March 2007 News Archive

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Copyright 2007 by Bill Fox All rights reserved.
Last Updated: March 31, 2007

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[3/31] Apple Revised the Offerings from Three Hot Deals Retailers

CDW Mac Warehouse has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: HP Photosmart Pro B9180 heavy-duty photo printer from Hewlett Packard for only $629.99!; Memorex 1GB TravelDrive USB 2.0 flash drive for only $12.99; Epson Stylus Photo R380 ultra high def photo, CD/DVD printer for only $129.99!; Olympus Stylus 1000 10-megapixel all-weather compact digital camera for only $349.99!; imagePROGRAF iPf5000 17" color inkjet printer featuring pigment inks from Canon for only $1945.99!; and much more.

O'Reilly Media, Inc. has Hot Deals exclusive pricing on a variety of Mac related books including: Inside .Mac by Chuck Toporek for only $13.96; Running Mac OX Tiger by Jason Deraleau and James Duncan Davidson for only $27.96; Mac OS X Tiger Server Administration by Michael Bartosh for only $13.99!; Mac OS X: The Missing Manual, Tiger Edition by David Pogue for only $20.96!; and much more.

Publishing Perfection has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: ScanMaker i800 flatbed scanner from Microtek for only $299.95; Autofocus Photoshop plug-in from Human Software for only $68.95; Textissimo plug-in with over 700 Type Effects from Human Software for only $99.95; ImageLibrary Choice royal-free stock photos from Ingram Publishing for only $249!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[3/30] Brief Hands-On Report--AirPort Base Station Update 2007-001

Apple released AirPort Base Station Update 2007-001 and it is available for download via Software Update if you have AirPort Utility 5.0 installed that came with Apple's new AirPort Extreme 'n' Base Station or as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page.

According to Apple,

The AirPort Base Station Update 2007-001 includes general fixes, compatibility updates, and security improvements for the following applications:

- AirPort Utility
- AirPort Admin Utility for Graphite and Snow Base Stations
- AirPort Disk Utility
- AirPort Disk Agent

We downloaded the update via Software Update and installed it on several Macs that had AirPort Utility already installed with no problem. AirPort Utility came with our new Apple AirPort Extreme 'n' Base Station and it replaced the older AirPort Admin Utility. When we downloaded the update as a stand-alone file and tried it on several Macs without AirPort Utility installed, it wouldn't run.

We opened AirPort Utility 5.1 and accessed our new AirPort Extreme 'n', old AirPort Extreme 'g' and AirPort Express Base Stations and encountered no issues. We no longer have an older graphite or snow AirPort 'b' Base Station so we couldn't test AirPort Admin Utility for Graphite and Snow Base Stations v4.2.5. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[3/30] The Pro Caddy--Convert Mac Pro Optical Drive Bay for Hard Disk Use

In high volume professional production environments where flexible storage is at a premium, Trans International's Pro Caddy for Apple Mac Pro is a unique internal optical bay hard disk drive mounting solution. The Pro Caddy requires no modification, no replacement and no dismantling of your Mac Pro.

Using the existing optical bay housing, the Pro Caddy enables the installation of one additional bootable hard disk drive. Once installed, the Pro Caddy solution frees up all four of the removable hard disk drives in the Mac Pro's factory bays. You have the freedom and convenience to use all four drives in flexible ways to boost productivity (JBOD, Raid 0, RAID 1, or RAID 10).

The Pro Caddy is available from Trans International for $39 ($69 with SATA adapter). [Bill Fox]

[3/30] Software Special Deal of the Day: ImageViewerCM Plug-In 2.4 (Universal) for 50% Off--$4.95 Today Only

ImageViewerCM Plug-In is a contextual menu for the Finder designed to let you easily view the pictures in a folder. It can open many image formats: JPEG, GIF, TIFF, PNG, BMP, PSD, EPS, AI, PDF.

You can also send any of the file to the trash from within the application. This makes ImageViewerCM Plug-In the right application to quickly sort your pictures.

Normally $9.99, ImageViewerCM Plug-In 2.4 (Universal) is offered for $4.95 today only--that's 50% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/30] Apple launched 'Complete My Album' Section in iTunes Store

Apple's iTunes Store has a new Complete My Album section. According to Apple,

"Did you know that if you've purchased one or more songs from an eligible album, you may now be able to buy the rest of the album at a reduced price? You have up to six months after first downloading a song from an eligible album to purchase the remainder of the album."

Just open iTunes, go to the iTunes Store and click on the Complete My Album section. iTunes will then display the albums that your music qualifies for and how much it costs to complete the album and the time you have to do so. You should have until at least June 26 to elect the album-completion option. [Bill Fox]

[3/30] Adobe Updated InDesign CS2 and InCopy CS2 to v4.0.5

The updates are available from within the applications under the Help menu or as stand-alone updaters via

InDesign CS2 4.0.5 -- This update for Adobe InDesign CS2 software is a CS3 compatibility update, containing fixes that address known issues with CS3 to CS2 Export to INX (Save Back) workflows. This update also provides key fixes in the areas of indexing, launch issues, transparency, shortcuts, text and fonts, scripting, inline graphics, InDesign Interchange (INX) files, German Reformed (1996) hyphenation, XML, library files, performance, QuickTime 7.x support, printing, SING glyphlets, EPS export, text import, and others.

InCopy CS2 4.0.5 -- This update for Adobe InCopy CS2 software provides key fixes in the areas of text and fonts, inline graphics, German Reformed (1996) hyphenation, performance, SING glyphlets, file corruption, shortcuts, and others.

We updated our copy of InDesign to 4.0.5 using the in-application Updates menu selection. With brief use of InDesign 4.0.5 we noted no issues. [Bill Fox]

[3/30] From the Dark Side--Microsoft's Bullet for Federal Government Macs?

Just as Apple has adapted to better compete with Windows and PCs (see Computerworld), could the hammer be dropping on Macs in the federal government workplace, at least those that can not run Windows?

An article in the online version of Federal Computer Week states that OMB is issuing mandatory guidance requiring the use of three standard configurations of Windows XP and Vista in all federal agencies.

According to the article:

"OMB is making this guidance mandatory in order to improve IT security across the government, experts said."

Plans for implementing the new standard must be completed by May 1, a fitting date for such an edict. The Soviet Union used to celebrate its existence on May Day.

However, it is not absolutely clear from the article if all other OS's in use by federal agencies are to be replaced with Windows or if the standards just apply to all Windows machines. We'll keep tabs on this development. [Bill Fox]

[3/29] Apple released Boot Camp 1.2beta with Windows Vista Support

Boot Camp partitions one's hard disk drive to permit installing Windows XP and now Vista on a Mac. Version 1.2beta is available for download from this Apple Web page. According to Apple, Boot Camp 1.2 beta includes:

  • Support for Windows Vista (32-bit)
  • Updated drivers, including but not limited to trackpad, AppleTime (synch), audio, graphics, modem, iSight camera
  • Support the Apple Remote (works with iTunes and Windows Media Player)
  • A Windows system tray icon for easy access to Boot Camp information and actions
  • Improved keyboard support for Korean, Chinese, Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, Finnish, Russian, and French Canadian
  • Improved Windows driver installation experience
  • Updated documentation and Boot Camp on-line help in Windows
  • Apple Software Update (for Windows XP and Vista)

Boot Camp 1.2beta is Apple's quick answer to the recent rumor that the release of Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" was being significantly delayed to implement Vista on Boot Camp, a built-in feature of Leopard. [Bill Fox]

[3/29] Speed Dial Beta released for Opera Web Browser

Opera unveiled the beta release of Speed Dial, a new feature that lets people transform their top sites into nine visual bookmarks that are immediately available in any new tab. Speed Dial is a new feature in the forthcoming Opera 9.2, available in beta as a free download. Speed Dial came about from careful consideration of individual browsing preferences.

"Speed Dial is based on the idea that people generally have five to 10 sites they browse regularly throughout the day," said Johan Borg, team manager for Opera's desktop browser. "Speed Dial is made for almost instant access to those sites. We want developers and the curious-minded to discover Speed Dial. When they do, we hope they'll help us with another rigorous round of testing before the final release."

With each blank tab, Speed Dial presents a thumbnail preview of the top nine sites as selected by the user. In addition to fast access through the Speed Dial, users can also enter the number corresponding with each bookmarked Speed Dial page in Opera's address field to access the page.

For more on Opera--and to get Opera Mini on your phone--visit Opera's Web site. [Bill Fox]

[3/29] Software Special Deal of the Day: Graphic Inspector 1.0 (Universal) for 40% Off--$14.99 Today Only

Graphic Inspector provides extensive info about both bitmap and vector graphic files and helps locate potential problems according to user-defined settings.

The program will go through folders of files and display info about the following attributes:

  • kind
  • size
  • color mode
  • resolution
  • color profile
  • dimensions
  • spot colors
  • fonts in vector files
  • spot colors in bitmap and vector files
  • EXIF data
  • file type and creator

The highly customizable Checkup Presets will let you quickly spot files with unwanted attributes saving you hours of checking your documents manually and dealing with consequences of costly mistakes. For example, you can make Graphic Inspector warn you about all files whose color mode is RGB, format - JPEG, resolution is below 200 dpi, ICC profile doesn't contain "USWebCoated" etc.

Normally $24.95, Graphic Inspector 1.0 (Universal) is offered for $14.99 today only--that's 40% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/29] Cool Mac Software--WeatherPop 2.6.1 is Out

WeatherPop is the coolest weather application for the Mac, in our opinion. It is a Menu item with a real-time Doppler radar popup. There is a free version and an $8 Advanced version. We have used the Advanced version for a long time and we highly recommend it.

WeatherPop 2.6.1 is available for download from this Glucose Web page. The latest version has these new features:

  • Pop Doppler real-time radar shows the Doppler radar for any US city
  • National Weather Service forecasts for the US, with watches and warnings
  •,, forecasts for International Users
  • 3 to 5 day forecasts depending on your location
  • Redesigned color icons indicating both weather conditions and time of day
  • Up to 6 favorite locations in addition to the your main location
  • Preferences interface redesigned for OS X 10.3
  • 14-day trial period so you can decide if you like it before you buy

[Bill Fox]

[3/29] StreamShaping Technology improves Multi-guest Web Viewing of Demos/Presentations

StreamShaping technology from Glance Networks lets all participants in multi-guest sessions enjoy the best possible viewing experience, regardless of their different network connection speeds. Glance's StreamShaping continuously optimizes each person's view to the speed of his or her network connection. Each guest sees updates as quickly as possible and no one falls behind.

"Poor performance due to one participant's slow or unreliable connection is an issue that has affected much of the web conferencing industry. We’re thrilled to offer state-of-the-art technology that delivers a great experience to every participant in multi-guest sessions," said Rich Baker, cofounder and CEO of Glance Networks. "StreamShaping continuously optimizes each guest's view to match his or her actual network speed. Fast connected viewers go fast, while slower ones stay right on their heels. Everyone gets the best possible view. No one is left in the dust."

Many web conferencing services perform poorly when participants connect at different network speeds. People with slow connections will often find their views eventually fall many seconds or even minutes behind those on faster networks. To avoid this problem, Glance used to send screen updates only as fast as the slowest-connected guest could download them, so everyone's view stayed in sync. That worked well when everyone had a good connection. But if one guest was on a slow connection, everyone else’s view would slow to that guest's speed.

Glance's new patent-pending StreamShaping technology eliminates all of these issues. It delivers the best possible experience by sending participants as many updates as their particular connections permit, without letting anyone fall behind. Guests with fast download speeds see as many screen updates as their network connections allow. Those with slower connections may take slightly more time to receive updates, but they never fall behind. StreamShaping continuously adjusts what is sent to each person, based on his or her instantaneous network speed. If a guest's network initially is congested and then opens up, that person’s view speeds up as well.

StreamShaping also automatically and transparently re-connects a guest whose Internet connection momentarily drops. This can be important for participants on wireless or other networks subject to fades or brief outages. StreamShaping works to quickly re-establish the dropped connection and catch up to the most current view. Most guests will not even notice they had a connection problem. They just sit back and watch. More details are available on Glance Networks' Web site. [Bill Fox]

[3/29] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--The David Biedny Zone and Digital Music

Tonight, host Gene Steinberg guides you into "The David Biedny Zone," as his Special Correspondent returns to talk tough about RIAA abuses, the failures of Microsoft and to reveal information about the forthcoming Adobe Creative Suite applications that you won't hear elsewhere. In addition, Macworld Senior Editor Christopher Breen will deliver a digital music update, and an in-depth report on the new Apple TV.

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

[3/29] From the Dark Side--M$'s Windows Vista Sales Claim is Bogus

We have noted before several times in this column that there are data supporting the notion that sales of Windows Vista is tepid at best. But that didn't stop Microsoft's PR machine from crafting and issuing a bogus argument that Vista is somehow setting a sales record by selling 20 million licenses in its first month, i.e. subsequently to January 30th, more than doubling XP's initial sales rate of 17 million in 2.5 months.

Well, there's lies, damn lies and Microsoft PR. According to Joe Wilcox's data, XP's 17 million license sales were to actual customers, not the much higher sales to THE SALES CHANNEL as are the Vista license sales, and Vista's sales time that has really been about FOUR months, not one. Therefore, Vista's real initial temporal sales rate to actual customers is much less than that of XP. Considering that the number of PCs being sold now is nearly double that of initial XP era, the sales of Vista per PC per unit time is much less than half of that for XP.

Come on, give us a break! The data clearly show that Vista's sales remain tepid at best. Where is the FTC's truth in advertising enforcement? [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]

[3/28] Bluetooth Patent Infringement Lawsuit Heats Up--Apple Added as Defendant

The Washington Research Foundation, a fund-raising entity for the University of Washington, added Apple, Dell, Sony, Logitech, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Mobile Communications, Toshiba and Plantronics to its Bluetooth patent infringement lawsuit. The defendants are accused of infringing on four patents by using chips made by CSR plc. The Washington Research Foundation claims it licensed its patents to Broadcom and is not suing companies that use Broadcom technology. More... [Dana Baggett]

[3/28] Data Backup 3 (Universal) is Out for Mac OS X

Prosoft Engineering, Inc., released Data Backup 3. It is a powerful utility that allows you to backup, restore and synchronize your valuable data with minimal effort. Whether you are a new computer user or a seasoned professional, Data Backup 3 offers you just the right amount of power, flexibility and ease-of-use to help protect your files fast.

"We are excited that companies like Apple are raising the awareness of backups and are hopeful that it will encourage more people to establish a safe daily backup regimen," states Greg Brewer, CEO of Prosoft Engineering. "We are happy to be able to offer a flexible solution that gives novice users a simple, automated, safe backup solution while not overlooking the expert users who need comprehensive backup control and features. Everyone will find Data Backup 3 to be a valuable tool, and best of all, just like the original version 3 years ago, Data Backup 3 has ease-of-use built right in."

New Features of Data Backup 3:

  • New user interface.
  • Backup to CDs and DVDs, automatically spanning on multiple disks.
  • Fast Start feature skips scanning and speeds up backups dramatically.
  • Built-in backup sets to quickly backup your iTunes or iPhoto files, other important data or your entire system.
  • Automatically wake from sleep to backup.
  • Automatically power off after your backup completes.
  • Go back in time and see your files and directories as they were when your backups happened.

Data Backup 3 is $59 for a single license. A free demo of it is available from this Prosoft Engineering Web page. [Bill Fox]

[3/28] Software Special Deal of the Day: HistoryHound 1.9.2 (Universal) for 35% Off--$12.95 Today Only

Have you ever tried to find something in your browser history or bookmarks, but couldn't quite remember when or where you saw it? Or perhaps you've got your bookmarks meticulously organized, but it takes forever to mouse through the menus to get to something you want? HistoryHound will chase down the page for you - fast!

HistoryHound lets you quickly search for keywords in the entire content of all web pages and RSS feeds you've visited recently, plus all those that you've bookmarked. It's a "personal web search." Instead of hunting through endless lists of obscure URLs and page titles, just type in a few words that appear anywhere on the page. HistoryHound will give you a list of matches, ranked by relevance.

HistoryHound currently supports Safari, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Camino, Mozilla / Netscape, OmniWeb, Opera, Shiira, NetNewsWire 2, PulpFiction and URL Manager Pro.

Normally $19.95, HistoryHound 1.9.2 (Universal) is offered for $12.95 today only--that's 35% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/28] GarageBand Foundation of Music Lessons at Camelot Academy

Camelot Academy, a small private middle school in Durham, NC, uses Macs to teach technology like many others these days. GarageBand is used in its music classes to teach the basics of music, mix songs and write original music. More... [Dana Baggett]

[3/28] Mozilla opened New Firefox Add-Ons Web Site

Mozilla launched a new Firefox Add-ons Web site. Firefox add-ons enable users to customize their browser with powerful, fun and useful tools that give them control over the appearance and functionality of their browser.

"This new Web site helps encourage and manage the development of more great add-ons for Firefox, and enables users to customize their browsing experience to make Firefox their own," said Mike Shaver, director, ecosystem development, Mozilla. "The skills and knowledge of the Mozilla developer community will now be applied to the development, testing and support of add-ons. That means better add-ons for users, and more ways for businesses and organizations to integrate their services into Firefox."

New additions include:

  • User reviews and ratings for add-ons.
  • Improved search to help Firefox users find the perfect add-on.
  • Language support for Danish, English (US), French, German, Japanese, Korean, Romanian, Russian, Slovakian and Spanish users, with more languages to come.
  • New tools and support for add-on developers, and the ability to harness the power of the Mozilla community in add-on development.
  • A new level of testing for add-ons that ensures even higher quality and functionality for users.

For developers, Mozilla has expanded the Firefox Add-ons Web site to include detailed information about creating, supporting and distributing add-ons to Firefox users. The Mozilla community will provide code review, feature testing and even usability feedback for add-on developers. The community will also recommend favorite add-ons to help users find the best of the thousands of free extensions and themes.

