June 2006 News Archive

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Copyright 2006 by Bill Fox All rights reserved.
Last Updated: June 30, 2006

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[6/30] Apple Revised Mac OS X 10.4.7 (Intel) Install Package But Situation Unclear

We received the following note from Apple,

Mac OS X v10.4.7 was released on Tuesday of this week. The install
package that upgrades a Mac OS X v10.4.6 (Intel) system is being
revised. The revision is to provide several files related to OpenGL
performance that were missing.

Only the package that upgrades a Mac OS X v10.4.6 (Intel) system to
Mac OS X v10.4.7 (Intel) is being changed. All other Mac OS X
v10.4.7 install packages remain unchanged.

The change being made to the install package does not affect the
security fixes provided in the package.

The new package is named: MacOSXUpd10.4.7Intel.dmg
It's SHA-1 digest is: 10aa57dfccd63accb0939a894cea202a8910fb45

We believe that this means that if one updated an Intel-based Mac to 10.4.7 using the delta updater that one will need to apply a revised updater when issued. However, if one used Software Update or the stand-alone Combo edition of the updater, then perhaps one does not need to reinstall Mac OS X 10.4.7 (Intel) but that is not completely clear. We used Software Update on our Intel-based Macs and have not experienced any graphics issues.

According to MacFixIt, Apple has now posted a revised delta updater (MacOSXUpd10.4.7Intel.dmg) and MacFixIt provides a procedure to confirm it. Unfortunately, Apple has not posted an explanation nor updated the posting date for the update's listing on Support/Downloads or its specific Web page. It seems to us that the safest and easiest procedure is simply to apply the combo updater. [Bill Fox]

[6/30] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple Released iTunes 6.0.5

iTunes 6.0.5 is available for download via Software Update or from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,

iTunes 6.0.5 allows you to sync your Nike + iPod workout data to nikeplus.com, where you can easily track your progress, set training goals, challenge others, and much more. Visit the Nike Sport Music area on the iTunes Music Store to download workout mixes, Athlete Inspiration playlists, Nike podcasts, and more.

It also includes a security fix:

CVE-2006-1467 for Mac OS X v10.2.8 or later, Windows XP / 2000
Impact: An integer overflow in iTunes could cause a denial of
service or lead to the execution of arbitrary code
Description: The AAC file parsing code in iTunes versions prior
to 6.0.5 contains an integer overflow vulnerability. Parsing a
maliciously-crafted AAC file could cause iTunes to terminate or
potentially execute arbitrary code. iTunes 6.0.5 addresses this
issue by improving the validation checks used when loading AAC
files. Credit to ATmaCA working with TippingPoint and the Zero Day
Initiative for reporting this issue.

We downloaded and installed iTunes 6.0.5 on a number of Intel-based and PowerPC-based Macs with no problems. The iTunes Music Store now lists a new selection in the left column entitled Nike Sport Music which has songs, albums and playlists of songs related to sports and free sports-related podcasts and videocasts. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[6/30] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple Released iPod Updater 2006-06-28

The new iPod updater is available via Software Update or for download from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,

iPod Updater 2006-06-28 delivers:

New iPod Software 1.1.2 for iPod
New iPod Software 1.2 for iPod nano
New iPod Software 1.1.4 for iPod shuffle
For all other iPod models, iPod Updater 2006-06-28 contains the same software versions as iPod Updater 2006-03-23.

Important: After downloading the iPod Updater software, connect your iPod to your computer and launch the iPod Updater application. If iPod Updater determines that your iPod needs to be updated, click the Update button to install the latest software on your iPod.

Features of iPod Software 1.1.2 for iPod:

Bug fixes

Features of iPod Software 1.2 for iPod nano:

Nike + iPod support
Bug fixes

Features of iPod Software 1.1.4 for iPod shuffle:

Volume limit
Bug fixes

Note: iTunes 6.0.5 or later required to set a maximum volume limit for iPod shuffle. For information about how to set the maximum volume limit, open iTunes and choose Help > iTunes and Music Store Help.

We downloaded iPod Updater 2006-06-28 and updated our iPod with video's software to v1.1.2. We hadn't noticed any bugs with v1.1.1 and our iPod with video works fine after the update to 1.1.2 was applied. [Bill Fox]

[6/30] New MTV Programming Available on iTunes Music Store

MTV Networks and Apple announced in a press release that new television programming from Spike TV, Nick at Nite, TV Land, Logo, MTV and The N is now available on the iTunes Music Store. Adding to the hit MTV Networks content already on iTunes, this new round of programming available for purchase and download crosses virtually every genre and includes Spike TV's brand-new action series "Blade: The Series," MTV's prank-comedy show "Viva La Bam" and TV Land's "Sit Down Comedy with David Steinberg." MTV Networks' programming has been a huge success on iTunes since debuting earlier this year, with COMEDY CENTRAL's "South Park" alone selling over one million episodes. iTunes now offers over 150 TV shows for $1.99 per episode for viewing on a computer or iPod. [Bill Fox]

[6/30] Apple Investigating Possible Stock Options Irregularities

Apple announced in a press release that an internal investigation has discovered irregularities related to the issuance of certain stock option grants made between 1997 and 2001. One of the grants in question was to CEO Steve Jobs, but it was subsequently cancelled and resulted in no financial gain to the CEO. A special committee of Apple's outside directors has hired independent counsel to perform an investigation and the company has informed the SEC. Apple executives will refrain from commenting further on this matter until the independent investigation is concluded.

"Apple is a quality company, and we are proactively and transparently disclosing what we have discovered to the SEC," said Apple CEO Steve Jobs. "We are focused on resolving these issues as quickly as possible."

News accounts have indicated that the issue involves possibly post-dating certain stock options. [Bill Fox]

[6/29] SATA to FireWire miniXpress Portable External Drive from TransIntl Debuts

Trans International announced it's first SATA to FireWire miniXpress portable external drive. Utilizing the latest Serial-ATA to FireWire, hot pluggable and bus powered technology, the MiniXpress solves the MacBook and MacBook Pro internal drive upgrade issue of utilizing the replaced drive. With TransIntl miniXpress Portable enclosures, users can upgrade their MacBook and MacBook Pro with larger capacity drives. They can then install the replaced drive in a miniXpress and use it for backing up or added storage.

The miniXpress portable's rugged yet stylish cases are made with aluminum  assuring durability and heat dissipation. Equipped with an anti-shock mechanism and triple interface (F800/F400/USB) the miniXpress is an ideal and versatile solution for portable external storage. [Bill Fox]

[6/29] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple Released QuickTime 7.1.2

QuickTime 7.1.2 is available for download via Software Update or from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,

QuickTime 7.1.2 addresses an issue previewing iDVD projects. This update is recommended for all QuickTime 7 users.

We downloaded and installed QuickTime 7.1.2 on a number of Intel- and PowerPC-based Macs. We used QT 7.1.2 to view QT movies, regular and HD, on the Web without any problems. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[6/29] Apple's FireWire Making Come Back, Especially in Consumer Electronics

While Apple's FireWire (the 1394 protocol) is being strongly challenged by USB 2.0 in computer and peripherals markets, its life in consumer electronics (CE) is improving, In-Stat reported. Digital televisions, cable set top boxes, and DVD recorders are all driving 1394a growth in the CE segment, the high-tech market research firm said. In addition, the High-Definition Audio Video Networking Alliance (HANA) has endorsed FireWire as a transmission medium for high-definition content, a development that may spur adoption of FireWire in home video networks.

In the computer world, FireWire has had success, particularly in notebooks, but the low rate of adoption of FireWire outside of Apples own computers led Apple to remove the FireWire interface from its wildly popular iPod devices in favor of USB 2.0. However, Microsoft has announced that it will support 1394b in its next-generation Vista operating system, which may breathe additional life into FireWire in the Windows-based computer segment.

"The CE segment is expected to surpass the combination of the PC and PC peripheral segments in 1394 devices by 2007," says Brian O'Rourke, In-Stat analyst.

Recent research by In-Stat found the following:

  • The overall worldwide market for 1394-enabled devices will grow from 115.8 million units in 2005 to 219.9 million in 2010.
  • If HANA is successful in driving 1394b as a home networking technology, In-Stat expects to see 1394b in wall plates or separate boxes, such as gateways, rather than in CE devices.

The results of In-Stat's research is very good news for Apple's FireWire protocol. [Bill Fox]

[6/29] Apple Revised the Offerings from Three Hot Deals Retailers

CDW Mac Warehouse has deals on a wide variety of Mac products including: get the #1 productivity suite in Office 2004 Professional w/Virtual PC for G4 and G5 Macs for only $469.00!; run Windows XP on your Intel-based Mac with Parallels Desktop for only $49.99! (does not include Windows XP software); print like a pro with the Konica-Minolta 5450 color laser printer for only $949.99 after $550.00 instant rebate through 7/31/06!; get the 8.0-megapixel Nikon Coolpix P4 w/3.5x optical zoom for only $399.99; make high-resolution scans on a budget with the Microtek ScanMaker i320 flatbed scanner for only $99.99!; convert your 15" MacBook Pro to a desktop system in seconds with the BookEndz Docking Station for $299.95!; ; and much more.

MacGameStore has deals on a wide variety of Mac games with an exclusive 5% Hot Deals discount at checkout: get the highly anticipated Civilization IV from Aspyr Media for only $49.95; join the chaos of WWII battles in Call of Duty 2 from Aspyr Media for only $49.95; hit the courts with Tennis Titans from Skunk Studios for only $19.95 (digital download only); get a new travel and home companion with Puppy Luv: A New Breed from Lost Sock Games for only $19.95 (digital download); breed and care for exotic fish in the new sim game Fish Tycoon from Big Fish Games for only $19.95 (digital download); and much more.

Sweetwater Sound has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: get a virtual rack full of premium stereo tube recording gear with TonePort UX2 from Line 6 for only $199.99!; get the latest professional loop collection from Zero-G - World Pack for GarageBand for only $154.97; get a better understanding of Pro Tools LE with Pro Tools Clinic, book and CD-ROM, from Music Sales for only $24.95!; get a pro-grade pitch shift and time stretch Pro Tools LE Plug-in with Serato Pitch n' Time LE for only $369.97!; get free shipping and a $20 price drop when you buy the Novation ReMOTE LE 25 USB 25-Key MIDI Controller for only $109.99!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[6/29] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl Live--MacFixIt, Macworld and Script Software

This week Gene Steinberg and his irreverent son and co-host Grayson welcome MacFixIt editor Ben Wilson, who will talk about troubleshooting the 10.4.7 update and reports of problems with Apple's Intel-based notebook computers. Macworld's Rob Griffiths will be on hand to evaluate about the best available Mac virus protection software, and deliver a possible with list for Mac OS 10.5 Leopard. You'll also hear from Julian Miller of Script Software, who will talk about some of his company's shareware applications, such as ChatFX. Tune in the broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern.

[6/28] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple Released Mac OS X 10.4.7 Update

Apple released an update for Mac OS X, the 10.4.7 Update for Intel-based and PowerPC-based Macs and for client and server editions. It is available for download via Software Update or from this Apple Web page as either delta or combo updaters. We recommend applying the combo updater if not using Software Update since the combo files include all updates since the original release of 10.4 "Tiger".

Here is a summary of the fixes in the 10.4.7 update:

The 10.4.7 Update is recommended for all users and includes general operating system fixes, as well as specific fixes for the following applications and technologies. It includes fixes for:

  • preventing AFP deadlocks and dropped connections
  • saving Adobe and Quark documents to AFP mounted volumes
  • Bluetooth file transfers, pairing and connecting to a Bluetooth mouse, and syncing to mobile phones
  • audio playback in QuickTime, iTunes, Final Cut Pro, and Soundtrack applications
  • ensuring icons are spaced correctly when viewed on desktop
  • determining the space required to burn folders
  • iChat audio and video connectivity, creating chat rooms when using AIM
  • importing files into Keynote 3
  • PDF workflows when using iCal and iPhoto
  • reliable use of Automator actions within workflows
  • importing and removing fonts in Font Book
  • syncing addresses, bookmarks, calendar events and files to .Mac
  • compatibility with third party applications and devices
  • previous standalone security updates

This Apple Web page provides further details on the fixes for Mail, iChat, Syncing, Finder, Apple applications, third-party applications, networking, Xsan and others.

Here are the specific details of the security fixes:

AFP (CVE-ID: CVE-2006-1468)--File and folder names may be disclosed to unauthorized users
Description: An issue in AFP server allows search results to include the names of files and folders for which the user performing the search has no access. This could result in information disclosure if the names themselves are sensitive information. This update addresses the issue by ensuring that
search results only include items for which the user is authorized. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4.

ClamAV (CVE-ID: CVE-2006-1989)--When virus scanning is configured to update automatically, a malicious database mirror may cause arbitrary code execution
Description: An issue in ClamAV's automatic virus database updating may result in a stack-based buffer overflow. A malicious or spoofed ClamAV database mirror may be able to cause arbitrary code execution with the privileges of ClamAV. The Mail service, virus scanning, and automatic virus database updates are off by default. This update addresses the issue by incorporating ClamAV 0.88.2. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4.

ImageIO (CVE-ID: CVE-2006-1469)--Viewing a maliciously-crafted TIFF image may result in an application crash or arbitrary code execution
Description: By carefully crafting a corrupt TIFF image, an attacker can trigger a stack-based buffer overflow which may result in an application crash or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of TIFF images. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4.

launchd (CVE-ID: CVE-2006-1471)--Local users may gain elevated privileges
Description: A format string vulnerability in the setuid program launchd may allow an authenticated local user to execute arbitrary code with system privileges. The issue is present in launchd's logging facility. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation when logging messages. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4. Credit to Kevin Finisterre of DigitalMunition for reporting this issue.

