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News Archive for: 5/28/2002 Tuesday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

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News stories of May 28th, 2002:

PowerBook G3 Wallstreet1 owner comments on Mplayer OS X DVD Player
I finally received a reader email regarding using the Mplayer DVD player (noted earlier today) on a RageII/RagePro based Mac. (RageLT chip w/4MB Vram is used in the PB G3 wallstreet1) Considering it's a RageII based chip with only 4MB of video ram, I'm not surprised at the comments on performance. (Even Apple used a hardware decoder for DVD in those models.)

    "Hey, it works (sort of)
    Mplayer does, in fact, work on my old Wallstreet1 (upgraded w/ Powerlogix 466hz).

    This is the first time I've seen a DVD on this machine (under OSX) at all.

    The bad news is that 1) it still seems to require the presence of the PCMCIA decoder card, and 2) the frame rate is completely deplorable....
    [FYI - the wallstreet1 had a RageLT, not the RageProLT of the wallstreet2 and lombard series. Even with the RageProLT, Apple used a DVD decoder card (WS) or onboard Decoder chip (lombard 400) for DVD, and no Apple player support in OS X yet at least for any RagePro/RageII based Mac or hardware decoder card.-Mike]

    I'll try out the VideoLan player next, but I don't really imagine it'll work really well, either.
    Cheers!
    -marc c.
    Just as a PS, I didn't see it noted on the site (though I was out of touch recently) but this morning I discovered an update to the AppleHeathrowKEXT for the Wallstreets. Of course, it's at http://www.lycestra.com/darwincode/ and it appears to have resolved the creeping sleep-problems of my OSX Wallstreet yet again.... "

(There was a news item and FAQ addition on a reader fix for the PB G3 wallstreet fans on during OS X sleep issue which linked to http://homepage.mac.com/juancabanela/WallStreetFix.html. That page was later updated to link to http://www.lycestra.com/darwincode/ also.)

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Reader Comments on another OS X DVD/DIVX player (VideoLan)
Last year I posted a note about VideoLan but there wasn't an installable version for OS X that I remember back then. In reply to the Mplayer news today (see below) here's a few reader mails about VideoLan for OS X:

    " Hi Mike,
    Try this program out:
    http://www.videolan.org/vlc/macosx.html

    It works really great on my iBook 500Mhz, especially playing DIVX movie, no more audio track fixing the DIVX movie before playing, and play smoothly on my iBook. It also support VCD, free, very nice.
    Gabe.
    [(Mike) I asked how well it played standard DVD movies and he replied:]
    Well, not as good as the Apple DVD Player on my iBook. "

Another reader wrote:

    " Mike,
    Not strictly a review of Mplayer but more of a heads up on a better product, VideoLAN http://www.videolan.org/vlc/
    I've not tried it in a RagePro equipped machine since I have none to test, but in playback on my G4 tower I've found consistently better video quality, a much more mature user interface and less bugs than with Mplayer. VideoLAN is also a port from Linux but uses a fully Cocoa GUI instead of a pseudo command line interface. It's fantastic for playing back DiVX encoded AVI files!
    Check it out!
    Cheers,
    Pete
    http://www.nekochan.net "
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First Reader Comments on Mplayer DVD Player For OS X
(from a reader email in reply to the earlier news item on this player)

    " my configuration:
    TiBook 400 / 512 ram / 48 gig / X 10.1.4 german latest ATI drivers
    mike, ... my experiences with mplayerosx are as follows:

    -installed fine
    -gui is next to horrible
    -loads movie fast
    -plays avi's with sound that quicktime only did after using divxdoctor
    -picture quality is not as good as quicktime player's
    -even when pausing/fast-winding the movie, it does not go out of sync with the audio.
    -even if it does, you can adjust the sync with + and - keys.
    -couldn't get it to use all of my screen (pbook g4): i have black bars at the sides.
    -behaves weird when trying to quit
    -crashes when trying to toggle fullscreen off (but then, this is a good and fast way of quitting the app. press 'f'.)

    more to come (i wish i had more time to watch movies aqt the mo)
    kai (from germany)"

Another reader wrote:

    " I downloaded and ran the program on various files. I was most interested in it's ability to play MPEG2 video from a file. It was able to play all the videos (MPEG2) that Quicktime couldn't, but the quality/performace was varied. The computer it was tested on is a Powermac G4 dual 450Mhz, 512MB ram, original video card, and MacOSX 10.1.4.