Add-ons help make Firefox the most personalized browser available to Internet users. More than 7 million Firefox users currently have add-ons installed on their browser. [Bill Fox]

[3/28] Apple Revised the Offerings from Five Hot Deals Retailers

Apple Store Special Deals has exclusive prices on Apple Certified Refurbished products including: Apple Certified Refurbished iPod Shuffle (latest clip-on model) for only $49!; Apple Certified Refurbished 4GB iPod nano (previous generation) for only $129!; Apple Certified Refurbished 2GB iPod nano (current generation) for only $119!; Apple Certified Refurbished 4GB iPod nano (current generation) for only $169!; Apple Certified Refurbished 8GB iPod nano (current generation) for only $209!; Apple Certified Refurbished Mac Pro Quad 3.0GHz Intel Xeon processors for only $3299!; Apple Certified Refurbished 23" Apple Cinema Display for only $749!; and much more.

macgamestore has deals on a variety of Mac games with an exclusive 5% discount at checkout! Here is sample of the offers with prices before discount: Luxor 2 from MumboJumbo for only $19.95 - a digital download; Heroes of Might & Magic V (for Intel-based Macs only) from Freeverse Software for only $49.95!; Jets'n'Guns Gold (digital download) from Rake In Grass for only $29.95!; Luxor MahJong (digital download) from MumboJumbo for only $19.95!; Travelogue 360 Paris (digital download) from Big Fish Games for only $19.95; and much more.

PowerMax has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: CanoScan 4400F flatbed/film scanner from Canon for only $87.88!; Bass Freq earphones for iPod from V-MODA for only $34.88!; iListen speech recognition & dictation software for only $86.88!; VirusBarrier X4 - 5-user license from Intego for only $167.88; HP OfficeJet 6310 All-In-One inkjet printer, fax scanner and copier from Hewlett Packard for only $199.88!; 320GB G-RAID FireWire drive in Titanium case from G-Tech for only $339.88!; AL2216Wbd 22" LCD display (black) from Acer for only $298.88!; and much more.

Ramjet has Hot Deals exclusive deals on a variety of Mac compatible memory upgrades including: 2GB (2x1GB modules) RAM upgrade kit for MacBook Pro for only $164; 1GB RAM module for the iMac G5 for only $112!; 1GB RAM module for the iMac G5 w/iSight for only $96!; 2GB (2x1GB modules) RAM kit for the PowerMac G5 Dual Core for only $237!; 2GB (2x1GB modules) RAM kit for the MacBook for only $248!; 1GB RAM module for the Intel-based iMac for only $192!; and much more.

Small Dog Electronics has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including Hot Deals exclusive prices on the following four products: ViewDock 22" LCD monitor with built-in iPod dock for only $384.99!; Audioengine 5 speaker system (black) for only $324.99!; iHome AM/FM alarm clock radio with built-in iPod dock for only $89.99!; ProMedia Ultra 2.0 multimedia speakers (black) from Klipsch for only $89.99!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[3/28] Star Wars: Empire at War for Mac is Shipping from Aspyr

Star Wars: Empire at War has begun shipping from Aspyr Media for the Mac. The new game in the Star Wars series puts the power to command an entire war for the Star Wars galaxy in the hands of players, giving them the freedom to determine how they play the game within the completely scalable and accessible gameplay. Set a few years before the events of Episode IV A New Hope, LucasArts' Empire at War lets players wage war on the ground and in space, as well as experience the creation of the Rebel Alliance, the strengthening of the Empire and the beginnings of the Galactic Civil War.

Using an entirely new game engine created by the Las Vegas-based developer Petroglyph, Empire at War features beautifully rendered land and space battles set on memorable planets such as Yavin IV, Tatooine and Dagobah, as well as never-before-seen environments taken directly from the Star Wars films and expanded universe novels. In the game, players choose to join either the Rebel Alliance or the Galactic Empire, building and setting up tactical forces to unleash upon the enemy in real-time 3D. Memorable Star Wars hero characters can be brought into the action to help turn the tide of the battle as players build, manage and upgrade their space and ground-based units, vehicles, troops and base structures.

Star Wars: Empire at War is licensed by LucasArts and was developed for Mac by Aspyr Studios. It is available for Intel-based Macs only for $49.95. [Bill Fox]

[3/27] [updated]Adobe's Creative Suite 3 (Universal) Revealed--New Photoshop CS3 Extended with 3D, Motion and Image Analyses

Adobe revealed the content and pricing of its new Creative Suite 3 (CS3) today and will put on a special event to roll it out later today. The event will be webcast live from New York City today at 12:30 pm PT (3:30 pm ET). One of the best things about CS3 for Mac users is that the applications included are now either Universal Applications or Intel-based only, running natively on Intel-based Macs as well as most on PowerPC-based Macs.

Adobe's CS3 is really a complex of a number of applications packaged in a number of bundles and editions that represent a huge discount as a bundle over buying the individual applications separately. There are three main bundles--Design, Web and Production. Each is targeted at a separate class of creative professionals. The Design and Web bundles come in Standard and Premium Editions. Then, there is the Master Edition that includes the entire set of applications for a total of 6 different editions of CS3. The different editions range in price from $999 ($399 upgrade) for the Web Standard Edition to $2499 for the Master Collection Edition.

Here is how the applications are bundled by edition and their pricing (full/standard upgrade):

Design Standard ($1199/399)

  • InDesign CS3 ($699/199)
  • Photoshop CS3 ($649/199)
  • Illustrator CS3 ($599/199)
  • Acrobat 8 Professional ($449/159)
  • Plus: Bridge, Acrobat Connect, Device Central, Stock Photos, Version Cue

Design Premium ($1799/$599)

  • All of Design Standard
  • Photoshop CS3 Extended in lieu of Photoshop CS3 ($999/349)
  • Flash CS3 Professional ($699/199)
  • Dreamweaver CS3 ($399/199)

Web Standard ($999/$399)

  • Dreamweaver CS3 ($399/199)
  • Flash CS3 Professional ($699/199)
  • Fireworks CS3 ($299/149)
  • Contribute CS3 ($149/79)
  • Plus: Bridge, Acrobat Connect, Device Central, Stock Photos, Version Cue

Web Premium ($1599/$499)

  • All of Web Standard
  • Photoshop CS3 Extended ($999/349)
  • Illustrator CS3 ($599/199)
  • Acrobat 8 Professional ($449/159)

Production Premium ($1699/$799)

  • After Effects CS3 Professional ($999/299)
  • Premiere Pro CS3 ($799/299)
  • Photoshop CS3 Extended ($999/349)
  • Flash CS3 Professional ($699/199)
  • Illustrator CS3 ($599/199)
  • Soundbooth CS3 ($199/new app.)
  • Encore CS3 (included with Premiere Pro)
  • Plus: Bridge, Acrobat Connect, Device Central, Stock Photos, Dynamic Link

Master Collection ($2499/$1399)

  • Every application (includes Photoshop CS3 Extended)

The details on what application(s) one needs in order to qualify for standard upgrade pricing is available from this Adobe Web page. There are also somewhat higher upgrade pricing options depending on what products one owns.

The major features of CS3, aside from its different bundling of applications, is the new Photoshop CS3 Extended application that incorporates new capabilities for handling 3D, motion and comprehensive image analyses; the improved integration of Adobe's applications, especially Dreamweaver, Flash and Fireworks from the Macromedia acquisition; the Production Premium Edition that includes Mac versions of almost all applications (OnLocation requires Windows using Apple's Boot Camp or a virtualization application like Parallels Desktop for Mac and Ultra is Windows only) as well as the all-new Soundbooth application; and Adobe Device Central CS3 for mobile devices.

What about Adobe GoLive?

Dreamweaver, acquired in the Macromedia purchase, has replaced GoLive as Adobe's principal Web development application in its Creative Suite. So the one major flaw that we see in Adobe's upgrade policy is that one can not get upgrade pricing for Dreamweaver CS3 from owning any version of GoLive nor any of the previous Adobe Creative Suite versions. It appears that one might get a working Dreamweaver CS3 as part of a CS1 or CS2 suite upgrade to CS3 but it is not yet clear that the license will allow a full installation of Dreamweaver CS3. People ran into this problem when they upgraded CS2 to CS2.3--the included Dreamweaver 8 license in CS2.3 was only an upgrade license so one needed a full Dreamweaver 7 license in addition to the CS2 license. [Update 4/3/07: Adobe's has assured us that this will not happen with a CS3 upgrade to CS2.]

We have used GoLive and its predecessor CyberStudio, another Adobe acquisition, to produce MacsOnly! for many years since converting from manual html coding. Adobe has announced publicly (and reconfirmed to a reporter personally) that GoLive will be developed as a separate application. However, we expect this will be dependent upon futures sales of GoLive being sufficient for Adobe to do so. Since GoLive is not yet a Universal Application and Adobe is clearly pushing Dreamweaver, we fear that GoLive's days are really numbered.

Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop CS3 Extended

Photoshop CS3, a Universal Application, has been out as a public beta since December 15, 2006. We tested its speed on our Intel-based MacBook Pro C2D versus Photoshop CS2 (v9.0.2) and found that the CS3 beta is 40 percent faster on average in running a suite of filters and 50-70 percent faster in launching. Clearly, one of the best features in CS3 is that it runs natively on Intel-based Macs.

Adobe touts a variety of other new features in Photoshop CS3 that include:

  • Streamlined interface
  • Next generation Camera Raw support
  • Faster Adobe Bridge with Stacks, Filters and Loupe tool
  • Zoomify export
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom integration
  • Improved, intuitive printing
  • Non-destructive smart filters
  • Vanishing point with adjustable angle perspective planes
  • Black and white conversions
  • Improved curves
  • Adjustable cloning and healing with preview overlay
  • Enhanced merge to 32-bit HDR
  • Quick Selection tool
  • Refine edge
  • Automatic layer alignment and blending
  • Photomerge with advanced alignment and blending

Obviously, Adobe's signature digital image application has received a lot of attention since the CS2 version.

In the briefing for journalists by Adobe's Senior Product Manager John Nack, we were impressed with all of these new features but the last two are truly amazing. If one takes several photos of the same scene, one can import them as layers and have them automatically aligned. Then, one can select to retain only the common elements among the layers and "poof", people walking by or cars driving by or birds flying over, etc. are eliminated instantly for a clear scene--very simple. In the latter feature, one can take photos taken at various times of parts of a given scene, merge them as one scene and adjust the color, etc. to have one perfect image--again automatically, virtually instantly and non-destructively to the original photos.

Photoshop CS3 Extended has all of the features of Photoshop CS3 but adds these new features:

  • 3D visualization and texture editing
  • Movie paint
  • Motion graphics and video layers
  • Vanishing point with 3D support
  • Measurements and data
  • Ruler and count tools
  • DICOM support
  • Image stack processing

Photoshop CS3 Extended is not intended to be a replacement for CAD or other 3D-intensive applications but to extend Photoshop's superior 2D capabilities into 3D without having to resort to using another application. People working with images in advertising, architecture, medicine and science will get some terrific tools in Photoshop CS3 Extended. In the briefing for journalists, the new tools looked terrific for placing labels or skins on 3D objects for advertising images, counting cells on a microscope slide and measuring the areas of features in a CAT scan section of a human head.

The Macromedia Apps--Dreamweaver, Flash and Fireworks

The applications that Adobe got with their acquisition of Macromedia are superb Web design tools. They now integrate well with Adobe's other products within the Design and Web suite editions and have a common CS3 interface.

They also have new features, including:

Dreamweaver CS3

  • Spry framework for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, widgets and effects
  • Advanced Photoshop CS3, Fireworks CS3, Device Central and Bridge CS3 integration
  • Browser compatibility check
  • Adobe CSS Advisor
  • CSS layouts
  • Manage CSS

Flash CS3 Professional

  • Native Photoshop CS3 and Illustrator CS3 support
  • Integration with Device central and Bridge CS3
  • Instant Animation conversion to ActionScript 3.0
  • New drawing tools
  • Advanced QuickTime export
  • More sophisticated video encoding
  • New time-saving programming tools

Fireworks CS3

  • Essential integration with Photoshop CS3, Illustrator CS3 and Bridge CS3
  • New hierarchical organization structure
  • Layers shared across multiple pages
  • Flex code for RIAs
  • Photoshop blending modes

Production Premium Edition

The Production Premium Edition combines applications for video, audio and design. Most have Mac versions and most of those are Universal Applications, running on Intel-based and PowerPC-based Macs. The exceptions are OnLocation and Ultra, which run only on Windows, and Premier Pro, Soundbooth and Encore, which only run on Intel-based Macs. The totally new application is Soundbooth that delivers tools for everyday audio editing and cleanup, sound design and music creation. The applications are also integrated with Photoshop CS3, Flash CS3 Professional, Device Central and Bridge CS3.

Device Central CS3

Adobe Device Central CS3 is designed to improve the efficiency and productivity of those "...who develop dynamic and engaging interfaces, mobile assets, applications and video content for mobile phones and hand-held consumer electronic devices." according to Adobe. It is integrated in Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design, Web and Production Premium editions, as well as individual products, including Adobe Flash CS3 Professional, Adobe Photoshop CS3, and Adobe Premiere Pro CS3 software. For the first time, creative professionals are able to preview their work and test mobile content instantly within familiar authoring environments through a periodically updated library of detailed phone and device profiles. Adobe Device Central CS3 dramatically simplifies the mobile authoring process.

The Design and Web Editions are scheduled to ship next month (April). The Production Premium and Master Collection Editions are scheduled to ship in the summer quarter. For more details, see this Adobe Web page. [Bill Fox]

[3/27] Overnight Hard Disk Drive Upgrades for Apple TV

Apple TV comes with a rather small 40GB hard disk drive for storage of media files. For those who do not want to upgrade their Apple TV drive themselves, which is no simple matter, TechRestore now offers an overnight storage upgrade service for it. The upgrade is available in 60GB to 160GB options, offering up to 200 hours of video storage, up to 36,000 songs, up to 100,000 photos, with a 400% increase in storage capacity than the original Apple TV.

Pricing for the new service includes all parts and installation into the customer's Apple TV :

60GB Storage Upgrade: $99.99
80GB Storage Upgrade: $149.99
100GB Storage Upgrade: $169.99
120GB Storage Upgrade: $179.99
160GB Storage Upgrade: $219.99

Customers can elect to self-ship their Apple TV in for service or choose from TechRestore's overnight door-to-door pickup service. [Bill Fox]

[3/27] Software Special Deal of the Day: Media Rage 3.0.1 (Universal) for 47% Off--$15.95 Today Only

Media Rage is a collection of tools for audio enthusiasts. It can edit information stored in MP3, AAC, FLAC, BWF, and Ogg Vorbis audio files in an easy and powerful manner. Media Rage can assist you in cataloging, organizing, sorting, and updating thousands of audio files with ease.

Normally $29.95, Media Rage 3.0.1 (Universal) is offered for $15.95 today only--that's 47% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/27] Bryan, TX, iBook Program going Strong

Students, 925 of them, at Stephen F. Austin Middle School in Bryan, TX, have been using iBooks since last fall as members of the school districts technology immersion program. The pilot program is a multi-year experiment that has involved some 44 Texas schools where students and teachers at 22 schools received laptops and another 22 did not. Stephen F. Austin received the laptops for two years while Sam Rayburn Middle School did not. Now, Sam Rayburn Middle School will receive laptops because of the proven success of the technology immersion program. More...[Dana Baggett]

[3/26] Reminder: Live Webcast of Adobe Creative Suite 3 Launch is Tomorrow

Adobe will put on a special event to roll out the re-designed Creative Suite 3 that will run natively on Intel-based Macs. The event will be webcast live from New York City on March 27, 2007 at 12:30 pm PT (3:30 pm ET).

We posted the launch details last week. Look for the Adobe Creative Suite 3 details on tomorrow's edition of Macs Only!.We know that those of you who use all or parts of Adobe's Creative Suite will be very interested in this event. [Bill Fox]

[3/26] Reader Report--Sam's Club to carry all iPod Models and Apple TV

Reader John Keahey wrote that the membership discount warehouse Sam's Club will carry the full line of iPods, though perhaps not all colors. He also believes that the Apple TV will be available there too.

Here are the prices as he remembers them:

2G Shuffle..$ 78.xx
2G Nano....$138.xx
4G Nano....$189.xx
30G Video..$238.xx
80G Video..$338.xx

That's $1-11 less than the Apple Store. If the Apple TV comes there, it will be about $10 off the $299 price.

Some Sam's Clubs already have some iPods and the rest will have them on the first of April. They will be for "in-store" sale only and not online. [Bill Fox]

[3/26] Software Special Deal of the Day: Mellel 2.2 (Universal) for 41% Off--$29.00 Today Only

Mellel is a word processor for Mac OS X, with a special focus on writers, scholars, technical writing and multilingual word processing.

Normally $49.00, Mellel 2.2 (Universal) is offered for $29.00 today only--that's 41% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/26] AirPort Extreme 'n' Wi-Fi Kit for Intel-based Mac mini

QuickerTek has a 802.11n wireless networking solution for Apple Intel-based Mac mini owners. The user-installed Mac mini wireless upgrade includes the 802.11n wireless card, tools and illustrated installation manual--everything a user needs to complete the upgrade on their own. An Apple-compatible driver installer is also provided.

The wireless networking card is made to the same specifications as the Apple factory 'n' card and installs into the AirPort card slot, replacing the stock AirPort card. The 'n' wireless upgrade works with all 802.11/b/g/n Wi-Fi equipment including Apple AirPort, AirPort Extreme and the latest 802.11n version of AirPort Extreme.

Like most QuickerTek products, the Mac mini 802.11n wireless upgrade is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor. It's price is $180. [Bill Fox]

[3/26] From the Dark Side--Windows has Most Critical Flaws according to Symantec Study

In comparing Windows, Red Hat Linux and Mac OS X, a study by Symantec found that Windows has the most critical security holes, nearly one-third of 39 total security holes in the second six months of 2006. This is not surprising news to most of us. During the same time period, Mac OS X had one critical security flaw and Red Hat Linux had two. Probably because of practice through the sheer number of critical flaws, Microsoft was the fastest to fix them at 21 days on average. Red Hat Linux took 58 days and Mac OS X took 66 days. More...[Bill Fox]

[3/23] Techrestore posted First Apple TV Take-Apart Photos

At least, Techrestore's Apple TV take-apart photos are the first we know of. In the ensuing comments, Techrestore states that they plan to offer soon a larger hard disk drive upgrade to the standard 40GB drive. [Bill Fox]

[3/23] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

B&H Photo Video has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: 5.1 Surround Sound as well as Dolby Digital and Dolby Pro Logic support for your Mac with the FireWave system from Griffin Technology for only $59.95!; G-Drive Q 160GB eSATA external hard drive with FireWire 800/400 and USB 2.0 for only $188.95; LoJack for laptops (1-year subscription) from Computrance for only $49.95!; Creature 2 40-watt 3-piece speaker system from JBL for only $44.95!; Quicken 2007 from Intuit for only $69.95!; and much more.

