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News Archive for Monday, March 8th, 2004Return to Accelerate Your Mac!

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News stories of March 8th, 2004: (later posted items first)
Reader report on solving iTunes static with iMic and new PowerBook G4
(from a reader mail - I don't own an iMic personally)

" Greetings, I've used a Rev 2 iMic for over a year now. mainly as a high quality audio output for various work supplied 15" Powerbooks (667, 867, 1 Ghz), and have been very happy until recently.

After moving to a new 1 Ghz 15" Powerbook and installing OS 10.3.2 and iTunes 4.2 I experienced a lot of unwanted background static during MP3 and CD playback through the iMic plugged into the left USB socket. I initially thought this may have been a fault on the particular machine I was using, but after having the unit replaced due to the blotchy screen problem I continued to have the same issue with the new machine.

The solution is to use the iMic in the right USB socket. Works perfectly.

It took me a long time to cotton on as I whenever I work on the machine I always use an external mouse in the right USB socket and had assumed that both left and right socket were attached to the same USB bus. I wanted to document this to give Griffin a bug report and make sure there was noone else sitting around cursing their iMic and waiting for a driver update/patch that probably will not appear. Cheers for continuing to provide an excellent no filler Mac site,
Toby C. "

Another reader later suggested checking if the USB port was set to 16bit (vs 8bit) setting using Apple's Audio/Midi Utility. (See comments in Thursday's news.) Toby later wrote back that was the real cause of the noise problem (the port was set to 8bit).

" Hi Mike,
Kudos to Bill S. The left side USB port on my 15" Powerbook was set to 2 ch 8-Bit output for the iMic.
Changing the setting to 2 ch 16-bit (as the right one was already set to) (using the Apple Audio/Midi utility in the OS X Utilities folder) eliminated the background static on that port.
I've used several versions of both MPlayer and VLC on the machine from time to time so I too cannot confirm which app it is that changes this setting.
Cheers,
Toby C "

One other reader said he'd seen this problem also in the past. Just something to check if you have audio noise and are using USB audio devices. (I added this tip to the Audio and USB sections of the FAQ for future reference.)

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Reader Request: Anyone using 10.3.x with Nokia 6610 and T-Mobile Net Access?
(from a reader email - I don't own this cellphone but hoping some panther user does)

"Panther support for DKU-5 cable/PL 2303 chip?
Hi Mike, I was hoping you could post the following questions to your readers in the hope that someone might have the answer:

I presently use T-Mobile's data plan for internet access. It's slow, but it does what I need it to do. To connect, I presently have to use the driver from Prolific Technologies under OS X 10.2.8 so my modem is seen and recognized by OS X. The phone is a Nokia 6610, and the cable that connects it to my PB (2000 firewire, a.k.a. Pismo) is a DKU-5 data cable with Prolific's 2303 chip (or a compatible one) to do the USB to serial conversion, so the PB sees and uses the phone as a serial GPRS modem.

Do you (or any of your readers) know if Panther has support for this setup? And if not - what is available (commercial, etc)? The linux kernel actually has a GPL'ed driver for the Prolific 2303 chip, so it might be time for me to bite the bullet and learn some device driver programming.
thanks, vinai "

A reader replied to this posting via email:

" I don't have this exact phone, but I do use a LG-5350 with a futuredial cable that has the same chip.

I use the ProlificUSBSerial.kext version 1.06 (it may also be named PL2303.kext).

I had to modify the Info.plist under the IOKitPersonalities key to add the specific idVendor and idProduct keys for the corresponding Vendor and Product IDs for my specific cable to get it to work. I found the right values using the USB device prober included in the developer tools.

That's probably all you have to do to get your cable to work. Hope this helps.
- Mike "

I asked Mike if he was running OS X 10.3.x.

If any reader owns this cellphone/cable and is running 10.3.x with T-Mobile net access, let me know and I'll pass the info along.