OpenLDAP (CVE-ID: CVE-2006-1470)--Remote attackers may cause Open Directory server to crash
Description: By carefully crafting an invalid LDAP request, a remote attacker may be able to trigger an assertion in the OpenLDAP server, resulting in a denial-of-service. This update addresses the issue by discarding the invalid request. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4. Credit to the Mu Security research team for reporting this issue.

We downloaded and installed Mac OS X 10.4.7 Update using the Software Update application on a number of Macs: an Intel-based 15" MacBook Pro and a 20" iMac Core Duo and a PowerPC-based 17" Power Book G4 and Power Mac G5. No difficulties were encountered with installation and our PowerPC-based Macs did NOT double restart after installation as we have seen others claim. After many hours use since installing Mac OS X 10.4.7, we have encountered no difficulties with any of our applications on any of our Macs.

We have noticed at least one obvious performance improvement in this update. Apple Mail on our Intel-based Macs is now much faster at checking mail boxes, especially IMAP accounts. We do not know if this performance improvement is due to a networking fix or a Mail fix or both since both components have been updated but it is very welcome. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[6/28] Apple Released MacBook Pro 17-inch SMC Firmware Update

Apple released a new firmware update for the 17" MacBook Pro. It is available for download via Software Update on 17" MacBook Pros or from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,

This SMC Firmware Update adjusts fan behavior in the MacBook Pro 17-inch.

We do not have a 17" MacBook Pro but the firmware update is similar to that released for the 15" MacBook Pro earlier this year. The firmware update process has been simplified by Apple and it worked very well on our 15" MacBook Pro. [Bill Fox]

[6/28] Adobe Released Adobe Flash Player 9 for Mac OS X (PPC or Rosetta) and Adobe Flex 2

Adobe Systems Incorporated today announced the availability of Adobe Flash Player 9 (formerly Flash Player 8.5), the next-generation Flash Player client runtime for the Mac. However, the new version 9 is still not a Universal application. If one wishes to run it on an Intel-based Mac, the Web browser must be forced to run under Rosetta emulation.

According to Adobe, Flash Player 9 achieves up to 10 times faster performance through ActionScript 3.0 and a new ActionScript Virtual Machine (AVM), which features a Just In Time (JIT) compiler that translates ActionScript bytecode to native machine code for maximum execution speed.

Flash Player 9 provides new application runtime capabilities for Adobe Flex 2, also announced today. The Flex 2 product line provides developers with a comprehensive, integrated set of tools and technology for fast, end-to-end development of rich and innovative web applications.

Adobe Flash Player 9 is available immediately as a free download from this Adobe Web page. Flash Player 9 is available for the Mac OS X (PPC and Rosetta) in both English and localized versions. [Bill Fox]

[6/27] Apple "Power Mac" to Finally Hit 3GHz but with Intel CPU?

Intel announced that its high-end Core 2 Duo CPU is now shipping and at speeds up to 3GHz. Formerly code-named "Woodcrest," the new CPU released specifically for high-end servers and called the Intel Xeon 5100 is the top end of its second generation Core 2 Duo series. Other members of the Core 2 Duo series are code named "Conroe" for desktops and "Merom" for notebooks. This new CPU is billed by Intel as increasing performance by up to 135 percent and using up to 40 percent less power than the CPU it replaces.

The question is, will Apple adopt this new Core 2 Duo CPU in its Intel-based replacement of the Power Mac G5 expected to be forthcoming before the end of 2006. If so, Apple will finally be able to deliver on Steve Jobs projection of a Mac running at 3GHz, a projection he made when introducing the IBM-based Power Mac G5 several years ago but IBM failed to deliver. The Core 2 Duo "Woodcrest" CPU has a dual processor core with 64-bit architecture like the current IBM Power PC G5 but it runs up to 3 GHz with a 1.33GHz frontside system bus and 4MB of shared L2 cache.

While "Woodcrest" would fittingly improve the performance of Apple's pro desktop computer (and Xserve!) while bringing it into the Intel-based world with the rest of Apple's computer line, an even better performing Intel quad core CPU code-named "Clovertown" is due out on the heals of "Woodcrest", i.e. in another 6 months or so. This timeframe is similar to Adobe's planned release of its pro software for the Mac updated with Intel-native code and Apple's release of Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard so it would seem tempting for Apple to wait 6 months more to update the Power Mac G5, skipping the "Woodcrest" CPU. We don't know if Apple will do that but either way a 3GHz "Mac Pro" is in the near future. [Bill Fox]

[6/27] Aspyr Officially Announced Shipping of Sid Meier's Civilization IV (Universal)

Aspyr Media, Inc. announced that Sid Meier's Civilization IV has begun shipping in North America for Macintosh. Civilization IV, a Mac OS X Universal application, is licensed from 2K Games, a Take-Two Interactive Software publishing label, and was developed for Mac by Aspyr Studios.

Sid Meier's Civilization IV comes-to-life like never before in a beautifully detailed, living 3D world that expands the gameplay experience. This latest installment takes the franchise to new heights with the addition of new ways to play and win, new tools to manage and expand your civilization, all-new easy to use mod capabilities and various multiplayer modes and options.

With Sid Meier's Civilization IV, rule throughout time and create your own legacy as you guide your civilization from the dawn of man through the space age and beyond. Implement new technologies, conduct diplomacy or wage war to grow your society and become the most powerful leader the world has ever known.

Civilization IV for the Mac is $49.99. [Bill Fox]

[6/27] BeLight Released Business Card Composer v4.0

BeLight Software released version 4.0 of Business Card Composer, its DIY business card tool. Version 4 features over 100 new card designs, interface changes and improved badge-production capabilities. The update polishes up iPhoto integration, Object and Text editing and brings numerous other changes. Upgrade to Business Card Composer v.4 is free for users of v.3, and is priced at $14.95 for users of version 1.x or 2.x. Check out Business Card Composer 4.0 at BeLight's Web site. We have used Business Card Composer since its inception and have favorably reviewed it. [Bill Fox]

[6/26] Apple Announced Steve Jobs WWDC Keynote will Feature Leopard, Mac OS X 10.5

Apple today announced that CEO Steve Jobs will headline a team of Apple executives, including Philip Schiller, senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing; Bertrand Serlet, senior vice president of Software Engineering; and Scott Forstall, vice president of Platform Experience, to kick off the company’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) with a keynote preview of Mac OS X "Leopard" on Monday, August 7, 2006, beginning at 10:00 a.m. at San Francisco’s Moscone West. Throughout WWDC, developers will receive detailed information and best practices on developing Universal applications that take advantage of the performance of Intel-based Macs, including special sessions on performance optimization using Apple software development tools.

The five-day event, which runs from August 7 to August 11, will deliver more than 175 technical sessions and labs with new content designed to serve a wide range of Mac developers, including tracks that preview Leopard and dozens of hands-on labs providing opportunities to work developer-to-developer with Apple engineers.

The cost of the five-day conference is $1,595 per attendee, with a $300 (US) Early Registration Discount that has been extended through July 7. Visit Apple’s WWDC website. [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]

[6/26] Adobe Adds to Lightroom by Acquiring Pixmantec ApS

Adobe today announced that it acquired the technology assets of Pixmantec ApS, makers of digital imaging software that provides advanced workflow management and processing capabilities for digital camera raw files. According to Adobe, the acquisition strengthens Adobe's leadership position in raw processing. Adobe plans to integrate Pixmantec raw processing technologies into Lightroom and wherever customers will be working with raw files.

"With high quality digital cameras now within reach of every photographer, customers are gravitating to raw file formats that allow them to get more control over final results," said John Loiacono, senior vice president of Creative Solutions at Adobe. "By combining Pixmantec's raw processing technology and expertise with our own, we're continuing to deliver on the promise that even your existing raw files can be processed with increasing quality as our software technology evolves."

Pixmantec is a privately held company headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark and currently ships the RawShooter line of digital photography software products. Adobe plans to integrate Pixmantec raw processing technologies into Lightroom and wherever customers will be working with raw files.

In preparation for this integration, the Pixmantec RawShooter Premium product is being discontinued, though the free RawShooter Essentials product will continue to be available until the Lightroom public beta program is completed. Existing Pixmantec customers will continue to be supported by Adobe and will be provided with an upgrade path to the Adobe digital imaging product family.

Terms of the aquisition were not disclosed. [Bill Fox]

[6/26] Bin-it 1.2 (Universal) is Out--$2.49 Today from MacZOT.com

Acutus Trading announced the release and immediate availability of Bin-it 1.2, a desktop utility that brings the Mac OS Trash back to the desktop in Mac OS X. Bin-it is a Universal application that runs natively on Intel-based Macs. It is available for download and trial from MacTrash.com.

Shiela Dixon, the author of Bin-it, says, "Like many Mac users, I don't find the Dock Trash as convenient as the old Trash sitting in the corner of the desktop - so I wrote Bin-it as a replacement. The addition of at-a-glance trash level indication and a choice of Trash icons results in a handy application that I'm very proud of, and I hope that others will find it as indispensable as I do."

Bin-it activation codes normally cost $12.99 but MacZOT.com has a special price for today, Monday, June 26th. The first 150 customers will be able to purchase Activation Codes for only $2.49, an 80 percent discount.

Bin-it may also be purchased as a bundle with Compost 1.8, a Trash management utility. This special bundle offer may be purchased only at MacTrash.com for $17.50 - a 20% discount. [Bill Fox]

[6/26] Apple Posted eMac Extended Repair Program for Video and Power Issues

Apple posted the details of an extended repair program for certain eMacs with certain video and power problems. The affected systems will exhibit one of the following video- or power-related symptoms:

  • Scrambled or distorted video
  • No video
  • No power

The program is available for eMac models that were sold between approximately April 2004 and June 2005 featuring 1GHz and 1.25GHz G4 processors and that have serial numbers where the first 5 digits fall into these ranges:

  • G8412xxxxxx - G8520xxxxxx
  • YM412xxxxxx - YM520xxxxxx
  • VM440xxxxxx - VM516xxxxxx

If Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) world wide determines that your eMac computer is eligible as part of the program, the repair will be covered by Apple for up to three years from the original date of purchase even if your eMac is out of warranty. Additional details of the eMac extended repair program are available from this Apple Web page. [Bill Fox]

[6/23] Adobe Released Indesign CS2 4.0.3 and InCopy CS2 4.0.3

The updates are available from within any Adobe CS2 application or via a MacUpdate.com InDesign Web page and InCopy Web page. According to Adobe,

[InDesign] Version 4.0.3 provides key fixes in the areas of file corruption, shortcuts, text and fonts, inline graphics, German hyphenation, performance, SING glyphlets, text import, and others.

[InCopy CS2 4.0.3 update] This update for Adobe InCopy CS2 software provides key fixes in the areas of file corruption, shortcuts, text and fonts, inline graphics, German hyphenation, performance, SING glyphlets, text import, and others. For a list of resolved issues, see the Adobe InCopy CS2 4.0.3 ReadMe file. This file will be located in the Adobe InCopy folder on your hard drive after you install the update.

We installed InDesign v4.0.3 with no problems. We do not have InCopy. [Bill Fox]

[6/23] Apple Revised the Offerings from Four Hot Deals Retailers

J&R Computerworld has deals on a wide variety of Mac products including: see the big picture with the Samsung SyncMaster 930B 19" TFT LCD display for only $289 after $50.00 mail-in rebate!; talk trash when gaming online with the Plantronics DSP-400 digitally-enhanced USB foldable stereo headset for only $42.99!; keep important data and passwords with you at all times with the SanDisk 512MB USB 2.0 Cruzer Mini for only $29.99!; print your special moments anywhere anytime with the Epson PictureMate Express Edition photo printer for only $69.99 - and $80 savings!; Fast Track USB from M-Audio is the easiest way to record our guitar w/profession results - bass, keyboard and mic inputs for only $99.00!; journey into a world of mystery and beauty in Myst IV: Revelation for only $14.99!; and much more.

MacConnection has deals on a wide variety of Mac products including: get high-speed storage/backup for you Mac with the 500GB triple-interface My Book Pro Edition from Western Digital for only $269.95!; capture the moment with the WiFi equipped Coolpix P2 5.1-megapixel compact digital camera from Nikon for only $169.95!; broaden you view with the 19" FP93V LCD display from Benq, Inc. for only $269.95; Adobe Creative Suite 2.0 Premium Upgrade with a free 1GB DataTraveler USB 2.0 Flash Drive for only $169.95!; control you iPod from up to 150-feet with the iPod Remote Tunes Wireless Remote from Targus for only $49.95!; and much more.

MacMall has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: the Panasonic LB50 XGA wireless LCD projector for only $1499.00!; upgrade your display with an Acer AL1706B 17" LCD display for only $149.99; wake up to you favorite play list with the iH26 portable alarm clock and iPod dock from SDI Technologies for only $99.99!; print, copy, scan and fax with the Canon Pixma MP830 color inkjet multifunction printer for only $291.99!; let your documents promote you with Swift Publisher from BeLight Software for only $35.99! - works w/Intel-based Mac's!; say hello to hassle-free texturing that lets you quickly paint highly detailed textures directly on your 3D objects with BodyPaint #D 2.5 from Maxon for only $450.00!; live a simulated life with The Sims: Complete Collection from Aspyr for only $47.99; here are two great deals on compact digital cameras - the 5.0-megapixel Canon Powershot S2-IS for only $299.99 after a $50.00 mail-in rebate; and the 6.0-megapixel PowerShot A540 for only $209.99 after mail-in rebate!; and much more.