GadgetLocker has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: iLuv portable iPod video/DVD player with a 7-inch active-matrix LCD screen for only $179!; JamPlug lets you play your guitar or bass in complete privacy from MacMice for only $19.95!; i-Dog iPod compatible speaker (pink) from Hasbro for only $23!; eVo3 silicone case for 30GB iPod from iSkin for only $25.99!; HomeDock Deluxe connects dockable iPod to your stereo & TV with remote from DLO for only $129!; hard-wire your iPod to your car stereo with iPod2Car car connection kit from Peripheral Electronics for only $125.99!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[3/23] Software Special Deal of the Day: Web Devil 6.4 (Universal) for 43% Off--$19.95 Today Only

Web Devil is a tool for downloading web sites for offline browsing, extracting web site content, helping to maintain web sites for content authors, and more. It also has filtering capabilities, so it only downloads what you want, and has a simple to use interface. Just enter a URL and it downloads the content with a single click. It contains several powerful tools for downloading and processing web content with ease, including an URL and e-mail extractor, batch URL downloader, incremental downloader, and more. You can also view web content directly within the app using the HTML and QuickTime viewer tools.

Normally $34.95, Web Devil 6.4 (Universal) is offered for $19.95 today only--that's 43% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/23] TurboTax Sales Flat while TaxCut shows Good Growth in Tax Software Battle

While Intuit's TurboTax is still the market leader, its sales have been flat for 2007, growing at only 1% over 2006, mostly in Web use. On the the other hand, both TaxCut and TaxAct have shown growth with TaxCut's sales increasing by a healthy 15%. This has been attributed to TaxCut being $10-15 less expensive and getting good reviews. So far TaxCut has worked great for us.

TaxCut returned to the Mac this year with a Mac OS X product. Last year, H&R Block did not release a Mac version of TaxCut. More... [Dana Baggett]

[3/23] Eos, a Digital Wireless Multi-room Audio System for iPod, is Shipping

[3/23] IntelliTouch announced Eos, the world's first digital wireless multi-room audio speaker system for iPod. Using breakthrough WiFi-friendly technology, the Eos system links up to four stereo wireless speakers, establishing interference-free CD sound quality (48Khz).  Eos' GigaWave technology employs error correction and a unique frequency hopping scheme for a real-world indoor range of up to 150 feet (50 meters) through walls, floors and ceilings. In open outdoor environments, Eos can broadcast in excess of 300 feet (100 meters).

 At the heart of the Eos system is an iPod docking base station/transmitter that features two high performance stereo drivers and a ported sub-woofer. The system features the added benefit of SRS WOW sound enhancement technology. SRS WOW improves the dynamic audio performance of compressed and uncompressed audio by expanding the size of the audio image and creating a deep, rich bass response. The attributes of the SRS WOW signal are broadcast to all the wireless stereo speakers linked to the base station/transmitter.

 Like the base station, the Eos wireless stereo speakers boast two high-performance stereo drivers and a ported subwoofer. The revolutionary design of the wireless stereo speaker features a removable, integrated power supply that allows the speaker to mount directly on a wall power outlet independently, without mounting brackets or other support. By removing the power supply from its cavity on the rear of the cabinet, the wireless stereo speaker can sit independently on a counter top or bookshelf.

The $299 Eos system comes in black or white and is simple to use. Just plug in the base station and the wireless stereo speaker and it instantly establishes a wireless audio link. To add more wireless stereo speakers at $149 each, just plug them into any power outlet and turn them on. Besides iPod audio, the Eos system also features an auxiliary input that allows you to broadcast audio from virtually any audio source from the Eos Base Station.

Eos is shipping now according to its Web site. [Bill Fox]

[3/23] Apple posted Apple TV Support Page

Apple has posted a support page for its now shipping Apple TV. Like the support pages for other Apple products, one can get a PDF of the manuals and check out the list of Apple Knowledge Base articles and the list of troubleshooting tips.

A 3-year AppleCare Protection Plan, an extended warranty, costs $49. [Bill Fox]

[3/22] Apple posted Details on WWDC 2007 Sessions and Labs

The details are now available on more than 100 sessions and labs planned for Apple's 2007 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) coming June 11-15. Packed with in-depth information, expert guidance from Apple engineers, and hands-on learning, this year's conference is all about helping you take full advantage of the exciting new possibilities of Mac OS X Leopard.

There will be three types of events:

  • Presentation sessions--Get the technical information you need to take advantage of the new technologies in Leopard.
  • Hands-on sessions--Bring your laptop to code along in practical "how-to" sessions with Apple engineers.
  • Hands-on labs--Work one-on-one with Apple engineers to refine your code and answer your questions.

Check out the sessions and labs on the WWDC Web site today.

[3/22] SpinPac debuts--Integrated Marketing Tools for Mac Developers

Spin Studio today announced SpinPac, the first truly integrated marketing solution designed especially for Mac industry developers and companies releasing new and updated products. SpinPac provides an invaluable set of eight essential marketing tools and initiatives that both help announce a new or updated product to Mac customers around the world, and draw attention to it. The result is much higher revenue generation potential for the developer or company. What's more, with SpinPac customers get expert execution and implementation from Mac industry expert and Apple Worldwide Developer Relations alumni, Ed Prasek, Spin Studio's founder and president.

"Our innovative SpinPac provides Mac industry developers and companies with the critical marketing initiatives and expert execution that Mac applications and products really need to get off the ground on the right foot and thrive in the marketplace," said Ed Prasek, president and founder of Spin Studio. "And we've succeeded in taking the mystery out of marketing. Our SpinPac customers will know right up front exactly what they're getting, and they'll get it at a very reasonable fixed price. That's a really big deal to tons of Mac industry developers and companies who need professional marketing execution around an important product launch or update."

SpinPac's integrated services include one-on-one product and marketing consultation; product press release preparation; Mac and Mac OS X Universal badging paperwork preparation and submission; badging implementation consultation; Apple Retail Store inclusion request preparation and submission; product submission to Apple's Mac OS X Downloads; product submission to Apple's Macintosh Products Guide; editorial product review request submissions; and finally, a 90-day product positioning, messaging, and branding refresh service.

The new SpinPac is available immediately worldwide directly from Spin Studio for only $2,495. [Bill Fox]

[3/22] Apple Pro Mac OS X Tip of the Week--Drop Text on the Dock Icon

Text can be highlighted and dragged and dropped on the icon of an application in the Dock for fast action. For example, doing so on Mail creates a new message with the text copied to it, same with TextEdit and doing so with Safari creates a Google search on the text. This works with any application that is a native (Cocoa) Mac OS X application.

Get other Apple Pro Tips of the Week from this Apple Web page. [Dana Baggett]

[3/22] Software Special Deal of the Day: Synergy 3.1.1b (Universal) for 36% Off--$4.50 Today Only

Synergy places three buttons to control iTunes in your menubar: previous track, next track, and play/pause; as well as providing you with visual feedback about the currently playing tune. The Synergy controls, together with the ability to control iTunes via system-wide Hot Key combinations, mean that Synergy provides the fastest way of skipping between songs when using the keyboard or the mouse; all this without having to switch to iTunes or accessing its Dock menu.

Normally $7.00, Synergy 3.1.1b (Universal) is offered for $4.50 today only--that's 36% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/22] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl, Windows on Macs and MicroNet

Tonight host Gene Steinberg chats with, Larry Seltzer, Security Center Editor, who will talk about the tragic fate of one domain name registrar and how you can avoid getting ripped off. You'll also hear from John Rizzo of, who will bring us up to date on the Mac OS 10.4.9 and the latest versions of applications that let you run Windows software on your Mac. In addition, Joe Trupiano, director of marketing for MicroNet, will deliver details on their network-based backup and storage systems.

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

[3/21] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla released Firefox, a Security Fix

Firefox with a security fix is available for download from this Mozilla Web page. The security fix is:

MFSA 2007-11 FTP PASV port-scanning

We downloaded and installed v2.0.0.3 and use it for several hours, encountering no difficulties. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[3/21] Apple TV is Shipping to Early Adopters

According to widespread reports, people who ordered Apple TV early are being informed that their orders are shipping with a delivery date as early as today. Using Apple TV one may watch movies, TV shows, movie trailers, podcasts, and photos streamed from your Mac to your widescreen, enhanced-definition or high-definition TV capable of 1080i, 720p, 576p, or 480p resolutions.

We have not ordered one to test because we do not have an enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen TV. [Bill Fox]

[3/21] Wine Lovers get Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of 2006 for your iPod

Each year, Wine Spectator senior editors survey the wines they have reviewed over the past twelve months and select the most exciting for the Top 100. This year, using Mogopop, these Top 100 Wines have been compiled into a portable, take-it-anywhere guide for iPod. Mogopop bills itself as the one-stop shop for creating, sharing and downloading interactive iPod content. The wine guide is free as is Mogopop Manager needed to download and load the file on an iPod.

We downloaded Mogopop Manager and Wine Spectator's Top 100. Then we used Mogopop to load it onto our iPod with video. The list ended up in our "Notes" section and will be a handy guide. [Bill Fox]

[3/21] OWC has 2GB RAM Modules and 3GB RAM Kits for C2D MacBook/Pros and iMacs

We received a note that OWC has a supply of 2GB RAM modules for Core 2 Duo MacBooks, MacBook Pros and iMacs for $259.99. If you have a 1GB RAM module, the 2GB module gives you 3GB of RAM, the maximum addressable. If you don't have a 1GB RAM module, OWC has a 3GB RAM kit for $339.99.

The RAM is easily user installable with a free online video installation guide and comes with a LIFETIME Advance Replacement Warranty. Consumers can also get Trade-in Rebates of up to $55 per module on their existing factory memory (PC5300 DDR2 SO-DIMM). [Bill Fox]

[3/20] Software Special Deal of the Day: SQLiteManager X 2.6.1 (Universal) for 49% Off--$24.95 Today Only

SQLiteManager allows you to open and work with sqlite 2.x, sqlite 3.x, in memory databases and REALSQL Server databases. It allows you to create and browse tables, views, triggers and indexes. It enables you to insert, delete and updates records in a very intuitive way and it supports your arbitrary SQL commands.

Normally $49.00, SQLiteManager X 2.6.1 (Universal) is offered for $24.95 today only--that's 49% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/21] Miglia released TVMini Express, an Inexpensive Mac TV Tuner and Software

Miglia Technology launched TVMini Express. This latest addition to the Miglia TV line of products, this small USB device transforms your Mac into a completely portable digital TV tuner and puts your recorded files directly onto your iPod.

"This is what Miglia is all about, award-winning TV technology in a tiny USB stick," said Eric Ferraz Miglia's CTO. "Watch digital terrestrial TV on your Mac, record it to your hard drive to watch later or export it to your iPod to get that TV-on-the-go experience."

TVMini Express's integrated digital TV tuner lets you enjoy a wide range of TV channels so there is something for everyone. Images are sharp and clean as you would expect from the latest digital technology, making your TV viewing all the more pleasurable. This is about fresh ideas, having fun and re-discovering TV on your Mac, or your iPod.

TVMini Express features Miglia’s new software which works in harmony with Miglia’s award winning hardware. TVMini Express is perfect for watching and recording TV and exporting to iPod. TVMini Express’s integrated digital TV tuner lets you enjoy a wide range of TV channels at home or whilst travelling. Full Freeview and TNT support makes the product a great choice for students and business travellers alike.

The key features of Miglia's TVMini Express are:

  • Watch and record all your favorite shows in superb digital quality
  • Great performance, crystal clear digital picture quality and perfect sound
  • Share shows with your iPod or iPhone for great TV on the go
  • Real-time display of what is playing on each TV channel
  • Two year warranty for total peace of mind

TVMini Express is available for $69. [Bill Fox]

[3/20] Adobe Creative Suite 3 Launch to be Webcast March 27

Adobe will put on a special event to roll out the company's highly-anticipated launch of the re-designed Creative Suite 3 that will run natively on Intel-based Macs. The event will be webcast live from New York City on March 27, 2007 at 12:30 pm PT (3:30 pm ET).

With the theme "Creative License," the event will showcase how the new Creative Suite 3 empowers customers to expand creative expression. Adobe executives Bruce Chizen (CEO), Shantanu Narayen (President and COO) and John Loiacono (Senior VP of Creative Solutions) will present Adobe's vision for creative markets and offer event guests and online viewers firsthand looks at the new product offerings.

"New York City, an international capital for design, advertising and media is the perfect backdrop to introduce Creative Suite 3, the largest launch in Adobe's 25-year history," said Mark Hilton, vice president of Creative Suites at Adobe. "We encourage our friends and colleagues from around the globe to sign onto the webcast and join us as we celebrate creative freedom and the beginning of a new era in engaging experiences."

Schedule of Events:

12:30 pm PT (3:30 pm ET)

  • Welcome Address - Bruce Chizen, CEO, Adobe
  • Vision for the Creative Market - Shantanu Narayen, President and COO, Adobe

12:45 pm PT (3:45 p.m. ET)

  • Adobe Creative Suite 3 Product Demonstration - John Loiacono, Senior Vice President of Creative Solutions, Adobe

We know that those of you who use all or parts of Adobe's Creative Suite will be very interested in this event. [Bill Fox]

[3/20] Eject Key "Delay" in Mac OS X 10.4.9 confirmed as Feature in Apple KB Article

We previously noted (3/15 and 3/16) that keystroke combinations that include the "eject" key like "option-command-eject" (sleep) and "control-eject" (restart-sleep-shutdown dialog box) have a slight "delay" in Mac OS X 10.4.9. The slight delay is actually a press-hold action rather than sharply striking the key. We commented that we thought it was a feature to prevent inadvertent actions rather than a bug as some claimed.

Apple posted this Knowledge Base article confirming that it is a feature of the "Eject" key under Mac OS X 10.4.9 to avoid inadvertent actions. [Dana Baggett]

[3/20] Software Special Deal of the Day: Listz 1.0.1 (Universal) for 40% Off--$23.95 Today Only

Listz Listz's deceptively simple interface makes it easy to assemble, explore, integrate, organize and search a broad spectrum of information types--text, images, urls, file links and QuickTime movies. List connoisseurs appreciate the extraordinary level of customization and personalization. Listz helps you get things done in style.

Normally $39.95, Listz 1.0.1 (Universal) is offered for $23.95 today only--that's 40% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/20] Mozilla begins Beta-Testing Firefox 2.0 Security Updates

Mozilla beta-tests its feature/fix updates to Firefox, Camino, SeaMonkey and Thunderbird so why not beta-test security updates too? Mozilla will do exactly that with v2.0.0.3 of their Firefox web browser according to People who participated in the beta-testing program for Firefox 2.0 will be offered an opportunity to beta-test v2.0.0.3 before it is released to the general public. [Dana Baggett]

[3/20] Micro Center mimics Apple Store Features for Survival

When Macs Only!'s global headquarters was located in Vienna, VA, we were near a terrific warehouse-style computer store called Micro Center, a chain based in Ohio. It had a Mac department that was far better than the competing CompUSA stores at their best, had very knowledgable sales people and was generally a better computer store in our opinion. San Diego has Frys and CompUSAs but no Micro Centers and soon no CompUSAs as part of the many nationwide closings.

Micro Center is bucking CompUSA's closing trend by opening new stores like its 20th in Patterson, New Jersey, as reported by How? Well, at least in part by copying the Apple Store formula with a "Knowledge Bar", "Knowledge Theater" and knowledgable sales people. Consumer Reports rated Micro Center right behind the Apple Stores in consumer satisfaction. [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]

[3/19] Mac OS X 10.4.9--How Fast is It? There is a Performance Improvement

Last week, Apple released Mac OS X 10.4.9 update (see our 3/14 edition) and we have now had a chance to test it extensively. The update, the first in five months, has many fixes and improvements, including new ATI and Nvidia graphics drivers.

Have the changes improved Mac OS X's performance? To find out we ran our standard set of speed tests to test the performance of Mac OS X 10.4.9 relative to that of Mac OS X 10.4.8 using our two Intel-based Macs:

(1) a 2.33GHz 15" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo with 2GB RAM and an ATI X1600 graphics card; and

(2) a 2.33GHz 24" iMac Core 2 Duo with 1GB RAM and an Nvidia GeForce 7600 GT graphics card.

The tests consist of four canned benchmark applications, five so-called real world tests and five 3D games. When we tested 10.4.8 back in October 2006, we dropped the Adobe Reader scrolling test due to significant inconsistencies in results using version 7.0.x of Adobe Reader. However, Adobe Reader 8.0 is a Universal Application, so we've begun using it again for reference with future tests and it is very fast on an Intel-based Mac.

Here are the results for the MacBook Pro C2D:

15" MacBook Pro C2D Speed Tests (average* scores or secs).
Test Mac OS X
Perf. Chg. %
Altivec Fractal 1.3+ (GFLOPS)
Cinebench 9.6 - Rendering (2X)
- OpenGL Hardware Lighting
Let1kWindowsBloom 1.0+ (sec)
Xbench 1.3 - CPU
- Threading
- Memory
- Quartz Graphics
- OpenGL Graphics
- User Interface Graphics
"Real World" Tests:
Startup (sec)
Shutdown (sec)
Dup. 500 MB Folder of Files (sec)
Scroll 144p Document (sec)
Export QT FQDV in iMovie HD 6.0.3 (sec)
3D Game Tests
Quake III Arena 1.32-Intel (frames/sec)
Halo 2.0 (frames/sec)
Call of Duty 1.5+ (frames/sec)
Doom 3 1.3A MQ (frames/sec)
Quake 4 MQ (frames/sec)
*Average of 3 runs. +Non-Universal. RedBlue is much faster.
is much slower.

There are two notable changes in performance (i.e. greater than 10%). First, the tests show that the OpenGL graphics performance on the MacBook Pro C2D's ATI graphics system is significantly improved in the benchmark application tests (Cinebench, Let1kWindowsBloom and Xbench), probably due to the new drivers. However, in reality there is only a marginal improvement in the speed (frame rate) of some of the five 3D games. The second notable performance change is that shutting down takes longer by a significant percentage but its only a second in reality so not meaningful.

