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News Archive for: 6/27/2002 Thursday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

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News stories of June 27th, 2002:

Apple iMac Update for OS X (for 10.1.5 build 5T91)
Versiontracker has a page noting an Apple iMac Update for Mac OS X - 1.0 noting it's only for 10.1.5 (build 5T91). For more info see Apple's KBase doc on the update. That doc notes:

    " The iMac Update includes enhancements to support the installation of third party applications and the Networking Update which improves network and Internet access after restarting your computer or when waking from sleep"

That description sounds like an iMac version of the general OS X Networking Update 1.0 noted here last Friday.

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Comments on Moo (formerly XOptimize) for OS X
(from a reader email)
"Mike, I just read todays column and completely agree with Louis that Mac Janitor is another must have X utility. It was updated a month or so ago and is a champ.

The other must have utility is the tool that used to be called Xoptimize, now out as Moo v1.0,yes, Moo as in MacOSOptimizer, a product of Silent Thunder Software. Actually, now it is 2 applications in one. From the Read Me:

    "Moo was designed to incorperate two of the most popular optimization tricks into one freeware application (and now some extra advice for people with older machines). One is Window Buffer Compression enabling and disabling, the other is prebinding (making applications launch faster) files. Every time a user in Mac OS X opens a window the system saves the contents to a portion of memory (the "professionals" call this part of RAM the Window Buffer). No compression is used making this a very inefficient design because more RAM is used then necessary. By compressing the data in the buffer you free up more RAM allowing your system and applications more space to work with.

    To use this feature two folders have been put near the application. The first folder is called Files, it includes the preference file with the necessary changes made to make window buffer compression possible. The second folder, backup, is in place for two reasons. The first is if you want to disable window buffer compression (by copying a copy of the original file over) and the second is it serves as a backup file in case a problem may arise.

    Xoptimize prebinds all executables and shared libraries such that the applications load and launch faster. It accomplishes this task by invoking the update_prebinding command provided with Mac OS X. This is the same kind of optimization that the installer performs whenever it does the Optimizing System task during installation. The difference is that Xoptimize can prebind applications and frameworks that were installed by means other than an installer package.

    At the moment, it only prebinds applications and frameworks installed on the boot volume. This is due to a limitation in the Apple provided update_prebinding tool and is not something the author of Xoptimize has any control over. Hopefully, this will be fixed in the future.

    Release 1.00 removes all references to memory usage. It was originally there solely to work around a bug in update_prebinding that was fixed prior to the 10.0.4 release of Mac OS X. As such, it served no purpose and was removed. However, updating the prebinding information is still a very memory intensive operation and, as such, machines with 256MB or less will likely slow to a crawl as the prebinding process progresses.
    It is recommended that update_prebinding not be run on machines that have very little free hard drive space combined with less than 256MB of RAM. Because Mac OS X can dynamically grow the virtual memory swapfiles to 4GB, a machine with less than 4 GB of free hard drive space can run out of memory simultaneously with the drive becoming completely full. Rebooting causes the dynamically allocated swap space to be shrunk back to a single 80MB chunk.
    As Classic uses a huge chunk of memory, it is recommended that Classic be shutdown before running Xoptimize.
    If Xoptimize is going to be executed on a machine with little memory and/or a relatively full hard drive, it is recommended that the machine is rebooted first and Xoptimize is executed as the first and only application.
    Xoptimize should only be usd on filesystems that are in a good state. If there is any question, boot the system from a CD or from an alternative disk/partition and run repair the filesystem using Disk First Aid.

    To learn more about prebinding, go to a Terminal window (or post-April Project Builder) and look at the update_prebinding man page (i.e. type man update_prebinding in terminal window).
    Finally, a reminder that Xoptimize, itself, does not actually modify any files directly. It is a user interface for a tool-- update_prebinding-- that is provided by Apple. Xoptimize uses update_prebinding in a fashion that is documented and supported by Apple. Xoptimize does not use any undocumented APIs.

Just like Norton and Disk Warrior in my arsenal for 9 and X, MacJanitor and Moo belong there also.
Matthew Culmore "

The Moo home is at (which oddly in Netscape 4.x this morning was redirected to an iTools page that notes it's not available - if you have the same problem, use this versiontracker page).