PowerMax has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: the eVo3 Silicon Case for fifth-generation 30GB iPods for only $26.88!; mouse without wires with the RadTech BT600 Bluetooth Mouse for only $47.88!; untangle your iPod with the Dr. Bodelin Retractable FireWire iPod Sync cord for only $13.99!; add Micromat TechTool Pro 4 to your utilities folder for only $82.88!; get high-quality scans from documents as well as negatives and transparencies for only $415.88!; get performance and elegance with the Canon PowerShot SD700 IS 6-megapixel digital compact camera with image stabilization for only $479.00!; need back up? Get the G-Tech G-Drive 250GB FireWire 800/400 hard drive for only $229.88!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[6/23] Black Cat Systems Released Audiocorder 4.8.0

Audiocorder version 4.8.0 has been released by Black Cat Systems. This version adds a Voice Timestamp feature, which allows a computer generated spoken time and date to be prepended to the beginning of a recording. This is useful if you want a record of exactly when a recording began.

Audiocorder allows your Mac to act as a sophisticated audio recorder. With the click of a button, you can record from any audio source that you connect to your Mac, through a microphone or a direct cable connection. Audiocorder makes it easy to record music, as well as make spoken recordings. And it can automatically transfer recordings to iTunes, to add them to playlists, or convert to mp3 format. Audiocorder is priced at just $19.99, and may be downloaded from this Black Cat Software Web page. [Bill Fox]

[6/23] Grow with Daylite Contest--Win $1000 from Marketcircle

Marketcircle Inc. released a new developer kit for its award-winning Mac productivity management software Daylite 3 that helps write new plug-ins and widgets. The company has also announced a Grow with Daylite contest for plug-ins and widgets that use the Daylite 3 Developer Kit.

The Daylite 3 Developer Kit plug-in and widget contest runs until the end of August, with prizes announced in September - $1000 for best plug-in and $500 for best widget. Contest details and the free Developer Kit download are available from thei Marketcircle Web page.

Daylite 3 is available for US $149 per seat, and existing users can upgrade for US $79 per seat. For more information about Daylite 3, the Daylite 3 Productivity Suite, DMI 2.0, or to download a free 30-day trial, visit Marketcircle's Web site. [Bill Fox]

[6/22] Hands-On Report--Letterbox 0.16, A Really Cool Mac OS X "Application"

Actually, Letterbox by Aaron Harnly is not an application but a bundle that modifies the mail preview pane in Apple Mail to locate it beside the folder and mail list columns instead of under the mail list to better accomodate wide screens (see image below, courtesy of Aaron Harnly). Letterbox is free.

Version 0.16 is a bug fix. It now has an installer and its own icon rather than a generic folder icon. The installer is also an uninstaller in case one does not like the effect.

We have used Letterbox since the 0.10 release and despite being still a 0.1x release, it is stable. Aaron lists only three known minor bugs.

The only "secret" to using Letterbox is that the fine gray line at the right side of the scroll bar to the right of the mail list controls the size of the mail preview pane when the cursor changes to a double arrow. See image at right (Courtesy of Aaron Hanley). So,

  • If the preview pane is closed, place the tip of the mouse cursor over the line and it will change to a double-arrow cursor then double click to open it.
  • To resize the preview pane, click-drag to the left or right on the same line after the cursor changes to a double-arrow.

Aaron lists four to-do items to improve Letterbox that he plans to work on over the next couple of weeks:

  • Preference pane to switch between 'Message right of list', 'Message below list', and 'Message left of list'
  • Menu items and keyboard shortcuts for same.
  • Options for alternate-colored-rows in the message list, and a few other tweaks.
  • (Eventually) An Outlook-style view with message subjects on a second row below the date and sender info. This will probably be tough & I'll be recruiting helpers for this task.

Letterbox has worked great on our Mac mini Core Duo and 15" MacBook Pro running Mac OS X 10.4.6. We wish Aaron luck with this very useful mod to Apple Mail. [Bill Fox]

[6/22] Apple Updated Many of its Professional Applications--Download Links

Aperture 1.1.2 Update--Addresses issues related to overall reliability and performance. This update is recommended for all Aperture users.

Pro Application Update 2006-01--This update addresses several issues with underlying frameworks and shared components for Apple’s professional applications and is strongly recommended for all users of:

Final Cut Studio
Final Cut Pro 5.1
Motion 2.1
Soundtrack Pro 1.1
DVD Studio Pro 4.1
Shake 4.1
LiveType 2.1
Compressor 2.1
Apple Qmaster 2.1
Final Cut Express HD 3.5

Logic Express Update 7.2.1--A maintenance release that delivers enhanced reliability and compatibility. Key changes address issues in the following areas:

  • Intel Macs: ReWire and ReCycle support, Standard MIDI file export, VSL EXS instrument compatibility
  • Direct playback of MP3 files
  • Compatibility with GarageBand 3 projects and Logic 7.1 songs

(We missed this one late last month.)

Final Cut Studio 5.1.1 Update--Optimizes application compatibility on specific hardware and fixes critical bugs [via MacUpdate.com]

Cinema Tools Updater 3.1.1--Fixes a potential issue with reverse telecine when using some DVCPro formats. [via MacUpdate.com

[Bill Fox]

[6/22] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla Project Released Camino 1.0.2

Camino is the Mozilla Project's Mac OS X-native Web Browser and an excellent one. Camino is our backup to Safari when a web page doesn't work with Safari which fortunately is getting rarer all the time. Here is what v1.0.2 brings:

  • Fixed several critical security issues, including those fixed in version of the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine.
  • Fixed an issue in Camino 1.0.1 where proxy auto-config (PAC) files were ignored.
  • Fixed an issue where Camino's bookmark metadata could not be added to the list of locations Spotlight is prevented from searching.
  • Fixed an issue where using Camino on a network with many Bonjour hosts could significantly degrade performance.
  • Fixed an issue where Camino would ignore the "Link from other application" tabbed browsing preference in certain cases.
  • Fixed an issue where Camino displayed some search fields on Apple.com incorrectly.

We downloaded Camino 1.0.2 from its Web site and installed it over v1.0.1. In several hours of Web browsing we encountered no problems, even with frequently problematic sites like Edmunds.com and MercedesBenzFinancial.com. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[6/22] $300 Discount on Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference Ends Tomorrow

There's still time to save $300 on your WWDC 2006 ticket purchase. This year's conference features more than 140 sessions, including in-depth technical presentations, instructive hands-on sessions, and technology-specific labs. Add in a sneak peek preview of Mac OS X Leopard, and WWDC 2006 is sure to deliver an unparalleled learning experience for developers, computational scientists, and IT professionals. The early registration discount ends Friday, June 23, so register today. [Bill Fox]

[6/22] Daystar Announced $99 XLR8 ProView USB 2.0 Video Capture Device

Daystar Technology, following up on its award-winning (product of the year) InterView 3.0 (USB 1.1) video capture device, announced a new USB 2.0 product, the XLR8 ProView USB. This new product delivers full-screen, no-compromise video on the Mac via USB 2.0. The new XLR8 ProView USB delivers full 29.97 FPS (frames per second) video, via QuickTime. Unlike expensive competitive devices, ProView USB fully supports QuickTime and accepts audio/video from any standard device via S-Video or standard RCA connectors. Easy for home users and professionals alike. Its software is Universal and the SRP is $99. [Bill Fox]

[6/22] Tonight on the Tech Night Owl Live--Parallels Desktop, QuarkExpress 7.0, Analyst Joe Wilcox and RoughlyDrafted.com Author Daniel Eran

In a really big night, Gene Steinberg and his irreverent son and co-host Grayson welcome Benjamin Rudolph of Parallels, Inc., who will speak about the final release of Parallels Desktop, which lets you run Windows at high speed at the same time as Mac OS X on your Intel-based Mac. You'll also hear from Marc Horne, a product manager from Quark, Inc., who will talk about the new features of QuarkXPress 7.0. Industry Analyst Joe Wilcox of JupiterResearch will assess the plan announced by Bill Gates to phase out his full-time work at Microsoft, and commentator Daniel Eran of roughlydrafted.com will deliver his outspoken views on a variety of Apple-related matters. Tune in the audio webcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]

[6/21] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple Released iPhoto 6.0.4 Update

iPhoto 6.0.4 Update is available download via Software Update if one has iLife '06 installed. It also available as a standalone updater (35MB) from this Apple Web page. According to the Read Me file,

This update to iPhoto contains a variety of new Greeting Card and Postcard themes for use with Apple print services, including invite and thank you card designs for summer parties, weddings, birthdays, etc.

We downloaded and installed iPhoto 6.0.4 on a 2GHz iMac Core Duo, 1.66GHz Mac mini Core Duo, 2.16GHz MacBook Pro, Power Mac G4 Cube and a 2GHz iMac G5. We opened our digital photo collections saved with iPhoto 6.0.3 and earlier with no problem. Of course, we had backups just in case. In trying many of the various features of iPhoto 6.0.4 we encountered no problems. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[6/21] Apple Released Shake 4.1 (Universal) and Dropped Price by 83 Percent

Apple released Shake 4.1, the first Universal version of its industry leading compositing software and dropped its price over 83 percent from $2,999 to $499 to fit almost any production's budget. Final Cut Studio users can now take advantage of Shake for sophisticated 3D compositing, keying, image tracking and stabilization for the price of a plug-in. According to Apple, Shake continues to be the tool of choice for major motion-picture studios and leading effects houses to create award-winning visual effects including this year's Oscar winner, "King Kong."

Shake 4.1 delivers significant performance gains on the new Intel-based Macs providing artists and editors with desktop level experience on the new MacBook Pro. Apple's performance tests on a MacBook Pro have shown that common tasks such as color correction, warping and the application of filters are processed up to 3.5 times faster on a 2.16GHz MacBook Pro than on a 1.67GHz PowerBook G4. Artists and editors can start compositing with HD, 2K and even 4K shots directly on location making Shake 4.1 on a MacBook Pro an ideal tool for continuity.

Shake 4.1 is now available through the Apple Store, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. Owners of Shake 4 can take advantage of a crossgrade to Shake 4.1 for just $49. [Image courtesy of Apple Computer--Bill Fox]

[6/21] Apple Revised the Offerings from Four Hot Deals Retailers

B&H Photo Video has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible photo and video products including: capture those special summer moments with the Kodak EasyShare Z650 6.1-megapixel digital camera w/10x zoom for only $269.95!; print those special moments with an Epson Stylus Photo R800 photo-quality inkjet printer that also prints on CD/DVDs for only $399.00!; got a black iPod? Then get the new Etymotic ER6iB sound-isolating stereo earphones for only $99.95!; if you are a video pro then you need the Avid Xpress DV 4.0 Basic Kit - video editing software for only $344.95!; listen to your iPod with the iM3 Universal Portable Audio Speaker System from Altec Lansing for only $119.95; and much more.

Publishing Perfection has deals on a wide variety of Mac products including: need editable maps? Then get Atlas International - an assortment of maps as Adobe Illustrator vector files from Map Resources for only $199.00; for extraordinary image enlargements and greater flexibility in working with digital images and more with Print Pro. 4.0 from Genuine Fractals for only $295.95!; get all three DreamSuite products (DreamSuite Series One, Series Two and Gel Series) with the DreamSuite Bundle froom AutoFX for only $389.95; get the picture with the Nikon Coolpix S4 6-megapixel, 10x optical zoom digital camera for only $349.95!; the Graphire4 6"x8" gives you need to edit your digital photos from Wacom for only $199.95!; and much more.

Small Dog Electronics has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: get our music out of our iPod and more with Tune Transfer from Valusoft for only $17.49!; choose between 19" and 20" LCD displays from LaCie for only $459.00 and $709.00 respectively!; carry your most important files with you at all times on the LaCie 4GB Carte Orange USB Key Drive for only $84.00!; watch HDTV on your computer with the Miglia TVMini HD USB HDTV tuner and DVR with remote for only $199.00!; capture the moment with the Canon PowerShot S3 6.0-megapixel digital camera w/12x optical zoom for only $469.00; and much more.

Ramjet has Hot Deals exclusive pricing on a variety of RAM upgrades for your Mac: upgrade you new MacBook Pro with a 1GB Ram Kit (1X PC2-5300, DDR2-667 RAM module) for only $124.00!; upgrade our PowerMac G4 DDR (Mirror Drive Door) with a 512MB RAM module for only $48.00!; get a 1GB DDR2 RAM DIMM module for your iMac G5 w/iSight for only $88.00!; giver your iBook G4 new life with a 1GB RAM module for only $182.00!; give our PowerMac Dual-Core G5 more room to work with a 1GB RAM Kit (2X 512MB) for only $106; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[6/21] Brief Hands-On Report--Opera 9.0 (Universal) Web Browser is Out

Version 9.0 of the excellent Opera Web browser is available for download from this Opera Web page. Here are the new features of v9.0:

  • BitTorrent--You don't need a separate BitTorrent application to download large files. Simply click a torrent link and start the download.
  • Content blocker--Remove ads or images - it's up to you. Right-click (CTRL-click on the Mac) on the Web page and choose "Block content".
  • Add your favorite search engines--Right-click on the site's search field and select "Create search" from the menu.
  • Thumbnail preview--It is easy to have many tabs open at once in Opera. But exactly which tab had that video you wanted? Hover your mouse on any tab to see a thumbnail preview.
  • Site preferences--Want to view a site in a different way or deny certain cookies? Want to block pop-ups on certain sites only? Right click and select "Edit site preferences".
  • Widgets--Small Web applications (multimedia, newsfeeds, games and more) that make your desktop experience more fun. Use the Widgets menu to discover new widgets and access your favorites. Visit widgets.opera.com to learn more.
  • Improved rich text editing--Use advanced text editing features for today's most popular Web applications.

We downloaded and used Opera 9.0 for several hours on a 1.66GHz Mac mini Core Duo and a 2.16GHz 15" MacBook Pro. Our Safari bookmarks imported with a single click and Opera 9.0 is highly customizeable. Opera 9.0 is very fast, especially with Java Web pages and applets. We encountered no problems during our use [Bill Fox]

[6/21] MacUpdate Desktop 4.2.4 (Universal) Released

MacUpdate Desktop is an application that helps you highlight outdated Apple and keep most 3rd party applications up-to-date with their latest version releases. Create a Watch List in seconds of the applications you want to monitor, and MacUpdate Desktop will highlight ones that are outdated in red. Then simply double-click them to download the latest version to your Macintosh.

