Mac News Review

Mac Market Up 34.6%, Core 2 minis?, Red Mice and iPods, a $30 Bluetooth 2.0 Dongle, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.11.10

We live in interesting times. "Beleaguered" a decade ago, Apple is on a roll, owns the MP3 player market, and is growing the Mac's market share - by over one-third in the past year! And Intel Macs now account for about 20% of all Macs used online.

The color of the year is red, whether you're looking at big programs like (Product) Red™ or a new, low-end alternative known as Other Red. Apple donates $10 for each (Product) Red iPod nano sold to (Product) Red, and MacMice gives 10% of the retail price of their Danger Mouse Red and GarageKey Red to Other Red.

With the holidays approaching, both provide a way you can help others at no additional cost by buying things you may have wanted anyhow.

Apple announced a repair extension program for the power supply in the dual-core Power Mac G5, and FastMac now has a Bluetooth upgrade for G4 Mac minis that don't already have it. And for those who don't have Bluetooth and want it, Danger Dongle adds Bluetooth to Macs with USB 2.0 ports.

A neat niche product this week is the SoundTech LightSnake, a cable that adapts an XLR microphone to USB - perfect for use with GarageBand.

PowerBook, iBook, MacBook, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Tips

Products

iPod Accessories

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Mac Market Share Up 34.6% in a Year

Macworld UK's Jonny Evans reports:

"Apple's marketshare continues to climb, up 34.6 per cent, year on year, new statistics reveal.

"According to Net Applications' latest research figures (for October) for platforms used when accessing the web, Mac usage has climbed a phenomenal 52.8 per cent since January 2005."

Core 2 Duo Mac minis on the Way?

Ars Technica says:

"After today's update of the MacBook to Core 2 Duos, the Mac mini is feeling a little left behind. Apple, however, has apparently had a little slip-up (which is likely to be corrected sometime today, I'm guessing) on their technical specs page for the Mac mini, with the link from the 'Intel Core Duo' graphic on the left-hand side pointing to a nonexistent Mac mini Core 2 Duo page:

"http://www.apple.com/macmini/intelcore2duo.html"

Editor's note: Also see How Soon Will the Mac mini Go Core 2? dk

Apple's Blue Logic Boards

The Apple Core's Jason D. O'Grady reports:

"If you've opened a Mac to upgrade a hard drive or RAM recently you may have noticed that Apple is now using blue circuit board material as opposed to the more traditional green G10-FR4 epoxy circuit boards.

"G10-FR4 (FR4) is a fire rated electrical-grade, dielectric fiberglass laminate epoxy resin system combined with a glass fabric substrate. The abbreviation 'FR4' means: F (for flame) and R (for retardancies) and the 4 is a # 4 epoxy. FR4 grades offer excellent chemical resistance, flame ratings (UL94-VO) and electrical properties under dry and humid conditions.

"FR4 also features high flexural, impact, superior mechanical strength and bond strength at temperatures up to 130°C. G10-FR4 is suitable for structural, electronic, pc boards and electrical applications."

The Other Red Program Helps Orphans in Africa

Other RedPR: Other Red is a private program that helps small manufacturers around the world market specific products that are tied to a donation of 10% of the retail price to helping orphaned children in Kenya, Africa. We are a small operation, geared around small companies, making small products, all intended to help a very worthwhile project in a very big way.

Why We Are Doing This

We were inspired and touched by the wonderful goodwill being generated by the (Product) Red™ project for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. We admire and encourage all to participate in this worthy cause by purchasing (Product) Red products. The (Product) Red project includes a variety of the world's largest iconic brands and thus has the potential to raise millions of dollars for a worthy cause with only a few selected products.

But what about all the smaller brands around the world who are also eager to help? We decided to organize an alternative red product project for a worthy cause that is open to even the smallest brands who want to help make the world a better place. No Big Name Celebrities

The only celebrities associated with Other Red are the tireless staff growing a well-run orphan care operation in Kenya, and of course, the brave little youngsters they serve each day. Peace Village School & Orphanage

Peace Village School & Orphanage is an eager, well-managed charitable operation located in Ukunda, Kenya . . . with big hearts, big talent, and big plans for growth. The organization supports orphaned children in and around the Kwale Province/South Coast area of Kenya, and specifically seeks to help AIDS orphans and other deprived children in the area.

