Mac News Review

Quad-Core iMacs Shipping, OS X 10.6.2, Safari 4.0.4, Internal Blu-ray Drive for Mac mini, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2009.11.13

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 Now Shipping Quad-Core iMacs

Electronista reports:

"Apple this morning began sending notices that it has started shipping at least Core i5-equipped versions of the 27-inch iMac. The company's first quad-core consumer desktop is now listed for Electronista and readers as 'prepared for shipment' with an unspecified ship date...."

Editor's note: Customers who ordered i7 iMacs are now getting ship dates from Apple dk

Newest iMacs Run up to 46% Faster with 16 GB of RAM

OWC blogger Michael says:

"We've received four configurations of the 21.5" and four configurations of the 27" machines so far. The quad core i5 and i7 machines aren't due out till later this month. Between the advancements in Snow Leopard and adding additional memory to these computers, they sure can go fast!

"In fact, we found up to a 46% performance boost by installing the OWC 16 GB Memory Upgrade Kit versus the factory installed 4 GB."

Upgrade the Mac mini in 6 Minutes

Macworld's Dan Frakes says:

"I've upgraded quite a few Mac minis over the past several years, from the original 2005 model to the latest version, released last week, and some in between....

"Apple's official policy is that you can upgrade the mini yourself as long as you don't break anything in the process; if you do, that damage isn't covered under warranty. But how much risk is there of actually doing such damage? . . . And once you get inside, how hairy is the disassembly procedure....

"To satisfy your curiosity, in this week's video, I show you the entire process of upgrading the Mac mini's RAM and hard drive, from cracking the case to snapping it back together again, pointing out some of the tricky steps along the way. Believe it or not, the entire process took me under six minutes - and that's including several places where I got slowed down by a tiny screw or spring that didn't want to cooperate."

Turn Any NAS Device into a Time Machine Drive

Mac OS X Hints reports:

"To make this process easier, I've created an AppleScript that makes the creation and setup a one-step process -- just drag and drop your mounted NAS onto the following AppleScript to ready the drive for Time Machine use.

New Macintosh Online Support Service

SmallBizResource Blog's Jake Widman reports:

"Founded by longtime Mac consultants and support providers, MacSupport.com offers technical help by phone and via remote access. Best suited for small and home businesses, the support is available on an ad hoc basis and is priced per problem."

"A customer initiates a support call by clicking the Get Help Now button on the MacSupport site, creating an account, and describing the problem. They can then buy what MacSupport calls an 'incident,' which is one issue that will be dealt with until it's fixed. One incident costs $40, and five cost $160 - they don't expire, so a customer can buy five without worrying about having to use them up."

OpenOffice.org Clarifies Status of the 'OpenOffice Mouse'

PR: The OpenOffice.org Community and WarMouse issued the following statement to clarify the relationship between the two organizations.

Contrary to recent press reports, the OpenOffice.org Community has no plans to ship a multibutton office application mouse by February next year. The "OpenOffice Mouse" (see below) demonstrated at the Community's Conference on 4th November will be produced by WarMouse, an independent company with no business relationship with either the OpenOffice.org Community or with Sun Microsystems, the owner of the OpenOffice.org trademark.

Louis Suarez-Potts, OpenOffice.org Community Manager
Theodore Beale, WarMouse Lead Designer

Apple Updates

Mac OS X 10.6.2 Update

PR: This Mac OS X v10.6.2 update is recommended for Mac OS X v10.6 and 10.6.1 Snow Leopard users and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac, including fixes for:

  • an issue that might cause your system to logout unexpectedly
  • a graphics distortion in Safari Top Sites
  • Spotlight search results not showing Exchange contacts
  • a problem that prevented authenticating as an administrative user
  • issues when using NTFS and WebDAV file servers
  • the reliability of menu extras
  • an issue with the 4-finger swipe gesture
  • an issue that causes Mail to quit unexpectedly when setting up an Exchange server
  • Address Book becoming unresponsive when editing
  • a problem adding images to contacts in Address Book
  • an issue that prevented opening files downloaded from the Internet
  • Safari plugin reliability
  • general reliability improvements for iWork, iLife, Aperture, Final Cut Studio, MobileMe, and iDisk
  • an issue that caused data to be deleted when using a guest account

Products Affected

  • Mail, Mac OS X 10.6, Mac OS X 10.6.1

Updating your system

You should back up your system before installation; you can use Time Machine.

