April 2007 News Archive

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Copyright 2007 by Bill Fox All rights reserved.
Last Updated: April 30, 2007

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[4/30] Apple extended WWDC07 Early Registration to May 11--Save $300

Early registration for Apple's 2007 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference has been extended so don't miss out on the savings! Purchase your WWDC07 ticket before May 11 and save $300.

WWDC07 is being held June 11-15 at San Francisco's Moscone West Conference Center. [Bill Fox]

[4/30] [Updated]Halo (Universal) 2.0.1--How Fast Is It?

On Friday, we noted that MacSoft had released version 2.0.1 for the Universal Binary edition of Halo for the Mac. One of the claimed features is increased speed on both PowerPC-based (up to 35 percent) and Intel-based (up to 25 percent) Macs.

We use the game Halo as one of our standard speed benchmarks so we ran it on both our 15" 2.33 GHz MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo with ATI Radeon X1600 graphics and 24" 2.33 GHz iMac Core 2 Duo with the optional Nvidia GeForce 7600 GT graphics card. Here are the results from both Macs running Mac OS X 10.4.9:

Speed comparison of Halo (Universal) versions measured in frames per second
Computer (Graphics)
Halo 2.0
Halo 2.0.1
% Change
15" MacBook Pro C2D (ATI)
24" iMac C2D (Nvidia)

Halo 2.0.1 on the MacBook Pro with ATI graphics is 25 percent faster as claimed by MacSoft. However, on the iMac with Nvidia graphics Halo 2.0.1 is nearly 25 percent SLOWER! [See Update below.] Just to be sure no mistakes were made, we re-installed Halo 2.0 and it ran at 94fps as before. After updating it again to 2.0.1, Halo ran at 71 fps, confirming the near 25 percent reduction in speed.

A reader wrote that v2.0.1 caused problems with running the Universal version of Halo in single-player mode on his Intel-based Mac mini with Intel graphics:

[The] Halo 2.0.1 updater [c]aused obstructions like trees and rocks to be visually invisible, otherwise they are still there (i.e. they still block shots and cause collisions).

We do not have this problem with our MacBook Pro C2D or iMac C2D but in single-player mode we have a problem with the "tab" key for switching weapons--it usually doesn't.

In summary, if you primarily use the multiplayer mode and have an ATI graphics card, you will probably like this update. If you have a Mac with Nvidia or Intel graphics, you may not like this update for the reasons we've noted.

[Update: We heard from Ken Cobb of Destineer, the main developer of Halo (Universal),who was surprised that version 2.0.1 (and v2.0.2) ran more slowly than v2.0 on our 24" iMac Core 2 Duo with Nvidia GeForce 7600GT graphics. He looked into why and discovered the reason. Our standard Halo test configuration includes enabling 2X Full-Scene AntiAliasing (2X FSAA). It seems that in the initial release of Halo 2.0 (Universal), FSAA was not working on the Nvidia graphics in our 24" iMac Core 2 Duo but it is in v2.0.1 and v2.0.2 giving the appearance of a speed reduction. In fact, if we had tested without 2X FSAA enabled we would have seen a speed improvement between v2.0 and version 2.0.1/2.0.2 similar to that experienced with the ATI graphics.] [Bill Fox]

[4/30] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple released Battery Update 1.2 for MacBook and MacBook Pros

Battery Update 1.2 is available for download via Software Update if you have a MacBook or MacBook Pro or as a stand-alone updater from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,

Battery Update 1.2 updates battery firmware and improves battery functionality.

After Battery Update has been installed, each battery you insert into your MacBook or MacBook Pro will be updated automatically. Your computer's power cord must be connected and plugged into a working power source.

Installation of Battery Update 1.2 requires Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later.

The Battery Update 1.2 supports the following products:

MacBook (Late 2006)
MacBook Pro (15-inch)
MacBook Pro (15-inch Glossy)
MacBook Pro (15-inch Core 2 Duo)
MacBook Pro (17-inch)
MacBook Pro (17-inch Core 2 Duo)

Battery Update 1.2 places a file in the System/Library/SystemConfiguration folder called BatteryUpdater.bundle. The BatteryUpdater.bundle will check to see if a battery needs to be updated on startup, wake from sleep, and when a battery is inserted. If in these cases there is no AC power supplied, it will then wait until AC power is present and then check to see if the battery needs to be updated. If the battery needs to be updated it will update it automatically. Wait 30 seconds before you validate the installation.

We downloaded Battery Update 1.2 via Software Update and installed it in our 15" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo. We decided to restart and when we did it took longer than normal at a blue screen during the startup process, possibly applying the firmware update to our battery. Then, startup proceeded normally. We haven't noticed any appreciable change in battery life. [Bill Fox]

[4/30] Software Special Deal of the Day: Data Backup 3.0 (Universal) for 32% Off--$39.99 Today Only

Data Backup 3 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 you protect your files fast.

  • Easy, No complicated setup - built-in backup sets to quickly backup your iTunes or iPhoto files, other important data or your entire system.
  • Custom create your own backup sets. Just drag and drop.
  • "Fast Start" feature preselects the files to be backed up, saving you time (requires OS X 10.4+).
  • Powerful Go "back in time" and see your files and directories, as they were when your backups happened.
  • Schedule your backups to automatically run at a specific time, on a recurring basis or when a drive is connected.
  • Have your Mac automatically wake from sleep to execute scheduled backups. Backups run whether you are logged in or not.
  • Create a bootable clone of your hard drive. Choose to compress and/or password protect your backups.
  • Flexible Backup to any mounted drive including FireWire, USB, ATA, or net worked drives. Backup to CD/DVD disks automatically span on multiple disks. Creates an exact copy of a folder or a drive, including bootable OS X backups.
  • Synchronize folders - perfect if you use more than one computer.

Normally $59.00, Data Backup 3.0 (Universal) is offered for $39.99 today only--that's 33% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[4/30] Samsung mass producing 16Gb NAND Flash Memory, the largest, finest and fastest available

iPods and digital cameras, and possibly notebooks, will soon get a boost in flash memory because Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., has become the first to begin mass producing 16 gigabit (Gb) NAND flash, the highest capacity memory chip now available. The company said it will fabricate the devices in 51 nanometers (nm), the finest process technology to be used in memory mass production to date.

Samsung's 51nm NAND flash chips can be produced 60 percent more efficiently than those produced with 60nm process technology. Samsung achieved this new migration milestone just eight months after announcing production of its 60nm 8Gb NAND flash last August.

The new 16Gb chip which has a multi-level cell (MLC) structure can facilitate capacity expansion by offering 16 gigabytes (GBs) of memory in a single memory card. Furthermore, by applying the new process technology, Samsung has accelerated the chip's read and write speeds by approximately 80 percent over current MLC data processing speeds.

Samsung will offer an optimized suite of Flash software and firmware-incorporated storage devices for music phones and MP3 players to support 4KB pages. It also will provide a multi-plane performance optimization feature and wear-leveling for improved reliability. Memory cards and MP3 controllers to support the 4KB-page are already available.

Technology migration to 16Gb is expected to boost the recent explosive demand for high-density data storage in high-end music phones and the phenomenal trend toward user created content (UCC). As the demand for video content grows stronger by the day, products that feature extended recording time of high-resolution video footage, including mid-to-high-range digital cameras, will particularly benefit from the high capacity and performance of 16Gb NAND flash memory. With support technology in place, demand for 16Gb NAND flash memory is expected to grow rapidly, pushing this new chip into the mainstream market beginning late this year. Aggregate global sales through 2010 are estimated to be US$21 billion. [Bill Fox]

[4/27] Flip4Mac WMV Player is Out--View Windows Media Files

Flip4Mac WMV Player is a collection of QuickTime components that allow you to play, import, and export Windows Media video and audio files on your Mac using your favorite QuickTime-based applications. The latest version is available for download via

What's new in version

  • Added support for reclaiming file types assumed by other applications.
  • Added support for Windows Media 9 Advanced playback.
  • Improved ASX handling.
  • Improved support for MPEG 4 playback.
  • Resolved some issues related to 2-pass VBR encoding.
  • Resolved manual activation issue.
  • Resolved Helix streaming server playback issue.
  • Resolved Save as and Save As QuickTime Movie issue on OS 10.3.9/QT 7.1.2 systems.
  • Resolved potential for crash when playing back files that have been deliberately modified/damaged.
  • Improved support for installation using Apple Remote Desktop.

We downloaded and installed v2.1.1.70 in place of v2.1.0.33 with no problems. [Bill Fox]

[4/27] Software Special Deal of the Day: iRepo X 1.0.1 (Universal) for 33% Off--$7.99 Today Only

Repo X is a very easy to use iPod utility to recover songs off iPods. You simply connect your iPod and iRepo X will show you all the songs on the iPod. You can then easily select which songs you want to transfer and then tell iRepo X to start transferring. This is very useful in the following situations:

  • Recover from computer crash If you've lost all your songs on your Mac due to a computer crash, iRepo X can let you copy the songs back from your iPod. This is impossible using iTunes alone.
  • Load songs onto new computer When buying a new computer, iRepo X makes it possible to easily transfer your songs to your new computer from your iPod.
  • Copy songs from any iPod iRepo X gives you the ability to copy songs onto your computer from any iPod. If your friend has songs you would like, you can connect their iPod to your computer and transfer over all the songs you don't have.

How it works You simply start up iRepo X and connect your iPod. After connecting your iPod, iRepo X will display a listing of all the songs on the iPod in a very easy to use interface much like the browser interface in iTunes. You select which songs you want and click a button to start the transfer process.

Normally $12.00, iRepo X 1.0.1 (Universal) is offered for $7.99 today only--that's 33% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[4/27] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

CDW Mac Warehouse - has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: Kingston DataTraveler 512MB USB flash dirve for only $9.37!; Pentax Optio M30 7.1-megapixel compact digital camera for only $199.95!; HP Officejet 4315 All-in-One color printer from Hewlett Packard for only $89.99; ZR850 MiniDV widescreen camcorder from Canon for only $399!; and much more.

GadgetLocker - has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: Keynote Theme Park Superset 1 for Apple's Keynote presentation software from Wow You Design for only $11.95; Toast 8 Titanium for all of your CD, DVD and Blu-ray burning needs from Roxio for only $85.99!; iHome ColorTunes nano portable speaker system for only $29.99!; iLuv Bluetooth wireless ear clips for only $129.99!; NuLOOQ Navigator control device adds power to many Mac applications from Logitech for only $63.99!; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[4/27] Adobe Lightroom 1.0 Special Intro Price of $199 ends Monday

Time is running out to get Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software at a special introductory price. If you order a copy of Photoshop Lightroom 1.0 before April 30, 2007, you'll save US$100 off the regular retail price of $299.

Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software is the professional photographer's essential toolbox, providing one easy application for managing, adjusting, and presenting large volumes of digital photographs. [Bill Fox]

[4/27] Halo 2.0.1 Updater (Universal) is Out

MacSoft released Halo 2.0.1 Updater. It will update the Universal Binary version of the original Halo for the Mac from version 2.0 to version 2.0.1. Halo 2.0 (Universal) is not to be confused with Halo 2 which is not out for the Mac. The Halo 2.0.1 Update is for the U.S. (i.e., English) version only. Download it from

Version 2.0.1 changes include:

  • Overall performance on PowerPC Macs has been improved by up to 35% over the original Universal Binary version, depending on graphics configuration.
  • Overall performance on Intel Macs has been improved by up to 25% over the original Universal Binary version, depending on graphics configuration.
  • Cinematic full-screen effects run much faster.
  • Now using hardware occlusion query for much faster performance when "Lens Flare" is set to High or Extreme.
  • Fixed intermittent flashlight and vehicle headlight problems for all configurations.
  • Flashlight and vehicle headlights fixed specifically for Intel GMA 950 video, and overall rendering much improved on Intel video.
  • Fixed hanging bug when editing multiplayer game type.

We downloaded and installed the version 2.0.1 Update. [Bill Fox]

[4/27] iQuiz Library Web Site Opened

iQuiz, an Apple-made game for the iPod, is available for $0.99 from the iTunes Store. Jesse Perry created a website called the iQuiz Library. He is compiling a list of all of the iQuizzes out there, planning to create a small community as more and more people create iQuizzes for their own needs through this handy iPod game.

You can also make your own iQuiz game with iQuiz Maker. [Bill Fox]

[4/27] Peachpit released New Titles for Final Cut Studio 2 Users

Apple Final Cut Studio 2 introduces new versions of Apple's popular video editing, motion graphics, and audio software: Final Cut Pro 6, Compressor 3, Soundtrack Pro 2, Motion 3, DVD Studio Pro 4 and Color. Peachpit Press is releasing several books related to Apple's new digital video and editing suite for individuals learning Final Cut Studio 2 from scratch to seasoned video professionals aiming to take their skills to the next level.

The new titles are:


Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro 6
Professional Editing in Final Cut Studio
Diana Weynand
ISBN 0-321-50265-5
May 2007

Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro 6 Beyond the Basics
Real-Time Editing, Effects, and Color Correction
Michael Wohl
ISBN 0-321-50912-9
June 2007

Apple Pro Training Series: The Craft of Editing with Final Cut Pro
Michael Wohl
ISBN 0-321-52036-X
July 2007

Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Pro for Broadcast Quick-Reference Guide
Joe Torelli
ISBN 0-321-51423-8
July 2007

Final Cut Pro 6: Visual QuickPro Guide
Lisa Brenneis
ISBN 0-321-50269-8
July 2007

Apple Pro Training Series: Final Cut Server Quick-Reference Guide
Matt Geller
ISBN 0-321-51024-0
July 2007

Apple Final Cut Pro 6: Video Training Book
Larry Jordan
ISBN 0-321-44549-X
September 2007


Apple Pro Training Series: Compressor 3 Quick-Reference Guide
Brian Gary
ISBN 0-321-51422-X
May 2007


Apple Pro Training Series: Soundtrack Pro 2
Martin Sitter
ISBN 0-321-50266-3
June 2007


Apple Pro Training Series: Motion 3
Damian Allen, Bryce Button, and Mark Spencer
ISBN 0-321-50910-2
July 2007


Apple Pro Training Series: DVD Studio Pro 4, Second Edition
Martin Sitter and Bruce Nazarian
ISBN 0-321-50189-6
July 2007


Apple Pro Training Series: Color
ISBN 0-321-50911-0
David Gross and Alexis van Hurkman
July 2007

For a complete list of all Peachpit releases for Final Cut Studio 2, visit this Peachpit Web page. [Bill Fox]

[4/26] Apple reported most profitable Q2, Earnings beat Analysts Estimate by 36 percent

Apple had an outstanding second quarter of their 2007 fiscal year (Q2 2007) posting a $770 million net profit, its highest second quarter profit ever. Earnings per share (EPS) came in at 87 cents on revenue of $5.26 billion, blowing away the Thomson Financial analysts' consensus estimate of 64 cents by over 36 percent (see chart at right). Gross margin was up to a remarkable 35.1 percent and cash and short term investments now total $12.6 billion, up from $11.9 billion last quarter.

Compared with last year's second quarter (Q2 2006), Q2 2007 is up 88 per cent in net profit, up 21 per cent in revenue, up 79 percent in earnings per share and up 18 per cent in gross margin.

This terrific financial performance was driven largely by increased sales of Macs by 36 percent and increased sales of iPods by 24 percent over Q2 2006). The growth rate in Macs sales was three times the industry average resulting in an increase in market share.

Sales of Apple notebooks, the MacBook and MacBook Pro, were 891,000 out of a total Mac sales of 1,517,000. The notebook sales were up 79 percent from Q2 2006.

Desktop (iMac, Mac mini, Mac Pro and Xserve) sales at 626,000 were up slightly by 2 percent from Q2 2006. Apple executives still reported positive acceptance of the new Intel-based Mac Pro but also still expected delayed purchases due to the lack of Intel-based Adobe applications now shipping in Q3 2007.

iPod sales reached 10,549,000, up 24 percent from Q2 2006, but revenues were down by 1 percent due to increased popularity of the less expensive iPod shuffle II.

Sales revenue was up over Q2 2006 in two geographical areas (Americas and Europe) by 15 and 29 percent but down in Japan by 8 percent.

The Apple retail stores are still doing well. Sales revenue increased 34 percent over Q2 2006. New-to-Mac sales continue to be over 50 percent of their sales.

