Parallels Desktop for Mac
February 2007 News Archive

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Copyright 2007 by Bill Fox All rights reserved.
Last Updated: February 28, 2007

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[2/28] Parallels Desktop for Mac 2.5 is Out in Final

Parallels released the final build (3186) of Desktop for Mac v2.5 after a lengthy public beta program. It is available from this Parallels Web page. Desktop for Mac allows one to run Windows, including the latest Vista, on an Intel-based Mac without shutting down the Mac and restarting in Windows like Apple's Boot Camp beta requires.

The major new features in version 2.5 are:

  • Parallels Installation Assistant making installing Parallels Desktop for Mac easier than before
  • Parallels Coherence providing seamless integration and allowing you to maintain a single, integrated environment for running all of your applications
  • Parallels Transporter allowing you to easily migrate your existing system to any Parallels enabled computer.
  • Full USB 2.0 support allowing you to connect all of your favorite devices to your operating system of choice
  • Full support for OS X and Windows Vista
  • Automatic network configuration seamlessly connecting your new virtual system to the Internet without any manual network reconfiguration

We tried to download a copy but all attempts (more than 20) ended prematurely, the largest file being 32MB out of 57.4MB before the download ended abruptly. It reminded us of the good old days of dial-up trying to get the latest Mac OS update. We have provided a brief hands-on report after each public beta of v2.5 was released but we will have to wait until we can get a copy. [Bill Fox]

[2/28] Software Special of the Day: Home Inventory 1.5.2 (Universal) for 41% Off--$12.95 Today Only

Home Inventory (formerly Stockpile) is an easy to use home inventory management application. Simply put, it helps you keep track of the stockpile of stuff you have accumulated over the years. Home Inventory allows you to print detailed and comprehensive reports you can store away for safe keeping. This information is critical when you have to file an insurance claim in the event any of your property is damaged or stolen. Home Inventory's summary reports help you make sure you have the proper amount of coverage by telling you exactly how much your items are worth.

Normally $22.00, Home Inventory 1.5.2 (Universal) is offered for $12.95--that's 41% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/28] Apple released WWDC07 Session Tracks--Focus is on Mac OS X 10.5 'Leopard'

Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2007 will have over 100 sessions in six session tracks. The session tracks are:

  • Mac OS X Essentials -- Learn about the core ingredients needed to build innovative products for Mac OS X. Perfect if you're new to the Mac.
  • Graphics and Imaging -- Add advanced audio, video, imaging, graphics, and animation capabilities to your applications.
  • Information Technologies -- Discover how to use, integrate, manage, and deploy Mac OS X Leopard and Leopard Server.
  • Leopard Innovations -- Get an in-depth look at how to energize your apps with powerful new Mac OS X technologies.
  • Developer Tools -- Reach new levels of productivity using groundbreaking development tools.
  • Content and Media -- Learn best practices for production and development of rich media for the desktop, devices, and the web.

WWDC07 will be held June 11-15 in San Francisco's Moscone West Conference Center. Here is Apple's WWDC07 FAQ. [Bill Fox]

[2/28] New Apple Gear Arrival, One Slips and One's on Target

Apple TV, the set-top box for playing the media contents of your Mac on your HDTV, was originally announced at Macworld to ship in February. Now, the Apple Store is showing a shipping date of mid-March. Those who ordered an Apple TV are receiving a note from Apple announcing the delay.

iPhone is still on target for shipping in June according to Apple COO Tim Cook at the Goldman Sachs 2007 Technology Investment Symposium. More...

[Bill Fox]

[2/28] Very Brief Hands-On Report--SuperDuper! 2.1.4 Update is Out

SuperDuper! 2.1.4 Update is available from Shirt-Pocket within the application or as a stand-alone file via SuperDuper is the excellent application that makes recovery painless, because it makes creating a fully bootable backup painless. Its incredibly clear, friendly interface is understandable, easy to use, and SuperDuper's built-in scheduler makes it trivial to back up automatically. And it runs beautifully on both Intel and Power PC Macs!

What's new in version 2.1.4:

  • Allows display to sleep during copy
  • Scheduled copies work for Japanese locale/language settings
  • Preliminary compatibility support for Leopard
  • Improved scheduling for all users

The improvements include:

  • The ability to easily schedule backups
  • Additional imaging options
  • More control over shutdown
  • Better AppleScript support
  • Hundreds of UI improvements
  • Growl support
  • A completely rewritten, task-based User's Guide.

We updated our copy of SuperDuper! within the application with no difficulty. [Dana Baggett]

[2/27] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla's Camino Browser goes Beta with v1.1b

Camino 1.1b is the latest version of Mozilla's Web browser that runs natively on Mac OS X 10.3 and later. It is available for download via The current release is v1.0.3.

There are lots of updates in v1.1b including enhanced tabbed browsing ("single window mode"), integration with the Mac OS X spell-checking system, detection of RSS/Atom feeds, an improved design for the "blocked pop-up" notification, enhanced options for cookies and downloads, and a resizable search field in the toolbar. This release also includes enhancements in speed, security, and rendering accuracy brought by version 1.8.1 of the Gecko rendering engine.

Camino 1.1b now shares the same code base as Firefox 2.0.x, i.e. the Gecko v1.8.1 rendering engine, so also shares many of the security fixes that are in that version of Firefox.

We downloaded and installed v1.1b over v1.0.3 with no problems. We also used v1.1b for several hours of Web browsing and encountered no issues. This beta version appears to be very stable but remember, if you decide to use it, that it is a beta and subject to issues. [Bill Fox]

[2/27] Former Apple CEO Sculley states "I'm a terrible manager"

Former Apple CEO John Sculley addressed a group of 250 students at Brown University's Annual Entrepreneurship Forum. He claimed to be a "half-decent idea person" while admitting he is a "terrible manager." Sculley joined Apple as CEO after he was recruited from PepsiCo in 1983 by Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, then Chairman of Apple. Sculley eventually ousted Jobs from Apple in 1985.

He praised Steve Jobs for being the real visionary and gave him full credit for Apple's successful direction. Sculley's claimed success was in building Apple into a major company while his biggest goof was missing the manufacturing and marketing model introduced by Michael Dell. He also championed cool projects at Apple like the Newton. Sculley said he was ousted due to his refusal to license the Mac OS. More... [Dana Baggett]

[2/27] Software Special of the Day: MaxBulk Mailer X 5.2 (Universal) for 50% Off--$29.99 Today Only

MaxBulk Mailer is a powerful mail-merge tool for Macintosh and Windows that allows you to send out customized press releases, prices lists and any kind of text or HTML documents to your customers. MaxBulk Mailer is fast, fully customizable and very easy to use. MaxBulk Mailer handles plain text, HTML and styled text documents and gives full support for attachments.

Normally $59.90, Scrabble 1.0 (Universal) is offered for $29.99--that's 50% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/27] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

Small Dog Electronics has Hot Deals exclusive prices on the following Mac compatible hardware and software products: Xerox Phaser 6120N USB 2.0 Postscript color laser printer w/Ethernet networking for only $299.99; AudioStation 80-Watt iPod speaker system with AM/FM/Alarm from Logitech for only $254!; Tax software from Intuit - TurboTax Deluxe w/State for tax year 2006 for $42 and TurboTax Premier w/State for tax year 2006 for $68l; and much more. Get all the details at the following URL:

Sweetwater Sound has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: MultiMix 16 affordable 16-channel mixer w/FireWire from Alesis for only $399.97; MidAir 37 wireless MIDI controller from M-Audio for only $249.97; connect the Fender G-DEC 30 to your Mac via the MIDI interface and load/store sequences for playing and practicing. Only $369.99!; Monster Power Pro 900 PowerCenter for only $99.95!; Omega Studio USB Recording Bundle from Lexicon Pro includes Lexicon Pantheon Reverb Plug-in and Cubase LE software for only $199.97; ; Maya Complete 8.5 from Autodesk for $1,999; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[2/27] Apple posted iPhone Ad that ran during Oscars

Apple ran an iPhone ad during the Oscar presentations on Sunday evening. The ad, named "Hello" featured a sequence of a number of celebrities answering a phone saying "hello" which was followed by a rotating-in iPhone and a note stating "Hello, Coming in June." The ad closed with Apple's logo. It is now available online on the Apple Web site front page and on this Apple Web page. It is available to see in several sizes including HD. [Bill Fox via Joe Sacco]

[2/27] Trans International offers $16-40 Savings on miniG FW400 Dual Drive

With the MiniG, TransIntl states that you can achieve high-level, industrial/corporate-grade performance for digital video/audio editing and storage with the streamlined, Cool & Quiet miniG Firewire F400 Drive external enclosure. Simply add your choice of low-cost, high-performance, high-capacity ATA drive or select from their preconfigured options.

  • miniG Firewire 400 Enclosure (no drive) $59.00 Save $16.00
  • miniG Firewire 400 80GB [7200RPM,16MB Cache] Drive: $ 89.00 Save $30.00
  • miniG Firewire 400 160GB [7200RPM,16MB Cache] Drive: $109.00 Save $40.00
  • miniG Firewire 400 250GB [7200RPM,16MB Cache] Drive: $129.00 Save $30.00
  • miniG Firewire 400 320GB [7200RPM,16MB Cache] Drive: $159.00 Save $30.00
  • miniG Firewire 400 400GB [7200RPM,16MB Cache] Drive: $189.00 Save $40.00
  • miniG Firewire 400 500GB [7200RPM,16MB Cache] Drive: $229.00 Save $40.00
  • miniG Firewire 400 750GB [7200RPM,16MB Cache] Drive: $399.00 Save $30.00

The Firewire 400 interface supports external transfers up to 38MB/second to satisfy video projects, DVD authoring, audio, animation, modeling, music/image libraries, and conventional storage. [Bill Fox]

[2/26] Apple Top-Ranked Computer Company in Customer Service Due to Genius Bar

BusinessWeek Magazine's cover story for March 5 is "Customer Service Champs." It provides BusinessWeek's list of the top 25 U.S. companies in customer service. Apple is the top-rated computer company and no others made the top 25. Despite being top-rated, Apple only garnered position 18, being beaten by such companies as Cadillac (#3), Nordstrom (#4), UPS (#8), Starbucks (#10) and Cabelas (#15). Apple was boosted into the top 25 with bonus points for being the industry leader.

BusinessWeek's comments about Apple are:

"While Apple's customer service shows its bruises--device problems frequently erupt just after warranties expire--the in-person support offered at the 'Genius Bars' in the electronics maker's more than 170 stores sets it apart from its peers."

The insurance firm, USAA, is first on the list. More...[Bill Fox]

[2/26] Software Special of the Day: Scrabble 1.0 (Universal) for 35% Off--$12.95 Today Only

Scrabble... The classic way to spell word game fun is now the ultimate way to spell fast fun for the entire family. Play against one of eight challenging computer opponents or take on your friends and family in four different game modes. Play the way you remember in Classic mode, race against the clock in Blitz, climb to the top in a Tournament, or set up a Custom Tournament and play Scrabble your way!

Innovative and helpful features like Best Play, Hints, and The Official Scrabble Players Dictionary allow Scrabble fans of all skill levels to join in the fun. A family favorite for generations of gamers, you've never seen Scrabble like this before!

Normally $19.95, Scrabble 1.0 (Universal) is offered for $12.95--that's 35% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/26] TrailRunner 1.3--Sports Route Planner with iPod and Garmin GPS Support

TrailRunner connects your Nike + iPod sports kit or GPS device like a Garmin ForeRunner or Garmin Edge with an interactive topo map for people who enjoy running, biking or hiking. Plan routes, journalize workouts and write about your training progress in a weblog published to your .Mac account. The new Release 1.3 sports a direct connection to Garmin Training Center for Mac OS X. You now can put some colors on trails and internet map loading was greatly improved.

For better orientation while you are on your way, route descriptions can be exported as small NanoMaps onto your iPod or cellphone. A NanoMap is a small clipping of the geographical map guiding you into the right direction as soon as you arrive at trail junctions.

After you return home, download your workout data from your iPod or Garmin GPS device and add a new entry to your workout diary. A beautiful graphical chart depicts your training progress. View your routes in 3D with the KML export for GoogleEarth, download interactive topographical maps, satellite imagery and elevation data from online services like NASA and USGS. Import GPX files from online tour databases or even publish your own favorites.

TrailRunner 1.3 is donationware. [Bill Fox via prMac]

[2/24] Washington Apple Pi AMUG General Meeting Today--Focus on Google

The Pi General Meeting will be a full event today. The doors open at 9:00 am and Lawrence Charters will be there at the start to answer any question our first arrivals might have. The main event, Everything Google, starts at 9:50 and features demonstrations on several aspects of Google.

