News Archive for: Wednesday, July 26th, 2006 (later posted items first)
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Silent Recall of Early MacBook Pro Batteries?
(from a MacBook Pro owner mail today)

" Mike, Sorry been out on vacation... found this link indicating a silent recall on the most MacBook Pro's (Batteries) with the serial numbers up to W8608. If a person has a bad battery they will randomly shut down within minutes of running on battery. The onboard indicator will show a full charge and then randomly show different charge levels. Here is a link:
http://blogs.zdnet.com/Apple/?p=189
-William R. "

There were some past posts/photos here of bulging batteries and I wondered if Apple would eventually post a battery recall. (There's a post w/photo of a swollen battery down the page here of MacBook Pro owner reports and tips.) There were some very early reports of random shutdowns which some blamed on 3rd party memory. (But I don't think they were seen only on battery power.)

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ElGato releases EyeTV 2.3 Update with Front Row/Apple Remote Support and more
ElGato has released EyeTV 2.3 (From the readme)

" EyeTV 2.3 is a Universal application. It requires a Macintosh computer with PowerPC G4 (500MHz or faster), PowerPC G5 or Intel Core processor, and Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) or later. We recommend Mac OS X 10.4.7 with all software and security updates installed.

What's new in EyeTV 2.3?

EyeTV Full Screen Menu
EyeTV 2.3 contains a Full Screen Menu that is designed for easy access and navigation from across the room. The Full Screen Menu's behavior is designed to complement Front Row's playback-only metaphor.

Front Row Integration
The Full Screen Menu enables you to sit back and relax while you watch and record television on your Mac as well as browse Front Row. If Apple's Front Row is installed, the top level of EyeTV's Full Screen Menu includes a Front Row item from where you can launch or activate Front Row. And even if your computer doesn*t have Front Row installed, the Full Screen Menu works just fine without it.

Navigate with an Apple Remote
If your computer included Front Row, you can use the Apple Remote with EyeTV 2.3. The Full Screen Menu will certainly work with an EyeTV IR remote control as well, which you may already own or can buy on our online store.

Hardware Support
EyeTV 2.3 supports two new USB sticks:
- Hauppauge Nova-T (DVB-T)
- Hauppauge HVR-900 (DVB-T/Analog hybrid)

Windows Media Export
EyeTV supports export to Windows Media format if the Flip4Mac WMV or Popwire WMV-9 QuickTime codecs are installed.

Export Speed Increased
The speed of EyeTV's exports has been increased by typically around 33%. Depending on the source and export formats the speed gain can be up to 500%.

Bug Fixes
Several crashes while exporting have been fixed.
A crash while scrubbing in the EyeTV Editor has been fixed.
EyeTV is now compatible with the DivX 6.5 codec."

I wrote the author of the recent EyeTV 250 Review asking if he'd tried this update.

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Price Cuts on Dual G4 CPU Upgrades (7455 w/2MB L3 per CPU), OS X Tiger (Retail Box)
(from site sponsor OWC)
"The OWC/PowerLogix G4 1.3GHz Dual processor upgrade with 2MB L3 cache per processor (4MB total) was $395.00 and is now $369.00. This upgrade is for all PowerMac G4 'Gigabit Ethernet' and uni-7 PowerMac G4 AGP Models originally factory equipped with a single or dual processor at 350MHz, 400MHz, 450MHz, or 500MHz speed. Plug and play, no software required for operation - this Dual processor upgrade is a super easy and super fast solution to running all applications faster + adding the ability to run newer applications with minimum speed requirements too.
2yr OWC Warranty and 30 Day OWC 100% Money Back Guarantee and now $369.00
A Dual 1.0GHz model is also available for $295.00.
http://eshop.macsales.com/Search/Search.cfm?Criteria=7455+dual
Ground delivery only $2.95 and 2nd Day Air is offered for $7.95 or less.

