Mac News Review

World Gone Apple Crazy, Voice Recognition on Intel Mac mini, 705 GB Seagate Drive, 4-drive RAID Hardware, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2006.04.28

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.

News & Opinion

Tips

Products

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

The World Has Gone Apple Crazy

iTWire's Stan Beer reports:

"As if its success with iPod wasn't enough, Apple looks to be on a winner with its new Intel Macintosh platform, judging by the reactions of the media and its readers.

"In a new poll of iTWire readers taken over the past 24 hours, nearly two thirds of the 448 respondents (299) believe that being able to dual boot Windows will increase Macintosh market share compared with just one third (159) who believe it will not."

Link: The Whole World Has Gone Apple Crazy: Poll

One Voice Demonstrates Voice Recognition on Mac mini

One Voice Technologies, Inc., developer of 4th Generation voice solutions for the Telecom and Interactive Multimedia markets, today announced that it has successfully demonstrated its Media Center Communicator™ voice recognition for Microsoft Windows XP Media Center 2005 running on an Apple Mac mini. The Apple Mac mini was configured to dual-boot into either Apple Mac OS X Tiger or Windows XP Media Center 2005 using Apple's newly released Boot Camp software.

"Our Media Center Communicator software is amazingly fast running on an Apple Mac mini Intel Core Duo machine," said Dean Weber, president and CEO at One Voice Technologies. "The Mac mini is a great platform for the Digital Home given its impressive features, performance and cost - all packaged in a small elegant form factor. It is equally impressive to see Windows XP Media Center 2005 running on a Mac mini, which in the past has only run Apple's Mac OS X operating system. Allowing consumers the option to boot into either Mac OS X or Windows XP Media Center 2005 gives them the power and flexibility of both worlds. With our Media Center Communicator, you can now walk into your home and tell your Mac mini to play music, view photo slideshows, place PC-to-Phone calls, read email or watch a movie - all by simple-to-use voice commands."

One Voice's Media Center Communicator is a complete in-home multimedia communications package for Microsoft Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 - enabling users to speak, using voice recognition, to play and view all their digital content from MP3 music, digital photos, slideshows, videos, live TV and much more! Media Center Communicator also comes with a suite of communications features to send and read E-mail, SMS text messaging to mobile phones, Instant Messaging (IM), full motion PC-to-PC audio and video chat and PC-to-Phone calling to any phone within the U.S. and Canada.

Imagine walking into your family room and using your voice to tell your Media Center to play jazz music or play your favorite artist or album, play a photo slideshow, watch and record live TV, read and send E-mail, call to order a pizza or video chat or Instant Message with a friend. Media Center Communicator delivers on this vision today! For more information, please visit http://www.onev.com/mcc or for an online demonstration, go to http://www.onev.com/videos/mccoverview.wmv or http://www.onev.com/videos/mcc.wmv

Link: One Voice

Seagate Ships 750 GB Drives

PCMag's Mark Hachman reports:

"Seagate Technology officially brought its perpendicular-recording technology into the desktop drive market, announcing shipments of its first 750-Gbyte Barracuda internal drive Wednesday. A complementary external 750-Gbyte drive will be released this coming Monday.

"According to Seagate spokesman Michael Hall, the suggested retail price of the 750-Gbyte Barracuda 7200.10 drive will be $590, while the 200-Gbyte model will sell for about $104. The drives began shipping last week to distributors, Hall said.

"Somewhat surprisingly, the external 750-Gbyte Seagate External Hard Drive drive due next Monday will be priced at about $559; external drives are generally priced somewhat higher than their internal counterparts."

Link: Seagate Ships 750-GB Drives

Why the Mac Version of America's Army Has Been Dropped

America's Army programmer Ryan Gordon explains why the Mac version of the game's development has been terminated:

"The Army used to pay me for the Linux and Mac OS X server and clients. I was brought on originally to do just the Linux server, because at the time one of the ArmyGame project's new game hosting facilities insisted on having a Linux server and recommended me....

"Within a few months, the Army (and SCI, in one case) added some more bullet points to my resume: soon, a Linux client was shipping to the public, a 64-bit Linux version was demo'd at the Athlon64 launch event, and a Mac OS X client was running on some shiny Apple Cinema Displays in the Army's floorspace at E3.

