September 2006 News Archive

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

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[9/30] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple released Mac OS X 10.4.8 for Client and Server

Apple released Mac OS X 10.4.8 Update for client and Server editions, for PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs and as delta and combo updaters. The appropriate delta or combo updater should appear in Software Update and there are stand-alone updaters available for download from this Apple Web page. Generally, we recommend that people download the stand-alone combo updater and use it to update to Mac OS X 10.4.8, particularly if one has not been judicious in keeping Mac OS X up to date or is having problems. For others, the shorter route is using Software Update--we did. But we also downloaded the combo updater to keep in case of future problems.

Mac OS X 10.4.8 is a significant update with new versions of applications and utilities: Address Book, AppleScript, Automator, Dictionary, Font Book, iCal, iChat, DVD Player, Keynote, Mail, Preview, Safari, Stickies, Disk Utility, Keychain Access, Migration Assistant, and Software Update.

Here the details of the major client changes (PowerPC and Intel):

The 10.4.8 Update is recommended for all users and includes general operating system fixes, as well as specific fixes for the following applications and technologies:

- sharing using AFP, SMB/CIFS, NFS and FTP file sharing protocols
- reliable access to Open Directory, LDAP and Active Directory services
- login and authentication in a variety of network environments
- file access and byte range locking with AFP file sharing
- network access when using proxy server automatic configuration files
- connecting to Cisco VPN servers using IP/Sec and NAT
- AirPort including connectivity to EAP-FAST networks
- Bluetooth wireless connectivity
- RAW camera support, including updated ATI and NVIDIA graphics drivers
- usability of Dashboard and widgets
- searching iWork ‘06 and Microsoft Office documents with Spotlight
- saving Word documents automatically when using a network home directory
- viewing of QuickTime streaming media behind a firewall
- audio playback in QuickTime, iTunes, Final Cut Pro, and Soundtrack applications
- ensuring icons are spaced correctly when viewed on desktop
- determining the space required to burn folders
- synchronizing contacts, bookmarks, and calendars to .Mac and mobile phones
- mounting and unmounting iDisk volumes
- time zone and daylight savings for 2006 and 2007
- using OpenType fonts in Microsoft Word
- Address Book, AppleScript, Automator, Dictionary, Font Book, iCal, iChat, DVD Player, Keynote, Mail, Preview, Safari, and Stickies
- Disk Utility, Keychain Access, Migration Assistant, and Software Update
- compatibility with third party applications and devices
- previous Mac OS X updates and standalone security updates

Here are the details of the PowerPC-based Server changes:

- avoiding AFP server deadlocks and thread starvation
- membership and permissions issues when Windows users are in more than 16 groups
- synchronizing Open Directory password information between Master and Replicas
- changing and saving Open Directory password policy security settings
- directory service usage affecting Mail server performance
- streaming movies to localized versions of the QuickTime Player
- handling TCP Selective Acknowledgments in congested networks
- compatibility with third party applications and devices
- previous standalone security updates

Here are the Intel-based Server details:

- avoiding AFP server deadlocks and thread starvation
- streaming movies to localized versions of the QuickTime Player
- preventing panics when operating with Xsan and other memory intensive kernel extensions
- vnode allocation on systems with at least 2GB of RAM
- handling TCP Selective Acknowledgments in congested networks
- compatibility with third party applications and devices
- previous standalone security updates

Here are the details of the twelve security updates included with Mac OS X 10.4.8:

CFNetwork--CVE-2006-4390--CFNetwork clients such as Safari may allow unauthenticated SSL sites to appear as authenticated. This update addresses the issue by disallowing anonymous SSL connections by default. Credit to Adam Bryzak of Queensland University of Technology for reporting this issue.

Flash Player--CVE-2006-3311, CVE-2006-3587, CVE-2006-3588, CVE-2006-4640--Playing Flash content may lead to arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issues by incorporating Flash Player version on Mac OS X v10.3.9 and Flash Player version on Mac OS X v10.4.

ImageIO--CVE-2006-4391--Viewing a maliciously-crafted JPEG2000 image may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the image by performing additional validation of JPEG2000 images. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4. Credit to Tom Saxton of Idle Loop Software Design for reporting this issue.

Kernel--CVE-2006-4392--Local users may be able to run arbitrary code with raised privileges. This update addresses the issue by restricting access to Mach exception ports for privileged programs. Credit to Dino Dai Zovi of Matasano Security for reporting this issue.

LoginWindow--CVE-2006-4397--fter an unsuccessful attempt to log in to a network account, Kerberos tickets may be accessible to other local users. This update addresses the issue by clearing the credentials cache after failed logins. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4. Credit to Patrick Gallagher of Digital Peaks Corporation for reporting this issue.

LoginWindow--CVE-2006-4393--Kerberos tickets may be accessible to other local users if Fast User Switching is enabled. Fast User Switching has been updated toprevent this situation. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4. Credit to Ragnar Sundblad of the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden for reporting this issue.

LoginWindow--CVE-2006-4394--Network accounts may be able to bypass loginwindow service access controls. This issue only affects systems that have been configured to use service access controls for loginwindow and to allow network accounts to authenticate users without a GUID. The issue has been resolved by properly handling service access controls in loginwindow. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4.

Preferences--CVE-2006-4387--After removing an account's Admin privileges, the account may still manage WebObjects applications. This update addresses the issue by ensuring the account is removed from the appropriate groups. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4. Credit to Phillip Tejada of Fruit Bat Software for reporting this issue.

QuickDraw Manager--CVE-2006-4395--Opening a malicious PICT image with certain applications may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by preventing the unsupported operation.

SASL--CVE-2006-1721--Remote attackers may be able to cause an IMAP server denial of service. This update addresses the issue through improved handling of realm heders in authentication attempts.

WebCore--CVE-2006-3946--Viewing a maliciously-crafted web page may lead to arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by preventing the condition causing the overflow. Credit to Jens Kutilek of Netzallee for reporting this issue.

Workgroup Manager--CVE-2006-4399--Accounts in a NetInfo parent that appear to use ShadowHash passwords may still use crypt. This update addresses the issue by disallowing administrators from selecting ShadowHash passwords for accounts in a NetInfo parent. Credit to Chris Pepper of The Rockefeller University for reporting this issue.

We downloaded and installed Mac OS X 10.4.8 client and Server on a number of Macs, mostly using Software Update: Mac mini Core Duo, iMac Core Duo, iMac Core 2 Duo, 15" MacBook Pro, PowerBook G4 and Power Mac G4 Cube. It took quite awhile for the Macs to restart following installation. In addition, a very long time was spent at the gray screen after the restart and most, if not all, Macs restarted again before proceeding to the desktop. We experienced no problems with installation on any Mac.

Afterward, several hours of use of many of the updated Macs, Power PC and Intel, revealed no problems. The Apple Mail application that had slowed down considerably after being installed with 10.4.7 was much faster at accessing the mailboxes after the 10.4.8 update. [Bill Fox and Dana Baggett].

[9/30] Apple released Security Update 2006-006 for Mac OS X 10.3.9

Security Update 2006-006 for Mac OS X 10.3.9, client and server editions, is available via Software Update if running Mac OS X 10.3.9 Panther or as stand-alone updaters from this Apple Web page. It contains five of the twelve security fixes also contained in Mac OS X 10.4.8 Update. [Bill Fox]

[9/30] Apple released Aperture 1.5 Update

As we noted earlier this week, Apple released Aperture 1.5 Update on Friday. The stand-alone updater is available from this Apple Web page. According to the ReadMe file,

Aperture 1.5 delivers more than 20 new and enhanced features that improve file management, metadata handling, and image adjustment. This update also addresses numerous issues related to overall reliability, performance, and compatibility.

[Bill Fox]

[9/29] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple updated iLife '06 and iWork '06

The updates mostly enable Aperture 1.5 interoperability. They are available for download via Software Update if iLife '06 and iWork '06 are installed or as stand-alone updaters from the links below.

iWeb Update 1.1.2 -- This update addresses compatibility for accessing Aperture 1.5 content in iWeb.

iPhoto Update 6.0.5 -- This update to iPhoto contains new calendar, greeting card, and postcard themes for use with Apple print services, including a variety of holiday card designs. It also addresses compatibility for accessing Aperture 1.5 content in iPhoto.

iMovie Update HD 6.0.3 -- This update addresses compatibility for accessing Aperture 1.5 content in iMovie HD. It also improves overall stability and addresses a number of other minor issues.

iDVD Update 6.0.3 -- This update addresses compatibility for accessing Aperture 1.5 content in iDVD.

GarageBand Update 3.0.4 -- This update addresses compatibility for accessing Aperture 1.5 content in GarageBand.

Keynote Update 3.0.2 -- This update addresses compatibility for accessing Aperture 1.5 content in Keynote.

Pages Update 2.0.2 -- This update addresses compatibility for accessing Aperture 1.5 content in Pages.

We downloaded and installed the many updates on Intel-based iMacs and Mac mini, a MacBook Pro and a 12" PowerBook G4 with no problems. We opened and tried out each application on our MacBook Pro without any issues.

Unfortunately, the iMovie HD Update 6.0.3 did not fix the slow down in exporting a Full Quality DV QuickTime compressed file between versions 6 and 5 of iMovie HD. [Bill Fox and Dana Baggett]

[9/29] Brief Hands-On Report--Parallels Desktop for Mac RC2 is Out

Parallels released Release Candidate 2 of their Desktop for Mac v2.2. According to Parallels,

The Update RC2 includes the great improvement on support for the recently released quad-processor Mac Pro towers and 64-bit iMacs.

Now you need:

  • No RAM limitations
  • No hardware reconfigurations

while using Windows and it's critical applications on new 64-bit Mac Pro towers and iMacs.

We downloaded RC2 and the updated guides and installed it over RC1 (Build 1898) on our MacBook Pro--the new RC2 build is 1920. Our virtual machine of Windows XP SP2 launched and ran fine so we updated the Parallels Tools installation with the new build. During nearly an hour of general use, i.e. updating Windows XP, surfing and checking email, we ran into no problems. [Bill Fox]

[9/29] Arnie Keller's Take Control of Getting Started with Dreamweaver Published

Dreamweaver is the Web design software of choice for many pros, but those new to the program can become overwhelmed by its complex interface and find it difficult to work creatively and intelligently in the program. Help is now at hand - Arnie Keller's Take Control of Getting Started with Dreamweaver explains what readers really need to know in order to make a modern, professional Web site. It covers Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), the must-use method of styling type and other page elements; it looks at using layers to position items on a page; and it talks about templates, the smart way to develop a multi-page site.

The 88-page ebook, published September 27, 2006, by TidBITS Electronic Publishing in PDF, may be purchased for $10 from this Take Control Books Web page. A 21-page sample copy is also available. [Bill Fox]

[9/29] Divine Fiat released Perfect Pitch Theme Set for Apple Keynote

Divine Fiat released their Perfect Pitch theme set for Keynote. Perfect Pitch is a combination of their classic Title Card and best selling Take Two themes. At $44.85 directly from Divine Fiat, this bundle costs 25% less than purchasing each theme individually.

While ideal for a wide variety of presentations, according to Divine Fiat, the Perfect Pitch themes were designed with film, tv and video professionals in mind. The 4:3 and 16:9 photo cutouts are perfect for introducing employers, clients or potential investors to one's next project. Perfect Pitch is also ideal for students or professors at film school.

Each theme in the set includes fifty-five text and photo layout masters. Because Keynote will only allow one title text box and one body text box per master slide, an extras file is included with each theme that provides a variety of text box layouts for each photo cutout master. [Bill Fox]

[9/29] Registration Now Open for Macworld 2007

IDG announced that registration is now open for Macworld 2007 to be held January 8-12, 2007, at San Francisco's Moscone Center.

Here are some deadlines:

Attendees of Past 3 Years--Before October 30, 2006 - Register for your complimentary Exhibit Hall registration. Use Priority Code: E-SFVA

Register by December 11, 2006 with Priority Code: E-SFVA for the Platinum Pass and receive $3,995 worth of training, for only $1,495.

Register before December 11, 2006 – Register for your Conference of choice at Early Bird pricing. Use Priority Code: E-SFVA

There's a new event at Macworld called the Macworld Blast! that's on Tuesday, January 9 – Doors open at 8:00 PM--Buy your ticket during registration for the Macworld Blast, Mix and mingle with fellow Macworld attendees, speakers, and staff as you enjoy food, live entertainment, and the opportunity to win great prizes. [Bill Fox]

[9/28] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple released iTunes 7.0.1

iTunes 7.0.1 is available for download via the Software Update application or as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page. According to the ReadMe file,

iTunes 7.0.1 addresses stability and performance issues with Cover Flow, CD importing, iPod syncing, and more.

