July 2006 News Archive

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Copyright 2006 by Bill Fox All rights reserved.
Last Updated: July 31, 2006

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[7/31] Brief Hands-On Report--TechTool Deluxe 3.1.1 (Universal)

On Friday, Micromat released the 3.1.1 updater to its TechTool Deluxe hardware testing and disk maintenance application. Apple provides TechTool Deluxe with AppleCare and it is a somewhat stripped down edition of Micromat's commercial product, TechTool Pro.

The main feature of version 3.1.1 of TechTool Deluxe is that it is now a universal binary so that it runs on Intel-based Macs. Micromat also added the ability to check volume structures on the startup volume and to attempt to repair any problems that it finds. This feature was formerly relegated to Mac OS X's Disk Utility application. Version 3.1.1 also drops the Diagnostic and Rezero Unit tests and adds Drive Hardware and Directory Scan tests for a total of 16 tests.

We updated our version of TechTool Deluxe from v3.0.3 to v3.1.1 with no problem. Then we ran v3.1.1 on our 2.16GHz MacBook Pro. Except for the Surface Scan test, TechTool Deluxe took just a few minutes to check out our MacBook Pro. It found no problems so we couldn't test its repair capability. The Surface Scan test took nearly 40 minutes to check the 194,700,000 blocks on our 100GB 7200rpm internal hard drive and found no bad blocks. Unfortunately, TechTool Deluxe would not check our attached 80GB FireWire hard drive that we use for backups and an emergency boot drive.

While we are glad to have TechTool Deluxe 3.1.1 (Universal) that now works on Intel-based Macs, we await the delivery this week of the TechTool Pro 4.5.1 (Universal) CD for more complete protection. [Bill Fox]

[7/29] More Key Universal Application Updates--TechTool Deluxe 3.1.1, Flip4Mac 2.1 and Thunderbird

TechTool Deluxe 3.1.1 Updater -- AppleCare version.

  • Added support for Intel processor compatibility (Universal Binary).
  • Added support for Volume Structure testing of the current startup volume.
  • Added CD download dialog for Volume Structure failure on current startup volume.
  • Replaced Diagnostic and Rezero Unit tests and added Drive Hardware and Directory Scan.
  • Other minor changes and feature enhancements.
  • Updated localization.

Flip4Mac WMV Player 2.1 Final -- The beta has gone final. View Windows Media videos on a Mac.

  • Added universal binary support for Intel Macs
  • Added playback optimizations for Intel Macs
  • Added significant export optimizations for PowerPC Macs
  • Added multi language audio support in player
  • Added overlay when importing WMV content in trial mode
  • Added support for web authors to disable "save as" feature in web browser
  • Improved support for MMS servers and live streams
  • Fixed DCT Blocking issue (progressive deterioration with increasing distance from previous keyframe)
  • Fixed encode errors when the audio bit rate is set higher than the video bit rate.

Thunderbird --The Mozilla Foundation email client.

[Bill Fox]

[7/28] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla's Updates to Firefox v1.505 and Sea Monkey v1.0.3

Firefox v1.5.0.5 provides:

  • Improvements to product stability
  • Added changes for Frisian locale (fy-NL)
  • Twelve security fixes

Sea Monkey v1.0.3 provides:

  • Improved stability
  • Thirteen security fixes
  • Fixed a bug that sometimes caused the URL bar to stop working properly when switching tabs.
  • The ">>" bookmarks overflow icon will now display more reliably
  • The Sea Monkey update page will load in a more useful browser window

We downloaded, installed and used both updates and encountered no problems.

[Bill Fox]

[7/28] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

Small Dog Electronics has deals on a wide variety Mac compatible hardware and software products including: the Audioengine 5 powered, 45W RMS/channel bookshelf multimedia speaker system for only $349.00! - a Hot Deals exclusive price w/free shipping!; 3.5" ATA FireWire/USB 2.0 external hard drive enclosure from MacAlly at a Hot Deals exclusive price of only $43.50!; organize your sales contacts w/Daylite 3, a great customer relationship management application from Marketcircle at a Hot Deals exclusive price of only $116.00!; free your ears from your iPod with the Small Dog Groove Cube portable external speakers at a Hot Deals exclusive price of only $14.00!; ; and much more.

Sweetwater Sound has deals on a wide variety Mac compatible hardware and software products including: MOTU Ethno Instrument - a massive collection of ethnic sounds and loops from Mark of the Unicorn for only $279.97!; Boss BR-600 8-track ultra-compact digital recorder w/built-in drum machine for only $399.97!; need an affordable audio interface? - then get the Saffire LE 4x6 FireWire interface w/24-bit/96KHz capabilities from Focusrite for only $299.99!; PreSonus TubePRE B-Stock single-channel tube microphone pre-amp w/direct instrument input for only $84.97!; get over 11,000 drum, instrument, vocal and effects loops for GarageBand in the Zero-G Pro Pack for only $154.97!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[7/28] PowerBook G4 Titanium CPU Upgrades to 1.33GHz Available from Daystar

Daystar introduced their new XLR8 CPU upgrade for the Titanium PowerBook G4 series. This new CPU upgrade delivers up to 100% faster performance for owners of most classic Titanium systems. It has been shipping for 3 months to "pre-release" customers and is now available immediately.

The PowerBook G4 Titanium upgrade dubbed, "XLR8 MAChSpeed G4 Titanium" is a factory installed upgrade. Users simply place their PowerBook in the provided box. The shipping, testing, installation and 100% quality assurance is handled completely by Daystar's Apple Certified Technicians. A "weekender" (in on Friday, back on Monday) program is also available.

Daystar uses the latest model, highest rated Freescale PowerPC CPUs. It runs transparent to the operating system and is fully compatible with future OS's. The result is a system with much faster processing power, and improved performance in the Finder and every application. The following upgrades are available:

  • The PowerBook G4 800-1000 MHz is upgraded to 1.33 GHz in speed
  • The PowerBook G4 550-667 MHz is upgraded to 1.25 GHz in speed
  • The PowerBook G4 400-500 MHz is upgraded to 550 MHz in speed

Daystar's base price for the XLR8 MAChSpeed G4 Titanium is $449 ($249 for the 400-500 MHz models) and that includes all parts and labor and US Ground Shipping. [Bill Fox]

[7/27] Metallica Now on iTunes--The Last Digital Holdouts are Fading Fast

The heavy metal band Metallica was one of the most vocal opponents of downloading digital music. Now they have yielded to the times and their songs appear on Apple's iTunes Music Store. Some 150 Metallica songs and albums are available for download today. More... [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]

[7/27] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl Live--Net Neutrality and Mac Troubleshooting

Tonight host Gene Steinberg and his irreverent son and co-host Grayson examine the the hot and heavy topic of network neutrality with Adam Engst, publisher of TidBITS and Bryan Martin, CEO of 8x8, which provides Packet8 Internet telephone service. You'll also hear from noted Mac troubleshooter Ted Landau, author of the "Mac OS X Help Line: Tiger Edition." Tune in the Web broadcast Thursday night from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]

[7/27] EyeTV 2.3 Update (Universal) Adds Full Screen Menu with Front Row Functionality

The EyeTV software from Elgato can now be accessed from the couch across the room. Elgato added a Full Screen Menu to EyeTV 2.3, which features familiar Front Row-style user interface elements. EyeTV 2.3 supports the Apple Remote infrared remote control and works seamlessly with Front Row. EyeTV's Full Screen Menu interface closely mimics Front Row's functionality. Users can easily orient themselves, whether they are watching a slide show, a DVD, or playing back music or live television.

On computers that shipped with Front Row, EyeTV's Full Screen Menu can be controlled with the Apple Remote infrared remote control. Owners of older Macs can also take advantage of EyeTV's new feature by using the infrared remote control that was included with their EyeTV product.

EyeTV 2.3 is available immediately at many retailers and at the Elgato online store for $79 US. Existing EyeTV 2 customers can download the update free of charge. [Bill Fox]

[7/26] Apple Revised the Offerings from Three Hot Deals Retailers

ClubMac has deals on a wide variety Mac compatible hardware and software products including: Daylite 3 - engineered for getting things done so you can focus your projects and prospects, from Market Circle for only $126.99!; design and print professional looking business cards with Business Card Composer from BeLight Software for only $35.99; get phenomenal effects for designers, photographers & special effects fans w/Xenofex 2 from Alien Skin for only $116.99; get total training for all Adobe CS2 products and Macromedia Flash Pro 8 w/Total Training for Adobe Design Bundle (13-DVD's & 4CD's) for only $1099.99!; get the professional choice for monitor calibration with Spyder2PRO from ColorVision for only $199.00! - after $60.00 mail-in rebate!; and much more.

J&R Computerworld has deals on a wide variety Mac compatible hardware and software products including: join one of the largest online gaming communities with World of Warcraft for only $36.99!; get the latest in the series of great strategy games - Civilization IV from Aspyr for only $49.99!; get up to 1440x900 resolution with the Samsung 19" widescreen SyncMaster 940MW display for only $329.99 - after $40.00 Main-in rebate!; for your laptop recording projects there is the MoblePre USB audio interface and preamp from M-Audio for only $149.00!; chill out with the Encounter 2.1 surround sound sound multimedia speaker system from JBL for only $89.99!; and much more.

MacMall has deals on a wide variety Mac compatible hardware and software products including: broaden your view with the 20" MultiSync 20WMGX2 LCD display/TV from NEC for only $769.99!; buy any Mac system and get a free Samsung ML-2010 B/W laser printer after mail-in rebates!; don't stress get the Microsoft Wireless Laster Desktop ergonomic keyboard and cordless mouse for only $89.99!; get comprehensive privacy protection with Internet Cleanup 4 from Allume Systems for only $29.99!; take advantage of all the latest Mac innovations built into Print Explosion Deluxe 3.0 for only $45.99!- works natively on Intel-based Macs too!; don't just get the picture, take the picture with the Nikon Coolpix S6 slim-line 6-megapixel digital camera for only $385.99!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[7/26] Gives Away 25-Song iTunes Music Store "Samplers"

In a battle with its rival,, Facebook will give away 1 million 25-song iTunes samplers each week for 10 weeks. Each iTunes Music Store sampler will contain a mix of genres. at 13 million visitors is a distant second to with 52 million visitors, the top internet web site. [Dana Baggett]

[7/26] [Updated]Apple Released Wireless Bluetooth Mighty Mouse

On the heals of the disclosure that Apple had applied to the FCC for approval of a Bluetooth wireless Mighty Mouse, code-named "M6," Apple released it. The wireless Mighty Mouse is identical to the original Mighty Mouse with a 360o scroll ball, two "button" capability and side buttons except that it uses wireless Bluetooth instead of a USB cable to connect to the computer. It retails for $69.

