Mac News Review

Don't Mistreat Your Mac, New AirPort Extreme 5x as Fast with Double Range, Quad-core Xeons, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2007.01.12

PowerBook, iBook, MacBook, and other portable computing is covered in The 'Book Review.

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Products

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Things to Never Do to Your Mac

InformationWeek's Sharon Gaudin says:

"While a lot of Mac users could easily fit into the die-hard, they'd-never-use-anything-else category, that doesn't necessarily mean they're good to their machines.

"Bob LeVitus, known as Dr. Bob to the readers of his tech column in the Houston Chronicle, says he's always amazed at how people treat their beloved machines - that is, how badly they treat their machines. To curb some of these bad tendencies, Dr. Bob is offering a session at Macworld Expo called 'A Dozen Things You Should Never Do To Your Mac.'....

"In an interview with InformationWeek, LeVitus offered up four of his tips for keeping your data safe, your computer out of the repair shop, and your IT workers from yelling at you."

Editor's Note: Excellent and concisely presented advice. Don't miss this one. cwm

New 802.11n AirPort Extreme Has Five Times the Performance, Twice the Range

PR: Apple has introduced the new AirPort Extreme, a simple and elegant wireless networking solution delivering up to five times the performance and twice the range of the previous AirPort Extreme. Based on 802.11n,* AirPort Extreme extends a wireless network to even more areas in a home or office and makes streaming digital content and transferring large files faster and easier. The new AirPort Extreme Base Station features a sleek, new design with connections for networked computers, printers and a USB hard drive to quickly and easily share files or back up valuable data and content.

AirPort Extreme Base Station"The new Airport Extreme is the most powerful and easy to use WiFi base station that we have ever made," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. "With five times the performance and twice the range, now you can transfer bigger files faster and get access to the Internet and your favorite digital media from many areas in your house you couldn't reach before."

Using MIMO (Multiple In Multiple Out) smart antennas and 802.11n technology, AirPort Extreme now delivers greater data throughput and extends the reach of wireless connectivity to more areas of the home, business or school. With the ability to operate in either the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz wireless frequencies, AirPort Extreme also reduces the possibility of interference from appliances and cordless phones that operate in the 2.4 GHz frequency. AirPort Extreme is backward compatible with Macs and PCs using previous generation 802.11b/g wireless technologies.

The AirPort Extreme Base Station features a simple, new design that is just 6.5" square and 1.3" tall, and a built-in USB port allows users to print wirelessly to a USB printer or turn any external USB hard drive into a shared drive so they can share files or backup valuable data from multiple computers on a network. New AirPort Utility software included with every AirPort Extreme makes it very easy to set up a secure, wireless network for up to 50 simultaneous users within minutes. Users can also set security restrictions, including Internet access limits on their childrens' computers.

The AirPort Extreme Base Station also includes:

  • 802.11n WiFi wireless networking;
  • MIMO (Multiple In Multiple Out) smart antennas;
  • dual-band antennas for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies;
  • three 10/100 Ethernet LAN ports;
  • one 10/100 Ethernet WAN port;
  • one USB port;
  • WiFi Protected Access (WPA/WPA-2), 128-bit WEP encryption; and
  • a built-in NAT firewall.

Pricing & Availability

The new AirPort Extreme Base Station will be available in February through the Apple Store, at Apple's retail stores, and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $179. Nearly all currently shipping Macs** support 802.11n when updated with 802.11n Enabler software, which ships with the AirPort Extreme Base Station.

Intel Releases Workstation-friendly Quad-core Xeons

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"CES 2007 Intel today rolled out a pair of four-core Xeon server chips for single-socket systems. The two CPUs, the Xeon X3210 and X3220, are effectively Core 2 Quads rebranded. Both combine two dual-core processors in a single chip package.

"The two Xeons are clocked at 2.13 GHz and 2.4 GHz, respectively. Both run over a 1066 MHz frontside bus and contain 8 MB of L2 cache - 4 MB of shared cache per pair of cores."

Editor's note: Apple uses the dual-core Xeon in the Mac Pro. This paves the way for 8-core Macs with two quad-core CPUs. dk

Macs Crowd Out Linux but No Threat to Windows

LinuxWorld's Phil Hochmuth writes:

"The growth of Macintosh desktop clients in enterprises will be more of a hindrance to Linux desktop growth than Windows, one analyst firm says in a recent report.

