February 2004 News Archive
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-- Weekend, February 28-29 --
Apple to Keynote Microcomputers in Education Conference: John Couch, Apple's VP of Education is giving a keynote at the Microcomputers in Education Conference. It is being held March 15-17 at Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ. Couch will speak on the changing demographics of education. [Tim Holt]
New Apple Promo--Roger Dean Desktops: Apple's Macintosh Products Guide, in conjunction with world-renowned artist Roger Dean, have launched a special promotion. Roger, whose work is so deeply associated with rock superbands such as Yes and Asia, has made available some of his most famous paintings in high-quality desktop image form. What's more, as a Macintosh Products Guide exclusive, customers can buy one set of 10 genuine Roger Dean desktops for only $16.95, and get a second, different set of 10 free of charge. The desktops come in a variety of sizes, including 1024x768, 1600x1200, 1680x1050, and 1920x1200.
Pangea's Nanosaur II: Hatchling Supports 3D Glasses, Available March 10: This is great news! Nanosaur, originally free with the Mac OS, is one of our all time favorite 3D games as regular readers know. We can hardly wait for Nanosaur 2. Pangea Software makes great completely family-oriented 3D games like OttoMatic, CroMag Rally and Bugdom. According to Pangea,
Apple Posted Photo Gallery of Its New SFO Store on this Apple web page. Today Apple opened a flagship (read large) Apple Retail Store in San Francisco after waiting patiently for four years for a separate store to become available. The new store is at One Stockton Street in San Francisco's principal downtown shopping district, Union Square. Here's a SF Chronicle article on the opening. [Dana Baggett]
-- TGIF, February 27 --
WAPi February General Meeting is Tomorrow--"Computer Security for Mere Mortals." The Washington Apple Pi February 28th General meeting will be held in the Ernst Cultural Center at Northern Virginia Community College. Please check the parking instructions. Links to a map and dirving instructions can also be found there. The meeting will start at 9:00 am with the usual technical Q & A period. Lawrence Charters will deliver the main presentation from 9:30 to 11+ am.
The meeting topic is "Computer Security for Mere Mortals." Most people buy a computer as an information appliance, for doing E-mail, browsing the Web, organizing pictures, writing letters and other tasks. They don't want to be security experts, yet the past several years have featured a steady deluge of computer security horror stories. This meeting will concentrate on what the average user needs to know for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of their Macintosh. There really are barbarians out there, but with a few precautions, you can battle them off.
The presentation will be followed by the usual door prize and raffle drawings.
WAPi is the Greater Washington DC AMUG and one of the oldest.
PocketDock Works With iPod mini: We got a note from Dr. Bott that the $18.95 PocketDock adapter that allows 3G iPods to use a regular FireWire cable also works with the iPod mini.
From the Dark Side--New Cybersecurity Industry Alliance Doesn't Include M$ according to this TechWeb News article on Yahoo News. Could it be that like a monopoly, Microsoft doesn't know what security is? Well, the CSIA said that they are a cybersecurity group--is that a backhanded slap at M$?
-- Thursday, February 26 --
The Complete Production Track at GDC 2004: The Game Developers Conference 2004 is March 22-26 in the San Jose Conference Center. Today, we highlight the production track.
Game production values are at an all time high, and the demands upon game producers continue to grow. Producers must manage expanding development teams, skyrocketing budgets, larger games, and a growing global market to create games that stand out from the crowd and find an audience.
Production track sessions continue to offer proven tools and techniques to take a project from pre-production to shipping, on time and under budget. However, as dramatically more sales occur within the top 10 games, the Production track will help tighten a producer's focus by looking more clearly at the market and the resources needed to put out these games.
Here are the keynote and session titles for the production track:
Register at this GDF web page.
Judge in Apple-Beatles Case Owns an iPod according to this London Daily Telegraph article. Apparently, that won't disqualify him as a conflict of interest. The judge is to decide if the case will be held in the UK or in the US as requested by Apple Computer. The Beatles' company, Apple Corps, has sued Apple Computer over an alleged violation of their 1991 agreement intended, claims Apple Corps, to keep Apple Computer out of the music business. The suit was filed when Apple Computer opened the iTunes Music Store. [Dana Baggett]
Apple Wins a Software "Oscar" for WebOjects 5.2 according to this SYS-CON Media news release. The Readers Choice Awards for 2004 were announced at the Edge 2004 East Conference & Expo taking place in Boston. Apple was the winner for the Best Java Class Library award and received first runner up for the Best Java Component award, both for WebObjects 5.2. [Dana Baggett]
New Apple Promo "More Memory for Less." The Apple Store has a new promo titled, "More Memory for Less." The way it works is simple: Buy any iMac, Power Mac, or Xserve G5 and save up to $700 instantly when you upgrade select memory options. This promo is valid through March 27, 2004.
Commentary--Yes, We Know Eminem's Producer Has Sued Apple over Apple's use, in an ad for the iTunes Music Store, of a few words from Eminem's hit song of last year "Lose Yourself." The words are "sung" by a 10-year old, not Eminem. Eminem, whose name is Marshall Bruce Mathers III, or his producer apparently thinks that this minimal use of words from his song is actually his endorsement of Apple's iTunes Music Store and wants on the order of $10 Million as an endorsement fee instead of a usual and customary royalty. Nevermind that Eminem has never endorsed any product and probably has not sued any record station or their advertisers or even MTV, for that matter, for not paying for his "endorsement" when they play his whole song by him on their stations....
-- Wednesday, February 25 --
Hitachi Making Embedded Microdrive: Apple's iPod mini uses a 4-GB version of Hitachi's 1-inch microdrive that is technically removable. However, according to this article Hitachi is working on a fully built-in microdrive for devices like music players. It will be even smaller that the current removable drive. [Dana Baggett]
New Mac Retrospect 6.0 Driver Update is Out: According to an email we received, "A new Retrospect Driver Update (RDU) has been release for use with Retrospect 6.0 for Macintosh. To download the update and read a list of changes, please visit the following address:
Macintosh RDU version 5.1.103 (Retrospect 6.0)"
The new driver adds support for some 40+ new drives and "Fixes a Content Unrecognized error message with AIT tapes." [Dana Baggett]
Flat Panel LCD Monitors Killing Off CRTs according to this USA Today article on Yahoo News. CRT's will be hard to find by the end of this decade. Steve Jobs proclaimed the death of the CRT in 2001 but the eMac still has a CRT, albeit a built-in one, that should be gone at least by the end of the decade. [Dana Baggett]
New PocketMac iPod Edition Brings Entourage Sync Features to the iPod: Information Appliance Associates announces the release of PocketMac iPod Edition(TM), a new tool for Mac & Windows systems allowing iPod users to sync their contacts, calendars, tasks, notes, & documents with their iPods. While the Mac contains built-in tools to export AddressBook/iCal information to the iPod, PocketMac iPod
-- Tuesday, February 24 --
Mozilla 1.7a is Out and available for download. According to MozillaZine:
Here are the release notes. Remember that this is an alpha release. It crashes on Dana Baggett when he launches the Mail application. [Dana Baggett]
Especially, be sure to answer question number 23:
The Mac is one of the options. Take the TiVo survey here. [Brian Nakamoto]
We've dropped to 11 songs for 16 caps. Two of the 11 winners have been sent in because their codes wouldn't work.