We downloaded, installed and used iTunes 7.0.1, mostly with no problems. We are not sure if it is iTunes 7.0.1 or something else but when we try to "purchase" the free weekly song, we get an error message saying our credit balance is out of date (and it is at $0.03--should be zero) and to click OK to refresh it. When we click the OK button, the balance is not refreshed and we get the same message again in an endless loop. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[9/28] Apple updated Logic Pro and Logic Express to 7.2.3

Logic Pro Update 7.2.3--Logic Pro 7.2.3 addresses performance issues when Logic Pro 7 is used on Mac Pro and G5 Quad computers. Logic Pro 7.2.3 is recommended for all Mac Pro and G5 Quad users. An existing Logic Pro 7.2.1 or Logic Pro 7.2.2 installation is required for this update.

Note: Logic Pro 7.2.3 is optimized for PowerPC G4, G5 and Intel based Macs with up to 2 dual-core processors.

Logic Express Update 7.2.3--Logic Express 7.2.3 addresses performance issues when Logic Express 7 is used on Mac Pro and G5 Quad computers. Logic Express 7.2.3 is recommended for all Mac Pro and G5 Quad users. An existing Logic Express 7.2.1 or Logic Express 7.2.2 installation is required for this update.

Note: Logic Express 7.2.3 is optimized for PowerPC G4, G5 and Intel based Macs with up to 2 dual-core processors.

[Bill Fox]

[9/28] updated for Recent iMacs and Mac minis

From Charles Gaba,FYI, I've updated the site with the following:

  • Updated: Complete Apple Desktop Lineup (new Mac minis, new iMacs, new Mac Pro)
  • $600 Mini Desktop Shootout (Apple Mac mini vs. Shuttle XPC G2100h)
  • $1,100 Slimline Desktop Shootout (Apple 17” iMac vs. Dell XPS 210 w/17” LCD)
  • $1,500 Slimline Desktop Shootout (Apple 20” iMac vs. Dell XPS 210 w/20” LCD)
  • $2,000 Slimline Desktop Shootout (Apple 24” iMac vs. Dell XPS 210 w/24” LCD)

Check out these and other excellent comparos at [Bill Fox]

[9/28] Cool Mac Software--WeatherPop 2.5 (Free) and WeatherPop Advance 2.5 ($8) are Out

Glucose updated our favorite weather application, WeatherPop to v2.5. WeatherPop is free and WeatherPop Advance is a mere $8. Among fixes, v2.5 adds a doppler radar image popup for the selected city.

We downloaded, installed and used the update to WeatherPop Advance 2.5 with no problems. [Bill Fox]

[9/28] David Pogue Emcees Discovery Museum's Second Annual Consumer Tech Fest This Weekend

New York Times columnist and Mac expert David Pogue will be the host and emcee of the Discovery Museum's 2nd annual Consumer Tech Fest in Bridgeport, CT, this weekend. Tech equipment will be on display from a number of companies including Apple, Best Buy, Bose, Canon, Dell, EdgeLab, JVC, Lamar, Lego, Nikon, Panasonic, Pentax, Plantronics, Nuance, Sonos, TiVo, XM Satellite Radio and iRobot. Also included are presentations, seminars and demonstrations.

The Consumer Tech Fest is designed to raise funds for the Discovery Museum. It is open 10-6 on Saturday and 11-5 on Sunday. [Dana Baggett]

[9/28] Intel's Roadmap to Performance, Stronger Security, Lower Costs Revealed

Intel issued a press release from the Intel Developer Forum which states in part:

During his keynote today at the Intel Developer Forum, Pat Gelsinger, Intel senior vice president and general manager of the Digital Enterprise Group, outlined the next stage of the company’s multi-core product roadmap and new industry initiatives that offer developers a design platform for innovation and new capabilities for businesses.

Demonstrating how the company capitalizes on Moore’s Law, Intel previewed its forthcoming Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor 5300 series – products with four processors inside – for workstations and servers, and the Intel Core 2 Extreme quad-core processor for the enthusiast market segment. Available this year, the products are based on the revolutionary Intel Core microarchitecture and deliver socket compatibility with existing Intel platforms.

The chips will extend technology and performance leadership by delivering up to 50 percent more performance within the same power envelope than today’s dual-core generation, already well recognized as the world’s highest performing processors. Gelsinger also reiterated that Intel will deliver a power-thrifty 50 watt quad-core server processor next year.

Intel also revealed plans for more than 50 new SSE4 instructions, extending the Intel 64 instruction set architecture to better take advantage of Intel’s next-generation 45 nanometer (nm) silicon manufacturing process and expand the performance and capabilities of Intel Architecture. New products based on the Intel 64 instruction set architecture will first appear next year and benefit a variety of applications, including those involving graphics, video encoding and processing, 3D imaging, gaming, web servers and application servers.

The company also highlighted several new industry standards initiatives. Intel and IBM have co-developed a specification for a new PCI Express technology, codenamed "Geneseo," that would extend the standard to include co-located hardware on the bus. The goal is to make such tasks as visualization and media processing, math intensive data crunching and content processing faster and more efficient than existing add-in cards or software approaches.

Intel and IBM plan to further collaborate with the PCI-SIG, one of the oldest and most respected open industry standards organizations and the group that maintains PCI and PCI Express specifications. As further example of its support for industry innovation, Intel has announced that it will license its front-side bus technology to select vendors.

Gelsinger highlighted how the company has refreshed its entire line-up of dual-core products, including more than 30 new enterprise-class processors for both business PCs and servers, all launched in less than 100 days. Among these is a new family of dual-core Intel Itanium processors designed for the high-end, reduced instruction set computing (RISC)-dominated space. Intel’s Itanium processor family continues to gain momentum; worldwide system revenue in the first half of this year grew by nearly 40 percent compared to the same period last year, according to analyst reports.

Intel also has extended the Intel Xeon processor line, targeting lower-end, single-processor servers typically used for home offices and small businesses with the introduction of the Dual-Core Intel Xeon processor 3000 series, dramatically improving server performance and power efficiency. Intel also launched the latest ultra-dense Dual Core Intel Xeon Processor 5148 that features a low thermal design point of only 40 watts.

For business PCs, Gelsinger disclosed details on the company’s next-generation Intel vPro technology that will extend the platform’s manageability and security capabilities. Available next year, the platform will include the third generation of Intel Active Management technology, adding support for the new Web Services Management (WS-MAN) standard and new "system defense" features that can slow or stop the spread of viruses and worms. Further bolstering PC security, this next-generation technology will also include for the first time Intel Trusted Execution Technology, formerly codenamed "LaGrande Technology."

Lastly, Gelsinger discussed a proposed method for measuring energy-efficient performance (energy efficiency at a given performance level) on the client and encouraged the industry to move toward standardization of methodologies that deliver meaningful results to end users.

[Bill Fox]

[9/27] Intel Offers $1 Million to Design a Mac?

According to their press release, the Intel Corporation is challenging the designers and manufacturers of PCs to think sexy, stylish and small when they design the next generation of home PCs optimized for multimedia entertainment and powered by Intel Core 2 Duo processors.

Looking to evolve the "big, beige box" and help bring to market more stylish, small, quiet and cool-running PCs perfect for any room in the home, Intel announced the Intel® Core™ Processor Challenge. The contest will award up to $1 million in prizes to the PC designer and manufacturer that designs and builds the smallest and most stylish home PCs powered by Intel® Viiv™ technology, Intel's premium brand for in-home, media-optimized PCs featuring an Intel Core 2 Duo processor. Systems will be evaluated on attributes of style, acoustics, functionality and features.

"Our intent with the Intel Core Processor Challenge is to think outside of the box – think sexy, small and sleek PCs optimized for multimedia entertainment – and we’re putting our money where our mouth is," said Eric Kim, vice president and general manager, Intel’s Digital Home Group.

In our opinion, game over...Apple has already won. [Bill Fox]

[9/27] SanDisk Announced the Highest Capacity 12- and 16-GB CompactFlash Cards at Photokina

At Photokina, SanDisk Corporation introduced the 12- and 16-GB SanDisk Extreme III CompactFlash cards to its award-winning Extreme III performance line, making these the highest capacity cards in the world. The new high-performance, large-capacity cards are ideal for professional photographers who shoot RAW or high-resolution JPG files and need the performance, reliability and capacity to capture these large files. The 12GB model will sell for $779.99 and the 16GB model will sell for $1,049.99.

SanDisk also has a USB 2.0 reader for the Extreme cards that sells for $24.99. All three will be available by December. [Bill Fox]

[9/27] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla Released Firefox 2 RC1 (Universal)

The first release candidate of Firefox 2 is available for download and testing from this Mozilla Web page. The release notes are on this Mozilla Web page. The are a large number of improvements from the last beta version.

Mozilla expects to release a second candidate in the first week of October and the final version before November.

We downloaded and installed Firefox 2 RC1 on our MacBook Pro with no problems and trashed our copy of Beta 2. Our favorite theme, Nautipolis was incompatible but Firefox 2 RC1 found a new version 1.6.4 that is compatible. We surfed to a number of Web sites, tried our bank's Web site and one of our Web payment sites without any problems. It seems that Firefox 2 RC1 is safe enough to try out. [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]

[9/27] It's Pro Time--Apple Updated Its Pro Applications 2006-02, Final Cut Pro 5.1.2, Cinema Tools 3.1.2 and CHUD 4.4.3

Pro Applications Update 2006-02--This update addresses several issues with underlying frameworks and shared components for Apple’s professional applications and is strongly recommended for all users of:

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

Final Cut Pro 5.1.2--Final Cut Pro Update 5.1.2 provides important bug fixes and compatibility updates for certain Canon, Sony, JVC and Panasonic devices. This update is recommended for all Final Cut Pro 5.1 and Final Cut Pro 5.1.1 customers.

Apple Cinema Tools Updater 3.1.2 []--Apple Cinema Tools 3.1.2 addresses inter-application compatibility and fixes some potential issues with reverse telecine when using files larger than 9GB.

Apple CHUD Tools 4.4.3 []--The Computer Hardware Understanding Developer Tools (CHUD Tools) are designed to help hardware and software developers measure and optimize the performance of PowerPC Macintosh systems running their products under Mac OS X.

[Bill Fox]

[9/26] 2G iPod nano Cases Arrive from Dr. Bott and Marware

Marware announced the imminent availability of iPod nano 2G versions of two of its best-selling cases, the Sportsuit Basic and Sport Grip.

The Sportsuit Basic for $19.95 is designed with durable 2mm neoprene outer construction, a soft-lined interior and a play-thru vinyl screen and Click Wheel protector. A bottom flap and customer Hold Button opening provides complete protection with easy access to all ports. Sportsuit Basic includes a low profile, interchangeable clip that is part of Marware's patented Multidapt system, offering a wide variety of carrying and attachment options.

The Sport Grip for $9.95 consists of one clear and 4 translucent colors, coordinated to match the new iPod nano 2G. A grippy, specially treated exterior helps to prevent dust collection and provides an incredibly silky texture. Easy access to the Hold Button and all ports, as well as a tapered edge for the Click Wheel provides maximum convenience and comfort.

They are can be ordered from Dr. Bott. [Bill Fox]

[9/26] Moixa Energy to Present USBCELL at DEMOfall 2006 Today

Moixa Energy will present their new battery technology, USBCELL, and renewable energy vision at DEMOfall 2006 in San Diego today. Last Tuesday, Moixa Energy launched its first product, USBCELL – a range of high quality rechargeable batteries, starting with the AA Cell which can charge from any USB port without the need for any recharging devices or cables.

These batteries seem pretty handy for Bluetooth and other wireless devices and digital cameras carried by road warriors. [Bill Fox]

[9/26] Eddie Tapp and Monte Zucker--Digital Photography On the Road

O'Reilly author Eddie Tapp is taking his digital photography know-how on the road, stopping at 18 cities across the county starting early next month. Well-known portrait and wedding photographer Monte Zucker will join him on this educational journey. The seminars will give serious students, enthusiasts, and professionals an opportunity to learn from the experts who have influenced successful photographers for over five decades.

Tapp, a popular lecturer on digital imaging and 2006 Photoshop Hall of Famer, is widely admired for his knack for making the photo editing process easier and more transparent. His newly released Photoshop Workflow Setups (O'Reilly, ISBN: 0-596-10168-6, 197 pages, $29.99)--the first in a five-book series--shows users how to organize an efficient and user-friendly workspace.

The second book, Practical Color Management (O'Reilly, ISBN: 0-596-52768-3, 168 pages, $29.99)--available for preorder now--hits bookstores in late October. This new book covers the three stages of color-managed workflow--choosing a color space, calibrating your devices, and applying appropriate profiles. [Bill Fox]

[9/26] Apple Released Aperture 1.5 Update--Download It Later This Week

Apple released Aperture 1.5, a major update to Apple's all-in-one post production tool for photographers that delivers enhancements across each phase of the entire workflow. Aperture 1.5 delivers a powerful new open library, seamless iLife '06 and iWork '06 integration, XMP metadata support, powerful new adjustment tools and an export API that makes it easy to extend the Aperture workflow to third party applications and services. Aperture 1.5 is now supported across Apple's full line of Macs, from the Mac mini to the Mac Pro.

