What's New - Feb 18, 2004

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

Download Slides – PDF-File, 2.6 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

AirPort Update 3.3 - Turbocharged with the latest wireless technology, 802.11g, to deliver data rates of up to 54 megabits per second (Mbps).

AppleWorks File Repair Utility 1.0 - Designed to fix AppleWorks documents that have become damaged.

Backup 2.0.1 - Makes backing up copies of your important files simple and fast.

Bluetooth 1.5 - Use Bluetooth technology to communicate wirelessly with mobile phones, printers, keyboards, PDAs and more.

Final Cut Express 2.0.2 - Create professional-quality video with Final Cut Express.

FP Client Update 1.0 - Improves the reliability of data accessed from an AFP server when using AppleWorks.

GarageBand 1.0.1 - Clarifies specific alert dialogs regarding system performance.

Graphics Driver Update 1.0 - Delivers updated graphic drivers for Mac OS X v10.2.8 to restore DVD Player functionality.

iChat AV Public Beta 2.1 - Introduces audio and video conferencing to keep in touch with friends, family, and colleagues around the world.

Java Update 1.4.2 - Provides support for Sun’s Java 1.4.2 APIs.

JBoss Update 1.0 - Allows JBoss and Tomcat to take advantage of Java 1.4.2.

Safari 1.2 - Improves compatibility with websites and web applications.

Security Update 2004-01-26 (10.3.2 Server) - Delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users.

Security Update 2004-01-26 (10.3.2 Client) - Delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users.

Security Update 2004-01-26 (10.2.8 Client) - Delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users.

Security Update 2004-01-26 (10.2.8 Server) - Delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users.

Security Update 2004-01-26 (10.1.5) - Delivers security enhancements to Apple's mail application.

QuickTime 6.4 ReInstaller 1.0 - This article contains information about QuickTime6.4 Reinstaller and a link to the software download.

New Third Party Software

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

APC Tracker 4.1 is a client for an APC UPS in a network environment. The new release has more reliable error reporting and improved Panther compatibility.

Cocktail 3.4.3 is a general purpose system modify/repair utility. The new release addresses an issue in which system may stop responding after updating prebinding information.

File Synchronization 1.3 is a data synching tool. This version introduces "filters" that let you exclude some files and folders from the synchronization. Also, multiple items can be deleted from the preview window.

Folder Icon X 1.7.9 makes customized folder icons.

Interarchy 7.0 can download and upload files via FTP (the Internet standard File Transfer Protocol), SFTP (Secure File Transfer Protocol), and FTP over SSH (FTP/SSH). The new release is fully Mac OS X native (carbon events and native core networking) and sports tabbed browsing.

OmniWeb 5.0 beta 1 is a Web browser. The new release includes a tab drawer, saved browsing sessions, updated bookmarks, page marking, improved shortcuts, site-specific preferences, and more.

PDF Enhancer 2.0.2 is a tool to optimize, assemble, stamp, secure PDF/PS files.

RBrowser 3.3.3 is a graphical FTP/SFTP/SSH client. The new release has SSL fixes.

Retrospect 6.0 is a backup utility. No limit to the size of volumes that can be backed up or the amount of data stored in a Backup.

Samba 3.0.2rc2 is an open source implementation of CIFS/SMB networking.

Synergy 1.0a3 is an iTunes menu bar control, hotkey's, cover art display.

ToDo X 1.5 is a dedicated to-do list application. The new release can import to-do items from iCal and other Mac or Windows applications that generate standard ".ics" data files.

Xupport 2.0b10 is a tool to optimize, share, backup, enable hidden options, and enable security functions. The new release has Spanish and French localization.

Software Notes

Intuit has confirmed that Quicken 2003 & 2004 has a bug where a user cannot select a file type when trying to export a report under Mac OS X 10.3.2. According to Intuit, Apple released OS 10.3.X after Intuit had released both Quicken 2003 and 2004. Reverting to Mac OS X 10.2.8 allows export selection.

On a related note, Quicken 2004 R2 (release 2) fixes the export problem but introduces a bug that prevents users from clearing a transaction without going to the “Reconcile window". Intuit technical support has confirmed the issue and indicates that a new update would be available soon,"hopefully".

Other users report that Quicken 2004 R2 crashes after applying the most recently available update. Intuit technical support indicates that there may be another solution: holding down the option key at startup to avoid opening the default data file, which seems to become corrupt for some users after the update.