    Some MPEG2 played with sound, some with out, but what really annoyed me was that the video would play full-screen, but when I tried to switch out of full-screen mode it would crash. Some video looked okay (full motion, sound sync, and decent quality)-- I don't know why, and some would be in slow motion, no sound, and low frame rate. I don't have a DVD video at work, but I will try one later and let you know if you want.
    --Charlie"

If any other readers try the player I'd welcome Comments on performance and if it works with RageII/RagePro graphics chips or other unsupported video cards in OS X.

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Alternative (non-Apple) DVD Player For OS X
A reader sent a link to a page that notes there's an alternative DVD Player (Mplayer, based on a linux version) for OS X at http://www.fi.muni.cz/~xpridal/mplayerosx/. Here's a clip from that page:

    " What is MPlayerOSX Package?
    MPlayerOSX Package is an installation package (.pkg) for MacOSX. It contains MacOSX port of MPlayer (The Movie Player for Linux) and MPlayerOSXgui. After installation you can play almost all 3ivx, DivX 3,4,5 and other codecs files in the fullscreen mode with sound under MacOSX. Very nice antialiased text-based subtitles are also displayed."

I asked the reader if this player would run on Macs with 'unsupported' Graphics chips like the Beige G3's ATI RagePro/RageII (the Apple DVD player requires a Rage128 or better graphics chip). He didn't know the answer to this referring me to the player's author. If any readers try the player I'd welcome Comments on performance and if it works with RageII/RagePro graphics chips or other unsupported video cards in OS X.

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(Very) Limited Supply of OEM Mac GeForce4 Titanium cards for $399
(*Update:* By the end of the day they had sold out of the Geforce4 Ti cards and they were no longer listed on the linked page.)

A reader sent a note that PowerMax has a limited supply of "pulled" (from new G4s) Nvidia GeForce4Ti cards for $399. (Scroll down this page - as of 9AM Eastern time today they still listed "a few" but may sell out at any time.) They also have some OEM GeForce2MX cards for $149.
(For performance tests of the Mac GeForce4 Ti card, see my first tests article. Although there are no GF4 Ti specific drivers yet, I didn't see any of the problems some noted in apple's forums with the card - i.e. the DVD player worked fine, Quake3 ran fine (see performance tests), etc.)

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Another Reader's Workaround for Unsupported CDRW drives and Retrospect OS X
(Updated - added reader comments on this tip below)
Friday's news page had a reader's comments on a workaround that he noted required a large amount of free disk space (twice the actual size of the data being backed up - a big drawback). A reader replied to that post with another suggestion:

    " The back-up strategy for CD-RW drives not supported by Retrospect mentioned on 5/23/2002 requires disk space equal to twice the back-up size (large backup file, segmented back-up file). A strategy I have used in tha past that should work fine in os X that does not require additional space is to create a number of blank images in Disk copy equal to the size of the back-up medium (650MB). Retrospect then segments the backup across the images, which can then be written to CR-RW or CD-R media.
    Jim E. "

A reader replied with comments on the tip above:

    The alternative workaround that Mike posted to the main page works great! In Disk Copy you create however many CD images you will likely need (650 MB for 74 minute media, 700MB for 80 minute media). Disk Copy mounts them automatically. After that just tell Retrospect (or R.E.) for OS X to backup to removable media. It finds the mounted images just fine and spans the virtual volumes on its own. Be aware that Retrospect renames the mounted volumes and that even if you named the actual image files on your hard drive image1, image2, etc. - Retrospect overwrites them in whatever order it likes. You have to be careful to match up the actual image files to the new order Retrospect gives them or you can misname (misnumber) the CDs you burn after the backup session is complete."

Another reader wrote about an OS X backup guide mentioned previously here:

    A while back, I wrote a crappy PDF that explained how you could back up a Mac OS X disk with Disk Copy and Apple Software Restore. Soon after I wrote the PDF, I found out about a nasty disk image size limit ASR had, and quickly removed it [the PDF]. Well, I'm still getting e-mails about it, mostly from people hitting 404 errors when looking for it. So I did something about it: I made a new guide.

