Mac News Review

Fujitsu Pushes Drive Capacity, Keyspan's Networked USB Print Server, Monster 37" LCD Monitor, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2005.07.01

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

PowerBook, iBook, iPod, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review. News about Apple's transition to Intel CPUs and other Intel developments is covered in The Macintel Report. iPod news is covered in The iNews Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

Desktop Mac Deals

Fujitsu Pushes Hard Drive Limits

Researchers are working on technology that could offer seven times as much storage.

IDG News Service's Martyn Williams reports:

"Researchers in Japan have reported success in an advanced data-storage technology that could help yield hard drives with capacities of seven times or more than today's most advanced drives in as soon as five years.

"Their work is a refinement of perpendicular storage technology, a method of data storage that is only just beginning to come into commercial use in hard drives.

"Drive makers are switching to perpendicular storage because it allows much more data to be stored on a disk. This is because the magnetic particles on which data is stored stand perpendicular to the disk's surface and so more of them can be packed onto the disk than in the current longitudinal recording method in which they lay flat."

Keyspan 4-Port Print Server

Keyspan 4-Port Print ServerPR: Share USB printers on a network!

This 4-Port Print Server makes it easy to share USB printers on a network in a home, office, or classroom. This server transmits print jobs to printers. It also reports ink and paper status back to the PC/Mac.

High Capacity: Connect as many as 4 USB printers.

Bi-directional: Transmits print jobs to attached printers. Reports ink/paper status back to the Mac/PC.

Convenient: Print via Ethernet or WiFi

Versatile: For use with inkjet printers, laser printers, photo printers, label printers and plotters.

High Performance: Supports simultaneous use of attached printers.

Monitor Ink and Paper Status: Most print servers only transmit data in one direction (from the PC to the printer). Our 4-Port Print Server provides bi-directional communication with the printer. This allows you to use utilities that monitor ink and paper status. Compatible with all printer management software.

Features:

  • Connectivity to USB Printer:
    • 4 USB 2.0 Full-Speed ports
    • Full 500mA power provided to each port
  • Connectivity to Network:
    • RJ45 LAN connector
    • 10/100 autosensing
    • IP addressing: Static/DHCP/Zero config

System requirements:

  • Windows: Windows 2000/XP or greater
  • Macintosh: Mac OS X v10.3.x or greater

Price: $99.99

ABSmini Backup System with 1.8" Hard Drive

PR: CMS Products Inc. has introduced its new sleek and stylish 1.8" ultra-portable data backup system, the "ABSmini."

ABSmini Ultra-Portable Data Backup SystemWeighing in at only four ounces, the ABSmini is extremely lightweight and features a compact and elegant design in anodized aluminum. This design provides a solid, rugged housing for the 20 or 40 GB capacity drives. The high-speed USB 2.0 connection provides the perfect solution for storing, transporting, or backing up data files, photos, music, or video. Included with the ABSmini is CMS Products' award-winning BounceBack Express data backup software, a carrying pouch and a USB 2.0 cable. CMS Products provides a 3-year warranty and support via email and telephone.

"Our new 1.8" ABSmini adds another dimension to our solid line of backup, storage and upgrade solutions," said Ken Burke, president, CMS Products. "This new product is helping to revolutionize data backup products with its small form factor and our powerful BounceBack software."

The ABSmini 20 GB is priced at $179; the ABSmini 40 GB is priced at $259. The ABSmini is available from CMS Products, through distributors TechData and Ingram Micro, and through various resellers.

Buffalo Technology's USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drive

PR: Buffalo Technology, a global leader in the design, development and manufacturing of wired and wireless networking, storage and memory solutions today announced it has expanded its award-winning line of storage solutions to include the USB 2.0 External Portable Hard Drive with Bus Power Booster, available in capacities of 40 GB (HD-PH40U2/BST) and 80 GB (HD-PH80U2/BST).

Buffalo External Portable Hard DriveBuffalo's new compact storage device is designed to give mobile PC and Macintosh users the convenience of storing vital data while traveling. Users can quickly and easily access and store files, digital images, music, etc.

"Portable storage has become popular, but the issue of unreliability due to power issues remains. It is essential that mobile users have a solution that not only offers them reliability, but also allows them to free-up limited hard drive space on their notebook," stated Morikazu Sano, vice president of product marketing and public relations. "Buffalo always endeavors to provide its customers with solutions that address their needs. With our new Portable Hard Drive, we are offering on-the-go customers the ultimate in storage mobility - simple, lightweight, compact and affordable."

