Mac News Review

First Mac Blu-ray Player, TenFourFox Brings Firefox 7 to PowerPC Macs, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2011.09.30

Mac notebook and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. iPad, iPod, iPhone, and Apple TV news is covered in iOS News Review. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion


Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Why Don't You Have a Mac?

The Union-Recorder's LaToya Davidson notes that of the top three systems - Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux - Windows is the system for everyone, Mac is for the super cool, and Linux is for techies.

She says that she used to love her Windows computer because it offered so many different options. You could build your own or get an HP, Dell, or an Acer. For years she liked that while she couldn't really customize the Windows experience in the way that she wanted, she could be unique in the computer she purchased.

She says what makes that recollection funny is that she's now exclusively a Mac user - fully immersed in the one computer and its operating system known as much for its sleek style as it is for its assimilatory practices, including its now almost singular casing 'option.' On her Mac she can use any of the top three operating systems, and given her years of experience with a Windows-based computer and as someone who ditched Windows PCs in 2005 and never looked back, she can honestly say, "Why don't you have a Mac?"

Davidson notes that that the Mac experience is superior to that of a Windows computer, much simpler to use, and makes using a computer fun, plus there is the major coolness factor with a Mac.

And don't be fooled, she says, by those who claim that Macs are too expensive, observing that if you were to get a Windows computer with similar specifications, you'd pay the same or more.

Play Blu-ray Movies on Your Mac without Converting Them First

OWC blogger Chris H says lots of people want to watch Blu-ray movies on their Macs, but until now, doing so required ripping the movies to your hard drive and playing them that way. However Mac Blu-ray Player from Macgo (see below) is a movie player that plays back Blu-ray movies from the original source discs.

How does it work?

However, first you need a Blu-ray drive, and OWC just happens to sell some.

Chris provides an outline of how to proceed from there.

Macgo gives you a free three month trial to try the application before you purchase it for $59.95. If you hurry and purchase before October 1, you get a reduced price of $39.95. Try it out and see if it works for you that's the beauty of Shareware :-)

Mac Thunderbolt Ports Will Support Future Optical Cables

IDG News' Agam Shah reports that Thunderbolt ports on Apple's current Macs will be compatible with upcoming fiber optic cables, which should be ready by next year, according to Intel spokesman Dave Salvator, although exact release timing and prices are yet to determined. The Thunderbolt I/O technology, introduced in February on Apple's MacBook Pro, is copper-based and supports data transfer at speeds of up to 10 Gbps per channel.

Apple Q4 FY11 Earnings Conference Call Scheduled for October 18

Apple plans to conduct a conference call to discuss financial results of its fourth fiscal quarter on Tuesday, October 18, 2011 at 2:00 p.m. PT.

You will be able to listen to Apple's conference call webcast discussing Q4 - 2011 financial results beginning at 2:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. ET on October 18.

Note that comments made during this call may include forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties, and that actual results may differ materially from these forward-looking statements. For more information on the factors that could influence results, refer to Apple's SEC filings.

To attend the conference call, QuickTime is required.

Webcast Begins: October 18, 2011 art 2:00 p.m. PT/5:00 p.m. ET


Mac Blu-ray Player Debuts

Mac Blu-Ray PlayerPR: Informed by 10 years of experience in video conversion, Macgo introduces the world's very first Mac Blu-ray player - a unique video conversion tool that supports both Mac and Windows systems. Mac users are now able to watch Blu-ray movies on our beloved computers.

The uniqueness of this tool doesn't end at the fact that it is the very first Blu-ray player for Mac. With the arrival of Mac Blu-ray Player, Mac users will now be able to enjoy Blu-ray quality and experience on their desktop. What sets it apart as an innovation in its truest sense is the fact that it is also the world's very first universal media player. It can not only play Blu-ray HD movies on Mac or PC, but support any formats of movie, video, audio, music, and photo that exist today. The Mac Blu-ray player supports Blu-ray decryption as well as DVD decryption.

Mac Blu-ray Player supports all models of Mac, including MacBook Pro, Air, Mac mini, iMac, and Mac Pro. It can not only play Blu-ray HD movies on Mac or PC, but support any movie, video, audio, music, and photo.

Mac Blu-Ray PlayerMac Blu-ray Player allows users loading commercial Blu-ray discs directly from Blu-ray Disc and Blu-ray Folder, and DVD player as well. Supporting DVD decryption and DVD menu, Mac Blu-ray Player can play DVD discs as well.

