News Archive for: 11/5/2004 Friday's News
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OS X 10.3.6 Update is out
After a heads-up from readers (thanks Rob and Michael). checking software update shows 10.3.6 is available now. Here's a clip from the SU info:

" The 10.3.6 Update delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for Mac OS X v10.3 "Panther" and is recommended for all users.

Key enhancements include:

  • improved file sharing for Mac (AFP), UNIX (NFS) and PC (SMB/CIFS) networks
  • more reliable network automounts and launch of network applications
  • improved OpenGL technology and updated ATI and NVIDIA graphic drivers
  • additional FireWire audio and USB device compatibility
  • updated Calculator, DVD Player, Image Capture, and Safari applications
  • improved compatibility for third party applications
  • previous standalone security updates

    For detailed information on this Update, please visit this website: http://www.info.apple.com/kbnum/n300080
    For detailed information on Security Updates, please visit this website: http://www.info.apple.com/kbnum/n61798 "

  • I welcome reader feedback on the 10.3.6 update including confirmation that the updated Nvidia drivers fix issues like very slow Homeworld 2 performance w/FX5200 graphics cards/onboard video and any before/after performance tests. (I'll be retesting all the apps/games, etc. used in my 6800 Ultra review this weekend for an update to that review.)
    Please include your system details in reports - thanks!
    Update - I've created a page with Reader Reports/Tips on OS X 10.3.6 Update.

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    DVD Studio Pro 3.0.2 Update
    DVD Studio Pro 3.0.2 also showed up in Software Updates tonight - the September 22nd date at the bottom of the Software Update window info threw me at first, but apparently it is new today:

    " What's New in DVD Studio Pro 3.0.2
    The DVD Studio Pro 3.0.2 update is recommended for all users of DVD Studio Pro 3. In addition to improving general stability, this update provides additional compatibility for double-layer media devices on supported systems.

    For more information about DVD Studio Pro 3.0.2 and system requirements for double-layer media support, refer to the article at http://www.info.apple.com/kbnum/n93962.
    September 22, 2004
    UP01068 "

    The Apple kbase doc on DVD SP 3.0.2 changes mentions Dual Layer burn support for that version when used with 10.3.6 or later and the latest firmware for Dual Layer drives but does not mention any specific models.
    If any Dual Layer burner owner with DVD Studio Pro 3.0.2 update (or otherwise) tests for this let me know. (Note drive model in reports. thanks)
    If you were using Patchburn 3 for iApps drive support in 10.3.5, to test if the drive is natively supported in 10.3.6, remove the patchburn 3 installed profile (in /Library/DiscRecording/DeviceProfiles/ folder) which could prevent an ASP report of native support, but for DVR-108 owners that did not help.)

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    Bug in ATI Displays 4.4.1 Update (affects oem/onboard Radeon Macs)
    (Update) On Nov. 9th, ATI posted the promised ATI Displays 4.4.2 that fixes the bug in v4.4.1 mentioned below. (Here's a clip from the 4.4.2 release notes.)

      Newest changes in this version
    • Fixed ATI Monitor in ATI Displays 4.4.1 where it didn't properly intialize with OEM products.
    • Fixed Mac2TV detection for Apple RADEON 9600 and 9800 models when used with Apple G5 TV adapter

    (original 11/5 news item follows on the v4.4.1 bug)
    Last night's news page had a link to the ATI Displays 4.4.1 update. I just got back in to find a mail from Bruno of ATI on a bug in v4.4.1 as well as some mails from readers verifying the problem with onboard Radeon chip 3D/GL overrides support in 4.4.1.

    "re: ATI Displays 4.4.1
    Hey Mike...
    The new release breaks 3D overrides on some OEM configurations - portables, emacs, etc.. The problem was a simple one and has already been fixed. A newer update (4.4.2) will be uploaded to the web soon. So users with OEM configurations should just avoid 4.4.1 if they haven't already installed it.

    The installer for 4.4 should be able to overwrite 4.4.1 if anyone needs to revert to get their overrides working again.
    Sorry for the inconvenience.
    Bruno (ATI) "

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    Tip from the VLC Team for update performance problems
    (from a reader mail, in reply to some previous reader reports on performance problems with the latest update)

    " Just a simple tip that the vlc team gave me when I had similar problems with previous versions:

    Quit VLC, and trash the prefs files :
    ~/Library/Preferences/org.videolan.vlc.plist
    ~/Library/Preferences/VLC/
    It worked for me like a charm ;-)
    -Nicolas B.