A few other interesting tidbits from Apple's late afternoon analysts' conference call (replay it here) with Apple CFO Peter Openheimer and COO Tim Cook answering questions, include:

  • Apple's future earned revenue from the iPhone will include shared revenue from AT&T plus additional Apple accessories.
  • Gross margins are expected to still be higher than normal but decline some to 32 percent in the third quarter and then to 27-28 percent thereafter. This is due to parts prices generally trending upward.
  • There are no detectable effects of the iPhone on iPod sales so far.
  • Still no iPhone order date announced.
  • iPhone and Apple TV revenue would also be booked on a subscription basis due to adding features through software updates after purchase at no cost to the purchaser.
  • iTunes music sales have an 85 percent market share in the U.S.
  • Capital expenditures were $105 million during the quarter.
  • Depreciation was $69 million.

The second quarter is traditionally Apple's lowest but Apple expects its third 2007 quarter results to decline slightly from the second quarter to $5.1 billion in revenue and to 66 cents in earnings per share. Here is Apple's press release. [Bill Fox]

[4/26] Apple Board Members defend Apple CEO Steve Jobs in Statement

In light of former Apple CFO Fred Anderson's statement that we noted yesterday that entwined Steve Jobs in Apple's stock options backdating problem, Apple Board Members Bill Campbell, Millard Drexler, Albert Gore Jr., Arthur D. Levinson, Eric Schmidt and Jerry York released the following statement:

We are not going to enter into a public debate with Fred Anderson or his lawyer. Steve Jobs cooperated fully with Apple's independent investigation and with the government's investigation of stock option grants at Apple. The SEC investigated the matter thoroughly and its complaint speaks for itself, in terms of what it says, what it does not say, who it charges, and who it does not charge. We have complete confidence in the conclusions of Apple's independent investigation, and in Steve's integrity and his ability to lead Apple.

[Bill Fox]

[4/26] Software Special Deal of the Day: PDF Studio 4.40 (Universal) for 33% Off--$39.95 Today Only

PDF Studio is an easy to use yet powerful program to work with PDF documents within your workflow.

  • View & Print: Open any pdf document and send it to the printer. Documents will be automatically resized to fit the paper size. PDF Studio supports all types of pdf fonts.
  • PDF Interactive Forms: Fill any pdf form and save it locally. Once the form is filled, you can flatten form fields to obtain a non-editable version of the form.
  • Sticky Notes: Open any pdf document and add your sticky notes or comments to the document using text and graphic markup tools. You can add free text notes, or draw shapes such as lines, circles, rectangles to work with the existing content of the pdf document.
  • Audio Comment: Record or import a sound and add it to a pdf document.
  • Rubber Stamps: Mark your documents as urgent, paid, confidential. You can also create your own Signature Stamp. All stamps can be saved to be reused later.
  • Headers and Footers: Add titles, page numbers to your pdf documents.
  • Hyperlinks: Add hyperlinks to your pdf documents.
  • Modify Pages: Append, merge or split documents. Delete, insert, replace pages in a pdf document. Or extract pages to create a new pdf document.
  • Passwords and Permissions: Add passwords or change permissions on your pdf documents. You can set /remove permissions to print, to modify, to copy, to annotate and to fill form fields. PDF Studio encrypt pdf documents using the higher security level (128-bit RC4 encryption).
  • Scan to PDF: Scan documents from any Twain compliant scanner into a new or existing pdf document.
  • Batch functions: Stamp, Print, or Encrypt multiple documents with a single click as a batch.
  • PDF To Images: Converts pages of a pdf documents to JPG images or TIFF images (optimized for scanning).
  • Import/Export: Import and Export comments and form data in FDF or XFDF format.

Any platform, no third party programs required: Works on Macintosh, Linux, Windows, AIX. And because PDF Studio uses Qoppa's proprietary technology to view and modify PDF files, it doesn't require Adobe Reader or any other other software to run.

Normally $60.00, PDF Studio 4.40 (Universal) is offered for $39.95 today only--that's 33% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

[4/26] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

ClubMall - has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: 320GB Monsoon external hard drive with FireWire/USB 2.0 from EZQuest for only $99.99!; 8" digital photo frame from Tricod works with most memory cards for only $119.99; ScanSnap S500M duplex color sheet fed compact desktop scanner from Fujitsu for only $449.99!; Kensington USB Wireless Presenter with Laser Pointer for only $49.99!; Photoshop Lightroom from Adobe for only $189.99!; Epson Stylus Photo 1400 13" x 19" dye-based color photo inkjet printer for only $339.99; and much more.

MacMall - has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: 500GB My Book Pro Edition triple interface external hard drive from Western Digital for only $219.99!; EyeTV Hybrid USB-powered digital/analog TV converter for your Mac for from Elgato for only $127.99!; Signature Suit form-fitting leather case for 15" MacBook Pro from Case-Mate for only $149.99!; EndNote X from ISI Researchsoft - new way to manage PDF files for only $193.99; SyncMaster 941BW 19" wide-screen display from Samsung for only $164.98 after $20 mail-in rebate!; 18x external multi-format DVD +/- R burner from Sony, FireWire and USB 2.0 for only $199.95; and much more.

[Bill Fox]

[4/26] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--Apple's Q2 Financials and Adobe's InDesign CS3

Tonight, host Gene Steinberg examines the impact of Apple's quarterly financials, where unexpectedly large sales and profits were reported. Coming along for the ride will be industry analyst Ross Rubin, of the NPD Group. You'll also hear from Joe Wilcox, editor of Microsoft Watch, on how Apple's continued success is impacting the world's largest software company. Another cutting-edge view will be presented by commentator Daniel Eran of Roughly Drafted Magazine.

In addition, you'll learn about the latest and greatest version of Adobe's flagship desktop publishing application, InDesign CS3, from noted author Galen Gruman. Is the upgrade worth it or not? You can tune into the Web broadcast Thursday night from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]

[4/25] [Updated]Apple to release its Q2 Financial Statement Today

Apple will release the financial results of its second quarter of 2007 today following the close of the stock market. Live audio streaming of a conference call with financial analysts to present and discuss the results will be accessible through this Apple Web page at 2pm PT (5pm ET) [Times corrected].

Thomson Financial's consensus of analysts estimate of Apple's Q2 2007 earnings is $0.64 per share. This is high for Q2 but Apple always seems to beat the consensus estimate, sometimes substantially--see graph at right.

Look for our follow-up report. [Bill Fox]

[4/25] SEC sues Former Apple General Counsel Nancy Heinen over Backdating Stock Options

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as we expected, filed charges "[accusing] ... former General Counsel Nancy R. Heinen of participating in the fraudulent backdating of options granted to Apple's top officers that caused the company to underreport its expenses by nearly $40 million. The Commission's complaint alleges that Heinen, of Portola Valley, Calif., caused Apple to backdate two large options grants to senior executives of Apple — a February 2001 grant of 4.8 million options to Apple's Executive Team and a December 2001 grant of 7.5 million options to Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs — and altered company records to conceal the fraud."

An attorney for Ms. Heinen disputed the claims and stated that she will fight the charges in court.

Fred Anderson, former Apple Chief Financial Officer, was also accused of improprieties but settled with the SEC, as we noted yesterday, by agreeing to pay, in essence, a $3.65 million fine. He lashed out at Apple CEO Steve Jobs and the former Apple General Counsel in a statement blaming them for what happened. [Bill Fox]

[4/25] Software Special Deal of the Day: MacScan 2.4 (Universal) for 48% Off--$12.95 Today Only

MacScan is designed to detect, isolate and remove spyware, keystroke loggers, trojans horses, and bring awareness to remote administration applications which could have been maliciously or inadvertently installed on your Macintosh. The blacklisted cookie scanner will allow you to scan for tracking cookies and remove them without losing saved usernames or passwords. MacScan can also clean internet files and cookies for a variety of web browsers.

    Normally $24.95, MacScan 2.4 (Universal) is offered for $12.95 today only--that's 48% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/25] Registration for OSCON 2007 Open, Program revealed

    Registration is now open for OSCON, the O'Reilly Open Source Convention. This year's program will examine how open technologies are making breakthroughs in the mainstream IT community, and delve into the advances on the open source horizon. Now in its ninth year, OSCON is the annual gathering of developers, hackers, visionaries, and alpha geeks who are driving the open source movement. OSCON returns to the Oregon Convention Center in Portland, Oregon July 23-27, 2007.

    OSCON will feature more than 400 sessions and tutorials in fifteen tracks that will cover Administration, Business Databases, Java, Linux, People, Perl, PHP, Programming, Python, Ruby, Security, and Web Applications. Also happening concurrently will be the O'Reilly Radar Executive Briefing, a full-day discussion and debate that will give attendees the opportunity to take part in the conversation between Tim O'Reilly and the innovators, entrepreneurs, and leaders who are fostering the evolution of computing via open source technologies.

    Speakers, tutorials, and sessions at OSCON this year include:

    • Kirill Grouchnikov, Amdocs, "Advanced Effects in Desktop Java
    • Rasmus Lerdorf, Yahoo!, "PHP - Bigger and Faster"
    • Lamont Peterson, NeverBlock, "High Availability Xen"
    • Simon Willison, "OpenID Bootcamp"
    • Rachael Madsen, "Exploiting Multi-Core Capabilies From Python"
    • Guido van Rossum, Creator of Python, "Python 3000"
    • Theo Schlossnagle, "OmniTI Advanced Production Troubleshooting"
    • Chris DiBona, Google, "A Year of Open Source at Google"
    • Simon Peyton Jones, "Microsoft A Taste of Haskell"
    • Michael Koziarski, "Generating Gorgeous Word Documents, PDFs and Excel
    • Jesse Vincent, Best Practical, "Building Domain Specific Languages
      in Perl"
    • Ben Krug, Adapt Technologies, "DBA Tales from the Front: from Oracle
      to MySQL"
    • Dawn Foster and Danese Cooper, Intel, "Art of Community"

    OSCON 2007 will feature an expo hall where companies offering open source products and services will display their latest innovations to the more
    than 2,500 attendees that are expected at the convention. Sponsors and exhibitors so far include: Autodesk, Novell, Google, Intel, The New York Times, Sun, Microsoft, Optaros, IBM, and Ingres. Networking opportunities at OSCON will be plentiful for the entire open source community, particularly during evening events such as the Open Source Alliance SSO Hack-a-Thon, "Meet-n-Geek," and the Google O'Reilly Open Source Awards. [Bill Fox]

    [4/24] Former Apple CFO Anderson settled with SEC on Stock Options Backdating Case for $3.65 Million

    Fred Anderson, Apple's former CFO who resigned from Apple's Board when the stock options backdating issue broke, has reportedly settled with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a fine of $150,000 and repayment of $3.5 million in gains from his backdated stock options grant. Anderson admitted no wrongdoing.

    The other former Apple executive in the SEC's sights is Nancy Heinen, former Apple General Counsel. She is accused of participating in backdating her own stock options and signing off on the minutes of a bogus meeting giving Apple CEO Steve Jobs backdated stock options later cancelled. Ms. Heinen plans to contest the charges rather than settling according to the same Reuters report.

    This is an interesting case since backdating stock options is in itself not illegal and is apparently a very common practice in corporate compensation. However, there are SEC rules about how such compensation is accounted for in financial filings and in reports to stock holders that are at the heart of the issue. [Bill Fox]

    [4/24] Blu-ray Disc vs HD DVD--Blu-ray Disc hits 1 million Mark and 70% of HD Movie Sales

    According to the Blu-ray Disc Association, Blu-ray Disc has become the first high definition format to sell more than one million discs, a milestone it has achieved in less than a year. Blu-ray Disc sales also accounted for 70 percent of the high-definition movies sold during the first quarter of 2007, according to sales figures published yesterday by Home Media Research.

    Blu-ray's sales lead has increased each month since the first of the year and nearly three out of every four high-definition movies sold in March were on Blu-ray Disc, according to the HMR sales figures.

    Industry projections suggest that this steady growth trend will continue based on the fact that seven of the eight major studios are releasing an increasing number of blockbuster movies on Blu-ray Disc, most of which will only be available in high-definition on Blu-ray Disc. In 2006, 18 of the top 20 selling DVDs were released by studios that are publishing their movies on Blu-ray Disc.

    Blu-ray Disc titles accounted for eight of the top ten selling high definition titles in the first quarter of this year and since the introduction of both high definition formats, seven of the top ten selling high definition movies are on Blu-ray Disc.

    The sustained sales advantage enjoyed by Blu-ray throughout the first three months of the year is expected to continue as studios maintain an aggressive release schedule to bring the biggest Hollywood movies to high definition. In the coming months, Blu-ray Disc studios will be releasing blockbuster titles such as Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Night at the Museum, Cars and Dreamgirls.

    Apple supports the Blu-ray Disc format. [Bill Fox]

    [4/24] Peachpit Press publishing New Titles on Adobe Creative Suite 3

    Adobe Creative Suite 3 introduces new versions of Adobe's market-leading software including Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Flash, Dreamweaver, and more. Peachpit is publishing several new titles related to CS3 by their bestselling authors and within their key series: Adobe Press, Peachpit Press, and New Riders.

    The titles below are just a small sampling of their complete lineup:

    Adobe Press

    Adobe Photoshop CS3 Classroom in a Book
    Adobe Creative Team
    ISBN 0-321-49202-1
    *Hot off the press!

    Adobe InDesign CS3 Classroom in a Book
    Adobe Creative Team
    ISBN 0-321-49201-3
    *Hot off the press!

    A Designer's Guide to Adobe InDesign and XML
    James J. Maivald and Cathy Palmer
    ISBN 0-321-50355-4
    July 2007

    Adobe Illustrator CS3 How-Tos: 100 Essential Techniques
    David Karlins
    ISBN 0-321-50894-7
    June 2007

    New Riders

    The Photoshop CS3 Book for Digital Photographers
    Scott Kelby
    ISBN 0-321-50191-8
    May 2007

    How to Wow: Photoshop CS3 for Photography
    Jack Davis and Ben Wilmore
    ISBN 0-321-50986-2
    July 2007

    Real World Adobe Illustrator CS3
    Mordy Golding
    June 2007

    Real World Camera Raw with Adobe Photoshop CS3
    Bruce Fraser and Jeff Schewe
    ISBN 0-321-51867-5
    Fall 2007

    Nighttime Digital Photography with Adobe Photoshop CS3
    ISBN 0-321-50354-6
    John Carucci
    July 2007

    The Designer's Apprentice: Automating Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign in Adobe Creative Suite 3
    Rick Ralston
    July 2007

    Digital Photographer's Notebook: Practical Tips for Professional Photoshop CS3 Users
    Kevin Ames
    ISBN 0-321-35841-4
    August 2007

    For a complete listing of CS3 books, as well as sample chapters, related articles and videos, visit Peachpit's CS3 Resource Center. [Bill Fox]

    [4/24] TurboTax E-filing Glitch continues to reverberate--Fee questioned

    As we previously noted, Intuit's servers choked on the volume of last-minute tax returns causing the IRS to grant a two-day extension for those caught in the glitch. This raises the question as to why the tax software companies are allowed by IRS to charge for e-filing when they do nothing more than aggregating the returns and passing them on. Intuit charges $17 to e-file using TurboTax and H&R Block charges $15 to e-file using TaxCut. However, e-filing could be direct to the IRS and save these charges.

    The New York Times confirmed that H&R Block's TaxCut customers did not experience a last-minute e-filing glitch. [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]

    [4/24] Periscope (Universal) is a New Webcam Application for the Mac

    Freeverse today announced the immediate availability of Periscope, a new webcam application for Mac OS X. Designed for simplicity, Periscope allows the user to easily configure the Mac's built-in iSight to document a day, protect a home, or keep an eye on the kids. It knits together Apple's amazing hardware, software and services such as DotMac, Applescript, the iSight, Mail, iPhoto, and even the Apple Remote, to create a whole new tool for security, a whole new vector for fun.

    Within minutes, a user can configure Periscope to monitor a room and email a picture when it detects motion or sound. Or they can configure Periscope to take a photo every half-hour and upload it to a DotMac web page, Flickr account or FTP site. Create a time-lapse movie of the view from a window, or catch that squirrel that's been raiding the bird-feeder!