Do not interrupt the installation process once you have started to update your system. 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.

Choose Software Update from the Apple menu to check for the latest Apple software via the Internet, including this update.

If your computer is not up-to-date, other software updates available for your computer may appear, which you should install. When Software Updates states "Your software is up to date," you can be sure that all available updates have been installed.

Note that an update size may vary from computer to computer when installed using Software Update. Also, some updates must be installed prior to others, so you should run Software Update more than once to make sure you have all available updates.

You can manually download the update installer. This is a useful option when you need to update multiple computers but only want to download the update once. These versions of the standalone installers are available from Apple Support Downloads. [Note: this is my preferred method regardless of how many computers there are to update. See download link below. cm]

What's included?

General operating system fixes provided for:

  • an issue that caused data to be deleted when using a guest account
  • an issue that might cause your system to logout unexpectedly
  • Spotlight search results not showing Exchange contacts
  • the reliability of menu extras
  • an issue in Dictionary when using Hebrew as the primary language
  • shutter-click sound effect when taking a screenshot
  • an issue with the four-finger swipe gesture
  • an issue adding images to contacts in Address Book
  • an issue in Front Row that could cause sluggish or slow frame rates while watching videos
  • creation of mobile accounts for Active Directory users
  • reliability and duration of VPN connections
  • general reliability improvements for iWork, iLife, Aperture, Final Cut Studio, MobileMe, and iDisk
  • overall improvements to VoiceOver performance
  • this update addresses video playback and performance issues for iMac (21.5", Late 2009) and iMac (27", Late 2009) computers that may occur in some situations while AirPort is turned on

Fonts fixes provided for:

  • an issue with font spacing
  • an issue in which some Fonts are missing
  • font duplication issues
  • an issue with some PostScript Type 1 fonts not working properly

Graphics fixes provided for:

  • an issue when connecting monitors to DVI and Mini DisplayPort adapters
  • an issue in which the brightness setting may not be remembered on restart
  • addresses functionality with specific display models
  • general reliability and performance improvements when using some applications

Mail fixes provided for:

  • a situation in which Mail's unread count may not update properly as messages are read on another computer
  • an issue in which deleted RSS feeds may return
  • an issue in which Mail cannot preview or Quick Look attachments when composing a new message
  • an issue that can cause Address Book and/or Mail to stop responding when opened
  • an issue in which email messages received from an Exchange Server are not formatted correctly
  • an issue in which Mail reports "Account exceeded bandwidth limits" for some Gmail accounts

MobileMe fixes provided for:

  • performance when accessing files from iDisk via the Finder and synching iDisk files
  • an issue in which synching iDisk files does not proceed beyond "checking items"
  • reliability and performance when synching contacts, calendars, and bookmarks with MobileMe (synching with iTunes and iSync are also improved)
  • an issue that prevents some users from logging into MobileMe via the MobileMe System Preference pane

Network file systems fixes provided for:

  • compatibility with third-party AFP servers
  • file synchronization for portable home directories

Printing and faxing fixes provided for:

  • automatic printer updates improvements
  • Print dialog allowing you to enter and send to more than one fax recipient

Safari fixes provided for:

  • a graphics distortion issue in Safari Top Sites
  • Safari plugin reliability

File Size: 473 MB

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.6.1

Mac OS X Server v10.6.2 Update

PR: The 10.6.2 update is recommended for all servers currently running Snow Leopard Server version 10.6 and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability, compatibility and security of your server, as well as specific fixes for:

  • adding and removing imported users in Server Preferences
  • synchronizing Portable Home Directory content
  • using iCal web interface within select time zones
  • previewing and capturing dual-source video in Podcast Capture
  • server-side filtering of incoming mail messages
  • using chained digital certificates for mail services
  • creating images with System Image Utility
  • automating installation of NetRestore images
  • preventing brute force password attacks
  • using sudo command with authenticated Open Directory binding
  • binding to Active Directory domains with invalid service records
  • creation of mobile accounts for Active Directory users
  • correcting a problem that would cause the Software Update cache to grow excessively

File Size: 496 MB

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.6 or 10.6.1 Server

Security Update 2009-006 for OS X 10.5.8

PR: Security Update 2009-006 is recommended for all users and improves the security of Mac OS X. Previous security updates have been incorporated into this security update.

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5.8 or later

Safari 4.0.4 Update for Snow Leopard, Leopard, and Tiger

PR: Safari 4.0.4 adds improvements for JavaScript performance, Full History Search performance, and stability for third-party plugins, the search field and Yahoo! Mail. It also includes six security fixes (two of which involve Windows only)

This update is recommended for all Safari users and includes improvements to performance, stability, and security including:

  • Improved JavaScript performance
  • Improved Full History Search performance for users with a large number of history items
  • Stability improvements for 3rd party plugins, the search field and Yahoo! Mail

Available for: Mac OS X v10.4.11, Mac OS X Server v10.4.11, Mac OS X v10.5.8, Mac OS X Server v10.5.8, Mac OS X v10.6.1 and v10.6.2, Mac OS X Server v10.6.1 and v10.6.2, Windows 7, Vista, XP

  • Snow Leopard System Requirements: Mac OS X Snow Leopard 10.6.1 or later
  • Leopard System Requirements: Mac OS X Leopard 10.5.8
  • Tiger System Requirements: Mac OS X Tiger 10.4.11 and Security Update 2009-002 or later - Note: Top Sites and Cover Flow require a Quartz Extreme compatible video card.

File Size: 28 MB (Snow Leopard), 36 MB (Leopard), 26 MB (Tiger), 28 MB (Windows)

Apple Releases Wireless Keyboard Update 2.0 for the New Wireless Keyboard

PR: Install this software to use the function key one-touch controls of your Mac with your aluminum Apple Wireless Keyboard. You will need Mac OS X v10.5.8 before you install this update

Mac OS X 10.5.8 is required before installing this update.

Note: For Mac OS X 10.6 users, the 2009 Aluminum Wireless Keyboard support is included in the Mac OS X 10.6.2 update.

File Size: 10.95 MB

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.5.8

Products & Services

$199 Blu-ray Drive Upgrade Kit for Mac mini

PR: Whether you're at the office or on the road with your computer, you can play and burn both Blu-ray and DVDs with the Blu-ray Super Multi Drive. It's perfect when you want to watch a Blu-ray and DVD movie, install software, create backup discs, and more.

What you can do with your Mac with Blu-ray

  • Direct Recording, Editing and View the Blu-ray movie on Mac OS X with Toast 9, Premiere Pro and Final Cut.
  • Direct playing the Blu-ray "HD Video Files" on Mac OS X with VLC media player.
  • Boot Camp into Windows on the Mac
  • Direct Recording and Editing the Blu-ray movies on WinXP, Vista and Win7 with SONY Vegas Pro 8.
  • Direct to Rip a Blu-ray movies to Blu-ray HD Files to the hard drive on WinXP/Vista with AnyDVD HD.
  • Direct Play a Blu-ray movies on WinXP, Vista and Win7 with PowerDVD and WinDVD.

Features

The Mac mini Blu-ray Drive Upgrade Kit supports on the latest green ECO S.M.A.R.T to maximizing battery life more than 40% and SATA Drive with 30% faster data transfer rate. Quiet Drive Technology reduces the noise level of audio and video recording or playback while also delivering increased writing reliability. Liquid Crystal Tilt/Blur Compensator plays and records to discs more reliably - the ad Research technology that compensates for warped discs.

