What's New - Mar 17, 2004

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

Download Slides – PDF-File, 2.2 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 Software Update 3.3.1 - Improves reliability of AirPort connections when changing network locations.

DVD Studio Pro 2.0.5 - This update improves the placement of the dual-layer break point.

GarageBand Jam Pack 1.0.1 - Upgrade your version of GarageBand Jam Pack 1.0 to GarageBand Jam Pack 1.0.1.

iDVD Update 4.0.1 - Upgrade your version of iDVD 4 to iDVD .0.1.

iPod mini Software 1.0 - Updates and restores software on your iPod mini.

Mac OS X Update 10.3.3 - Update delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability to Mac OS X 10.3 Panther and is recommended for all users.

Mac OS X Server Update 10.3.3 - Update delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability to Mac OS X Server 10.3 Panther and is recommended for all users.

Mac OS X Combined Update 10.3.3 - Update delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for Mac OS X v10.3 “Panther” and is recommended for all users

Mac OS X Server Combined Update 10.3.3 - Update delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for Mac OS X Server v10.3 and is recommended for all systems.

NVidia FCode flasher 1.1 - Update for customers using Mac OS X version 10.2 or later with an Apple Cinema HD Display and a Power Mac G4.

Security Update 2004-02-23 for Jaguar Client 1.0 -
Includes the following updated components: includes the following components: DiskArbitration, IPSec, and more.

Security Update 2004-02-23 for Jaguar Server 1.0 - Includes the following updated components: DiskArbitration, IPSec, Point-to-Point-Protocol, QTSS, and more.

Security Update 2004-02-23 for Panther Client 1.0 - Includes the following updated components: DiskArbitration, IPSec, Point-to-Point-Protocol, tcpdump.

Security Update 2004-02-23 for Panther Server 1.0 -
Includes the following updated components: DiskArbitration, IPSec, Point-to-Point-Protocol, QTSS, and more.

iSight FW Updater 1.0.2 - Update features enhanced IIDC compliance, improved auto exposure and auto white balance, and more.

New Third Party Software

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

Cocktail 3.4.4 is a general purpose system modify/repair utility.

DBoost 1.3.5 redistributes CPU time giving frontmost app speed boost.

Fan Control Update 1.0 - Improves performance and reliability of the Fan Control system of the PowerMac G5.

File Buddy 7.6 is an extensive desktop and file/folder editing and task tool.

FileMaker Pro 7.0 has been redesigned using a modern, streamlined relational architecture, which enables users to simplify information management by storing multiple tables within a single file.

FoldersSynchronizer 3.4.7 is a tool to synchronize and backup files, folders, disks

GraphicConverter 5.0.1 is a tool to view, edit, convert most graphic file formats.

httpmail Plugin 1.35 is a tool to download Hotmail email in Mail.app. The new release sports simple folder synchronization.

IPNetRouterX 1.0b4 is a router, firewall, and network management utility. The new release fixes the "Single Ethernet" configuration.

iWatermark 1.1 is a tool to secure, protect and get recognition for your photos and artwork. The new release has the ability to save thumbnails to a separate folder.

Macaroni v2.0.2 is a utility for automatically running various maintenance tasks in OS X. This version fixes a minor bug that could cause System Preferences to crash.

MacPADEdit 1.0b1 is a Mac OS X application to create and edit Portable Application Description (PAD) files, as defined by the Association of Shareware Professionals.

Synchronize! Pro X 3.3.1 provides bootable system backups and syncs files.

Tex-Edit Plus v4.6.5b1 is an update to the popular text editor.

Software Notes

The TOLIS Group has announced the availability of 2 new data backup solutions and a data migration tool that supports Mac OS X.
  • BRU Server: delivers native Mac OS X client/server-based data backup and recovery services.
  • BRU LE: single system backup supports all PowerPC G3, G4, and G5 systems capable of running Mac OS X.
  • TOLIS Tape Tools is a set of data migration utilities that enable the transfer of the contents of any tar, cpio, or pax-formatted tapes onto a Mac OS X system, regardless of which system platform the tapes were originally written (i.e. Linux, Solaris, etc).
The new version of Now Up-to-Date and Contact supports Rendezvous networking and claims faster transfer speeds and Xserve G5 compatibility. Read More

A Technology Review article discusses the increasing competition for the popular Google search engine. Read More.

Users have reported instances where Mail.app seemingly suddenly stops filtering junk mail, and subsequently crashes when attempting to flag messages as junk. One of the culprits appears to be mail without a subject line. Apple addresses this issue in Knowledge Base article 25727, but only mentions resetting the Junk mail filter as a possible solution.

