News Archive for: 2/3/2005 Thursday's News
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Call of Duty 1.5 Update
Eddie sent a note that MU today lists the Call of Duty 1.5 Update:

" This patch updates any previous version of Call of Duty to the latest version, 1.5, which brings the game up to the current PC version. The full list of fixes is included in the readme.
********** IMPORTANT NOTE **********
This patch DOES NOT update the Call of Duty: United Offensive applications. A specific United Offensive patch is in the works and will be released it as soon as it is ready. (Update: the Call of Duty: United Offensive 1.5.1 update (319MB) is now available-Mike) If you have installed United Offensive, this patch will still update your main Call of Duty apps, enabling online play on PC servers without the COD:UO special content/maps. "

I had a problem (temporary perhaps) with their download link but it's also listed at this Macgamefiles page which has several mirrors.

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iMac G5 superdrive owner report on varying burn rates w/different Media brands
(from a recent reader mail)

" i've tested panasonic (aka Matshita) superdrive (iMac G5, toast 6.0.7, 4.3gbyte image file), with following results:

  • Traxdata DVD-R 4x (ritek) burned 29:00 min (toast 4x speed setting)
  • Traxdata DVD-R 4x (ritek) burned 29:00 min (itunes, 4.3 gbyte data MP3)
  • Traxdata DVD-R 8x (ritek), not tested, but toast showing only 2x speed setting
  • Verbatim DVD-R 8x burned 9:30 min (toast shows and writes at 8x speed setting)

    The burning times are very interesting, it seems that the panasonic superdrive does not like some brands of DVD-R media.

    Normal burning time with Pioneer A07 (8x burner) + toast + traxdata DVD-R 4x is 15 min, but with this Panasonic its abnormal at 29 min (toast 4x setting)!
    Changing from traxdata to Verbatim discs, the writer writes at correct time. Apple's technical specs say that this superdrive works at 4x max. write speeds but with Verbatim media it writes correctly at 8x speed.
    I think this is the same thing as with the Mac Mini superdrive. (I asked if Apple System Profiler (or Toast) reports his drive as a Matshita UJ-835F (the OEM drive used in the Mac Mini) or an 825 and what the firmware version was.-Mike)

    The Verbatim media has the following marking:
    Verbatim DataLifePlus, Advanced AZO, 4.7Gbyte, DVD-R 8x certified, packaging is 10 pack.
    Best regards,
    Zoli/Slovakia"

  • If anyone else sees similar behavior with their drive (mac mini or other mac), let me know. There's DVD burn rates test reports on the Mac Mini page here (older posts down the page). Drive firmware updates often improve media compatibility but updates from Apple for their OEM shipped drives are rare. (And I've not seen a 3rd party flasher for Macs for the UJ-835 yet, but if anyone finds one let me know.)

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    Notes on Pages (Template) Page Manager
    (from a reader mail yesterday)

    "Hi Mike,
    Many reviews of Pages have noted the lack of a page management system, a huge handicap if one wishes to use Pages as a page layout application. This feature does exist, it's just well hidden.
    To find the page manager goto Format-->Advanced-->Manage Pages.
    The drop down window will allow you to move and delete individual pages. It's not as elegant as the Slide Viewer in Keynote, but it works. There does seem to be a problem when you add pages from a blank document (I only see one page even though I've added three text pages). It appears that the Page Manager will only work with pages added as part of a template.
    I'll keep looking into this and let you know if I find anything else.
    Tison C.
    Apple Campus Rep (UVa) "

    I've added Tison's comments to the iWork reports page.
    Update - I don't own iWork/Pages personally but here's a reader reply on this feature:

    " I tried the Advanced>Manage Pages feature explained in the hint you posted. As far as I can tell, the only thing it does is allow you to change the order or delete template pages in the list you access to add pages to a document. You can't actually rearrange, add or delete pages in your document from that window. (Tison noted above that "It appears that the Page Manager will only work with pages added as part of a template. "-Mike)
    I tried it several times and all the pages in my document stayed exactly where they were before, and it didn't give me any option to add or insert a page into the document. It seems like a misnomer to call it Manage Pages. It really should be Manage Template Pages. I still see no way of rearranging the order of pages in the document or inserting a page template other than those that fit within the original template style you selected to start your document. My Pages or Manage Pages or Insert Pages menus don't even include Blank as an option.
    -Rick K. "

    If anyone has any info on getting around this limitation, let me know.

