Mac News Review

Hot Rodding a G4 Cube, Hackers Rediscover the Mac, Flash Drive Can Copy Itself, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.04.01

PowerBook, iBook, iPod, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

G4 Cube Transformed into 'Killer Kube'

NEWS: Bare Feats rob-ART Morgan says:

"There are some exciting upgrades available for loyal owners of the G4 Cube. The appeal of the Cube was good performance in a small, quiet package. The new Mac mini would appear to be an appealing replacement to the Cube, but, though it is faster than a stock Cube and more compact, it is not as quiet and it is a virtual 'dead end' in terms of upgrades. The Cube, on the other hand, offers options to upgrade the CPU, graphics processor, hard drive, memory, and optical drive. And all of these choices together have the potential to push the Cube beyond the performance of the fastest Mac mini and extend the life of the beloved Cube.

"In this article, we're going to 'hot rod' the Cube in our quest to transform it into the fastest, baddest, 'Killer Kube' that eats Mac minis for breakfast (moo ha ha...)"

Return of the Mac

NEWS: Paul Graham says:

"All the best hackers I know are gradually switching to Macs. My friend Robert said his whole research group at MIT recently bought themselves PowerBooks. These guys are not the graphic designers and grandmas who were buying Macs at Apple's low point in the mid 1990s. They're about as hardcore OS hackers as you can get.

"The reason, of course, is OS X. PowerBooks are beautifully designed and run FreeBSD. What more do you need to know?

"For most of us, it's not a switch to Apple, but a return. Hard as this was to believe in the mid 90s, the Mac was in its time the canonical hacker's computer."

Mac mini exploded viewCool Exploded View of Mac mini in New York Times

NEWS: htmini.com reports:

"The NYT circuit's section ran an article about (Reg. Required) about the Mac Mini today and while that's pretty run of the mill, they also produced a pretty awesome exploded-view diagram of the mini...." [Reduced, cropped version displayed here.]

Mac Offers mini Bait

NEWS: The Standard's Michael Himowitz says:

"Over the years I've spent many hours tinkering with the little Windows network in our home, and each time I add a PC it gets a little easier.

"But the other day was a first. I opened a new computer, hooked up a keyboard, monitor and mouse, and turned it on. After a few minutes answering simple on-screen questions, I was hooked up to our wireless network, browsing the Web and sharing files with our other computers. A few minutes later, the new computer was beaming images to the printer hooked to my computer in the next room.

"I've never had a PC as easy to get running on a Windows network as this one. And the astounding thing: It's a Mac."

Apple mini: Little Box of Wonders

NEWS: TechNewsWorld's John P Mello Jr reports:

"One shortcut taken by computer makers is to unload the burden of processing graphics onto a system's main processor and memory. That's not Apple's style. The Mini has a dedicated graphics processor, the ATI Radeon 9200, and 32 megabytes of dedicated memory to handle its graphics chores....

"Priced at US$499, the Mac Mini turns commodity computing into fine computing. Moreover, it makes it affordable for many PC users enamored of Apple's iPod to test the OS X waters...."

Xmultiple FlashPoint USB Flash Drive with Dual Copy Technology

PR: USB flash drives are a new wave in portable data storage. FlashPoint takes this technology one step further - data on FlashPoint pen drives can be copied from one pen drive to another.

FlashPointFlashPoint drives have an integrated female USB connector so you can now plug a cable or another device into the same USB port in which the FlashPoint drive is attached. FlashPoint is an extension hub so you can attach more than one device to a single USB port. With all of this added technology to the FlashPoint drives . . . the physical size of FlashPoint remains the same as most existing pen drives.

If your digital camera reaches it's capacity. Just download the digital photos to the FlashPoint "ShareDrive". Wish to make a copy of the digital/MP3 data files to another USB flash drive? Simple. Just plug in the FlashPoint, press the button, and the download is complete.

FlashPoint drives are a small, simple, elegant, lightweight, mobile data transfer device. With the FlashPoint drive technology a user does not need a computer, laptop, or handheld to copy files on the go. FlashPoint solves the problem of copying files from your machine to a friend's machine when you all you have is your pen drives. FlashPoint is a simple solution. Perfect for the mobile world we live in. Current USB Flash Memory Drives can support up to 2 GB of space. This makes the importance of FlashPoint data copy capability even more important. Transporting, copying and accessing data with

Current USB flash memory drives can support up to 8 GB of flash memory. And this capacity will grow within the next few months. This makes the importance of FlashPoint data copy capability even more important. Transporting, copying, and accessing data with FlashPoint ShareDrive is as simple as carrying a pen. And because FlashPoint is a plug and play device, you just place it in a USB slot and it will register with the computer as a removable drive almost instantaneously. With FlashPoint ShareDrive, the pen drive will also have a subdirectory called "Share" which is the file that all files will copy from when you attach to FlashPoint drives together and copy files. In addition, because it is a hub, you can simply plug another device into the female connector and it recognizes more than one device.

