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News Archive for Tuesday, April 13th, 2004Return to Accelerate Your Mac!


News stories of April 13th, 2004: (later posted items first)
Xpostfacto 3.0a17 update
Ryan Rempel has posted another update to Xpostfacto version 3 (utility for installing OS X on legacy/unsupported Macs).

" Here's a quick summary of what's new in version 3.0a17.
  • Includes OpenChips65550Framebuffer.kext, which is a Panther video driver for Kanga (the original Powerbook G3). So far, only 256 colour mode works properly -- I will work on 16-bit colour support. Panther appears to be mostly working on Kanga now, though there may be issues with PC Cards.
  • PatchedBlockStorageDriver disables itself if Mac OS X 10.3.3 is installed. It seems that PatchedBlockStorageDriver is no longer necessary with 10.3.3, and it appears to cause problems in some circumstances.
  • Hopefully the "permissions" error which sometimes affected installation has been solved. If you have been stuck with that error in a previous installation attempt, use the "Check Permissions" command under the new "Cache" menu to fix it.

    I am expecting that this will be the last alpha version of XPF 3. This means that I will stop adding new features for the moment, and concentrate on fixing bugs in the beta cycle. So, this would be a good time to look at the bug list and see if you have anything to add.

    ... Version 3.0a17 includes a Panther video driver for Kanga (the original Powerbook G3). It is limited to 256-colour mode at the moment, but I will be working on 16-bit support. "

  • As always, a big thanks to Ryan for his continuing work on Xpostfacto.

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    New eMac Superdrive specs show 8x DVD-R Burn rating
    Paul sent a note the new eMac Tech specs page lists the superdrive as an 8x DVD-R (burn rate) model. Apple doesn't list DVD+R specs, although like the previous OEM DVR-106D models, I suspect the drive probably also supports DVD+Rs (in 10.3 at least and with Toast 5 or 6). iDVD (as of 4.0.1) still does not support burning to DVD+Rs however. Here's a clip from the eMac specs page on the Superdrive ratings:

    • SuperDrive (DVD-R/CD-RW); writes DVD-R discs at up to 8x speed, reads DVDs at up to 10x speed, writes CD-R discs at up to 24x speed, writes CD-RW discs at up to 10x speed, reads CDs at up to 32x speed

    If I were to guess I'd say they'll be shipping an OEM Pioneer DVR-107D model which is natively supported in 10.3.3. But Apple also has used OEM DVD burners from Sony and LG in the past and only time will tell what brand/model ships in the new eMacs. (If any reader buys one or sees one in a store - run Apple System Profiler and look at the ATA device info to see what brand/model is reported and let me know. Thanks)

    (FYI - I've also updated the earlier posting on cleaning the lens of a superdrive to add info on disassembling the DVR-106 model.)

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    Apple updates eMac line for Faster CPUs, Graphics, Memory and USB 2.0
    Apple's hotnews page notes they've updated the eMac with faster CPUs (G4 1.25 GHz), 333 MHz DDR memory (was PC133), faster ATI Radeon graphics chip (9200 Radeon vs 7500 previously) and updated the USB ports to 2.0 speeds. There's also an internal Bluetooth option now. Prices at the US Apple store (standard configs) are $799 (1.25GHz, 256MB, 40GB HD, combo drive) and $999 (1.25GHz, 256MB, 80GB HD, Superdrive.) See the later post above regarding the fact the Superdrive specs show 8x DVD-R burn rates.
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    Lens cleaning fixes DVR-106D problems (coasters and read problems)
    (Updated with more comments)
    I've not had this problem personally but a reader that thought his DVD burner had failed said cleaning the lens solved the problem:

    " Mike, Sent you the files to get the DVR-106 working in Jaguar last July. (added to the FAQ here then (also an OS 9 burn support file for this model there), has native support in 10.2.8 and later) Since, the burner has been used extensively and has just been fantastic. Still, it died on me last week. :^(

    Nine of ten burns were coasters and it would not read any discs. I pulled it out of my Mac and updated the firmware in a PC. No luck - same thing. So, I dug out the box and realized it was still under warranty but I am true blue american and didn't want to wait on that. I ripped the burner open.

    I was hoping there would be some dust in the lens or something really easy. Nothing. Only a little dust and I carefully blew it out with a can of air. The drive still wouldn't read/write.

    I took a close look at the lens (unpowered - lasers will burn your eyes - never look at them while they are on) and could not see anything but the smallest little specs of dirt. Certainly nothing I would think would make it not read/write. Still I thought, "it's dead at this point, try everything." So, I got some q-tips soaked in 91% pure alcohol and carefully cleaned the lens.

    Despite not appearing dirty, this fixed the drive and I've burned over a dozen discs since to test it out and it's been doing fine. It seems that the lens on this burner must stay sparkling clean. You might want to pass this quick tip on to your readers as I've seen posts about others having problems with this drive reading discs. If it's not working, what do you have to lose? It might just save you that $150 ($110-$125 at some places now) on a new DVR-107.
    Sean R."