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    Mac Radeon X800 XT Reports page updated
    I've updated the Mac ATI Radeon X800 XT reports page with a G5 Dual 1.8 GHz owner's comments on the card vs the original OEM 9600XT card as well as 2 other reports on game performance compared to other cards including a 9800XT.
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    More Comments on Skype for OS X (VoIP)
    A bit off topic, but here's more reader feedback on Skype for OS X. (Yesterday's news had a reader note on the limited 'free' version.)

    " One of your readers reports today (below):
      iChat's only cross platform support is with AIM 5.5 on Windows XP. iChatting with AIM 5.5 users has always been problematic for me with the connection failing to start on several occasions, though the problem is typically windows/service pack related.

    There's a Windows client named Trillian (see http://trillian.cc/) that offers full audio/video chat compatibility w/ iChat AV through AIM and Rendezvous. Audio is available in the free version, video in the paid (Pro) version.

    Also, another advantage that no one has mentioned yet of Skype is that all the communication is encrypted end to end.
    Julian K. "


    " Mike, I have used Skype since they first announced a Mac beta, and have been an early advocate of VOIP technology dating back to Net2Phone's yap jack.
    Comparing iChat's audio quality to Skype's audio quality I'd give the edge to skype, especially when the network has latency/jitter issues. Skype uses Global IP sound's audio stack. Global IP sound is a major player in the VOIP arena providing "stacks for a range VOIP devices from other vendors, by contrast iChat uses the GSM audio codec.

    The 2 advantages that skype has over iChat are
    (1) It inter-operates seamlessly with skype on other platforms (Windows and Linux), iChat's only cross platform support is with AIM 5.5 on Windows XP. (see note above about Trillian-Mike) iChatting with AIM 5.5 users has always been problematic for me with the connection failing to start on several occasions, though the problem is typically windows/service pack related.

    (2) Skype's skypeout facility allows you to call regular PSTN phones (although they currently require you to pay in Euros. Even with the low value of the US dollar the rates are comparable to other VOIP services. I also prefer the pay per call structure of Skypeout vs the monthly flat fee of other services. For example 10 euros has lasted me 3 months and I have placed 40 skypeout calls since November to the US, Canada, UK and the Caribbean, and I still have 2.50 euros left. Calling from my laptop via AirPort to a PSTN phone with nothing but the built in microphone and speakers works remarkably well. People on the other end have not been able to tell I am calling from my computer (Note to Skype users, make sure you enable Echo cancellation in the preferences if you use the built in microphone/speakers on the mac).
    -R. "


    " Mike, I've been using Skype since the early betas on MacOSX. I think it's a great bargain. We use it both with the hardwired iMac and our iBook via Airport to call my brother-in-law in the Netherlands...roughly 2-3 cents a minute (1.7 Eurocents I think) day or night. The sound quality is excellent, and most people I call don't notice the difference at all.

    Re: the reference that it isn't "free". Of course it isn't...to call a landline. But computer-to-computer is free, and they have clients for Linux, PocketPC, MacOSX, and Windows.

    My wife balked at using it because of echo with an open speaker/mic setup (how DOES iChat AV do such good echo cancellation?), and she hates using headsets or headphones, but I've convinced her now that we're using a USB HANDset (not HEADset) that looks/acts like a regular phone, like those found here at http://www.skype.com/store/accessories/ . I got a more generic one on eBay (lots are for sale...you can buy 2 for under $40). The dialpad buttons don't work without OSX drivers, unfortunately, but it's easy to dial with the on-screen dialpad. And the newest version of Skype now remembers which input/output you select, so you'll always get Skype audio in/out through the USB HANDset, with no echo.
    Overall I'm VERY pleased, especially with international phone rates typically so high.
    Michael "


    " I have been using Skype since it first came out in beta and it works really well. In fact I was campaigning for them to release a Mac Version since summer of last year by posting the link to the Skype feedback page on various Mac sites and urging people to request a Mac Version. A Windows using friend who is usually pretty up on new things turned me on to it. His company has been using the free conferencing (up to five people) rather than the normal telephone set up for this.