    Periscope is a Universal application and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later. Priced at only $29.95, Periscope is an affordable and welcome enhancement to the power of Apple's iSight. [Bill Fox]

    [4/24] Griffin Technology shipping AirDock for iPod

    Griffin Technology Inc. is now shipping their AirDock for iPod, a charge/sync/play docking station for iPod, designed to position your iPod as the centerpiece of any home entertainment system.

    Griffin's AirDock is much more than just another dock for iPod. AirDock provides the output connectors for integrating your iPod with your TV and home stereo. Connect the included AV cable and soon you are enjoying your music, audiobooks, TV shows, movies, music videos and your own photo slideshows directly from your iPod to your TV and sound system. Living up to its name, AirDock even includes a RF remote control so you can control playback from your couch.

    AirDock also lets you connect your iPod to your computer for data synchronization and charging its battery while you work. Just connect AirDock to your computer with the included USB cable.

    AirDock features:

    • Connect AirDock to your computer's USB port to sync or play your iPod while it's charging
    • Connect AirDock to your home entertainment system to share your iPod with the whole room
    • Included RF remote controls audio and video playback from your iPod
    • Works with 4th & 5th generation iPod, 1st & 2nd generation iPod nano, and iPod mini

    AirDock for iPod (9803-AIRDOCK) is priced at $69.99 and is available from Griffin's Web site and most major retailers nationwide. [Bill Fox]

    [4/23] Brief Hands-On Report--Microsoft IntelliType Pro and IntelliPoint 6.2 Mouse and Keyboard Drivers are Out

    Version 6.2 of the drivers for Microsoft keyboards and mice is available for download via

    We use a Microsoft IntelliMouse Explorer 5-button mouse so we downloaded the new drivers and installed them for the mouse. The installer lets one pick either or both of the mouse and keyboard drivers to install. The preference pane is slightly different but we did not notice any major change. The mouse worked fine in hours of use. [Bill Fox]

    [4/23] Software Special Deal of the Day: FinanceToGo 1.3.1 (Universal) for 56% Off--$19.95 Today Only

    FinanceToGo is an affordable and easy-to-use personal finance manager based on the principles of double entry accounting. If you are an individual or small business owner, FinanceToGo is an ideal tool which allows you to create budgets and track what you spend your money on with automatically generated graphs and charts.

    You can track debt, profit and losses, liquid and fixed assets, transactions, multiple accounts and more in a one-window application with a sleek Mac OS X interface.

    Main features:

    • Graphs — Bar and pie charts of your financial data is automatically generated.
    • Accounts — Manage dozens of accounts at any one time.
    • Shares — Track any share investments you have in businesses.
    • Reports — Generate balance sheets, profit and loss statements and more.
    • Import Quicken files — if you already use Quicken for Mac, you can import a QIF file and continue as usual!
    • Transactions — Track thousands of transactions in multiple accounts at once.

    Normally $44.95, FinanceToGo 1.3.1 (Universal) is offered for $19.95 today only--that's 56% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/23] Cool Mac Software--Smart Scroll X 2.2 is Out

    Smart Scroll X by Marc Moini makes scrolling more convenient:

    • Super Wheel makes your scroll wheel smoother, faster and more comfortable.
    • Grab Scroll gives you a Hand tool to easily move any window's contents. It features coasting, just like on the iPhone.

    Other features include Universal Scroll Keys that let you scroll from the keyboard, FileMaker Pro and AppleWorks enhancements, and more.

    New in version 2.2:

    • Grab Scroll support for Safari's RSS display.
    • Grab Scroll support for NetNewsWire (Thanks, Arnold Kid!)
    • Super Wheel and Grab Scroll support for Camino (Thanks, Thomas Meyer & Timothy James!)
    • By popular request, a "Scroll without moving cursor" option for Grab Scroll.
    • Fixes a problem in v2.1.2 where Smart Scroll X would sometimes stop working in Safari.
    • FileMaker Pro enhancements are now working again (broken since v2.1.1).
    • Various fixes and improvements.

    Smart Scroll X 2.2 (Universal) is shareware ($19 single user license). [Bill Fox]

    [4/23] System Shootouts updated for Mac Pro and Educational Shootouts

    Charles Gaba posted a few updates to his Mac vs PC Shootouts Web site:

    • New $2,800 Workstation shootout (Mac Pro w/20" Cinema Display vs. Dell Precision 690 w/20" LCD)
    • Two new Educational Desktop shootouts (Mac mini vs. OptiPlex SFF and Dell Dimension E520)

    These are his first shootouts to feature Vista on the Dell systems and the Educational shootouts are the first new ones in over 2 years (costs taken directly from Apple/Dell's Educational stores). [Bill Fox]

    [4/23] SendStation shipping iPod Dock Extender

    SendStation Systems announced that its long awaited Dock Extender for iPod has begun shipping. The unique Dock Extender is the only solution on the market which allows you to dock the iPod or attach dock-mounted accessories without constantly peeling your iPod from its case.

    It is available for $28.95 from the SendStation Online Store and authorized resellers worldwide. [Bill Fox]

    [4/21] Apple Revised the Offerings from Four Hot Deals Retailers

    audioMIDI - has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: Oxygen 49 keyboard w/USB interface from M-Audio with a free copy Key Rig virtual keyboard software for only $95.63!; KORE from Native Instruments is a universal sound platform that integrates all your software instruments and effects into a single unified interface - only $279.42!; EastWest QLSO Platinum Pro Bundle (includes Platinum Edition, Platinum Pro XP and a free Pace iLok USB key!) for only $1,439.42!; Wizooverb Special Bundle true stereo room emulator from Wizoo for only $99.42!; and much more.

    MacMall - has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: the 10.2-megapixel Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi SLR black body kit for only $679!; 10.2-megapixel Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi SLR silver body kit for only $649!; ScanSnap FI-5110EOXM color duplex desktop scanner from Fujitsu for only $269.99!; Canon Pixma PRO 9000 photo inkjet printer for only $475.99!; Tunewear BoomTune Mini tripod speakers for all iPods from Kagan Electronics USA for only $31.99!; GPX iLive mini stereo system that supports all dock-able iPods for only $112.99!; Quickverse Bible Study from for only $39.99!; and much more.

    MacZone - has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: QuarkXPress 7 upgrade for only $199.98!; Planar PL1700 17-inch dual monitor w/Ergotron DS 100 w/stand for only $499.99!; Infocus Work Big IN24 SVGA projector w/free shipping for only $489.99!; LaCie 1TB Big Disk Extreme II triple interface (FireWire 800/400 and USB 2.0) external hard drive for only $389.99!; StuffIt Deluxe 11.0 from Allume for only $26.97!; Acrobat 8.0 Pro from Adobe for only $448.97 w/free shipping!; Nikon Coolpix L11 6-megapixel compact digital camera for only $149.99; and much more.

    Publishing Perfection - has deals on a variety of Mac compatible hardware and software products including: ScanMaker i900 flatbed scanner with film tray for glass-less scanning and FireWire interface from Miroteck for only $479.95!; ScatterLight Lenses pro digital lenses for scattering light from Andromeda for only $89.95!; Family Playday stock footage royalty-free video clips (NTSC/PAL) from RedHot Footage for only $599!; and much more.

    [Bill Fox]

    [4/20] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple released Security Update 2007-004

    Security Update 2007-004 is available via Software Update for Mac OS X 10.4.9 and 10.3.9 or as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,

    Security Update 2007-004 is recommended for all users and improves the security of the following components:

    AFP Client
    Help Viewer
    HID Family
    Login Window
    System Configuration
    Video Conference

    The details of the update are as follows:

    AFP ClientCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0729)--Under certain circumstances, AFP Client may execute commands without properly cleaning the environment. This may allow a local user to create files or execute commands with system privileges. This update addresses the issue by cleaning the environment prior to executing commands.Description:

    AirPortCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0725)--A buffer overflow vulnerability exists in the AirPortDriver module which processes control commands for AirPort. By sending malformed control commands, a local user could trigger the overflow which may lead to arbitrary code execution with elevated privileges. This issue affects eMac, iBook, iMac, PowerBook G3, PowerBook G4, and Power Mac G4 systems equipped with an original AirPort card. This issue does not affect systems with the AirPort Extreme card. This update addresses the issue by performing proper bounds checking.

    CarbonCoreCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0732)--The CoreServices daemon could allow a local user to obtain a send right to its Mach task port, which may lead to arbitrary code execution with elevated privileges. This update addresses the issue by through improved checks in the CoreServices interprocess communication. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4.Description:

    diskdev_cmdsCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0734)--A memory corruption vulnerability exists in fsck. It is possible to cause fsck to be run automatically on a disk image when it is opened. By enticing a user to open a maliciously-crafted disk image, or to run fsck on any maliciously-crafted UFS filesystem, an attacker could 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 UFS filesystems.Description:

    fetchmailCVE-ID: (CVE-2006-5867)--fetchmail is updated to version 6.3.6 to fix a vulnerability that could allow authentication credentials to be sent in plain text, despite being configured to use TLS. This issue is described on the fetchmail web site at

    ftpdCVE-ID: (CVE-2006-6652)--lukemftpd has been updated to version tnftpd 20061217 to address a buffer overflow vulnerability in the handling of commands with globbing characters that could lead to arbitrary code execution. This issue does not affect Mac OS X Server v10.3.9 or Mac OS X Server v10.4.9. Credit to Kevin Finisterre of DigitalMunition for reporting this issue.

    GNU TarCVE-ID: (CVE-2006-0300)--A buffer overflow vulnerability exists in the handling of PAX extended headers in GNU tar archives. By enticing a local user to list or extract a maliciously-crafted tar archive, an attacker can trigger the overflow which may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This issue has been addressed by performing additional validation of tar files. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X 10.4.Description:

    Help ViewerCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0646)--A format string vulnerability exists in the Help Viewer application. By enticing a user to download and open a help file with a maliciously-crafted name, 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-30-01-2007). This update addresses the issue by eliminating any format string processing of file names.Description:

    HID FamilyCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0724)--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. This fix was originally distributed via the Mac OS X v10.4.9 update. However, due to a packaging issue it may not have been delivered to all systems. This update redistributes this fix in order to reach all affected systems.Description:

    InstallerCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0465)--A format string vulnerability exists in the Installer application. By enticing a user to download and install an installer package with a maliciously-crafted file name, an attacker can trigger the vulnerability which may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This issue has been described on the Month of Apple Bugs web site (MOAB-26-01-2007). This update addresses the issue by eliminating any format string processing of file names. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4.Description:

    KerberosCVE-ID: (CVE-2006-6143)--An uninitialized function pointer vulnerability exists in the MIT Kerberos administration daemon (kadmind), which may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution with system privileges. Further information on the issue and the patch applied is available via the MIT Kerberos website at This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4. Credit to the MIT Kerberos Team and an anonymous researcher working with iDefense for reporting this issue.Description:

    KerberosCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0957)--A stack buffer overflow vulnerability exists in the MIT Kerberos administration daemon (kadmind), as well as the KDC, which may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution with system privileges. Further information on the issue and the patch applied is available via the MIT Kerberos website at Credit to the MIT Kerberos Team for reporting this issue.Description:

    KerberosCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-1216)--A double-free vulnerability exists in the GSS-API library used by the MIT Kerberos administration daemon (kadmind), which may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution with system privileges. Further information on the issue and the patch applied is available via the MIT Kerberos website at Credit to the MIT Kerberos Team for reporting this issue.Description:

    LibinfoCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0735)--In some cases, Libinfo does not correctly report errors to applications that use it. By enticing a user to visit a maliciously-crafted web page, an attacker can cause a previously deallocated object to be accessed, which may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing appropriate error reporting in Libinfo. Credit to Landon Fuller of Three Rings Design for reporting this issue.Description:

    LibinfoCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0736)--An integer overflow vulnerability exists in the RPC library. By sending maliciously-crafted requests to the portmap service, a remote attacker can trigger the overflow which may lead to a denial of service or arbitrary code execution as the 'daemon' user. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of portmap requests. Credit to the Mu Security Research Team for reporting this issue.Description:

    Login WindowCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0737)--Login Window does not sufficiently check its environment variables. This could allow a local user to execute arbitrary code with system privileges. This update addresses the issue by through improved validation of Login Window environment variables.

    Login WindowCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0738)--Under certain conditions, the user's preference to "require a password to wake the computer from sleep" is ignored, and a password is not required to wake from sleep. This update addresses the issue by through improved handling of this preference.Description:

    Login WindowCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0739)--Under certain conditions, the software update window may appear beneath the Login Window. This could allow a person with physical access to the system to log in without authentication. This update addresses the issue by only running scheduled tasks after the user login. This issue does not affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.4.Description:

    network_cmdsCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0741)--A buffer overflow vulnerability exists in the handling of RTSP packets in natd. By sending malformed RTSP packets, a remote attacker may be able to trigger the overflow which may lead to arbitrary code execution. This issue only affects users who have Internet Sharing enabled. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of rtsp packets.Description:

    SMBCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0744)--Under certain circumstances, SMB may execute commands without properly cleaning the environment. This may allow a local user to create files or execute commands with system privileges. This update addresses the issue by cleaning the environment prior to executing commands.Description:

    System ConfigurationCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0022)--Admin users have the ability to alter system preferences through the writeconfig utility. When the writeconfig utility launches the launchctl utility, it does not clean the environment inherited from the user. This could allow arbitrary code execution with system privileges without authentication. This issue has been described on the Month of Apple Bugs web site (MOAB-21-01-2007). This update addresses the issue by cleaning the environment before calling the launchctl utility.Description:

    URLMountCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0743)--The username and password used to mount remote filesystems through connections to SMB servers are passed to the mount_smb command as command line arguments, which may expose them to other local users. This update addresses the issue by securely passing the authentication credentials to the mount_smb command. Credit to Daniel Ball of Pittsburgh Technical Institute, Geoff Franks of Hauptman Woodward Medical Research Institute, and Jamie Cox of Sophos Plc for reporting this issue.Description:

    VideoConferenceCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0746)--A heap buffer overflow vulnerability exists in the VideoConference framework. By sending a maliciously-crafted SIP packet when initializing an audio/video conference, an attacker can trigger the overflow which may lead to arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of SIP packets.Description:

    WebDAVCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0747)--When mounting a WebDAV filesystem, the load_webdav program may be launched without properly cleaning the environment. This may allow a local user to create files or execute commands with system privileges. This update addresses the issue by cleaning the environment prior to executing commands.Description:

    WebFoundationCVE-ID: (CVE-2007-0742)--An implementation issue allows cookies set by subdomains to be accessible to the parent domain, which may lead to the disclosure of sensitive information. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of the domain to which a cookie is being sent. This issue does not affect systems running Mac OS X v10.4. Credit to Bradley Schwoerer of University of Wisconsin-Madison for reporting this issue.Description:

    We downloaded and installed the update on a number of Macs: Mac mini Core Duo, MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo, iMac Core 2 Duo, iMac Core Duo, Power Mac G4 Cube and PowerBook G4. All installations were completed without a hitch. Our two Core 2 Duo machines and iMac Core Duo double restarted and the rest, including the Mac mini Core Duo, did a normal single restart. All took awhile longer than usual to restart, especially the Intel-based Macs.

    After several hours of use, we have not noted any issues. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

    [4/20] Apple released Aperture 1.5.3

    Aperture is the first all-in-one post-production tool for photographers. Built from the ground up for professionals, according to Apple Aperture offers an advanced RAW workflow, professional project management capabilities, powerful compare and select tools, nondestructive image processing, and versatile printing and publishing. The 1.5.3 update is available as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page.

    What's New in this Version 1.5.3:

    Aperture 1.5.3 addresses issues related to overall reliability and performance in a number of areas, including:

    • Generation of thumbnails for adjusted images
    • Entering and exiting Full Screen mode
    • Working with large sets of keywords in the Keywords HUD
    • Restoring from a vault

    Among the specific issues that have been addressed:

    • Previews now update properly when images are sent to an external editor.
    • Leaf Aptus 22 and Aptus 75 images are now imported with the correct orientation.
    • When folders are imported as projects, the folder structure is now correctly preserved when identically named subfolders are included in the hierarchy.
    • Reconnecting referenced images that have been externally edited now works more reliably.
    • Setting the ColorSync profile in the Aperture Print dialog now correctly suppresses color management settings in the Mac OS X Print dialog.

