What's New - Jan 19, 2005

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

Download Slides – PDF-File, 3.8 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

Mac OS X 10.3.7 (Combined update: Server, client; Delta updater: Server, client) - Delivers enhanced functionality and improved reliability for Mac OS X v10.3 and is recommended for all systems.

Airport Extreme Firmware 5.5.1 - Hard reset behavior is improved. Resolves a potential problem with PPPoE configurations when updating from 5.4 or earlier. Improved reliability of WDS networks when using WPA security. Resolved an issue with inbound passive FTP to a port-mapped computer on the network. Resolved an issue with certain printers which were no longer recognized by the base station after the 5.5 firmware update was installed.

Airport Express Firmware 6.1.1 - Hard reset behavior is improved. Improved reliability of WDS networks when using WPA security. Resolved an issue with inbound passive FTP to a port-mapped computer on the network. Resolved an issue with certain printers which were no longer recognized by the base station after the 6.1 firmware update was installed.

Xsan 1.0 - Expand your network horizons with Xsan, an enterprise-class storage networking solution that's surprisingly affordable. Xsan lets multiple computers concurrently access terabytes of storage on Xserve RAID over high-speed Fibre Channel.

Xserve Remote Diagnostics 1.0.1 - This software will only install onto Mac OS X client version 10.3 and later boot volumes, or onto Mac OS X Server version 10.3.3 or later boot volumes. If installing onto a Mac OS X Server boot volume, you must first configure the server for NetBoot before installing this software.

CHUD Tools 4.0.2 - Performance and debugging tools.

Final Cut Express HD - Take your filmmaking to the next stage with Final Cut Express HD. Along with powerful DV editing tools, Final Cut Express HD now offers high-definition video (HDV) capability to beginners and experienced editors alike. And full versions of LiveType and Soundtrack let you create animated graphics, text effects and custom soundtracks.

iLife '05 - Take photos? Shoot video? Make or listen to music? Even if you've never considered yourself a creative person, iLife '05 — a suite of tightly integrated applications that places no limit on your talent or creativity — makes it easy and fun to learn new skills. Includes upgrades to all the iLife '04 components:
  • iPhoto 5
  • iMovie HD
  • iDVD 5
  • GarageBand 2
  • iTunes 4.7
iWork '05 - Got ideas? iWork '05 brings them to life with Keynote 2 — offering cinema-quality presentations for everyone — and Pages — a word processor with an incredible sense of style.

iPod Updater 2005-01-11

iTunes 4.7.1 - includes support for iPod shuffle, support for copying photos to an iPod photo, the ability to show duplicate songs in your library, and other performance improvements.

New Third Party Software

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

Adobe Acrobat 7.0 - Whether files need to be shared across the office or around the globe, the Adobe Acrobat product family enables businesses to simplify document processes using Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). A standard adopted by governments and enterprises worldwide, Adobe PDF is a reliable format for electronic document exchange that preserves document integrity so files can be viewed and printed on a variety of platforms.

Adobe Reader 7.0 - Adobe Reader is free software that lets you view and print Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files on a variety of hardware and operating system platforms. This new version of the familiar Adobe Acrobat Reader provides a host of rich features that enable you to:
  • Submit Adobe PDF forms that are created with fillable form fields in such applications as Adobe Acrobat Professional and Adobe Form Designer
  • Play back a variety of embedded multimedia content, such as QuickTime and MP3 files
  • Read and organize high-fidelity eBooks
  • Activate search and accessibility capabilities built into your PDF files
  • Display Adobe Photoshop? Album slide shows and electronic cards and export images for online photo processing (online photo services vary regionally)
ATTO Configuration Tool 2.8 - Helps you customize the settings of your Celerity FC, ExpressPCI SCSI or ExpressPCI FC host adapter to maximize the performance of your storage connection. It may also be used to verify the drivers and flash files currently in use and update the flash, as necessary. Refer to the read me for instructions on installing and using this utility package.

Black & Bleu 10.0 - application that provides the most comprehensive collection of Macintosh OS error codes available anywhere (over 7,300). More importantly, the database includes a detailed explanation and suggestions for dealing with lots of these errors. In addition, over 500 Sad Mac error codes and all 30 PostScript error codes are included. Each comes with a detailed explanation.

Database 10g & Developer 10g - flexible, affordable and easy-to-manage enterprise database platform that is ideal for developing and deploying grid computing solutions.

