Mac News Review

iMac and Mac mini Constrained, First USB 3.0 Hard Drive, iWork '09 Updated, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.10.02

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

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Apple Updates

Products & Services

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Apple Warns of Near-term iMac, Mac mini Constraints

AppleInsider's Kasper Jade reports:

"Apple this week began informing its direct sales channels that several of its desktop-based Mac offerings have entered a period of constraint, further hinting that Mac hardware updates are on the horizon."

Apple Ready and Waiting with Redesigned iMac Line?

AppleInsider's Kasper Jade says:

"Apple as early as this month will begin to fill out its 2009 Mac product line with a new family of iMacs sporting classier enclosures and a few added bells and whistles, AppleInsider has learned.

"The new all-in-one, dual-core desktops were finalized earlier in September and have been rolling off the Mac maker's Taiwanese product lines for roughly two weeks, according to two people familiar with the matter."

First Ever USB 3.0 Hard Drive - Mac Users Will Have to Wait

TechWorld's John E. Dunn reports:

"After 8 years of success the USB 2.0 standard has begun its long journey into obsolescence. Dutch storage company Freecom has announced the first mainstream storage product based on 'SuperSpeed' USB 3.0....

"The company is also supplying drivers to make USB 3.0 work with Vista and XP. Windows 7 should have 'native' drivers from not long after launch, or users will hope so. Apple is not yet supported by the XS 3.0."

Editor's note: PC owners will also have to buy a USB 3.0 card to take advantage of the ten-times-as-fast "SuperSpeed" performance, as computers with built-in USB 3.0 ports are not yet shipping. dk

Apple Loses Psystar Ruling

The Register's Rik Myslewski reports:

"Apple's motion to toss out a lawsuit filed by pesky Hackintosher Psystar was itself tossed out by a US District Court judge.

"Make that one exasperated US District Court judge."

How to Check Your Mac, iPod, or iPhone's Warranty Status

FairerPlatform.com says:

"So, you own one of Apple's trend setting computers, media players or handsets, and you don't remember exactly when you bought it. Did you get the extended warranty? The receipt is somewhere and you re worried that your baby is about to go off warranty. Here's what to do...."

Discharging Static Electricity for Safe Computer Upgrading

OWC Blogger Michael says:

"So often we are asked in reference to our OWC Instructional Series of Videos, 'How exactly am I supposed to 'Use proper anti-static precautions when performing this upgrade'?' The real answer is . . . it depends. There are actually several different ways, depending on your situation, that you can help to control static electricity in order to avoid damaging the electronically delicate components found inside your computer.

"According to Wikipedia: Static electricity refers to the buildup of electric charge on the surface of objects. The static charges remain on an object until they either bleed off to ground or are quickly neutralized by a discharge. And it's that discharge that can 'zap' or 'fry' your computer components, rendering them inoperable.

"To give you an idea of how little static electricity needs to be generated to cause harm to your computer components, it takes as little as 5 to 10 volts to cause damage inside your computer. In order for you to even feel the presence of static electricity, the level needs to be above 1,500 volts. You can accumulate an average of 10,000 to 12,000 volts just walking across carpeting. Rubbing a balloon on dry fur (or hair) generates about 20,000 volts. Did you know the average person can carry up to 25,000 volts of static energy at any given time? So discharging any built up energy before you begin is important.

"So, how are we to be safe when working in our precious machines?"

Apple Updates

Apple Releases iWork '09 Update 3

PR: iWork Update 3 is recommended for iWork 9.0, 9.0.1, and 9.0.2 users and includes fixes that enhance the compatibility and reliability of Keynote, Pages, and Numbers.

To update to iWork 9.0.3, use Software Update or the standalone installer. You only need to use one of these methods to update your computer.

