Mac News Review

Repair Permissions Not Recommended, OS X 10.4.6 Update, Mac mini Fails Final Cut Studio, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.04.07

PowerBook, iBook, iPod, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. News about Apple's transition to Intel CPUs and other Intel developments is covered in The Macintel Report. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Tips

Products

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Apple Does Not Recommend 'Repair Permissions' with System Updates

Daring Fireball's John Gruber says:

"As you know, with any update we are told to repair permissions before and after installing new system software or updates. With the 10.4.6 update, there is a new twist to the installation process and a welcome surprise after. After you install the update and are prompted to restart, the machine does its usual thing. It stays on the Grey Apple screen for a longer than usual time, but now instead of stalling, it restarts itself and boots normally. The welcome surprise is that after the machine boots up, a quick 'Repair Permissions' says that everything is A-Okay. There were no repairs needed! That is a first! Perhaps they added a script to do exactly that, since most people haven't a clue on how to or where to find the Disk Utility and Repair Permissions. All is fine so far with the update.

"We are told to repair permissions before and after each update by whom? Certainly not by Apple. Perhaps Cruse means 'them', the same 'them' who, in the classic Mac OS era, recommended zapping your PRAM every time you need to reboot your Mac after the system was wedged by a crashed app.

"To be clear, perfectly clear: Apple does not recommend that you do this. All you need to do before applying a system update is follow the steps in the accompanying release notes, and nowhere therein has it ever been mentioned that you should run Disk Utility's Repair Permissions feature before or after installing the update, let alone doing so before and after."

Editor's note: Repair Permissions is a trouble shooting procedure. Over the years, some OS X users have found that some updates have introduced problems with permissions. Running Repair Permissions has been seen as a preemptive strike. It should also be noted that Apple doesn't recommend not running repair permissions with system updates. Apple is mute on the subject. dk

Link: 'Repair Permissions' Not a Recommended Step When Applying System Updates

Mac OS X 10.4.6 Update Released

PR: Apple today released the Mac OS 10.4.6 update. There are two ways to update to Mac OS X 10.4.6: Use Software Update or the standalone installer. You only need to use one of these methods to update your computer.

Mac OS X 10/4/6 via Automatic Software Update

Software Update, located in the Apple menu, will automatically download the latest Apple software. Note that the update's size may vary from computer to computer when installed using Software Update.

Mac OS X 10/4/6 via Standalone installer

Download the Delta or Combo update installer and run it manually. This a useful option when you need to update multiple computers but only want to download the update once. Two versions of the standalone installer are available from Apple Downloads:

The Mac OS X 10.4.6 Update (delta - PPC 65 MB/ Intel 163 MB) updates Mac OS X 10.4.5 to version 10.4.6 on both Intel-based Macs and PowerPC-based Macs.

https://web.archive.org/web/20060421074935/http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303411

The Mac OS X 10.4.5 Update (combo - PPC 140 MB/ Intel 191 MB; Yikes!) updates Mac OS X 10.4, 10.4.1, 10.4.2, 10.4.3, or 10.4.4 to version 10.4.5 on both Intel-based Macs and PowerPC-based Macs.

https://web.archive.org/web/20060419012251/http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303180

Mac OS 10.4.6 Changes and Improvements

Internet, iDisk, and networking

  • Safari no longer quits unexpectedly when deleting AOL mail messages via AOL webmail.
  • Apple's IPSec VPN client now works with Cisco servers whether or not NAT is used.
  • Addresses an issue in which you could not sync with an iDisk larger than 4 GB.
  • Files copied across a network via Portable Home Directories are now copied as temporary files until the transfer is complete, in case the network connection is interrupted before the transfer finished.
  • Addresses an issue in which some Epson printers could not successfully print via AirPort Extreme.

