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Accelerate Your Mac! News Archive for: 2/26/2002 Tuesday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

Top stories of Feb. 26th, 2002:

Free Maya 3D Personal Learning Edition
Last month I noted a press release about Alias wavefront planning to release a free personal learning edition version of Maya for OS X, their high end 3D graphics package. Today must have been the day for the release, as their Maya personal edition page shows a download link, but server is overloaded currently and they've disabled it. (Their FAQ notes OS X, WindowsNT4/2000/XP versions.)
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ATI Radeon Mobility 7500 vs Nvidia GeForce4toGo Notebook Graphics Chips
For those interested in the latest/fastest notebook graphics chips, Inquest has an article titled Notebook Graphics Accelerators: Part Deux comparing the ATI Radeon Mobility 7500 to the Nvidia Geforce4toGo. (I saw the link in a related article at the register.) It's not exactly an apples to apples comparison, since the two systems differed in system Ram, bus speed, different amounts of Video Ram, etc. but the article is still interesting for the performance comparisons, image quality, FSAA and power usage notes.

I have personally ran a notebook with a Radeon 7500 mobility w/64MB DDR and was very impressed with the 3D performance. WinXP GUI 2d acceleration with the current drivers seemed nil (at 1600x1200 native LCD resolution), but some say this is due to the current drivers/registry settings. (Turning off some effects helped.) However the 3d/gaming performance was damn impressive for a notebook to say the least. (Imagine a notebook that runs Quake3 at 1600x1200/32Bit High Quality settings at 45+ FPS.)
Hopefully the next generation of the PowerBook G4 will have the Radeon 7500 Mobility (or a GeForce4toGo, although it still seems that chip draws more power than ATI's.)

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Special Offer on Impasse OS X Firewall
(from the press release)

    " Glucose Introduces Impasse Security Agent
    Pacifica, Calif., Feb. 26 -- Glucose (http://www.glu.com/) today introduced Impasse, the first commercially available firewall for Mac OS X that works within the System Preferences application. We believe we have succeeded in creating a tool that will appeal to the most technophobic user while still satisfying advanced users.

    Mac OS X already comes with a built-in firewall accessible only via the terminal. Impasse hides this daunting and arcane tool behind an interface that users of Mac OS X already understand. Just click "Start" and your computer is secure.

    For the casual user, Impasse automatically checks which services are running (such as Apache Web Server or Remote Login) and opens or closes firewall holes automatically. Intelligently reacting to a user's active services in this manner is currently only available with Impasse.

    More ambitious users can switch to the advanced interface to control the full power and flexiblity of the command line firewall, wrapped in a beautiful Cocoa user experience.

    For a limited time, Impasse can be registered for the value price of US$10.00. Impasse is available for purchase now at http://www.glu.com/products/impasse/. A free 30-day demo is also available for download. "

I asked them how their product differs from other GUI based firewalls for OS X and they replied:

    " Mike,
    I would say the Impasse difference is:
    1) We focus on non-technical non-Unix users. Our simple mode is designed to be easy enough for the average Mac user. I feel like some of the other products out there are pretty daunting.

    2) Our interface is very similar to the other tools in System Preferences that allow a new user to control a very complicated application. (A la Apache)

    3) At the time of starting the firewall, Impasse checks which services are running and finds the ip of the default network interface, doing the setup work for you. Other products that we've seen usually present a "Wizard" that asks users to find these things out themselves.

    4) Our product costs less than BrickHouse/NetBarrier/Firewalk.

    The design goal has been "something easy enough for my Dad to use"! Any comments you might have are appreciated.
    thanks, -lisa "

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Epson Expression 636 SCSI scanner working in OS X 10.1.3 w/8500 Mac
    " I have an Epson Expression 636 SCSI scanner connected to an Adaptec 3940UW in my 8500/G3. Epson has no drivers for this scanner on OS X. Prior to 10.1.3, VueScan would either cause a kernel panic on quit, or would hang the system infinitely scanning the SCSI bus even if the scanner wasn't attached or was attached to the motherboard bus. After installing 10.1.3, VueScan now works with my scanner - no kernal panics, no hangs, and good scans.
    Wes "

I assume Wes used Ryan Rempel's utility for OS X installs on unsupported Macs. (Available at this OWC page.)
(The Adaptec 3940UW was not supposed to be supported by Adaptec for OS X according to their page last year. I asked Wes why he didn't use the external Mac SCSI port for the scanner, since even it's 5MB/sec interface should be adequate for a scanner. But if it's working - I'd not mess with it.)
Wes later wrote in reply to some questions I had.

    " Yes, the latest version (XPostFacto) gave me support for SCSI CDRW with 10.1.2 (SCSI Helper didn't work). Great utility! It also works much better than System Disk to reboot from 9 into X.

    I have been using the 3940UW since OS X Public Beta. Adaptec isn't any help - drivers come with stock OS X. Funny thing is that the 3940UW won't work with any variant of linux I've tried - it's recognized but hangs at the beginning of the boot process scanning the SCSI bus. Both channels work just fine, but it isn't bootable into OS X. I have other disk drives, CDRW, scanners, etc. on the 3940UW.