CoreFoundation: Fixes CAN-2004-0168 to improve notification
DiskArbitration: Fixes CAN-2004-0167 to more securely handle the
IPSec: Fixes CAN-2004-0164 to improve checking in key exchange
Point-to-Point-Protocol: Fixes CAN-2004-0165 to improve the
QuickTime Streaming Server: Fixes CAN-2004-0169 to improve
Safari: Fixes CAN-2004-0166 to improve the display of URLs
tcpdump: Fixes CAN-2003-0989, CAN-2004-0055, and CAN-2004-0057
We downloaded and installed it with no problems on several Macs. [Dana Baggett]
Last year Windows was the worst in a similar study. [Dana Baggett]
Cable Internet Subscriptions Slow While DSL Improves according to this Reuters article on Yahoo News. Cable still has 64% of the broadband market but DSL is coming on due to price cuts. [Dana Baggett]
-- Monday, February 23 --
Hands-On Review--Apple's iPod mini: The new iPod mini was available last Friday at 6 p.m. from the Apple Store, retail and online. As we noted on our weekend edition, we picked up a silver iPod mini Friday evening along with several hundred other customers who showed up at the Tysons Corner Apple Store in McLean, VA, for the 6 p.m. kickoff.
Apple's iPod mini is clad in anodized aluminum and comes in five colors: silver, gold, blue, pink and green. Apple expects silver to be the most popular color, perhaps because it matches the latest PowerBooks and Power Mac G5s. We bought a silver one for that reason but we think all of the colors are attractive. If green had been available we might have had a difficult choice.
The mini's out-of-the-box experience is similar but not quite like the orginal iPod's. Apple has clearly found a way to provide very similar but less expensive packaging, in part by using pressed paper inserts rather than foam. The Mini comes protectively sheathed in a clear plastic wrapper with "Don't steal music." printed on it in four languages.
Also included are FireWire and USB cables, the usual white square AC adapter, ear buds and 2 sets of foam covers, a white belt clip that the Mini simply snaps into and a small "box" that contains a Quick Reference, User's Guide, one-year warranty, user license, iTunes Music Store flyer and a CD. On the CD is the iPod mini software v1.0, PDF's of a tutorial and user guide and iTune 4.2. Note that the mini does not use the regular iPod software.
There are two additional Apple mini-specific accessories available, a mini-dock and an arm band "clip". The iPod remote controller and in-ear headphones also work with the mini as does many third-party iPod accessories. We wanted to buy a set of in-ear headphones but the Tysons Corner Apple Store did not have any in stock.
Our first impression of the iPod mini is that it is small, marvelously small, even when compared to the latest generation iPod. At 2" x 3.6" the mini is slightly larger than a standard business card and only a half inch thick, about the thickness of the stainless steel part of the iPod. The mini's screen is smaller at 1.67" diagonally instead of 2". It is also much lighter at 3.6 oz vs about 6 oz depending on the iPod model.
We own an original 5-GB iPod and a third generation 30-GB iPod. They are shown in the two photos along with our new mini. The mini is remarkably smaller.
The mini has the same headphone jack, sliding "Hold" switch and proprietary FireWire power/communication jack as the current iPod but the controls are a new design, the best yet in our opinion. The scroll wheel is touch-sensitive solid state but the button in the middle and the four "buttons" on the wheel are mechanical, the latter are actuated by rocking the wheel at one of four locations. We like the mechanical buttons on the 1st and 2nd generation iPods better than the solid state buttons on the 3rd generation iPods.
We plugged our new iPod mini into the FireWire port on our PowerBook G4. iTunes launched and updated our mini with the mere 182 MP3 and AAC song files (about 910 MB or 12.4 hours) that we have--the mini will hold about 3.8 GB of data. We set the preferences so that we can also store regular files on our mini. Then, we launched iSync and added the contents of our Address Book. In just a couple of minutes we were all set.
The iPod mini's screen, although smaller than an iPod's, shows the same information. The font is smaller but readable, thankfully, without our 2.00 reading glasses. We plugged our 30-GB iPod's remote into the mini and it controlled the mini as designed.
How does the mini sound? Just like either of our iPods as best that we can tell. We're not entirely tone deaf but we have blown out each eardrum, one twice, over the years while skin diving. We listened to our song collection alternating between the mini and regular iPods over a couple of hours and could tell no real difference. If anything, the bass seems to be a tiny bit stronger on our mini but maybe we're imagining it.
We ran into one MP3 song that wouldn't play while listening to our song collection on the mini, Dan Fogelberg's "Leader of the Band". It plays fine on either iPod and our PowerBook but on the mini it went through the motions of playing but there's no sound as if it's a blank file. The other songs ripped from his album play fine. We deleted the song from iTunes and updated our mini to delete the song. Then we re-ripped it and updated our mini again. Now it plays fine.
Afterward, a friend pointed out that we could have simply added or deleted a character to the song's title in iTunes and updated our mini to delete the old file and reinstall it. Or we could have set the mini in iTunes for manual updating instead of automatic. Oh well, the file now plays. This was the first time we have encountered this problem.
The iPod mini's snap-in belt clip works easily. It has a half-inch rubber nib inside to keep the mini from slipping up or down lengthwise. However, we're a bit leery of the mini accidentally being dislodged. Perhaps, if we were a bit thinner....
In summary, the iPod mini is terrific. It's small and light enough to go virtually everywhere with us, virtually all of the time, and it's every bit as good at playing songs as it's big brother (...er, sister...?) iPod. If one has a humongous CD collection and wants to carry the whole collection around, then the iPod is ideal. The same is true if one uses the iPod as an external bootable hard drive with lots of applications. However, if one only wants to carry around less than 50 hours of songs and a GB or two of files, then Apple's new iPod mini is ideal.
Update--Our Pepsi-iTunes Promo Success Rate: After purchasing an initial half dozen of the 20 oz promotional bottles of Pepsi, i.e. with the yellow cap with a 1:3 chance at a free iTunes song, we have continued to buy an occasional bottle. Our score stands at 10 free songs out of 14 bottles.
BTW, we haven't used the cheat posted on MacMerc.com but we admit to looking to see if it works. It doesn't with our eyes, even with reading glasses, unless the bottle is empty and at room temperature and the translucent blue-green gasket is removed from the cap. YMMV
Rural Power Utilities are Getting into Broadband Internet Business and are offering broadband internet via power lines and wireless transmissions according to this AP article on Excite. So far some 134 of 2,000 power utilities nationwide are doing it since telecommunication companies are not. Many rural residents are getting faster internet service than their city neighbors. [Dana Baggett]
If interested, contact the WAPi office.
Business Card Composer v2.1 Adds French and Dutch Language Version: Making business cards becomes easier on a Mac. Business Card Composer version 2.1 adds Dutch and French languages. Try this native Mac OS X solution to create and print new business cards. Starting from version 2 the users enjoy new possibilities: creating custom layouts and ordering cards printed by the professional print shop directly from the application.
