News Archive for Monday January 11, 2010     Goto Current News Page

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Apple Remote Desktop 3.3.2 Client and Admin
Here's links to download pages and About doc. D/L page says "The 3.3.2 update is recommended for all Apple Remote Desktop clients and addresses several issues related to overall reliability, usability and compatibility" - the "About" doc has more details. (Listed for OS X 10.4.11 or OS X 10.5.7 and later, including 10.6.2.)

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Another Mac Pro Hard Drive in Optical Bay Solution/Article
A reader from the UK sent notes and pix of his (pre-2009) Hard Drive in a Mac Pro's Optical Drive Bay, using a heatsinked drive bracket vs the X-Swing that Oliver used in his previous articles on HDs in Mac Pro Optical drive bay here.
(BTW - This article and others on the subject here (since 2007) used brackets with rubber isolation for reduced noise. And the bracket this reader used also had a heatsink feature but I doubt that really matters much (but they were relatively cheap). Of course if you don't care about any of that you can do this very cheaply with the all metal 5.25in bay adapter brackets, which used to come free in retail box 3.5in HDs in the past.)
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More feedback on RocketRAID Cards with OS X 10.6.2
(More replies to a post in Friday's news.)

" yep - RR 4322 card on Mac Pro 8 core 2.8 ghz, OS X 10.6.2, external RAID 6 with 8 Seagate 1.5 TB drives, working great. My vendor (Granite Digital) allowed me to return a 3522 card and upgrade to the 4322, because I did have a lot of problems with the 3522 on Snow Leopard. I sent you some benchmarks in a previous post. I recommend that users update the firmware immediately. Also use the uninstall utility for the card even before installing the drivers, that will get rid of the (old) version of the driver that is packaged with Snow Leopard.

One caveat - The card has a fan. If you try and mount the card in the 4th slot, the fan is practically touching the hard drive in bay 4, so I don't recommend that. I have it in slot 3 (the middle slot).

I have another 4322 card running in an older 4 core 2.66 ghz Mac Pro, OS X Server 10.5.8. Those machines have a different arrangement of lanes/slots, and require that you run the "expansion slot utility" to configure the slots for maximum speed. I have an ATTO SAS card in slot one and the 4322 card in slot 4, and it's working freat (same external RAID 6 configuration).
-Jim W."

" Recently updated a Highpoint Rocket Raid 2640 to a RR 4320, which is the internal SAS/SATA version of the 4322, both work great with 10.6.2 running raid 5 but only holding my moved user folder. This is possibly irrelevant to you since I have used a hackintosh as my primary box for a couple of years now.

But interestingly, on the earlier raid card the internal 2640, I did have a SMART failure alert, my first ever, but it turned out to be a bad cable. Once I changed the cable to a high quality one I never had any issues. it might be worth double checking those and the connectors.

I've always wondered if there is a real difference between e-sata signals and regular SATA cables since my motherboard has a passive e-SATA adapter that just plugs into the SATA headers on the motherboard. I haven't used the e-SATA port much, but it seems to work ok. BUT recently when trying to clone a startup drive, the copies failed and I was never able to make it work, I wonder now if the failure had something to do with the e-sata port. I will do some testing now.
-Michael S."

"I wanted to let you know that I RMA'd my RR 4320, and the new card with latest drivers works perfectly. It's been a couple months new and never one hang, panic, or any other problem. Whereas the first card I had would panic every day, or lock up the system.
(Just for the record I asked for more info on his config/enclosure used, etc.)
Mac Pro 2009, 4x Seagate Barracuda 7200rpm 1.5TB, RAID-10 configuration
MaxConnect internal backplane, RR 4320 drivers 2.0.5 (a debug version sent to me)
Note that although only 2.0.4 is publicly available, this same 2.0.5 driver crashed incessantly before I got the new card back.

Also, the old card would report sector remappings occurring every few hours, whereas the new one has yet to.
-John"

