November 2007 News Archive
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Copyright 2007 by Bill Fox All rights reserved.
Last Updated: November 30, 2007
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[11/30] AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson blurts out 3G iPhone Available in 2008, So?
At a meeting of the Churchill Club in Santa Clara, CA, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson reportedly (by Bloomberg) blurted out that a 3G iPhone will be available in 2008. Is this news? Did he spill the beans? Will it affect iPhone sales? Our answers are yes, no and no.
It is news because it adds a bit of confirmation to what we have all been expecting from Steve Jobs' comments on the iPhone getting faster 3G networking capability. Jobs has stated that the iPhone does not have 3G capability because battery life was far more important than 3G compatibility given that it has the slower EDGE and much faster Wi-Fi capabilities already. We certainly agree with this decision if 3G capability drops the iPhone battery life below 8-10 hours for our use. Now it's over 24 hours for us most of the time. Jobs projected that a 5-hr battery life on a 3G network would be attainable by the end of 2008.
Stephenson did not spill the beans because it is what Jobs has alluded to before, if not directly.
Our view is that since it is not really new information that it will not hurt iPhone sales. Anyway, we're happy with our iPhone without 3G capability and would be very unhappy if it only got 5 hours of battery life because it used a 3G network. [Bill Fox]
[11/30] TechTool Pro 4.6.1 Update for Leopard Now Generally Available
We noted last week that subscribers to Micromat's Annual Service received a link to TechTool 4.6.1 Update for Leopard compatibility. Now the update is is generally available from Micromat or via MacUpdate.com. The Micromat web site was overloaded when we tried it before publication time. [Bill Fox]
[11/30] Apple released Xserve Lights-Out Management Firmware Update 1.1
For those of you who have an Xserve and missed the announcement elsewhere, Apple released Xserve Lights-Out Management Firmware Update 1.1. It is available for download from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,
This update includes changes to the Lights-Out Management environment of the Intel-based Xserve. It addresses the intermittent issue that causes the LOM port to be unresponsive. This update is strongly recommended for all Intel-based Xserve systems.
We do not have an Xserve to test this update for you. [Bill Fox]
[11/30] Cool Mac Software--Billings 2.5.5 Update for Leopard Compatibility
Marketcircle's Billings, a terrific time tracking and invoicing application that provides gorgeous, professional invoices in minutes, is now compatible with Mac OS X Leopard with the release of Billings 2.5.5.
The Leopard-compatible Billings 2.5.5 is a free upgrade for Billings 2.x customers and is available immediately from Marketcircle Inc., with U.S. pricing starting at $59 (international applies, see the Marketcircle store), and is also offered for a free 21-day trial.
Billings 2.5.5 integrates easily into existing Mac productivity workflows, co-operating fully with Mac OS X's Address Book, publishing events to iCal, and making information available via Spotlight. For optimal performance on any Mac, Billings 2.5.5 is a universal application working on Intel and PowerPC processors. [Bill Fox]
[11/29] [Updated] Two Leopard 10.5.1 Sleep Issues and Two Unacceptable 'Fixes'
Initially, we had two sleep-related issues with Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard." Kernel panics in our MacBook Pro on waking from sleep were fixed with a new FirmTek eSATA ExpressCard driver (v.5.3.1) but we still have a problem with Dreamweaver CS3 unexpectedly quitting after waking from sleep. The latter is likely to be fixed eventually with an update to Dreamweaver.
However, the 10.5.1 update to Leopard has created two additional sleep-related issues, both afflict our MacBook Pro and one our aluminum iMac.
1. After we put our MacBook Pro to sleep, it wakes on its own some time later but the monitor remains asleep. First, we tried removing all directly-attached peripherals (a huey PRO, FirmTek Expresscard, iPod, iPhone and our FW800 Time Machine hard drive) but that didn't work.
Next we took the batteries out of our new aluminum wireless Apple Bluetooth keyboard--bingo! Apparently, the keyboard's power management feature occasionally polls the computer and causes it to wake. This did not happen with 10.5. This is not a problem if we use an original Apple Bluetooth wireless keyboard instead of the new aluminum one.
The fix--Turn the aluminum keyboard completely off by holding the power button until the green light goes off or move it more than 30 feet away or use another keyboard.
2. On waking our 15" MacBook Pro or 24" aluminum iMac from sleep, it can not be used because the monitor does not wake. The happens only occasionally on our MacBook Pro but frequently on our aluminum iMac. One has to press the power button until the Mac shuts down, then press it again to restart.
The fix--Set both Mac and monitor to never sleep, letting the screensaver take over after a short period.
Curiously, the wake from sleep/dead video issue has never happened with our Mac mini Core Duo nor any of our PowerPC Macs running Leopard. In fact, our PowerPC Macs seems to be completely problem-free running Leopard 10.5 or 10.5.1. [Update: Corrected aluminum wireless keyboard power off procedure.] [Bill Fox and Dana Baggett]
[11/29] [Updated] Apple warned Boot Camp Beta Users of December 31 Deadline
As users of beta versions of Boot Camp with Tiger, we received the following thank you note, warning and Leopard pitch from Apple:
Dear Boot Camp enthusiast:
We hope you've enjoyed the opportunity to preview an exciting new feature of Mac OS X Leopard.
With the introduction of Leopard, the Boot Camp Beta program has ended. The Boot Camp Beta software will expire on December 31, and Apple won't offer further updates of Boot Camp Beta for Mac OS X Tiger.
If you'd like to continue using Boot Camp, Apple invites you to upgrade to Mac OS X Leopard. Learn more.
Thank you for your participation in the Boot Camp Beta program.
While the final Boot Camp Beta 1.4 expires December 31, that does not mean that your Tiger Boot Camp partition will no longer work. In fact, it will continue to work. Based on our observation of previously expired beta versions, the Boot Camp Assistant will just stop working so that no new partitions can be created, no new driver CDs can be made and the existing partition can not be removed. To do any of those things after December 31, one will have to own a copy of Leopard or follow these Apple instructions on setting back your computer's clock. [Bill Fox]
[11/29] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--Holidays Gear, Mac Security, Web Ads and Successful Web Site Criteria
Tonight, host Gene "Night Owl" Steinberg checks out the hottest gear for the holidays with Steve "Mr. Gadget" Kruschen. You'll also get an update on the state of Mac security and some of Leopard's glitches from author and commentator Kirk McElhearn.
If you ever wondered just how they manage to target Web ads for you or the audience you want to reach, you'll want to hear from an expert on the subject, Scott Switzer CTO of Openads (a Web-based ad server system).
And HostICan's Denis Motova joins Gene to explain how you can tell when your site has truly become successful.
Coming December 6: The return of Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus.
You can tune into the audio Web broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]
[11/28] Microsoft Mac Business Unit touts Office 2008 for Mac--Sneak Peek 6 is Out
Microsoft's Mac Business Unit (Mac BU) set up a Sneak Peek Web site for Office 2008 for Mac due out early next year. Sneak Peek 6 shows how Office 2008 offers simplified ways to share and manage your projects in PowerPoint 2008 and Word 2008 with the following Office 2008 for
- Send to iPhoto: With Office 2008, users can share presentations from
their Macs to their iPods. By enabling users to save slide shows to iPhoto, PowerPoint makes it easy to deliver mobile presentations from your iPod. Just save the show as either a PNG or JPEG file and transfer to an iPod to enable portable pitches, proposals and presentations.
- Apple Remote Control-enabled: PowerPoint 2008 takes advantage of Apple Remote control, allowing presenters to roam the room while using the simple six-button functionality to remotely control their slideshow.
- Notebook Layout View Improvements: The Notebook Layout View in Word has been improved to provide greater flexibility to manage your thoughts. Users now have the ability to customize their workspace with different backgrounds, as well as add color-coded tabs to ensure a more efficient note-taking taking experience. All this in addition to the powerful features users are familiar with including synchronized audio notes, and task integration with Entourage.
In December, the Mac BU promises to deliver even more feature updates and a significant RTM (Release To Manufacturing) milestone. [Bill Fox]
[11/27] Brief Hands-On Report--Parallels Desktop for Mac 3.0 Beta Build 5570 improves Leopard Compatibility
Parallels released Desktop for Mac 3.0 beta Build 5570 to replace Build 5540. It is available for download via MacUpdate.com.
Build 5570 has improved Leopard and USB device compatibility as well as numerous bug fixes.
We uninstalled Build 5540, downloaded and installed Build 5570 and updated Parallels Tools in our Windows XP and Vista virtual machines. When we first tried to launch the Windows XP virtual machine we got an Error 2 but a restart of our MacBook Pro solved that problem.
We updated Windows XP and Vista with the latest security patches from Microsoft and then updated the Apple and Mozilla applications. After brief use, no issues were encountered with either virtual machine. [Bill Fox]
[11/27] Mozilla Firefox 220.127.116.11 is Out
It is available for download within the application (Check for Updates under the "Help" menu) or from this Mozilla Web page or from MacUpdate.com.
Version 18.104.22.168 fixed the following security issues:
MFSA 2007-39 Referer-spoofing via window.location race condition
MFSA 2007-38 Memory corruption vulnerabilities (rv:22.214.171.124)
MFSA 2007-37 jar: URI scheme XSS hazard
All three are rated "High Vulnerabilities" by Mozilla.
We are using Firefox 3.0b1 so we did not download and install the 126.96.36.199 update for Firefox 2.0.x. [Bill Fox]
[11/27] [Updated] Apple looking into MacBook Seagate Hard Drive Data Loss Issue
There have been complaints that some MacBooks with certain Seagate hard drives are experiencing data loss issues. The drives in question have firmware revision 7.01 that can be found by looking under "Hardware->Serial-ATA" in the System Profiler after selecting the Seagate hard drive in the Serial-ATA Device Tree window.
According to News.com, Apple is looking into the matter.
"We've received a few reports that some MacBook consumer notebooks may have hard drive issues, and we're looking into it," said an Apple representative.
Our 15" 2.4GHz MacBook Pro has a Toshiba hard drive but our Mac mini Core Duo has the affected 80GB Seagate 2.5" model with firmware revision 7.01. The latter has shown no problems so far. [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]
[11/23] [Updated] Ready. Set. Shop. Apple's "Black Friday" Shopping Event is Today
"Black Friday" is the day after Thanksgiving Day and by tradition it signifies the day that retail businesses start to make a profit for the year, i.e. they move from being in the red for the year to being in the black.