    We do not have Aperture so we can not test this update for you. [Bill Fox]

    [4/20] Cool Mac Software--Mactracker 4.2 is now available for Mac OS X v10.3.9 or later

    Mactracker is donationware and it is an indispensable utility for every Macophile, telling you everything you want to know about all Macs and most of Apple's products. The update is available via this Web page.

    A solid update, version 4.2 adds the latest Apple hardware, the ability to create smart categories with multiple search criteria, "View Options" for individual categories, updated Support Status for Apple's latest Vintage and Obsolete products, updated AirPort entries to indicate support for 802.11n, and fixes a couple of bugs from 4.1.

    Improvements to the "My Mac models" feature range from new categories to show a system's warranty status to Address Book integration.

    The complete release notes can be found on this Mactracker Web page. [Bill Fox]

    [4/20] Brief Hands-On Report--Thunderbird 2.0 Final E-mail Client is Out

    Thunderbird 2.0 is the latest version of the Mozilla Corporation's stand-alone e-mail client. This final version replaces the RC (release candidate) version released in early April but the build number 20070326 of the final and RC versions is the same. In addition, both disc images carry an April 5 creation date and are identical in size.

    So what's New in Thunderbird 2?

    • Message Tags: Create your own tags for organizing email. Messages can be assigned any number of tags. Tags can be combined with saved searches and mail views to make it easier to organize email.
    • Visual Theme: Thunderbird 2's theme and user interface have been updated to improve usability and maximize screen real estate.
    • Session History Navigation: Back and Forward buttons allow navigation through message history.
    • Advanced Folder Views: Customize the folder pane to show favorite, unread or recent folders.
    • Easy Access to Popular Web Mail Services: Gmail and .Mac users can access their accounts in Thunderbird by simply providing their user names and passwords.
    • Improved Support For Extensions: Extensions can now add custom columns to the message list pane in addition to storing custom message data in the mail database.
    • Improved New Mail Notification Alerts: New mail alerts include information such as the subject, sender and message preview text.
    • Folder Summary Popups: Mouse over a folder with new messages to see a summary of the new messages in that folder.
    • Saved Search Folder Performance: Search results for saved search folders are now cached, improving folder loading performance.
    • Find As You Type: Finds and highlights message text as you type.
    • Improved Filing Tools: Recent folder menu items for moving and copying messages to recently used folders. Move / Copy again functionality.
    • Updates to the Extension System: The extension system has been updated to provide enhanced security and to allow for easier localization of extensions.

    We have used this build of Thunderbird for two weeks without running into an issue. We like Thunderbird except for its handling of attachments, a feature in which Apple Mail excels. [Bill Fox]

    [4/19] Apple's 30% Mac Shipment Growth Tops Vendors in U.S. for 2007 Q1

    Apple is no longer a computer company? Says whom? According to Gartner Inc., Apple topped the list of computer manufacturers for sales growth in U.S. shipments of computers during the first quarter of 2007 with a 30 percent growth compared with shipments in the U.S. during the same quarter of 2006, i.e. 741,000 Macs to 570,000 Macs. Toshiba was second with 27 percent growth and HP was third with 26 percent growth.

    In terms of total U.S. shipments, Apple stood fifth with a market share of 5.0 percent (up from 4 percent in 2006 Q1), just behind fourth place Toshiba with a 5.4 percent market share (up from 4.4 percent). Of the top three, Dell (#1) and Gateway (#3) lost market share. HP (#2) gained market share along with Apple and Toshiba.

    Worldwide, Q1 2007 computer shipments increased 9 percent to nearly 63 million and HP took over first place from Dell with an 18 to 14 percent market share. Apple is included with the "Others" in the worldwide data presented by Gartner, Inc. [Bill Fox]

    [4/19] Toshiba announced 1.8" Hard Disk Drives for Notebooks--Coming to Apple's MacBook/Pro?

    We keep our eye on new technology that might find its way into Apple's Macs. Yesterday, Toshiba Storage Device Division announced collaboration with Intel Corporation to provide a family of 1.8-inch hard disk drive (HDD) solutions for the newest-generation Ultra Mobile notebook platform architecture, which made its debut yesterday at the Intel Developer Forum 2007 Conference in Beijing, China. Toshiba's 1.8-inch HDDs provide the small footprint, high capacity, low power and ruggedness needed to deliver the perfect experience using Intel's new Intel Ultra Mobile Platform 2007.

    Available in 30GB, 40GB, 60GB, 80GB and 100GB capacities, Toshiba's 1.8-inch HDDs deliver the storage capacity and responsiveness necessary to support the new platform's advanced computing capabilities while meeting the longer battery life, durability and small footprint requirements of the mobile environment. The Intel Ultra Mobile Platform 2007 represents a significant step in the creation of a new category of connected mobile devices that support the full range of notebook computer functionality including a seamless Internet experience, location adaptability and anytime connectivity for wireless email, instant messenger chat and VoIP.

    As the first company to successfully market the 1.8-inch HDD form factor, Toshiba commands over 75 percent market share in the category and has shipped more than 40 million 1.8-inch HDDs since introduction in 2000.

    Most current notebook HDDs are the much larger 2.5-inch models that are 9-mm thick. The 1.8-inch HDDs are currently found in full-size iPods. [Bill Fox]

    [4/19] Software Special Deal of the Day: BioQuotes 4.0.3 (Universal) for 40% Off--$14.95 Today Only

    BioQuotes has quotations that deal with Life and the lives we lead by everyone from Socrates to Sting, Cleopatra to Cher. They include the wisest and wittiest words ever spoken during recorded history. With 12,000 quotes by 5,000 authors, it's the definitive collection for your digital desktop!

    A truly unique aspect of BioQuotes is that each quotation is presented individually for maximum impact. The quotes are organized into seven beautifully-designed Parts, each with its own colorful background. The parts are: Definitions, Dichotomies, Writing, Art, Existence, Humor, and Eating. Finding a specific quote is easy with the extensive search capabilities, which include searching by word, phrase or author. There is a useful Author Index and helpful biographical data on 600 of the most quoted authors.

    BioQuotes is reference software that has been in development on the Macintosh platform for over a decade. The software provides easy desktop access without the need for time-consuming searches on the Internet. It can be a valuable resource for students, speakers and professionals who want to add zest to a paper, speech or presentation.

    Normally $24.95, BioQuotes 4.0.3 (Universal) is offered for $14.95 today only--that's 40% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/19] Nation Elements: Americas released--New Apple Keynote Theme

    Wow You Design announced the availability of Nation Elements: Americas, an addition to its popular Keynote Theme Park line of products designed exclusively for Apple Keynote. Nation Elements: Americas is a collection of beautifully crafted country border shapes, flags, aqua flag orbs, reflective overlays, shape and table fills, and standardized location maps for 39 individual countries and territories found in North and South America. What's more, each of the 39 countries/territories in the Americas set includes a national symbol.

    "Usually when people create a presentation that needs national or country graphical elements, they scour the Internet to find something that's at least usable," said John Driedger of Wow You Design. "The results end up being from all over the place, and frankly it looks it. With Nation Elements that's no longer the case. Now everything has a beautiful, coordinated, professional appearance that'll make presentations look phenomenal."

    Initially available in the Americas set only, Wow You Design will soon release additional Nation Elements sets, five in all, covering countries and territories from around the world. Future sets include Nation Elements: Europe, Nation Elements: Asia, Nation Elements: Pacific Rim, and Nation Elements: Africa. Each set will be available for an introductory price of only $19.95, with Nation Elements: Americas available immediately. Upon the expiration of the introductory price, each Nation Elements set will sell for $39.95.

    [4/19] TurboTax E-filing Clog gets 2-day IRS Extension and may benefit TaxCut 2007

    We posted a favorable review of TaxCut 2006 for Mac, noting how fast and problem-free it was this year. Well, Intuit's servers processing e-filed tax returns using TurboTax bogged down under the load of last-minute filers according to this AP story. The IRS has extended the deadline for those taxpayer through today, April 19, a two-day reprieve. Apparently, Intuit did not accurately anticipate the load resulting in delays of multiple hours in just getting confirmation that the returns had been filed.

    All Macs Only! staffers currently plan to use TaxCut for 2007 based on our excellent 2006 experience, the much better "finish" of TaxCut for Mac vs TurboTax for Mac, much lower cost and the widespread reported e-filing problems with TurboTax. [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]

    [4/19] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--AirPort Extreme "n" Security, Leopard Delay and DRM-free Music

    Tonight, host Gene Steinberg calls upon security expert Alan Oppenheimer of Open Door Networks to explain the recent updates to Apple's new 802.11n AirPort Extreme. You'll also hear from industry analyst Ross Rubin of the NPD Group on the possible impact of the four-month delay for Apple's Leopard operating system, plus various trends in the tech industry. In addition, long-time digital music writer Eliot Van Buskirk will provide an update on the forthcoming age of DRM-free music downloads and other current issues. You can tune into the Web broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]

    [4/18] Apple Design Awards for 2007 Entry Deadline is Monday, April 23

    If you are a developer, make sure your Mac OS X software design and development gets the attention it deserves by entering the 12th annual Apple Design Awards. Let your work take center stage at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference. Complete your entry by April 23.

    You must be a member of Apple's Developer Connection to enter or make a nomination. You may become a member free by registering on this Apple Web page. [Bill Fox]

    [4/18] Adobe released DNG Converter and Camera Raw 4.0

    They are available for download via or from this Adobe Web page.

    The Adobe DNG Converter, a free utility that converts files from more than 150 cameras to DNG (Digital Negative), enables you to easily convert camera-specific raw files to a more universal DNG raw file. Digital Negative was developed to address the lack of an open standard for the proprietary and unique raw files created by each digital camera. DNG allows photographers to archive their raw camera files in a single format for easy cataloging and access in the future. With the format specification freely available, any developer can build software that supports and takes advantage of DNG. For more information, visit the Adobe Digital Negative Web page.

    Camera Raw 4.0 update is only for Photoshop CS3 and Photoshop Elements 4.0.1 and it provides support for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ8 camera. Still use version 3.7 for Photoshop CS2. The Adobe Camera Raw Web page has a complete list of supported cameras. [Bill Fox]

    [4/18] Software Special Deal of the Day: PasswordWallet 4.0.4 (Universal) for 50% Off--$9.95 Today Only

    PasswordWallet from Selznick Scientific Software is a convenient, easy to use, secure place to store all your usernames, passwords, PIN numbers, or combinations. It just doesn't get any easier than this!

    Here are the features:

    • PasswordWallet has a tight user interface that allows you to use your passwords as quickly and as painlessly as possible.
    • Our unique Auto-typing technology is more secure than copying your password to the clipboard.
    • Use Auto-typing to enter multiple usernames and passwords across multiple web pages.
    • For security, PasswordWallet™ uses the BlowFish encryption algorithm with 448-bit keys to protect your data. For safety, PasswordWallet™ can copy your password to the clipboard and clear it automatically after you paste.
    • Keep your master password in the Mac OS X keychain.
    • Easy to use mult-file synchronization.
    • Synchronize with your Palm compatible PDA! (With purchase of PasswordWallet for PalmOS).

    Normally $20.00, PasswordWallet 4.0.4 (Universal) is offered for $9.95 today only--that's 50% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/18] Adobe released Public Betas of After Effects CS3 Pro and Premiere Pro CS3

    Adobe released public betas of two of the major applications in its Creative Suite 3's Production Premium Edition, coming out during the summer of 2007. Both will also be available as stand-alone applications. After Effects Pro CS3 and Premiere Pro CS3 are available for download from this Adobe Web page.

    After Effects CS3 Professional Public Beta requires a license for After Effects 7 in order to download it, similar to the requirement to try Photoshop CS3 during its public beta phase. The new application version, in Adobe's words, allows you to "Animate freely and with even more flexibility using new Shape Layers and the new Puppet tool. Use the new Brainstorm feature to naturally evolve animation variations based on parameters you choose."

    Premiere Pro CS3 Public Beta does not require a previous license. According to Adobe,

    "Tell your story with maximum impact using powerful, flexible editing tools in Adobe Premiere Pro CS3. Bring new dimension to your projects efficiently and in real time with precise keyframe controls and features like high-quality slow motion with time remapping. Save time creating dramatic effects and get finer creative control thanks to tight integration with Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Adobe After Effects CS3 Professional software. Achieve your vision with professional color correction, quickly and precisely edit footage from multicam shots, and much more—all from within a familiar, customizable interface."

    Note that there is an issue with DV capture in the Premiere Pro CS3 Public Beta with Mac OS X 10.4.9 that requires downgrading to 10.4.8. [Bill Fox]

    [4/18] Adobe and Microsoft invading Each Other's Core Territory

    Adobe announced the Adobe Media Player at the National Association of Broadcasters trade show this week. This desktop application expands Adobe's Internet video solutions, adding to an emerging ecosystem that enables new ways to distribute and monetize media, while helping viewers discover and view high-quality content both online and offline. Leveraging Adobe's Emmy Award winning Flash architecture, the Adobe Media Player delivers more engaging video experiences to viewers while offering content publishers new abilities to distribute, track and build businesses around their media assets. Adobe Media Player is planned to be available as a free beta download from the Adobe Web site later in 2007 with full availability expected by the end of the year, from Adobe and a wide range of media and technology partners.

    Adobe Media Player will compete with Microsoft's Windows Media Player as well as Apple's QuickTime Player and RealNetworks' Real Player. (more)

    Microsoft announced Silverlight, a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web. Silverlight will compete with Adobe Flash. A Silverlight Community Technology Preview (aka Beta) is already available for download from this Microsoft Web page. It is available for Mac OS X and supports the Firefox, Firefox 2.0.x, and Apple Safari 2.0.4 Web browsers. [Bill Fox]

    [4/17] Get a Full-Featured Preview of Leopard at Apple's WWDC--Save $300 by April 27

    Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference 2007 (WWDC) will be held June 11-15 at the Moscone West Conference Center in San Francisco. Now that Apple has delayed the release of Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard," the best way to find out all about Leopard's complete feature set is to attend the WWDC for a hands-on experience. The WWDC has "Early Bird" pricing, so if you are planning to attend the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2007, purchase your ticket before April 27 and save $300. [Bill Fox]

    [4/17] Alien Skin Software released their Plug-ins (Universal) compatible with Photoshop CS3

    Alien Skin Software today released Macintosh Universal updates for all their Photoshop plug-ins: Snap Art, BlowUp, Exposure, Eye Candy 5: Textures, Eye Candy 5: Nature, Eye Candy 5: Impact, Xenofex 2, Image Doctor, and Splat!.  These updates are compatible with the upcoming Photoshop CS3 release from Adobe Systems, Inc.  Alien Skin's Universal plug-ins provide a significant performance increase on Intel-based Macintosh computers. 

    Registered users may receive free updates for any Alien Skin plug-ins purchased on or after January 1, 2007.  Contact Alien Skin directly for more information.  All other customers may purchase updates at $19.99 each for up to three titles; additional titles beyond three are free of charge.  Updates may only be obtained directly from Alien Skin, and free online delivery is available at the Alien Skin Web site. [Bill Fox]

    [4/17] Software Special Deal of the Day: Noodle Reader 1.0 for 45% Off--$10.95 Today Only

    Noodle Reader is a talking head news reader. With just a few clicks, it can read aloud news, weather, articles, jokes, quotations, and many other types of information. Noodle Reader downloads RSS feeds and reads them, with options for custom actors, voices, and backdrops.

    Normally $20.00, Noodle Reader 1.0 is offered for $10.95 today only--that's 45% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/17] Apple's Q2 2007 Financial Results to be released April 25

    Next week on Wednesday, April 25, Apple will release its financial results for the second quarter of its 2007 fiscal year covering January through March. The results will be discussed in a conference call that will be webcast via QuickTime at 2pm PT (5pm ET) from this Apple Web page.

    This is just an early warning for those who want to listen in so look for our report next week. [Bill Fox]

    [4/17] Sonicfire Pro 4.5 (Universal) released at NAB--Professional Music Scoring with Smart Recall and Network Edition

    Sonicfire Pro 4.5 is the latest version of SmartSound Software's award-winning music scoring software. It is available in two versions: a standalone version for single-user installations and a network version that includes several breakthrough workflow enhancements for film and video professionals.

