News Archive for: Tuesday, Feb. 7th, 2006 (later posted items first)
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World of Warcraft 1.9.3 Update (Universal Binary) released
Jeff sent a note that Blizzard has released the World of Warcraft Client Patch 1.9.3 today that's a Universal Binary. Here's a clip from the WoW Patch Notes page

" Added native support for Intel-powered Macs such as the iMac (Core Duo) and MacBook Pro. World of Warcraft is now a Universal Application. Be advised that the minimum supported MacOS X version has been changed to 10.3.9; World of Warcraft version 1.9.3 and later will not launch on older revisions of MacOS X."

If you have an Intel CPU Mac and this update, let me know what you think of the performance and FPS rates seen (use CTRL-r for FPS rate display) for adding to the previous page of Mac World of Warcraft Performance reports. Thanks

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$10 Rebate on Techworks 1GB DDR2 PC4200 Dimms/SO-Dimms
(from site sponsor OWC)

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Apple releases 1GB iPod Nano, cuts prices on Shuffle Models
The Apple store was closed this morning but is open now and shows a new 1GB iPod Nano model for $149. (Added to previous 2GB and 4GB model line.)
They also reduced prices on the iPod Shuffle (512MB $69, 1GB $99).
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More reports on Cheap USB Audio Cards with OS X Tiger
(In reply to several posts in the last week or so on low-cost USB audio cards in OS X 10.4.x .)

" I just want to add my impressions to your report on SoundBlaster USB MP3+ device, regarding compatibility with OSX 10.4 "Tiger" core audio platform.
I plain works. All analog input/output options (microphone, speaker, stereo in/out) do work flawlessly and can be set up through the sound preference panel or the audio/midi utility. You can capture audio with either 44.1 or 48khz.

I don't have a digital surround receiver to try on the digital input/ output connections. At least the digital output laser diode is on, when the device is connected to the usb port. It is not recognized by DVD player to be used as digital output, though.

I utilize it together with Logic Express, Sound Studio, and (via a small hack of the preference file) you can make it run with GarageBand, too.

My system is a iBook G3 500Mhz (80GB HD, Toshiba SD-R6472 Supderdrive, OSX 10.4.4). It must be connected to the first USB port neighbouring the firewire port - it won't work on the second one, unfortunately, on this particular machine.

I bought the MP3+ two years ago via eBay for US$20,- and it performed perfect ever since. Way cheaper and more versatile than the iMic.

I am strongly convinced that any creative USB device will work with the audio framework of OSX, like e.g. the audigy and live series. (Other brands of USB Audio cards also have been reported to have basic Core Audio support in 10.3.x and 10.4.x-Mike)
Only special functions on those cards (hardware equalizing, MP3 encoding) can't be accessed, as there is no OS X port of the software creative bundles for windows systems only. OS X seems to be able to support the generic usb based features of recording and sound output. (basic core audio support in 10.3.x and later I think-Mike)
You only would need USB2 to fulfill bandwidth needs of 24bit audio capturing devices, of course.
Best regards, Ralph "

" I bought a no-name PC-only USB-to-optical audio device at Fry's a year or so ago and plugged it in and it worked perfectly for 2- channel (stereo) output. However, I could not get it to output 5.1 surround from the DVD player, which led me to buy an M-audio Transit. The Transit works fine for this purpose, but I have to restart my powerbook every time I plug it in or the machine freezes trying to load the driver (10.4.4). (there's a previous page here with M-Audio (USB) Transit user reports)

I would be very interested to know if any of these low-cost USB devices support 5.1 passthrough from Apple's DVD player. There's no point for me in outputting 2-channel digital audio since when I'm not watching movies I listen to MP3s (192kbps), whose compression has already degraded the audio quality sufficiently that there will be no perceptible difference between an analog out and a digital out.
Thanks, -David "

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Anyone running OS X Tiger with USB 2.0 PCMCIA card and USB Wireless adapter?
" Hi Mike, I was wondering if you could ask your readers if they have PCMCIA USB 2.0 or FW cards in their laptops running Tiger, specifically with regards to sleep mode. Do the attached devices need to be reconnected and does the system allow deep sleep if a device is connected?
This is important for me since I would like to use my now working USB 802.11g adapter through a USB2.0 port (I don't currently have one in my Ti 550) via a PCMCIA card...
Thanks again!
-Paris "

If any reader is running OS X 10.4.x with a USB 2.0 PCMCIA card/Wirless adapter let me know.
I would bet that like the PCI USB 2.0 cards, you'd have problems with either deep sleep or waking from sleep with attached devices (almost everyone noted this with PCI cards with at least some types of devices attached) I also suspect it may not reconnect to the network on waking from sleep if a USB wireless adapter was connected to the USB PCMCIA card.
Personally in that situation, I'd just stick with the original Airport card. (it's 802.11b but that's more than adequate in my experience - I have both b and g cards and I don't really notice any significant difference in use here sharing a DSL modem/Net connection.) But unless you already have one of the original Airport cards, they've been scarce/expensive for the last year or so since Apple stopped making them. Another option would be a Broadcom chip based 802.11g PCMCIA card (with native Airport 3.x and later support) which I'd prefer over using a PCMCIA USB 2.0 card and USB Wireless adapter.

