What's New - Mar 16, 2005

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

Download Slides – PDF-File, 3.9 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

Apple Common Criteria Tools 1.0 — Common Criteria is an internationally approved set of security standards which provides a clear and reliable evaluation of the security capabilities of Information Technology products.

Xserve RAID Admin Tools 1.3.3 — improves overall reliability and is recommended for all users. The versions of RAID Admin and Xserve RAID firmware in this release should replace all earlier versions.

Security Update 2005-002 (Mac OS X 10.3.4 or later) — Updates Java (1.4.2) to address an issue where an untrusted applet could gain elevated privileges and potentially execute arbitrary code.

iPod Updater 2005-02-22 — includes new iPod mini Software 1.3 for iPod mini, new iPod Software 2.3 for iPod with dock connector, new iPod shuffle Software 1.1 for iPod shuffle, and new iPod Software 1.5 for iPod with touch wheel or scroll wheel. iPod Updater 2005-02-22 contains the same software versions as iPod Updater 2005-01-11 for all other iPod models.

Apple CHUD Tools 4.1.0 — Computer Hardware Understanding Developer Tools (CHUD Tools) are designed to help hardware and software developers measure and optimize the performance of PowerPC Macintosh systems running their products under Mac OS X.

New Third Party Software

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

AirStumbler 1.3 — wireless network discovery tool for Macintosh.

Application Enhancer 1.4.6 — system which allows for 3rd party modules to modify and enhance the way applications behave and operate.

Cocktail 3.5.3 — general purpose utility for Mac OS X.

Dantz Retrospect 6 Drive Update 6.2.102 — plug-in extension for EMC Dantz Retrospect 6.0.

File Buddy 8.1.2 — powerful and popular high-level file utility available for use with Mac OS X 10.3.

FinderCleaner 1.2 — cleans hidden files the Finder creates.

GraphicConverter X 5.5.2 — graphic file format conversion. Imports 175 file formats and exports 75 file formats.

Hardware Monitor 1.5 — application to read out all available hardware sensors.

iCrypt 1.2 — encrypt and decrypt files or folders with AES 256-bit encryption.

Impression 2.7 — 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.).

Intego VirusBarrier X Virus Defs March (download through VirusBarrier's built-in update) — latest virus definitions for VirusBarrier.

Macaroni 2.0.5 — handles regular maintenance for Mac OS X's Unix core. Normally these tasks run on a regular schedule, in the middle of the night. However if you don't leave your Mac on all night, they never run.

Microsoft Office 2004 11.1.1 — addresses several issues with Microsoft Office 2004.

Timbuktu Pro 8.0.1 — bug-fix update for the popular remote-control software.

Virex 7 DAT 050309 — current virus definitions for Virex 7.

Sophos Anti-Virus 3.90 — anti-virus software.

Symantec NAV virus def Mar 9 — latest virus definitions for Norton Anti-Virus.

Synchronize! Pro X 3.6.1 — back-up, mirroring, and synchronization software.

System Optimizer X 4.6.2 — system maintenance and optimization tool.

Temperature Monitor 2.5 — displays the current processor temperature of selected Macintosh computers.

VersaCAD Mac 2005 — major update, brings VersaCAD on Mac OS X up to par with other platforms.

VueScan 8.1.4 — frequently updated scanning utility that supports 400 scanner models.

Yasu 1.0.2 (Yet Another System Utility) — designed to perform common maintenance commands in a few clicks, instead of typing multiple commands in Terminal.

Software Notes

Following recent changes to Fidelity's website, Quicken (including Quicken 2005) can no longer access investment data from Fidelity. When attempting to access investment data, Quicken displays the error "[OL-248] error message". Fidelity is aware of the problem, and is working on a fix.

AOL is no longer an option as email client in iPhoto after the release of AOL 10.3.6. The option is present, but grayed out. The solution is to rename the AOL application to "America Online".

The latest in a long string of incompatibilities with the Virex 7.5 software is that the anti-virus software is incompatible with Panther's built-in fax. Symptoms usually start as slow-downs or freezes when faxing, and progress to Mac OS X not starting up. Turning off fax, removing Virex, or downgrading to an earlier version of Virex fixes the problem.

The recently released Adobe Reader 7 browser plug-in has a problem where a PDF page inside Safari will become blank if Exposé is activated or if the user switches to another tab and back. Shubert-It's PDF Plug-in 2.2 does not have this problem.

Hardware News

Second Generation iPod mini
  • 4GB and 6GB models
  • Silver, blue, pink, and green (no more gold)
  • 18 hr battery life
Updated iPod photo
  • 30GB or 60GB
Lineup Changes
  • 512MB shuffle — $99
  • 1GB shuffle — $149
  • 4GB mini — $199 (down from $249)
  • 6GB mini — $249 (same as old, 4GB mini)
  • 20GB iPod — $299
  • 30GB photo — $349 (40GB iPod was $399, 40GB photo was $499)
  • 60GB photo — $449 (down from $599)

Retail News

Apple's stock fell somewhat — into the $38.xx per share range — because of the perceived threats from Napster To Go and Sony's newest MP3 players, despite many market analysts saying that To Go wasn't a threat at all, before steadily rising over the last week to almost $41 per share.

Apple recently joined the Blu-ray Disc Association as a member of the board of directors. Blu-ray is one of two formats fighting to be the next generation DVD format. The other format is HD-DVD.