Here are the results for the iMac C2D:

2.33GHz 24" iMac Core 2 Duo Speed Tests (average* scores or secs).
Test Mac OS X
Perf. Chg. %
Altivec Fractal 1.3+ (GFLOPS)
Cinebench 9.6 - Rendering (2X)
- OpenGL Hardware Lighting
Let1kWindowsBloom 1.0+ (sec)
Xbench 1.3 - CPU
- Threading
- Memory
- Quartz Graphics
- OpenGL Graphics
- User Interface Graphics
"Real World" Tests:
Startup (sec)
Shutdown (sec)
Dup. 500 MB Folder of Files (sec)
Export QT FQDV in iMovie HD 6.0.3 (sec)
3D Game Tests
Quake III Arena 1.32-Intel (frames/sec)
Halo 2.0 (frames/sec)
Call of Duty 1.5+ (frames/sec)
Doom 3 1.3A MQ (frames/sec)
Quake 4 MQ (frames/sec)
*Average of 3 runs. +Non-Universal. Red is much faster. Blue is much slower.

There is only one notable performance change in the iMac C2D with Nvidia graphics, the same increase in time to shutdown as seen in the MacBook Pro C2D test. This indicates that something may have been added to the shutdown sequence by 10.4.9 but in reality it is not significant.

In summary, we have used Mac OS X 10.4.9 on a wide range of Macs, both PowerPC-based and Intel-based, for nearly a week without finding any problems caused by the upgrade. This is a good thing because 10.4.9 is probably the last update, except for security updates, for Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4.x). In addition, it appears that the updated graphics drivers helped the graphics performance of our ATI-based MacBook Pro C2D but not our Nvidia-based iMac C2D.

We look forward to the release of Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" and testing its performance as we have with every release of Mac OS X since it inception. [Bill Fox]

[3/19] Software Special Deal of the Day: Trapper Keeper 1.01 (Universal) for 44% Off--$9.99 Today Only

Trapper Keeper is a light and accessible utility for managing your notes. Always available in the menu bar, if you've used Spotlight, you'll find it instantly familiar (as in instant results).

  • Revolutionary combined input/search field
  • Spotlight-like search system is intuitive and instantaneous
  • True syncing of your entries with multiple iPods
  • Text copied in any other program is instantly accessible
  • Password protect sensitive items
  • A quick-pick for all your notes is included to further protect your information
  • Instant paste of an entry into a background text field

Normally $18.00, Trapper Keeper 1.01 (Universal) is offered for $9.99 today only--that's 44% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/17] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple released iTunes 7.1.1

iTunes 7.1.1 is available for download via Software Update or as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,

iTunes 7.1.1 addresses a stability issue and minor compatibility problems in iTunes 7.1.

We downloaded and installed iTunes 7.1.1 via Software Update on a number of Macs, including: Mac mini Core Duo, iMac Core Duo, iMac Core 2 Duo, MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo, Power Mac G4 Cube and PowerBook G4. Then we launched the updated iTunes, accepted the new agreement and sync'ed our iPods. Several subscribed podcasts download and we played several along with several songs on our Macs and iPods. No difficulties were encountered. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[3/17] Apple offered to amend Employees' Stock Options to correct Errors and to pay the Difference

In a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Apple reported a tender offer to employees. The offer is to correct the date and value of stock options granted to employees with a date and value that is different from the date that the stock options were granted under Apple's 1997 Employee Stock Option Plan that meet these conditions:

(i) that had original exercise prices per share that were less than the fair market value per share of the common stock underlying the option on the date that the grant was finalized,

(ii) that were unvested, either in whole or in part, as of December 31, 2004,

(iii) that are outstanding as of the last date on which the Offer remains open for acceptance, and

(iv) that are held by individuals who are subject to taxation in the United States.

According to the SEC filing, employees will get a cash payment equal to the value of the adjustment for unvested shares, the options meeting these conditions have an aggregate fair value of $67,142 as of March 13, 2007, and none of the members of Apple's Board of Directors or its executive officers may participate in the offer.

[3/16] iTunes Store has Higher Education Courses and Lectures

To find the higher education courses and lectures, just launch iTunes, click on the iTunes Store, followed by clicks on "Podcasts" in the upper left listing, "Education" in the Categories list and finally "Higher Education" in the More Education list. Along with a smattering of private entries, there are courses and lectures from Oxford, Princeton, Yale, University of Chicago, UC Berkeley and many more prestigious colleges and universities. [Bill Fox]

[3/16] Battle of the Gaming Consoles, a Free Workshop on Wii vs X-Box 360 vs Playstation 3 this Saturday

For those interested in computer gaming, American InterContinental University (AIU) in Weston, FL, will host a "Battle of the Gaming Consoles" workshop, on Saturday, March 24 at 1 pm. The workshop features demonstrations from the three most popular modern consoles–the Wii, the X-Box 360 and the Playstation 3. Each console will be set up on high definition projectors in one large area for people to play, compare, contrast, debate and discuss.

This workshop is complimentary and open to everyone interested in learning about, promoting, and working in any area of game development. In addition to the hands-on console displays, trends in game design and critical skill sets for game developers will be discussed.

"With this workshop, AIU is providing a unique opportunity for attendees to delve deeper into today’s most popular gaming consoles to find out what really makes them tick," said Tom Takach, Dean for the School of Information Technology and program chair for the game design and development program at AIU South Florida. "Electronic game fans will find this workshop to be a real eye-opener to the opportunities that exist in the modern game design industry."

AIU offers a comprehensive approach to game design. Students can learn to create software and utilize game engines to produce and develop games. They also have the opportunity to learn various programming languages, modeling and animation skills, networking principles, and business and marketing approaches. Concentrations are available in game art and game programming. [Bill Fox]

[3/16] Software Special Deal of the Day: MiniBatteryLogger 1.6.3 (Universal) for 42% Off--$10.95 Today Only

MiniBatteryLogger monitors your battery. Its Chart shows the graph of charge and amperage over time. Power events are notified by Growl alerts, logged to file with time and date and listed in the Log. Monitoring sessions can be saved to disk for later analysis and managed from the sessions browser.

The Inspector shows every detail of your battery. A resettable timer counts the minutes spent on battery. You can share your battery data among MiniBatteryLogger users and compare your battery against the others.

Normally $19.00, MiniBatteryLogger 1.6.3 (Universal) is offered for $10.95 today only--that's 42% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/16] Cool Mac Software--Cocktail 3.7.5 Update for Mac OS X 10.4.9

Cocktail 3.7.5 is available for download via It's one of the best general purpose utilities for Mac OS X. The application simplifies the use of advanced UNIX functions, gives access to hidden Mac OS X settings and lets you easily optimize your system. What's new in Cocktail 3.7.5?

  • Added a startup routine that verifies and corrects ownership and permissions on "/private/tmp" and "/Library/Application Support" directories
  • Fixed a potential bug causing problems with font caches on Mac OS X 10.4.9
  • Fixed other minor compatibility issues with Mac OS X 10.4.9

We picked up a copy of Cocktail when it was the software special deal of the day. We downloaded and installed the new version on our Macs running Mac OS X 10.4.9, encountering no problems. [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]

[3/16] Podcasting with Journalist Guy Serle on Saturday at WAPi Monthly Meeting

Journalist Guy Serle, a regular contributor to Washington Apple Pi (WAPi) Journal in the past, will share his podcasting experiences at the March WAPi General Meeting on Saturday, March 24, at 9:30 am at Fairfax County's Luther Jackson Middle School's multi-purpose room. This presentation is of equal interest to PC users, as podcasts apply equally to both Macintosh and PC computer users.

"Podcasting is a great way to share information. The preparer who knows his/her subject matter can quite effectively present 'knowledge nuggets' in an easy listening format'" declared Pat Fauquet, Vice President for Programs. "We the consumer download and listen to the podcaster's wise or funny words when we have a few spare moments. This could be in the doctor's waiting room, at the drug store waiting for a prescription or using exercise equipment. The podcasts can fill our thirst for knowledge without a visit to your local public library for a book to read."

The meeting, open to the public, starts at 9:30 am at the Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road, Falls Church, VA, 22042. The session starts with traditional question and answer period, followed by break-out sessions with a class offered for each Mac user skill level . The group assembles again in the multi-purpose room for Guy Serle's podcasting presentation. The meeting concludes with club business and an auction of computer-related items. Members and guests are invited to join Washington Apple Pi leadership team and meeting speakers for informal (buy-your-own) lunch at a local restaurant to continue your fellowship and discussions.

WAPi is the metro Washington DC AMUG. [Bill Fox]

[3/16] Follow Up--Mac OS X 10.4.9 "Option-Command-Eject" Key Command "Delay" Confirmed

As a follow up to yesterday's article on the Control-Eject simultaneous keystroke sequence, the "Option-Command-Eject" simultaneous key sequence causes a Mac to quickly drop into sleep mode. In Mac OS X 10.4.9, it also takes a slight press-and-hold keystroke action (a slight "delay") to put our Macs into sleep mode.

The issue is not actually a "delay" with most Macs, it's a change in the nature of how the keys are pressed. We still think this is a feature since putting a Mac to sleep inadvertently can cause problems. [Bill Fox]

[3/15] Mac OS X 10.4.9 "Control-Eject" Key Command "Delay" Confirmed

One minor effect of applying the Mac OS X 10.4.9 update is that the sequence of simultaneously pressing the "control" and "eject" keys that brings up the Restart-Sleep-Cancel-Shutdown dialog box is slowed somewhat, i.e. the two keys have to be deliberately pressed and held for nearly a second to bring up the dialog box. We can confirm that this happens on all of our Macs with a Power Mac G5 requiring the longest hold.

While some may consider this delay to be a nuisance, quite frankly, we consider it to be a feature that prevents the inadvertent triggering of this action and shutting down the computer since shutdown is the default action.

We have had reports of a few other issues with 10.4.9, some simply requiring updated versions of third-party software (e.g. MainMenu and Keyword Assistant--Erik Darby), but we can not confirm them on our Macs. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[3/15] Software Special Deal of the Day: Kandalu X 4.04c.00 (Universal) for 38% Off--$14.95 Today Only

Kandalu X is a simple utility that makes transferring songs from an iPod to your computer quick and easy. It reads information from the iTunesDB file located on your iPod in order to quickly retrieve information on all of the songs on your iPod.

Normally $24.00, Kandalu X 4.04c.00 (Universal) is offered for $14.95 today only--that's 38% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/15] Tom Bihn released New MacBook/Pro Messenger Bag--The Ego

Distinguished by an interchangeable strip, the Ego is a mid-size messenger bag. On the front flap of the Ego is an interchangeable strip of fabric available in over 19 different colors and materials that allows you to customize the color combination of your bag.

Under the front flap, on both the right and the left, are YKK #8 Uretek "splash-proof" zippered pockets that are accessible with the flap open or closed. On top of these zippered pockets are two open-top wallet sized pockets. All zippered pockets on the Ego feature strong, easy-to-grab zipper pulls. On either side of the zippered pockets are small stretch-mesh pockets with an open top that are great for storing pens. Behind the zippered pockets is a large open pouch that spans the width of the bag and features organizer pockets for your pens, PDA, iPod, and wallet as well as a key snap for your keys on both the left and right sides of the pouch.

Behind the front flap and pouch is the zippered main compartment, so you don't have to un-buckle the main flap closure to access your laptop and other stuff. This large compartment closes with a #10 YKK Uretek "splash-proof" zipper and comes with removable Annex clips inside designed to secure the optional Horizontal Brain Cell hard-sided laptop case against the back panel of the bag. The Horizontal Brain Cell is available in eight different sizes and provides the ultimate in laptop protection with soft, thick foam padding, hard, corrugated plastic walls, and a suspension system.

We have several Tom Bihn bags and can confirm that they are very well made, highly utilitarian and they really last. [Bill Fox]

[3/15] Cool Mac Software--SMARTReporter 2.2.5 is Free

SMARTReporter can warn you of some ATA or SATA hard disk failures before they actually happen. It does so by periodically polling the S.M.A.R.T. status of your hard disk. S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) is a technology built into most modern hard disks that acts as an early warning system for pending drive problems.

What's new in v2.2.5:

  • Added ability to check for updates automatically
  • Added option to use red menu-icon when a disk is failing
  • Added new menu items: "Send Feedback…", "About SMARTReporter",
  • "Open ReadMe…", "Open FAQ…", "Open History…"
  • Added three new menu-icon-sets (thanks to Alex)
  • Added Japanese translation (thanks to jumpei suzuki)
  • Added check if SMARTReporter crashed with option to send me the details
  • Fixed the "Donate" option to point to an english page instead of a german one
  • Fixed a possible problem with strings not appearing in dialogs, leading to dialogs without text
  • Fixes for e-mail sending
  • Fixed a small memory leak
  • Also, the French, Spanish and Catalan editions were updated.

SMARTReporter 2.2.5, donationware by A. Julian Mayer, is available for download via [Dana Baggett]

[3/15] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--10.4.9 and Wi-Fi Security, Audio Books and Stone Works Software

Tonight host Gene Steinberg talks with security expert and Mac networking pioneer Alan Oppenheimer, of Open Door Networks, who will deliver a blunt reality check about all the security fixes in the Mac OS 10.4.9 upgrade, and the confusion over Wi-Fi security. In addition, author and commentator Kirk McElhearn will talk about audio books, why you should use AAC and other fascinating subjects. And, with a new version of his flagship Stone Works software suite out, Stone Design's Andrew Stone brings us up to date on the products and the history of the company. You can tune into the live Web broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]

[3/15] Get 80hrs of Music and 16hrs of Video from a 5G iPod with Video

NewerTech now has a slim external lithium polymer battery for the 5G iPod with video that they claim lasts for 80hrs of music and 16hrs of video for $49.99. The NuPower ViDEO+ weighs only 3.9oz and has an iPod dock connector for all iPod accessories. It works with 30GB, 60GB and 80GB models of the 5G iPod with video.

We have a Belkin battery pack of several AA-size batteries that we use with our 5G iPod with video on very long airline flights. It gets about the same time but it is much heavier and bulkier than the NuPower ViDEO+. [Bill Fox]

[3/14] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple released Mac OS X 10.4.9 Client and Server

Mac OS X 10.4.9 is out in client and server editions for Intel-based (Build 8P2137) and PowerPC-based (Build 8P135) Macs. The appropriate version is available for download and installation via Software Update or as a stand-alone file (as a delta or combo updater) from this Apple Web page. We recommend using the combo updater if a stand-alone file is used because it contains all of required updates to Mac OS X 10.4, even if it does take a bit longer to download.

Mac OS X 10.4.9 is a huge release and probably the last for Tiger. It has a long list of "...general operating system fixes, as well as specific fixes or compatibility updates for the following applications and technologies (Intel-based list):

- Application launch times
- RAW camera support
- Updated ATI and NVIDIA graphics drivers
- Handling of large or malformed images that could cause crashes
- Image capture performance
- Mouse scrolling and keyboard shortcuts
- Font handling
- Dashboard stability
- Playback quality, and bookmarks in DVD Player
- USB video conferencing cameras for use with iChat
- Bluetooth devices
- Browsing AFP servers
- Apple USB Modem
- Windows-created digital certificates
- Open and Print dialogs in applications that use Rosetta on Intel-based Macs
- Sharing using AFP, SMB/CIFS, NFS and FTP file sharing protocols
- Login and authentication in a variety of network environments
- Connecting to Cisco VPN servers using IP/Sec and NAT
- AirPort including connectivity to EAP-FAST networks
- Searching iWork ‘06 and Microsoft Office documents using Spotlight
- Viewing of QuickTime streaming media behind a firewall
- Audio playback in QuickTime, iTunes, Final Cut Pro, and Soundtrack applications
- Determining the space required to burn folders
- Synchronizing contacts, bookmarks, and calendars to .Mac and mobile phones
- Mounting and unmounting iDisk volumes
- Time zone and daylight saving for 2006 and 2007
- Security updates

The details of the security fixes, many identified by the Month of Apple Bugs Web site, are:

Viewing a maliciously-crafted image with an embedded ColorSync profile may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution--A stack buffer overflow exists in the handling of embedded ColorSync profiles. By enticing a user to open a maliciously-crafted image, an attacker can trigger the overflow, which may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of ColorSync profiles. Credit to Tom Ferris of Security-Protocols for reporting this issue.

Viewing a malformed PDF Document may lead to an application hang--CoreGraphics has been updated to address the issue described on the Month of Apple Bugs web site (MOAB-06-01-2007), which may lead to an application hang.

Crash Reporter may allow a local admin user to obtain system privileges--Crash Reporter uses an admin-writable system directory to store logs of processes that have been unexpectedly terminated. A malicious process running as an admin can cause these logs to be written to arbitrary files as root, which could result in the execution of commands with elevated privileges. This issue has been described on the Month of Apple Bugs web site (MOAB-28-01-2007). This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation prior to writing to log files.

Remote attackers may cause a denial of service during SSL negotiation--A partially-negotiated SSL connection with the CUPS service may prevent other requests from being served until the connection is closed. This update addresses the issue by implementing timeouts during SSL negotiation.

Mounting a maliciously-crafted disk image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution--A memory corruption vulnerability exists in diskimages-helper. By enticing a user to open a maliciously-crafted compressed disk image, an attacker could trigger this issue which may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of disk images.

Mounting a maliciously-crafted AppleSingleEncoding disk image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution--An integer overflow vulnerability exists in the handler for AppleSingleEncoding disk images. By enticing a local user to open a maliciously-crafted disk image, an attacker could trigger the overflow which may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of AppleSingleEncoding disk images.

Downloading a maliciously-crafted disk image may lead to an unexpected system shutdown or arbitrary code execution--Several vulnerabilities exist in the processing of disk images that may lead to an unexpected termination of system operations or arbitrary code execution. These have been described on the Month of Kernel Bugs and Month of Apple Bugs web sites (MOKB-03-11-2006, MOKB-20-11-2006, MOKB-21-11-2006, MOAB-10-01-2007, MOAB-11-01-2007 and MOAB-12-01-2007). Since a disk image may be automatically mounted when visiting web sites, this allows a malicious web site to cause a denial of service. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of downloaded disk images prior to mounting them.