What's Included

  • All iWork 9.0.3 Applications
  • Addresses general compatibility issues
  • Updates the help
  • Adds a link to online resources in the Help menu
  • Improves image handling when reducing the file size of images with Instant Alpha applied
  • Improves file size management when inserting some movies

Keynote 5.0.3

  • Improves the reliability of guides by changing the display frequency and relevance
  • Resolves an issue with GarageBand exports
  • Fixes an issue when working with Move actions in chart builds
  • Addresses an issue with the preview of some charts in the Build inspector
  • Resolves an issue when pasting a Numbers table that has cells with wrap turned on
  • Resolves an issue where pasting multiple cells containing duration or date/time values into the Chart Data Editor would only paste zeros
  • Fixes an issue with Sleep when the computer's battery has completely discharged while playing a presentation
  • Resolves an issue with updating thumbnail previews in Navigator view after sending a presentation via Mail as PDF or PowerPoint
  • Improves reliability when dragging and dropping text in Outline view
  • Adds a presentation preference for showing the slide switcher when scrolling

Pages 4.0.3

  • Resolves an issue where copying and pasting multiple cells containing duration or date/time values in the Chart Data Editor would only paste zeros
  • Improves reliability when working with objects in Full-Screen mode
  • Fixes an issue with saving documents with EndNote citations containing multi-byte characters when using Mac OS X 10.6
  • Resolves an issue with EndNote citations when using Mail Merge

Numbers 2.0.3

  • Fixes an issue with columns and categorized checkboxes
  • Addresses an issue with categories and CSV export
  • Improves reliability of import and export of some Microsoft Excel files
  • Addresses an issue that could cause formulas to stop working after formatting a cell
  • Fixes an issue with hiding or deleting rows in categorized tables
  • Improves reliability when reverting a document to the saved version
  • Addresses an issue caused by quitting without saving after editing some templates
  • Fixes an issue with deleting table columns containing chart data
  • Resolves an issue that prevented dropping an audio file into a media placeholder

iWork.com Beta

  • Enhances security with 128-bit SSL encryption and document password protection
  • Improves document reviewing capabilities with Comment notification features
  • E-mail invitations are now sent via iWork.com instead of using Mac OS X Mail

iWork.com Public Beta is a prerelease version of the iWork.com service. iWork.com is not included with the purchase of iWork; separate account setup and activation are required. Fees may apply to future versions of the service. Internet access and Pages '09, Numbers '09, and Keynote '09 or later are required. Terms of service apply.

Products & Services

DeathAdder Gaming Mouse Has World's Most Precise Infrared Tracking Sensor

PR: Razer, a leading manufacturer of high-end precision gaming and lifestyle peripherals, announces the long awaited update to the Razer DeathAdder. Newly upgraded with a state-of-the-art 3.5G 3500 dpi infrared sensor and tangle-free braided cable, the Razer DeathAdder maintains its legendary right-handed ergonomic form factor and rock solid build quality that made it famous. With these new upgrades, the Razer DeathAdder has been equipped with the world's most precise infrared sensor to date trumping the competition yet again.

DeathAdder Gaming MouseThe DeathAdder is undoubtedly one of Razer's best selling gaming mice, says Robert Razerguy Krakoff, President of Razer. To date, the Razer DeathAdder has served the gaming community for a good 3 years and with all the advances in sensor technology, we put our sensor scientists and engineers to task to imbue it with the most precise infrared sensor in the world but at the same time maintain the specially designed form factor that gamers have come to know and love.

The new Razer DeathAdder is an upgraded replacement for the original and is now equipped with the ultra-precise 3500 dpi Razer Precision! 3.5G infrared sensor and tangle-free braided fiber cable. The Razer DeathAdder utilizes a right-handed ergonomic design to provide optimum comfort for intensive and extended game play. Its 3500 dpi Razer Precision!" 3.5G infrared sensor provides gamers with 4x more precision than a standard 800 dpi mouse. The 1000 Hz Ultrapolling!" response time of 1 ms delivers instantaneous execution, giving gamers the competitive edge over opponents with faster communication between the Razer DeathAdder and the computer.

The Razer DeathAdder maintains all of its competitive features, including its five independently programming Hyperesponse! buttons, On-The-Fly Sensitivity! adjustment, Always-On! mode and Zero-acoustic Ultraslick Teflon! feet. All of these lead to a superior, elevated gaming experience.