Today Apple is having a special one-day "Black Friday" shopping event called "Ready. Set. Shop." at its online and retail Apple Stores. Apple says you'll find dozens of great iPod, Mac, and iPhone gift ideas -- all with free shipping.
Update: You can save up to $101 off a MacBook or iMac, $21 off an Apple iPhone Bluetooth Headset, up to $31 off an iPod and up to $201.95 off various non-Apple products.
Good luck shopping! [Bill Fox]
[11/23] Brief Hands-On Report--Micromat released TechTool Pro 4.6.1 for Leopard
Micromat released a Leopard-compatible update v4.6.1 to TechTool Pro, its disk maintenance utility. As a subscriber to Micromat's Annual Update Service, we received an email with a subscriber link to download the update.
We ran the installer and used it on our MiniMate 80 GB external FW400 hard drive on which we have cloned the internal drive of our 24" 2.8GHz aluminum iMac Core 2 Duo using SuperDuper! All went well using the Intermediate Suite of Tests, Directory Maintenance and Optimization. That drive had over 12,000 frags and now zero.
Then we booted the iMac with the MiniMate hard drive and ran TTP 4.6.1 on the iMac's internal drive. Again all went well. The defrag process takes less than a second per frag. The iMac HD had about 10,000 frags and now zero.
Everything seems to work fine. A good job by Micromat. [Dana Baggett]
[11/22] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--Holiday Gifts, Leopard, iPhone, Writers Strike and Tech Buzzwords
Tonight, host Gene Steinberg explores sales prospects for such tech gear as iPods and high-definition TV sets this holiday season with Ross Rubin, an industry analyst with the NPD Group.
You'll also get up-to-the-minute comments about the state of Leopard and the iPhone with Macworld's Jim Dalrymple and Jason Snell. In addition, Jason, a TV expert, will talk about the consequences of a long writer's strike to the current TV season.
And HostICan's Denis Motova joins Gene to explain the meaning behind such high-tech buzzwords as "geo-targeting" and "load balancing" and what it may mean to you if you have a fast-growing online business.
You can tune into the audio Web broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]
[11/21] Intego Issues Leopard Vulnerability Warning--Mail Attachment Quarantine Bug (Low Risk)
Intego, the maker of anti-malware software, sent us a note describing a vulnerability in Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard's "quarantine" system involving Mail attachments and providing a proof of concept. Intego rates the bug they term "OSX.Exploit.MetaData.B" as a low risk.
If you are using Leopard and download an application as a disk image via Safari, Mail or iChat, when you manually add it to your Applications folder or launch it the first time a dialog box pops up stating that the application has been downloaded from the Internet and asks if you really want to open/launch it. This system is a mild protective measure against malware.
The problem is that an attachment to Mail pretending to be an image, but is really a script with resource fork, can be opened/launched the first time without going through the quarantine system. Even worse, if the "same" attachment is received twice or more times, it never goes through the quarantine system. In either case, a malicious application file could be downloaded, launched and run inadvertently.
Intego's advice is the usual. Do not try to open attachments from people you do not know or that you do not expect even from people you know. This vulnerability was first posted by Heise Security. [Bill Fox]
[11/21] Brief Hands-On Report--Firefox 3.0 Beta 1 is Out
A beta release of the next generation of Mozilla's Firefox web browser is available for testing for those who like to try bleeding edge software that may have bugs. Firefox 3.0b1 is available for download via MacUpdate.com.
According to the Release Notes,
Firefox 3 Beta 1 is based on the new Gecko 1.9 Web rendering platform, which has been under development for the past 27 months and includes nearly 2 million lines of code changes, fixing more than 11,000 issues. Gecko 1.9 includes some major re-architecting for performance, stability, correctness, and code simplification and sustainability. Firefox 3 has been built on top of this new platform resulting in a more secure, easier to use, more personal product with a lot under the hood to offer website and Firefox add-on developers.
See the Release Notes for more detail.
We downloaded and installed Firefox 3.0b1 over Firefox 188.8.131.52 with no problem. Unfortunately, our favorite theme Nautipolis has not been updated for this beta. We have been using the new version all morning, including doing some online banking, without encountering any problems. [Bill Fox]
[11/21] Brief Hands-On Report--StuffIt Expander 12.0.1 is Out
The venerable StuffIt Expander is a free utility from Smith Micro that allows you to decompress most of the popular archived files that software developers use to compression their files for faster transfer. It is available for download from MacUpdate.com.
What's fixed in v12.0.1 is:
- Fixed an issue where StuffIt Expander wouldn't auto-quit after finishing an expansion operation when using the "Watch Folder" feature.
- Fixed an issue that prevented expansion of Compact Pro archives that contained a comment.
- Fixed an issue that prevented complete expansion of some older StuffIt 5 archives.
- Fixed an issue that prevented expansion of some older self-extracting Zip archives (.exe).
We downloaded he new version and tested it on a few files. No issues were encountered. [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]
[11/19] [Updated] Hands-On Report--Multiple SUID Warnings in Mac OS X 10.5.1 Permissions Check
It appears that if you installed Mac OS X 10.5.1 via Software Update, then using Disk Utility to verify or repair permissions results in many SUID warning reports being listed in Disk Utility's window. We have checked all of our Mac OS X 10.5.1 installations with Disk Utility and they all display the multiple warnings. However, we have not noted any issues with Mac OS X 10.5.1 in extensive use on multiple Macs since 10.5.1 was installed on them last Thursday and Friday.
The warning reports do not go away with multiple runs of repair permissions in our experience, although that has been suggested by some Mac Web sites. What does make all but one of the warnings disappear on all of our Macs is reinstalling Mac OS X 10.5.1 using the stand-alone file available from these Apple Web pages for the client or the server editions.
The one SUID warning that does not go away is:
Warning: SUID file "System/Library/CoreServices/RemoteManagement/ARDAgent.app/Contents/MacOS/ARDAgent" has been modified and will not be repaired.
We do not know what caused these warnings. Perhaps, it is due to an incomplete revision or listing of permissions by the installer using Software Update. We do not use Apple Remote Desktop so whatever triggers the remaining warning is unlikely to cause us any problems. And, as we previously noted, we've experienced no issues at all since installing Mac OS X 10.5.1 which leads us to believe that the warnings are benign even if a bit unsettling.
[Update: Reader William Smith pointed out that Apple has posted a technical article on the ARDAgent SUID error warning indicating that it is benign. Another reader, Ken, thought that it is due to an Apple Remote Desktop update that occurs right after installing Leopard.] [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]
[11/16] Brief Hands-On Report--Mac OS X 10.5.1 is Out, Fixes Potential Data Loss Issue
Apple released Mac OS X 10.5.1 update for Leopard and it is available via Software Update or as a stand-alone file from these Apple Web pages as the client or the server edition. According to the ReadMe file,
The 10.5.1 Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Leopard and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac.
Here are more details from Apple on the bug fixes:
Here are the security fix details:
Application Firewall--CVE-2007-4702--The "Block all incoming connections" setting for the firewall is misleading. This update addresses the issue by more accurately describing the option as "Allow only essential services", and by limiting the processes permitted to receive incoming connections under this setting to a small fixed set of system services: configd (for DHCP and other network configuration protocols), mDNSResponder (for Bonjour), and racoon (for IPSec). The "Help" content for the Application Firewall is also updated to provide further information.
Application Firewall--CVE-2007-4703--Processes running as user "root" (UID 0) cannot be blocked when the firewall is set to "Set access for specific services and applications." This update corrects the issue so that any executable so marked is blocked.
Application Firewall--CVE-2007-4704--Changes to Application Firewall settings do not affect processes started by launchd until they are restarted. This update corrects the issue so that changes take effect immediately.
None of these issues affect systems prior to Mac OS X v10.5.
We downloaded and installed 10.5.1 on several Macs including: 15" 2.4GHz MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo, 24" 2.8GHz aluminum iMac Core 2 Duo, 1.66GHz Mac mini Core Duo, 12" 1.4GHz PowerBook G4, 1.4GHz PowerMac G4 Cube and a Dual 2GHz PowerMac G5. All installations completed with no issues and none were encountered in several hours use.
Our problems with Leopard have been limited to our 15" 2.4GHz MacBook Pro, the only Mac on which we used a safe Archive and Install of Leopard. We had occasional kernel panics on wake from sleep but this issue was resolved with new FirmTek firmware/drivers v5.3.1. We still had, prior to installing 10.5.1, an occasional blank screen on wake from sleep and frequent unexpected quits of Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 usually following wake from sleep. Neither of the latter issues have occurred since installing 10.5.1 but it is too soon to tell if either has been resolved. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]
[11/16] Brief Hands-On Report--iMac Graphics Firmware Update 1.0 is Out
Apple released iMac Graphics Firmware Update 1.0 and it is available via Software Update or as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,
This update is for 20-inch and 24-inch aluminum iMac computers with the ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro graphics running Mac OS X 10.4.10 with iMac Software Update 1.2.1 or Leopard with iMac Software Update 1.3.
It updates the graphics firmware on the ATI Radeon HD 2600 Pro to improve system stability.
We installed the firmware update on our 24" 2.8GHz aluminum iMac Core 2 Duo running Leopard with no problems. We weren't having the screen freeze issue before installing the update and no issues were encountered since installing it. [Dana Baggett]
[11/16] Brief Hands-On Report--Cocktail 4.0 Leopard Edition is Out
Cocktail 4.0 for Leopard is out and available for download via "Check for Updates" within the application or MacUpdate.com. The updated and new features for the Leopard Edition are:
Mac OS X 10.5 compatibility
Updated Automator actions
Updated Help compatible with Leopard help system
Improved software update (Sparkle)
Miscellaneous fixes and optimizations
Multi-user cache clearing (Caches)
Added support for Fsck, Kerberos Admin and Kerberos Client logs (Logs)
Added possibility to install or uninstall Archives preference pane (Misc)
Added "Allow sending password in clear text" setting (File Sharing)
Added "Warn when sending password in clear text" setting (File Sharing)
Added "Display in login dialog's Name filed" settings (File Sharing)
Added "Allow Root login" setting (File Sharing)
Added "Archive logs every X day(s)" setting (File Sharing)
Added possibility to start or restart File Sharing (File Sharing)
Added "Disable stripes from list view mode" setting (Finder)
Added "Disable stripes from list view mode" setting (Finder)
Added "Force Dock to side-style mode" setting (Dock)
Added "Enable mouse over on stacks" setting (Dock)
Added "Enable spring load actions on all items" setting (Dock)
The update is free to registered users.
