What's New - Oct 15, 2003

By: Mikio Moriyasu - Revised: 2006-07-03 devin

Download Slides – PDF-File, 1.7 MB


What's new for the Mac in the previous month:
  • General issues, workarounds and fixes
  • New Software and hardware
  • Software and hardware updates/patches

New Apple Software

DVD Studio Pro 2.0.2 is strongly recommended for all users of DVD Studio Pro 2. This update includes French, German and Japanese localizations as well as providing a number of other improvements.

AirPort Extreme Firmware Update 5.1.3 is an upgrade for only the AirPort Extreme Base Station and features enhanced security for handling unsolicited Internet traffic, including different types of denial-of-service attacks, that may be directed at an AirPort Extreme Base Station. The new protection mechanisms in this firmware will also help prevent loss of Internet connectivity.

iCal 1.5.1 features an enhanced Info Drawer, To Do alarms and notes, more keyboard shortcuts, ability to publish or subscribe to calendars on servers located behind a firewall, improved alarms, support for events in multiple time zones, as well as other stability and performance improvements.

iSync 1.2.1 adds support for synchronizing calendar information on Symbian OS cellular phones such as the Nokia 3650, 7650 and Sony Ericsson P800. iSync 1.2.1 also adds improvements in stability and usability.

iSync 1.2 Palm Conduit provides performance and stability improvements.

Mac OS X 10.2.8 Update (Build 6r73) delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for the following applications, services and technologies: Audio, Bluetooth, Classic compatibility, Finder, Graphics, LDAP, Power Management, Safari, and FireWire and USB device compatibility. It also includes an updated ethernet driver for 450MHz and 500MHz dual processor Power Mac G4 desktop systems and an update to the battery status menu.

Mac OS X 10.2.8 Combo Update (Build 6r73) delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for the following applications, utilities, services, and technologies: Audio, Address Book, AppleScript, Bluetooth, Classic compatibility, Disk Copy, Disk Utility, Finder, Graphics, Help Viewer, iChat, Image Capture, IP Firewall, Kerberos, Mail, OpenGL, Print Center, Rendezvous, Safari, and Sherlock.

Mac OS X 10.2.8 Update - Ethernet & Battery Pack (Build 6r73) includes an updated ethernet driver for 450MHz and 500MHz dual processor Power Mac G4 desktop systems and an update to the battery status menu.

Mac OS X 10.2.8 (G5) Update delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for the following applications, services and technologies: AirPort, Bluetooth, LDAP, and FireWire and USB device compatibility.The update also provides updated security services and includes the latest Security Updates

Mac OS X 10.2.8 Server Update (Build 6r73) delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for the following services and technologies: Open Directory Password Server, LDAP, and FireWire and USB device compatibility. It also includes an updated ethernet driver for 450MHz and 500MHz dual processor Power Mac G4 desktop systems and an update to the battery status menu.

Mac OS X 10.2.8 Server Update Combo (Build 6r73) delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for the following applications, utilities, services, and technologies: AFP, SMB and NFS file services, Apache, IP Firewall, Kerberos, Macintosh Manager, Mail services, NetBoot, Network Install, Open Directory, Print services, QuickTime Streaming Server, Rendezvous and Workgroup Manager.

New Third Party Software

(Updates are assumed to be for Mac OS X, not much is being updated for Mac OS 9 nowadays...)

Adobe has revised all of its major media applications.
  • Adobe Illustrator Creative Suite
  • Adobe GoLive Creative Suite
  • Adobe InDesign Creative Suite
  • Adobe Photoshop Creative Suite
  • Vision Cue file management technology
Asiva Shift+Gain 1.1 is a plug-in designed to allow operators to make selections based on the Hue, Saturation and Luminance components of a pixel, allowing users to perform color changes without masks.

Dantz Retrospect 5.1 Driver Update 4.1.109 is for their backup software.

Dantz Retrospect 5.1 SCSI Update is for use with SCSI cards and retrospect.

Default Folder X 1.9b1 is a tool for enhancing open/save dialog boxes. This beta release delivers support for Apple's upcoming "Panther" release of Mac OS X.

DV Backup 1.1.2 lets you use your digital camcorder to back up data.

EvoCam v3.2 is a webcam application and server that works with Apple's iSight camera. Version 3.2 lets you record QuickTime movies from any webcam window and adds a number of features and bug fixes.