DragThing 5.5.1 - highly configurable and you can have multiple docks, customized to suit your specific circumstances. DragThing also allows you to define a huge variety of hot keys. These hot keys can open items in docks, control various other aspects of DragThing and even control the visibility of and switching between other applications running on your Mac. DragThing can also provide you with a Trash on your desktop, play sounds in response to actions like ejecting a CD.

DS_Store Cleaner 1.5.0 - tool for getting rid of .DS_Store Files which are created by the Mac OS X Finder.

File Buddy 8.1 - powerful and popular high-level file utility available for use with Mac OS X.

Fire 1.5 - free Instant Messaging client for Mac OS X. It supports the seven most popular Instant Messaging services: AIM®, ICQ®, irc, Jabber, MSN®, Yahoo! Messenger®, and Apple Rendezvous.

Folder Icon X 2.0 - Mac OS X-native application providing a simple way to create a customized folder and document icons by placing another icon on a standard plain icon. It fully supports "drag & drop" feature and can load any icons from any files, ".icns" documents and folders. All generated icons are 32-bit Mac OS X-compatible icons which can be viewed on both Classic Mac OS and Mac OS X.

FontDoctor 7.0 - software for font problem diagnosis, repair, and organization. FontDoctor is a professional software tool that will locate and eliminate hard-to-find font problems that wreak havoc on the Macintosh system performance and applications. FontDoctor will scan font folders (on local hard drives or over a network) to locate and repair common font illnesses, including missing Postscript fonts, missing bitmaps, corrupt/damaged fonts, font ID conflicts, extra fonts sizes, mixed fonts types, and lots more.

HyperSpell 1.3b1 - menu item that gives quick access to Mac OS X's built-in spellchecker. All you do is click on HyperSpell's icon in the menu bar and enter the word, or words, that you want spellchecked. Words that are misspelled appear with a red underline. You can then control-click (or right-click) on the misspelled words to reveal a list of possible spellings.

iPodBackup v1.3 - shell-script-turned-application (via Platypus) that backs up your home folder to your iPod using the open source backup utility called rsync. You can back up to a plain folder, to an encrypted disk image, or a regular disk image.

iSynCal 4.4 - synchronize events and todo from iCal calendars between two or more Mac computers using the standard Apple File Sharing shipped with Mac OSX. You will no longer need a .Mac account to publish your calendars on an external FTP or WebDav server.

iVolt 2.0 - allows you to enable the on-screen voltage meter on iPods with a dock connector. iVolt lets you switch back to the regular battery icon at any time as well.

JellyfiSSH 4.1 - simple bookmark manager for connecting to *NIX boxes like BSD/Linux etc via Telnet or SSH 1 or 2. You can set preferences for each bookmark including the terminal colors, fonts, window size, transparency and default login. Version 4 introduces bookmark grouping.

Liberer 1.6 - utility for cleaning out orphaned preference files and other unneeded files from Library folders.

MoniTOR 1.0.3 - test and adjust the most relevant parameters of CRT and TFT monitors: dead pixel, RGB colors, tonal range, gamma response, geometry, pixel size, horizontal and vertical phase, moiré, image persistence, sharpness, contrast, etc.

NeoOffice/J 1.1b - a fully-featured set of office applications (including word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, and drawing programs) for Mac OS X. Based on the OpenOffice.org office suite, NeoOffice/J has integrated dozens of native Mac features and can import, edit, and exchange files with other popular office programs such as Microsoft™ Office.

OpenSSH 3.9 - free version of the SSH suite of tools that are fully compatible with the three existing SSH protocols. They're free of the commercial use licensing restriction of the original SSH 2.x products, and can be built and installed with a minimum of fuss.

osxutils v1.6 - bundle of powerful Mac-oriented command line utilities for viewing, editing and manipulating file meta-data. The package contains 'lsmac', a popular alternative to the BSD list command, in addition to many other useful tools.

PocketMac Pro 3.4.4 - Mac-to-Pocket-PC sync software allows Mac users to transform their Pocket PC into a portable Macintosh.

QuickTime FS 1.0 - application that when run enables people who own the free version of QuickTime Player to play their movies in full screen mode.

Radmind 1.4.0 - suite of Unix command-line tools and a server designed to remotely administer the file systems of multiple Unix machines.

Samba v3.0.10 - open source software suite that provides seamless file and print services to SMB/CIFS clients.