Unprivileged LDAP users may be able to change the local root password--An implementation flaw in DirectoryService allows an unprivileged LDAP user to change the local root password. The authentication mechanism in DirectoryService has been fixed to address this issue.

Playing maliciously-crafted Flash content could allow an HTTP request splitting attack--Adobe Flash Player is updated to version to fix a potential vulnerability that could allow HTTP request splitting attacks. This issue is described as APSB06-18 on the Adobe web site at

Multiple vulnerabilities in GNU Tar, the most serious of which is arbitrary code execution--GNU Tar is updated from version 1.14 to 1.16.1. Further information is available via the GNU web site at

Removing a file from a maliciously-crafted mounted filesystem may lead to a denial of service--An HFS+ filesystem in a mounted disk image can be constructed to trigger a kernel panic when attempting to remove a file from a mounted filesystem. This has been described on the Month of Apple Bugs web site (MOAB-13-11-2006). This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of the HFS+ filesystem.

Console keyboard events are exposed to other users on the local system--Insufficient controls in the IOKit HID interface allow any logged in user to capture console keystrokes, including passwords and other sensitive information. This update addresses the issue by limiting HID device events to processes belonging to the current console user. Credit to Andrew Garber
of University of Victoria, Alex Harper, and Michael Evans for reporting this issue.

Viewing a maliciously-crafted GIF file may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution--An integer overflow vulnerability exists in the process of handling GIF files. By enticing a user to open a maliciously-crafted image, an attacker can trigger the overflow which may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of GIF files. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4. Credit to Tom Ferris of Security-Protocols for reporting this issue.

Viewing a maliciously-crafted RAW Image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution--A memory corruption issue exists in the process of handling RAW images. By enticing a user to open a maliciously-crafted image, an attacker can trigger the issue which may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of RAW images. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4. Credit to Luke Church of the Computer Laboratory, University of Cambridge, for reporting this issue.

Malicious local users may be able to cause a denial of service--Using the fpathconf() system call on certain file types will result in a kernel panic. This has been described on the Month of Kernel Bugs web site (MOKB-09-11-2006). This update addresses the issue through improved handling for all kernel defined file types. Credit to Ilja van Sprundel for reporting this issue.

Executing a maliciously-crafted Universal Mach-O binary may lead to an unexpected termination of system operations or arbitrary code execution with elevated privileges--An integer overflow vulnerability exists in the loading of Universal Mach-O binaries. This could allow a malicious local user to cause a kernel panic or to obtain system privileges. This has been described on the Month of Kernel Bugs web site (MOKB-26-11-2006). This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of Universal binaries.

Executing a maliciously-crafted program may lead to a system hang--The shared_region_make_private_np() system call allows a program to request a large allocation of kernel memory. This could allow a malicious local user to cause a system hang. This issue does not allow an integer overflow to occur, and it cannot lead to arbitrary code execution. This issue has been described on the Month of Kernel Bugs web site (MOKB-28-11-2006). This update addresses the issue by additional validation of the arguments passed to shared_region_make_private_np().

Multiple vulnerabilities in MySQL, the most serious of which is arbitrary code execution--MySQL is updated from version 4.1.13 to 4.1.22. Further information is available via the MySQL web site at

Malicious local users may be able to cause an unexpected termination of system operations or execute arbitrary code with elevated privileges--A memory corruption issue exists in the AppleTalk protocol handler. This could allow a malicious local user to cause a kernel panic or gain system privileges. This has been described on the Month of Kernel Bugs web site (MOKB-27-11-2006). This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of the input data structures.

Maliciously-crafted AppleTalk requests may lead to a local denial of service or arbitrary code execution--A heap buffer overflow vulnerability exists in the AppleTalk protocol handler. By sending a maliciously-crafted request, a local user can trigger the overflow which may lead to a denial of service or arbitrary code execution. This has been described on the Month of Apple Bugs web site (MOAB-14-01-2007). This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of the input data.

A remote attacker can destroy established trust between SSH hosts by causing SSH Keys to be regenerated--SSH keys are created on a server when the first SSH connection is established. An attacker connecting to the server before SSH has finished creating the keys could force the keys then to be recreated. This could result in a denial of service against processes that rely on a trust relationship with the server. Systems that already have SSH enabled and have rebooted at least once are not vulnerable to this issue. This issue is addressed by improving the SSH key generation process. This issue is specific to the Apple implementation of OpenSSH. Credit to Jeff McCune of The Ohio State University for reporting this issue.

Multiple vulnerabilities in OpenSSH, the most serious of which is arbitrary code execution--OpenSSH is updated to version 4.5. Further information is available via the OpenSSH web site at http://

An unprivileged local user can overwrite arbitrary files with system privileges--Insecure file operations may occur during the initialization of a USB printer. An attacker may leverage this issue to create or overwrite arbitrary files on the system. This update addresses the issue by improving the printer initialization process.

Opening a maliciously-crafted PICT image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution--A heap buffer overflow vulnerability exists in QuickDraw's PICT image processing. By enticing a user to open a maliciously-crafted image, an attacker can trigger the overflow which may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of PICT files. Credit to Tom Ferris of Security-Protocols and Mike Price of McAfee AVERT Labs for reporting this issue.

Opening a malformed PICT image may lead to an unexpected application termination--QuickDraw Manager has been updated to address the issue described on the Month of Apple Bugs web site (MOAB-23-01-2007), which may lead to an unexpected application termination. This issue does not lead to arbitrary code execution.

Remote attackers may be able to access Server Manager without valid credentials--An issue in Server Manager's validation of authentication credentials could allow a remote attacker to alter the system configuration. This update addresses the issue by additional validation of authentication credentials.

A user with write access to an SMB share may be able to cause a denial of service or arbitrary code execution--A stack buffer overflow vulnerability exists in an Apple-specific Samba module. A file with an overly-long ACL could trigger the overflow, which may lead to a denial of service or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of ACLs. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4. Credit to Cameron Kay of Massey University, New Zealand for reporting this issue.

Opening a maliciously-crafted Software Update Catalog file may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution--A format string vulnerability exists in the Software Update application. By enticing a user to download and open a Software Update Catalog file, an attacker can trigger the vulnerability which may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This has been described on the Month of Apple Bugs web site (MOAB-24-01-2007). This update addresses the issue by removing document bindings for Software Update Catalogs. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4. Credit to Kevin Finisterre of DigitalMunition for reporting this issue.

A local user with sudo access to a bash script can run arbitrary commands with elevated privileges--A user-modified sudo configuration could allow environment variables to be passed through to the program running as a privileged user. If sudo is configured to allow an otherwise unprivileged user to execute a given bash script with elevated privileges, the user may be able to execute arbitrary code with elevated privileges. Systems with the default sudo configuration are not vulnerable to this issue. This issue has been addressed by updating sudo to 1.6.8p12. Further information is available via the sudo web site at

A remote attacker can conduct cross-site scripting attacks through Blojsom--A cross-site scripting vulnerability exists in Blojsom. This allows remote attackers to inject JavaScript into blog content that will execute in the domain of the Blojsom server. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of the user input. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4.

We downloaded and installed Mac OS X 10.4.9 client and server via Software Update on numerous Macs including: Mac mini Core Duo, iMac Core Duo, iMac Core 2 Duo, MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo, Power Mac G4 Cube and PowerBook G4. Only one minor glitch appeared during all of the installations--an AppleScript error message popped up during installation on the MacBook Pro C2D. We did not notice if it occurred during the installation of Mac OS X 10.4.9 or iPhoto 6.0.6 which were installed together on all Macs. In any case, after a reboot no issue was immediately apparent.

No Mac double booted but it took from 45 seconds to nearly 2 minutes at the gray screen with the "gear" spinning during the initial restart. Subsequent restarts were very fast.

Through modest use of the primary applications on many of the Macs, no issues surfaced. Look for our longer term usage comments in a future article. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[3/14] Apple released Security Update 2007-003 for Mac OS X 10.3.9 Client and Server

Apple released Security Update 2007 for Mac OS X 10.3.9 client and server editions. They are available for download via Software Update or as stand-alone files from this Apple Web page. The update contains many of the security fixes included with 10.4.9 noted in the preceding article.

We do not have a Mac running Mac OS X 10.3.9 so we cannot test it for you. [Bill Fox]

[3/14] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple released iPhoto 6.0.6

iPhoto 6.0.6 is available for download via Software Update or as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page. According to the Read Me file,

This update to iPhoto addresses issues associated with EXIF data compatibility and Photocasting.

Here are the details on the security fix:

Subscribing to a maliciously-crafted photocast may lead to arbitrary code execution--A format string vulnerability exists in iPhoto. By enticing a user to subscribe to a maliciously-crafted photocast, a remote attacker can trigger the vulnerability which may lead to arbitrary code execution. This has been described on the Month of Apple Bugs web site (MOAB-04-01-2007). This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation while handling photocast subscriptions. Credit to Kevin Finisterre of DigitalMunition for reporting this issue.

We downloaded and installed iPhoto 6.0.6 along with Mac OS X 10.4.9 without issue on the same Macs as noted above. Afterwards, we launched iPhoto and viewed a number of our stored photos with no problem. No update of the iPhoto database was performed. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[3/14] Software Special Deal of the Day: GolfXPress 2.14 (Universal) for 34% Off--$19.95 Today Only

GolfXPress is a game that helps you play better golf by keeping track of your performance.

Normally $30.00, GolfXPress 2.14 (Universal) is offered for $19.95 today only--that's 34% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/14] Miglia's Response to Elgato Terminating Miglia's EyeTV License

On Monday, Elgato Systems issued a terse press release stating that,

" has terminated the licensing agreement for EyeTV software with Miglia Technology, Ltd. Miglia can no longer ship, sell or advertise TV Tuner solutions bundled with Elgato's EyeTV software...."

Miglia's CEO Simon Ellson responded Tuesday in a press release as,

The licence agreement between Miglia and the software supplier for EyeTV has not been renewed, Miglia will no longer ship products that contain this application in its TV solutions.

Customers that use this application with their Miglia TV product should have no concerns about ongoing support or upgrades, for updated information, please check the support section of our site.

Miglia has, over recent years developed possibly the broadest line of TV devices available for the Mac platform. These products are not simply rebranded from the Windows space, they are created packaged and designed for the Mac, that development work continues with many new and exciting products due for release in the next year. From time to time we have chosen to bundle other manufacturers software with our own hardware where it has been appropriate, this policy will continue.

To our current customers, we thank you for your support, to our future customers we promise the same quality of experience you would expect from a Mac focussed Company such as ours.

Simon Ellson

Neither company has stated the reasons why Miglia's EyeTV license was terminated or not renewed. [Bill Fox]

[3/14] Follow Up--Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard in Apple Design Awards

Yesterday, we noted that the first category for this year's Apple Design Awards is "Best Mac OS X Leopard Application" but Leopard has not yet been released with nominations due shortly on April 23rd. Several readers suggested that we not hold our breath waiting for Leopard. Another reader pointed out that the contest rules state, "Entries in this category may be pre-release versions." Okay, okay...we are not good tea-leaf readers. [Bill Fox]

[3/14] Follow Up--Quicky Jr. is a "g" Wi-Fi Device

Readers pointed out an apparent discrepancy between the information we gleaned from a QuickerTek press release in Monday's article on the new Quicky Jr. and the QuickerTek Web site. QuickerTek responded to our query that the $99 Quicky Jr. Wi-Fi booster is indeed a "g" device and works on "n" networks that have been set up as "g" compatible. We updated the article accordingly. [Bill Fox]

[3/13] Mac OS X 10.5 'Leopard' coming out soon? Could be!

Apple just announced its 2007 Design Awards program (see article below) and one of the categories is "Best Mac OS X Leopard Application." The nominations have to be in by April 23rd, indicating that Leopard could be released very soon.

While developers who are members of Apple's Developer Connection have had several builds of Leopard since last August's 2006 Worldwide Developers Conference, Leopard has not been released in final giving them precious little time to perfect their applications even if Leopard were released today. Perhaps, it is a misprint? Or is Leopard coming out very soon? We'll see if Apple revises the Web page soon. [Bill Fox]

[3/13] Apple opened nominations for 2007 Apple Design Awards

The nominations are open. Apple's Design Awards recognize technical excellence and outstanding achievement in software design and development for Mac OS X. The awards program is now in it's 12th year with the opening of nominations. They must be in by April 23, 2007.

An Apple Design Award is given for each of seven categories:

Best Mac OS X Leopard Application
Best Mac OS X User Experience
Best Mac OS X Developer Tool
Best Mac OS X Game
Best Mac OS X Scientific Computing Solution
Best Mac OS X Dashboard Widget
Best Student Application

The winner's prize consists of the special inscribed cube shown above and two fully loaded, top-of-the-line, 15-inch Mac Book Pro laptop computers, two Apple 30-inch Cinema Displays, one ADC Premier Membership, a WWDC 2007 ticket, travel and accommodations. The Apple Design Awards will be presented during an evening event at the Worldwide Developers Conference this June.

Developers vying for the first category award have their work cut out for themselves since Leopard (Mac OS X 10.5) has not even been released yet! The program's details are available from this Apple Web page. [Bill Fox; image courtesy of Apple, Inc.]

[3/13] Software Special Deal of the Day: Luxor 2 1.0 (Universal) for 35% Off--$12.95 Today Only

Luxor 2... The much anticipated sequel to the #1 casual game of 2005, Luxor 2 sets the new standard for action-puzzlers.Luxor 2 It still offers the addictive and easy-to-learn, yet difficult to master game play which made the award-winning Luxor franchise such a smash hit, while taking the game to a completely new level.

Luxor 2 takes you on a beautiful voyage through the land of ancient Egypt. Play 88 all-new, gorgeously rendered levels of brilliantly displayed crisp and stunning graphics set amongst the pyramids and temples of ancient Egypt. Use your mystical winged scarab to shoot and destroy the approaching magical spheres before they reach the pyramids at the end of their path. And to help you shoot down those enemy spheres, Luxor 2 features more explosive power-ups than ever before.

Normally $19.95, Luxor 2 1.0 (Universal) is offered for $12.95 today only--that's 47% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/13] AssistiveWare previewing New Versions of its Mac Software at Disabilities Conference, March 19-24

AssistiveWare has new versions of KeyStrokes, SwitchXS, LayoutKitchen and VisioVoice and they will be previewed at the CSUN International Technology & Persons with Disabilities Conference, March 19-24 in Los Angeles, USA.

The California State University Northridge (CSUN) International Technology and Persons with Disabilities Conference is the largest conference on assistive technology in North America with visitors from all over the world. AssistiveWare and it's North American distributor, Origin Instruments Corporation, will use this occasion to preview major new versions of AssistiveWare's software for Mac OS X:

  • A new version of KeyStrokes on-screen keyboard, now with fully editable keyboards.
  • A new version of SwitchXS switch access solution, now Universal Binary.
  • A new version of LayoutKitchen panel editor, now with many new effort-saving features and a full set of colorful symbols to design communication panels, keyboards and scan panels.
  • A new version of VisioVoice for blind and vision impaired users, now with enhanced VoiceOver compatibility and speech feedback while typing in any application.

The software will be previewed at CSUN in the Origin Instruments booth. Additionally, David Niemeijer, AssistiveWare's CTO will, together with well-known Assistive Technology trainer Scott Marfilius, hold a full day pre-conference session on creating multimedia on the Mac without mouse and keyboard. For details on this event, see this AssistiveWare Web page.

A new issue of the AssistiveWare Newsletter, a newsletter written by Mac users who cannot use a mouse and/or keyboard and that explores the frontiers of assistive technology, is available. [Bill Fox]

[3/13] Free HELIOS Xtar Backup Tool--Make Bootable Mac Backups

HELIOS Software GmbH has released for free download a Mac Intel compatible version of its backup tool HELIOS Xtar.

As a leading developer of cross-platform networking, PDF, and image server solutions, HELIOS Software is able to ensure reliable transfers of Mac meta data (Finder and resource information) between different platforms. Now HELIOS passes on its accumulated development experience to the Open Source community in the form of the free Xtar tool, which is basically the UNIX "tar" program extended by HELIOS to include full Mac OS X (PPC/Intel) compatibility.

HELIOS Xtar for Mac (PPC/Intel) stores each HFS file as a double file in the standard "tar" format. Unicode file names as well as all meta data, including creation and modification date, are preserved. During the restore with Xtar to an HFS volume, the Finder and resource information are written into a valid HFS file. In doing so, all Mac OS X specific meta data are preserved so that volumes are bootable after the restore.

More information on the deployment of Xtar and other HELIOS products can be found on the HELIOS Web site. [Bill Fox]

[3/13] Aspyr Media shipping Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 Soaked! (Universal) for Mac

Aspyr Media, Inc. is shipping RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 Soaked! for Macintosh. RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Soaked! licensed from Atari Interactive, Inc., is the first expansion pack for RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 and was developed for Mac by Aspyr Studios.

RollerCoaster Tycoon 3: Soaked! brings a whole new range of options to the RollerCoaster Tycoon 3 series as players select from more than 50 new rides and coasters, and use the all-new Swimming Pool and Waterfall Designers to easily create shimmering pools, waterfalls, whirlpools and wave machines.

Get ready for an entirely new RollerCoaster Tycoon experience… it's wet, wild and totally soaked! For the first time, run your own water park--and ride all the rides--with this expansion to RollerCoaster Tycoon 3. Celebrate summer as hundreds of peeps (that's RollerCoaster Tycoon talk for 'guests') catch rays and waves with an amazing lineup of super-splash flume rides, massive water slides, aquatic shows, beaches and more. Blast peeps with water cannons, build them outrageous coasters, and wow 'em with laser light shows! Get drenched with this splashy summertime addition to one of the biggest games of the year. [Bill Fox]

[3/13] Make a Flash Drive Boot Drive--Instructions by Ted Landau

We just discovered that the venerable Mac troubleshooter Ted Landau posted a Web page on his blog that describes how to make a boot drive from a 1GB (minimum) flash (or thumb) drive. Repair/recovery applications can be added to make the flash drive an indispensable all-around troubleshooting/fixing tool. The fairly simple steps are located on this Web page. Ted Landau founded and has authored several books on troubleshooting Macs. [Bill Fox]

[3/13] Seagate released First Fast 7200-RPM 160GB 2.5" Hard Drive

Seagate Technology released world's first 7200-RPM 2.5" hard drive to combine capacity-boosting perpendicular recording technology with free-fall protection for beefed-up laptop durability. Momentus 7200.2 delivers up to 160GB of capacity using perpendicular recording technology and combines a fast Serial ATA 3.0 Gbit/second interface with 7200-RPM spin speed to enable the highest performance laptops ever. The hard drive is also offered with an optional free-fall sensor to help prevent drive damage and data loss upon impact if a laptop is dropped. The sensor works by detecting any changes in acceleration equal to the force of gravity, then parking the head off the disc to prevent contact with the platter in a free fall of as little as 8 inches.