Version 4.2.4 adds the following:

  • Now a Universal Binary; compatible with Intel Macintoshes.
  • Adds a manual "Search for matches..." item in the drop down menu. This allows you to manually find and match titles that Desktop doesn't auto-match.
  • Adds support for searching PPC and Universal Binary applications, as well as adding the UB compatible icon as a column.
  • Adds support for Dashboard widgets. You can now add them to your Watch
  • List and monitor which ones are outdated.
  • Adds SSL security enhancements to Desktop during the transfer of information.
  • Fixed a number of bugs in the processing of information.
  • Tweaked user interface, like default columns for new users.

Although this is a small .1 version update, it adds some significant improvements to the process of matching titles on your Mac to titles on MacUpdate. The automated matching feature has been improved considerably to where you'll notice that most of the programs you try to add to your Watch List will match the first try. MacUpdate Desktop requires a $39.95 MacUpdate.com annual subscription. [Bill Fox]

[6/20] Five Cool Mac Software (Universal) Updates

We receive a lot of announcements of software updates and from time to time we post a few that are cool. Here are a few cool ones from this week that are also Universal:

Name those Files! v2.1 (Universal)--NtF! is a powerful yet intuitive batch renaming utility. NtF! allows you to easily rename large numbers of files or folders on your Mac using advanced numbering, trimming, and search & replace capabilities. NtF! is the perfect addition to your digital camera and is also great for organizing your digital music library, HTML files, desktop publishing projects, and can be used for any number of other purposes.

iStar Composer v1.2 (Universal)--iStar Composer is the only Mac software that synchronizes lyrics/text with songs/audio content. iStar Composer can be used for editing and displaying lyrics, opera, plays, musicals, karaoke, jokeoke (where people imitate a Robin Williams or other comedy routine), poetryoke (poems done to music), children's stories or children music, church music, lyrics/text for the hearing impaired, translation of text/lyrics, text for podcasts, display of text for any audio track. iVisualize has been added to iStar Composer. iVisualize enhances iStar Composer by allowing anyone with a Mac and iTunes to view lyrics full screen in iTunes. iVisualize also makes it possible to make new visualizers for iTunes. iVisualize comes with several graphic visualizations for iTunes that show song info, album art and some include lyrics from iStar Composer.

Kinemac v1.2 (Universal)--Kinemac is a 3D real time animation and presentation software. It allows you to create your own professional 3D Animations with the simplicity of a 2D presentation tool.

Yummy FTP v1.5.1 (Universal)--Yummy FTP is an FTP, FTP SSL/TLS and SFTP client that combines all the best features available in other file transfer solutions, makes them better, adds a wealth of its own uniquely powerful capabilities, and then powers them all with a highly tuned FTP engine. The result is a very fast, very flexible and completely reliable file transfer utility for Mac OS X, wrapped up in a gorgeous and highly intuitive user interface, sporting Finder-like FTP browsers, toolbars and drag and drop simplicity throughout.

Eyeballs v3.2 (Universal)--Eyeballs is a fun little app that gives you a set of eyeballs in your menu bar or on your desktop. The eyes watch the cursor move around as you work, and you can configure their appearance and behavior in lots of different ways. They are even skinnable!

[Bill Fox]

[6/19] Hands-On Review--Call of Duty 2

We received our copy of Aspyr Media's latest game release, Call of Duty 2, just over 2 weeks ago after noting that it shipped on 5/25. In order to provide a review, we like to play potentially popular games for awhile. So we've logged an almost embarrassing number of hours playing the single-player and multiplayer versions of it, mostly the multiplayer version.

Call of Duty 2 (CoD2), like its extremely popular predecessor Call of Duty (CoD), is a first person shooter with a World War II theme. It is not exactly a sequel of the extremely popular CoD, like taking place later in WWII, except in the sense that it came out later. The single-player version of CoD2 is all new, of course. We played it a bit but we are partial to the multiplayer version and mostly played it. The single-player version has great vehicle graphics, especially the tanks.

The multiplayer version has a fair number of brand new maps but it also retains many of the popular multiplayer maps from the CoD series. Fortunately, the retained maps are sufficiently modified to make them more interesting and they carry different names. The familiarity resulting from keeping some of the more popular maps makes it easier to play well sooner but there are enough changes to cause initially a familiar CoD player some serious problems. For example, CoD's Dawnville is carried over but the train tracks portion of the map is entirely missing and there are different passages between the graveyard and the other portions of the map. On the other hand, Carentan in CoD2 is pretty close to the same as in CoD.

The weapons are the same but due to the greatly improved graphics engine, they carry far more definition. There are a few differences, though. The sniper rifles are not very steady, even in the prone position, but one can use the "shift" key to hold one's breath to steady the rifle in all three positions (standing, crouching and prone). One minor downside is that the weapons sound somewhat different and, to our ear, a bit less realistic. Another difference that we count as positive is that they carry fewer rounds--e.g. a Thompson submachine-gun carries 20 rather than 30 rounds forcing greater attention to accurate aiming with a lot of enemies around.

A weapon difference that we don't particularly like is only one weapon plus pistol can be carried at a time--it does add to realism, though, and we've gotten used to it. In CoD, one can pick up one additional weapon off the battlefield and carry it. This allows one to have a rifle for long range and a submachine-gun for short range. One can still pick up a weapon off the battlefield but it is exchanged for the weapon being carried. This forces more use of the pistol for close-in action on large maps that require a rifle.

There are no ranks in CoD2 so one does not gain weapons or additional grenades as one advances in rank. There's also no sprint key, so our successful CoD close-in run-and-gun tactic is severely limited in CoD2. No sprint key also makes for a longer time to get back to the action when re-spawned.

A new feature that we really like shows deaths on the HUD compass in addition to the location of your team members so one can more easily find the action when re-spawned. This is especially helpful with all of the new and modified maps.

Another new feature that we like in CoD2 is that there are no health packs. Instead, when wounded one must find cover and remain there for a few moments to recover. Getting severely wounded causes the GUI to turn red around the edges, vision to blur and motion to slow down, similar to being wounded by a grenade in CoD but with a much more dramatic effect. If exposed any fire at this time, one is a goner for sure.

Refreshing the server list is also much faster in CoD2.

Saving the best for last, the graphics in CoD2 are what really distinguish it from CoD. The models are much more realistic. The grass is high and the blades have incredible definition. Explosions and muzzle blasts are very detailed. The smoke effects are phenomenal if too prevalent and linger too long since unfortunately there appears to be a hack (cheat) to see through the smoke.

While we are at it, there are already automatic aiming cheats, rapid movement cheats, spawning cheats and dropped packets (bullet proofing) cheats on CoD2. Although none are as yet as prevalent as on some servers in CoD. There's PunkBuster cheat protection in v1.2 of the Windows version but it's not clear that PunkBuster is enabled in the 1.0 Mac version. This may mean that Mac servers are vulnerable to those using hacks developed for the Windows version before PunkBuster was enabled. Anyway, we look forward to an update that implements PunkBuster even it is not perfect.

Finally, how fast is it? Unfortunately, there is no built-in demo to use as a benchmark and we had difficulty with timing our own recorded demos. So to tell how fast the game is running, we implemented the frame rate (frames per second or fps) display in the upper right corner. This is done by opening the console by hitting the "~" key and typing "bind F10 cg_drawfps 1" then return and type "bind F11 cg_drawfps 0" and hit the return key. Afterwards, pressing the F10 key starts the fps display and F11 turns it off. A tweak guide for the Windows version is posted here.

We used our 2.16GHz MacBook Pro with 2GB RAM to play CoD2 which is a Universal application. We used the default settings chosen for our Mac by the application except we chose a resolution of 1024x640, a 16:10 widescreen resolution. One has to set the settings for both the single-player and multiplayer modes because they are kept separately--this is another improvement so that one can easily switch between higher graphics in single-player mode and faster and lower graphics settings for multiplayer mode.

CoD2 runs very well on our MacBook Pro, with the frame rate running 70-91fps most of the time during multiplayer play. It occasionally dips into the 40's and 50's and rarely into the 30's. This is much faster than CoD running in Rosetta emulation at about 32fps and that occasionally starts making "mooing" sounds and dropping frames during heavy action on large maps like Brecourt. Unfortunately, CoD2 does not take advantage of the dual cores of the Intel Core Duo CPU in the MacBook Pro and other Intel-based Macs nor the multiple processors in Power Mac G5s.

In summary, we are as hooked on Call of Duty 2 as we are on Call of Duty, maybe even more so because it is new, different and offers additional challenges. If you are a gamer that enjoys first person shooters and has the hardware to run it, you won't be disappointed with Call of Duty 2. It's terrific and available for $49.99 (e.g. Amazon.com). [Bill Fox]

[6/17] Apple Revised the Offerings from Three Hot Deals Retailers

ClubMac has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: speed reading software designed to improve and assess reading skills - AceReader Pro for only $44.99!; charge and play your iPod through your home stereo system and TV with the HomeDock Deluxe from DLO for only $139.99!; get the big picture with a 19" LCD display w/speakers from 3G Technology for only $249.99!; project a great image with the NEC LT380 wireless XGA LCD projector for only $2495.00!; for speed, convenience and great print quality for your office get the the Brother MFC-8460N 5-in-1 network-ready monochrome laser printer for only $399.00!; get your game on with Big Bang Board Games from Freeverse for only $22.99; now that you've seen the movie get the game, from THQ comes Cars Radiator Springs Adventures for only $19.99; and much more.

O'Reilly Media, Inc. has exclusive pricing on Mac-related books including: movie making is made even easier with iMovie 6 & iDVD: The Missing Manual for only $24.49; get all the know-how you need to produce commercial-quality musical recordings with GarageBand 2: The Missing Manual for only $17.47; for people who want to do more w/their iPods than just play music there is iPod & iTunes Hacks for only $17.47!; get more out of Microsoft's Office with Office X for Macintosh: The Missing Manual for only $20.97!; get the beginner's guide to learning how to write scripts with AppleScript: The Missing Manual for only $17.47! get the grounding you need to start developing Cocoa applications with Cocoa in a Nutshell for only $27.97!; look into the eye of the tiger with Mac OS X Tiger in a Nutshell for only $27.97!; and much more.

Small Dog Electronics has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: protect your music library w/instant backups and much more w/Tune Transfer from ValuSoft for only $17.49!; get free shipping when with your purchase of the new LaCie 119 19" LCD display w/LaFrame for only $459.00 or the LaCie 120 20" LCD display w/LaFrame for only $705.00!; get HDTV on your Mac with the Miglia TVMini HD USB HDTV Tuner and DVR w/remote for only $199.00!; capture those special moments this summer with the Canon PowerShot S3 IS 6.0-megapixel digital camera for only $469.00!; carry your most import files with you everywhere you go with the LaCie 4GB Carte Orange USB Key Drive for only $84.00!; increase your iBook/PowerBook G4 storage capacity with 100GB 2.5" internal hard drive starting at only $149.00!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[6/17] FastMac Offers Internal Bluetooth Upgrade for $25.95

FastMac announced the availability of a 100% compatible plug and play internal Bluetooth upgrade for select PowerMac G5, PowerMac G4 and iMac G4 systems. The upgrade adds Bluetooth wireless connectivity between the customer’s desktop computer and the growing array of Bluetooth-enabled personal digital assistants, mobile phones, cameras, printers, headsets, keyboards and computer mice. The Bluetooth module fits directly into the system’s main logic board, attaching to the built-in Apple antenna. No drivers or software are required.

Unlike other upgrades that attach externally, cost more and tie up USB ports, this upgrade connects directly into the systems main logic board freeing port space while adding functionality. The upgrade has an effective range up to 32 feet (10 meters) and can transfer data at up to 721 kbps. It is fully compatible with all versions of Mac OS X including 10.4 (Tiger). Video install and PDF instructions are also provided.

The FastMac Bluetooth upgrade is available for the following Macs:

  • PowerMac G4 (FW 800)
  • PowerMac G5
  • PowerMac G5 (June 2004)
  • PowerMac G5 (Late 2004)
  • iMac G4 (17-inch Flat Panel, 1 GHz)
  • iMac G4 (USB 2.0)

This upgrade is available now for an introductory price of $25.95. It comes with a 1-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee. [Bill Fox]

[6/17] OWC's On-The-Go 2.5" FireWire 400 Drives Reduced $9-$60

The On-The-Go are excellent and good-looking portable external FireWire 400 drives for the MacBook Pro, MacBook and PowerBook. We have several that we have used for years. The FireWire 400 models range from $115.99 for a 40GB drive to $229.99 for a 7200rpm 100GB drive--the largest 5400rpm 120GB model is only $209.99. That's $9 to $60 off so check them out. [Bill Fox]

[6/17] Apple Posted Special Applications of 64-bit Arithmetic: Acceleration on the Apple G5

All you want to know about 64-bit arithmetic and then some, probably, Special Applications of 64-bit Arithmetic: Acceleration on the Apple G5 by S. Noble and J. Papadopoulos is now posted on Apple's SciTech Web page. This paper is intended to answer a collected set of past inquiries in regard to 64-bit arithmetic, and to demonstrate how large arrays of 64-bit entities can be handled. In particular, computational number theory realizes tremendous advantages in the 64-bit world. The emphasis of this particular tome is algebra as opposed to 64-bit memory issues. [Bill Fox]

[6/16] Blu-ray Discs and Players Start Coming in Five Days

Blu-ray Disc (BD), one of two new HD video disc formats, will debut on June 20 when Sony releases eight titles plus a ninth on June 27 and seven more in July. Samsung's BD-P1000 Blu-ray disc player is scheduled to hit the market on June 25 as the first such player on the U.S. market. Sony will also release a BD-compatible Vaio PC. Pioneer has already released a computer drive that will read the BD discs, the BDR-101A.

