News Archive for: Wednesday February 21st, 2007 (later added items first)
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$49 Mac Pro Wireless Card scarce, notes on the '/B' kit
(Note - see Thursday's news for notes on other sources, including some local CompUSA retail stores and Apple retail stores.)
Supplies of the $49 (although some sources show $59.xx) Mac Pro wireless card readers used to upgrade their Core Duo MacBook/Pros ("AirPort Extreme Wireless Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro MA688Z/A") are hard to find now that it's common knowledge they can be used to upgrade previous model MacBook/Pros, and Intel-based Minis and iMacs to 802.11n. Searching google using the P/N finds a ton of hits, but most are backordered or out of stock. A post in yesterday's news from a reader that upgraded his MacBook Pro mentioned a /B part number and later said that one other reason the original kit is scarce is that the next shipments should be a /B version that has the 802.11N enabler in the box. (He got his from a MN dealer that doesn't do web/mail-order/out-of-state sales.) The /B version is listed by some sources now, although I didn't check all the sources to see if anyone had stock currently.
I wrote William Rivas (who did the MacBook Pro upgrade guide here) to confirm he bought his from the source he mentioned last week in the news here (Di-No computers) and he said he bought 3 from them and that they may still have some left. (Searches at the US apple store by p/n and name didn't show any results but you could try calling or see if a local apple store has any.)
If anyone knows of any other sources with stock, let me know.
FYI - I received over a dozen mails tonight on this, several mentioned they bought from sources that now show 'backordered' or out of stock as of tonight. However Jeffrey M. mentioned a source that as of 11:00PM Eastern time Wed. night showed 'in stock' at $49.99 plus shipping. (Update: As of 10:30AM Thursday, the page now shows "Product No Longer Available".) Their other page for the same Apple P/N that showed 'backordered' as of late Wed. night. (Another place to check is Di-No. linked above.)
One other note - I had already searched the online US Apple Store for the part number (/A and /B - no results) and the name, and even when searching for "mac pro airport extreme" the results page showed a AE card, but the description on it said

"This AirPort Extreme Card is not compatible with the Mac Pro or the Power Mac G5 Dual and Power Mac G5 Quad computers introduced in October 2005. To add an AirPort Extreme card to one of these systems, please contact an Apple Retail Store or other Authorized Apple Service Provider."

I hope people searching for 'mac pro' airport card didn't order the one that shows in the search results for me. (It was not the MA688Z/A or /B kit.) Calling the Apple store (or a local retail apple store) may be another way to order direct from apple however. (One reader mail Thursday morning said he had ordered one from the Apple store - I asked if he had called it in and to verify it was the correct card/kit.)

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OWC reduces prices on Mac Pro Memory
Sponsor OWC has a press release on Mac Pro memory price cuts and trade-in rebates on OEM Mac Pro memory.
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Airport Extreme 802.11n user notes on problems w/Western Digital MyBook Drives
(Updated twice- see below for replies from 2 other MyBook users (single 340GB and 500GB drives) w/o problems)
Last week a couple owners of Airport Extreme 802.11n bases sent notes and benchmarks on using USB hard drives (including one reader using an OWC Elite-AL w/hardware RAID striping, although as expected, performance via the base/USB port wasn't near what it was with direct connects to a Mac's FW or USB 2.0 ports). A reader with Western Digital MyBook external drives wrote he's had problems (with both RAID and non-RAID drive versions)

" tried the (Western Digital) Mybook Pro 1 TB (USB. FW400, FW800) (he later said it was the MyBook Premium Edition II-Mike) tried it as a mirrored 500gb drive and a 1 tb drive and either way, the airport extreme (n) utility only recognized it as 500gb and even then it was unusable.
I had planned (as many other people, I'm sure, to centralize all of my tv show and movies (my itunes folder) on one drive in advance of my pre-order iTV coming so that it and all of my computers could access one central source for all of media - but no chance so far -- PLEASE keep us all posted as to any work-arounds to this,
(He later wrote mentioning problems even with a non-RAID (single drive) MyBook.-Mike)
The are pre-built off the shelf Western Digital MyBook cases with the hard drives pre-installed with hardware raid.
(Just for the record I asked what the volume format was. Apple has a kbase doc on Supported USB drive formats and protocols.-Mike)
It has actually gotten worse. I tried a non-raid WD mybook drive - a 250gb model and hooked this up to the usb port in APextreme (n) and it seems to recognize it and the computers on the network see it but mounting the drive to the desktop is erratic and even when it mounts successfuly, as long as I dont access it it sits there, but as soon as I or a program attempts to access it, it unmounts and disappears. as long as I restart the APextreme it mounts again, but then we're back to square one -- if I dont use it its fine and sits there, access it and poof. (drive going to sleep?-Mike)