Other

  • Allows the rotating cube effect to appear as expected on both a primary and a mirrored display, when switching users via Fast User switching.
  • Addresses an issue for Mac OS X 10.4.4 in which background columns of text within the RSS Visualizer screen saver are sometimes superimposed over one another.
  • Dragging a widget out of the widget bar while the desktop picture is changing (automatically, for example) no longer stops the animation on an Intel-based Mac.
  • On an Intel-based Mac, Telestream Flip4Mac now installs correctly.
  • Prevents the Setup Assistant from unexpectedly quitting if Kotoeri is selected as the keyboard type following an English language installation of Mac OS X.
  • Allows applications that run using Rosetta on an Intel-based Mac to successfully open files that are located via an Open window's "search" field.
  • Addresses an issue in which Rosetta-translated applications running on Intel-based Macs would not correctly receive Keychain notifications.
  • Console no longer reports a series of "Quartz Composer QuickTime Component" messages for iMovie '06 when applying a Ken Burns clip or image.
  • Addresses an issue for iMovie HD and Mac OS X 10.4.4 in which iMovie could unexpectedly quit when switching themes.
  • Updated the rules for time zones and Daylight Savings Time to conform to changes in the law for the United States, Australia, and other locations, for 2006 and later.
  • Addresses a potential issue that could cause the system process "configd" to unexpectedly stall.
  • Addresses an issue when viewing streaming media behind a firewall on Intel Macs.
  • Eliminates some potential video redraw issues when using Front Row on Intel-based Macs.

Finder, networking, and logging in

  • 802.1X login authentication configurations created in Internet Connect can now be used at the Mac OS X login window, too.
  • Addresses an issue in which, when at the login window, the computer would not shut down automatically at a time specified in Energy Saver Schedule preferences; for more information, see this article.
  • Prevents a potential issue in which Mac OS X might stop responding when trying to log in as a FileVault-protected user if the protected Home image file has been damaged or moved; instead, a "You are unable to log in to the user account (name) at this time." alert message appears.
  • Addresses an issue for home directories on AFP servers in which, after failing to burn a disc, an "error -61" alert message would appear when trying to delete the Burn Folder related to the unsuccessful burn.
  • If you change your login password at the Login window, you will now be given an opportunity to apply the same change to your default keychain.
  • You can now copy folders with files to an SMB-based server instead of only the folder being copied and this alert message appearing: "The operation cannot be completed because you do not have sufficient privileges for some of the items."
  • Addresses an issue that could prevent MacBook Pro from printing to wireless printers via AppleTalk.
  • Improves iDisk (WebDAV file system) performance.
  • File and folder names that contain colon or forward slash ( "/") characters in the main directory of an iDisk or WebDAV volume no longer cause issues.
  • Resolves potential issues that could occur when using automatic proxy configuration (PAC) files.

Apple applications

  • Resolves an issue in which Mail could unexpectedly quit when lowering the quote level within a reply message.
  • Addresses an issue in which iChat, on an Intel-based Mac with a built-in iSight camera, could sometimes stop displaying video from the iSight camera until the computer was shut down and started up again.
  • Dragging a movie clip into iMovie 6 on an Intel-based Mac will no longer potentially cause some of the iMovie window to turn black.
  • Disk Utility's repair permissions feature will no longer report "We are using special permissions for..." messages.
  • Updates Calculator so that the percentage button ("%") will no longer divide, under certain circumstances, when you expect it to calculate percentage - this could happen in Mac OS X 10.4.3 through 10.4.5.
  • Resolves an issue that could cause Help Viewer to sometimes display a blank window.
  • Addresses some issues that could cause DVD Player to unexpectedly quit when playing a movie disc on an Intel-based Mac.
  • Terminal windows will no longer fail to open when using the /bin/zsh shell.
  • EXIF data is now exported with TIFF images in Aperture.
  • Aperture will no longer unexpectedly quit when exporting a file with keywords that contain twelve or more Cyrillic characters.
  • Resolves potential issues with several iPhoto Automator actions, such as Import Photos into iPhoto.
  • Includes iSync 2.2 which provides support for additional mobile phones. For more information, see iSync 2.2: Read before updating to Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later, or before first sync.

Third-party applications

  • Resolves an issue in which Blizzard World of Warcraft character graphics could be distorted on an Intel-based Mac with a built-in graphics processor when vertex shaders are enabled.
  • The Command-H key combination now hides QuarkXPress 6 as expected when it is the front application.
  • Addresses an issue for Aspyr Media's True Crime: The Streets of LA game in which game movies are very dim on Intel-based Macs.
  • Addresses an issue for Microsoft Word 2004 in which Word would display a "Word cannot complete the operation because too many files are open" alert message when autosaving a document to a network-based home directory.
  • Improves character graphics appearance for Aspyr Media's The Sims House Party when running with Rosetta on an Intel-based Mac.

