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Accelerate Your Mac! News Archive for: 3/23/2001 Friday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

 
Top stories of 3/23/2001:

Apple Firmware Updates for G4/AGP, Cubes, iMacs, Powerbooks and iBooks
OS 9.1 required according to the docs.
    " includes improvements to Firewire target disk mode, network booting, gigabit networking (on systems with gigabit hardware), and system stability. This update also adds support for additional security options which allow the Open Firmware to be password protected."
    (Emphasis mine - just a FYI for those readers that like to tweak.)

Firmware Update Page Links by Model:

Note: After you install this update, the PRAM is reset. This may reset some of your control panels to default settings. See the links for specific instructions for your mac model.

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Huge List of Apple Tech Docs (TILs) on OS X Today:
Tonight's Software Updates/TILs/Other Net News listing includes over 70 OS X (retail) related TIL docs from Apple. These might be worth checking before you install OS X tomorrow, or just for general info. (From one of the TILs, Build 4K78 is the 1.0 release.)
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New Startup Disk Control Panel 9.2.1 Fixes Nubus Mac/Sonnet G3 Issue:
A reader sent word that the update (available via OS 9's Software Updates control panel) solved some problems he had previously in OS 9.1 on his Sonnet upgraded Nubus Mac:

"Some of your readers may wish to know Apple's Startup Disk 9.2.1 (just released via the software control panel) solves a bug with the Startup Disk control panel when using a nubus Power Mac and a Sonnet G3 upgrade. Previously it would crash when the control panel started up, now it works --
at least on my 6100/60.
Ron Earl "

Roy later noted he didn't have problems in OS 9.0 or 9.04 - only with OS 9.1. I've not had any problems on any of my Macs with the previous Startup Control Panel version, but I don't own any Nubus models.

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SoundEdit/OS 9.1 Tip:
A reader replied to the earlier post (below) on problems a reader had with SoundEdit crashing after an OS 9.1 update:

"On March 23 you noted a report of SoundEdit and 9.1 not getting along.

I have 9.1 and SoundEdit 16 (version 2.0.7) running on both a G4/400 and an 8500 upgraded with a G3/250.

My wife regularly uses SoundEdit on the G4 with no problems. I just tried it on the 8500 and had no crashes.

There is a catch: 9.1 manages audio input differently than previous OS versions. This seems to prevent some applications (including Apple's own Apple Video Player) from changing the source.

For SoundEdit to record, I find I have to set the input source using either the control strip or the control panel BEFORE I launch the program. I also can't seem to get the "Recording Options" dialog to come up (nothing happens when I select the menu option), but since I don't use the program regularly, I may just be doing something wrong.

I suggest that Mr. Scott try booting with a clean OS 9.1 install and set the audio source prior to running SoundEdit.
--
Seth Noble - President - Data Expedition, Inc. -
http://DataExpedition.com/ "

Several other readers noted they also had SoundEdit problems in OS 9.1. (Some later wrote to say this did not solve their problems.)

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GeForce3 (PC) Article Comments on Performance:
Although the Mac version isn't shipping until April, ZDnet has a first look and performance comments on a PC GeForce3. They noted only marginally better Quake3 performance than the GeForce2 Ultra, but perhaps a faster CPU would have helped (they used a 800Mhz PIII). They make a good point however that by the time the card's features are better supported, next-generation cards from ATI may offer the same or better performance (but then Nvidia's next-gen will likely be out by then also). The issue of apps/games supporting the card's features (esp. on the Mac with such a small market and with a very tiny installed base of GeForce3 owners for some time after it ships) is one of the questions I had in my Q&A with Nvidia on the GeForce3. Most apps and games may only support features that are common to all cards. If adding special support costs extra time (and $$), developers may not be able to justify it considering that less than 1% of their customers may own the card.
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VPC 4.0 and CGA DOS Graphics Mode Support:
In case any readers have some very old DOS games that run CGA (the original PC Color Graphics Adapter mode), Mike Kramer notes VPC 4 doesn't support it:

"Though this probably doesn't affect many, I found out the hard way that VPC 4.0 no longer supports CGA graphics in DOS. When you try to run a program, it tries to tile it into a VGA screen. The results are kind of wild.

I find this disappointing, because the point of VPC is to allow running legacy PC apps on the Mac, and many old strategy games will be left out. Maybe I am asking too much to be able to run a 17 year old 4 color CGA game, but I don't think so.

Luckily, VPC 3.0 is not disabled during the upgrade. You aren't allowed to run them at the same time, but I was able to make a new DOS disk image (with 3.0) and copy all my CGA/EGA DOS apps on it. When I want to run them, I have to quit 4.0, but it works fine. My previous disk images are now enhanced for 4.0, but I can leave this DOS booting one alone.
Mike Kramer"

DOS CGA programs are so old I don't think this affects most users. VPC 4 if upgraded from v3 will use the same disk image, so it doesn't take a lot more disk space to have both versions installed. I've not ran any DOS CGA games on it, but otherwise VPC 3.0x seemed fine running the same disk image. (And VPC 4 finally allowed me to use windowsupdate.com to update Win98SE with all the patches, security updates, etc.. VPC 3.0x on the PB G3 would lock up the system every time when trying to get updates at windowsupdate.com - VPC 4 didn't have this problem.)