The FlashPoint USB memory drive can also be used to copy data from other devices, in a process called "dump". This is useful when copying data from a digital camera for example. The process is controlled by buttons for Power control, Load and Dump of data.

FlashPoint is the first product to take flash drive technology to a point where the a user's data and information can be easily transported and copied. Unlike existing pen drives, FlashPoint drives do have a battery integrated inside - this provides the power to transfer data from one FlashPoint drive to another - but it is an extremely small battery that takes virtually no room in the pen drive. With FlashPoint copying files with a friend or a business acquaintance is ultimately hassle-free.

FlashPoint ShareDrives are designed to work on both Windows and Mac platforms, and with all USB devices, including USB 2.0 (Hi-Speed). It works with Windows 98/Me/2000 and XP or Macintosh OS 9.x and 10.x.

An 8-bit 8051 compatible MCU core runs the show, with 64 KB of internal ROM for firmware and software. The connection to other devices is through USB 2.0 (full-speed). The FlashPoint ShareDrive comes in different memory configurations, from 256 MB through 2 GB.

FlashPoint ShareDrive with 1 GB sells for $149.99.

Mercury Pro DVR-109 'SuperDrive' First of Its Kind Certified for Use with Retrospect

Other World Computing today announced the latest addition to its impressive line of SuperDrives - the OWC Mercury Pro DVR-109 dual layer DVD±R/RW external solution.

As the speediest of OWC's Mercury Pro SuperDrives, it offers up to 16x DVD±R/RW and up to 40x CD-R/RW burn speeds. OWC's Mercury Pro DVR-109 external SuperDrive solution includes both FireWire and USB 2.0 ports, supports the burning of up to 8.5 GB of data or video per disc, and comes with a one year OWC warranty.

The drive is immediately available for $159.99.

"The OWC Mercury Pro is convenient, fast, and an awesome deal," said Larry O'Connor, president of OWC. "You get all the cables you need, NTI DragonBurn, EMC Dantz Retrospect backup and restore software, five DVD-Rs in jewel cases, 25 pieces of 80-minute CD-R media, and all the necessary connecting cables.

"It's among the fastest of burners available on the market today and economical, too. But even more important is the confidence that comes with using what is to date the only DVR-109 Dual Layer based FireWire/USB Solution to have received EMC Dantz Retrospect Backup and Restore Certification."

Other Mercury Pro external drive solutions have received high marks from a number of reviewers, including four-out-of-five mice from Macworld and an "Editor's Choice" designation from MacAddict. The OWC Mercury Pro Dual Layer DVD±R/RW Pioneer DVR-109 16x External will build on its predecessors' successes.

"This latest edition serves to enhance a product already recognized for its quality, reliability, performance and competitive value," O'Connor said. "It is also incredibly convenient for those who don't want the hassle of installing an internal CD- and DVD-burning solution, or who would like to use their burner with multiple machines."

All Mercury Pro models are plug and play for nearly any Mac or PC system with an available FireWire or USB 2.0 port.

FireWire 800 1394b/USB 2.0 Four Bay Removable Drive Enclosure

PR: The EF8U5AL_Q is a four bay external FireWire 800 1394b/USB 2.0 combo storage enclosure with removable drive trays and two high-performance 1394b/ USB 2.0 bridge adapters built-in. The EF8U5AL_Q can easily convert four 3.5" IDE/ATA hard drives into a FireWire 800 1394b or USB 2.0 external device.

With its rugged aluminum body and directAIR™ cooling system, the EF8U5AL_Q provides excellent protection for the hard drives and has great thermal management.

With its 1394b/USB 2.0 bridge boards, the enclosure offers the highest compatibility and reliability. It works with Microsoft Windows 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, Linux, FreeBSD, and Mac OS 9.x or higher.

Feature:

  • Convert four IDE/ATA 3.5" hard drives into a Hotplug-able FireWire 800 and USB 2.0 storage system
  • Supports ATA133; supports drives larger than 128 GB
  • 100, 200, 400, 800 Mbps FireWire transfer rate x 2
  • 12 Mbps for USB 1.1, 480 Mbps for USB 2.0 transfer rate x 2
  • Hot-swapping capability for hard drives - no IDs, no termination
  • More compact, low noise, and better heat dissipation as a result of the new aluminum body

