News Archive for: 11/18/2004 Thursday's News (later posted items first)
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iPod Updater 2004-11-15/iPod Software 3.0.2
Appeared in Software Update tonight (I don't own any click wheel iPods so nothing new for my older iPod). Here's the info from the SU window:

" iPod Updater 2004-11-15 includes iPod mini Software 1.2 for iPod mini and iPod software 3.0.2. for iPods with a Click Wheel. iPod Updater 2004-11-15 contains the same software versions as iPod Updater 2004-10-20 for all other iPod models.

New features of iPod mini Software 1.2:
  • Compatibility with iTunes 4.7 and iTunes Music Store
  • Shuffle and play song library with one click (using the Shuffle Songs item in the main menu)
  • Create multiple On-The-Go playlists
  • Delete songs from On-The-Go playlists
  • Select reading playback speed for audiobooks
  • Hear Click Wheel clicker through headphones
  • Sync and go with improved disconnect performance

    New features of iPod Software 3.0.2 provides:
  • Compatibility with iTunes 4.7 and iTunes Music Store
  • Improved USB 2.0 connectivity

    For more information about iPod, go to http://www.apple.com/support/ipod. "
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    Mac Spiderman 2 demo download (no .mac required)
    MU lists a Demo of Spider-Man 2 1.0 (172.4MB) available to the public, not just .Mac users. (Apple posted the demo and a discount on the full game for .Mac users listed in the Sept. 15th news page.) Thanks to Extremesims.com for the mirror. Requirements listed there are (G3 or better) 700MHz+ CPU, Mac OS X 10.2.8 or later, 3D graphics card. Aspyr also has a product page on the full version.
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    PR on Newer Tech Hi-Capacity battery for PB G4 AL 15in
    Clip from Curtis Gasser's email press release (too long to post in full here)

    " OWC and NewerTech have announced the availability of the NuPower AL15 high-capacity replacement battery for the 15-inch Aluminum G4 PowerBook. After a few months of just trying to keep them on the shelves, inventory is now to the point where the official announcement can be made....It's only now, three months after we first began shipping, that our supply is ramped up to the point where we can let the 'rest of world' know about this great product...
    The 53.3 watt-hour NuPower AL15 battery is available immediately for $129.99, and offers the longest run-time of any battery currently on the market for Aluminum G4 PowerBook models 1.0-Gigahertz (GHz), 1.25GHz, 1.33GHz and 1.5GHz.
    For more information or to order, please visit www.newertech.com/batteries or e-mail sales@macsales.com. "
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    Cinema (Alum) 20in Display owner comments (in reply to 23in owner complaints)
    In reply to an earlier post on more 23in AL Cinema display owner problems earlier today (below), a 20in Display owner wrote:

    " Mike, I am the owner of a 20" Aluminum display and confirm that the issues described by others with their 23" are also present on the 20" (except for the pink coloration).
    I bought my monitor in June and have had the uneven backlight, yellow left edge and color discoloration issues since the beginning. I waited until October for things to settle down, thinking that my monitor may just have been a bad batch, and then brought it for testing at an Apple Store on October 26. The genius didn't seem to know about the uneven backlight or color discoloration issue (the genius did know about the pink problem with the 23" but didn't want to talk about it).

    My monitor was sent for repair to a third party company and came back 3 weeks later with a note saying that they didn't see anything wrong with it so didn't repair anything. The monitor was all dusty with a dead spider on the back. I got it replaced with a new monitor at the Apple Store. I've been using the new monitor for 2 days and I can confirm that it also has the same issues, at the exact same places on the screen (left edge discoloration, unven backlight on left side and both right corners).
    Seeing how consistent these problems are with the 2 monitors I've owned leads me to think that it's not a bad batch problem but rather a serious problem with the production of these monitors (at least for the 20" and 23", I didn't have a chance to play a lot with a 30").
    Olivier B. "