[Update] We bought a Mighty Mouse with USB cord when it first came out and have come to love it for every day use. The 360o scroll ball is its best feaure, followed by the second "button." We don't use the side buttons at all because they are somewhat ergonomically difficult to use and we have found that we don't really need more functions out of a mouse than are provided by two "buttons" and the scroll ball since the Might Mouse is not particulary good for fast 3D games.

The second "button", produced by moving one's finger from the left side of the scroll ball to the right before clicking is very useful but we frequently find ourselves mindlessly using a control key-click instead since we have done that for so many years. Some people have complained about having to move a finger or alternatively lifting a finger if two are used, but it was easy for us to learn to move our finger for the right click because we have only used a multi-button mouse, a Microsoft Explorer, for 3D games. We find the Mighty Mouse's scroll ball much easier to use for every day use than the scroll wheel on the Microsoft Explorer. It is also much, much easier to use for horizontal scrolling than tilting a scroll wheel.

Removing the USB cable from a Mighty Mouse frees up a USB port and eliminates the mess of a cable. [Bill Fox]

[7/25] Apple Technology Helps Low Performing School to Win IT Award

Calling the school a low decile primary school in Aukland, New Zealand, OneNews reported that the school won the Judge's Prize at the Computerworld Excellence Awards. What did they do? They have been making podcasts and have made them available on Apple's iTunes Music Store, gaining an international audience. According to the article, making podcasts has transformed the students' learning. More... [Dana Baggett]

[7/25] I-Tunes U--New Apple Program for Delivering University Lectures by iPod

Courtland State University is going digital with its lectures. Apple is helping CSU to develop a program that delivers digital lectures to iPods so that they may be reviewed where ever the student prefers. Apple is providing free assistance to CSU for this project under the banner of I-Tunes. The program at CSU is slated to start this Fall. More... [Dana Baggett]

[7/25] AMD Buying ATI--Big Groan!

We don't see how this can be good news for Mac users. The only graphics company to build third party graphics cards for the Mac, ATI Technologies, is being bought by Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) for $5.4 billion, according to CNet. As most of you probably know, AMD is the arch (only?) rival of Intel, the new supplier of Apple's Core Duo CPUs, and it has no Mac experience.

ATI's Radeon X1600 graphics are in the current iMac Core Duo and MacBook Pro and its graphics have been dominant on Mac platforms over the years. Yes, Nvidia's graphics have also been in Macs recently but as OEM graphics built by Apple, not as third party after-market cards, and rarely as the top dog--the GeForce3 and GeForce 6800 Ultra are exceptions when introduced. More often than not, the best graphics card available for the Mac has been built by ATI. Moreover, the only third party after-market graphics available specifically for the Mac, i.e. without hacks, have been built by ATI.

We certainly can't fault AMD for buying ATI. It looks like a terrific move to us--for AMD. But we don't see how this is a positive event for Mac users. Sure, there may be no immediate issues but a longer term commitment may run against the strategic logic of the purchase. AMD is fighting for its life against Intel and it needs the ability to produce an integrated CPU/graphics environment to stay alive and possibly thrive. We don't see a line of Mac graphics cards helping with this battle, only tying up needed resources. We hope we're dead wrong. [Bill Fox]

[7/25] O'Reilly Emerging Telephony Conference: Opportunity to Participate Calls

The Call for Participation for the second annual O'Reilly Emerging Telephony Conference, aka ETel, is now open. Technologists, CTOs, chief scientists, researchers, programmers, hackers, business developers, entrepreneurs, and other interested parties are invited to lead conference plenary sessions and workshops at ETel 2007. ETel 2007 will be held 2/27-3/1/2007 at the San Franciso Airport Marriott. Topics will be centered on innovations and projects in open source telephony, P2P VoIP, open source hardware, wireless mobility, mobile telephony, wi-fi VoIP, telco networks as platforms, and the intersection of VoIP telephony with web services. Proposals are due no later than September 26, 2006. [Bill Fox]

[7/24] Hands-On Report--TypeIt4Me 3.0 (Universal), Really Cool Mac Software

Riccardo Ettore's TypeIt4Me has been an indispensable utility for us since version 1.x. But when we got our Intel-based MacBook Pro we were disappointed to find out that TypeIt4Me, then at v2.3, did not work with Intel-based Macs under Rosetta. Now, we can use it on our MacBook Pro because v3.0 is a Universal Application, working on both Intel-based and PowerPC-based Macs. In addition, it has a new user interface written in Cocoa.

TypeIt4Me has come a long way since its initial 1.x release. The just-released v3.0 is not just a universal binary but a much better application with a load of new features. We started using TypeIt4Me just to insert repetitive phrases, sentences and paragraphs but it does so much more now. Here is the list of major new features added since the last PowerPC version 2.3:

  1. Clippings can now contain styled ("rich") text and/or pictures;
  2. Expansion can now occur WITHOUT requiring a delimiter/trigger;
  3. Any single abbreviation can now be associated to expand only within a specific application (this is in addition to the 2.3 feature of associating entire abbreviation files to specific applications);
  4. You can now embed or nest clippings within clippings;
  5. View/Print Clippings allows you to print a nicely formatted list of all your clippings:;
  6. Open File... can now import "snippets" from TextExpander files and "abbreviations" from Typinator files, allowing you to upgrade to TypeIt4Me without having to re-enter your abbreviations; registered users can request a VBA script allowing them to convert their MSWord Autocorrect entries to TypeIt4Me format;
  7. Improved Add a Clipping with a resizeable window that handles RTF, RTFD and various picture formats from the Clipboard;
  8. You can define your own hot keys for Add a Clipping, Edit Clippings and Pause/Resume;
  9. You can specify where the cursor should be placed in the expanded text;
  10. You can have the contents of the Clipboard inserted as part of the expanded text;
  11. You are no longer limited to 2,700 abbreviation/clippings per file.

TypeIt4Me 3.0 is a whole new application so to install it, one has to delete or disable version 2.x. They can not be run simultaneously. We first disabled v2.2 by removing the TypeIt4Me.component file from the components folder found at /Library/Components (or in some cases User/username/Library/Components). Do not delete the TypeIt4Me prefs file or data file--version 3.0 will use both, converting the old data file to the new 3.0 format.

One might be able to write Apple Scripts or Activator Actions that accomplish part of what TypeIt4Me does. However, we have found that TypeIt4Me does more than is easily scripted by an average Mac user. It is also a turnkey application, requiring little thought and no maintenance by the user. Best of all, in the true Mac tradition "it just works."

The installation and conversion went smoothly for us. One no longer has to enable TyeIt4Me via the International preference pane menu. It has its own preference pane and runs as a background application, placing a menu item in the menu bar.

We have 18 TypeIt4Me abbreviations of phrases, sentences or paragraphs that can be automatically inserted by typing the abbreviation or by selecting them from the list in the TypeIt4Me menu. All worked perfectly after the conversion and the insertion of the text works much more quickly than in version 2.3 or earlier. Version 3.0 enables using Rich Text Format so we tried out adding images and special formatting and that worked well, too.

One can easily use TypeIt4Me with every application that allows text entry. We tried it on Mail, Word 2004, PowerPoint 2004, Excel 2004, TextEdit, Pages, Keynote, Address Book, and Adobe GoLive CS2. No problems were encountered.

TypeIt4Me is simpler to install and set up, simpler to use, works faster than version 2.x and has handy new features. On top of that, Riccardo's extensive beta testing program, with 31 Beta and one FC releases over many months, has produced a flawless version 3.0 as far as we can determine. You can usually find Riccardo Ettore at Macworld demoing TypeIt4Me. He has an excellent record of producing free updates if a bug is found or if a Mac OS X release has caused an issue.

TypeIt4Me v3.0 is $27 shareware for new users, $9 for currently registered users and free to those who registered a new 2.x version or paid for an upgrade after July 1, 2005. Needless for us to say, we think it is a bargain and recommend TypeIt4Me as one of the most useful Mac OS X utilities available. [Bill Fox]

[7/24] Cool Mac Software--TechTool Pro v4.5.1 (Universal) DVD is Out

We received notice from Micromat that the update DVD for TechTool Pro 4.x to v4.5.1 (Universal Application) is now available for order for $25 from this Micromat Web page.

According to Micromat, this major update ships on a dual-boot DVD that will start up either PowerPC or Intel based Macintosh computers. We've moved from CD-ROM format to a DVD to accommodate both the PowerPC and Intel systems. When booting from the TechTool DVD, the proper system is automatically selected based on the type of operating system needed by the Macintosh. In addition to providing support for Intel based Macs, TechTool Pro 4.5.1 has a number of other significant enhancements, including improved Disk Controller and Volume Structures tests. German language support has been added as well.

Due to the shear size of this new release, Micromat is unable to offer it as a download. In addition, Intel based Macs require the new media in order to boot. Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) is required to install TechTool Pro 4.5.1. The DVD contains a disk image of the TechTool Pro 4.1.2 CD for those who wish to install TechTool Pro 4 under Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther).

Micromat also stated that owners of TechTool Protege can expect an update to support Intel based Macs sometime in early to mid August. This update will include TechTool Pro 4.5.1, the Universal Binary version of DiskStudio, and the ability to boot Intel based Macs. It will also include a new utility to conveniently re-flash the TechTool Protege device with the latest software and system updates.

Micromat originally released the free utility TechTool for many years for use with the Mac OS 9 and earlier. TechTool Pro, currently the best complete hard disk maintenance and hardware troubleshooting utility for Mac OS X, works with Intel-based Macs. [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]

[7/24] 160GB miniXpress Portable External Storage Solution Available

The miniXpress just got better. Trans International today announced the addition of a 160GB drive to its miniXpress SATA to FireWire Portable External Storage Solution line. This affordable miniXpress ($328.00) is the largest capacity external SATA to FireWire drive and utilizes the Hitachi 2.5 inch, 5400rpm SATA drive.

The miniXpress Portable External drive utilizes the latest SATA to FireWire, hot swappable and bus powered technology. This allows the drive to be swapped without restarting the computer and, powered through the FireWire port, it does not need an additional external power supply. The drive mounts automatically when plugged in to the computer. It's rugged yet stylish aluminum cases assures durability and efficient heat dissipation. Small (can easily fit in your shirt pocket), equipped with an anti-shock mechanism and triple interface (F800/F400/USB) the miniXpress is a versatile, durable and highly portable storage solution.