"Gartner says the increasing popularity of Apple's desktop operating system in some enterprises could come at the expense of Linux desktops. Popular marketing and advertising campaigns for Macs has the machines on the minds of some corporate computer users, while Linux desktops are still somewhat obscure."

Intel Adds 'Wolfdale', 'Yorkfield' to Desktop Roadmap

The Register's Tony Smith reports:

"Intel's 45nm desktop dual-core processor will be codenamed 'Wolfdale' and appear in Q4, the latest roadmap slide to leak out of the chip giant has revealed. The part is based on 'Penryn', the 45nm incarnation of the Core 2 Duo architecture and the first platform to support SSE 4.

"Alas, the slide, published by Chinese-language site HKEPC, simply says Wolfdale is a 45nm, dual-core part with a 65W TDP, as per the current generation of Core 2 Duos."

Mopar Expands Availability of iPod Integration for Chrysler Group Vehicles

PR: Mopar, DaimlerChrysler's original equipment manufacturer, announced it has expanded availability of its factory-engineered iPod Integration Kits for most Chrysler Group vehicles. The audio integration system accessory was launched in early 2006. The iPod Integration Kit from Mopar Authentic Accessories provides direct connectivity between the customer's iPod and the vehicle's audio sound system.

Offering true interface, the iPod attaches to the custom cable port located in the glove box. The iPod adapter module is concealed under the vehicle dash, translating and then sending the signal to the vehicle's radio receiver. Once attached, all iPod control functions are available through the vehicle's audio sound system. This hardware interface provides optimal digital audio quality so all passengers can enjoy the iPod tracks. Using the audio system or steering wheel controls, drivers can browse their iPod music collection of playlists, song titles, and artists that are viewable on the radio display face. Radio display and audio prompt features vary between radio model. While the iPod is connected to the cable port, it's continually charging - whether it's playing or turned off.

"People love their iPods and they love their cars. Expanding availability of our iPod Integration Kits means more Chrysler Group vehicle owners can hit the road and enjoy both," said Chris Cortez, Senior Vice President - Global Service & Parts, Chrysler Group. "This iPod accessory lets our customers put 'their' music on hassle-free. We're committed to pioneering OEM accessories to enhance the driving experience for our customers."

The popular iPod, iPod mini, iPod photo, iPod nano and iPod video are compatible with Mopar's audio integration systems. iPod device is sold separately. Specifically engineered to interface with select model year 2006 and newer Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicle electronics, the iPod Integration Kits from Mopar are available for purchase and installation at Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealerships across the country. The following iPod Integration Kits are available:

  • Can-B Integrated (#82209617AC, $215) for the Chrysler Aspen, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Chrysler 300, Dodge Magnum, Dodge Charger, Dodge Caliber, Dodge Ram, Dodge Durango, Dodge Dakota, Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Jeep Commander
  • J-1850 Integrated (#82209616AC, $179) for the Jeep Liberty, Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan, Chrysler Town & Country and Chrysler Pacifica There are also two FM-modulated versions available:
  • FM-Bounded (#82210181, $139) for Jeep Liberty, Jeep Commander, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Compass, Jeep Patriot, Chrysler Pacifica, Chrysler 300, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Chrysler Aspen, Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravan and Grand Caravan, Dodge Charger, Dodge Magnum, Dodge Ram, Dodge Caliber, Dodge Dakota, Dodge Durango
  • FM-Bounded (#82210848, $139) for Jeep Wrangler, Dodge Nitro, Chrysler Sebring, Dodge Avenger The iPod Integration Kit will be installed in a Chrysler 300C at the North American International Auto Show. Visit the Alpine Electronics of America booth for a device demonstration. The iPod Integration Kit from Mopar is covered under DaimlerChrysler's 3- year/36,000-mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty or Mopar's 12-month/12,000-mile Limited Warranty, whichever is more favorable to the customer. These warranties are serviced by Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealerships.

