News Archive for: 11/19/2004 Friday's News (later posted items first)
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Updated Info on Roxio Popcorn discount for Toast Owners
(Updated with more reader comments and info from Roxio regarding discounts for previously registered Toast owners)
A reader sent a note about the Roxio Popcorn $20 discount for Toast users mentioned in the first user report on Popcorn earlier today:

" After reading your blurb on Roxio's popcorn, I immediately went to purchase it for $30. ($49.95 w/o Toast discount.) The $20 rebate (discount) for Toast users works only if you haven't registered Toast already.
(the Toast discount link in the Roxio's Popcorn page goes to a product registration page, but see later mails below from previously registered Toast owners on getting the discount.-Mike)

So I called their sales number, 800-518-2432 to see what they could do. The sales rep took my order over the phone for $30 and even waived shipping. I asked him from where the product would be shipping and he said CA. I'm in VA. Sigh, there is always something. :)

I said I didn't want to wait a week to get it so we worked out another way. I ended up purchasing the product for the full $50 and I need to call the rep back in a hour and he will credit back $20.

I am really looking forward to popcorn because $30 is cheaper than everything else out there.
One more thing of note, it is a 127 MB download.
(Note: the popcorn software alone is only 10MB, the 127MB includes label making software. See updated roxio comments below-Mike)
Cheers, David "

Just after midnight Friday (appx 1AM) I received this mail from Roxio regarding previously registered Toast owner discounts:

" Mike,
Toast users who have already registered their product will be receiving the $29 (29.95) special offer by email early next week (to the email address they used when they registered).
Adam F.
Roxio
(I asked Adam about the download size (one reader noted 127MB above, a later report said 10MB)
Actually both are correct... :-)
There's a 10 MB version that only includes Popcorn software, and there's a 127 MB version that includes the label creation software and the Popcorn software.

The $29 (29.95) special is for the Popcorn software only, which shouldn't be an issue for any Toast 6 user, since it's the same label software that they already received when they purchased Toast.
The customer who bought the $49 downloadable and then got $20 off from the phone rep received the full 127 MB version, but normally Toast users will get the 10 MB.
Adam "

Several other previously registered Toast owners wrote they were able to get the discount using the currently online form:

(mail from 1:47AM Sat.)
"Mike, Contrary to one reader's report about not being able to get verification for registered users, I was able to log in and purchase Popcorn with the discount. They first asked me to register a product, so I entered the CD Key for my copy of Toast 6. When I entered it with my email address, it recognized me as having previously registered and asked for my login information. After that I was able to do an online purchase just fine.

The offer is only good for downloadable purchases, and the actual download was just a shade over 10 megabytes. (for the Popcorn software alone)

I haven't had time to test the program, but I also own DVD2oneX so I shall compare the two side by side and let you know the results.
Cheers.
Tony A.
TLC Graphics "

(mail from 9AM Sat.)
"Mike, The Popcorn page DOES allow existing owners of Toast to get the discount via the web. I simply registered my already registered copy of Toast. Their web site recognized that my copy was already registered and asked me to log in with my name and password. It thanked my for being a loyal customer and gave me the discounted price for download. It's not obvious that registering an already registered product would work, but it does.

I have only made only made one DVD since downloading Popcorn. It's works as advertised, compressing as needed based on your selected options and burning the final DVD sequentially.
Steve "

(mail from 9AM Sat.)
"Actually the first reader to report about getting Popcorn with the $20 dollar discount is wrong. I also had the same problem, but after some digging on the site, it automatically told me to login and then I was able to get the discount online and download it all within 10 mins. If you have created a user account, a must when you register, then all you have to do is log in and then you can buy Popcorn with $20 discount.
FYI. Long time reader, thanks for all the info.
-Kyle "

I've not tried Popcorn yet (and not sure I'll buy it actually), but welcome feedback from anyone else that's used it.

