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Accelerate Your Mac! News Archive for: 3/6/2002 Wednesday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

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Top stories of March 6th, 2002:

Virtual PC 5.02 Update, Notes on Increased OS X Performance
(*Important* - If you have any saved states in VPC, shut them down before running the 5.02 update. Otherwise they will be reported as corrupted after the 5.02 update. See this page of reports on VPC 5.02 for more info/tips.)

    " I'm sure you're already aware of the Virtual PC 5.0.2 release. I just wanted to let you know that I've installed it on my iMac G4 800, and it makes a HUGE difference in OS X (10.1.3). Everything is faster and more responsive. It finally is able to get more processor time when in the foreground (I'm getting around 85% utilization), and is pretty friendly when in the background. I'm running Win 2000 on it, and it's finally useable. It took Connectix a couple of versions to get the OS X / Carbon stuff figured out, but it looks like they've finally gotten it.
    -David B "

The update is available at The v5.02 vital information file notes (among other things) this comment on using AppleScript to set the CPU usage (background example shown) :

    Virtual PC 5.0.2 has added scripting support for setting CPU usage when Virtual PC is in the background in Mac OS X...

    CPU Usage: (Sets CPU usage for Virtual PC when it is a background application.)

      tell application "Virtual PC"
          set background cpu usage to 25
      end tell

I wonder if you can substitute "foreground" for "background" in the script to set the foreground cpu usage. (Past comments here noted some owners used renice to tweak performance, noted in this page on VPC 5 OS X vs OS 9 performance tests from last December.) I've downloaded it but not installed it yet on my PB G4. I'll see if it shows any noticeable improvements in OS X on that machine.
Here's a clip from the VPC 5.02 Readme file:

    + Added significant performance enhancements for Virtual PC running in Mac OS X.
    + Improved performance of Virtual PC in Mac OS X with background applications. Virtual PC will receive more time when it's the foreground application.
    + Virtual PC now yields processor time when a guest OS is in the foreground but idle. (Requires the new Virtual PC Additions.)
    + Increased throttle time in Mac OS X to give more time to video.
    + Faster overall boot time for most OSes (when no other applications are running) in Mac OS X.
    + Greatly improved performance of 16-bit applications running in Windows 2000 in Mac OS X.
    + Improved speed of installing 32-bit operating systems (i.e. Windows 2000) in Mac OS X.
    + Fixed an issue between Virtual PC and sound initialization that caused Virtual PC to crash at launch.
    + Added fix for rare crash when saved states were restored on beige G3s.

    + Added fix to allow PPTP VPN over Shared Networking in Mac OS 9. VPN using Shared Networking in Mac OS X requires the user to be logged in as root. See the "Virtual PC Vital Information" document for more information.
    + Improved diagnostics added to gather more informative troubleshooting details.

    + Fix for printing using Virtual PC emulation to Canon printers in Mac OS X.

    + Added fixes and improvements for serial port emulation including full 9-pin support. This should allow greater compatibility with various serial devices (Mac OS X only).
    + Made serial port preferences window completely interactive. Also detects the attachment of any USB serial adapter while the "Settings..." window is open in Mac OS X. Virtual PC now detects the removal of serial port(s) and defaults back to "none" when this occurs. + Serial port will no longer disappear from the COM Settings panel when the window is opened and USB is enabled.
    + Automatically resume a USB device if packets are detected being sent to a suspended device. Allows the LinkSys WAP11 USB configuration utility to work.
    + Fixed USB connection issues in both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X that caused crashes on plug-in and un-plug of a device.

    + Added scripting support to allow debugging of blue-screen events in Windows XP. + Fix for MatLab 6 (max [1 2] calculation) so it returns the correct result.
    + Fix for rounding results in CallAtlanta program.
    + Fixed an issue in Mac OS 9 that caused a crash when the hard drive and CD drive were spun down (slept) and a call was made to the drive from Virtual PC.
    + Fixed an issue with reading Joliet CD formats under Mac OS 9.
    + Changed behavior of incompatible or corrupted saved states so that the user is asked before the state is deleted.
    + Fixed an issue with Folder Sharing the Mac's free drive space is now correctly reported by Windows 9x OSes.
    + Allow multiple users in Mac OS X to run Virtual PC and share preferences and drive images. This will also allow the drive image and preferences to be moved into the Virtual PC application folder and placed on a removable drive for increased mobility.
    + New Virtual PC Additions "

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Gateway Reinstating Cancelled Mac Radeon 8500 Orders (updated)
At appx. 4PM today a reader wrote with the following info (I do not have an order in with them so I cannot verify this - but just a FYI to all the readers that had orders cancelled as noted in the earlier news post.)