Blu-ray Decryption and Processing Capability

With advanced Blu-ray decryption and processing capability, the Mac Blu-ray Player can read commercial Blu-ray discs released in different regions, as well as removing BD+ and AACS encryptions up to MKB v24 from latest Blu-ray movies.

Universal Media Player Performance

All media formats supported here: Blu-ray, DVD, VideoCD, MOV, MKV, AVI, FLV, WMV, MP4, MPEG, RMVB, MP3, WMA, AAC, AC3, and more.

Lossless Quality

Mac Blu-ray Player can directly play Blu-ray and DVD movie without any quality loss. It allows full preservation of all audio tracks (like DTS HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD Audio, etc.), substreams, chapter markers, and videos.

System requirements Mac:

  • 1 GHz or above Intel processor.
  • Mac OS X (including Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard and v10.6 Snow Leopard ) on iMac, MacBook, Mac Pro, etc.
  • Intel Core2 Duo 2.4 GHz processor or higher recommended,
  • 1 GB physical RAM (memory) or above
  • 250 MB of free disk space.
  • A external Blu-ray drive.
  • USB 2.0 or FireWire 400
  • 1024 x 768 or higher resolution display.
  • Optical Drive: DVD drive.

New in version 1.8.3

  1. Added AppleScript support.
  2. Apple Remote supports forward and backward which could be realized through a long press of Previous/Next button.
  3. Fixed bugs in using the forward and backward functions.
  4. Multi-language fill updated to the latest version.
  5. Smaller install package.

New in version 1.8

  1. Added audio device on menu, support 5.1 audio.
  2. Added video deinterlace on menu.
  3. Added forward and backward on menu and right-click menu.
  4. Better support for seeking.
  5. Smaller install package.
  6. Fixed some bugs.

Macgo Inc. is offering a three-month giveaway campaign on Mac Blu-ray Player. This campaign is not a trial activity of new product, but free trial of the formal version. Customers who have downloaded Mac Blu-ray Player can get an activation code to activate the software for free. The activated free version has the same functions as the formal one without limitation. However, the free formal version of Mac Blu-ray Player is good for three months, after which if you don't purchase the software, it will revert to a trial version automatically. At that time, as long as it plays video, there will be a watermark over the video window of the trial version.

Sale price until October 1: $39.95

Regular Price: $59.95

TenFourFox 7: Optimized PowerPC Port of Firefox 7

PR: "Mozilla left you. Apple left you. But we didn't," says the TenFourFox development team, noting that like many PowerPC Mac holdouts, they were horrified when Mozilla delivered the one-two punch of dropping support for both Tiger and our beloved PowerPC Macs with the release of Firefox 4.

A quad 2.5 GHz G5 isn't worth using to surf the Web? Really? And you guys still support Windows XP?

And, of course, Apple's been giving us Power Mac users the proverbial middle digit since 2006. Remember: think different. That's why your MacBook has the same hoary old architecture in ye old generic Wintel box, and if you want to use your perfectly good OS 9 software, you're using Tiger or bust. Heck, Lion won't even run any PowerPC software anymore. (And don't get us started on SheepShaver. It's a great hack, but Classic beats it cold.)

But if there's one thing we've learned from our years of using Macs, it's that they outlast anything else out there. Why shouldn't an iBook be able to look at embarrassing pictures on Facebook, or Twitter about our lunch break? These are our computers, dang it. We paid good money for them. They still work. They may not be as fast, but there's no technical reason they can't do everything that a MacBook can. So if you want something done, you do it yourself, and we did. The result is TenFourFox.

Tuned for Your Operating System and Processor

Why is this TenFourFox and not Firefox? Because even though it uses the Firefox code base, it's not Firefox. It uses code tuned for OS X 10.4 (and compatible with 10.5), adds new PowerPC-specific improvements, and restores the glue necessary to get most of modern Firefox's advanced features working on our older computers, offered in separately hand-tuned builds for G3, G4/7400, G4/7450, and G5 processors to get the most from your specific computer.

Nevertheless, it's still almost all the same code as today's Firefox and has nearly all the same features, including dramatically faster JavaScript, WebM video, compatibility with most Firefox add-ons, and HTML 5 and CSS 3 support. You'll find TenFourFox significantly faster overall than Firefox 3.6, yet it supports so many more new and emerging Web features that your dear old Power Mac will still be able to do what you need online for years to come

The Fastest JavaScript on Power Macs

PowerPC JavaScript benchmark performance

No, that's not chart trickery: TenFourFox's JavaScript interpreter really is faster than Safari 5 and over twice as fast as Firefox 3.6, as proven on both the SunSpider and Dromaeo industry-standard browser JavaScript benchmarks. Thanks to its exclusive native tracing just-in-time (JIT) compiler, TenFourFox powers through today's JavaScript-intensive web applications faster than any other PowerPC browser on both Tiger and Leopard. We've sent our work back to Mozilla so others can benefit, but with TenFourFox, you can wring the best online performance from your Power Mac now!