FileMaker Pro Server X v5.5v4 is the server version of the veritable Mac OS database application.

File Synchronization 1.2.2 is a synchronization tool for files and folders.

iSightWeb 1.0b2 is an iSight or any QuickTime-compatible camera webcam app.

PDFViewer 1.4 is a small, fast alternative PDF viewer.

IPNetMonitorX 1.3c2 is a tool to monitor and troubleshoot Internet connections.

SafeShred v2.1.9 securely deletes files and "cleans" free disk space. The update adds compatibility with OS X 10.1.5. (SafeShred already supported newer versions of Mac OS X.)

StuffIt Deluxe 8.0.1 and StuffIt Standard Edition 8.0.1 fix the well-publicized bug where using StuffIt Expander 8 to expand a StuffIt archive containing an application would result in the application not being able to launch.

SubRosaSoft DiskGuardian v2.11 provides a collection of tools for monitoring and repairing hard disks. Version 2.11 is a maintenance release that fixes some problems with installation and first run.

TelnetLauncher 2.6.3 is a launcher for OS X's built-in Telnet & SSH client.

Thursby DAVE X 4.1p2 is Mac to PC file and print sharing software. The new release corrects recognition of DFS junctions.

Transmit v2.6 is an excellent FTP and SFTP client. The new version adds additional Panther compatibility, and patches minor bugs.

VPN Tracker 2.2.2 is a tool to make encrypted network connections with IPsec.

SubRosaSoft SMARTPanel 1.2 shows disk drive health SMART reporting.

Software Notes

Version 3.7.1 of OpenSSH has been released. According to mindrot.org : "All versions of OpenSSH's sshd prior to 3.7.1 contain buffer management errors. It is uncertain whether these errors are potentially exploitable, however, we prefer to see bugs fixed proactively."

Timbuktu 6.0.3 for OS X will not be compatible with Panther. According to Netopia, "We plan to release a Timbuktu version for Panther before the end of this year. We understand that this is a longer time than Timbuktu customers have become accustomed to waiting with prior OS updates, but it is within the originally anticipated time frame for Panther's release. In addition, we plan a number of new features for this release, currently planned for December, 2003."

Apple has posted an update to its Developer Tools package that includes the new GCC 3.3 compiler in addition to other updates that will allow development of G5 optimized code with the December 2002 Mac OS X Developer Tools. In order to download the update, you need to be a member of the free online Apple Developer program. You must visit http://connect.apple.com, fill out registration (if you are not a member), and then select the GCC update from the available list of software.

Opera Software announced that it has reached a licensing agreement with Adobe Systems Incorporated to include Opera's rendering engine in future Adobe product releases, for the Macintosh and Windows operating systems. Read more.

The issues encountered by users of Stuffit Expander 8.0 may have been related to a permissions problem. Aladdin technical support representative, Josh Stender, reports that the app has "has a strange behavior change with .sit files". To correct it, type the following in terminal making sure that you 'cd' to the directory where the application is located: chmod -R 755 NameOfApp.app

StuffIt Engine 8.0.1 updates both StuffIt Deluxe 8.0 and StuffIt Standard Edition 8.0 to version 8.0.1. According to Aladdin, the update specifically addresses, "a problem whereby Mac OS X application programs (which were stored in archives that do not support UNIX file permissions, such as .sit) cannot be run when they are expanded. After this update has been applied, StuffIt Expander (and the expansion behavior in all other components of StuffIt Deluxe) will add the UNIX execute file attribute as files are expanded. This will allow expanded Mac OS X application programs to run." Read more.

With the Service Release 1 update to the Mac BU's Office v.X, Microsoft disabled the "Print worksheet in Black and White" option in Excel. They left the checkbox but removed the code behind it. As a result, all worksheets will print only in grayscale or color. The sole workaround is to call Microsoft, get them to send the Office X 10.0.0 CD, remove the version with Service Release 1, and reinstall the old version that still works.

Microsoft's MacBU division recently launched a new Compatibility Center featuring case studies, success stories, how-to articles, plus key results from the Answer Research survey and a new IDC report "designed to provide education and awareness about the pitfalls of incompatibility and the solutions that can help make this problem a distant memory." Read more.