    " Hey everyone! I'm on the phone with Gateway right now and she said that they won't offer it on the website anymore, but if you call customer service and say you don't mind waiting until they get the shipment in, they'll reinstate your order with the discount! So call customer service now and get them to reinstate your order now. Warning, expect to be on hold before talking to a living being for over 30 minutes!
    [I asked for the phone# and he replied]
    800.961.9261 Option 2"

(Update) I sent emails to every reader that wrote about the cancellation when I first posted this at about 4PM - as of appx. 5PM, so far 4 other readers have written to say their cancelled orders were reinstated. However as noted in the original post above - no new orders will be accepted for the Mac Radeon 8500. One reader also said he was told March 18th was the estimated date for Mac 8500 card shipments to their distributor, but others were told the ship date has still not been determined. Regardless, it's good to see they did the right thing and reinstated the orders.

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Toast Titanium Suite for OS X Now Available (Updates/Downloads)
I just received an email from Roxio that the full Toast Titanium suite for OS X is now available. Existing Toast 5/Titanium owners can download the updates/addons at which has more info. Here's a clip from that page:

    " Here's what's included in the update: (each is a separate download-Mike)

    Toast 5 Titanium 5.1.2: Program for burning data, audio, multimedia, video and hybrid Mac/PC CDs or DVDs on Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. Even burn discs in the background while you continue to work! Supports virtually all USB, IDE, SCSI and FireWire CD recorders. [5.1.2 update was released previously, noted here some time back-Mike]

    CD Spin Doctor: Convert analog sources (such as your old LPs and cassettes) to CD audio. Filter out unwanted noise, hisses and pops. [released previously-Mike]

    iView Media: Organize and store digital photos and multimedia files (video, sounds, and fonts). Create digital slide shows on CD, and even burn and share your entire media catalog.

    Panic Audion: Completely manage and play your MP3 audio files. Graduate from iTunes, with MP3 file editing fades, ID3 tag editing, and much more. Even try out different MP3 encoders.

    Magic Mouse Discus: Design and print your own custom CD labels, covers and inserts. "

(some of the downloads are very large (Magic Mouse Discus is 53MB ) so there's an option to buy a CD ($14.95) with the update for those without broadband connections.)
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$225.97 30GB Portable Firewire Drive
(from site sponsor OWC's email)

    " New pricing across the board for the OWC Mercury 2.5" Portables. Highlights a 30GB model on special for $225.97.
    Further... The 60GB On-The-Go is now $525 for your readers on your [site specials] page!
    Best Regards,
    Larry O'Connor
    Other World Computing, Inc."
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Gateway Cancels Orders for Discounted Mac Radeon 8500 cards
*Update* - See the later post above where a reader said Gateway reinstated his order after he called customer support .
BTW - a reader sent a note that according to reports at HardOCP, some "XTASY Geforce4 TI4400" (PC version) buyers got their orders cancelled also with a similar email reply, so the wording almost seems like boilerplate text for cases where they have no definite delivery date.
(original news post follows)
A recent news post there noted a (limited time) $50 off coupon on $199 or more orders from the Gateway accessories store - which listed a Mac Radeon 8500 card for just under $257 (before $50 off coupon and shipping, etc.). I've had many mails from readers in the last 24 hours that Gateway sent them an email cancelling the order - and stating some very questionable (in my opinion) comments in their reasons why. Here's the email they sent readers that ordered during that special:

    " Subject: Your Gateway Accessory Store Order
    Dear [customer name],
    Thank you for placing your recent order with the Gateway Accessory Store. We regret that our supply of the RADEON 8500 64MB DDR has been depleted, and we are unable to replenish our stock at this time. Consequently, this item has been removed from our inventory list and cancelled from your order #[order number removed for this post]. This item is no longer available from the manufacturer and will not be listed on our site in the future.

    We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and look forward to serving you again. Our site has a full compliment of products. Return to our site at to find a suitable substitute.
    Client Relations
    Gateway Accessory Store "

In my opinion, the comments above are bogus - the item was not shown in stock (of course - it's not yet shipping but will be soon) and the comments above seem to imply (in my opinion) that the product is "no longer available" from ATI as if it was discontinued - the fact is the product is new and not yet shipping.
One reader noted he called to ask for more info:

    " I just received email from Gateway Accessory Store that my Mac Radeon 8500 order has been canceled due to stocking issues. ...I called Gateway for further explanation, and was told that the item was going to be backordered for an extended and undetermined amount of time and they were ordered last night to pull the item from inventory. The service rep also stated they will "never carry anything like that again" - Wow!.

    My guess is the whole thing was a ordering mistake from early on and someone in stocking found out about it once all of our orders hit them Thursday!

    The bummer is that I have to tell my PC friend that I won't be getting my 8500 for $10 less than he got his!! Hope a similar deal appears soon - xlr8yourmac readers be on the lookout!!
    Geoff C. "

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Quake3 Rally (Car racing mod/conversion) for Quake 3
Not sure if this is old news, but I stumbled accross the Quake3 Rally site which has recently released a 1.0 version of their car racing game conversion mod for Quake3 .