Also having continued network issues with WEP security and network "drop-out" every so often. (See previous notes on WEP here - like yesterday's post on WEP issues with some draft-N routers and airport extreme 2007-001 update breaking WEP with some 2wire.com modems/routers (which are often provided by cable and DSL companies.-Mike) I took the APextreme (n) off-line and re- installed my old APextreme (b/g) and re-built my WDS with multiple APexpresses and everything is fine (except the NAS of course as this AP does not have the usb port) but network seems to act ok with WEP. Maybe AP(n) software/driver is still very buggy.
(his later mail recd here at appx. 11PM said)
It's a premium Ed II 1tb (two 500gb drives) and I reformatted it as MAC extended. I have tried raid 0 and raid 1 - either time it only sees 500gb and neither time can I mount it.
As far as the other WD drives, both of the other ones are Premium editions 250 gb each. (single drive models, not raid). Both are formatted as mac extended and both 'mount' using the disk utility (Airport utility I assume) when connected to the AP Extreme usb port and appear on every computer in the network's desktop, but when I try to access them or use them, they 'unmount'.
I am not sure if this is due to the same problem as with my 1 tb drive but it still is a weird problem since I do not have a problem with other drives I have tried to use (I have successfully used a non raid seagate partitioned 160 gb drive and have been able to mount and use ad-lib all partitions from all computers on the network -- this is the only reason I have taken back my initial assumtion of it being a WEP password/security issue).
-DP "

If any other readers are using a WD MyBook drive with their Airport Extreme N base, let me know if you've had any problems with it. (Also note what format the drive is in - thanks.)
Update: Two other MyBook users said they've seen no problems with their (single) drives:

" I purchased and successfully set-up a 500GB MyBook with my new Airport Extreme N. It came formated as FAT32 but I reformatted it HFS+, journaled.
It mounts on all four of my computers: 17" MacBook Pro C2D, 15" Powerbook 1.25 GHz, 14" iBook G4 1 GHz, and a Pismo. I have been streaming video off of it and coping files for several days now.
-Dan "

An earlier reply:

" i use a MyBook 340 fw/usb with my airport extreme without any problem. Each user can access to personal folder or shared folder.
(mac os extended, journalised format)
best regards, Ficelle "
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Latest feedback on iWoW plugin for iTunes
"I've used iWOW (iTunes SRS iWOW plugin) for a while on my 2.0GHz MacBook (2GB RAM, 80GB HD, CoreDuo).
(what version are you using of iWow? v1.1.6?)
I'm using v1.1.3, haven't bothered upgrading. And yes, 10.4.8.

It works really well and turns the somewhat tinny speakers into something close to what you'd get from a full mid-priced component system. This improvement is particularly noticeable when listening to spoken word (podcasts) recorded at lower bit-rates but also true for music played directly from CD. I noticed perhaps 3-4% more CPU usage.
-Adrian M. "

I've always thought the price was a bit steep for this (appx $20) so I didn't even try the demo/trial version. (Added this to the previous page of iWoW user reports.)

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Rate Your Mac CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 1 new report this morning. Total to date: 10,293. Here's a summary of the latest addition (search database by upgrade brand, mac model, etc. for a complete listing of all user reports on matching criteria (latest reports first).

  • XLR8 G4/450 (at 500MHz) 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 G4 upgrade reviews and G3 upgrade reviews pages. OC/CPU module articles are on the Systems page.)

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, send a review with your experience (performance/stability/installation, etc.), Mac Model/Upgrade brand info and overall rating (1= worst to 10=best). Search the database for entries from most every upgradable Mac model *before* you buy. (Searchable by mac model/upgrade brand).

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Other News/Misc. Software Updates
(updated 7:30PM eastern, includes apple docs revised today)

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