It is free for registered owners of v1.0 and $299 otherwise. The free download will be available later this week from this Apple Web page. [Bill Fox]

[9/25] Hands-On Review--Apple's New Fabulous 24" iMac Core 2 Duo, How Fast Is It?

Nearly three weeks ago Apple refreshed it's iMac line with second generation dual core CPUs from Intel, the Core 2 Duo (code-named Merom), and added an iMac with a beautiful 24" flat panel display to the line. We ordered one to replace our "aging" 20" iMac G5 when we saw that we could get a faster CPU and faster graphics card than the low-end Mac Pro and a larger 24" display.

We ordered our 24" iMac from the Apple Store with the fastest CPU (2.33GHz) for $250 extra and fastest graphics card (Nvidia GeForce 7600 GT) for $150 but otherwise stock. The CPU upgrade is probably an extravagance because it is only 8 percent faster than the stock 2.16GHz CPU. But we wanted to see if the 24" iMac would be a good enough game machine to keep us from ultimately replacing our now-sold Power Mac G5 Quad with a new Mac Pro. We thought about upgrading the RAM from 1GB to 2GB but since we won't use many non-Universal applications on the iMac we decided not to upgrade the RAM.

Our upgraded 24" iMac arrived a week ago directly from Shanghai just 5 business days after we ordered it. The first thing one notices is how much larger the 24" iMac is compared with the former largest 20" iMac (see image below).

Despite its much larger size, the 24" iMac is only slightly heavier than the 20" iMac (24.7lbs vs 22lbs). The other major external differences are the built-in iSight, the ports in the back are arranged horizontally on the lower right instead of vertically, one FireWire 400 port is now a FireWire 800 port and the power button is on the lower left back rather than the right.

Internally, there is a 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo CPU vs a 2GHz G5, 1GB RAM vs 512MB, an Nvidia GeForce 7600 GT graphics card with 256MB video RAM vs an ATI Radeon 9600 with 128MB video RAM, an 8x double-layer SuperDrive vs a single-layer SuperDrive and a 250GB SATA hard drive vs a 250GB parallel ATA hard drive. The 24" iMac has a new 24-watt digital amplifier for better audio-out than any other iMac past or present.

While there are many gains, there are also a couple of small hardware loses--one less FireWire 400 port (displaced by a FireWire 800 port) and no modem. More importantly to some, the software suite loses AppleWorks and Quicken so there is no "business" software at all except trial versions of iWork '06 and Microsoft Office 2004.

Out of the box, we were up and running quickly. It took a little over 30 minutes to transfer the user folder from our 20" iMac G5 to our 24" iMac Core 2 Duo using a FireWire cable and Mac OS X's excellent Migration Assistant application. We had no problems connecting up with our AirPort Extreme network after adding the 24" iMac's AirPort ID to each AirPort Base Station.

Right off the 24" iMac seemed clearly faster than any other Mac we've ever used, including our ex-PowerMac G5 Quad and our 2.16 GHz 15" MacBook Pro. Could that be so? We ran our suite of speed tests on the 24" iMac. The tests consist of four benchmarking applications, five "real world" operation tests and five 3D video games. For comparison, we also ran the speed tests on the retiring 2GHz 20" iMac G5 and our 2.16GHz 15" MacBook Pro. The results for our ex-Power Mac 2.5GHz G5 Quad are included for informational purposes but they are not strictly comparable because it ran Mac OS X 10.4.6 and since April Xbench was updated and changed from v1.2 to v1.3. And, of course, the Mac Pro's with two dual core CPUs up to 3GHz and an optional ATI Radeon X1900 graphics card replaced the Power Mac G5's in August.

Here are the results:

2.33GHz 24" iMac Speed Tests (average* scores or secs).
Test Mac
24" iMac Core 2 Duo
20" iMac G5
15" MacBook Pro
Power Mac G5 Quad
2.33 GHz
Altivec Fractal+ (GFLOPS)
Cinebench 2003 (9.5.1)-Rendering (2X)
- OpenGL Hardware Lighting
Let1kWindowsBloom 1.0 (sec)
Xbench 1.3 - CPU
- Threading
- Memory
- Quartz Graphics
- OpenGL Graphics
- User Interface Graphics
"Real World" Tests:
Startup (sec)
Shutdown (sec)
Dup. 500 MB Folder of Files (sec)
Scroll Adobe 7.0.8+ Reader File (sec)
Export QT FQDV in iMovie HD (sec)
Quake 3 Arena Intel/PPC+(frames/sec)
Halo 2.0/1.5.2+ (frames/sec)
Call of Duty 1.5+ (frames/sec)
Doom 3 1.3A (frames/sec)
Quake 4 (frames/sec)
*Average of 3 runs. +Rosetta application. - not run. Red is faster among the iMacs and MacBook Pro.

The rash of red in the first column says it all--the 24" iMac with a 2.33GHz Core 2 Duo CPU and Nvidia GeForce 7600 GT graphics is one fast machine. It beats the pants off the 2GHz iMac G5 and handily crushes the 15" 2.16GHz MacBook Pro also with one exception--the latter difference in Xbench OpenGL Graphics is less than 10 percent so probably is not significant. On other graphics tests involving OpenGL the 24" iMac is much faster than the 15" MacBook Pro--Cinebench 2003 and the 3D games. The 24" iMac really blows away the others on the Xbench User Interface test, confirming its very fast impression using the Finder.

The 24" iMac is the startup king. We've never measured a faster startup time from chime to complete desktop than 18 seconds. It's also the fastest among the iMac G5 and MacBook Pro in shutting down, duplicating a 500MB folder with and scrolling in Adobe Reader. It beats the MacBook Pro in exporting a full quality digital video movie in iMovie HD. The iMac G5 has iLife '05 installed and iMovie HD 5.0.x is not comparable with v6.0.2--the latter is much slower for some reason.

As expected, the 24" iMac really shines with 3D games. It even gets a very playable 58 fps in Call of Duty running in Rosetta emulation whereas the MacBook Pro's score of 35 fps is marginal and an incredible 835 fps in the Universal version of Quake III Arena. The speed of newer games with Universal binaries--Halo, Doom3 and Quake 4--is excellent with fps of 91, 128 and 95 respectively at our test settings.

The 24" iMac generally holds its own or bests scores of the Power Mac G5 Quad in the benchmark tests, the notable scores highly favorable to the iMac are Cinebench's OpenGL Hardware Lighting and Xbench's User Interface tests. The 24" iMac beat the G5 Quad in four of five tests in the real world category and three of four 3D game tests.

Since the 3D game scores are so good at our settings, i.e. the ones we normally play at, it is possible to increase the resolution or increase the video quality settings and still get an acceptable frame rate of around 60 fps. For example, here are the results of doing so with Doom3:

1. Standard Video with Better Resolution Settings: 120 fps

  • High Video Quality
  • Resolution: 1024x768
  • Shadows: Off
  • Antialiasing: Off

2. Best Video Settings: 98 fps

  • Ultra Video Quality
  • Resolution: 1024x768
  • Shadows: On
  • Antialiasing: Off

3. Best Video and Resolution Settings: 57 fps

  • Ultra Video Quality
  • Resolution: 1600x1200
  • Shadows: On
  • Antialiasing: Off

4. Best Video and Resolution plus Antialiasing: 19 fps

  • Ultra Video Quality
  • Resolution: 1600x1200
  • Shadows: On
  • Antialiasing: 2x

Enabling antialiasing is the real speed killer. We prefer the higher frame rate at a resolution of 1024x768 even on a 24" Cinema Display. To our eyes, 1024x768 is enough resolution to make out an enemy across a map and 1600x1200 makes them too much smaller even if better defined--YMMV.

Apple has finally produced an excellent game machine in its consumer line with the upgraded 24" iMac. While our MacBook Pro is perfectly good for the games we tested, the upgraded 24" iMac really shines. And we ran into no problems while using it this past week.

The 24" iMac Core 2 Duo very nicely fills the gap between a true consumer Mac and the Mac Pro. Apple calls this marketing space "prosumer." It has high end capabilities and even a fast FireWire 800 port. The 24" iMac is upgradable to a degree as a configure-to-order purchase from the Apple Store--CPU, RAM, graphics and hard drive can be upgraded. Hopefully, these parts will also be upgraded by third party manufacturers and easily installed.

With the top-end 2.33GHz CPU and Nvidia GeForce 7600GT graphics as upgrades, the 24" iMac retails for $2,374. It has a faster CPU (although just one), faster graphics and a larger screen than the low-end 2GHz Mac Pro which retails for $3,198 with a 23" Cinema Display. The upgraded 24" iMac is quite a bargain at $824 less than the Mac Pro if one does not need the expandability of a Mac Pro. [Bill Fox]

[9/25] Brief Hands-On Report--Adobe Released Photoshop Lightroom Beta 4 (Universal)

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom beta 4 is now ready to download from this Adobe Web page. This is the first release to reveal the full name Adobe is giving to the product, as Lightroom takes its place as the newest member of the Photoshop family of digital imaging and photography software. It is also Adobe's first major digital imaging application, public beta or final, to be released as a Universal Application, running natively on both Intel-based Macs and PowerPC-based Macs.

Beta 4 is Adobe's biggest milestone to date, with several enhancements and additions, including the achievement of full feature parity between the Windows and Mac OS versions of Lightroom.

Lightroom Beta 4 also features:

  • Ground-breaking changes in the way tone curve adjustments are made and displayed, giving you the highest quality results in an interface that's easier to use than ever before.
  • More streamlined and elegant user interface - We've made several changes to the look and feel based on your feedback in the earlier beta releases.
  • Customizable interface - You can now display only the controls you want to be visible.
  • Precision white balance selection tool
  • Facility to easily rename and convert files to DNG after they've been imported to the Lightroom library
  • Increased interaction between Lightroom library organizational structure and the underlying file system
  • Filter and search presets to more quickly find the photographs you want
  • Better performance and improved interface for the Web module features
  • Develop control improvements based on community feedback, including comments from the Pixmantec user community.

We downloaded and installed Adobe Photoshop Lightroom beta 4 over our copy of beta 3 with no problem. We launched and manipulated several sample photos with no problems either. Beta 4 is Build 257134. [Bill Fox]

[9/22] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple Released Airport Update 2006-001 and Security Update 2009-005

The Airport Update 2006-001 is available for download from Software Update or as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page. This update is for Intel-based Macs running Mac OS X 10.4.7 Build 8J2135 or 8J2135a. Other Macs should download Security Update 2006-005 from Software Update or for the appropriate system from this Apple Web page.

Both updates do the same thing. According to the ReadMe files,

The AirPort Update 2006-001 improves AirPort reliability on Macintosh computers.


Security Update 2006-005 is recommended for all users and improves the security of the following component. Airport

They fix three security issues:

CVE-2006-3507 for: Mac OS X v10.3.9, Mac OS X Server v10.3.9, Mac OS X v10.4.7, Mac OS X Server v10.4.7--Attackers on the wireless network may cause arbitrary code execution. This issue affects Power Mac, PowerBook, iMac, Mac Pro, Xserve, and PowerPC-based Mac mini computers equipped with wireless. Intel-based Mac mini, MacBook, and MacBook Pro computers are not affected. This update addresses the issues by performing additional validation of wireless frames.

CVE-2006-3508 for: Mac OS X v10.4.7, Mac OS X Server v10.4.7--Attackers on the wireless network may cause system crashes, privilege elevation, or arbitrary code execution. This issue affects Intel-based Mac mini, MacBook, and MacBook Pro computers equipped with wireless. Power Mac, PowerBook, iMac, Mac Pro, Xserve, and PowerPC-based Mac mini computers are not affected. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of wireless frames. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4.

CVE-2006-3509 for: Mac OS X v10.4.7, Mac OS X Server v10.4.7--Depending upon third-party wireless software in use, attackers on the wireless network may cause crashes or arbitrary code execution. This issue affects Intel-based Mac mini, MacBook, and MacBook Pro computers equipped with wireless. Power Mac, PowerBook, iMac, Mac Pro, Xserve, and PowerPC-based Mac mini computers are not affected. This update addresses the issues by performing additional validation of wireless frames. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4.

There are no know exploits for any of these issues.

We downloaded and installed Airport Update 2006-001 in a Mac mini Core Duo, iMac Core Duo and 15" MacBook Pro running Mac OS X 8J2135a with no problems. We also downloaded and installed Security Update 2006-005 in a Power Mac G4 Cube, PowerBook G4s, iMac G5 and iMac Core 2 Duo with no problems. Then we used each Mac on our wireless networks and found no problems. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[9/22] Brief Hands-On Report--Smith Micro Released StuffIt Expander, Standard and Deluxe v11.0

The new version of this free file decoder (StuffIt Expander) and not free file encoder (StuffIt Standard/Deluxe) is available via What's new in Expander is:

Version 11.0 allows you to open Zip archives encrypted using the 256bit AES method

We downloaded and installed StuffIt Expander v11.0 by launching the application. We unchecked "Allow Version Checking" under the Expander menu because this function has been problematic in the past. Then we decoded several .sit and .zip files with no problems. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[9/22] Practicing Law on a Mac--It just works

Ed Siebel, an attorney in private practice for 33 years in Newport Beach, CA, uses a Mac in his law practice because "...they just work." According to Mr. Siebel in his article,

Since 1988, I've been using Apple Computer Inc.'s Macintosh computers. I've stayed with Macs for a single reason -- they just work. Simply, consistently and at a high quality. They help me work solo or in a small office without worrying about my computer, essentially without the need for tech support. By and large, my Macintosh, like my telephone or desk lamp, is a reliable and unremarkable working tool. It's just there and does its job.