When Chrysler bought Dodge in 1928, the need for a dedicated parts supplier led to the formation of the Chrysler Motor Parts Division. In 1937, Mopar (a simple contraction of the words MOtor and PARts) was created for the business of distributing parts through a depot system and car divisional wholesalers. Mopar made its mark in the 1960s - the muscle car era. Beginning in 1962, Mopar carried a line of "Special Parts" for super stock drag racers and developed its racing parts division called Mopar Performance Parts to enhance speed and handling for both road and racing use. Today, the Chrysler Group's Global Service & Parts division is responsible for the manufacturing and distribution of nearly 250,000 authentic Mopar replacement parts, components and accessories for Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge vehicles sold around the world. To assure quality, reliability and durability, all Mopar parts and accessories are designed in strict adherence to DaimlerChrysler engineering standards.

Hitachi Shatters Capacity Record with World's First Terabyte Hard Drive

PR: Consumers' ability to store video, photos, music and other valued data will reach new heights as Hitachi Global Storage Technologies today announced the industry's first terabyte (TB) hard drive. Delivering superior performance and reliability, as well as capacity, Hitachi's 1 TB hard drive meets the needs of consumers who want to create, share and store their digital information, and lots of it. Hitachi's Deskstar 7K1000 will begin shipping to retail customers in the first quarter of 2007 at a suggested retail price of $399, or 40 cents per gigabyte (GB). This new consumer-friendly price makes ultrahigh storage capacity more affordable and accessible than ever before.

Along with the Deskstar 7K1000 for the retail market, Hitachi is also announcing today a CinemaStar version 1 TB hard drive, which provides optimized capabilities specifically designed for digital video recording (DVR) applications. Consumers have come to rely on their digital video recorders (DVRs) to record and store their favorite programs, and with the increasing availability of high-definition (HD) TV programming, 1 TB of storage will become a necessity. High-definition video requires 4 to 5 times more storage capacity than standard-definition video and a terabyte drive allows viewers to easily store and retrieve almost 250 hours of HD programming (additional storage facts can be found in the accompanying press release addendum).

"The industry's first one-terabyte hard drive represents a milestone that is 50 years in the making, and it reasserts the hard drive's leadership as the highest-capacity, lowest-cost storage technology," said Shinjiro Iwata, chief marketing officer, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "In the 51st year, Hitachi is leading a new era for hard drives - not only providing large amounts of affordable storage, but also customizing and optimizing hard drives to deliver products that are smarter, more durable and more useful to the consumer."

Consumers have entered an era where everything they capture on digital still or video, listen to and write, can be saved and shared for future enjoyment. In the connected home, storage becomes the epicenter of the home network, linking the living room, the office and the bedroom together in a truly digitally-connected home. The family's games, home movies, photos and music can be stored and accessed from a variety of digital entertainment devices within the home. As the distribution of video content to social networking sites and to handheld devices becomes more commonplace, storage capacity requirements will reach new heights. In this scenario, consumers can begin to imagine what they would do with all that capacity. With 1 TB, Hitachi's Deskstar 7K1000, for PCs and home media centers and the CinemaStar 7K1000 for DVRs help to usher in this new era.

Hitachi's 1 TB products deliver the performance and reliability required for the digital lifestyle. The 3.5" 7200 RPM Parallel-ATA/Serial-ATA hard drives are built on the industry's most reliable perpendicular magnetic recording technology, first established with Hitachi's Travelstar 2.5" and 1.8" product lines.

"Consumers who increasingly rely on hard disk drives to store their digital memories are seeking higher capacity and more reliable HDDs," said John Rydning, research manager for hard disk drives at IDC. "Reaching 1 TB of capacity in a disk drive is a testament to 50 years of innovation by the hard disk drive industry, and helps to ensure sufficient storage capacity is available to meet increasing consumer storage requirements."

Maximizing Value - The "Smart" Hard Drive

Hitachi is focused on maximizing the value of the hard drive by spearheading the era of the "smart" hard drive. Customized features have been incorporated into Hitachi's hard drives, tailoring them for the application-set that they serve. To that end, Hitachi's 1 TB hard drives are targeted to two distinct application areas:

  • Deskstar 7K1000 - gaming and high-performance PCs, external storage devices and upgrade applications
  • SATA 3.0 Gb/s and PATA-133 interfaces
  • Ramp load design for increased shock protection
  • Three low-power idle modes to boost power efficiency
  • CinemaStar 7K1000 - DVR applications
  • Adaptive error recovery and SMART command transport for optimized video streaming and picture quality
  • Smooth Stream Technology to optimize the drive for audio/video applications requiring reliable storage

"Bedroom Quiet" Acoustics

Finally, an enterprise version of the TB drive designed for lower duty-cycle, high-capacity enterprise environments is currently under evaluation at major OEM customers and is expected to be available in the second quarter.

