What's New - Apr 21, 2004

By: Mike Yocom - Revised: 2006-07-03 devin

Download Slides – PDF-File, 2.7 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

Application Servers Update 1.0 - Upgrades various Java application server components.

iChat AV 2.1 - Adds support for video conferencing with the new AOL Instant Messenger 5.5 for Microsoft Windows.

iPhoto 4.0.1 - Increased performance faster importing, smoother image viewing and easier Rendezvous photo sharing.

Security Update 2004-04-05 (10.3.3) - Delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users.

Security Update 2004-04-05 (10.2.8) - Delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users.

Xserve RAID Admin Tools 1.3 - Simplifies setup and monitoring of storage volumes.

Xserve Remote Diagnostics 1.0 - Xserve Remote Diagnostics 1.0 Update.

Wireless Keyboard/Mouse Firmware Update 1.1 - Improves Apple Wireless Keyboard and Mouse performance and reliability.

Xgrid Technology Preview 2 Pools CPU resources.

Apple Final Cut Express 2.0.3 is Apple's reduced-set video editing tool. This update fixes an issue with some cameras caused by conflicts between timecode breaks and dropped frames, resulting in incomplete capture. It also improves QuickTime movie export when there is blank video in a sequence.

Apple has updated its AirPort software components to version 3.4. AirPort 3.4 provides: improved antenna output control, enhanced logging from your base station which is compatible with syslog, performance improvements for WPA security implementations. Apple AirPort Extreme 5.4 is base station firmware that includes the same enhancements and is included in AirPort 3.4.

Apple announced updates to three of its four pro software packages, as well as a fifth, at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) conference:

DVD Studio Pro 3 will be available in May. It adds Alpha Transitions, a Graphical View, and the ability to scale HD.

Final Cut Pro HD — version 4.5 — extends FCP with the ability to capture, edit, and output broadcast-quality HD video, without any additional hardware.

Shake, the video compositing tool, was updated to version 3.5. This version adds shape-based morphing and warping, "shape shifting" special effects, distributed rendering for both Shake and Alias' Maya. It is available for Mac OS X, Linux, and IRIX.

The new Motion software package allows the interactive animation of text, graphics, and video. Multiple filters and particle effects can be instantly previewed. "Behaviors" allow movement like graphity and wind to be added to type and graphics without using keyframes.

Xsan was also announced at NAB. Xsan is a Storage Area Network (SAN) file system that provides high-speed access to centralized, shared data. Metadata controller failover, Fibre Channel multipathing, file-level locking to allow multiple systems to concurrently read and write to the same volume, and bandwidth reservation are all planned.

New Third Party Software

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

BBEdit 7.1.3 is an HTML and text editor. The new version is a maintenance release to fix reported issues and add interface enhancements and refinements.

Burnerz 1.0 is displays media burner capability/media information.

Dantz Retrospect 6.0.193 is backup software. The new release includes an updated Device Access bundle (version 1.0.5) that provides a workaround to a Mac OS 10.3.3 bug that prevented tape autoloaders and fibre channel tape libraries from working.

Data Backup X v2.0 is a major rewrite of the backup utility for OS X.

Data Rescue X 10.4.1 recovers data from crashed disks.

DAVE v5.0p1 is minor update to the Windows networking utility. This version fixes a bug with accessing Dfs shares.

DragThing 5.1 is a launcher palette for files, folders, disks, servers, URLs. The latest release has new dock window styles like metal and translucent black.

Eudora 6.1 is an update to the popular email client.

FileXaminer v2.0 is a File/Folder information utility for Mac OS X that can modify file and folder attributes that the Finder cannot ( ex. Type/Creator Info, UNIX permissions, and much more… ).

iCrypt 1.1 is a tool to encrypt files/folders using AES.

iEmpty 1.0 is a tool to get rid of hard to remove or trash files and folders.

Intuit Quicken 2004 R3 13.0.2 is financial management software. This release solves an issue where if you are running the R2 version of Quicken 2004, you may notice that you are not able to manually clear or unclear transactions in the register.

IPNetRouterX 1.0b7 is a router, firewall, and network management utility. The new release fixes a conflict with hardware checksuming in Single Ethernet configuration.

iSpeak It 1.5 is a tool to listen to your documents via iTunes or iPod.

Keynote Jam 1.0 is a package of 56 3D-rendered images for Apple Keynote presentations.