Hardware News

ATI's Displays 4.1 software does not recognize the OEM version of the Radeon 9800 Pro graphics card in the Power Mac G5. This effectively prevents one from accessing the full capabilities of the card. One recommendation is to not buy a G5 from Apple with the Radeon 9800 Pro pre-installed, and instead install the retail version 9800 Pro card on your own.

Loud fan noise:
  • Some users are complaining about the fan noise generated by the Radeon 9800 card equipped G5s. One poster to Apple's Discussion boards notes that the Dual G5 is twice as loud as the Dual G4 450.
  • The G5 is relatively quiet during normal In FireWire target disk mode, the fans kick into high gear and stay that way until the machine returned to normal operation. This is presumably because no fan control mechanism is active.
  • The G5 may be a bit more sensitive to the environmental temperature than previous models, whose fans were generally activated purely because of increased heat being generated by the system. Aside from photos showing the heavy use of fans for the Virginia Tech G5 supercluster, one user reported experiencing a marked difference in fan noise when the central air was turned off.
There are sporadic reports that iDVD will lock up the G5 during encoding. When it doesn't crash, it fails to encode or encodes very slowly.

There are reports of a beeping noise originating in the dual 2 GHz G5 power supply located at the bottom of the tower. The noise is most noticeable when"Processor Performance" is turned to Highest under Energy Saver/Options and the computer is idle. One theory is that it is RF interference caused by the processor/motherboard when the machine is idle. One possible solution is to installApple's CHUD tools go to System Preferences, open the "Hardware" pane and turn off "Nap". Apparently this option turns off the G5's ability to use processor idling, eliminating the beeping noise.

Daystar Technology has expanded its G4 system upgrade technology to include the Apple PowerBook G3 2000 series, also known as the "Pismo" PowerBook, or the PowerBook G3 FireWire. Prices are $289 for a 500 Mhz version and $329 for a 550 MHz version. Read more.

IBM has announced a new chip design that can purportedly improve performance fourfold or reduce power consumption fivefold in wireless devices compared to the state-of-the-art thin-silicon bipolar technology. Read more.

Florida-based (RF) transceiver make ParkerVision claims its Horizons wireless adaptor products significantly improve the range of standard 802.11 networking kit - regardless of which vendor's base-station the client accesses. Read more.

Certain FireWire 800 expansion cards from some manufacturers can prevent deep sleep on certain Macintosh models. FireWire Depot reports that the following PCI host adapters can go into deep sleep:
  • IOI-4601 dual channel PCI
  • IOI-4602 dual channel PCI
  • U2FW-PCI01 FireWire/USB2 combo PCI

Retail News

Sun Microsystems CEO Scott McNealy claimed that the industry is overcharging and that the companies hit the hardest when computer prices fall to their proper level in the next five to ten years are the ones that have a vested interest in maintaining today's complicated computing environments. Read more.

Apple Computer and Apple Corporation, which represents the Beatles' interests, could end up in court over the iTunes Music Store. In an apparent attempt to emphasize that he would not let the lawsuit block his plans to sell online music in Europe, Steve Jobs chose to play a Beatles track "In My Life", performed by the late Johnny Cash before his keynote in Paris, Read more.

CNET reports that a group of computer owners has filed a lawsuit against Apple Computer, Dell, Gateway, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sharp, Sony and Toshiba claiming that their advertising deceptively overstates the true capacity of their hard drives. Read more.

Wired News reports that Apple is poised to refresh its venerable logo. What's new for one of the world's most recognizable corporate symbols? A silvery chrome finish. Read more.

In an effort to focus on five product categories in the communications and electronics systems markets, CNET reports that Motorola intends to create a separate company out of its Semiconductor Products Sector (SPS), which builds chips such as the PowerPC. Read more.

Apple has published a paper (Creating the Best User Experience for Active Web Content) designed to provide Macintosh web developers and authors of QuickTime content (Mac or Windows) the guidance needed to deliver the intended web experience for users of active content viewed with Microsoft's changed version of Internet Explorer for Windows. Read more.


The OpenSSH vulnerability reported last month in versions older than 3.7 when exploited would, in theory, flood the attacked computer with SSH attempts until the attacker is able to establish a root user connection. Potentially vulnerable Mac OS X systems are Mac OS X 10.2.6 which includes build 3.4p1 of OpenSSH and even current versions of Mac OS X 10.3 (Panther) which includes OpenSSH 3.6.1p1.