We downloaded v4.0 via MacUpdate and installed it over the previous version. We launched and ran the new version on our MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo and aluminum iMac Core 2 Duo without encountering any issues. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]
[11/16] Brief Hands-On Report: RealPlayer 11.0 Beta Build 631 is Out
Real Networks released RealPlayer 11.0 beta (Build 631) for Mac OS X 10.3.9 and later. RealPlayer is Real Networks' media player. It is available for download free from this Real Networks Web page or from MacUpdate.com. Build 631 has numerous bug fixes and some new features:
- New RealPlayer Downloader lets you download Flash Video files from Safari or FireFox browsers.
- Playback of Flash Videos
- Playback of Windows Media content (such as .wmv and .wma files)
- PerfectPlay (with LivePause) feature added
- PlayNow feature added
- Playlist window added
We have been using RealPlayer 10.1.0 with no apparent problems but it will be handy to have another player besides Flip4Mac that can play .wmv and .wma files. We downloaded, installed and tried 11.0 beta with no problems. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]
[11/16] Brief Hands-On Report--Adobe Lightroom 1.3 Update is Out
Adobe released Lightroom 1.3 and it is available automatically from within the application or by clicking "Check for Updates" under the Help menu or from this Adobe Web page.
Lightroom 1.3 includes corrections for the following issues:
- Writing XMP metadata automatically has been corrected for performance issues
- Printing with the native resolution option enabled no longer sets the wrong dimension for portrait oriented images
- Prior to Camera Raw 4.3 there was the possibility that artifacts in edge transitions could be introduced through the
Bayer demosaic and luminance noise reductions algorithms. This has been corrected.
- The Canon sRAW format and the Fuji compressed RAF formats are now supported.
Lightroom 1.3 includes the following enhancements:
- The import dialog now offers the option to render 1:1 previews as part of the import process
- The export dialog layout has been enhanced
- A Lightroom Preview Export SDK is available for developers to create and distribute Export Plug-ins.
We downloaded and installed Lightroom 1.3. In brief use examining our photos and using the tools we encountered no problems. [Bill Fox]
[11/16] Brief Hands-On Report--Adobe released Photoshop CS3 10.1, Camera Raw 4.3 and Bridge CS3 2.1.1
Adobe released Photoshop CS3 10.1, Camera Raw 4.3 and Bridge CS3 2.1.1 updates to fix bugs. They are available for download within any Adobe CS3 application by selecting "Updates..." under the Help menu.
According to Adobe, the most significant fixes in the Photoshop 10.0.1 update include the following:
- The speed of moving objects contained within multiple layer sets has been improved.
- Converting images to CMYK using certain profiles no longer results in black files.
- The Save for Web feature now includes an option to "Include XMP" (metadata) in the settings menu within the main Save for Web interface, making the existing capability easier to access.
- When using Save For Web with "Include XMP" enabled, all XMP data is now included in the optimized file.
- Print color matching has been improved.
- Images saved as DICOM and reopened in Photoshop CS3 are no longer corrupted on PowerPC? based Mac computers.
The major additions in Camera Raw 4.3 are:
Support for the following cameras has been added:
- Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III
- Canon PowerShot G9
- Nikon D3
- Nikon D300
- Olympus E-3
- Olympus SP-560 UZ
- Panasonic DMC-L10
The most significant fixes in Bridge CS3 are:
- A new preference to enable High Quality Preview has been added to Bridge's Preferences > Advanced panel. When enabled, the preference addresses the problem of a soft or blurry preview appearing in the Preview panel and in Slideshow mode.
- Data loss that could result from replacing a folder with another folder by the same name has been prevented.
- Issues that could cause Bridge to crash (for example, when encountering a PDF or AI file) have been corrected.
- A problem that could cause Bridge to lock up when using arrows to navigate has been fixed.
- XMP data is now handled correctly when added to CR2 files.
- A problem that could cause the Loupe tool not to be available after exiting from Slideshow mode has been corrected.
- Rapid clicks to select multiple files are no longer interpreted as a double-click, so unintended opening of multiple files is now reduced.
We downloaded and installed them via "Updates..." in Photoshop CS3. During brief use of Photoshop Extended 10.0.1 no issues were evident. [Bill Fox]
[11/15] Brief Hands-On Report--Mac OS X 10.4.11 is Out with Safari 3.0
Apple finally released what is probably the final update to Mac OS X 10.4.x "Tiger" except for security updates. It is available for download as PowerPC or Intel versions and as client or server versions and as combo or delta versions, making a total of eight. The correct version for your Mac should be available via Software Update but you may also download a stand-alone updater from this Apple Web page. We recommend the combo version in all cases to minimize the chance of problems and to serve as an updater if you ever have to reinstall 10.4.x from your CD.
The Tiger Server Admin Tools 10.4.11 are available for download separately from this Apple Web page.
According to Apple,
The 10.4.11 Update is recommended for all users running Mac OS X Tiger and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your Mac. This update also includes Safari 3, the latest version of Apple's web browser.
There are many updates in Mac OS X 10.4.11 including many security updates. Those included are summarized in this Apple table:
The details on the many security updates are available from this Apple Web page.
We downloaded and installed 10.4.11 via Software Update. We also downloaded the combo updater for potential future use. Updated were our 24" 2.33GHz white iMac Core 2 Duo and a 17" 1GHz PowerBook G4. No problems were encountered in several hours of use. [Bill Fox]
[11/15] Brief Hands-On Report--iPhoto 7.1.1 is Out with Leopard Compatibility
Apple released iPhoto 7.1.1 update. It is available via Software Update if you have iLife '08 installed or as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,
This update supports compatibility with Mac OS X 10.5, improves overall stability, and addresses a number of other minor issues.
We downloaded and installed iPhoto 7.1.1 on a number of Macs and encountered no problems with brief use. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]
[11/15] Apple updated Its Pro Applications
Apple updated many of its Pro applications for Leopard compatibility, including:
We don't have any of these Pro applications to test. [Bill Fox]
[11/15] Apple released Security Update 2007-008 for Mac OS X 10.3.9 Panther for both Client and Server Editions
Apple released Security Update 2007-008 for Mac OS X 10.3.9 Panther for both client and server editions. If you are running Panther, they should be available via Software Update. They are also available as stand-alone files for the client and server editions.
According to Apple,
Security Update 2007-008 is recommended for all users and improves the security of the following components:
Flash Player Plug-in
Security Update 2007-007 has been incorporated into this security update.
We no longer have any Macs running Panther to test. his may be the end of the line for Panther updates now that Leopard is out and Tiger is the immediate past edition of Mac OS X. [Bill Fox]
[11/15] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla released Firefox 184.108.40.206
Mozilla released Firefox 220.127.116.11 their stand-alone Web browser. It is available for download within the application via "Check for Updates..." under the Help menu or as a stand-alone file from this Mozilla Web page.
According to the release notes, Firefox 18.104.22.168 fixes several bugs introduced with v22.214.171.124, mostly in the Windows version.
We downloaded and installed 126.96.36.199 via "Check for Updates..." with no problems. In several hours use we encountered no problems. [Bill Fox]
[11/15] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla Thunderbird 188.8.131.52 is Out
Mozilla released Thunderbird 184.108.40.206 their stand-alone email client. It is available for download within the application via "Check for Updates..." under the Help menu or as a stand-alone file from this Mozilla Web page.
According to Mozilla, 220.127.116.11 has a security fix:
MFSA 2007-29 Crashes with evidence of memory corruption (rv:18.104.22.168)
We downloaded and installed 22.214.171.124 via "Check for Updates..." with no problems. In several hours use we encountered no problems. Better yet, Thunderbird seems to respond a bit faster when clicking actions in the menubar. [Bill Fox]
[11/15] [Updated] Seiko bundles WebCam Software with Smart Label Printers--Add Pictures to Labels
Seiko Instruments has added a new web camera software feature to its flagship line of Smart Label Printers (SLPs), making Seiko the first company to integrate image capture into its label printing application software.
With the new web camera feature, SLP users can now capture pictures directly from an attached web cam device to create custom labels with text, photos and clip art for visitor name tags, security guest badges and inventory identification.
The new web cam software feature for Seiko Instruments' Smart Label Printers is compatible with three Logitech web camera models: Quick Cam Chat, Quick Cam Ultra Vision and Quick Cam Pro 900, as well as with ecamm's iMage. [Update: It is also compatible with Apple iSight according to Seiko.]
The SLP software versions 1.7 for Mac can be downloaded from this Seiko Web page. [Bill Fox]
[11/15] Hynix produced First 1Gb Graphics DDR5 Memory--2x the Speed of Currently used GDDR3 Memory
Hynix Semiconductor Inc. introduced the industry’s first 1 Gigabit GDDR5 Graphics DRAM. GDDR, Graphics Double Data Rate, is an ultra high speed Graphics DRAM that processes graphic data in electronic devices such as personal computer and game consoles. As high definition digital media players market continues to expand, demand for high-speed and high density GDDR products is rapidly increasing.
The industry's first 1Gb GDDR5 from Hynix is also the fastest and highest density graphics memory available. It operates at 5Gbps bandwidth and processes up to 20 Gigabytes of data per second with a 32-bit I/O, ideal in applications with high definition video and cinematic and photo-realistic graphics content. A bandwidth of 20 Gigabytes per second offered by the Hynix 1Gb GDDR5 can process more than 20 hours of DVD quality video.
The newly introduced GDDR5 is built on the company’s leading edge 66nm process technology and designed to minimize power consumption. In addition to its small form factor and power saving characteristics, Hynix's GDDR5 features time delay adjustments, error correction and jitter control technology enabling more robust system designs.