Konfabulator 1.6 is a JavaScript runtime engine to run Widget files. The new release adds animated GIF support, and images now only react to clicks on non-transparent areas.

psync 0.65.17 is a backup/sync script in Perl.

SnapNDrag 1.3.7 is a screen capture utility.

SpamSieve 2.1.4 is a bayesian spam filter for most email clients. The new release fixes a bug where SpamSieve could crash when installing the Eudora plug-in if you were using Eudora 6.0.x.

SuperDuper! 1.2.1(62) is a backup, clone, and restore utility. The new release corrects a problem where two volumes with the same name under Mac OS X 10.2.8 would cause SuperDuper to crash on launch.

Toast with Jam 6.0 is a tool to create, master, burn professional audio CDs.

TechTool Pro 4.0.2 is a hardware/software diagnostic tool. The new release has an updated bootable TechTool Pro 4 CD to Mac OS 10.3.2 to support latest machines, adds French, Italian and Japanese localization, and has support for third party ATA PCI cards.

Timbuktu Pro 7.0.1 is a remote control, file transfer and collaboration tool. In the new release, files greater than 2GB in size are now handled correctly during Send and Exchange sessions, and their file size is now displayed correctly. Also, autoscrolling performance on Jaguar computers has been significantly improved.

Virex 7.5b1 is virus scanning software.

Software Notes

Logitech has released version 1.2.1 of its Control Center Software. Version 1.2.1 fixes the accelerated scrolling bug that prompted Logitech to pull version 1.2. Read more.

According to a FileMaker TechInfo article, the outline and shadow text styles are not supported in FileMaker Pro 7. This is due to a lack of support in the GDI+ engine used by FileMaker Pro 7.

C|Net News.com has an article about the currently cool state of the relationship between Apple and Adobe. The article touches on possible reasons for Adobe's discontinuation of Mac versions of some of its products, such as FrameMaker and Premiere, the release of Windows-only versions of others, such as Atmosphere and Photoshop Album, and the release of several Apple products that directly compete with some of Adobe's products.

PureBasic, a programming language based on BASIC, is being ported to Mac OS X, according to an iDevGames article. The key features of PureBasic are portability — Windows, AmigaOS, and Linux are already fully supported — fast and highly optimized executables, and the BASIC syntax.

Tim Oren reports that HyperCard was quietly discontinued in late March.

Hardware News

Apple updated the eMac line on April 13th. CPU clock speed was increased to 1.25 GHz — up 25% — the ATI Radeon 7500 graphics card was replaced with an ATI Radeon 9200, USB 2.0 was added, the memory subsystem was improved from PC133 SDRAM to 333 MHz PC2700 DDR, and support for an optional, internal Bluetooth module was added. The new eMac is available in either a $799 USD version with a 40 GB HDD and a Combo drive, or a $999 USD version with an 80 GB HDD and a SuperDrive — both have 256 MB of RAM. Interestingly, in a couple of different places on the Apple website the SuperDrive is listed as being able to write to DVD-R at 8x — twice the speed of the current G5 — added fuel to speculation that an upgrade of the Power Mac line is imminent.

Apple continued the refreshing process by simultaneously updating both the iBook and the PowerBook lines on April 19th. (Which means the XServe, eMac, iBook, and PowerBook have all been updated, which just leaves the iMac and Power Macs.)

The iBook features faster processors, twice as much L2 cache — 512K — which provides an additional speed boost, and, for the first time, a 4x SuperDrive is optional. A minor milestone was passed in that all of Apple's computers now run at at least 1 GHz. Three configurations are available: the low-end with a 12-inch screen, a 1 GHz G4 — up 25% — and a 30GB HDD for $1,099 USD, the middle system with a 14-inch screen, a 1 GHz G4 — up from 933 MHz — and a 40GB HDD for $1,299 USD, and the high-end system with a 14-inch screen, a 1.2 GHz G4 — up 20% — a 60GB HDD, and AirPort Extreme (IEEE 802.11g) for $1,499 USD.

