News Archive for: Wednesday January 24th, 2007
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Civilization IV and Warlords Expansion pack updates
MU lists Civilization IV: Warlords 1.6.1revA (Expansion pack - "Version 1.6.1revA contains over 100 bug fixes and changes") and Civilization IV 1.61revB ("Fixes Gamespy issues and more").
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MCE offering Internal Blu-Ray Drive w/Toast 8 Bundle
(Update: See the Feb. 14th news page for the first Reader report on the MCE Blu-Ray drive)
Eddie sent a note that MCE is now selling a Blu-Ray internal drive for G5 Towers and Mac Pros. No mention of the actual drive brand/model there and as of appx 2PM eastern, it was not on their main website/product page or news page, but going to the MCE store and checking under Blu-Ray drives found it (Item No.:BD2XMPINT Price:$699.00) (A reader later sent a link to their main site product page at http://www.mcetech.com/blu-ray/.)
They list Requirements as "Mac Pro or Power Mac G5 running Mac OS 10.4.x or later (Toast software requires 10.4.8 or later)". The drive specs there look similar to the Panasonic SW-5582 on first glance, but no idea what drive they're actually using.
As a FYI, back when Toast 8 was first announced I asked a friend that was going to the MWSF Expo to check up on what drives they recommended at the booth. (Nothing specific was in the readme or manual. I suspected most any blu-ray drive would work, but was curious if they had seen better performance/features with any specific models.) My friend reported back that from what he was able to gather, the Panasonic SW-5582 was preferred over some other drives like Sony/Pioneer models. (There's many rebranded versions of the same OEM mfr's mechanism apparently, but that's par for the course often times in the past also...)
He also said only data burns were supported currently to blu-ray, although that could change in the future. The March 2006 CDfreaks' Panasonic SW-5582 review mentioned "a lack of bitsetting support (i.e. Book Type DVD-ROM) for DVD+R, DVD+RW and DVD+R DL which may be a problem during playback on some standalone players". However it had some advantages over some other Blu-Ray drives. (I wonder if there's been any firmware updates to the drive to address that... but even so likely no OS X compatible flashers.)
That review mentions positive and negatives of the drive, although the price has dropped a lot since then. I didn't spend a lot of time digging but saw it for as low as $579.99. But you'd have to add your own Toast 8 software of course.
If anyone buys one of the drives MCE is shipping, or has used Toast 8 with a Blu-Ray drive, let me know the details for a drive db post. (Drive model, Mac used, your experience with it burning blu-ray and other media types, booting from CD/DVD, etc.)
(The Nov. 24th, 2006 news page had some Feedback on various Blu-Ray drives with Macs including the Pioneer BDR-101A and others as well as notes on Apple Pro apps use.)
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Mac World of Warcraft Performance - G4/1.2GHz tower vs iMac 24in
(from a reader mail)

"I wanted to submit my wow performance - moving from a G4/400 (with 1.2GHz processor upgrade) to an iMac 24in 7600GT!
powermac g4 (1.2GHz, 1.75 gigs ram, 9800 pro 128MB video card)
wow settings: 1200 x 1028 res, everything on high/max except terrain distance
FPS: 13 - 24
Gameplay: playable, but choppy. even if i lower all the settings, fps/smoothness is a little better, but it looks like crap.

iMac 24" (7600 GT 256 card, 2 gigs ram, 2.16GHz proc, 250 gig drive)
Wow settings: max res on the 24" 1900 x 1200?, ALL SETTINGS MAXED!
FPS: 32 - 67
Gameplay: VERY ENJOYABLE!!! smooth turning and running. even when the FPS dip down to the 30's the game is smooth and solid. I HIGHLY recommend this system to any mac OR PC wow players.

PS: i played last night, while installing FCP studio, checking email and surfing the web and the gameplay was awesome! Thanks again for a great site!
-Mik B. "

I've added this to the previous page on reader reports on Mac WoW performance.

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Notes/Tips on Free iSync Nokia Phone Plugins
"Hi Mike, You published this link Novamedia's "Phone plugins v1.1" (in yesterday's Misc SW updates listing) for Address Book phone plugins (that cost).
I'm not sure if you knew that iSync does not support some or all Nokia phones, (I don't own a Nokia phone, and that link was just from the daily PR/SU emails-Mike) but there is a FREE plug-in available at http://www.mactomster.de/isync/.

I've installed this, it's very easy despite my lack of German, there is an English translation, and I was immediately able via Bluetooth to sync my Powerbook and Nokia 6234, then send about 800 Address Book details including Ph. Numbers, email addresses, URLs, notes etc I had on my powerbook to my Nokia Phone. It also sent all my calender events, and later I beamed a bunch of AAC and MP3 files across too.

Here is a translated instruction set in English:

  1. Protect if possible all DATA (contacts, notes, pictures and DATEs) OF both DEVICEs
  2. DELETE your telephones from the equipment listing OF Bluetooth and iSync!
  3. SWITCH Bluetooth off on Mac and the mobile phone
  4. Quit iSync, if this is opened
  5. Copy the directory "PhonePlugins" (green marked) including CONTENTS with Apple + C and INSERT it into the highest LIBRARY on your hard disk
  6. If the "PhonePlugins" directory already exists, then only take the CONTENTS from the "mactomster.phoneplugin" directory into the available directory "PhonePlugins"
  7. Pair the Phone
  8. Have fun!

(I asked if he was using iSync 2.3/10.4.x)
Yeah using 10.4.8 / iSync 2.3 / series40.phoneplugin.
working flawlessly for the past month.
Cheers, Stuart P. "

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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. Total to date: 10,289. 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).

  • Daystar/XLR8 G4/550 in (Pismo) PowerBook G3 2000 (rated 9)
    (has used upgrade for over a year, includes comments on stability, battery life, etc.)

    (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.)

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 7:20PM Eastern)

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