Blu-ray discs hold up to 25GB/50GB of data.

Apple Computer supports the BD format but has not yet announced any products using it--stay tuned. More... [Bill Fox]

[6/16] Parallels Desktop for Mac is Out in Final for $49.99

Parallels has completed it beta testing of Parallels Desktop for Mac and released it as a final version. Parallels Desktop allows an Intel-based Mac to run any version of Windows from 3.1 through XP in a window while running Mac OS X. No need to reboot. It will also similarly run any Linux distribution, FreeBSD, Solaris, OS/2, eComStation, or MS-DOS. It's SRP is $79.99 but for the next 30 days through July 15 it will cost just $49.99. Parallels also has a demo version. [Bill Fox]

[6/16] Apple Pro Tip of the Week--One-Way Video Chat

Did you know that video chat works with only one iSight camera? Of course, your buddy can only see you or the reverse but sometimes that's better than nothing. Just click on your buddy's name in the iChat Buddy List and in the Buddies menu select "Invite to One-Way Video Chat." More... [Dana Baggett]

[6/16] O'Reilly Published Computer Security Basics, Second Edition

According to Rick Lehtinen, author of the new edition of Computer Security Basics (Lehtinen, Russell, and Gangemi, O'Reilly, US $39.99), computer security has taken on some new meanings in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and this new emphasis on computer and network safety has percolated down to the ordinary user's computer in the den or living room.

The book describes complicated concepts--such as trusted systems, encryption, and mandatory access control--in simple terms. Ideal for anyone who is involved with computer security, including security administrators, system administrators, developers, and IT managers, it covers the following topics and more:

  • Security breaches, such as viruses and other malicious programs
  • Cryptography
  • Biometrics
  • Wireless network security
  • Computer security and requirements of the Orange Book
  • Government regulations
  • OSI Model and TEMPEST

[Bill Fox]

[6/16] Peachpit Recently Published Nine New Mac Books

[Bill Fox]

[6/15] Symantec Norton AntiVirus for Mac 10.1 LiveUpdate Feature Now Works--Get the 10.1.1 Update

We noted on May 19, that after applying Mac OS X 10.4.x Security Update 2006-003 the LiveUpdate feature in NAV 10.1 caused a system freeze on our iMac Core Duo. We also noted that Symantec was working on a fix.

We tried LiveUpdate in NAV 10.1 in order to obtain the minor update to 10.1.1 and the LiveUpdate feature worked without freezing our iMac Core Duo. While NAV was updated to 10.1.1, the LiveUpdate version stayed the same at 3.5 so Symantec must have fixed the problem with an update to their server.

NAV 10.1.1 must be obtained by the LiveUpdate feature in 10.1 according to Symantec. The changes in 10.1.1 are:

  • On Mac OS X version 10.4 or later, Auto-Protect no longer scans files that are written, copied, or modified on a network volume from your computer. This prevents Auto-Protect from using resources to scan files across a network. As always, owners of network volumes should perform virus scans on their servers locally.
  • You must have Symantec AntiVirus 10.1 for LiveUpdate to update to 10.1.1.

[Dana Baggett]

[6/15] Apple Posted Bluetooth Firmware Update 1.2.1 (PPC)

Bluetooth Firmware Update 1.2.1 (PPC) is for PowerPC-based Macs with built-in Bluetooth (or using a D-Link USB Module rev. B2 or later). It is available for download from this Apple Web page. However, the v1.2.1 update is not for those PowerPC-based Macs that have already had Bluetooth Firmware Update 1.2 successfully installed. v1.2 came out 11/23/2004.

According to the Read Me file,

The Bluetooth Firmware Update 1.2.1 improves Bluetooth performance and reliability issues.

Both our 12" PowerBook G4 and 2GHz iMac G5 already had Bluetooth Firmware Update 1.2 successfully installed and running the v1.2.1 installer confirmed that. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[6/15] Apple Investigating Asian Contract Manufacturer Allegations

Like most electronics companies, Apple contracts with suppliers to manufacture its products. The manufacturing suppliers are mostly in Asia and they pay very low wages as compared with those in the U.S. to keep the costs as low as possible. This is the main reason why electronics products are so affordable in the U.S. and other regions. While wages may be low, they must be taken in context with the local economy. Low wages by U.S. standards may be quite reasonable in the context of the local economy. Apple has an Apple Supplier Code of Conduct (PDF) which, if followed by its contract manufacturers, ensures that their labor force and the local environment are not mistreated.

Apple, according to news reports, is looking into allegations of worker exploitation at the Hon Hai factory in China that produces products under the Foxconn brand. The factory produces iPod nanos for Apple. [Bill Fox]

[6/15] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl Live--Dr. Mac and the Biedny Zone

Tonight Gene Steinberg and his irreverent son and co-host Grayson welcome prolific Mac author Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus. We'll also feature another visit to "The David Biedny Zone," where our favorite raconteur will tell you what's lacking in today's computer operating systems and lots more. Tune in the Web broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]

[6/14] Hands-On Report--TechTool Pro 4.5.1 Beta Universal

Yesterday, we reported that Micromat would release TechTool Pro 4.5.1 as a Universal application early next month. In addition, Micromat has made a beta version of its fully-featured diagnostic and repair program for the Mac available for testing until then. Because there is no other such application available yet for Intel-based Macs and our job is to test things out for our readers, we downloaded and ran the TTP 4.5.1 installer on our Intel-based 20" 2GHz iMac Core Duo.

A valid TTP 4 serial number is needed to run the beta. It installs in a separate folder so it can be removed easily when the finished product arrives.

We ran the Intermediate Suite of tests, all of which ran to completion successfully, except for Directory Maintenance and Volume Optimization which cannot be run on the boot volume while it is in use. We could not make an eDrive on the boot disk either because it's a function reserved for the CD/DVD.

Since we do have an 80GB external FireWire MiniMate backup drive, we cloned our iMac Core Duo's hard drive onto the MiniMate thereby making TTP 4.5.1 available to use from that drive. Then, we booted with the MiniMate and ran TTP 4.5.1 Beta on our iMac Core Duo's hard drive. Directory Maintenance ran successfully. The utility found a few non-critical directory fixes which we allowed it to make.

We then undertook Volume Optimization. There were about 11,500 disk and file frags, the most we've ever seen on one of our Macs. We initiated the optimization routine which proceeded normally. We decided to multi-task and write this report while TTP did its work--unfortunately, TTP 4.5.1 crashed. TechToolPro remounted the hard drive. Apparently, no damage was done and there were about 4,000 fewer frags in evidence. We completed the Volume Optimization routine with no further problems.

Finally, we ran the Intermediate Suite of tests, Directory Maintenance and Volume Optimization on the external MiniMate, too. 10,000 frags on that hard drive were all resolved. All tests completed without a hitch.

Subjectively, we think TTP 4.5.1 runs faster than ever, perhaps a function of our 2 GHz Intel Core Duo chip. We look forward to the final release next month. [Dana Baggett]

[6/14] Adobe Released Lightroom Beta 3

Adobe released the third beta version of its professional digital photography workflow application, Lightroom. It expires January 30, 2007, but Adobe hopes that professional photographers will use the beta and provide feedback which will allow Adobe to shape the final version to be the best possible application to support their workflow.

At the bottom of this Adobe Web page is three tabs. The marked "Community" leads to the discussion forum led by Adobe Pro Photography Evangelist George Jardine, the feature request form and bug reporter. The Lightroom Beta 3 is still Mac only and is Adobe's first Universal application for Intel-based Macs.

Lightroom Beta 3 includes the following new features:

  • Support for new raw camera file formats
  • Before and After views in Develop
  • History of Develop edits provided
  • Live preview of HTML/Flash web output in new Web Module
  • Auto Import or Hot Folder support
  • Better handling of PSD and TIFF files
  • Resolution control in Export
  • Additional straighten tool
  • Saving module settings with collections and shoots
  • Keyword import/export

[Bill Fox]

[6/14] Microsoft Released Office 2004 v11.2.4 Update for the Mac

The updater is available for download via this MacUpdate.com Web page. Unfortunately, it is only a security update and does not contain a universal binary for Intel-based Macs. According to Microsoft,

Version 11.2.4 fixes vulnerabilities in Office 2004 for Mac that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer's memory with malicious code. This update also fixes issues in Microsoft PowerPoint 2004 and Entourage 2004, and it includes all of the improvements released in all previous Office 2004 updates.

[Bill Fox]

[6/14] Microsoft Released PowerPoint v.X Security Updater 10.1.7

The updater is available for download from this MacUpdate.com Web page. According to Microsoft,

Microsoft PowerPoint v.X Security Updater 10.1.7 fixes product vulnerabilities in PowerPoint X for Mac that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer's memory with malicious code. This update also fixes a problem with opening presentations that contain embedded fonts.

[Bill Fox]

[6/14] Apple Revised the Offerings from Four Hot Deals Retailers

Apple Store/Apple Store for Education has a fabulous offer: College students buy a superfast, Office-running, video-chatting, crash-resistant, podcasting Mac - and get a free iPod nano!; and much more.

CDW Mac Warehouse has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: the #1 productivity suite for the Mac, Microsoft Office 2004 Professional (includes Virtual PC for non-Intel based Macs) for only $469.00!; capture those special moments at graduation with the Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT 8.0-megapixel SLR digital camera w/18-55mm zoom lens for only $799.99 after $100 mail-in rebate!; see the big picture with the dual-duty InFocus Work Big X2 digital projector for work and home for only $699; need a compact digital camera - then get the Nikon Coolpix L1 6.2 megapixel camera for only $249!; get a full-featured flatbed scanner to quickly restore, repair or renew your photo collection - the Epson Perfection 4490 for only $199.99 after $50.00 mail-in rebate!; and much more.

Mac Zone has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: the Canon SD550 7.1 megapixel digital camera with mini tripod & case for only $349.99! - and free shipping; for the budget minded checkout the Nikon Coolpix L4 4-megapixel compact digital camera for only $139.99!; are you a pro that needs a large-format, high resolution flatbed scanner w/FireWire that can also handle 35mm film strips - then checkout the Microtek ScanMaker 9800XL Color Flatbed Scanner for only $1498.98 and free shipping!; the Hewlett Packard LaserJet 1320 B/W desktop laser printer is ideal for any business for only $398.98!; and much more. 

Sweetwater Sound has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: get the new standard for 61-note, semi-weighted keyboards - the CME UF6 Master MIDI Keyboard Controller for only $299.97!; Focusrite Saffire LE 4x6 FireWire Interface w/24-bit capabilities and Saffire Plug-ins - Focusrite quality in an affordable desktop interface for only $299.99!; record tracks anywhere you are with the MicroTrack 24/96 2-channel WAV and MP3 Compact Flash Recorder w/USB 2.0 mini connector from M-Audio for only $399.97!; lay down mad beats with the PadKONTROL MIDI Controller w/16 velocity-sensitive pads for only $199.97!; get the ultra-compact WAV/MP3 Edirol R-09 portable 24-bit (uncompressed) recorder with a built-in mic for only $399.97!; get a complete recording studio with PreSonus FIREPOD B-Stock - 24-bit 10/10 FireWire recording studio w/Cubase LE Software for only $499.97!; and much more. 

[Bill Fox]

[6/13] Cool Mac Software--Mactracker v4.0.5 is Out

The developer of Mactracker, Ian Page, sent us a note that version 4.0.5 is now available for Mac OS X and Windows. Version 4.0.5 includes the latest Apple hardware along with a number of smaller changes and additions. This release also fixes an issue where Mactracker wouldn't run properly under a non-administrator account on Windows. It is not a universal application but it runs fine under Rosetta on Intel-based Macs. Ian plans to release a universal version when REALBasic supports universal binaries later this year. To download a copy simply visit the Mactracker Web page or select "Check for Updates" within Mactracker. [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]

[6/13] Micromat's TechTool Pro 4.5.1 Universal Coming in July

TechTool Pro 4.5.1 is a full-featured Macintosh diagnostic and repair program. The universal version will fully support the hardware changes Apple introduced in the Intel-based Macs. All of the features of the program that were previously available for PowerPC based Macs will now be available for Intel-based Macs as well. This includes the innovative eDrive (emergency startup partition) feature of the program, found nowhere else. In addition to Universal Binary support, the new release will also include some significant program enhancements, including improved Disk Controller test routines.

TechTool Pro 4.5.1 will begin shipping in early July 2006. It can be ordered through select dealers and resellers worldwide or directly from Micromat, Inc. The street price for new users is $98. Micromat offers an upgrade for $59 if you own a prior version of TechTool Pro or Drive 10.  Current owners of TechTool Pro 4 may purchase a DVD from Micromat for $25; a valid version 4 serial number will be required.

A public beta of TechTool Pro 4.5.1 is now available for current owners of TechTool Pro 4 from this Micromat Web page. A valid TechTool Pro 4 serial number is required to launch the program.

Micromat will also produce a universal version of Protege, a flash drive containing TechTool Pro 4.5 and DiskStudio. [Dana Baggett]

[6/13] Wexler Video Stations Get SmartSound Software

SmartSound Software, Inc., a provider of music scoring technology for film and video professionals, today announced an agreement to pre-install its music scoring solution onto video editing workstations rented by Wexler Video, a leading equipment and services provider to the Hollywood production and post-production community. Around 400 Avid Unity, Avid Media Composer, Avid Xpress Pro and Apple Final Cut Pro systems now include the award-winning SmartSound Sonicfire Pro 4 software and SmartSound's music library. By pre-installing SmartSound's software and music on their systems, Wexler Video gives video editors access to the most complete music scoring solution available.