-- Weekend, February 21-22 --
On-Scene Report--iPod Mini Debuts at Tysons Corner Apple Store: The line to buy an iPod Mini at the Apple Store in Tysons Corner Mall began at 2:30 p.m. ET yesterday. The Minis didn't go on sale until 6 p.m. so Mr. First-in-Line waited a whole 3.5 hours to buy pink and blue iPod Minis.
When we arrived at 5:45 p.m., there were over 50 people in line. Store manager, Eileen Magee, was walking up and down the line passing out revervation tickets for a specific color to those who wanted to buy an iPod Mini. Only Minis in blue, pink and silver colors were available for sale. All of the green and gold models had been sold already to those who pre-ordered.
When 6 p.m. rolled around, some 200 people were in line. At the rate they were going, Eileen forecast that she would be out of iPod Minis sometime on Saturday, so show up early today if you want one this weekend. It is likely that only the silver models will be available later on Saturday. Since silver is expected to be the most popular color, more silvers were received in the first shipment. If you want another color, Eileen said she expected another shipment early next week. For you trivia buffs, Eileen Magee is the first manager of the first Apple retail store--her 9 year-old daughter was helping bag the purchases.
We picked up a silver iPod Mini. Look for our "Hands-On" report!
[Update 9:30a ET 2/21] Aspyr Mac Game Development Status Report: Here is a list of all upcoming games from Aspyr for the Mac, including their status and expected release date:
The MoHAA Breakthrough expansion pack (#4) has hit beta and is on target for release next month. One of our favorite current games is MoHAA Spearhead, so we eagerly await the new expansion pack.
[Update 9:30a ET 2/21] Feral Interactive Mac Game Development Status Report: We received a note on the current status two of Feral Interactive's games for the Mac.
"A Security Primer for Mac OS X" was Posted by O'Reilly's MacDevCenter on this web page. The article is by Francois Joseph de Kermadec.
Business Card Composer in Next Apple Store Pro Day: BeLight's terrific Business Card Composer will take part in "Promoting Your Business on a Mac", the next Pro Day at your nearest Apple Store! The Pro Day program is intended for those starting a small business and the next one is scheduled to be held in 70 Apple Retail Stores on Wednesday, February 25th.
Using Business Card Composer, Apple will demonstrate how a small businessperson can generate a series of materials to do a great job of representing their business. Apple will also show how easy and affordable it is to plan, create and deliver professional marketing materials using iLife, Keynote and .Mac. Find your nearest participating Apple Retail Store on this web page.
We previously favorably reviewed Business Card Composer.
-- TGIF, February 20 --
Apple iSight Update v1.0.2 for the iSight Camera is Out and available for download via the Software Update preference pane or from this Apple web page. According to the ReadMe file:
We used the Software Update preference pane to get the updater. It is automatically stored in the Applications->Utilities folder. When we plugged in our iSight, the updater automatically launched and a dialog box said we needed to update our iSight's firmware from 1.0.
We can confirm that our iSight now produces a much better picture, both in exposure and in color balance. [Dana Baggett]
Apple iMovie 4-HomePage Tutorial Posted: There's a new step-by-step tutorial in Apple's Learning Center for using iMovie 4 with HomePage. iMovie 4 features support for HomePage built directly into the sheet that appears when you use the Share... command, and it does a lot of work behind the scenes so the movies you share are both high quality and bandwidth friendly. This new Learning Center entry spells out how to take advantage of this capability.
iMovie Contest for .Mac and dotmac.info Members: The dotmac.info site is running a new contest for iMovie-makers interested in sharing their work with a wider audience. There are Professional and Amateur categories, and prizes include a 40GB iPod (grand prize), a 4GB Mini iPod (2nd prize), and a $50 iTunes Music Store gift certificate. The deadline for presenting your iMovie with HomePage and submitting it to dotmac.info is April 14, 2004.
.Mac Members Get 10% Video Camera Discount: According to a note from Apple, there's a 10 percent discount on any video camera in stock waiting for .Mac members who visit an Apple retail store by March 31, 2004. Apple is proud of their retail stores and the experience they offer, and they'd love to have you come by so they can get to know you in person. Log in to .Mac any produce a page that can be printed out and take along with you to claim the camera discount (available only to full .Mac members).
From the Dark Side--Intel Puts its Dagger in Bluetooth's Heart, at least on PCs according to this eWeek article on Yahoo News. Intel plans to drop support for Bluetooth and instead use the unfinished Ultrawideband standard that the IEEE working group had deadlocked over. Ultrawideband wireless runs at speeds up to the level of USB 2.0 and FireWire. Intel's implementation will likely become the defacto standard because of Intel's market clout. [Dana Baggett]
-- Thursday, February 19 --
Apple Led Market in Fast WiFi Revenue for 2003 with its AirPort Extreme Base Stations and networking cards based on the 802.11g WiFi standard according to today's BusinessWeek article. Apple garnered a 20.2% share of the global fast WiFi market and was number 2 in unit sales behind Cisco subsidiary Linksys. [Dana Baggett]
Japanese Game Developers Speak at GDC 2004: The Game Developers Conference being held March 22-26 in the San Jose Conference Center, has greatly benefited from a long history of participation by Japan's leading developers. The GDC 2004 sessions include:
David Pogue Answers iPod Critcisms Today in his New York Times column. He had written an article on alternatives to the iPod and received a large amount of email criticizing the iPod for not having a replaceable battery and that it only lasts 18 months. Neither is true. iPod batteries can be bought and installed or one can pay to have Apple do it. We have three original 5 GB iPods in our family that we got when they first came out and we still listen to them virtually every day. [Dana Baggett]
QuickTek Released 8-DBi Directional WiFi Antenna for TiBook: The AirPort range of Apple Titanium PowerBook G4s can be increased three-fold with their new WiFi antenna according to a note from QuickerTek.
The antenna connects to an installed AirPort card through the PCMCIA card slot in the TiBook. It costs $55.
Apple Posted Press Reactions to Power Mac G5--All Wildly Positive. Apple posted a web page with exerpts from eleven press reviews on Apple's new Power Mac G5. [Dana Baggett]
From the Dark Side--Intel Reverses Course on 64-bit CPU: After Apple (IBM actually) and AMD produced CPUs for desktop computers and servers capable of 64-bit processing, Intel maintained that 32-bit CPUs were all that were needed for the forseeable future. According to this New York Times article on Excite, Intel has reversed course and now says it will begin building 64-bit capability into its Xeon CPUs used in lower end servers. [Dana Baggett]
-- Wednesday, February 18 --
Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference 2004 Registration is Open, Save $300 by registering today. According to Apple, the WWDC 2004 with its integration of advanced technologies, open standards, powerful development tools, and remarkable user interface, Mac OS X is the only platform today that gives so many types of developers so many ways to bring ideas to life.
And there is only one place to get the in-depth information and practical training you need to take advantage of the breadth of opportunities this amazing platform offers: Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. At WWDC 2004, you’ll connect face-to-face with Apple engineers and your colleagues from around the world hardware and software developers, IT managers, scientists, researchers, systems administrators, web designers, and content creators for a week of education and inspiration.