Multi-talents:

  • Play Hollywood Blu-ray Disc movies on a properly configured PC or MAC
  • BD-ROM, BD-R, and BD-RE read capabilities
  • DVD and CD writing & reading capabilities

Technical Details

  • Models BD-UG1
  • Interface SATA (30% faster data transfer rate)
  • Disc Loading Method Slot loading
  • Green ECO S.M.A.R.T
  • Automatic Economic Mode Installed (maximizing battery life more than 40%)
  • Max. Transfer Speed (Read)
  • BD-RE/-R (SL) 4X Speed Reading
  • BD-RE/-R (DL) 2X Speed Reading
  • BD-ROM (SL / DL) 4X Speed Reading
  • Max. Transfer Speed (Read/Write)
  • DVD+/-R up to 8x CAV
  • DVD+/-R DL up to 4x ZCLV
  • DVD+/-RW up to 8x ZCLV
  • DVD-RAM up to 5x ZCLV
  • CD-R up to 24x ZCLV
  • CD-RW up to 16x ZCLV
  • Supported Media Formats BD-ROM, BD-ROM DL, BD-R, BD-R DL, BD-RE, BD-RE DL, DVD-ROM, DVD-ROM DL, DVD+R, DVD+R DL, DVD+RW, DVD-R, DVD-R DL, DVD-RW, DVD-RAM (Ver.2), CD-DA, CD-ROM (Mode 1 and mode 2), CD-ROM XA (Mode 2, form 1 and form 2), Photo CD (Single and multiple sessions), CD Extra, CD-R, CD-RW and CD-\
  • Size: 126 x 128 x 12.7 mm
  • Weight: 220 grams
  • Interface
  • SATA connection

MSRP $199.

Troll Touch Announces Touchscreen Systems for New Apple iMac and MacBook

PR: Troll Touch has announced touchscreen systems for the new 21.5" and 27" Apple iMacs and the 13" Unibody MacBook laptop. All systems feature analog resistive touchscreen technology and 12-bit touchscreen resolution. Standard warranty is one year, extendable to three years. The iMac systems are available as both a fully integrated, Troll factory installed internal package or a user-Installable, external "SlipCover" touchscreen system.

Troll Touch, a specialist in custom touchscreen solutions for Mac and PC computers and displays, today announced the availability of its latest product offerings, custom touchscreen systems for the new 21.5" and 27" Apple iMac desktops and the 13" Unibody MacBook laptop computers.

The iMac systems are available as both a fully integrated, Troll factory installed internal package or a user-Installable, external "SlipCover" touchscreen system. The MacBook touchscreen is an internal system which requires factory integration.

Delivery of all versions is slated to begin on or before December 1, 2009. Retail pricing begins at $699.00 for the MacBook conversion, $899 and $1,099 respectively for the external 21.5" and 27" iMac SlipCover version and $1,099 and $1,699 for the 21.5" and 27" internal iMac implementations.

Troll Touch factory installed internal conversions and "SlipCover" external touchscreen systems feature 12-bit controller resolution and custom designed scratch resistant, contrast enhanced analog resistive touchscreen overlays. All Troll Touch products are fully warranted for one year, extendable to three years. Apple hardware warranties are maintained.

Troll Touch which maintains design and engineering, manufacturing and sales offices and administrative headquarters in Valencia, CA has been providing custom touchscreen solutions for Apple products since 1987. It has provided iMac touchscreens since the first generation CRT models.

Centon Releases Licensed MLB USB Flash Drives

PR: Centon Electronics, Inc., a manufacturer and designer of DRAM and Flash Based memory products, announced today the release of their officially licensed MLB Key chain USB Flash Drives. Centon Electronics Inc. is authorized by Major League Baseball Properties to release officially licensed Key chain USB Flash drives featuring the logos of all 30 MLB teams.

