Mac News Review

Top 10 Apples, Disappearing Disk Space, ClickScroll, Camino Man Joins Firefox Team, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.03.09

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

Top 10 Apples

NEWS: MLAgazine's Tom Hormby writes: "I have compiled a top 10 list of successful and influential computers and software released by Apple during the reign of Macintosh."

His list includes the Macintosh Classic, OS X, the iMac, the Pismo PowerBook, the first Power PC Power Macs, the Quadra 700, the PowerBook 100, the PowerBook Duo 230, System 7, and ClarisWorks. The article explains his choices.

Free Disk Space Disappears after Updating to OS X 10.3.8

NEWS: A new Apple Knowledge Base Article says:

"After updating to Mac OS X 10.3.8, free disk space may slowly "disappear" if a certain third-party gaming device driver is installed.

"This issue can occur when the Macally iShock game controller device driver (used for devices such as the iShockII) is installed, but the device isn't connected. The 'missing' disk space is actually being filled by one or more system.log files that are recording iShock driver issues.

"To resolve this issue, first check out Macally's Drivers webpage and read the section, 'Attention: iShock/iShockII users and Panther OS 10.3.8 update,' which tells you how to remove iShock drivers that can cause this issue, as well as how to install newer drivers that avoid this issue."

ClickScroll 1.2 Scrolling Tool

PR: ClickScroll gives your Mac a highly-addictive feature: scrolling without scrollbars and scroll wheels.

No need to move your eyes anymore when you need to scroll a web page or a text document - simply call ClickScroll once and gently move your mouse around.

With ClickScroll, take advantage of the following features:

  • Seamless integration: ClickScroll can be called in virtually every Mac OS X application (Finder, Mail, Safari, Internet Explorer, Word, Photoshop, etc).
  • Themes support: Do you want to create your own ClickScroll theme? Use the ClickScroll Interface Builder and let your creativity work for you !
  • Visual feedback: ClickScroll lets you know what it is doing all the time with a Mac OS X-friendly interface.
  • 2D scrolling: ClickScroll now supports both horizontal and vertical scrolling to provide a richer experience.

ClickScroll supports multi-button mice for a fast access, as well as single-button ones. It is ideal scrolling software for laptops users.

New in this version:

  • Support for user-defined themes
  • Ability to set the ClickScroll interface transparency

Version 1.1 users will be able to use this version for free (using their existing serial number).

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.3 or better

ClickScroll is US$9 shareware.

Camino Man Moves to Firefox to Boost Mac Progress

NEWS: PCPro's Simon Aughton reports:

"The Mozilla Foundation has appointed has appointed a developer to work on improving the Mac version of Firefox, with spin-offs for the OS X-only Camino browser.

"Currently Firefox on a Mac comees a poor second against the likes of Safari, suffering from a poor interface and is much slower than either the Windows version or Safari.

"Josh Aas will focus on code that the two browsers share and on Firefox-specific OS X code. Early projects will include cleaning up form widgets such as content-area buttons and text field and improving page loading speed and rendering, probably by making the Gecko rendering engine use the Quartz API instead of Quickdraw. This will also reduce load on the CPU by moving rendering tasks to the graphics card....

"Previously, Aas worked exclusively, though unpaid, on Camino. Consequently his appointment has raised questions about the browser's future.

"Camino's chief developer, Mike Pinkerton, insists that there is nothing to worry about."

Software Developers Cooperate on LinkBack Content Integration Technology

NEWS: Nisus Software, The Omni Group, and Blacksmith announced LinkBack, a new technology that brings embedded objects to the Mac OS X platform. LinkBack makes it possible to edit text or graphics pasted from another application by double-clicking on it. The technology will be included in future releases of Nisus Writer Express, OmniOutliner, OmniGraffle, and Chartsmith. It is also available as an open source framework for use by other Mac developers.

"LinkBack is an open source framework for Mac OS X that helps developers integrate content from other applications into their own. A user can paste content from any LinkBack-enabled application into another and reopen that content later for editing with just a double-click. Changes will automatically appear in the original document again when you save.

"If you are an end user, use LinkBack with any of the LinkBack-enabled applications coming soon from some of your favorite software companies. If you are a developer, download the SDK to learn more about how easy it is to use LinkBack in your own application."

Stone Design have announced plans to support LinkBack in a future release of their venerable Create drawing, layout, and publish-to-web application.