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OT: $10 Protective Carry Case for Sony DSC-T1 5MP compact camera
(A bit off-topic but since I and many readers are digital camera fans I thought I'd post this.) If you've bought Sony's recent DSC-T1 5 megapixel camera (2.5" LCD/slim design) and haven't gotten a case for it yet, here's a low-cost alternative to consider that costs only $10 and is available in many retail stores. It's not sold as a camera case but with one simple mod, it works well and is both compact and has good protection for the slim DSC-T1 camera. See this page for details and photos.
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OWC sale Sonnet Tempo ATA/133 PCI card, Clearance page updated
(email from sponsor OWC)

" Sonnet Tempo ATA/133 PCI card now $82.95
(also typically has the best ATAPI/optical drive support of any IDE PCI card)
http://eshop.macsales.com/Catalog_Item.cfm?ID=4797&Item=STITAT133
That should be the lowest price anywhere.

New Clearance/Garage Sale Items posted up Lots of goodies - while they last. :)
Best Regards,
Lawrence R. O'Connor
Other World Computing "

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Plextor PX-708A (8x DVD+R burner) 1.05 Firmware Update
(Update: There's now a v1.06 firmware update to fix a bug in 1.05 available at Plextor's North America PX-708A firmware page and Plextor's European site PX-708A firmware page. And now there's also 1.06 firmware (only) files for use with the "unsupported" mac flasher utility I noted below.)
(original post from Monday Mar. 8th follows)
A reader (and PX-708A owner like me) sent a note this weekend there's a new 1.05 firmware update for the drive with these changes/fixes listed:

  • Support added for newer 8x DVD+R media
  • 8x write support added for additional brands of 4x DVD+R media
  • Support added for additional brands of DVD+R and DVD+RW media
  • Support added for additional brands of DVD-R and DVD-RW media
  • Improved write performance for DVD+R and DVD+RW media
  • Improved write performance for DVD-R and DVD-RW media
  • Improved write performance for various brands of CD-R media
  • Corrected possible conflict between different application software when recording DVD-RW media
  • Corrected possible "No Seek Error"during write of DVD+R medium while using Nero (PC burning software)

The direct download link to the 1.05 (windows/PC) updater is http://www.plextor.co.jp/support/firmware/PX708A_105.exe.
As of this morning, I did not see v1.05 listed yet at http://www.plextor.be/english/technical/downld_firmw_708A.html or http://www.plextor.com/english/support/downloads/firm_708A.htm.

I use a PC notebook running XP to update my OWC Firewire cased PX-708A, but as mentioned in an older page here on plextor IDE/SCSI flashers for Macs, there's an (unsupported) flash utility for Macs at http://www.plextor.be/English/technical/downld_firmw_prog.html (see the readme file linked there) - it requires using the separate firmware binary files and as of this morning (Mar. 8th), PX-708A firmware 1.04 was the latest separate firmware file download I saw at http://www.plextor.be/English/technical/downld_firmw_708A.html. (The pages may be updated later to include the latest firmware file downloads however.)

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Safari Javascript Security Issue
(Update - a reader replied to this post saying the next update to Safari (1.2.1 included in 10.3.3) fixes this issue.)
From a reader mail:

" as seen on macslash.org:
"According to insecure.ws, there is a bug in Safari JavaScript engine allowing to crash it, or worst, execute something from within carefully crafted code in a malicious webpage. It has been covered on bugtraq" (http://www.insecure.ws/article.php?story=2004021918172533
http://www.securityfocus.com/archive/1/356498/2004-03-04/2004-03-10/0 )
I wonder what you think about it ?
I mean, there's some element they aren't taking too. KJS (konqueror javascript engine) isn't vulnerable, but the same one, ported by Apple is.It is sort of intriguing :/ "
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First feedback on Xpostfacto 3.0a14 update (9600 owner running 10.3.x)
Saturday afternoon Xpostfacto version 3 (utility for installing OS X on legacy/unsupported Macs) was updated again to version 3.0a14 to fix an install problem with v3.0a13 (where some XPF extensions were not being updated). Here's the first report on v3.0a14:

" I've successfully installed Panther onto my PM9600/375 (w/Powerlogix G3) 512MB RAM. I use two Seagate Barracuda drives (9GB for Classic apps and 18GB for OS X apps) connected to the original SCSI bus on the MB via adapters along with the original 4GB drive. All drives were recognized without problems.
I never was able to install using 3.0a11 or 12 as the system had difficulty finding the root device, but the newest version of Xpostfacto did the trick just fine.
I did, however, have to disable the early L2/L3 cache activation feature. The PM9600 is VERY stable under Panther!! I plan to test on my PM7600 this next week and will let you know how the on-board video does.
Sincerely, Michael R. "
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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 7 new reports this morning (entries from Friday-Sunday midnight ET; entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 9,201. Here's a summary of the new reports added today (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Giga Designs G4 1.4GHz in (sawtooth) G4/AGP (rated 9)
  • Giga Designs G4 1.2GHz in G4 Cube (rated 9)
    (full review here of 1GHz model tested at 1GHz and 1.2GHz vs G4/450 stock CPU in apps, games, benchmarks)
  • Giga Designs Dual G4 1.2GHz in (digital audio DP533) G4/AGP (rated 10)
    (includes notes on reducing cpu voltage, before/after pro apps tests)
  • Powerlogix Dual 1.2 GHz (7457) in (quicksilver 2002) G4/AGP (no rating given, said dual 1.2GHz ordered was reported as a dual 1GHz)
  • Sonnet G3 500 in 5500 (rated 10)
  • Sonnet G4 500 in B&W G3 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 G4 500 in B&W G3 (rated 8)

    (My reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades w/apps/game tests, install info, etc. are linked on the CPU upgrades page. OC/CPU module articles are on the Systems page.)

(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 Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility Database had 14 new reports added (reader entries from Friday-Sunday midnight ET; entries today are added the next newsday morning. entries w/missing info/no comments are not posted). The database includes reports on Combo DVD-CDRW, CDROMs, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, 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, USB, adapters). Current total 12,651 reports. (searching by drive type/brand, mac model etc. listed below will show the full reports, most recent first)

    CDRW Drives:
  • SCSI Yamaha CRW-F1 SX (44x24x44x) used w/Powerbook G3 wallstreet2 (OS 9.2)
  • USB Iomega ZIPCD 650 used w/iMac (OS X 10.3 and OS 9.2 reports filed)
    (no drive speed rating given, unknown mechanism)
  • USB Sony crx100e/x used w/iMac slot-loading (OS X)
  • IDE Plextor PX-W5224TA (52x24x52A) in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (no native burn support)
  • IDE Sony CRX320A (52x32x52x) in Dual G4 DDR (OS X 10.3)
    (using patchburn II for burn suppport)

    Combo DVD-CDR Drives:
  • USB cased Matshita UJDA750 (24x24x24+8x DVD-ROM) used w/Powerbook G4 (OS X) (no native burn support in 10.2.8, using patchburn 1.1 for 10.2.x. Patchburn 1.1 for 10.2.x use is linked in the FAQ's CDROM/CDR section.)

    DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
  • Firewire cased Pioneer DVR-107D used w/iMac slot-loading (OS X 10.3)
    (using Patchburn II for Panther burn support.)
  • IDE Liteon LDW-451S in G4/AGP (OS X)
    (no native burn support - using patchburn 1.1 for 10.2.x burn support)
  • IDE NEC ND-2500A (8x DVD burner) in G4/AGP (OS X 10.3)
    (Noted drive sleep issue - suggested old tip of setting ES to never sleep drives and wait until iDVD fully encodes movies before pressing burn/inserting DVD-R disc. Using lacie profile for panther burn support. Download of it included on the Patchburn II for Panther burn support feedback page.)
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-107D in G4/AGP (OS X 10.3)
    (using lacie burn support profile)
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-107DB (black bezel) in G4/AGP (OS X 10.3)
    (using modified lacie profile for panther burn support. Lacie and Patchburn II downloads included on the Patchburn II for Panther burn support feedback page.)
    (Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio Model, Beige G3 MT and B&W G3 Macs)

    DVD-R Drives:
  • IDE Toshiba SD-R5112 in G4/AGP (OS X 10.3)
    (native burn support)

    Hard Drives:
  • IDE Maxtor 30GB in iMac (OS X 10.3)

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