New York Yankees USB flash drive/keychainOfficially Licensed MLB USB Flash drives provide a fun and unique way to show your fan support. These drives are a convenient way to store, share, and transfer your data. Their reliability and compact form factor make it easy to keep your important files with you on the go.

"We're always looking for new ways to allow our fans to express their devotion to their team and to Major League Baseball," said Howard Smith, Senior Vice President, Licensing, Major League Baseball. "Our fans also are very quick to embrace technology, so we're happy to partner with Centon to offer these exciting products that will enhance our fans' connection to the game."

Centon's Officially Licensed MLB Key chain USB flash drive is compatible with PC and Mac Systems. It includes a convenient built in keychain and a capless slide design for the USB connector. The 2 GB drive stores up to 500 songs, 9 hours of video or 800 photos; the 4 GB drive stores up to 1000 songs, 18 hours of video and 1600 photos and the 8 GB drive stores up to 2000 songs, 36 hours of video and 3200 photos. All capacity flash drives come with a lifetime warranty and toll free tech support. The entire product line will be available at retailers and ecommerce sites such as MLB.COM, AAFES, CompUSA, TigerDirect.com, BestBuy.Com, Amazon.com, Buy.com, and many others.

Razer Abyssus Mouse Gives Gamers Competitive Edge Focusing on Fundamentals

Razer Abyssus MousePR: Razer, leading manufacturer of high-end precision gaming and lifestyle peripherals, today launched the Razer Abyssus gaming mouse. By combining simplicity with a state-of-the-art 3.5G 3500 dpi infrared sensor, the Razer Abyssus stands ready to frag.

Razer Abyssus Mouse"Less is more," said Robert "Razerguy" Krakoff, president, Razer. "We've taken our ambidextrous three-button mouse design and loaded it with our industry-leading technology without the added cost of too many bells and whistles. Our goal with the Razer Abyssus is to give competitive gamers access to gaming grade hardware without breaking the bank."

The Razer Abyssus mouse is designed for gamers that demand reliability and functionality under the fiercest gameplay conditions. The Razer Abyssus is armed with two large non-slip buttons tuned for maximum tactile feedback and features Razer's built-in Hyperesponse technology.

Underneath, Razer has placed two easily accessible mechanical switches - one on-the-fly dpi switch giving the user their choice of 450, 1800, or 3500 dpi; and one polling rate switch allowing instant adjustment from a standard 125 Hz to 1000 Hz Ultrapolling.

Product Features:

  • Razer Abyssus Mouse 3500 dpi Razer Precision 3.5G infrared sensor
  • 1000 Hz Ultrapolling / 1 ms response time
  • Mechanical dpi/polling rate switches
  • 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
  • Three independently programmable Hyperesponse™ buttons
  • Ambidextrous design
  • Scroll wheel with 24 individual click positions
  • Zero-acoustic Ultraslick Teflon feet
  • Seven-foot, lightweight, non-tangle cord
  • Approx. size in mm 115(L) x 63(W) x 40(H)

Razer Abyssus sells for:

  • $49.99
  • Europe €39.99

Availability:

  • Razerzone.com - Available Now
  • China - In Stores Now
  • Worldwide - Late December 2009

The HandShoeMouse, a True Ergonomic Computer Mouse, Enters the US Market

PR: Finally, a true ergonomic computer mouse, designed by a Dutch medical university and field tested for almost two years has now entered the US market. The proven and patented design of the HandShoeMouse has a special shape which gives your hand a rest instead of repetitive strain. The HandShoeMouse ( www.handshoemouse.com ) prevents pinching and gripping, a major cause of Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) and Neck, Shoulder, Arms and Hands complaints, due to the shape of a traditional computer mouse. The HandShoeMouse, challenging every mouse on the market, is going to make a difference for an estimated 25% of the total work force in the USA which may be suffering from RSI symptoms.