RadTech Announces RadPak Case for BT-500 mini Bluetooth Mouse

RadPakPR: RadTech announced the RadPak - a compact, semi-rigid clamshell case for the BT-500 mini Bluetooth Mouse. Specifically designed for the BT-500, the RadPak makes a perfect mobile solution even better by combining rugged protection with style and functionality.

RadPak features a cushioned interior, twin rubber-tabbed zipper pulls and Internal battery bays to accommodate a spare set of AAA cells. RadPak also makes a great case for cables and/or other small parts.

Combo FireWire/USB 2.0 Hard Drive Enclosure

PR: If you have a screwdriver and about five minutes, you can turn any 3.5" IDE hard drive into a portable, high performance external combo USB hard drive and FireWire hard drive with this enclosure from USB-WARE.

High Performance: This 3.5" hard drive enclosure boasts both USB 2.0 and FireWire 400 (iLink, IEEE 1394) interfaces for extremely high data transfer rates of up to 480 Mbps (USB 2.0) and 400 Mbps (FireWire) for blazing fast transfer of large files.

High Portability: The slim, compact, lightweight design with shock resistant features makes your USB/FireWire hard drive extremely portable. Plus, it's USB 2.0, USB 1.1 and FireWire 400 compatibility allows for Easy Plug and Play with virtually any current PC or Mac.

Features

  • USB 2.0 data transfer rates up to 480 Mbps (60 MB/sec)
  • FireWire 400 data transfer rates up to 400 Mb/s (50 MB/sec)
  • Fully backward compatible with USB 1.1
  • Compatible with any capacity 3.5" IDE/ATA hard drive including ATA-6 drives of 137GB or more
  • Built-in shock resistance
  • Built-in hard drive cooling fan
  • Hard Drive Activity LED

Specifications

  • Interfaces Supported: USB 2.0, FireWire 400, USB 1.1
  • Port Configuration: USB 2.0/1.1 - (1) Type B port, FireWire 400 - (2) 6 pin ports
  • Max Data Transfer Rate: USB 2.0 - 480Mbps (or 60MB/sec), FireWire 400 - 400Mbps (or 50MB/sec), USB 1.1 - 12Mbps (or 1.5MB/sec)
  • Compatible Drives: Supports all brands/capacities of 3.5" IDE/ATA hard drives, including full support for ATA-6 hard drives (137GB and larger)
  • Power Supply: 110v-240v auto switching; external power adapter
  • External Case Dimensions: 8.4" (L) x 5.3"(W) x 1.4" (H)
  • Drive Weight (no accessories): Approximately 1 pound (0.45kg)
  • Warranty: 1 year

Includes

  • External USB Hard Drive - FireWire Hard Drive Enclosure Case Kit
  • 4' High Quality Double Shielded USB 2.0/USB 1.1 connecting cable
  • 4' High Quality Double Shielded FireWire 400 connecting cable
  • External Auto Switching 100/240v 50/60Hz Power Adapter
  • CD with Windows USB 2.0 drivers

System Requirements

Mac

  • FireWire 400: Macintosh with FireWire 400 interface and Mac OS 8.6 or later
  • USB 2.0: Macintosh with USB 2.0 interface and Mac OS X 10.1 or later
  • USB 1.1: Macintosh with USB 1.1 interface and Mac OS 8.6 or later

PC

  • FireWire 400: system with FireWire 400 (1394a) interface and Windows 98SE, ME, 2000 or XP
  • USB 2.0: system with USB 2.0 interface and Windows ME, 2000 or XP
  • USB 1.1: system with USB 1.1 interface and Windows 98SE, ME, 2000 or XP

$49.95 (discounts for multiple purchases)

TigerTiger Will Change Everything

NEWS: macnet2's Dianna Stewart says:

"You don't have to be a developer or a pirate to get an idea of what OS X Tiger will bring Mac users. Apple's newest set of movies (http://apple.com/macosx/) gives the world a lot of visual feedback on the new features in this amazing OS. Even so, I've been lucky enough to play with 8A385 over the weekend and if I had to bet on the validity of the rumored March 31st release date I'd have to bet that the rumors are true. 8A385 is pretty much ready for prime time, with only a handful of bugs left to squash.