SmartSound accommodated the unique needs of Wexler rental customers by developing the Production Buyout Music License. This gives producers perpetual rights to any exported SmartSound music that is synchronized to a production for a one-time rate of $250 per 30 minutes of finished program time. This means that distribution of a program scored with the SmartSound solution can be expanded to new markets or mediums without the producer having to pay additional licensing costs. [Bill Fox]

[6/13] MacPhoneHome Family Pack Special for $79.95 from Brigadoon

MacPhoneHome secretly sends an invisible email message to an email address of one's choice containing the physical location of one's computer every time an Internet connection is made. Brigadoon's new Family/Household license for MacPhoneHome costs a one time fee of $79.95. It allows the user to install MacPhoneHome on as many computers in the household as is necessary, even the ones your kids may have away at college! You have 5-8-12 computers? No Problem! Brigadoon's Family Household license protects them all for $79.95! No yearly monitoring fees. No hidden costs. No additional charges! Brigadoon still provides full location and recovery service. [Bill Fox]

[6/12] Apple Revised the Offerings from a Hot Deals Retailer

AudioMIDI has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: an exclusive Wave Arts' sale with special pricing on the best EQ and Compressor plug-ins available - like FinalPlug 5, MultiDynamics 5, TrackPlug 5 and Panorama 5 all for for only $135.00 each!; get an unbelievable price on an unbelievable audio controlled synthesizer with Antares Kantos for only $49.00!; get pristine 24-bit uncompressed recording to go with the Edirol R-09 Portable Recorder w/built-in stereo mic for only $399.00!; need a go to solution for quick adjustments on individual tracks that features Classic Compressor, Classic Eonsole Equalizer and Super DSP Efficient? - then get Classic Console Strip LE - Native from URS for only $149.00 - available as an electronic download only at this time; get a new breed of FireWire Interface w/onboard DSP, 24-bit processing, 4-inputs (2-digital), and 10-outputs (2-digital) with the Saffire audio interface from Focusrite for only $395.00!; how about another audioMIDI exclusive -  Synth Legends Nite DVD featuring commentary form Bob Moog, Tom Oberheim, and Dave Smith w/special guests Roger Linn and Marcus Ryle for only $19.95!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[6/12] Feral Interactive Established Minisite for The Movies--Coming Soon

It's time to roll out the red carpet, as Feral Interactive has launched the minisite dedicated to their upcoming game, The Movies. The Movies' minisite launches with enough downloadable content to fill an Oscars' goodie bag, including a special walkthrough movie recorded by Peter Molyneux himself and some of the best user-created Movies made with the game. So what are you waiting for? To head over to the minisite, click here. Welcome to the dream factory, baby…. [Bill Fox]

[6/12] 2006 Apple Design Award Entries Due Friday

Entries for the 2006 Apple Design Awards are due by this Friday, June 16. This year there are eight award categories to choose from. The Apple Design Awards ceremony will be one of the highlight events at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2006 in San Francisco. The details are available on this Apple Web page. [Bill Fox]

[6/12] Apple Posted Two New Developer Articles--Xcode 23 and Games

Introducing Xcode 2.3--Build your universal applications with the newest and most powerful version of Xcode yet, with enhancements like support for DWARF and dedicated network builds.

Developing Games on Mac OS X Using Third-Party Game Engines--Create your own game, using powerful and easy-to-learn game engines that run on Mac OS X. Read this article to see what each engine has to offer and how to get started.

[Bill Fox]

[6/12] TransIntl Announced 2.5" SATA Drives for MacBook and MacBook Pro

Today Trans International announced worldwide availability of Serial-ATA mobile drives for the new Apple MacBook. Trans SATA mobile (2.5”) hard disk drives delivers a winning combination of characteristics. With the industry's lowest idle power and enhancements to the mechanical and electrical design, these 5400 and 7200 rpm drives with outstanding shock characteristics, extremely efficient power consumption, whisper quiet acoustics, and a range of speeds and capacities are ideal choice for Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro. [Bill Fox]

[6/12] Nisus Released Nisus Writer Express 2.7 and KeyFonts DX CD

Nisus Writer Express 2.7 is out. This is the third release this year, which is not bad for a company that supposedly is slow to update. This new release adds features such as Multikey Keyboard Shortcuts, Full Screen View, Leader Tabs, an Attribute Dropper Toolbar item, and numerous fixes and enhancements. There are also updated French and German localizations. The cost is $69.95 for the download, $79.95 for the CD version plus shipping. For those who claim to be academics, the cost is only $39.95 for the download.

The KeyFonts DX CD comes with 3007 high quality Truetype - Western Latin 1 (CP 1252)/ANSI fonts. The cost is only $39.95 (plus shipping).

Nisus Writer Express and KeyFonts DX CD's can be purchased for one low price of $99.95 from this Nisus Web page. [Bill Fox]

[6/9] Apple adds CBS Prime Time TV to iTunes Music Store

Apple announced that prime time programming from America’s number one network is now available on the iTunes Music Store (www.itunes.com). The CBS Television Network programming available for purchase and download includes the Emmy Award-winning reality series "Survivor," the popular dramas "NUMB3RS" and "NCIS" and top-rated CSI programs: "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "CSI: Miami,” and 'CSI: NY." iTunes now offers over 100 TV shows for $1.99 per episode for viewing on a computer or iPod, and is the world's most popular online video store with over 30 million videos sold.

The new CBS offerings include episodes from the just-completed 2005/2006 season, and earlier for some series, as well as the upcoming season which starts in September. New episodes in the fall will be available on iTunes the day after they appear on the network. Earlier this year, CBS Sports made the 2006 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament available on iTunes, and Showtime, which is a division of CBS Corporation, brought iTunes customers two of their most popular series: "Sleeper Cell" and "Weeds." [Dana Baggett]

[6/9] SitePoint Published Build Your Own Website The Right Way Using HTML & CSS

Want to venture beyond the confines of iWeb and build a custom Web site? If so, Build Your Own Website The Right Way Using HTML & CSS by Ian Lloyd is ideal for first-time web designers who want to learn the basics of HTML and CSS, to build modern, standards-based websites that work across different web browsers and are accessible to disabled users. (SitePoint, ISBN: 0-9752402-9-3, 488p, $29.95) [Bill Fox]

[6/9] FirmTek Ships First Serial ATA ExpressCard 34 Adapter for MacBook Pro

With nearly double the throughput of PC Cards, the ExpressCard standard allows the MacBook Pro to support applications involving HD video and other demanding content. FirmTek's SeriTek/2SM2-E is the first ExpressCard 34 solution shipping that supports SATA drives and enclosures. FirmTek's SeriTek/2SM2-E ExpressCard 34 adapter for the MacBook Pro is available now, with estimated retail pricing of USD$119.95.

[6/9] On Air 1.1 is Out and Universal

On Air 1.1 allows one to find, view, record and edit multiple video sources. Whether it's online web cams, IP cameras on one's network or a personal iSight, they can be seen all at once. The broadcast-style interface allows dragging and droping all sources into the monitors and record from the main monitor. On Air v1.1 has bug fixes plus stream-lined camera configuration, automatic recognition of an iSight as a local camera and further optimization of On Air's integrations with Apple's iSight camera--plus it's Intel native. [Bill Fox]

[6/8] Are iPods More "in" than Beer Drinking Among College Students?

Yes, they are now according to the Spring 2006 poll by Student Monitor as reported by the AP. iPods were declared "in" by 73 percent of those college students polled. This is up from 59 percent last year and 2 percentage points ahead of beer drinking which has led the list for most of the poll's history. The latter tied with Facebook.com for second behind iPods in this year's poll at 71 percent. [Dana Baggett]

[6/8] dpmac.com Published Adobe Lightroom Workflow eBook (Beta)

Adobe Lightroom Workflow, subtitled Using Adobe Lightroom Beta with a little help Adobe Photoshop CS2, by George Mann is a beta of an ebook posted by dpmac.com. After finishing the first month of a three month daily on-line seminar/tutorial series on Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop CS2, George Mann decided to sell a downloadable beta version of the final eBook for a special pre-release price of $9.99.

The downloadable html-based ebook contains all the articles in the online series (minus the advertising) plus updates and more material that will not be released on the website series. The final price of the Adobe Lightroom Workflow ebook, which will be available on CD-ROM from dpmac.com and Nikonians.org, has not been set yet but will be considerably more than the pre-release version price of $9.99, which includes FREE Upgrades until the final release date of August 1, 2006. [Bill Fox]

[6/8] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl Live--Mac mini Digital Lifestyle Center, iWeb and QuarkXpress 7.0

This week host Gene Steinberg and his irreverent son and co-host Grayson welcome Macworld's Christopher Breen, who will tell you about his efforts to turn his Intel-based Mac mini into a complete digital lifestyle center. Author Steven Sande will deliver hints and tips on exploiting the power of Apple's consumer-level Web-authoring tool from his new ebook, "Take Control of iWeb." You'll also learn why author and desktop publishing guru Galen Gruman has problems recommending QuarkXPress 7.0. 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]

[6/8] TECsoft Offers AppleScript Training

If you ever wanted to really learn how to use AppleScript to simplify your computer use, TECsoft's training programs teach AppleScript fundamentals and how to create powerful workflow automation solutions by controlling applications with AppleScript. Participants complete hands-on exercises designed to reinforce learning, and finish the course by developing real-world AppleScript software automation solutions.

The course features include:

  • How to begin working with AppleScript.
  • How to use commands, objects, dictionaries, variables, conditional
    statements, repeat loops, tell statements, the object model, elements,
    properties, subroutines, and more.
  • How to script FileMaker Pro, iView MediaPro, InDesign, the OS X
    Finder, and other scriptable applications.
  • How to use AppleScript to join applications together to create
    powerful software automation solutions.

Check out the details and schedule on this TECsoft Web page. [Bill Fox]

[6/8] Sonicfire Pro 4 Released--Universal Binary Music Scoring Application

SmartSound Software announced that the latest update to its award-winning SmartSound Sonicfire Pro 4 software includes Universal Binary support on the Mac platform. Sonicfire Pro 4.1.1 runs natively on the powerful new Intel-based Macs to deliver the fastest music scoring solution available to Avid and Final Cut Pro video editors.

According to SmartSound, Sonicfire Pro 4 has received broad recognition for its new Mood Mapping feature which gives editors the unprecedented ability to customize professionally-composed music along a Timeline via a simple Mood Map. Every Multi-Layer music track from SmartSound is delivered with up to eight separate instrument tracks that can be individually controlled to precisely match the music to the mood of the production. This new feature adds to SmartSound's existing ability to cut and resize royalty-free music from its library of more than 1,800 tracks to any length with a perfect musical beginning, middle and ending.

Additional features available in the update include increased audio/video synchronization, the ability to sort between Single-Track and Multi-Layer tracks in the Maestro, and other minor bug fixes. A free 30-day trial of Sonicfire Pro 4 with Mood Mapping is now available for the Mac. [Bill Fox]

[6/8] Black Cat Systems Celebrates 15 Years with 20% Discount

To celebrate its 15th anniversary, Black Cat Systems is offering a discount of 20% off of the regular price on its line of software products: Atomic Mac, Audio Toolbox, Audiocorder, Black Cat CW Keyer, Diet Sleuth, DX Toolbox, Elmer, Health Tracker, iUnit, Morse Mania, Multimode, Programmable Audio Generator, RF Toolbox, Sound Byte, Sound Byte Lite and Sound Byte Pro. To get the discount, order from this special Black Cat Web page. This special runs now through June 15, 2006. [Bill Fox]

[6/7] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

Publishing Perfection has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: FoldUP!3D 1.5 from Comnet is perfect for the professional packaging or dimensional designer for only $369.95!; get impressive patented image technologies with the Asiva Plug-in Bundle 2.2 for only $179.95; if it doesn't fit, Squizz! it. Wrap precisely almost anything with Squizz! 4.4 from Human Software for only $138.95!; Mystical Tint Tone & Color is a suite of 38 color effects that will provide you with professional results in seconds for only $174.95 from AutoFX!; get the next generation professional font editor with FontLab 5 for only $619.95!; and much more.

Ramjet has Hot Deals exclusive pricing on Mac compatible RAM: 2GB RAM Kit for the Intel-Mac Mini (matched-pair of PC2-5300, DDR2-667 modules) for only $244.00!; 1GB RAM Kit for the PowerMac G4 DDR (Mirror Drive Door) for only $96.00!; 512MB Module for iBook G4 for only $63.00!; 2GB RAM Kit for iMac G5 w/iSight for only $283.00!; 2GB RAM Kit for the original iMac G5 for only $187.00!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[6/7] Apple Reissued U2 Special Edition iPod--with Video

The 30GB U2 Special Edition iPod encored from Apple, this time with video. The new U2 SE iPod is as distinctive as the band it salutes. It is black with a red click wheel and a black metal back engraved with the band's signatures. The U2 SE iPod also comes with an exclusive iTunes Music Store coupon that can be redeemed for a 30-minute video of music videos and band interviews.

The U2 SE iPod has a 2.5" color screen and a 14-hr battery. With 30GB of microdrive storage, it has room for 7,500 songs, up to 25,000 photos, and up to 75 hours of video for $329. That's only $30 more than the white 30 GB iPod with video. [Bill Fox]

[6/7] Limited Edition Cross Case for U2 Special Edition iPod

Digital Lifestyle Outfitters (DLO) announced a new Limited Edition Cross Case for the just announced U2 Special Edition iPod. The Cross Case features red and black soft leather with a large, distinctive red cross on the front. It also features a unique design that allows both 5G and 4G style iPods to fit equally well--a first for any leather case available today. Coinciding with the release of the new U2 Special Edition iPod, a limited number of Cross Cases are available for purchase exclusively online from DLO for $39.99. [Bill Fox]

[6/7] MicroMemo Digital Audio Recorder for iPod Coming Soon

XtremeMac announced that its MicroMemo digital audio recorder for iPod will begin shipping in early July and will carry a $59.95 suggested retail price. The one-touch recording device incorporates a detachable, omnidirectional microphone and a built-in speaker for instant playback without headphones.

