What's New - Dec 15, 2004

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

Download Slides – PDF-File, 3.0 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

Power Mac G5 (June 2004) Firmware Update 5.1.8f7 — This firmware update improves system stability for your Power Mac G5 (June 2004).

Xserve RAID Admin Tools 1.3.2 — 400GB hard drive support. Improved integration with Xsan cluster file system software. Fixed LUN ID compatibility issue with older Xserve RAID firmware 1.1-117a and 1.2-116f. Enhanced "Repair LUN Map" function to repair entries with a missing LUN ID or more than one LUN ID. RAID Admin locks out certain operations on Xserve RAID units with older incompatible firmware. Fixed case where masking LUN 0 prevented other LUNs from being discovered on some host computers. Corrected response to SCSI REPORT LUNS command where large allocation length caused an incorrect LUN list length.

iPod Updater 2004-11-15 — Compatibility with iTunes 4.7 and the iTunes Music Store. Create multiple On-The-Go playlists. Shuffle and play song library with one click. Delete songs from On-The-Go playlists. Select reading playback speed for audiobooks. Hear Click Wheel clicker through headphones. Improved USB 2.0 connectivity.

iCal 1.5.4 — iCal 1.5.4 includes a new security improvement for imported events with alarms. iCal 1.5.2, the previous release, included enhancements in the Info Drawer, To Do alarms and notes, keyboard shortcuts, time zone support, publishing and subscribing behind firewalls, and other stability and performance improvements.

iCal 1.5.5 — Includes improvements in iSync synchronization on computers running Mac OS X v10.2. Includes previous update iCal 1.5.4 security enhancements to help protect your computer when subscribing to calendars or importing events with alarms that open files or applications.

Motion 1.0.1 — To take your Motion projects even further, you can download free effects, including five filters and one generator. You can also download additional tutorials to help you get the most out of Motion. A free, thirty-day trial is also available.

Bluetooth Firmware Updater 1.2 — Provides improvements in the update installation process and improved performance and reliability. The Bluetooth Firmware Updater is for D-Link USB Adapters (revision B2 or later), and Apple internal Bluetooth modules on PowerBooks, PowerMacs, iMacs, iBooks, and eMacs. This firmware update will improve connectivity between the computer and the Apple Wireless Keyboard and Mouse.

Security Update 2004-12-02 v.1.0 (10.2.8 Client, 10.2.8 Server, 10.3.6 Client, 10.3.6 Server) — This update delivers a number of security enhancements and is recommended for all Macintosh users. This update includes the following components: Apache, AppKit, CyrusIMAP (Mac OS X 10.3.6), HIToolbox (Mac OS X 10.3.6), Kerberos, Postfix (Mac OS X 10.3.6), PSNormalizer (Mac OS X 10.3.6), QuickTimeStreamingServer (Mac OS X Server), Safari, Terminal (Mac OS X 10.3.6).

New Third Party Software

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

A Better Finder Rename 6.7 — a powerful Macintosh Finder enhancement that transforms the tedious and time-consuming task of renaming multiple files into a simple matter of seconds.

Adobe Reader 6.0.3 — free software that lets you view and print Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files on a variety of devices and operating systems. This version addresses several potential security vulnerabilities.

BBEdit 8.0.3 — the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Macintosh. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a plethora of features for editing, searching, and manipulation of text.

Camino 0.8.2 — Camino™ (formerly known as Chimera) is a web browser for Mac OS X that has a Cocoa user interface, and embeds the Gecko layout engine. It is intended to be a simple, small and fast browser for Mac OS X.

CDFinder 4.3 — the perfect software solution to organize your disk and data archive, and to keep track of your digital media assets. In essence, CDFinder is the powerful disk cataloging utility for the Apple Macintosh.

Cocktail 3.5 — general purpose utility for Mac OS X 10.2 or later. The application simplifies the use of advanced UNIX functions, gives access to hidden Mac OS X settings and let you easily optimize your system.

