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News Archive for Monday Feb. 17th, 2003Return to Accelerate Your Mac!

News stories of Feb. 17th, 2003:

Plextor 40x12x40x CDRW Firmware Update (Mac flasher/tips)
(from a reader email)

" Hello Mike, last time I sent you an email it was about the PXUpdate software for the plextor drives. (Mac flasher info/tips noted in past articles/FAQ item here) Since then a new firmware update was released for the 40x12x40 CDRW January 2003 to be exact (adds support for newer cdr types,correct a bug with the self-test and add some speed with some new media).Because of the recent development I did with Plextor.be support division, as you remember the US division didn't want to help at all, you can apply safely the 1.04 firmware update with the update .cfg file.As usual it's available on my iDisk for convenience.Next time.
P.S. the .sit file contains the previous firmwares,cfg file, application and the OSX 10.2 profile for iTunes support.

(I asked for a link to the files and he wrote)
.mac page here (damn long .mac link doesn't work for me - use file link below-Mike)
or (file link)
http://homepage.mac.com/boudah/.cv/boudah/Public/ Plextor_firmware_osx_patcheD799-binhex.hqx
Wow that was a long URL wasn't it?
BoudahXL "

As with any firmware update - if you're not having problems I'd leave well enough alone (firmware update failures are very very rare but the old saying - "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" - may apply.)

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Mac Elite Force II Confirmed
That's the story at Bluesnews today, noting a post in the Ritualistic Forums from the developer says a Mac port of Star Trek Elite Force II is underway (by Aspyr, although their upcoming game status page doesn't list it as of today. The actual port/coding may actually be done by Westlake perhaps). Although no definite release date is mentioned, they are working towards releasing the Mac version as close to the PC launch as possible according to the forum post.
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Reader's Comments on Flashing PC Radeon 7000 64MB for Mac Use
I've not kept track of attempts/hacks to flash PC Radeon 7000 cards with Mac roms in the forum (which is down now - ice/snow storm here so it may be a day or so before I can get down to work on it). A reader wrote this weekend that he's been able to flash a PC 64MB 7000 Radeon card for use in his Mac:

"Hi Mike,
i wrote saturday that the PC ATI 7000 64 MB DDR PCI is now running on my g3 beige. I added some information (at the beginning of the tread) as a summary in english. It is a german forum, but i think foreigners will getting answers in english. I like your page very much and i thought it was time to give something back to the great xlr8yourmac comunity. To make it easier here is the full LINK , direct to the www.maclife.de Forum Tread for the information of getting a PC ATI 7000 64 MB DDR PCI to work in an MAC.
thanks a lot
mitch Extreme, Stuttgart / Germany"

He later sent an email with an english summary of his posting that I'll try to post as a page here as soon as I can.

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Powerbook G4 12in Battery Tip
(from a reader email over the weekend)

" After testing my 12" Powerbook I saw this phenomenon on my Powerbook also described in the Apple Discussion Forums:
http://discussions.info.apple.com/WebX?13@180.JkbdaZOMhkc.4@.3bbdb584
However, Apple posted a solution, I hope it will work:
http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=86212
Just in case you're not informed yet ;-)
Regards and have a nice weekend,
Lars S."

I don't own a PB G4 12in but asked him if the Apple tip actually helped:

" Not really,
Tried zapping PRAM, power manager and all the other stuff, taking out the battery - still stuck at 68%. Some support guy at Apple Germany's AppleCare hotline told me they had no cure and no exchange batteries so I might try my luck with some Apple dealer around. Well I did ask my local GRAVIS store and they were helpful as always so I will get my battery exchanged as soon as they get one (from Apple, which indicates those nerds at Apple hotline Germany really don't give a ... About their job - not the first time I get this impression). In Germany, we call this "service desert Germany". No one at Apple USA would get away with this and keep the job, I am sure.
Regards,
Lars "
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More user comments on free Vidi TV Tuner software for Formac DV/TV
(Update - see Tuesday's news for comments from Vidi's author in reply to the reader comments below.)
Here's a few more reader comments on the free Vidi TV Tuner software for Formac DV/TV owners mentioned in Friday's news:

