News Archive for Tuesday Nov. 24, 2009     Goto Current News Page

Macs/Mods | CPU Upgrades | Video | Storage | Audio/Home Theater | Misc/OS/Network

HandBrake 0.9.4: Released (32-bit/64-bit)
See notes on the Handbrake homepage for details. The downloads page has PPC Mac and 32bit/64bit Intel CPU Mac (10.5./10.6) versions. (And Windows/Linux of course.)
Later tonight I did a quick test with the 32-bit version update (w/VLC 1.0.3) in 10.6.2 on a Mac Pro and performance seems improved. Although I'd ran previous versions under 10.5.8. (I have 10.5.8 and 10.6.2 boot drives in that machine.) And Kudos as always to the programmers working on this freeware.
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iPhoto 8.1.1 update
"iPhoto 8.1.1
This update addresses issues affecting face recognition performance and accuracy. It also fixes minor issues in the areas of book ordering, and iPod touch support.
The update is recommended for all users of iPhoto '09.
For detailed information on this update, please visit this website: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT3941
(About the iPhoto 8.1.1 update)
System Requirements: OS X 10.5.6 or later"
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Final Cut Server 1.5.1 update
Final Cut Server 1.5.1
Final Cut Server 1.5.1 is a revision to Final Cut Server 1.5. This update addresses general compatibility issues, improves overall stability, and addresses a number of other minor issues. This update is recommended for all users of Final Cut Server 1.5.
The issues addressed include:
  • Fixes possible slowdown in the check-in and check-out process
  • Fixes status display in Downloads & Uploads window
  • Locked assets are now skipped in the archive process
  • Fixes archiving and restore for bundle assets
  • Improves reliability of adding and removing archive devices

For more detailed information about the changes, see the Release Notes available from the application's Help menu.
(here's a link to a Final Cut Server 1.5.1: Release notes)
System Requirements: OS X 10.4.11 or OS X 10.5.8 (or later?)

The download button just goes to http://www.apple.com/finalcutserver/download form/login. (I assume appears in software update as well for those running it.) The apple support doc updates listing below has some related docs as well. (Including Install Pro Applications Update 2009-01 to be able to install Final Cut Server 1.5.1)

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Tip for anyone with Lightscribe burning problems in Snow Leopard
I've updated the posts in the Nov. 6th news page on Lightscribe burning in Snow Leopard with the solution/cause for the problems one reader had (that other readers didn't) after upgrading to Snow Leopard. Turns out he didn't have the Labeler app in the 'Applications' folder. (It didn't have to be with 10.5.x he said, but did with Snow Leopard). Just a FYI for anyone else that has that problem.
I didn't think of that earlier but I've seen other cases (not SL specific) in the past (including Apple App updates) that didn't work properly if the app was moved from the default install location. (Also reminds me of Handbrake expecting VLC to be in the root of the Apps folder - I originally had it in a VLC folder inside Apps folder.)
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Anyone else using a 2009 Mac Pro with Pioneer BDR-205 Blu-Ray Drive?
Had an email yesterday from a Mac Pro owner (implied a 2009 model recently shipped) that said he's had problems in OS X (10.5.x and 10.6.x apparently) with two samples of a Pioneer BRD-205 drive. (In case it matters I wrote to ask for drive firmware version and mac pro details - as well as ES settings. Not sure if it was a primary drive or 2nd optical drive.)
No problems seen in bootcamp/Windows but he said in OS X (both 10.5.x and 10.6.x he said) after about 30 minutes (varied he later said) of time in OS X the drive 'disappeared' and any attempt to access it resulted in a BBOD. (And after that happened, restarting to OS X failed - required pram/smc reset to boot.)
My first thought was that the drive was going to "sleep" in OS X after a period of idle time (an old issue from years ago with some Optical drives in older Macs if a disc left in the drive - sometimes disabling drive sleep in Energy Saver helped, but not always. FAQ has some old info/tips from the past on that.)
I asked him questions on drive firmware, more info on his mac config/addons, ES settings, if no disc left in the drive mattered, etc. (He later replied v1.02 firmware, ES settings, disc in drive or not, etc didn't matter saying he thought it was an issue with new Mac Pros (firmware, etc.) and this drive w/OS X. Normally few problems like this are 100% common, often due to some factor not readily apparent/obvious. If it really didn't matter if a disc was in the drive or not, if drive/disc had been left idle or not - I assume it would also fail during a comml DVD movie playback (which also will set the region code - which has come up in the past as needing to be done before burning discs on new drives or even ripping dvds IIRC.). But he's already removed the drive apparently so could not do any further tests.
Tonight he said OWC is sending an LG drive instead and he's too busy to send any more info (ASP system report, console error logs, etc) - hopefully he'll have better luck with the LG BR drive. [FYI - Thursday he wrote the LG replacement OWC sent was working fine.]