Trans International has also available a bare 2.5" internal SATA 160GB drive. This affordable ($229.00) storage solution is ideal for upgrading MacBooks, MacBooks Pro and MacMinis as well as other computers and devices that use 2.5 inch, SATA hard drives. [Bill Fox]

[7/24] Black Cat Systems Released Free Graph Paper Maker version 1.0.1

Black Cat Systems released Graph Paper Maker version 1.0.1 and it is freeware. There is a different version for Mac OS X and Classic Mac OS.

Graph Paper Maker 1.0.1 lets one create one's own custom sheets of graph paper. There is complete control over the graph characteristics:

  • X and Y axis can independently be set for linear or log scale
  • Selection from a dozen standard paper sizes, or custom create your own
  • Graphs saved as pdf files you can print them whenever you wish
  • Choose whatever color you want for the lines
  • Specify independent line weights for the X and Y axis lines

A free copy of Graph Paper Maker 1.0.1 may be downloaded from this Black Cat Systems Web page. [Bill Fox]

[7/24] HELIOS' Free LanTest and File System Test for Mac OS X are Universal Applications

HELIOS Software GmbH, a provider of enterprise and prepress server solutions, announced that HELIOS LanTest and HELIOS File System Test, the company's popular, no-cost, Mac network performance and compatibility testing programs, now support the new Intel-based Macs and 10 Gigabit Ethernet networks. If a server fails the examination, HELIOS File System Test will issue a detailed error log message.

The new HELIOS LanTest version has built-in testing configurations for Ethernet/DSL, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet and 10 Gigabit Ethernet. It vigorously tests a local network's throughput and performance, as it rapidly:

- creates, opens and deletes files
- performs read/write throughput tests
- checks file locking performance
- examines print and spooling performance
- tests single- and multi-user server connections

HELIOS File System Test lets every Mac user verify, in a quick and reliable way, whether the utilized file server is in all respects compatible with Mac OS X. The HELIOS File System Test suite includes 11 different tests and is suited to examine the following Mac OS X network connections:

- Apple Filing Protocol (AFP)
- Windows SMB Protocol (SMB/CIFS)
- Network File System (NFS)
- iDisk HTTP-based Protocol (WebDAV)

For more information and the free downloads, visit HELIOS' Web site. [Bill Fox]

[7/24] Prosoft Engineering Released NetWare Client for Mac OS X IP Edition Version 2.0 (Universal)

Prosoft Engineering, Inc., announced the availability of NetWare Client for the Mac OS X IP Edition Version 2.0. NetWare Client for Mac OS X IP Edition Version 2.0: Connectivity to a Novell Network
NetWare Client is designed for use on Apple computers, whether in a company or home environment, to connect Macs to a Novell Network using the IP protocol. The new features of NetWare Client are:

  • Integrated login: The Mac boots with a single login prompt and the NetWare home directory appears on the desktop. This means, no need to remember multiple login passwords and to login twice each time you boot your computer.
  • Contextless login: The user can login from anywhere on the net by simply providing his username and password, full context information is provided automatically.
  • Printing: The NetWare Client 2.0 now supports printing to a NetWare queue (users can add jobs to Netware print queues and delete those jobs).
  • Universal Binary: Works with all the latest Apple computers including the Intel Macs. Compatible with Mac OS X 10.4.2 and up.
  • Completely new browser: It is now a regular application instead of a menu bar item. It automatically launches in startup if the user selects the option in login items.

NetWare Client 2.0 for the Mac OS is available for purchase online from Prosoft Engineering. Upgrade pricing and a full 30-day demo download are also available. [Bill Fox]

[7/21] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two More Hot Deals Retailers This Week

MacGameStore has deals on a wide variety of Mac games with an exclusive 5% discount at checkout. All prices are before 5% discount: you've seen the hit movie now own the game - Cars The Video Game from THQ for only $29.95; hunt Baron Von Schtopwatch in WngNuts 2: Raina's Revenge from Freeverse Software for only $29.95!; Farmerama from Idigicon for only $19.95! - digital download only; Kakuro Quest's puzzles resemble crosswords or Cross Sums using numbers instead of words from Lost Sock Games for only $19.95!- digital download only; get the most comprehensive and most powerful flight simulator in the world - X-Plane Deluxe (7-DVD Edition!) from GraphSim Entertainment for only $59.95!; and much more.

O'Reilly Media, Inc has exclusive Hot Deals pricing on a wide variety of Mac related books including: Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Tiger Edition by David Pogue for only $20.97!; Office 2004 for Macintosh: The Missing Manual by Walker, Tessler & Berkowitz for only $20.97; Running Mac OS X Tiger by Deraleau & Davidson for only $27.97; Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Tiger Edition by David Pogue & Adam Goldstein for only $17.47!; iPhoto 6: The Missing Manual by David Pogue & Derrick Story for only $20.99!; Photoshop Retouching Cookbook for Digital Photographers by Barry Huggins for only $20.97!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[7/21] Cool Mac Software--OmniWeb 5.5 beta 1 (Universal) is Out

One of five top Web browsers for the Mac, OminWeb 5.5 beta 1 is now a Universal Application and is available for download via OmniWeb is based on the same core as Safari but The OmniGroup has made some modifications for improved Web site compatibility, speed and stability. The major new features in v5.5 beta 1 are:

  • OmniWeb is now a Universal Binary!
  • OmniWeb now supports saving in the WebArchive format via the "Save As..." panel.
  • There is now a global and site preference for user defined style sheets in the Appearance pane.
  • Toolbars in OmniWeb now use the Unified Toolbar.
  • A warning will now appear when you try reloading a page using POST.
  • When loading a workspace containing POST pages, the page will display an error but can be reloaded to rerequest the page.

The release notes describing all of the changes, including bug fixes and new features, are available from this OmniGroup Web page.

[7/20] Apple Posted Second Best Quarter in History--Q3 Earnings Beat Analysts' Estimate by 23 Percent

Riding a huge increase in sales from notebooks, MacBook and MacBook Pro, Apple posted a $472 million net profit for the third quarter (ending June 30) of its 2006 fiscal year, the second highest in Apple's history. Earnings per share came in at $0.54 on revenue of $4.37 billion, vaulting over the analysts' consensus estimate announced by Thomson First Call of $0.44 by 23 percent. Gross margin was a high 30.3 percent and cash and short term investments now total $9.2 billion.

Compared with last year's third quarter, the 2006 Q3 is up 48 percent in net profit, up 24 percent in revenue, up 46 percent in earnings per share, up 2 percent in gross margin and up 11 percent in cash on hand. Overall, the third quarter was an outstanding result, the second best quarter in Apple's history.

This terrific financial performance was driven largely by increased sales of Apple notebooks, the MacBook and MacBook Pro. Notebook sales were 748,000 out of a total Mac sales of 1,327,000. The notebook sales were up 61 percent from Q3 2005 and 60 percent from the last quarter this year due largely to the introduction of the MacBook. The third quarter ended with some backlog of MacBook orders that will be satisfied during the current Q4 ending with September.

Desktop (iMac, Mac mini, Power Mac and Xserve) sales at 529,000 continue to sag, falling 23 percent from the 2005 Q3 and 14 percent from 2006 Q2. Apple executives attributed this to a postponement of buying by pro users until an Intel-based Power Mac is available but mostly to the increasing popularity of notebooks led by Apple. Executives said that Apple is still on target to deliver intel-based Power Mac and Xserve replacements by the end of the year.

iPod sales at 8.1 million were up 32 percent over last year's Q3 but down 5 percent from last quarter.

Sales revenue was up over the 2005 Q3 in all three geographical areas (Americas, Europe and Japan) by 14 to 26 percent but down sequentially in Europe and Japan from last quarter by 7 and 17 percent respectively. Apple executives said PC sales are down generally in Japan and expected good results from the new Apple retail stores opening there recently. They also said that Phil Schiller, Apple's Senior VP for Worldwide Product Marketing, is filling in for the recent departure of the top marketing executive in Japan. Sales in Latin America have doubled but there is still a tremendous and largely untapped opportunity there.

The Apple retail stores are still doing well. They are up by 14 this year for a total of 155 world wide. Sales revenue increased 29 percent over the 2005 Q3 and 12 percent over the last quarter. Nearly 50 percent of their sales are to non-Mac owners.

With regard to education, that channel saw an 11 percent growth to make it the best third (June) quarter fort Apple's education channel in a decade, according to Apple's executives.

In response to a question about Boot Camp, Apple COO Tim Cook responded by saying that downloads of Boot Camp software were "significant" in the third quarter. He was certain that Windows users are finding Boot Camp to be an aid to switching to Apple's Macs. Apple's Boot Camp allows an Intel-based Mac to boot and run Windows XP.

Apple expects the next (fourth) quarter to yield some $4.5 to 4.6 billion in revenue and some $0.46-0.48 earnings per share. The decreased earnings result from the back to school promotional discount offering a free iPod nano with a Mac purchase and other promotions.

The financial results and projections were revealed in an Apple press release and a webcast conference call that we attended. [Bill Fox]

[7/20] Apple's Mac Sales Growth in Q2 of 2006 15.4% was Second Only to Gateway in U.S.

Gartner released its computer sales data for the second quarter of 2006, i.e. April-June. Apple's growth in sales from the same quarter in 2005 was 15.4 percent, second only to Gateway at 16.3% and just ahead of HP in third place with 15.2%. U.S. sales growth averaged 6.4 percent across the industry. World wide, PC sales growth was 11 percent.

In terms of the number of computer sales, Apple was fourth for the U.S. behind Dell, HP and Gateway. Apple's U.S. market share was 4.6 percent, just ahead of Lenovo at 3.9 percent and just behind Gateway at 6.2 percent. The market share leaders were Dell then HP at 32 and 18.9 percent.

Apple's second quarter year-to-year growth in sales in Japan at 14 percent substantially beat the overall PC market growth rate in Japan of just 0.5 percent. [Bill Fox]

[7/20] Burning Downloaded Movies to DVD Begins--iTunes Movies Likely to Come Soon

Portending movies being added to Apple's iTunes Music Store, CinemaNow has struck a deal with major movie studios to allow downloading and burning movies to DVDs. The technology to prevent piracy keeps the burned DVD from being copied but it should play on most DVD players. The studios signed up with CinemaNow include: Sony, Universal, Disney and MGM. Still on the sidelines are 20th Century Fox and Paramount.