"Works well. The recorded video clip can be moved directly to the video bin in an imovie project and it will be put in the clips tray. Works in both imovie 3 and imovie 2. However, the recorded clip is more fuzzy than one captured directly by imovie. I was disappointed in this quality of recording. I was looking for an alternative to video capture than imovie 3 because of the sound problem I am having with imovie 3 with the Formac Studio and I am reluctant to pay the $49.00 to upgrade a Formac product I bought just last November! (G4 AGP500 768 megs Formac Studio TV firmware 1.0.5)
Len M. "

Another reader wrote:

" Mike, Just to let you know that the Vidi software works fine on my system. It seems easier, simpler and better than the software that ŒFormacĂ supply. I have run it on a G4 400hz with a Pal TV studio pro. Only snag is that there is no FM radio support as far as I could see. Still the TV software worked fine and allowed me to adjust the picture so it displayed very well. When I quit Vidi and loaded up iMovie 3 the colour / brightness changes stayed as I had set them allowing me to import the DV set as I wanted it. However, iMovie has a bug with the Formac Studio as all imported digitized footage has sound interference (sounds like a machine gun being fired over the top of the original sound). My only work around so far is to extract the audio and this seems to correct it. Does anyone out there know of a better fix for this?
Cheers
Rick S."

I don't own the Formac DV/TV device but they recently updated their (Formac's) software as I remember (noting better support for iMovie3 as I remember) but don't know if this would help.
Another reader's comments"

" I own the Formac Studio dv/tv and tried Vidi just now after seeing the news on your site. Vidi Tuner software definitely works better than Formac's Tuner software (StudioTVR) IMHO. Formac's software has changed quite a bit in recent updates. And while they have introduced new features, other features were dropped or quit working altogether. Example, the latest StudioTVR does not do full screen correctly or use the arrow keys to change channels/volume. But Vidi does - and it works faster/better than the older Studio software! Another plus, if you record with Vidi it still allows you to see and hear full motion video in the viewer - not so with StudioTVR. I also really appreciate the fact that the Vidi window uses a smaller brushed metal frame than StudioTVR so it takes up less space. Plus, Vidi holds the aspect ratio while resizing. Something else I just noticed, Vidi always records to DV standard 720*480 regardless of how you set the viewer. This is extremely convenient as you can watch in a smaller window while you record - yet still get full DV res. It also saves time when creating a DVD as the software only has to convert DV-> MPEG2 and not scale it up to 720 at the same time. This is an EXCELLENT program and I highly recommend any Studio dv/tv owner download it and give it a try!

In fairness I should point out that Formac actually provides 2 separate programs - StudioTVR and StudioTVR Scheduler. Vidi is a direct replacement for StudioTVR. I never use the Scheduler program anyway so I prefer Vidi at this point. Also, I'll be sending my StudioDV/TV back for the iMovie3 upgrade next week - just bought the $50 upgrade from Formac. I can't wait to try out the new Formac - iMovie3 features. Thanx for my fav Mac site on the web :) -joe"

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Beige G3 owner w/Superdrive notes 10.2.4 solved Data CD hangs
Several drive database reports in the last month (most commonly from Beige G3 owners w/DVR-105 drives) noted they had hangs when reading/installing from data CDs. One reader with a later model mac said updating the firmware (PC required) to 1.21 (from 1.0) solved the problem, but apparently for Beige G3 owners that was not a universal fix. However one of the weekend's drive database reports from a Beige G3/DVR-105 owner noted that 10.2.4 seems to have solved that problem (he was already running 1.21 firmware).

Drive: IDE Pioneer DVR-105 DVD Recorder
System: Beige G3 w/OWC G4/500 running OS X
Comments:
" This is a followup to my report of Jan 29, 2003.