The Buffalo USB 2.0 External Portable Hard Drive with Bus Power Booster is Windows and Mac compatible and supports USB 2.0 and 1.1. The product offers a 5400 rpm High Speed Drive and includes a Bus Power Booster. This feature provides stable power delivery to the drive even on older laptops, which often lack reliable power delivery over USB, resulting in poor performance or drive failure. The hard drive comes preformatted for immediate use and includes Buffalo's Auto-Installation technology so there is no need for installation CDs.

Its silent operation and compact design make the USB 2.0 External Portable Hard Drive with Bus Power Booster the ideal mobile storage solution.

Backed by a limited one-year warranty and toll-free 24/7 technical support, the USB 2.0 External Portable Hard Drive with Bus Power Booster is immediately available at estimated street prices of $149 for the 40 GB (HD-PH40U2/BST) and $199 for the 80 GB (HD-PH80U2/BST).

Front-Mounted Ports for B&W G3, Power Mac G4

GeeThree Sweet MultiportPR: Add the convenience of ports at your fingertips. The Sweet Multiport installs in the second bay of your G3 or G4.

Ports at your Fingertips

  • 2 FireWire ports
  • 1 USB port
  • 5-in-1 memory card reader
    • CompactFlash
    • IBM Microdrive
    • Memory Stick
    • Secure Digital
    • Multimedia Card

(note: Quicksilver supports only CF and Microdrive)

Additional ports on PCI card

  • 2 FireWire ports
  • 2 USB ports

System requirements:

  • OS X, 10.1 or later, OS 9.1 or later
  • G4 "Mirrored Drive Doors" system - empty 5.25" front drive bay
  • G4 "Quicksilver" system - empty 3.5" front drive bay
  • G4 "PCI" or "AGP" system - empty 3.5" front drive bay
  • G3 "Blue & White" system - empty 3.5" front drive bay
  • Empty PCI slot

Compatibility:

  • Works in OS 9 and OS X
  • No software drivers required
  • Memory card reader compatible with iPhoto

Includes:

  • Sweet Multiport front panel card
  • Sweet Multiport PCI card
  • Sweet Multiport interconnect cable
  • Mounting bracket and screws
  • Front faceplate
  • FireWire and USB cables

New low price $29.95

Stealth Serial Port New Available for G5 Systems

PR: The Stealth Serial Port provides a fully compatible serial port for your Mac. Unlike USB-to-serial adapters, the Stealth Serial Port works with LocalTalk (OS 9 only), MIDI, any serial printer, and virtually any other Mac serial peripheral. We back this compatibility with a money-back guarantee.

Compatible

  • Functions just like a standard Mac serial port, including LocalTalk (OS 9 only)
  • Hardware based on the same serial chipset found on earlier Power Macs
  • Supports externally clocked serial peripherals such as serial printers and MIDI devices
  • Standard mini-DIN8 connector

Simple

  • Installs in minutes
  • Uses internal modem slot

Great value

  • Under $50
  • 30-day money-back guarantee

System requirements

Open modem slot (no internal modem) - all models

Stealth Serial Port for G5

  • Power Macintosh G5
  • Dual 2.0 GHz., 2.3 GHz., 2.5 GHz, 2.7 GHz.
  • Single 1.8 GHz (2005)
  • All G5's except first generation (2003)

Stealth Serial Port for G4 - Universal model

  • Power Macintosh G4 "Mirrored Drive Doors" (Dual 867 MHz, Dual 1 GHz, Dual 1.25 GHz)
    Note: Serial connector mounts on a bracket that replaces a PCI slot cover on the "Mirror Door" systems.
  • Power Macintosh G4 "Quicksilver" (733, 800, 867, Dual 800 MHz, Dual 1 GHz)
  • Power Macintosh G4-2001, 4-PCI Slots (466, 533, 667,733 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh G4 Dual Processor (450, 500 MHz)
  • Power Macintosh G4 AGP graphics (350, 400, 450 or 500 MHz.)

Stealth Serial Port for G3

  • Power Macintosh Blue & White G3
  • Power Macintosh G4 with PCI graphics

Stealth Serial Port for iMac

  • iMac rev A-D (233-333 MHz.)
Link: Stealth Serial Port

Apple, M-Audio Offer New Hardware for Musicians

AP Technology Writer Greg Sandoval reports:

"As technology turns the music industry on its head, Apple Computer Inc. and its business partners are stepping up efforts to help musicians as well as wannabes turn their homes into mini-recording studios.