More... [Dana Baggett]

[9/22] Apple Revised the Offerings from a Hot Deals Retailer:

Sweetwater Sound has Hot Deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: Audio-Technica Pro 24 condenser microphone for only $89.97!; M-Audio Pro Tools MobilePre Academic Kit allows educational facilities to avoid any hassles associated with copy protection and authorization asset management - only $249.00!; Advanced Pro Tools DVD Vol. III from Secrets of the Pros for only $24.95!; Stereo VideoMic - a stereo shotgun mic for use with video cameras from Rode for only $249.97!; Finale PrintMusic w/QuickStart video tips from Make Music for only $79.97; EZ Drummer from Toontracker - intuitive drum software for music production for only $161.97; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[9/20] Brief Hands-On Report--Parallels Posted New Release Candidate for its Desktop for Mac v2.2

Parallels posted a new release candidate (RC) Build 1898 of its Desktop for Mac v2.2 and it is available for download from this Parallels Web page. It has lots of improvements, according to

  • Video output improvement and acceleration
  • Added multi interfaces USB devices support (including Windows Mobile 2005 devices)
  • Added isochronous USB devices support (including WebCam devices)
  • Minor USB fixes
  • Keyboard support improvement: Eject CD key support, left/right
  • Shift/Ctrl/Alt (Option)/Windows keys difference support
  • Added virtual disk cache policy option: Mac OS X performance optimized or guest OS performance optimized
  • Image Tool fixes
  • Optimized disk cache policy for Suspend/Resume feature
  • Windows ME Suspend/Resume fix
  • Shared Folders first time access acceleration
  • Clipboard synchronization tool fixes (unreadable symbols sometimes added during copy and paste)
  • Sound playback improvement
  • Sound recording improvement
  • Minor Full Screen mode fixes
  • "Unable to allocate virtual memory" during virtual machine power on fix
  • Solaris doesn't work with more than one virtual disk fix
  • Minor GUI fixes and improvements

We downloaded Build 1898 and installed it over our copy of Build 1862.2 with no problems. This was not the case of the previously released Build 1894, as we noted, that would not install over our copy of Build 1862.2. Our Windows XP virtual machine launched and ran fine. We updated it with the latest Microsoft security updates, updated Firefox and Thunderbird to v1.5.0.7, did some Web browsing and checked email, all without running into any problems. [Bill Fox]

[9/20] Apple Released Two Mac Pro Firmware Updates

Mac Pro SMC Firmware Update--The SMC Firmware Update adjusts fan behavior in the Mac Pro. After this update has completed successfully, the SMC Version will be: 1.7f8.

Mac Pro (mid 2006) EFI Firmware Update 1.0--This EFI Firmware Update fixes several Boot Camp and start up issues on Mac Pro computers. After this update has completed successfully, your Boot ROM Version will be: MP11.005C.B01.

Unfortunately, we do not have a Mac Pro to test these firmware updates for you but all Mac mini Core Duo, iMac Core Duo and MacBook Pro firmware updates have been problem free for us. [Bill Fox]

[9/20] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple Released Firmware Restoration CD 1.1

According to Apple,

This update can be used to restore the firmware of an Intel-based iMac (early & mid 2006), Mac mini (early 2006), MacBook Pro (early 2006), Mac Book (early 2006), or Mac Pro (mid 2006) to original factory condition. It can only be used to restore the Firmware after an interrupted or failed update.

It is very important to download this disk image file and burn it to a blank CD as a critical safety measure. While we have not had a problem with a firmware update, it is not possible to predict a sudden unexpected power outage or surge that could interrupt the firmware update process, causing a dead Mac. This CD and the proper procedure of powering on by holding the power button until the Mac's LED shows a successive series of blinks (3 quick, 3 slow, 3 quick), releasing the power button and inserting the CD allows one to reinstall the factory firmware so the Mac will run again.

We downloaded the Firmware Restoration CD 1.1 file and burned it to a CD with no problem. It's now ready in case disaster were to strike during a firmware update. [Bill Fox]

[9/20] Adobe Released Camera Raw 3.5 and DNG Converter (Universal)

Camera Raw 3.5, a free Adobe Photoshop CS2 plug-in adds support for an additional five cameras. Adobe's DNG converter, a free application for converting Photoshop-supported raw images to the open standards .DNG format is now available as a Universal Binary, allowing it to perform natively on Macintosh Intel-based computers. The universal .DNG file format, gives photographers a single unified file format for archiving raw files. [Bill Fox]

[9/20] Cool Mac Software--rooSwitch Lite 1.0 (Universal)

If you use multiple application profiles, check this out. roobasoft released rooSwitch Lite 1.0, a free version of its profile switching application allowing users to switch a handful of applications at no cost. rooSwitch Lite allows you to manage multiple profiles for Address Book, iPhoto, iTunes, Mail, Safari and Stickies. Simply choose the application from the list presented in rooSwitch Lite and you're ready to start managing multiple profiles. Once you've chosen the application you can create a new profile by duplicating an existing profile or starting from scratch with a new one. Duplicating profiles is also convenient for creating frequent backups of your preferences and data.

The lite version was created to show users what rooSwitch can do by freely giving away it's features for a limited selection of applications. The full version of rooSwitch allows almost any application to be switched and has support for AppleScript and an Automator action to switch profiles.

rooSwitch Lite 1.0 requires a Mac with Mac OS X 10.4 or higher and is available as a Universal Binary. It is free and can be downloaded from his roobasoft Web page. A four-minute QuickTime 7 Web video is also available for viewing at this roobasoft Web page. [Bill Fox]

[9/20] Apple Revised the Offerings from Three Hot Deals Retailers

Apple Store Special Deals has exclusive deals on a variety of Apple Certified Refurbished products including: Apple Certified Refurbished 17" iMac 1.83Ghz Intel Core Duo w/SuperDrive & iSight for only $949.00!; 17" PowerBook G4 1.67GHz PowerPC w/SuperDrive for only $1899.00!; and much more.

MacGameStore has Hot Deals exclusive pricing (5% discount at check out!) on a wide variety Mac compatible games including: Mystery Case Files: Prime Suspects from Big Fish Games (digital download only) for only $19.95; Trivia Machine from Red Marble Games (digital download only) for only $19.95!; Europa Universalis II from Virtual Programming (digital download only) for only $19.95!; Vegas Jackpot Gold from BeachWare (digital download only) for only $24.95!; Project Nomads from Virtual Programming (digital download only) for only $19.95!; Shell Whirl from BeachWare (digital download only) for only $19.95!; The Time Portal from Zhang Games (digital download only) for only $19.95!; and much more.

Ramjet has Hot Deals exclusive pricing on Mac compatible RAM upgrades including: 2GB FB-DIMM Kit (2x 1GB modules) for the Mac Pro for only $474.00; 1GB RAM module for the MacBook Pro for only $138.00!; 1GB module for the iMac w/Intel Core Duo for only $138.00!; 1GB (2x 512MB modules) for PowerMac G4 DDR (Mirror Drive Doors) for only $141.00!; 2GB RAM Upgrade Kit (2x 1GB modules) for Dual Core PowerMac G5 for only $283.00!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[9/19] Surf the Web from Your Boat--Marine Wireless Networking from QuickerTek

QuickerTek has devised a wireless network specifically for marine and RV applications. More than simple wireless cards and antennas, the QuickerTek Marine System (QMS) is a complete solution that allows boaters to use the internet at any marina with any number of onboard computers. The greater distances found at most marinas require as much as 48 times the RF power needed at many offices and the QMS delivers that level of performance.

To make a complete wireless marine solution, QuickerTek builds a LAN on the boat for all of the onboard computers, which then communicates over a wireless connection to the marina wireless 802.11b and/or 802.11g access point or Apple Base Station. There are no wired connections to the computers to degrade wireless performance and make installation tedious--who wants a whole bunch of wires running around your boat for a "wireless" network? A universal repeater supplies the RF signal boost to allow both Macs and Windows computers to converse over the same wireless network connection--something previously not available in most longer distance wireless network designs. Check it out on this QuickerTek Web page. [Bill Fox]

[9/19] Turboflix to be Compatible with Mac OS X Sometime in 2007

In response to yesterday's note that Mac-compatible Photoleap will be discontinued and replaced with Windows-only Turboflix, there is a promise to make a Mac compatible version of Turboflix in 2007. Here's an excerpt from the Photoleap response:

On October 8th, when we discontinue Photoleap, we will no longer be supporting the Macintosh. This is not permanent, as we plan on releasing a Macintosh version of Turboflix sometime in 2007. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to our Mac users. If you are an active paid Photoleap Plus customer, you will receive a prorated refund for the remaining time left on your account.

Note that Photoleap subscribers can get a prorated refund. [Bill Fox]

[9/19] Adobe to Ship Creative Suite 2.3 in Q4 of 2006

Sometime in the October-December time frame of 2006, Adobe will ship a v2.3 of its Adobe Creative Suite Premium. It will be Mac compatible but it still won't be a Universal Application--that will have to wait for the Spring of 2007 according to previous Adobe announcements.

Creative Suite 2.3 will include the new Acrobat Professional 8.0 and Dreamweaver 8.0. Adobe will be replacing GoLive with Dreamweaver in CS3.0 and GoLive may live on as a stand-alone product. The upgrade from CS 2.0 Premium to CS 2.3 Premium will be a reasonable $159 and the full price is $1,199. More... [Bill Fox]

[9/18] Brief Hands-On Report--Aspyr Released Call of Duty 2 v1.3 Patch for the Mac

Finally, Aspyr Media's Call of Duty 2 v1.3 Patch for the Mac is available for download from this Web page. It will fully update any previous version of Call of Duty 2 to version 1.3 and it is recommended for all users. It brings the Mac version up to the Windows version.

According to Aspyr,

The Call of Duty 2 1.3 patch fixes some multiplayer game and level issues, raises the gamestate from 16k to 128k and addresses the PunkBuster GUID issue where players were not being assigned PunkBuster GUID's of exactly 32 characters.

Notes for Mod Users:

  • It is recommended that any user modifications that have been installed to the Call of Duty 2 directory be removed before installing this patch. These modifications are not supported by Activision and may not be compatible with some of the new features that are included.
  • Call of Duty 2 does not support mods that have spaces in the mod's folder name. Be sure that the folder that contains your mod does not have spaces; otherwise users will not be able to download the files. For example, a mod in a folder called "My Mod" would be invalid, whereas "MyMod" or "My_Mod" would work.

Multiplayer Fixes:

  • Raised the gamestate from 16k to 128k
  • Added loading bars to maps mp_harbor and mp_rhine
  • Addressed the PB GUID issue where players were not being assigned PB
    GUID's of exactly 32 characters.

mp_rhine map changes:

  • Fixed player getting on top of broken wall and seeing through second story of bombed out building.

mp_harbor map changes:

  • Reduced overall fog density
  • Fixed missing water texture
  • Fixed player not being able to shoot through lower portion of the first gap in a railing found on east side of map.
  • Fixed player not being able to shoot through lower portion of railing found on east edge of map.
  • Fixed a partially floating crate and a couple holes in sandbags.

Known Issues:

  • When hosting a PunkBuster enabled server for the first time after installing the 1.3 patch, you may experience stability issues. To avoid this, launch the Multiplayer application, wait 10 - 20 seconds, then quit. Once you relaunch Call of Duty 2 Multiplayer, you will be able to host PunkBuster servers without any issues.

The v1.3 patch downloaded and installed with no problems. The first thing we noticed when we launched the multiplayer edition is that it launches must faster than v1.0. Second, there are now nearly seven thousand servers instead of 300+. This is because the Windows version has been at v1.3 for some time and most servers had been updated for some time as well. Third, maps load a bit more quickly and, finally, now one has to "Click to Continue" after a map loads to begin play, a small annoyance.