The fifth generation graphics memory GDDR5 improves data processing speed by more than two times than that of GDDR3, the current mainstream graphics DRAM device. With its improved speed and power characteristics, GDDR5 is projected to succeed GDDR3 and dominate the graphics DRAM market from the 2nd half of 2008.
Hynix plans to start mass production of GDDR5 in the first half of next year to meet the increasing demand for high performance graphics DRAM. [Bill Fox]
[11/14] Hands-On Review--Kensington SlimBlade Media Notebook Set
No sooner had we finished our recently posted Hands-On Review of Kensington's "new" Ci70 Wireless Desktop Set consisting of integrated keyboard/keypad and mouse, when we noticed that Kensington is now touting a "new" Slimblade Media Notebook Set. We asked Kensington if we could test drive the Slimblade ensemble. It arrived a few days ago.
The SlimBlade set consists of a keyboard, a separate but attachable numeric keypad, and a mouse all connecting wirelessly to a Mac using a single, micro RF 2.4Ghz USB dongle. Kensington claims a 30 foot range. There are no Mac drivers on the enclosed CD because all of the components function out of the box with a Mac. Nice!
Let's take a closer look at each of the modules.
The keyboard is about 13" wide (not counting its rubber ears -- see below), 6" deep and only .9" high off the desk at its tallest. Compare that with Apple's newest thin wireless keyboard at 11" x 5.25" x 0.6". It's an 86 key QWERTY keyboard with a layout almost identical to the Kensington Ci70 keyboard. The only difference is that the Slimblade has two Apple logo keys, one on either side of the space bar, a more conventional layout for Mac keyboards; the Menu key on the Ci70 keyboard is missing from the Slimblade. A Windows logo key is located second from the left on the bottom row; it functions the same as the Mac logo keys. The Slimblade has fewer special function Hot Keys, five compared with the Ci70's ten. Only two work when connected to our 24" 2.8GHz aluminum iMac (mid-summer 2007) running Leopard, the CD Eject and Gadget (aka Dashboard) Hot Keys. The accompanying instruction booklet indicates that the other Hot Keys - Media, Back Up, and Search & Organize - are PC specific and only work after installing the PC drivers on the accompanying CD. F12 brings up Dashboard when tapped lightly and when held down, functions as a CD Eject key. So, the Hot Keys are really superfluous for Macs.
The Slimblade is an inclined, weighted keyboard nicely finished in metallic graphite. We thought initially that the keyboard housing was metal but decided after closer examination that at least the underside is plastic. We're pretty sure the top side is metal. It's so well-done it's hard to tell. In any event, it does not have a "plasticky" feel to it like the Ci70. The keyboard and keypad side edges are rubberized, with alignment rubber ears on the keyboard fitting into corresponding slots on either side of the keypad at the top, held together at the bottom corners with low power magnets. Cool.
The keypad has 17 keys including a numlock clear key but we couldn't find a numlock on either keypad or keyboard. It is powered by two AA batteries and connects independently from the keyboard to the single USB wireless dongle.
The Slimblade Media Notebook Set comes with a two button laser mouse, with a 360° scroll ball that permits scrolling vertically and laterally simultaneously. It also is powered by two AA batteries and connects to the same RF USB dongle previously mentioned. The dongle can be stored inside the mouse, which has the added benefit of shutting the mouse down during transport.
Kensington recommends the use of alkaline non-rechargeable batteries. Six AAs are provided in the box. There's a battery life indicator on each of the three components.
There is a download labeled Slimblade Mac Driver 1.0 on the Kensington web site but the description indicates it enables "Media Control functions located on the underside of the Mouse." This mouse has none so we didn't use it.
There are no on/off switches on the three components. Turning off the computer effectively turns them off. Likewise, power up the Mac and these peripherals are ready to go.
The keyboard has the look and feel of a desktop model. The keys are concave, graphite matte color and good sized with white characters. No glare. Setup was a cinch. A onetime brief keyboard recognition process and done. We suggest it is primarily a Mac keyboard - no drivers needed - with a Windows key to reassure those on the Dark Side that they can use it, too. We used the dongle on a USB extension cable primarily for convenience. Since it was only about six inches from the components, it was hardly a test of the 30' connection claim. We liked the keypad in that its keys are the same size as the keyboard. It is not easy to find Mac compatible keypads, especially those with full sized keys. And the two components mate perfectly. Neat.
We loved the Ci70 mouse and were a bit disappointed that the Slimblade mouse wasn't the same one. It is squarish and low profile. But, it does glide effortlessly over our mouse pad. The 360° scroll ball takes a bit of getting used to but it works.
If there is one criticism, it is that metallic graphite doesn't match any Apple product.
Kensington offers a five year limited warranty. The MSRP is $130 but the "street" price is less. If you were to price comparable components separately, we think they would cost more. Total weight: about four pounds.
Kensington says it will offer a Slimblade Media Remote soon as a compatible added component for the Slimblade set "to control ... Front Row from anywhere in the room."
If you're into compact, wireless, Mac keyboards and really want/need a compatible keypad to accompany it, the Kensington Slimblade Media Notebook Set may be just the ticket. It is well-made, functional and attractive if you like metallic graphite. The mouse is decent. While the target users are laptop owners, it looks and works perfectly on the desktop. We liked the set a lot. Hmm...wonder if we can keep it "for extended testing." [Dana Baggett]
[11/14] Future Sonics Launches 'Treat Your Ears' Promotion for Atrio Series Earphones--$31 Off
World-renowned professional audio specialist, Future Sonics, today announced the kick-off of the 2007 holiday season with its Treat Your Ears promotion. Running from November 15 through December 31, 2007, customers can purchase the award-winning Future Sonics Atrio Series model m8 earphones for only $167.99, a savings of $31.00 over the regular price of $199.00.
Taking advantage of this special offer is easy: Customers just need to visit the Future Sonics Web site, add a pair of Atrio Series m8 earphones to their secure shopping cart, and enter the coupon code "bestearphones" at final check out. That's all there is to it. No fuss, no muss. What's more, each pair of Atrio Series m8 earphones comes with a 30-day money-back satisfaction guarantee.
"Through this very special promotion, we look forward to introducing consumers around the world to the absolute highest quality and most enjoyable audio experience they've ever heard… guaranteed," said Future Sonics founder and CEO, Marty Garcia. "It is a sound quality that you need to hear to believe. They truly make audio the most rewarding and satisfying it can be, while offering our 'BIGGER SOUND @ lower volume' audio signature to anyone - and at any age."
Regarding the Future Sonics Atrio Series earphones, Daniel Lyons of Forbes magazine says, "I hear details I didn't know existed"; Jim Dalrymple of Macworld magazine says, "Do your ears a favor"; and George Petersen of Mix magazine says, "Your ears will thank you."
For complete details and to take advantage of the "Treat Your Ears" promotion, simply visit the Future Sonics Web site. Due to expected high demand, there is a limit of 4 pairs of Atrio Series m8 earphones per household through this special promotion. [Bill Fox]
[11/14] Adobe Calls for Entries for 2008 Adobe Design Achievement Awards
Adobe Systems just announced the call for entries for the eighth annual Adobe Design Achievement Awards (ADAA). The awards honor talented and promising student graphic designers, photographers, illustrators, animators, digital filmmakers, developers and computer artists from the world's top institutions of higher education.
Reflecting the growth in the interactive design field and the importance of the integration between design and development, Adobe has added several new categories in three media areas: Interactive Media, Motion Media, and Traditional Media.
Interactive Media categories include Browser-Based Design, Non-Browser Based Design, Designer/Developer Collaboration, Installation Design and Mobile Design.
Motion Media categories include Animation, Live Action and Motion Graphics.
Traditional Media categories include Illustration, Packaging, Photography, and Print Communications.
"The annual awards celebrate emerging talent and innovative thinking from students from all over the world," said Ann Lewnes, senior vice president of corporate marketing at Adobe. "It is truly inspiring to see how this event dissolves boundaries between cultures and unleashes great talents through the convergence of technology and creative arts."
Students from more than 30 countries are invited to submit projects through the Adobe Design Achievement Awards Web site. From the Web site, visitors will also be able to access ADAA Live! an interactive Web site that allows visitors to see the participants submitting projects in real-time.
Entries will be reviewed and scored by an independent panel of twelve distinguished judges. Judges include: Emily Chang of Ideacodes; Joshua Davis of Joshua Davis Studios; Tina Roth Eisenberg of Swissmiss Studio; David Gensler of Keystone Design Union; Eric John of Forum Nokia; Adrian Johnson of Adrian Johnson, Ltd.; Maya Kopytman of C&G Partners; Michael Lebowitz of Big Spaceship; Rebecca Mendez of Rebecca Mendez Design; Independent Filmmaker Joan Raspo; Stan Szymanski of Sony Pictures Imageworks, and Armin Vit of UnderConsideration.
Submissions will be accepted online through May 2, 2008. The online submissions will be judged digitally in May and semifinalists will be asked to submit their source files and a physical aspect of their entry as it is meant to be viewed for the final phase of judging. Finalists will be invited to New York and win cash and software prizes.
The 2008 Awards sponsors include: Category Sponsors – iStockphoto, MAXON, Nokia, Xerox, X-Rite; Program sponsors – Mohawk Fine Papers, Netdiver, Original City Pictures, Saturday Night Magazine, The Creative Group, TransPerfect, Xerox Graphic Arts Premier Partners; and Media sponsors – IdN, SXSW Interactive, The KDU. The sponsors are helping to ensure the application of environmental sustainability principles. For example, the Call for Entries posters and flyers will be printed on 100 percent recycled stock from Mohawk Fine Papers that is manufactured using wind power. Faculty will request posters on-line and they will be printed on-demand in small quantities by Xerox Graphic Arts Premier Partners from around the world.
For more information visit the 2008 Adobe Design Achievement Awards Web site. [Bill Fox]
[11/13] Hands-On Report--iPhone and iPod Touch Software v1.1.2 is Available via iTunes
Apple finally released iPhone and iPod Touch Software v1.1.2 and it is available for download via iTunes. Version 1.1.2 was initially released on the iPhones sold in the UK and Germany beginning last Friday and was available as an unanounced stand-alone download but was not generally available on iTunes until late on Monday.