"At Apple's request, M-Audio has designed a new music-mixing board designed specifically to control Apple's GarageBand, a software feature in Macintosh computers. Irwindale, Calif.-based M-Audio, which creates software and electronic tools for musicians, is expected to launch the $179 iControl early next week at Apple stores nationwide."

iControl Tactile Hardware Control Surface for GarageBand

PR: iControl delivers total tactile control over GarageBand. Dedicated transport buttons and jog wheel put record and playback functions at your fingertips. Its eight rotary knobs are easily assigned to track functions like volume and pan, or to parameters for effects such as GarageBand's EQ or any other Audio Unit plug-in. iControl also provides dedicated mute, solo and record-enable buttons for each track, plus a master volume fader. iControl is USB bus-powered, class-compliant, and automatically recognized by GarageBand, making setup a breeze. iControl puts you in complete creative flow with your GarageBand experience.

Hands-on Control

Making music should be about the creative process, not messing with technology or working with its limitations. That's why recording studios in the know have tactile controllers for their music software. Of course, they usually cost a lot more than iControl - "but GarageBand breaks the mold in a lot of ways.

Designed for GarageBand

iControl is the first control surface designed specifically for GarageBand. By avoiding the pitfalls of trying to create a generic controller to work with a variety of software, the M-Audio design team was able to deliver a tool that gives you ultimate control over all the functions you use regularly in GarageBand.

Bank on It

iControl features a bank of controls for eight tracks at a time including dedicated buttons for solo, mute, record, as well as rotary knobs assignable for volume and pan. Need access to more tracks? Just press the up/down buttons to assign the eight sets of track controls to a higher or lower grouping of tracks.

Effects and More

In addition to track volume and pan, those eight rotary knobs are great for programming and tweaking instruments and effects like EQ and Generator. Assignment is simple - just push the Select button associated with the desired track, then press the button in the "Selected Track" group associated with what you want to control. The rotary knobs instantly become controls for that module or effect. To switch back, just press either the Volume or Pan button in the "All Tracks" group.

System requirements:

  • Mac OS X 10.3.4 and up
  • GarageBand 2.0.1 or later
  • available USB port.

USB bus-powered - no power adapter required

The iControl sells for $179.95

New Wireless Bundles Relieve Stress Over Selecting Products

PR: QuickerTek has just made it much easier to master long-distance network creation with the debut of two new Point-to-Point and Point-to-MultiPoint network product bundles. These Do-It-Yourself product bundles were created to ease concerns over assembling the exact equipment for creating wireless networks spanning more than a mile. The hardware is Windows and Mac compatible and are priced at far below the market rate of several thousand dollars.

QuickerTek has put together two bundles that include all the necessary products to install, test and use wireless networks that stretch for miles outdoors line of sight and from building to building distances. These networks are commonly 802.11g and 802.11b compatible and often customers use popular connection hardware such as Linksys and D-Link and many others. QuickerTek P2P and P2M bundles maintain this compatibility with wireless standards and installed hardware. Compatibility includes the Apple AirPort and AirPort Extreme Base Stations (not Express). There is a specific package for the AirPort Extreme with the external antenna port - so customers can ensure they get exactly the right hardware right out of the box.

These network systems come with low-loss 50-foot coax networking cables, Apple AirPort Base Station adapter cables, Omni and/or Directional outdoor antennas, mounting hardware and include detailed instructions, 1 watt Transceivers and power supplies. There is nothing else to buy.

The 1 watt Transceivers and antennas are weatherproof and are designed to be mounted outside. All systems come with two 1-watt Transceivers and two antennas (either two 14dbi Directional, or two 8.5dbi Omnis, or one of each). Also, customers should be aware that QuickerTek can assist you in designing completely custom wireless networks for any application you can envision.

A two Transceiver system for (non-antenna port) AirPort Base Station system are $999.95. An Apple AirPort Base Station system with the AirPort Express (with external port) is $,1099.95.

QuickerTek is a recognized leading innovator of antennas and RF products for Apple desktop and portable computers. QuickerTek products can be purchased at Mac dealers such as Small Dog Electronics, TechnoWarehouse, PowerBook Medic, and many others, including a growing group of Mac Mini online retailers.

Three New Sharp 17" LCD Monitors

PR: Sharp Systems of America, a division of Sharp Electronics Corporation, has announced the release of three of their newest 17" LCD desktop displays. The full-featured desktop display models, aimed at both consumer and professional markets, deliver professional performance at competitive prices, providing a great opportunity for businesses to economically provide their workforce with high-quality Sharp displays that respond to a wide range of needs.

"These new models are solid additions to Sharp's LCD lineup and provide users with some of the best display quality available on the desktop today," said Ian Matthew, LCD Product Manager at Sharp Systems of America. "The display is the window in which users interact with their computers, and these displays provide users with fantastic visual quality that can be used in both the home and professional setting."