Features

  • Ergonomic right-handed design
  • 3500 dpi Razer Precision! 3.5G infrared sensor
  • 1000 Hz Ultrapolling / 1 ms response
  • Technical Specifications
  • 3500 dpi Razer Precision 3.5G infrared sensor
  • Ergonomic right-handed design
  • 1000 Hz Ultrapolling / 1 ms response
  • Five independently programmable Hyperesponse!" buttons
  • On-The-Fly Sensitivity adjustment
  • Always-On!" mode
  • Ultra-Large non-slip buttons
  • 16-bit ultra-wide data path
  • 60 120 inches per second and 15g of acceleration
  • Zero-Acoustic Ultraslick!" Teflon feet
  • Gold-Plated USB connector
  • Seven-Foot, lightweight, braided fiber cable
  • Approx. size in mm: 128(L) x 70(W) x 42.5(H)

US: $59.99, Europe: €59.99

Availability:

  • Razerzone.com -24 September
  • In Stores - Late September

Long Hours at the Computer? Contour Design Input Devices Can Help

PR: Aching shoulders and neck? Wrist pain slowing you down? Contour Design's line of ergonomic mice are designed to help prevent repetitive stress injuries caused by computer use. These input devices were developed to relieve pain for computer workers who already developed pain, but Contour points to even greater value of their products to computer users in preventing pain from developing in the first place.

Providing that awareness is Contour Design's primary focus going forward, the company affirms, its mission to ensure that its customers' future journey with increased computer use will be a safe one.

Contour Design's flagship products are the Contour ergonomic mouse and two varieties of the more radical RollerMouse.

Contour Mouse Key Features and Benefits:

  • Contour MouseReduces or eliminates the grip force required to navigate and click traditional mice. This ergonomically sculpted mouse is designed to support your hand comfortably without the need to clutch the mouse to control it. Four right hand sizes and three left hand sizes are offered in order to properly fit your hand so you are not trying to navigate a mouse that is too small or large for your physique. You consequently escape the necessity of pinching a too-small mouse on the sides while curling your fingertips back to click on the buttons. Excessive clutching and finger flexing can aggravate the carpal tunnel and result in repetitive strain injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tendonitis.
  • A pronounced hump on the top of the mouse supports the bones in your hand from underneath, just like an orthopedic arch in a well constructed athletic shoe. The specially designed arch fills the hollow of your palm and allows you to rest your hand on top of the mouse. This arch promotes straight alignment of your hand and wrist bones and slightly elevates your wrist off of the working surface and enables using your elbow for movement, helping break the harmful habit of resting your wrist on the desk or mouse pad and pivoting the mouse from side to side. That pivoting can cause pain and discomfort as the forearm bones (radius and ulna) twist in directions not easily tolerated by human physiology.
  • Contour MouseElongated buttons allow you to use the second knuckle of your finger to activate clicks, which exercises a stronger, thicker tendon. On smaller, conventional mice, most users pull their fingertips back in order to activate the mouse buttons. The Contour Mouse allows you to rest your hand on top of the mouse and activate the buttons with small, subtle motions without flexing your fingers. Please view the product video on this web page for a more detailed visual demonstration of this advantage. The elimination of flexing reduces carpal tunnel use and the threat of repetitive strain injuries.
  • Customize your mouse with your choice of Black or White color, Right or Left handed, with or without a scroll wheel, available in four different sizes. There is a Contour Mouse that is right for you and your work habits as well as your hand size. One size doesn't fit all in shoe sizes, and hand sizes have similar variations.
  • Convenient, out of the box, "plug and play" connectivity for both PC and Mac computers. This HID compliant device has the drivers "on board" and simply needs to be plugged into any empty USB port, without the need for a cumbersome connection routine.
  • Powerful scientific research went in before the product went out. The owner of Contour Design worked with ten CAD/CAM engineers who suffered with carpal tunnel pain in a lab for eighteen months to develop the current Contour Mouse design. They evolved through 120 different molds before they were satisfied. The final design allowed the injured engineers to work for eight hours without pain.
  • 17° pronation angle relieves pressure on the forearm bones while still minimizing grip force. The design team considered more vertical designs in the development phase, but found that more grip force was required in order to activate the buttons. They found that a 17° angle relative to the working surface to be the right balance, relieving pressure from crossing the forearm bones caused by true "palm down" devices.
  • Comes with a 30 day, no risk, product refund if you are not satisfied. You won't appreciate this product's ease of use and responsiveness until you try it out for yourself. View the product video on the Contour Design Website for initial reactions of some first time users, so you can rely on an objective opinion and not the company's view of this product. If you are dissatisfied with your purchase in the first 30 days for any reason, simply ship it back for a refund.