The Apple documentation states that 1.1.2 contains new features and bug fixes but is generally silent on the details except to refer to the manual.
Here are the details on the security fix:
ImageIO--CVE-2006-3459, CVE-2006-3461, CVE-2006-3462, CVE-2006-3465--Viewing a maliciously crafted TIFF image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. Credit to Tavis Ormandy, Google Security Team for reporting this issue.
iTunes downoaded, installed and verified the new software and then it updated our iPhone's firmware. Finally, our iPhone restarted and then activated via iTunes, the latter step being one we do not recall from previous updates.
The new features that were readily apparent are:
- The ringtones list is now separated into Custom and Standard lists. Our custom ringtones added by iToner 1.0.4, which we favorably reviewed, were still there and functioning after installing the software update. Ambrosia is advertising that iToner 1.0.4 is compatible with iPhone Software 1.1.2.
- The General category under Settings now has an International selection with four sub-selections: Language, Keyboards, Asian Font and Region Format.
- There is a battery icon in iTunes' sidebar following the iPhone's name that shows the charge status of the iPhone's battery. This is very helpful since the iPhone's screen is usually off while sitting in its cradle.
After updating, our iPhone ran fine. No issues were discovered in several hours use. We do not have an iPod Touch to test. [Bill Fox]
[11/13] Hands-On Report--iPod with Video Software 1.2.2 is Available via iTunes
When we checked iTunes to see if iPhone Software 1.1.2 had been posted, we discovered that Apple had also released new software for our 5G iPod with Video.
The documentation states that 1.2.2 simply contains "Bug fixes."
We downloaded and installed 1.2.2 via iTunes. Our iPod restarted and ran with no problems. We also checked our original iPod nano's software on iTunes but v1.3.1 was still the latest software out for it. [Bill Fox]
[11/13] Intel shipped First Penryn Family CPUs based on 45nm Process, Up to 3.4GHz
Intel has begun to ship its new Penryn family of processors based on its latest 45nm hafnium high-k manufacturing process as we noted back in August. The first CPUs out of the block are the Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 CPU, a quad core desktop model with enhancements such as a larger L2 cache and support for new Intel SSE4 media instructions, and the 5400 model line of quad-core Xeon server CPUs.
Apple has not used the "Extreme" model line of Intel CPUs except as a CTO in the 24" iMac but it has used the 5000 model server line in its Mac Pro and Xserve desktops. There are 15 new server dual-core and quad-core "Penryn" 45nm Hi-k Intel Xeon processors in the 5000 line. The 12 new quad-core chips boast clock speeds ranging from 2GHz up to 3.20GHz, with front side bus speeds (FSB) up to 1600MHz, and cache sizes of 12MB. The three new dual-core chips feature clock speeds of up to 3.40GHz, an FSB of up to 1600MHz, and cache sizes of 6MB. The 45nm Hi-k Quad-Core Intel Xeon processor 5400 series has set a number of "world records" on key industry-standard benchmarks.
Intel's 45nm Hi-k Xeon processors also extend performance-per-watt leadership by delivering an improvement of 38 percent over its previous-generation Quad-Core Xeon 5300 Series processors used in Apple's Mac Pro.
The move from 65nm to 45nm involves more than just a shrink of current chip designs. The processors include such additional features as:
- Intel Streaming SIMD Extensions 4 (SSE4)--47 new instructions that speed up workloads including video encoding for high-definition and photo manipulation, as well as key HPC and enterprise applications. Software vendors supporting the new SSE4 instruction set include Adobe(a, Microsoft and Symantec.
- Enhanced Intel Virtualization Technology -- Virtual machine transition (entry/exit) times are improved by an average of 25 to 75 percent through hardware with no changes to software required.
- Fast Division of Numbers – A fast divider roughly doubles the speed over previous generations for computations used in nearly all applications through a technique called Radix 16. The ability to divide instructions and commands faster increases a computer’s performance.
- Unique Super Shuffle Engine -- By implementing a wider 128-bit shuffle unit, performance significantly improves for SSE-related instructions that have shuffle-like operations. This feature will increase performance for content creation, imaging, video and high-performance computing.
The new Core 2 Extreme and the new 12 quad-core Xeon "Penryn" CPUs are shipping now for $209 (2.0GHz) to $1279 (3.2GHz) each for 1000. The three dual-core Xeon "Penryn" CPUs will ship in 30-45 days for $177 (1.86GHz) to $1172 (3.4GHz) each for 1000. Hopefully, we'll see the top end models in Apple's Mac Pro and Xserve before too long. [Bill Fox]
[11/13] Mac OS X Leopard Pocket Guide is Out from O'Reilly
No matter how much Mac experience you have, Mac OS X Leopard requires that you get reacquainted. There's a new look, a Quick Look, something called Stacks, a Time Machine, Spaces, and more. So what do Mac aficionados need to get to know Leopard? A clear and concise resource illuminating how best to use and unleash the operating system's powerful new features.
O'Reilly's newest release, Mac OS X Leopard Pocket Guide ($14.99), fills this need. This timely new resource by Mac expert Chuck Toporek comes packed with more than 300 tips and techniques. It covers all the details you need to learn Leopard's new features, configure your system, and get the most out of your Mac--fast.
For Mac newbies, Toporek included a Survival Guide that explains how to adapt and a chapter on Mac OS X's key features. Experienced Mac users can leap right to the heart of Leopard with chapters on system preferences, applications and utilities, and configuration. Throughout this pocket guide, clear, easy-to-grasp tables, concise descriptions, and step-by-step instructions that explain:
- What's new in Leopard, including the Time Machine
- How to use Leopard's totally revamped Finder
- All about Spaces and how to quickly flip among them
- How to find things with Spotlight
- How to use Leopard's enhanced Parental Controls
- Handy keyboard shortcuts to increase your efficiency
- Quick tips for setting up and configuring your Mac to make it your own
So if you want to get in on the Leopard buzz and get started taming Apple's new cat now, keep Mac OS X Leopard Pocket Guide close at hand. [Bill Fox]
[11/13] Mac-centric Spin Studio posted Retail and Distribution for the Mac Developer
Mac-centric strategic marketing and business development company, Spin Studio LLC, today published its second article in what has quickly become the very popular SpinTips series of articles, all of which are written exclusively for Mac developers. Titled Retail and Distribution for the Mac Developer, this newest piece provides essential hints and tips to help Mac developers navigate and be successful in the complex world of Mac marketplace distribution and retail.
"Entering distribution and retail is literally a whole other world," said Spin Studio founder and CEO, Ed Prasek. "And Mac developers can easily see their entire business model change almost overnight. It's at this critical juncture when developers really need to be on their game and fully understand the world into which they are entering. This SpinTips article provides important information developers can use to help them chart a successful distribution and retail course for their company and products."
SpinTips is a series of strategic and tactical hints and tips articles that cover a wide range of topics, including Mac application development, distribution and retail, marketing, go-to-market initiatives, and much more. The first article in the SpinTips series, Creating a Successful Mac Product, was published in October 2007 and became an immediate success among developers around the world. Articles in the SpinTips series are published on a monthly basis.
To read the newest SpinTips article as well as others in the series, visit the Spin Studio Web site. [Bill Fox]
[11/10] Hands-On Report--FirmTek v5.3.1 Firmware/Drivers for Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard"
New firmware and drivers v5.3.1 are available from FirmTek for the SeriTek/2SM2-E SATA Port Express Card and the SeriTek/2SE2 and SeriTek/2SE4 SATA adapters. They can be downloaded from this FirmTek Web page.
We downloaded and installed v5.3.1 on our FirmTek SATA Express Card, first the new driver and then the new firmware. All went well and our external SATA drive that we use for daily backups of large files such as our Windows XP and Vista virtual machines that run on Parallels Desktop for Mac. We have them excluded from Time Machine.
It is possible that the older v5.2.0 firmware/driver was causing the occasional kernel panic on wake from sleep in Leopard. So far, it hasn't happened since updating to v5.3.1. [Bill Fox via Michael Bean AMUG]
[11/9] Leopard Experience 5--Two Weeks with Mac OS X 10.5
Two weeks ago last Saturday, we installed Leopard on our main workhorse Macs, a 15" 2.4GHz MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo, a 24" aluminum 2.8GHz iMac Core 2 Duo and a 1.66GHz Mac mini Core Duo. We used the Archive and Install option on the MacBook Pro and the Upgrade option on our iMac and Mac mini and used them extensively over the past two weeks. We also installed Leopard on two Power Mac G4 Cubes, a stock 450MHz model and one upgraded with a 1.4GHz G4 CPU and Nvidia GeForce 2 MX graphics card, using a hack and on a 12" PowerBook G4 with a 1.4GHz CPU upgrade using the Upgrade option to see if and how well they ran Leopard.
All of our installations, including the hacks, went fine as we previously reported. Our installation success rate may have been aided by our penchant for not using software that modifies or adds extensions/frameworks to the system folder.
Leopard has been running very well but not perfectly on all of the Macs, mostly due to applications that need to be updated for Leopard.
It turns out that Leopard runs too slowly in some functions on the stock 450GHz Cube. The major speed issue on the stock Cube is that re-sizing windows has a large lag. We are not sure if this is due to the relatively slow 450GHz G4 CPU or the stock graphics card, an ATI Radeon 128 Pro with only 16MB of video RAM. Tiger runs fine on the stock Cube and we recommend sticking with Tiger unless the Cube is upgraded with a faster CPU and better graphics card.
The upgraded 1.4GHz Cube and 1.4GHz 12" PowerBook G4 both run Leopard well speedwise and, of course, so do the 1.66GHz Mac mini Core Duo, 2.4GHz MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo and 2.8GHz iMac Core 2 Duo.
The Really Good
We remain very happy with Apple's redesign of the Mac OS X interface in Leopard with only two exceptions noted below. We like the more unified design, the new dock when in its bottom position, the increased contrast of the active window along with its larger shadows. We also like the return of transparency in Mac OS X in the menubar and its menus.
Leopard's Apple Mail remains at the top of our list for the most improved Apple application included with Leopard. Its speed improvement in handling mailboxes and large numbers of emails is huge, saving us a significant amount of time. Mail is not without bugs--occasionally, mail we have replied to does not get marked as such with the curved arrow.