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First reader report on Roxio's Popcorn (DVD copy/compression utility)
(from a reader mail today)

"Re: Trying out Roxio's Popcorn application
Mike,
I presume you'll get a news release from Roxio about this. (see Roxio's Popcorn page-Mike) They just started selling an application called Popcorn that is for copying video DVDs either from a non-protected DVD, disc image or VIDEO_TS folder to single- or dual-layer media. It also offers compression options to fit a dual-layer video DVD onto single-layer media, similar to DVD2OneX. They are selling it for $49.95. There is a $20 discount for registered Toast owners. (See sidebar link on the Popcorn page for discount for Toast owners. It goes to a toast registration page that apparently is for new registrations only - but see later news item above for how previously registered Toast owners got the discount.-Mike)

I just tried it out and it retains existing chapter markers and gives the option to copy (and compress, if necessary) the entire DVD or just the main Title. If just the main title is selected there is another option to choose just the main sound track or all the sound tracks. Also, if just the main title is chosen there is no title menu. If a compression option is chosen Popcorn first writes a image file to the hard drive before burning the DVD. Toast's "Save as Disc Image" option also is present in Popcorn. My impression is that it is super easy to use.
Thomas "

If any other readers try Popcorn, let me know what you think of it.

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London MacExpo 2004 Photo Gallery
Apple's hotnews page links to two pages of photos from MacExpo 2004 in London. A reader from an italian mac site wrote he's posted more photos from the expo.
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15in PowerBook G4 AL Batteries for $79
(from site sponsor OWC)

" Apple PowerBook G4 Aluminum 15" 4400mAh 48.8 Watt-Hour Battery only $79.00
Normal 'blow-out' price is $109. The $79 price is valid while supplies last or until Monday (11/22/2004) when the price will revert back to $109.00. This is a great deal for a battery that, well, will never catch fire like some reportedly might have. A great spare - or better yet, the longer run time makes it a great main battery - keep your Apple battery for extra swap runtime.
Price is valid through 11:59:59PM Sunday. 3 Day Sale or while supplies last! This product is being discontinued and we'll only continue offering the higher capacity 4800mAh 53.3WH version that everyone wants. These actually were built in semi-error due to a mis-calc on their actual watt hour capacity, which had first thought to have been a good bit higher. :)

We also have the highest capacity batteries available for PowerBook G3s, PowerBook G4 Titanium, and a higher capacity AL 15 Battery here:
http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/powerbook/batteries/
And - same goes for iPod Batteries, longest lasting + good price too!
Best Regards,
Lawrence R. O'Connor
Other World Computing"

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More Feedback on Airport 4.1/Firmware Update (deleting printer tip or reflashing base)
I'm sorry it's taken so long for me to post mails from the last few days on Airport 4.1/base firmware updates, but I've updated the Feedback/Tips on Airport 4.1 Update/Base station firmware updates page to include more reports on previous tips to solve printing problems. So far most that had a printer problem that tried the tip to delete the printer/re-add it said that helped. Some others reflashed the base back to the previous version as a fix (but i don't know if they tried deleting the printer/adding it again first). The updated page includes notes/links to download the Airport Extreme 5.4 firmware update (for a reflash) and a guide from another reader on reflashing an Airport Express back to v6.0 (for those w/o access to a mac that was not updated to airport 4.1 to use its older airport admin to flash the base back.)
Also included are some other misc problem reports - some solved, others not.
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More AL Cinema Display owner reports (including some noting no problems)
(Updated again at 11PM)
Yesterday's news had more complaints from owners of 23in Cinema displays on color consistency problems as well as a report from a AL 20in Cinema display owner on some problems he'd seen like uneven backlighting. As with anything, you're 10x more likely to hear about problems than from those w/o problems so I asked for more feedback from AL display owners of any size. Here are more mails from owners of (Alum) Cinema Displays.