Other

  • Makes Mac OS X aware of United States Daylight Savings Time (DST) changes enacted by the Energy Policy Act of 2005.
  • Clicking an unmounted iDisk icon in the Save As dialog window of an application running with Rosetta no longer causes the application to stop with a spinning cursor.
  • Spotlight is now better able to search the content of older Microsoft Word documents.
  • Addresses an issue in which some third-party applications might stop responding or unexpectedly quit when running on an Intel-based Mac if you disconnect or connect a display while the computer is on.
  • Addresses potential vnode reference count mismatches that could lead to a kernel panic.
  • Addresses USB audio issues for PowerPC Macs; for example, latency is improved.
  • Addresses several AppleScript issues, including: Preservation of property values in Script Menu, a potential Bonjour issue with "choose remote application", an invisible "choose application" dialog issue, and improved compatibility with Dashboard widgets and applications.
  • Includes recent Apple security updates.

Important to consider before installing.

  • If you use iSync, you should perform a full sync with your devices before installing this update. Mac OS X 10.4.6 Update includes a later version of iSync with several improvements. For more information and before-you-install steps, see iSync 2.2: Read before updating to Mac OS X 10.4.6 or later, or before first sync.
  • With the Mac OS X 10.4.6 system software update, PowerPC-based Macs will restart twice, instead of once, after the initial installation.
  • You may experience unexpected results if you have third-party system software modifications installed, or if you've modified the operating system through other means. (This does not apply to normal application software installation.)
  • The installation process should not be interrupted. If a power outage or other interruption occurs during installation, use the standalone installer (see below) from Apple Downloads to update.
  • If issues occur during installation - for example, Software Update quits unexpectedly, please see this article:
Link: https://web.archive.org/web/20060418140817/http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=106695

Latest Mac mini/iPod Ideas and Commentary on Mini Ture_MacJournal

Mini Ture_MacJournal's Darryl says:

Remembering 30 years back, is a while, but 1987 at San Francisco, looking at the Mac II's impact and after the trip to China, is not that long ago, really. Yet sitting in front of that first Apple II, for me 1979 seems a very long time ago. :-D

Tips

Intel Mac mini Fails Final Cut Studio System Requirements

A new Apple Knowledge Base article says:

"If you have a Mac mini (Early 2006), the Final Cut Studio (Universal) crossgrade Installer does not prohibit you from installing the pro applications, but this configuration does not meet the minimum system requirements for Final Cut Studio."

Link: Final Cut Studio Is Not Supported on Mac mini (Early 2006)

Products

Miglia TVMini HD Now Available at Apple Online Store

PR: TVMini HD - the smallest, lightest and most portable TV receiver and recorder for your Mac - is now available through the Apple Store in North America. Powered by EyeTV 2 you can watch, pause, record and rewind live HDTV broadcasts form anywhere you choose:

Miglia Technology, a leading manufacturer of video, audio and storage products for Mac and Windows, has announced TVMini HD, this cool looking device allows you to watch, pause record and rewind HDTV on your Mac is now available from the online Apple Store.

Powered by Elgato's award-winning EyeTV V.2 Software, TVMini HD will let you watch and record TV in outstanding digital quality on your Mac. TVMini HD is smaller and less expensive than any comparable product, and compact enough to take with you on any journey.

Simon Ellson, CEO, Miglia Technology, commented: "Miglia's TVMini HD combined with EyeTV will change the way you watch and record HDTV on your Mac. The integrated online guide and TitanTV (EPG) gives you full control of your TV schedule, allowing you to program TV recordings automatically even when you're away. Just like its big brother EvolutionTV, TVMini HD will help to replace your VCR. We even include a portable antenna so you can watch TV on the go"

Following the success of TVMini HD at Macworld San Francisco earlier this year, Miglia are delighted to announce the availability of TVMini HD through the Apple store online.

Store your favourite TV shows on your Mac to watch whenever you want, or burn them to DVD to watch on your TV or export them to your iTunes library and your iPod (5G). As usual Miglia includes a high quality remote control that provides the 'complete viewing experience' allowing remote scheduling and channel selection from the comfort of your armchair.

ATSC, the Advanced Television System Committee represents the future of television broadcasting, known as HDTV in the United States. TVMini HD with its ATSC decoder provides interference-free reception and remarkable digital picture and sound quality (this assumes you have adequate reception for ATSC in your local area). TVMini HD supports ATSC multilingual programs and Dolby Digital audio if supported by your Mac.

