MacCast 03.07.2009 - Show #258
V Opening
V Opening Music
* Music is Say Anything by Manda and the Marbles
V Sponsor
V Audible
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* I just finished, "Coraline: by Neil Gaiman and also got "The Graveyard" book.
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V News
V Airport Extreme and Time Capsule Updates
V Dual-band Networking
* Operates in the 2.4GHz (b&g) range and 5GHz (n) range simultaneously. N devices aren't lowered in a mixed device environment.
V Guest Access
* Set up a separate network, with different password, and restricted network access
V MobileMe Access
* Like Back to My Mac. Requires 10.5, but can access files from your Mobile Me account. Built-in and attached USB drives.
* Time Capsule, 500GB USD $299.00, 1TB USD $499.00.
* Airport Extreme Base Station, USD $179.00
V Software updated too
* AirPort Utility 5.4.1 - Used to manage and set-up Airport and Time Capsule
* AirPort Client Update 2009-001 - addresses issues with roaming and network selection in dual-band environments
V New Mac Minis
* 2.0 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 3MB shared L2 cache
* Up to 4GB of 1066 MHz DDR3 SDRAM. 1.0 GB in the $599 model and 2GB in $799 model standard
* NVIDIA GeForce 9400M integrated graphics
* 120GB SATA ($599) or 320GB SATA ($799)
* 5 USB 2.0 ports, 1 FW 800 port
* Dual-Layer 8x SuperDrive
* Mini DisplayPort and mini-DVI port
* 802.11n + Bluetooth 2.1
* Gigabit Ethernet
* Optical digital audio/audio line in and out ports
* Supports dual displays with extended desktop
V Energy checklist
* BFR-free, PVC-free (internal cables), Highly recyclable aluminum and polycarbonate enclosure, Meets ENERGY STAR requirements, Rated EPEAT Gold
* 13 watts of power when idle
V Performance-wise how do they stack up
* Macworld ran Speedmark 5 benchmark tests as well as gaming tests
* 23 percent increase in benchmarks over prior gen model, huge leap in 3d gaming performance. Old GMA950 couldn't even run Call of Duty 4. New models 30 to 60 FPS.
* Low end Mac Mini comparable to the 2GHz White Macbook.
V Where is the play for the living room?
* No remote included (19.00 add on), no HDMI, no Blue Ray. Mini is still a desktop play.
V No price drop. Is it a low enough desktop play?
* According to ComputerWorld, Apple's $599 Mac Mini costs 40% more than Asustek's similar $430 Nova P22 mini PC
V The iMacs fair better according to Oppenheimer analyst Yair Reiner, just edging out all-in-ones from Dell and HP.
* The $1,499 24-inch iMac has a faster CPU, more RAM and better or comparable graphics for $100 to $250 less than a comparably spec'ed Dell XPS One 24 ( $1599), and the HP TouchSmart IQ800t ($1,749).
* Doing you own upgrades. Putty Knife, good how to video at OWC.
* took apart the new one.
V It's from 2004, but Apple still has a Tech article titled, "Apple Warranty: Installing Memory, Expansion Cards, User Installable Parts Does Not Void Warranty"
* Adding memory (DRAM, VRAM) or other user-installable upgrade or expansion products to an Apple computer is not considered a modification to that Apple product. Therefore, it is not necessary to obtain Apple's written permission to upgrade or expand an Apple computer. While Apple strongly recommends that you retain the services of an Apple Authorized Service Provider to perform any product upgrades or expansions, you will not void your Apple warranty if you choose to upgrade or expand your computer yourself. However, if in the course of adding an upgrade or expansion product to your computer, you damage your Apple computer (either through the installation of, or incompatibility of the upgrade or expansion product), Apple's warranty will not cover the cost of repair, or future related repairs.
* I think the copy and title contradict each other.