We played several hours of Call of Duty 2 v1.3 over the weekend. We ran into servers with several more "old favorite" maps from the original Call of Duty, like Harbor. They, too, had been modified a bit from the original but were fun to play. We didn't run into any new serious glitches but the "mooing" .45 caliber automatic pistol is back along with mooing sounds during large explosions that we first encountered on our MacBook Pro while running the original Call of Duty 2 under Rosetta. Call of Duty 2 was free of this until adding the v1.3 patch. Otherwise, v1.3 of Call of Duty 2 plays just as well as v1.0. [Bill Fox]

[9/18] Trans International has 1GB and 2GB RAM Chips for Apple's iMac Intel Core 2 Duo

Trans International has 1Gigabyte (1GB) and 2 Gigabyte (2GB) 667MHz DDR2 SDRAM (PC2-5300) SO-Dimm for the newly released Apple iMac Intel Core 2 Duo (1.83GHz, 2.0GHz  and 2.16GHz). More memory (RAM) increases overall performance, especially when running applications under Rosetta emulation, and enables your computer to run more applications at the same time. The latest iMac has two (2) memory upgrade slots. Main memory of the system (depending on the model) can be upgraded to 2GB and 3GB. is currently shipping the 2GB Kit for $249.00 and 3GB Kit for $789.00. memory modules conform to Apple's stringent electrical and mechanical design guide lines. Check them out here. [Bill Fox] 

[9/18] [Updated] Photoleap to Become Windows-Only Turboflix October 8--Video Sharing Added

The next version of Photoleap, the Web-based photo sharing application that works with Mac OS X, is called Turboflix v2.0 and as the name suggests, support for video sharing has been added. Unfortunately, it appears that Turboflix 2.0 will be a Windows-only application.

On October 8th, the Photoleap service will discontinued, shutdown and replaced by the new Turboflix service.

Update: In response to our query, a Photoleap representative responded:

On October 8th, when we discontinue Photoleap, we will no longer be supporting the Macintosh. This is not permanent, as we plan on releasing a Macintosh version of Turboflix sometime in 2007. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience to our Mac users. If you are an active paid Photoleap Plus customer, you will receive a prorated refund for the remaining time left on your account.

[Bill Fox]

[9/18] New PowerBook G4 and iBook Online Parts

If you need any PowerBook G4 or iBook G4 or iBook G3 parts or accessories, there is a new online store that just It seems to be pretty well stocked. [Bill Fox]

[9/15] Windows Vista Ultimate on a Mac mini Core Duo with Boot Camp--How Fast Is It?

On Monday, we reported on our experience with loading and running Windows Vista 'Ultimate' RC1 on our 2.16GHz MacBook Pro with 2 GB RAM using Apple's Boot Camp 1.1 beta. Vista ran very well except that certain hardware like iSight, external FireWire drives and Mac-specific keyboard keys did not work.

Today, we report on loading and running Vista on a 1.66GHz Mac mini Core Duo with 1GB RAM. We use a Dell 24" LCD display and a Microsoft Desktop for Mac 6000 wireless keyboard and mouse with it.

In general, the experience with our Mac mini Core Duo was the same as with our MacBook Pro. Windows Vista Ultimate ran very well. Of course, our external iSight didn't work nor did our attached FireWire external drives nor the Mac-specific keys on the Microsoft keyboard. iTunes 7.0 and QuickTime 7.1.3 and Adobe Reader 7.0.8 installed and seemed to run fine.

How fast is it? Vista has a built-in performance test suite. We ran it on our MacBook Pro and our Mac mini Core Duo. Here are the results:

Windows Vista Performance (score*)
MacBook Pro
Mac mini C.D.
CPU (calcs/sec)
RAM (opns/sec)
Graphics (Aero Perf.)
3D Graphics (Perf.)
Hard Disk
*Score is out of 5 with 5 being the highest

Where the MacBook Pro scored nearly 5's (CPU, RAM and hard disk) the Mac mini Core Duo is no slouch either, scoring 4.5's, 90 percent of maximum. The graphics performance using Windows "new" graphics engine called Aero drops to 4.1 for the MacBook Pro with an ATI Mobility Radeon x1600 graphics card with 256MB of RAM. The Mac mini Core Duo with Intel's GMA 950 integrated graphics chip set with 64MB of RAM scores even lower at 3.3 but that's not bad. It drops another 10 percent to 3.0 for 3D graphics.

What is noticeable difference right away is that the Mac mini Core Duo's graphics system will not handle the transparency of Vista's Aero graphics where the MacBook Pro does superbly. Still, Vista looks good on the Mac mini with Aero's window shadows even without the transparency. Vista's Aero graphics is virtually identical in appearance to Mac OS X's window shadows and transparency.

Windows Vista should run very well on a MacBook since most of its hardware falls in between that of the Mac mini and MacBook Pro. It shares the Intel GMA 950 integrated graphics with the Mac mini Core Duo so we expect it to score similarly, perhaps slightly better due to a faster CPU.

In summary, once drivers for the Mac are available, Windows Vista will run very well on Intel-based Macs for those who must do it. Today, we have no need for Windows so we conducted these tests for those Mac users who are not so fortunate in their workplace. They will enjoy Vista more than XP and older versions of Windows. [Bill Fox]

[9/15] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple Posted Boot Camp 1.1.1 beta

Boot Camp 1.1.1 beta is available for download from this Apple Web page. It contains many updates and is intended for all new and previous Boot Camp beta users.

Boot Camp 1.1.1 beta includes:

  • Support for the latest Intel-based Macintosh computers
  • Easier partitioning using presets for popular sizes
  • Ability to install Windows XP on any internal disk
  • Support for built-in iSight cameras
  • Support for built-in microphones
  • Right-click when pressing the right-hand Apple key on Apple keyboards
  • Improved Apple keyboard support including Delete, PrintScreen, NumLock, and ScrollLock keys

Updating from Boot Camp 1.1 to 1.1.1 involves simply running the installer so the latest assistant is in the Utilities folder. Then, use it to create a new Mac drivers CD and install the drivers in Windows XP.

We downloaded Boot Camp 1.1.1 beta and made a new Windows Drivers for Mac CD. Unfortunately, it would not install in Windows Vista. [Bill Fox]

[9/15] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla Posted Firefox, Camino 1.0.3, SeaMonkey 1.0.5 and Thunderbird

Mozilla updated its entire line of Web browsers, internet suite and email client.

Here is their Firefox Web browser.

Firefox is a security and stability update that is part of our ongoing program to provide a safe Internet experience for our customers. We recommend that all users upgrade to this latest version.

Improvements to product stability
Several security fixes.

Here is their Camino 1.0.3 Web browser.

Camino 1.0.3 is a security and stability update for Camino 1.0 users; all users are recommended to upgrade.

In Camino 1.0.3, we have made the following changes and improvements since version 1.0.2:

  • Fixed several critical security and stability issues, including those fixed in version of the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine.
  • Upgraded the bundled Java Embedding Plugin to version 0.9.5+g.
  • The "Reset Camino…" command will now reset minimized windows.
  • Fixed an issue where Cmd-B would fail to act as a toggle in some cases.
  • Further improved ad-blocking.

Here is their SeaMonkey 1.0.5 internet suite.

SeaMonkey 1.0.5 is now available. This release contains important fixes for several security vulnerabilities and various stability improvements. The SeaMonkey Council recommends that all users upgrade.

Here is their Thunderbird email client.

Thunderbird provides stability and security enhancements that are part of our ongoing program to provide a safer email experience for our users. We recommend that all Thunderbird users upgrade to this latest version.

Here's what's new in Thunderbird

Improvements to product stability.
Several security fixes.

We downloaded and installed all four. In very brief use, Firefox and Thunderbird caused no problems. In more extensive but still brief use, Camino and SeaMonkey caused no problems. All seem safe enough to at least try out. [Bill Fox and Dana Baggett]

[9/15] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

ClubMac has deals on a wide variety Mac compatible hardware and software products including: back it up and carry it with you - 250GB Edge DiskGo 3.5" portable hard drive for only $144.99!; Kensington USB 2.0 Bluetooth adapter for only $34.99!; extend your range with the Belkin Wireless G Universal range extender for only $39.99!; Specktone Retro Speaker w/built-in iPod dock for only $152.99!; Planar PQ1710M 17" LCD dual input display for only $239.99!; Extensis Suitcase Fusion/Portfolio 8 Bundle for only $148.99!; Epson Stylus Photo 1280 - make prints up to 13"x44" for only $296.00 after $100 mail-in rebate!; sync your PDA to your Mac with the Datapilot Universal Pro Kit from Susteen for only $71.99; and much more.

MacMall has Hot Deals exclusive pricing on a number of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: a better way to work with core apps like Adobe's Photoshop CS2, Illustrator CS2 and InDesign CS2 - NuLooq Professional Series navigation device from Logitech for only $78.99!; organize your business cards with the IRISCard Mini business card reader from I.R.I.S for only $137.99!; Konica Minolta Magicolor 2430DL network color laser printer for only $299.00 after $50.00 mail-in rebate!; The Sims 2: Open for Business expansion pack from Aspyr for only $35.99!; learn to fly without leaving the ground with X-Plane 8 Deluxe flight simulator from GraphSim Entertainment for only $57.89!; create breathtaking 3D w/Maya Complete 8.0 from AutoDesk for only $1999.00!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[9/14] iFixit Posted 2G iPod nano Internal Photos and Disassembly Guide

iFixit posted the first internal photos of Apple's "Completely Remastered" iPod nano, along with disassembly instructions. The 2G iPod nano disassembly guide is available from this iFixit Web page.

iFixit also has repair parts for the new 2G iPod nano available immediately. Remastered 2G iPod nano parts including the logic board, casing, and screens are in stock and ready to ship. The new parts complement iFixit's wide selection of parts for every iPod that Apple has shipped.

Fixit Guides for every iPod and Mac laptop are available free online from iFixit. [Bill Fox]

[9/14] Mac Compatibility with Dealt Setback opened with Windows-only compatibility several years ago. The software was written by Northrop Grumman( NG) under contract to the federal Department of Heath and Human Services. After many complaints and inquiries, NG agreed to make it Mac compatible by this November and a "beta" version has been turned in. But NG lost the continuing contract to General Dynamics as of November 1 so its not clear if the Mac version will be finished. General Dynamics is to complete an new system with compatibility for Windows, Linux, Unix and Mac OS X by March 31 of 2007. More... [Dana Baggett]

[9/14] Apple Revised the Offerings from Three Hot Deals Retailers

J&R Computerworld has deals on a wide variety Mac compatible hardware and software products including: M-Audio Axiom 49 Advanced MIDI controller with 49-keys/velocity sensitive/8-MIDI assignable trigger pads/backlit LCD screen/sustain and expression pedal jacks for only $249.00!; Nova cardioid condenser microphone from M-Audio for only $89.00!; Bose Companion 2 stereo multimedia speakers for your computer or iPod for only $99.00!; Hannspree HW-191D 19" analog and digital widescreen LCD display for only $209.99!; Kaplan SAT/ACT/PSAT 2007 Platinum Edition test preparation software for only $34.99!; USB Uno 1-in/1-out bus-powered MIDI interface from M-Audio for only $39.00!; and much more.

PowerMax has Hot Deals exclusive pricing on a number of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: eZGear UltraEars SX70 in-ear earphones for only $29.88!; RadTech BT600 Bluetooth full-sized mouse for only $45.88!; STM 17" Large Loop Backpack for PowerBook/MacBook Pro for only $69.88!; H20 SV-iMini waterproof house and headphones for iPod Mini for $74.88!; LaCie d2 16x USB 2.0/FireWire DVD+/-RW w/LightScribe external double layer drive for only $118.88!; EZQuest Monsoon 300GB FireWire/USB 2.0 external hard drive for only $143.88!; FrameForge 3D Studio 2 - digital film studio for pre-visualization and storyboarding - from Innovative Software for only $279.88!; and much more.

Publishing Perfection has Hot Deals exclusive pricing on a number of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: StockLayouts for Adobe InDesign Vol. 3 for only $385.95!; InDesign CS2 Upgrade from Adobe for only $177.95!; save time with DieLines - 70 EPS formated standard and custom die-lines for brochures, folders, stationary, CD labels and more - from Jenka for only $249.95!; Dfine 1.0 allows you to control and redefine details in you digital photos, from Nik Multimedia for only $94.95!; Knockout 2 from Corel - a plugin for Photoshop, Corel Photo Paint or Corel Painter 8 allows you to "knockout" the background around an image - for only $89.95!; Nikon D200 10.2-megapixel pro SLR body kit for only $1699.95!; Epson Stylus Photo R2400 9-cartridge archival quality photo printer for only $849.95!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[9/14] Apple Pro Tip of the Week--Need a Special Character While Typing in Mail?

If you need a special character while typing in Mac OS X Mail, just open the Fonts dialog box, click the "Gear" button on the bottom left of the Fonts dialog box and select "Characters" to open the Character Palette. One can then select a special character using the category list or by typing the kind of character in the "Description & code" field. More... [Dana Baggett]

[9/14] QuickTime 7.0 Conflict with UNO and a Fix

Reader Richard Taylor reported:

When I installed iTunes 7 I ran into a problem with the GUI program UNO. iTunes seemed to work at first, but then I realized that UNO might be distorting the look of the program, so I uninstalled it. Afterwards iTunes would not run, posting the warning that there wasn't enough memory. I logged out, later rebooted, and then finally had to manually remove iTunes 7 and its preference files and reinstall, which fixed the problem.