Pricing and Availability

The Deskstar 7K1000 SATA version will be available in Q1 2007 at 750-GB and one-TB capacities. The 1 TB capacity point will have a suggested retail price of $399.

The CinemaStar 1 TB hard drive will be available in the second quarter.

Technical Specifications

  • 1000/750 GB - SATA (GB = 1 billion bytes, accessible capacity may be less)
  • 148 billion bits per square inch maximum areal density
  • 1070 Mb/s max. media data rate
  • 8.7 ms average seek time (with command overhead)
  • 7,200 RPM, 4.17 ms average latency
  • Serial-ATA 3.0 Gb/s
  • 32 MB data buffer - SATA
  • 26.1 mm in height (max)
  • 700g in weight (max)
  • 5/4 platters, 10/8 recording heads - SATA
  • 300 G/1 ms pulse nonoperating shock
  • 9.0 (5 disk)/8.1 (4 disk) watt idle power - SATA
  • 2.9 Bels typical idle acoustics
  • 5-60° C operating temperature

Products

Pretec i-Disk Jelly Colorful Flash Drives

PR: Pretec, the inventor of i-Disk Tiny and i-Disk Charm, has expanded the portfolio of the smallest USB flash drives in the world by introducing the new i-Disk Jelly, a soft touch cover and fashion accessory based on patented i-Disk Tiny.

With lively housing design, Pretec i-Disk Jelly combines characteristic concept and amusing feature to add to your storage vivacity and style. Capacities ranging from 128 MB to 4 GB, the housing is changeable with translucent orange, green, blue, red, and black. An extra Jelly housing is included for changing to match your mood or outfit.

Special software features such as Auto login, Mobile lock, and Mobile mail management for productivity and secure data mobility and confidentiality. Auto login software offers a solution to login to web pages automatically without entering a password or special information requirement. Mobile Lock makes USB flash disk as a key to protect user computer. When user removes the USB flash drive, Mobile Lock will lock the PC or notebook with a photo slideshow until a password is entered. Mobile Mail allows the user to send or receive email without leaving and personal data in public PC.

Based on Pretec i-Disk Tiny (the smallest USB flash drive in the world until 2005), which has been hailed by TIME Magazine (Nov. 2003) as "Best Gear of 2003", capacity up to 4 GB, enough for 2-hr video playback in MPEG4 format, i-Disk Jelly integrates security and productivity software with a stylish design and is another innovative combination of eye-catching fashion accessory and digital gadget that can enable a sense of "Store In Style", satisfying both your business and personal storage needs in trendy settings wherever you go.

Toshiba Enters Personal Storage Market with USB 2.0 Portable Hard Drives

PR: Toshiba Storage Device Division (SDD), the industry pioneer in mobile storage products, will capitalize on its 2.5" hard disk drive (HDD) technology expertise and consumer brand leadership with a new line of USB 2.0 portable external hard drives in 100 GB, 120 GB and 160 GB* capacities. Available in North America, Toshiba's new personal storage line of 2.5" HDDs provides a unique solution for data back-up by enabling automatic power-on and save capabilities for worry-free content management.

As consumers are embracing a digital lifestyle, the importance of easy-to-use back-up solutions for personal memories and other entertainment content is critical. Toshiba's USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive line provides a worry-free solution for back-up of cherished photo, video, music and data files for the growing digital home and home office.

"The need for backing up and preserving digital data is increasing quickly among the massive consumer base," said Dave Reinsel, director of storage hardware research at International Data Corporation (IDC). "In 2006, more hard disk drive terabytes shipped into personal storage devices worldwide than in the enterprise storage market. This important inflection point exemplifies the critical need for companies to offer reliable and easy-to-use backup solutions that will help the masses protect and preserve their digital memories."

Simple, Scheduled, Automatic, and Reliable

The Toshiba USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive is automatically powered through a USB cable when the computer is turned on for switch-free on/off functions. Bundled with the award-winning NTI Shadow™ software, the back-up solution eliminates the need to push a button or click an icon to activate back-up once parameters are set. The NTI Shadow™ software runs in the background, capturing updates to files and automatically saving them to the external drive. The often tedious back-up process is further simplified by choosing continuous or specific days, times and frequencies for back-up operation in the setup process.