The entire Momentus series is built tough to withstand up to 900 Gs of non-operating shock and 350 Gs of operating shock to protect drive data, making them ideal for systems that are subject to rough handling or high levels of vibration. The hard drives are also lean on power consumption, allowing notebook users to work longer between battery charges, and are virtually inaudible thanks to Seagate's innovative SoftSonic fluid-dynamic bearing motors and QuietStep ramp load technology.

Our 15" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo has an optional 5400-RPM 160GB hard drive built by Hitachi. Our backup external FireWire 800 drive is a Seagate 5400-RPM 160GB hard drive. Both are slower than the new Seagate Momentus 7200.2 drive. [Bill Fox]

[3/12] [Updated] Quicky Jr Antenna boosts Wi-Fi Reception Inexpensively

QuickerTek has created a high-performance yet cost-effective Wi-Fi solution for Apple computer users. Quicky Jr extends the popularity of the Quicky USB wireless boosters at less than half the cost. Quicky Jr easily extends the wireless speed and range of any Mac with built in wireless for only $99.95 USD, freeing users to compute anywhere they like.

Quicky Jr solves the two eternal problems of wireless, range and speed, without disassembling the computer for installation. Quicky Jr, like the original Quicky, uses the USB port for wireless amplification and as a power source. No drivers or other extra steps get in the way of enjoying wireless at speeds normally only available to 802.11g network connections - 54mbs (megabits per second).

Not only does the Quicky Jr amplify wireless signals in and out of the computer, but two included antennas are supplied to match to your specific wireless environment. A 2dBi antenna gives you the wide wireless dispersal area coverage while the 5dBi antenna extends out vertically to beat the multi-floor wireless blues. These antennas simply screw onto the Quicky Jr so changing them out is fast and easy and lets you reach out to those weak signals no matter where you might travel or virtually any office or home layout.

Quicky Jr. works with all 802.11/b/g/n Wi-Fi equipment including Apple AirPort, AirPort Extreme and the latest 802.11n version of AirPort Extreme introduced at Macworld Expo. [Update: According to QuickerTek, Quicky Jr. works on those "n" networks set up for "b/g" compatibility.] Quicky Jr. eliminates any worry or apprehension that prevents some Mac users from the joys of high speed wireless. Compatibility: MacBooks, MacBook Pros, iMacs, Power Macs, PowerBooks and Mac Mini.

Quicky Jr. at $99.95 is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor. [Bill Fox]

[3/12] Software Special of the Day: iBiz 3.1 (Universal) for 30% Off--$34.95 Today Only

iBiz is the premier time-billing and invoicing application for Mac OS X. If you need to track time, mileage or work that you do for clients then iBiz 3 will become an indispensable piece of software for your freelance work or small business. iBiz offers iCal and Address Book synchronization, automatic time tracking, customizable invoice templates and much more. For those that have a network of computers, you can use the networking version of iBiz to track work for multiple employees. If your business grows, iBiz Server/Client will let you expand, seamlessly.

Normally $49.99, iBiz 3.1 (Universal) is offered for $34.95 today only--that's 47% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/12] Pangea Software released PanoPreviewer 2.0

Pangea Software announced the immediate availability of their popular PanoPreviewer plug-in for Photoshop. Version 2.0 is now Universal Binary and compatible with Photoshop CS2 and CS3.

PanoPreviewer, only available for Mac OS X, allows panoramic photographers to instantly preview their equirectangular images as VR panoramas (an "equirectangular" image is a 360 degree panorama that has been unwrapped into a 2D image - like a map of the Earth unwrapped into a poster). Normally when editing an equirectangular image the photographer is constantly exporting the file and then manually loading it into some external viewer, but with PanoPreviewer the tedium of that process has been completely eliminated. Unlike many other VR panorama viewers which use either QuicktimeVR or Java to view the images, PanoPreviewer does all of its rendering using hardware accelerated OpenGL. The result is a VR panorama that is fast and smooth even when displayed full-screen.

Previous versions of PanoPreviewer were freeware, but the new 2.0 version costs $19.95. The plug-in can be downloaded and tried out for free in demo mode by visiting the Pangea Software web site. [Bill Fox]

[3/12] iSync Support for Samsung Cell Phones

nova media updated its iSync phone plugins to version 3.3.9. For the first time, the new version features iSync support for Samsung E250 and D500 phones as well as for Sony Ericsson K550i and W880i devices.

iSync synchronizes data from Address Book and iCal with a mobile phone and is part of Mac OS X 10.4.7 and higher. The iSync phone plugins extend the number of mobile phones which could be used with iSync.

"As far as I know, nobody else has offered iSync support for Samsung phones before and nobody should have to wait for the next Mac OS X system update to use their latest mobile phone with iSync." states jan Fuellemann, PR spokesperson at nova media. "We are happy to support more than 60 additional mobile phones with our iSync phone plugins."

The nova media phone plugin is available for download at nova media's
Web site for Euro 9,95 plus VAT. This price includes free updates for one year beginning with the date of purchase.

iSync phone plugins require Mac OS X 10.4.7 or higher and iSync 2.3 or higher. [Bill Fox]

[3/9] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple released AirPort Extreme Update 2007-002 for Intel Macs

AirPort Extreme Update 2007-002 is available for download via Software Update on all Intel-based Macs or as a stand-alone updater from this Apple Web page. According to Apple.

This update is recommended for all Intel-based Macintosh computers and improves compatibility with AirPort Extreme base stations and networks.

This update includes the content from the AirPort Extreme Update 2007-001, and addresses a security issue.

This update also improves compatibility for the MacBook Core 2 Duo and the MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo when using certain third-party access points configured to use WEP Open System security.

Here are the details of the security fix:

Attackers on the wireless network may cause system crashes--An out-of-bounds memory read may occur while handling wireless frames. An attacker in local proximity may be able to trigger a system crash by sending a maliciously-crafted frame to an affected system. This issue affects the Core Duo version of Mac mini, MacBook, and MacBook Pro computers equipped with wireless. Other systems, including the Core 2 Duo versions are not affected. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of wireless frames. Credit to LMH for reporting this issue.

Apple tries to explain further:

The security fix described above (CVE-2006-6292) was originally released in AirPort Extreme Update 2007-001. The identical fix is also present in AirPort Extreme Update 2007-002, which contains an additional non-security fix for a compatibility issue when using certain third-party access points configured to use WEP. Systems which installed AirPort Extreme Update 2007-001 are correctly patched for CVE-2006-6292. Installing AirPort Extreme Update 2007-002 is recommended to obtain the additional compatibility fix. Affected systems that have not yet applied AirPort Extreme Update 2007-001 should apply AirPort Extreme Update 2007-002.

We recommend that every Intel-based Mac user download and install the update to ensure that their Mac has both the security fix and the WEP compatibility fix.

We downloaded the update via Software update and installed it on a Mac mini Core Duo, iMac Core Duo, iMac Core 2 Duo and MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo with no problems. Our AirPort reception for each measured the same before and after the update using the menu icon, Internet Connect and iStumbler 98. We use Apple's AirPort Extreme and Express Base Stations with WPA/WPA2 security so we could not check the WEP fix. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[3/9] Software Special of the Day: Caboodle 1.1 (Universal) for 47% Off--$7.95 Today Only

Everyone comes across information that they want to refer to later. Maybe gifts you've received or sent, product serial numbers, recipes, directions to someone's house, a photo of your pet, or anything else. Caboodle is a tool to help store and organize such varied bits of information.

You can arrange the items in an outline-like hierarchy, and include both structured fields and free-form text and pictures in each entry, along with web links, lists, tables, PDFs, and any other kind of file as attachments.

When you create a new entry within an existing one, the custom fields are inherited, allowing quickly creating content in an organized fashion. But you can also add or remove custom fields independently for each entry.

Entries can be encrypted to hide your most sensitive information. They can also be searched, and the Services menu is supported to quickly add or output an entry. Caboodle also supports import and export in several formats.

Normally $14.95, Caboodle 1.1 (Universal) is offered for $7.95 today only--that's 47% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/9] 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: ShuttlePRO 2 multi-button multimedia control device from Contour Design for only $79.99!; watch and record TV on your Mac with Evolution TV from Miglia Tech for only $69.99!; JBL Spyro multimedia speaker system with subwoofer and two flower-shaped satellite speakers for only $129.99; and much more.

Sweetwater Sound has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: control your beats with the Alesis Control Pad USB/MIDI controller with two switch pedals inputs for only $199.97!; TASCAM MP-GT1 MP3 player/guitar trainer w/variable speed audition, pitch control and looping functions - plus you get a built-in tuner and more for only $199.97!; MOTU 8pre - FireWire audio interface with 8 pre-amps for only $549.97!; get the world's most popular soft synth - Reason 3 from Propellerheads for only $399.97!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[3/9] Mac Pro Hard Disk Sleds from TransIntl--$29

Trans International announced the availability of The Pro Sled , a Mac Pro hard disk drive sled that is a must have accessory in any high volume production setup. Power users need drives ready for easy exchange and replacement. The Pro Sled gives you the capability of unlimited swappable drives for your Mac Pro. Drives can be assigned and labeled for different clients, projects or backup. In a high volume, professional setting it is easier to avoid misplaced data and over written files when each client or project is assigned their own hard drive. Once mounted on the Pro Sled you can swap them, store them or take them with you - they will plug directly into the Mac Pro main logic board. No power or data cables required. A true convenience and improvement for the power user.

The Pro Sled with drive mounting screws sells for $29 for one, $49 for two and $89 for four. [Bill Fox]

[3/9] Daylight Savings Time Starts Sunday AM--Keep your Mac's Time Correct

Daylight Savings Time(DST) starts Sunday AM, three weeks earlier than in recent history thanks to the U.S., Canadian and other governments. If you are running the latest version of Mac OS X "Tiger", i.e. 10.4.8, your Mac should automatically adjust its system clock for the hour change forward in the U.S. and Canada. If you are running an earlier version of Tiger like 10.4.4 and earlier (why?) or Panther or live or work outside the U.S. and Canada, you can download a DST updater from this Apple Web page for Tiger (10.4.x) or Panther (10.3.x). Apple recommends that everyone install these updaters regardless of the time zone or version to be sure.

In addition, Java for Mac OS X needs to be up-to-date, i.e. Release 5 for 10.4.x and Update 5 for 10.3.x.

If you are running Mac OS X 10.0-10.2.8 or Mac OS 9.2 and earlier, deselect the automatic time/date or DST options in System Preferences or the Date and Time control panel respectively and set the time manually. There may be unofficial scripts out there but it's not a big deal to change the time manually. [Bill Fox]

[3/9] Science on your Mac--Get your Requirements to Apple

According to a note on,

" along with it's sister organizations and will be participating in our yearly Tri-Cameral meeting Apple Computer in Cupertino this April 4th and 5th. One of the primary goals of these meetings is to relay directly to Apple product managers and engineers the issues, requests and needs that scientists using Apple products have on the platform. Aside from filing feature/bug requests, this is one of the most effective means of getting the requests of scientists to those responsible for the various products at Apple."

"The meetings cover a wide range of topics (to be determined). We are soliciting your feedback to help set the meeting track schedule, prioritize topics and identify areas that might be of particular concern for scientists on the platform."

There is a link on the MacResearch Web page to fill out a form to provide your feedback (registration required). [Bill Fox]

[3/9] From the Dark Side--Joys of Vista come with Plenty of Pain for PC Users

At least, that is what the BBC Business Editor believes. First, he had to upgrade the graphics card in his 4-yr old Dell Dimension 8200 and he found that most do not as yet have Vista drivers. Next, instead of the advertised 20 minutes, it took him 3.5 hours to upgrade from Windows XP. Then, it took him a day to get his internet settings right so that he could go online. When finally online he found that his sound card was a no go and that it would never get Vista support. Finally, he needed more RAM of the type used in his Dell which was very difficult to find.

His pain didn't end there as he found that his webcam from Philips wouldn't work and neither did his Dell Axim X5 Pocket PC and neither ever would. He also endured crashes. Would he do it again. He answered with a resounding "NO!" More...

Aren't you glad you use a Mac? We are. Our Vista installation in Parallels Desktop for Mac was quick and painless. [Bill Fox]

[3/8] Adobe to release New Photoshop CS3 Extended Edition

Adobe chose the Photo Marketing Association show in Las Vegas to reveal that it will expand its digital imaging product line by offering two editions of Photoshop CS3. In addition to Photoshop CS3 software for designers and professional photographers, Adobe will also deliver Photoshop CS3 Extended, a completely new edition of Photoshop which allows cross-media creative professionals to stretch the limits of digital imaging. Photoshop CS3 Extended includes everything in Photoshop CS3 plus a new set of capabilities for integration of 3-D and motion graphics, image measurement and analysis. Photoshop CS3 Extended also simplifies the workflow for professionals in architecture, engineering, medical and science.

With Photoshop CS3 Extended, film, video and multimedia professionals, and graphic and web designers can leverage the power of the Photoshop image-editing toolset and paint engine when editing 3D and motion-based content. Film and video specialists can perform 3-D model visualization and texture editing, paint and clone over multiple video frames. Animators can now render and incorporate rich 3-D content into their 2-D compositions. Graphic and web designers can create an animation from a series of images - such as time series data - and export it to a wide variety of formats, including QuickTime, MPEG-4 and Adobe Flash Video.

"We never imagined that Photoshop would someday help make major motion pictures, let alone save lives," said John Loiacono, senior vice president of the Creative Solutions Business Unit at Adobe. "Whether it's a video producer texture editing the backdrop of a movie or a researcher counting hundreds of cancer cells, diverse industries are already relying on the professional standard in digital imaging."

Both Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop CS3 Extended software will be formally introduced on March 27, 2007 - as part of the company's launch of Creative Suite 3, where further details will be disclosed. The software is expected to ship in Spring 2007. For more info, check this Adobe Web page. [Bill Fox]

[3/8] Software Special of the Day: Montage 1.2.1 (Universal) for 30% Off--$98.00 Today Only

Montage is a screenwriting software that allows everyday people to take those movie ideas they have and make them a reality. Melding the theory that a simple user interface, combined with powerful and intuitive features, provide the best writing experience, Montage makes it easy to create, edit, and manage screenplays on your Macintosh. From the ability to import Final Draft documents, to using custom, pre-formatted templates for film, TV, and theater, Montage guides both the first time screenwriter or the seasoned veteran, from start to finish.

But Montage doesn't stop there. Once your masterpiece is complete, Montage allows you to submit, track, and send your query, synopsis, and scripts to hundreds of included industry contacts through Montage's integration with Apple's Address Book.

Normally $139.95, Montage 1.2.1 (Universal) is offered for $98.00 today only--that's 30% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/8] Brief Hands-On Report--Parallels Desktop for Mac 2.5 Build 3188 is Out

Parallels Desktop for Mac 2.5 Build 3188 is available for download from this Parallels Web page and, at least theoretically, via Check for updates in the application. But we have Build 3186 and, for some reason, the Check for updates menu reported that our Desktop for Mac is up to date.

We couldn't find out what has been changed but we downloaded the stand-alone updater anyway. We follow this procedure for a so far trouble-free installation:

1. Use the Uninstaller in the opened .dmg file to uninstall Desktop for Mac Build 3186.

2. Run the Installer to install Build 3188.

3. Launch each virtual machine in sequence (we have Windows XP SP2 and Vista Ultimate.

4. The Parallels Tools installer pops up so run it. If it doesn't automatically appear (this time it did for both of our virtual machines), select "Install Parallels Tools" from the Action menu. When done, restart the virtual machine.

5. Run Windows Update.

We did this for both virtual machines and they were updated flawlessly. Both ran without a hitch. [Bill Fox]

[3/8] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla released Camino 1.0.4

Camino 1.0.4 is the latest stable release of the Mac OS X native Web browser from Mozilla. It is available for download from this Mozilla Web page. According to Mozilla, the changes and improvements in 1.0.4 vs 1.0.3 are:

  • Fixed several critical security and stability issues, including those fixed in version of the Mozilla Gecko rendering engine.
  • Sheets will now close as expected on Intel-based Macs.
  • Upgraded the the bundled Java Embedding Plugin to version 0.9.6.
  • Added support for importing iCab 3 bookmarks.
  • Improved the handling of Internet Explorer .url shortcut files.
  • The text of certain security dialogs now contains "Camino" instead of "(null)".
  • Camino will now make a backup copy of the bookmarks file when it launches if the file is not corrupt.
  • Camino will automatically restore bookmarks from a backup when it launches if they are unreadable.
  • Further improved ad-blocking.

We downloaded and installed v1.0.4 over the 1.1b1 that we were using. WARNING, there is a bug in 1.1b1 that occasionally trashes the bookmark file--this happened to us once yesterday but the backup copy was fine. Using beta software is risky. After replacing 1.1b1 with 1.0.4, we encountered no problems surfing the Web. [Bill Fox]

[3/8] Essentials for Adobe Photoshop Elements is Out

Essentials for Adobe Photoshop Elements is a new product from onOne Software. This new software suite includes technology from onOne Software's highly acclaimed Intellihance Pro, Mask Pro, PhotoFrame Pro, and Genuine Fractals software products fine-tuned specifically for Adobe Photoshop Elements. onOne Software is accepting pre-orders now and will begin shipping Essentials for Adobe Photoshop Elements the first week of April 2007.