The first two Other Red products are GarageKey Red and Danger Mouse Red.

Tips

Power Mac G5 Dual-core Repair Extension Program

The Power Mac G5 Repair Extension Program for Power Supply Issues applies to Power Mac G5 systems that have power-related issues as a result of a specific component failure within the computer's power supply. If your Power Mac G5 fails to start up after the power button has been pressed and your computer's serial number is within the noted ranges, your computer may be eligible for repair, free of charge. There are no known safety issues caused by this component failure.

Identifying Affected Power Mac G5 systems

The affected Power Mac G5 models were sold between approximately October 2005 and August 2006 and feature Dual 2 GHz, Dual 2.3 GHz, or Quad 2.5 GHz PowerPC G5 processors.

If Apple or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) determines that your Power Mac G5 computer is eligible as part of the program, the power supply repair will be covered by Apple for up to two years from the original date of purchase even if your Power Mac G5 is out of warranty. This worldwide Apple program does not extend the standard warranty coverage of the Power Mac G5.

Affected systems will exhibit one of the following power-related symptoms:

  • System will not start up after the power button is pressed
  • No LED activity

Note: If your Power Mac G5 is not experiencing any of these symptoms, you do not have to contact Apple or any Apple Authorized Service Provider.

The affected Power Mac G5 computers have serial numbers where the first 5 digits fall into the ranges noted below. The Power Mac G5 computer's serial number is located inside the case directly below the air deflector, along with other configuration information.

Serial Number Ranges

CK539xxxxxx - CK608xxxxxx
G8539xxxxxx - G8608xxxxxx
YM539xxxxxx - YM608xxxxxx
RM539xxxxxx - RM608xxxxxx

To participate in this worldwide program, your Power Mac G5 must exhibit one of the symptoms noted above and fall into the serial number ranged noted. If it does, please bring your Power Mac G5 to your local Apple Retail Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP), or call your local Apple Support Contact Center. The U.S. support number is 1-800-275-2273. If you are located outside the U.S., please see Apple's international contact list for your local Apple Technical Support phone number.

An Apple technical support representative or an Apple Authorized Service Provider (AASP) will need to examine the power supply within your computer to determine if the component failure identified for the Power Mac G5 Repair Extension Program for Power Supply Issues affects your computer and, if so, arrange for the repair, free of charge. Customers are responsible for transportation costs to eligible AASPs and retail stores.

It is possible that your Power Mac G5 may exhibit power-related issues that are unrelated to the component failure identified by Apple as part of this program. Apple or an AASP can help you troubleshoot these issues, but if your Power Mac G5 is not covered under warranty or an extended service agreement, such as the AppleCare Protection Plan, repairs, if requested, will be at your own expense.

Apple is aware that some customers may have paid for out of warranty repairs that qualify under this program. Apple or local AASPs will contact affected customers (where contact information is available) with details on the reimbursement process.

This program extends repair coverage on the specific component failure for up to two years from the date of purchase, however, Apple will continue to evaluate the repair data and will provide further repair extensions as needed.

Products

'Other Red' Versions of GarageKey and Danger Mouse

PR: MacMice announces two new products to benefit the new Other Red program for assisting orphans in Africa.

The Danger Mouse Red is a glaring red version of MacMice's Danger Mouse USB laser mouse, and includes the same 1,600 dpi laser mechanism, time-proven shape, and MicroScroll scroll wheel encoder as the white and black versions of this popular mouse.

The GarageKey Red is a blinding red variation of this mini USB-MIDI desktop music keyboard. This newest version adds the bright red outer shell, Windows XP compatibility, and has its price lowered from $129.99 to $99.99.

The Danger Mouse Red is priced at $29.99 (with $3 going to Other Red) and will begin shipping on November 21st, 2006. The GarageKey Red is priced at $99.99 (with $10 going to Other Red) and will begin shipping on November 28th, 2006. Both products are available now for prepaid preorder from our web site or from any MacMice retailer worldwide.

The Danger Mouse Red

The Danger Mouse Red is a USB 2-button 1,600 laser mouse with 10mm miniature clickable scroll wheel. It is plug-and-play compatible with both Mac OS X and Windows XP. This mouse is intended to be used with the OS-level drivers included with Mac OS X or Windows XP. There is no additional driver software provided by MacMice.