    A major new feature available to all Sonicfire Pro 4.5 users is Smart Recall, which brings new customization options to music tracks exported as standard audio file formats. Sonicfire Pro music scores which have been exported as .WAV or .AIFF files are now embedded with the project information used to create the track. In addition to being editable with any audio software, Smart Recall files have the added benefit of being opened in Sonicfire Pro 4.5 to make changes to the length, arrangement and mix of the score before exporting the new, edited audio file.

    SmartSound also announced the release of Sonicfire Pro 4.5 Network Edition. This new edition boasts features which improve the workflow in a collaborative environment for $299 per seat. Every editor can enjoy the benefits of SmartSound at their workstation while the entire SmartSound music library is centrally located on a network drive.

    Existing owners of SmartSound Sonicfire Pro 4 can receive Sonicfire Pro 4.5 Standard Edition as a free upgrade or receive a limited-time discount price of $49.50 per seat to upgrade to the Network Edition.[Bill Fox]

    [4/17] No Wonder! Lives--Mac Support Site Re-Launched

    No Wonder! "The Answer to Technical Support" has been re-launched to establish support forums and personal free support for Windows and Linux operating systems on the Mac. In addition to Windows and Linux support on the Mac, No Wonder! will carry all Mac forums that reside on

    No Wonder!, originally founded in 1997, was an innovative volunteer driven technical support service that made it one of the most popular tech support sites during the late 90's. Scott William, the original founder of No Wonder! is now re-launching the site with the same foundation it had prior to its change of ownership in late 1999.

    "Apple's migration to the Intel platform opened the doors for other popular operating systems to run on Mac hardware and providing support for the popular user operating systems again seemed like a natural step for us to take," said Scott William. "Taking big steps like this will mean some growing pains as we build our Windows and Linux tech base."

    No Wonder!, combined with, has over 90,000 registered users, over 30,000 unique support questions answered, and over 150 volunteer support techs. [Bill Fox via prMac]

    [4/16] Hands-On Review--TaxCut 2006 Experience, A Very Good One Indeed!

    The Macs Only! staff has used both H&R Block's TaxCut for Mac and Intuit's TurboTax for Mac for a number of years. Before TaxCut came to the Mac scene, the entire staff used Intuit's MacInTax, the precursor to TurboTax for Mac.

    The staff member who originally tried TaxCut for Mac liked it better than Intuit's offering because the interview was much easier to follow, especially for the state forms, and the cost was less. TaxCut also generally got better reviews, although for the Windows version. Last year, i.e. the 2005 tax year, the staff members who had been using TaxCut had to go back to TurboTax when H&R Block dropped TaxCut for Mac. They were not at all pleased with the TurboTax experience and, worse, it came at a higher cost.

    Fortunately, H&R Block issued TaxCut for Mac 2006 as a Universal Application and the staff members who looked at the Basic Edition (federal tax only) that was sent around free to previous customers liked it very much as we previously reported. We also noted that H&R Block was at Macworld 2007 handing out free copies of the Basic Edition to attendees.

    We obtained a copy of the Premium+State+Efile edition of TaxCut 2006 for Mac via a download special of $49.95 that was available in January. The regular retail price is $64.95 and it includes the Premium federal version of TaxCut, one state return and e-filing for both the federal and state return. The similar level product from Intuit, TurboTax Premier, retails for $74.95 but it's not clear that there are no additional charges for efiling a federal and a state return.

    We updated TaxCut 2006 three times--in February, March and just before we did our 2006 returns. The last update was for only the California state module. We had hoped to provide this report earlier but when it comes to doing taxes, we are just as much a victim of procrastination as the next person and completed them only this past Friday.

    The tax return that we used TaxCut on was a good test. The staff member and his spouse have income from a lot of sources: a job, a business (Sch C), rental real estate (Sch E), a limited partnership (Sch E & K1), a retirement IRA account and social security.

    We had an easy start as TaxCut 2006 imported the 2005 tax returns completed last year with Intuit's TurboTax. The only glitch was that many of the worksheets were imported in triplicate but none were missed, making the 2006 job easy by just editing the 2005 data via the interview process. The extras were easily deleted.

    We found that the interview was clear and not confusing for both the federal and state returns. In the past, and especially with TurboTax, we had found the state return interview confusing at a number of points where a decision was required but no basis for making the decision was provided or, if it was, it was too arcane to be helpful. This year TaxCut seems to have gotten it right and we sped through the interview for both the federal and state returns in just a couple of hours. The California state return was very easy since the data from the federal return was automatically imported into the California state return and only a few minimal adjustments were needed from the interview. Not one glitch or crash occurred, also something new.

    While the new one-time federal excise tax credit for long distance telephone calls from March 2003 to July 2006 was not noted in the introductory video as something new, it was not forgotten during the interview. If you have made many long distance calls during the time period, it is worth looking up the actual tax paid rather than taking the $30-60 default credit. Our $40 default credit turned into a $201 credit by simply looking up our old bills on AT&T's Web site. AT&T provided a useful link to the appropriate data.

    The interview also provided useful tax-saving tips like checking to see if in 2006 one paid more than was withheld on a state tax return for 2005. If so, that should be added to the amount withheld in 2006 as a deduction on the federal return. It also automatically parsed social security payments into taxable and non-taxable portions.

    The federal and California state returns were efiled together at nearly 11pm and by 4am and 5am respectively, both were accepted. This was a much faster turnaround than in previous years.

    TaxCut is good for both complex and simple returns and for experienced and novice taxpayers. The Premium+State+Efile edition has the helpful Deduction Pro tool and one free session with an H&R Block tax advisor. And if you efile and are unfortunate enough to be selected for an audit, H&R Block has what they call Worry-free Audit Support that will assist you during the audit. Like all taxpayers, we hope we never need to test that aspect of TaxCut. [Bill Fox]

    [4/16] Adobe shipping most Creative Suite 3 Editions/Applications Today

    Adobe Systems Inc. today announced the immediate availability of the highly-anticipated Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium and Standard editions and Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Premium and Standard editions. This revolutionary release of brand-new, tightly integrated, design and development software unites the best of Adobe and former Macromedia product innovation to provide designers and developers worldwide with a broad spectrum of creative options.

    Also available for purchase today are new versions of the following stand alone Adobe creative applications: Adobe Photoshop CS3, Adobe Photoshop CS3 Extended, Adobe InDesign CS3, Adobe Illustrator CS3, Adobe Flash CS3 Professional, Adobe Dreamweaver CS3, Adobe Fireworks CS3, and Adobe Contribute CS3. These new Adobe CS3 applications and Adobe Creative Suite 3 editions are available as Universal applications for both PowerPC and Intel-based Macs. Customers will experience increased levels of performance and speed running Creative Suite 3 natively on Intel-based Macintosh systems.

    Not shipping today are the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Production Premium edition, a complete integrated post-production solution for video and rich media professionals, and Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection, which combines all of Adobe's new CS3 design and development applications in a single box—the most comprehensive creative environment ever delivered. Both of these Creative Suite editions are expected to ship in the third quarter of 2007.

    Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium, Design Standard, Web Premium, and Web Standard are immediately available to customers in the United States and Canada, and are available through Adobe Authorized Resellers and the Adobe Store. Estimated street price for the Adobe Creative Suite 3 Design Premium edition is US$1799, US$1199 for Creative Suite 3 Design Standard edition, US$1599 for Creative Suite 3 Web Premium and US$999 for Adobe Creative Suite 3 Web Standard. There are numerous upgrade paths available for Adobe customers. For more detailed information about features, upgrade policies, pricing, and international versions please visit this Adobe Web page.[Bill Fox]

    [4/16] Software Special Deal of the Day: Ulysses 1.5 (Universal) for 40% Off--$59.95 Today Only

    Ulysses is a unique text editor aimed directly at creative writers. With its innovative "tabbed" single-window interface, featuring integrated notepads, a documents browser, advanced search/filter capabilities and multi-document previews, Ulysses aims to give creative writers, novelists and storytellers the best writing experience available on any platform today.

    Ulysses lets the writer focus entirely on content while aiding him in organizing the multiple parts of his work without forcing him into any pre-defined structure whatsoever. Developed exclusively for creative writers, Ulysses lacks both the functional overload of traditional word processors and the developers-oriented approach of classic text editors.

    Additionally, Ulysses sports an extensible, plug-ins based export feature which enables the user to export his project into various formats such as "Plaintext" and "RTF" (LaTeX and HTML exporters are currently in development).

    Normally $100.00, Ulysses 1.5 (Universal) is offered for $59.95 today only--that's 40% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/16] Apple revealed Final Cut Studio 2 at NAB in Las Vegas

    Apple revealed Final Cut Studio 2 Sunday at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas. Final Cut Studio 2 is a significant upgrade to the industry's leading video production suite that delivers new creative tools designed expressly for editors. Final Cut Studio 2 includes Final Cut Pro 6, which introduces Apple's ProRes 422 format for uncompressed HD quality at SD file sizes and support for mixed video formats and frame rates in a single Timeline; Motion 3 featuring an intuitive 3D environment, paint and new behaviors; Soundtrack Pro 2 with dozens of innovative tools for multitrack editing, surround mixing and conforming sound to picture; Compressor 3 delivering powerful batch encoding for multiple formats with a single click; and DVD Studio Pro 4.2 for SD and HD DVD authoring. Final Cut Studio 2 also introduces "Color," a professional color grading and finishing application for ensuring consistent color and creating signature looks.

    "Final Cut Studio 2 was specifically designed to enable the rapidly growing community of over 800,000 Final Cut editors worldwide to animate, mix, grade and deliver their work as a natural extension of the editorial process," said Rob Schoeben, Apple's vice president of Applications Product Marketing. "Final Cut Studio 2 is the most powerful production suite on the planet."

    Final Cut Studio 2 will be available in May through the Apple Store online, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $1,299 (US). Registered users of the current version of Final Cut Studio can upgrade for $499 (US) and registered users from any previous version of Final Cut Pro can upgrade for $699 (US). [Bill Fox]

    [4/16] Apple introduced Final Cut Server at NAB in Las Vegas

    Apple introduced Final Cut Server Sunday at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in Las Vegas. Final Cut Server is a powerful new server application that works seamlessly with Final Cut Studio 2 to provide media asset management and workflow automation for post production and broadcast professionals. A scaleable server application that supports workgroups of any size, Final Cut Server includes a cross-platform client that enables content browsing, review and approval from within a studio or over the Internet. Final Cut Server automatically catalogs large collections of assets and enables searching across multiple volumes via an intuitive user interface. Final Cut Server is designed to manage the flow of work, as assets and projects move from producer to editor to artist through the entire production process.

    "Final Cut Server's powerful media asset management capabilities simplify managing the thousands of assets that make up a typical edit," said Rob Schoeben, Apple's vice president of Applications Product Marketing. "And Final Cut Server's sophisticated workflow automation tools ensure projects flow smoothly through an organization, enabling everyone to be more productive."

    Final Cut Server automatically catalogs content, generating thumbnails and low resolution clip proxies in the process. Broad search capabilities extend from simple keywords to complex combinations of IPTC, XMP and XML metadata. Final Cut Server can configure a range of highly specific access controls that define user permissions on an asset or project basis.

    Final Cut Server will be available this summer through the Apple Store online, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $999 (US) for one server and 10 concurrent client licenses and $1,999 (US) for one server and unlimited client licenses. [Bill Fox]

    [4/14] Apple Revised the Offerings from a Hot Deals Retailer--CDW Mac Warehouse

    CDW Mac Warehouse - has great deals on Mac compatible hardware and software products including: 1TB MyBook Pro Edition external hard drive with FireWire 800/400 and USB 2.0 interface from Western Digital for only $469.99!; OfficeConnect Dual Speed Switch 5 5-port 10/100BASE-TX Fast Ethernet switch from 3Com for only $29.99 after $10 mail-in rebate!; 512MB Memory Stick PRO Duo from Sony for only $34.99!; C534N color laser printer from Lexar for only $349.99!; and much more.

    [Bill Fox]

    [4/13] Apple delayed release of Mac OS X 10.5 'Leopard' until October

    Citing the demands of getting the iPhone ready for its late June release, Apple issued a statement delaying the release of Mac OS X 10.5 'Leopard' from spring until October. Here is Apple's statement,

    "iPhone has already passed several of its required certification tests and is on schedule to ship in late June as planned. We can't wait until customers get their hands (and fingers) on it and experience what a revolutionary and magical product it is. However, iPhone contains the most sophisticated software ever shipped on a mobile device, and finishing it on time has not come without a price -- we had to borrow some key software engineering and QA resources from our Mac OS® X team, and as a result we will not be able to release Leopard at our Worldwide Developers Conference in early June as planned. While Leopard's features will be complete by then, we cannot deliver the quality release that we and our customers expect from us. We now plan to show our developers a near final version of Leopard at the conference, give them a beta copy to take home so they can do their final testing, and ship Leopard in October. We think it will be well worth the wait. Life often presents tradeoffs, and in this case we're sure we've made the right ones."

    As much as we would like to have Leopard soon, we would much prefer to have the iPhone soonest so we completely agree with Apple's priorities. Still, the announcement comes as a surprise given that Apple openly denied a rumored delay as recently as late March and, as we noted, released Boot Camp 1.2 beta that is compatible with Microsoft Windows Vista at the end of March. Since Boot Camp is set to expire in September, perhaps it will be extended at least until Leopard arrives in October because its expiration will cause problems as we noted on Wednesday. [Bill Fox]

    [4/13] Software Special Deal of the Day: Tri 2: Tri Again 2.0 (Universal) for 42% Off--$7.77 Today Only

    Tri 2: Tri Again... The Con-TRI-ption --the unusual tri-geared contraption-- traverses a triangular game area by feeding a single loop of chain through three motorized gears and three pulleys. The challenge is to master the gearing system to make the Con-TRI-ption go where you want, accumulating fuel and points while avoiding deadly tri-pedoes.

    Adding to the challenge in Tri 2 are new spinners that temporarily change the positions of the color-coded gears ... and triple the value of the point targets.

    Normally $13.33, Tri 2: Tri Again 2.0 (Universal) is offered for $7.77 today only--that's 42% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/13] Brief Hands-On Report--Adobe released Flash Player 9.0.45 (Universal)

    Adobe Flash Player 9.0.45 is available for download via or from this Adobe Web page. It is the latest version just out but you can check your version from this Adobe Web page.

    We checked our current version and it was 9.0.28 so we downloaded the new version and installed it without encountering any issues. We launched Safari and rechecked our version of Flash Player and it is 9.0.45. [Bill Fox]

    [4/13] Black Cat Systems Released the Atomic Mac version 6.7.0

    Black Cat Systems released version 6.7.0 of the Atomic Mac, the premier periodic table of the elements and nuclear database for the Macintosh. This new version adds several enhancements to the user interface, including the ability to change the size of the periodic table display window.

    The Atomic Mac is a periodic table of the elements for the Macintosh. In addition to the usual information found in such programs, The Atomic Mac also contains a wealth of nuclear information on each isotope,
    including half life, decay mode, and daughter products. X-ray data (fluorescence and binding energies) is also available. A molecular weight calculator makes it easy to find the molecular weight of compounds. A shaded diagram showing the ranges of physical properties makes it easy to visualize relationships across the periodic table. [Bill Fox]

    [4/13] Enfocus Neo 1.1 Professional PDF Prepress Editing Application is Out

    XChange International announced the release and immediate availability of Neo 1.1 from Enfocus. When a mistake is noticed in a job at the end of the production cycle, perhaps when it is ready to go on press, it is vital to correct the fault on the spot. As PDF has become the preferred format for document exchange, and native documents are often not available, the only solution is to edit the PDF file as quickly as possible.

    Neo is flexible and efficient, handling everyday prepress editing of multi-page PDF files with ease. With Neo, operators have all the high-end editing and correction functionality in a native PDF environment that previously existed only in proprietary non-PDF systems. Neo is a huge asset in dramatically reducing the time taken for approval and correction cycles that are unavoidable in today's demanding design, prepress and print environments. [Bill Fox]

    [4/12] Samsung to make 24" LED-Backlit LCD Panel with Superb Color Quality--Coming soon to Apple?