" Hi Mike,
I own a 23" display with no problems, yet...after two weeks of use. I kind of feel bad because I told these guys on the Apple forums to get a life. I told them I did my own investigating by visiting 3 Apple stores and a Fry's Electronics in the same week to see the big problem. I guess I'm the only guy on the planet who doesn't care about the slight "essence" of magenta in the highlights. By the way I did manage to see a few "good" 23's in my little shopping escapade.
As for the pink thing I did see some worse than others but then again I'd just calibrate the damn thing and move on with life. Then I was told to "try telling this to people in the graphics industry", funny thing, I DO WORK IN THE GRAPHICS INDUSTRY. I'm just too busy to worry about a little pink highlight in a monitor. I've worked with much worse monitors in my life. In my opinion this is the best display in the world. The 30" is nice too but that falls into a different category, it's a television! Keep up the great work,
Niko
And by the way, I'm running my display with my ancient G4/533(2001) until I get a new G5 in January (or whenever they announce the next crop). "

" Hi Mike,
I bought a 20" ACD in August at an Apple Store. I returned it twice after finding 1" long areas of dead/dimmed pixels. I insisted that I be able to view the 3rd sample before taking it home. It checked out perfect (using Dead Pixel Identifier), but 2 days later some dozen pixels had become stuck.

Hard to swallow these kinds of problems on a $1300 display - especially after shying away from Apple displays for the last 10 years after owning a 1710 (you remember the fiasco with those - mine was right up there with the worst).

I suppose 12 stuck pixels doesn't sound like a big deal, but I've never even seen a single stuck or dead pixel on any other LCD I've owned (Apple laptops, Samsung, Viewsonic, and Dell monitors).
-Al "

Apple's doc on pixel defects ( "About LCD display pixel anomalies") isn't very definitive as far as a specific number to qualify for a replacement. I've had very good luck with Powerbook displays (a PB G3 and 3 PB G4s over the years and none had any stuck/bad pixels). Even the original backlight on an old Powerbook G3 is still working after daily use for about 4 years now. (Of course now that I've said that it'll fail tomorrow...)

" I just picked up my new dual 2.5 G5 system and struggled with the idea of which monitor to purchase with the machine. Originally, I was planning to go with a 3rd party monitor, but decided to go "the whole nine yards" with an Apple AL 23" display.

After reading some of your reports, I'm wishing I had known this information beforehand. (I first posted the info here back on Oct. 21st and 3 times since then-Mike) I've performed the suggested grey and white screen tests as suggested and have found no pink cast. (At least not yet). But I do see a slight yellowish "dinge" color of the whites on the left 1" side of the screen. (Vertically) I'm still under 10.3.5 and I'm using a 6800 Ultra Card. Its not a horrible shift in brightness and color, but I suppose if I were a color expert or illustrator I'd be upset. Right now I'm just minorly annoyed. If it were to get larger, darker or affect more portions of the screen, I'd obviously recommend a new display.

What's upsetting about all of this is the reseller, MacMall, states that all Apple display products, no matter who sells them, are subject to a 15% restocking fee should I wish to return it. The dealer states that Apple is the one imposing this on the resellers. If I would have purchased a 3rd party display I could have returned it within 15 days no questions asked. (many dealers charge a restocking fee on any return of a product that's 'working' at least. I've seen some dealers state on LCD displays that there's no returns for defects unless more than 8 pixels are stuck/bad for instance.)

Ultimately, I'd have to say that I think its somewhat unrealistic to expect complete color accuracy and even backlight in any large flat pannel display. My viewsonic 19" VX900, which is no where near the bright white levels of the AL 23", also exhibits slight variations in the eveness of the backlite. (Usually around the edges) I've also seen, in the majority of flat pannels, that the outer edges of the screen are normally a bit darker than the center of the screen. Its entirely subjective I guess. If we compare this technology to the consumer market of LCD and plasma televisions, its no wonder manufactures are only warrantying the displays for 5-7 years. (Plasma's have a half-life and many TVs don't have more than a 1 year warranty, although many non-apple LCD displays have 3 year warranties.) This technology is still pretty infantile...but ultimately, except for obvious and extreme exceptions, do you think we're being unrealistic?
Brian P. "

I wouldn't say that LCD display technology was in its infancy (they've come a long way in brightness, response time, etc. over the years), but what's acceptable in quality/appearance (except in severe cases), can vary by the individual. The most common complaint seems to be the pink tint/color consistency issue. Pro graphics users would be more critical in general on color accuracy but I've not seen a sample of the problem in person to say if it would bother me personally. But considering the cost of the displays, I can understand any owner that sees the problem being upset.