Price: $109.95

RollerMouse Pro Key Features and Benefits:

  • RollerMouse Pro with keyboardEliminates reaching for a traditional mouse, relieving neck, shoulder and elbow pain. Asymmetrical reaching with one side of your body and not the other causes your muscle groups to compensate for the weight of your extended arm while reaching for a traditional mouse. Repetitive reaching oftentimes leads to tightness and pain in the neck, shoulder and elbow areas. The RollerMouse Free allows you to keep your elbows comfortably by your side, which is a more beneficial ergonomic position. Contour claims thousands of users have realized pain relief they have realized after using the RollerMouse for a short period of time.
  • There is no gripping necessary, thus minimizing the threat of Repetitive Strain Injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tendonitis. The RollerMouse Free is controlled with the use of an unflexed hand, so there is no need to clutch or hold the device in order to navigate the cursor. Your fingertips roll a narrow bar both up and down and from side to side simultaneously to navigate the cursor over the entire screen, with very little friction or resistance. The elimination of flexing your fingers avoids activity through the carpal tunnel, overuse of a traditional mouse can aggravate the carpal tunnel and lead to numbness, tingling and pain.
  • Promotes the equal use of both hands, reducing the risk of injuring your dominant "mousing" hand. With the mouse buttons centered beneath the keyboard home keys, mouse control is equidistant from either hand. Ambidextrous use is encouraged and easily accomplished with your command buttons literally at your fingertips, for both hands.
  • RollerMouse ProUseful for both laptop and desktop computer applications, the RollerMouse Free has been designed to fit immediately adjacent to your keyboard or laptop. This places the mousing controls just a few inches below the home keys, keeping your hands within a small work area, eliminating large reaching motions.
  • Convenient, out of the box, "plug and play" connectivity for both PC and Mac computers. This HID compliant device has the drivers "on board" and simply needs to be plugged into any empty USB port, without the need for a cumbersome connection routine.
  • Seven powerful button functions right out of the box. There are two easy options to perform a "left click." Either push down on the navigation bar itself, or click on the large left button in the button control area. Other button functions include a traditional "right click" button, a single touch "double click" button, a scroll wheel, a scroll lock , "one touch" copy and "one touch" paste. For a visual demonstration, please activate the "watch video" button on this web page.
  • Custom button configuration available with the use of downloadable drivers. Although most customers use the RollerMouse button functions "as is," specialized functions can be mapped to the button controls after loading the device drivers provided on our website.
  • Comes with a 30 day, no risk, product refund if you are not satisfied. If you are dissatisfied with your purchase in the first 30 days for any reason, simply ship it back for a refund.

Price: $199.95

RollerMouse Free

This award winning design captured the 2008 National Ergonomics Conference Attendees Choice Award for Best New Product.

Key Features and Benefits:

  • RollerMouse FreeEliminates reaching for a traditional mouse, relieving neck, shoulder and elbow pain. Asymmetrical reaching with one side of your body and not the other causes your muscle groups to compensate for the weight of your extended arm while reaching for a traditional mouse. Repetitive reaching oftentimes leads to tightness and pain in the neck, shoulder and elbow areas. The RollerMouse Free allows you to keep your elbows comfortably by your side, which is a more beneficial ergonomic position.
  • There is no gripping necessary, thus minimizing the threat of Repetitive Strain Injuries such as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Tendonitis. The RollerMouse Free is controlled with the use of an unflexed hand, so there is no need to clutch or hold the device in order to navigate the cursor. Your fingertips roll a narrow bar both up and down and from side to side simultaneously to navigate the cursor over the entire screen, with very little friction or resistance. The elimination of flexing your fingers avoids activity through the carpal tunnel, overuse of a traditional mouse can aggravate the carpal tunnel and lead to numbness, tingling and pain.
  • Promotes the equal use of both hands, reducing the risk of injuring your dominant "mousing" hand. With the mouse buttons centered beneath the keyboard home keys, mouse control is equidistant from either hand. Ambidextrous use is encouraged and easily accomplished with your command buttons literally at your fingertips, for both hands.
  • RollerMouse FreeUseful for both laptop and desktop computer applications. The RollerMouse Free has been designed to fit immediately adjacent to your keyboard or laptop. This places the mousing controls just a few inches below the home keys, keeping your hands within a small work area, eliminating large reaching motions.
  • Convenient, out of the box, "plug and play" connectivity for both PC and Mac computers. This HID compliant device has the drivers "on board" and simply needs to be plugged into any empty USB port, without the need for a cumbersome connection routine.
  • Seven powerful button functions right out of the box. There are two easy options to perform a "left click." Either push down on the navigation bar itself, or click on the large left button in the button control area. Other button functions include a traditional "right click" button, a single touch "double click" button, a scroll wheel, a scroll lock , "one touch" copy and "one touch" paste (On Macs, the top two buttons are Volume Up and Down rather than Copy and Paste). For a visual demonstration, please activate the "watch video" button on this web page.
  • Comes with a 30 day, no risk, product refund if you are not satisfied. If you are dissatisfied with your purchase in the first 30 days for any reason, simply ship it back for a refund.