Whether you want to build a supercomputer on a limited budget or deliver rich media content over a cell phone, the Mac platform makes it possible. Discover how to put Mac OS X to work for you at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2004, June 28-July 2, San Francisco, California. Check out the details.
Apple iPod Mini Available Friday at 6 p.m. from the Apple Online Store, Apple Retail Stores and Apple Authorized resellers according to an Apple press release. There are some 100,000 pre-orders. Steve Jobs announced at the iPod Mini Macworld introduction that they would be available in February.
The iPod Mini holds 1000 songs, weighs less than 4 oz, comes in 5 colors and costs $249. Here is the full Apple press release.
Steve Jobs is Finalist for WIRED's "Renegade of the Year" Award: On February 11th we posted a note that he needed votes to become a finalist, now he is. The RoY is the person who had the most significant cultural impact in the WIRED world in 2003. Linus Torvalds of Linux fame is also nominated. The winner will be revealed at the Rave Awards Gala on March 15th at The Fillmore in San Francisco. Winners of the Rave Awards will also be published in WIRED’s April 2004 issue. [Dana Baggett]
Apple's iTunes Music Store Team Nominated for WIRED Software Designer Rave Award according to the Rave Awards web site. The Rave Awards are presented by WIRED Magazine. The results will be announced Marthc 15th and will be published in WIRED's April issue. Last year the Mac OS X Team won the Software Designer Rave Award. [Dana Baggett]
RIAA Claims It's Protecting Apple iTunes Music Store with Its Lawsuits and just filed over 500 more according to this CNet article. The RIAA is still aggressively pursuing illegal music downloaders and will continue to do so. [Dana Baggett]
Apple iSync v1.4 is Out and available for download via the Software Update preference pane or from this Apple web page. According to the ReadMe file,
Apple Bluetooth 1.3.4 Updater for Mac OS X 10.2.8 is Out and available for download from this Apple KBase article.
Mac OS X 10.3.x uses Bluetooth 1.5.
-- Tuesday, February 17 --
Apple iBooks for Maine's Library Media Specialists: This month, according to MaineLearns.org, Maine Learning Technology Initiative iBooks are being distributed to middle school Library Media Specialists across the state. This is good news for middle school teachers and students who rely on their school librarians to guide them in their research. [Dana Baggett]
Free ShareAlot Application Coming to the Mac Soon: Billed as "The World's Easiest Way to Share Photos", ShareAlot is an application for sharing photos over the internet. The software is free and will be available to download for the Mac later this week. It works by simply dropping photos onto an application icon on the desktop. [Dana Baggett]
iPodRes--iPod Repair Service Starts: MacResQ announced the launch of a unique new nationwide repair service for Apple iPods. The service, known as iPodResQ, will provide iPod users throughout the United States with a source for 24-hour repairs and battery replacements on their iPods. iPodResQ is the only service of its kind offering 24-hour turnaround on repairs and nationwide, overnight pickup & delivery at the user's location. It joins MacResQ's other wildly successful and award-winning 24-hour repair programs, PowerBookResQ and PowerMacResQ.
Free AppleScript for NewsWire from Doug's AppleScripts iTunes: Doug's AppleScripts for iTunes has posted "NNW Subscription to iPod Contacts", an AppleScript that copies selected news Subscriptions from the NetNewsWire RSS reader in vCard format to the Contacts folder of any mounted iPod.
"NNW Subscription to iPod Contacts" is a free download and requires NetNewsWire from Ranchero Software, and iPod for Mac. Check out Doug's other useful AppleScripts.
-- Monday, February 16 --
Hands-On Review--iBreeze PowerBook Stand: We began using a PowerBook as our principal computer when Apple released its AirPort WiFi networking cards and Base Station. At the time, our main PowerBook was a hot number (literally), a 2400c. AirPort and the 2400c allowed to us work from any room in Macs Only!'s global headquarters so we used the 2400c all the time, not just when on travel. The 2400c's underside got so hot when running on AC power that it spawned an entire industry of cooling stands and platforms, mostly in Japan, to rest it on.
Our 2400c was succeeded by a number of PowerBooks used as our principal computer: a 400 MHz G3 "Pismo", a 500 MHz G4 TiBook, an 800 MHz G4 TiBook, an 867 MHz 12" PowerBook G4 and the current 1 GHz 17" PowerBook G4. [BTW, we still have the 2400c, a marvel of engineering skill, and plan to keep it running "forever".] Each of them also got/gets excessively warm on the bottomside when being run off AC power.
MacMice has introduced the latest cooling stand for PowerBooks they call the iBreeze. The stand is made from a single formed piece of plexiglas with two clear fans attached to the back. There's also an on/off switch for the fans and a USB port. The fans run off a cable to one of the PowerBook's USB ports so there's no AC adapter to worry about. The iBreeze's USB port means one won't lose a USB port to its fans.
The iBreeze is about the size of the 12" PowerBook G4 so that PowerBook fits perfectly. We set our 17" PowerBook G4 on the iBreeze and were surprised at how solid it felt. We tried purposely tipping it left, right and back to no avail. If lifted high enough in the front, our 17" PowerBook G4 might go over backward but no one in their right mind would do that. Excessive pressure on the left and right wrist (palm?) rests would not raise it at all. The iBreeze is wider than 17" PowerBook G4's keyboard so it is very solid when typing. The front edge of the PowerBook is raised 3/4" and the rear edge is raised 2-3/8" making a very comfortable typing position.
The iBreeze's front edge does not interfere with the SuperDrive slot. CDs and DVDs can still be inserted and removed with no problem.
The two 60mm CREAIR fans are relatively quiet but they are not silent. Fortunately, they do not whine, vibrate or buzz at all and are not annoying. They are clearly noticeable in a quiet room but any ambient room noise, like music, conversation or a TV drowns out the fans' sound. There are quieter fans available but they alone cost as much or more than the iBreeze.
How well does the iBreeze cool? Subjectively, the iBreeze cools our 1-GHz 17" PowerBook G4 very well. The PowerBook's bottom got slightly warm to the touch in only a small area along the screen hinge. Normally, it gets uncomfotrtably warm (nearly hot) over most of the rear third of the bottom. ThermographX reported that the temperature of the bottoms of the power supply and GPU ran at 58% of maximum and the CPU bottom at 54% of maximum after several hours use. The usual numbers without the iBreeze for working in Adobe GoLive are 80% and 75% respectively, indicating that the iBreeze provides substantial cooling.
In a more acid test for heat reduction, perhaps, we setup our 12" PowerBook G4 to play songs with iTunes with the visualzer running full screen. After 30 minutes, the internal fan had come on strongly and the CPU bottom temperature was up to 141 deg and the GPU top temperature was 116 deg. The left wrist rest was very warm as well. We placed it on the iBreeze still running iTunes with the visualizer on and the CPU temperature dropped to 131 deg and the GPU to 111. The PowerBook's internal fan continued to run but the iBreeze still provided cooling even under extreme use.
In summary, the iBreeze is a great little PowerBook cooling stand. It's attractive while still strong and sturdy. The fans are not annoying and it really cools the PowerBook as shown in our hands-on tests. At only $29.99, the iBreeze is a real bargain.