Also, there will be three mini-training sessions. One tutorial will focus on how to enhance your photos to prepare you for the Pi Photo Contest, another will expand on Google Earth and SketchUp and the last session will be Mac Fundamentals. We will start the meeting by kicking off the first ever Pi Photo Contest and end with our Pi Dollars auctions of some more great prizes.

Check out the Pi web site page for more details on the meeting. [Bill Fox]

[2/24] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla released Firefox, a Security Update

Firefox is available via 'Check for updates' under the Help menu or via this Web page. The security fixes according to Mozilla are:

  • MFSA 2007-07 Embedded nulls in location.hostname confuse same-domain checks
  • MFSA 2007-06 Mozilla Network Security Services (NSS) SSLv2 buffer overflow
  • MFSA 2007-05 XSS and local file access by opening blocked popups
  • MFSA 2007-04 Spoofing using custom cursor and CSS3 hotspot
  • MFSA 2007-03 Information disclosure through cache collisions
  • MFSA 2007-02 Improvements to help protect against Cross-Site Scripting attacks
  • MFSA 2007-01 Crashes with evidence of memory corruption (rv:

We downloaded and installed Firefox with no problems. There is an update (v1.7.0.7) for our favorite theme Nautipolis so we downloaded and installed it too. After several hours of Web browsing we noted no new issues. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[2/23] Samsung speeds up Fastest Graphics RAM by Two-Thirds--Faster Macs?

Samsung produces the world's fastest graphics RAM called GDDR4 (Graphics Double Data Rate, v4). They announced yesterday that they have increased its speed even further, by two-thirds!

"Our new GDDR4 memory will add even more zip in video applications, making gaming, computer-aided design and video editing faster than ever before," said Mueez Deen, marketing director, graphics memory, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc. "This will enable ultra-smooth movements in animation and make games incredibly realistic, resulting in a truly immersive user experience," he added.

Using 80-nanometer production technology, the 4Gb/s (2.0GHz) is 66 percent faster than today’s fastest commercially available memory--the 2.4Gb/s GDDR4. The new 4Gb/s graphics memory, offered in 512Mb density, has a 32-bit data bus configuration. GDDR4 uses JEDEC-approved standards for signal noise reduction to help attain the highest possible speed.

The new RAM is available for customer sampling and it should be appearing in products over the next 12-18 months, according to Samsung. [Bill Fox]

[2/23] Software Special of the Day: eOrdering Gold X 3.5.4 (Universal) for 40% Off--$44.95 Today Only

eOrdering Gold will create your web forms and other documents so that when users submit an order, web proofs will process any orders and send you the order via email.

The web forms will show the cost for each item, allow the user to select a quantity, show the total for the product (cost x quantity), and calculate both the sales tax and the total cost for the order. Web Proofs will then create the server side code (.asp or .php) or use PayPal to process the order for your product (emailing you the order). In the end, you have a product where the user selects what they need, they can see the cost, they submit the order, and then you get an email detailing the order. This way they can put their proofs online for ordering without spending a lot of time in html development.

Normally $75.00, eOrdering Gold X 3.5.4 (Universal) is offered for $44.95--that's 40% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/23] Apple released Final Cut Pro 5.1.4 Update

Apple released Final Cut Pro 5.1.4 Update and it is available for download as a stand-alone updater from this Apple Web page. Since we do not have Final Cut Pro 5.x, we are unsure if it appears in Mac OS X's Software Update.

According to Apple,

Provides important bug fixes to resolve plugin issues. This update is recommended for all Final Cut Pro 5.1, 5.1.1, 5.1.2 and 5.1.3 customers.

[Bill Fox]

[2/23] reduced price $10-40 on miniXpress 825 Portable Hard Drives

Trans International's miniXpress 825 portable hard drives have a rugged and stylish case made from aluminum. This assures durability and excellent heat dissipation. Equipped with an anti-shock mechanism and a triple interface (F800/F400/USB), the award winning miniXpress is an ideal and versatile answer for portable external storage.

Here are the new prices:

200GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $349.00 Saving $20.00
160GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $229.00 Saving $20.00
120GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $179.00 Saving $10.00
100GB 7200RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $229.00 Saving $40.00
100GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $139.00 NEW

We use a 160Gb miniXpress and have favorably reviewed it. [Bill Fox]

[2/23] From the Dark Side--M$ loses Another Copying Lawsuit; Copies Mac OS X Exposé

A federal jury in San Diego found that Microsoft infringed on MP3 audio patents held by Alcatel-Lucent. They awarded $1.52 billion in damages. Microsoft plans to appeal the decisions as unsupported by the facts or laws.

Microsoft copies technology owned by others? Nahhhh! Who could think such a thing? Let's see, yesterday we saw a Microsoftian demonstrate a "new and exciting" feature in Widows Vista he called Exposé, a feature that shows all open windows on the desktop by moving the cursor to a corner. Geez, Microsoft not only copied the function from Mac OS X but shamelessly even copied the name!

[Update: The Microsoftian simply may have misspoken, as noted by several readers, perhaps he's a closet Mac user. We can not find a reference to Exposé in any online Vista documentation. The Exposé feature demonstrated at the Vista launch event last week may be a function in Windows Flip that requires Vista's Aero graphics capability but we couldn't find it explicitly stated.] [Bill Fox]

[2/22] Apple and Cisco move on by settling iPhone Lawsuit

Late yesterday, Apple and Cisco jointly announced that they have resolved their dispute involving the "iPhone" trademark. The dispute arose when Cisco filed suit following Steve Jobs' keynote address at Macworld that announced and described Apple's new cell phone named "iPhone" that is scheduled to ship in June.

Cisco claimed to own the trademark "iPhone" and that negotiations with Apple over use of the trademark had not been completed as expected before Apple's announcement. Apple retorted that the lawsuit was "silly" and that Cisco's trademark claim was not valid for two main reasons. First, the products using the name "iPhone" are inherently different (cell phone vs VoIP handset) and will not confuse the public. And second, Cisco had not adequately defended its trademark and, therefore, gave it up even if it applied to Apple's iPhone.

Under the agreement, both companies are free to use the "iPhone" trademark on their products throughout the world. Both companies acknowledge the trademark ownership rights that have been granted, and each side will dismiss any pending actions regarding the trademark. In addition, Apple and Cisco will explore opportunities for interoperability in the areas of security, and consumer and enterprise communications.

Other terms of the agreement are confidential. [Bill Fox]

[2/22] Apple's ADC Developer Pavilion at Macworld a Success--Nine Stories Posted as Podcasts

Apple just added content on its developer site about the success of the ADC Developer Pavilion at this year's Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco last month. The ADC Developer Pavilion was part of an exclusive marketing package presented by the Apple Developer Connection, IDG, Macworld Magazine and

Forty-eight developers took part in the ADC Developer Pavilion. Apple has posted the stories of nine of the small developers who took part. You can hear them explain in 2-3min podcasts why this was a great event for promoting their products. [Bill Fox]

[2/22] Software Special of the Day: Interarchy 8.5.1 (Universal) for 50% Off--$29.99 Today Only

Using Interarchy's comprehensive collection of tools you can easily upload, download, edit, mirror and manage your websites with increased efficiency and effectiveness.

Interarchy delivers compelling new features, including a revolutionary interface that allows you to stream-line your workflow more than ever before. This update also introduces enhanced mirroring to make managing your websites even easier. The addition of six new protocols means Interarchy 8 now has unrivaled protocol support: FTP, FTP/SSH, FTP/SSL-TLS, HTTP, HTTPs, WebDAV, WebDAVs, iDisk and Amazon S3.

Normally $59.95, Interarchy 8.5.1 (Universal) is offered for $29.99--that's 50% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/22] Apple Revised the Offerings from Three Hot Deals Retailers

ClubMac has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: Macintosh Board Game Trio - includes digital versions of Scrabble, Monopoly and Risk II from MacSoft for only $35.99; learn to speed read with AceReader Pro from StepWare for only $44.99!; Gorilla 4 Standard Edition - for independent movie producers from Jungle Software for only $268.99!; Diskwarrior 4.0 from Alsoft for only $94.99!; iRemember digital scrapbooking software from MacScrapbook for only $99.99!; Canon Pixma MP960 Photo All-In-One printer for only $389.99!; Micromemo turns your iPod nano into a recording studio from XtremeMac for only $49.99!; and much more.

MacMall has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: LaCie Porsche Design 250GB external FireWire hard drive for only $117.95!; 4GB DataTravel USB 2.0 flash drive from Kensington for only $45.99!; HP PhotoSmart D5069 Photo Inkjet printer for only $69.99!; Sony CyberShot DSC-W50 6-megapixel digital camera for only $209.99!; 17" TFT LCD display from 3G Technology for only $69.99 after mail-in rebate!; My Book Essential 500GB USB external hard drive for only $189.99!; SPK-VELO-001 wireless speakers with remote from Cables to Go for only $121.99!; portable notebook combination lock from Kensington for only $16.99!; Corel Painter X for only $393.93!; Maya Complete 8.5 from Autodesk for $1,999; ; and much more.

PowerMax has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: World of Warcraft from Blizzard Entertainment for only $36.88; RoadShow car audio/video cable for 5th gen. iPod, from XtremeMac for only $28.88; Microtek Scanmaker i800 professional flatbed scanner for only $339!; 200GB MobileStor internal SATA hard drive for MacBook and Mac mini only $248.88!; Data Rescue II data and file recovery software from Prosoft Engineering for only $85!; Shure E4c earphones for only $198.88!; Klipsch iGroove HG iPod speaker system for only $189.99!; Intuit QuickBooks Pro 2007 for only $179.88!; Intuos3 9"x12" USB tablet with wireless mouse and pen from Wacom for only $393.88!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[2/22] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--Hints from, Mac OS X Security and running Non-Mac Software on a Mac

On tonight's all-star episode, host Gene Steinberg presents a collection of powerful hints and tips from Macworld's Rob Griffiths, also of Rob will also give you an advanced look into an forthcoming feature story he's writing covering four ways to run Windows on a Mac.

You'll also hear a realistic discussion on Mac OS X security with Alan Oppenheimer, of Open Door Networks. In addition, Doug Nassaur, President and CEO of Truth North Technology will deliver an update on a way to run software from other operating systems on your Mac without installing another operating system or even the applications themselves.

You can tune into the Web broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]

[2/21] Steve Jobs and Bill Gates to 'Duke It Out' at D5 in May, Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher to Moderate

Wow! Apple CEO Steve Jobs and Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, the seminal figures in the development of the personal computer and its software, will make a rare joint appearance at The Wall Street Journal's D: All Things Digital conference this year. The two men will jointly discuss the history and future of the digital revolution in an unrehearsed, unscripted, on-stage conversation on May 30 with D coproducers Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher. Get it on!

Both executives have made multiple individual appearances at the conference, which will celebrate its fifth anniversary this year, and is known as D5. But this will be their first joint session at D, and a highly unusual event.

In addition to participating in the joint session, Steve Jobs will appear on his own in a separate segment at D5 to discuss the latest developments at Apple, including new ventures such as the iPhone and Apple TV.

The D5 conference will also feature an impressive roster of other leaders in technology and media. Confirmed speakers include Google CEO Eric Schmidt; CBS President Les Moonves; Cisco CEO John Chambers; film director George Lucas; online pioneer Steve Case; Time Inc. CEO Ann Moore; News Corp. President Peter Chernin; Palm founder Jeff Hawkins; Steve Chen and Chad Hurley of YouTube; and Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

D5 will be an all-interview event, i.e. without canned speeches. The conference, which is already sold out at $3,995 a seat plus hotel, will take place May 29-31, 2007, at the Four Seasons Resort Aviary in Carlsbad, California, near San Diego. [Bill Fox]

[2/21] Macs in Science--iMacs feature Kinetic City at AAAS Science Show

CNET has a gallery of eleven photos from the Family Science Days show at the 2007 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) just held February 15-19 in San Francisco. Photo number 4 shows two kids playing science games on iMacs at the Kinetic City adventure booth.

According to AAAS,

"Kinetic City is an amazing collection of science experiments, games and projects for everyone to enjoy both online and away from the computer."

Kinetic City's Mission to Vearth was produced by the AAAS with funding from the National Science Foundation to excite kids about science. It is pretty cool--check it out. [Bill Fox]

[2/21] Software Special of the Day: Nanosaur 2: Hatchling 2.0.2 (Universal) for 40% Off--$14.95 Today Only

Nanosaur 2 from Pangea Software is a continuation of the original Nanosaur story line, yet this time you get to fly a pteradactyl who's loaded with hi-tech weaponry, and the game is much larger than the original 1998 game. In addition to the adventure mode where you blast enemy dinos and save eggs, there are also six two-player levels including racing, capture-the-flag, and battle.