Price $219.95

Software

MailForge 1.2 Released

PR: MailForge (formerly known as Odysseus) is the Eudora style email client that Infinity Data Systems started developing in late 2007. As such, its designed to be a best-of-breed email client, focusing on power, elegance, and simplicity.

When compared with other existing email applications, MailForge is designed to have the same features, options, and capabilities that power users have come to rely on . . . features that simply don't exist in other email applications, or are not implemented as elegantly. Compared to Eudora®, MailForge has the advantage of being under active development by a software company dedicated to making MailForge the best email client in existence. This includes improving on areas where Eudora® had started to lag behind . . . such as integration with the individual operating systems that it runs on.

In addition to the features currently in MailForge 1.0, there are a number of other features that users have come to rely on that will be added shortly.

New in version 1.2:

  • Improved compatibility with STARTTLS servers
  • Fixes for numerous small issues with the SMTP socket that could cause problems with strict servers
  • Faster sorting by subject,
  • Restoration of Group Messages,
  • Improved performance when downloading email to a large mailbox that is currently open
  • Various bug fixes and refinements

Download the 30-day trial.

Single User License

  • $39.95 - This will be for the entire MailForge 1.x product cycle.

Educational, Government, & Nonprofit Licensing

  • $19.95 for 1 - 150 copies
  • $18.95 for 151 - 300 copies
  • $17.95 for 301 - 500 copies

Cocktail 4.4 (Tiger Edition) Released as Freeware

PR: Maintain has announced Cocktail 4.4 (Tiger Edition), the latest maintenance update of Cocktail for users running Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger". This versions fixes miscellaneous bugs discovered in the previous release. Cocktail (Tiger Edition) is now distributed as freeware and does not require a license. The update is strongly recommended for all users of Cocktail (Tiger Edition).

Cocktail 4.4 (Tiger Edition) requires Mac OS X/Mac OS X Server 10.4 or later and is tested for compatibility with Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server 10.4.11. Cocktail (Leopard Edition) for Mac OS X 10.5 and Cocktail (Snow Leopard Edition) for Mac OS X 10.6 are available for download from our website. [Editor's note: These are trialware, not freeware like the Tiger edition, and the Snow Leopard edition has full 64-bit support. dk]

Cocktail is an award winning general purpose utility for Mac OS X. It is a smooth and powerful digital toolset with a variety of practical features that simplifies the use of advanced UNIX functions and helps hundreds of thousands of Mac users around the world to get the most out of their computers.

The application serves up a scrumptious mix of maintenance tools and interface tweaks, all accessible via a comprehensive graphical interface. Most of Cocktail's major features are arranged in five basic categories. In addition, a Pilot lets you clean, repair, and optimize your system with one click of the button.

Desktop Mac Deals

Low End Mac updates the following price trackers monthly:

For deals on current and discontinued 'Books, see our 13" MacBook and MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, 13" MacBook Pro, 15" MacBook Pro, 17" MacBook Pro, 12" PowerBook G4, 15" PowerBook G4, 17" PowerBook G4, titanium PowerBook G4, iBook G4, PowerBook G3, and iBook G3 deals.

We also track iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, iPod classic, iPod nano, and iPod shuffle deals.

Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS news feed

Links for the Day

Recent Content

About LEM Support Usage Privacy Contact

Custom Search

Follow Low End Mac on Twitter
Join Low End Mac on Facebook

Favorite Sites

MacSurfer
Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
MacInTouch
MyAppleMenu
InfoMac
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
RetroMacCast
The Vintage Mac Museum
Deal Brothers
DealMac
Mac2Sell
Mac Driver Museum
JAG's House
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ

Affiliates

Amazon.com
The iTunes Store
PC Connection Express
Macgo Blu-ray Player
Parallels Desktop for Mac
eBay

Low End Mac's Amazon.com store

Advertise

Open Link