"Literally years have passed since that heyday. I'm now paid for just the Linux server. The Mac and Linux clients were cancelled several versions ago.

"Let's say it happened when GameSpy jacked their prices, but the port wasn't actually cancelled because of the GameSpy fiasco; while it definitely didn't help, the two events just happened to coincide. I asked that I be permitted to keep shipping the Mac and Linux versions if I wanted to, and was allowed, so long as I understood that it was going to be pro bono work....

"The problem, though, is that I'm a busy, busy guy. There are paying clients that are waiting for me to give them my attention, and my TODO list is continuing to grow....

"What you can do: nothing. Please don't email anyone about this, don't offer to send money. It's just how this goes for now....

"Apple's Boot Camp had nothing to do with this, either, as some forum people have apparently decided. That being said, lucky you if you have an Intel Mac: you can boot to Windows to keep playing. Linux users can try their luck with Wine, Cedega, or Windows itself."

Link: Why the Mac Version of America's Army Has Been Dropped

Tips

Using DVD-RAM on the Mac

IT Enquirer Staff reports:

"Sony sent me their newest DRX-820UL. It's a Multi-drive, the first ever that I try out. This drive writes and reads non-cartridge DVD-RAM discs at 5x speed. Verbatim sent me a box of those discs and so I could test the Sony and the Verbatims this afternoon. This article is not intended as a review of the Sony. It's more like a small test to see how DVD-RAM behaves under Tiger, and how useful it is for desktop publishers and designers.

"DVD-RAM discs are not recognized out-of-the box. In fact, Disk Utility doesn't even recognize them as volumes. The first thing that you will have to do, therefore, is initialize the disc. The Verbatim 5x DVD-RAM in the Sony DRX-820UL, and Disk Utility allowing to 'Erase' the Sony (the icon of the Sony is available; the icon for a volume is not). I tried to initialize the disc as a UDF disc first. Partitioning is not possible, and I read somewhere that DVD-RAM must be formatted as Unix File System volumes on Mac OS X...."

Link: IT Enquirer (unable to find link to article)

Products

$329 Four Drive Hot Swap FireWire 800 Enclosure with Hardware RAID

PR: The EF83-Q is the latest in a series of FOUR DRIVE 3.5" drive FireWire 800 (1394b) enclosures. The EF83-Q comes with FOUR HOT SWAPABLE IDE hard drive trays which can be programmed into either a RAID 0, RAID 1 or JBOD configuration. The EF83-Q has a built-in high-performance FireWire 800 (1394b) bridge board with a 1394b payload of 4096 (instead of the standard 2048), and supports LBA 48-bit sector addressing drives(138GB+). With such specifications there are no current drive size restriction limitations.

Available and ready to ship, our EF83-Q provides an essential solution and data rates to next-generation storage used in high-end applications, such as audio/video (A/V) editing. Our EF83-Q offers full FireWire 800 and ATA-7 speeds (800MB/s and 133MB/s respectively), as well as software RAID 0, 1, support in Win2K, XP or MAC OSx, which is critical for A/V applications.

Any FOUR 3.5" HDD (no size limitation) devices can be easily, quickly and reliably converted to plug-and-play high speed FireWire 800/1394b, up to 800Mb/s. For RAID use, all drives installed must be identical.

Our EF83-Q offers a unique opportunity to continue to take advantage of the low cost IDE drives available while presenting high performance (800mbps transfer rate), hot plug-able devices into the expanding 1394b/FireWire market.

Key Features

  • 2x Master/2x Slave - FOUR drives FireWire 800/IEEE-1394b
  • TI's TSB81BA3 IEEE 1394b 800Mbps PHY
  • 800Mb/s FireWire 800/1394b channels
  • Hot swap Four IDE/ATA hard drive trays
  • Firmware Programable Stripping, Mirror or JBoD
  • Supports LBA 48-bit addressing for large hard drives (>128GB)

Package contents:

  • One (1) EF83-Q enclosure
  • Four Remove-able IDE/ATA drive trays
  • One 2.0 meter FireWire 800 cable
  • One (1) AC power cable
  • Set of mobile rack keys
  • Mounting screws set
  • User manual

Specification:

  • Part Number: EF83-Q, Quad hot swap 3.5" Bay FireWire 800/1394b Enclosure
  • Physical Mount Space Up to four physical IDE 3.5" drives
  • Operating System: Win98SE, ME, 2K, XP, FreeBSD, Linux, MAC 8.6 or higher
  • IDE Interface: Quad ATA-133 - No size limitation (48bit address)
  • IEEE 1394 Interface: IEEE 1394-1995, IEEE 1394a compliant
  • Support data transfer rate up to 100, 200, 400 MBps
  • SBP-2 Target
  • Revision 4 compliant
  • Cooling: Push Pull fan ; ruggerdize metal case
  • Operating Temperature: 0o C to 50o CC
  • Operating Humidity: 5% to 95% non-condensing
  • Dimensions: (WxHXD) 7.08in x 6.93in x 15.35in
  • Connectors: 9-pin IEEE 1394b connector x 2
  • Power connector x 1
  • On/Off switch x 1
  • Power Supply: 90-265VAC 50/60Hz; 80W Output Power
Link: EF83-Q Four Hot swap HDD in FireWire 800 Enclosure Featuring RAID 1, 0 or JBOD

FirmTek 2-Port Serial ATA PCI Express Cards for Dual-Core G5s

PR: FirmTek, LLC, a pioneer and leader in Serial ATA (SATA) storage solutions for the Macintosh platform, unveiled their new SeriTek/2SE2-E today upon the opening of NAB 2006 (Booth SL 1238). The SeriTek/2SE2-E is a Serial ATA host adapter fully compatible with the new PCI Express bus architecture found in Apple's latest Dual-Core G5 Macintosh. Offering two external SATA II ports at up to 3 gigabits per second, the card enables individual drives or RAID arrays to be fully utilized as high-performance storage on Dual-Core systems. With FirmTek's established hot-swap compatibility, users can easily move these drives or volumes from one system to another, providing maximum flexibility and security.

Support for the Bus Standard of the Future

Apple's use of PCI Express in the new Dual-Core G5 has opened a new era of performance for peripheral devices and expansion cards. Unlike previous standards, PCI Express gives each device dedicated bandwidth and access to the system controller. Under this design standard, cards and slots are defined by the number of data lanes included; usually one, four, eight or sixteen, each supporting up to 250 Mbps. The new G5s include a 16 lane slot intended for a graphics, as well as two with four lanes and one with eight. Cards must be specially designed to work with this new standard. "We are pleased to be among the first developers to offer a PCI Express card supporting Serial ATA," said Chi Kim Stanford, Vice President of Business Development for FirmTek. "Our design team has worked relentlessly to ensure full compatibility with this new standard, and the SeriTek/2SE2-E will provide Dual-Core G5 users the performance and reliability they expect from this fantastic new system."

Security and Flexibility

FirmTek has pioneered products supporting ATA standards on the Macintosh for many years, and offers a variety of enclosures and interface solutions for demanding users. Since the introduction of Serial ATA, the ability to hot-swap drives between enclosures has been a key feature across Firmtek's products. All FirmTek enclosures are designed to allow quick and easy removal and installation of drives, usually in about a minute, without shutting down or restarting the computer. This flexibility allows users to share important data quickly, transfer or duplicate files at the speed of SATA (instead of over sluggish networks, slow USB/Firewire, or Internet connections), and to keep more sensitive files locked up and secure with minimal effort.

Hot-swappable external enclosures also provide effectively unlimited storage capacity, as users are not limited to the two internal drive bays provided with the basic G5 system. As volumes are filled to capacity, they are easily removed and replaced with new drives, ready to accept additional data files.

To assist customers in maximizing their productivity and obtaining maximum benefit from their FirmTek solutions, FirmTek offers additional drive trays for $22.99 each, without any additional purchases required. This enables customers to keep an unlimited number of drives on hand and ready for action.

Designed Specifically for the Dual-Core G5

As a PCI Express card, the SeriTek/2SE2-E is solely intended for use with the new Dual-Core G5 systems. This new card design is not compatible with older PCI-X or PCI slots. FirmTek offers a variety of outstanding solutions for other Macintosh platforms.

FirmTek's SeriTek/2SE2-E adapter for the Dual-Core G5 will be available early Q3 this year, with estimated retail pricing of USD$99.95. For more information about the SeriTek/2SE2-E, visit FirmTek's website.

Link: FirmTek Announces Two-Port Serial ATA PCI Express Adapter for Dual-Core Macintosh G5 Systems

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