Additional possible causes for the huge spikes in Safari processor usage may be a conflict that occurs when two or more applications that use Apple's WebKit, the underlying browser code used by Safari, are running at once. NetNewsWire uses WebKit, as do several other OS X applications.

Final Cut Pro 4.0.2 is crashing on start-up for some users when loading audio plug-ins. One known cause is the plug-in Reaktor.component from the Reaktor 4 softsynth. There are also reports that the MasterVerb.component and the
TrackPlug.component may also cause crashes as well. The only solution is to either remove these plug-ins or revert to version 4.0 which does not have the problem. Removing these plug-ins will remove those function from your audio editors that use Apple's Audio Units. Final Cut Pro plug-ins can be found in these locations:
  • /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components
  • ~/Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components
Some PowerBook G4 17" 1.33 GHz units are exhibiting problems with the USB ports either not working or dropping off. All indications are that this is a hardware problem and not related to a corruption of OS X. The only solution so far is to take the machine to an authorized repair center.

There is strange issue affecting Microsoft Word documents created under Office XP and then opened in Office v.X for Mac OS X. It appears that some characters cannot be automatically translated. In once instance, fractional values suck as '1/2' '1/4' or '3/4' entered in Office XP are resolved as "_" in Office X. Until another workaround is found, users can go to the Windows XP machine, access Tools > autocorrect, go to the autoformat tab and turn off "replace fractions with fraction character."

The new Microsoft's MacBU Compatibility Center features an article entitled "Word: Keys to cross-platform collaboration" that includes formatting and file-saving techniques to make documents look similar on both platforms. This is especially pertinent in light of our recent reports regarding improper fraction conversion across the Mac and Windows versions of Office v.X.

A number of users who have applied the pulled Mac OS X 10.2.8 update have experienced genuinely decreased battery capacity. A few have had success "calibrating" their batteries The procedure for re-calibrating is to first fully charge your PowerBook, then disconnect it from the external power source and run it until there is no power left (the machine goes to sleep). Then connect the adapter and full recharge. Full details regarding this procedure and why it should be done on a regular basis can be found in Apple Knowledge Base article #86284.

Some users have apparently experienced complete battery death after applying the new 10.2.8 update. The re calibration recommended above is unable to revive the dead battery. Apple may be exchanging some of these batteries (on a case-by-case basis) for users still carrying a warranty who had their battery life permanently reduced by installing the first Mac OS X 10.2.8 release.

QuickTime content streamed from Mac OS X may not be accessed by Windows XP clients because of the built-in Windows XP firewall. Those affected request the data but do not get any kind of response from the server. In the end, stream times out and never plays. To correct the problem, go to the Network control panel in XP, open the Properties window, go to the Advanced tab, and see if the firewall is enabled. If so, disabling it will very probably restore QuickTime streaming to proper functionality. Those who wish to keep firewall protection can customize the settings to allow QuickTime streaming packets, normally UDP port 554, to pass the firewall.

Mac OS X in Brief

Apple released Mac OS X 10.2.8 through Software Update in early September skipping a public update campaign for Mac OS X 10.2.7. Version 10.2.7 only shipped with systems introduced in the past few months. Also included in the update was Safari 1.0 (v85.5).

The 10.2.8 update was then removed from Apple's Web Servers as well as from the automatic Software Update function following a number of reports discussing significant issues with the update.

Apple then re-issued version of Mac OS X 10.2.8 in two versions: one for Power Macintosh G5 systems and one for all other compatible Macs (build 6R73). Apple has also re-released Mac OS X 10.2.8 Server. Both releases are available via Software Update and as standalone versions.

Although Virginia Tech purchased 1,100 dual processor Power Macintosh G5s for its Terascale supercomputer, for a while, the Web page for the project did not work with Apple's Safari browser (nor Internet Explorer 5.2.x for Mac OS X). It works now. Read more.