CinemaNow's deal includes 100 titles but does not include any major current hits. Basically, this deal is a test of the technology with movies costing from $9. Downloading will take about 3 hours with the average high speed internet connection.

Apple is expected to announce a deal allowing movies to be downloaded from its iTunes Music Store but no studio nor Apple is commenting on the prospect. The CinemaNow deal virtually guarantees that Apple's movie service is coming soon. [Dana Baggett]

[7/20] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

Publishing Perfection has deals on a wide variety of Mac software and hardware products including: StockLayouts for Adobe InDesign Vol. 3 new lower price of only $385.95!; 300+ professional quality templates for InDesign fro Logic Arts for only $59.95!; Epson Stylus Photo R1800 - the photographer's choice for large archival printing - for only $549.95!; get color management designed specifically for photographers - Eye-One Photo from GretagMacbeth for only $1495.95!; get the next generation professional font editor, FontLab Studio 5 for only $619.95; secure our privacy by eliminating hidden files with Spring Cleaning 7.0 from Allume Systems for only $39.95; capture those special moments at the summer barbecue 7.2-megapixel Sony Cybershot DSC-W70 compact digital camera for only $285.95!; and much more.

Ramjet has exclusive Hot Deals pricing on a wide variety of Mac memory upgrades including: 1GB DDR2 RAM Kit for the MacBook Pro for only $124.00!; 2GB RAM Kit (matched 2x 1GB modules) for the Intel-based Mac Mini for only $244.00; 1GB DDR2 RAM module for the iMac G5 w/iSight for only $88.00!; 1GB DDR400 RAM module for the original iMac G5 for only $97.00!; 512MB DDR RAM module for the PowerMac G4 for only $48.00!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[7/20] Peachpit Published Two New Full-Color Mac Visual Guides--iPhoto 6 and iMovie HD 6

For more than a decade, the visual approach to the best-selling Visual QuickStart Guide series form Peachpit has helped readers get up to speed on programs from iPhoto to Maya to Dreamweaver and more. Now with select titles in full color for the first time, the series makes it even easier and more enjoyable for readers to flip through the pages and learn about new technology through task-based instruction, friendly prose, and visual explanations.

The first two full color books in the Visual QuickStart Guide series are on iLife applications:

iPhoto 6 for Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide by Adam C. Engst (ISBN: 0-321-42331-3)

Expert author and instructor Adam Engst introduces activities from importing, tagging, editing, and perfecting images to creating slide shows and photo albums to easy online web publishing. Readers also learn about the new features in iPhoto 6, including enhanced editing and special effects, calendars and cards, photocasting, and more.

iMovie HD 6 and iDVD 6 for Mac OS X: Visual QuickStart Guide by Jeff Carlson (ISBN: 0-321-42327-5)

Best-selling author and iLife expert Jeff Carlson shows how to use features such themes, tools, and effects; timeline editing; video podcasts; and blogs. He provides details about everything new in iMovie HD 6 and iDVD 6, including motion-graphics themes, real-time effects, audio enhancements, sharing options, and more.

[Bill Fox]

[7/20] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl Live--Apple vs Microsoft, Mac Mags and Microtek Lab

Tonight host Gene Steinberg and his irreverent son and co-host Grayson examine the state of Apple Computer and Microsoft with noted industry analyst Joe Wilcox from Jupiter Research. Macworld Editor Jason Snell will be on hand to discuss the future of Macintosh-oriented magazines, some suggestions for the next Mac OS and other hot ticket topics. You'll also hear from Parker Plaisted, Product Brand Manager for Microtek Lab, Inc. Tune in the web broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]

[7/19] Waterproof iPod Shuffle Housing Shipping--Joins iPod and iPod nano Waterproof Housings

H2O Audio, the leading provider of waterproof housings and headphones for Apple's iPod, announced today that it has begun shipping its new patented H2O Audio for iPod Shuffle waterproof housing. H2O Audio for iPod Shuffle is the latest addition to the company's proven and globally popular line of adventure sport and outdoor recreation accessories for the iPod.

H2O Audio for iPod Shuffle features include:

* Waterproof housing for Apple iPod Shuffle players, secure to 10ft.(3m)
* Patented easy-access control pad function
* Impact protection
* Water, dust, sand and snow safe
* Compatible with standard headphones
* Compatible with H2O Audio patented waterproof headphones
* Secure armband for carefree mobility

The new H2O Audio for iPod Shuffle housing provides unique full-function control that gives users ready access to all of the Shuffle's proprietary command functions even when fully submerged in water.

MSRP for the H2O Audio for iPod Shuffle housing is $39.95. H2O Audio Headphones are sold separately for $39.95. [Dana Baggett]

[7/19] Apple Releases Q3 Financial Report Later Today--Likely to Beat Analysts' Estimates

After the close of the NYSE today, Apple will release the financial report for the third quarter (ended June 30th) of its 2006 fiscal year. Apple will also hold an audio webcast conference call with financial analysts to present its Q3 report, including a Q4 projection, and answer questions. The webcast will occur at 2pm PT (5pm ET) and may be listened to with QuickTime from this Apple Web page as we reported on Monday.

The consensus analysts' estimate of Apple's 2006 Q3 financial performance provided by Thomson First Call is $0.44 earnings per share (ref.), below Apple's 2006 Q2 at $0.47 as usual but much higher that the 2005 Q3 at $0.37. However, it is rare under CEO Steve Jobs that Apple does not beat the analysts' consensus, sometimes very significantly. We expect this to happen again today and will provide a report subsequently. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[7/19] Divine Fiat Released New Keynote Theme--Photo Options

We use Apple's Keynote for our presentations and Divine Fiat makes some really cool themes. Divine Fiat announced the immediate availability of Photo Options, their latest Keynote theme. Designed with an eye towards professional and amateur photographers, Photo Options consists of two themes, Darkroom and Light Box, as well as Photo Icons, a separate set of high quality photography- related extras. They can be purchased from Divine Fiat individually for $19.95 or as part of the Photo Options collection for $44.85. [Bill Fox]

[7/19] Sirds 1.0 for Mac OS X Released by Katsura Shareware

Katsura Shareware released Sirds 1.0 for Mac OS X this week. Sirds lets you create Single Image Random Dot Stereogram (SIRDS) or Single Image Stereogram (SIS) from depth map and pattern images. SIRDS or SIS is an image giving a three-dimensional representation of a solid object or surface, and it does not require any equipment such as red & blue or polarized 3D glasses to view the stereo scene. You just need to learn how to view it in certain way with your own eyes.

Sirds 1.0 for Mac OS X, the latest from Cool Mac Software developer Katsura Shareware, is $15.

[7/17] New "Kamas" Stand for Apple MacBook Pro and MacBook is Shipping with Heat Sink and Thermal Pad

The finest professional stand made for PowerBooks is now available for the MacBook Pro and MacBook. The completely re-designed Kamas stand from Power Support of Japan has an adjustable ledge that allows a CD/DVD disc to be inserted while on the stand and fits all models of Apple's MacBook Pro (15" and 17"--shown at right) and MacBook. It also fits all sizes of PowerBook G4's and iBook G4s and G3s. If you change models of MacBook Pro, you no longer need a new stand.

The ledge which holds the lower front edge of the 'Book is now covered with a silicone rubber insert to grip the 'Book and to prevent any scratching or marring of its finish.

The new Kamas (PSK-11) stand has a special built-in "-4o" finned heat sink and thermal pad for broader and better heat dissipation.

The angle of the platform is adjustable from level to an angle that allows for maximum screen tilt while maintaining an appropriate viewing angle. One can store a keyboard under the 'Book as well (see below for MacBook).

Made from steel in silver and black, the new Kamas stand is as precision made and as solid, sturdy and professional as its predecessors but with added heat dissipation, adjustability and protection.

The new Kamas stand for the MacBook Pros and MacBook is available to order exclusively from for $119 and is shipping now. [Bill Fox]

[7/17] Apple to Report Q3 Financials on Wednesday

Apple's July financial quarter ended June 30 and the eoprrt for the third quarter will be released on Wednesday. Apple will hold a QuickTime webcast conference call at 2pm PT (5pm ET). [Bill Fox]

[7/17] Apple Offering Training Courses Before and After WWDC

You can enhance your WWDC 2006 learning experience with Apple Training. IT and developer training courses are being offered immediately preceding and following WWDC 2006 at the Apple Campus in Cupertino and at v.2 Consulting in San Francisco. The following courses are available:

- August 2-4: Podcasting and Streaming Internet Media

- August 2-4: Security Best Practices for Mac OS X

- August 12-13: Transitioning to Xcode 2

- August 14-16: Advanced Mac OS X Server Administration

- August 14-16: Mac OS X Support Essentials

The number of seats in each Apple Training course is limited. Registrations will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. [Bill Fox]

[7/17] Apple Posted New Article Improving Your Software with Static Code Analysis Techniques

With Xcode and GCC, you can statically verify your code to improve quality and stability. Read this article to learn about static analysis how to get started using it with an Xcode project. Check out the article Improving Your Software with Static Code Analysis Techniques. [Bill Fox]

[7/17] Apple Posted Developer Note for New 17" iMac for Education

The Developer Note provides technical details about the latest $899 iMac for Education that replaces the eMac. [Bill Fox]

[7/15] Apple Pro Tip of the Week--Power Copy-and-Paste

Starting with Mac OS X 10.4.x Tiger, you can copy-and-paste a whole file just by clicking on it unopened in the Finder and using the Command-C keys to copy it and then pressing the Command-V keys to paste it into another Finder window. This works with some applications as well as the Finder. More... [Dana Baggett]

[7/15] Apple Revised the Offerings from Six Hot Deals Retailers

AudioMIDI has deals on a wide variety of Mac software and hardware products including: Absynth 3 - combine synthesis with sampling from Native Instruments for only $149.00; Analog Channel LE from McDSP features playback head control from the TEC original Analog Channel for only $199.42!; get pristine uncompressed 24-bit recording on the go with the R-09 Portable Recorder from Edirol for only $399.00!; get he industry standard stereo audio editing, processing, and mastering application for the Macintosh in Peak Pro 5 from BIAS for only $499.00; and much more.

