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News Archive for Friday's August 16th, 2002Return to Accelerate Your Mac!

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News stories of August 16th, 2002:

Intel, PC Makers Sued over Pentium 4 Performance
PCworld has a story today about a lawsuit against Intel, Gateway and Hewlett-Packard from a group of PC owners that say vendors "misrepresented the power of Intel's top chip". (I wonder if this will spark a rash of similar suits over performance claims from computer companies...)
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Return to Castle Wolfenstein 1.33 adds ATI TruForm Support
Versiontracker lists a 1.3.3 update page, but it seems nobody that's commented there has been able to download it yet and there's no info there or at Aspyr's site about v1.3.3 as of tonight. The update is not listed yet at Macgamefiles and no links at Aspyr's downloads/support page either as I'm typing this. (The PC version has been at 1.3.3 for some time - past tips noted here about getting mac 1.32 to connect with 1.33 servers.) MacUpdate also has a page listing the update but everyone's download link seems to only be Aspyr's overloaded (currently at least) server.
[Update - Brett posted a note on the v1.33 changes]

    " Bugs fixed in Macintosh Wolfenstein 1.33 update:

    Single Player:
    ATI Technologies TruForm rendering is available on the Radeon 8500. The best way to observe TruForm in action is to use the sniper scoope view. You can change the quality level via the console command
    "\set r_ati_truform_tess #"
    where "#" is 0-7.
    Snooper Scope in low quality (vertex) lighting is no longer white.

    Multi Player:
    Compatable with PC 1.33 servers.
    Near-by explosions now shake the player instead of producing a white flash. "

A Checkbox for Truform was in the previous version, but didn't actually work. As I noted in my Radeon 8500 review, I think Truform has more benefit than FSAA, as it makes a noticeable improvement in model detail, etc..Note: Truform requires a Radeon 8500 (the Mac 9700 card is not shipping yet). I had assumed the 9000 card supported Truform also, but it's not listed in the ATI product page features list - nor in any review of the 9000 Pro I could find. (The original Radeon AGP, and 7500 AGP, 7500 Mobility, Radeon Mobility, and earlier models do not support Truform. No current PCI Mac cards support Truform.)

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Vertix Free Sample Effects 2.0 for iMovie
Vertix has updated their free sample effects for iMovie to version 2.0.

    " *NEW* Version 2.0 contains three new effects. "Dream Border" adds a cloudy white border around your video. "Glint" adds a sparkle of light to a point you choose on the video. "Virtix Soft Focus" gives your video a soft, hazy look. Check out our documentation page for sample images of these new effects."
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Warcraft III 1.02 Update
I saw a note at Bluesnews that Blizzard had released a Warcraft III 1.02 patch. That page now has a downloadable updater for the PC but notes Mac owners have to get it via connecting to battle.net.
They also have a Mac note there on the 1.02 update:

    " Notes: Macintosh users experiencing errors while compiling maps after the 1.02 update please download the 1.01b patch and install the world editor file that is included. "

1.02 changes listed are:

    " FIXES
  • Fixed an issue that allowed players to abuse dragons with Devour.
  • Fixed an issue with dragons that could cause them to divert attacks.

    BALANCE CHANGES
  • Necklace of Immunity, Tome of Greater Experience, and Goblin Land Mines no longer randomly drop in multiplayer games.
  • Scroll of Resurrection & Scroll of Animate Dead item level increased.
  • Bridges are no longer destroyable on the (6)Stromguarde.w3m map.

    NOTE: Replays are incompatible between major game revisions. (1.01 replays cannot be viewed with the 1.02 version of Warcraft III.) "
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Powerlogix 1GHz Cube CPU Upgrade Install Guide (PDF File)
For Cube owners wondering what's involved in installing the Powerlogix 1GHz G4 CPU upgrade and fan, they have an adobe acrobat PDF file installation guide. (The review sample I have also shipped with a DVD disc with a movie of the complete install process - much better than the PDF file guide.)
On Saturday I received a revised heatsink with one edge trimmed a bit to make sure the core will fully latch in the clear outside housing. The trimming of the heatsink edge should ensure that this is no problem in the future for production shipments.
(I'm getting to where I can swap Cube cpu modules in my sleep now... about 20 minutes from start to finish.. ;-) If anyone buys a Cube CPU upgrade and doesn't feel comfortable installing it - I'd be glad to do so for a nominal fee. (Less than what a typical dealer would charge I'm sure, if they would even be willing to do the install.)
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Griffin updates gPort/CubePort/G4Port driver for 10.2 Compatibility
Griffin sent a press release they've released v 1.2 of their gPort drivers which adds Jaguar (10.2) compatibility and "further enhances performance and stability of all gPort devices" (Serial Adapters Apple PowerMacs, Cubes and CRT iMacs). They said the gPort OS X driver version 1.2 is a complete rewrite of the driver that provides improved stability and reliability. gPort OS X Software version 1.2 is free and available immediately for download at http://www.griffintechnology.com/
The press released also mentioned a PowerMate SDK for developers was available.
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VectorWorks Incompatible with MacOS X 10.2
(from an email)

    " MacOS X 10.2 Causes VectorWorks to Fail
    Apple has announced that Mac OS 10.2 (Jaguar) will become widely available in the near future (on or before Aug 24). Apple has included changes in this release which cause VectorWorks 9.5.2 to fail to function properly. Known failures under MacOS X 10.2 include interactive screen drawing leaving unintended pixels behind, instability during printing, and inability to export correct image files. Apple is aware of these problems and is working closely with NNA to help develop a patch for VectorWorks which will work around these bugs in 10.2.