    The 23in AL Cinema Display owner that wrote the long post earlier today (below) replied to my comments earlier today asking if 20in or 30in display owners had seen the same problems:

    " Thank you for your response. As far as I know, most of the issues are exclusive to the 23" units. I have seen several 20" ACDs and they look fine. Also, several people of whom I am personally aware have "downgraded" to the 20" units after much frustration with the 23"ers and, other than the reduced "real estate, they are very happy with them. I have no first hand experience with the 30s but I have seen (nor heard) very little in the way of complaint.
    -David D. "

    If any owners of (Alum) 20in or 30in displays have seen problems (or not), let me know the specifics. Thanks.

    BTW - I've updated the earlier news item below on G5 firmware update 5.1.8f7 feedback with more reports.

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    G5 (June 2004) Firmware Update 5.1.8f7 feedback/download page
    (updated at 3:20PM ET)
    Last night's news page had a note on the firmware update for 2004 G5s (not 2003 models) available via software update. Ross sent a link to an Apple page at http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/powermacg5june2004firmwareupdate.html that says its for improved system stability. (Also added to the big page on G5 updates/tech info/compatibility) Here's a few of the mails I've received last night, all from 2004 model Dual G5 owners. (No single G5 owners have written so far if it applies to their systems.)

    " I'm running a Dual 2.5 G5 with 2.5gb RAM (2 gigs of it 3rd party) & a 6800 on 10.3.6. I had been having a kernel panic a day, constant Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop/AfterEffects/Final Cut Pro/EVERYTHING crashes. Even Safari would randomly die after having sat idle for a couple hours. This was after a wipe & clean install of all programs. I could only have one or two programs open at a time or else all hell would break lose.
    This morning I saw the firmware update note on your site and skeptically installed it. So far after a half a day's usage not a single program has crashed on me. As I type this I'm rendering out from AfterEffects and Final Cut Pro at the same time with no problems. I have a feeling your guess on memory timing issues is right, since it really only happens as more and more stuff gets chucked into RAM.
    BTW, any word from Apple on 10.3.5/6 Panther discs for us 6800 owners?
    (in regards to the kernel panics w/6800 card if booted from other than a 10.3.5 system that makes G5 owners with pre-10.3.5 system restore discs unable to use them. the Apple support guy I spoke to never called back to date. See the 6800 feedback/tips page for previous tips on making your own updated discs.-Mike)
    Thanks! Jim M. "

    " I can't say that it fixes any problems, as I wasn't having any. The update installed smoothly, and everything is working fine, though.
    Dean S.
    Dual 2GHz G5 (fall 2004 vintage). System Profiler reports it as "PowerPC G5 (2.2)" "

    Earlier reports from this morning follow:

    " Mike, after the last security update to 10.3.6, Mail.app would crash when opening any email message containing jpegs (and possibly other attachments, not 100% sure) on my Dual 2.5 G5. This crash occurred with the same instruction every time according to crashreporter logs. This did not resolve despite the usual trouble shooting (repair permissions, check disks, etc, etc) Additionally, Safari started crashing, albeit less predictably, which it had never done before (again, same code crashed it). I had gone to using Entourage (yuck) and Firefox (even less compatible with the rest of the world than Safari). I was literally on the verge of reinstalling my system (just did the mega backup) when this update appeared. Before starting again from scratch, I threw the usual "early update caution" to the wind and installed the update.

    With the 5.1.8f7 update applied, the problems with Mail.app resolved completely and Safari has yet to crash. These problems have only occurred only on my Dual 2.5, neither of our Powerbooks were affected.
    -Jeff W."

    I'd normally consider those problems software related assuming installed RAM is OK and there's not some suspect hardware present. (But maybe the update changed something like memory timing? But if that was the problem then there should more than just Mail and Safari problems.) (Update - a PB G4 owner said he'd seen the same problems with Mail. I use entourage X, not mail so I can't comment on this but odd Jeff noted the update helped - let's see if it does long-term.)
    If any other G5 owner finds the update helps, let me know the details.