"We married our expertise in hard drives with years of consumer insight as a leading retail brand to design the best possible personal storage products," said Maciek Brzeski, vice president of marketing, Toshiba SDD. "This solution is for everyone from tech aficionados to novices - especially people who have been afraid of data back-up but know they need a solution for treasured personal memories. With click-free and switch-free operation, data back-up is a snap."

Style with Substance

Packaged in sleek black aluminum housing with a blue power-on indicator light, the Toshiba USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive is an attractive complement to any notebook or desktop PC. At 5.6" long by 3.5" wide and less than 1" tall (142.08mm by 88.0mm by 23.65mm), the drive is a space-saver on the desktop. The new external hard drive incorporates Toshiba's all-new, patent-pending shock mounting and ventilation system for a trouble-free mobile storage solution. For added security, Toshiba is including a one-year limited warranty program for its personal storage devices.

Availability

The Toshiba USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive will be on retail store shelves in Spring 2007 at price points starting at $139.99.

Toshiba USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive

  • Capacities 100 GB, 120 GB, 160 GB
  • Dimensions 0.94" (H) x 3.5" (W) x 5.6" (L) 23.65mm (H) x 88.0mm (W) x 142.08mm (L)
  • Interface USB 2.0; (USB 1.1 Compatible)
  • Compatibility Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/Vista /Macintosh OS X 10.3.9 (Universal Application)
  • System Requirements
    • Available USB 2.0 Port
    • CD-ROM Drive (for software)
    • USB 1.1 requires 2 USB Ports

LaCie Introduces Six Storage Solutions with Professional Performance & Design

PR: LaCie begins the new year by introducing six new storage solutions to help people easily manage their digital lives, from professionals to everyday users. New products pair innovative design with powerful technology, and LaCie has partnered with trusted tech companies EMC Insignia, Panasonic and Roxio to deliver the most comprehensive storage solutions available.

LaCie US CEO Scott Phillips said, "These six new products are representative of what you can expect to see from LaCie in 2007. We will expand our professional ranges such as networking, RAID and biometrics, while continuing to offer extremely competitive pricing for consumer products. LaCie is your one-stop shop for storage and high-end peripherals."

Four products feature LaCie's trusted d2 case design made of sturdy aluminum alloy. Each has a different functionality from biometrics to networking and more. The d2 design was originally created in 2003 by Neil Poulton and stands upright, lays horizontal or can be rack-mounted.

New products include:

  • LaCie d2 Blu-ray Drive is the first external Blu-ray solution for Windows/Mac available worldwide. Fully equipped with Roxio burning software and dual FireWire/USB interfaces. The drive records, rewrites and reads 25 GB or 50 GB BD-R (recordable) and BD-RE (rewritable), as well as DVD±RW DL and CD±RW. Comes with one 50 GB Blu-ray Disc from Panasonic. Pre-order today for $1,149.
  • LaCie Quadra Hard Drive is a versatile storage solution with quadruple interfaces (USB/FW400/FW800/eSATA) for use in professional environments. Equipped with new LaCie Shortcut Button - the blue button on front of the drive - to quickly launch favorite applications, documents or back up files at the touch of a button. Bundled with EMC Retrospect Express Backup Software for Windows/Mac. The 500 GB is available today for $299.
  • LaCie d2 SAFE Hard Drive is a biometric access hard drive designed to protect private data from unauthorized use. Comes in LaCie's sturdy d2 case with triple interface (FW800/400/USB 2.0) and triple security levels including a biometric sensor, 128-bit AES data encryption and chain lock port. Register up to 10 fingerprints - five users with minimum two prints each - and lock/unlock the drive with the swipe of a finger. Comes with LaCie 1-Click Backup Software for Windows/Mac. The 500 GB is available today for $299.
  • LaCie Ethernet Disk mini & Ethernet Big Disk are network storage solutions designed for small office/home office use with five different capacities and price points to fit any budget. Disks allow even novice users to set up a home network via simple installation wizards, and instantly create a central repository for files accessible over FTP, HTTP or a home wired or wireless connection. Equipped with two USB ports for using as a personal hard drive off-network, expanding capacity over the network, or sharing photos directly from a digital camera. Comes with LaCie 1-Click Backup Software for Windows/Mac. Available today for $199 (250 GB), $249 (320 GB), $299 (500 GB), $349 (640 GB) and $499 (1 TB).
  • LaCie Ethernet Disk RAID is a flexible RAID 5 network storage for small business or workgroups, powered by an Intel 80219 processor. Comes with a complete system backup and recovery client for Windows that allows for automatic incremental backups from localized client machines and network/remote booting. Offers file sharing for Windows/Mac/Linux, RAID security (0, 1, 10, 5+spare), four hot-swappable SATA drives, and more. Equipped with two Gigabit LAN ports to act as a DHCP server or a local Gigabit network, and two USB 2.0 ports for easily adding storage to the network.
  • LaCie FireWire Speakers are the first-ever set of FireWire bus-powered speakers in a sleek and compact black-and-white design by Neil Poulton. Built-in FireWire cable provides power, no AC adapter needed. 8-watt minimum output for left-right speakers offers excellent sound fidelity. Available today for $79.