    I'm not sure if any of those "cleaning discs" would have worked as well as opening it up and cleaning with a Q-tip manually. I asked Sean if he tried a cleaning disc and if he had comments/photos on taking the drive apart:

    " Mike, I tried a cleaning CD - it didn't help. I didn't take pictures but it's super easy to take apart. Here are the steps.
    If it's there, remove the drive door (front bezel) from the tray. Use a small screwdriver to push in the clips that hold the plastic face on and remove it. (on my DVR-107D drive, I just pressed outward on the bottom of the tray bezel and slid it up and off the tray edge.)
    The top has 1 screw holding it and the bottom has 4. Take those out and the covers just slide off. The drive is mounted on it's own plastic frame if you will, so it's still intact as one piece. To get to the lens, you need to take off the cover that holds the CD in place which is another 4 screws. Clean the lens. Put back together. Should only take a few minutes.
    -Sean "

    Another reader replied to this post saying cleaning discs had helped:

    " I have used "cleaning discs" with success on several CD-R & CD-RW "dead" drives - Fellows brand lens cleaner (sure most are the same). Never needed to try on DVD recorder - only have experience with one machine so equipped vs. dozens with CD-R/CD-RW drives - however, do not know of any reason why it would not work as well.
    Leonard "

    Of course if the laser has failed, this won't help but it's certainly worth a try before discarding a drive. If any other reader with what appeared to be a failed drive finds cleaning helps, let me know.
    Also let me know if you removed the front tray edge from the drive (or if it was an OEM drive from Apple that already had it removed) - which usually has a dust seal. The environment (dust, smoking, etc.) also is a factor. I'm curious to see how common this is, especially with drives that have the tray seal removed.

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    Miglia AlchemyTV DVR PCI Card (G4 model) for $109
    (email from sponsor OWC - updated)

    " We are now offering the remaining supply of Miglia AlchemyTV DVR PCI PowerMac G4 only cards for $109.99. These are functionally no different than the G4/G5 model that we sell for $147.99, except that they are for PowerMac G4s only. Brand new, full warranty, remote control included - only $109.99 while supplies last. On the XLR8yourMac Specials page for $109.00
    Same thing, but universal PCI Card for both PowerMac G4 and G5:
    Best Regards,
    Lawrence R. O'Connor
    Other World Computing"
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    Review of Mac Rainbox Six 3: Raven Shield
    Bensch Blaser sent a Review of Mac Rainbox Six 3: Raven Shield.
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    Recent Apple Knowledge Base doc updates
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    Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
    The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 1 new report this morning (entries from Monday; entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 9,292. Here's a summary of the report added today (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

    • Daystar G4/550 in (pismo) PowerBook G3 2000 (rated 10)

      (My reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades w/apps/game tests, install info, etc. are linked on the CPU upgrades page. OC/CPU module articles are on the Systems page.)

    (Warning - Overclocking may not be reliable and could lead to hardware failure or corrupted data.) You can find the full reports by searching the database selecting the indicated Mac model and upgrade card brand/type. If you've upgraded the CPU on your Mac, please post an entry in the database. Search the database for entries from most every upgradable Mac model *before* you buy. (Searchable by mac model/upgrade brand). For detailed reviews with performance tests and install tips, see the CPU Upgrades page.)

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    CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive/Cardreader Compatibility Database Update Listing
    The Drive Compatibility Database had 3 new reports added (reader entries from Monday; entries today are added the next newsday morning. Entries with no comments are not posted). The database includes reports on Combo DVD-CDRW, CDROMs, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD+R, CDRW, Hard Drives and Removables (tape drive, ORB, ZIP, MO drives, CF/Smartmedia readers, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, Firewire, SCSI, USB, adapters). Current total 12,872 reports. (searching by drive type/brand, mac model etc. listed below will show the full reports, most recent first)

      DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
    • Firewire cased Liteon SOHW-812S used w/Powerbook G4 (OS X 10.3)
      (using Patchburn II for Panther burn support.)
    • IDE Pioneer DVR-107D in G4/AGP (OS X 10.3)
      (original drive was unsupported "DVD RW" ID, but used the rpc1 site firmware mentioned last month in the FAQ's DVD section to flash the drive to std "DVD-RW" ID, for native burn support in 10.3.3.)
      (Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio Model, Beige G3 MiniTower and B&W G3 Macs)

      Hard Drives:
    • IDE Western Digital WD800JBRTL 80GB in (MDD) Single G4 DDR (OS X 10.3)

    You can find full owner reports (latest shown first) by searching the database by drive/brand/interface/mac models (the latest reports are shown first in searches). For guides to installing CD/CDRW/DVD drives or Hard drives in many mac models, see the IDE Articles page. The Firewire articles page also has guides on case kits, installing drives, etc.
    If you've added a IDE, SCSI, Firewire or USB hard drive, CDRW, tape drive, etc. make sure you add a report to the database. (If you post an updated entry - make sure you use the same name, etc. as you did before so I can find your past entry. Thanks.)
    (Incomplete entries are deleted. Do not post questions in the database, it's for drive reports not questions on what drive to buy - for that try searching the database for reports from owners of your mac model on the drive type/brand/interface, etc. you're interested in.)

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    Recent Reviews and Articles:
    Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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