    " Software Update downloaded the updater for my Dual 2.0 GHz (2004) and the update applied successfully. I have no idea what's changed, but so far so good (all 4.5 gigs of RAM are still recognized, so that's a plus, at least).
    -frank "

    Some single G5 owners reported some RAM was not recognized after the first uniprocessor G5 firmware update earlier this year (that was to address sleep problems with those systems after the 10.3.5 update - apple released a revised firmware version shortly thereafter).

    " my dual processor 2.5 Ghz Mac had the firmware update show up in software update... It downloaded and flashed successfully too. Here's a screenshot showing the revised firmware version. The note in software update just indicated:
    "This firmware update improves system stability for your Power Mac G5 (June 2004) systems."
    Not too informative I'm afraid.
    Scott "

    I asked Scott (and others that wrote) if they had seen any 'stability' problems previously.

    " Hi Mike, I have a 2004 G5 dual 2GHz G5.
    I ran Software Update and the new flasher 5.1.8f7 appeared. I ran the script and flashed my G5 and so far no problems.
    Mike
    Kyoto, Japan
    (I asked if he had any problems previously)
    No but maybe my imagination but the fans seemed a little busier tonight playing Civilization III (rare relaxation). I have had the processor set to "automatic". (vs highest performance)
    Nothing unusual to report, every app working as usual. Time will tell. "

    " I can confirm that the Firmware upgrade is out and available via Software Update. I have a Rev B DP 1.8GHz ( September 2004).
    Mark B.
    (he later wrote)
    Yes, I did apply last night. I honestly havent had a lot of problems with my G5. No fan issues,etc. The response seemed a bit peppier after the firmware upgrade.
    Only app that can crash the whole system has been Call of Duty, which does it every once in a while."

    If any 2004 G5 owners that applied this update finds it fixes a problem they had previously (stability or otherwise), let me know. Thanks.

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    Apple/Pioneer DVR-106 'SuperDrive' w/free iLife 2003
    (from site sponsor OWC)

    " DVR-106 Apple Rom/Logo $65.99
    Apple Pioneer DVR-106 'SuperDrive' DVDR/RW, CD-R/RW WITH APPLE LOGO - These are Brand New drives that were pulled, unused, from PowerMac G4s. A 90 Day OWC Warranty applies. Coupon Code 'LIFEDEAL' will get Apple's iLife 2003 added with the drive for no additional cost - limit one free iLife per order.

    We also have the same thing - Apple p/n labeled & same Apple Rom, but Apple Logo removed for $75.99. These are brand new, not pulls - and have a 1yr OWC Warranty. Coupon Code 'LIFEDEAL' also gets a free copy of Apple iLife 2003 with this drive purchased bare
    Or as part of a OWC Superdrive Value Bundle
    Only one coupon discount/free item per order. Free Freight on orders $149.00 and higher, 2nd Day only $5 available for orders to anywhere in the US.
    Best Regards,
    Lawrence R. O'Connor
    Other World Computing"

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    More on Aluminum 23in Cinema Display color consistency problems
    Last month I received several owner complaints (often referring to apple forum threads on the problem) of color consistency problems some owners of Apple 23in Cinema Displays were seeing and linked to an article on the problem at http://dreamlight.com/insights/bugs/hd23.html. Another reader earlier this month mentioned he had seen the problem with 2 samples:

    " Mike....
    This problem is weird because it gets worse with time....
    I bought two 23" when they came out . After a week, one started the pink problem. the other one stayed perfect.
    A month later, they both have the same pink problem. I've had to recalibrate to fix the problem many times. It's all over the Apple discussion site and there's no official word on this (yet). I'm just waiting for a new production batch to try and replace mine...
    regards, Chris "

    Yesterday another owner wrote about the problem:

    " I am the owner of one of the new Apple 23" Cinema Displays. I purchased this $2,000 piece of hardware based almost solely on the basis of the information contained in Apple's Technology Overview published on their web site:
    http://images.apple.com/displays/pdf/Displays_TO_06282004.pdf

    It is apparent to even the most casual observer that the 23" displays do not measure up to the high standards established by this document. The backlighting is uneven in degrees that vary from slight banding to extreme "striped" effects. The edges of the displays exhibit "dingy" bands of discoloration that have the effect of making the edges of the screen seem dirty. These discolored edge "bands" vary in width from .5 to 1.5 inches and appear more prominent on the left edge. The displays also exhibit a strong magenta "overtone" that, in many cases cannot be completely removed by color calibration and that often "re-emerges" even after being "calibrated" out. In addition to these issues, a number of users have reported having various problems related to the USB and FW connections.

    These flaws are not anomalous. The internet is rife with reports from buyers who are seeing one or more of these conditions on their new displays and Apple's own online support forums are aflame with protests.

    Nevertheless, Apple has remained frustratingly silent on these issues, leaving concerned buyers to wonder if they are going to be "left holding the bag". Complaints are being deleted on an almost daily basis from Apple's discussion forums as being "off topic". (has anyone else seen their thread deleted?-Mike) This fact makes it glaringly obvious that Apple has heard these complaints but has chosen to adopt a "head in the sand" position.

    I am aware that Apple has recently had to deal with a number of quality control issues, most notably the iBook logic board and Power Book battery problems. I am also aware of the difficulty and extra costs that these issues create for Apple. I and many others have expressed a willingness to "bide our time" and allow Apple to develop a solution. However, Apple's complete lack of acknowledgment of the problems with the 23" ACDs over close to four months since the introduction of the new displays has many of us feeling unusually frustrated.
    David D. "

    William, a 23in display owner that originally thought his was OK (but later saw the problem) also wrote yesterday with a link to an article at theinquirer.net on the subject.
    I've not had any mails from Apple 20in or 30in Cinema display owners about this problem in the past (unless I missed them in my overloaded inbox, that's possible) and a 30in display owner's mini-review last month didn't mention any problems like this.
    (update - see the later news item above for 20in owner reports.)

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    Bias Peak upgrade offers for Peak Express owners
    Bias sent an email yesterday with a list of discounted upgrades (up to 50% off on some packages) for owners of Peak Express that expires on Nov. 30th, 2004. See http://www.bias-inc.com/special/pEx-F54-112004/ for details on upgrades to Peak 4.1 (pro), Peak DV and others.
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    Updates to several UT2004 Mods
    Ken wrote last night there are updates to UT2K4 CarBall (v2.2), UT2004 DeathBall (v2.3) and UT2004 AirBuccaneers (v1.5). He said he's using them on a PC and I've not tried them on Mac UT2004. (The game of life currently is taking all my free time unfortunately.)
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    Other Net News
    .
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    Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
    The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 1 new report this morning (entries from Wednesday, entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 9,660. Here's a summary of the report added today (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

    • Fastmac G4/550 in (pismo) Powerbook G3 2000 (rated 9)
      (listed under "other" brand)

      (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 2 new reports and 1 update added this morning. (Entries from Wednesday, 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 13,876 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:
    • Firewire (cased) LG GSA-4120B used w/eMac (OS X 10.3)
      (using Patchburn 3 for iApps burn support.)
    • IDE NEC ND-3500AG in iMac G4 (OS X 10.3)
      (using Patchburn 3 for iApps burn support. iMac G4 take-apart article here)

      Hard Drives:
    • Updated report from yesterday on an IDE to SerialATA adapted (sonnet adapter) Maxtor drive in a G5 tower with more info - he noted cloning his 10.3.6 OS from the original internal drive solved the sleep problems he was having with the adapted drive previously)

    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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