New products will make their debut at Macworld Expo in San Francisco's Moscone Center from January 9-12. Visit LaCie Booth #S2226 for a hands-on look. LaCie will also offer special Macworld pricing on its most popular hard drives for a limited time via the LaCie Store Online or direct at 503-844-4502.

Belkin Flip DVI-D Lets You Use One Dual-link DVI Monitor with Two Computers

PR: Belkin Flip DVI-D lets you share your keyboard, mouse, speakers, and DVI monitor for both your computers, keeping your desktop free of extra peripherals and cables. A simple, stylish remote button sits on your desk and lets you flip between your two computers.

Now Mac users can enjoy using their large Apple cinema display for both their computers, whether they be notebooks or desktops.

  • Flips easily between computers with a simple press of the remote button
  • Supports both single link (1600 x 1200) and dual link (2560 x 1600) video modes
  • Provides full support for all USB-based Mac and PC keyboards, including special function keys
  • Supports both Mac and Windows desktop and notebook computers
  • Lets you listen to music files on one computer while you work on the other
  • Features a 2-color LED that indicates which computer Flip is accessing
  • Comes with a Belkin 3-Year Warranty

Availability

February with launches in Asia, Europe, and Australia to follow.

Flip DVI-D 2-Port KVM Switch - $149.99

Software

Power Manager Reduces Your Mac's Energy Costs

PR: DssW has announced the launch of Power Manager 3.5 for Mac OS X. The new version of Power Manager makes energy saving easy. Power Manager 3.5 introduces a Schedule Assistant to help users start saving immediately; a status menu that provides quick access to upcoming events; and AppleScript, Automator, and UNIX scripting to give advanced users greater control over their schedule.

The status menu gives users easy access to their schedule. It takes advantage of new flexible scheduling in Power Manager 3.5, allowing users to cancel or delay any pending event with a single click. The status menu features a new Quick Schedule function, the fastest way to schedule one-off events.

Power Manger 3.5 has some great new features for administrators and advanced users. "Scheduling your Mac has never been so easy," said Graham Miln, DssW's director. "The new engine puts the full capabilities of Power Manager in the hands of our users." AppleScript, Automator, and UNIX scripting, allows administrators to control and customise Power Manager 3.5 to meet the individual needs of their organisation. Security is now delegated to the Mac OS X authentication services, providing better integration of Power Manager 3.5 with existing solutions.

The Power Manager System Preference features an improved interface, allowing users to name events in their schedule; and undo support, giving users the freedom to experiment. The System Preference is home to the Schedule Assistant. The Schedule Assistant helps users get started with Power Manager 3.5 by creating a customised schedule to suit their lifestyle.

Other new features include launched support, improved notification dialogs, and software update checks.

Power Manager helps users save energy by automating their Macs. Users can schedule their Macs to start up or wake, shut down, restart, log out, switch to the login window, and sleep.

Whether you have one Mac or 10,000, Power Manager makes saving energy simple.

System requirements are Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later.

Version 3.5 is free for registered users of Power Manager 3.

Power Manager is available today for €20. Volume discounts for 100+ Macs are available.