MicroMemo attaches to the iPod via the Dock connector and records 16-bit audio in high- or low-quality formats. The microphone is detachable from its 3.5 mm port, which can toggle between microphone or line-in settings for use with stereo microphones or other audio devices. When attached to the iPod, MicroMemo activates the iPod's menus and displays recording time on-screen. XtremeMac is now taking pre-orders for MicroMemo via its Web site and will ship directly to consumers upon availability. [Bill Fox]

[6/7] No Starch Press Publishes The Art of RAW Conversion

The Art of RAW Conversion is a practical and beautifully illustrated guide that explains the advantages of working with RAW files (the digital equivalent of film negatives) and how to use several leading RAW converters to create the best digital image from each shot. Mixing clear explanations with striking photographic examples, this new book covers today's most popular and innovative RAW converters (such as Camera RAW, RawShooter, Lightroom, and Aperture) and how to get optimum results from each. Authors Uwe Steinmueller and Jürgen Gulbins are both successful fine art photographers who are considered among the foremost authorities on digital imaging. The Art of RAW Conversion (No Starch Press, June 2006) is $39.95.

[6/7] BeLight Offers Disc Art Contest Through June 12th

BeLight Software announced their Disc Artwork contest. All participants should send their CD cover design entries from June 6th until June 12th, 2006. The two best designs will each get an Epson Stylus R220 Photo Printer. Entries must be done with BeLight's Disc Cover, a tool to create covers for CDs and DVDs. Check out the details at BeLight's Web site.

[6/6] Complete List of Free Apple Online Seminars for June

No new online seminars were added for June and none were removed so we have provided a complete list as of June, consolidating all of the changes since February's complete list.

Apple's online seminars are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week from any computer with internet access. They are designed to be no more than 30 minutes in length and offer a wide variety of resources and information. Topics cover solutions using Apple and partner products and technologies. Here is June's complete list:

3D Modeling on the Mac with modo--Watch Brad Peebler, President of Luxology, as he provides a tour of modo and find out how you can turn your inspiration and creativity into amazing 3D models.

A Blueprint for Tiered Storage--Steve Duplessie, recognized independent expert on storage technology, discusses the practicalities of tiered storage & set-up of a solution that works.

Accelerate Your Video Production--Todd Benjamin, Joseph Linaschke and Dion Scoppettuolo, Apple marketing managers, take you through a video production performance overview of the Power Mac G5 Quad. No matter what the format—DV, SD, HDV, HD, or even film—you'll see how the Power Mac G5 gives you the power to create studio-quality projects faster than ever before.

Advanced Molecular Visualization--VIDA is a powerful and versatile software application designed from the ground-up to visualize, manage and manipulate large sets of molecular information.

Aperture: Streamline your workflow after the shoot--Joe Schorr and Joseph Linaschke demonstrate the extensive range of groundbreaking features and the benefits Aperture delivers throughout your digital workflow.

Apple in Science: Diversifying the IT Infrastructure--By incorporating Mac OS X into the infrastructure and supporting desktop Macs, IT organizations have increased the productivity of their research organizations.

Architecture By Design--Join Jacques Sedille as he demonstrates and discusses the Mac and key 3rd party design tools that enable architects to imagine, design and communicate.

Asset Management for Creative Workgroups: With Xserve G5 and Extensis Portfolio Server--Learn how you can better manage your photographs and creative assets with the winning combination of Apple Xserve and Extensis Portfolio Server.

Build High Performance Tiered Storage Strategies With Xserve RAID--Join Alex Grossman, Senior Director of Server and Storage Hardware, and learn how you can implement a tiered storage strategy using Xserve RAID.

Capture, Create and Share Digital Media with QuickTime 7 Pro--Join Apple?s team of QuickTime experts in this free online seminar to learn how QuickTime 7 can take your digital media to the next level.

Change Your Infrastructure Legacy: Lower Costs and Simplify Server and Storage Management--Join Alex Grossman, Apple Sr Director, and learn how adding Xserve G5 and Xserve RAID to your IT infrastructure can help you meet today's business demands.

Computational Clustering in the Sciences--A number of Apple technologies simplify cluster computing, and for clusters of up to 64 processors, Apple provides pre-qualified solutions to meet your needs.

Cost-effective Storage Deployments for Research Computing--Learn how to achieve better data accessibility and faster storage retrieval in a more cost-effective way with industry-leading solutions.

Deliver Simplified Workgroup Services--Join Douglas Brooks, Server Product Mgr, to learn how to deliver robust workgroup & internet services without straining your budget or stretching your IT staff.

Desktop Management Made Easy with Apple Remote Desktop 2--Join Apple Product Mgr Nader Nafissi to learn why Apple's new, easy to use desktop management software is the essential tool for any Mac system administrator.

Developers win with Mac OS X, Reap the rewards--Built on a rock-solid UNIX core and standards-based technologies, Mac OS X is hailed as the world's most advanced operating system.

DWG on the Mac--See how ArchiCAD, eDrawings and VectorWorks allow you to view, edit and manipulate DWG files on the Mac.

Font Management for Creative Professionals--Join Brent Haley, Apple marketing mgr, for an overview of font management capabilities in Mac OS X and to see solutions from Extensis and Insider Software.

G5 for Science: Make your next discovery on a Power Mac G5--Apple's Todd Benjamin, Pear Urushima and Matt MacInnis will show you the many science-specific benefits of the Power Mac G5 Dual and Power Mac G5 Quad.

Getting Started with High Performance Computing--On-demand rebroadcast of the Dec 16, 2004 webcast discussion of the high-level concepts of high performance computing, issues & obstacles, and more.

Grid Computing in the Life Sciences--Learn how Xgrid, built into Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server, makes it feasible to deploy large computational grids without the addition of software.

Guitarists and the Mac: A Conversation with Pat Metheny--Join Pat Metheny in this free online seminar and learn how the Mac can help you take your music to the next level.

Improve Your Presentation Skills--Watch this free online seminar and find out how to improve your presentation skills.

Increasing Workgroup Productivity with Xsan--Join Doug Cunningham as he demos how to set up Xsan, reviews powerful admin and reporting tools, and demos real-time collaboration in a video environment.

Information Lifecycle Management--Steve Kenniston, an Enterprise Storage Group analyst will offer insights as to how to manage vast amounts of data while keeping your overhead low.

Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server for High Performance Computing--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.

Mac OS X v10.4 "Tiger" for Scientific and Technical Computing--Join Apple in this densely-packed on-demand webcast rebroadcast on how each new feature in Tiger applies to Apple's scientific customers.

Making Music on the Mac with GarageBand--Join John Danty, Apple Product Marketing Manager for GarageBand and GarageBand Jam Packs and Eric Thomas, Apple Audio Marketing Manager, in this free online seminar and learn how to transform your Mac into a musical instrument and record new and inspiring masterpieces.

Managing Your Creative Assets--Join Brent Haley, Apple marketing manager, for an overview of the latest storage solutions from Apple and an intro to asset management solutions.

Maximizing Mac OS X Application Performance--Re-broadcast of the webcast discussion of the basics of optimization, how and why developers should turn a critical eye to the code they've just written.

Mobile Creative Studio, Portable Workstation, Office-on-the-Go--Join Gail Nishimura, PowerBook product manager, to learn about the latest advancements in the PowerBook G4 line and discover which model is right for you.

Mobile Field Editing with Journalist Dr. Bob Arnot--Join Dr. Bob Arnot to learn how the Mac can help you become a more successful storyteller and videographer by editing video on-the-go using tools from Apple.

Optimize Your Creative Workgroup with Apple's UNIX-Based Server Technology--Join Brent Haley as he demonstrates how to deploy, manage, and scale technologies for creative workgroups using the latest services included in Mac OS X Server.

OsiriX: Multi-dimensional Image Navigation Software--Dr. Osman Ratib's presentation at Children's Hospital Boston, Department of Radiology, on OsiriX, an open source, medical imaging application built on Mac OS X.

Perfect Color Starts Here, With Apple Cinema Displays--Join the Apple Cinema Displays product manager to learn how adding an Apple display to your creative system can boost your color-viewing experience.

Powerful tools for 2D and 3D post production--Watch Daryl Obert of Alias and Charles Meyer of Apple as they explore ways you can bring new levels of integration to your post production workflow.

Powering Creative Desktops with Mac OS X Tiger--Join Brent Haley, marketing manager for design and print market, as he goes under the hood and shows you the creative features of Mac OS X Tiger.

Pre-Visualizing and Presenting Your Ideas with StoryBoard Artist--Watch Jeff Walsh of PowerProduction demo StoryBoard Artist and find out how to convey your ideas with more depth, flair and accuracy than you thought possible.

Russell Brown presents Mac OS X and Photoshop CS2--Join Photoshop expert Russell Brown for a look at the ultimate digital studio: Adobe Photoshop CS2, a Power Mac G5, and the 30" Apple Cinema HD Display.

See the Power Mac G5 Quad in Action for Design, Print, and Photo--See the difference for yourself during this free, on-demand seminar with Apple's marketing managers Todd Benjamin, Jim Heiser, and Joseph Linaschke.

Standards-based Web Electronic Filing Systems--Apple invites you to view a free webcast that discusses technical best practices around web-based electronic filing solutions.

The Production Value of HD---Don't miss Don Peebles of Apple, as he provides an overview of Final Cut Studio, the suite of pro applications for video content creation, editing and output.

The Ultimate Platform for Photography - With Mac OS X Tiger--Join Jim Heiser, marketing manager for photography, as he goes under the hood and shows you the exciting new feature of Mac OS X Tiger.

Third-party HPC Solutions for Mac OS X--Apple will be joined by representatives from companies who develop their software or hardware for the platform to talk about their products.

Why Hire a Member of the Apple Consultants Network-NEW--Learn about the services provided by and advantages of hiring members of the Apple Consultants Network.

Your guitar. Your Mac. Your music--Join Apple's Mark Altekruse to discover how easy it is to connect your guitar to your Mac, and create a superior sound as you play and record.

We have viewed many of Apple's online seminars and they are excellent in our opinion. [Bill Fox]

[6/6] Brief Hands-On Report--Adobe Reader v7.0.8 Out But Still Not Universal

Adobe released a new version 7.0.8 of its free Adobe Reader for viewing PDF files. It's available for download from this Adobe Web page. Unfortunately, Adobe Reader 7.0.8 is still not an Intel-native universal application. Apple Preview does mostly the same thing and more and, better yet, it is a universal application.

We downloaded, installed and used AR7.0.8 to view a number of PDF files with no problems. [Bill Fox]

[6/6] Students--Get a Free iPod nano with a New Mac

Apple is offering college students a free iPod nano when they buy a new qualifying Mac (MacBook, MacBook Pro, iMac Core Duo or Power Mac G5 but not a Mac mini). The process is simple, when a student buys a Mac and an iPod nano by September 16, 2006, they get the iPod nano free as a result of a mail-in rebate. One can also choose to buy another iPod and enjoy big savings after the mail-in rebate. The details are posted on this Apple Web page. [Bill Fox]

[6/6] Universal Version of TechTool Pro Coming Next

The v4.1.2 update that was recently released by Micromat is the last release before a universal version that will run natively on an Intel-based Mac. According to Micromat,

This [v4.1.2] will be the final installment of the PowerPC-only version of TechTool Pro.

We hope it comes out soon. [Dana Baggett]

[6/5] Hands-On Review--1.4GHz MAChSpeed G4 Upgrade for 867MHz 12" PowerBook G4

When Daystar sent us a press release on their new CPU upgrade for 12" PowerBook G4s we were disappointed that the original 867MHz model was not mentioned. We've had our 12" PowerBook G4 for 3 years and it has been a great computer. We use it for international travel and take it along many times when we have to carry a PowerBook around a lot. It is also our backup computer to ensure business continuity. However, at 867MHz, it was getting a little slow and was quite slow in comparison with our 2.16GHz MacBook Pro.

When we wrote Gary Dailey at Daystar to inquire about their plans for an upgrade for the 867MHz model, we were pleasantly surprised to find out that Daystar was about ready to offer an XLR8 MAChSpeed G4 Aluminum upgrade running at 1.4GHz for the 867MHz model. The 1GHz, 1.33GHz and 1.5GHz 12" PowerBook G4 models get a faster 1.67GHz upgrade but we pre-ordered one immediately. Going from 867MHz to 1.4GHz should provide a noticeable speed improvement.

Daystar uses the latest 7447A/B G4 CPUs made by Freescale (formerly Motorola). The CPU has 32KB of L1 cache and 512KB of L2 cache. Daystar simply switches out your stock G4 CPU for a new, faster one. No software is needed but Daystar does tweak the firmware to run the newer Freescale G4 CPUs. Daystar also offers upgrades for hard drives, optical drives, batteries and handles.

The process involves 3-way shipping. Daystar sends you an empty box, you send them your PowerBook in it and they send it back to you upgraded. 3-way FedEx Ground is free but unless you live in a state located near Buford, Georgia, or don't need your PowerBook G4 for up to about 3 weeks, we suggest you consider opting for 2-day FedEx or faster. Daystar even has "Weekender" service for those who can't be without their PowerBook during most of the work week--overnight it on Thursday and it's back on Monday.

How Fast Is It?