Brand new, Retail Box Tiger 10.4 (download free updates to 10.4.x via software update or on Apple.com) is now on special for $95.00!
http://eshop.macsales.com/item/Apple/M9639ZA/
Ground delivery only $4.50 or less, 2nd Day Air 7.95 or less. "

Note - these are 7455 based CPU upgrades and do not need the firmware patches that 7447A and 7457's do. They don't require using CPU Director (which has power saving/DFS support for PL 7447A's, speed control for 750FX/GX CPUs). CPU Director does report the temperature of the onboard PL upgrades thermal sensor but it's not required to run a 7455 based upgrade. (In fact, although PL said it was required for the duals for power savings, I ran some dual 7447A's without CPU Director during a review of 5 PL 7447A/7457 CPU upgrades last fall, although I later installed CPU Director to test DFS with the dual 1.7GHz model.) As mentioned here when 10.4.7 was released, it broke the current CPU Director version. I wrote Larry (head of OWC) today and said they're still awaiting an updated darwin to update CPU Director for 10.4.7 compatibility. (He also confirmed CPU Director was not required for these upgrades.)

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Updated OS X Skype Beta/Video Beta, First Feedback on Video Beta
(Note: There's new versions of the OS X Skype 1.5 Beta (1.5.0.51) and OS X Skype Beta w/Video (1.5.0.52) again today. The Changelog notes the updates are a bugfix to yesterday's releases: "Bugfix: it was not possible to make calls to free SkypeOut numbers with no credit.)

A couple readers sent comments on yesterday's previous beta releases:

" I've been tinkering with the video beta of Skype this afternoon... MacBook to G4 Mac Mini works ok. CPU hovering around 60%-70% with Parallels running as well.
Macbook to Windows XP works ok. Frame rate seems a little slower than Mac to Mac.
No issues noted other than slightly longer call closedown time on the Mac to Mac session.
-Scott H. "

" Strangely, the (7/25/2006 beta) version does not allow you to add new numbers, free. (See today's update which should fix that) You must "add contact" to call the number. Mostly annoying. The interface is much better, and it is far clearer to add new contacts.
(I wrote him about the updated beta today-Mike)
OK. Got it. I am up to date.
The latest version has fixed the bug. Let me add that the interface is FAR superior, especially not having to add the "+1" any more. I love the video window, and that you can choose, through a preference, to connect camera when you connect to a Contact, or not. Just click the button to use the camera if that's the setting one prefers. I also like the fact that Skype Contacts and Phone Contacts have different icons. Maybe they will come up with an idea to combine the two, but it is not necessary for my purposes.

As to the video end, it is the first time I have been able to audio/video with a Windows user, and this is the best system I have ever seen for the WindowsY¥ application. There is a problem, as noted in the Skype forums, of staying connected longer than 5 minutes. I expect this to be cured before the official public release. Yet, as with the non-video version, sound quality is terrific, and only limited by your headset.

I have another thing I wonder about. There has never been an echo in my standard phone, when using the speakerphone. I wonder why this has never been fixed in computers...
-SCB "

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Shake 4.1 Review
CreativeMac has posted a Review of Apple's Shake 4.1. (v4.1 had a huge reduction in price to $499.)
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Toast with Blu-Ray Support to be Bundled with some New Drives
Yesterday Sonic (parent of Roxio) posted a press release titled "Sonic Delivers First Blu-ray Disc Software for Mac, Roxio Toast 7 Ready to Power Blu-ray Enabled Drives". Here's a clip:

" Toast 7 with BD support is available exclusively for original equipment manufacturers developing next-generation external BD drives. The first drives to feature Toast 7 with BD support are expected to be available later this quarter. Making the recently impossible now possible for Mac users, ToastÌs Blu-ray Disc features include Toast Dynamic Writing, which for the first time enables users to record files simply by dragging and dropping files onto a disc in the same convenient way they would move or copy files to a removable storage device.
The ability to store as much as 50 GB of data makes Toast an ideal solution for archiving extensive digital music collections or protecting critical files and precious memories too large to fit on a standard DVD. In addition to its Blu-ray capabilities, Toast 7 is now also a universal application that runs natively on both Intel-based and PowerPC-based systems. "

Hopefully they'll eventually release an update for existing Toast 7 users that may buy a drive w/o the Toast bundle.

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Other Net News/Software Updates

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