MacMice decided to take the most popular new USB laser mouse in the world, give it a bath in glossy red goodness, and send it out into the world where it can work some magic for some truly needy people in Africa. The Danger Mouse Red is MacMice's contribution to the Other Red program. And, for every one of these crimson colored beauties we sell, MacMice will donate $3 to the Peace Village School & Orphanage in Kenya, Africa. We encourage you to read more about this terrific program on the Other Red web site. Style. Comfort. Accuracy. Reliability.

The Danger Mouse starts by using the widely popular MacMice shape . . . the one everyone raves about being so comfortable to use [Editor's note: including me - it's the most comfortable conventional mouse I've ever used. cm]. MacMice added a high-gloss red shell, an extended length USB cable to work with any desktop computer (Mac or Windows) and their proprietary glide pads on the bottom to provide a silky mouse motion, with or without a mousepad. Also incorporated is the highest quality 1,600 dpi laser pickup mechanism in the industry. And, we topped it off by using our new high-precision MicroScroll scroll wheel encoder. The result is a category defining mouse we are sure you will love. Use A Laser To Help Mankind

Using a modern laser pickup equipped mouse opens your eyes to the dramatic way a small technology change can improve your computing experience. Buying an Other Red product, like our mouse or another Other Red product will open your heart to the way a small change in business practices can help some deserving children in real need.

The MicroScroll miniature scrollwheel delivers the precision of an ultra-small scrolling device, but without the frustrations of a tiny trackball. It uses a 10mm diameter clickable, notchless design that provides smoothly gliding, highly precise operation, and a silky smooth feel.

Order your Danger Mouse Red and it will be shipped to you anywhere in the world by ground service for only $6.99, beginning November 21st, 2006. Included is the red mouse, installation/operating instructions, and the thanks of the children in Africa who are benefiting from your decision to help.

MacMice will donate $3 from every sale of the Danger Mouse Red to the Other Red fundraising effort to benefit the Peace Village School & Orphanage in Kenya, Africa. We encourage every one to support this important program, and scroll down to read more about the Other Red initiative.

GarageKey Red - The Perfect Desktop MIDI Keyboard. In Red!

MacMice's electronic keyboard partner, Tahorng Musical Instruments saw the Danger Mouse Red product, and asked if MacMice could help them market a red version of their terrific little USB MIDI keyboard, as they wanted to help the orphan problem in Africa alongside our own efforts. The GarageKey Red is Tahorng's contribution to the Other Red program. And, we've agreed to help Tahorng sell these screaming red keyboards by adding them into our distribution channel and this web site. Tahorng will donate $10 to the Peace Village School & Orphanage in Kenya, Africa for each GarageKey Red sold. We encourage you to read more about this terrific program on the Other Red web site.

The GarageKey USB-MIDI keyboard is designed for use by any computer users desiring to have a small, elegantly styled keyboard for experimenting with desktop MIDI music creation software, such as Apple's popular GarageBand software. The GarageKey has 37 full-size, professional quality, velocity sensitive keys. It has octave up and down buttons discretely placed on the rear panel. And, it is plug and play compliant with OS X USB-MIDI and Windows XP USB-MIDI. Its glossy red styling, and its bright white keys, are certain to add some life and style to your desktop setup. Do You Use Windows?

Don't worry . . . the GarageKey Red is plug and play with all Windows XP systems!

And . . . if you have any music software that accepts a USB-MIDI controller input, for sequencing, recording, or notation, you will be pleased to know that the GarageKey Red is a fully class compliant MIDI controller that will work with both Mac OS X or Windows XP.

Using a cool little 37-key MIDI keyboard to make music opens your ears to the terrific way a technology product can help your creativity. Buying an Other Red product, like this keyboard or another Other Red product will open your heart to the way a small change in business practices can help some deserving children in real need.

$99.99

Preorder your GarageKey Red here and it will be shipped to you anywhere in the world by ground service for only $9.99, beginning November 28th, 2006. Included is the red keyboard, installation/operating instructions, a driver CD, a USB cable, and the thanks of the children in Africa who are benefiting from your decision to help.

Place A Prepaid Preorder for the GarageKey Red for $99.99 and get ground shipping to any location worldwide for $9.99.