Compost 1.4 — enhances the Mac OS X trash can with the following features: deletion of files that have been in the trash beyond a configurable time limit, capping of the trash at a specified maximum size, with custom handling of individual files that exceed the limit, specification of a minimum free space threshold, optional secure deletion, global and per-volume settings, a contextual menu item to empty the trash on a single disk, optionally unmounting it, a contextual menu item to immediately delete specified items, bypassing the trash, a replacement Get Info window for the trash can that tells you how much space is taken up overall and on each disk.

CopyPaste + yType 2.5 — multiple (up to 100) clipboards with save and editing abilities.

DarkAdapted X 1.2 — gamma control application program. Includes presets and fine-tuning of red, green, and blue independently.

Disk Inventory X 1.0 Beta — disk usage utility for Mac OS X 10.3. It shows the sizes of files and folders in a special graphical way called "treemaps".

DragThing 5.5 — makes items on your Mac such as files, folders, applications, disks, URLs, clippings, and even windows, quickly and easily accessible, while taking up as little space on your screen as possible.

File Buddy 8.0.6 — powerful and popular high-level file utility available for use with Mac OS X 10.3.

FontCard 1.2.3 — haxie that modifies the Font menu in Carbon and Cocoa applications. It can add an icon that displays the format of a font next to the font menu item, display the font name in the font face, group fonts into submenus, and add font collections to the font menu.

Fugu 1.1.1 — graphical frontend to the commandline Secure File Transfer application (SFTP). SFTP is similar to FTP, but unlike FTP, the entire session is encrypted, meaning no passwords are sent in cleartext form, and is thus much less vulnerable to third-party interception.

GraphicConverter X 5.4 — converts pictures to different formats. Also it contains many useful features for picture manipulation. Imports about 175 formats, and exports about seventy-five formats.

GURL Watcher 1.9.0 — records the URL and title of all web sites viewed in any browser. You can save these URLs in a designated file known only to you and/or email them to a designated email address. The software helps parents and others to establish a system of trust and responsible use, rather than trying to impose limited access that may inadvertently cut people off from perfectly legitimate sites.

iClip 3.4b2 — multiple clipboard/scrapbook software application. Drag & drop or copy & paste text, pictures, URLs, sounds, movies, and more into its "clipping bins".

Impression 2.61 — straightforward, reliable backup application that can back up directories to (and restore them from) multiple optical discs (CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R and DVD-RW) or disk images on any mounted hard drive (i.e. - iPod, FireWire drive, Network server, etc.).

iPhoto Mailer Patcher 4.0.3 — hack for Apple iPhoto. iPhoto 4.0.3 has the ability to send pictures with America Online, Eudora, Mail and Microsoft Entourage. iPhoto Mailer Patcher adds support for Claris Emailer, Mailsmith, Outlook Express, PowerMail and QuickMail Pro.

MassReplaceIt 2.0.2 — utility that performs a find and replace on the contents or filenames of multiple files at once. A search is simple to set up, yet provides powerful features such as a mask and saveable queries. Additionally, there are a number of options to control a search, such as case sensitive and whole words options and a choice of searching entire files or just the beginning or end.

Missing Sync for Palm OS 4.0.2 — replacement for PalmSource's aging HotSync Manager.

Mozilla 1.8a5 — open-source web browser, designed for standards compliance, performance and portability.

Mozilla Thunderbird 1.0 — cross platform stand alone mail application using the XUL user interface language.

PDF2Office 2.0 — converts PDF documents into fully editable Microsoft® Word, RTF, AppleWorks, HTML and other files recreating the original construction and layout of the document.

Printer Setup Repair 4.1.7 — designed to rectify situations where the Printer Setup Utility will not open, printers cannot be added, CUPS fails to operate, and numerous other errors. Although Printer Setup Repair cannot fix every printing problem, it is capable of resolving most of the common ones.

RCDefaultApp 1.2.1 — preference pane that allows a user to set the default application used for various URL schemes, file extensions, file types, and MIME types. MacOS X uses the extension and file type settings to choose the application when opening a file in Finder, while Safari and other applications use the URL and MIME type settings at other times for content not related to a file (such as an unknown URL protocol, or a media stream).

Renamer4Mac 2.5.2 — mass file renaming utility for renaming groups of files with a particular pattern.

Rumpus FTP 4.0.1 — utility to allow people on the same LAN or across the Internet to send, receive, and manage files on a central Mac.