B&H Photo Video has deals on a wide variety of Mac software and hardware products including: Leica C-LUX-1 6-megapixel compact digital camera for only $495.00!; Sony Cybershot DSC-H2 6-megapixel compact digital camera for only $359.95! SanDisk 1GB Ultra II Secure Digital (SD) memory card for only $49.95; Microtek Scanmaker i800 Pro legal-size flatbed scanner for only $$479.95!; SanDisk 2GB Memory Stick Pro Duo for only $84.95!; Acer AL1951D 19" LCD display with dual VGA/DVE inputs and integrated speakers for only $268.95!; and much more.

J&R Computerworld has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: Epson CX4800 Stylus all-in-one photo printer and scanner for only $99.99!; get surround sound on your Mac with the Griffin Technology Firewave for only $59.99!; get high-quality audio conversion from any analog source with the Miglia Tech HA02 HarmonyAudio FireWire device for only $174.99!; M-Audio FireWire Audiophile digital audio interface for only $239.99!; the complete collection of the Diablo saga w/2 hint books for only $29.99!; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

MacZone has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: digitize your old negatives & transparencies with Microtek's ScanMaker i800 Pro Design flatbed scanner w/Digital ICE for only $498.98 after $50.00 mail-in rebate!; make your business output bolder and brighter with the Xerox Phaser 850N solid ink color printer for only $498 after $400.00 rebate!; 250GB WD Media Center external FireWire/USB 2.0 hard drive with 8-in-1 memory card reader from Western Digital for only $189.99!; Eye Candy 5 Bundle includes Eye Candy Textures, Nature and Impact for only $199.98; and much more.

PowerMax has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: Sportsuit Runabout for the iPod Nano for only $15.88; carry your Mac's software toolbox in your pocket with Techtool Protégé from Micromat for only $219.88; broaden your view with the Acer AL2032W 20" flat-panel 16:9 display with DVI-D and VGA connectors for only $429.88! magnify your favorite students success with the ProScope Kit 50x USB portable handheld digital microscope for only $269.99!; keep important file with you at all times with 1GB zMate USB 2.0 pen flash drive from Dane-Electric for only $27.88!; and much more.

Small Dog Electronics has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: Glyph Technologies 250GB GT050Q FireWire 800/USB external hard drive - a Hot Deals exclusive - for only $290.00!; another Hot Deals exclusive -Microsoft Office 2004 Student Teacher Edition suite for only $134.00 - PLUS - get an additional $50.00 w/mail-in rebate!; get a Hot Deals exclusive price on Adobe Photoshop Elements 4.0 w/free shipping for only $79.00!; get the Brenthaven Edge II computer bag for the MacBook Pro w/free 3-day express shipping in black or light blue for only $49.95!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[7/15] Pangea Announced 2006 Summer Game Blast Sale--$9.99 This Weekend Only

For one weekend only, Pangea Software is offering every downloadable game on their web site for only $9.99 each. Every game, no matter which one it is, and no matter what its normal retail price is will be available for the same Summer Blast price of $9.99. All of the Mac games that Pangea has ever published are available for online download purchase, including Bugdom, Bugdom 2, Otto Matic, Billy Frontier, Enigmo, Enigmo 2, Cro-Mag Rally, Firefall, Nanosaur, Nanosaur 2, and Mighty Mike.

This sale runs through Sunday, July 16. Information and download links can all be found on the Pangea Software Web site. [Bill Fox]

[7/15] CompUSA Demos Apple's iLife '06 and .Mac Today from Noon to 3 P.M.

CompUSA invites Mac users (anyone really) to their local CompUSA for a demo of Apple's iLife '06 applications and .Mac online service. The demos are today, Saturday July 15, from noon to 3 pm. [Bill Fox]

[7/14] New York Attorney General Sued RAM Makers

Yesterday, the Attorney General of the State of New York filed suit in Federal Court in Manhattan against a large number of RAM makers for price fixing. Some 30 other states are likely to join in a separate suit to be filed in San Francisco's Federal Court against memory makers. The NY AG is seeking damages on behalf of consumer who bought the allegedly over-priced RAM in computers, including Apple computers. The companies sued include Micron, Samsung, Infineon, Elpida, Hynix, Mosel-Vitelic Corp., Nanya Technology Corp. and NEC. Compensation for consumers is demanded. More... [Dana Baggett]

[7/14] Microsoft Office v.X 10.1.7 Update Version Confusion

On Tuesday, we noted that Microsoft had just released Office v.X 10.1.7 Update. Reader John Haumann wrote that there already was a 10.1.7 update in February 2006 and that his Excel X and PowerPoint X applications were already at v10.1.7.

Well it turns out that John's right. Microsoft's Web page shows Office v.X 10.1.7 update is new and dated July 11th and the last general Office v.X update release was 10.1.6 in October 2004. But Microsoft released an Excel X security update in February 2006 and a PowerPoint X security update in May 2006. The disk image file for the February Excel X security update is even called ExcelX-1017UpdateEN.dmg These two security updates resulted in 10.1.7 version numbers for Excel X and PowerPoint X.

The new Office v.X 10.1.7 Update fixes some security issues affecting Word X and Excel X and changes Word X to 10.1.7 but still leaves Excel X and PowerPoint X at 10.1.7 and all three have a 6/20/06 date. Entourage X is still at 10.1.6 (5/23/06). Got it? Thanks, John. [Bill Fox]

[7/14] Dr. Mac Visits Washington Apple Pi Today and Saturday

With the arrival of Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus today (Friday, July 14), members of Washington Apple Pi, the Washington DC metropolitan area AMUG, are invited to three special events.

First, Bob will present a special seminar, Power-User Productivity in Mac OS X Tiger at the Apple Store at Tyson's Corner from 2:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Friday, July 14. Don't miss this unique opportunity to spend some quality time with one of the world's leading authorities on Mac OS X and the author of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger For Dummies. The session will feature a myriad of tips, hints, tutorials, shortcuts, product demos, timesaving software recommendations, where to find what you need on the Web, and much more.

Second, the Annual Washington Apple Pi Picnic with Special Guest Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus will be held from 11:00 to 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, July 15.

Finally, following the Picnic, Bob will give his favorite presentation, GarageBand 101: So You Want To Be a Rock ‘n Roll Star at 5:00 p.m. at the Tyson's Corner Apple Store. If you want to make music with GarageBand, this session is the perfect introduction. He'll show how to record, mix, and master a complete rock and roll song--using guitar, bass, drums, and vocals--all in 1 hour. [Bill Fox]

[7/14] Apple Dropped Leaker Legal Action Against Mac Web Sites

Without comment, Apple decided not to appeal the ruling from the California Appeals Court granting Jason O'Grady, Kaspar Jade and Monish Bhatia an injunction against an Apple subpoena for their email involving an unannounced Apple product called "Asteroid", a music breakout box. O'Grady and Jade had posted allegedly purloined confidential documentation on the unannounced Apple product and Apple had sought their email involving the product from their ISPs via a subpoena to see who leaked the information. Bhatia provided a hosting service for Jade's Web site.

This is probably a wise PR move for Apple and very good news for O'Grady, Jade and Bhatia. The case also clarified that online journalists deserve legal protections similar to print and broadcast journalists, so that is also a very good result. More... [Bill Fox]

[7/14] Inexpensive Education iMac Lasted Only One Week for Individuals

Apple released an iMac for education for $899 last week as we previously noted. Wednesday, the $899 "stripper" iMac was missing from the Apple Store for Education for individual students, faculty and staff. It remains on the store for educational institutions. This could be due to a need to fill an extremely high demand in the educational institution channel or possibly because it was significantly cannibalizing better equipped iMacs (with much more value, we add) starting at $1199 from the education store. The $899 iMac was still missing in action at our publication time. [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]

[7/13] Bob Seger Now on Apple's iTunes Music Store with Newest Single Wait For Me

Hooray--we oldster Mac users can rejoice! One of our all time favorite music artists has ended his holdout against his songs appearing for sale on Apple's iTunes Music Store or any other digital song service for that matter. Bob Seger's Wait For Me, from his soon-to-be-released album Face The Promise, debuted yesterday on iTMS. So we're waiting, money in hand, for a slew his classic hits to appear, songs like Against the Wind, Night Moves, Old Time Rock and Roll and Like a Rock. [Dana Baggett and Bill Fox]

[7/13] Just Out--Play Around with Mozilla Firefox 2.0 Beta 1 Release

It's not for the faint of heart or ready for prime time but Mozilla has released what they are calling a developer's preview release of Firefox 2.0, an alternative to Apple's Safari Web browser. Here's some of the new Mac-relevent goodies:

  • Built in Phishing Protection.
  • Search suggestions now appear with search history in the search box for Google, Yahoo! and
  • Changes to tabbed browsing behavior
  • Ability to re-open accidentally closed tabs
  • Better support for previewing and subscribing to web feeds
  • Inline spell checking in text boxes
  • Search plugin manager for removing and re-ordering search engines
  • New microsummaries feature for bookmarks
  • Automatic restoration of your browsing session if there is a crash
  • New combined and improved Add-Ons manager for extensions and themes
  • Support for JavaScript 1.7
  • Support for client-side session and persistent storage
  • Extended search plugin format
  • Updates to the extension system to provide enhanced security and to allow for easier localization of extensions
  • Support for SVG text using svg:textPath

We downloaded and installed it and it crashed the first time it opened checking for updates to the theme we use with v1.5.0.4. Afterward it worked fine for an hour or so with no crashes. Download the latest build of the beta 1 from this Mozilla Web page. [Dana Baggett]

[7/13] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl Live Show--CrossOver Mac, Online Apps, Domain Kiting and the David Biedny Zone

Tonight host Gene Steinberg and his irreverent son and co-host Grayson examine still more ways to use Windows software on a Mac and a number of related topics. Featured guests include Jeremy White, President & CEO of CodeWeavers, publishers of the forthcoming CrossOver Mac, and Douglas Nassaur, President & CEO of True North Technology, where you can access all your applications as online services. Bob Parsons, the outspoken CEO of will speak about "domain kiting" and other hot topics, and there will be another thought-provoking visit to "The David Biedny Zone." Tune in the audio webcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]

[7/12] Apple Released New Boot Camp 1.0.2 Public Beta

The new version of Apple's Boot Camp 1.0.2 Public Beta is available for download via Boot Camp allows one to create a separate Windows partition on an Intel-based Mac, install a copy of Windows XP with Service Pack 2 on it and boot with it. Unfortunately, there are no release notes for v1.0.2 at publication time. The manual is labeled v1.0.2 but no changes from the previous version is noted. Perhaps, it is an improved installer or some of the Windows drivers have been updated. In case it is the latter, one may wish to create a CD and re-install the drivers. [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]

[7/12] Apple Confirmed as Having Most Loyal Customer Base Among Computer Companies--Again!