We add that Nanosaur and Nanosaur 2 are our all-time favorite Mac games.

Normally $24.95, Nanosaur 2: Hatchling 2.0.2 (Universal) is offered for $14.95--that's 40% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/21] From the Dark Side--Gates contradicts Ballmer on Vista Sales; Ballmer threatens Linux so will Gates...?

The Frick and Frack of the technology world are at it again. After all of the Microsoft Windows Vista hype, last week CEO Steve Ballmer told analysts that their forecasts of Vista sales are "overly aggressive" and to expect more moderate sales. Then this week, when asked if Microsoft should be cautious about Vista sales, Cofounder Bill Gates replied, "I don't know what you mean. Vista's had an incredible reception." Apparently, Frick and Frack don't talk much anymore.

Also this week, Ballmer again threatened to sue Linux sellers by stating to analysts that open source "is not free." So, if asked about Linux threats next week, we wonder if Gates will say, "I don't know what you mean. Linux is great. Didn't we just enter into a partnership with Novell to distribute it?" More and more...[Dana Baggett]

[2/20] How Fast Is It? AirPort Extreme 'N' Base Station, Part II--5GHz and 'b/g' Compatibility Modes

After posting our original review a week ago last Monday (Part I--"n-only" at 2.4GHz), we received a number of questions and requests for additional tests on Apple's new AirPort Extreme 802.11n Base Station. Some asked why we used 802.11n(2.4GHz) when the 5GHz mode with wide channel capability is supposed to be faster. Others asked how fast the new Base Station would be in the mode that is compatible older 802.11b and 802.11g devices with and without any being on the network. So we completed several additional runs. We also ran the tests with the network protected by WPA2 security and without security since some testing elsewhere indicated that, perhaps, WPA2 security significantly slowed throughput.

Instead of the MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo used in Part I, we used our 24" iMac Core 2 Duo which is on the second floor of our building and about 12' from our new AirPort Extreme N Base Station located in the room below on the first floor. We tested the AirPort Extreme N Base Station's speed by using our iMac C2D via the Extreme N Base Station to read from and write to an AirPort Disk attached to the Extreme N Base Station using Intech's QuickBench, a utility in Intech's SpeedTools software package. The Extreme N Base Station is set up as a bridge from our router, i.e. not using a second layer of NAT.

Here are the somewhat surprising results:

Speed (Sustained Read/Write in MBps) via AirPort Extreme N Base Station in various wireless modes*
Wireless Mode
WPA2 Off
n-only 2.4GHz
n-only 5GHz
n/b/g w/"g" Device
*Speed in MegaBytes per second.
Average of three tests--Extended Test mean of 50-100MB transfers

When the AirPort Extreme N Base Station was set up in "n-only" mode, the 5GHz mode with "Use wide channels" enabled was slightly slower (about 5% or less) than the 2.4GHz mode. This is exactly the opposite from what we had expected and we have no explanation for it. Turning off WPA2 security essentially had no effect, again not what we had expected. These results were confirmed with our MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo--it got even poorer 5GHz performance at 4.1MB/sec sustained read. We also disconnected our 5.8GHz telephone system in case it was interfering but doing so had no effect on the "n-only" 5GHz speed results.

When the Extreme N Base Station was set up to be compatible with older "b" and "g" Wi-Fi devices ("n/b/g" mode) with WPA2 security on, the speed was identical to the "n-only" 2.4GHz mode. This result was expected because no "b" or "g" devices were attached to the network during that test. With WPA2 security turned off, we got the expected increase in network speed, even though at about 5 percent the increase was small.

With a "g" device (a 12" PowerBook G4 with an AirPort Extreme G card) added wirelessly to the network in "n/b/g" mode, network speed slowed down as expected with a performance drop in sustained read of over 11 percent. With WPA2 security turned off, the network speed increased by about 10 percent but was still slower than without the PowerBook G4 attached. We do not recommend setting up a Wi-Fi network without using WPA2 security.

In summary, the performance of Apple's new AirPort Extreme N Base Station in 5Ghz mode with wide channels enabled in our tests did not meet the expectation of higher speeds with only "n" deices on the network. In fact, it tested slower than using the 2.4GHz band. Perhaps, Apple has not yet fully enabled the 5GHz part of the draft 802.11n specification. In fully compatible mode (n/b/g), there was no loss of performance over "n-only" mode at 2.4GHz with only "n" devices on the network. When a "g" device was added, the performance drop was on the order of ten percent.

Subsequent to our 2/12/07 review, other speed tests of Apple's new AirPort Extreme N Base Station have appeared on the Web with somewhat different results (e.g. Macworld and Bare Feats). Unfortunately, none of them have posted sufficient details to be able to replicate them to determine why there might be differences, usually caused by procedural/setting differences .

See Part I--"n-only" at 2.4GHz. [Bill Fox]

[2/20] Software Special of the Day: Speed Download 4.1.9 (Universal) for 32% Off--$16.95 Today Only

Speed Download is the leading 'Universal' download manager for Mac OS X. Crafted exclusively for Mac OS X Tiger and later, Speed Download 4 marks the next generation of powerful and reliable, time-saving download managers. Faster and more secure, more features, easier to use and sporting a new look, this latest Speed Download release sets a new standard for download manager innovation, and is designed to be your central, unified hub for almost all the downloading and file transfer activities you do online.

Normally $25.00, Speed Download 4.1.9 (Universal) is offered for $16.95--that's 32% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/20] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple released WWAN Support Update 1.0

Apple's WWAN Support Update 1.0 for Intel-based Mac portables (MacBook and MacBook Pro) running Mac OS X 10.4.8 is available for download via Software Update or as a stand-alone updater from this Apple Web page. WWAN stands for Wireless Wide-Area Network, the networking provided by cell phone companies.

According to Apple,

The WWAN Support Update v1.0 provides SW support for the following WWAN products:

Available on the Cingular network:
•Novatel Merlin XU870 ExpressCard (HSDPA)

Available on the Sprint network:
•Novatel Wireless Merlin EX720 Express Card (EVDO Rev. A)
•Novatel Wireless Ovation U720 USB Modem (USB Adapter, EVDO Rev. A)

Available on the Verizon network:
•Novatel XV620 ExpressCard (EVDO Rev. 0)
•Novatel V740 ExpressCard (EVDO Rev. A)
•Novatel Wireless Ovation U720 (USB Adapter, EVDO Rev. A)

WWAN Support Update 1.0 appeared in Software Update on our 15" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo but not on our 24" iMac Core 2 Duo nor our 12" PowerBook G4, confirming that the update is just for Intel-based portables. We downloaded the update via Software Update and installed it on our MacBook Pro C2D with no problems and none have cropped up since. Unfortunately, we do not yet have a Verizon EVDO ExpressCard for our MacBook Pro C2D. We are going to wait to see if Apple's iPhone will satisfy our need for cell phone wireless networking capability. [Bill Fox]

[2/20] Add Bluetooth Wireless to Your Mac Pro for $26

If you didn't opt for Bluetooth capability when you purchased your Intel-based Mac Pro but now find that you would like to add the convenience of cordless peripherals, FastMac has a product for you. FastMac has a 100% compatible plug-and-play internal Bluetooth upgrade for all Mac Pro systems.

The FastMac upgrade adds Bluetooth wireless connectivity between your Mac Pro and the growing array of Bluetooth-enabled personal digital assistants, mobile phones, cameras, printers, headsets, keyboards and computer mice. The Bluetooth module fits directly into the system's main logic board, attaching to the built-in Apple antenna. No drivers or software are required. The Bluetooth upgrade is available now for an introductory price of $25.95. It comes with a 1-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee. [Bill Fox]

[2/20] iPhone to introduce Next Generation User Interface?

According to Mike Elgan's blog on Digit, we are waiting for the next generation computer user interface after the original command line interface (CLI) and the current graphical user interface (GUI) introduced by Apple with the Mac. Apple didn't invent the GUI, Xerox did, but Apple first employed it in a commercial product. Similarly, Elgan believes that Apple's iPhone will employ the next generation user interface, the multi-touch user interface as presented a year ago at the 2006 Technology Entertainment Design (TED) conference in Monterey, CA, by Jeff Han, a researcher at New York University's Courant Institute for Mathematical Sciences.

Jeff Han's demonstration in this video is quite compelling and the iPhone, indeed, will employ a multi-touch interface with gestures. [Dana Baggett]

[2/19] Adobe's Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 and Camera Raw 3.7 are Out

Today Adobe begins shipping Photoshop Lightroom 1.0. It enables professional photographers to import, manage and present large volumes of digital photographs. Photoshop Lightroom now includes a wealth of innovative features that streamline digital photography workflows and help photographers spend more time behind the lens and less time at the computer.

The tools and features in Photoshop Lightroom help photographers tailor their digital photography workflows. The Library and Develop modules have the organizing and editing features for image management and non-destructive editing, and Photoshop Lightroom makes it easy to send images to and from Photoshop for pixel editing. Once editing is complete, users can showcase their images in Photoshop Lightroom with the Slideshow, Print and Web modules.

In appreciation of loyal Photoshop users, early supporters of Photoshop Lightroom and the over 500,000 beta participants, Adobe is offering Photoshop Lightroom to all new customers at a special introductory price of US $199 through April 30, 2007. Photoshop Lightroom will later sell for an estimated street price of US $299. Users of Photoshop Lightroom beta will have access to the program until its expiration on February 28, 2007.

The announcement of Photoshop Lightroom coincides with the immediate availability of Camera Raw 3.7, which now supports over 150 cameras, including: the Nikon D40 and Pentax K10D. Lightroom and Photoshop Camera Raw share the same image processing technology to ensure consistent and compatible results across applications that support raw processing. These applications include Photoshop CS2, Photoshop Elements 4.0, Photoshop Elements 5.0 and Premiere Elements 3.0 and must be updated to Camera Raw 3.7 in order to provide compatibility with the new Photoshop Lightroom.

With this update to Camera Raw it is now possible to apply default image settings specific to a camera serial number and apply default image settings specific to a camera ISO setting. The additional criteria are located in the Camera Raw preferences. Also, the default settings, including the global auto preference, are now shared with the DNG Converter.

Adobe Camera Raw 3.7 is available as a free download from Adobe. [Bill Fox]

[2/19] Software Special of the Day: Midnight Mansion 1.0.7 for 45% Off--$10.95 Today Only

In the vein of games like Dark Castle and Montezuma's Revenge, Midnight Mansion provides classic action gaming with vivid 32-bit graphics, spine-tingling sound effects, and professional quality music. As Jack Malone, you will explore eight huge mansions, each filled with traps, puzzles, and secrets, as you search for legendary treasure. Ride on conveyor belts, avoid zapper beams, and dodge monsters as you collect keys that give you access to new areas of each mansion. Three difficulty settings allow players of any skill level to enjoy the game.

Normally $20.00, Midnight Mansion 1.0.7 is offered for $10.95--that's 45% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/19] Fly Volaris in Mexico and rent an iPod with Video

Volaris, a low-cost Mexican airline, is now renting a 30GB iPod with video for 10 pesos (about $5) on its flights. While other airlines have been talking about integrating iPod connections in seats, Volaris is the first airline to make iPods available to passengers. The iPods come loaded with music and Mexican TV shows but Volaris has plans to load US TV shows and music as well.

Volaris is a privately-own airline. The owner, Carlos Slim, plans to expand service significantly. More...[Dana Baggett]

[2/16] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple released Security Update 2007-002

Security Update 2007-002 is available via Software Update or as stand-alone updaters from these Apple Web pages:

According to Apple,

Security Update 2007-002 is recommended for all users and improves the security of the following components:


The details of Security Update 2007-002 are:

CVE-ID: CVE-2007-0197
Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.8, Mac OS X Server v10.4.8
Impact: Mounting a maliciously-crafted disk image may lead to an
application crash or arbitrary code execution
Description: A buffer overflow exists in Finder's handling of
volume names. By enticing a user to mount a malicious disk
image, an attacker could trigger this issue, which may lead to
an application crash or arbitrary code execution. A proof of
concept for this issue has been published on the Month of Apple
Bugs web site (MOAB-09-01-2007). This update addresses the issue
by performing additional validation of disk images. This issue
does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4. Credit to Kevin
Finisterre of DigitalMunition for reporting this issue.

CVE-ID: CVE-2007-0614, CVE-2007-0710
Available for: Mac OS X v10.3.9, Mac OS X Server v10.3.9, Mac OS
X v10.4.8, Mac OS X Server v10.4.8
Impact: Attackers on the local network may be able to cause
iChat to crash
Description: A null pointer dereference in iChat's Bonjour
message handling could allow a local network attacker to cause
an application crash. A proof of concept for this issue in Mac
OS X v10.4 has been published on the Month of Apple Bugs web
site (MOAB-29-01-2007). This update addresses the issues by
performing additional validation of Bonjour messages.