No UNO with iTunes 7.

We do not have UNO so we can not confirm this issue. [Bill Fox]

[9/14] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--New iPods, iTV, Parallels and Radio Formats

Host Gene Steinberg presents a special session covering Apple's new product announcements, including the updated iPods, movie downloads and the forthcoming iTV media center device. You'll hear from Special Correspondent David Biedny, as we visit "The David Biedny Zone" for provocative commentary. Also appearing will be author Kirk McElhearn. In addition, Benjamin Rudolph of Parallels will deliver an update on their flagship PC virtualization software, and Paul DiComo, Marketing Manager of Polk Audio, will help you sort out the ins and outs of the newest radio formats, such as satellite and HD. One can tune in the Web broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]

[9/13] Apple Special Event--New iPods, Movies and Games from iTunes Music Store and iTV

At yesterday's Apple Special Event in San Francisco, CEO Steve Jobs introduced new iPods across the line with new earbud headphones. The new iPods with video got brighter screens, longer battery life (80GB model music to 20 hrs and video to 6.5 hrs; 30GB model music to 14 hrs and video to 3.5 hrs), searchable software, a larger hard drive to 80GB and lower prices by $50 to $249 for the 30GB model and $349 for the 80GB model.

The new iPod nanos (image courtesy of Apple) are very similar to the original iPod mini with a metal case and colors but are much smaller and slimmer and the battery lasts up to 24 hours with music. They come in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB capacities for $149 to $249. The $149 2GB model comes in silver, the $199 4GB model comes in silver, pink, blue and green, and the most expensive $249 8GB model comes guessed!

The new iPod shuffle (image courtesy of Apple) is like one-third of a nano with a clip but with no video screen and mechanical clicker controls instead of a click wheel. Battery life is up to 12 hrs and it comes in silver with a capacity of 1GB for $79.

Apple is now selling movies downloads for $12.99 as a pre-order or within a week after it comes out, $14.99 later from the iTunes Store (iTS, no longer iTunes Music Store). Older movies go for $9.99. Apple has signed up Disney, Pixar, Touchstone and Miramax so far. The downloads will be available as movies are released on DVD. All videos will move to a resolution of 640x480 (i.e. up to 480 for a 4:3 aspect movie, less for a 16:9 aspect). Initial movies include "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl," "Shakespeare in Love," "The Princess Diaries," "The Incredibles," "National Treasure," "Toy Story," "The Rock” and "The Rookie."

New to the iTS are video games like "Tetris," "Mahjong" and "Mini Golf from Electronic Arts Inc.; "Pac-Man" from Namco Networks America Inc.; "Cubis 2" from FreshGames, LLC; "Bejeweled" and "Zuma" from PopCap Games, Inc.; and "Texas Hold'em" and "Vortex" from Apple. The games are $4.99 each.

Finally, the highlights of all regular season NFL football games are available from the iTS for $1.99 each the day after the game is played.

Steve Jobs also presented a work in progress code-named iTV (see CNet's photos), a departure from the usual Apple protocol of not talking about future products. The iTV looks like a one-third height Mac mini. It connects to a flat panel TV and accepts video streamed by WiFi from a Mac. It will sell for $299 and be available in the first quarter of 2007.

Here is a QuickTime movie of the special event. [Bill Fox and Dana Baggett]

[9/13] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple Released iTunes 7.0

To implement downloading of movies and games, Apple released iTunes 7.0. It is available for download via Software Update or from as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page. According to the ReadMe file,

With iTunes 7 and the new iTunes Store, preview and purchase high-quality hit movies plus new and classic games designed exclusively for the Fifth Generation iPod. Flip through your collection by album cover with Cover Flow, protect your iTunes library by backing up to CDs or DVDs, and much more.

We downloaded and installed iTunes 7.0 with no problems. Then we purchased a copy of Apple's Texas Hold'em to try it out. It downloaded and was placed in a new folder "iPod Games." [Bill Fox and Dana Baggett]

[9/13] Brief Hands On Report--Apple Released QuickTime 7.1.3 with Security Updates

Also needed for the iTunes Store's new features is QuickTime 7.1.3. It is available for download via Software Update or as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page. According to the ReadMe file,

QuickTime 7.1.3 is an important release that delivers numerous bug fixes and addresses critical security issues. This update is recommended for all QuickTime 7 users and is required for playback of content purchased in the iTunes Store.

Here are the details of the security updates:

CVE-2006-4381, CVE-2006-4386--Viewing a maliciously-crafted H.264 movie may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of H.264 movies. Credit to Sowhat of Nevis Labs, Mike Price of McAfee AVERT Labs, and Piotr Bania of for reporting these issues.

CVE-2006-4382--Viewing a maliciously-crafted QuickTime movie may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of QuickTime movies. Credit to Mike Price of McAfee AVERT Labs for reporting this issue.

CVE-2006-4384--Viewing a maliciously-crafted FLC movie may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of FLC movies. Credit to Ruben Santamarta of working with the iDefense VCP Program, and Mike Price of McAfee AVERT Labs for reporting this issue.

CVE-2006-4388--Viewing a maliciously-crafted FlashPix may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of FlashPix files. Credit to Mike Price of McAfee AVERT Labs for reporting this issue.

CVE-2006-4389--Viewing a maliciously-crafted FlashPix may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of FlashPix files. Credit to Mike Price of McAfee AVERT Labs for reporting this issue.

CVE-2006-4385--Viewing a maliciously-crafted SGI image may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of SGI image files. Credit to Mike Price of McAfee AVERT Labs for reporting this issue.

We downloaded and installed QuickTime 7.1.3 with no problems. [Bill Fox and Dana Baggett]

[9/13] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple Released Front Row 1.3

Front Row 1.3 is now available from Software Update or as a stand-alone updater from this Apple Web page. For awhile yesterday afternoon, the update ceased to be available from Software Update and there was no Apple Web page to download a stand-alone file. By 6:35 p.m. PT it was available again. According to the ReadMe file,

This Front Row update provides for improved iTunes compatibility.

We downloaded and installed Front Row 1.3 with no problems. Note that you will not find the Front Row application in the Applications folder. [Bill Fox and Dana Baggett]

[9/13] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple Released iPod with Video (5G) Software Update v1.2

After updating iTunes to v7.0 and QuickTime 7.1.3, we downloaded one of the new video games, Apple's Texas Hold'em. Then we plugged in our original 5G iPod with Video to update it and received notice of a software update to v1.2 from iTunes 7.0 rather than the Software Update application in Mac OS X 10.4.7. There is a whole new interface for iPods in iTunes 7.0 that is much more informative and organized. Apparently, iPod software updates will be handled by iTunes from now on.

We updated our iPod with video to v1.2 and tried to update it. We got an error message stating that the game Texas Hold'em was not copied to the iPod because the computer, our MacBook Pro, was not authorized to play the game. Interesting--we had just paid for and downloaded the game with that computer. We de-authorized our MacBook Pro and re-authorized it and the game copied to our iPod with video just fine.

Texas Hold'em is a pretty good game. We played the tutorial and then played for nearly an hour. We've found a new way to entertain ourselves on long airline flights! [Bill Fox]

[9/13] Micromat Released Universal Binaries of TechTool Protege and DiskStudio

Micromat released updates for both TechTool Protege (a bootable FireWire flash drive that contains both TechTool Pro 4 and DiskStudio) and DiskStudio (a disk partitioning utility). These updates provide Universal Binary support for both products so that they can be used on either Intel or PowerPC-based Macs. All of the features that were previously available for PowerPC-based Macs will now be available for Intel-based Macs as well.

Unlike most application software, utilities require more than a simple re-compile of the program to support the Intel-based Macs. Because utilities work with the computer hardware at the lowest levels, it was necessary for Micromat to completely re-engineer the software from the ground up. In order to support the new models, Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) is required to run the programs. To provide Intel support for TechTool Protege, Micromat designed a new utility called Protege Manager. This utility allows the user to easily set up the TechTool Protege flash drive for use on either a PowerPC or Intel-based Mac as desired. Protege Manager will ship on a CD. Current owners of TechTool Protege may purchase the TechTool Protege CD Update from Micromat for $25.

DiskStudio allows a user to change the partitioning of a hard drive on the fly. Reinitializing the drive is not required. In addition to Universal Binary support, the updated version of DiskStudio adds support for the new GUID partitioning scheme for Intel Macs and also support for the Master Boot Record partitioning scheme for DOS. It now includes the ability to identify NTFS volumes as well.

DiskStudio ships on media capable of booting both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. Since the system components needed to boot both platforms are too large to fit on a CD, the program will ship on a DVD. The DVD will automatically boot the correct system version needed for the host computer. A DVD update will be available to current owners of DiskStudio for $25.

For more information, visit the Micromat Web site. [Bill Fox]

[9/12] Apple Special Event Today--It's Showtime!

Apple will host a special event today in San Francisco at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts theater. Certain members of the media were invited to the event with the brief description "It's Showtime." To us and just about everyone else, this points to announcements involving movies or at least videos. Apple may announce the speculated addition of movie downloads to the iTunes Music Store or it may announce some new hardware for viewing video or streaming video via WiFi. Right now, no one outside of Apple's inner circle knows what's cooking but today we will all find out. Rest assured that whatever it is, it will be innovative and elegantly simple. We will post the salient points of Apple's announcement sometime later today. [Bill Fox]

[9/12] Lineform Available as Free Public Preview--2006 Apple Design Award Recipient

Freeverse published Lineform, a feature-rich vector drawing application for Mac OS X. Lineform is an ideal program for creating everything from simple logos to complex designs because it has a powerful toolset, intuitive user interface, and the speed of a Universal application on Intel and PowerPC Macs. Created by Will Thimbleby, Lineform is a recipient of a 2006 Apple Design Award recognizing technical excellence and outstanding achievement.

Comparing the features of Lineform with other programs that cost up to five times more, Lineform's value becomes clear. Bezier editing, Freeflow text, Gradients, CMYK preview, and a host of other options set it apart from the competition. Anyone looking for a less costly, easier to use, and Intel-native alternative should be thrilled with Lineform.

Freeverse has also announced a special free preview of Lineform. From now until October 7th, images created during the trial period will be watermark-free. Lineform is priced at $79.95. A retail version will be available in stores later this Fall. [Bill Fox]

[9/11] Hands-On Report--Windows Vista RC1 on a MacBook Pro with Boot Camp 1.1

We have been running Windows XP on our MacBook Pro and Mac mini Core Duo using Apple's Boot Camp 1.1, although we much prefer Parallels Desktop for Mac to avoid having to reboot to shift between Mac OS X and Windows XP. We have no real need for Windows XP these days so we've installed it more as a curiosity and to be able to comment first hand on the capability because some Mac users do need to run apps under Windows XP.

Saturday night we received notice from Microsoft that the Release Candidate 1 (RC1) was now available for download as a part of their Customer Preview Program. By registering, one can download a copy free, burn it to a DVD and install it. Earlier we had registered and downloaded the previous Public Beta 2 of Windows Vista but because of its reputation for bugginess we never did anything with it. We downloaded the RC1 32-bit version and burned an installation DVD with no problems.

Our Windows XP installation with Boot Camp used a 5.8GB partition but to install Windows Vista RC1 we needed a larger, nearly 12GB partition. First, we used Boot Camp to delete the 5.8GB Windows XP partition on our 2.16GHz MacBook Pro with 2GB RAM and to create a 11.8GB Windows partition. Then, we inserted the Windows Vista RC1 DVD into the SuperDrive and Boot Camp caused a restart.

It took a long time for something to happen but eventually a white progress bar at the bottom of a black screen appeared with a notation that Windows was in the progress of installing some files. Awhile later, the Windows Vista installer screen appeared and we had to enter the Product ID code (this led to a Windows Vista Ultimate installation), accept the license and choose the disc/partition from among a half dozen or so. The latter was a bit confusing because we had made only one 11.8GB Windows partition so we selected the one that was 11.8GB. The others were 0 or 128KB. We have no idea why we were given so many obviously wrong choices. It took about 30 minutes to install Windows Vista RC1 and we were introduced to Microsoft's version of Apple's spinning "gear wheel" activity indicator, essentially a blue-green ring that spins. After restarting twice we got the Windows Vista login screen, entered our name a password and were presented with the Windows Vista desktop.

The new Vista desktop looks closer to Mac OS X than did Windows XP. Where XP's color scheme looks gaudy and toy-like to us, Vista with the "new" Aero graphics enabled (it was by default on our MacBook Pro) looks much more professional. While the desktop itself is very similar in design to the Windows line, Vista has transparency and shadows for its windows just like Mac OS X has had since 10.0. There is even a dock of sorts that runs vertically on the right hand side of the desktop.