V New iMacs
* 2.66GHz, 2.93GHz, or 3.06GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor with 6MB shared L2 cache
* 1066MHz frontside bus
* 2GB or 4GB of RAM standard. 2 SO-DIMM slots expandable up to 8GB
* 320GB, 640GB or 1TB 7,200 RPM Serial ATA drives
* Slot-loading 8x SuperDrive with Dual Layer support
V Graphics by NVDIA with ATI CTO option
* 20" and 24-inch 2.66GHz have NVIDIA GeForce 9400M with 256MB of shared DDR3 SDRAM
* 24-inch 2.93GHz NVIDIA GeForce GT 120 with 256MB memory
* 24-inch 3.06GHz NVIDIA GeForce GT 130 with 512MB memory
* The mid to high end 24" can be custom ordered with any of the NVIDIA options or an ATI Radeon HD 4850 with 512MB of GDDR3 memory
* 1 FW 800 port and 4 USB 2.0 ports
* Mini Display port with support for extended desktop including the 30" (dual-link DVI)
* Analog and Digital optical audio in and out
* 802.11n + Bluetooth 2.1
* Gigabit Ethernet
* Built-in iSight
V Compact wired aluminum keyboard, no number pad. Can get CTO for no extra charge.
* Also available for purchase stand-alone for USD$49.00.
* No LED backlighting?
* Bottom end is integrated graphics with shared memory. Is that a step down from discrete ATIs?
* RAM is the only user accessible part. Since Intel no back panel access.
V Fourteen magnets hold the front glass panel in place.
* Ars technica notes that, "it could be fairly trivial for a third-party company to offer a matte-coated replacement". iFixit used suction cup glass installer tools to pull the old glass off.
V New Mac Pro
* 2 stock configs with Nehalem 2.66GHz quad-core (USD $2,499) or eight-core 2 x 2.26GHz quad-core Xeons (USD$3,299).
* BTO upgrades for the quad core are a 2.93GHz Xeon quad-core (add USD $500) or 2 x 2.66GHz quad-cores (8 core total add USD $1,400). Add another USD $2,600 to the 8-core beast to turn the dual 2.26s into dual 2.93
V Nvidia GeForce GT 120 graphics with 512MB of GDDR3 memory.
* BTO option for ATI Radeon HD 4870 (add USD $200)
* Can also get an ATI Radeon HD 4870 from Apple for your 2008 Mac Pro with a PCI Express 2.0 slot. The ATI Radeon HD 4870 Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro will run you USD $349.00 and will be available in 5-7 weeks.
* Briefly the ATI Radeon HD 4870 Graphics Upgrade Kit for Mac Pro spec said it required 10.5.7, but it has since been changed back to 10.5.6.
* 18x SuperDrive with double-layer support
* Bluetooth 2.1
* 802.11n Airport card is a $50 add on (dumb).
V Interior has been redesigned.
* Four slots are now PCI Express 2.0, thumbscrew PCI brackets, double-wide slots.
* Still 4 3.5" internal drive bays, direct-connect. up to 4TB of internal storage.
* Quad-core has 4 DDR3 memory slots, 8-core has 8 slots.
V Ports, we've got ports
* Front: 2 x FireWire 800 ports, 2 x USB 2.0 ports, and a headphone mini-jack.
* Back: 3 x USB 2.0, 2 x FireWire 800, optical audio in and out, analog audio in and out, and 2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports, dual-link DVI port and Mini Display port connectors
* Still same old "cheese grater" design
V The processors are expensive because they are Intel's latest and greatest Xeon 3500 and 5500, officially dubbed the Core i7s by Intel marketing, but also know by the codename Nehalem.
* Integrated memory controller with three channels of 1,066MHz DDR3 memory. I think this is why stock configs have 3GB or 6GB of RAM even though you have 8 memory slots.
* Turbo Boost shuts off the idle cores and overclocks active ones, up to 3.33GHz on a 2.93GHz Mac Pro.
* Hyper-Threading, two threads can run simultaneously on a single core. So you have 8 physical, but 16 virtual cores.
* Snow-Leopard's Grand Central technology will take full advantage of all those cores and processors.
* Apple Insider points out that Apple appears to be getting these processors before other vendors who won't get their shipments until late March.