    I had guessed it may have been a prefs file issue from the previous reports.

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    OWC SuperDrive, CDRW+DVD Drive Specials/price drops
    (from site sponsor OWC)

    "New lower prices on Optical Drive Specials from OWC:
    Apple Genuine SuperDrive Pioneer DVR-106 4X DVD-/+R&RW, up to 16X CD-R/RW was $79.99, now $75.99! Also - our superdrive bundles with the DVR-106 start from just $79.99!!! OWC 1yr Warranty included.
    SPECIAL EXTERNAL DEAL: Make your own EXTERNAL Apple DVR-106, purchase this OWC FireWire Enclosure for $69.95 and checkout with coupon code: FIREDUP to get $34.95 off, reducing the FireWire enclosure price to just $35.00!
    This coupon code also ADDs the front Bezel and Button to the Apple DVR-106 drive which is not otherwise needed for PowerMac G4/eMac G4/iMac G4 internal installations. One Coupon Discount per One customer Per Order. 'FIREDUP' applies to any of our Apple DVR-106 Bundles or that drive alone.

    Also, price reduction on:
    Apple Genuine 32x10x40x12x CD-R/RW + DVD-Rom Combo Drive, brand new with 1yr OWC Warranty - was $45.99, now $39.99

    And, limited supply remaining of Apple Genuine DVR-105 4X DVD-R/RW, CDRW Superdrives at $59.95.

    Best Regards,
    Lawrence R. O'Connor
    Other World Computing"

    NOTE: I've updated the earlier post on $99 OEM (G5 model) 9600 Pro cards to include info from the FAQ's video cards section on mods to the card to run in a 4x AGP slot mac. (several people wrote that had not read that info when first posted here long ago - always good to check the FAQ first.)

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    MacUpdate Developer Tools Section
    Joel of Macupdate wrote to announce the new MacUpdate Developer Tools section. New developer accounts are currently free he said and has features like Download History, Comments Manager and Custom Polls.
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    $99 OEM ATI Radeon 9600 AGP Cards
    9600 4x AGP Note: Several readers missed the past notes/links/posts on mods to the OEM 9600 card to run in a -4x AGP- Slot mac. The info is still linked in the FAQ's Video cards section (the "Q: Can I use a OEM Mac 9600 Pro card in anything but a G5 tower?") which links to a reader's article on the mod to run in 4x AGP slot Macs. 2x AGP Macs (sawtooth, gigabit ethernet models) can't use the card even with the mod due to the AGP slot voltage difference and most readers that tried the mod had a MDD or QS Mac, but I've not kept up on every report on this mod to see if any Digital Audio owners had tried it. (It's also a 4x AGP slot Mac.)
    (earlier post from site sponsor OWC)

    " We just got in a good supply of Radeon 9600 Apple AGP Video Cards with 64MB Vram ($99). These cards are BRAND NEW and covered by a 1yr OWC Warranty. A killer deal to upgrade from the Nvidia 5200 video or, for the more adventurous, a great deal for a Quicksilver 2002 or Mirrored Drive Door G4 for someone willing to void warranty and make the modification.
    Best Regards,
    Lawrence R. O'Connor
    Other World Computing"
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    Another report on MacAlly FW+USB Hub (Cube and G5 tower user)
    The previous 2 news pages had iMac G5 owner reports on a burned out MacAlly FW+USB hubs, similar to the previous reports here from G5 Tower owners on that Hub model. (See the G5 Firewire/USB reports page for copies of all those reports and info/links to vendor pages on the problem.)
    Yesterday a reader sent comments on the MacAlly FW+USB Hub he used with a G4 Cube and a G5 Tower:

    " I had trouble with the Macally firewire/USB combo hub with my Cube. The first one I owned, I used the external power supply and had similar melting experiences to those you've reported. (as I mentioned in earlier reports - some other macs have 24-25V FW bus power specs and the sawtooth model dev docs note 30V FW bus power, so this problem can happen even with pre-G5 macs although Macally and dlink both mention G5s in their pages on the compat. problem. Dlink specifically mentions the fw bus voltage-Mike)
    I did find with the replacement unit that the first time I plugged it in with the external power supply, I smelled burning plastic. I unplugged it at once, and was able to get it before any permanent damage had happened.