    Apple's Cinema Displays are outstanding and could become better real soon. Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., the world's largest provider of thin-film transistor, liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) panels, announced that during the second quarter, it will begin producing a 24-inch LCD panel with an LED backlight that enables computer monitors to deliver unprecedented color quality, resembling that of the highest-quality TV sets available today. Apple is a major investor in Samsung's LCD technology.

    With the new 24-inch LCD monitor display, technology-demanding consumers, professional graphics designers and digital photographers will enjoy the same true-to-life colors that premium LCD TVs can provide, thanks to Samsung's proprietary LED backlight. The LED-backlit monitor panel has an industry-high color saturation level of 111% (of NTSC standard) compared to a saturation level of only 72% of NTSC for conventional monitors and will satisfy consumers used to the crisp colors prevalent in high-definition broadcasting.

    The new monitor display also features Samsung's highly successful S-PVA (Super Patterned-ITO Vertical Alignment) technology that provides the widest viewing angle possible--180 degrees--at the highest contrast ratio for LCD monitors today (>1,000:1). It also supports WUXGA resolution (1,920x1,200 pixels), which is the computer equivalent to Full HD resolution.

    Here is a comparison with the published specifications of Apple's 23" Cinema Display:

    Samsung Panel
    Apple Cinema
    Size (inches)
    Resolution (pixels)
    Viewing angle (°)
    Brightness (cd/m2)
    Color saturation (%)

    The Samsung 24-inch LED-Backlit LCD panel has a slightly higher viewing angle and over 40 percent more contrast than Apple's 23-inch Cinema Display but is substantially less bright. We couldn't find the color saturation spec for the Cinema but Samsung claims that standard panels have only 72 percent saturation which Samsung's is a whopping 111 percent--high color saturation is the Samsung's main claim to fame.

    Hopefully, we will see some LED-backlit LCD displays from Apple in the near future. [Bill Fox]

    [4/12] Software Special Deal of the Day: BackTrack 3.6 (Universal) for 34% Off--$9.95 Today Only

    BackTrack brings Mac users a new level of safety by logging all text (except passwords) that is typed onto all windows in all applications. The main advantage BackTrack has over other logging applications is Backtrack's ability to log the window name that is in front while you are typing. BackTrack saves all its data to a SQLite database file. This file contains the application name, the window name, the date & time, and what you typed.

    Normally $15.00, BackTrack 3.6 (Universal) is offered for $9.95 today only--that's 34% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/12] Skype announced Skype for Mac 2.6 Beta with Call Transfer, a Mac Exclusive

    We use Skype and think it's great but, according to Skype, Mac users have been asking for better quality and Skype has taken action. By ironing out the little bugs that users have pointed out, Skype for Mac 2.6 Beta boasts increased quality and stability. Skype says it understands that even small things like handling birthday reminders or other notifications are important for Mac users too, so they spent a lot of time streamlining the small stuff in this new release.

    Along with the above improvements, the 2.6 Beta version of this fantastic little piece of software includes a new Call Transfer feature and it's initially exclusive to the Mac platform, with other platforms to follow. You can now transfer ongoing Skype calls effortlessly to other friends and family on your Skype contact list.

    Here are some of the features that are now available on Mac that were previously only available on Windows:

    • Join public chats
    • Chat typing indicator - see when others are writing a message
    • Call any Skype Prime premium services provider and pay with Skype credit
    • Automatic Updates – get new features and updates without having to go to Skype's web site to download
    • DTMF tones for automatic answering services available also during Skype-to-Skype calls

    To use Skype for Mac 2.6 Beta, all you need is a broadband Internet connection and away you go. You can download it now from this Skype Web page. It's a beta version but Skype is planning on releasing the super Skype for Mac 2.6 Gold version in the near future. [Bill Fox]

    [4/12] Laptop Drives expanding--Samsung announced 200GB and 250GB Models

    If your 160GB MacBook Pro or MacBook hard disk drive is filling up, don't despair because 200GB and 250GB models spinning at a fast 7200RPM and 5400RPM respectively are just around the corner. Toshiba already has a 200GB model on the market but it spins at a relatively slow 4200RPM. Samsung's 2.5-inch 200GB SATA drive (SpinPoint MP1) will have a 3Gb/s interface while the 250GB SATA drive (SpinPoint MP5) will have dual disks and a slower 1.5Gb/s interface. Both use perpendicular magnetic recording technology. The 200GB model is projected to ship late next month. Samsung provided no expected shipping date for the 250GB model. [Bill Fox]

    [4/12] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--New Mac Pro 8-core, AirPort Extreme 'n' Base Station and MacFixIt Tips

    Tonight, host Gene Steinberg calls upon Macworld Editorial Director Jason Snell to explore the potential or lack thereof of Apple's new eight-core option for the Mac Pro. Is it the fastest computer on the planet, or only with a very limited amount of software. Adam Engst of TidBITS joins us to talk about the ins and outs of Apple's new AirPort Extreme "n" base station. You'll also discover the latest tips, tricks and troubleshooting hints for your Mac from MacFixIt Editor Ben Wilson.

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

    [4/11] Apple Revised the Offerings from a Hot Deals Retailer

    Apple Store Special Deals - has exclusive prices on Apple Certified Refurbished products including: refurbished 2GB iPod nano for only $119!; refurbished 17-inch PowerBook G4 for only $1699!; refurbished 23-inch Apple Cinema HD Display for only $749!; refurbished Mac Pro Quad w/two 3.0GHz Dual-Core Intel Xeon processors for only $3,299!; and much more.

    [Bill Fox]

    [4/11] Software Special Deal of the Day: PolyPhontics GB 1.2.1 (Universal) for 40% Off--$14.95 Today Only

    PolyPhontics GB is a software instrument toolbox made specifically for Apple's GarageBand. Sporting some of the same features as its big brother, PolyPhontics, PolyPhontics GB gives you the tools you need to create software instruments for use in GarageBand compositions.

    Normally $24.99, PolyPhontics GB 1.2.1 (Universal) is offered for $14.95 today only--that's 40% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/11] New MacLinkPlus Deluxe 16.0000 has Microsoft Office 2007 Open XML File Converters

    Another company has beaten Microsoft in releasing Mac translators for Microsoft Office 2007's new and incompatible default file format called Open XML, at least for Word 2007 and Excel 2007. DataViz has released MacLinkPlus Deluxe 16.0000, the venerable Mac file translator, with read-only translators for Microsoft Word 2007 and Excel 2007--details here.

    The Microsoft Mac Business Unit has promised Mac translators according to their December 5, 2006 blog entry:

    "There will be a delta between general availability of Win Office (January) and converters from MacBU (expected late March/early April.)"

    If they are still on track, Microsoft's translators (hopefully a complete set and read/write) should be out any day now. [Bill Fox]

    [4/11] Apple's Boot Camp Public Beta Expiration to cause Issues

    The Boot Camp public beta won't expire until Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" comes out or September 30th whichever comes first. However, when it does, the expiration will cause some issues. As best we can tell, Leopard is on track for a late spring release so the expiration time is nearing.

    The good news is that the Windows partition created by Boot Camp public beta will remain intact and usable. The bad news, according to a CNet article, is that the Boot Camp Assistant software will quit working so there will be no way to manage or easily delete the Windows partition. Furthermore, there will be no additional driver updates.

    Since Apple has not indicated that it will make a final version for use with Mac OS X 10.4.x "Tiger," free or for sale, plan accordingly if you do not plan to upgrade to Leopard. More... [Dana Baggett]

    [4/11] Trans International shipping 7200RPM 160GB 2.5" Seagate SATA Hard Drive

    Trans International is now shipping 160GB Seagate Momentus 7200RPM SATA drive (2.5") as an internal and external storage solution for the MacBook, MacBook Pro and Mac mini (Intel-based).

    The Seagate Momentus hard drive is a perfect combination of value and performance increasing system productivity approximately 25 percent over that of 5400-RPM drives according to TransIntl. Low power consumption maximizes battery life. Featuring a SATA 3Gb/s interface with Native Command Queuing (NCQ), the Seagate Momentus has the fastest interface option available today with perpendicular recording technology enhancing data reliability.

    Trans International is offering the 7200RPM 160GB Seagate Momentus internal SATA hard drive for $199.00 and the external storage solution with a miniXpress enclosure is also available for an additional $99.00. [Bill Fox]

    [4/10] Brief Hands-On Report--AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n Firmware 7.1 Update

    Apple released Firmware 7.1 update for the new AirPort Extreme 'n' Base Station. It is available automatically by simply opening AirPort Utility 5.1 (not 5.0) if connected to an AirPort Extreme 'n' Base Station or as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page. According to the Read Me file,

    This update includes general fixes, compatibility updates, and security improvements for the AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n.

    The details on the two security updates are:

    CVE-ID: CVE-2007-1338--The default configuration of an AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n allows incoming IPv6 connections. This may expose network services on hosts connected through an AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n to remote attackers. This update addresses the issue by changing the default setting to limit inbound IPv6 traffic to the local network. This issue only affects AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n, and not other versions of the Base Station.

    CVE-ID: CVE-2007-0734--AirPort Disk is a feature of AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n that allows the sharing of files from a USB hard drive connected to a compatible base station. Sharing options, including password protection, are available via the AirPort Disk Utility. An issue in the AirPort Disk feature allows users on the local network to view filenames (but not their contents) on a password-protected disk without providing a password. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation on AirPort Disk access requests. This issue only affects AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n, and not other versions of the Base Station.

    Furthermore, Apple states that "[t]his update requires AirPort Utility 5.1. If you have AirPort Utility 5.0 installed, you can update to AirPort Utility 5.1 by installing AirPort Base Station Update 2007-001: AirPort Base Station Update 2007-001 for Mac."

    Finally, Apple states that,

    After installing this update and restarting your system, you should use the AirPort Utility to review the configuration of your wireless network as follows:

    1. Open AirPort Utility
    2. Select the AirPort Extreme Base Station with 802.11n* being configured
    3. Click the "Advanced" icon
    4. Click the "IPv6" tab
    • If "Block incoming IPv6 connections" is checked (selected), then inbound IPv6 traffic is limited and no further action is needed.
    • If "Block incoming IPv6 connections" is not checked (deselected), and unsolicited incoming IPv6 connections are not desired, then it should be enabled as follows:
    1. Check "Block incoming IPv6 connections"
    2. Click the "Update" button at the bottom of the window to save the changes.

    Our experience

    We easily updated the firmware on our Extreme 'n' Base Station to v7.1 using AirPort Utility 5.1 on our 15" MacBook Pro C2D connected wirelessly the Base Station. While launching AirPort Utility 5.1, a dialog box dropped down and we just followed its directions. That was very simple and we navigated to 'Advanced/IPv6' and checked 'Block incoming IPv6 connections' per Apple's note above the security update.

    When we clicked the 'Update' button, we were presented with an error dialog box stating that we either had to uncheck three 'Advertise configuration (printers/disks) globally using Bonjour' boxes or check the box and enter a wide-area hostname under 'Advanced/Bonjour'. Originally, we had to check those boxes to configure the AirPort Extreme 'n' Base Station or use attached devices with Macs using a different Base Station (Express or Extreme 'g') on our network. We unchecked the global Bonjour boxes anyway and restarted. We got a solid green light on the Extreme 'n' and all appeared well.

    So, we tried to configure the Extreme 'n' Base Station with our 12" PowerBook G4 connected to our network via another Base Station--we could and we could also see and use the Bonjour printer connected to the Extreme 'n' Base Station. Apparently, after firmware 7.1 the global Bonjour checkboxes are not needed to be checked. It would have been nice if Apple had included this in its note. [Bill Fox]

    [4/10] Software Special Deal of the Day: WriteRoom 2.1 (Universal) for 40% Off--$14.95 Today Only

    WriteRoom is for Mac users who enjoy the simplicity of a typewriter, but live in the digital world. WriteRoom is a full-screen, distraction-free writing environment. Unlike the cluttered word processors you're used to, WriteRoom is just about you and your text. Requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

    Normally $24.95, WriteRoom 2.1 (Universal) is offered for $14.95 today only--that's 40% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/10] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

    GadgetLocker - has great deals on Mac compatible hardware and software products including: Toast 8 Titanium CD/DVD and Blu-ray disc burning software from Roxio for only $85.99!; Microsoft Word 2004 word-processor for only $199.99!; NuLOOQ Navigator, an innovative stationary control device from Logitech for only $63.99: share audio among four computers with a single USB keyboard with the MiniView USB KVM Switch from IOGear for only $103.96!; Sound Sensation compact digital iPod speakers from TekNmotion for only $39.99!; and much more.

    MacConnection - has great deals on Mac compatible hardware and software products including: learn about the new Creative Suite 3 from Adobe only $1789.95!; Maya Complete 8.5 from Autodesk only $1999!; NEC MultiSynch 90GX2 19" LCD monitor in silver for only $179.95 after $50 mail-in rebate!; TT-02 Digital Presenter from Elmo Manufacturing for only $611.10!; Office 2004 from Microsoft for only $346.95!; Wireless Laser Desktop for the Mac keyboard and mouse from Microsoft for only $89.95!; get Corel's Painter X and a free 4"x5" Wacom Graphire3 pen tablet w/wireless mouse for only $409.95!; Pixma MP830 Office all-in-one USB 2.0 color photo printer w/PictBridge for only $269.99!; and much more.

    [Bill Fox]

    [4/10] Apple announced 100 Million iPods Sold

    According to Apple, the 100 millionth iPod has been sold, making the iPod the fastest selling music player in history. The first iPod was sold five and a half years ago, in November 2001, and since then Apple has introduced more than 10 new iPod models, including five generations of iPod, two generations of iPod mini, two generations of iPod nano and two generations of iPod shuffle. Along with iTunes and the iTunes online music store, the iPod has transformed how tens of millions of music lovers acquire, manage and listen to their music.

    "At this historic milestone, we want to thank music lovers everywhere for making iPod such an incredible success," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "iPod has helped millions of people around the world rekindle their passion for music, and we’re thrilled to be a part of that."

    The iPod has also sparked an unprecedented ecosystem of over 4,000 accessories made specifically for the iPod that range from fashionable cases to speaker systems, and more than 70 percent of 2007-model US automobiles currently offer iPod connectivity.

    Every iPod features seamless integration with iTunes 7. The iTunes Store features the world's largest catalog with over five million songs, 350 television shows and over 400 movies. The iTunes Store has sold over 2.5 billion songs, 50 million TV shows and over 1.3 million movies, making it the world's most popular online music, TV and movie store. [Bill Fox]

    [4/9] Brief Hands-On Report--Thunderbird 2.0rc1 is Out for Trial

    The first release candidate of Mozilla's Thunderbird 2.0 stand-alone e-mail client was made available for download and testing recently--you can get it via

    Here are some of the new features in version 2.0rc1:

    • Message Tags: Create your own tags for organizing e-mail. Messages can be assigned any number of tags. Tags can be combined with saved searches and mail views to make it easier to organize e-mail.
    • Visual Theme: Thunderbird 2's theme and user interface have been updated to improve usability and maximize screen real estate.
    • Session History Navigation: Back and Forward buttons allow navigation through message history.
    • Advanced Folder Views: Customize the folder pane to show favorite, unread or recent folders.
    • Easy Access to Popular Web Mail Services: Gmail and .Mac users can access their accounts in Thunderbird by simply providing their user names and passwords.
    • Improved Support For Extensions: Extensions can now add custom columns to the message list pane in addition to storing custom message data in the mail database.
    • Improved New Mail Notification Alerts: New mail alerts include information such as the subject, sender and message preview text.
    • Folder Summary Popups: Mouse over a folder with new messages to see a summary of the new messages in that folder.
    • Saved Search Folder Performance: Search results for saved search folders are now cached, improving folder loading performance.
    • Find As You Type: Finds and highlights message text as you type.
    • Improved Filing Tools: Recent folder menu items for moving and copying messages to recently used folders. Move/Copy again functionality.
    • Updates to the Extension System: The extension system has been updated to provide enhanced security and to allow for easier localization of extensions.

    We use Thunderbird in situations where Apple Mail does not work, e.g. with a secure LDAP directory with a non-standard or custom security certificate. Thunderbird is also our backup e-mail client and we especially like its Vertical View layout option that places the preview pane in a separate column to the right of the inbox list rather than beneath it. One can use the Letterbox v0.16 mail bundle from Aaron Harnly to accomplish the same view with Apple Mail.