[Revised] Last Item on the Pepsi-iTunes Promotion: Over the weekend we continued to receive emails from readers. Most found promotional caps, including our NE Editor in rural Maine. Three more noted that they still can not find any 20 oz bottles of Pepsi, Diet Pepsi or Sierra Mist with the promotional caps, including: Lubbock, TX, Nashville, TN, and St. Ann a suburb of St. Louis, MO. Only three emails have mentioned that they found Sierra Mist with promotional caps, Carrollton, TX, Tiffin, OH, and Memphis, TN. Two mentioned seeing promotional caps on Mountain Dew which is not supposed to have them.
Finally, Joe Gudac owns a bowling center. On Friday he received 70 cases of 20 oz bottles from his Pepsi distributor, only one case had the promotional caps. Thanks to all who responded. Good hunting!
From the Dark Side--Will M$ Monoculture Kill Global Computer Security? Remember Dan Geer? He's the guy who was fired from his job as chief technology officer at @Stake, a computer security firm in Massachusetts, after a paper was published that he jointly wrote with other computer security experts warning about vulnerabilities due to Microsoft's OS monopoly and M$ integrating more and more of its software into its OS. One of @Stake's clients is M$ which claims there's no relationship to Geer's firing. His theory, called monoculture, is patterned after an ecosystem weakened through low biological diversity. Here is an AP article on how Geer and his theory are doing. [Dana Baggett]
-- Weekend, February 14-15 --
[Update 8a ET 2/15--Revised] Halo 126.96.36.199 Updater is Now Out and available for download via Versiontracker or MacGameFiles. 188.8.131.52 updates both version 1.0.3 and the defective 1.0.4. It's a 1.5 MB download while the defective 1.0.4 updater is a 800+ KB download. For some reason, as of this the time that this note was first posted, the defective 1.0.4 Updater was still posted on MacSoft's Halo Support web page. We applied the 184.108.40.206 updater to our defective 1.0.4 version and it fixed the Forward ("w") key problem of 1.0.4. The Mac Halo group is to be commended for getting out a working Mac version within 2 days of the PC version.
[Update 8a ET 2/15] AppleWorks File Utility is Out and available for download. We overlooked this one last week. According to Apple:
Pepsi-iTunes Promotion Follow Up: We received many responses to yesterday's article from all over the US, too many to post. Most stated that the promotional caps on 20-oz Pepsi and Diet Pepsi were available in limited numbers in their areas.The locations where people stated that they couldn't find them are: "Texas"; El Paso, TX; and Iowa City, IA. Bill Palmer wrote to mention that his iPod Garage web site has a map of where the promotional caps have been reported.
No one mentioned finding any Sierra Mist promotional bottles nor 1-liter promotional bottles of any flavor. The prices mentioned ranged from $1.09 to $1.49. Robert Ruznick wrote that the Baltimore 7-11's he visited had the promotional 32-oz cups in stock.
Most found one or more winners. We had four winners among the six bottles we bought on Thursday. Curiously, the four regular Pepsi's were winners and the two Diet Pepsi's were losers.
We beat the odds substantially and we paid $7.46 for 120 oz of Pepsi and four iTunes songs. We could have bought 135 oz of Pepsi in two 2-liter bottles for $1.84 and four iTunes songs directly off Apple's iTunes Music Store for $3.96, total $5.80. Directly purchasing songs off Apple's iTunes Music Store seems like the best deal.
PC Version of Halo Updated to 1.0.4 Now Incompatible with Mac Version 1.0.3: MacSoft's web site listed a v1.0.4 Mac updater as of 6:30p ET yesterday but after we updated our Halo v1.0.3 with it, the forward ("W") key was reversed to backward. We're sure there will be a fix soon.
Survey of Maine iBook Users Confirms Benefits: Responses from 26,000 students and 1,700 teachers in the program confirm a greater interest in learning and higher quality work among the iBook users according to this Portland Press Herald article. [Dana Baggett]
Second Generation G5 CPU in Production at IBM according to this Computerworld article and an earlier CNet article. Apple announced the Xserve G5 at Macworld Expo in early January. The Xserve G5's specs, we pointed out, noted that it would use the newer 90-nanometer process rather than the 130-nanometer process used in the first G5 CPUs. The smaller die uses less power and produces less heat at the same clock speed as the original G5. It is expected that the newer G5 will reach 2.5 GHz and will be cool enough to use in PowerBooks at lower speeds. [James Friedel and Dana Baggett]
-- TGIF, February 13 --
What's your experience? Let us know.
[Update 10a ET] Feral Released XIII for Mac Trailer Today: You see, it's Friday the 13th.... XIII is a new game being brought to the Mac by Feral Interactive and it has reached beta stage with a target release in April. Feral has also set up a special web site to preview the game with screenshots. The web site states in part "You have no recollection of who or what you are...only the knowledge that you are implicated in the assassination of the President of the U.S.A...and that people are out to kill you...and what does this "XIII" tatooed on your chest mean?"
[Update 8a ET] Tonight on The Mac Night Owl LIVE Show--Hard Drive Maintenance: This week, Gene Steinberg's The Mac Night Owl LIVE will feature a special hard drive maintenance clinic. His guests will include John Christopher of DriveSavers, Jeff Baudin of MicroMat and Greg Brewer of Prosoft. Tune into the broadcast from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern.
Apple GarageBand v1.0.1 Updater is available for download from this Apple article. [MacUpdate.com] The 21.5 MB update "...clarifies specific alert dialogs regarding system performance...." according to the article. GarageBand is the newest of the Apple iLife suite of applications.
National Do Not Email Registry is a Fraud but it looks very similar to the Federal Trade Commission's "National Do Not Call Registry" web site for telemarketer control. However, the latter uses a secure server (https://) and has a .gov domain. The warning was posted in this Reuters article on Yahoo News. The FTC does not have such an email registry although Congress has asked the FTC to look into the possiblity of setting one up. [Dana Baggett]
FCC Developing Rules for Internet Access via Electric Power Grid according to this NYT article on Excite. You may be able to get broadband internet anywhere in your home by using its electrical wiring. [Dana Baggett]
Internet Phone Rules to be Established by FCC according to this AP News article on Excite. The Federal Communication Commission will decide on how internet phoning fits into the regular telephone system for the purpose of following rules and regulations, including fees. [Dana Baggett]
Mac Support Canned by PalmSource for New Cobalt OS according to this article on Yahoo News. Instead, Mac users will have to rely on third party developers to develop the software links for syncronization with Palm devices. PalmSource is doing this as a cost saving exercise to compete with Microsoft and Symbian. [Dana Baggett]
Apple to Open Flagship Store in London according to this (London) TimesOnLine article. The store, one of Apple's large models at 20,000 square feet, will be on London's Regent Street and it is the first of the so-called flagship stores in Europe. [Dana Baggett]
-- Thursday, February 12 --
[Update 11a ET] Unreal Tournament 2004 for Mac Demo is Out and available for download via several mirrors from MacUpdate.com. However, all of the mirrored servers are swamped. We finally connected to one that will take 7 hours to complete the 200MB download via our broadband internet connection, so you might think about waiting a few days if you can.