The Sharp LL-193A

Equipped with stereo speakers, the Sharp LL-193A is a high-resolution 17" SXGA (1280 x 1024) monitor that responds to a wide range of needs. With its 280-nit brightness and remarkable 500:1 contrast ratio, the price performance of this monitor is exceptional. The LL-193A display also boasts a fast 8ms response rate, making it perfect for video games and other video applications.

The Sharp LL-193A display, available with standard analog input, comes equipped with color management functions and includes three different display profiles for a range of use, including "Office" mode for power consumption reduction, "VIVID" mode for dynamic primary colors, and "Standard" mode for standard viewing.

The LL-193A is available in black and features a long life (approximately 50,000 hours) backlight, making the unit an excellent investment for the long term. Available immediately, the LL-193A has an estimated street price of $429.

The Sharp LL-173G

Economical price and professional performance distinguish the Sharp LL-173G. This dual-input 17" LCD monitor (both analog and digital) is equipped with a high-performance TFT LCD that achieves a wide viewing angle of 170°, both horizontally and vertically. A high contrast ratio of 450:1 and a high brightness of 280 nits make the Sharp LL-173G monitor ideal for professional applications such as CAD and desktop publishing.

The Sharp LL-173G boasts a 12ms response time, making it capable of both professional and consumer display applications, including CAD and high movement video gaming. The display also comes equipped with stereo speakers and a built-in power supply, reducing clutter on the desktop.

Available in black or white and complete with a fully adjustable stand (including tilt, swivel, and height adjustment), the Sharp LL-173G will be available in July with a competitive street price.

The Sharp LL-173C

Aimed at the consumer market, the 17" Sharp LL-173C offers consumers the benefits of a professional monitor at a price tailored for the consumer budget. The Sharp LL-173C provides users with a remarkably bright 260-nit display with a 500:1 contrast ratio. Fitted for a standard analog input connection, the LL-173C achieves a wide viewing angle of 160°, both horizontally and vertically.

The Sharp LL-173C model also boasts a 12ms response time, making it a great performer for gaming and other video applications. A built-in power supply reduces desktop clutter. Like its sister models, the Sharp LL-173C comes equipped with color management functions and includes three different display profiles for a range of use.

Available in black, Sharp LL-173C is available for an estimated street price of $299.

Availability

These Sharp LCD displays are available through Sharp directly or through Sharp's network of retail partners and reseller channels. For more information, call 800-BE-SHARP.

Westinghouse's 2 Megapixel 37" LCD Monitor

PR: Westinghouse Digital Electronics has announced the availability of its 37" LCD HD Video monitor, the largest monitor to date in the line. The new monitor is part of the Westinghouse Digital 1080p resolution line, which offers the highest standard available to consumers for HD digital video display, leading the industry in picture clarity and vividness with more than two million pixels to dramatically enhance the digital entertainment experience.

"Connect the Westinghouse 1080p 37" monitor to any HD cable or satellite box or PC and the picture quality is stunning," said Douglas Woo, president of Westinghouse Digital. "Until now, the 1080p technology was available only for advanced commercial applications such as high-resolution medical imaging and studio monitors for high-definition video editing. Now consumers can choose from the first line of LCD displays for the mass market to offer a 'true' high-definition digital viewing experience."

The new 37" 1080p LCD video monitor provides consumers the ultimate viewing experience of HDTV programming and other high-resolution video content. The monitor features a 1920 x 1080 progressive scan (1080p) resolution, delivering unparalleled clear images and vivid color in a convenient and attractive thin, flat-panel design that can be easily mounted on a wall. With two DVI inputs with HDCP, two component video inputs and standard VGA and RCA, the monitor allows users to connect to PCs, satellite and cable boxes, game consoles, DVD players and the latest multimedia video source to experience the stunning picture quality of 1080p. The detachable 20-watt speakers and a classic clean, contemporary style complete a beautiful display for the home, boardroom or commercial applications.

"Westinghouse Digital has taken its LCD TV expertise and created a premium monitor that produces crisp images for digital entertainment, home office tasks and the Internet," said Woo. "Consumers can expect to see additions to our growing monitor line that are HD-Grade(a) and feature 1080p resolution."

Westinghouse Digital is one of few LCD providers offering a 37" HD-Grade monitor with over two million pixels. The 37" LCD monitor offers faster response times, better brightness, wider viewing angles and higher contrast ratios than older LCD panel technology. The LCD, flat-panel feature saves valuable space and provides the clearest and truest picture. The 37" monitor's estimated retail price is $2,299.

Desktop Mac Deals

Low End Mac updates the following price trackers every two weeks:

For deals on laptops, see our Best PowerBook G4 Deals, Best iBook G4 Deals, and Best iBook G3 Deals. For deals on iPods, see our Best iPod Deals.

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