    Nemetschek North America advises users of VectorWorks products to avoid updating to MacOS X 10.2 until NNA can identify workarounds for these problems and release a compatibility update. The VectorWorks 9.5.2 product line and MacOS X 10.1.5 continue to work well together. We will release additional information about this as soon as we have more information.
    Sean Flaherty
    Chief Technology Officer
    Nemetschek North America "

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Reader Impressions of M-Audio Sonica
(from a reader email)

    " Hello Mike,
    I've received my m-audio Sonica (www.m-audio.com) a few days ago and since there are quite few questions about this in the forums, here are my first impressions.

    The device is basically a USB Audio to optical TOSLink converter. It also has a stereo mini jack for headphones or powered speakers but you don't want to use that.

    1. The device drains a full 500mA from the USB Bus, and has no external power option. As most USB audio device, the sonica doesn't like USB Hubs at all, so you'll have to plug it directly on your mac. (or maybe try one of these griffin technology usb audio special hubs)

    2. The digital output is an OPTICAL SPDIF, aka TOSLink. It's a small black squarish connector for overpriced mylar optical cables. It's not a coax SPDIF (which would have worked with any good coax cable, but may be less common on 5.1 digital amps).
    I mention this because the TosLink cables are usually 1 to 3 meters in length and you don't want to put your extremely noisy QuickSilver 1 to 3 meters from your HiFi amp setup.

    Besides the input on my amp is already connected to my PlayStation 2, so I'll have to get a TosLink to Coax converter. M-Audio makes these too btw.

    3. All the analog audio issues I had on my QuickSilver seem gone. No more pops or clicks in iTunes while on AirPort, much less dropouts on quiet sounds. And of course, analog grounding problems are gone.

    4. The analog output on the sonica doesn't really sound that much better that the one on the mac. Even worse, it seems that the sonica's digital effects (surround, trubass etc) only affect the digital output and causes heavy distortion on the analog output. It's really meant to be used in digital mode.

    5. The device appears in CoreAudio as a 24bits, 96KHz, TWO channel output. AC-3 or 5.1 is only available as passthrough in the drivers. So you'll need software designed for this, see next item.

    6. To demo the AC-3 output on DVD playback, m-audio provided a specially modified version of VideoLAN Client 0.4.3 (aka vlc, www.videolan.org). Unfortunately it's heavily broken on 10.1.5 and doesn't work at all on Jaguar.

    This is the most frustrating part, since most of the bugs have been corrected in the latest release of vlc and AC-3 decoding has been a long-requested feature on the mac version. Unfortunately m-audio failed to provide the source code for their changes (and by this are in violation of the GPL) so it hasn't been integrated with the official vlc release yet.
    Hopefully this will be resolved soon.
    Sincerely,
    Ben Mironer "

Update The Sept. 4th news page has a reply/rebuttal from M-Audio to the above comments.

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Reader Comments on 10.2 vs 10.1.5

    " Hi mike. Just got to try out 10.2 for a few minutes (mmmm...) and I ran let1kwindowsbloom.

    On a Quicksilver 733 (2001) running 10.1.5 and a GeForce2mx, I got around 90 seconds. [that seems high - two other GF2MX/G4 733 owners reported 60 seconds and 45 seconds to run the test in 10.1.5. My past use of this benchmark on faster systems had times in the low 30-50 second range in 10.1.x. -Mike]
    Same machine running 10.2 did the same test in 47 seconds. Both times the dock bounce was ON. Not bad. Almost half the time.
    [I wrote back asking about the 90 second time and he replied:]
    Did some testing on my own silver 733 and figured out why it was 90 seconds...because I was stupid and forgot I had acrobat distiller actively processing a ps file while I ran let1k.

    All numbers aside, it really does *feel* faster. The user experience is improved simply by the user knowing he/she doesn't have to be afraid to zoom or resize windows.

    In 10.2 universal keyboard access *still* shuts off intermittently, though much less than before. I managed to get some funky displays in the new system prefs app (display alphabetically then switch back to display by category), and I clicked a whole bunch of times on nothing in particular in Address Book and it crashed. (I was trying to click a widget but the mouse got jumpy on the glass table)

    I can't wait to go buy a copy for my own Mac.
    wayne "

Let1kwindowsbloom is a simple benchmark that opens/closes a window 1000 times (I've used it in on the benchmarks page of past reviews of the GeForce4MX, Radeon 7500, Radeon 8500 and GeForce4Ti). It's available here.