[Update 10a ET] Apple Refurb Power Mac G5's from Virginia Tech's Super Computer Cluster Available according to this MacMall web page and an ad that we received from MacMall. For $2799 one can own a piece of the world's third fastest computer, a barely-used dual 2-GHz Power Mac G5 that has more RAM (1 GB) than the stock model but no modem.
Apple's Chief Designer Jonathan Ive Rated #1 on British Cultural List according to this article.
The event will be broadcast this evening in Britain. [Dana Baggett]
Deal 1--MacPlay's $10 Groundhog Day Game Special: In honor of Punxsutawney Phil, who saw his shadow this year for the 94th time since 1887, MacPlay thought they'd offer four great games for just $10 each. They'd like to think that if Phil had opposable thumbs, a bigger brain, and a Mac in his hole, he'd love these games too. So between now and midnight (CST) on February 20th, order any of these titles for only $10, plus shipping:
Maine High Schoolers Investigate iBook Program for Themselves according to this article. We were the first news organization to report on the Maine iBook program which provides iBooks to all seventh and eighth graders throughout the state and the first to break the potential expansion to high school. While the expansion, like the original program raised a lot of controversy, high schoolers are taking things into their own hands by looking into the success of the 7/8 grade program.
Deal 2--MacLinkPlus Deluxe v14.0 for $59.99 from Aladdin Systems downloaded via Digital River, that's $20 off:
-- Wednesday, February 11 --
[Update 1p ET] Tonight on Your Mac Life--Apple's Frank Casanova and MagnaTunes' John Buckman: Frank Cassanova, Apple's Senior Director, QuickTime Product Marketing will join host Shawn King on Your Mac Life this evening to talk about QuickTime 6.5, 3G penetration and compare the business models of QuickTime to Real Networks and Microsoft.
Additionally, "We are not evil!" is an odd battle cry but one that may work for MagnaTunes.com. John Buckman, the company's Founder and CEO, will talk with Shawn about the company and how it will compete with and complement Apple's iTunes Music Store.
Tune in at 8:30p ET (5:30p PT).
[Update 10a ET] “Republic: The Revolution” Has Entered Beta and should be available from Feral Interactive at the beginning of next quarter. The minimum system requirements are expected to be as follows:
The revolution begins today! The mighty Soviet Union has fallen, and the fledging republic of Novistrana teeters on the verge of collapse. The country is mired in corruption and chaos disorder and discontent are everywhere. The time for change has come change led by you, the charismatic leader of a rebel faction. Your goal: to oust the President of the Republic… by any means necessary.
Be sure to check Feral's new web site for more information on their upcoming political simulation.
Votes Needed--Steve Jobs is Nominated for WIRED "Renegade of the Year" in the 2004 Wired Rave Awards for 2003. Unlike those Forbes.com polls, this is an actual award by Wired Magazine, so click the link and vote for Steve. The RoY is the person who had the most significant cultural impact in the WIRED world in 2003 and is elected by WIRED editors with input from WIRED readers. Last year's winner is Stephen Wolfram, Scientist and CEO, Wolfram Research. The Apple OS X Team won the software designer Rave Award. [Brian Nakamoto]
Bluetooth Phones Vulnerable to Bluejacking and Bluesnarfing Attacks especially when Bluetooth is turned on according to the Bluestumbler.org web site. Bluejacking is an abuse that is commonly used voluntarily to send text messages using Bluetooth rather than via a cell company transmission among cell phone users. The downside is spammers and other n'er do wells can also tap into this flaw. Bluesnarfing ranges from stealing data from your phone, like contacts and calendars, to installing a "backdoor" to use your phone surreptitiously for GPRS data transfers, etc.
The vulnerable phones include the popular Bluetooth phones from Sony Ericsson, like our T68i, and Nokia. Turning Bluetooth off is the main defense but apparently some Nokias can be snarfed even if Bluetooth is turned off. The phone makers claim to be working on a fix.
This is a real problem since we use a Bluetooth headset with our phone and use the phone occasionally as a GPRS "modem". During both uses Bluetooth is turned on for a considerable period of time in public.
Should the iMac Lose Its Head? Business Week writer Alex Salkever thinks so in this article. The iMac is the only line to lose sales in the last quarter, down 24%, but its been declining. Salkever suggests that the iMac's cool articulated 15-20" displays could be a super standalone consumer monitor line and we agree. He also suggests that a small headless iMac desktop, designed by Jonathan Ive and upgraded with a new cooler G5, could be a low cost consumer hit--again, we agree. We noted prior to Macworld SF that the iMac line needs a lift and these are good suggestions in our opinion. [Dana Baggett]
Virtual PC for Mac v6.1.1 Updater is Out and available for download from Microsoft's web site. According to M$:
From the M$ Security Bulletin covering the update:
TurboMac a Fast Dialup Internet Service Debuts: FasterMac.net, a services division of Other World Computing (OWC), introduced TurboMac, an accelerated unlimited dialup service with local 56K access throughout the United States specifically for users of Apple computers.
Using specialized software that enables on-the-fly data caching and data compression/decompression, TurboMac provides accelerated Web page display and email downloading. This is most visible when loading Web pages, which are able to fully display up to six-and-a-half times faster compared to standard, non-accelerated dialup services.
A special introductory rate of $120 for the first year ($10 per month) is being offered to the first 500 customers who sign up for FasterMac.net's new TurboMac service. Standard pricing starts at $139.95 for a yearly subscription (less than $11.67 per month), $37.95 quarterly ($12.65 per month) and $13.95 month-to-month.
Propel Needs Senior Mac Software Developer: From our West Coast reporter Brian Nakamoto, "Propel says that they're having a hard time finding a senior Mac developer to help them finish the Mac version of Propel Internet Accelerator for Mac. Propel's's the tech firm that Earthlink uses. They have over 160 partners, including Earthlink, that offer/bundle their internet accerlator." If interested, check it out here.
Macworld Magazine Posted Its 19th Editor's Choice Awards: Their top awards went to the iTunes Music Store (Innovation), Power Mac G5 (Hardware) and SpamSieve (Software). Check them all out to see if you agree.
-- Tuesday, February 10 --
Willow Design To Close Doors With Final Blow-out Sale: In a note from Willow Design's president Nigel Peck, he wrote: Willow Design has announced that it has started a final close out sale of all its cases and dust covers before closing its doors on February 29th. The closure has been a very difficult but necessary decision based on the economics of offshore competition.
The sale includes all Willow products so it gives the Mac community one last chance to get the quality, protection and durability of a Willow case at a substantial savings. The sale ends February 28th.
We have reviewed a number of Willow Design cases and dust covers over the years and have found them to be innovative in design and built superbly. We are very sorry to see them close down.