Since I'd be richer than Bill Gates if I had $1 for every "this problem is common" report in the last decade here (excluding known OS X bugs/3rd party SW issues and cases like the infamous Seagate HD drive firmware problems), I'd like to get feedback from some other 2009 Mac Pro owners with a Pioneer BRD-205 - if you're using one, let me know (news at xlr8yourmac.com) the details and if you've seen any problems or not. Thanks.

FYI/Update: Reply from other Mac Pro owners w/BDR-205's:

"Mike, I have a Pioneer BDR-205 Blu-Ray burner with firmware 1.02 installed in the lower optical bay of a Mac Pro (Nehalem/2009). I've burned three BD-R disks so far using Toast 10. I am using the Verbatim 4x BD-R media, which has been burning at 6x. I am using Mac OS X 10.6.2. I have not had any problems with the drive. My Energy Saver settings have the computer sleep set to "Never." I haven't used any other burning software such as the built-in support in the OS or Dragon Burn. According to Toast, the drive is supposed to have support for power management.
If we could only get Blu-ray playback support in DVD Player...
(To rule out the question of Mac Pro firmware versions I asked Steve to send his info - it's the same versions as the reader that originally reported a problem (except his is single CPU model). Their boot rom is one rev later than my April 09 shipped Mac Pro (which has .B03 boot rom but same SMC versions)-Mike)
No problem.
Boot ROM Version: MP41.0081.B04
SMC Version (system): 1.39f5
SMC Version (processor tray): 1.39f5
I have the 8 core (2-quad cores) running at 2.66 GHz
-Steve"

An earlier reply from a 2008 Mac Pro owner running 10.6.2 with a Pioneer BDR-205 (firmware 1.02) said he's not had any problems either. (Using onboard Spare SATA Port as pre-09 Mac pros have PATA optical drive interface.) Like me, he always sets ES to not allow drive sleep but the first reader with the problems said the problem happened regardless of ES settings/usage. Odd...
[FYI - Thursday's news had another 09 Mac Pro owner with BDR-205 also note the drive 'Disappeared' after about 30min of use (no disc in drive, Energy saver set to allow sleep). He included log messages that showed the drive was not responding to wake attempts and later said disabling ES sleep seems to have prevented the drive from 'disappearing'. See Wednesday's news for More Tests on Mac Pro/Pioneer BDR-205 disappearing drive issue]
BTW: As a test I inserted an OS X 10.6.0 DVD in an LG GGW-H20L (lower bay/2nd drive in 2009 Mac Pro dual 2.66) I'd bought from OWC earlier this year. I left the system idle (no use at all) for 2 hours (ES set to never allow system sleep or drive sleep - only display sleep). After 2hrs of idle time, I hit a key to wake the display up - DVD disc still mounted, easily opened, ejected, etc.)

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Some Core i7 iMacs showing up w/Cracked Screens, DOA
Eddie sent a note there's some apple forum threads from new core i7 iMacs arriving with cracked screens with some blaming the packaging but that's the same as other 27in models right? Could the packaging/protection be marginal (for the 27in screen) and a certain % are getting damaged from jolts that packages normally see with typical delivery services? Or is it related to harsher than normal handling on core i7 shipments? (Just guessing/ideas off the top of my head.)
A certain % of anything gets damaged in shipping but if this isn't uncommon, the package shows no obvious damage and cracks all appear to be in the lower corner - it makes you wonder if the display protection in the package is as good as it needs to be for the large display. Regardless, unless cracked displays are extremely rare I suspect apple will change the packaging and/or handling procedures with shippers.
(Over the last 20 years I've seen some cases where displays and computers were damaged even though the exterior package looked pristine. In one case I can only assume the box was dropped 10ft+ but on a flat surface/flat bottom of the box, as the contents inside clearly had seen tremendous g-forces, but the box exterior looked fine.)
And some owners have posted theirs was DOA. (Engadget has a related story titled Core i7 iMacs showing up DOA -- including ours.)
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Apple Support/How-To/Troubleshooting Doc updates (some Quad-Core iMac related)

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Other News/Articles/Reviews/Rumors, Misc. Software updates

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