Before shipping our 867MHz 12" PowerBook G4 off to Daystar, we ran our standard suite of speed tests on it. Upon its return, we again ran the tests. In addition to the new CPU, our 12" PowerBook G4 had been previously upgraded with 1.128GB of RAM, a 7200rpm 60GB hard drive and a higher capacity 4400mAh battery from NewerTech. Here are the results:

12" PowerBook G4 Speed Tests (average* scores or secs).
Test 12" PowerBook G4
Altivec Fractal 1.3 (GFLOPS)
Cinebench 2003 (9.5) - Rendering
- OpenGL Hardware Lighting
Let1kWindowsBloom 1.0 (sec)
Xbench 1.2 - CPU
- Threading
- Memory
- Quartz Graphics
- OpenGL Graphics
- User Interface Graphics
- Hard Disk
"Real World" Tests:
Startup (sec)
Shutdown (sec)
Launch System Preferences (sec)
Dup. 500 MB Folder of Files (sec)
Scroll 144p Adobe Reader 5.1 File (sec)
Quake III Arena 1.32 (frames/sec)
*Average of 3 runs.

As expected, the CPU-intensive tasks get a substantial speed boost--over 55 percent. Even graphics-intensive tasks get good speed boosts--over 27 percent. Of course, tasks that depend significantly on hard drive performance (Startup, Launch, Duplicate and Scroll) get lesser but not trivial improvements.

What About Heat?

The original 867MHz 12" PowerBook G4 is known for being one of the hottest (literally) of the PowerBook G4s. We measured its CPU temperature using Temperature Monitor, a free utility by developer Marcel Bresink. Our 867MHz 12" PowerBook G4 ran 50-51oC at idle (doing nothing but plugged into the AC adapter) and 57-58oC playing the 2006 Macworld Keynote by Steve Jobs on QuickTime 7.1. With the 1.4GHz XLR8 MAChSpeed Aluminum G4 CPU upgrade, the temperature measured at 47-48oC and 54-55oC respectively.

Our 12" PowerBook G4 runs about 3oC cooler with the 1.4GHz XLR8 MAChSpeed G4 upgrade.

What About Battery Life?

This is difficult to measure very precisely. It takes a major change in power draw to change battery life significantly. The LCD screen, fans and hard drive are all sources of significant power draw. We normally got over 4 hours of use of our 867MHz 12" PowerBook G4 on its new high capacity battery. This included an hour or so of WiFi use before boarding an airplane and some 3 hours of use on a transcontinental flight mostly doing typing with the screen set to its next lowest setting.

Given that our 12" PowerBook G4 runs cooler with the 1.4GHz CPU upgrade, we expect that the battery life during normal use should be at least as good as it was with the 867MHz CPU.

With the 12" PowerBook set at full battery conservation (screen at the lowest visible setting, fans not running, WiFi and Bluetooth off, and not accessing the hard drive), disconnecting the AC adapter with a fully charged battery the PowerBook with the original 867MHz CPU produced a reading of 5:46 in the battery menu icon. We got 5:48 reading under the same circumstances with the new 1.4GHz CPU upgrade installed.

With the everything set the same but WiFi on and playing the 2006 Macworld Keynote by Steve Jobs on QuickTime 7.1, using the 867MHz CPU it took 8:12 for the battery to drop to 95%, 18:25 to drop to 90% and 36:57 to 80% as measured by CoconutBattery. With the 1.4GHz MAChSpeed CPU upgrade, it took 8:30 and 18:47 and 38:34 for the battery to drop to the same respective levels, slightly better than with the original CPU--the battery icon showed 3:14 remaining at the 90% mark and 2:34 at the 80% mark.

Based on expectation and our tests, battery life with the 1.4GHz XLR8 MAChSpeed CPU upgrade is somewhat better than with the original 867MHz CPU.

In Summary

Unless Apple is secretly working on a small, ultralight MacBook Pro, the 4.6lbs 12" PowerBook G4 is history since last month's roll out of the new 5.2lbs 13" MacBook. Daystar's XLR8 MAChSpeed G4 Aluminum 1.4GHz upgrade for our 867MHz 12" PowerBook G4 is just what we needed to extend its useful life. It's a trifecta--the PowerBook's performance is improved significantly, it runs cooler and its battery life is better.

Our experience with Daystar Technology over the years has been excellent. Daystar's process for upgrading your PowerBook is painless and it worked for us. They also provide a unique 90/728 limited warranty. It includes:

  • An initial 30 days of immediate replacement
  • An initial 90 days of full repair or replacement
  • Followed by 728 days under our extended warranty plan (repairs at a 50% discount).

Daystar Techology's XLR8 MAChSpeed G4 Aluminum Upgrade (1.4GHz or 1.67GHz) for the 12" PowerBook G4 is now available for $449 with free FedEx Ground 3-way shipping. [Bill Fox]

[6/5] Colin McRae Rally Mac Due in Q3 from Feral

We received a note from Feral Interactive that their anticipated release of Colin McRae Rally Mac is the third quarter of this year, i.e. July-September. While expected earlier, the release was delayed to ensure it is a universal application out of the box and to work on it more to increase the number of Mac users that can meet its minimum specifications. [Bill Fox]

[6/5] The Movies is Nearing Demo Stage at Feral

According to Feral Interactive, Mac gamers, film fans and wannabe starlets - brace yourselves! Lionhead Studios' The Movies is practically in the can and you can expect a teaser (also known as a demo) this week.

To mark the release of this blockbuster, The Movies mini-site will be launched this week, chock full of Oscar-worthy info and a few reels of downloadable content — it will be the place to get familiar with all things The Movies on the Mac. Stay tuned for the info later this week. [Bill Fox]

[6/2] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla SeaMonkey 1.0.2 Web Suite is Out

Mozilla.org released version 1.0.2 of SeaMonkey, its all-in-one internet application suite that replaced Mozilla Suite. SeaMonkey 1.0.2 contains important security and stability enhancements. Here are the release notes.

Our New England editor uses SeaMonkey as his primary Web browser and email client. He downloaded, installed and used the latest 1.0.2 release with no problems. [Dana Baggett]

[6/2] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla Released Firefox Web Browser

Firefox was released by Mozilla and it is available for download from this Mozilla Web page. Like SeaMonkey, it is largely a security update (Mozilla lists 12 fixes) with some stability improvements. Here are the release notes.

We use Firefox as one of two backup Web browsers, the other being Camino. Our primary Web browser remains Safari except when forced to use a Wintel box where we use Firefox exclusively. We downloaded, installed and used Firefox for several hours and found no problems. [Bill Fox]

[6/2] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla Thunderbird Email Client is Out

Thunderbird was released by Mozilla and it is available for download from this Mozilla Web page. Thunderbird is a universal application so it runs natively on an Intel-based Mac. And like SeaMonkey and Firefox, it is also a security update (Mozilla lists 8 fixes) with some stability improvements. Here are the release notes.

We use Thunderbird as a backup email client to Apple Mail. On a Wintel box we always use Thunderbird as our primary email client. We downloaded, installed and used Thunderbird and found no problems. [Bill Fox]

[6/2] 2006 Apple Design Awards Entry Deadline Drawing Near

Make sure your favorite Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger"software gets the attention it deserves by entering it in the eleventh annual Apple Design Awards. There are eight award categories to choose from:

  1. Best Mac OS X Developer Tool: development tools that increase programmer or interface designer productivity
  2. Best Use of Mac OS X Graphics: innovative uses of Max OS X Quartz, OpenGL, and QuickTime
  3. Best Mac OS X Dashboard Widget: widgets that bring relevant, innovative functionality to Dashboard
  4. Best Mac OS X Automator Workflow: innovative, efficient workflows that eliminate repetitive manual tasks
  5. Best Mac OS X User Experience: products that deliver the functional elegance characteristic of Mac OS X
  6. Best Mac OS X Game: games that take full advantage of Mac OS X to offer compelling entertainment
  7. Best Mac OS X Scientific Computing Solution: scientific software that enables researchers quickly and easily push the limits of knowledge and understanding
  8. Best Mac OS X Student Product: Mac OS X products developed exclusively by student developers

The Apple Design Awards ceremony will be one of the highlight events at Worldwide Developers Conference 2006 in San Francisco.

The 5 pm PT, June 16, entry deadline is just two weeks away so hurry and take advantage of this opportunity to get special recognition throughout the Macintosh community for your favorite Mac development work. [Bill Fox]

[6/2] Apple Revised the Offerings from a Hot Deals Retailer

Small Dog Electronics has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including; get free shipping when you order the Brenthaven Edge I case for the new 13.3" MacBook for only $39.00!; wake to your favorite playlist with the JBL On Time iPod dock/AM/FM alarm clock from Harmon Multimedia for only $159!; upgrade your Intel-based Mac's memory with a 2GB RAM Upgrade Kit for only $219.00!; upgrade the hard drive in our iBook G4 or PowerBook G4 with a choice of two 100GB 2.5" internal hard drive starting at $149.00!; capture those special graduation moments with the Olympus EVOLT E-500 SLR digital camera kit w/14-45mm zoom lens and free Crumpler black photo bag for only $829.00!; give your grad the gift of music with the M-Audio Evolution MK-425C 25-key Advanced Mobile USB MIDI controller for only $134.00!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[6/2] Adobe Posted FAQ on Support for Intel-Based Macs and Four Specific Support Documents

Faced with concern over the lack of universal application for Intel-based Macs, Adobe has posted a FAQ on support for Intel-based Macs on this Adobe Web page.

In addition, Adobe has responded to problems with QuickTime 7.1 and Adobe Creative Suite 2 products on Intel-based Macs with four specific support knowledgebase articles:

  1. Computer hangs after printing to Adobe PDF Printer (Acrobat 7 on Intel-based Mac OS X)
  2. Intel-based Macintosh computers freeze during startup after you install QuickTime 7.1
  3. Installation freezes on Intel-based Macintosh with QuickTime 7.1 (Adobe Creative Suite 2, After Effects 7.0, Photoshop CS2, InDesign CS2, InCopy CS2)
  4. Activation of Adobe Creative Suite 2 fails on Intel-based Macintosh computers with QuickTime 7.1

Adobe also notes that the Version Cue component of its Creative Suite 2 is not supported on Intel-based Macs. [Bill Fox]

[6/1] Brief Hands-On Report--QuickTime 7.1.1 Fixes Many Problems

QuickTime 7.1.1 is available for download via the Software Update application or from this Apple Web page.

According to Apple,

QuickTime 7.1.1 addresses an issue with 3rd party start-up items on Intel Macs. This release also fixes an issue exporting to Keynote presentations to iDVD.

We downloaded QuickTime 7.1.1 and installed it on a number of Macs that had version 7.1 already installed: Power Mac G4 Cube, 17" 1GHz PowerBook G4, 20" 2GHz iMac G5, 300MHz clamshell iBook and the Intel-based Mac mini Core Duo, 2GHz iMac Core Duo and 2.16GHz MacBook Pro. No problems were encountered.

Many people, mostly those with Intel-based Macs, reported problems after installing the Security Update 2006-003 and QuickTime 7.1--both came out together on 5/11/2006 along with Front Row 1.2.2. Apple's Read Me file lists fixes for two items, especially the start-up issue experienced by many using Intel-based Macs and Adobe Creative Suite CS2 traced to a Version Cue component incompatibility. Hard freeze issues have been reported with Adobe Acrobat. The update fixed reader Joe Gudac's hard freeze problem with Tri-Backup on his iMac Core Duo so hopefully the freeze associated with Acrobat has been fixed as well. Our performance problems with Adobe GoLive on our MacBook Pro when using a 30" Cinema Display so far have not reoccurred. A number of people have had problems installing Adobe Creative Suite on Intel-based Macs which hopefully the QuickTime 7.1.1 update fixes as well but we have not yet heard from any readers on this issue.

Adobe's official announcement regarding the problems with its Creative Suite 2 and Intel-based Macs provided to Macs Only! yesterday is:

"Adobe is aware that some customers have been experiencing issues installing Creative Suite 2 on Intel-based Macs running Mac OS X, version 10.4.4 and later. We are working closely with Apple on these issues and have determined that they occur after installing QuickTime 7.1. Both companies plan to post additional information shortly."

Hopefully, QuickTime 7.1.1 resolves all of the recent issues with Adobe's Creative Suite 2 and Intel-based Macs. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[6/1] Apple Posted SuperDrive Firmware Update v2.0

The SuperDrive Firmware Update v2.0 is for a few Macs that have had difficulty burning DVDs at the advertised speed. It is available for download from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,

The SuperDrive Firmware Update fixes burning speeds when writing to certain recordable DVD media.

System Requirements

- Mac OS X v10.3.9 Panther or Mac OS X v10.4.6 Tiger

- One of the following products:

  • PowerBook G4 (12 -inch 1.5GHz)
  • PowerBook G4 (15-inch 1.33GHz, 1.5GHz, or 1.67GHz)
  • PowerBook G4 (17-inch 1.67GHz)
  • iMac G5 (17-inch 1.6GHz or 1.8GHz)
  • iMac G5 (20-inch 1.8GHz)
  • Mac mini G4

[Bill Fox]

[6/1] Apple Extended its Recycling Program by Taking Any Computer Free

Buy a new Mac and Apple will take your old computer, PC or Mac, and recycle it for free. Beginning yesterday, the online Apple Store and Apple retail stores will give US customers the option of recycling their unwanted PCs, regardless of the manufacturer. Apple's free computer take-back program is offered to customers in the 48 contiguous United States.

When a customer chooses to participate in the program, Apple will send an email with instructions and a label for free shipping and recycling. Customers simply package their recyclable equipment and attach the label provided. All equipment received by the program is recycled domestically and no hazardous material is shipped overseas.

Apple's recycling programs have processed more than 21 million pounds of electronics worldwide since 1994. Apple continues to offer a free iPod recycling program through its US retail stores, providing environmentally friendly disposal of any unwanted iPod and a 10 percent discount on the purchase of a new iPod. The company also operates a free drop-off recycling service at its headquarters in Cupertino for used computer systems and home electronics.

More information on Apple's recycling programs and industry-leading environmental policies is available online at this Apple Web page. [Bill Fox]

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