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More Reader's Comments on PC GeForce2MX card's with Macs:
The reader that reported problems with a PCI GeForce2MX card flashed in a PC, sent an update with a workaround that got it running, with a caveat. I've added his report to the page on GeForce2MX PC cards in Macs.
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OS X Arriving FedEx Saturday - iTunes, iMovie2, Appleworks Downloads Available Sat. Also:
I was flooded with emails from readers about their shipping of Apple store OS X orders being bumped up to Saturday FedEx delivery. I thought I had mentioned this earlier but perhaps not. I can't wait for my copy to arrive. As you probably already know, Apple has said that on Saturday you'll be able to download OS X versions of iTunes (no CD burning support however), iMovie2 and a preview version of Appleworks at their web site. As mentioned yesterday, www.apple.com/macosx has been updated with more info and Quicktime movies demonstrating OS X's features and interface. Although it will be awhile before I use it for most of my work, I do look forward to playing with the new interface and seeing how the 1.0 release performs. I welcome other user's reports as well.
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OS 9.1 and SoundEdit Issues:
Not sure how many readers are still using it, but a reader writes that OS 9.1 and SoundEdit don't get along:

" I am the technical director for a small multimedia company using mainly macromedia products. Since we use director heavily we also use SoundEdit as an external editor, with hard to find features like cue point placement and no fuss communication with director. macromedia has for a while said it will no longer update it. Fine, up to 9.1, but now its VERY unstable, can't use it at all. We're stuck!

updated three machines so far: 2 x (G3 400 b/w ), 9600 All act the same way. When starting to make a recording it freezes for several seconds, crashes during sound format change, crashes with many other tools.

Thanks for the ear and the great website,
Tom Scott
MRC Productions "

(See a reader's tip above)

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FWDirect Combo USB/Firewire Card and USB Printer Problems:
A reader asked I post this as a warning to others:

" Dear Mike,
After 2 straight days of monkeying with an Epson 875DC printer and my PCenter 150/FW Direct USB/FW combo card, I gave up getting it to work. It worked just fine with my S900 using a Belkin 2port USB card.

Just got off the phone with FW Direct tech support. There is a compatibility issue with their USB/FW combo card and USB printers. Supposedly a patch is due out in the next week or so.
Eugene Lou"

Check FirewireDirect's site for an update in the future that may resolve this issue. I've added this comment to the Firewire/USB card Owner Comments page. For other Firewire articles, see the Firewire reviews/topic page.

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User Group Asks for Help Getting Hypercard Carbonized:
The International HyperCard Users Group (iHUG) is asking "educators, business people, developers, enthusiasts and anyone who recognizes HyperCard as a useful part of the Macintosh toolbox to help save HyperCard, and in turn promote Macintosh forward compatibility".

(from their email press release)

"This week Apple will release OS X. This big step forward will needlessly mark the beginning of the end for HyperCard, the beloved and widely used software development application for Macintosh. More important than the loss of thousands of creations that rely on HyperCard is the disappointment to come for the thousands of people and institutions that rely directly and indirectly on HyperCard for everything from managing home gardening to tracking commercial jet maintenance.

But this course of obsolescence can be easily and quickly changed. With the help of just one person at Apple, HyperCard can be "carbonized" in 6 months or less; allowing it to run directly on OS X and thereby continue to thrive in the future. This is not a money or resource issue for Apple. It's an issue of getting HyperCard the attention it needs.

The International HyperCard Users Group (iHUG) is asking educators, business people, developers, enthusiasts and anyone who recognizes HyperCard as a useful part of the Macintosh toolbox to help save HyperCard, and in turn promote Macintosh forward compatibility, by writing to Mr. Steve Jobs, Office of the CEO, Apple Computer, Inc., 1 Infinite Loop, M/S 301-CEO, Cupertino, CA 95014.

A sampling of compelling responses to the recent "Why I Use HyperCard" online survey can be viewed at
http://homepage.mac.com/iHUG/WhyWeUseHC.html

iHUG can be reached at www.ihug.org for additional details and to submit a HyperCard story. iHUGs latest CD containing a collection of useful tools and information became available 3/19/01 at www.ihug.org."

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CPU Upgrades Owner Ratings Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 6 new reports (total to date: 5,438). [Entries from after midnight EST will be added the following day.]

  • Bottom Line Railgun (unknown speed) in Powercenter 120 (rated 1)
  • Sonnet G3/500 in 8600/250 (rated 9)
  • Sonnet G3/400 in 7300/180 (rated 9)
  • XLR8 G3/300 in 7600/120 (rated 9)
  • Beige G3/266 OC report
  • B&W G3/350 OC report

You can find these 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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CDRW/CD/DVD/HD Compatibility Database Updates:
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 18 new entries added this morning including Combo DVD-ROM, CDRWs, and Hard Drives. (Current total 3,360 reports). Entries from after midnight are added the following day. [BTW - the drive database is not a place to post questions, it's for reports on drives you've used. For guides to drive installs, see the IDE, SCI or Firewire articles linked above and/or the FAQ. Thanks.]
You can find full owner reports by searching the database by drive/brand/interface/mac models (the latest reports are shown first in searches).
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.
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Video Card/System Benchmark Performance Database Updated:
Updates to the Mac Game/Video Card Performance database included:

  • Quake2 (1024x768) results from Beige G3/300 with 3dfx Voodoo3 card
  • Unreal Tournament (full) (512x342, 1024x768) results from Beige G3/300 with 3dfx Voodoo3 card
  • Throughput results from Beige G3/333 with Voodoo3 card 3dfx Voodoo3 card
  • CineBench2000 results from 400Mhz G4/AGP with Radeon AGP card

Total entries in the database to date: 2,653. If you haven't already, enter your results with any of the game titles or benchmarks listed on the entry page (details on how to test are there). If you're curious how a CPU upgrade or new Video card would help game performance, the search page options can help you find similar system/configurations to get an idea before you buy.

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Software Updates, Apple TILs, Other Net News:
Reported By: Barney Buoy

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Recent Reviews and Articles:
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