The noticeable improvement in the Finder's speed is welcome. We remain neutral on the Finder's new Cover Flow view, still preferring Column view at the moment. But then it took us awhile to move from Icon and List views to Column view in the first edition of Mac OS X. Somehow, we don't think that's going to happen with Cover Flow view although we enjoy Cover Flow view in iTunes.
Leopard has some good under the hood improvements in local networking. It is more automatic, faster and much more reliable on a Windows network. We haven't used them a lot, only to test them, but Screen Sharing and Back to my Mac are very nice additions.
Time Machine works great and really wows everyone we show it to. Some have knocked Time Machine because it is a recovery system and not an archiving system and because it lacks this or that feature of a full service backup application. We think those critics are missing the point. Time Machine follows the Mac paradigm of elegant simplicity. It makes backing up for most people very simple and fun with its really cool interface.
Still, Time Machine needs some work. Its default setting of backing up everything on one's internal hard drive and on every device attached to one's computer is a bit of an overreach, in our opinion. The default should be only one's home folder with adding or deleting other things being optional. The average user is not going to mess around with the system level folders or applications. Are they going to know what to restore if problems crop up? Those who do know what to do could also easily add the system level and applications folders in preferences. Finally, we agree with others who have noted that the logic of adding things to a do not backup list in Time Machine's preferences should be reversed to deleting things from a backup list. By the way, Time Machine initially used 140GB to back up our internal hard drive and after ten days use (we reset it after four days) it now has consumed 230GB.
Quick Look is nice, saving a significant amount of application launch time if one can shed the habit of immediately double-clicking a file to inspect it. We are getting more used to using Quick Look and think this will eventually be a winner in Leopard as well.
We remain neutral on Spaces. It is an interesting idea but we don't work that way and can't conceive of who may. But, if anyone does, Spaces is a really cool thing for them.
The Not So Good
Our major issue is that we occasionally get kernel panics (crashes) when we wake our MacBook Pro from sleep. It must be caused by one of the external devices we have attached (a huey PRO monitor calibrator, an eSATA drive attached via a FirmTek eSATA Express Card, an iPod, a FW800 Dual drive case) or the software that services them because we do not have this problem with any of the other Macs. It doesn't happen all the time which makes it difficult to discover the culprit.
Another problem is that Dreamweaver CS3 has frequent unexpected quits. Dreamweaver CS3 did not run all that well on Tiger and certainly no better on Leopard. Hopefully, an Adobe software update will fix this.
We have an occasional loss of "custom" icons. For example, the drive dedicated to Time Machine gets assigned a custom blue-green icon with a circular arrow but the Finder window frequently shows it with an orange FireWire Drive icon while still showing it as a Time Machine icon on the desktop.
We don't like the transparent black dock when it is affixed to the right or left side because, in part, it looks like the Windows Vista sidebar when run on a machine with substandard graphics. We'd much prefer the dock on the side to look like it does when on the bottom, perhaps just losing the shelf for the purists, but we like it as it is or was in the earlier developer releases.
We don't particularly like the Stacks function of folders in the dock when the dock is on the bottom of the screen, in part because it is not easy to use and in part because folders are on the right side of the dock and the fan when extended curves to the right disappearing off the screen. The stacks should be straight or curve away from the side of the monitor, not towards it.
Unfortunately, we get too many spinning beachballs, more than we did with Tiger. But this will probably be fixed with updates to both Leopard and application software over time.
We are quite happy with Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard at this point. The speed increase in Apple Mail alone is worth the cost of Leopard to us. We think most of our issues would be resolved by application updates. Applications should be updated specifically for Leopard in the near future and we expect that Apple will also release a 10.5.1 update in the not to distant future. [Bill Fox]
[11/9] Apple Technology supported Campus MovieFest Bay Area Grand Finale Film Festival
Top honors were awarded to 16 teams of San Francisco Bay Area university students on October 19th for their achievements in film at the Campus MovieFest Bay Area Grand Finale at San Jose's historic California Theatre. The sold-out red carpet evening was the culminating event of the three month long Northern California stop on the world's largest student film festival's 2007-2008 tour. The incredible short films were made within just one week using Apple technology provided by Campus MovieFest, all for free thanks to supporting partners including AT&T. The Apple technology included an Apple MacBook or MacBook Pro loaded with iLife '08, Final Cut Studio and everything else they needed to create the films.
The winners of the Campus MovieFest Bay Area Grand Finale include:
Campus MovieFest Best Picture
"Bobby’s House" by team Ubsey Movies – San Jose State University
Campus MovieFest Best Comedy
"Love Struck" by team Trigen Pictures – San Jose State University
Campus MovieFest Best Drama
"Medo and the Dragon" by team Out of the Convent – UC Berkeley
AT&T Best Use of Mobile
"Charly & Estella" by team PI (Politically Incorrect) – San Jose State University
Campus MovieFest Audience Choice Award
"Love Struck" by team Trigen Pictures – San Jose State University
Campus MovieFest Best Soundtrack
"I Need You Back" by team Life's So Hard – San Jose State University
Over $400,000 in prizing will be awarded to CMF winning teams during this year's tour. Each of the Campus MovieFest Best Picture team members won Mac mini computers loaded with iLife and Final Cut Studio software. The short movie will be featured at Silicon Valley’s internationally recognized film festival, Cinequest, in 2008. Best Comedy and Best Drama award winners took home an iPod touch for each member of the team. The top three films will also be showcased on AT&T's CV video service and Red, Virgin America's in-flight entertainment system. The AT&T Best Use of Mobile award winners received an American Express gift card and move on for a chance to win mobile phones. Finally, the Best Soundtrack winner earned Logic Studio software.
The winners, selected by a panel of filmmakers, partner companies, students, and faculty, were chosen from films made by students at the six participating Bay Area colleges: UC Berkeley, UC Davis, University of the Pacific, Sonoma State, San Jose State, and Stanford University. Over 550 teams of students from these schools participated in this year's film festival. The evening's top shorts will now compete against those made by university students in the Los Angeles, New York, Florida, Alabama, Boston, and Atlanta regions at the Campus MovieFest National Grand Finale in 2008.
All of the top 16 films may be on the Campus MovieFest Web page. [Bill Fox].
[11/8] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple Hard Drive Update 1.0 for Some iMac Core2 Duos and Mac Pros
Apple release Hard Drive Update 1.0. It is available via Software Update or as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,
The Hard Drive Update 1.0 includes bug fixes and important updates for the following systems:
iMac Core 2 Duo (Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later)
Mac Pro (Mac OS X 10.4.7 or later)
We downloaded the updater because it didn't show in Software Update. When we ran it on our 24" white iMac Core 2 Duo and 24" aluminum iMac Core 2 Duo, that installer popped up a dial box that stated "This computer does not need this update." [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]
[11/8] TOM BIHN Brain Cell gets Improvements for your 'Book's Safety
The TOM BIHN Brain Cell laptop case has gained a reputation for offering
the best protection one can get for their laptop short of using a heavy metal briefcase. The Brain Cell cradles laptops in 8mm thick soft foam padding, suspends them in a 4mm hard corrugated plastic insert that protects from the front, back, and bottom, and protects them at the sides with dense cross-linked closed-cell polyethylene foam.
And now that protection is even better. All Brain Cells now have an new fifth layer of protection: 12mm thick premium memory foam, manufactured to our specifications in the U.S.A. The layer of memory foam is fixed to the corrugated plastic floor of the Brain Cell, separating the bottom of the foam sling from the corrugated plastic shell. The memory foam acts as an extra layer of cushion as well as an effective shock absorber. [Bill Fox]
[11/8] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--Leopard, Myths, Parallels, Leopard Security and Pay-per-Click Advertising
Tonight, host Gene Steinberg chats with noted Mac author Ted Landau who gives you a detailed tour of Leopard's "Share Screen" feature. Cutting-edge columnist Daniel Eran Dilger, of Roughly Drafted Magazine, will cover the myths and realities of Leopard and the press coverage of Apple Inc.
Now that Apple has permitted you to install Mac OS X Server in a "virtual machine," Benjamin Rudolph of Parallels explains it means for the business marketplace. You'll also hear an update on the promise and reality of Leopard security with former industry analyst Rich Mogull.
And HostICan's Denis Motova joins Gene to explain the plusses and minuses of pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.
You can tune into the audio Web broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]
[11/7] Brief Hands-On Report--Microsoft released Office 2004 for Mac 11.3.9 Update
Microsoft released Office 2004 for Mac 11.3.9 and it is available for download from this Microsoft Web page. According to Microsoft,
This update fixes an issue that causes Word 2004 to quit unexpectedly when you print a document.
The updated files are:
- Microsoft Component Plugin 11.3.9
- WordPDE.plugin 11.3.9
Fortunately, we have not experienced this issue but we downloaded and installed the update. No issues were uncovered in brief use of Word 2004 for Mac. [Bill Fox]
[11/7] Apple released iMac Software Update 1.2.1 (Tiger)
Hot on the heels of iMac Software Update 1.2 (Tiger) for 20" and 24" aluminum iMacs, Apple released iMac Software Update 1.2.1 (Tiger) for the aluminum iMacs running Mac OS X 10.4.10 Tiger. It is available for download as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,
It improves the performance and reliability of graphics-intensive games and applications and fixes an issue that some customers encountered when installing Mac OS X Leopard after applying iMac Software Update 1.2.
Apple recommends applying iMac Update 1.2.1 before upgrading to Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. [Bill Fox]
[11/6] Brief Hands-On Report--Apple released QuickTime 7.3 and iTunes 7.5
Apple released QuickTime 7.3 and iTunes 7.5. QuickTime 7.3 for Mac OS X 10.3.9, 10.4.9 and later and 10.5 is available via Software Update or as a stand-alone file from these Apple Web pages--Panther, Tiger and Leopard editions. According to Apple,
QuickTime 7.3 addresses critical security issues and delivers:
- Support for iTunes 7.5
- Updated support for creating iPhone-compatible web content
- Numerous bug fixes
This release is recommended for all QuickTime 7 users.