CVE-ID: CVE-2007-0021
Available for: Mac OS X v10.3.9, Mac OS X Server v10.3.9, Mac OS
X v10.4.8, Mac OS X Server v10.4.8
Impact: Visiting malicious websites may lead to an application
crash or arbitrary code execution
Description: A format string vulnerability exists in the iChat
AIM URL handler. By enticing a user to access a maliciously-crafted
AIM URL, an attacker can trigger the overflow, which may lead to an
application crash or arbitrary code execution. A proof of concept for
this issue has been published on the Month of Apple Bugs web site
(MOAB-20-01-2007). This update addresses the issue by performing
additional validation of AIM URLs.

CVE-ID: CVE-2007-0023
Available for: Mac OS X v10.3.9, Mac OS X Server v10.3.9, Mac OS
X v10.4.8, Mac OS X Server v10.4.8
Impact: Malicious local users may be able to obtain system
Description: The UserNotificationCenter process runs with
elevated privileges in the context of a local user. This may
allow a malicious local user to overwrite or modify system
files. A program that triggers this issue has been published on
the Month of Apple Bugs web site (MOAB-22-01-2007). This update
addresses the issue by having UserNotificationCenter drop its
group privileges immediately after launching.

We downloaded and installed this update with no problems on a MacBook Pro C2D and an iMac Core Duo running Mac OS X 10.4.8. In several hours subsequent use, we encountered no issues. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[2/16] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple released Java for Mac OS X 10.4.x or 10.3.x, Release 5

It is available via Software Update or from these Apple Web pages:

According to Apple,

Java for Mac OS X 10.4 [or 10.3], Release 5 adds support for the latest Daylight Saving Time (DST) and time zone information as of January 8, 2007, and delivers improved reliability and compatibility for Java 2 Platform Standard Edition 5.0 and Java 1.4 on Mac OS X 10.4.8 and later. This release updates J2SE 5.0 to version 1.5.0_07, Java 1.4 to version 1.4.2_12.

This release improves reliability of the SWT_AWT bridge implementation first released in the SWT Compatibility Libraries for Release 4, and is now installed as a standard part of J2SE 5.0.

We downloaded and installed this update with no problems on a MacBook Pro C2D and an iMac Core Duo running Mac OS X 10.4.8. In several hours subsequent use, we encountered no issues. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[2/16] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple posted Daylight Savings Time Update for Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server 10.4.x and 10.3.x

This update is available via Software Update or from these Apple Web pages:

According to Apple,

The Daylight Saving Time Update for Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server addresses recent changes in the way Daylight Saving Time will be observed in the U.S. and Canada beginning in March 2007 and includes the latest time zone information for the rest of the world.

For more details on this update, see this Apple Web page.

We downloaded and installed this update on a MacBook Pro C2D and an iMac Core Duo running Mac OS X 10.4.8 with no problems. In several hours subsequent use, we encountered no issues. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[2/16] Apple released Final Cut Pro 5.1.3 Update

Apple released Final Cut Pro 5.1.3 Update and it may be available via Software Update but it is available as a stand-alone updater from this Apple Web page. According to Apple it has these fixes:

  • Final Cut Pro 5.1.3 is a maintenance release that resolves performance and other issues.
  • Render File Compatibility--Render files created on both PowerPC-based and Intel-based Macintosh computers now work properly on either type of computer.
  • Keyboard Layout Issues Resolved--Final Cut Pro 5.1.3 adds several commands to the default keyboard layout that were missing in the previous version.
  • Issues with Cross Dissolves in Nested Sequences Resolved--Final Cut Pro 5.1.3 resolves cases in which cross dissolves did not work as expected.

[Bill Fox]

[2/16] Apple released Web Objects 5.3.3 Update

Apple released Web Objects 5.3.3 Update and it is available as a stand-alone updater from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,

This installer updates WebObjects 5.3 systems to observe the Daylight Saving Time (DST) and 2007 time zone changes as of January 8, 2007. This update is recommended for all WebObjects users.

[Bill Fox]

[2/16] Software Special of the Day: Springy 1.2.2 (Universal) for 44% Off--$9.99 Today Only

Springy archiving and compressing application let you do all your work with archives and compressed files using a graphical interface similar to Finder. Features include browsing files in archives in all three view types (as icons, as list, as columns), extracting all or particular files or folders from archives, modifying archives (add, delete, replace, rename files or folders in archives), full drag & drop support, working with encrypted and password protected files, support for HFS/HFS+ metadata and resource forks, compressing and decompressing files and many more.

Springy includes a Finder contextual menu plug-in, that can be used to create archives, add files in archives, extract whole archives, compress and decompress files, all with just one right mouse click in Finder. But even more, it enables browsing files and folders in archives and extracting particular file or folder using hierarchical contextual menu.

Springy supports the following file types: ZIP, TAR, TAR compressed with GZIP, BZIP2 and Unix Compress methods, plain GZIP, BZIP2 and Unix Compress compression, RAR and SIT. Java archives JAR, WAR and EAR are also supported. Future releases will include support for more archive formats.

Normally $18.00, Springy 1.2.2 (Universal) is offered for $9.99--that's 44% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/16] Hands-On Report--Parallels released Desktop for Mac v2.5 Build 3170 RC3

Parallels released the third release candidate for v2.5 of Desktop for Mac (Build 3170). It is available via Desktop for Mac allows an Intel-based Mac to run various Windows operating systems in a window on Mac os X 10.4.x (Tiger).

We downloaded Build 3170, uninstalled Build 3150 and installed Build 3170. Then, we downloaded and installed all of the accrued updates for our Windows XP SP2 and Windows Vista RC1 virtual machines. No problems were encountered during the process nor during brief use of both virtual machines. [Bill Fox]

[2/16] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

J&R Computerworld has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: ARXP62 Bookshelf speakers from Acoustic Research reduced to only $99.99!; Sims 2 Pets Expansion Pack from Aspyr for only $34.99!; Neverwinter Nights: Hordes of the Underdark from MacSoft for only $19.99!; Sid Meier's Civilization IV: Warlords Expansion Pack from Aspyr for only $27.99!; Eye-One Display 2 professional monitor calibration tool from Gretagmacbeth for only $199.99!; 1GB Lexar JumpDrive Secure II flash drive for only $29.99!; HL-2040 compact personal laser printer from Brother for only $99.99 after mail-in rebate!; CanoScan LiDE 70 USB 2.0 color image scanner from Canon for only $79.99!; and much more.

O'Reilly Media, Inc. has Hot Deals exclusive prices on a variety of Mac related publications including: Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Tiger Edition for only $20.97!; Switching to the Mac: The Missing Manual, Tiger Edition for only $17.47; Dreamweaver MX 2004: The Missing Manual for only $24.47; iMovie 6 & iDVD: The Missing Manual for only $24.50!; iPhoto 6: The Missing Manual for only $20.99!; iPod: The Missing Manual for only $13.99!; Photoshop Photo Effects Cookbook for only $20.96!; Photoshop Fine Arts Effects Cookbook for only $20.99!; Photoshop CS2 RAW for only $24.50!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[2/15] Mac Sales Not Hurt by Windows Vista and May Even be Increased, Analyst States

Contrary to what you may have read elsewhere yesterday, the research report by analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray resulting from his survey of 50 Best Buy stores concludes that sales of Windows Vista will not negatively affect Mac sales. While Windows Vista sales have been less than expected so far, as noted in Munster's report, delayed purchases of Windows PCs waiting for Vista could result in a second quarter spurt of Windows PC sales that would affect Apple's market share in the short term but not Mac sales. In fact, Mac sales could increase.

"We also believe that widespread computer upgrades could lead consumers to evaluate their options, which may allow Apple to sway buyers toward the Mac platform," Munster wrote.

[Bill Fox]

[2/15] Software Special of the Day: Mac Cleanse 1.0.1 (Universal) for 50% Off--$9.95 Today Only

Mac Cleanse securely scans your system for activity and erases the desired information. Whether you've been gift shopping online, discussing confidential business matters, "accidentally" visiting inappropriate web sites, or just want to clean out your system, Mac Cleanse is your savior. Unlike some other privacy protection tools which go through your system with brute force, Mac Cleanse has been thoroughly tested and only removes the necessary files, and reports all errors.

Normally $19.95, Mac Cleanse 1.0.1 (Universal) is offered for $9.95--that's 50% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/15] New AirPort Extreme "N" Base Station--Status Light Flashing Amber, Why?

So you've set up and configured your new AirPort Extreme 802.11n Base Station but you don't get a steady green status light. You get a flashing amber light instead. What does this mean? Macs Only! reader Gerald Millward shared his experience in response to Monday's review to save others a bit of consternation and time. Gerald did everything "right" in settting up his new Extreme N Base Station but the status light kept flashing amber instead of giving him a steady green. That was perplexing because it worked fine despite the flashing amber light. He worked on it for awhile and then called Apple. According to Gerald, Apple Support told him that,

"... if you don't opt to select one of the options for securing Airport Extreme it will remind you that you didn't by flashing the amber light."

To stop it, one has to either re-configure and select a security option or

"...go into Utilities, Airport Utility, Summary, and click on the Base Station Status light. That takes you to a screen that tells you why the amber light is blinking--and provides an option for deactivating the light and turning it to green."

[Bill Fox]

[2/15] Apple posted Two new Developer Articles: Widgets & Kerberos

Enhance Your Dashboard Widgets with Quartz Composer Compositions--With Quartz Composer you can produce rich animations for your Dashboard widget. This article shows you how to create a composition, and embed it easily in your widgets.

Kerberos: Highly Secure Single Sign On Authentication in Mac OS X--Mac OS X uses Kerberos to provide single sign on authentication for a wide range of technologies. Read how you can take advantage of Kerberos in your application.

[Bill Fox]

[2/15] RailsConf Europe 2007--Call for Participation Issued

To meet the increasing demand for skill building and to spread the joy of Rails, Ruby Central and O'Reilly Media are teaming up to produce RailsConf Europe 2007, an entire conference dedicated to Ruby on Rails. Happening September 17-19 in Berlin, Germany, RailsConf Europe will offer keynotes, sessions, and tutorials from the most innovative and successful Rails experts and organizations. O'Reilly Media and Ruby Central are seeking leaders to present sessions and tutorials at the conference. Qualified practitioners with insights and anecdotes to share with IT professionals and the Rails community are invited to submit a proposal by April 12, 2007.

The Ruby on Rails development framework turns three years old this summer, and in that short time, it has gone from cult favorite to major player in the web development world. By every measure--feature richness, adoption, publications, developer reception--Rails is a phenomenon, and one that's here to stay according to the organizers. [Bill Fox]

[2/15] From the Dark Side--Rats! Microsoft Settled Juicy Iowa Anti-Trust Suit

One of the last state lawsuits following Microsoft's federal conviction as an illegal monopolist was settled after seven years of litigation. Iowa wanted up to $330 million for consumers ripped off by Microsoft's corporate behavior.

The suit resulted in the public disclosure of a number of embarrassing internal Microsoft emails, the most infamous of which was one composed by Windows Vista chief Jim Alchin to founder Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer stating that if he didn't work for Microsoft, he'd buy a Mac. Since Mr. Alchin has retired from Microsoft, we hope that he has now fulfilled his wishes.

The terms of the settlement will be heard by the court on April 20th. Only the lawsuit by Mississippi remains. [Dana Baggett]

[2/14] Brief Hands-On Report--Microsoft released Office 2004 for Mac 11.3.4 Update

Microsoft released Office 2004 for Mac 11.3.4 Update. According to Microsoft,

This update contains several improvements to enhance security and stability, including fixes for vulnerabilities that an attacker can use to overwrite the contents of your computer's memory with malicious code.

Applies to: Office 2004 Standard Edition, Office 2004 Student and Teacher Edition, Office 2004 Professional Edition, Word 2004, Excel 2004, PowerPoint 2004, Entourage 2004.

Since the 11.3.4 Update is not a combo updater, Microsoft warns that before installing this update, one should make sure that the Microsoft Office 2004 for Mac 11.3.3 Update has been installed on your computer. To verify that this update has been installed, select the Microsoft Component Plugin file in the Microsoft Office 2004/Office folder on your hard disk and then in the File menu, click Get Info to check the version number.

The improvements for all Office 2004 applications are:

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

The improvements for Entourage 2004 are:

Junk e-mail filter list is updated--This update provides the Junk E-mail Filter in Microsoft Entourage 2004 for Mac with a more current definition of which e-mail messages are considered junk e-mail.