Why Mozilla Changed its Standalone Browser Name from Firebird to Firefox is covered in this ZDNet article. Another open source community already used the name for their relational database development effort. After choosing Firefox as the new name, Mozilla discovered that it was already trademarked in the UK and negotiated its use with the owner. So far, it appears that the standalone mail client name, Thunderbird, is safe. [Dana Baggett]
Consumer Reports Rated Apple Tops in Reliability and Support among computer manufacturers once again--this time in their March '04 issue. Apple came out on top in both categories for desktops and laptops. They also provided a fair comparison of the eMac and iBook G4 with their Wintel counterparts. [Dana Baggett]
-- Monday, February 9 --
[Update 11a ET] Mozilla Firebird Renamed Firefox, v0.8 is Out and available for download. According to MozillaZine.org, the standalone Mozilla Firebird browser has been renamed to Firefox and received an upgrade to version 0.8. This latest release features a new download manager, bookmarks enhancements, better support for extensions and several thousand other improvements. Windows users can benefit from a new installer, while Mac OS X users will enjoy the new Aqua-style theme, Kevin Gerich and Stephen Horlander's Pinstripe.
New Nanosaur II: Hatchling Screenshots Released: Pangea Software, Inc., today has released new screenshots for their upcoming game, Nanosaur II: Hatchling. Six new screenshots have been posted to the Nanosaur 2 web site.
Pangea Software says that they expect Nanosaur 2 to be available sometime next month, both as a download and on CD. Additionally, Pangea says that there is going to be a big surprise regarding the game which they are keeping secret until the game hits beta.
Nanosaur II: Hatchling is the sequel to the incredibly popular game Nanosaur which was originally released in 1998, but this time the player pilots a pteradactyl and travels to other planets.
The first Nanosaur remains one of our all-time favorite computer games.
32 Teacher Finalists in Golden Apple Awards: Ten will be chosen for the award which recognizes top teachers with a one-term sabatical at Northwestern University, $2500, an Apple Computer and membership in the Golden Apple Academy that supports teachers. Read the details in this Daily Southtown article. [Dana Baggett]
WiFi (AirPort) at US Rail Stations Getting Closer according to this AP article in Yahoo News. Amtrak has signed a deal with AT&T Wireless for WiFi service in 6 stations: Boston's Route 128 Station; Providence, R.I.; New York Penn Station; Philadelphia's 30th Street Station; Wilmington, Del.; and Baltimore's Penn Station.
Unfortunately, we've had trouble connecting to AT&T Wireless networks, most recently in the Denver airport running Mac OS X 10.3.2 (AirPort 3.3) in a 17" PowerBook G4. Trying to connect returned something like "There was an error connecting to the network"--not very informative.
WiFi on rails in Europe is under consideration by Eurostar according to this CNet article. [Dana Baggett]
-- Weekend, February 7-8 --
Apple Extends Mac OS X Up-To-Date Program Again, this time until February 29, 2004 according to this Apple web page. Check the web page to see if you qualify for a $19.95 Panther upgrade CD.
-- TGIF, February 6 --
New Apple Developer Article--"OpenGL Tools for Serious Graphics Development": Apple is committed to OpenGL as its all-encompassing, cross-platform 3D graphics solution. And Apple helps developers maximize performance and stability by providing unique OpenGL tools not found on any other platform. This ADC article introduces Apple's best-of-breed OpenGL tools that help developers locate, analyze and debug graphics bottlenecks, making the Macintosh a uniquely powerful platform for OpenGL development.
Participate in the First-Ever Game Connection @ GDC: The Game Developers Conference 2004 (GDC) is coming March 22-26 to the San Jose, CA, Conference Center. Following the success of the Game Connection, an innovative marketplace for game concepts offered in Europe, the Game Developers Conference and Game Connection have teamed up to bring publishers and developers to one place at one time at the Game Developers Conference, the game industry's most important professional development event. The Game Connection @ GDC is March 22-23.
Game Connection @ GDC brings developers and publishers together in private meetings to preview new game concepts. This event, expanded to include European, North American, and Asian developers, provides game developers an opportunity to efficiently show game concepts and development capabilities to leading international publishers while attending the Game Developers Conference.
Meetings are confidential and take place in private rooms. Publishers and developers maximize time and investment via a robust online scheduling system at www.game-connection.com, which allows publishers to conveniently schedule more than 30 developer presentations in only two days. Once on site, all meetings are held in one central location.
During the last Game Connection, 80 top independent game developers and 60 publishers met during 2,200 meetings in 3 days. Each Game Connection @ GDC attendee will receive 6 months of free access to the Game Connection website to network and maintain contact with attendees from all Game Connection events.
A Game Connection registration includes access to the GDC Expo on March 24 to 26 and a special discount for GDC pass upgrades. For optimum schedules, be sure to register no later than March 1, 2004! For Europe, Africa and the Middle East register here. For the US and Asia register here.
Cellular-Based Broadband Wireless Internet Options: We must admit that we are strongly attracted to Sony's new Vaio x505 laptop noted on O'Grady's PowerPage yesterday. It weighs only 1.7 lbs, a real attraction to those of us who need to haul around a laptop all day from meeting to meeting and building to building. The main drawback, of course, is that the x505 runs Windows XP and not Mac OS X.
So why wouldn't Apple's 12" PowerBook G4 do? After all, it is a terrific laptop with a Superdrive and everything. Well, not everything unfortunately. In addition, it weighs 4.6 lbs, nearly 3 lbs more than the x505.
The main thing that the 12" PBG4 lacks for many people is a PC-card slot. Why a PC-card slot? Because cellular technology that provides anywhere broadband internet, not just at "hot spots" or in WiFi-enabled conference rooms, is exploding. Here is a summary by Brian Nakamoto, our West Coast reporter, after we discussed the new tiny laptop wonder from Sony:
Why doesn't Apple at least make drivers for a PC-card to USB or FireWire adapter that could be used with the 12" PowerBook G4? We are thinking long and hard about the Sony....
Tonight The Mac Night Owl LIVE Features Macworld Magazine's Christopher Breen: This week, The Mac Night Owl LIVE will explore the breadth and depth of the Mac universe with "Mac 911" columnist Christopher Breen of Macworld [www.macworld.com]. You'll also hear from Glenn Fleishman, who writes the Practical Mac column for the Seattle Times [http://seattletimes.com/ptech/]. Glenn has focused his efforts on writing about and explaining the AirPort and Wi-Fi networking revolution over the last four years.
Tune into the broadcast from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern.
Inkjet Printers Wasting Ink? Some people think so in order to force the sale of more expensive ink cartridges than are really needed. Especially egregious are printers from Epson and Canon and some from HP that quit printing when ink gets low even if there is still ink left. PC World tested several inkjet printers: a Canon i850 Color Bubble Jet Printer, a Dell A940 Printer, an Epson Stylus C84, a Hewlett-Packard Deskjet 6122, and a Lexmark Z65 Color Jetprinter. They found that the Epson quit with 20% left and the Canon quit with 10% left. The others continued to print past the low ink warning until most all of the ink was gone. However, the article says that all printers delivered approximately the number of pages per cartridge that the manufacturer claims. [Dana Baggett]
From the Dark Side--M$ Lawyer to Chair ABA Antitrust Panel according to this AP news article carried by Excite. Even before Microsoft Associate General Counsel Richard Wallis takes over, the American Bar Association panel is planning to oppose more aggressive antitrust settlement oversight. That's obviously not going to turn around when he assumes the chair of the panel. It appears that there are no ABA canons of ethics against gross conflicts of interest. [Dana Baggett]
-- Thursday, February 5 --
[Update 2p ET] Apple iChat AV v2.1 Public Beta is Out and available for download. According to Apple, iChat AV v2.1 Public Beta adds support for video conferencing with the AOL Instant Messenger 5.5 for Microsoft Windows. Now one can video conference with PC users. As with Safari 1.2, however, it requires 10.3.x . The specific requirements for iChat AV 2.1 Public Beta are:
[Update 11:30a ET] Apple CFO Fred Anderson to Retire on June 1: Peter Oppenheimer, Apple's Senior VP of Finance and Corporate Controller, will replace him. Here is the full Apple press release:
Fred Anderson was brought to Apple in March of 1996 by then CEO Gil Amelio and was one of the few such Apple executives to retain their job when Steve Jobs replaced Amelio in July of 1997.