"So, is Tiger just another upgrade to OS X or is it something historic? Bold words to be sure, but I believe Tiger will be an event that forever changes the landscape in computer operating systems. So advanced, so rich with 21st century technology, Tiger will force even the most hardcore Windows users to turn green with envy. Many, if not most, will want to change platforms and Apple will be in a position to change the entire industry. This is not hyperbole; it is what it is; an operating system that makes all other operating systems look ancient, amateurish, and downright awful in comparison."

Building the Ultimate Power Mac

NEWS: MacNETv2's Lisa Swanson says:

"It isn't very often that you get the chance to build a Mac workstation with everything you want. Sometimes you do though, and that is exactly where we found ourselves a few weeks ago

"Taking the helm of MacNET Media Group was a scary thing to do. Especially when the deal did not include a single piece of hardware. No Power Macs, no PowerBooks, not even the lowly eMac that sat in the corner and was used for testing software. Our team took over, and the only hardware we had were the ones we used at home. The first thing we had to do was put together a new system. It was a frightening prospect, but it could be fun too. We decided it would make for an interesting read, so today we start with part one, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of building a Power Mac G5 workstation."

How Not to Troubleshoot Computer Problems

NEWS: brainfrieze.net's Kim Cavanaugh writes:

"I lost 4 or 5 days of work this week to problems on my Mac. To say that this is highly unusual would be an understatement. Typically my little iMac hums and burbles along, and has done so without fail for the last two years. But on Saturday morning things got ugly. Now that the experience is behind me I can review a little all the many ways that I made things worse.

"Step 1: Accept all updates for OS X without question. (Hey, it comes from Apple and therefore it must be necessary and needed. Install away! That's what I did when OS X 3.8 was released.)"

CPA Firm Goes All Mac

NEWS: mac360.com's Tera Patricks reports:

"How often does a non-media, non-graphics business go ALL Mac? More often than you think. Here's the story of a Washington state CPA firm that's all Mac, all the time. Mostly.

"Is it possible to run a successful business without using Windows? Mostly. Get ready to meet Art Nelson of Nelson Accounting Professionals."

The Ergonomic-Friendly RollerMousePRO Reviewed

NEWS: ExtremeTech's Jeremy Atkinson reports:

"Recently, Contour Design announced the release of its second-generation RollerMouse, aptly titled the RollerMousePRO. Contour's RollerMouse series is designed to reduce or eliminate the need for a mouse by offering a "rollerbar" and set of buttons below the keyboard to navigate and click with a cursor. So the Rollermouse isn't, technically, a mouse. Makes perfect sense, right?

"The idea behind the RollerMousePRO is to offer a solution to the awkward stretch required for using a mouse. This helps reduce muscular discomfort associated with repetitive use, and potentially increase productivity by letting you keep your typing position as you control your cursor. Some people with muscle pain screech at the notion of reverting back to a normal mouse and would rather use a more ergonomically friendly alternative. Contour has designed a product that is the first of its kind.

"Just after its release, we got our hands on a RollerMousePRO for a review. Upon its arrival, we unhooked our old mouse, strangled it with its cord, and tucked it away in a drawer. We spent a solid week with the RollerMouse in order to fully adapt to the new pointing device. No rodents for a week, at least. During this immersion with the PRO, we would be doing our day-to-day tasks at ExtremeTech, which include some web production, email, and writing. We also did some design work in Photoshop and other programs, which at times, requires a delicate touch of the cursor.

Does the Contour's mouse replacement fill the bill? At a hefty price tag of $199, we wanted to put the PRO under heavy scrutiny. It better be good, for that price....

For my own review of the Classic RollerMouse, see Contour RollerMouse Station a Great Alternative to Traditional Mouse.

aFire AirPort Extreme Base Station Amplifier

PR: RadioLabs offers a new solution for dramatically increasing the range of the Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station and G5. This unique design not only boosts the signal of the AirPort to 1/2 watt, but is designed to activate the antenna jack.

The simplest solution to boost the output of the AirPort Extreme Base Station and the G5 tower.

The newest addition to RadioLabs product line is a dramaticboost for Apple products, especially the AirPort Extreme Base Station and G5 Mac! A smokin' 1/2 watt amplifier, combined with a 5.5 dB flexible antenna for instant long range wireless connections.