The updated files are:

Junk E-mail Protection to 11.3.4
Microsoft Component Plugin to 11.3.4
Microsoft Word to 11.3.4

We downloaded the 11.3.4 updater and installed it over the copy of Office 2004 on our MacBook Pro C2D with no problems. We briefly tried launching each application and opening and modifying several files each for Word, Excel and PowerPoint without encountering a problem. We launched Entourage but did not use it for email. No major problems popped up for us. [Bill Fox]

[2/14] Apple released Fibre Channel Utility 2.1.4 for Mac OS X 10.4.8

Apple released Fibre Channel Utility 2.1.4 for Mac OS X 10.4.8. It provides the ability to configure the Apple Fibre Channel PCI Cards including the Apple Dual- and Quad-Channel 4Gb Fibre Channel Card when running Mac OS X 10.4.8.

For Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.4.7 users, you will need Fibre Channel Utility 2.0 but it will not configure the Apple Dual- and Quad-Channel 4Gb Fibre Channel Card.

For Mac OS X 10.3 users, you will need Fibre Channel Utility 1.0.3 but it will not configure the Apple Dual- and Quad-Channel 4Gb Fibre Channel Card. [Bill Fox]

[2/14] Software Special of the Day: Xslimmer 1.2.0 (Universal) for 33% Off--$7.95 Today Only

Xslimmer reduces the disk space taken up by Universal Binary applications preserving just the Intel or PowerPC version. Xslimmer is a new, user-friendly way to size down your Universal Binary apps, without losing any of their functionality by removing the code inside the Universal Binaries that does not fit with your machine's architecture, a code that never gets executed and just wastes your disk space.

Normally $11.95, Xslimmer 1.2.0 (Universal) is offered for $7.95--that's 33% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/14] docXConverter 1.1 Update--Convert Word 2007 Files for the Mac

Panergy's docXConverter 1.1 is out and available for download via docXConverter is a Macintosh program for opening and using files saved in the new Word 2007 default format, docx.

docXConverter allows you to open docx files with a program currently installed on your computer, even if none of your programs are capable of doing so on their own. docXConverter converts the docx file to an RTF file, and then instructs one of the programs on your computer to open that file. docXConverter makes sure that the contents, the graphics and the layout of the original docx document are kept in utmost fidelity.

As we have noted previously, the Microsoft Mac Business Unit has promised to release Office 2007 converters for Office 2004 in the spring. But Office 2007 is already in use by the Windows crowd so docXConverter may be needed by many Mac users right now. docXConverter 1.1 is $19.95 shareware. [Bill Fox]

[2/14] Enemy Territories: QUAKE Wars--Will this 3D Game come to the Mac?

The war between the Global Defense Force (GDF) and the Strogg will soon be igniting on next-generation consoles as id Software and Activision, Inc. confirmed that Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars, the team-based first person action title, and already one of the most anticipated new properties of 2007 is coming to next-gen platforms. In this epic multiplayer-focused game, players can choose to defend humanity as a part of the GDF or destroy it as a merciless Strogg alien invader.

Winner of more than 15 awards in 2006 and already selected as one of the most anticipated new titles in 2007 by more than eight publications, Enemy Territory: QUAKE Wars is being developed for the Windows PC by Splash Damage. Players choose to battle as one of five unique classes in either the conventionally armed GDF army or the futuristic Strogg invasion force, each outfitted with specialist weapons and combat hardware. In this adrenaline pumping fight for survival, warring forces utilize a variety of different vehicles, deployable structures, and defense systems including quad-bikes, tanks, and alien walkers for epic ground assaults; or helicopters and anti-gravity ships to unleash airborne attacks. Throughout each battle, teams establish bases, deploy defense structures, artillery, radar, and advanced forward-command systems into enemy territory while constructing and demolishing obstacles to speed progress and gain a tactical advantage over the opponent.

The big question for Mac users is will this latest game in the Quake series come to the Mac. The last in the series, Quake 4, did come out on the Mac last year. [Bill Fox]

[2/14] Apple revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

Apple Store Special Deals has exclusive deals on a variety of Apple Certified Refurbished products including: Apple Certified Refurbished 4GB iPod Nano for only $149!; Apple Certified Refurbished 1GB iPod shuffle for only $49; Apple Certified Refurbished 1GB iPod nano for only $79!; Apple Certified Refurbished 17-inch PowerBook 1.67GHz PowerPC w/SuperDrive for only $1,699!; and much more.

MacConnection has Hot Deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: Sony CyberShot DSC-W100 8.1-megapixel compact digital camera for only $249.95!; Olympus FE-230 7.1-megapixel compact digital camera for only $199.99!; Photoshop Lightroom from Adobe for only $199.95; Corel Painter X upgrade from Corel for only $219.95!; Dreamweaver 8 limited time upgrade for Microsoft FrontPage owners for only $399.95!; Canon Pixma MP830 All-In-One multifunction printer for only $249.99!; Olympus Evolt-500 digital SLR two lens kit for only $679.99!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[2/13] VoiceOver-founded Mac technologies make a difference for blind translator

AssistiveWare today announced the release of It has made the world of difference, a new video and video podcast, featuring Anne Robertson, a blind translator.

Anne Robertson became blind as a small child. She is now a professional French to English translator. In this short video, she shows how she uses VoiceOver, the latest Mac OS X screen reader from Apple, in combination with naturally sounding French and British English text-to-speech voices of Acapela Group's Infovox iVox to do her work. She explains how thanks to AssistiveWare's VisioVoice, which includes a French translation of VoiceOver, she has been able to speed up her translation work as she can now listen to text in one language while she is typing in another language. Anne Robertson lives in Orry la Ville, France.

This new video is part of the Exploring the Frontiers of Assistive Technology podcast series.

[2/13] Software Special of the Day: Macintosh Explorer 4.5 (Universal) for 44% Off--$8.95 Today Only

The all purpose file browser and file management tool, Macintosh Explorer brings the hierarchal navigation system of Windows Explorer to the Mac. The first ever Macintosh File browser to offer tabbed file browsing, Thumbnail previews of pictures files and filter based file browser, Macintosh Explorer offers a totally new and unique file browsing experience.

Normally $15.95, Macintosh Explorer 4.5 (Universal) is offered for $8.95--that's 44% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/13] Trans Intl reduces prices on miniD Hard Drives

The stylish miniD is an economical storage solution that compliments the Mac mini. It is equipped with three FireWire 400 ports and three USB 2.0 ports and has a specially designed active/passive cooling system.

Utilizing the latest PATA to FireWire hot pluggable technology feature, the FireWire drive may be plugged in or unplugged without turning-off or restarting the computer. The drive mounts automatically when plugged into the FireWire port of the computer. All miniD drives are shipped with Backup and disk utility software.

Here are the new prices:

  • miniD 750GB [7200RPM,16MB Cache] Drive:$439.00 U-SAVE $50.00
  • miniD 500GB [7200RPM,16MB Cache] Drive:$239.00 U-SAVE $30.00
  • miniD 400GB [7200RPM,16MB Cache] Drive:$207.00 U-SAVE $32.00
  • miniD 320GB [7200RPM,16MB Cache] Drive:$169.00 U-SAVE $10.00
  • miniD 250GB [7200RPM,16MB Cache] Drive:$145.00 U-SAVE $10.0
  • miniD 160GB [7200RPM, 8MB Cache] Drive:$125.00 U-SAVE $14.00
  • miniD   80GB [7200RPM, 8MB Cache] Drive:$109.00 U-SAVE $10.00
  • miniD Enclosure (no drive): $64.00 U-SAVE $5.00

Check them out at this Trans Intl Web page. [Bill Fox]

[2/12] Hands-On Review--Apple AirPort Extreme 802.11n Base Station, How Fast is It?--Part I, "n-only" at 2.4GHz

One of the things that we got partially right in guessing what Apple would release at Macworld was implementation of the new wireless "N" Wi-Fi protocol, even though the protocol is still in draft. It wasn't in Steve Jobs' keynote address and it hasn't been implemented on the Mac mini or the low-end 17" iMac, but all other Macs with Core 2 Duo processors on the market since last fall have an AirPort card capable of running the new, super-fast Wi-Fi. In addition, Apple released the second generation AirPort Extreme Base Station (Extreme N) that runs "N" Wi-Fi for $179.

"N" Wi-Fi is called "the next great leap in wireless technology" by Apple. It is based on the IEEE 802.11n draft protocol which includes multiple-input, multiple-output (MIMO) capability, i.e. multiple data streams through multiple antennas (3). Apple claims it boosts performance up to five times and range up to two times that of the previous Extreme G Wi-Fi.

An Extreme N Base Station was ordered through the online Apple Store right after it was announced as shipping in February--we received a February 28th shipping date. On January 31st, the shipping date was moved up two weeks to "on or before February 15"--it actually shipped on February 2nd. We received it February 5th and have been using it since.

In the box comes the Base Station, a CD and a brief printed manual along with the one-year limited warranty and regulatory certifications. We'll skip the unboxing description of our Extreme N and a display of its internals since they can be found on this iFixit Web page. iFixit also provides some benchmarks but for some reason they do not comport with our experience.

Our Extreme G Base Station has 5 ports (left-to right--external antenna, WAN ethernet, LAN ethernet, 56K modem and USB) plus the power port. The new Extreme N has has 5 ports (left-to right--USB, WAN ethernet and 3 LAN ethernet) plus power the port. The antenna and modem ports have been replaced by LAN ethernet ports. In addition, on the Extreme N the USB port can be used with a network hard drive as well as a printer.

Setting up

The network in our two story building is a combination of wired and wireless connections. Internet is obtained via cable and distributed via a D-Link 524 router (its wireless capability turned off) through ethernet wiring to most rooms. For mobility, we have an AirPort Express Base Station and an AirPort Extreme G Base Station near both ends of the lower floor. They are set up for roaming, i.e. both have the same network name (say "AirPort"), have the same WPA Personal password and are set up as bridges, i.e. do not distribute IP addresses. Our wireless network is closed with MAC address access control and protected by WPA security. We get excellent wireless reception (3-4 arcs in the menu icon, 12-15 bars in Internet Connect) on PowerBook G4s, MacBook Pros and an iMac Core 2 Duo throughout the structure.

For this review, our new Extreme N Base Station was set up in the same lower floor room as our Extreme G Base Station. It has its own wired ethernet connection via a D-Link 10/100 ethernet switch to the D-Link router for Internet and is configured as a bridge with its own network name.

The software installed off the CD includes a new AirPort Utility (replaces AirPort Admin Utility) and AirPort Disk Utility. While we had already applied the latest Airport Extreme update and had enabled our MacBook Pro C2D and 24" iMac C2D for 802.11n capability with the $1.99 enabler, the AirPort Extreme Update 2007-001 and enabler appeared to be installed again.

AirPort Utility is much easier to use for simple networks than AirPort Admin Utility. It allows one to easily choose the security type (WEP or WPA2), whether it's connected to a home router or to a cable or DSL "modem", how one is connected to the internet and how to secure an attached USB disk. To set up a closed network, MAC address access control, Radio Mode ("n" only or "b,g" or "a" compatible and 2.4GHz or 5GHz) enable the Bonjour broadcast of an attached printer, enable the Bonjour broadcast of its configuration, and many other details, one has to select "Manual Setup" under the Base Station menu.

We manually set our Extreme N Base Station's radio to "802.11n only (2.4GHz)" to use it in it's fastest mode. We also set it up as a closed network with MAC address access control and WPA2 security. [See Part II (2/20/07) for "n-only" 5GHz and "b/g" compatibility modes.]

How far does it go?

We tested the Extreme N Base Station's signal at approximately 3', 12', 40' and 60' inside our building with our 15" MacBook Pro C2D. The locations of the distance measurements, except for 3', were all on the second floor with the Extreme N located on the first floor. About sixty feet was as far as we could get in the building from the Extreme N. The signal had to pass through 3 walls, a floor and an outside courtyard to do so. We used AirPort's menu icon (# arcs), Internet Connect's meter (# bars) and iStumbler 98 (% signal strength) to determine signal strength. Here are the results:

Distance (feet)
Menu Icon (arcs)
Internet Connect (bars)
iStumbler (%)

The signal at about 60' was plenty good enough for email and general web surfing even though its strength fluctuated a lot. However, given the attenuation we observed, we doubt that we would get a usable signal at 300' or even 100' as some have reported. If we placed the Extreme N Base Station in the center of the lower floor instead of near one end, it would easily cover both floors of our entire building with a signal as strong as the combined AirPort Express and AirPort Extreme G Base Stations.

How fast is it?