New Federal Antispam Law Not Working--Surprise, Surprise: It should come as no surprise to anyone that the new federal antispam law has had little or no effect according to this Yahoo News article. Our spam, including prohibited pornographic spam, has actually increased since the law took effect in early January. But the federal law is not just benign, it overturned the potentially far more effective laws of several states, including those of Virginia and California. [Dana Baggett]
We have added a permanent link to John's web site in our "Features" section on the left sidebar.
Review--Apple iLife '04 in USA Today: iLife '04 received a highly favorable review by AP writer Matthew Fordahl in the Tech Review section of USA Today. Writes the author,
Apple Backup 2.0.1 is Out and available for download from your .Mac account. "Backup 2.0.1 provides added quality and reliability improvements to scheduled backups."
-- Wednesday, February 4 --
Apple Store Valentine's Day Promo--"Celebrate and save.": According to a note from Apple, buy online at the Apple Store by February 14 and you can save $30 instantly on any order totaling $299 or more. It’s the perfect opportunity to give your special valentine the iPod they’ve been wanting so they can take the music they love with them wherever they go. The new 15GB model costs only $299 and holds more than 3700 songs in a package that looks and feels as elegant as it sounds. Place your order today and you can add laser engraving for free and save $30 instantly as well. Claim code KQZTF9WFVX can be used only once.
Retrospect Driver Update for Retrospect 6.0 (Mac) version 5.0.105 is Out and available for download. The additional changes with this release include:
Free Lite Version of Mac PasswordVault v2.0 Released: Lava Software is now shipping Mac PasswordVault Lite v2.0, a free product which securely stores website access information, Internet banking data and software registration details for convenient and easy access in a central location on your Mac OS X or Mac OS classic computer. PasswordVault protects user data using very strong 896-bit encryption, yet provides convenient access to it via a simple master password. If the user forgets their master password, they can answer a series of customized questions they previously entered to access their data - this simple and highly effective master password recovery system is unique to Mac PasswordVault.
The free Lite Edition of Mac PasswordVault supports up to 10 services, while the Standard Edition supports any number of services. The Standard Edition is priced at $14.95 per license, and purchasers get download access to the current version of the software for all platforms, as well as free upgrades for one year. Site licenses (for any number of users at one organization) are available for $99.00.
20" iMac Review by TechTV. It's a solid review. [Dana Baggett]
ATI Released Mobility Radeon 9700 Graphics for Laptops: Check out the new GPU from ATI here. ATI claims it to be 30% faster that its predecessor Mobility Radeon 9600 GPU that's used in Apple's 15"and 17" PowerBooks. There's no word as to whether the faster ATI chip will be used in future PowerBooks but we think it will be.
OmniWeb 5 Public Beta is Out with Unique Tabs Placement and available for download from the Omni Group. One major new feature that we really like is that the tabs are located in a tray at the sides of the browser window rather than in the top bar. This placement does not affect the vertical real estate of the browser window, something that is a premium on wide screen displays. We wish that more of the top header would find its way to the sides, leaving only the URL field at the top to maximize the browser window's height. OmniWeb uses the same engine as Safari.
-- Tuesday, February 3 --
Apple Safari v1.2 is Out for Panther and available for download via 10.3.x's Software Update preference pane or from this Apple web page. New in Safari 1.2:
Safari 1.2 requires Mac OS X 10.3 or later [Thanks, Jim Friedel]. We downloaded and installed Safari 1.2 without any problem.
Apple Java 1.4.2 Update is Out and available for download from the Software Update preference pane or this Apple web page. It improves stability, memory usage, and correctness and it requires Mac OS X v10.3.1 or later.
-- Monday, February 2 --
Hands-On Review--PowerLogix Clear PowerCube Case: PowerLogix has released two PowerCube cases for the Power Mac G4 Cube, one made of aluminum and the other made of clear acrylic. The former, which we reviewed, has been discontinued and the latter has just been released.
The Clear PowerCube case at 8.5x8.5x10" is in between the sizes of the original Cube case (8x8x10") and the aluminum Power Cube case (9x9x10"). It's increased size, coupled with the larger top grill, increases the Cube's cooling capacity, a major consideration when upgrading the Cube's components. Our "Super Cube" has been upgraded with a PowerLogix 1.4-GHz G4 CPU, an Nvidia GeForce3 graphics card and a Seagate 7200-RPM 80-GB Barracuda IV hard drive. These upgrade components increase the Cube's power demand and the heat generated inside it. The PowerCube case allows more air to circulate through the case. Especially important, it allows one to easily relocate the DC power board, the weakest component in th Cube, to improve cooling it.
The PowerLogix Clear PowerCube kit includes four torx bolts to hold the Cube's chassis in the PowerCube case, a torx Allen wrench, a cable for the DC power board, bracket for the DC board, two sets of bolts, spacers and nuts to attach the DC board to the bracket and two CDs. One CD has a PDF, Word file and QuickTime movie of PowerLogix's installation intructions. The other CD contains the installation instructions in a format that should play on a standard DVD player.
PowerLogix's detailed installation instructions are excellent, making an easy job even easier. The only significant difficulty that one may experience is pressing the motherboard end of the cable into the slot on the motherboard. The connector on the cable has a ridge but there is no corrresponding slot in the connector on the motherboard, making for a very tight fit. In addition, the Cube's bolt that doubles to hold the lower end of the bracket is a little too short so we substituted another one.
Once installed, the G4 Cube looks great in this enclosure. The PowerCube case's acrylic is highly polished. We added a white Apple logo to the chassis' front plate (see photo above) for ready identification as an Apple computer. Being able to see the superb engineering that went into fitting all the Cube's components into the tiny cube is impressive.
The Clear PowerCube case also desensitizes the static switch on top of the Cube. Ours has gotten so sensitive that it occasionally shuts off and on spontaneously. We temporarily fixed that by disconnecting the switch but the Clear PowerCube case seems to be a permanent fix. So far there's been no spontaneous activity.
With only acrylic plastic between our AirPort Extreme Base Station's signal and the Cube's antennas, the AirPort reception is excellent, better than with the original case by one additional bar.
At an introductory MSRP price of $129 plus $8 S&H, the PowerLogix Clear PowerCube case is reasonably priced.
Super Bowl Ad Competition--NYT Liked the Pepsi/Apple iTunes Commercial according to this New York Times article:
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