    It's not that great, but it's free. Someone might find it useful. Maybe. I don't know. It covers a lot more than just "do this, and this, and this to back up stuff". I try to explain why certain things are done certain ways.
    It's available for download at:
    www.mikey-san.net/mirth/trinkets/mac_os_x_backup_guide.pdf
    See also: http://www.xlr8yourmac.com/feedback/fwb_backup_os_x.html at the bottom.
    Mike Watson
    http://www.mikey-san.net/"

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Reader Comments on Virex 6 End-Of-Life Date
I've gotten two other reader mails on this issue of support/end of life, comments/download links for a 'supported' scan engine (until April 2003 he said) for v6, etc. (makes me glad I never bought Virex actually...)

    "Hi, The information about Virex 6.x definitions being discontinued is incorrect. NAI is no longer going to support the 4130 scan engine, however, the current DAT files for Virex 6.x include the 4160 scan engine. The 4160 scan engine will be supported until April 2003. The chart appears on the following page:
    http://www.mcafeeb2b.com/naicommon/download/eol.asp
    Furthermore, there is no end of life comment in the line for Virex for Mac OS 7,8,9, so it appears it will continue to be supported for some time yet.
    We verified this here at MIT last week - a similar report appeared on the Mac Resource Page, and it gave us a bit of a scare, because many people are not yet on Mac OS X. We called NAI, and they verified all they are desupporting is the 4130 scan engine, not Virex 6.x.
    New definitions are usually not posted until the 1st of each month, so it is not surprising that a new DAT is not available yet.
    Brian F. "

Another reader wrote:

    " http://estore.nai.com/asp_set/CalcPrice.asp?sPGroup=
    ZVM&sBUnit=TVD&Categ=B2B

    The Virex situation seems to be even worse... The only way I was able to find *any* option to purchase Virex 7 online, is from searching for Virex at the main NAI (parent company of McAfee) site. From here it takes you to a page where your only option seems to be to purchase *both Virex 6.1 and 7*! Also, the page only allows for multiple client purchases, 5 seems to be the smallest... The NAI/McAfee web site has to be the worst managed on the net... Their phone support isn't much better, many times I've given up trying to deal w/ them over the phone, as I've had their employees claim that they don't sell any Mac software!

    I've been using Virex since v4.7 (Datawatch - Orig Developers of Virex and Net Octopus) Since Dr. Solomon (Who purchased Datawatch) was purchased by NAI, things have only gone downhill... Our entire building of older Macs running MacOS 9.x will have very little option but to switch to Symantec's product (which has had stability problems on many of our configs we've tested in the past) My family will be in the same boat... Too bad, as Virex has always been the better app compared to Norton AV, IMHO.

    If there is a way to purchase *one* Virex 7 license (upgrade? EDU?), I may buy one for my TiBook running 10.1.4, if only to put off finding another option for a few months.
    (name withheld by request) "

(Original reader email dated the 26th, sent to NAI, but copied to me and many other mac sites. I don't use Virex personally, I use NAV.)

    "I have used Virex since version 5.9 as customer #642273 (initially with Dr. Solomon's), and also purchased your Virex Maintenance Plan.

    Yesterday, May 24, 2002, I looked for the June DAT for version 6.1 and found only the one for version 7. Version 7, as you know, requires OS 10 which my Mac will not run.

    Your end-of-life page is confusing, but sure enough, it indicates that Virex 6 will not be supported after May 31, 2002. That decision puts OS 9 users like me out in the cold.

    SINCE IT IS NOT YET MAY 31, the least NAI could have done would have been to post a June DAT for version 6 with a note in the ReadMe file that this would be the last one for us.

    Users who use the eUpdate function within Virex probably think you still have not released a June DAT....the message given is "the current definitions are up to date." It is only by going to your web site and then using the chat function or calling the company (all of which I did yesterday) that one learns that OS 9 users are now forced to purchase anti-virus software from other companies because NAI has abandoned us!

    Yesterday I ordered a competitive upgrade of Norton AntiVirus for Mac 8.0. Because of the Memorial Day holiday, my new software will not arrive until next week. According to MY calendar, May 31 is not until Friday. Since OS 9 users have been treated so poorly, it really would be nice if you would post a June DAT for version 6 instead of leaving us unprotected in this way.