SleepLess 1.6 - used to prevent the computer from going to sleep without changing system settings. It updates system activity timer once per some interval. Main features:
  • can disable sleep with lid closed
  • no Dock icon
  • small floating palette
  • one click activation/deactivation
SMARTReporter 2.0b5 - application that can warn you of (S)ATA hard-drive failures before they actually happen. It does so by periodically polling the S.M.A.R.T.-status of your hard-drives. S.M.A.R.T. (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Technology) is a technology built into most modern hard-drives that acts as an "early warning system" for pending drive problems.

SMB Manager 1.5 - freeware that let you manage your Samba favorite servers.

SuperDuper! v1.5.4(73) - advanced, yet easy to use disk copying program available for OS X. It can, of course, make a straight copy, or "clone" -- useful when you want to move all your data from one machine to another, or do a simple backup. In moments, you can completely duplicate your boot drive to another drive, partition, or image file.

Symantec NAV virus definitions Jan 13 - The current virus definitions for NAV 9.

TextWrangler 2.0 - powerful and richly-featured tool for composing, modifying, and transforming text stored in plain-text files.

Virex 7 DAT 050112 - up-to-date virus signatures and other information for Virex.

VueScan v8.1.25 - powerful scanning program that works with most scanners to produce high-quality scans that have excellent color fidelity. It takes advantage of the advanced hardware capabilities of most scanners on the market today, and helps you do batch scanning while at the same time producing color-balanced and cropped images.

zsDuplicateHunter 2.10 - allows you to easily find duplicate files including music files, image files, text files, and binary files. Duplicates can be in a single folder, in multiple folders on one computer, on an entire computer, or on networked computers. You can search for duplicates only by name, or find exact duplicates using checksum or digest grouping. Use zsDuplicateHunter to eliminate wasted hard drive space used to store duplicate files.

Software Notes

Pre-10.1.6 versions of Entourage v.X will crash when the Junk Mail Filter is turned on if the user happens to receive spam from a particular spammer. This spammer's emails are crafted in such a way that Entourage crashes while trying to filter the messages. The temporary fix is to disable Junk Mail Filtering, the permanent fix is to update to Entourage v.X 10.1.6 or Entourage 2004.

The various StuffIt products perform network checks for updates when they launch. If Aladdin's servers are not responding, the applications will freeze for several minutes before giving up. This became a problem recently when Allume, who purchased Aladdin last year, took down the old Aladdin servers. This appears to have been fixed by Allume by redirecting requests to their own servers.

SealedMedia, who makes DRM protection software, recently released an update for their Acrobat plugin to address an incompatibility with Acrobat 7.0.

Hardware News

  • Server: 1x 2.0 GHz G5, 1 GHz FSB, 1GB RAM, 80GB HDD, $2999/2499 EDU
  • Server: 2x 2.3 GHz G5, 1.15 GHz FSB, 1GB RAM, 80GB HDD, $3999/3499 EDU
  • Computing Nod: 2x 2.3 GHz G5, 1.15 GHz FSB, 512MB RAM, 80GB HDD, $2999/2499 EDU
DDR400 ECC SDRAM (8GB Max), 400GB HDD modules (1.2TB Max).

At the first of the year, Apple lowered the Cinema Display prices by $200—300:
  • 20″: $1299 → $999
  • 23″: $1999 → $1799
  • 30″: $3299 → $2999
Mac mini
  • 1.25 GHz G4, 40GB HDD, $499/479 EDU
  • 1.42 GHz G4, 80GB HDD, $599/579 EDU
Combo Drive (SuperDrive optional for $100 extra), 256MB PC2700 (333 MHz DDR) RAM (officially 1GB Max, but there are 2GB PC2700 modules that may or may not work), 167 MHz System Bus, optional AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth, 6.5″ W × 6.5″ D × 2″ H, 2.9 lbs.

iPod shuffle
  • 512MB $99
  • 1GB $149/139 EDU
Up to 12 hour battery life, 0.78 oz, No screen (plays songs either in order or randomly).

Retail News

Many people outside the US are reporting price cuts to all Apple hardware (not just the Cinema Displays). There's no official word from Apple, but the most likely reason is that prices were dropped internationally to adjust for the fallen price of the US Dollar.

The Ireland iTunes Music Store opened recently, the fifteenth localized store. Prices are the usual EU price of €0.99 per song.

Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal recently got a chance to Test-Driving the $99 iPod. Overall he was quite satisfied, and even got longer than the official twelve hours of battery life (closer to sixteen hours, in fact).

Apple has a press roundup of many of the early reaction to the iPod shuffle and the Mac mini.