The PowerBook also features faster processors — 1.33 and 1.5 GHz G4, as opposed to 1, 1.25, and 1.33 GHz — AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth on all models, and 64MB of VRAM — 128MB is optional in the 17-inch model. The 15- and 17-inch models also got new graphics hardware: ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 vs. the 9600. Five configurations are available: 12-inch with 1.33 GHz G4 — up 33% — 60GB HDD, and a Combo drive for $1,599 USD, 12-inch with 1.33 GHz G4 — also up 33% — 60GB HDD, and a SuperDrive for $1,799 USD, 15-inch with 1.33 GHz G4, 60GB HDD, and Combo drive for $1,999 USD, 15-inch with 1.5 GHz G4, 80GB HDD, and SuperDrive for $2,499 USD, and 17-inch with 1.5 GHz G4, 80GB HDD, and SuperDrive for $2,799 USD.

Lycos reports that Hitachi, the sole commercial manufacturer of 1-inch, 4 GB hard drives, has announced they will be increasing production of the 1-inch hard drives to meet current demand. Although neither Hitachi nor Apple have confirmed that Hitachi makes the hard drive for the iPod Mini, that this statement comes shortly after Apple announced delays of the iPod Mini due to hard drive shortage points in that direction.

Fox News reports that the iPod is not only the best selling MP3 player, but also the most stolen. "British thieves are so fond of swiping the pricey MP3 players that police this week asked iPod (search) users to consider switching to boring black or gray headphones, the Daily Telegraph reports."


Certain cell phones do not work with Panther's built-in, fax-from-any-application. Apple does not appear to have a list of phones that are known to work as fax modems.

For portables that have been making excessive fan noise since upgrading to Mac OS X 10.3.3, resetting the PRAM may cause the fan to cut back to normal operation. To reset the PRAM, hold down the command-option-p-r keys as the computer starts up. Apple has a Knowledge Base article detailing resetting the PRAM.

Finder may crash when rendering preview thumbnails of some large PDF files, and when copying the same file to another directory. If the PDF is copied via the "cp" command in Terminal it copies correctly, suggesting there may be problems with the resource forks of these PDFs.

General News

According to News.com, passengers on Virgin Airways can borrow an iPod to listen to music (courtesy of the Virgin Megastores) before boarding their long-haul flights at the Heathrow clubhouse. "The iPod is popular throughout Europe; the iPod Mini is supposed to ship worldwide in July instead of April. Virgin's lounges, known for their upper-class amenities, feature full business facilities, an open bar, hot meals, haircuts, massages and even electronic golf driving ranges."

The Associated Press reports that search engine Google Inc. announced Wednesday it would launch a free, Web-based e-mail service to compete against popular services from rivals Yahoo! Inc. and Microsoft Corp. "According to company executives, users will be able to type in keywords to sort e-mails or find old missives. And it will come with 1 gigabyte of free storage _ more than 100 times what some popular rivals offer and enough to hold 500,000 pages of e-mail."

In related news, Wired has an article about a California state senator that is drafting legislation to block Gmail. More.

In what may well be Apple Computer's largest coup in the Australian enterprise space, the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) will deploy 1200 Apple G4 iMacs across 140 registry offices. More.

Cool Stuff

WiebeTECH has a product called G5 Jam that allows two additional hard drives to be installed in a G5. The G5 Jam includes a replacement air baffle that preserves the original air flow and works as a heat sink for the extra drives, a Serial ATA (SATA) adapter card to control the extra drives, and covers the space normally used by PCI slots 1, 2, and 3 for full-length cards — short cards can still be used in these slots. Read More.

A Japanese company called Bird Electron has announced that they will begin producing solar iPod chargers in May. The charger systems include a built-in battery, which charges up during the day and then charges the iPod during the night. Bird Electron estimates that it takes two good days to completely recharge an iPod. Read More.

The most sophisticated of the three new Sony Ericsson models on show in London on Wednesday is the Z600--a clamshell handset with a 65K color screen, a built-in camera, and Bluetooth compatibility. Sony Ericsson also showed off a small remote-control car that could be driven via a Bluetooth handset. The Bluetooth Car-100 attracted plenty of attention at CeBIT, and there are now plans to create a limited run of several thousand more. More.


Joy of Tech
  • Skywalker boys
  • MP3Concept Trojan
  • Elephant


macosxlabs.org Webcast - April
  • Subject: RsyncX 2.1
  • Presenters: Kevin Boyd, University of Michigan; Neil Clennan, School of Art & Design, University of Michigan
  • Moderator: Peter Hoffman, Apple Computer
  • Date: Tuesday, April 20, 2004
  • Viewing Instructions: Click here for instructions on how to view the archived webcast.