Mac OS X " Panther " will be available in retail stores at 8pm on Friday, October 24, 2003. Orders placed on the online Apple Store will get "evening delivery on October 24." Apple will be holding Panther events at its retail stores the night of the release, from 8pm to midnight. Panther Server will also be available on the same day.
Pricing for Mac OS X "Panther" is listed as follows:
  • Single license - US$129
  • Five user "Family Pack" - US$199
  • Server ten-client license - US$499
  • Server unlimited-client license - US$999
  • Server License upgrade (10 to Unlimited) - US$499
  • Single Educational License - US$69
  • Educational Volume Licensing - Various
  • Server Educational Volume Licensing - Various
Apple's Mac OS X Up-To-Date page has been updated with details about Panther upgrades. According to the Web page, anyone who has purchased a PowerMac G5 (regardless of the date of purchase), and anyone who purchases any qualifying Mac on or after October 8, 2003 can upgrade to Panther for a "shipping and handling" fee of $19.95. Read more.

MacFixIt reports that Apple may be flexible about the date of purchase for the "qualifying Mac". Mac OS X Up-To-Date was indicating that it was using the invoice date, rather than the purchase date, to determine eligibility but this may not be case. Individuals who purchased and received a new Mac or PowerBook recently, but prior to October 8, reported that after contacting Apple by phone, they were able to obtain the special upgrade pricing.

General News

CNET reports that Yahoo is planning an upgrade to its instant messaging software that will block access via third-party IM applications such as Trillian. Read more.

Hollywood studios Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox sued a handful of small software companies Wednesday, alleging that their distribution of DVD-copying software violates copyright law. Read more.

The Washington Post reports on how tech workers dealt with Hurricane Isabel. Read more.

Within thee years, 65 percent of bank ATMs that dispense cash (not including free-standing machines in places like convenience stores and casinos) in the United States will run on the Windows operating system, according to a study published last week. Read more.

Some of the nation's leading computer science and network security experts today issued a report warning that the computers and critical technological infrastructure worldwide are increasingly vulnerable to attack because of the security practices and dominance of Microsoft software in desktop computing. Read more.

Privacy and Human Rights 2003 is an International Survey of Privacy that includes information on Audio Bugging, Video Surveillance, Satellite Surveillance, and Electronic Commerce. Read more.

Cool Stuff

Grandtec USA has a USB powered hand-held massager designed to ease stress, pain, and fatigue when sitting at the computer. The USB Vibe. It is available at CompUSA for $9.99. Read more.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Handspring has introduced the best combination phone, PDA and e-mail device on the market, the Treo 600. Sprint will start selling the Treo 600 in the U.S. by mid-October for $500 to $550. Read more.

On October 15th, existing RCN cable modem customers with speeds currently up to 1.5 Mbps will be upgraded to MegaModem Mach 3, that delivers up to 3 Mbps. All current 3 Mbps customers will be upgraded to MegaModem Mach 5. Read more.


Joy of Tech
  • Owners & Their iMacs
  • Genius vs Genius
  • Dating in the 00's
  • Missing Manuals
  • Picking Up Women - The Geek Way


Sassafras Software Keyserver (K2) Webcast
  • Location: http://www.macosxlabs.org
  • Presenters: John Tomeny, Sassafras; Denis Devlin, Sassafras; Ethan Benatan, Reed College
  • Date: Tuesday, October 21, 2003
  • Time: 10:00 am - 11:30 am PDT; 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm EDT (17:00 - 18:30 UTC/GMT)
  • Click here for session information
  • Click here for information on how to participate.
O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference

  • Location: Westin Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
  • Date: Oct 27-30, 2003
  • Type: Conference
  • Fee: Click here for registration information.
  • Topics: Click here for the conference schedule and here for the exhibitor's list.
  •  SCL Mac Support's own James Reynolds will be one of the presenters at this year's O'Reilly Conference. He will present during the session entitled Migration to Mac OS X, A Case Study of Higher Education Institutions being held on Wed, Oct 29th at 1:45pm (Pacific)
  • James will detail how to setup desirable automation tasks such as configuring the computer so that at every login, the computer looks and acts the same, including installing a clean home folder, setting display resolution, and resetting the printer settings. He will also discuss many other tasks that are performed at login, logout, startup, idle time, after maintenance runs, and specific times using cron.
Driven by Design Seminar
  • Location: Salt Palace Convention Center, 100 South West Temple, Salt Lake City, UT 84101
  • Date: Nov 4, 2003
  • Time: 9:00 AM - 5:00 PM (US Mountain)
  • Type: Seminar
  • Fee: Free
  • Topics: Click here for registration information.