    While I acknowledge that OS 10 is the way of the future, I would hope that other companies will not simply dump OS 9 users without more advance notice. And, I hope that you will consider honoring your May 31, 2002 date published in your end-of-life page and post a June DAT for version 6.1. That would give others who did not spend five hours yesterday chatting/talking with NAI to find another means of protecting their computers.
    Thurletta M. Brown-Gavins "

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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive/Cardreader Compatibility Database Updates
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 24 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 7,506 reports. Here's a summary listing of today's new reports. (Does not include updates to previous entries)

    CD-ROM Drive Reports:
  • IDE Sony CDU5221 (52x) in B&W G3 (OS 9.2)
    (noted problems booting if drive was connected)

    IDE CDRW Drive Reports:
  • Asus 24x10x40x in B&W G3 (OS X)
    (listed under 'other' brands - probelms noted with finder quits under 10.1.1)
  • LG GCE-8240B 24x10x40x in Beige G3 (OS X)
  • Memorex 32x12x40 in G4/AGP (OS X)
    (listed under 'other' brands, noted eject button issue - not in standard location apparently)
  • Philips 24x12x40x in Starmax (OS 9.1)
  • Sony CRX185A1 32x10x40x in B&W G3 (OS X) (used CD install guide here covers 8600/9600/Beige G3/B&W G3/G4s thru Digital audio)
  • Sony CRX175A1-C1 24x/10x/40x in G4/AGP (OS 9.1)

    Firewire CDRW Drive Reports:
  • CDREVO 32x10x40x used w/B&W G3 (OS 9.2)
    (listed under 'other' brands)
  • Plextor PX-W4012TA 40X12X40 (in FW case) used w/Beige G3 (OS X)
    (note conflict with 911 bridge/firmware in case)
  • Que 32x10x40x used w/Dual G4 (OS X)
  • Sony CRX175A2-C1 (CRX175E2) in FW case used w/PB G3 2000 (OS X)
    (problems noted)

    SCSI CDRW Drive Reports:
  • Lacie (Mashita 7502) 4x8x used w/G4 AGP (OS X)
  • Yamaha CRW2100SZ 16x10x40 in 6500 (OS 9.1)

    IDE Hard Drive Reports:
  • IBM Travelstar 32GB in PowerBook G3 2000 (OS X)
    (FYI illustrated HD install guide here)
  • Maxtor D540X 120GB in G4 Cube (OS X) [2 reports]
  • Maxtor 20GB in G4/AGP (OS X)
    (FYI - Illustrated guide to adding a 2nd HD here covers G4/AGP and B&W G3 rev 2s)
  • Maxtor D740X 80GB in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (AIO mac model - problems noted installing OS X)
  • Seagate ST340016A 40GB in iMac slot loading (OS 9.1)
  • Western Digital 80GB (spec.edition 8MB cache) in B&W G3 using IDE PCI card (OS X)
    [noted ok in OS 9, problems in OS X]
  • Western Digital WD600BBRTL 60GB in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
    (noted problems running as slave - may be a rev A Beige G3 that does not support slave drives)

    Firewire Hard Drive Reports:
  • IBM Travelstar 12GB in FW/USB case used w/G4 AGP (OS 9.2)
  • Lacie 80GB (7200 rpm) used w/iMac slot loading (OS X)

    USB Hard Drive Reports:
  • IBM Travelstar 12GB in FW/USB case used w/G4 AGP (OS 9.2)

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 12 new reports. (Total to date: 7,124). [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):

  • Other World Computing G4/450 in Beige G3 (rated 10)
  • Other World Computing G4/450 in B&W G3 (rated 10)
  • Powerlogix G3/400 in PowerCenter 150 (rated 1)
  • Sonnet G3/240 in 6100/60 (rated 10)
  • Sonnet G3/400 in 8600/300 (rated 7)
  • Sonnet G3/400 in 7300/180 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 G4/500 in B&W G3 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 G4/550 in G4/AGP (rated 9)
  • two B&W G3/400 OC reports
  • PowerBook G4/400 OC report
  • 6500/225 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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Reader Game Reviews Database Updated:
The Rate Your Mac Games database updates today included reviews of Red Faction, Deus Ex, Carmegeddon 1 and Tropico. Total Reviews (all titles): 863. To read game reviews use the search page.
If you've not already done so - Enter a Game review. (If your game title is not in the long listing, select "other game" and note the title in the comments)
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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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