Mac News Review

DST Change Next Y2K?, Blu-ray for Macs, USB Turntable, Digital TV Receiver, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2007.01.26

Will the US switch to Daylight Saving Time four weeks early this year wreak havoc with older computers, operating systems, and software? Time will tell - DST now begins on the second Sunday in March in the States. Mac OS X 10.4.6 and later are ready for the change, but some Mac apps and older versions of OS X aren't.

Interestingly, we have two products in today's wrap-up for converting analog audio to digital. The iTTUSB USB Turntable lets you digitize your vinyl records, and PhonoPreAmp iVinyl lets you digitize any analog audio source.

On the new tech front, MCE is selling a Blu-ray drive for Macs and Cinergy has a digital TV receiver.

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

iPod Accessories

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

New Daylight Saving Time Could Wreak Havoc with Computer Systems

The new daylight saving time enacted by the new US Energy Policy Act of 2005 has some consequences for older computer systems. Systems that cannot be updated or are no longer supported will at best have incorrect time; at worst they will no longer function.

Some of the most widely used software has issues with the new Daylight Saving Time. Specifically, Sun's Java, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft Outlook, and all versions of Microsoft Windows need updates to correct for the time change.

Steve Wiseman, cofounder of IntelliAdmin, LLC, says, "Each one of these software components needs to be updated. Simply updating Windows, or updating Microsoft Outlook is not enough. All components of a network need to be tested and patched. Administrators that do not take action now are looking at a Y2K type scenario."

Sun is providing daylight saving time updates for Java, and Microsoft is providing updates for Outlook, Exchange, and some versions of Windows.

"Microsoft is only providing patches for their supported software. This means that Windows 2000 will not be patched by Microsoft since they no longer support it. We have created an unofficial patch that will fix Windows 2000, and NT systems."

"The operating system is a major component of the problem. Still, administrators need to check with independent software vendors for other possible problems, and patches to fix them. Otherwise they risk running into issues when the new daylight saving time switch occurs"

Daylight Saving Time will now start the second Sunday in March at 2:00 a.m., and will end the first Sunday in November at 2:00 a.m. A free unofficial patch for Windows 2000/NT can be found at <http://www.windows-admin-tools.com>.

Mac OS X has been patched to address this issue since version 10.4.6.

Products

Blu-ray Disc for Mac

Blu-ray Disc for MacBlu-ray Disc (BD) technology, with its ability to record to 25 GB single-layer and 50 GB dual-layer discs, is the next generation in optical disc storage, and MCE Technologies has brought it to the Mac. The MCE Technologies Blu-ray Internal Recordable Drive for Apple Mac Pro and Power Mac G5 is completely preconfigured for easy user installation.

In addition to writing to 25 GB single-layer and 50 GB dual-layer Blu-ray discs, the MCE Technologies Blu-ray Internal Recordable Drive is compatible with all DVD and CD recordable media including DVD±R/RW + Dual/Double Layer, DVD-RAM, and CD-R and CD-RW. The MCE Technologies Blu-ray Internal Recordable Drive ships with Toast 8 Titanium and includes a 25 GB Blu-ray (BD-RE) rewritable disc. All for $699

Store up to 12,500 music tracks, 50,000 photos, or 4 hours of HD video on a single 50 GB Blu-ray Disc. The MCE Blu-ray Disc Internal Recordable Drive for the Mac Pro and Power Mac G5 incorporates a state-of-the-art blue-violet laser and ushers in the next generation of optical disc storage.

The smaller, tighter Blu-ray spot size means more spots (data) can be recorded to the disc resulting in data capacities of 25 GB and 50 GB per Blu-ray disc.

Toast 8 Titanium Included

The MCE Blu-ray Internal Recordable Drive for Apple Mac Pro and Power Mac G5 is bundled with multi-award winning Toast 8 Titanium. Toast 8 Titanium manages all Blu-ray recording functions for the drive and incorporates a special feature called Toast Dynamic Writing. When used with a Blu-ray rewritable disc (BD-RE), Toast Dynamic Writing lets you use your Blu-ray Disc recorder like a giant hard disk drive - drag and drop directly onto the disc icon to add or remove files. Blu-ray burning is here today. Toast 8 Titanium also includes comprehensive backup software which allows for manual, as well as scheduled backups to your MCE Blu-ray Internal Recordable Drive. It will even automatically manage disc spanning should all your data not fit on one disc.