    Unfortunately the multiple user conferencing is still only for computer to computer but hopefully in future versions they will have it so you can include regular telephone users. I have tried out the multiple user conferencing feature with myself on a Mac, one other person on a Mac, and the third on a Windows computer so I can attest that this feature works fine in a multi-platform environment. Now if I could just find a Linux user to add in all the bases would be covered.

    I have used the Skype Out computer-to-telephone service to call the U.S., Europe, and Japan and it was very clear with no difference that I could tell between any of the connections. The quality approaches a regular land line phone connection.

    Now that the full Mac Version with multiple user conferencing has finally come out I will be recommending it to my company as a way to save on expenses. I didn't want to mention it until the Mac Version came out because I am the only person in a 600 person company who uses a Mac regularly for business and I didn't want to give them any ammunition to try and get me on Windows.

    Of course iChat is still king of the hill when it comes to video chatting and I doubt they will be easily displaced from their position; especially with the Tiger multi-user video chatting and H.264 coming out.
    Jack A. "


    " I've been using Skype for a month now, since it was beta, and it just works everytime. I'm on a B&W G3 400 MHz with 512 MB RAM using a dirty-cheap regular headset (analog audio input/output) and I talk to my father on his Sony VAIO with no problems whatsoever (both over broadband) even when using the computer for light activity, like browsing the web or playing iTunes.
    The IM is fine, just the basics.
    I haven't tried other features, like Conference call or Skypeout (paid calls to regular/cellular lines) but I think I will try it soon.
    Jose P. "


    " Hi Mike, Just to add my experience with Skype. I have been using it for about 4 months. I am a student and lived abroad in Santiago, Chile last semester. Before using Skype, I was paying between .25 and .40 cents a minute to call to the U.S. So it was a great savings once I started using it and was only paying .02/minute. The calls were clear even using my PowerBook's internal microphone and headphones (a USB headset would have been better, but also more expensive).

    All of the other students that I was there with ended up using it also so, in addition, it became our defacto IM program. Overall I am very happy with it and now that I am back in the States, I still use it instead of long-distance.
    Gilbert "


    " I haven't used the latest version of Skype for OS X, but just wanted to let you know that previous builds did not work with the M-Audio Revolution cards AFAIK. It had something to do with the audio being routed through the card, and was an ongoing topic in one of the forum threads over there. I downloaded Skype in November to try it out, but it would immediately crash when attempting to use audio (make or receive a call). I have the Revolution 5.1 sound card.
    Maybe someone else will have newer information on this...?
    Thanks, greg "
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    Other Net News
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    CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive/Cardreader Compatibility Database Update Listing
    The Drive Compatibility Database had 4 new reports added this morning. (Entries from Wednesday, entries today are added the next newsday morning.) The database includes reports on CDRWs, Combo DVD-CDRW, DVD-ROM, DVD Burners, Hard Drives and Removables (tape drive, ORB, ZIP, MO drives, CF/Smartmedia readers, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, SATA, Firewire, SCSI, USB, adapters). Current total - 14,215 reports. (searching by drive type/brand, mac model etc. listed below will show the full reports, most recent first - does not include updates to previous reports)

      CDRW Drives:
    • IDE Sony CRX140E (8x4x32x) in B&W G3 (OS 9.2)
      (not bootable from CD he said. Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers B&W G3.)

      Combo DVD-CDR Drives:
    • IDE Matshita 8121-C in Powerbook G4 (OS X 10.3)
      (mentioned problems mounting discs)

      Hard Drives:
    • IDE Hitachi 7K250 250GB in iMac G4 (OS X 10.3)
      (has native big drive support. iMac G4 15in take-apart article here)
    • IDE Maxtor 160GB in eMac (OS X 10.3)
      (has native big drive support)

    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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    Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
    The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 1 new report this morning (entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 9,780. Here's a summary of the report added (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

    • Powerlogix G3 1GHz in B&W G3 (rated 10)

      (Full reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades compared to stock CPUs, including real world apps/game tests, install info, etc. are linked at the CPU upgrades page. OC/CPU module articles are on the Systems page.)

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