* MacRumors cites a x264 developer who claims the Nehalem should substantially increase H.264 encoding times due to some SSE changes.
* In the same Mac Rumors report they say VMWare Fusion 2.02 already has support for Nehalem "Extended Page Tables" which benefits virtualization and should increase performance significantly.
V How do the updates stack up?
* Barefeats has some preliminary thought and will like have hard data soon
* Slower clock speeds should be faster. The "early 2009" 2.26GHz 8-core will equal the "early 2008" 3.2GHz 8-core on many benchmarks and the "early 2009" 2.66GHz 8-core will beat it on all benchmarks
* Barefeats also likes the Radeon 4870. Their tests under Windows Vista 64 showed it to be as much as 60% faster than the GeForce 8800 GT when running 3D accelerated games and the retail version Radeon 3870 was better then the GeForce 8800 GT for GPU intensive apps like Motion.
V Macbook Pro update
* The top-o-line 15" unibody was updated with a 2.66 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor.
* For an extra USD $300 you can make that a 2.93 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processor.
V BTO SSD drive options are now also available for all models of Macbook and Macbook Pro (not just 17").
* 256GB drives are available with pricing ranging from USD$750 to USD$900 depending on the model.
V So what to I think of all this?
* Really nice updates but nothing super earth shattering.
* Nehalem Mac Pros are impressive but will need software updates before they realize their full potential
* iMacs are probably the best bang for your buck
V Mac Mini pricing is disappointing, but understandable for Apple
* Apple likes their margins and profits high and is not afraid to sacrifice some sales to get it.
* They know the die hards will pay and their stock price and cash on hand show that's like a wise choice.
* Wish Apple would make the Mini a media play.
* Most excited about the Airport Extreme update. New features and price drop is appealing to me. Don't think the Mobile Me sharing will work though.
V Software updates too
V Time Capsule and AirPort Base Station (802.11n) Firmware 7.4.1
* Bug fixes and security enhancements for new models and the older 802.11n-capable AirPort Extreme Base Station, AirPort Express, and Time Capsule models.
* Enables the Mobile Me remote drive feature on older models, but not dual-band or guest networks.
* Also security updates
V Digital Camera RAW Support Update (D3X, R-D1x)
* Adds support for the Nikon D3X and Epson R-D1x to Aperture 2, iPhoto ’08, and iPhoto ’09.
V Battery Update 1.4 for all MacBooks
* Improve the ability of MacBook batteries to maintain a charge when shut down and not used for an extended period of time.
V To determine if you need the firmware update:
* Open System Profiler on your MacBook
* Click on Power under the Hardware section. If you see a device name of ASMB016 or ASMB013 in the serial number, a Pack Lot Code of 0002, and a battery firmware version of 0110, your battery needs updating.
V iLife Support 9.0.1 and iPhoto Update 8.0.1
* Recommended for all users of Aperture, iLife ’09, and iWork ’09; and iPhoto 8.0.1
* Improves overall stability and addresses minor issues with Internet connectivity, keyword import, and slideshow export.
* Updates require OS X 10.5.6
V Hinges failing on Macbook Airs
* MacNN and O'Grady's Powerpage have reports on first-gen Macbook Air owners reporting failing hinges.
* Point to Apple Discussion boards where there are account of loose hinges that won't keep displays open to hinges breaking completely.
* Some Apple Stores do appear to be doing repairs under warranty, but other aren't citing "accidental" damage.
* Since hinges are in two parts and embedded into the lid the repair costs as much as USD $900.00
* No word from Apple.
V O'Grady's also reports some new 17" unibody Macbook Pro owners reporting potential GPU overheating issues
* results in graphical artifacts (green or pink patches, grids, or lines) when running GPU intensive applications, 3D games, or high def video.
* Solutions include resetting PRAM, SMC, or switching between GPUs.
* Speculation that it's somehow related or similar to the batch of bad NVIDIA 9400 M chips that shipped on some early 15" Mac unibodies back when it launched.