    No particular reason [for not using onboard ext. SCSI] other than I already have a bunch of devices on that bus, and the second channel on the 3940UW was available.

    I did try using VueScan with the scanner on the motherboard bus. Not only did it not see the scanner, but my system became completly unusable - it was stuck scanning the SCSI bus over and over and over (I could see it on the external motherboard bus). It would take 30 seconds to a minute to get a mouse click processed. Even with the scanner disconnected, I had this problem on the second launch of VueScan within a given reboot. All (known SCSI) problems gone with 10.1.3 - well, except for no support for my Paperport VX.
    Wes "

I still have an old 3940UW card here, which was used in an old article on 4 Drive RAID inside a 8600. I know OS X has support for any SCSI card that shipped as a BTO option, but didn't know they had used the 3940UW in the past (I knew they used the 3950U2B and 39160s and 2940U2Bs, ATTO UW, Jackhammer, etc. cards in various systems.)

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Beta Secure Instant Messaging/Chat Software for OS X
(from the press release email)

    " Glass Bead Software releases SnapTalk 3 Beta. Secure Instant Messaging now for Mac OS X. No Server or Internet Connection Required.

    Glass Bead Software today released the public beta for SnapTalk 3, its secure chat and file transfer software. The public beta is the first release of SnapTalk for Apple's most advanced operating system, Mac OS X, and is fully compatible with existing Mac OS 8 or later.

    SnapTalk 3 enables two-way chat over a LAN or the Internet. The software also offers sophisticated archiving features, and encrypted, secure, messaging. Rounding out the feature list is SnapTalk 3's drag-and-drop file transfer system, which automatically compresses files before they're sent, for faster transfers.

    SnapTalk 3 is more reliable and secure than common messaging solutions like AOL Instant Messenger because it connects users directly, rather than requiring an external server out on the Internet. Additionally, the software works on a LAN without requiring an Internet connection, and on secure firewalled networks.

    Mac users can preview SnapTalk 3 from the following URL:
    http://www.glassbead.com/beta/
    Glass Bead will ship the final version of SnapTalk 3 in early March."

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Home-Made Heatsink for G4/AGP CPUs
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$195.99 Firewire 24/12/40 CDRW, Other OWC Drive/RAM Sales
    " The latest additional to the OWC Mercury line is the (Firewire) 24x12x40x CDRW and at $195.99 including Toast 5.x OEM, CD-R, and CD-RW media, it is a great deal.

    Got several new additions to the clearance page including some New FireWire cases from $52.50, 128MB SO-DIMM/SDRam from $25, 100GB Maxtor New at $155.
    Best Regards,
    Larry O'Connor
    Other World Computing, Inc."

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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive /Cardreader Compatibility Database Updates
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 9 new reports added today. [entries today will be added the following newsday.] 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 6,665 reports. Here's an itemized summary of today's additions:

    SmartMedia Reader Reports:
  • USB Olympus MAUSB-2 used w/iBook 2001 (OS X)

    DVD-R + DVD-RAM DVD Drive Reports:
  • Firewire Que LF-D311SC used w/Powerbook G4 (OS X)
    (includes comments on problems, firmware updates, etc.)

    DVD ROM Drive Reports:
  • Firewire Toshiba SD-M1612 16x/48x (IDE drive in FW case) used w/G4 AGP (OS X)

    Combo DVD-CDR Drive Reports:
  • Expansion bay Matshita UJDA710 (8x4x24x + DVD) in PB G3 2000 (OS X)
    (noted OS X 10.1.3 fixed problems with burning CDs he had previously)

    IDE CDRW Drive Reports
  • Yamaha CDRW-3200EZ 24x10x40x in 7500 using IDE PCI Card (OS X)
    (returned the drive - see comments for details)

    Firewire CDRW Drive Reports
  • CD-Revo FW1005294 24x/4x[?]/40x used w/B&W G3 (OS X)
    (didn't comment on iTunes/DB compatibility - using Toast 5)

    IDE Hard Drive Reports
  • Maxtor 30GB in PowerCenter/Pro using IDE PCI Card (OS 9.1)
  • Seagate ST340823A 40GB in 85/8600 using IDE PCI card (OS X)
  • Western Digital Caviar 60GB in B&W G3 using IDE PCI Card (OS X)
  • Western Digital Caviar 120GB in iMac slot loading (OS X)
  • Western WD800BB 80GB in iMac slot loading (OS 9.2)

You can find full owner reports 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.]

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CPU Upgrades Owner Reports Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 5 new reports. (Total to date: 6,799). [Entries made today are posted the next newsday morning.]

  • Metabox G3/400 in 7600 (rated 8)
  • Powerlogix Bluechip G4/500 in PowerBook G3 Lombard (rated 9)
  • Sonnet G4/500 Dual (Duet) in G4/AGP (no rating given)
  • Sonnet G3/300 in 5500/225 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 CarrierZIF w/G3 350 OWC ZIF in 8500 (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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Software Updates and Other Net News Links

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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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