Specifications

  • Operating Temperature: 0° C to 50° C
  • Operating Humidity: 5% to 95% non-condensing
  • Dimension: 19.8 cm x 26.7 cm x 42.0 cm (W7.5" x H10.5" x D16.5")
  • IDE peripherals: Up to four P-ATA133 in two set of Master/Slave configuration
  • Operating System: Win 98SE, ME, 2000, XP, Linux, FreeBSD, MAC 9.x or higher
  • IDE Interface:
    • ATAPI/ATA66: USB 2.0
    • ATAPI/ATA133: IEEE-1394b/FireWire 800
  • IEEE 1394 Interface:
    • Initio 2430: IEEE 1394a compliant.
    • Support data transfer rate up to 100, 200, 400, 800 Mbps.
  • USB 2.0 Interface:
    • Ali 5621: USB 2.0 EHCI based USB 2.0 compliant solution.
    • transfer rate up to 12, 200, 480 Mbps
  • Connectors:
    • 9-pin IEEE 1394 connector x 4
    • 4-pin USB connector x 2
    • Power connector x 1
    • On/Off switch x 1
  • Power Requirement: 115-230 VAC 50/60 Hz switchable 200W power supply
  • Price: $499

StorDirector 1.0 Partitions, Stripes, Mirrors, and Edits Disks on the Fly

PR: CommandSoft StorDirector does more than any other storage utility on the market for Mac OS X. Partition, stripe, mirror, and edit disks on the fly like never before. Works with any kind of storage.

System requirements: Mac OS X

StorDirector sells for $69.95.

Tom Bihn: eM2 Mac mini Bag

PR: htmini.com reports:

"Here at HTmini we don't get to review many things, so when someone wants to send us their product to try out we jump at the chance.

"Tom Bihn contacted us a week or two ago and offered to let us evaluate their Mac Mini case called the eM2. When I first mentioned that I'd be writing a review of the case, my girlfriend asked me why you'd want to carry your Mac mini around with you. Our mini sits under the TV and hasn't moved since we got it, so I had to sit down and come up with some situations where you'd be carrying your Mac mini around...."

i3 Mac mini Car Interface

NEWS: engadget.com's Barb Dybwad reports:

"So you've stuffed your Mac mini into your glove compartment and mounted a touchscreen precariously on the dash. Or perhaps you've gone all out and really spent some time on creating an unholy union of auto and mini - either way you've figured out it's best not to double-click and drive. You can avoid risking life and limb in finding the perfect playlist on the road by checking out the i3 integrated application launching interface designed specifically for car use. It allows you to map applications to buttons for one touch (or click, if you're not rocking the touchscreen) opening, and is customizeable with downloadable skins. There ya go - safety and fashion for $25."

Benny Hinn Ministries has Faith in Macs and ADTX RAID Solutions

NEWS: Advanced Technology and Systems Co., Ltd. (ADTX) describes how the ADTX L Series High Performance SATA RAID is the answer for Benny Hinn Ministries video post-production.

Benny Hinn Ministries, a media-savvy Christian evangelist organization, produces a cable program shown on the Trinity Broadcast Network in the United States and on stations in 192 countries worldwide. The ministry also conducts and records their frequent religious crusades throughout the world. With increasing video content, quicker deadlines, and limited staff for editing, Benny Hinn Ministries turned to Bart Harrison of Multimedia Programming America (MPA) to provide help in finding a solution that not only works, but is affordable and reliable as well.

Harrison recommended implementing a Storage Area Network (SAN) using two ADTX L Series RAID systems because of their superior performance-to-price ratio and history of excellent reliability. By using a SAN, Benny Hinn Ministries editors are able to collaborate on the video footage, and by using the two L Series RAID systems, all five editing rooms and an ingest station have enough performance to work simultaneously on a combination of standard and high definition video when needed.

"When MPA suggested we go with the ADTX drives working in conjunction with 6 new Apple G5 Final Cut workstations we were planning to install, we were surprised." Explains Truett Hancock, Vice President of Television Operations, Benny Hinn Ministries, "We originally thought we might be quoted an Apple solution for storage. However, after seeing the specs, performance, and pricing of the ADTX L Series, our mind was quickly made up. My editing team has pushed the drives hard from the very first day, and I have yet to hear a complaint. No more dropped frames, and all of the anomalies we were experiencing in the past are gone. The ADTX drives are an extraordinary combination of speed, reliability, and value."

"The L Series RAID has a price point that is competitive, but when you consider the number of simultaneous streams of high end video it can support, the L Series is one of the best values." Says Naresh Chadha, President of International Operations for ADTX, "For video, film and broadcast customers looking for additional storage, the L Series RAID system is a great choice."

ADTX will be exhibiting the L Series High Performance SATA RAID at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) event April 18-21 in Las Vegas. In booth 4555D, ADTX will demonstrate live performance tests of the L Series RAID using both Macintosh and Windows based computers, new RAID systems will be introduced and on display in the booth as well.

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