We compared the speed of the Extreme N and Extreme G Base Stations by clocking the speed of transferring a 211MB folder of 9 files from our MacBook Pro C2D to our iMac C2D while both were connected via either the Extreme G or the Extreme N Base Station. The MacBook Pro C2D was 3' away from the Base Station while the iMac C2D was 12" away on the second floor. We timed three transfers (runs) for each Base Station. Here are the results:

Speed (seconds) of 211MB file transfer using two Base Stations
Base Station
Extreme N
Extreme G
Percent Improvement

The performance of the new Extreme N Base Station running 802.11n only at 2.4GHz is over twice as fast as that of the older Extreme G Base Station running 802.11g only.

Some have tried testing the speed of enabled "N" Wi-Fi capability in their Core 2 Duo Macs using internet download speed meters such as However, after multiple runs we found that clocked the download speed of our Internet cable modem connection as identical whether our MacBook Pro C2D is wired directly via ethernet or wirelessly using the Extreme G Base Station or the Extreme N Base Station sitting 3' away.

AirPort Hard Disk--How fast is it?

Apple's AirPort Extreme N Base Station has a new feature. It can share a hard disk connected to it via USB 2.0 across a network. To test this capability we plugged a 250GB SATA hard drive in an eSATA/USB 2.0 enclosure into our Extreme N Base Station's USB port. A dialog box popped up on our MacBook Pro that asked to assign a password and type of password, to enable guest access or not and to advertise the disk globally using Bonjour. We assigned the disk its own password, denied guest access and did not initially enable global Bonjour advertising. Doing the latter, we discovered, meant that the disk could not be located on our network and accessed unless the computer is connected to the Extreme N Base Station. Enabling global Bonjour advertising allowed any Mac anywhere on our network to locate and access the AirPort Disk via the network browser in the Finder.

The included AirPort Disk Utility can be used to enable discovering an AirPort Disk automatically and to enable a menu icon to see available AirPort Disks. We enabled both.

The AirPort Disk, in playing with it, seemed slow so we ran QuickBench 2.1.2 (Extended Test average of 50-100MB) on it with our MacBook Pro 3', 12' and 40' from the Extreme N Base Station. For comparison, we also ran QuickBench on the same hard drive by ethernet and connected directly to our MacBook Pro with a USB 2.0 cable. Here are the results:

Connection Type
Sustained Read (MB/sec)
Sustained Write (MB/sec)
USB 2.0 Direct
AirPort n 3'
AirPort n 12'
AirPort n 40'

The AirPort Disk as a shared network disk is very slow when compared to the disk being directly connected to the computer. At best, i.e. with the wired ethernet connection, it tested at 71 percent slower for sustained read and 85 percent slower for sustained write. Going wireless with 802.11n, the performance degrades significantly with the distance of the MacBook Pro C2D from the AirPort Extreme N Base Station.

The speed aside, the ability to easily install a common network drive on a home or small business network is a welcome addition to the AirPort Base Station's capability.


We have two HP printers on our network(s), a 3030 all-in-one Laserjet and a 2605n color Laserjet. The 3030 is attached by USB, originally to our Extreme G Base Station but now to our Extreme N unit. The 2605n is attached by ethernet. Contrary to some reports about problems printing to HP printers, we had no problem printing to either printer from either a wired connection, a wireless Extreme G connection or wireless Extreme N connection. However, from Macs not using the Extreme N Base Station we had to delete the 3030 in the Print & Fax preference pane and re-add it since we moved its location from the Extreme G Base Station to the Extreme N unit. We discovered later that we could manually enable Bonjour broadcasting of the printer with AirPort Utility which may have eliminated these steps.

In Summary

For those of you looking to increase the range and speed of your AirPort wireless Wi-Fi connection, Apple's new AirPort Extreme N Base Station will do exactly that. We got a roughly 2X range improvement that is on par with Apple's claims. We also got a slightly better than 2X performance increase, an improvement that is at the lower end of Apple's claimed up to 5X performance increase but still very significant. The size and shape of the new Base Station is also welcome as is its new capability to support a USB 2.0 network hard drive. This new capability comes at a cost that will not affect most, i.e. the loss of an external AirPort antenna and the loss of a 56K dial-up modem.

On balance, we are very happy with our AirPort Extreme N Base Station--we found no glitches. The new AirPort Utility software is even easier to use, a bonus.

See Part II (2/20/07) for "n-only" 5GHz and "b/g" compatibility modes. [Bill Fox--Images courtesy of Apple, Inc.]

[2/12] Software Special of the Day: Little Snitch 1.2.4 (Universal) for 40% Off--$14.95 Today Only

Little Snitch runs in the background and hooks into the operating system kernel while you are logged in. When an application tries to establish a network connection, Little Snitch intercepts the attempt and brings up an alert panel, telling you all the connection details including the name of the application that initiated the connection. You can either allow the connection, deny it or add a permanent rule for similar future-connections.

Normally $24.95, Little Snitch 1.2.4 (Universal) is offered for $14.95--that's 40% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/12] Mac Computing Future--Intel claims 'Era of Tera' in presenting Processor with Teraflop Performance

Intel Corporation researchers have developed the world's first programmable processor that delivers supercomputer-like performance from a single, 80-core chip not much larger than the size of a finger nail while using less electricity than most of today's home appliances. This is the result of the company's innovative "Tera-scale computing" research aimed at delivering Teraflops (trillions of calculations per second) performance for future personal computers and servers. Technical details of the Teraflops research chip will be presented at the annual Integrated Solid State Circuits Conference (ISSCC) this week in San Francisco.

Tera-scale performance, and the ability to move terabytes of data, will play a pivotal role in future computers with ubiquitous access to the Internet by powering new applications for education and collaboration, as well as enabling the rise of high-definition entertainment on personal computers, servers and handheld devices. For example, artificial intelligence, instant video communications, photo-realistic games, multimedia data mining and real-time speech recognition – once deemed as science fiction in "Star Trek" shows – could become everyday realities.

Intel has no plans to bring this exact chip designed with floating point cores to market. However, the company's Tera-scale research is instrumental in investigating new innovations in individual or specialized processor or core functions, the types of chip-to-chip and chip-to-computer interconnects required to best move data and, most importantly, how software will need to be designed to best leverage multiple processor cores. This Teraflops research chip offered specific insights in new silicon design methodologies, high-bandwidth interconnects and energy management approaches.

Also remarkable is that this 80-core research chip achieves teraflops performance while consuming only 62 watts, less than many single-core processors of today. [Bill Fox]

[2/9] IRS posted Income Tax Refund Status Service--Works with a Mac

The IRS has posted a Web page that provides information on the status of an individual income tax return refund. It's browser based and unlike some federal government Web implementations, it works with a Mac. It worked like a charm using SeaMonkey with our iMac Core Duo. [Dana Baggett]

[2/9] Software Special of the Day: MaxPod 1.6 (Universal) for 40% Off--$9.95 Today Only

MaxPod lets you listen to daily news and weather on your iPod. Get news, weather and email and/or save to audio file. Auto mode can automate file syncing between iPod and local drives. Music mode lets you backup your music and can rename music. Add/modify/backup notes, maps, and lyrics on your iPod.

Normally $16.50, MaxPod 1.6 (Universal) is offered for $9.95--that's 40% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/9] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

CDW Mac Warehouse has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: Hewlett Packard HP LaserJet 3390 All-in-One multifunction black and white laser printer for only $599.99!; Edge 120GB DiskGO! external hard drive, multi card reader and USB 2.0 hub for only $123.99!; Strobe XP 200 compact scanner from Visioneer for only $299.99; HP OfficeJet 4315 All-in-One multifunction color printer, fax, scanner and copier for only $99.99!; and much more.

Ramjet has Hot Deals exclusive prices on a variety of Mac compatible memory upgrades including: 2GB (2x1GB modules) upgrade kit for the MacBook Pro for only $219!; 1GB DDR400 DIMM module for the original iMac G5 for only $127!; 1GB DDR2 PC2-5300 memory module for the Intel-based iMac for only $109!; 2GB (2x1GB modules) PC2-5300 upgrade kit for the Intel-based Mac mini for only $219!; 1GB (2x512MB modules) DDR SDRAM upgrade kit for the PowerMac G4 (w/Mirror Drive Doors); and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[2/9] Printer Cartridge Page Standard Backed by Industry Heavyweights

Several major printer manufacturers, including Kodak, Canon and Hewlett-Packard, are backing a standard put out by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

Standard ISO/IEC 24711:2006 sets the procedure for testing ink cartridges for inkjet printers. The standard specifies that nine cartridges must be used to determine an average lifetime, that a standard test document consists of five pages printed at default printer settings and the machine on which the cartridge must be tested.

The standard still needs industry adoption but this standard is a great step in being able to compare inkjet cartridges. More... [Dana Baggett]

[2/8] From the [Enlightened] Dark Side--Go Mac and You Won't go Back least not after 3 months according to longtime Windows expert Scot Finnie. He wrote,

"Bye-bye Windows! My three-month Macintosh trial has ended, but my permanent gig with the Mac is just getting started. Apple's MacBook Pro and Mac OS X are now my computer and operating system of choice. If you give the Mac three months, as I did, you won't go back either. [...] I am now recommending the Macintosh for business and home users."

The principal reason for Finnie's switch is that the Mac "just works" meaning more time is spent working and less time is spent working on the computer itself.

Scott Finnie also recommends Windows XP over Vista for those tasks one must do in Windows. [Dana Baggett]

[2/8] Software Special of the Day: ButtonDesign 1.5 (Universal) for 45% Off--$10.95 Today Only

RAGE ButtonDesign helps to create professional looking buttons with mouse over and mouse down transitions is simple. Choose from over 75 included templates, add your unique touch, then export your buttons as standard based Cascading Style Sheets and HTML. In just three easy steps you can create stunning buttons for your web site.

Create as many buttons as you need for your web site. Easily update styles and templates in the future as you're design changes or your ready for something new.

Normally $19.95, ButtonDesign 1.5 (Universal) is offered for $10.95--that's 45% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/8] Brief Hands-On Report --Intuit released Quicken 2006 R6 Updater with an Extensive List of Updates

Intuit's Quicken 2006 R6 Updater is available via "Check for Updates" or as a stand-alone file via this Mac Update Web page. The R6 Updater has a huge number of fixes, especially for an application released in 2005 when there is already a Quicken 2007 version available.

The fixes in Version 2006 R6 are:

  • Quicken sometimes miscalculated security prices for downloaded investment transactions involving approximately 472,000 shares or more. This issue has been resolved.
  • 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.

Thankfully Intuit is still maintaining these previous versions of Quicken for Mac.

We downloaded the updater and applied it to our copies of Quicken 2006 without a problem. We have chosen not to update to Quicken 2007 because the added features are not worth the cost. [Bill Fox and Dana Baggett]

[2/8] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--Andy Ihnatko on Vista and DRM, Ted Landau on the Mac's Future and Amanda Lefebvre on Microsoft's Mac BU

Tonight host Gene Steinberg gives author and columnist Andy Ihnatko the stage, as he regales us with his reactions to the statement from Steve Jobs that he hopes and wishes the music companies would let him remove DRM from iTunes downloads. He'll also give you his unvarnished review of Windows Vista. You'll also hear some fascinating comments about the future of the Mac from author Ted Landau. In addition, with Microsoft's Mac Business Unit celebrating its 10th anniversary, marketing manager Amanda Lefebvre will talk about the history of her division and reveal some of the plans for the next Mac version of Office. You can tune into the Web broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]

[2/7] Apple's CEO Steve Jobs supports DRM-free Music Downloads

In a think piece entitled Thoughts on Music, Steve Jobs explains why Apple uses digital rights management (DRM) software named FairPlay and makes it so that only iPods can download and play music from the iTunes Store. Basically, the four major recording companies controlling over 70 percent of the world's music make Apple do it with iTunes--and Microsoft/Zune and Sony/Connect, etc.

Jobs points out that only 3 per cent of the music on any iPod is DRM protected. The other 97 percent was obtained unprotected. The iTunes store has distributed 2 billion DRM-protected songs but the recording companies themselves distribute over 20 billion songs unprotected on CDs and that is where the rest of the songs on an iPod come from, legally (ripped from a CD one owns) and illegally.

If the recording companies allowed the iTunes Store and other legal digital download services to drop DRM, they could reduce prices and sell a lot more songs plus there would be total interoperability among players and music services. Jobs states that "This is clearly the best alternative for consumers, and Apple would embrace it in a heartbeat." More...[Bill Fox]

[2/7] Software Special of the Day: Sounds4Fun 1.0.1 (Universal) for 36% Off--$8.95 Today Only

Sounds4Fun allows you to assign any sound to any of up to 70 events. Hear a sound every time you hit CAPSLOCK or when power to your MacBook is interrupted. Be alerted by a sound when the Finder has finished that long copy. Amuse your friends by having the Mac yawn when it goes to sleep or wakes up. Have HAL ask you if you are sure you made the right decision when you shut your Mac down and many, many more!