Microsoft has once again taken a stab at reducing the complexity of the Windows GUI by hiding its working details behind a "Welcome Center" with user-friendly descriptions of categories of the actions to be taken or tools to use. In our opinion, this approach by Microsoft is much less successful in creating real usability for both novices or pros than Apple's simplification approach in Mac OS X. Microsoft's approach really results in obfuscation of complexity, making an operation take many steps to do, after finding where it is, when in Mac OS X it takes fewer and is more intuitive.

Windows Vista takes security very (overly?) seriously in its GUI. In fact, it is down right annoying. Virtually any change of configuration or action pops up a dialog box asking if one is sure that one wants to do it but we guess this is reality in the Windows world.

Unfortunately, the Mac drivers for Windows XP that come with Apple's Boot Camp do not install in Windows Vista RC1. Vista RC1 recognizes our Apple wireless Bluetooth keyboard, our 5-button Microsoft Explorer USB mouse and the MacBook Pro's hard drive and SuperDrive. It does not recognize the built-in iSight nor a FireWire hard drive or FireWire 800 ExpressCard 34. Curiously, it recognizes the AirPort Extreme card and finds our AirPort Extreme network but won't connect despite diagnosing it as a hidden network and WPA protected.

Windows Vista RC1 also works with our 30" Apple Cinema Display attached to the MacBook Pro in mirror, extended desktop and lid-closed modes. The modes are enabled via a screen right after installation if the monitor is attached or via the screen resolution control panel.

Battery life with our MacBook Pro may be less using Windows Vista RC1. When we open the battery performance control panel and set it to the best battery life setting, which lowers performance, the time indicator gives one hour and 30 minutes with a fully bright screen. In Mac OS X with similar settings we get three hours and 30 minutes indicated. We write "may" with regard to relative battery performance because we are using two different software battery life indicators.

Windows Vista RC1 is quite usable on a MacBook Pro even without Mac-specific drivers if one has a USB PC 2-button mouse. We didn't try all of the keys to see which work and which don't but the disc eject key doesn't so we suspect that none of the Mac-specific keys do. The performance (speed) of Windows Vista Ultimate with Aero graphics enabled is excellent on our MacBook Pro. In fact, Windows Vista rates the MacBook Pro as overall 4.1 out of 5 with some of the aspects (e.g. hard drive) being rated as high as 4.9 out of 5. It didn't crash on us once in several hours of use, including setup and Web surfing.

For those Mac users stuck partially in a Windows world at work, Intel-based Macs and Windows Vista promise to improve their life appreciably based on our short experience. Windows Vista RC1 is time-limited software that will expire on June 1, 2007. It is also still beta-testing software so there is no technical support from Microsoft. [Bill Fox]

[9/8] Brief Hands-On Report--Parallels Desktop for Mac Release Candidate Update Doesn't Sometimes

Parallels released an RC Update for their Desktop for Mac. The new build is 1884 which adds compatibility with the Mac Pro and developer version of Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard."

We downloaded Build 1884 with no problems but the updater would not run giving the message "There were errors installing the software. Please try again." After several failed attempts we wrote to Parallels' support. Perhaps we are having a problem because we are running Build 1862.2 on our MacBook Pro, a special version to deal with a Windows XP launch issue with the previous Build 1862 noted here. [Bill Fox]

[9/8] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

audioMIDI has deals on a wide variety Mac compatible hardware and software products including: buy Ableton Live 5 now and get version 6 upgrade for free!-and save $100-only $299.00!; Total Workstation Bundle from IK Multimedia includes: SampleTank; Sonik Synth 2; Miroslav Philharmonik; 3 virtual instrument workstations plug-in suites; and over 8,000 multi-sample sounds and more for only $599.00!; Mastering Pro Tools LE from Electronic Musician magazine and Thomson Course Technology have joined forces to bring you the first volume of their new Personal Studio Series magazine for only $12.95!; brings you Synth Legends Night DVD for only $19.95!; and much more.

Small Dog Electronics has Hot Deals exclusive pricing on a number of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: Tivoli Portable Audio weather resistant AM/FM playback system for the iPod for only $134.00!; Griffin iTrip FM auto charger with dock connector for only $36.00!; Altec Lansing inMotion 9 speaker system for the iPod for only $149.00; Hewlett Packard HP Photosmart 8750 USB wide format photo printer for only $459.00; 4GB (4x1GB modules) RAM kit for the Mac Pro for only $699.00!; or get a 2GB (2x1GB) RAM kit for the Mac Pro for only $358.00!; Klipsch ProMedia Ultra 2.0 speakers for only $90.00; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[9/7] Apple Goes Multiprocessor Across Computer Line--Faster, Larger iMacs and Faster Mac minis

Apple's entire iMac line now features the new Intel Core 2 Duo (64-bit Merom) processor in every model, running at 1.83GHz to 2.33GHz. According to Apple, the new iMacs deliver up to 50 percent faster performance than the previous top of the iMac line which used Intel's Core Duo (32-bit Yonah) CPUs. The speed up is partly due to Intel's newest CPUs (i.e., Merom vs Yonah) partly due to a higher CPU clock speed (2.33GHz vs 2GHz) and partly due to faster graphics at the high end (Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT vs ATI Radeon X1600). Check out the specs.

There is a new, fabulous 24" iMac with a brilliant 24" widescreen display in the iMac line. It joins the upgraded 17" and 20" models (still $999 to $1499 in standard configurations) at $1999.

The ability to upgrade the iMacs at purchase is improved. The CPU on the 20" and 24" iMacs can be upgraded from 2.16GHz to 2.33GHz. Even the CPU of the $1199 17" model can be upgraded from 1.83GHz to 2GHz. The 24" iMac's graphics can be upgraded from an Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT to an Nvidia GeForce 7600 GT and an additional 128MB of VRAM can be added to the 20" iMac's graphics card.

The new fully upgraded 24" iMac, a hot Mac, does a great job of filling the gap between the 20" iMac and the low end of the Mac Pro line. A top end 24" iMac with the 2.33GHz CPU and Nvidia GeForce 7600 GT graphics is $2374 while the low end 2GHz Mac Pro with Nvidia 7300 GT graphics and a 23" Cinema Display is $3198. So the 24" iMac has a faster CPU (although a dual core and not a quad core), faster graphics and larger screen for $824 less. The 24" iMac even has a fast FireWire 800 port built in.

The updated Mac minis get 1.66GHz or 1.83GHz versions of the older Intel Core Duo (Yonah) CPUs so that now all Macs, desktops and notebooks, have multiprocessors. Both updated Mac minis, still at $599 and $799 in standard configuration, can be upgraded at purchase with up to 160GB 2.5" hard drives.

To some the Mac minis may seem to lag in speed a bit more than they had hoped, even though they are now both Core Duo. However, we use a 1.66GHz Mac mini CoreDuo with a 24" flat panel monitor on a daily basis for general office tasks (email, web surfing, minor Excel tasks, making slide presentations in Keynote and occasional light image processing with Photoshop Elements) and find it to be acceptably fast for all tasks. Of course, we'd like it to be faster so we're holding out hope that a third party will sell reasonably priced CPU upgrades to 2GHz now that the Core Duo CPU prices are dropping precipitously. [Bill Fox]

[9/7] Hands-On Report--Quicken for Mac R5 Update (Combo)

The Quicken for Mac 2006 R5 Update (Combo) is available for download from this Intuit Web page. This R5 Update will update all previous versions of Quicken 2006 (i.e. R1, R2, R3 and R4). According to Intuit,

The R5 Update delivers overall improved reliability for Quicken for Mac 2006 and is recommended for all users.

The details from the ReadMe file are:

This update offers many improvements, including:

  • When entering transactions in the register, Quicken sometimes performed slowly on systems running Mac OS X 10.2 and 10.3. This issue has been resolved.
  • Stability improvements were made to prevent Quicken from quitting unexpectedly when editing a payee name (while the split is displayed) after editing the category and amount for a split line.
  • Stability improvements were made to prevent Quicken from quitting unexpectedly when launching or during data file conversion on systems running Mac OS X 10.4 or later.
  • Stability improvements were made to prevent Quicken from quitting unexpectedly when launching with certain internal files corrupted. The files in question are now repaired if necessary and Quicken launches as expected.
  • When canceling a Quicken Bill Pay payment, the payment would be incorrectly marked as a sent payment in the register. Quicken now correctly marks the cancelled payment.
  • When using Quicken Bill Pay, rules concerning postdated payments were sometimes evaluated incorrectly. This issue has been resolved.
  • When downloading transactions the Accept All button would become inactive after using the Accept button. This issue has been resolved.
  • After enabling an online account the Download Transactions window did not refresh properly. This issue has been resolved.
  • Quicken sometimes quit unexpectedly when creating a Smart Payee after deleting an online-enabled account. This issue has been resolved.
  • The security certificate used to ensure your online banking sessions are secure has been updated.
  • When selecting a downloaded transaction in the Download Transactions window, Quicken sometimes failed to copy the transaction to the register section of the window. This issue has been resolved.
  • In some cases investment transactions would reappear in the Download Transactions window after being accepted or deleted. This issue has been resolved.
  • In some cases the split ratio for downloaded stock split transactions could be reversed (i.e. 1 for 2 instead of 2 for 1). This issue has been resolved.
  • Quicken incorrectly displayed split transaction information for investment "Buy" and "Move Shares In" transactions under certain circumstances. This issue has been resolved.
  • Quicken now prevents disabling online functionality for an investment account if there are unprocessed transactions in the Download Transactions window.
  • When using the Scheduled Updates tab of the One Step Update window, clicking the weekday buttons rendered the buttons unreadable. This issue has been resolved.
  • When running a scheduled update, Quicken sometimes created and copied a backup file to .Mac when the Back Up to .Mac feature was enabled. This has been corrected so the backup is no longer created in this situation.
  • When using the Move Transactions window, some buttons overlapped register fields. This issue has been resolved.
  • You can now paste into the Number field of checking registers.
  • The File > Open Recent menu item did not display a submenu when there were no recent files to display. This issue has been resolved.
  • The Help menu now includes a link to the Quicken for Mac user forums.
  • Stability improvements were made to prevent Quicken from quitting unexpectedly when deleting a transaction from the Calendar.
  • The Add Note feature of the Calendar did not work properly for some customers. This issue has been resolved.
  • When entering transactions from the Calendar, some buttons overlapped register fields. This issue has been resolved.
  • You can now delete multiple transactions at the same time from within the Calendar.
  • The Export Report to Excel functionality has been improved for better compatibility with Microsoft Excel.
  • When exporting a QIF file, the custom export options for Securities and Security Prices were reversed. This issue has been resolved.
  • Stability improvements were made to prevent Quicken from quitting unexpectedly when saving a copy of the data file. This issue has been resolved. The "Margin Interest" investment transaction type did not work properly for some customers. This issue has been resolved.
  • When displaying security detail graphs, a notation has been added to indicate when a stock split occurred.
  • Tax rates used in the Tax Planner have been updated.
  • Quicken has been updated to check with a new server for information about the availability of software updates.

Despite the wording on the Quicken Web site about needing to use StuffIt Expander to decode the downloaded file, ours downloaded as a disk image (.dmg) and opened to expose the R5 Updater. We updated our copy of Quicken 2006 and used it to open our files and update some with no problems. [Bill Fox]

[9/7] Top Spammer's Goose is Nearly Cooked, Faces Nine Years in VA State Prison

Jeremy Jaynes was convicted in 2004 in Virginia of violating the state's anti-spam laws and sentenced to nine years in prison. A Virginia court of appeals has ruled unanimously against his appeal which was based on US constitutional and state jurisdictional arguments and not the facts. Jaynes is the first person facing prison time for spamming. There is no word on whether Jaynes will appeal to the state's supreme court or to federal courts. More... [Dana Baggett]

[9/7] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--New iMacs,, CrossOver Mac and

Tonight host Gene Steinberg presents Macworld's Online Editor, Philip Michaels, to talk about Apple's newest iMac and Mac mini. You'll also hear about the latest Mac troubleshooting issues from MacFixIt's Ben Wilson. With the recent release of a public beta of CrossOver Mac from CodeWeavers, you'll hear from company CEO Jeremy White. Also appearing on this week's episode is Larry O'Connor, CEO of MacSales, a manufacturer and reseller of Mac peripherals and upgrades. Tune in the Web broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]

[9/6] Secure and Organize Your Data with Wallet 2.6 (Universal)

Waterfall Software released an update to Wallet, the Mac application for securing and organizing personal data such as passwords, serial numbers, credit cards, and other important pieces of information. Available today, Wallet 2.6 features a brand new Wallet Dashboard widget, letting users quickly search and retrieve information from their databases in Apple's Dashboard environment in Mac OS X.

Wallet takes security seriously, utilizing military-strength Blowfish encryption to password-protect every Wallet database. Using the AutoFill feature, website logins can be automatically entered into Safari or another compatible browser. Users can also optionally put their data on an Apple iPod, for when they need it on-the-go. Wallet 2.6 also features many other improvements, such as the ability to pick custom icons for groups, generate pronounceable passwords in Wallet's Password Generator, and many bug fixes.