Apple Knowledge Base article 93665 notes that iDVD 4 may not successfully burn a disc on dual processor Power Mac G5 computers if Best Performance is selected in iDVD preferences. Apple suggests selecting "Best Quality" or "Best Performance" in the "General" section of iDVD's preferences. While the article implies that only dual processor G5s are affected but some users of single and dual processor G4s are also experiencing burning issues. Apple states in the article that updating to iDVD 4.0.1 resolves the issue.

On a related note, Apple Knowledge Base article 150483 provides suggestions for successfully burning a DVD.

Logitech has apparently pulled version 1.2 of its Control Center software and backdated it with version 1.1.1. Logitech pulled the drivers because of a issue with its Accelerated Scroll bug feature. The corrected version should be available shortly. Read More.

The latest alpha of the next version of Eudora, corrects an issue in which work conducted on an AppleWorks spreadsheet at the same time as Eudora, and then closing AppleWorks, could result in Eudora not being able to check for new mail. Apparently, both AppleWorks and Eudora use the TemporaryItems folder but use a different approach to it creating a conflict.

Hardware News

Motorola has announced a 1.42GHz PowerPC chip that could be used in speedier Apple Computer PowerBooks. Read More.

According to a recent Knowledge Base Article (93705), the latest iSight Firmware Updater (version 1.0.2) prevents the following issues:

There are interruptions in the video (including frame loss or "tearing")
The video is too dark
iPod mini responds slowly
Other FireWire drives stop responding, disconnect, or slow down.

Network World Fusion named their best products of the year, awarding the "Cool Tools" award to Apple's iSight camera and iChat AV software. Read More.

Small Dog electronics has announced an iPod Battery Replacement Program for all standard iPods. The program provides do-it-yourself replacement kits for $48, and full replacement service for $68. Read More.

Some Macs are apparently being shipped with the Bluetooth option to "allow other devices to browse files on this computer" turned on. Though this option may pose a security risk in some instances, the issue is essentially null since the "Shared" folder is the only accessible directory in all of the case examples reported so far. Also, a device generally has to be 'paired' with the computer before it can access resources via Bluetooth, and that involves entering a matching password both on the computer and the device.

On a related note, some users report that unchecking "allow other devices to browse" can solve connectivity problems with some Bluetooth devices.

A drunk driver plowed through the front offices of SLG Publishing. While no one was injured in the accident most of the equipment in their production department was destroyed save one. A PowerMac G4 1.25 Mhz was struck, traveled at least 20 feet in the air, hit a wall and came down on a heap of rubble. It still works. Read More. See More.

Think Secret reports that an internal Apple service note acknowledges problems involving G5 buzzing and beeping noises. It states that "...Apple will replace the power supplies of affected machines." Macfixit has received confirmation of this issue from an Apple Certified Technician who actually received the service bulletin in question. Read More.

Retail News

News.com reports that iTunes users have "hacked" a high-profile Pepsi promotion aimed at giving away 100 million songs through special codes marked on the underside of bottle caps. Apparently, careful scrutiny can reveal the full 10-digit redemption code, meaning no purchase is required to get a free iTunes single courtesy of Pepsi. Read More.

Apple announced that music fans have purchased and downloaded over 50 million songs from Apple's iTunes Music Store, not including songs redeemed from the currently-running Pepsi iTunes promotion. Read More.

Apple opened its first retail store in the city of San Francisco at Union Square on Saturday, February 28th. The store will be one of Apple's five "flagship" stores worldwide, joining stores in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and Tokyo. Read More.

A Business Week article discusses Apple's prospects for succeeding in the enterprise/corporate markets indicating that Apple "will somehow have to convince businesses that it intends to stay in the server market." Read More.

Apple has transferred its popular "Lucky Bags" concept - first used in Japan - to the United States in the form of an offering at the new San Francisco retail store. At $250, the "Lucky Bags" contain seven or eight items worth a total of $600 to $1,000. Read More.


Retrospect 6.0 is unable to read version 4 and 5 backup sets with a large amount of data tapes in the archive. Any attempt to do so will result in an out of memory error. Dantz European Tech Support indicates that they are aware of the problem but have no plans of developing a solution. Upgrading to 10.3 Panther opens up the possibility that users will not be able to access any previous backup data from v4 and 5 of Retrospect.

An internal Apple support tech article documents a known issue with the front FireWire port on some G5's. Individuals experiencing audio/video/power connectivity issues with the front FireWire port should contact Apple for part replacement.

Users report encountering strange on screen colors and artifacts that begin only after installing Mac OS X 10.3. The issue usually manifests as pink or purple hues in areas that should be gray, including Finder window elements, icons, the Dock, and more. As of now, it seems that both ATI and NVidia graphics cards are involved in situations where the problem is occurring. If the issues is not hardware related, one solution is to clear caches using a utility like Panther Cache Cleaner

iPod users report that encountering battery meter inaccuracies which can be traced back to the Li-Ion battery itself. iPods and other similarly powered devices become increasingly inaccurate when they are shallow charged. A full battery discharge before recharging will re-calibrate the meter. This should not be done on a routine basis as the useful life of Li-ion batteries is greatest when subjected to shallow charge cycles.