In my original report, I was running OSX 10.2.3 on a Beige G3 upgraded with G4/500MHz ZIF, 768 meg RAM. I installed a DVR-105 in my Beige G3 (jumpered as 'master'). Firmware on the drive was already updated to 1.21. While I was able to burn CDs and DVDs with both iTunes and Toast 5.2, my system would "hang" when I tried to copy data from a CD or DVD. So while I could play music off a CD or watch a DVD, as soon as I tried to copy anything from the CD/DVD drive to my hard drive, the Finder would "hang". The problem didn't happen in OS9, so I realized this was an OSX problem.

Fortunately, the OSX 10.2.4 update fixed the problem! I'm now able to copy data from CDs and DVDs, and burn CDs and DVDs. No more "hangs" or lockups! "

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Updated Tip/Notes for Pioneer Superdrive Not Recognized in Lower Bay of MDD Macs
(Update: Although a reader w/A227 firmware Apple DVR-104 Superdrive said it did not work as a slave (he said he tried every possible combination of settings, none worked other than master), another reader said his A227 Superdrive does work _if_ the drive is jumpered to Slave, not Cable Select. CS mode should automatically make the 2nd drive on a CS compatible cable a slave, but if in doubt, jumper the drives manually to their Master/Slave settings.)
The problem of Superdrives not being recognized in the lower bay (Slave position if drive set to "Cable Select" as Apple recommends for MDD drives) noted earlier Friday may be due to a bug in the drive's firmware (according to comments from someone at Apple below) as far as proper Slave mode support. (Note - a reader with dual Superdrives, including an Apple shipped DVR-104 firmware A227 said even the Apple firmware (A227) DVR-104 drive isn't recognized when jumpered as a slave, but either drive is when set as a master. His other superdrive is a retail DVR-105 firmware 1.21 (latest to date I think). He said he's using a Sonnet Tempo IDE card for the lower bay drive as a workaround. (ATA/100 or ATA/133 Promise chip based card I assume since they seem to have better ATAPI drive support. Using the MDD ATA/66 bus with the lower bay drive set to master is another possible workaround if you're not using the MDD's ATA/66 bus for hard drives although one MDD owner said that interface didn't support ATAPI drives.)

Here's a reader mail from someone at Apple on the issue (name withheld by request) saying the problem must be a bug in the drive's firmware.

" Hi Mike,....
No one at Apple is interested in disabling anyone's aftermarket DVD-R. There are no changes in the ATA code for 10.2.4 that would cause this to happen. Changes can happen elsewhere in the system that alter the timing of some operations. This likely exposed a bug in some versions of the drive firmware. If it's like my buddy's, the (brand name removed to protect the guilty) drive is aborting a command a short period after the host issued the command. This is a violation of the ATAPI protocol. The software detects this as a missing drive, since an extra step has to be taken to distinguish an ATAPI device-1 (slave) if it is really there are merely a ghost of the device-0 answering as though device -1 were present. This is related to some unfortunate choices that were incorporated into ATA-4 and ATA-5 standards from T13 - which were corrected in ATA-6.

To verify, examine the device tree with either IORegistryExplorer.app or the command line "ioreg". If the drive is entirely missing from the device tree, then this is probably what is going on.

It can probably be fixed by firmware update for the drive. Ask the drive vendor to look into it.

If anyone wants to look at the code to assure themselves that it isn't an Apple secret conspiracy, it is all open source in Darwin in IOATAFamily. The file is IOATAController.cpp and the functions are:

IOATAController::scanForDrives()
IOATAController::ATAPISlaveExists( )

Both are commented very well so it should be easy for a programmer to figure out what is going on there and perhaps come up with a simple hack to verify the issue and/or get the slave-connected 105 working for people.
(Name withheld by request) "

It may not help (and I still don't know exactly why the changes in 10.2.4 would have brought this to the surface, assuming an existing bug in the drive firmware), but as a test to see if there's a CS related bug in the drive firmware, try jumpering the drives to master and slave manually vs Cable Select.
If anyone has a Superdrive that works (manually jumpered) as a Slave in 10.2.4, let me know your drive model and firmware version. Thanks.