Showing once again that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Intel recently showed off a Mac mini knockoff. At this point it's just a plastic box, but it's pretty clear that Intel wants PC makers to make computers that compete with the Mac mini in terms of size. If one such PC ever did come out, it would likely run on a Centrino (Intel's mobile processor), as the Pentium 4 runs hotter than a G5, as the table and the paragraph after it on this Ars Technica article demonstrate.

Imitation may be flattery, but what would duplication be? Taiwanese company LUXPRO recently made their Super Shuffle available. At first, and even second, glance the Super Shuffle is identical to an iPod shuffle. On closer inspection it adds an FM tuner and a voice recorder, turning the switch on the back into two switches, does not offer AAC support (therefore, doesn't work with the iTunes Music Store), but does offer WMA and WMA-DRM support, and is a couple millimeters thicker. The ads used by LUXPRO are also identical to Apple's iPod "Silhouette" ads, and the promotional literature is reported to sport an Apple logo. LUXPRO showed the device at CeBIT in Germany, and, not surprisingly Apple's representatives at the show demanded that LUXPRO take down the Super Shuffle display, which they did — for the rest of the day on Friday. On Saturday they put it right back up and absolutely refused to take it back down.

Sony recently named Sir Howard Stringer as their new CEO. Welsh-born Stringer holds dual citizenship in the UK and US, has been heading up Sony's US division for seven years, and is the first foreign (non-Japanese in this case) CEO of Sony.

Custom color scheme company Colorware is now offering coloring services for the Mac mini, available in twenty colors.


MacFixIt recently compiled a list of things that can be done with PowerBooks that have problems waking from sleep, specifically when the screen remains black:
  • Close lid again and wait
  • Do not connect or disconnect devices (including power) during sleep
  • Disable network activity (including turning AirPort off) before sleep
  • Manually sleep system
  • Set CPU performance to "Highest"
  • Turn off all wake/other options in Energy Saver
  • Not setting logout interval
  • Re-install Mac OS X
  • Reset PMU
  • Reset NVRAM via OF
  • Check for bad RAM
There are reports of an overheating problem with some iMac G5s.
  • Power Supply or Mid-Plane Assembly need to be replaced
  • May be triggered by putting the iMac to sleep
  • May spontaneously shut down or not recognize FW drives
  • "Burning electronics" smell
  • Anecdotal reports suggest it may be limited to machines purchased in the last couple months of 2004.

Mac OS X in Brief

Apple is now accepting applications for Student Scholarships for World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) 2005.

Bio IT World is running an article entitled A Perfect X which documents Apple's growth in the life sciences.

Mobile PC takes a look at the Top 100 Gadgets of All Time. Four of the devices are from Apple:
  • Newton Message Pad 120 at #39
  • PowerBook 500 at #22
  • iPod at #12
  • PowerBook 100 at #1
Jef Raskin, a long-time user interface pioneer and proponent of user interfaces that are as easy to use as possible, and who started the Macintosh project at Apple in 1979 and picked the name "Macintosh", died on February 6 of pancreatic cancer at the age of 61.

General News

It recently became known that Linux creator Linus Torvalds has been using a Dual-2GHz Power Mac G5. The machine is running Linux instead of Mac OS X, of course. Torvalds cited his belief that x86 and POWER/PowerPC are the two main architectures that Linux runs on, and that he felt he would be remiss if he didn't use the other side, for why he switched. He also cited that he got the machine for free as a reason to switch.

IBM's attempt to sell its PC division to Chinese company Lenovo, which some were trying to block, has been OKed by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS).

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) has confirmed that it does indeed give low security clearance to players of fantasy role-playing game Dungeons and Dragons. The low security clearance prevents these players from being considered for sensitive positions. The IDF has believes D&D players are "detached from reality and susceptible to influence".

Lawmakers in the state of Washington are considering legislation that would make game makers and retailers liable if a minor commits a violent crime that can be traced, in any way, to a violent game the minor plays. Proponents of the bill argue that violent games desensitize youth. Opponents argue that this law would shift responsibility from the actual committer to an unattached party, and that games are clearly labeled with a rating system and parents should be responsible for allowing their kids to play adult games.

Cool Stuff

Samsung has announced an 82" TFT-LCD, which packs in 6.22 million pixels. (Compare to Apple's 30-inch Cinema Display, which has 4.1 million pixels.)

At EXPO 2005 Aichi, Japan ("World Fair" might ring more bells), a number of advanced vehicle designs will be shown off, including some Automated Buses which will be used as part of the transportation system within the expo. The buses can operate automatically using magnetic markers buried in the street along the route to be followed, and can operate in platoon formation, where several buses run in formation, train-style, and the ability to time departures from stations according to the timetable.

Audio Books For Free has announced an MP3 player that looks like the ammunition magazine from a Kalashnikov (aka AK-47). The MP3 player can even be inserted into a Kalashnikov.


Joy of Tech
  • Walt Mossberg
  • Employee of the Month
  • Scratching Post


The March MacEnterprise.org webcast on Enterprise Streaming Solutions was held yesterday.

EXPO 2005 Aichi, Japan
  • ("World Fair")
  • Location: Aichi Prefecture (between Tokyo City and Sedo City)
  • Dates: March 25—September 25, 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