What's New - Feb 15, 2006

By: Mike Yocom - Revised: 2006-07-13 devin

Download Slides – PDF-File, 1.0 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

Common Criteria Tools — An international standard that helps to ensure the security of computer systems in a network environment.

DVD Studio Pro 4 Updates — The latest updates to all DVD Studio Pro 4 applications: DVD Studio Pro 5, Compressor 2, Apple Qmaster 2, and DVD Player 4.

Backup 3.1 — Protecting your valuable files against accidental data loss grows ever more important in our new digital age.

CHUD Tool 4.3.2 — Developers can fine-tune their applications for high performance using tools such as the Sampler code-profiling application, features such as multiprocessing, and APIs such as those for the vDSP library.

Mac OS X 10.4.5 (Universal/Intel Update, PowerPC Update, PowerPC Combo, Server Update) — The 10.4.5 Update is recommended for all users and includes general operating system fixes, as well as specific fixes for applications and technologies.

New Third Party Software

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

Anti-Malware Updates Camino 1.0 — Camino is a web browser optimized for Mac OS X with a Cocoa user interface, and powerful Gecko layout engine.

FileGeek 4.0 — Tool for viewing/editing file attributes.

QuickSync 2.0 — Synchronize folders between removable media, Digital Cameras, hard-drives or over a network or .Mac.

Searchlight 1.0 — brings Apple's Spotlight to the network. Through a web interface you are able to search with incredible speed for documents stored on your server. A click on one of the results connects your computer to the server and shows the document.

Transmit 3.5 — Long standing, very Mac-like FTP / SFTP client.

Software Notes

ZDNet has an article discussing the challenges of optimizing Universal Binaries, specifically that Intel's tools have no Objective C (Cocoa) support, and that existing binaries have to be re-compiled to take full advantage of Core Duo and the different vector-processor instructions.

Norton Anti-Virus creates a temporary file when scanning archives on a computer. From time to time, NAV forgets to remove this temporary file (appropriately named "spacesuckingfile.xxxxxx"), which can reach sizes in the hundreds of gigabytes. This is reportedly fixed as of NAV 9.01.

Hardware News

iPod shuffle price reduction
  • 512 MB — $69.00 (no EDU discount)
  • 1 GB — $99.00/$89.00 EDU
Additional iPod nano model
  • 1 GB — $149/$129 EDU
Apple Mobile Learning Labs
  • Apple-exclusive cart design from Bretford
  • HP LaserJet 1320N network, laserjet printer
  • AirPort Extreme base station
  • ARD 2.2
  • 2 Ethernet Cables
  • Power cables
  • Modem cables
  • VGA adapters
  • 10-pack (10 12" iBooks with the above): $10,999 EDU, $12,829 w/ AppleCare
  • 20-pack (20 12" iBooks with the above): $19,999 EDU, $23,659 w/ AppleCare
MacBook Pro speed-bump
  • Last-minute speed-bump
  • Pre-orders automatically upgraded for free
  • $2500-model: 1.83 → 2.0 GHz
  • $2000-model: 1.67 → 1.83 GHz
  • 2.16 GHz available as BTO option on $2500-model

Retail News

Apple is running a special promotion leading up to the ITMS sitting the One Billion Songs mark. Grand prize for downloading the One-Billionth song is a 20″ iMac, ten 60GB iPods (5 white, 5 black), and a $10,000 ITMS gift card. Smaller prizes of a 4GB black iPod nano and $100 ITMS gift card are being given away every 100,000th download.

Apple took the #1 spot in education sales in western Europe last quarter, with 15.2% overall, edging out Dell for second at 14.7%. In Switzerland Apple capture a shocking 54.4%.

George Ou has posted a blog entry that claims that the MacBook Pro is about $1000 more expensive than a "comparable" Dell Inspiron. Dan Frakes of Macworld has a rebuttal to Mr. Ou's blog post, that goes into more detail in comparing the MacBook Pro to an Inspiron, and notes that the $1000-less is achieved partially with an extremely rare, $650 coupon.


There are widespread reports that Windows Media for QuickTime components are crashing iLife. Workarounds all amount to uninstalling the WM for QT Components. Telestream is aware of the problem, and is working on a patch.

PowerPC and Intel Core use different partition schemes. This means that, even though both use the HFS+ format, PowerPC and Intel Macs can't boot off of volumes formatted for the other platform. For those that use external hard drives to boot troublesome machines, you'll need to partition the drive(s) in two, one HFS+ with the Apple partition scheme for PPC, the other HFS+ with the "GUID" partition scheme for Intel Core. Similarly, you'll need to maintain separate images on NetBoot servers.

Older FW drive enclosures may set large drives to 128 GB. This is caused by a limitation in IDE (24b addressing) that set the limit on drive size to 128 GB (1K = 1024). A few years ago, the industry got around this by implementing a 48b addressing patch, but using newer, high-capacity drives in older enclosures will cause the drive to be set to the 128 GB limit. This is, presumably, set in the drive's firmware, as the setting remains even after transplanting the drive into an LBA48-enabled device. Unfortunately, all known utilities to reset this are only available for Windows, but Intech's ATA Hi-Cap Support Driver may be able to fix some drives. (This driver's intended purpose is to allow pre-LBA48 Macs to use high-capacity drives.)

Mac OS X in Brief

The Washington Post reports that the upcoming, electronic US Grant System is incompatible with Macs. MacNN reports that the University of Wisconsin has a workaround, and that IBM, which recently purchased PureEdge, the incompatible part of the grant system, will port it to Mac OS X by November.

In June, Apple open-sourced the WebKit frameworks in Mac OS X. As a "thank you" for those developers that contributed the most, Apple gave the top twelve contributors MacBook Pros, and are offering to pay for the top five to attend World-Wide Developers Conference.

A judge has ruled that a class action, antitrust lawsuit against Apple should be allowed to go into court. The suit alleges that Apple has a monopoly over the digital music and digital music player market.

General News

A recent study suggests that people can only accurately interpret the intended tone of an email half of the time, which is a likely contributor to flame wars. The study paired up participants and had them begin an email exchange. With each message sent, the sender indicated whether or not he thought the recipient would correctly identify the tone, and what the tone was. The recipient then marked down what she thought the tone was, and how accurate she thought her interpretation was. Senders predicted an 80% success rate, and recipients predicted a 90% success rate, but the final results were only 50%.

ExtremeTech is reporting that Half of PCs Won't Run Vista's Interface. The reason for this is that Vista's Aero Glass compositor requires DirectX 9.0c, which most low-cost integrated graphics controllers don't support. Vista will run on systems with low-cost controllers, but will be much nicer on DirectX 9.0c-capable systems. (Similar to a system that runs Mac OS X, but doesn't have a video card that can run Quartz Extreme or Core Image.)

Cool Stuff

Joby has created an interesting camera tripod design, dubbed the "Gorillapod", whose legs wrap around objects, making it much easier to find just the right spot to place the camera.

Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST) has developed holograms. The graphics quality is essentially at the stage that 2D computer graphics were thirty years ago, but they are truly 3D, created in mid-air by tiny flashes of plasma.

A number of Macintosh rumor and news sites have noted that Apple has filed for some interesting patents on "gestures for touch sensitive input devices", which many are predicting will find their way into a future iPod, tablet Mac, and/or display. Researchers at New York University (NYU) have developed a multi-touch interface very similar to what's described in Apple's patents, complete with a video demonstration.


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