Here are the details of QuickTime 7.3 security fixes:
CVE-ID: CVE-2007-2395--Viewing a maliciously crafted movie file may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of QuickTime image descriptions. Credit to Dylan Ashe of Adobe Systems Incorporated for reporting this issue.
CVE-ID: CVE-2007-3750--Viewing a maliciously crafted movie file may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of STSD atoms. Credit to Tobias Klein of www.trapkit.de for reporting this issue.
CVE-ID: CVE-2007-3751--Untrusted Java applets may obtain elevated privileges. This update addresses the issues by making QuickTime for
Java no longer accessible to untrusted Java applets. Credit to Adam
Gowdiak for reporting this issue.
CVE-ID: CVE-2007-4672--Opening a maliciously crafted PICT image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of PICT files. Credit to Ruben Santamarta of reversemode.com working with TippingPoint and the Zero Day Initiative for reporting this issue.
CVE-ID: CVE-2007-4675--Viewing a maliciously crafted QTVR movie file may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing bounds checking on panorama sample atoms. Credit to Mario Ballano from 48bits.com working with the VeriSign iDefense VCP for reporting this issue.
CVE-ID: CVE-2007-4676--Opening a maliciously crafted PICT image may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of PICT files. Credit to Ruben Santamarta of reversemode.com working with TippingPoint and the Zero Day Initiative for reporting this issue.
CVE-ID: CVE-2007-4677--Viewing a maliciously crafted movie file may lead to an unexpected application termination or arbitrary code execution. This update addresses the issue by performing additional validation of color table atoms. Credit to Ruben Santamarta of reversemode.com and Mario Ballano of 48bits.com working with TippingPoint and the Zero Day Initiative for reporting this issue.
iTunes 7.5 for Mac OS X 10.3.9, 10.4.7 or later and 10.5 is available via Software Update or as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,
iTunes 7.5 features the ability to activate iPhone wherever service is offered and support for Phase, a new interactive music game designed exclusively for iPod nano (third generation), iPod classic, and iPod (fifth generation). This release also includes bug fixes to improve stability and performance.
We downloaded and installed both updates on a Mac mini Core Duo, 15" MacBook Pro Core 2 Duo, 24" aluminum iMac Core 2 Duo, PowerMac G4 Cube, 12" PowerBook G4 (all running Leopard) and a 24" white iMac Core 2 Duo running Tiger 10.4.10. The only installation problem encountered was on our MacBook Pro--it would not shut down after installing both updates. The gear logo kept spinning on a blue screen for over 30 minutes. We forced a shutdown with the power button and the restart took a long time with a black screen but the MacBook Pro eventually started up.
All computers run fine with brief use of QuickTime and iTunes. iTunes 7.5 seems to have fixed our problem of needed to select Quit twice in order to get QuickTime 7,4,2 to quit on our MacBook Pro. The only use issue is that our Cube will no longer sleep with an Imation Disk Stakka attached but that was probably an anomaly because sleep has been an issue with the USB 2.0 Disk Stakka. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]
[11/6] Brief Hands-On Report--Mozilla SeaMonkey 1.1.6
Mozilla released SeaMonkey 1.1.6 Update. Sea Monkey is Mozilla's integrated Internet suite and v1.1.6 is available for download from this Mozilla Web page. According to the release notes, here are the changes:
391412 Regression in float layout causing "clear:" to be ignored
400406 Layout badly broken in 126.96.36.199, CSS issue with floats or negative margins or display property...
400421 Removing AREA element makes the image disappear
400735 New startup crash [@ nsXBLBinding::AllowScripts]
400744 Pure virtual function call and crash invoking context menu
400939 Browsing through files without extension using FireFTP crashes the browser
400976 XUL menupopups in HTML document disappear in Firefox 188.8.131.52
We downloaded and installed v1.1.6 with no difficulty. No issues were encountered in brief use. [Dana Baggett & Bill Fox]
[11/5] Study demonstrates Value of Maine iBook/MacBook Program
The Maine Education Policy Research Institute (MEPRI) at the University of Southern Maine recently released the results of the first in a series of studies, Maine's Middle School Laptop Program: Creating Better Writers. The study demonstrates that the Maine Learning Technology Initiative' notebook program has had a clear and significantly positive impact on student writing achievement. In fact, twice as many students met proficiency standards in writing in the highest-laptop-use group as compared to the lowest-use group.
"Since the implementation of the laptops initiative, we have all wanted to know what kind of impact they would have on student learning and achievement," said Maine Governor John Baldacci. "Until now, we have had only anecdotal evidence of success. For the first time we have proof that laptops make a difference in learning, and we also have quantifiable support for students' and teachers' belief that laptops make a difference in teaching and learning."
Maine leads the nation in bringing computing technology to K-12 students by making Apple iBooks and MacBooks available to each seventh and eighth grader and their teachers in the entire state. Many high schools in Maine followed suit and earlier this year Maine made MacBooks available to all of Maine's high school and technical school teachers. AirPort wireless networking, training and repair support are also provided under contract to Apple. [Dana Baggett]
[11/5] Samsung making 64GB SATA II Solid State Drive
Samsung has become the first in the industry to sample 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch 64Gigabyte (GB) solid state drives (SSD) with a super-fast SATA (Serial ATA) II/native SATA interface. With a sequential write speed of 100Megabyte per second (MBps) and sequential read speed of 120MBps, the SATA II SSD is poised to expand the market for solid state drives from notebooks to corporate servers and other high-performance storage applications.
"The 64GB SATA II SSD is based on Samsung’s cutting-edge NAND technology with dramatically improved performance specs that are taking system performance to a whole new level of efficiency," said Jim Elliott, director, NAND flash marketing, Samsung Semiconductor, Inc.
Samsung’s SATA II SSD combines a 50 nm-class, single-level-cell (SLC) 8Gb flash chip with a Samsung proprietary, high-speed SATA controller and supporting software. The new SATA II SSD has a 3.0 gigabit-per-second (Gbps) interface speed which is twice as fast as its SATA I predecessor. Moreover, the SATA II SSD requires only half as much power as the 1.9 watts consumed by hard drives now used in notebook PCs and only one-tenth the power consumed by enterprise-class 15,000rpm hard drives in servers.
Market research firm Web-Feet Research estimates that the NAND flash–based SSD market is expected to show 74 percent compounded annual growth from 2007 through 2012 to reach $10 billion in 2012. [Bill Fox]
[11/5] QuickerTek updated its nQuicky Drivers for Leopard
QuickerTek released new drivers for its nQuicky Cardbus and PCI cards for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard. They also released new drivers for their 802.11 b/g products for Leopard compatibility. They are available for download from this QuickerTek Web page. [Dana Baggett]
[11/5] O'Reilly published Dynamic Learning: Dreamweaver CS3
Working in collaboration with O'Reilly Media, Aquent Graphics Institute's latest publication, Dynamic Learning: Dreamweaver CS3 (O'Reilly, $44.99), not only covers what's new in Dreamweaver CS3--the lessons also provide essential Dreamweaver CS3 information and training for those creating rich web content. Written by Fred Gerantabee, product professional and certified Adobe trainer, and other members of the AGI training team (who have produced many of Adobe's own manuals), the comprehensive Dynamic Learning system is the equivalent of hiring your own Adobe expert.
The lessons in Dynamic Learning: Dreamweaver CS3 include clear explanations and demonstrations of how the software works, with full-color examples, easy-to-follow instructions, and professional tips. Self-study exercises and review questions at the end of each chapter reinforce the skills learned. In addition to the book and DVD, O'Reilly will also be offering free, downloadable guides for educators using the books in their courses. [Bill Fox]
[11/2] Brief Hands-On Report--MacBook Pro Software Update 1.2
Late yesterday, Apple released MacBook Pro Software Update 1.2. It is available for download via Software Update or as a stand-alone file from this Apple Web page. According to Apple,
This update improves graphics stability and is recommended for all MacBook Pro (Mid 2007, 2.4/2.2GHz) computers running Mac OS 10.4 Tiger.
No mention is made of Leopard. Indeed, when we ran Software Update on our 15" 2.4GHz MacBook Pro, it stated that our software is up to date.
Checking the MacBook Pro Software Update 1.2 .pkg file with Pacifist shows that the update includes new Nvidia graphics drivers but not as new as those included with Leopard. Unfortunately, the Nvidia drivers included with Leopard still do not allow our favorite game, Call of Duty 2, to run normally. [Bill Fox]
[11/2] [Updated] Apple released Aluminum iMac Software Update, 1.2 for Tiger and 1.3 for Leopard
Apple released an iMac Software Update (1.2 for Mac OS X 10.4.10 Tiger and 1.3 for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard) for 20" and 24" aluminum iMacs. The update is available for download via Software Update or as a stand-alone file from these Apple Web pages--1.2 for Tiger and 1.3 for Leopard.
According to Apple,
This update provides important issue fixes and is recommended for the aluminum 20-inch and 24-inch iMac models with 2.0, 2.4, or 2.8 GHz processors.
Update: We downloaded and installed iMac Software Update 1.3 for our 24" aluminum iMac running Leopard. No issues have been encountered in several days use. [Bill Fox & Dana Baggett]
[11/2] Brief Hands-On Report--Cool Mac Software: TypeIt4Me 3.2 is Out
Ettore Software released version 3.2 of TypeIt4Me, the original text expander software for Mac OS since 1989.
Apart from fixing a number of bugs and sporting a re-designed Settings tab, this release adds a number of new features, including:
- sorting by date created, modified and last used;
- sorting by number of times an abbreviation has been expanded;
- automatic replacement of " (double quotes) with “smart” quotes;
- prevention of unwanted DOuble CAps;
- easier creation of Applescript clippings;
- usage statistics showing you the number of keystrokes saved and your
personal average WPM (Words Per Minute) typing speed.
Meanwhile, Ettore Software's founder & CTO/CEO, Riccardo Ettore, a veteran Mac developer since 1984, is already working on a new release with a major new feature to be revealed at next January's Macworld show in San Francisco.