    We downloaded and installed Thunderbird 2.0rc1 with no problem, a simple drag and drop into our Applications folder replacing version 1.5.10. We used version 2.0rc1 over the weekend and encountered no issues. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

    [4/9] The Ubiquitous Helvetica Font turns 50 this Year--Helped by Apple

    Helvetica font (or typeface) was one of eleven original digital fonts on the Mac. Since the Mac with the laser printer gave rise to desktop publishing, Helvetica was the frequent choice of fonts in the budding computer graphics arts field.

    Helvetica was designed in 1957 in the Swiss town of Muenchenstein by Edouard Hoffmann and Max Miedinger. It has become the most widely distributed font next to Microsoft's Arial, a knockoff of Helvetica. More... [Dana Baggett]

    [4/9] Software Special Deal of the Day: CookWare Deluxe 3.0 (Universal) for 31% Off--$24.95 Today Only

    CookWare Deluxe makes collecting and organizing your recipes really simple. The concept of CookWare Deluxe is to be very easy to use without giving up features. Dragging and dropping recipes into CookWare Deluxe makes adding recipes really fast. You can drag recipes from your Internet browser or word processor directly into CookWare Deluxe, categorize it and you're finished!

    Normally $35.95, CookWare Deluxe 3.0 (Universal) is offered for $24.95 today only--that's 31% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/9] TinyBooks v4.0.4 is Out--Family and Small Business Accounting for Mac

    Space-Time Associates released of a new version 4.0.4 of the Macintosh accounting and bookkeeping program called TinyBooks. TinyBooks is a simple, flexible, non-bloated, single-entry bookkeeping and accounting system for the Macintosh. TinyBooks is designed for Sole Proprietors, home and other small businesses, and family finances. Version 4.0.4 improves the Reports Window by adding the ability to sort generated items by check number, etc.

    TinyBooks is a very simple way to handle the books for most small companies. You enter your expenses and income, and TinyBooks does the rest. Current and year-to-date "on-the-fly" totals are continually displayed. Fully automatic bar-charting of all expense and income accounts make the determination of monthly trends intuitively obvious. A fully non-modal Reports Window offers easy standard and custom reporting and searching. All transactions are easily exportable to other programs as standard tab-delimited text files. Expense, income and special mileage entry forms can be printed for "off line" entry of data as desired. Non-fiscal years are supported, as is the concept of recurring expenses.

    TinyBooks includes a Professional Invoice Printer, that is as easy to use as the rest of the program. It prints professional-looking invoices on plain white paper. No special, expensive forms are required. These invoices can also be customized with your own logo, fonts, etc. TinyBooks also includes intuitive support for handling virtually any kind of taxes from any country, including State Sales Taxes, GST (Goods and Service Taxes), PST (Provincial Sales Taxes), VAT (Value Added Taxes) and more.

    For more information on TinyBooks 4.0.4 ($49), to download a Free Trial copy, or to register the program securely, visit the TinyBooks Web page. [Bill Fox]

    [4/9] BurnAgain DVD 1.1 (Universal) is Out--Burn to a DVD/CD Multiple Times

    BurnAgain DVD 1.1 is a major upgrade to the only application on the Mac that lets you use your DVD+RW, CDR or CDRW almost like a hard disk drive. BurnAgain DVD simply adds files to a disk several times (without creating multiple volumes and without erasing) in a platform independent way. If items are burned twice, BurnAgain DVD automatically evaluates the changes and adds only the new or changed files.

    Version 1.1 brings greatly improved performance and usability and German localization and several minor fixes and changes. The update is free for registered users. BurnAgain DVD costs $24.90 for a single user license. [Bill Fox]

    [4/9] From the Dark Side--PCs come loaded with Crapware

    According to, Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal counted more than two dozen "craplets" loaded on his new Sony laptop PC. Crapware is useless software or files added on in the hopes that one will use it and pay for it, thus elevating the financial return for selling the PC. Yes, Apple provides some trial software as well, most notably Microsoft Office and Apple's iWork, but it doesn't place an icon on your desktop nor increase the startup time. Mossberg's Sony laptop takes over two minutes to startup compared with around 30 seconds for a MacBook.

    Here's a list of the craplets on Mossberg's PC laptop:

    • Two desktop icons for America Online services
    • At least two dozen icons for random offers
    • Two desktop icons for Microsoft services
    • Napster window in the lower right part of the screen
    • "Watch Hit Movies Now!" icon which requires you to pay to play the movies already taking up space on your computer
    • Internet Explorer preloaded with AOL toolbar
    • AOL set as default search engine with Google not even listed as an option
    • Symantec Internet Security 60-day trial (requires multiple rounds of warnings/scans/updates before use)

    Aren't you glad you use a Mac? More... [Dana Baggett]

    [4/6] Brief Hands-On Report--Google Desktop for Mac 1.0

    Wednesday, Google Desktop for Mac 1.0 was released. It is a search application, comparable to Spotlight, for searching one's files on one's computer but it also includes the option for searching cached files from Web browsing. Google Desktop is available for download via

    We downloaded and installed a copy on our MacBook Pro--all went well. Google Desktop's preferences are set in a preference pane in System Preferences. There is a checkbox to enable searching Gmail and your Web history and to choose which volumes to search. You can also enable usage statistics being sent to Google to help improve Google Desktop in a future version. We don't have a Gmail account so we did not enable it, nor did we enable Web history searches or usage statistics at this time.

    Following installation, Google Desktop began indexing the hard drive, using a substantial fraction (up to 60-70 percent) of the available CPU capacity. Indexing took several hours, probably since we have stored nearly 9 years of emails in an Apple Mail database.

    By by pressing the command (or Apple) key twice in quick succession a black search box appears and the words that one wants to search on are simply typed into the field of the search box. As one begins to type, Google Desktop immediately begins displaying files that respond to the search words. As far as we can tell, the search is neither no faster nor no more complete than the job done by Apple's Spotlight.

    We tried the names of several people with whom we correspond frequently and got exactly the same number of hits in about the same amount of time with both Google Desktop and Spotlight. The same with a number of word searches. But when we typed in "google desktop" we got 342 hits from Spotlight and 288 hits from Google Desktop. For "spotlight" we got 860 and 556 respectively.

    Spotlight organizes its list the kinds of files located but Google Desktop just presents an ordered list. When a file on the list is clicked, both Spotlight and Google Desktop open the file in the appropriate application. The one nicety of Google Desktop is that a Google Web search can be conducted on the same topic with one click.

    We will continue to try Google Desktop but at this time we don't see a sufficient advantage to using it over Spotlight. [Bill Fox]

    [4/6] Apple Revised the Offerings from Two Hot Deals Retailers

    J&R Computerworld - has some great deals on Mac compatible hardware, software and accessories including: Evolution TV digital video capture and recording from Miglia Tech for only $69.99!; Porsche Design 320GB USB 2.0 external hard drive from LaCie for only $199.99!; Epson Perfection V100 flatbed scanner with built-in film holder for only $52.88 after mail-in rebate!; Viewsonic VX2245VM 22-inch widescreen LCD monitor with built-in iPod Dock for only $339!; and much more. For all the details go to:

    Small Dog Electronics - has some great deals on Mac compatible hardware, software and accessories including Hot Deals exclusive prices on a number of products: Parallels Desktop on a 512MB USB Flash Drive for a Hot Deals exclusive price of only $69.99!; 160GB 7200RPM FireWire Porsche Design external hard drive for only $79.99!; Sennheiser PX200W foldable headphones (black or white) for only $49.99!; Skype WiFi Phone from Belkin for only $164.99!; and much more. For all the details go to:

    [Bill Fox]

    [4/6] Software Special Deal of the Day: Noodle Flix 1.2.3 (Universal) for 45% Off--$10.95 Today Only

    Noodle Flix is a talking head movie studio for Mac OS X. With only a few clicks, Noodle Flix creates talking head movies for use with iPods, web sites, blogs, iMovie projects, and many other applications. Noodle Flix converts text to a spoken movie, with options for custom actors, backdrops, and background music.

    Normally $20.00, Noodle Flix 1.2.3 (Universal) is offered for $10.95 today only--that's 45% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/6] QuarkXPress 7.2 Update is Out

    Quark released an update to its professional layout application, QuarkXPress. Version 7.2 is available via or from this Quark Web page. According to Quark,

    This maintenance release underscores Quark's commitment to quality and includes design and print production functionality improvements. Important enhancements include:

    • Microsoft Vista support
    • Job Jackets: Basic user interface modifications allow you to create new rules directly from a layout evaluation dialog box, to create and edit output specifications directly from the Output job dialog box, and to create new layout specifications directly from the layout menu
    • Flattening: Users can specify resolutions for different types of objects, specifically vector graphics, drop shadows, and blends
    • Color Management Module: QuarkXPress 7.2 supports Kodak®’s new CMM that adds Black Point Compensation. QuarkXPress 7 continues to support different CMMs that offer users a robust set of choices and cross-platform compatibility
    • Support for Quark® XPert Tools Pro XTensions software (Quark XPert Tools Pro is a free download to current QuarkXPress 7 users)
    • The resolution of several recently discovered issues

    QuarkXPress Passport® 7.2 users can now take advantage of translated user interfaces for five additional languages Czech, Greek, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, and Turkish.

    If you use Mac OS, you must have QuarkXPress or QuarkXPress Passport 7.01 or 7.02 installed before updating to QuarkXPress 7.2.

    Here is the Read Me file. Quark also has a Web page that describes the issues that were resolved in the 7.2 update and another listing the known issues in 7.2. [Bill Fox]

    [4/6] From the Dark Side--Harris Poll Confirms Tepid Windows Vista Sales

    A Harris Poll conducted March 6-14 found only 3 per cent of PC systems with Vista installed after 6 weeks of availability, according to a Computerworld article. And worse, of the people polled, only 12 percent said they planed to upgrade to Vista in the next 12 months. Of those planning to upgrade, 48 percent stated that they would upgrade their current PC while only 31 percent said the upgrade would be via purchasing a new PC, down from 35 percent of those polled in December.

    Milton Ellis, vice president of Harris' technology group stated, "Microsoft will have to put forth a value proposition that will move the majority to the upgrade category in the years ahead."

    We previously debunked Microsoft's claims of 20 million in sales and that Vista's adoption was going faster than Windows XP. [Bill Fox]

    [4/5] Free Collaboration Software--Collanos Workplace 1.0 (Universal)

    Today, Collanos Software officially introduced its peer-to-peer (P2P) team collaboration suite, Collanos Workplace 1.0, in North America. The company also opened its U.S. branch in San Francisco, setting up a dedicated team for North America led by Franco Dal Molin, President and Founder of Collanos.

    Collanos Workplace 1.0 is widely deployed throughout Europe and the United States. It offers small business teams, students, faculty, and knowledge-sharing professionals an easy-to-use set of comprehensive collaboration tools. Collanos' global collaborative network allows internet users to easily form teams and effectively collaborate together on a shared passion, goal, or project. Collanos is free, runs serverless, and is platform independent, i.e. available for the Mac plus Windows and Linux PCs.

    Anyone can invite colleagues, friends, or partners to a team workspace where members can immediately share and organize their files, notes and links, lead discussions, and assign tasks. Collanos' peer-to-peer technology keeps members' workspaces in sync by storing a copy of the shared workspace locally on member's computers.

    "In the past effective collaboration services have primarily focused on enterprise organizations," said Franco Dal Molin. "In doing so, small businesses, telecommuters, students, dispersed, ad-hoc, and cross-organizational teams could not afford licenses or the IT infrastructure to run and maintain the collaboration system."

    A product description and tour of Collanos Workplace 1.0 is available on the Collanos Web site, as well as a download link. The tour's screenshots are clearly done in Windows but Collanos claims it works on Macs as well. Collanos states that it can offer the software free because it makes money off premium services offered in addition to the software. [Bill Fox]

    [4/5] Live Interior 3D (Universal) is Out from BeLight Software

    BeLight Software released Live Interior 3D, its new Mac OS X software to design house, apartment, office and other interiors. The program features powerful editing capabilities and easy-to-use interface, 1000+ Object Library with brand name content, Google 3D Warehouse Integration, Import Google SketchUp objects import, Virtual Reality Walkthrough mode, 50+ templates and more.

    Live Interior 3D is tailored for both non-professional users as well as interior design specialists.

    "I am glad to introduce Live Interior 3D, a handy and powerful program, to our customers who have been anxiously awaiting its release since MacWorld announce in January! Everyone can create his own "home, sweet home" with a great number of tools and features from the simplest to the most sophisticated ones," said Helen Nersesova, BeLight Software's PR Manager.

    Live Interior 3D key features:

    - 50+ editable templates to start with;
    - 1000+ Object Library with brand name content;
    - 1000+ Material Library and flexible material editor;
    - Import 3DStudio, Google SketchUp and Ogre XML objects;
    - Google 3D Warehouse Integration;
    - View and Edit in 2D & 3D;
    - Virtual Reality Walkthrough;
    - Realistic light and shadows rendering;
    - Export 2D plans to PDF, JPEG, TIFF, PNG;
    - Export 3D views to JPEG, TIFF, PNG.

    The price starts from $79.95. For more information, check out this BeLight Web page. A fully functional Live Interior 3D trial is available this BeLight Web page.

    We have favorably reviewed other software from BeLight. [Bill Fox]

    [4/5] Software Special Deal of the Day: Desktopple Pro 1.2 (Universal) for 41% Off--$9.95 Today Only

    Desktopple is for you if you've ever needed to take a screenshot and had to clean all of those icons from your Desktop before you could. Or maybe you needed to make a presentation and had to tidy up before hooking into the projector for the whole audience to see. Perhaps you just want to hide those messy Desktop icons so you can concentrate better on whatever task is at hand. Or, if you're like us, maybe you just like a squeaky clean work environment.

    With Desktopple, you can quickly and easily hide all of your Desktop clutter. A quick trip to your menu bar is all it takes, and those icons simply vanish from view.

    Desktopple is a Menu Bar item. Launch it, and it will hang out in your menu bar waiting to do its job. Click it to hide or show your Desktop, or to get a list of all of your options. If you want Desktopple to launch when you login, simply add it to your Login Items in the System Preferences.

    Normally $17.00, Desktopple Pro 1.2 (Universal) is offered for $9.95 today only--that's 41% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/5] Apple reduced Prices of Cinema Displays $100-200

    Along with Wednesday's introduction of the new 8-core Mac Pro, Apple reduced the prices of its three Cinema Displays. The current prices are:

    20" -- $599 (down from $699)

    23" -- $899 (down from $999)

    30" -- $1,799 (down from $1,999)

    The new prices are in place on Apple's online store. Curiously, Apple did not issue a press release on the display price change nor on the much more notable 8-core Mac Pro. [Bill Fox]

    [4/5] Apple TV loses Big Time to Xbox in AP Image Comparo

    While Apple TV does everything else right, including being small and attractive, an AP reporter called the video images produced by Apple TV from iTunes on the author's HDTV "horrible" despite the video being near DVD resolution. The AP reporter then praised the video images produced by a Microsoft Xbox.

    We can not confirm or deny this observation because we have neither an Apple TV nor a Microsoft Xbox. But there have been complaints that Apple TV's resolution only goes up to 720p and not to the top HD resolution of 1080p. Still, a resolution of 720p properly displayed should be excellent and certainly not "horrible." [Bill Fox via Joe Sacco]

    [4/5] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--AAC vs Original CD, No DRM Music and Data Backup

    Tonight, host Gene Steinberg guides you into "The David Biedny Zone," as his Special Correspondent returns to put his "golden ears" to the test and check the quality of AAC music files versus the original CD. In addition, noted author and commentator Kirk McElhearn will provide a down-to-earth assessment of the meaning of the agreement between Apple and EMI to sell music without DRM and to offer higher quality downloads. Kirk will also provide his own listening test results. You'll also hear from Prosoft Engineering's Greg Brewer about their newest version of Data Backup, and the rest of their growing product line. You can tune into the live Web broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern.

    [4/5] "mkisofs"–-a Free UDF Disk Image Backup Utility from HELIOS

    The free public domain disk image utility "mkisofs" received major enhancements by HELIOS Software engineers to enable flexible disk image creation for archiving and backup tasks. HELIOS added support to archive hundreds of thousands of files/folders into disk images without any size limitations.