We all know it but a just-completed study by Satmetrix Systems confirms it. Apple Computer, along with Google (for online services) and Symantec (for computer software), is the computer company with the most loyal customers according to a series of Net Promoter Industry Reports just released by Satmetrix Systems, Inc. The results from these reports are indicative of each company's commitment to maximizing customer experience and driving revenue growth through customer loyalty.

"The companies with the highest Net Promoter scores are well known for their market performance and brand leadership," said Dr. Laura Brooks, vice president of research and business consulting at Satmetrix Systems, Inc. "Apple, whose score far outranks its closest competitor, is well known for its passionate and dedicated customer base."

The Net Promoter Score, created by loyalty expert Fred Reichheld of Bain & Co. and Satmetrix, measures customer experience and profitable growth, using a simple and radical question: How likely is it that you would recommend us to a friend or colleague? It allows companies to track promoters (customers who have a favorable view of doing business with the company and who will actively promote it) and detractors (customers who have a negative view and will tell colleagues, encouraging potential customers to take their business elsewhere) and produces the single most reliable indicator of a company's ability to grow by measuring its performance in its customers' eyes.

Apple's customers also indicated that there are certain aspects of a business which have a large impact on their likelihood to recommend and that these drivers are consistent across the high-technology industry. These were also consistent with those companies with the lowest Net Promoter rating who scored low in all four areas. The areas of a company which customers identified as having a large impact on their likelihood to recommend it to a friend or colleague were:

  • Overall product or service;
  • Overall value (including the company's fees and charges);
  • Company reputation; and
  • Customer service and support.

The results of the Net Promoter Industry Report 2006 are based on responses from customers regarding their experiences with their actual provider. The study was fielded during the first half of 2005. [Bill Fox]

[7/12] Apple Revised the Offerings from Three Hot Deals Retailers

CDW Mac Warehouse has deals on a wide variety of Mac software and hardware products including: the #1 office suite in the known universe - Microsoft Office 2004 Professional for only $469.00!; run Windows XP on your Intel-based Mac with the Paralles Desktop for only $42.99!; expand your view with the Sony Style Pro SDM-S75FB 17" LCD analog/digital display for only $199.99; project the right image with the Mitsubishi SD205R ultra-portable DLP projector for only $799.99 after $50.00 instant savings; capture your vacation with the Nikon Coolpix L1 6.2-megapixel digital camera for only $249.95!; convert your 15" MacBook Pro into a desktop workstation with the BookEndz Pro Docking Station for only $299.95; and much more.

CompUSA has deals on a wide variety of Mac software and hardware products including: get a head start on back-to-school with savings on Microsoft Office 2004 Student Teacher Edition for only $149.99 after a $50.00 mail-in rebate!; protect your computer agains attacks with Norton AntiVirus 10.0 from Symantec for only $39.99 after a $30.00 mail-in rebate!; get a $100.00 mail-in rebate on the ultra-compact Hewlett Packard MP2210 Digital XGA Projector for only $1299.99 after rebate!; go wireless with the Trendnet 802.11g Wireless USB 2.0 Print Server for only $56.99 after $20.00 mail-in rebate!; and much more.

Sweetwater Sound has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: the new M-Audio MidAir 25 25-key wireless USB MIDI Keyboard Controller w/Ableton Live Lite 5 software for only $199.97!; the digital dawn for DJ mixers is the Traktor DJ Studio 3 from Native Instrument now only $99.97!; for a limited time get the 6-voice EXB-MOSS expansion board worth $600 free with the purchase of the Triton Extreme 76 76-key expanded Triton Workstation w/160MB of Wave ROM for only $1899.97!; get onboard DSP and FireWire audio interface with the Alesis MultiMix 8 8-channel stereo mixer for only $299.97!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[7/12] Microsoft Released Microsoft Office v.X 10.1.7 Update

Microsoft Office v.X 10.1.7 update is available for download via According to Microsoft,

This update contains several updates to enhance security and stability, including fixes for vulnerabilities in Microsoft Office v. X for Mac, Microsoft Word for Mac, and Microsoft Excel for Mac that could enable an attacker to overwrite the contents of your computer's memory with malicious code and includes all of the improvements released in all previous Office v. X updates. Applies to: Office v. X, Word X, Excel X, Microsoft PowerPoint X for Mac, Microsoft Entourage X for Mac.

[Bill Fox]

[7/12] Brief Hands-On Note--Microsoft Office 2004 11.2.5 Update

Microsoft Office 2004 11.2.5 update is available for download via According to Microsoft,

This update fixes vulnerabilities in Microsoft 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 Entourage 2004 for Mac and includes all of the improvements released in all previous Office 2004 updates.

Here are the details of the improvements:

Improvements for Office 2004--Security is improved

This update fixes vulnerabilities in Office 2004 that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer's memory with malicious code.

Improvements for Excel 2004--Security is improved

This update fixes vulnerabilities in Microsoft Excel 2004 for Mac that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer's memory with malicious code.

Improvements for Entourage 2004--Eliminated bogus warning

This update fixes an issue for users of Entourage 2004 11.2.3 and Mac OS X 10.4.5 or later that caused all open calendar event windows to display the warning:

"Event and computer time zones do not match. In Calendar Views, the event time is adjusted to display correctly."

Exchange and Entourage performance improved

This update improves Exchange performance in organizations with Macintosh client computers running Entourage. Office identities created before installing Office 2004 Service Pack 2 and subsequently upgraded to Office 2004 version 11.2.x had synchronization problems if the Exchange mailbox was moved after the identity was upgraded.

We downloaded the v11.2.5 updater and applied it to our copies of Microsoft Office 2004 with no problems. The we used Word, Excel and PowerPoint for awhile without seeing any buggy behavior. We do not use Entourage but we opened it and quit it with no issues. [Bill Fox]

[7/11] Impending HD-DVD vs Blu-ray Format Battle Nipped by Ricoh?

Apple is one of the supporters of the Blu-ray format for high definition video DVDs. The other format is called HD-DVD. Both formats use blue laser technology with a smaller wave length than red lasers so that more information can be written on a DVD. The Blu-ray format allows a DVD to hold more information than the HD-DVD format but it is also more expensive. Consumers, poised for another Betamax-VHS battle, are none to happy. So, it's Ricoh to the rescue according to EE Times as cited by CNet. Ricoh will announce a part that allows DVD players to use both formats at the 2006 International Optoelectronics Exhibition in Japan later this week. More... [Dana Baggett]

[7/11] FileMaker Pro 8.5 (Universal) Shipping with New Feature--Live Web Data on Demand

FileMaker, Inc., announced the immediate availability of FileMaker Pro 8.5, the first desktop database to provide built-in integration with live web data. As easy as it is to bookmark a web page, a live web page can now be added to a record in a database using the new Web Viewer Control in FileMaker Pro 8.5. Data in specified record fields, such as customer's address or product name, will drive the URL in the Web Viewer. Set it up once and there will be a live web link for every record in the database. Possibilities include street maps based on a customer address field, shipping status based on a shipment tracking number and stock performance charts based on a stock symbol.

"Delivering web data on demand continues our tradition of setting new standards in the database market," said Dominique Goupil, president, FileMaker, Inc. "With the new Web Viewer in FileMaker Pro 8.5, we are leading the way users will harness Web data. And we expect to reignite the workgroup database category with this breakthrough benefit."

The new product line includes FileMaker Pro 8.5, FileMaker Pro 8.5 Advanced, FileMaker Server 8.0v4 and FileMaker Server 8.0v4 Advanced and all feature new Universal Application support. FileMaker Pro 8.5 runs on Mac OS X on Intel-based Macs delivering up to 91 percent (116 percent for the server edition) faster performance vs. running on Power PC, based on the company's benchmark testing. The new versions also run on Power PC-based Macs, Windows 2000 and Windows XP.

Available exclusively within FileMaker Pro 8.5, FileMaker also introduces the FileMaker Learning Center, a convenient way for users of all levels to learn FileMaker at their own pace. The FileMaker Learning Center includes free video tutorials, how-to guides and many other resources.

FileMaker Pro 8.5 also offers powerful new object functions and scripting capabilities, features that carry on the company's tradition of providing greater productivity for developers and more intuitive solutions for users.

The upgrade prices are $99 from v8.x and $179 from v7.x or 6.x. [Bill Fox]

[7/11] Free Image Tricks 2.2 is Out from BeLight

BeLight Software released Image Tricks 2.2, an update to its free image-editing and image-generating tool. The new version adds more image filters and generators for modifying photos, creating original web-design elements, custom backgrounds, etc. Image effects got faster thanks to OpenGL acceleration. In addition, Image Tricks 2.2 delivers more work convenience due to the expanded workspace and extra settings added to image generators.

Image Tricks 2.2 changes:

  • 8 new image filters
  • 2 new image generators
  • Image rendering accelerated due to OpenGL technology
  • Option to adjust color transparency added into filter color settings
  • Extra settings were added for Hilbert Curve, Color Bars and Divide Line generators
  • Workspace was expanded
  • Option to change image size was added into Plug-in

Image Tricks is free but there is also a Pro version for $9.95. [Bill Fox]

[7/11] Gamerhood Game Download Service from Aspyr Media for Mac OS X Coming this Fall

Aspyr Media, Inc. announced the development of a new game application, The Gamerhood, that will allow a user to purchase and download a game directly to their Mac using a standard Internet connection. A wide range of Mac games, from very casual titles to some of Aspyr's AAA titles, will be made available through The Gamerhood.

Over the next few months, Aspyr will release more specific information on The Gamerhood's capabilities and a list of titles, which will be immediately available upon the application's launch. A broad range of features already being implemented in The Gamerhood are:

  • Purchase games and download them online
  • Play games without physical CD/DVD media
  • Check user compatibility by comparing machine's hardware against a game's minimum system requirements before purchase
  • Alert users to current Aspyr projects and new games
  • Allow users to register games online
  • Alert users to game updates and provide installs for updates
  • Provide a user-friendly interface and convenient way to organize personal gaming catalogue
  • Allow parents to restrict game play and online game store material based on ESRB ratings
  • Provide users opportunity to take advantage of special offers

Downloading The Gamerhood will be free to all Mac users. Look for more details about The Gamerhood from Aspyr as we approach the Fall 2006 launch date. [Bill Fox]

[7/10] Brief Hands-On Report--Using TechTool Pro 4.5.1 Beta 2 (Universal)

On Friday, we noted that Micromat had released the second public beta of TechTool Pro v4.5.1b2 (Universal). The license splash screen said 24 days until expiration so it will work until the end of July.