Tahorng Musical Instruments will donate $10 from every sale of the GarageKey Red to the Other Red fundraising effort to benefit the Peace Village School & Orphanage in Kenya, Africa. We encourage everyone to support this important program, and to go to the Other Red website to read more about the Other Red initiative.

GarageKey Red Specs:

  • Width= 20.5"
  • Depth= 6.75"
  • Height= 1.75" (at rear)
  • Voltage= 5.0V
  • Current= 42mA
  • Power= from USB
  • USB Cable= 7 ft. length
  • Compatibility= Mac OS X/Win XP

MSRP $99.99

Compatible with Mac OS X and Win XP Systems

Danger Dongle Bluetooth 2.0 Adapter

Danger DonglePR: MacMice has released its new miniature Danger Dongle USB Bluetooth adapter.

Bluetooth dongles struggle with bandwidth, how much data can be piped through the connection at what speed. It only makes sense to have the fastest, highest bandwidth dongle available. And, that dongle is the Danger Dongle . . . with the fastest Bluetooth USB dongle technology available today.

The Danger Dongle is a tiny little bright white color stick-type USB Bluetooth adapter that works with all Mac OS X or Windows XP computers and provides state of the art connection speeds with its USB 2.0 and BT 2.0 EDR connection protocols.

Danger DongleWhat you want in a Bluetooth USB adapter dongle is simply the fastest, most reliable connection you can get, in the smallest, most attractive little package. And of course, price matters, too. The Danger Dongle hits each of these goals very nicely, and we think it's the most perfect USB Bluetooth dongle on the market today.

The Danger Dongle can be ordered from the MacMice website for $29.99 (for USA customers) or from any of our worldwide MacMice dealers.

Internal Bluetooth Upgrade for Mac mini

Bluetooth Mac miniPR: FastMac has announced the availability of a plug & play internal Bluetooth upgrade kit for PowerPC-based Apple Mac mini computers. The upgrade adds internal Bluetooth functionality to the Mac mini without needing to add an AirPort card at the same time, keeping the price of the upgrade affordable yet providing the flexibility to add 802.11b/g wireless networking later.

The upgrade has an effective range of up to 32 feet (10 meters) & can transfer data at up to 721 Kbps. It is fully compatible with all versions of Mac OS X, including Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger & 10.5 Leopard. The upgrade kit is available now for all PowerPC-based Mac mini systems, with special introductory pricing that starts at $49.95. Each kit carries a 1 year warranty and a 30 day money back guarantee.

Unlike other upgrades that attach externally & tie up precious ports or cost more money, this upgrade connects directly into the mini's main logic board, freeing port space while adding functionality. While the upgrade is user-installable (and FastMac includes instructions), a 24- hour installation service is also available for an additional $49.95. Using a box in the mail service, FastMac will pick up the customer's mini, install the upgrade kit and provide a thorough checkup & light cleaning before shipping back to the customer, all within 24 hours.

"This upgrade provides maximum wireless flexibility to the Mac mini user," said Michael Lowdermilk, Business Development Manager for FastMac Performance Upgrades, Inc. "You can add Bluetooth today, and wireless 802.11b/g later, all without sacrificing any external ports."

This upgrade can also be combined with any one of FastMac's "Take Your mini to the Max" packages, featuring SuperDrive upgrades from $79, RAM upgrades up to 1 GB from $69 and Hard Drive upgrades up to 160 GB from $79.

Compatibility

All PowerPC-based Mac mini models (all Intel-based Mac minis already include built-in Bluetooth).

ATI Radeon X1900 for Dual-core Power Mac G5

PR: AMD has announced the ATI Radeon X1900 G5 Mac Edition, a next-generation graphics card that combines workstation-class creative productivity and cutting-edge 3D game performance. The ATI Radeon X1900 G5 Mac Edition represents a high-performance PCI Express graphics upgrade card for the Power Mac G5 Quad and Power Mac G5 Dual. Upgrading to the ATI Radeon X1900 G5 Mac helps pro-application users maximize their creative potential with the powerful PCI Express-based Power Mac G5 Quad and Power Mac G5 Dual.