HandShoeMouseA growing number of the worldwide workforce using computers is suffering from pain caused by intensive use of a traditional or even an ergonomic computer mouse.

A recent study across 23 European countries (Fit for Work Europe) has shown that over 40 million (almost one in six) members of the European Union workforce are affected by Musculoskeletal Disorders attributable to their work (MSDs - conditions affecting bones, joints and connective tissue).

Repetitive strain injury is a major part of MSDs and is mostly related to intensive use of a computer mouse. In the Netherlands 30% of female workers and 23% of male workers are suffering from RSI costing the Dutch economy billions of dollars every year.

Assuming a similar percentage of the work force in the USA will be affected by mouse related RSI-complaints it is estimated that the US economy is losing hundreds of billions of dollars a year due to RSI.

Typical Symptoms

Forceful gripping or pinching, next to hovering of the hand and fingers above mouse and buttons has been identified as a major cause for several physical complaints in neck, shoulders, arms and hands.

HandShoeMouseMoreover, gripping and pinching may result in tension in the deep neck muscles. This may lead to a reduction of the space between first rib and clavicular bone which could even translate into pressure on nerves and a restricted blood flow in arms and hands.

Examples of complaints are:

  • headaches radiating from the neck area
  • tingling feeling in arms and hands
  • reduced mobility of the head
  • loss of force in the hands
  • obstruction of blood flow
  • numb feeling

The mouse reinvented

HandShoeMouseA team of medical and ergonomic specialists from Erasmus University Medical Centre in the Netherlands used electromyogram (EMG) measurements to show the muscle activity of hand and fingers when using a mouse. They found that relaxation in neck, shoulders, arms and hands can be realized by means of a reduction of force when handling a mouse.

Furthermore the researchers defined 7 physical load types causing excessive muscle forces resulting in pain when using a mouse. This includes lifting of the fingers and or the whole hand. Pain can also be caused by forcing the hand in a flat or a handshake (vertical) position when using a mouse.

Evaluating a traditional mouse and 8 ergonomic mice on the market they found that all of them were still causing complaints due to physical load factors which were confirmed by the EMG measurements.

Having decided to reinvent the mouse, the research led to a new patented design showing the least of muscle activity on the EMG measurements as compared to all mice investigated. The HandShoeMouse appeared to have the perfect angle of the hand when resting on the mouse.

Announcing the OOMouse, the First Multibutton Office Application Mouse

PR: WarMouse has announced the release of the OOMouse, the first multibutton application mouse designed for a wide variety of software applications, including Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk AutoCAD, Microsoft Office, and OpenOffice.org. With a revolutionary and patented design featuring 18 buttons, an analog joystick, and support for as many as 52 key commands, the OOMouse is intended to provide a faster and more efficient user interface for most complex software applications than the conventional icons, pulldown menus, and hotkeys presently permit.

OOMouseThe OOMouse includes default profiles for the five core OpenOffice.org applications based on 662 million datapoints compiled by the usage tracking facility incorporated into OpenOffice.org 3.1. These profiles can be easily customized to suit the user's preferences using the included OOMouse setup software. The setup and customization software is an application that will be released as an open source software project under the GNU Lesser General Public License version 3 in the first quarter of 2010. Default profiles for 20 other games and applications are also included; the OOMouse supports up to 63 profiles to be stored simultaneously in the mouse's memory.

The OOMouse is one of the first computer mice to incorporate an analog joystick and the first to permit the use of the joystick as a keyboard. In the three joystick-as-keyboard modes, the user can assign up to sixteen different keys or macros to the joystick, which provides for easy movement regardless of whether the user is flying through the cells of a large spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel or on the back of an epic flying mount in World of Warcraft.