AltiVec Acceleration, from Server to Screen

Remember how AltiVec was going to change the world? Well, it did, because everyone else did it too, and now vector and SIMD extensions are in every new Intel CPU and every new browser. But no one brought those new algorithms back to the PowerPC browser world - until now.

In TenFourFox 4, we brought you pixel compositing and WebM video accelerated by AltiVec. In TenFourFox 5, we brought you scaling and colour conversion powered by AltiVec. In TenFourFox 6, we even accelerated HTML itself. Every step of the content chain is faster already, and will get faster in the future. It's the power your G4 and G5 Power Macs always had that TenFourFox finally unlocks. (Don't worry, G3 owners, you can still enjoy all the other benefits of TenFourFox.)

You Asked For It. Now You Can Get It.

So what are you waiting for? Download TenFourFox and accelerate your Power Mac's Internet experience today. We're (almost) exactly the same code as Firefox 7 and surf the same sites, but with the code needed to keep your Power Mac functional and fast.

Be sure to read the Release Notes, the official TenFourFox FAQ and the list of known bugs before you begin. Then pick the version for your processor (older versions also available):

  • TenFourFox for G3
  • TenFourFox for G4: 7400 or 7450 ("G4e")
  • TenFourFox for G5

TenFourFox requires a G3 or later Power Macintosh, Mac OS X 10.4.11, 100 MB of free disk space, and 512 MB of RAM. Systems with 256 MB of RAM are no longer supported as of 7.0. 768 MB of RAM and a G4 or G5 processor is recommended. Video playback is likely to be poor on systems slower than 1.25 GHz; a G5 is recommended. Mac OS X 10.5.8 is supported.

Intel Macintoshes are not supported, but the G3 build is known to run under Rosetta in 10.5.8 and should run under Rosetta in 10.4.11. It is not tested with Snow Leopard. TenFourFox will not run under OS X 10.7 Lion, as Lion does not support Rosetta and TenFourFox is not a Universal binary.

TenFourFox is free software.

Publisher's note: TenFourFox 7 has been running just fine with OS X 10.4.11 Tiger on a dual 1 GHz MDD Power Mac G4 from 2002 and OS X 10.5.8 Leopard on a dual 1.6 GHz G4-upgraded Digital Audio Power Mac G4 from 2001 at Low End Mac headquarters. I also tested the G3 version with OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard on my 2007 Intel Mac mini, and everything appears to be working - although why you would want to do that when you could run Firefox 7 natively is beyond me. dk

Ohanaware Updates Funtastic Photos Image Editor

PR: Taiwan-based Ohanaware, a family team specializing in intuitive photo editing software, are proud to announce an update to their flagship product Funtastic Photos.

A user friendly Photo Editor for the Macintosh platform, Funtastic Photos features an advanced effects engine and sharing capabilities. This update (free to existing customers) features a multitude of bug fixes and more built-in creativity.

Funtastic Photos is a 'non-permanent and easily reversible' photo editor, with over 60 simple to use 1-Click Styles, Advanced Effects engine, direct sharing via Fun Cards, Cell Phone (inc. iPhone) and popular photo sharing sites (Flickr, Facebook, Picasa). Funtastic Photos features a creative print layouts system, with awe-inspiring projects, including photo mosaics, greeting cards, photo cubes, mini photos books and more.

New in Version 1.0.7

This latest version improves Lion compatibility, has improved speed in several areas, a couple new 1-Click Styles and some new effects. A new Specific Size layout has been added to the Print & Layouts, this allows photos to be printed at traditional photo sizes on regular sized photo paper.

System Requirements

Funtastic Photos 1.0.7 requires a Intel based Macintosh computer, running Mac OS X 10.5 or later. It is recommended to have at least 1 GB of RAM.

Funtastic Photos is available today for the price of $34.99 before taxes. A free unlimited trial can be downloaded from Ohanaware's web site, during the trial Funtastic Photos will watermark any exported or shared photos. Ohanaware provides a wallet friendly family pack, up to 5 people can install and use Funtastic Photos, for the great price of $49.98. Gift Vouchers are available, enabling anyone to give the gift of Funtastic Photos.

Also see Charles W. Moore's review of Funtastic Photos on GigaOM.

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