MacFixIt has previously reported several problems synching Tungsten T3 handheld's with Macs running Mac OS X 10.3.x. When asked by a reader when new drivers would be released, Palm indicated that Palm Desktop 4.1 has been designed for Mac OS X compatibility and that there has been limited testing with Mac OS 10.2.7 and above. When this reader called Palm technical support, he was told that Palm would not update the Mac desktop software anymore. There has been no confirmation of this at this point.

Palm Source has shipped Palm OS 6, the next major release of its operating system, to its licensees. According to a press release the new release will include improved modularity, multi-tasking, memory protection, robust security and state-of-the-art multimedia capabilities." Read More.

Hardware News

Architosh has a combined interview/benchmark piece regarding the Power Mac G5's performance in CAD-based operations, concluding "I don't think we've seen a performance jump like this since the PowerPC replaced the Motorola 68040 chip." Read More.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University will upgrade its supercomputer with Apple's recently introduced Xserve G5 servers that have two chips in each box. The thinner servers will result in use less power and generate less heat. Read More.

ComputerWorld reports that the Xserve G5 is up to 60 percent faster than its predecessor. Read More.

ZDNet speculates that Apple may already be working on a video iPod, but points out some possible pitfalls "Engineering a portable device is much more difficult for video than for audio. A movie file's resolution, frame rate, codec, dimensions, and so on complicate compatibility, and enjoying video on the go is harder." Read More.

MacResQ has a new flat-fee repair service for Apple iPods. The service offers 24-hour turnaround on repairs nationwide, as well as overnight pickup and delivery at the user's location. The cost of the service is US$29 and includes the 3-way overnight shipping, the initial diagnostic service, and the iBox, which the customer may keep for future use. The "iQ" Battery Replacement is priced at US $79. Read More.

IT Enquirer has the Mac perspective on LaCie's new 8X DVD burner. "A full DVD worth of data was wrapped up within 8 minutes. That's twice as fast as a 4x disk, and it feels fast enough not to become nervous of the wait." Read More.

Recent postings on the Apple Discussion boards point out how some drives require users re-configure jumper settings in order to address the full capacity of their drives. Most manufacturers generally offer documentation either online or included with the drive providing the jumper configuration information.

On a related note, Other World Computing provides an excellent compendium of PDF documents for:
  • IBM/Hitachi Hard Drive Jumpers
  • Maxtor Hard Drive Jumpers
  • Seagate Hard Drive Jumpers
  • Western Digital Hard Drive Jumpers

Retail News

BusienssWeek attempts to determine the reasons for a poor street reaction to Apple's stellar first quarter financial results. Read More.

The Apple Developer Connection is offering all Select and Premier members in the United States special pricing on single or dual 1.33GHz G4 processor Xserves (while supplies last). Read More.

Pixar Animation Studios has announced financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended January 3, 2004. For the quarter, Pixar earned $83.9 million, or $1.44 per diluted share, on revenues of $164.8 million. Read More.

Apple Computer's famous "1984" commercial, which introduced the Macintosh, wasn't the only computer ad that aired during that year's Super Bowl, but according to USA Today "It's just the only one that changed people's lives - particularly people who already loved technology." Read More.

The Register references a London Times report that Apple's first European retail store will open on London's Regent Street later this year, in time for Christmas. Read More.


After changing the screen resolution under System preferences, or triggered automatically by an application the screen of some Titanium Powerbooks either goes blank or turns blue. Apple is aware of the issues and is preparing a software solution for Mac 10.3.3. Until then, some users have been able to recover a legible display by doing one of the following:
  • Put the computer to sleep and wake it up
  • Invert the screen color back and forth with the keyboard
  • combination "Control-Option-Command-8".
  • Logout using the keyboard command "Shift-Command-Q"
Some iSight users report that it interferes with the operation of other FireWire devices. The devices most susceptible to this problem are the iPod and external drives. When the iSight is connected and capturing video, the iPod disappears from the Desktop and from the iTunes playlist while the iPod status screen cycles from the Apple logo to a "Do not Disconnect" message over and over. External drives either do not mount or experience drive directory corruption. The problem may involve some sort of power disruption when a FireWire drive and iSight are simultaneously active. Two possible solutions are to add a FireWire interface PCI card, which allows the user to connect the iSight to its own separate bridge or to use an externally powered FireWire hub

If you are experiencing poor reception for your Power Mac G5 equipped with AirPort Extreme, try rotating the antenna into different orientations. One person was able to improve his transfer rates on his local network from 400KB/sec with the antenna in one orientation to almost 2 MB/sec with it in another.