The features of the OOMouse include:

  • 18 programmable mouse buttons with double-click functionality
  • Three different button modes: Key, Keypress, and Macro
  • Analog Xbox 360-style joystick with optional 4, 8, and 16-key command modes
  • Clickable scroll wheel
  • 512k of flash memory
  • 63 on-mouse application profiles with hardware, software, and autoswitching capability
  • 1024-character macro support.
  • Open source support software for creating, managing, and customizing application profiles
  • Import and export of custom profiles in XML format
  • Optional audio notification of profile switching with customizable wave files
  • PDF export of profile button assignments
  • Adjustable resolution from 400 to 1,600 CPI
  • 20 default profiles for popular games and applications, including OpenOffice.org 3.1, Adobe Photoshop, the Gnu Image Manipulation Program, World of Warcraft, and the Call of Duty series.

John McCreesh, Marketing Project Lead at OpenOffice.org, welcomed the announcement: "The OOMouse is a really cool addition to the desk of any keen OpenOffice.org user. The Mouse team have worked closely with experts from the OpenOffice.org User Experience project to deliver the full benefits of the world's leading open-source office software to the fingertips of users. The prototypes are stunning - I can't wait to get my hands on the finished product."

"You can do far more with this mouse than most people are likely to realize at first," said mouse designer Theodore Beale. "You can launch applications from the desktop, and in your browser you can fire up a specific Internet site with one button, then close it with a double-click on the same button. In Writer and Calc, you can have your most powerful and complicated macros on one row of buttons and simple functions like Bold, Undo, and Format Cell on another. It's very useful in games like World of Warcraft, because even without taking the joystick into account, you've got 16 commands within one click, 40 within two, and all 72 icons on the six action pages within just two double-clicks or less."

The OOMouse supports Windows, Linux, and Macintosh operating systems and will retail for $74.99.

NitroAV Fusion Pro 5-Port PCI Express (x4) eSATA/1394b

PR: FirewireDirect.com (Verge Labs Inc.), a developer and supplier of 1394b, eSATA (Serial-ATA), SAS, and Fibre storage and connectivity, announces the new NitroAV 'Fusion Pro' - Another first to market product for NitroAV, it's touted as the most flexible PCI Express card on the market for high performance 1394b (FireWire 800) and 3 Gbps eSATA devices.

This NitroAV host bus adapter is a professional grade eSATA/1394b (FireWire 800) Combo PCI Express x4 (4 lane), designed for Mac Pro and Windows users for virtually any device. It utilizes high performance, native PCIe chips from Silicon Image and Texas Instruments. The Fusion Pro offers 2 external 1394b ports and 1 internal 1394b port, coupled with 2 external 3Gbps eSATA channels. In addition, it offers an optional power connector for direct connection to the system power supply, for supplemental 1394b device power.

The Fusion Pro eSATA ports are based on SiI 3132 and support with FIS port multipliers, and the 1394b channel sports the Texas Instruments XIO2213, and is designed to support a full range of users, professional content creation applications, digital video, digital audio, photography, and imaging and design systems.

The Fusion Pro is available now at $129.95

Enter coupon code 'FUSIONPRO' at checkout for $10 off! Coupon offer good through November 18, 2009.

Editor's note: The website does not mention whether this is compatible with the last generation, dual-core G5 Power Macs. dk

Software

Make Thanksgiving and Christmas Cards Using Templates

Geeksugar's Amanda says:

"Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day will coming soon, there are lots of special day we will celebrate every year. Making a greeting card is a traditional way to celebrate. Check how to use Thanksgiving card templates to make greeting card on Mac with iCollage now!"

Editor's note: iCollage sells for $29. dk

Orb 2.0 for the Mac: Your Music at the Office, in the Hotel, at the WiFi Hotspot

PR: When you have Orb on your Mac:

  • You can stream music to your laptop
  • Select songs, make playlists, right from the laptop
  • ALL your music is available (and Internet radio, podcasts, and videos)

OrbLive 2.0 will change the way you enjoy your media.

OrbLive gives you immediate, anytime access to all your media. No synching or uploading favorites. In fact, you can forget about your iTunes library.