Normally $14, Sounds4Fun 1.0.1 (Universal) is offered for $8.95--that's 36% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/7] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

Small Dog Electronics has deals on a wide variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including Hot Deals exclusive prices on the following items: Xerox Phaser 6120N Postscript color laser printer w/USB 2.0 and Ethernet networking for only $279!; Palm Tungsten E2 handheld color organizer for only $179!; Altec Lansing VS2321 3-piece multimedia gaming speaker system for only $39.99!; and much more.

Sweetwater Sound has deals on a variety of Mac compatible products including: Novation XioiSynth 49 4-octave synthisizer USB MIDI controller for only $449.99!; Pro Tools custom keyboard from Digidesign for only $119!; learn composition with world-class orchestral sounds with Notion Protégé from VirtuosoWorks for only $89.97!; easy to follow Digital Performer Tutorial from MacAudioLab for only $79.95!; GuitarBox Pro from M-Audio for only $629.97!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[2/7] Apple Inc. and Apple Corps Ltd. finally settle their differences

In a joint press release, Apple Inc. and The Beatles' company Apple Corps Ltd. stated that they are pleased to announce the parties have entered into a new agreement concerning the use of the name "Apple" and apple logos which replaces their 1991 Agreement. Under this new agreement, Apple Inc. will own all of the trademarks related to "Apple" and will license certain of those trademarks back to Apple Corps for their continued use. In addition, the ongoing trademark lawsuit between the companies will end, with each party bearing its own legal costs, and Apple Inc. will continue using its name and logos on iTunes. The terms of settlement are confidential.

Commenting on the settlement, Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO said, "We love the Beatles, and it has been painful being at odds with them over these trademarks. It feels great to resolve this in a positive manner, and in a way that should remove the potential of further disagreements in the future."

Commenting on the settlement on behalf of the shareholders of Apple Corps, Neil Aspinall, manager of Apple Corps said, "It is great to put this dispute behind us and move on. The years ahead are going to be very exciting times for us. We wish Apple Inc. every success and look forward to many years of peaceful cooperation with them."

It looks to us that the Apples have agreed on a financially satisfactory deal for both companies, with Apple basically buying the "Apple" trademark. To many this portends that the Beatles songs will finally find their way to the iTunes Store, probably exclusively. We certainly hope so. More... [Bill Fox]

[2/7] RailsConf 2007: Registration is Open for the International Rails Event

Registration is now open for RailsConf 2007, the largest official conference dedicated to Rails--the platform enabling many advances in Web 2.0 technology. Co-produced by Ruby Central, Inc. and O'Reilly Media, Inc., the conference offers a comprehensive educational experience for all participants in a spirited and welcoming environment. RailsConf 2007 is happening May 17-20, 2007 at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon. Last year's RailsConf sold out in only a few days, and demand for this event is expected to be even greater.

The four-day RailsConf 2007 program will feature the most innovative and successful Rails experts and companies. Attendees will learn about the bleeding edge Rails techniques, strategies, and pitfalls in Rails adoption, as well as best practice development theory. Sessions will be offered for all levels of expertise including hands-on workshops that will show how to employ Rails in a variety of situations.

This year's featured speakers and sessions include:

-David Heinemeier Hansson, original creator of Rails
-Dave Thomas, software developer and author
-Jamis Buck, member of the Rails core team
-Jim Weirich, software consultant, programmer, and creator of rake
-Michael Koziarski, member of the Rails core team
-Mike Clark, consultant, author, speaker, and programmer
-David A. Black, Ruby and Rails programmer, author, and trainer

The conference will feature an exhibitor gallery showcasing the latest Rails-related products and services, as well as volunteer and community projects; sponsored sessions illustrating Rails in action in the enterprise; after-hours events to encourage networking and interaction with experts, alpha geeks, and the Rails core team; as well as official Rails announcements. [Bill Fox]

[2/7] Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2007 is slated for June 11-15

According to Apple, during June 11-15, 2007, the center of the Mac universe will be in downtown San Francisco, historically at the Moscone West conference center. Developers and IT pros from around the globe will come together there for the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. This is an opportunity to get unparalleled access to Apple engineers, a firsthand look at the latest technology, and the kind of inspiration you won't find anywhere else for an entire week.

We have attended several and learned a lot while having a blast. [Bill Fox]

[2/7] From the Dark Side--M$ CEO Ballmer speaking on Innovation-- An Oxymoron?

The Arizona Technology Council has asked Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer to speak at the inaugural 2007 Byte Night on March 13 in upscale Scottsdale, AZ. His topic? Believe it or not, the title of his talk during the pre-dinner reception is The Role of Innovation in Driving Positive Social and Economic Impact. Now, isn't he the man who has stated publicly that he doesn't know what a monopoly is when every high school kid who got at least a "C" in their American history class probably does and who leads a company that copies or buys anything innovative? We'll bet the guests, including Arizona Governor Napolitano, will be stimulated beyond belief.

During Byte Night, select individuals will be presented with a Techanthropic Award that honors those who use technology in a manner that benefits philanthropic causes in Arizona. Awards will be presented in three categories that include: Arts, Culture and Humanities; Health and Human Services; and Education. [Bill Fox]

[2/6] Apple released GeForce 7300 GT Firmware Update for Mac Pro

Apple released a firmware update for the Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT graphics card(s) that come(s) standard with a Mac Pro. It should appear in Software Update on a Mac Pro with the Nvidia GeForce 7300 GT graphics card. It is also available for download as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page.

According to Apple,

The GeForce 7300 GT Firmware Update will update the firmware on all of the NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics cards in the Mac Pro.

There is no other information on exactly what it fixes or improves. We do not have a Mac Pro to try the firmware update for you. [Bill Fox]

[2/6] Maine Governor tries to expand iBook Program through High School in New State Initiative

Contained in a plan to reduce school district administration costs in Maine, Governor John Baldacci's consolidation plan includes this element:

"Major expansion of the laptop initiative so that all students from grades 7-12 will have access to laptops so they can better connect to the global economy;"

Maine was the first state to provide Apple iBooks to all middle school 7th and 8th graders and their teachers plus wireless networks in the schools. The current Gov. John Baldacci supported an expansion of the iBook program to high school but it was only partially implemented when Apple offered a special deal to individual Maine school districts in lieu of state funding. The consolidation initiative would finally provide state funding. [Dana Baggett]

[2/6] Software Special of the Day: CrushFTP X 4.0.7 (Universal) for 50% Off--$29.99

CrushFTP is a powerful file server well ahead of its time. Not only does it handle serving FTP, but it also does SFTP (SSH FTP), FTPS (FTP over SSL), HTTP, HTTPS, WebDAV, and WebDAV SSL. From that list you can see it is serious about security and encryption.

In about 10 clicks you can be up and running with a powerful FTP server, HTTP server, HTTPS server, and WebDAV server, with your first user created and ready to login!

Normally $60, CrushFTP X 4.0.7 (Universal) is offered for $29.99--that's 50% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/6] AMD (ATI) rebounded in Fourth Quarter 2006 Overall Graphics Card Market Share, Loses More to Nvidia in Notebooks

Approximately 83.5 million PC graphics devices shipped from major suppliers in Q4 of 2006, a surprisingly small 0.9% increase from the prior quarter and a 5.1% increase over the same period the previous year according to Jon Peddie Research.

"Overall, we didn't see the big bang in Q4 this year everyone had hoped for," said Dr. Jon Peddie, President of Jon Peddie Research. "But, the mobile market is on fire, growing 13% this quarter and an astonishing 34% year-to-year. Nvidia is the big success story in that segment with the most growth, two quarters in a row."

In the overall personal computer graphics market, Intel saw a flat quarter in graphics shipments in Q4 of 2006, but was still the largest supplier of personal computer graphics devices worldwide. Nvidia remained the second largest supplier but with a minor 0.3% sequential decline in shipments and decreased market share. AMD (formerly ATI), the third largest reduced the gap with Nvidia with a 3.0% sequential increase in shipments and increased market share. The following table lists the ranking and relative market share, based on unit shipments in Q3 of 2006 and Q4 of 2006, of the major graphics suppliers to the PC industry.

Overall Graphics Card Market Share (%)
Q3 2006
Q4 2006
VIA Tech.
Silicon Int. Gr.
Source: Joe Peddie Research

The desktop graphics segment saw shipments decline by 4.0% from Q3 2006 to Q4’06 and shipments shrank 4.2% year-over-year. Desktop integrated graphics processor (IGP) shipments dropped 2.9% sequentially (the second consecutive quarter of decline) and decreased 1.5% annually. Discrete desktop dropped by 6.0% on a quarterly basis and 8.9% year-over-year.

"Vista, ATI’s new R600, and several new add-in boards (AIBs) from Nvidia are expected to pump up the declining desktop discrete market," Peddie added.

JPR estimates that approximately 57.6 million desktop graphics devices shipped in Q4 of 2006. Overall, Intel held at 31.8% of the desktop graphics market, AMD increased to 22.8%, while Nvidia declined to 31.0% market share. In the discrete desktop segment, Nvidia also declined, to 53.8% share, and AMD grew to a 46.2% share during the period.

The mobile graphics segment saw quarterly shipments rise a dramatic 13.8% and grow 34.1% year-over-year. Mobile IGP shipments drove growth in the laptop market in the second quarter with 13.0% increase in shipments during the period, and discrete mobile shipments grew a stunning 16.2% during the quarter and jumped 24.2% compared to the same period the previous year.

JPR estimates that a record 25.8 million mobile graphics devices shipped in Q4 of 2006, 19.7 million of which were integrated chipsets (IGPs) for notebooks. Mobile IGPs claimed a commanding share of 76.3% in the mobile graphics market, up 13.0% from the prior quarter and up a dramatic 37.6% from the same period a year ago. Intel led the mobile graphics market with a 49.8% share (down from 51.4%), AMD dropped to a 23.4% share, and Nvidia jumped with a 22.9% market share gain for the quarter. SiS and VIA saw declines in market share.

In the discrete mobile segment, AMD saw shipments decline on a quarterly basis while Nvidia saw shipments increase sequentially. Nvidia grew discrete mobile segment share from 53.0% in Q3’06 to 59.1% in Q4’06. AMD’s segment share fell from 47.0% in Q3’06 to 40.9% in Q4’06.

"Timing is everything in the mobile market," said Peddie, "and Nvidia had its mobile parts lined up and ready to ship with Intel’s recent laptop rollout."

[Bill Fox]

[2/6] Get Intuit TurboTax Deluxe Federal w/State for $23.99 after Discounts

BJ's Wholesale Club has a coupon in its February BJ's Journal providing $15 off its already low price of $38.99 on TurboTax Deluxe Federal with Free State Tax software. The coupon is valid Feb. 10 - 16. The magazine is mailed to members and copies may be available at BJ's stores, too. [Dana "Bargain Man" Baggett]

[2/5] Brief Hands-On Report--Aspyr released Doom 3 v1.3.1 Update

On Friday, Aspyr Media released version 1.3.1 update to its popular Doom 3 game. It can be downloaded from

According to Aspyr, the version 1.3.1 updates are:

- Fixes a potential crash in physics
- Fixes an issue with pak downloaded being immediately appended without filesystem restart
- Fixes to DNS lookup, reduced the stalls

Version 1.3.1 may also be slightly faster than version 1.3. We ran our speed test on our 2.33GHz 15" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo. Here are the results:

Doom 3 Speed in frames/sec
% Change

We wrote that v1.3.1 "may" be faster than v1.3 because, even though v1.3.1 was consistently faster, the difference of 1 fps is hardly significant. [Bill Fox]

[2/5] Software Special of the Day: iListen, VXi TalkPro XPress Headset, iListen ScriptPak for Microsoft Word, iListen ScriptPak for Mail, iListen ScriptPak for iWork, iListen ScriptPak for TopXNotes (Universal) for 36% Off Today Only--Bundle for $179

Purchase the iListen MacUpdate Promo and get one of the best speech recognition and dictation solutions, along with top-of-the-line headphones, and ScriptPaks that give you command functionality for a number of popular applications like Microsoft Word, Apple Mail, Apple iWork suite and TopXNotes. The software and headset will be shipped to you in a physical package. This is not a downloadable promo.

iListen: talk anywhere into hundreds of applications - virtually anywhere you would normally type! iListen offers fast dictation plus full command and control, freeing you from the keyboard and mouse. iListen also supports text macros for frequently typed phrases.