Some iPod users, after upgrading to Panther, report that attempting to synch an iPod to iTunes crashes iTunes. The iPod does not get updated and iTunes must be forced-quit. In some cases, users are able to transfer only a few songs - usually less than 10 - before iTunes hangs. A few users have had success disconnecting all other external peripherals - particularly FireWire devices other than the iPod (and USB components) or deleting streaming references in the iPod master library. The only thorough solution appears to be reverting back to Mac OS X 10.2.x.

MacFixIt readers report limited success previously unsupported devices after applying Apple's Bluetooth 1.5 updater. Others, however, report new problems with mice and other wireless inputs, particularly with communication dropping off in mid-stream.

According to Apple Knowledge Base article (#42665), "If you experience connection problems on your network, make sure your network switch is set to auto-negotiate, if possible. If a switch's port is not auto-negotiating, your computer detects the appropriate speed but defaults to half-duplex mode. If the switch's port at the other end of the link is configured for full-duplex, a large number of late events can occur on the link. If it isn't possible to set the switch to auto-negotiate, then set the switch's port to half-duplex."

Macfixit reports confirmation that some users cannot progress past the login screen after applying the 1-26-2004 Security Update. Typically, the machine will get stuck at the login screen, the 'rainbow' wait cursor appears, and only a hard reset will escape the condition. One workaround involves deleting:


as well as the user-specific login plists if the machine is set to to auto-login to a specific account:


If you experience buffer underrun in iMovie projects burned with iDVD that seems to arise with long or complex movies. The simple fix is to simplify the movie by splitting it into contiguous .dv files, which allows iMovie to view simple objects rather than the various waveform and media files. The result is success in iDVD burning.

Mac OS X in Brief

For those with subscriptions, MacFixit has started to troubleshoot issues users have encountered while using the latest software and hardware updates from Apple including: Mac OS X version 10.3.x, Mac OS X Server, iLife '04 apps, Safari,

Mac OS X disaster screens Bill Butler has posted a compilation of screen shots taken during kernel panics, system hangs, and more. Read More.

General News

Macworld UK discusses the phenomenon of "iPod widows"- spouses now distant from their iPod obsessed partners. Read More.

The Seattle Post Intelligencer reports on the throbbing Mac heart of Microsoft "People sometimes stare when Microsoft Corp. executive Tim McDonough opens his laptop in meetings. But that's probably to be expected when someone uses a Mac PowerBook in the center of the Windows world." Read More.

CNET reports Microsoft and Walt Disney have struck an alliance that will see the two companies cooperating to develop digital media content and delivery systems, the companies announced Monday. Read More.

NASA has always loved Macs, and the recent expeditions to Mars have proved no exception to the rule. "For our [Mars] landing site work, we always get the highest-end desktop Mac we can find, so we just got one of the G5s with dual 2-Ghz processors and 8 GB of RAM," Read More.

Dan Geer is one of the many experts heralding an idea, borrowed from biology, that Microsoft Corp. has nurtured a software "monoculture" that threatens global computer security. Read More.

Cool Stuff

MacMice features a number of unique accessories for the Mac user including a two button scroll wheel mouse based on the Apple Pro Mouse, flexible as well as rigid iSight camera stands, and wheeled stands for Power Mac G4s and G5s. Read More.

At the Consumer Electronics Show, Alpine Electronics is demonstrating a solution that enables consumers to connect and control their iPod from their in-vehicle sound system. Read More.

The USB beverage warmer is a convenient solution to keep your beverage warm at your desk. The beverage warmer is a low voltage heat-pad with Velcro fastener, keeping the beverage hot in cups, mugs and even baby bottles. Read More.


Joy of Tech
  • Pepsi Revenge?
  • E=MC(Stupid)
  • Star Wars Special Special Edition DVD
  • Valentine's Day to Geeks


macosxlabs.org Webcast - February
  • Subject: Novell eDirectory Integration
  • Presenters: Dan Sinema, Apple Computer
  • Moderator: Matt MacInnis, Apple Computer
  • Date: Tuesday, February 17, 2004
  • Viewing Instructions: Click here for instructions on how to view the webcast
Photoshop World
  • Location: Moscone Center, San Francisco California
  • Date: March 1 - 3, 2004
  • Registration Information: Click here
  • Conference Schedule: Click here
  • Location: Washington DC Convention Center
  • Date: March 23-25, 2004
  • Registration Information: Click here
  • General Conference Information: Click here
macosxlabs.org Webcast - March
  • Subject: Mac OS X 10.3 Active Directory Integration
  • Presenters: Michael Bartosh, 4AM Media
  • Date: Tuesday, March 16th, 2004
Bio-IT World Conference & Expo
  • Location: Hynes Convention Center, Boston Massachusetts
  • Date: March 30 - April 1, 2004
  • Registration Information: Click here