Simple plug and play installation - Two easy connections are all that is required and you can boost the range of your AirPort Extreme or G5 Mac. You can bust through walls, obtain range you never had before and get your wireless signal, exactly where you want it. The AC adapter is a simple plug in to 110 VAC or you can order the 12 volt mobile adapter separately, please contact us for details

aFireMost 1/2 watt wireless amplifiers cost over $300. Due to a very unique design, small amplifier module and cutting edge wireless amplifier design, RadioLabs is able to sell this for

RadioLabs aFire amplifier has a 4 foot cable for remote mounting on your desktop, or up on a wall to increase line of sight distance and get the amplfiier/antenna away from other sources of interference.

The MCX type connector on the 4-foot cable fits the AirPort Extreme Base Station and the G5 tower. Put this in place of the "T" antenna on the G5 and you have instant amplification to access points up to 1 mile away if placed line of sight with the access point.

RadioLabs 1-Mile Guarantee. - Put this amplifier in a window and we guarantee the range to be one mile line of sight.

This 1/2 watt amplifier works at B or G speeds and includes a transmit and receive amplifier with amazing performace.

Of course, the AirPort Extreme is not included.

RP-SMA Connector output on the top of the amplifier allows connection to any RadioLabs Antenna for long range networking.

Features:

  • Bi-directional amplifier for IEEE 802.11B, G and Super G
  • The only amplifier / antenna combination to activate the Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station!
  • Automatic gain control to minimize the signal distortion on all access points.
  • High Power transmit level, 500mW (or +27dBm)
  • Low noise amplifier with system noise figure 2.5dB
  • 110 volt - 6.5VDC power adapter for operation from wall current.
  • Industry standard RP-SMA connector on amplifier.
  • Sturdy aluminum chassis with integrated heat-sink
  • Power, Receive and transmit diagnostic lights.

Direct plug in with Apple AirPort Extreme Connector for instant connectivity.

Price: $149.95

MacOSX.com Seeks Volunteers for Free Tech Support

NEWS: In a effort to provide the best experience to long time Macintosh users and new users, MacOSX.com are providing free personalized technical support services staffed by volunteers.

Personal support differs from group for the forum based support where one or more volunteers (those who optionally sign-up to help this program) work with you directly, via email, to help resolve your issue. The goal is to provide solutions in under 24 hours. However, due to various reasons, this time may be longer.

Yellow Dog Linux 4.0.1 Linux Operating System for PPC

PR: Terra Soft's most complete offering to date with support for the iMac G5s and Mac minis too! Yellow Dog Linux v4.0.1 is a Fedora / RPM-based operating system for PowerPC computers, offering an intuitive, flexible graphical installer, 1300 packages on 8 CDs (4 Install, 4 Source), a unified KDE and GNOME desktop environment featuring shared menus, applications, and user interface.

Based upon the 'Anaconda' installer engine, the Yellow Dog Linux Installer leverages automated, advanced hardware detection; provides on-screen help, flexible package selection, multiple install methods (CD-ROM, FTP, HTTP, NFS), default to ext3 journaling filesystem, embedded video testing, multiple ethernet and wireless port configuration, and automated partition creation.

Mac OSX is a great product, but if you desire complete control of your computer, prefer a common OS acrosss multiple systems old and new, Mac and PC, and desire improved performance - then Yellow Dog Linux is the solution for you.

YDL v4.0.1 Features ...

  • 8 CDs (4 Install, 4 source).
  • Anaconda installer engine.
  • RPM Package Manager 4.3.
  • GNU LibC (glibc) 2.3.3.
  • GNU Compiler Collection (gcc) 3.3.3.
  • kernel 2.6.10.
  • KDE 3.3 and GNOME 2.6.0.
  • X.org 6.6.
  • Mac-on-Linux (non-G5) with auto network config.
  • OpenOffice.org 1.1.1, Rhythmbox 0.8.3, and Mozilla 1.7.3. ... with new support for:
  • Thermal (fan) for G5s Power Macs.
  • Sleep for most ATI-based portables.
  • iMac G5 (sans on-board audio, modem, thermal).
  • Mac mini (sans on-board audio, modem).
  • Updated ALSA sound driver for all non-G5 hardware.
  • Griffin iMic USB audio device support.
  • XMMS startup crash fixed.
  • Security updates.
  • Installer bug fixes.

System requirements: Power Mac G3 (blue & white) or later, PowerBook G3 (Lombard) or later, all iBooks, iMacs, and eMacs, Mac mini.

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