" I have a 20 inch ACD that has been perfect.
-Terry T. "

" Hearing stories of flawed AL Cinema Displays makes me think I was lucky. It's always tough to get a feel for actual percentages when you read reports on the internet since only the affected raise their voices. Count me as one with a flawless 23" Al Cinema Display. I received it back in July. There are no dead pixels, no uneven lighting, and no discolorations.
This is the finest monitor on the planet and I relish every day I stare into its beautiful landscape. (Driving it with a DP 2.5GHz/2GB RAM/Dual 250GB HDs/nVidia 6800 Ultra)
-James "

" Hi Mike,
I recently purchased a Dual 2Ghz G5 with a 6800DDL, Bluetooth and a 20" LCD. I have had no issues with the LCD, nor have I had issues with the G5 being "unstable" or unable to open stuff in Mail.
The only thing I notice is that it is noticably louder than a G5 without the card (i was in a store today, and it's quieter)
I also picked up a MX1000 LaserMouse today, so i'll let you know how it goes! :)
Cheers, Stephen R. "

" G5 2.0 DP w/ 3gb of RAM, 23" Cinema Display (purchased in late October.)
AGP Cards: either nVidia G-Force FX5200 or ATI Radeon 9600 w/ 64mb for the G5, Resolution 1920 x 1200. Mac OS X 10.3.5 originally, upgraded to 10.3.6, Boot ROM revision 5.1.8f7

All three cables are connected between the monitor and computer. My USB keyboard is connected to the connection on the monitor. I calibrated the monitor using the Apple Display calibration panel, and I have a very slight pink cast... but I've always had a slight pink cast to all of my previous monitors since 1990. Though if I choose the Cinema HD Display color profile, the monitor appears whiter, i.e., less pink. I don't have the problems that others have reported (no edge discoloration, for example.) I'd turned off the side buttons that control brightness since they were easily activated by my grabbing the side of the monitor.
So, to summarize, my monitor thankfully appears to be fine.
Best regards, Ivor "

" Hey Mike,
Keep up the great work - I really enjoy the site. Just a quick note that my 20" alu display is flawless, with no dead pixels or other imperfections as noted on your site. Also, my firmware update (Dual 1.8) proceeded smoothly.
Hope this helps, Aaron "

" Hey Mike,
I myself have a 20 inch Alu display bought in August. No problems whatsoever with video, usb/firewire ports. It's a work of beauty. I have however posted 2 pics on my Homepage to illustrate a "tearing" problem with 23 inch Alu displays. It was sent to me by a fellow Mac user from the Discussion boards who does not know where to to go to get this problem fixed once and for all.
Here's the link: http://homepage.mac.com/mtl_cescop.
Have a great weekend, Frank "

Tearing can happen when the framerate exceeds the refresh rate of the display (for Apple LCDs like this, usually 60Hz) - often seen in games if Vsync is not enabled for instance. The images at that link show the DVD player remote so I'm assuming it's a moving being played but it would be good if there was more info there. Update - Frank replied to my comments:

" Hi Mike,
I'm following up on the email I sent you regarding the tearing issue. It seems the fellow who sent me the pics experiences the tearing not only with dvd playback but also with iMovie, Itunes visualizer,vlc and with different video cards. He wishes to remain anonymous but here is a thread over at Apple discussion indicating more than 1 user experiencing the problem
All the best, Frank "

"re: 20inch alum cinema display
mike,
saw your posts regarding the monitors. i bought one this summer and recently noticed a single pixel column on the left side of my monitor has gone yellow. it is barely noticeable most of the time, but it is definitely there. i haven't addressed it with the apple store yet, but i am planning on it.
cheers, chris "

" My 20 incher is perfect, no problems whatever.
-Ken "

" A couple months ago I bought a 20" AL. The color was perfect but it had a slightly uneven backlight (bright band down left side, dark vertical band just left of center). I waited the two-week return period to see if it improved, but it didn't. So I took it back to the Apple Store and had them look at it. The genius said he couldn't see anything wrong. Granted, under the store's ultra bright lights and with the brightness cranked, the uneven backlight gets hard to see. But I was already expecting the unit to still be considered within specs, so I knew they wouldn't take it as a faulty return. I also looked at the 20" they had on display, and sure enough, it had the same problem, so I realized it was a design flaw, not a manufacturing defect. I paid the restocking fee, took my refund and got outta there.

