 minutes). Current Auto-Protect status, Norton AntiVirus program version, and virus definition date are displayed on the 'flip side' of the widget"
according to Symantec. For those who work with Macs in a mixed platform environment, the inclusion of protection from all known PC as well as Mac viruses makes it highly unlikely that one's Mac can unwittingly pass along a PC virus to a networked PC.
The SRP for NAV 10.0 is $69.95 direct from Symantec (street price may be lower and a $30 rebate coupon is available) and the upgrade price is $39.95 plus shipping direct from Symantec for those who can't stand rebates.
A final tip. Keep at least the bottom of the retail box with the scan bar. My experience is that to qualify for an "upgrade" price on a future product, Symantec will want to know the code numbers in small type just above and on the right side of the scan bar, regardless of whether you have "registered" the product. [Dana Baggett]
[6/2] Keyspan Ships New USB PS/2 Adapter for the Mac mini: The Keyspan USB PS/2 Adapter makes it easy to connect a PS/2 keyboard and PS/2 mouse to a single USB port.To r Retailing at $19, Keyspan's USB PS/2 Adapter solves a connectivity problem resulting from the lack of PS/2 ports on Apple's new Mac mini which ships without a keyboard or mouse.On Windows there is no software to install. Users simply plug in the adapter
to a USB port on the PC then plug the keyboard and mouse into the
color-coded connectors on the adapter. For Macintosh users, a A software utility is provided that re-maps the PS/2 keyboard and mouse for optimal use on a Mac. [Bill Fox]
[6/2] Tonight on the Tech Night Owl LIVE--Macworld Boston, Bose, Rogue Amoeba and Roku: This week co-hosts Gene and Grayson Steinberg will present a quartet of guests on a variety of subjects. You'll learn the details about Macworld Expo Boston from Paul Kent. Speakers for your iPod and your Mac will be described by Lino Pucci of Bose. If you want to know how to record Internet radio streams, you'll be interested in hearing from Paul Kafasis of Rogue Amoeba Software, and Tim Twerdahl of Roku will come aboard to talk about the company's line of SoundBridge network music players. Tune in the internet radio broadcast Thursday night from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific (9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern). [Bill Fox]
[6/2] Apple Revised the Offerings from Three Hot Deals Retailers:
Office Depot has fantastic deals on essential products for your Mac, including Epson Stylus CX6600 Color Flatbed All-in-One Device, Belkin SurgeMaster 6-Outlet Home Grade Surge Protector, Office Depot CD-R 100-Pack Spindle Media, SanDisk 1GB Cruzer USB 2.0 Mini Flash Drive, Sony Mavica MVC-FD200 2MP Digital Camera, SanDisk 512MB Secure Memory Card, and much more.
Tech Depot has exclusive Hot Deals on great products for your Mac, including MacAlly BlueWave Bluetooth Stereo and Tune Streaming Headset, Samsung 912T 19" LCD Display, D-Link AirPlus G DI-524 Wireless Router, Kensington Wireless Optical PilotMouse, Canon PowerShot SD200 Digital Camera, Maxtor OneTouch II 200GB External USB Hard Drive, and much more.
Mac Game Store has great deals on the hottest games for the Mac, including MacSoft Tropico 2: Pirate Cove, Feral Interactive Commandos Battle Pack, Feral Interactive Chessmaster 9000, MacSoft Unreal Tournament 2004, Aspyr Media Star Trek: Elite Force II, Virtual Programming KinghtShift, Freeverse Burning Monkey Solitaire 2005, and more.
[6/1] Get inside Tiger--Create Safari Plug-ins for Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger": The upcoming Worldwide Developers Conference 2005, June 6-10, will focus on the latest edition of Mac OS X, i.e. "Tiger" or 10.4. There will be a number of special hands-on sessions in addition to the usual lectures and labs. The Safari Plug-ins hands-on session will teach you how to build plug-ins using Cocoa, the Netscape API, and Java. Check out the details on what will be covered at WWDC 2005 on this Apple Web page. [Bill Fox]
[6/1] Wednesdays are Business Days at Apple Stores--June Schedule: Each month the Apple Stores focus on a different topic for Business Days--Wednesdays. The June focus is Networking Your Business. Stop by to see how easily one can integrate Mac computers into one's existing network infrastructure and how to build a new infrastructure based entirely on the stable, secure Mac OS X environment. One can also make appointments with Apple business consultants before the store opens. There are two demonstrations for June:
Video Conferencing for Any Business--Learn how to make your business more productive. Using an iSight video camera with iChat AV is the easiest way to video conference with remote colleagues and clients.
Creating A Wireless Network for Your Business--Find out how wireless high-speed file sharing, shared Internet access, remote access, and shared printing will help your business run smoothly and efficiently.
The times of the events vary so check with your local Apple Store for times. [Bill Fox]
[6/1] Brief Hands-On Report--QuickTime 7.0.1 Updater: Apple released an update v7.0.1 to QuickTime 7. It is available for download via the System Preferences Software Update pane or as a standalone updater from this Apple Web page. According to the ReadMe file:
QuickTime 7.0.1 provides several important bug fixes, a security enhancement, and improved compatibility with Final Cut Studio. This update is recommended for all QuickTime 7 users.
Here are the details on the security improvement for the Quartz Composer Plugin:
Available for: QuickTime 7.0
Impact: With QuickTime 7.0, a QuickTime movie containing a
maliciously crafted Quartz Composer object can leak a data to an
arbitrary web location.
Description: Quartz Composer objects can be wrapped in a QuickTime
track, and can be delivered as a QuickTime movie. With QuickTime
7.0, a Quartz Composer object can gather local data and send it via
an encoded URL to an arbitrary web location. The QuickTime 7.0.1
update modifies the QuickTime Quartz Composer Plugin to prevent
access to remote web locations. This issue does not occur in
QuickTime for Windows. Credit to David Remahl of www.remahl.se/david
for reporting this issue.
We downloaded and installed QuickTime 7.0.1 Update on numerous Macs running QuickTime 7 on 10.4.1 and 10.3.9 with no apparent problems. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]
[6/1] FREE Envision Web Show of the Week--U.S. Memorial Day: In honor of Memorial Day, this week's Envision Web Show of the Week features high resolution black-and-white World War II photos from the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. The Envision Web Show of the Week 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. [Bill Fox]
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