On a related note, Macfixit reports that some docked iPods are losing battery power while the host Mac being used as the charger is either sleeping or off. One possible reason is that the iPod remains active or is attempting to communicate with the sleeping host mac consuming battery power.

When outputting a large file to either PDF, EPS or printing to Postscript, under Mac OS X 10.3.2 InDesign crashes continuously either causing a full kernel panic or a quit of InDesign. There is no official confirmation or this issue or workarounds from Adobe at this time. Some users have had success with the following:
  • Reducing the number of pages
  • Turning off Extensis Suitcase.
  • Deleting the folder "InDesign Recovery" in "Library > Preferences > Adobe InDesign > Version 3.0"
This last workaround, however, will likely disable InDesign's auto recover ability which could cause users even more problems in the long run.

The "Spring Cleaning" article in the March issue of MacHome magazine advises readers to empty the contents of /Library/Receipts to save some space. The article erroneously reports that the folder contains installer packages that are no longer of use. The folder actually contains installation receipt packages that provide Mac OS X with detailed information about software that has been installed. These files are critical to the Installer, Software Update, and Disk Utility applications. Deleting them will break some or all of their functionality.

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 News Network reports that Pixar, which had been using Linux and Intel based architecture, is switching to Mac OS X and G5 workstations for its production work. Read More.

A Linux Magazine article comparing various "flavors" of Unix notes the advantages OS X has over Linux. Read More.

An ITWeb article covers a report by British security firm mi2g which found "Apple's OS X Server and the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) open source systems on which it is based, to be the most secure online server operating systems in the world." Read More.

General News

According to analysts, Intel Corp.'s addition of 64-bit extensions to its 32-bit Xeon line could force Advanced Micro Devices Inc.'s own 64-bit processor line to compete on price, not technology. Read More.

The 76th Annual Academy Awards presentation marked the seventh consecutive year Apple's Shake compositing software has played a crucial role in the film winning the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. Read More.

An InfoWorld article describes "bluejacking," an increasingly popular means of exchanging short three- or four-word messages in the display area designated for the name of the initiating device. The process, essentially, allows communication to take place without pairing, which requires partners to exchange a PIN (personal identification number) to establish a connection. Read More.

CNET reports that an industry standards group has made a preliminary decision to include Microsoft's video compression technology (VC-9) in a next-generation DVD format, giving the company a key boost in the digital media arena. The approval is subject to several conditions, including an update in 60 days of licensing terms and conditions. Read More.

Cool Stuff

The Victorinox Swiss Army Knife along with Swissbit will be introducing a Swiss Army Knife equipped with either a 64 or 128MB memory module. It will also have all the usual extras - knife, corkscrew and tin-opener - as well. Read More.

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies has announced the development of a 400 GB 3.5" ATA hard drive. Hitachi claims that the Deskstar 7K400 is the world's highest capacity drive Read More.

The Guinness World Records had certified that Toshiba's 0.85-inch hard disk drives (HDDs) are the smallest in the world. The 4 GB drives should enter production by the end of the year and are planned for use in cell phones and digital camcorders. Toshiba's 1.8-inch HDDs are used in Apple Computer Inc's hot-selling iPod digital music players. Read More.


Joy of Tech
  • Cats and Dogs
  • NASA geek and Kitty Litter
  • Downside of Technology
  • Saving Hubble


macosxlabs.org Webcast - March
  • Subject: Mac OS X 10.3 Active Directory Integration
  • Presenters: Michael Bartosh, 4AM Media; Philip Rinehart, Yale University; Jason, Prell, University of Iowa
  • Moderator: Fred Reynolds, Apple Computer
  • Date: Tuesday, March 16, 2004
  • Viewing Instructions: Click here for instructions on how to view the archived webcast.
  • Location: Washington DC Convention Center
  • Date: March 23-25, 2004
  • Registration Information: Click here
  • General Conference Information: Click here
Bio-IT World Conference & Expo
  • Location: Hynes Convention Center, Boston Massachusetts
  • Date: March 30 - April 1, 2004
  • Registration Information: Click here
MySQL Users Conference & Expo 2004
  • Location: Peabody Hotel Orlando, Orlando, Florida
  • Date: April 14-16, 2004
  • Registration Information: Click here
  • General Conference Schedule: Click here
NAB Las Vegas
  • Location: Las Vegas Convention Center
  • Date: April 17-22, 2004
  • Registration Information: Click here
  • Keynote and Events: Click here
  • Conferences: Click here
macosxlabs.org Webcast - April
  • Subject: RsyncX 2.0
  • Presenters: Kevin Boyd
  • Date: Tuesday, April 20, 2004
  • Viewing Instructions: Click here for instructions on how to view the webcast