The thing that really depressed me was that the 23" on display had the pink hue. I asked him about it, and he said it was due to people messing with it all day. I almost referred him to the Apple Support Forums, but I figured he knew he was lying. I've also seen a pink 23" displayed at Frys. This is unbelievable. Just how extensive is Apple's denial?
-BTV "

" Hi Mike,
I have the same color issues (yellow at edges, pink on left side in for about 4 inches) as others with my 23" Aluminum ACD. It has been in once already for repair via AppleCare, and came back saying nothing was wrong with it. I still have an active AppleCare case number, and am waiting until I have more confidence that Apple is taking these complaints seriously and correcting the problem before sending it back again.

The 10.3.6 update did adjust the default calibration of the display away from having a pink tint over the entire screen, but has not corrected the side-specific color problems reported. It, to my eye, is definitely a hardware defect. I'm hoping Apple corrects this problem sooner rather than later -- right now I wouldn't recommend my experience with it to others.
Regards, Kevin "

If any owners of (Alum) 20in, 23in or 30in displays have seen problems (or not), let me know the specifics. Thanks.

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OWC sale on 256MB Dimms for Beige G3/AIO/Blue G3/Yikes
(from site sponsor OWC)

"256MB SDRam Deal
It's once again about as economical as it ever has been to upgrade a PowerMac G3 Beige Desktop/Mini-Tower/All-in-One, PowerMac G3 Blue&White, or PowerMac G4 'Yikes' PCI Model Macintosh! We've done some huge quantity purchasing to bring pricing now as low as $26.95 for a 256MB! Perfect time for feeding OS X the memory it needs.

Memory for all Apple Macs is also available online here:
http://eshop.macsales.com/shop/memory/
$5 2nd Day Air available for most any order, Free UPS Ground available on orders over $149.00.
Best Regards,
Lawrence R. O'Connor
Other World Computing"

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Interview w/Alsoft on status of PlusOptimizer for OS X
Erik wrote he's posted an inteview with Alsoft on the status of PlusOptimizer for Mac OS X.
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Thread on PowerBook G4 buzzing noise/disabling NAP Mode
(from a reader mail - I've not noticed this on a previous rev AL PB G4/17in)

" Hello. Thanks for your ongoing reports about the strange noise in the G5s. (he's referring to the older page here on G5 Power Supply Chirping/Squealing noises, common on early G5s at least and usually solved by disabling NAP mode-Mike)
I wanted to add, however, that the current PowerBook G4's share the same problem. They have a buzzing noise that, just like the G5s, is present if NAP is turned on. This thread on the Apple discussion forums has some more info. There are several other threads with similar topics....

The "disable NAP" trick works as described, although on a PowerBook I am afraid that heat and such could be quite high, so I plan on only using it to show the repair specialist.
Thanks, John R "

As mentioned on the linked G5 page, Apple does not recommend disabling NAP mode.

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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 Thursday, entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 9,661. Here's a summary of the report added today (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Other World Computing G4/1.33GHz (at 1.4GHz) in (digital audio) G4/AGP (rated 10)
    (report on their new model of upgrade w/larger heatsink, notes on switch settings, etc.)

    (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 3 new reports added this morning. (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 13,879 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-108 in iMac G4 (OS X)
    (using Patchburn 1.1 for 10.2.8 iApps burn support. iMac G4 15in take-apart article here)
  • IDE Pioneer DVR-108 in iMac G4 (OS X 10.3)
    (using Patchburn 3 for iApps burn support.)

    Hard Drives:
  • Firewire Lacie "BiggerDisk" 1TB used w/(MDD) Dual G4 DDR (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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