SoftRAID 3.1.1 — software RAID with bootable volumes, mixes of different RAID volumes on the same disks, and notifies user of state changes and automatically rebuilds out-of-sync mirror volumes.

StickyBrain 3.1.0 — universal note manager. Use it to store all of the miscellaneous information that doesn't fit neatly anywhere else.

SuperDuper! v1.5.3(72) — advanced disk copy/clone utility, with abilities to specify exactly which files get cloned.

Symantec Norton AntiVirus 9.0.3 — automatically removes viruses from email attachments, Internet downloads, and other sources. Also finds and removes PC viruses to ensure that you don't spread infections to friends and colleagues.

Synergy 1.5b — puts three buttons to control iTunes in your menubar: previous track, next track, and play/pause; as well as providing you with visual feedback about the currently playing tune.

Timbuktu Pro 7.0.4 — can connect any combination of Macintosh or Windows computers via a network, or over the Internet. Functions include full remote control, observe only, fast file exchange, system profiling, text chat, instant messaging and voice intercom.

URL Manager Pro v3.4b6 — bookmark manager for the Macintosh for use with Safari, Explorer, OmniWeb, Firefox, Camino, Netscape, Mozilla, iCab, and Opera.

Web Page Translator 1.12 — translate web pages from one language to another while you navigate. Translates Chinese, Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.

ZMacSync 1.5.1 — tool to synchronize the Sharp Zaurus Personal Information with the standard Communication suite of the Apple Macintosh (MacOS X). This includes the Address Book, iCal calendars and to-do lists, as well as Stickies (notes) and the Zaurus system clock.

Software Notes

Security watchdog Secunia is reporting a vulnerability in the Timbuktu remote-control software that could allow a Denial of Service (DoS) attack. Fortunately, the issue is fixed in Timbuktu 7.0.4.

MacFixIt is reporting that some users have been unable to use iSync since upgrading iCal to version 1.5.4. Some users have been able to fix the issue by doing a fresh install of iSync or turning off Classic before running iSync.

H&R Block is offering a rebate for people who purchase their TaxCut applications, except for users of the Mac versions. ("Offer not valid for purchases of TaxCut Premium for Macintosh or TaxCut Standard.")

Some University of Utah-specific news: we have two, new, network time servers. A page is available with instructions on setting network time settings in System Preferences, using ARD 2's Send Unix Command feature, editing the ntp.conf file itself for environments where file-management is being used, and through scripting. The official date for the retirement of the old servers is February 11, 2005, so now's a good time to switch.

Hardware News

Bandai Networks will be releasing a (very) limited production of 2 000 "Eva iPods" for the fans of the anime series Evangelion. The units are 20GB iPods with the NERV logo laser imprinted on the back, NERV-branded headphones, and a Plug Suit-esque, enamel case, all for ¥47 250 JP — roughly $450 US. (Official press release in Japanese.)

MacFixIt reports that LaCie is the latest external FireWire drive manufacturer to offer a firmware update for their products to address a widespread issue with FireWire drives becoming inoperable, non-bootable, or losing data after upgrading to Mac OS X 10.3.6. Other manufacturers to release such firmware updates include Initio, MacAlly, and SmartDisk.

Retail News

Rival music player manufacturer Creative has "declared war" on Apple, aiming to outsell the iPod this quarter with sales goals of one million players per month, and market share goals of 40% in 2005.

Citing a survey that reported that six percent of iPod users have switched from Windows to Mac OS X, and another seven percent are planning on switching, PiperJaffray increased the target price for Apple's stock (AAPL) from $52 to $100. A few days later, UBS Financial, Bank of America, and Merrill Lynch also raised their respective target prices.

Following the release of the above survey and PiperJaffray's increased target price, Apple's shared surged, eventually reaching a four-year high of $69.57 per share in late November.

On the other hand, BusinessWeek has an article titled iPod: How Long Will It Reign?, which advises caution because of the number of new, competing music players, Apple's traditionally weak March quarter, and concerns on how long the iPod will remain fashionable.