Magellan and Mac Together at Last

PR: MacGPS Pro software connects GPS receivers and your Mac. It works with Garmin and Magellan GPS receivers for transferring Waypoints, Routes, Tracklogs, and GPS satellite Almanacs. It works with many brands of GPS receivers for a real-time display of GPS information on a moving map on the Macintosh screen. The software, which requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later, is available for $50 ($10 more for CD-ROM)

Hardware Monitor Reads All Mac Sensors

PR: Hardware Monitor is an application to read out all available hardware sensors in Macintosh computers

Hardware Monitor is an application to read out all accessible hardware sensors in Macintosh computers. Currently more than 100 different Macintosh hardware sensors and more than 200 hard drive temperature sensors are supported. The program can visualize the history graphs of the readings, display measured values in a large variety of fashions, or announce readings by speech output. It can also store and export readings. Depending on what sensors are built into your Macintosh system, the following data can be accessed:

  • Temperature readings at different locations
  • Battery data of portable computers
  • Voltage sensors
  • Current (amperage) sensors
  • Fan speed sensors
  • Sensors for pulse-width controlled fans
  • Power and load sensors
  • Ambient light sensors
  • User-defined artificial sensors to monitor the operating system

New in version 4.1:

  • Added support for a large number of voltage, current (amperage), power, and light sensors for Intel-based Macintosh systems.
  • Added full support for the new Apple Xserve Quad Xeon.
  • Added support for S.M.A.R.T. temperature sensors in SATA drives connected via an SAS bus.
  • Removed support for the internal Intel CPU sensor monitoring the target value of the core voltage. This is now superseded by the voltage sensors monitoring the actual core voltage supply.
  • Added new "disk saver" preference which allows users to stop monitoring of internal hard drive sensors when the system is idle. Idle drives can now enter sleep mode and be held in sleep mode, independently of S.M.A.R.T. monitor time interval settings.
  • The user interface for drawers in the history windows has been consolidated. There is now a single drawer for colors and extreme values.
  • The color preferences for the visualization of sensors can now also be set via the color drawers of history windows.
  • Added feature to add small labels to history curves. The labels use the sensors' short names configured in preferences.
  • Added feature to automatically recover from situations where one sensor stopped responding and the application was about to be halted by the operating system. (These situations can typically occur in machines where hard drives need more than 12 seconds to wake up from sleep mode, or where third-party applications are blocking the ATA busses for extended periods of time.) When such a situation is detected, the application will automatically stop all its activities, allowing the operating system to resolve the problem. After a certain amount of time, the application will reactivate itself and resume operation.
  • The rounding of readings from frequency sensors of x86 processors has been updated according to Intel's recommendations.
  • Access to sensors where the user preference "Don't acquire readings" was switched on is now prevented completely at the hardware level.
  • Corrected a problem where the installation of the driver for extended x86 sensor support could fail if the application had been put in a folder which had a name with non-ASCII characters.
  • Corrected a problem where a memory sensor in portable Core 2 Duo systems was misidentified as being a memory riser-card sensor.
  • Corrected a problem where the internal temperature sensor of Hitachi Deskstar 7K500 drives was no longer seen as functioning sensor.
  • Corrected a problem in the preference panel where some settings in the user interface were not updated correctly when the configuration tables for history windows and alerts were only controlled by keyboard, not by mouse.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.2 or later

System support: PPC/Intel

Price: $10 Shareware

Nisus Software Announces Nisus Writer Pro

PR: Nisus Software has announced Nisus Writer Pro, an advanced, yet easy to use word processor for Mac OS X.

Building on the core of the highly successful Nisus Writer Express, Nisus Writer Pro brings new features such as Table of Contents, Cross References, Bookmarks, Text Wrap Around Images, Widow and Orphan Control, and Line Numbering. Classic Nisus Writer users will remember such features as attribute sensitive Find and Replace, Glossaries, and many, many additions to the Nisus Macro Language.

"This is the major upgrade we have promised our customers" says Jerzy Lewak, president and CEO of Nisus Software, Inc. "Classic Nisus Writer users will recognize that Nisus Writer Pro has most of the best features they have come to depend on plus more, which should be a pleasant surprise."

Nisus Writer Pro will read Word (.doc), Word Perfect, and AbiWord documents.