  • Universal Binary
  • Continuous Speech Recognition - Dictation in normal tone of voice and at a normal pace.
  • Direct Dictation - Dictate, edit and format text directly in any application
  • Hands-Free Correction - Correct using your voice, no need to use the keyboard or mouse!
  • Adapts to your Speech - iListen adapts to your pronunciation of words faster and more accurately!
  • Multiple Profiles - Everyone in your home can create their own voice profile, so now everyone can use it!
  • Speech Navigation - Open, close and control applications and navigate the desktop by speech.
  • AppleScript Compatible - Ability to take advantage of Apple's built-in scripting language.
  • Internet Ready - Surf the web with your voice.
  • Transcription - An optional add-on. Use a Digital Voice Recorder such as the
  • Olympus DM-1, DS-330, or DS-2000 with your Mac. Let iListen read and transcribe your AIFF or WAV audio files into text.

Normally $281, iListen, VXi TalkPro XPress Headset, iListen ScriptPak for Microsoft Word, iListen ScriptPak for Mail, iListen ScriptPak for iWork, iListen ScriptPak for TopXNotes (Universal) is offered for $179--that's 36% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/5] drops Price on Clearlite Portable FireWire Drives, Now $112-209

TransIntl's ultra-compact Clearlite Portable FireWire FW400 Hard Drives are now offered with the latest and fastest "Next Generation" FireWire bridge controller [OXFW911 interface chip]. The new bridge controller delivers a faster data transfer rate of 20-35 MB/s making these drives more practical for data intensive applications.

Clearlight FireWire 400 portable drives are offered in capacities from 40 to 200GB with three ports: 6-pin FW400, 4-pin FW400 and USB 2.0/1.1.

Here are the new prices:

  • 160GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $209.00  
  • 120GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $147.00
  • 100GB 7200RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $189.00
  • 100GB 5400RPM w/16MB Cache NOW $157.00
  • 100GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $145.00
  •   80GB 7200RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $159.00
  •   80GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $125.00
  •   60GB 7200RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $145.00
  •   60GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $119.00
  •   40GB 5400RPM w/8MB Cache NOW $112.00

Check them out at TransIntl's Web site. [Bill Fox]

[2/2] Brief Hands-On Report--Parallels Desktop for Mac 2.5 Build 3150

Parallels released a new build of Desktop for Mac 2.5 as its second release candidate. It is available for download via

We bought Parallels Desktop for Mac at a steep discount right after it completed the beta testing program for the first release and have kept it updated since, including switching to the beta program for the very much improved version 2.5. Build 3150 replaces Build 3120 released early last month at Macworld. The features of version 2.5 are:

  • USB 2.0 support - Plug and play popular USB devices like external hard drives, printers, scanners and web cameras including iSight at full native speed.
  • Full-feature virtual CD/DVD drive - Burn CDs and DVDs directly in virtual machines, and play any copy-protected CD or DVD just like you would on a real PC
  • Coherence - The ground-breaking feature that lets you run Windows applications without seeing Windows just got better!
  • Better Boot Camp support

The coherence mode is truly awesome. The Windows desktop is removed and Windows applications appear to be running on Mac OS X.

Build 3150 downloaded fine and we used the Uninstaller to remove Build 3120 rather than updating it. After installing Build 3150, we updated Parallels Tools for our two virtual machines, Windows XP Pro SP2 and Windows Vista Ultimate RC1. The updating went without a hitch and both virtual machines run fine. We updated both with Microsoft's latest updates and tried several applications with no discernible problems. [Bill Fox]

[2/2] Software Special of the Day: GarageSale 3.1.1 (Universal) for 32% Off Today Only--$16.95

GarageSale is a client application for the eBay online auction system. It allows Mac OS X users to create auctions quickly using an intuitive Mac-like interface, integrates with iPhoto and offers WYSIWYG text editing.

The current version of GarageSale supports:

eBay USA
eBay Germany
eBay Motors (US)
eBay Australia
eBay Austria
eBay Canada
eBay Switzerland
eBay UK
eBay France
eBay Spain
eBay Italy
eBay Netherlands
eBay Belgium (FR)
eBay Belgium (NL)

Coming releases will add other eBay Sites.

Normally $24.99, GarageSale 3.1.1 (Universal) is offered for $16.95--that's 32% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/2] Apple and Cisco released Joint Statement on iPhone Name Dispute--More Talk

Yesterday morning, Apple and Cisco Systems issued a joint statement regarding their dispute over Apple using the name 'iPhone' for its cell phone due out in June. The statement reads in its entirety,

"Apple and Cisco have agreed to extend the time for Apple to respond to the lawsuit to allow for discussions between the companies with the aim of reaching agreement on trademark rights and interoperability."

Cisco claimed 'iPhone' is its trademark in a lawsuit filed right after Steve Jobs' Macworld keynote address that introduced Apple's 'iPhone,' a cell phone. Cisco's claim is based on its line of voice over Internet Protocol (voIP) handsets with that name which had been trademarked by a company Cisco had purchased years earlier. But Cisco did not enforce its trademark so now there are other iPhones on the market. In addition, Apple's phone is a cell phone, not a voIP handset.

The two companies were in discussion over the rights to use 'iPhone' until Cisco filed the lawsuit which Apple called "silly." We like 'Apple Phone' better than 'iPhone' anyway. [Bill Fox]

[2/2] Cool Mac Freeware--SMARTReporter 2.2.1 (Universal) is Out

On Wednesday, we noted that SMARTReporter 2.2 had been released. SMARTReporter is freeware that monitors your hard disk and warns of impending failure. Well, v2.2 escaped with some significant bugs so v2.2.1 was just released.

Here is what was fixed in v2.2.1:

  • Fixed an problem sending e-mails introduced in 2.2
  • Fixed the new option "refrain from checking the disks when on battery power" which produced an infinite dialog-loop
  • Added Computer Name to the "disk-failure-notification e-mail"
  • Added spinning progress indicator while sending test mails
  • Fixed layout problems in French localization
  • Fixed a possible crash when re-using the preferences generated on another Mac.

SMARTReporter 2.2.1 is available for download via [Dana Baggett]

[2/2] Valentina 2.5.5 (Universal) is Out, Now Supports Ruby on Rails

Paradigma Software, Inc., released Valentina 2.5.5 – both for Valentina database tools for software vendors and the business-ready Valentina Office Server 2.5.5.

The Valentina 2.5.5 technology release for all products includes improvements to importing database dumps from mySQL AB's mySQL database. Developers who are porting from mySQL to Valentina will notice improvements in dumping data from mySQL that in turn is imported into Valentina.

Valentina Office Server 2.5.5, a business-ready database server from $300, also now incorporates scripting support for Ruby on Rails, the object-oriented, open source web framework for building web applications. [Bill Fox]

[2/2] Graph Paper Maker 1.4.0 for Mac OS X (Universal) and Mac OS 9 is Out

Black Cat Systems released Graph Paper Maker version 1.4.0. The latest release of Graph Paper Maker adds the ability to label the X and Y axes, specify the font to use and includes several bug fixes.

Graph Paper Maker lets you create your own custom sheets of graph paper. You have complete control over the graph characteristics:

* Selection from a dozen standard paper sizes, or custom create your own
* X and Y axis can independently be set for linear or log scale
* Labels for X and Y axes, with choice of font and text size
* Graphs saved as PDF files you can print them whenever you wish
* Specify major division spacings for the X and Y grid lines
* Choose whatever color you want for the lines
* Specify independent line weights for the X and Y axis lines

Graph Paper Maker is distributed as shareware and priced at $19.99. It is available for Mac OS X (Universal Binary) and Mac OS 9. Graph Paper Maker may be downloaded from the Black Cat Systems web site. [Bill Fox]

[2/2] From the Dark Side--Believe It or Not, Windows XP is Faster than Windows Vista completed an extensive test of the speed of the new Windows Vista vs that of Windows XP, the operating system it replaces. They tested a variety of 3D games, other applications and benchmarking tools on both operating systems with a PC using a 2.93GHz Intel Core 2 Extreme CPU, an ATI Radeon X1950 graphics card (512MB VRAM) and 2GB of system RAM--a very modern, fast PC.

The clear winner? Windows XP and its not due the new Aero GUI. It's due to more background services and the lack of OpenGL support.

Aren't you glad you are a Mac user running Mac OS X? [Bill Fox]

[2/1] Apple's New AirPort Extreme 802.11n Base Station shipping Early

We received a notice from the Apple Store that the new AirPort Extreme 802.11n Base Station we ordered right after they were announced in Steve Jobs' Macworld keynote address would be shipped two weeks early, i.e. February 14, instead of February 28. We look forward to trying out its faster speed and longer range. [Bill Fox]

[2/1] Divine Fiat released Stripe Redux Theme for Keynote

In a note to us, Divine Fiat stated that they received many requests to release their Red Stripe theme in other colors. So, they converted their Red Stripe theme into the Stripes Redux theme set consisting of two themes, Green Stripe and Blue Stripe.

Both themes feature a visually bold stripe (green and blue respectively). The themes each include special intro and exit animations that add a "wow factor" which will help your next Keynote presentation stand out from the crowd.

Each theme has 44 different text and photo layouts, amazing color schemes, customized charts and graphs and custom Kiosk button objects. All the master slides and a sample presentation can be view at Divine Fiat's Web site.

The themes can be purchased in standard format for $19.95 each or in professional format for $28.95 each. The Stripes Redux collection can be purchased in standard format for $31.95 or in professional format for $52.00. [Bill Fox]

[2/1] Software Special of the Day: ProfCast 2.0.9 (Universal) for 33% Off Today Only--$19.95

ProfCast is a versatile, powerful, yet very simple to use tool for recording lectures and creating enhanced podcasts. ProfCast provides a low cost solution for recording and distributing lectures, special events, and presentations as podcasts. ProfCast offers an integrated workflow that makes creating, recording, and publishing podcasts easy. It's as simple as Launch, Load, and Lecture!

Normally $29.95, ProfCast 2.0.9 (Universal) is offered for $19.95--that's 33% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[2/1] Apple's "1984" TV Commercial announcing the Mac chosen as Best Super Bowl Ad Ever

According to a UPI article in The Washington Times online edition, "1984" was named the best Super Bowl ad in its 40-game history. Of course, Mac users already knew this since "1984" introduced the first of Apple's Macintosh line on January 22, 1984. It was judged best "on the basis of impact, sales and viewer memorability." [Dana Baggett]

[2/1] Aspyr Media's Star Wars: Empire at War Coming this Month--Intel Only

For all you gamers, get ready for a new Star Wars release from Aspyr Media for the Mac. Their work on Star Wars: Empire at War is finishing up, in preparation for the game shipping in February. This is the first Mac game they have developed that is Intel-only.

Aspyr says the decision to not support PowerPC Macs was a difficult one. The complexity of bringing a totally new game engine to OS X meant there was plenty of work just getting the game up and running on the Mac and adding the extra work of supporting PowerPC as well would have pushed the game release off several months they claimed. The other wrinkle to Empire at War is that it is likely a PowerPC version would not be able to play multiplayer against Intel Macs, due to slight differences in floating point calculations between the two types of CPUs. Having a Universal Mac version of the game that didn't allow multiplayer between all Macs would be confusing at best. But because they focussed solely on the Intel version of the game, they did take care to ensure it would run on all Intel Macs, including those with the Intel integrated graphics chips, like the MacBook and Mac mini Core Duo. [Bill Fox]

[2/1] 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 a new price of only $1,999 on the Apple Certified Refurbished 17-inch MacBook Pro!; and much more.

MacGameStore has deals on a wide variety of Mac games with an exclusive 5% discount at checkout. Stated prices are before 5% discount: Prey from Aspyr Media for $49.95; Age of Empires III from Macsoft for $44.95; The Movies from Feral Interactive for $49.95; Imperial Glory also form Feral Interactive for $39.95; Civilization IV: Warlords - the first expansion pack for this series from Aspyr Media for $29.95; and much more.

MacZone has deals on a variety of Mac compatible products including: Planar 17", 19" and 20" monitors with free 4-port USB hub starting at $239.99!; HP OfficeJet Pro K550DTN color printer from Hewlett Packard for only $238.98 - w/free shipping!; HP PhotoSmart D7360 InkJet printer from Hewlett Packard for only $168.98!; Canon PowerShot A530 5-megapixel compact digital camera for only $149.99!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[2/1] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--Photoshop CS3, Vista vs Tiger and Fog Creek Copilot

Tonight, host Gene Steinberg once again calls upon famous Adobe Photoshop guru David Biedny, in "The David Biedny Zone," to complete his extensive analysis of the new features of Photoshop CS3. This is the public beta of the upcoming Universal version that'll run native on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs, and, as with last week's episode, you'll hear details about program features that have not been discussed elsewhere. You'll also get a direct comparison between Windows Vista and Mac OS X Tiger from John Rizzo of In addition, Sumana Harihareswara, of Fog Creek Software, will talk about the recent addition of Mac support to their remote access service, Fog Creek Copilot. You can tune into the Web broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]

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