Wallet 2.6 is a Universal application and is compatible with Mac OS X 10.3.9 or higher. This version is a free upgrade for existing users and there's a free trial version. [Bill Fox]

[9/6] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

CDW Mac Warehouse has deals on a wide variety Mac compatible hardware and software products including: convert your Apple laptop to a desktop system in seconds with the BookEndz Docking Station for the 15" MacBook Pro for only $299.95!; Microsoft Office 2004 Pro (w/VirtualPC - does not run on Intel-based Macs or G5 systems) for only $469.00; Lexmark C522N network ready color laser printer for nly $499.99!; Wacom Graphire4 4"x 5" USB tablet with wireless mouse and pen for only $99.99!; Logitech NuLOOQ Professional Series navigator a customizable USB-based input device designed to control applications (like ,Photoshop, iTunes, etc) for only $79.99!; run Windows XP on your Intel-based Mac without rebooting w/Parellels Desktop for only $71.99!; and much more.

Sweetwater Sound has deals on a wide variety Mac compatible hardware and software products including free shipping on the following products: Edirol PCR-M50 49-key USB MIDI controller w/27 assignable knobs, faders and buttons for only $149.97!; PreSonus FIREPOD 24-bit/96K 10x10 FireWire recording studio w/Cubase LE software for only $499.99!; Alesis io|2 USB portable 2-channel audio/MIDI interface for only $149.97!; get a Sweetwater Exclusive training video when you purchase Reason from Propellerheads for only $399.97!; Ableton Live 5 w/free upgrade to Live 6 for only $399.97!; Ultrasone HFI.700 premium headphones for only $199.97 after a limited time $50.00 mail-in rebate!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[9/5] PhotoReviewer 2.1 (Universal) Out from Stick Software

Stick Software released version 2.1 of PhotoReviewer (Universal), a photo management tool for Mac OS X. PhotoReviewer helps you quickly (very quickly!) flip though your photos, choosing which ones are "keepers" and which aren't, sorting them into different folders and renaming them. Compare your images side by side, use the histogram tool to analyze their exposure and contrast, and examine them with the magnifier tool to check their sharpness and focus.

PhotoReviewer doesn't compete with iPhoto; rather, it goes between your digital camera and iPhoto. According to to Stick Software it's the quickest, easiest way to sort and weed your photos. Once you've used PhotoReviewer, you'll never look back.

PhotoReviewer 2.1 is largely a maintenance release: some bugs are fixed, and some rough edges in the user interface have been sanded down. But there are a few new features, too: small extensions to configurability and flexibility. PhotoReviewer 2.1 requires Mac OS X 10.4 and it is a Universal Application that runs native on PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs. It is shareware, with a price of only $15, and it's free to try. [Bill Fox]

[9/5] FREE iTunes Songs With Purchases from SendStation Systems

SendStation Systems, creators of iPod accessories like the PocketDock line of iPod adaptors, is giving away 20,000 songs on the iTunes Music Store.

Customers who purchase a smartCharge car charger for iPod (USD $24.95) or a PocketDock Combo USB/FireWire adapter for iPod (USD $22.95) will receive 20 free songs on iTunes for each of these items bought. This offer is available to US and Canadian customers only while supplies last. [Bill Fox]

[9/5] FREE Apple Online Seminars--Apple and Architecture New for September

Apple and Architecture--What's new for the architect from Apple? In this free online seminar in QuickTime, Jacques Sedille, Architecture segment manager for Apple Europe, discusses and demonstrates recent hardware and software developments involving the Mac, that make it an ultra-productive workstation for the architectural design professional.

Jacques will explore a number of topics, including:

  • The latest Mac OS X "Tiger" features relevant to the architect.
  • Free applications that allow you to search inside DWG files.
  • The transition to Intel-based Mac computers and what this means for the architect.

Who should watch? Architects and other creative designers interested in the capabilities of the Mac for their profession.

All online seminars can be located from this Apple Web page. 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. [Bill Fox]

[9/5] Firefox 2 Beta 2 is Out for Bleeding Edgers

Firefox 2 Beta 2 was posted by The Mozilla Project for developers and those who like to test emerging software. It is the fifth developer milestone. To find out all about the new features, check the release notes.

We downloaded and tried it for awhile during general Web surfing without encountering any problems. [Dana Baggett]

[9/2] Cool Mac Software--Mactracker 4.0.6 is Out

Mactracker 4.0.6 is out and available for download via This version is not yet a Universal Application since it is based on REALbasic. However, a version of REALbasic that will make Universal binaries will be out soon and Mactracker will then be updated again according to the developer Ian Page.

Mactracker is a great database on every Mac ever made plus virtually every piece of equipment sold by Apple Computer from AirPort Base Stations to Xserves. New in Version 4.0.6:

  • Adds Mac Pro
  • Adds iMac (Mid 2006 17-inch)
  • Adds Xserve (Mid 2006)
  • Adds Cinema Display (20-inch DVI Late 2005), Cinema Display (23-inch DVI Late 2005), and Cinema Display (30-inch DVI Late 2005)
  • Updated Mighty Mouse with info on wireless model
  • Xserves have been moved to their own category
  • Adds "Does not contain" condition when creating Smart Categories
  • Adds the ability to sort search results by date introduced
  • Adds information on later Mac OS versions included with recent models
  • Adds information on Apple Drive Module (ADM) compatibility to Xserve models
  • Adds display mode information to Mac Pro, Power Mac G3/G4/G5, iMac, and eMac models
  • Modifies Ethernet entries to indicate cards that support jumbo frames
  • Fixes an issue where Mactracker would crash when opening an info window under a non-admin user (Mac OS X only)
  • Fixes an issue where search results wouldn't be shown for certain models
  • Other minor changes and additions

[Dana Baggett]

[9/1] Aspyr Media Game Report--Their March to Universal Applications Continues

Aspyr has already released or soon will release a total of four Mac games as a Universal Application (i.e. they run natively on both PowerPC- and Intel-based Macs):

Quake 4
Call of Duty 2
Civilization 4
Sims 2 Open for Business (coming soon)

Aspyr has also released free downloadable Universal patches for six PowerPC-based Mac game titles that run under Rosetta:

Doom 3
Shrek 2
Sims 2
Sims 2 University
Sims 2 Nightlife
Spiderman 2

There are six more PowerPC-based games that currently run under Rosetta on Intel-based Macs for which Aspyr plans to release Universal patches:

Civilization III: Complete
Command & Conquer Generals/Zero Hour/Deluxe
Rollercoaster Tycoon 3
Simcity 4/Rush Hour/Deluxe
Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast

Unfortunately, the Universal patch for Call of Duty and Call of Duty: United Offensive seems to be out of the picture. In an earlier report, Call of Duty was listed for a Universal patch. While Call of Duty 2 (Universal) remains our favorite first person shooter, the original Call of Duty has many enjoyable maps that were not carried over into Version 2. Call of Duty runs in Rosetta on our 2.16GHz MacBook Pro but only marginally.

With regard to the development of new games, Aspyr reported that work internally at Aspyr Studios has wrapped up on Sims 2 Open for Business Mac and it should be shipping any day. Much of their internal development is on unannounced projects. Aspyr says it has several exciting Mac titles in the works for Christmas 2006 and early 2007. One of their goals for Mac development in the new world of Intel-based Macs is to ship more of their Mac games close to the release of the Windows versions and they hope to have a couple of good examples out in the coming months.

With regard to other patches and demos, Aspyr's recently released patches include the final Civ IV Mac Rev A patch and a Tiger Woods 2005 Mac patch. Updates for the Mac that are still in testing and due to be released any day now include Call of Duty 2 v1.3, Civilization III Universal, Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 Universal, and Jedi Knight 2 & Jedi Academy Universal. A demo for Quake 4 Mac was released in early August.

We, of course, are waiting eagerly for Call of Duty 2 v1.3. That update will bring parity with the Windows version. [Bill Fox]

[9/1] Apple Revised the Offerings from Three Hot Deals Retailers

ClubMac has deals on a wide variety Mac compatible hardware and software products including: transform your paper documents into electronic files with ScanSnap from Fujitsu, includes Adobe Acrobat 7 for only $369.99 after $50.00 mail-in rebate!; need a great flat bed scanner? For the budget minded, get professional quality scans with the Epson Perfection 4490, only $199.00 after $50.00 mail-in rebate!; Microtek's ScanMaker i800 FireWire/USB 2.0 (cables included) flat bed scanner w/8"x12" transparency adapter is perfect for those needing high quality and high performance - only $499.99 after $50.00 mail-in rebate!; Wacom Intuos 3 12"x12" USB digitizing Pen tablet with wireless mouse for only $509.99!; and much more.

Ramjet has Hot Deals exclusive prices on a wide variety Mac compatible RAM upgrades including: 2GB RAM Kit (2x 1GB modules) for MacBook Pro for only $244.00!; 1GB RAM Kit (2x 512MB modules) for Dual Core PowerMac G5 for only $106.00!; 1GB RAM module for the iBook G4 for only $182.00!; 2GB RAM Kit (1x 2GB module) for the iMac G5 w/iSight for only $262.00!; 2GB RAM Kit (2x 1GB modules) for the original iMac G5 for only $234.00!; and much more.

Sweetwater Sound has deals on a wide variety Mac compatible hardware and software products including: Samson C03U studio quality mic for only $129.97!; Roland SH-201 49-key analog modeling synth for only $595.97!; quick, easy 1-in/1-out MidiSport compact MIDI USB interface from M-Audio for only $39.97!; connect your mic, instrument and line-level signals to audio inputs to digital audio workstations and analog devices with the ART Tube MP Project Series USB tube pre-amp for only $99.97!; Phonic Helix Board 12 FireWire 6-channel mixer w/Digital FX for only $299.99!; get a collection of 8-new instruments based on Reaktor 4 w/standalone or Plug-in capability with Electronic Instruments 2 XT from Native Instruments for only $99.97; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[9/1] Latest Apple Battery Recall Notice

We received from Apple today another notice about the battery recall for certain batteries that fit the 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4 and 12" iBook G4. It seems that the serial numbers have changed again since we last looked:

To begin the battery exchange process, go to this Apple Web page.

[9/1] Adobe Kicks Off Photoshop and Lightroom Education Road Show Next Tuesday

The U.S. leg of Adobe's new Project: Photoshop and Lightroom Education Road Show will begin on September 5 at over 25 colleges and art schools across the nation. In collaboration with Colin Finlay, a world-renowned documentary photographer and four-time Picture of the Year Award winner, the road show will give students and educators direct access to Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Adobe Lightroom public beta, the new digital workflow solution for professional photographers. In further support of this initiative, Adobe is also launching a destination Web site, which provides participating students with a universal place to share their work and blog about their experiences.

Adobe Lightroom, available in public beta for both Windows® and Macintosh platforms, is the efficient new way for professional photographers to import, manage and showcase large volumes of digital photographs. The two-day seminar at each school will involve a one-day lecture by Colin Finlay in which he shares his career as a photographer, including his commercial work and documentation of social issues. The following day, Julianne Kost, senior evangelist at Adobe, will provide students with an in-depth seminar on using Adobe Photoshop CS2 and Adobe Lightroom beta, highlighting their combined support for a digital workflow. In addition, a select group of students will participate with Finlay in a workshop assignment. Students will place images from this assignment into a portfolio which will be uploaded to the Web site for sharing with the extended community.

Project: Photoshop and Lightroom education road show is scheduled to take place in the following cities and colleges in the U.S.

Sept. 5-6, Lansing Community College, Lansing, Mich.
Sept. 7-8, Tyler Junior College, Tyler, Texas
Sept. 11-12, Santa Monica College, Santa Monica, Calif.
Sept. 13-14, San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, Calif.
Sept. 15-16, Brooks Institute of Photography, Santa Barbara, Calif.
Sept. 18-19, Academy of Art University, San Francisco, Calif.
Sept. 20-21, Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, Calif.
Sept. 26-27, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, N.Y.
Sept. 28-29, Syracuse University, The Newhouse School of Communications, Syracuse, N.Y.
Oct. 5-6, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, Ill.
Oct. 9-10, Antonelli Institute, near Philadelphia, Pa.
Oct 11-12, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, N.M.
Oct. 16-17, Art Institute of Colorado, Denver, Colo.
Oct. 18-19, Brigham Young University, Salt Lake City, Utah
Oct 23-24, Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City, N.Y.
Oct. 27, New York University Tisch School of the Arts, New York City, N.Y.
Oct. 28, Parsons - The New School for Design, New York City, N.Y.
Nov. 6-7, Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Ga.
Nov 15-16, Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, Fl.
Nov. 27-28, New England School of Photography, Boston, Mass.
Nov. 29-30, Hallmark Institute of Photography, Turner's Falls, Mass.
Dec 4 - 5, Art Institute of Seattle, Seattle, Wash.
Dec 7 - 8, School of Visual Arts, New York City, New York

For more details visit this Adobe Web page. To download a free trial version of Adobe Lightroom beta, visit this Adobe Web page. [Bill Fox]

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