As mentioned during the MWSF Keynote, downloads from the iTunes Music Store have passed 230,000,000, and the current rate is about 1,250,000 per day, almost half a billion per year.

The Wall Street Journal has an article on The Second Coming of Apple, as well as a follow-up with reader responses.

Apple has announced its First Quarter results. Of note is a $295 million profit, revenue up to $3.49 billion (a 74% increase), and Mac sales up 26%, which may mean that the Mac gained a little market share.

In How big will the Mini be?, News.com lists several stories of people switching to the Mac or adding a Mac to their collection in response to the Mac mini.

The Independent analyses the Mac mini and the iPod shuffle in The 'i's have it: the small Apple guns for Windows.

As reported in ITworld.com, 2004 was a strong year for personal computer manufacturers. Sales were up 12—15% on average, with Apple enjoying a 26% sales increase, meaning that Macs experienced a slight gain in market share.


Some PowerBooks with backlit keyboards have a problem where some of the keys become higher than the rest, and may stick down or make noise. The problem seems to be that the fiber optic tape that allows them to be backlit can sometimes get wrinkles in it. Apple fixes the problem if the machine is under warranty, if it's not it's possible to fix the problem by carefully prying up the tape with a razor blade to work out the wrinkles, or slightly bending down the flexible, aluminum backing on the keyboard itself to compensate.

Some (June 2004) Power Mac G5 owners are reporting problems where their machines no longer sleep following the Firmware 5.1.8f7 update.

It's possible that Macs will wake up from sleep when appliances on the same circuit are turned on or off. The probable cause is overloaded, improperly grounded, or ungrounded circuits, a fairly common problem, especially in old buildings.

A number of problems have been reported with the third-party iBoom, a boombox with an iPod dock. Problems include leaking batteries if the iBoom is plugged into the wall while the batteries are in, dodgy volume settings, and white noise.

Mac OS X in Brief

LinuxInsider has a pair of articles noting the strides Apple has taken to become attractive to the data center. In The State of Apple in the Enterprise Blane Warrene notes the aggressive pricing of the Xserve and Xsan, increased third-party support for Apple's server products, and the advances offered by Tiger. In Apple Takes On Avid, SGI, and IBM With New SAN Offering: Xsan the ISSJ News Desk focuses on Xsan.

Ron Avitzur has posted The Graphing Calculator Story, which chronicles the six-month period of dodging security, taking over abandoned offices, and under-the-door hardware acquisitions that lead to the creation of Graphing Calculator, which has shipped on every Power Mac since.

In Try as I might, I can't wreck a Mac, InfoWorld's Tom Yager writes that he feels switching to the Mac was one of his "smartest calls".

News.com has an interview with Andy Hertzfeld, who recently released a book documenting the creation of the first Mac.

Andreas Pfeiffer looks at What the Mac Mini Is and Is Not.

General News

Students uncover dozens of Unix software flaws. It's not as bad as it sounds: the assignment was for each of the twenty-five students to find ten flaws, and they collectively only found forty-four.

A couple of notable efforts to raise money to help the people affected by the Indian Ocean tsunami include Apple and Babel Company.

ZDNet has an interesting interview with Bill Gates the day before his crash-prone CES Keynote.

ExtremeiPod reports that Kevin Rollins, CEO of Dell, thinks the iPod is "a fad".

Apple and Pepsi have teamed up again for an ITMS promo, this time giving away 200 million songs and 2000 iPod minis.

Cool Stuff

U.S. Bunkers has a UFO-esque bunker suitable for riding out hurricanes, tornadoes, military or terrorist attacks, and extreme underwater pressure.

Developed by Dr. Paul Watt, the Funhaler is a whimsical way to make asthma inhalers fun for young children, who often find inhalors to be scary.


Joy of Tech
  • Broom Genius
  • Comics are random


The January MacEnterprise.org webcast on the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Digital Academic Television Network (DATN) was held yesterday.

The NAMM Show
  • Location: Anaheim Convention Center, Anaheim, CA
  • Dates: January 20—23, 2005
  • Registration Information
  • Sessions
ACS National Meeting
  • Location: San Diego, CA
  • Dates: March 13—17, 2005
  • Registration Information
FOSE 2005
  • Location: Washington, DC
  • Dates: April 5—7, 2005
  • Registration Information
  • Sessions
Annual Meeting AACR
  • Location: Anaheim, CA
  • Dates: April 16—20, 2005
  • Registration Information
NAB '05
  • Location: Las Vegas, NV
  • Dates: April 18—21, 2005
  • Registration Information
  • Sessions