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Wild Performance Differences with different versions of Photoshop Altivec Core
[Update] Although the reader below did not note if he'd applied the 6.01 patch from Adobe a reader suggested as the fix:

    " Tell Mr. Scott to find the Photoshop 6.0.1 update to fix his lightning effects issue. Lightning effects in stock install of Photoshop 6 is not Altivec aware. Upgrading to 6.0.1 fixes that.
    Ulyssis B. "

I skipped over PhotoShop6 (going from 5.5 to 7.0) but remember that v6.0 was noted to have a major performance bug for the Radial Blur filter on the PC version (noted in an older article here last year), but Adobe's long list of Mac 6.01 update fixes doesn't mention Altivec or performance specifically.

(original reader email follows)

    "Hi Mike,
    I have an interesting question for you. I performed a "lighting" test on my G4 800MHz/Photoshop6 with 31.8MB Jpeg file, the task took about 12 seconds. When I replaced "AltiVec core" with older version (designed for Photoshop5), it only took 3.2 seconds... the settings were exactly the same.

    I re-installed the Photoshop6 number of times, but for some reason, it performed at the same 12 seconds in "lighting" test, unless I replace "AltiVec core" with older version...? My friend's G3 iBook 500MHz performed the same test in 15.4 seconds.

    Do you know what could cause this strange performance issue?
    Thomas Scott"

I don't know why this happens, unless there's a bug in the software. (I suggested he write Adobe to ask them about this - he did not note if he had applied the 6.01 adobe patch.)

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EyeTV Mail List Started
A reader sent a note he's started a mail-list for EyeTV owners:

    " I've set up a mailing list on coolist.com for EyeTV Users... It's a "unofficial" mailing list, not supported (or affiliated) with ElGato Software. Right now the easiest way to subscribe, is to go to this url:
    http://www.coollist.com/subscribe.html
    For List ID: "EyeTv" (w/o quotes, of course)
    Your Email Address, is of course, your email address..... There does not yet appear to be any advertising content "added" to the mailing list, unlike (for example) yahoogroups.....
    I hope to allow this to be a forum for hints, tips, techniques, etc to be exchanged between EyeTV owners...
    - Benjamin Schollnick "
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EyeTV Owner Reports Page Updated
The EyeTV owner comments page has been updated again with more owner reports on the TIVO-like device. (Most recent reports are listed first, along with links/notes to software updates.)
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CPU Upgrades Owner Reports Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated today with 3 new reports. (Total to date: 7,352). [Entries made today are posted the next newsday morning. Incomplete entries, those with no comments, missing info, etc. are deleted]
Here's a summary of the update (does not include updates/added comments to previous reports):

  • Newer Tech G4/500 Pismo Upgrade in PowerBook G3 2000 (rated 6)
  • Other World Computing G4/550 in B&W G3 (rated 9)
  • Powerlogix Bluechip G4/500 in PowerBook G3 2000 (rated 10)

(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 Updates
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 8 new reports added today. The database includes reports on Combo DVD-CDRW, CDROMs, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, 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, adapters). Current total 8,152. reports. Here's a summary listing of today's new reports. (Does not include updates to previous entries)

    PCMCIA Slot Hard Drive Reports:
  • Toshiba MK5002MPL 5GB in PowerBook G3 2000 (OS X)

    Combo DVD-CDR Drive Reports
  • IDE Toshiba SD-R1202 (16x10x40 +12x DVD ROM) in B&W G3 (OS X)
    (using modified itunes support file) CD-ROM Drive Reports:
  • SCSI Matshita CR-8024 16X in 85/8600 (OS 9.1)

    IDE CDRW Drive Reports:
  • Artec rw-241040 (24x10x40x) in B&W G3 (OS X)
    (listed under "other" brands - problems noted)
  • Samsung SW-232B 32x10x40x in Beige G3 (OS 9.1)
    (FYI - Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio Model, Beige G3 MT, B&W G3 and 8600/9600 Macs)

    Firewire CDRW Drive Reports:
  • Lacie 12x10x32x (Teac CDW512EB) used w/G4 AGP (OS X)
    (noted Teac firmware update fixed Retrospect problems)

    IDE Hard Drive Reports:
  • IBM Travelstar 48GH 48GB in PowerBook G4 (OS X)
    (PowerBook G4 illustrated Hard Drive install guide here)
  • Western Digital WD400ABRTL 40GB in Beige G3 (OS 9.1)
    (Beige G3 MT illustrated HD upgrade guide here)

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.]
(Entries today will be added the following newsday. 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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Reader Game Reviews Database Updated:
The Rate Your Mac Games database updates today included another review of Unreal Tournament. Total Reviews (all titles): 954. To read game reviews use the search page.
If you've not already done so - Enter a Game review. (If your game title is not in the long listing, select "other game" and note the title in the comments)
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News pages from 1, 2 and 3 years ago:
(Sometimes these old pages are a bit embarrassing - and in many cases the offsite links may not work and comments there were accurate only on the date posted regarding upgrade availability, etc.)

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