    Helmut Tschemernjak, president and founder of HELIOS Software notes: "Today's growing disk capacities and inexpensive external disk systems allow storing read-only archives quickly on disk instead of burning media or using proprietary tape formats. We turned "mkisofs" into a general purpose solution which allows archiving Mac, Windows, and UNIX specific files with their attributes into UDF disk images which can easily be mounted by Mac and Windows users."

    In addition, UGSoft developed a useful utility to operate HELIOS "mkisofs" from a graphical user interface (GUI). This comes in handy for those who are not too familiar with CLI programs. The "mkisofs" GUI tool is free of charge and can be downloaded from the UGSoft Web site.

    "mkisofs" is available for download from this HELIO Web page. [Bill Fox]

    [4/4] Apple releases 8-core Mac Pro running at 3GHz

    Today, Apple introduced a new top-end Mac Pro that includes 8 CPU cores, two quad-core "Clovertown" Intel CPUs running at 3GHz.

    According to Apple,

    Opt for the 8-core Mac Pro and you get the power of two Quad-Core Intel Xeon "Clovertown" processors running at 3.0GHz. Or choose a quad-core Mac Pro featuring two Dual-Core Intel Xeon "Woodcrest" processors and decide how fast they fly: 2.0GHz, 2.66GHz, or 3.0GHz. At 3.0GHz, the quad-core Mac Pro runs up to 2x faster than the Power Mac G5 Quad.

    The standard Mac Pro configuration still has two dual-core 2.66GHz CPUs with 1GB of RAM for $2499. It can be downgraded to two dual-core 2.0GHz CPUs for $2200 or upgraded to two dual-core 3GHz CPUs for $3298 or, now, further to 8 CPU cores (dual quad-core 3Hz Clovertowns) for $3997, some $1498 above the standard configuration.

    The rest of the Mac Pro seems to be the same, including the same three graphics cards. A top-end Mac Pro with 8 CPU cores, 2GB RAM and an ATI Radeon X1900 graphics card sells for $4,545 and will ship from the Apple online store in 3-5 business days. [Bill Fox]

    [4/4] Adobe conducting Live Events for Creative Suite 3

    Adobe will condict a series of live events and online activities designed to educate users about Adobe Creative Suite 3 so they understand which product is best suited for their needs. With 13 new stand-alone applications and 6 new suites the Adobe Creative Suite 3 can be overwhelming at first glance. To help customers learn more about the products and various tips and tricks, Adobe will host a series of live and online product demonstrations over the next six months that will include:

    • CS3: The Creative License Conference--A series of conferences that include a two-day event in Los Angeles, June 19-20, and another in New York, June 25-26, where attendees will be immersed into an innovative environment to learn how to use the new CS3 products in their workflow. For a calendar and to register, users should visit this Adobe Web page.
    • CS3: One-Day Conferences--Adobe will also be hosting a series of one-day conferences offered across the country May 16 through June 14, 2007, to provide educational information and demos of the new Creative Suite family. For a calendar and to register, users should visit this Adobe Web page.
    • CS3: The Creative License Podcast series--A weekly podcast series, including a monthly interview with Adobe’s head of creative solutions, John Loiacono, to discuss hot topics and trends in the marketplace. New podcast episodes will be available weekly at this Web page.
    • CS3: The Creative License eSeminar Series--A variety of live online seminar sessions designed for users to learn about specific CS3 applications specific to design, print, video, web and photography. The sessions will be archived and fully accessible on Adobe’s web site for people who are not able to attend the live events. For a calendar of what’s being presented or to register for a session people should go to this Adobe Web page.

    The Adobe Creative Suite3 product line is a revolutionary offering of tightly integrated, industry-leading design and development tools for all facets of print, web, mobile, interactive, film, and video production. For more information about CS3 visit this Adobe Web page. [Bill Fox]

    [4/4] LifeAgent is Out--New Backup Solution for the Mac

    Memeo Inc., released its high performance automatic backup software for Macintosh users. Memeo LifeAgent is designed to help the Mac community manage, track and safeguard digital files in a simple, natural and effortless way. It offers Mac users the best of both worlds- the same simple yet flexible and powerful features as Memeo AutoBackup with the same innovative and effortless functionality that exits on the PC software, but was designed from the ground up to take advantage of the capabilities of Macintosh computers.

    LifeAgent protects all data and allows Mac users to effortlessly manage and access digital content such as photos, music, or corporate presentations from anywhere at anytime. By simplifying file organization and protection, valuable digital content will always be up-to-date, protected and available at your fingertips. With a simple 3-step set-up process, LifeAgent identifies what files are important and works quietly in the background to automatically share, sync and secure your digital content while saving changes made to any document.

    LifeAgent works on any available storage solution, from USB hard drives and USB thumb drives to iPods, NAS devices or an online storage site, which provides the comfort of offsite protection. It also allows you to share photos online through Shutterfly. It is an active solution that works when the user works and runs silently and continuously in the background. Additional features of Memeo LifeAgent include the Smart Picks set-up wizard which allows users to easily locate important files (e.g. Documents, music located across your computer, etc.) and Mac specific applications such as iTunes, iPhoto, iDVD, iMovie, Mac mail, calendar, and PM info, and Safari bookmarks and settings.

    Memeo LifeAgent is available immediately for $29.95 exclusively from Memeo's Web site. [Bill Fox]

    [4/4] Software Special Deal of the Day: LinkOptimizer 2.2.1 (Universal) for 38% Off--$49.95 Today Only

    LinkOptimizer is a utility for Adobe InDesign that reduces the size of linked images by eliminating excessive image data. LinkOptimizer will help you save valuable storage space, time and reduce production costs in a variety of ways by reducing the size of images linked to your InDesign document.

    Normally $29.99, LinkOptimizer 2.2.1 (Universal) is offered for $49.95 today only--that's 38% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/4] Apple iPhone shipping in June Reconfirmed

    We plan to get an Apple iPhone to add to our family Cingular cell phone service when they are available so we signed up for Apple's iPhone newsletter to keep us abreast of developments. Yesterday, Apple sent us a note reconfirming that the iPhone would be available in June saying,

    Talk to you soon. Thanks for signing up. You'll be the first to hear the latest about iPhone— coming this June. That gives you just enough time to think of ways to break the news to your current phone.

    No problem. We plan to ditch our Motorola V3 RAZR for the iPhone as soon as possible. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]

    [4/3] Macs in Schools--Maine iBook Program extended to High Schools with Local Funding

    Maine's Learning Technology Initiative that selected iBooks for all 7th and 8th graders over four years ago has had a rough time extending the program to Maine's high schools despite the strong support of Governor John Baldacci. The state signed a $41 million deal with Apple last year to keep the initial program going but state funding for extending it to high schools keeps getting diverted to other priorities and shortfalls, the most recent of which threatened the jobs of some 650 teachers. But that hasn't stopped Maine's high schools from finding innovative ways to acquire iBooks for the middle school students who have graduated from the state-funded iBook program, which has earned high marks from the state's teachers and interest from all over North America.

    The state's school districts are re-directing local funding to purchase some iBooks for high schools. While the iBooks are not available for every student and teacher, some school districts have achieved a 2:1 student to iBook ratio. More... [Dana Baggett]

    [4/3] Apple drops FairPlay DRM for Music from EMI through iTunes

    Apple and the major music company EMI reached agreement on dropping Apple's digital rights management technology (DRM) called FairPlay on EMI's songs sold through the iTunes Store with a higher quality encoding, 256 kbps AAC. Those songs will cost $1.29, a 30-cent premium. All of EMI's music will be offered both as the standard 128 kpbs AAC encoding with DRM for 99-cents and as the high quality 256 kbps AAC encoding without DRM for $1.29, giving customers a choice.

    This breakthrough agreement is consistent with Steve Jobs' open letter, Thoughts on Music, stating that Apple preferred to sell DRM-free music through its iTunes Store so that the music can be played on any music player just like a CD. In addition, the songs from EMI already purchased through iTunes for 99-cents can be upgraded automatically by iTunes to high quality 256 kbps AAC encoding and be DRM-free for 30-cents each.

    The new choice will be available from the iTunes Store worldwide in May. Apple hopes to recruit other major music publishers to this new high quality/DRM-free model. [Bill Fox]

    [4/3] Software Special Deal of the Day: Avenir 2.3.3 (Universal) for 43% Off--$16.95 Today Only

    Avenir is a new kind of software for writers. Part word processor, part database, completely focused on the creative process. Whether you are brainstorming for your first short story or putting the finishing touches on your latest best-seller Avenir provides you the tools you need to manage the creative process from inception to publication.

    Normally $29.99, Avenir 2.3.3 (Universal) is offered for $16.95 today only--that's 43% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/3] Good News on Adobe CS3 Web and Design Editions Upgrades regarding Dreamweaver CS3

    In our report on Adobe's new Creative Suite 3 (CS3), we noted that since Dreamweaver did not come with CS2, it was unclear that a CS3 upgrade package containing Dreamweaver CS3 would provide a working version of Dreamweaver CS3.

    Our concern stemmed from Adobe's Creative Suite 2.3 Upgrade to CS2 which was advertised to contain both Acrobat Professional 8 and Dreamweaver 8 upgrades for the Mac edition. However, while Acrobat 7 came with CS2 and it was upgraded to version 8, no version of Dreamweaver came with CS2. As a result, one was left with an unusable copy of Dreamweaver 8 that required a full serial number from a previous version of Dreamweaver that one did not have.

    We received a response to our concern from Adobe that a purchaser of a CS3 Web or Design edition, containing Dreamweaver CS3, as an upgrade for CS2 would indeed receive a working copy of Dreamweaver CS3 after the upgrade in contrast to the CS2.3 upgrade experience. [Bill Fox]

    [4/3] Divine Fiat released Sophisticate Theme Set for Keynote

    Divine Fiat released Sophisticate, their latest theme set for Apple's Keynote presentation software. Sophisticate consists of two themes, Ebony Sophisticate and Ivory Sophisticate. Both themes provide you with instantly interesting compositions for your presentations by employing clean blocks of space in conjunction with see through panels. With 50 different master slide layouts, Sophisticate is the perfect theme set for any upscale presentation and is ideally suited for displaying art and photography.

    Sophisticate includes two styles of scaleable countdown timers. These quicktime movies sport transparent backgrounds for a seamless look when used with any Keynote Theme. Use the timers to countdown to the start of a presentation or to mark how much intermission is left before your lecture resumes. Timers come in 5, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 minute lengths. Also included are both our original scalable button objects and a brand new set along with a suggested color palette.

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

    [4/2] [updated]Garmin released WebUpdater for Mac v2.0.0.1 Beta (Universal) to Update Garmin GPS Units

    Garmin continues its effort to become more Mac-compatible by releasing WebUpdater for Mac It is used to update the firmware of Garmin GPS units and is available for download via or from this Garmin Web page. WebUpdater is a Universal Application for Intel-based Macs and Macs with a PowerPC G3 or later running Mac OS X 10.4.x.

    According to Garmin,

    • WebUpdater guides you through the process of updating the software in your GPS.
    • WebUpdater finds the most appropriate update for your GPS from the Garmin web site and performs the update.
    • WebUpdater for Mac is not compatible with Palm, Pocket PC, serial, fixed-mount marine, chartplotters, fishfinders and discontinued devices.
    • WebUpdater for Mac does not perform Beta updates.

    WARNING from Garmin: For some device updates, this software will clear user memory, including 'Recent Finds' and 'Favorites.' Please back up important data such as routes, tracks, and waypoints prior to updating.

    We downloaded and installed Garmin's WebUpdater for Mac with no problem. It requires a restart. However, the application was unable to "see" our Garmin eTrex Vista GPS. We don't know if the problem is with WebUpdater or our IOGear USB to Serial adapter cable. We installed IOGear's driver for Intel-based Macs released in August 2006 and a USB device shows up in System Profiler but it may need an update for the latest version of Mac OS X 10.4.9. [Update: Several readers pointed out that Garmin's WebUpdater for Mac does not work with serial devices as noted above--duh! Apparently, this restriction also applies to serial devices with USB adapters.] [Bill Fox]

    [4/2] [updated]Garmin released POI Loader for Mac Beta (Universal) to Load POIs in Garmin GPS Units

    Garmin also released POI Loader for Mac It loads custom points of interest on Garmin GPS units and is available for download via or from this Garmin Web page. POI Loader is a Universal Application for Intel-based Macs and Macs with a PowerPC G3 or later running Mac OS X 10.4.x.

    According to Garmin,

    POI Loader allows you to load custom points of interest into your unit. The input files can be downloaded from the internet or you can create your own. With POI Loader, you can configure the unit to alert you when you are within a certain distance of a point or if you are driving over a certain speed near a point; perfect to warn you about upcoming schools zones, red lights and speed cameras. The unit will also allow you to search for and navigate to the loaded points of interest.

    We downloaded and installed POI Loader for Mac with no problem. Unfortunately, it could not find our Garmin eTrex Vista GPS either--see article above. [Update: Several readers pointed out that Garmin's POI Loader for Mac does not work with serial devices. Apparently, this also applies to serial devices with USB adapters.] [Bill Fox]

    [4/2] Software SUPER Special Deal of the Day: Toon Boom Studio 3.5.1 (Universal) for 38% Off--$249 Today Only

    Toon Boom Studio is the leading animation software solution for individuals to easily create rich, eye-catching animations for video, websites, television, film, games, mobile devices, e-learning applications, and more.

    Users can easily build animations digitally, traditionally or the cut-out way by selecting artworks from existing libraries and animating them using motion paths. Toon Boom Studio's intuitive user interface and advanced animation keyframing, asset reuse and lip synchronization empower animators to make high quality animations faster.

    Normally $399, Toon Boom Studio 3.5.1 (Universal) is offered for $249 today only--that's 38% off as Today's MacUpdate Software Promo. [Bill Fox]

    [4/2] Update to AirPort Utility 5.1 on Macs w/o AirPort Utility 5.0 Previously Installed

    AirPort Utility 5.0 came with our new AirPort Extreme 'n' Base Station. It replaces AirPort Admin Utility and is a much better application. Late week an update, AirPort Utility 5.1, came out and we noted in our Brief Hands-On Report that the installer did not run unless AirPort Utility 5.0 was installed.

    However, AirPort Utility 5.1 and its companion AirPort Admin Utility for Graphite and Snow Base Stations, can be extracted from the installer using the shareware application Pacifist 2.0.1 (the latest version). The other files, AirPort Disk Utility and AirPort Disk Agent, only work with the new AirPort Extreme 'n' Base Station.

    Alternatively, one can use a right click (or control-click) to navigate through the installer packages as follows:

    1. Download AirPort Utility 5.1 and mount its disk image.
    2. Control-click on the install package, choose "Show Package Contents".
    3. Go to Contents/Packages.
    4. Control-click on AirPortUtility.pkg, choose "Show Package Contents".
    5. Go to Contents and double-click on Archive.pax.gz.
    6. It will uncompress to where you have set your downloads to be as a folder named "Applications".
    7. Look in the new Applications/Utilities folder for AirPort Utility and move it to your regular /Applications/Utility folder.
    8. Then do the same for APAdminUtility425.pkg to get "AirPort Admin Utility for Graphite and Snow" and put it in your regular /Applications/Utility folder.

    We used both methods on Macs without AirPort Utility. [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]

    [4/2] Macs in School--Apple iBooks fueling Technology Immersion in Louisiana

    Students and teachers at Bolton High School in Alexandria, LA, will be getting iBooks to "replace" textbooks. The program, establishing a Digital Academy at Bolton, covers teachers and students in Bolton's gifted program as well as all 11th-graders and a majority of seniors. Internet will be available wirelessly and students will be allowed to take the iBooks home. The program is funded by several state grants and the Virtue Foundation. [Note: The article actually says the computers are iMacs but it's clear that they are iBooks.] More... [Dana Baggett]

    [4/2] Apple opened Store in Rome, Italy, on Saturday--Photos and Video

    MacCityNet posted an article (in Italian) plus a photo gallery (with English descriptions) and a video of the new Apple Store that opened in RomaEst Mall in Rome, Italy. Check it out. [Bill Fox]

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