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More on Bug with DVD Player, SystemUIServer and Digital Optical Out
In reply to last Friday's post on Bug with DVD Player, SystemUIServer and Digital Optical Out - about a dozen or more readers said they've seen that problem. This reader said setting the mode to Stereo helped:

" Also had this exact same problem, but I was watching movies in VLC player and the "Beach Ball of Death" would become apparent. I did want to point out that I can use the Optical out without this problem by forcing all outward audio streams to "Stereo", I can only get my system to hang when using Dolby Digital multi channel out, in VLC there is an option to enable SPDIF, when enabled this allows VLC to send encoded audio streams (DD/DTS).

I am guess that OSX is having issues blending other audio channels into the encoded stream, hence the BBOD. Just my experience, let me know if I need to report my findings as well.
-Allen "

I don't have an optical input receiver but I was surprised at the number of readers that said they've seen that problem.

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Reader Notes on Comcast setup requiring IE browser
I don't use Comcast but posting as a FYI (See below for updates/more info)

" I replaced a dead cable modem today, with a Motorola SB5120. Only to find that Comcast's installation app forces you to use Internet Explorer 5.2 which will not run under OS 10.4.4. (I don't have IE on a 10.4.4 system, but see below for a reader reply saying it does run. However see below for Gene's later reply - he said IE 5.2 would not complete the setup. Also see below for another report on setup problems.-Mike)
I ended up installing 10.3 on a separate partition in order to finish the installation to get access to the internet.
I know it's a recent development that Microsoft has abandoned IE for Mac, even as a download, no sleep lost here, but it is apparent that Comcast is not aware of the incompatibility. I would venture to guess that new Mac purchasers would find it difficult to set up service with Comcast because of this.
-Gene R. "

A reader quickly replied to Gene's post:

" HUH? IE 5.2 *does* run under OS 10.4.4. The trick is to get a copy since as of Jan 31 Microsoft took it off their Mac downloads site.
As for Comcast I haven't tried starting from scratch with a new modem but log in, change, add accounts etc all work from Safari regardless of Comcast's stated "minimum requirements" of IE 5 for Mac. Go beyond the minimum and use a better browser.
-MFH "

I wrote Gene mentioning several readers had replied they're using IE 5.2 OK in 10.4.4. He replied:

"Sorry for the misinformation in my earlier post. I see now,under normal internet usage IE does work under 10.4.4. Unfortunately, it didn't allow the Comcast Broadband installation to complete. IE needed to access the system and modify network settings to finish the authorization of the new modem to be used with user's broadband account. No access to the internet outside a singular Comcast web page was allowed until authorization was completed. This was not capable of completion on two of my systems (Dual G5 Tower OS 10.4.4 and an iBook G4 OS 10.4.4) using IE 5.2. IE just kept quitting and would display no information, images, or text, whatsoever.
I did attempt to use both, Safari and Firefox, to no avail. Safari gave me a message saying that the application does not support MIME plugin? It was a painful couple of hours of dealing with this last night involving a drink or two, so I can't exactly recite verbatim what the error message was. Also, I did not have IE installed. The Comcast Installer app downloaded from their server and installed it on my machines. In retrospect whole process was very ineffective, inelegant, and unMac-like.
-Gene "

Another reader that said he works for ComCast replied:

" Hi. Great Site. Just a note in regards to Comcast's installer app. not working in IE. I work for Comcast and every time I run into a Mac needing to register I always do the reg. for them. With 10.4, it has been my experience that the reg. software never works. And is hit-and-miss w/ all other Mac os's. Some of the time the app. doesn't even work even IE and Windows.

The best way to get any Mac online w/ Comcast is by calling the support line (1-800-comcast). The Techs can get you registered from their end (assuming the reg. server isn't being worked on, nothing can get you on then). It only takes 5 min, and is way easier and faster than the software anyway.
-RB "

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Other Net News/Misc. Software Updates
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CDRW/DVD/Hard Drive/Storage Compatibility Database Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility Database had 2 new reports added this morning. (Entries later 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, NAS, CF/Smartmedia readers, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, SATA, Firewire, SCSI, USB, adapters). Current total - 15,542 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) iApps burn support mentioned in reports unless otherwise noted.

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • IDE Liteon SHW-1635S in G5 Tower (OS X 10.3)
    (Using Patchburn 3 for OS X 10.3.x iApps burn support.)

    DVD-R + DVD RAM Drives:
  • USB (cased) Teac DV-W22PUB used w/iMac slot-loading (OS X 10.3)
    (Using Patchburn 3 for OS X 10.3.x iApps burn 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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Recent Reviews and Articles:
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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