News Archive for: Friday December 15th, 2006 (later added items first)
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First user feedback on Photoshop CS3 beta
(from a reader post)

" Been messing with it for an hour or so. It's great. Unbelievable how much faster it is than CS2 running through Rosetta. I started to do some speed comparisons, but it was pointless, and I could barely stand to go back to CS2. (I'm on a Mac Pro 2.66)

UI is basically the same. (whew!) The collapsable tool docks (palettes) are an improvement.

The "refine edge" function is excellent. (you can feather/smooth/add contrast etc. to selections) in one dialog box at the same time with a live preview. A keyboard shortcut to pop that dialog open would be nice, but it could be worse (it's not on a palette!). Still a 250 pixel limit on feathering which hasn't changed ever for some reason.

Photographers will appreciate the RAW camera support and Bridge more than I do.

Anyway, speed-wise it's fantastic. I'm still trying to get it to crash (haven't yet), so it's stable too.
-DanR "

I asked Dan to run a filter performance test of CS3 vs CS2/Rosetta. (Using an automated/simplier to run version of PSBench - he later sent results with his Mac Pro w/2GB ram - CS3 beta took 59 seconds, CS2/Rosetta took 96 seconds.)
Another reader said he'd installed the beta on a G5 and a 17" MacBook Pro - "running great on both" he said. (And to quell one readers worry - he said little snitch didn't report anything unusual so far...)
Of course no major beta release would be complete without a horror story, although this reader's setup isn't the norm:

"Just thought I'd let you know - PS CS3 just annihilated my 24" iMac. Here's the setup (non-conventional, I know). I have the internal 500GB Hard Disk completely formatted as an NTFS hard disk and I use that to dual-boot Windows XP. (He uses an external FW RAID drive to boot OS X-Mike) Attached via both FW800 and FW400 are 2.5TB of disks, 1TB as a stripe on the FW800 chain (this was his OS X boot disk he later said), the others on a separate FW400 Chain. The iMac has 2 GB Ram, and 7600GT graphics. I had a real, live $800 version of CS2 Standard installed before the "Photoshop CS3" install.
The install went fine, except that it wouldn't take my CS2 serial number. I have since found out I had to input that into the Adobe Labs site and get a CS3 serial. (this requirement was mentioned in yesterday's Adobe's CS3 Press release, linked again here today as a reminder.-Mike)
Well, everything was still fine as I was doing the 2-day Eval... until I loaded a 900K PDF File (a flyer/brochure we create in Pages). The machine locked up hard. I did a hard reset.
When it booted back, it would boot fine, but once the OS fully loaded, the machine would slow to a crawl (although there was NO CPU HOG in Activity Manager) - had 98% free CPU speed. However, when using the mouse... for instance... it was as if the mouse wouldn't work... all windows would refresh and move INCREDIBLY SLOW... if I tried to drag a window, for example, long, slow screen draws would occur... and to click and drag, I only had to depress and release the mouse button... it would still act as if the mouse button was pressed. Weird.
I re-ran the install for Photoshop 3, uninstalled everything and still didn't help. Zapped the PRAM, ran Onyx and fixed permissions, reset all caches, and ran maintenance scripts and then did a new re-optimization (Complete). Rebooted. NO CHANGE. Computer still all screwed up. Tried to do an archive and re-install... and... INSTALL FAILED! I've since removed all drives from the chain, and plugged in JUST a mouse, keyboard, and speakers, and REPARTITIONED the internal 500GB (stock from apple) as a GUI partition table, and attempted a new fresh format and install of OSX on the newly partitioned drive. IT ALSO FAILED!
When I re-booted off the CD... I found it had only formatted the drive as a 200GB Partition. WTF???? I then re-partitioned, verified the size, did a MANUAL erase, and chose "Install for first time" instead of erase and install"... Unfortunately, I had to leave, but it was trying to install. I won't know till later this evening if it succeeded. Don't know why it screwed up my install.. I did have Parallels beta installed, and working great, btw. But no other system extensions besides "the missing sync".
Anyway, it was my fault as I KNOW not to install beta software on a production machine but dammit I just can't help it. I'll update you when I know more.
-Richard"
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Photoshop CS3 Beta available, PShop User's First Look at CS3
Jamie sent a note that the Photoshop CS3 Beta mentioned yesterday is now available for download at Adobe Labs. (Login/Adobe acct. required and cookies enabled in browser.) If you missed yesterday's notes on the beta/trial requirements see the press release on the beta.
FYI - Photoshop User has posted a Quick Look at the New Features in Photoshop CS3 Public Beta Preview. (Thanks Roy)
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OWC Clearance page updated
(from site sponsor OWC)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
New Clearance/Bargain/Garage Sale deals posted
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Open Box Returns, Refurbished, End of Life, and other special deals are regularly posted for sale on our Clearance/GarageSale page. Last night a major addition to the listings was added. http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/bargains/
- G4 Processor upgrades from $49; 1.4GHz $175, Duals as low as $279.00
- Desktop 250GB HD $60, 320GB $89, 500GB $155, 750GB $300
- NoteBook HDs from $50, 120GB blowout at $75.00
- FireWire 400, FireWire 800/400, FireWire+USB2 3.5" HD Kits from $40.00
- FireWire+USB2 2.5" Notebook Enclosure Kits from $25.00
- NewerTech miniStack FW+USB2 Enclosure/Hub Solution $59.00
- PowerBook and iBook Battery Charger/Conditioners $110.00
- PowerBook G4, iBook G3+G4 AC Power Adapters $35.00
- PowerBook G3 AC Power Adapters $27.50
- Miglia G4/G5 TV Tuner + DVR Card $115.00
- Matias USB Keyboards for $24.50
- Logitech USB Wireless RF Mouse $12.50
- Mac HD SATA/ATA/RAID Controller cards from $40
- Various ATI AGP G4/G5 Video Cards
- Laptop DVD/CD Superdrive burners from $45.00
- Apple MacBook/MacBook Pro/iMac Intel Memory - 512MB Modules $50.00!
And there is more!
Deals on the Clearance page are first come, first served due to quantities that are often very limited. The page is set to update as quickly as possible, reducing availability of items and/or removing them as these items are sold.
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More on Ximeta NetDisk NDAS vs standard NAS
In yesterday's mac owner reports on NAS, one reader using a Ximeta NetDisk (which is their proprietary NDAS design, requiring drivers) mentioned some drive corruption problems. A reader that was interested in their NDAS drives read an EDN article on the drives that mentioned overheating/drive failures with their earlier hardware samples (see NDAS undressed: dissecting a NAS substitute) and wrote the author to ask if later revisions of the hardware addressed that. Here's the author's reply which makes some good points about relying on a 3rd party driver and future support:

" I would recommend you stay away from host computer software-based storage (ie NDAS, or solutions based on Zetera's technology such as Netgear's Storage Central). More hassle than they're worth; a full-blown NAS isn't much more expensive and, in addition to reducing the computer's CPU burden, relies on industry-standard protocols such as SMB. Can you guarantee that Ximeta and Zetera will remain in business? And if not, what happens when the next operating system patch or upgrade breaks driver compatibility?
Get my drift? ;-)

(and in regards to performance of NDAS vs NAS he replied)
Get a NAS with a Gigabit Ethernet interface...
http://www.google.com/search?q=+site:www.edn.com+Dipert+NAS
Brian Dipert
Senior Technical Editor: Mass Storage, Multimedia (audio, displays, 2-D and3-D graphics, and still and video imaging), PCs and Peripherals
EDN Magazine: http://www.edn.com "

The drive db has Mac user reports on some NAS models that had Gigabit Ethernet (from low-cost BuffaloTech Linkstation Pro mentioned recently here to the higher end ReadyNAS 600).

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More Mac user feedback on Wireless NAS
(the latest mail in reply to a reader request earlier this week)

"Mike, I have been using NASLite+ (http://www.serverelements.com/naslite-plus.php) on an old HP Vectra VE for over a year now. The server is connected to one of the ports on my wireless router, and my iMac G5 and Dell OptiPlex mount the volume wirelessly.
The server is headless, and all management is done via telnet in the Terminal. I use it as a SMB/CIFS file server, but it can also be used as an FTP and HTTP file server (simultaneously, no less). I did have to burn the .iso image for the install CD using Nero on the Dell, as Inever could get Disk Utility or Toast to burn it properly on the Mac.

I started off testing the free version, NASLite, which boots from a floppy and only supports one protocol (SMB, FTP, or NFS...you choose when you download it). Gigabit Ethernet is supported on all versions of 1.x, but NASLite+ has been optimized somehow for faster file transfers. I have not done any speed tests, but there was an appreciable difference when I moved to NASLite+. Configuration is relatively simple, all things considered.

The 1.x releases are fairly basic, with no RAID support being the biggest drawback. Drive support is BIOS independent, however; the Vectra's BIOS may not support the 300 GB Maxtor hard drive I installed, but since NASLite+ bypasses it, I am able to utilize all of the available space. NASLite+ supports up to four fixed IDE disks, but you do not have the luxury of renaming them. You are stuck with DISK-1, DISK-2, DISK-3, and DISK-4. System requirements are minimal: a 486DX or better processor, a PCI bus, 32 MB RAM, a floppy drive, a CD-ROM drive, an Ethernet adapter, and at least one IDE hard drive. My system is a 400 MHz Pentium II with 128 MB RAM, a 3Com 10/100 card, and the Maxtor hard drive mentioned earlier.
The new 2.x releases (http://www.serverelements.com/naslite-2-cdd.php) offer many improved features, including RAID support, and support for multiple interfaces (IDE, SCSI, SATA, USB, FireWire). There is also a version that can boot from a USB flash drive. I may upgrade for the RAID support alone, as the only server backup system I have in place is an old DLT tape drive hooked up to the Dell. I use the bundled Backup utility in Windows 2000 to incrementally back up the entire disk from time to time.
If you have an old PC handy, this is a cheap (or even free) method of putting it to good use.
- D. Lawson"

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Other News/Misc. Software Updates

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