Nisus Writer Pro will be available in late Winter/early Spring 2007. Pricing will be announced at that time.

System Requirements

  • G3 (or better), Intel-based Macs
  • Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later (Mac OS X 10.4 recommended)

Bare Bones Software Releases TextWrangler 2.2

PR: Bare Bones Software, Inc. has announced the release and immediate availability of TextWrangler 2.2, a significant upgrade to the award-winning text editor.

With more than a hundred new features and improvements, TextWrangler 2.2 represents a major interface overhaul for this popular, general-purpose text processing tool. The changes are designed to streamline navigation and ease discovery of TextWrangler's powerful feature set.

"TextWrangler gives the Mac community a strong, capable text editor," explained Rich Siegel, founder and CEO of Bare Bones Software, Inc. "As the little brother to BBEdit, this update brings to TextWrangler the well-conceived, attractively presented enhancements and features which help increase our customers' productivity. For TextWrangler 2.2, we've taken a huge leap forward in interface polish and usability, increasing the potential for the Mac community to be more productive than ever."

TextWrangler is a...

  • General Purpose Text Editor
  • Programmer's Text Editor
  • Unix And Server Administrator's Tool
  • Powerful Text Transformer And Manipulator
  • Good Mac OS Citizen
  • Powerfully Useful Tool
  • product developed in the best traditions of Bare Bones Software, with high performance, ease of use, a rich feature set, and the ability to read its own release notes

TextWrangler 2.2 provides extensive improvements to the layout and usability of text-editing views including a revised and simplified tool bar, and enhancements to the navigation bar to speed navigation within the current document. An expanded status bar displays document properties at a glance, and allows quick access for adjustments.

TextWrangler 2.2 can now read and write the "binary property list" format used in Mac OS X 10.4. The ability to seamlessly open and save of gzip-compressed (.gz) text files, extends to binary property lists that are themselves gzip-compressed.

Version 2.2 also provides significant improvements to the built-in Java, TeX, and JavaScript language support. Plus, customers can now adjust display and editing options on a per-language basis, providing maximum control in the pursuit of improved productivity.

TextWrangler's Preferences window, the nerve center for controlling and customizing TextWrangler's behaviors, has been extensively revised and simplified. A new Menus preference panel provides unified control over TextWrangler's menu structure, including adjustment of keyboard equivalents and the ability to show and hide individual menu commands and even entire menus.

The powerful Find Differences feature highlights specific character differences within a changed line. An improved FTP/SFTP browser is now more discoverable, and in TextWrangler 2.2 immediately becomes available when choosing "Open from FTP/SFTP Server." The revised Disk Browser window now presents a hierarchical file listing, and provides the ability to apply TextWrangler's powerful file filters to reduce the size of the list, if desired.

TextWrangler 2.2 incorporates version 5.0 of the Perl-Compatible Regular Expression library (PCRE). TextWrangler 2.2 also now supports "check spelling as you type."

Detailed information on all of the changes and improvements implemented in TextWrangler 2.2 can be found at http://www.barebones.com/support/textwrangler/current_notes.shtml

TextWrangler 2.2 is available immediately, free of charge for all Mac users and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

TextWrangler 2.2 may be obtained from Bare Bones Software at:

Commercial licensing terms are available for companies who wish to add value to their products by including TextWrangler 2 in the product distribution. For additional details on TextWrangler 2 and other Bare Bones Software products, please visit the company's website, send email to sales@barebones.com, or call (781) 687-0700.

TextWrangler is the sibling product to BBEdit, the award-winning HTML and text editor for the Macintosh. BBEdit offers professionals and passionate hobbyists even more power, from the advanced HTML and CSS tools to seamless integration with version control systems, Text Factory, Glossaries and much more.

TextWrangler 2.2 System Requirements

  • Mac OS X 10.4 or later
  • Universal Binary (for PowerPC and Intel processors)

System support: Universal Binary (for PowerPC and Intel processors)

TextWrangler 2.2 is available immediately, free of charge for all Mac users.

Registered TextWrangler users may upgrade to BBEdit at a significant discount. BBEdit offers professionals even more power, from advanced HTML and CSS tools to seamless integration with version control systems, Text Factory, Glossaries and much more.

Editor's note: TextWrangler is one of the invaluable freeware tools we use when producing content for Low End Mac. dk

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