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Startup Doubler 2.7b1 for OS 7-OS 9.2.2
"June 27, 2002: Startup Doubler 2.7b1 is now available for downloading from
Startup Doubler can make your Mac startup faster, closer to the maximum speed allowed by the hardware. Startup Doubler's software acceleration streamlines loading of Extensions, Control Panels, Startup Items and the Finder to improve startup times.
Startup Doubler is most useful for pre-G4 Macs, where startup can be made 10% to 50% faster. Fast disks in new high-end Macs can't be accelerated much, but the free trial lets you find out what improvement Startup Doubler can make to your exact setup.
Version 2.7b1 includes changes to prevent a rare startup freeze affecting some Virtual Memory configurations.
Startup Doubler runs on Mac OS 7.0 through 9.2.2. You may download and try Startup Doubler for 15 days, at no charge. If you decide to keep it, please register your copy. A single license costs $20, site licenses are also available. Upgrades are free to registered users."

I have not used this software so I cannot verify the claims. (I usually prefer to run as few 3rd party addons as possible.)

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1.10 Firmware Update for Plextor IDE 12x10x32x CDRW
Not sure how many of you have this drive, but a reader sent a note about a firmware update for the 12x model. (Note: The FAQ's CDROM/CDR section has a past tip on updating IDE and SCSI Plextor drives with a Mac.)
The update is listed at (That page links only to the PC exe updater only - see this page for the 1.10 firmware rom .zip file and this page for the PXupdate Mac flasher.) The changes listed are:

  • Fixed a bug where there could be a system hang when returning from "Stand-By" mode under Windows 2000 .
  • Added support for Taiyo Yuden media type DX, CDR-80 TY10PR, CDR-80 C510SR, and CDR-80 WPY10PR.
  • Added support for Verbatim CD-R media 94336/94337/94338.
  • Added support for Mitsui CD-R media CDRV74 MG/US, and CDRV80 MG/US

As with any firmware update there's some risk (if something interrupts the process) and if you're not having any problems with the drive it's often best to leave well enough alone. (I'd not run the flasher under OS X classic either.)

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XServe Benchmarks page (comparing it to G4 Towers and other Servers)
A reader sent a link to a page with XServe benchmarks. See the graphs there for comparisons to G4 Towers and other brands of servers. (Another reader sent a link to their PDF File with the test results.)
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Reader Comments on Apple Repair Privileges Utility for OS X 10.1.5
Yesterday's news had a link and info on Apple's Repair Privileges Utility for OS X 10.1.5. Here's the first reader report on using it:

Repair Privileges Utility worked beautifully for my problem.
Previously, NetInfo forced me to authenticate as "root" instead of any arbitrary administrator in order to modify NetInfo entries. After running the utility this problem was fixed. The main problem was in the permissions of hidden files and directories located at /private/var/db.
Thanks for posting the clip about Repair Privileges!
Jamie "

Since my OS X systems are running fine, I've not used it personally.

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Avernum 3 RPG Game Demo
(from the press release)

"Avernum 3, A Fantasy Role-Playing Epic for the Macintosh
Spiderweb Software, a maker of fantasy role-playing games for Windows and Macintosh, announces the release of Avernum 3, the final game in the Avernum trilogy. Avernum 3 features an enormous scenario, with well over 100 towns, villages and dungeons. There is a fascinating story and a dynamic world which changes as time passes. Refugees move from town to town. People die. If nothing is done, towns will crumble into dust. Avernum was a prison, an enormous warren of tunnels and caverns far below the surface world.

Avernum 3 is a massive and open-ended game. You can save the world or work as a merchant. You can buy a house or go on one of many side adventures. You can work to save the cities, or you can sit back and watch them crumble. Whatever you choose, Avernum 3 promises a massive and engaging adventure which will gladly absorb all the hours you can spare.
Screenshots, more information, and a large demo (11MB) are available at
Minimum system requirements: PowerPC Macintosh, 16 MB free RAM, 30 MB hard drive space, 800x600 screen resolution, 16 bit color. Avernum 3 is $25, or $32 with the hint book. Compatible with OSX in classic mode. OSX native version coming in late Summer, 2002. "

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PowerBook G4 Hinge Adjustment Kit
Although the sample PowerBook G4/800 had an even gap between the display lid and main base, my PB G4/677 and PB G4/400 both non-uniform gaps at the rear sides when the display was closed. I didn't know how to correct this and never bothered to since it wasn't a functional problem. However the hinges can be adjusted to equalize the spacing, although most users won't have the tools or information on how to do it. Radialogic Technologies (As of 2006 now RadTech) sells a kit with instructions and all the tools needed. Their TiGlide PowerBook Hinge Conditioning Kit also includes lubricant for the hinges.