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Any readers (Mac OS X) using a WD TV Live?
Had a mail this weekend from a reader asking if any OS X users own a WD TV Live and what they thought of it. And it just so happens yesterday I was able to play with one for a (very) short time. But due to my 'babysitting' duties I wasn't able to do much more than just playback a couple sample files from a (PC/FAT formatted) USB Hard Drive connected to it. But that was enough to get me interested in one also. (They're about $120 at a local retail store - list is appx $150.)
I'd mentioned last week (in the post about hardware/software mods for Apple TV 1080P playback) that I'd seen some positive reviews (PC sites) on the Live as well as 3rd party custom firmware for it (adding more features, but a work in progress). Anyway a friend come over Sunday to show off his new 'toys' (a WD Live TV and Sony MC6 DVD recorder) and I was able to try an EyeTV recorded TV show (converted to AppleTV format - just copied it to the USB HD) and play back some AVCHD files from my SD9 camcorder. Both looked very good on a 1080P HDTV - I was impressed at how well they looked actually. Although the Live's remote FF/Rev buttons did not work when I tried them with my MPEG4 TV show recordings - ditto for AppleTV preset Handbrake conversions. (FF/Rev did work with the camcorder AVCHD files.)
NOTE/TIP: Thanks to a reader tip (thanks Chris!) - these files were all .M4V extension. Renaming them to .MP4 enabled FF/Reverse function. I just hope they don't suffer from A/V sync now. Many have mentioned this with MP4 files. (Some said after a FF, but others said just after 20 min or so of playback.)
The Live also has an Ethernet port for network support (Bonjour also listed) but I didn't get to try that. And you can use one of the 2 USB ports for some (Ralink rt2870sta, rt3070sta, and rt3572sta based reportedly) Wireless adapters also. (Here's WD's list of devices they've tested. The WD TV Live FAQs have links to answers on other common questions.) The portable/bus powered USB drive connected was powered off when the WD Live was turned off.
The interface is not as slick as the Apple TV (and didn't play back iTunes protected/DRM'd files). All things considered though I would definitely like to get one. I don't have a lot of DRM stuff anyway and the ability to use external drives and support for a wide range of codecs is a nice plus IMHO. WD listed these:

  • Video: AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG1/2/4, WMV9, VC-1), MPG/MPEG, VOB, MKV (h264, x.264, AVC, MPEG 1/2/4, WMV9, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T (MPEG1/2/4, AVC, VC1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, h.264), M2TS, WMV9
  • Photo: JPEG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, PNG
  • Audio: MP3, WAV/PCPlaylist: PLS, M3U, WPL
  • Subtitle: SRT, ASS, SSA, SUB, SMI

There's some 'fine print' (limitations) of course - here's notes from the WD site/specs page.

    "Note:
    - MPEG2 MP@HL up to 1920x1080p24, 1920x1080i30 or 1280x720p60 resolution.
    - MPEG4.2 ASP@L5 up to 1280x720p30 resolution and no support for global motion compensation.
    - WMV9/VC-1 MP@HL up to 1280x720p60 or 1920x1080p24 resolution. VC-1 AP@L3 up to 1920x1080i30, 1920x1080p24 or 1280x720p60 resolution.
    - H.264 BP@L3 up to 720x480p30 or 720x576p25 resolution.
    - H.264 MP@L4.1 and HP@4.1 up to 1920x1080p24, 1920x1080i30, or 1280x720p60 resolution.
    - An audio receiver is required for multi-channel surround sound digital output.
    - Compressed RGB JPEG formats only and progressive JPEG up to 2048x2048.
    - Single layer TIFF files only.
    - Uncompressed BMP only.
    For details, please refer to the user manual

    File Formats Not Supported
    Does not support protected premium content such as movies or music from the iTunes® Store, Cinema Now, Movielink®, Amazon Unbox™, and Vongo®"

I remember some early review complaints on the small remote and lack of bundled HDMI cable but those are minor IMHO, all things considered. (However checking WD's Live forums shows a lot of other complaints on some features/bugs - including some on MP4 Audio sync issues - which I did not see with 2 (.M4V) AppleTV preset EyeTV and HandBrake conversions) But my opinion after such a (very) short time with it doesn't mean much really.
There's many reviews on the web of the WD TV Live, but now I'm also curious if any readers (Mac users) own one and could comment on the pros/cons they've seen especially as OS X users. If you have used a WD TV Live, let me know what you think of it/how you're using it and if you have any buyer's remorse. Thanks.

FYI: Monday night WD released a 1.01.17 firmware update for the Live, but reportedly it just has fixes for applying firmware updates.

    Release 1.01.17 (1/11/10)
  • Improves the reliability of the WD TV Live firmware upgrade manager by incorporating a more robust method of upgrading firmware over the internet.
  • Includes all previously released updates.

Those w/MP4 A/V sync issues said it's not fixed, although one user said after .17 update he's finally able to use WPA/5GHz with his USB wireless adapter. But not sure that was a common issue before. I called Eddie to ask if .17 changed the lack of FF/Rev with AppleTV preset (from EyeTV/HandBrake - .M4V) movies - he said no. No A/V sync issues he said with them, but FF/Rev still has no effect. (See later tip above on renaming these to .MP4 - however in some cases using FF resulted in out of sync audio - as some other owners have complained since .11 firmware update and is still not fixed in .17 firmware.)
Update: On Tuesday I posted a page with Mac user feedback on WD TV/Live and Asus O!Play Media players.

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Apple Support/Troubleshooting/How-To Doc Updates

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