"For years, users of Adobe Photoshop have come to rely on our full suite of Photoshop plug-ins to enhance and improve their digital images," said Craig Keudell, president of onOne Software. "Now, with the introduction of Essentials for Adobe Photoshop Elements, onOne Software is able to bring the benefits of our plug-ins to an even wider range of digital imaging enthusiasts."

onOne Software's new Essentials for Adobe Photoshop Elements software suite provides users of the popular Photoshop Elements image editing and organizing software with four important plug-in solutions to solve common digital imaging problems. With Essentials for Adobe Photoshop Elements, users can easily correct the color of their photos using technology from Intellihance Pro, cut out and separate foreground and background objects using Mask Pro, add a unique border and edge around their photos using technology from PhotoFrame Pro and increase the size and resolution of their photos to get a larger print size by using technology from Genuine Fractals, the industry standard for resizing digital photos.

Essentials for Adobe Photoshop Elements supports Adobe Photoshop Elements 4 for Macintosh. onOne Software's Essentials for Adobe Photoshop Elements is available for $59.95. [Dana Baggett]

[3/8] Free PhotoPresets for Adobe Lightroom by Jack Davis

onOne Software, Inc., announced the availability of a new, and free, product developed in cooperation with Jack Davis, author of the best-selling How to Wow with Photoshop book series. The new product, PhotoPresets for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software, are a collection of 20 custom presets developed by Jack Davis that allow photographers who use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom to instantly apply various adjustment settings when importing photos into Adobe Photoshop Lightroom or at any time within the Library or Develop modules of the software program.

"As a creative professional who understands the necessity of producing beautiful work, delivered on-time and on-budget, I am always looking for better tools and easier ways to work with Adobe Photoshop and it's related software products," said Photographer, Author and Photoshop Hall-of-Famer Jack Davis. "I feel fortunate to have teamed up with the great OnOne Software gang to bring you these custom Wow Presets for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom that I believe will not only save every digital photographer both time and effort, but also help them instantly create work with that extra 'Wow Factor'."

PhotoPresets for Adobe Photoshop Lightroom are free of charge and are immediately available from this onOne Software Web page. [Dana Baggett]

[3/8] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--Smart Household Gadgets, AirPort "n" Upgrades and Dr. Mac on AirPort Extreme "n" Base Station

On this week's all-star episode, host Gene Steinberg will interview Steve "Mr. Gadget" Kruschen who will provide a different slant on cool technology, as he devotes the first part of his presentation to smart household gadgets. Don't you worry, as he'll also talk about great new electronics too.

If you have one of the first-generation Intel-based Macs, and you were left out of the built-in higher-speed Wi-Fi card, which supports the new 802.11n that's a part of Apple's newest AirPort Extreme, Rick Estes of QuickerTek might have the solution for you.

You'll also hear about the latest and greatest Mac stuff from our own staff announcer, prolific author Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus, who will present his first review of the AirPort Extreme.

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

[3/7] Samsung ships World's First Hybrid Hard Drive--Coming to the MacBook Pro?

Samsung Electronics Ltd. is now shipping its hybrid hard drive to the commercial marketplace. Samsung’s MH80 Series hybrid hard drive is offered in 80GB, 120GB and 160GB capacities and is currently shipping to select OEM customers and will soon be available in retail and commercial outlets.

Samsung's MH80 is a 2.5-inch hybrid hard drive with 128 or 256 megabytes of flash memory, combining a hard disk drive with a OneNAND Flash cache. The MH80 hybrid hard drive preserves the high densities of magnetic storage technology, while the advanced NAND flash technology enhances the overall value with lowered power consumption, higher reliability and faster read/write access than traditional hard drives. The MH80 features Samsung's ReadyBoot technology that offers up to a 50 percent reduction in boot and resume times from traditional magnetic media technology. In addition, the drive consumes 70-90 percent less power than a traditional hard drive, which extends the battery life by 30 minutes before a recharge is needed.

The MH80 also offers up to five times the reliability of traditional notebook hard drives. As the drive's platters are idle 99 percent of the time, the MH80 eliminates the need for the hard disk to constantly spin whenever a computer is operating on battery power. As a result, the drive is much less susceptible to shock damage, resulting in less data loss and fewer needed repairs. Furthermore, the drive operates at a lower temperature than a regular hard drive, reducing the likelihood of damage and hard drive failure.

Since Apple has a large financial stake in Samsung and gets its flash RAM for iPod nanos and shuffles from the company, we hope to see these hybrid drives in future MacBook Pro and MacBook models. [Bill Fox]

[3/7] Software Special of the Day: WebYep 1.1.13 (Universal) for 44% Off--$19.99 Today Only

WebYep is a compact Web Content Management System for extremely simple creation of editable web pages. It is a low priced alternative for small to medium web sites.

WebYep focuses on web designers that concentrate on design and don't want to adopt PHP or deep HTML skills to simply make some pages (of a maybe already existing website) editable.

WebYep uses reduced functionality on the user (editor) side, keeping the web designer in control and removing the load of complex content administration from the user - editing web content with WebYep can truly be done by everyone!

Normally $35.52, WebYep 1.1.13 (Universal) is offered for $19.99 today only--that's 44% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/7] MacShield Universal--Maximum Hard Drive Content Protection

MacShield Universal from Centurion Technologies is designed to clear unwanted changes such as downloads or deletions, system setting changes, and even many installed programs. When the user restarts the computer, all of the changes disappear, and the computer is restored to its original configuration. A "Persistent Storage" space can be set upon installation, where users can save documents, emails, and other information, which remains unharmed every time the computer is restarted. The software also allows the user to work with Parallels Desktop for Mac and Apple Boot Camp, letting the user run both Mac and Windows while still protecting the computer.

MacShield Universal operates as a buffer zone, allowing the computer user to experiment without penalty or permanency. Changes are written to the temporary zone instead of the hard drive, therefore the system files will never be modified. Additionally, although viruses are not a major concern in the Macintosh platform, users have an extra layer of security that no future malware will penetrate the system hard drive. The software also protects the user from making accidental permanent changes to the hard drive. If a program is accidentally deleted, it will reappear on the computer when it is rebooted.

MacShield Universal is compatible with Mac OS X.3 and above. It can be purchased directly from Centurion Technologies or from any of the company's distributors and resellers for $69.00. Multi-unit and educational pricing is available. [Bill Fox]

[3/7] Respect Our Earth goes Gold--Educational Games for Ages 5-10

The MonkeyByte development team and their publishing partners at announced the impending release of their all new NoteNiks Respect Our Earth games CDs. This collection of games teaches children (ages 5-10) the importance of protecting our earth and being ecologically mindful of the limited natural resources.

Each of the 8 games focuses on specific lessons that include recycling, smart energy usage, protecting endangered species--and much more--all wrapped around fun and age-appropriate gameplay.

Special features include:

  • Curriculum Included: ROE comes to you wrapped in a 19 page supplemental curriculum.
  • Editable & Printable Certificates: ROE is the first NoteNiks games CD to offer editable certificates that allow parents, teachers, and kids to print and share their game play successes.
  • Built-in Web Browser: ROE extends its' reach on to the Internet by offering a built-in web browser that connects parents and teachers with regular updates, support tools, interactive forums, and registration information.

The NoteNiks: Respect Our Earth games CD will cost $19.95. MonkeyByte posted a free demo on this Web page. [Bill Fox]

[3/7] Keyspan enhanced TuneView Remote for iPod--New Firmware is Out

Keyspan updated the firmware of its new iPod accessory, TuneView, a powerful wireless remote that lets you browse and fully control your Apple iPod. Added features include faster scrolling, ability to search titles by first-letter and improved wake-from-sleep performance.

"Unlike other iPod remotes, TuneView can be updated by connecting it to the USB port on a PC or Mac and loading new firmware onto the remote," explained Keyspan president Mike Ridenhour. "This provides a way to easily add new functionality to the remote."

TuneView has an MSRP of $179. The firmware update is available for download from this Keyspan Web page. [Bill Fox]

[3/7] MacworldEncore--Macworld 2007 Presentations available on Web and DVD

Soma Media and IDG World Expo announced the release of MacworldEncore, the first suite of products enabling people to purchase Macworld Conference & Expo presentations online and on DVD-ROM.

"Soma Media's Conference Encore product recreates the educational sessions from Macworld Expo's various conference programs with extremely high quality," said Paul Kent, Macworld Conference & Expo Vice President. "Now, both attendees who want to revisit what they learned at the event, and Mac users around the world who want to experience the world class technical content presented at the show, can enhance their Mac skills from the comfort of their Mac, TV or iPod."

The first MacworldEncore DVD-ROM set features more than 80 presentations from January's Conference and Expo in San Francisco. Each presentation includes full-screen PowerPoint slides, live demos and synchronized audio, searchable speaker bios and abstracts, and iPod and iPod video compatibility. The MacworldEncore Online product features the same content and functionality, but further enables people to download presentations individually and immediately from the Web. The cost for individual presentations ranges between $5 and $30, and the DVD-ROM set costs $299.

Both the DVD-ROM and the web versions are now available for purchase from this Web site. For a limited time, MacworldEncore is offering a $5 coupon that can be used to download presentations online. (Google Checkout coupon code: macworldencore$5off) [Bill Fox]

[3/7] Wednesday Humor--Apple launches iLaunch

A satirical article on a mythical product that does one of the things Apple does best--launch new products--was posted last night to The article by The Onion describes an Apple Event launching the iLaunch, a $12,000 "hype-generating mechanism with fully integrated Mac compatibility," that launches new products automatically. Steve Jobs signature "one more thing" is that the iLaunch actually created the iLaunch's launch.

Not so satirical is the final sentence of the spoof,

"Shortly after Jobs' address, Microsoft announced that they are working on a similar product, the Launch-O, due to debut in 2009."

More... [Dana Baggett]

[3/6] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple released QuickTime 7.1.5

QuickTime 7.1.5 is available for download via Software Update or as a stand-alone updater from this Apple Web page. According to the ReadMe file:

QuickTime 7.1.5 delivers numerous bug fixes and addresses critical security issues. This update is recommended for all QuickTime 7 users.

There are seven security fixes involving the Mac OS X and Widows versions of QuickTime and one involving only the Windows version. Here are the Mac details:

CVE-2007-0712--Viewing a maliciously-crafted MIDI file may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution.
Description: A heap buffer overflow exists in QuickTime'shandling of MIDI files. By enticing a user to open a malicious MIDI file, an attacker can trigger the overflow, which may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of MIDI files. Credit to Mike Price of McAfee AVERT Labs for reporting this issue.

CVE-2007-0713--Viewing a maliciously-crafted Quicktime movie file may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution.
Description: A heap buffer overflow exists in QuickTime's handling of QuickTime movie files. By enticing a user to access a maliciously-crafted movie, an attacker can trigger the overflow, which may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of QuickTime movies. Credit to Mike Price of McAfee AVERT Labs, Piotr Bania, and Artur Ogloza (Czestochowa, Poland) for reporting this issue.

CVE-2007-0714--Viewing a maliciously-crafted Quicktime movie file may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution.
Description: An integer overflow exists in QuickTime's handlingof UDTA atoms in movie files. By enticing a user to access a maliciously-crafted movie, an attacker can trigger the overflow, which may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of QuickTime movies. Credit to Sowhat of Nevis Labs, and an anonymous researcher working with TippingPoint and the Zero Day Initiative for reporting this issue.

CVE-2007-0715--Viewing a maliciously-crafted PICT file may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution.
Description: A heap buffer overflow exists in QuickTime's handling of PICT files. By enticing a user to open a malicious PICT image file an attacker can trigger the overflow, which may lead to arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of PICT files. Credit to Mike Price of McAfee AVERT Labs for reporting this issue.

CVE-2007-0716--Opening a maliciously-crafted QTIF file may lead to an
application crash or arbitrary code execution.
Description: A stack buffer overflow exists in QuickTime's handling of QTIF files. By enticing a user to access a maliciously-crafted QTIF file, an attacker can trigger the overflow, which may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of QTIF files. Credit to Mike Price of McAfee AVERT Labs for reporting this issue.

CVE-2007-0717--Opening a maliciously-crafted QTIF file may lead to an
application crash or arbitrary code execution
Description: An integer overflow exists in QuickTime's handling of QTIF files. By enticing a user to access a maliciously-crafted QTIF file, an attacker can trigger the overflow, which may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of QTIF files. Credit to Mike Price of McAfee AVERT Labs for reporting this issue.

CVE-2007-0718--Opening a maliciously-crafted QTIF file may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution
Description: A heap buffer overflow exists in QuickTime's handling of QTIF files. By enticing a user to access a maliciously-crafted QTIF file, an attacker can trigger the overflow, which may lead to an application crash or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of QTIF files. Credit to Ruben Santamarta working with the iDefense Vulnerability Contributor Program, and JJ Reyes for reporting this issue.

We downloaded QuickTime 7.1.5 via Software Update and installed it on numerous Macs including: iMac Core Duo, iMac Core 2 Duo, Mac mini Core Duo, Power Mac G4 Cube and PowerBook G4 with no problems. We ran movie trailers on all Macs and did not encounter any issues. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[3/6] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple released iTunes 7.1

iTunes 7.1 is available for download via Software Update and as a stand-alone updater from this Apple Web page. According to the ReadMe file,

iTunes 7.1 adds support for the Apple TV and also supports a new full screen Cover Flow and improved sorting options.

Using iTunes 7.1, you can now enjoy your favorite iTunes movies, TV shows, music, and more from the comfort of your living room with Apple TV. iTunes 7.1 also supports a new full screen Cover Flow and improved sorting options to let you decide how iTunes should sort your favorite artists, albums, and songs.

We downloaded iTunes 7.1 via Software Update and installed it on numerous Macs including: iMac Core Duo, iMac Core 2 Duo, Mac mini Core Duo, Power Mac G4 Cube and PowerBook G4 with no problems. It updated our music/video/podcast files according to a dialog box following the install. We accessed the iTunes Store, played music, played videos and updated our iPods and did not encounter any issues. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

[3/6] Software Special of the Day: Mail Factory 2.5 (Universal) for 40% Off--$23.95 Today Only

Mail Factory is a program for designing and printing envelopes, postcards, address and shipping labels on your Macintosh. It integrates with virtually all databases including Mac OS X Address Book, MS Entourage, Now Contact and FileMaker Pro. The application has embedded databases for editing and storing addresses.

Mail Factory features a lot of ready-made label, envelope, postcard designs and various effects for images, including masks, opacity control, shadow effects. Its flexible merge printing functionality is tailored for mass mailing needs. You can print on labels from most popular companies, such as Avery, APLI, A-One, and more, or use it with your DYMO (LabelWriter-series), Seiko (SLP-series) and Brother (QL-series) printers.

Previously, we have favorably reviewed Mail Factory v1.4.

Normally $39.95, Mail Factory 2.5 (Universal) is offered for $23.95 today only--that's 40% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/6] Adobe Creative Suite 3 To Be Announced March 27th

Well, the wait for Adobe to release an Intel-native version of its major products for the Mac (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Dreamweaver etc.) is nearly over! Adobe has confirmed to Macs Only! that Adobe Creative Suite 3 will be announced on Tuesday, March 27, 2007. The company will celebrate the launch at an event in New York City that will be webcast live at 12:30 p.m. PT (3:30 p.m. ET). During the webcast, Adobe will reveal the features and suite configurations that make this the largest software release in Adobe's 25 year history. The details on how to view the webcast will be available later this week.

Adobe also told Macs Only! that while they are announcing Creative Suite 3 on March 27th, the software will not actually ship until sometime later in the spring of 2007. Stay tuned! [Bill Fox]

[3/6] KavaSoft released Shoebox 1.7 (Universal)--Organize your photos by content

KavaSoft announced Shoebox 1.7, the professional Mac application for organizing digital photos by content. Shoebox 1.7 features a brand new, more intuitive way to display and edit a photo's categories.

Shoebox lets you organize your photos into categories according to dates, people, places and things. Looking for that photo of a yellow butterfly you took last year? Just type "yellow butterfly" and Shoebox finds it for you instantly. It even tells you when and where you took it. Looking for other photos of insects? Shoebox is intelligent and knows that a butterfly is an insect: type "insects" and the same yellow butterfly will show up among the results.

Shoebox 1.7 now displays categories in the toolbar, reducing window clutter. Categorizing photos is now as easy as addressing a message in Mail. Just type the first few letters of the category's name, and Shoebox will present a popup menu with all matching categories.

Shoebox 1.7 features new display options for working with photos more efficiently than ever. You can now breeze through slideshows using the scroll wheel. Shoebox 1.7 also features additional optimizations for multiprocessor Macs.

Shoebox is optimized for the needs of media professionals with large photo libraries. It lets you store your photos anywhere, even on external hard disks or CD/DVDs. Shoebox allows you to keep a compressed version of the high-resolution original on your hard disk so you can work while traveling.

Shoebox helps you archive large collections by letting you burn photos directly to CD/DVD. It keeps track of which photos have been archived, so you can back up your large collection over time.

Shoebox can import photos from iPhoto and Cumulus, and play a slideshow of photos as you download them from your digital camera. Slideshows are optimized for dual displays, with thumbnails on one screen and the slideshow on the other.

Shoebox is a universal binary, and is available in English, French, German, Dutch and Japanese. Shoebox integrates with Spotlight in Mac OS X Tiger, and is compatible with the upcoming Mac OS X Leopard.

Take a tour of Shoebox and try Shoebox for free. Shoebox comes in two versions: Shoebox Pro ($79.99) for digital media professionals, and Shoebox Express ($29.99) for home users with up to 10,000 photos. You can purchase Shoebox online using PayPal or Kagi. [Bill Fox]

[3/6] From the Dark Side--Gates to testify on Boosting America's Competitiveness

Ah yes, the founder, Chairman of the Board and then CEO of the firm found guilty of illegal monopolistic activities will tell our Congress this week how to increase America's competitiveness. His main suggestion will be to increase the number of temporary H1-b visas that allow non-citizens to come to the U.S. to work in American businesses. He claims this is necessary because the U.S. does not produce enough scientists and engineers. Well, Mr. Gates, have you heard of the theory of supply and demand? How about raising the salaries of scientists and engineers to create more demand among U.S. students to go into the field? But we really wonder if his suggestions will also include repeal of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act that Microsoft keeps running afoul of while trying to stay competitive. [Dana Baggett and Bill Fox]

[3/5] Hands-On Review--Keyspan Cordless VoIP Phone VP-24A

We have several relatives and friends who live in Spain and Panama and whom we call regularly and occasionally for lengthy periods. The cost of using a normal land line can inadvertently and easily add up to $300 or so a month, even with special rates. So we have been using Skype, a voice over internet protocol (VoIP) service for quite some time with our iMac to make those calls. At 2.1 cents per minute to Spain and 10.7 cents per minute to Panama, our international long distance phone bill rarely tops $30 per month, a huge saving.