"Programs like Apple's Final Cut Studio, Aperture and Motion really come to life with this card," said Ron Paley, president, Carbon Computing and Carbon Sound & Picture. "Power users will find the ATI Radeon X1900 G5 Mac Edition the ultimate solution for delivering screen real estate for graphics, photo and video editing projects, and professional users will experience strong productivity gains. It's indispensable for anyone doing graphics-intensive work with a standard quad- or dual-G5 system; and of course, gamers will love it too."

"The ATI Radeon X1900 G5 Mac is the fastest graphics processor upgrade available for Power Mac G5 Quad and Power Mac G5 Dual systems," said Rick Bergman, senior vice president and general manager, Graphics Products Group, AMD. "ATI was one of the longest-running continuous supporters of gamers and prosumers on the Mac platform and we expect our focus on their needs to continue now that ATI is a part of AMD."

At an estimated street price of US $349, the ATI Radeon X1900 G5 Mac is a state-of-the art design with 36 pixel shader processors, 256 MB of video RAM and delivers over 37 gigabytes per second of memory bandwidth. It features two DVI ports that are capable of supporting two 30-inch Apple Cinema HD Displays.

AMD maintains a dedicated engineering team responsible for stand-alone graphics and multimedia solutions for after-market sale as well as graphics processor implementations and software for many Apple computer systems including, Mac Pro, iMac, and Xserve MacBook Pro.

SoundTech LightSnake - 'Soundcard in a Cable'

SoundTech LightsnakePR: Now that you have a "Soundcard in a cable," digital music recording has never been easier. Just plug in your microphone and start recording in CD quality. You can start your own music production straight out of the package. Package includes Sony demo software and cable is GarageBand ready. You no longer need any additional interfaces - the SoundTech LightSnake brings new meaning to "plug and play".

This LightSnake cable is an XLR microphone-to-USB cable that is ideal for vocal recording or podcasting. The LightSnake microphone cable is basically a "sound card on a cable", and with this cable you can record audio directly onto your computer. Connect the XLR connect of the LightSnake cable to your microphone and then connect the USB end to one of your computers USB ports.

This is a true USB plug-n-play connection. No additional drivers are needed for the following operating systems: Win 98SE/Win ME/Win 2000/Win XP and Mac OS 9/OS X. An ASIO driver is forthcoming for recording software that implements this technology.

An embedded 16 Bit Analog to Digital Converter with audio signalboost ensures extremely low audio loss and 48/44.1 KHz Sampling Rate provides you with high audio quality while recording. The HSDL (Host Side Data Loss) Noise Reduction function prevents any unwanted noise when converting the audio signal to digital format and saving to your computer.

SoundTech LightsnakeThe SoundTech LightSnake line was born out of the desire to create a simple solution to provide the ability to enjoy digital recording to everyone. An intelligent cable with embedded analog to digital converter and signal booster was created.

The LightSnake USB's unique design enables anyone to plug their microphone directly into a PC eliminating the hassle, clutter and learning curve associated with high-quality digital recording. This was accomplished by virtually placing a sound card onto the cable.

The LightSnake features SoundTech's patented "Live when Lit" technology cable ends that glow when connected properly and flash indicating when sound is being transmitted. The simplicity of these cables and their price point make the digital recording arena accessible to every one.

The cables are packaged with a DVD that contains 30 day trail versions of all of Sony Media Software titles, including Sound Forge, Acid, Vegas , etc. This addition makes the cable a complete solution right out of the box. Mac users are not left out as GarageBand recording software is on every new Macintosh sold.

System Requirements:

  • PC with Windows 98/SE, ME, 2000, or XP
  • Mac OS 9.0.4 or higher
  • Computer with USB port

Package Contents:

  • LightSnake XLR to USB Cable
  • User Guide
  • PC driver CD
  • Sony Media Software 30 day Demo DVD - Including Acid, Sound Forge, Vegas, and many other titles

Specifications:

  • Resolution: 16 bit 48/44.1 Khz
  • THD + N (-3dBr): -76.1 dB
  • SNR: 83.1 dB
  • Dynamic Range: 81.6 dB
  • Input impedance: 1M Ohms
  • Frequency Response 48 KHz: 20 - 19.2K Hz
  • Signal Input Range: 0 - 2.88 Vpp
  • Signal Boost Gain: +20 dB

iPod Accessories

FastMac's 'Just Say No To Crack' iPod Rehab Program

Just Say No To CrackPR: FastMac has announced the "Just Say No To Crack" iPod rehab program featuring same day LCD replacements for Video iPods & Nanos. The new program offers repair and replacement of scratched or cracked iPod LCD screens, either as a Do It Yourself (DIY) kit with tools & instructional videos or via a same day mail order service provided by FastMac directly. FastMac uses only Apple original parts to guarantee quality as well as fit and compatibility. FastMac's iPod LCD rehab program is available now for the iPod 5th Generation with Video and iPod nano, with special introductory pricing that starts at $39.95. Each screen carries a 1 year warranty and a 30 day money back guarantee.