    I now use it with my G5, but NOT with the external power supply, and all has worked well.
    Mike D. "

    I asked him what the serial number of the Hub he has was just for the record (as the question of later S/Ns having the problem came up previously.) Personally I would not recommend using this hub (with any mac of mine) but if anyone else with a new one finds using it with a G5 without the external P.S. avoids the problem, let me know (include the serial number of the Hub in reports -thanks).

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    More Feedback on VLC 0.8.0 performance
    Yesterday's news had a reader report on poor performnce w/VLC 0.8.0 (the most recent update). Here's other reader replies to that post

    " In reply to the reader report of slowness in VLC 0.8.0.
    I've had the exact same symptom (very slow load time, report that the computer is too slow, then normal playback afterwards) every since upgrading to 0.7.2 on my Powerbook g4 667, OS 10.3.5. It makes me curious if it might be some sort of issue with upgrading from a previous version or something.
    -Mike F. "

    " Hi Mike, I've got an iBook G4 with 800 MHz and also have performance issues especially when playing back divx movies.
    Often in the first seconds there is only a black screen and vlc tells you that your computer may be too slow.
    By the time I'm writing this i've tested several movies, but now none of them seems to drop frames at the begining of the movie. Strange,
    Patrick "

    This reader said he's not seen any problems:

    " ...regarding the VLC 0.80 updater I have no problems at all. I'd say there was some permissions issue maybe something needs a Diskwarrior-ing or there is some bad hardware even. In any event it's isolated-and not across the board.
    Regards, Chris "

    I wondered if maybe some prefs file issue (or due to some owner's other installed software, etc.), since it does not appear to be a 100% common complaint.

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    Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
    The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 2 new reports this morning (entries from Thursday-Friday 7AM ET, entries later today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 9,639. Here's a summary of the reports added today (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

    • Daystar G4/550 in (pismo) Powerbook G3 2000 (rated 10)
    • Sonnet G4 1GHz in B&W G3 (rated 9)
      (For a comprehensive comparison of the fastest CPU ZIF upgrades for Yikes G4/B&W G3/Beige G3s with apps tests, game tests, install info, benchmarks, etc. see the review of G3 1GHz/1.1GHz vs G4/1GHz, G4/800MHz and G4/550MHz CPU ZIF Upgrades here.)

      (Full reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades compared to stock CPUs, including real world apps/game tests, install info, etc. are linked at 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 7 new reports added today. (Entries from Thursday, entries today are added the next newsday morning.) 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 13,826 reports. (searching by drive type/brand, mac model etc. listed below will show the full reports, most recent first - does not include updates to previous reports)

      DVD+R/RW + DVD-R/RW Drives:
    • IDE Pioneer DVR-107XLA (retail DVR-107D) in G4/AGP (OS X 10.3)
      (native burn support for the 107D in 10.3.3 and later. Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers G4 towers up to the Digital Audio Model, Beige G3 MT and B&W G3 Macs)

      CDRW Drives:
    • USB Iomega ZIPCD650USB used w/B&W G3 (OS X)
      (didn't note drive speed rating but with usb 1.1 ports real world rates would typically be limited to 4x max)

      Combo DVD-CDR Drives:
    • IDE Toshiba SD-R2512 (24x24x24x +8x DVD-ROM) in iBook 2002 (OS X 10.3) (using Patchburn 3 for OS X iApps burn support. )

      DVD-ROM Drives:
    • IDE Matshita SR8583 in Beige G3 (OS X)
      (Illustrated CD drive install guide here covers Beige G3 MT model)

      Hard Drives:
    • IDE Hitachi Travelstar 7K60/7200rpm 60GB in (12in) Powerbook G4 (OS X 10.3)
    • IDE Hitachi Travelstar 7K60/7200rpm 60GB in (Ti) Powerbook G4 (OS X 10.3)
    • IDE Hitachi Travelstar 7K60/7200rpm 60GB in Powerbook G4 (OS X 10.3)
      (Reader FYI - PowerBook G4 Ti 15in. LCD illustrated Hard Drive install guide here
      PB G4 15in (Aluminum) Disassembly guide.
      Powerbook G4 12in LCD illustrated Hard Drive install guide here)

    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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