We have used TypeIt4Me almost since its inception in 1989 and continue to use it daily. So, we downloaded and installed version 3.2 over v3.1.1 already installed. We ran into one small glitch, i.e. the installer wanted to create a new abbreviations file which would have over-written our existing abbreviations file, probably losing all of our abbreviations. We directed the new abbreviations file to our desktop, trashed it and within TypeIt4Me's preferences pointed to our old abbreviations file. That worked fine. [Bill Fox]
[11/2] Brief Hands-On Report--Adobe updated Flash Player 9 to 184.108.40.206, Release Candidate
Adobe posted a new Release Candidate of Flash Player 9 (220.127.116.11), code-named Moviestar, for Mac OS X.
Note that Adobe still recommends that you uninstall any previous version of Flash Player before installing the new beta version. Download the uninstaller from this Adobe Web page.
Adobe Flash Player 9 Release Candidate (18.104.22.168) is available for download from this Adobe Web page. You can see what version you have installed by visiting this Adobe Flash Web page.
We downloaded version 22.214.171.124 but the uninstaller would not run on our MacBook Pro with Leopard so we just installed version 126.96.36.199 without uninstalling v188.8.131.52. We had done this before with no ill effects. After installation we checked that we had the new version installed and then visited several of the Web sites listed in the Flash showcase and encountered no problems. [Bill Fox]
[11/2] Apple updated MacBooks and MacBook Pros
Apple bumped up the top CPU speed of the MacBook and MacBook Pro lines, the former to 2.2GHz and the latter to 2.6GHz but as a $250 CTO option. Now, both model lines use the latest "Santa Rosa" Intel Core 2 Duo CPUs with a faster frontside bus and supporting up to 4GB RAM. They also received larger 250GB 5400rpm CTO hard drives for $150-225 depending on model.
The biggest news in the update is that the MacBooks get improved Intel GMA X3100 integrated graphics with 144MB of shared RAM in place of the GMA 950 with 64MB of shared RAM.
The price tiers remain the same for both lines. No word on the Mac mini line. [Bill Fox]
[11/1] WARNING: Mac Trojan Horse Discovered in the Wild
Named "OSX.RSPlugin.A Trojan Horse" by Intego, a trojan horse that infects Macs has been discovered and a notice posted by Intego. While it is thought to be introduced by clicking to watch a porn site's video, it can be modified to come from any malicious Web site in a similar fashion.
The trojan horse is a DNSChanger, i.e. it sets your computer to go to sites selected by the attacker, possibly phishing sites, and not what is typed into your Web browser's address field. It also has a cron file that runs every so often to reinstate the bogus DNS addresses should they be found and changed. Going to a financial-related Web site could lead to disaster.
Intego, of course, recommends buying and installing its VirusBarrier X4 to protect against the trojan horse. But you can block it by not downloading any video codec if so requested and by setting your Web browser to not open "safe" files after downloading--in Safari it's a checkbox in the General tab of Safari's preferences.
Macworld posted a excellent lengthy article describing how to detect the "OSX.RSPlugin.A Trojan Horse" and how to remove it manually. [Bill Fox]
[11/1] Western Digital ships WD Scorpio 320GB Notebook Drive
If you need massive storage capacity for your MacBook or MacBook Pro, Western Digital Corp. is now shipping its new WD Scorpio 320 GB 2.5-inch SATA (Serial ATA) hard drives for notebook computers and portable storage devices.
WD uses advanced head and media technology to achieve the world's highest capacity 2.5-inch, slim, 9.5mm form-factor hard drive and includes proprietary features that make the drive extraordinarily quiet while running at cool operating temperatures. The WD Scorpio 320 GB hard drives deliver high performance with 3 Gb/s transfer rate and are destined for use in OEM notebook platforms that offer the highest storage capacities to the worldwide market.
"In today's market, new notebook systems are increasingly targeting heavy duty applications in the office and home," said Jim Morris, WD's vice president and general manager of notebook storage. "As system manufacturers improve performance and add data hungry features, high-capacity hard drives become a key ingredient that allows users to fully benefit from the latest computing technologies."
The WD Scorpio 320 GB SATA hard drive is a direct result of the significant investments WD has made in proprietary head technologies.
WhisperDrive--WD's exclusive WhisperDrive technology combines state-of-the-art seeking algorithms to yield the WD Scorpio 320 GB as one of the quietest 5400 RPM, 2.5-inch drives available.
ShockGuard--Leading-edge ShockGuard technology combines firmware and hardware advancements to protect the drive mechanics and platter surface to meet the highest combined shock tolerance specifications required for mobile and notebook applications.
IntelliSeek--Another unique WD Scorpio 320 GB feature is its IntelliSeek technology, which calculates optimum seek speeds to lower power consumption, noise and vibration.
WD Scorpio 320 GB drives (model WD3200BEVS) are available for $199 on Western Digital's online store.
[11/1] Aspyr Media's Latest Mac Game Report--Four New Games and a Patch
Aspyr Media released news about four Mac games under development for the Mac and one patch.
GUITAR HERO III: Legends of Rock--We've spent the last month adding extra optimization for the graphics engine under OS X, and making sure the game will work under Apple's new OS update, Leopard. The PC & Mac version will come with a Gibson X-Plorer Model USB guitar, giving you the full Guitar Hero experience. We've also gone through the extra effort to make a very fun keyboard & mouse control option, in case you want to play the game on your Mac Book Pro when you don't have the guitar handy. More.
ENEMY TERRITORY QUAKE WARS--We've been working on compatibility with OS X Leopard, and tuning performance on the broadest range of Intel Macs we can. The online part of the game is playing very well against PC's, and as soon as we polish up a few more optimizations and bug fixes the game should be ready to go off for the last round of testing and approvals. [This is the one we're waiting for--ed.] More.
NEVERWINTER NIGHTS 2--The completely reworked graphics engine in Neverwinter Nights 2 has proven a challenge to get running well on a broad range of Intel Macs and versions of OS X. We're focusing on compatibility with some of the older Intel iMac video cards and Apple's upcoming OS X release, Leopard, and this has unfortunately delayed development on NWN2. We're unsure if the game will be done before the end of the year, but Aspyr Studios' engineers are busy working with Apple, nVidia and ATI to get the game running the best it can. More.
THE SIMS 2 BON VOYAGE--We've just started work on the latest Sims 2 expansion pack for Mac, Bon Voyage. We are working as quick as we can to get this game on shelves, stay tuned for more information. More.
CIVILIZATION IV 1.74 PATCH RELEASED--This is an official update for Sid Meier’s Civilization IV. This patch will update any current version of the game to 1.74. This patch is intended to bring the Mac version up to date with the PC version of the game offering a variety of fixes. This update is available as a free download from this MacGameFiles Web page.
[11/1] Trans International shipping miniXpress 425S 2.5" Drive Enclosure with eSATA, USB2 and FW400 Ports
Trans International's miniXpress 425S is portable and rugged, yet stylish and made with aluminum assuring durability and heat dissipation. Equipped with an anti-shock mechanism and spin down function, the miniXpress 425S has been customized to give 2.5" SATA HDD users blazingly fast SATA transfer speed and multiple interface connectivity options by offering a full spectrum of connectivity options with one eSATA, one USB 2.0, and two FireWire 400 ports with repeater functionality. The groundbreaking DuoLink eSATA/USB 2-in-1 I/O connector combines an eSATA and a USB 2.0 port into a single connector.
Utilizing the latest Oxford 934DSA SATA to FireWire Hot plugable and Bus powered technology, allows the FireWire drives to be plugged or unplugged without turning-off or restarting the computer. The drive mounts automatically when plugged in to the FireWire Port of the computer.
The miniXpress 425S sizes and prices range from $129 for an 80GB 5400rpm model to $279 for a 200GB 7200rpm model to $259 for a 250GB 5400rpm model. [Bill Fox]
[11/1] Trans International reduced RAM and Hard Disk Drive Prices
The new prices are:
- MacPro Memory w/Apple Spec Heat Sink 2GB $104/4GB $208/8GB $408;
- MacBook/MacBook Pro/MacMini/iMac Intel Core 2 Duo DDR2 667Mhz 4GB Kit $154/3GB Kit$104/2GB Kit $56/1GB $28;
- G5/iMac/Macmini DDR/PC3200 1GB $58;
- 1TB 7200RPM/32MB Cache SATA Drive $349 & 750GB $229
- 200GB 7200RPM/16MB Cache 2.5” SATA Drive $209 & 160GB $159
[11/1] EyeTV 2.5.1, Free Update Adds Support for New Features in Leopard
For all EyeTV users who have installed the new Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard operating system, Elgato's free EyeTV 2.5.1 update adds support for the following key new Leopard technologies: Cover Flow, Quick Look, iChat, and Spaces. EyeTV 2.5.1 is fully compatible with the new operating system.
Cover Flow--Television shows recorded with EyeTV, which are stored in the "EyeTV Archive" folder on the Macintosh hard drive, are now browseable using Cover Flow.
Quick Look--EyeTV 2.5.1 supports Quick Look, and EyeTV recordings can easily be started and played back from the Finder by configuring a preference in EyeTV to automatically prepare new recordings for Wi-Fi Access.
iChat--With EyeTV 2.5.1, EyeTV recordings are integrated into video chats, featuring playback controls and the possibility to add one's own audio commentary by configuring a preference in EyeTV to automatically prepare new recordings for Wi-Fi Access.
Spaces--In EyeTV 2.5.1, playback windows for live television and recordings can be set to float across all defined Spaces, so that they are visible even when switching between environments.
EyeTV 2.5.1 is available for download from this El Gato Web page. [Bill Fox]
[11/1] Tonight on The Tech Night Owl LIVE--The Ultimate Leopard Roundtable
Tonight, host Gene Steinberg presents the Night Owl's "Ultimate Leopard Roundtable," where his resident experts from around the world dissect the good, bad and ugly features of Mac OS X in a free-wheeling, no-holds-barred discussion.
The featured guests include Special Correspondent David Biedny, Macworld Senior Editor Rob Griffiths and Macworld writers and Take Control e-book authors Joe Kissell and Kirk McElhearn.
In a special report, Kirk will also give you the down and dirty details of a new Trojan Horse malware threat that targets Macs.
You can tune into the audio Web broadcast tonight from 6:00 to 8:00 PM Pacific, 9:00 to 11:00 PM Eastern. [Bill Fox]
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