Key features of the eyeTV software (from Elgato) built for TVMini HD:

EyeTV lets you watch, record, edit and archive television on the Mac. Watch live television on the Mac Record television digitally to the Mac's hard drive "shift time" by pausing live television, rewinding or fast forwarding Edit recorded television to remove unwanted content or save a favourite scene Archive favourite programs to DVD, SVCD or VideoCD to play on most standard DVD players Closed Captioning and TeleText for International users. Export to iPod, PSP, iMovie HD, iDVD, or DVD Studio Pro allowing you to make professional quality recordings. Seamless integration with TOAST for easy burning of CD's/DVD's Play television in its own window, side-by-side with other applications, at full screen or even in the Dock.

Mac Compatibility

  • Mac with USB 2.0 Connectivity
  • G4/500 or higher (DualG5 required for 1080i resolution)
  • Mac OS 10.3.9 and higher
  • Mac OS X 10.4 compatible

Miglia TVMini HD is available now from Miglia's distribution partners, and it's online store, for a recommended retail price of $249. TVMini HD is exclusively available in the USA, for HDTV in Europe please see TVMini online at http://www.miglia.com/products

All units carry a full 2 year RTB warranty.

Keyspan 60' RF Remote for Front Row

PR: Keyspan announced its new "RF Remote for Front Row" - a sleek and powerful RF remote control designed specifically for use with Apple's Front Row multimedia software.

Keyspan's new remote:

  • Uses a radio frequency (RF) signal that works through walls and furniture. This provides greater flexibility in locating the Macintosh and video display that are used to display Front Row. Also, RF is more convenient than infrared remotes that require line of sight to the Mac.
  • Delivers a range of 60 feet or more (twice the distance of infrared remotes).
  • Features a set of 9 buttons which allow a user to control Front Row software, eject a CD or DVD, put the Mac to sleep and wake it up.

Shipping this week with a suggested price of $39, the RF Remote for Front Row is available to resellers at Ingram Micro, D&H and Wynit. It is available to consumers at MacConnection, MacWarehouse, Apple Specialist resellers, and other leading resellers of Macintosh accessories.

Link: Keyspan RF Remote for Front Row

Next-Generation Deskstar Hard Drives Add SATA-2

PR: Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi) has announced two new 3.5" hard drives that extend the company's long-standing tradition of performance and capacity leadership. The Deskstar® T7K500 and Deskstar 7K160 feature 7,200 RPM spin speeds and 3 Gb/s SATA interfaces [editor's note: twice as fast as the original SATA spec] to deliver maximum performance in mainstream and high-performance PCs, gaming systems and low duty cycle servers. The new drives use 160 GB+ per platter technology to deliver up to one-half terabyte (500 GB) of storage capacity in a one-, two- and three-disk design. The reduced platter count and proven Deskstar design platform optimize the drives for high-volume manufacturing and streamlined product qualifications.

Hitachi will continue to provide its award-winning Deskstar 7K500 for customers that require extended operation and higher duty cycles. These 500 GB drives include enterprise-class features that enhance reliability for nearline storage applications such as disk-to-disk backup and high-bandwidth applications like digital video editing.

"The Deskstar products announced today advance areal densities and include a number of advanced features that provide customers the competitive advantage they need to build innovative and high performance systems," said Jose Antelo, vice president and general manager, Business Management, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "The new drives deliver the industry-leading capacity and performance that defines the Hitachi Deskstar brand and helps accelerate the company's growth in the 3.5" segment."

Hard drive performance is a primary requirement for today's savvy consumers and IT managers that use Deskstar drives for digital media and low duty cycle server applications. Both Deskstar drives features optional 3 Gb/s SATA interfaces and Native Command Queuing (NCQ), which enables fast data transfer rates for enterprise ATA and other performance-based applications. NCQ is a method of controlling commands sent from the host processor to the drive to enable faster application activities for the end user.

The new Deskstar drives feature a fast interface transfer rate and available 16 MB data buffers on the Deskstar T7K500 SATA version for quicker system bootup, screen refreshes and more efficient data processing. Hitachi's "Smooth Stream" technology also improves performance for audio/video storage applications.

The Deskstar T7K500 and Deskstar 7K160 extend Hitachi's reputation for quality and reliability with new features such as "Thermal Fly Height Control" (TFC) to improve data integrity. TFC technology uses an internal thermal sensor that monitors temperature and makes adjustments to improve error rates in extreme temperature conditions. The drives also include an optional low power mode to minimize power requirements and enable cooler system operation.

The Deskstar drives helps protect customer data with up to 350 G (2ms) of nonoperating shock for increased drive reliability and data protection. Both Deskstar models include Hitachi's unique load/unload technology, which provides a safety ramp for the read-write heads that help protect user data in non-power mode. Fluid dynamic bearing motors are also used to ensure "whisper-quiet" operation.