Subsequently, we fired up TTP 4.5.1 beta and ran the Intermediate Suite of tests on both our iMac Core Duo's 250GB internal hard drive and our MiniMate 80GB external FireWire hard drive. All went well. We also ran Directory Maintenance and Volume Optimization on both drives. The internal drive had 2090 fragments and the external drive had 2409 frags. All were resolved. The entire process took about two hours and no problems were encountered.

One of the fixes in beta 2 is "Fixed issue with eDrive creation/deletion on Intel Macs." We examined this more closely. One cannot create an eDrive on the same drive on which one is booted. If attempted, the message appears "Restart from the TechTool 4 CD/DVD to modify the selected volume and create the eDrive." Of course there is no official CD/DVD available with this beta on it.

If one mounts an external drive on the desktop in addition to the boot drive, one can then create an eDrive on it and vice versa. That seems a bit illogical to us since one purpose of the eDrive is to eliminate the need for an external drive in the first place. [Dana Baggett]

[7/10] Cool Mac Software--New Public Beta of TypeIt4Me 3.0 (Universal)

On Sunday, Riccardo Ettore released the third public beta of his venerable Mac application TypeIt4Me v3.0b31 (Universal). TypeIt4Me 3.0 (Universal) has been undergoing rigorous private beta testing with 250 participants, including the Macs Only! staff. The third public beta of the new version 3.0 has nine new features and five bug fixes since the second public beta was released on May 18th. They are:

  1. Clippings can now contain styled (“rich”) text and/or pictures;
  2. Expansion can now occur WITHOUT requiring a delimiter/trigger (click None in the trigger selection pane to try this out). I personally hate this feature, but hey, good software design is all about offering users the CHOICE and there seem to be many users out there who value this feature, so here it is.
  3. You can now embed or nest clippings within clippings. This was requested by H-G last year and it’s finally available. Look inside the Insert/Special menu to try out this feature.
  4. Added View/Print Clippings to allow for easy printing of a nicely formatted list of all your clippings:;
  5. Clippings can now be custom ordered by dragging and dropping them in the list;
  6. Open File... can now import "snippets" from TextExpander files and "abbreviations" from Typinator files, allowing you to upgrade to TypeIt4Me without having to re-enter your abbreviations;
  7. Improved Add a Clipping window by making it resizeable and handling RTF, RTFD and various picture formats from the Clipboard;
  8. Changed the way spaces are appended to the expanded clipping to try and work around Apple's Mail problem with occasionally dropping the space
  9. Started work on supporting French, Italian, German and Spanish in the user interface. The User Guide, however, is only in English for now.
  10. TypeIt4Me now saves/restores the contents of clipboard prior to invoking Add a Clipping
  11. Cleaned up code in various places.
  12. Fixed a problem with using alt-chars as part of the abbreviation
  13. Improved the registration dialog
  14. Fixed a bug that would prevent a hotkey based on the letter A from showing in the button title.

We've found Riccardo's TyeIt4Me to be an essential utility application, saving us countless time in repetitive typing. [Bill Fox]

[7/10] CrossOver Mac is Coming Soon--Run Windows Apps on Mac OS X Directly

More solutions for Mac users to run Windows applications on their Mac are coming. Some solutions, like CrossOver Mac, will not require one to boot into or run a version of the Windows OS on the Mac like Apple's Boot Camp or Parallels Desktop for Mac.

CrossOver Mac by CodeWeavers is intended to run many Windows applications, including Microsoft Office 2003. Here is CodeWeavers intended list of compatible applications. CrossOver Mac is tageted for a late July/early August release at $59.95. [Dana Baggett]

[7/8] Apple Revised the Offerings from Five Hot Deals Retailers

Apple Store Special Deals has exclusive deals on a variety of Apple Certified Refurbished products including: refurbished 2GB iPod Shuffle w/free iPod Nano Lanyard Headphones for only $169.00!; refurbished 512MB iPod Shuffle w/free Apple iPod Shuffle Armband for only $49.00!; refurbished 512MB iPod Shuffle w/free iPod Shuffle External Batter Pack for only $49.00!; refurbished 20GB iPod (w/click wheel) w/free Apple iPod Dock for only $169.00!; refurbished 20GB iPod w/color display plus free Apple iPod Dock for only $199.00!; refurbished 15" MacBook Pro 2.0GHz w/SuperDrive, and built-in iSight camera now only $1999.00!; and much more.

ClubMac has deals on a wide variety of Mac software and hardware products including: increase your productivity and make using applications like Photoshop, InDesign easier with the NuLOOQ Navigator from Logitech for only $139.99!; keep track of contacts, sales and prospects with one of the most comprehensive personal information managers/sales management tools on the Mac platform with DayLite 3 from Marketcircle for only $126.99!; Rule throughout time and create your own legacy as you guide your civilization from the dawn of man through the space age and beyond w/Sid Meier's Civilization IV from Aspyr for only $48.99!; transport and view your PowerPoint and Keynote presentations to your iPod with AvanQuest's iPresent It for only $28.99; get a compact iPod speaker system then checkout the inMotion IM9 portable audio system from Altec Lansing for only $199.99!; if you are cramped for space consider the BENQ Desksaver Companion mini keyboard and mouse combo for only $49.99; and much more.

MacMall has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: a number of USB Flash Drives for your portable storage needs from $101.99 to $389.99 for 2GB to 8GB; get a high-performance flatbed scanner w/great quality and the ability to scan 35mm filmstrips, 120 negatives, 4"x5" and 6x17 panoramic negs with the ScanMaker i800 scanner from Microtek for only $499.99 after $50.00 mail-in rebate!; project a great image with the Sony VPL-ES3 HDTV compatible LCD multimedia digital projector for only $825.99!; increase your (computer) desktop space with the NEC 21" MultiSync LCD2190UXI-BK LCD display for only $1459.99!; got backup? - get the 500GB My Book Premium external FireWire/USB 2.0 hard drive from Western Digital for only $326.99!; MindJet's MindManager 6 is the easiest way to organize your ideas and information - only $199.99!; and much more.

Publishing Perfection has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible products including: get the Aridi40 TruType Font Download for only $42.00!; ClanBadge's Celtic Knot 3D is a revolutionary new way to create this popular art form for only 20.00!; get a great package of photographic effects with Photographic Tools & Lens Effects from Andromeda for only $239.95!; inCamera 3.1 Plug-in from Pictographics is the easiest, most accurate and most affordable digital camera and scanner profiling software for Photoshop for only $119.95!; Corel's Painter Essentials 3 is a complete home art studio for beginners and experts alike for only $98.95!; get the most comprehensive charting application for OS X in DelaGraph 5 from Red Rock Software for only $249.95!; if you need to understand what your time is worth get Brenner Books' Desktop Production Time Standards for only $40.00!; flow text without leaving Photoshop with OttoPaths 1.5 from Human Software for only $98.95!; and much more.

Ramjet has Hot Deals exclusive deals on a wide variety of memory upgrade for your Mac including: 2GB DDR Kit (2X 1GB DIMM modules) for the original PowerMac G5 for only $194.00!; 2GB DDR2 RAM Kit (2X 1GB DIMM modules) for the Dual Core PowerMac G5 for only $189.00; 1GB DDR2 DIMM module for the iMac Intel Core-duo for only $124.00; 2GB DDR2 RAM Kit (2X 1GB modules) the new MacBook for only $244.00!; 1GB RAM Kit (matched pair of 512MB modules) for the Intel-based Mac Mini for only $134.00!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[7/7] Brief Hands-On Note--TechTool Pro 4.5.1 Beta 2 (Universal) is Out

Beta 1 of Micromat's hard disk and hardware maintenance utility expired last weekend. Beta 2, available for download via, should carry users with Intel-based Macs until the final release slated for later in July. Aside from resetting the expiration date, Beta 2 includes:

  • Fixed issue with eDrive creation/deletion on Intel Macs.
  • Addressed reported Disk Controller looping issue.
  • Updated to the Network test for Intel Macs.
  • Updated to the Volume Structure test.
  • Updated Boot Camp partition detection in eDrive.
  • Updated Macintosh model identification strings.

A version 4 serial number is needed to use the Beta of TechTool Pro 4.5.1.

We downloaded, installed and opened it without problems. It picked up the registration of our PPC version 4.1.1 of TTP, possibly a refinement from Beta 1. The opening screen indicates Beta 2 will be operative for 25 days. [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]

[7/7] Legion Arena (Universal) Demo Released by Freeverse

Freeverse today announced that a Demo of the historical war game, Legion Arena, is now available for download. Legion Arena was designed to maximize fun and reduce micro-management. The player can jump right in and start training legions to strike fear into the hearts of his enemies. With a shallow learning-curve and deep strategy and tactics, Legion Arena is the ideal game for novice or experienced wargamers.

Legion Arena is a Role Playing Strategy game on a massive scale. Take control of a small band of warriors and train them to be the mightiest army in the world! Buy equipment and choose from over 100 skills, personalize the appearance of your squads, earn experience and denari for your victories, Legion Arena takes the best elements of Role-Playing games and puts it in the context of an epic strategic struggle. Play as either the Romans or the Gauls in over 100 scenarios and with over 20 unique units including Praetorians, Elephants, and Naked Fanatics. That's right, Naked Fanatics -- from France!

Legion Arena is Universal, running natively on both PowerPC and Intel Macs.
Priced at $39.95, Legion Arena is available as either an electronic download or in retail packaging from and select Apple Retailers.

The Demo may be found on the Freeverse Web page. and a trailer may be viewed on Apple's Games page. [Bill Fox]

[7/7] Tom Bihn Introduced The "Imago" Notebook Bag with MacBook Insert

Tom Bihn, a designer, manufacturer, and retailer of notebook bags, backpacks, messenger bags and briefcases, has introduced the Imago, a new small messenger-style bag available in two distinct styles and six unique color combinations. The Imago features an optional laptop insert for the 13" MacBook.

The Yin Imago, made of 1000 denier Cordura, features a sexy recurve on the flap and is available in color combinations Cocoa/Cocoa/Wasabi, Plum/Crimson/Steel, and Olive/Steel/Wasabi.

The Yang Imago, made of 1050 Ballistic nylon model, has a more conservative look, and is available in color combinations Black/Black/Wasabi, Steel/Kiwi/Deep Blue, and Crimson/Steel/Crimson.

