News Archive for: Tuesday April 15, 2008 (later added items first)
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Nvidia 8800GT BTO Option and Kit Price Reduced
William sent a note that the 8800 GT option for the 2008 Mac Pros price has been cut $50 to $150 (cost to upgrade from the base ATI 2600 card - originally it was a $200 option.) Also the separate 8800GT Kit has a price cut to $279 (was $349 originally).
He also sent a clip from an Apple mail that noted he's getting the discount applied to his recent order that hadn't shipped yet:

Hello Mike.
here's what I rcvd from Apple today April 15, 2008 12:10:14 PM PDT

"To Our Valued Apple Customer:
Apple has announced a price drop for the graphics card you recently ordered. We have automatically adjusted your order to reflect the new lower price.... Thank you for your shopping at the Apple Store.
Sincerely,
Apple Online Store Support"

Earlier today I posted a note about a 8800GT card kit for 1st Generation Mac Pros also. (Also priced at $279).

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Apple selling Nvidia 8800GT graphics card for 1st Gen Mac Pros
Several readers sent notes that Apple has finally offered an 8800GT card for pre-2008 Mac Pros.

"Mike, I just noticed that Apple has finally made the Nvidia 8800 GT video card available for 1st generation Mac Pro owners. It's not listed if you search for 8800 GT on the online store, but if you browse the "Displays" section it is down near the bottom of the page. (I didn't see it on that page this afternoon - but the next day I did but only *after* selecting to view "newest" items.-Mike) It is called "NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT (1st Generation) Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro" and lists for $279.00 shipping in 3-5 days. Why they continue to sell the ATI x1900 for $399 at this point is beyond me.
Here is a link (hopefully will not expire) - page notes "Requires Mac Pro (bus speed 1.33GHz) with PCI-Express" (No PCIe 2.0 required - and page has a "Note to owners of Mac Pro (early 2008): Please select the NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT (early 2008) Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro")
-ozzy"

This is great news for pre-2008 Mac Pro owners. (The 8800 GT (Kits and BTO option) for the 2008 Mac Pros also had price cuts. See above post.)

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Psystar's Low Cost Mac Clones - real or a hoax/scam?
(Updated w/later article links) I've not been feeling well lately and missed this yesterday but the http://www.psystar.com/ site is back up this Tuesday morning with working "Buy Now" links (but see articles/notes below... buyer beware) Their website has a page titled Open Computer: The Smart Alternative to an Apple. Although a page there notes some Apple/OS X updates may not work and could require a reinstall of OS X. They're using the PC_EFI V8.0 emulator (which they did not write - the software's author had some choice words to say about them) to install Leopard's kernel from a standard Leopard install DVD, "barring the addition of a few drivers to ensure that everything boots and runs smoothly". Although I would not buy anything from them personally - I do think a low-cost Tower Mac (a legit, upgradeable/officially suppported model) would sell like hotcakes and has been on a lot of Apple customer wish-lists for some time.
BTW - the Psystar home page as of Wed. AM (4/16/2008) had a note:

"Psystar's Store is Temporarily Down
Thank you for visiting Psystar. We're sorry but the store is temporarily down due to the fact that we are currently unable to process any credit card transactions. Please send an e-mail to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it with the subject line UPDATE so that we can update you when the store comes back online."

Hmmm.... (the above was removed later in the day Wed.)

Here's a few links to related articles on the web. (Updated w/more article links)

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DxO Optics Pro v5 beta for the Mac
" DxO finally released their Mac version of DxO Optics Pro (version 5) as a beta. Link is: http://www.dxo.com/intl/photo/dxo_optics_pro/beta_mac
I've been trying the Windows release version on Win XP running in Fusion and while the user interface is a step down (IMHO) from Version 4.5, the results can be marginally better.
The Mac beta still has parts missing according to the read-me, but it seems capable of pulling a bit more detail out of Canon RAW images. And the UI looks cleaner than the Windows version. It's stable but, being a beta, a lot of things don't work; fortunately, it doesn't disable a V4 installation.
The beta is good through 6/15.

(I asked if he'd used the previous v4.5 for the Mac)
Yes, I've been using DxO since V4.0 was introduced, after using Bibble for years. One big advantage with both V4 and V5 is very effective compensation for lens deficiencies which are computed for each lens/camera combination at different focal lengths, focus distances and f stops. The compensations can be applied (or not) and the degree of application controlled. The advantages are especially notable at wide angles, which tends to add lots of distortion and vignetting.

For example, my Canon 24-105 f4 is remarkably sharp at 105mm on a 1DS2 (the vibration reduction helps a lot, too) but has a lot of chromatic aberration. I frankly didn't notice that until I processed some images in Bibble and saw the difference.

Since lens sharpness tends to decrease near the edge of the frame, more sharpening (specific to the lens and zoom) is added there to compensate, deceasing as you reach the center. You can also add your own level of unsharp mask, with adjustments similar to Photoshop.

The major differences between 4 & 5 that I've seen so far are the better interface in 4, smarter noise reduction in 5, and slightly better detail in 5, as long as you don't use the default settings. The color you see in V4 and the Windows version of 5 is what you get when processing is done; Mac V5 seems to give very washed out colors unless you crank up the Smart Vibrancy, which increases saturation but not on skin tones.

It will also use multiple processors and cores, one per image and runs very quickly on a Mac Pro, though that hasn't been implemented in the Mac 5 beta yet.

Be aware that it's heavily copy protected (the Interloc system)...

I will say that after months with Windows V5, I was going to just stay with V4, but the Mac beta is tempting me to upgrade once a final, complete version is released.
-J"

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Other News/Articles, Mac Software Updates
(later added items first)

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