Hitachi's two new Deskstar drives meet the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) compliance directive issued last year by the European Union (EU).

The Deskstar drives are backed by Hitachi's renowned compatibility testing labs and worldwide distribution support. The drives, which carry three-year warranties, are expected to ship worldwide in early 3Q 2006.

Technical Specifications:

Deskstar T7K500

  • 500/400/320/250 GB (GB = 1 billion bytes, accessible capacity may be less)
  • 998 Mb/s max. media data rate
  • 8.5 ms average seek time
  • 7,200 RPM, 4.17 ms average latency
  • ATA133/Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s
  • 8 MB data buffer - PATA
  • 16/8 MB data buffer - SATA
  • 26.1 mm in height (max)
  • 118 billion bits per square inch maximum areal density
  • 3/2 platters
  • 6/4 recording heads
  • 350 G (2ms) nonoperating shock (2 disk)
  • 300 G (2ms) nonoperating shock (3 disk)
  • 6.0 (3 disk)/5.0 (2 disk) watt idle power (Parallel ATA)
  • 7.0 (3 disk)/6.0 (2 disk) watt idle power (Serial ATA)
  • 3.0 (3 disk)/2.8 (2 disk) Bels typical idle acoustics
  • 0-60 degrees C operating temperature
  • Fluid Dynamic Bearing (FDB) spindle motor

Deskstar 7K160 (where different from above)

  • 160/80 GB (GB = 1 billion bytes, accessible capacity may be less)
  • 966 Mb/s max. media data rate
  • 8 MB data buffer
  • 120 billion bits per square inch maximum areal density
  • 1 platter
  • 2/1 recording heads
  • 4.9 watt idle power (Parallel ATA)
  • 5.9 watt idle power (Serial ATA)
  • 2.5 Bels typical idle acoustics
Link: Hitachi Global Storage Technologies

Software

PC-Mac-Net FileShare Lite 6.0

PR: Transfers files and folders easily and securely between all varieties of MacOS, Windows, and Linux computers.

This free application is a fast and efficient file sharing and remote movie and music playback controller which operates over LANs and the Internet. It can turn almost any old PC into a media center and file server. The Lite Edition has 10 MB download and 2 MB upload file size limits, allows 3 users per workgroup, and has a 10 minute media playback limit. The commercial Standard and Professional Editions do not have these limitations.

Note: All computers must run the same version number of PC-Mac-Net FileShare.

System requirements:

  • Windows 98/NT/ME/2000/XP (English, 19.7 MB)
  • MacOS X (English, 17 MB)
  • Linux (English, 4.7 MB)
  • MacOS Classic (English) from System 8.6 - 9.2

System support: PPC

PC-Mac-Net FileShare Lite is free.

Also available in:

  • Standard Edition - $24.95
  • Professional Edition - $39.95
  • Site Licenses from $299
Link: PC-Mac-Net FileShare Lite 6.0

Gimp To Go

PR: Portable Gimp.app is the binary distribution of the GNU Image Manipulation Program for Mac OS X packaged as portable application so you can take your preferences with you. Portable Gimp.app is the Gimp.app - the self contained application bundle of the GNU Image Manipulation Program for OS X by Aaron Voisine packaged as portable application so you can carry around with you on any portable device: USB thumb drive, iPod, portable hard drive, memory card, or other portable device (also on your internal hard disk) as long as it has 165 MB of free space and use on any Mac OS X computer, taking your preferences with you.

Gimp.app requires Apple's X11 which is included in the "Optional Installs" package on the OS X install disk.

Features

  • First public release
  • 100% standalone
  1. Drag "Portable Gimp.app" folder to your portable device, USB thumb drive, iPod, portable hard drive, memory card, other portable device (also to your internal hard disk) as long as it has 165 MB of free space.
  2. Clicking "Portable Gimp.app" will open Gimp.app from your portable device, wait a while before Gimp start. Portable Gimp.app requires that either Apple's X11 or XDarwin be installed. Apple's X11 is included in the "Optional Installs" package on the OS X install disk.

There is a bug currently that Gimp.app will not work from within a folder containing any of the following characters: pipe |, forward slash /, backslash \, ampersand &, pound #, or double quote ". Any other printable characters should be fine.

Gimp.app is packaged using the Platypus script wrapper from http://sveinbjorn.sytes.net/platypus

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.

System support: PPC/Intel

Portable Gimp.app is free.

Link: Portable Gimp.app

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