    "Quake III Rally is a mod for Quake III Arena that turns it into a fully fledged racing game, with racing modes, deathmatch modes, capture the flag, demolition derby and more."

I downloaded the 40+MB zip file (the mirror I used resulted in a .php file, but renaming it to .zip allowed it to be unstuffed.) I copied the folder over to Quake3 (in OS X) and the Mod seems to run fine so far but I've only did a quick test in singleplayer mode. (FYI - the L/R turn keys default to "," and "." - not A and D .) There's no car engine sounds (noted in the readme) but they have some music audio files you can download separately. See their web site and FAQ for more info.

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OWC adds Plextor 40x/12x/40x Firewire CDRW to Product Line
Although I've not seen 40x media in stores yet and the audio recording rate/extraction is limited to 24x (noted in past news items here, for audio quality reasons reportedly) - site sponsor OWC has the Plextor 40x/12x/40x CDRW drive available in a Oxford911 bridge based Firewire case for $299.99. (Toast 5 OEM, cables, and sample CDR/CDRW media is included. pricing/availability may change over time - but as of today they were in stock at $299.99.)
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iDraw 1.0 for OS X (Info and Download Link)
(from the email press release)

    " March 6, 2002 - MacPowerUser Software is proud to announce the release of iDraw 1.0 for Mac OS X!

    What is iDraw?
    iDraw is a powerful, yet easy to use, illustration and animation program for Mac OS X. iDraw is written in Cocoa and takes full advantage of Mac OS X's Quartz rendering engine to produce smooth anti-aliased images and transparency effects. It has many of the features of high-end design programs, such as smoothly rendered vector paths, different fill types including translucent colors and gradients, object transformations such as tapers and arcs, text glyph manipulation, and much more. Best of all, it's only a fraction of the price!

    iDraw's interface has an intuitive Mac OS X look-and-feel making it very simple to use and learn.

    With the ability to create still illustrations as well as frame-based animations that can be output to SWF files or GIF animations, iDraw is perfect for anything from detailed designs to simple web animations.

    For more information about iDraw, please visit:
    Download iDraw 1.0 (490 Kb) - "

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CPU Upgrades Owner Reports Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 5 new reports. (Total to date: 6,829). [Entries made today are posted the next newsday morning.]

  • Newer Tech G4/450 in Beige G3 (rated 9)
  • Sonnet G3/500 Harmoni in iMac (rated 10)
  • Sonnet G3/500 in Powerbook G3 wallstreet2 (rated 10)
  • Sonnet G3/233 in 7300 (rated 6)
  • 7500/120 OC 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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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive /Cardreader Compatibility Database Updates
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 12 new reports added today. [entries today will be added the following newsday.] 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 6,742 reports. Here's an itemized summary of today's additions:

    Multi-Format CardReader Reports:
  • USB Dazzle 6 in 1 Media reader used w/G4 AGP (OS X)

    Combo DVD+CDR Drive Reports:
  • FIrewire LG GCC-4120B (12X8X32 +8 DVD-ROM) [IDE drive in FW case] used w/Dual G4 (OS X)
    (using itunes modified support files from the FAQ here)

    IDE CDRW Drive Reports
  • Hi-Val 24x10x40x in Dual G4 (OS 9.2)
    (didn't note drive mechanism - Hi-Val listed under "other" brands)
  • Matshita CW - 7585 8x/4x/32x in B&W G3 (OS X)
  • Que QPCDRW241040I (24/10/40) in Beige G3 (OS X)
    (some problems noted)
  • Sony 24x/10x/40x [didn't note model#] in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (For Beige G3 Minitower owners, see CD drive install guide here)

    Firewire CDRW Drive Reports
  • Sony CRX-175E2 24X10X40 in Firewire case used w/PowerBook G4 (OS X)
    (using itunes modified support file from FAQ here)

    Firewire Hard Drive Reports
  • Maxtor 3000XT 160GB used w/PowerBook G4 (OS X)
    (some problems noted)

    IDE Hard Drive Reports
  • IBM Travelstar 30GB in PowerBook G3 wallstreet1 (OS 8.6)
    (illustrated HD install guide here. Noted sleep sensor issue.)
  • IBM Deskstar 60GXP 40GB in G4/AGP (OS 9.2)
    (FYI - see Illustrated guide to adding a 2nd drive here)
  • IBM Deskstar 60GXP 40GB in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (see my 1998 Beige G3 MT illustrated HD upgrade guide here)
  • Maxtor D740X 40GB in Beige G3 using IDE PCI Card (OS 9.1)

You can find full owner reports 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.]

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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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