OrbLive uses the network to beam media from your home PC*. And Orb has optimized the transmission so it's great over 3G, WiFi, or Edge.

Imagine all your music, videos, photos even live TV if you have a tuner card in the palm of your hand.

kavmac_en_big.jpg

Turn your iPhone or iPod touch into an on-demand media center.

This is how media was meant to be enjoyed.

Your friends receive an email: with their free Orb account, they are the only ones to see what you shared with them.

Your media is served by your PC: safe, secure

No more big file attachments hassles.

To download Orb for Mac, go to http://orb.com/en/download_orb

Get OrbLive today for $9.99 in the App Store. Or try OrbLive Free on your iPhone or iPod touch before you buy. And all you need for live TV is the tuner card - no other boxes or services to buy.

Bochs: Free x86 PC Emulator for PowerPC Macs

PR: Bochs is a highly portable open source IA-32 (x86) PC emulator written in C++, that runs on most popular platforms. It includes emulation of the Intel x86 CPU, common I/O devices, and a custom BIOS. Currently, Bochs can be compiled to emulate a 386, 486, Pentium/Pentium II/Pentium III/Pentium 4, or x86-64 CPU including optional MMX, SSEx, and 3DNow! instructions.

Bochs is capable of running most Operating Systems inside the emulation including Linux, DOS, Windows® 95/98, and Windows NT/2000/XP or Windows Vista. Bochs was written by Kevin Lawton and is currently maintained by this project.

Bochs can be compiled and used in a variety of modes, some which are still in development. The "typical" use of Bochs is to provide complete x86 PC emulation, including the x86 processor, hardware devices, and memory. This allows you to run OS's and software within the emulator on your workstation, much like you have a machine inside of a machine. For instance, let's say your workstation is a Unix/X11 workstation, but you want to run Win95 applications. Bochs will allow you to run Win 95 and associated software on your Unix/X11 workstation, displaying a window on your workstation, simulating a monitor on a PC.

Bochs 2.4.2 was released on November 11, 2009. You can download it from the SourceForge project page.

See the Changes file for details on what has changed since release 2.4.1

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.2 or later

Bochs 2.1.1 version for Classic Mac OS 9 also available

Platform Support: PPC

Free

Freeware HDRtist 1.1 for Mac OS X with Automatic Image Alignment

PR: HDRtist is a new Mac HDR photography tool from Ohanaware. HDRtist is easy to use HDR software, that creates HDR photos and tone maps them in a single step. An intuitive design makes it simple to choose from our 4 different tone mapping techniques. Even if you're not into HDR photography, HDRtist is a great tool to have for dramatizing dull photos, livening dark photos and boosting sunsets! We've included some HDR tutorials to help you get started with the amazing world of HDR photography.

HDRtistHDR Photography is a relatively new type of photography. It involves capturing multiple photos at different exposures, then using software to combine these exposures into a single High Dynamic Range Image. Tone mapping is then required to compress the tones of the image into a range that the computer can display. The reason for this is simple, the High Dynamic Range Image contains far more detail in the highlights and shadows, these can then be used to create an image closer to what the human eye can see, or to create punchy dramatic images.

New In Version 1.1:

The flagship feature of HDRtist 1.1 is the Automatic Image Alignment feature. At a click of the button, HDRtist is able to align images. This feature allows HDR photographers to shoot HDR images without a tripod. HDRtist uses the align_image_stack module from the open source Hugin project. The HDR generation engine has been rewritten making it faster and to help it provide richer and punchier results. Other bug fixes include the notorious 'white boxes' bug and the crash that could occur when trying to open unsupported images.

HDRtist is available today as freeware. The Funtastic Photos promotion is available from today, throughout the month of October 2009. 20% off reduces the price of a single user license even further from $34.99 down to $27.99.

System Requirements: HDRtist requires a Power Macintosh G5 or Intel based Macintosh computer, running Mac OS X v 10.4 or later. It is recommended to have at least 1 GB of RAM.

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