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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 8 new reports this morning (from reader entries from Friday 10AM to Sunday Midnight; entries made later today are posted the next newsday morning). Total to date: 8,063. Here's a summary of the updates added today :

  • Other World Computing G4/450 in B&W G3 (rated 5)
  • Other World Computing G4/450 in Beige G3 (rated 8)
  • Other World Computing G4/450 in Beige G3 (rated 9)
  • Powerlogix G4 1.2GHz in QS G4/AGP (rated 9)
  • Newer Tech G4/500 Upgrade for Pismo in PowerBook G3 2000 (rated 5)
  • Powerlogix Dual G4 1.2GHz in G4/867 AGP (rated 7)
  • Sonnet G4/700 in 95/9600 (didn't note specific model) (rated 1)
  • Sonnet G4/500 in B&W G3 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 CarrierZIF w/G3 300 ZIF in PowerTower Pro 200 (rated 8)
  • XLR8 CarrierZIF w/G4 450 ZIF in 8600/200 (rated 9)

(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 searchable database had 17 new reports added (reader entries from Friday noon until midnight Sunday; entries today are added the next newsday morning). (*Entries missing info, having no useful info, etc. are deleted. I'm just tired of emailing over and over for missing info, sorry. Also Search for answers, don't post questions there.*) 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 9,837 reports.

    DVD-R + DVD-RAM Drives:
  • IDE Panasonic SW-9571-CYY in G4/AGP (OS 9.2)
    (noted even older FW case use was faster than onboard IDE)

    DVD-R DVD Recorder Drives:
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-105 in Beige G3 (OS X)
    (Noted 10.2.4 solved problem with hangs reading CD data discs)
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-105 in Dual G4 DDR (OS X)
    (noted drive not recognized in 10.2.4 - must be in lower bay as a slave as others noted in Friday's news.)
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-105 in Dual G4 (OS X)
    (noted same problem if drive as slave)

    Combo DVD+CDR Drives:
  • IDE LG GCC-4320B (32x10x40x +16x DVD ROM) in G4/AGP (OS X)
    (FAQ here has burn support plugins for this drive)
  • IDE LG GCC-4480B (48x24x48x + 16x DVD-ROM) in Dual G4 (OS 9.2)

    IDE CDRW Drives:
  • Lite-On LTR-52246S (52x24x52x) in B&W G3 (OS X)
    (noted not bootable from CD)
  • Plextor PX-W4824A (48x24x48x) in G4 no AGP (OS X)
  • Sony CRX220A1 (52x24x52) in Dual G4 DDR (OS X)
    (FAQ here has burn support plugins)
  • Yamaha CRW2100EZ (16x10x40x) in B&W G3 (OS 9)
  • Yamaha crw-f1ze (44x24x44x) in G4/AGP (OS X)
    (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 Drives:
  • TDK VeloCD 241040 (24x10x40x) used w/B&W G3 (OS X)
    (no iApps burn support - FAQ here has links to guide to editing support files and plugins for 48x, 40x and 32x TDK models but not the 24x one)

    USB CDRW Drives:
  • Sony CRX220E1 in FW/USB2 case used w/8600 (OS X)

    SCSI CDRW Drives:
  • Yamaha 6416S (6x4x16x) in B&W G3 (OS X)
    (noted native support after 10.2.4 update, not with 10.2.0)

    IDE Hard Drives:
  • Western Digital WD400BBRTL 40GB in Beige G3 (OS X)
    (Beige G3 MT illustrated HD upgrade guide here)
  • Western Digital WD400BBRTL 40GB in B&W G3 (OS 9.2)
    (Illustrated guide to adding a 2nd HD here in B&W G3 rev2 and G4 towers up to the QuickSilver models.
    IDE articles page RAID section has an illustrated guide for adding 2 more drives in the side bays.)

    SCSI Hard Drives:
  • IBM Ultrastar 73LZX 18GB in 8600 (OS X)
    (problems noted - perhaps term. related)

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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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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