I've used their WildEepz Cushionz (adhesive-backed soft rubber cushions) that are placed around the display bezel to prevent the keys from contacting the screen when closed. I actually prefer them to the protective keyboard mats, which they also sell.

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Articles on Firewire Chip Damage from Bus Powered Drives
(from a reader's email)
I think all Mac users (outside Japan) should know about this: according this article by Medical Mac, URL:, and this announcement by Ratoc Corp:, that

If you plug bus-powered firewire devices into a Mac while the Mac's power is on there is a possibility of the firewire port being damaged.

The two articles are pretty long and technical, sorry my Japanese are not great, maybe someone with better Japanese should translate (or properly summarize) the two articles for the rest of Mac user.

I have plugged in (while the mac is powered) bus powered FW drives literally hundreds of times on a Pismo PB and several models of G4 Towers, but I did have a PB G4/400 and G4 Cube firewire ports fail and have noted threads in apple's forums on the subject in the past.
I tried altavista's babelfish on the ratoc page and the translation was not very good with that tool. The medical mac page in IE for some reason doesn't show the page correctly with images spread widely all over the browser window. If anyone can translate these pages into a summary, let me know.
[Update] a reader sent a better Excite translation page on the Ratoc article.

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Reader Comments on Mac Janitor for OS X
(from a reader email)

"I feel this is a must have tool for nearly all Mac OS X users. Mac Janitor performs three vital system clean up tasks that would normally be performed early in the morning automatically on a system that is ran 24/7. Check it out.
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Free SuperPNG and JPEG2000 Plugins for Photoshop/After Effects
Versiontracker lists free SuperPNG and JPEG2000. plugins for Photoshop and AfterEffects .
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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive/Cardreader Compatibility Database Updates
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 9 new reports added today. The database includes reports on Combo DVD-CDRW, CDROMs, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, CDRW, Hard Drives and Removables (tape drive, ORB, ZIP, MO drives, CF/Smartmedia readers, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, Firewire, SCSI, adapters). Current total 7,748 reports. Here's a summary listing of today's new reports. (Does not include updates to previous entries)

    DVD ROM Drive Reports:
  • IDE Matshita SR-8585-B in 7500 using IDE PCI card (OS X)

    Combo DVD+CDR Drive Reports:
  • IDE LG GCC-4120B (32x12x8 + 8x DVD ROM) in G4/AGP (OS X)
    (used illustrated CD drive install guide here)

    IDE CDRW Drive Reports:
  • Cendyne Lightning 24x10x40x in Beige G3 (OS X)
    (includes comments on Retrospect )
  • Cendyne 32x12x40x in Beige G3 (OS X)
    (some problems noted)
  • Samsung SW-232B (32x10x40x) in Beige G3 (OS X)
    (modified plugin for iTunes support)
    (FYI illustrated CD drive install guide here covers 8600/9600/Beige G3 MT/B&W G3/G4s thru Digital audio)

    IDE Hard Drive Reports:
  • IBM Travelstar 40GB in PowerBook G3 wallstreet2 (OS X)
    (problems noted)
    (FYI: Wallstreet illustrated HD install guide here)
  • Maxtor Diamondmax Plus 60GB in G4 Cube (OS X)
  • Quantum 40GB in 7500 using IDE PCI card (OS X)
  • Seagate Barracuda IV 80GB in G4/AGP 2001 (OS 9.2)
    (FYI Illustrated guide to adding a 2nd HD in B&W G3 rev2 to G4 Towers.)

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.]

(Entries today will be added the following newsday. 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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CPU Upgrades Owner Reports Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 2 new reports. (Total to date: 7,199). [Entries made today are posted the next newsday morning. Incomplete entries, those with no comments, missing info, etc. are deleted]
Here are the new entries (does not include update/added comments to previous reports):

  • Beige G3/266 OC (@300) report
  • Beige G3/233 OC (@300) report

(Warning - Overclocking may not be reliable and could lead to hardware failure or corrupted data.) 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, please post an entry in the database. Search the database for entries from most every upgradable Mac model *before* you buy. (Searchable by mac model/upgrade brand). For detailed reviews with performance tests and install tips, see the CPU Upgrades page.)

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News pages from 1, 2 and 3 years ago:
(Sometimes these old pages are a bit embarrassing - and in many cases the offsite links may not work and comments there were accurate only on the date posted regarding upgrade availability, etc.)

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