V Apple keeps inventory low
* The Mac Observer says recent data from UBS shows that Apple keeps very little inventory sitting around warehouse
* Just 5 days worth on any given day, one of the lowest rates in the industry.
* It's a balancing act to maintain low inventory and still gage demand, but if done well it can significantly reduce costs.
* The piece does note that Apple's number may have benefitted from the pull back in anticipation of the just announced new desktop models.
V Sponsor
V Faronics
* Deep Freeze and Power Save Mac
* Great for small businesses, shops, cafes, rental properties, hospitality who want to set up a public internet terminal.
* Free trials are available. More details an info available on the web site.
V Feedback, Comments and Commentary
V Improving fuzzy external monitors
* If you attempt to mirror the display the external will run at the same resolution as the internal which may not be the the native resolution. You can adjust the external to native, but then the internal will get fuzzy.
* IIya and Daniel both, say to use a digital Mini DVI to DVI connection vs. Digital to VGA. Check the cables and connect the display to another computer to rule it out.
V GUI for Safari 4 hidden preferences
* Listener Michael wrote an app 'Safari 4 Hidden Preferences' and put it on Google Code.
* James sent a link to Safari 4 Buddy
V Kindle Book Reader for iPhone and iPod Touch
* Play comment from Hunter
* My impressions
V Other book reading options
* Stanza for iPhone/iPod or Desktop - over 100,000 books and periodicals
* Classics, for iPhone and iPod
V Review: EOS Wireless Speaker System
* IntelliTouch EOS Wireless Speaker System
V The system consists of a Base Station and up to 4 wireless speaker units.
V Base Station Specs
* GigaWave® digital wireless audio transmitter with error correction
* 2.1 stereo surround sound (2 neodymium tweeters & a ported down-firing ported subwoofer)
* SRS WOW!™ digital sound enhancement technology
* Infrared remote control, wish this was RF.
* iPod universal dock adapters
* Auxiliary audio input jack & audio cable - Attach non ipod devices
* Available in Black or white
V Speaker specs
* GigaWave® digital wireless audio receiver
* 2.1 stereo surround sound (2 neodymium tweeters & a ported back-firing subwoofer)
* SRS Wow!® digital sound enhancement technology received from the base
* Removable integrated power supply
* Available in Black or white
V Likes
* Super easy set up
* Great range (up to 100 ft.) with no skipping
* Design was OK
* Ability to shut off remote speakers from bas unit.
* Music in sync
V Dislikes
* Audio quality was just OK. Bias toward highs. Can fix with EQ settings on iPod.
* Speakers seemed overpowered
* A bit pricey, but they have specials right now.
* Wireless Core which includes Base Station and one remote speaker is $169.00 (white) or $229 (black)
* Additional remote speakers are $99 (white) or $119 (black)
V Macworld 2009: Filemaker
* Play audio
* Filemaker Demos
* Filemaker Pro 10
V Pricey Apple RAM, why?
* Zaid wondered why Apple's 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 (PC3-8500) RAM module upgrade was $200, while other online sources had the same upgrade for $65 bucks.
* Is all RAM created equal? No
* Apple seems to only sell Error-Correcting Cod (ECC) or Buffered RAM which is "server" grade. It has error correction
* Memory errors are rare and ECC actually reduces memory performance slightly.
V Sharing files in Leopard
V Play comment from Oliver
* Through the Sharing->File Sharing System Preferences. Use the "Everyone" group which includes the Guest account.
V Greg had a slightly different need of wanting to lock sharing of certain files own to specific people or groups of people in his Office. Again Accounts and File Sharing can solve this issue
* Accounts, click the lock, authenticate, click "+", select Sharing only account. File sharing only (can't login locally or change settings).
* Once you have the accounts set up, you can also create groups. Click "=", give you group a name, save the group, check off members to include in the group,
* Now you can add folders or files in the Sharing->File Sharing preferences and assign users and groups plus access privileges (read only, write only, read & write).
V Closing
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* A Norwegian ice cream maker is selling iPod shaped frozen treats along with free music downloads (via TUAW).