Our current 24" iMac Core 2 Duo with built-in microphone and speakers works great with Skype via our cable internet and the calls are usually as loud and clear as with a land line. The only issue is that one has to sit at the iMac to make and receive calls and we occasionally miss an incoming call because no one is near enough to notice it ringing. The solution is a wireless VoIP handset.

Keyspan, one of the first companies to make USB devices for the Mac after USB was introduced, markets the VP-24A Cordless VoIP Phone (image courtesy of Keyspan)with an MSRP of $79. The VP-24A works via Skype software and services on your Mac. In the box is the VP-24A handset, USB radio receiver, 3 small AAA-size NiMH rechargeable batteries, a USB charging cable, CD with driver and guide and a printed quickstart guide.

The silver plastic handset itself is small and light, easily carried in a shirt pocket. It measures 4.6" tall, 2" wide and 1" thick. It weighs only 3.25oz, much of that from the three AAA batteries. The LCD screen is 128x64 pixels in black on white with a blue backlight.


Setting up the handset was easy. First, download and install the Skype software and set up a Skype account. We had already done this step but Skype for the Mac is very easy to set up and use these days. Then, install the VP-24A's driver (v1.1.3 is the latest) and user guide off the Keyspan CD. Three rechargeable NiMH batteries went into the handset and an included USB cable between the handset and Mac charged them fully. Finally, the USB receiver was plugged into the Mac, a button on it was pressed to pair it with the handset and the sound output was set to the handset in the Sound pane of System Preferences.


Using Keyspan's VP-24A Cordless VoIP Phone was also very easy since it works very much like a standard cell phone but via Skype. To turn the handset on, we pressed and held the red "phone" key for 3 seconds. To place a call, we pressed the "C" button, used the arrow keys to scroll through the phone numbers stored as contacts in Skype displayed on the handset's screen and then pressed the green "phone" key to place the call. One may also use the numeric keys to directly enter a phone number.

We made calls from throughout our two-floor building. Keyspan's VP-24A handset worked great everywhere on both floors through walls up to about 40-50' away. Approaching 60', the people we called complained of poor reception of our voice signal. Keyspan claims up to 30m but even so, we got as good a reception distance as with any other Wi-Fi device in our building.

Keyspan's VP-24A handset uses 2.4GHz Wi-Fi (channel 36) to communicate between the handset and receiver, the same Wi-Fi radio band that our AirPort Extreme and Express Base Stations use for the wireless network in the same building. We noticed no effect on our wireless network.


In summary, Keyspan's VP-24A Cordless VoIP Phone is attractive, small but not too small and easy to setup and use. Our only complaint is that the screen's font is on the small size and a little dim for our aging eyes. Still, it works great with Skype on our iMac C2D over a cable modem. The Skype VoIP software for Mac and service has come a long way and it's now a terrific and economical way to make voice calls across the nation and around the world. The Skype software is free as is calling anybody anywhere on their computer. Calling any land line or cell phone in the U.S. and Canada costs only $29.95 per year and international rates start at 2.1 cents per minute. Keyspan's handset makes it easy to use Skype well away from your Mac. [Bill Fox]

[3/5] Software Special of the Day: PulpMotion 1.0.5 (Universal) for 40% Off--$17.95 Today Only

Create fun animations with all your (i)Life: music, photos AND your videos... no one's left over not even the iSight! From stately to funky, from captivating to comical, choose your style to impress your audience. It's nice to share...and it's easy too:

  • Send video postcards or screensavers by email
  • Podcast your video animation using Garageband
  • Put your animation onto an iPod
  • Publish your animation to a webpage using iWeb
  • Or export your animations for further editing in iMovie or Final Cut.

PulpMotion is the software your photos and videos have been waiting for! Forget the long hours spent editing and the tedious adjustments. It's all done for you: Simply drag and drop your preferred photos, movies and music, apply a visual theme from the PulpMotion theme menu... and you're done! 3 minutes. Wow!

Normally $29.95, PulpMotion 1.0.5 (Universal) is offered for $17.95 today only--that's 40% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/5] Observing Macs in Action--Creative Hair Fashions, Brunswick, ME

When our New England Editor recently stepped into his wife's hair salon, Creative Hair Fashions of Brunswick, ME, to pick her up after an appointment, he discovered, much to his pleasure, that the young lady at the front desk was using a 15" iMac circa 2003 to make appointments for customers. He asked her, the proprietor's daughter, about it and she said matter-of-factly that she had "always used a Mac."

He asked her if she was using a proprietary scheduling program or possibly something she had adapted? "Oh no," she replied. She was using iCal. It came with her iMac and she didn't have to make any changes to it. It just worked.

Only on a Mac. [Dana Baggett]

[3/5] Apple Tutorial Posted--Mac 101: Get started with a Mac

Apple recently posted a nice set of six tutorials collectively entitled Mac 101. It is a companion to the Switch 101 tutorials for those who recently switched from Windows to a Mac. Mac 101 is for those who are new to computers or simply need a refresher course on how to get the most out of their Mac.

Here are the featured tutorials:

Give me the grand tour of the Mac interface--Find out what's what, what's where, and what things do what. These starter courses show you where things are located and how to get around your Mac.

Get me working and playing--Ready to email, surf Safari, groove to some tunes, or get an iLife? These courses introduce you to some of your computer's applications and how to use them. Plus, learn some basic Mac tasks, including installing and updating software, ejecting media, and creating accounts.

Show me how to set up my Mac for me--Make your Mac work the way you want. This section focuses on the more personal side of your Mac. Learn how to customize your interface's look and feel, set preferences, change sound volume, and more.

Connect your peripherals or get on the Internet--Got a treasure trove of digital devices? Want to print, download photos, or connect to the web? Learn how to connect your printer, modem, scanner, digital camera, DV camera, iPod, external drive, and other devices to your Mac, and find out how to use them with it.

My Mac needs help--For those times when things don't go as planned, this section will help you troubleshoot common issues and show you some maintenance tips to keep your Mac happy.

My Mac Cheat Sheet--Who wants to remember Internet settings, account information, computer specs, and other bits of important data when there's so much to explore on your Mac? With this helpful sheet, you won't need to. Jot down the information once, and you're good to go.

[Dana Baggett]

[3/5] MacBook Pro, iMac and MacBooks Get 802.11n Wireless from QuickerTek

Apple's latest 802.11n wireless network gear left out many Intel-based Mac users. Fortunately, QuickerTek is now selling 802.11n wireless upgrade cards and an upgrade service for Apple, Intel MacBook, Intel MacBook Pro models and Intel iMacs. Users can choose to buy the card and install it themselves for $149, or send their computer to QuickerTek to have the card installed for $199.

QuickerTek's wireless networking cards are made to the same specifications as the Apple factory cards and install into the AirPort card slot. They work with all 802.11/b/g/n Wi-Fi equipment including Apple AirPort, AirPort Extreme and the latest 802.11n version of AirPort Extreme introduced at Macworld Expo according to QuickerTek. The wireless upgrade uses standard parts, no drivers or other changes need to be made, nor are additional steps required to use the higher speed 'N' upgrade.

The user-installed upgrade option includes the 802.11n upgrade card, tools and illustrated installation manual - everything needed to complete the upgrade at home. The installation upgrade service is available using any shipping option the customer chooses with shipping and handling charges added to the $199 product cost.


Intel, flat-panel iMacs
Intel MacBooks
Intel MacBook Pros

Like most QuickerTek products, the 802.11n wireless upgrade card itself is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor. [Bill Fox]

[3/2] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple released Backup 3.1.1 for .Mac Members

Apple released Backup 3.1.1 for .Mac Members. It is available via Software Update, if Backup 3.x is currently installed, and as a stand-alone updater for download from this Apple Web page. According to the ReadMe file,

Backup 3.1.1 is highly recommended for all users of Backup 3. Significant areas addressed are:

  • Backup and restore with external drives
  • Memory management
  • Restore of bundled file types

We are .Mac members and use Apple Backup as our backup utility so we downloaded and installed it on several computers without incident. We ran delta and full backups and encountered no problems. [Bill Fox]

[3/2] Apple posted New Online Seminar--Creating a Rich Media Podcast with Final Cut Pro

Creating a Rich Media Podcast with Final Cut Pro--Brian Storm shows news professionals how to use Final Cut Pro to take digital storytelling to a whole new level with rich media podcasting.

Apple's online Seminars are available 24/7 on the following topics: Accounting, Audio, Design, Print & Graphic Design, Development Tools, Digital Media, Music, Photography, Sci/Tech, Servers/Networks, Small Business and Support. Most online seminars are free and require fast (ie DSL, cable, T1,...) internet access and QuickTime 7 to view any video presentations. [Bill Fox]

[3/2] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla released Thunderbird 1.5.10

Mozilla released v1.5.10 update to its stand-alone email client, Thunderbird. It is available within the application automatically (if set) or via "Check for Updates..." under the Help menu or as a stand-alone updater downloaded from this Mozilla Web page. According to Mozilla v1.5.10 has stability improvements and security fixes which are:

  • MFSA 2007-06 Mozilla Network Security Services (NSS) SSLv2 buffer overflow
  • MFSA 2007-01 Crashes with evidence of memory corruption (rv:

We use Thunderbird for an email account with a security certificate that, for some reason, is not accepted by Apple Mail. Thunderbird is similar to Apple Mail with similar features plus it has the option of a "vertical" view (i.e. the message pane alongside of the email list) available to Mail via a third party hack. We downloaded the update and installed it via Thunderbird's automatic update feature with no problems. After an hour of use with email we ran into no issues. [Bill Fox]

[3/2] Software Special of the Day: MondoMouse 1.3.1 (Universal) for 33% Off--$9.95 Today Only

MondoMouse makes your mouse mightier! MondoMouse is a mouse enhancement for Mac OS X 10.4.x. It adds cool new capabilities to your mouse. Move or resize any window without clicking on it or bringing it to the front. Find and identify any window instantly without using Expose. Make focus follow the mouse, switching windows or applications just by letting your mouse hover over them.

Normally $14.95, MondoMouse 1.3.1 (Universal) is offered for $9.95 today only--that's 33% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/2] Freeverse released Heroes of Might and Magic V for Mac

Freeverse is now shipping Heroes of Might and Magic V for the Macintosh under exclusive worldwide license from Ubisoft. Developed for the PC by Nival Interactive, Heroes of Might and Magic V brings the popular and long running strategy franchise into a new era with cutting-edge technology and a breathtaking, fully 3D animated world.

The game features a deep, scalable turn-based battle system for challenging tactical combat as well as the option of a brand new Active Battle System for faster play. Players can choose from more than 200 skills, 170 creature abilities and 40 spells to build up heroes and armies. This is a new, darker, heroic fantasy universe that's more mature with six unique factions and more than 80 different creatures.

The engaging storyline features special objectives, side quests and exciting plot twists for the finest tactics, management and role-playing adventure ever brewed. [Bill Fox]

[3/2] Abraham Lincoln Accelerated Learning Academy in Monroe, WI, Adds Apple Mobile Computing Lab

The Monroe, WI, Board of Education approved the purchase of an Apple Mobile Computing Lab for the Abraham Lincoln Accelerated Learning Academy. Apple was selected over other solutions offered by Dell, HP and Lenovo.

The reasons for selecting Apple's solution are that it is easy to manage, doesn't require extra malware software and it can run Windows if needed, according to the IT advisor. The principal, who applied for the grant from the Board, believes that Apple has the best hardware with the longest life expectancy, built to withstand use by kids, plus it's user friendly.

The Apple Mobile Computing lab, a set of 15 laptops, a printer and wireless Internet access on a wheeled cart, will augment and existing computer lab at the school. This will mean more access to technology by more kids. The school also has a $1000 donation to buy software for the mobile lab. More... and more... [Dana Baggett]

[3/1] Brief Hands-On Report--Parallels Desktop for Mac v2.5 Final (Build 3186)

We finally got a completed download of the stand-alone update after another half-dozen tries. We kept on trying to get the stand-alone update because for some reason, automatic update did not work with our copy of v2.5 release candidate 3 (Build 3170).

We uninstalled Build 3170 and then installed Build 3186. After having problems installing a new version over an old, we've adopted this slightly lengthier procedure but have never had a problem with it.

After installation, we updated the Parallels Tools (drivers) for our Windows XP SP2 and Vista Ultimate RC1 virtual machines. Then we updated XP and Vista. No problems were encountered.

Several hours use of both XP and Vista unearthed no problems. We note, however, that applications on XP run very much faster than on Vista. This may be at least partially an artifact of running the expiring RC1 of Vista. A final production copy of Vista Ultimate should arrive today by UPS.

The coherence mode is really cool. It's hard to tell that Windows apps are actually running on XP or Vista and not Mac OS X. Their icons show up in the dock and just their window shows over the Mac desktop like any other Mac application.

The new USB 2.0 capability worked well with one exception. We "installed" our iPod but did not reformat it for Windows when that dialog box showed up. A thumb drive plugged into our MacBook Pro C2D was installed and we could see the files. The only problem we had was with our 5-button Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer. When we added it to Vista the cursor froze. We did not try it on Windows XP out of fear of a repeat.

Parallels Desktop for Mac is really terrific. If you used VirtualPC in the past, forget that experience, good or bad. Desktop for Mac is in another class all by itself. If you need to use Windows extensively or just from time to time, we highly recommend Parallels Desktop for Mac. [Bill Fox]

[3/1] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla SeaMonkey 1.1.1 Update is Out

SeaMonkey is the Mozilla Foundation's complete internet suite. A new version 1.1.1 was just released and it is available for download from this Mozilla Web page. Here are the new features and fixes according to the release notes:

  • The URL bar color now indicates SSL security status on Mac OS (previously, the feature was present only in the Windows and Linux versions). Bug 335113
  • MAPI is fixed. As a result, File->Send->To mail as attachment... should now work properly in MS Office products. Bug 361233
  • Some QuickLaunch issues have been resolved. Bug 368418 (possibly also Bug 368421 and Bug 367756).
  • The tab-preview tooltips no longer show a preview for the active tab (part of Bug 368046)

There are also two new issues listed:

  • Websites using Backbase will not work properly (Bug 371576)
  • Some of the editor dialogs, particularly table cell properties, are too narrow (Bug 371194)

There are no new security fixes in v1.1.1.

We downloaded and installed SeaMonkey 1.1.1. After several hours use, we ran into no issues. One of our staff uses SeaMonkey as his primary Web browser and email client. [Dana Baggett]

[3/1] Software Special of the Day: MPEG2 Works 4 Advanced 4.1.3 (Universal) for 40% Off--$14.95 Today Only

MPEG2 Works 4 Advanced can convert input movie files to an MPEG2/MPEG1 DVD/SVCD/VCD ready movie and export MPEG1/MPEG2/VRO/VOB/TiVo/Hitachi VOB and VRO to QuickTime format of your choice...

Normally $25.00, MPEG2 Works 4 Advanced 4.1.3 (Universal) is offered for $14.95 today only--that's 40% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[3/1] Samsung Now Mass Producing 60-nm DRAM--Production Efficiency May Drive Down High-Density RAM Prices

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., has begun mass producing the industry's first 1Gigabit (Gb) DDR2 DRAM (dynamic random access memory) using a 60 nanometer (nm)–class process technology.

Use of the new process technology is a significant milestone in that it increases production efficiency by 40 percent over the 80nm process technology deployed in DRAM fabrication since early 2006, and offers twice the productivity of 90nm general process technology.

Ample market availability of 1Gb DRAM will further increase the demand for large density DRAMs. Samsung’s extensive line up of 60nm 1Gb DRAM-based modules includes 512MB, 1GB and 2GB densities supporting either 667Mbps or 800Mbps speeds with customer validation.

Samsung anticipates such a high degree of receptivity to the 60nm process that it should drive greater demand for 1Gb DRAM chips in the near future over today’s mainstream density of 512Mb.

Samsung's continuous technology migration below 90nm has relied heavily on the company’s extensive use of three-dimensional (3D) transistor technologies to build increasingly smaller chips, a fundamentally unique approach toward finer circuit designs and higher yields. One of the key technologies involved in the development of Samsung's 3D transistor is a recess channel array transistor (RCAT) that actually builds the DRAM cell three-dimensionally to minimize its size while increasing its density.

Samsung's proprietary RCAT technology was first introduced at the 2003 VLSI symposia. This new 3D transistor technology doubles the refresh cycle, which is critical for enabling efficient fabrication on a nanometer-scale. Samsung has been utilizing RCAT for DRAM fabrication from 90nm. This key 3D technology is expected to enable DRAM fabrication to 50nm and lower.

In addition to its 60nm process technology innovation, Samsung's use of metal-insulator metal (MIM) for its capacitors provides enhanced data storage in sub-70nm designs.

Furthermore, the use of a recently-announced selective epitaxial growth (SEG) technology provides for a broader electron channel, and optimizes the speed of each chip’s electrons to reduce power consumption and enable higher performance.

The 60nm 1Gb DDR2 DRAM, which was first developed by Samsung in 2005, is the latest in a long line of Samsung industry "firsts" in nano-scale DRAM advancements. This record of DRAM innovation stretches from the introduction of 150nm DRAM technology in 2000, to a yet-to-be-deployed 50nm process technology developed in October of last year.

The 60nm process is expected to become the mainstream circuit technology for DRAM in 2008. In the first year of market availability alone, 60nm DRAM revenues are expected to reach $2.3billion worldwide and further increase to $32 billion by 2009. [Bill Fox]

[3/1] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--Windows on Mac, iTunes DRM, TurboTax for Mac

Tonight host Gene Steinberg chats with author Joe Kissell who presents a cornucopia of information, including the best ways to run Windows on your Mac and some surprising new ways to back up your data.

Cutting-edge commentator Daniel Eran, of Roughly Drafted Magazine, returns to talk about the iTunes DRM, present a comparison between Apple's innovation and Microsoft's, and provide some insights into the iPhone.

Now that we're in tax season, Intuit's Scott Gulbransen is on hand to talk about the latest version of TurboTax and how it will ease the process of preparing your returns on your Mac or PC.

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

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