FastMac's LCD rehab program replaces the iPod's original display with a 100% matching Apple original part & includes all necessary tools and instructions required to open the iPod. 24-hour installation services are also available for an additional $39.95. Using a box in the mail service provided by DHL, FastMac will pick up the customer's iPod, install the LCD screen and provide a thorough checkup & light cleaning before shipping back to the customer, all within 24 hours. During the rehab process, FastMac will diagnose any other problems that the iPod may be experiencing, and offer a free estimate for repair or upgrade, including battery & hard drive upgrades, or logic board repairs.

"Same Day Service gets your iPod into and out of recovery as quickly as possible," said Michael Lowdermilk, Business Development Manager for FastMac Performance Upgrades, Inc. "All kidding aside, this is a great way to bring a broken, unused iPod back to life- especially when you combine it with our popular TruePower replacement batteries. It's like having a brand new iPod."

FastMac's LCD rehab program can also be combined with a TruePower battery upgrade to obtain an almost new iPod. FastMac's TruePower battery upgrades replace the iPod's original internal battery with a larger capacity and longer lasting advanced power cell battery. The upgrades offer 20- 78% more capacity than the original OEM battery and up to 7.5 times as many charge cycles.

FastMac's LCD rehab program is available for the iPod 5th Generation with Video (2005 model) and iPod nano (2005 model).

8 GB iPod nano (Product) Red Special Edition

iPod nano (PRODUCT) REDPR: Apple has announced a new 8 GB model of the iPod nano (Product) Red™ Special Edition in response to outstanding customer demand. The new 8 GB iPod nano (Product) Red Special Edition holds up to 2,000 songs and is available for $249, joining the 4 GB model priced at $199. Both models come in a beautiful red aluminum enclosure and feature 24 hours of battery life, Apple's innovative Click Wheel and an incredibly thin and light design. Apple will contribute $10 from the sale of each iPod nano (Product) Red to the Global Fund to help fight HIV/AIDS in Africa.

"Customer response to the iPod nano (Product) Red Special Edition has been off the charts," said Greg Joswiak, Apple's vice president of Worldwide iPod Product Marketing. "We're thrilled to add a second model with 8 GB of capacity, enough for 2,000 songs, so customers have yet another choice in supporting this important cause."

(RED) was created by U2 lead singer Bono and Bobby Shriver to engage business in the fight against AIDS in Africa by getting the world's most iconic companies to make uniquely branded products. The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria was established in 2002, with the support of the world's leaders and UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, to dramatically increase resources to fight three of the world's most devastating diseases, and to direct those resources to areas of greatest need by supporting locally driven strategies. To date, the Global Fund has committed $5.2 billion (US) to more than 363 programs in 131 countries. For more information about (RED) visit:

http://www.joinred.com

Pricing & Availability

The new 8 GB iPod nano (Product) Red will be available through the Apple Stores ( www.apple.com ) beginning immediately. All iPod nano models include redesigned earbud headphones providing superior comfort, fit and sound quality, and a USB 2.0 cable. The second generation iPod nano features up to 24 hours of battery life and completely skip-free playback.*

System requirements:

iPod nano requires a Mac with a USB 2.0 port and Mac OS X version 10.3.9 or later and iTunes 7.0.2 or later; or a Windows PC with a USB 2.0 port and Windows 2000 (Service Pack 4), Windows XP Home or Professional (Service Pack 2) and iTunes 7.0.2 or later. Internet access is required and a broadband connection is recommended.

* Battery life and number of charge cycles vary by use and settings. See www.apple.com/batteries for more information. Music capacity is based on four minutes per song and 128-Kbps AAC encoding; actual capacity varies by content. Photo capacity is based on iPod-viewable photos transferred from iTunes.