The Imagos feature the same internal architecture and accept the optional Soft Cell laptop sleeve or Brain Cell laptop case, both of which are available in Size 6 for the 13" MacBook and Size 5 for the 12" PowerBook G4. Adding the Soft Cell or Brain Cell turns the Imago into a small, efficient notebook messenger bag.

On both sides of the bag are small pockets designed to securely carry portable electronic devices such as cell phones, iPods/MP3 players or PDAs. Lined with Ultrasuede and closed by #8 YKK "splash-proof" Uretech zippers, these snug little pockets also provide scratch-free storage for eye glasses.

BTW, we recommend Tom Bihn bags and Brain Cells. They are very well designed and manufactured. We have used them for years with our PowerBooks and now our MacBook Pro. [Bill Fox]

[7/6] Hands-On Speed Report--Mac OS X 10.4.7--Supplement

First, please note that we revised yesterday's 10.4.7 speed report. We also ran our speed tests on a 2GHz iMac Core Duo and a 1.66GHz Mac mini Core Duo to see if we could generally confirm the conclusions reached for our MacBook Pro, i.e. an OpenGL graphics speed boost and a slowing of the startup/shutdown process. Here are the salient results compared with those for our MacBook Pro posted yesterday:

2.0GHz iMac Core Duo and 1.66GHz Mac mini Core Duo Speed Tests (average* scores or secs).
Test+ Mac OS X
Perf. Chg. %
2GHz iMac Core Duo:
Cinebench 2003 OpenGL HW Lighting
Xbench 1.2 OpenGL Graphics
Doom 3 1.3A (frames/sec)
Startup (sec)
Shutdown (sec)
1.66GHz Mac mini Core Duo:
Cinebench 2003 OpenGL HW Lighting
Xbench 1.2 OpenGL Graphics
Quake III Arena 1.32 (frames/sec)
Startup (sec)
Shutdown (sec)
2.16GHz 15" MacBook Pro
Cinebench 2003 OpenGL HW Lighting
Xbench 1.2 OpenGL Graphics
Quake III Arena 1.32 (frames/sec)
Halo 1.5.2 (frames/sec)
Call of Duty 1.5 (frames/sec)
Doom 3 1.3A MQ (frames/sec)
Quake 4 (frames/sec)
Startup (sec)
Shutdown (sec)
*Average of 3 runs. nv=not valid. Red is much faster. Blue is much slower.

The results from our iMac Core Duo and Mac mini Core Duo tests are consistent with and generally bear out the results from our MacBook Pro tests. OpenGL graphics performance is improved with Mac OS X 10.4.7 and the startup/shutdown process is slowed down a bit. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[7/6] Apple Revised the Offerings from a Hot Deals Retailer

Small Dog Electronics has deals on a wide variety of Mac products including: get a Hot Deals exclusive price on the Belkin Wireless Media Pilot Multimedia Keyboard w/built-in mouse for only $74.00!; get a Hot Deals exclusive price on the Antec USB-powered Notebook Cooler for only $27.00!; get another Hot Deals exclusive on the the iCarPlay Wireless Plus Charger FM Transmitter for iPod (w/built-n FM tuner!) from Monster Cable for $49.00!; Got backup? Get the 300GB EZQuest Monsoon FireWire/USB 2.0 external hard drive for only $152.00; get free 3-day express shipping when you purchase the 45W/per channel Audioengine 5 speaker system w/built-in charging for your iPod. Only $349.00!; get the most out of Apple's Aperture application with the Apple Certified Apple Pro Training Series book Aperture by Orlando Luna & Ben Long for only $29.00; get the new slim-line Canon DC100 DVD Camcorder w/FireWire for only $449; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[7/6] Commentary--Apple Included Widget "Spyware" in Mac OS X 10.4.7?

Not really. According to this Apple KnowledgeBase Article about Mac OS X 10.4.7,

You can now verify whether or not a Dashboard widget you downloaded is the same version as a widget featured on ( before installing it.

This says nothing about how this new widget feature has been implemented. According to a number of list and forum posts and Web articles (c.f. this one), Apple has implemented this new widget feature by automatically checking behind the scenes every so often.

Some would call this feature spyware because it contacts Apple without their knowledge. However, the Software Update feature in Mac OS X does the same thing. The only difference, and some claim this is significant, is that Software Update is an obvious feature and it can be disabled by unchecking it in System Preferences.

While Apple's notice of the new feature is arcane and there is no simple way to disable the daemon that checks for widget versions, we think those calling the widget-checking feature spyware are going overboard. Still, we hope that Apple cleans this feature up a bit by making it more obvious and optional for those who do not want it for whatever reason. [Bill Fox]

[7/6] Apple Replaced the eMac with an $899 iMac Core Duo for Education

Apple released a special LCD-based iMac Core Duo for education at $899, replacing the CRT-based eMac. To reduce the low-end 1.83GHz iMac's price of $1299 by $400, Apple replaced the iMac's ATI Radeon X1600 graphics with the Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics used in the Intel-based Mac mini and MacBook, the DVD-burning 8x SuperDrive with a CD-burning 24x combo drive and the 160GB hard drive with an 80GB model and eliminated Bluetooth and the infrared Apple Remote. Nothing was dropped from the iMac software bundle. The new education iMac is available only from Apple's Education Store and educational institutions selling Apple products. [Bill Fox]

[7/5] [Revised] Hands-On Speed Report--Mac OS X 10.4.7, How Fast Is It?

Last Tuesday, Apple released Mac OS X 10.4.7. An updater was released for the client and server editions of Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" and for PowerPC-based and Intel-based Macs. We provided an initial report and later noted that Apple had released a revised 10.4.7 (Intel) delta updater. Since then, we have used 10.4.7 on a variety of Intel-based and PowerPC-based Macs (MacBook Pro, iMac Core Duo, iMac G5, Power Mac G4 Cube, PowerBook G4s) without encountering any of the problems noted on other Mac web sites. Of course, we do not have all of the peripheral hardware and software cited as problematic but we have tried all of the Web sites and many of the applications without finding a problem. Just to be sure, we re-updated our MacBook Pro with the revised Intel delta updater, yielding a build number of 8J2135a.

Mac OS X 10.4.7 has been trouble-free for us but has it provided any speed benefits? It seems like it, so we ran our usual series of speed tests on our 2.16GHz 15" MacBook Pro with 2GB RAM and our 2GHz 20" iMac G5 with 512MB RAM. Due to variability in the results between replicates of the tests, we only consider a difference of over 10 percent to be worth noting.

Here are the results for our PowerPC-based iMac G5:

2.0GHz iMac G5 (Rev. B) Speed Tests (average* scores or secs).
Test+ Mac OS X
Perf. Chg. %
Altivec Fractal (GFLOPS)
Cinebench 2003 (9.5.1) - 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 Classic Mode (sec)
Dup. 500 MB Folder of Files (sec)
Scroll 144p Adobe 7.0.7 Reader File (sec)
Export QT FQDV in iMovie HD 5.0.2 (sec)
Quake III Arena 1.32 (frames/sec)
Halo 1.5.2 (frames/sec)
Call of Duty 1.5 (frames/sec)
Doom 3 1.3A MQ (frames/sec)
Quake 4 MQ (frames/sec)
*Average of 3 runs. Red is much faster. Blue is much slower.

Only the Quartz Graphics score from Xbench of all of the benchmark applications shows any improvement above 10 percent in speed--the others show mostly no change. In the real world tests, scrolling is much slower (which conflicts with the higher Quartz Graphics score) and exporting an iMovie as Full Quality DV is faster. Our take is that 10.4.7 did little or nothing for speed in a single CPU G5 PowerPC-based Mac.

Here are the results for our Intel-based MacBook Pro:

2.16GHz 15" MacBook Pro Speed Tests (average* scores or secs).
Test Mac OS X
Perf. Chg. %
Altivec Fractal (GFLOPS)
Cinebench 2003 (9.5.1) - Rendering (2X)
- 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)
Dup. 500 MB Folder of Files (sec)
Scroll 144p Adobe 7.0.7 Reader File (sec)
Export QT FQDV in iMovie HD 6.0.2 (sec)
Quake III Arena 1.32 PPC/Intel(frames/sec)
Halo 1.5.2 (frames/sec)
Call of Duty 1.5 (frames/sec)
Doom 3 1.3A MQ (frames/sec)
Quake 4 MQ (frames/sec)
*Average of 3 runs. +Universal. nv=not valid. nr=not recorded. Red is much faster. Blue is much slower.

There is a very significant improvement in the speed of the OpenGL Hardware Lighting test of Cinebench 9.5 but the OpenGL test in Xbench, while positive, does not exceed our 10 percent threshold. All of the 3D games use OpenGL drivers and all show some improvement with Halo (running on Rosetta) and Quake 4 (a Universal application) showing gains above the 10 percent threshold. For some reason, startup and shutdown are much slower than previously under 10.4.6 but startup is still much faster than any other PowerPC-based Mac that we've tested. We'll be checking our Mac mini Core Duo to see if there is a corresponding decrease in startup and shutdown performance.

In summary, our tests show that Intel-based Macs may show significant performance changes while PowerPC-based Macs may not. Intel-based Macs with ATI graphics may get better OpenGL performance. They may also suffer a bit in startup performance. We'll revisit these conclusions when we've tested our Mac mini Core Duo and iMac Core Duo and have received some reader feedback [Revision: See Supplement posted 7/6/06]. [Bill Fox]

[7/5] Here is Apple's List of Free Online Seminars for July

Apple released its list of free online seminars that are provided for July. There is only one new seminar noted below with an asterisk and a link. All online seminars can be located from this Apple Web page or from our individual seminar links posted last month.

Apple's free 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 July's complete list by subject:

Design, Print & Graphic Design

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Development Tools

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.

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.

Digital Media

Accelerate Your Video Production
Todd Benjamin, Joseph Linaschke and Dion Scoppettuolo, Apple marketing managers, take you through a performance overview of the Power Mac G5 Quad.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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


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.

Making Music on the Mac with GarageBand
Tune in to this free online seminar and learn how to transform your Mac into a musical instrument and record new and inspiring masterpieces.


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.

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.

Product Info

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.


*ChemDraw and BioDraw for Mac OS X: High productivity tools for chemists and biologists
Jeffrey P. Carter discusses tips on how to make optimal use of both ChemDraw and BioDraw, so you can spend more time on your core research efforts.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Small Business

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.

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

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.


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

[Bill Fox]

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