Although it missed the promised "later in November" launch date by a few days, Apple has launched the iTunes Music Store in Canada, giving the company fourteen localized iTMSs in time for the holidays. Songs on the CA iTMS are 0.99 CAD — equivalent to 0.81 USD, the lowest price of any localized iTMS.

For the seventeenth month in a row, Steve Jobs topped Forbes' CEO Approval Tracker ratings in November, with ninety-three percent.

The Register is reporting that the UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has gone to the European Commission (EC) with a complaint that the pricing of songs on the UK iTMS is unfair compared to the EU iTMS. Songs are priced at 0.79£ per song in the UK and €0.99 in the rest of the EU — equivalent to 0.68£.


MacFixIt is reporting that, following an update to iTunes 4.7, some users have had problems with the iTMS. In at least some cases, the problem is caused by the particular user's shopping cart having become corrupted. The solution is to contact the iTMS support team and requesting they delete the corrupted shopping cart.

Another MacFixIt report regarding iTMS is that users in countries that don't have a localized store yet are unable to even browse anymore. Reportedly, this is because of IP restrictions. A possible workaround is to click on a song link to the iTMS from the iTunes Library or a playlist.

A third MacFixIt report is that some third-party batteries (and faulty batteries in general) cause PowerBooks to freeze. The problem seems to occur regardless of the battery's current charge or whether or not the power adapter is plugged in.

There is a conflict between iMovie 3 and 4 and Final Cut Pro HD. When FCP HD is installed, iMovie will cease to work. The solution is to move two files in and out of /Library/Quicktime/. Apple has a knowledge base article about this issue, and there is also a page with a small, GUI Cocoa app to move these files in and out as needed.

According to CNET News.com, the most recent iPod firmware update has disabled the ability to play songs purchased from RealNetwork's online music, once again making the iPod able to play only those songs purchased from the iTMS.

Mac OS X in Brief

NEWS.com.au reports Apple developer numbers growing — to 2.5 times as many developers as two years ago.

The Washington Times has declared the iMac G5 Top Choice of the Year, praising the PowerPC G5 and Apple's emphasis on wireless technology.

Phillip Robinson of The Buffalo News has a holiday shopping guide that strongly recommends the iMac G5 in Choosing a Mac computer for the holidays.

Apple what (we think) is a new section on their website, called "IT Pro", and aimed specifically at IT Managers and technology professionals.

General News

BBC gets the podcasting bug — last month the BBC started an experiment with podcasting the history program In Our Time.

Boston.com is reporting that startup RNK Telecom Inc. is offering a lifetime of Internet phone calls for $999.

eWeek states the obvious in OS Competition Is Good for IT, although some of the reason is fresh.

In Screensaver tackles spam websites, the BBC reports that Lycos released a screensaver that people can put on their computers that requests data from known spammers' websites, intending to increase their bandwidth bills by enough to force them to stop spam activities. The system is supposed to throttle the requests to prevent bringing the servers down, but a later report indicates that a couple of sites were knocked offline, which prompted Lycos to terminate the "Make love not spam" campaign. There's also a Trojan masquerading as the screensaver.

Cool Stuff

A collaboration between MIT, Brown University, and the Providence VA Medical Center aims to combine existing 'biohybrid' technology to produce artificial limbs to create fully functional replacement limbs, controlled by the amputee's nervous system and mimicking real muscles.

The BBC reports that Samsung has won the contract to build what will be the world's tallest building. The Burj Dubai will be located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The exact height has not been disclosed, but will be at least 800 m (2 625 ft) tall — about half a mile.

A New Zealand company called Sealegs has produced a semi-rigid, inflatable boat with retractable wheels, allowing it to be driven in and out of the water without using a trailer.


Joy of Tech
  • Tabby Terrific
  • iPod Express Lane
  • One Hundred Orbits
  • Global Warming


The December MacEnterprise.org webcast has been canceled.

Macworld San Francisco
  • Location: San Francisco, CA
  • Dates: January 10—14, 2005
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British Education and Training Technology (BETT)
  • Location: London, UK
  • Dates: January 12—15, 2005
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  • Exhibitors
The NAMM Show
  • Location: Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA
  • Dates: January 20—23, 2005
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  • Sessions