Software

TechTool Pro 4.5.2 Released

PR: Version 4.5.2 of TechTool Pro is now available. This is a minor update from version 4.5.1. Owners of version 4.5.1 of TechTool Pro will not need to update to version 4.5.2 unless they have acquired a new Mac model that is not fully supported by the earlier version of the program. The version 4.5.2 DVD will boot all currently shipping Mac models, including the Mac Pro and the 24" iMac. In addition, it will properly perform the Video Memory test on those two models. Current owners of TechTool Pro 4 can purchase the TechTool Pro 4.5.2 DVD Update for $25. Micromat also offers an Annual Subscription Service for $99. This is geared to owners of TechTool Pro 4 who wish to receive each update or upgrade automatically on DVD as soon as it is released.

TechTool Pro 4 now features a suite of S.M.A.R.T tests (Self Monitoring Analysis And Reporting Technology). Most modern hard drives now support this industry standard that employs predictive diagnostics and analysis to help foresee a drive failure BEFORE it happens. TechTool Pro 4's SMART test allows you to automatically monitor this vital data and be forewarned of impending danger to your data, allowing you to back up critical information before disaster strikes.

The eDrive feature allows you to create an invisible emergency volume from your existing drive. This new partition is created without the need to reformat your current drive and allows you to store a copy of your system, a copy of TechTool Pro and even allows you to make room for other utilities. If you ever have trouble with your main drive, simply restart your computer and your system will start from your Emergency Drive giving you immediate access to the utilities you'll need to resurrect your main drive. Now there's no more need for a bootable CD or ancillary hard drive for system drive repair or maintenance.

With the power of Mac OS X, TechTool Pro 4 is now the fastest version of the program we've ever made. With Mac OS X's native multitasking capability, TechTool Pro 4 can now run its full battery of tests simultaneously. This means that repair and maintenance chores that once took minutes will only take seconds.

TechTool Pro 4 now offers a new optimization feature for your Mac OS X drive. The Mac OS X system contains thousands of files that fragment quickly. TechTool Pro 4 lets you quickly and safely unfragment these and other files so your system runs reliably at its peak.

New in version 4.5.2:

  • Fixed Video Memory issue for specific Intel Macs.
  • Fixed Main Memory RAM calculation size issue for Intel Macs.
  • Fixed Wipe Data issue for GUID partitioned volumes.
  • Fixed Data Recovery issue for GUID partitioned volumes.
  • Updated Volume Structures test.
  • Addressed eDrive free space capacity issue.
  • Other minor changes and feature enhancements.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later

System Support: PPC/Intel

Price: $97

Unsanity Releases WindowShade X 4.1

PR: Unsanity LLC announces the availability of WindowShade X 4.1. This free update is a Universal Binary, fixes bugs and improves the WindowShade X interface.

WindowShade X brings a wealth of window management capabilities to Mac OS X. From the ever popular windowshade functionality to Minimize-in-Place and custom shadow control, you won't lack for options to customize your window work space in Mac OS X ever again.

WindowShade X provides an exciting and useful way of organizing your work on Mac OS X. With this handy tool, you can assign the following actions to the minimize button and a double-click on the window title:

  • Minimize the window to the Dock, like always;
  • "Windowshade" the window into a tiny strip to quickly peek below or get it out of the way;
  • Minimize-In-Place the window so it becomes really small so you can move it out of the way yet still see what is going on;
  • Make the window transparent so you can continue working in it while seeing things under it;
  • Make window float on top;
  • Hide the application quickly;
  • Do nothing and ignore the action (sometimes it is quite useful as well).
  • New in version 4.1:
  • This update is free for all registered users.
  • WindowShade X is now a Universal haxie, working on both PowerPC and Intel based Macs.
  • Included the automatic version checker.
  • When clicking on the application icon in the Dock, and all of the application windows are minimized in place or collapsed, one will be expanded by WindowShade X to prevent confusion.
  • Fixed a bug that made Firefox windows unclickable after window shading.
  • Fixed an issue with WindowShade X not working correctly with some Java applications.
  • Redesigned the interface of the preference pane.
  • Some other pending fixes.
  • Includes Application Enhancer 2.0.2.
  • Includes Smart Crash Reports 1.1.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.3 or later.

System Support: PPC/Intel

$10 demoware

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