Specifications - Media Write (max) Read (max)

  • BD-R (Single Layer/Double Layer) 2x (9 MB/sec) 2x (9 MB/sec)
  • BD-RE (Single Layer/Double Layer) 2x (9 MB/sec) 2x (9 MB/sec)
  • BD-ROM N/A 2x (9 MB/sec)
  • DVD-RAM 5x (6.9 MB/sec) 5x (6.9 MB/sec
  • DVD-R (Single Layer/Dual Layer) 8x(SL) (11 MB/sec) / 4x(DL) (5.5 MB/sec) 8x (11 MB/sec)
  • DVD-RW 6x (8.3 MB/sec) 8x (11 MB/sec)
  • DVD+R (Single Layer/Double Layer) 8x(SL) (11 MB/sec)/ 4x(DL) (5.5 MB/sec) 8x (11 MB/sec)
  • DVD+RW 8x (11 MB/sec) 8x (11 MB/sec)
  • DVD-ROM N/A 8x (11 MB/sec)
  • CD-R 24x (3.6 MB/sec) 32x (4.8 MB/sec)
  • CD-RW 16x (2.4 MB/sec) 24x (3.6 MB/sec)
  • CD-ROM N/A 32x (4.8 MB/sec)

iTTUSB USB Turntable for Archiving Your Records to MP3

iTTUSB USB TurntableION has created a revolutionary USB turntable allowing you to convert your old vinyl collection directly to CD or MP3 with included recording software. The iTTUSB also features a switchable phono/line level output for connecting to any home stereo with an AUX input.

Key Features

  • Plug & Play USB - no drivers needed!
  • Adjustable Anti-Skate control for increased stereo balancing
  • 33-1/3 and 45 RPM
  • Supports the recording of 78 RPM records through the included software
  • Switchable Phono/Line level RCA outputs (with built-in pre-amp)
  • 1/8" stereo line input; digitize music from cassettes or other sources

Computer Requirements

  • PC running Windows 98SE, 2000, ME, XP
  • Mac running OS 9 or higher
  • One available USB 1.1 port or higher
  • Compatible with most standard operating system drivers

PhonoPreAmp iVinyl Transfers Records and Tapes to Mac and iPod

PhonoPreAmp iVinylThe PhonoPreAmp iVinyl lets you digitize analog audio sources directly and record them on your Mac in real time. Thanks to the integrated phono preamp, it works equally well with turntables*, cassette decks, radios, TVs, and even the analog audio output of DVD players. At last, you can breathe new life into your vinyl and cassette collection with iTunes and your iPod!

* only with moving-magnet (MM) pickups; not suitable for moving-coil (MC) pickups

Plug it in and go

Using the PhonoPreAmp iVinyl is simple: just install the Roxio CD Spin Doctor application and plug the preamp into a USB port on your Mac - you're now ready to start recording. A highly precise RIAA filter delivers perfect results when recording directly from your turntable. Adjustable signal levels, a shielded housing, carefully selected components and a first-class signal-to-noise ratio guarantee that your music will arrive on your Mac with the best possible signal quality.

Three steps to success

diagramFirst, use the PhonoPreAmp iVinyl to record analog audio sources such as records, cassettes, TV audio, or radio to the hard drive of your Mac in AIFF format. In the second step, remove hissing and other noise, and edit your tracks with CD Spin Doctor. Play the finished tracks in iTunes, or convert them to other audio formats such as MP3, AAC, or Apple Lossless and put them on your iPod. If your Mac features a CD burner, you can also enjoy your freshly restored recordings on your stereo or in the car.

Quality degradation is history

Once your records and tapes have been digitized, the recordings are guaranteed to be immune against audio quality degradation. Records can get scratched or wear with frequent playing, cassettes can gradually demagnetize over the years. The result is a loss of sound quality - and listening pleasure. The digital archive of analog music media created with the PhonoPreAmp iVinyl will remain consistent in quality, however, and will always sound superb.

Scope of delivery:

  • PhonoPreAmp iVinyl
  • Audio Cinchcable
  • USB cable
  • Manual
  • Quick Setup Guide
  • Software-CD

MSR: €129 plus shipping

Cinergy T2 Digital TV Receiver for Mac

Cinergy T2 Digital TV ReceiverWith Cinergy T2, you can receive all free digital terrestrial TV broadcasts (DVB-T) on your Mac desktop or notebook using the included antenna. This compact, lightweight receiver connects directly to your USB 2.0 port, which also serves as its power supply - a separate AC adapter or batteries are not required! The Cinergy T2 receives its signals from an antenna as always. Use your rooftop antenna at home or the included rod antenna while on the move.

Time shifting

This function liberates you from the TV stations' rigid programming schedule. If you still have something to take care of, simply tune in ten minutes after your favorite program has actually started. The elapsed part of the program has been recorded to your hard drive, letting you rewind, fast-forward or pause the show at any time. Simply press a button to skip annoying commercial breaks.

Electronic program guide (EPG)

An integrated electronic program guide (free one-year subscription included) helps you keep a clear overview of the wealth of available digital stations. You therefore have a complete, current program guide for the next one to two weeks at your fingertips. The programs currently running on all stations are conveniently grouped on a single page, and information on the content, actors, production year, etc. is also available from that page.

Powerful hard-drive video recorder

Record programs manually or set up timer-controlled recordings without quality losses and edit out unwanted content such as commercial breaks with ease. To manage your recordings, simply drag and drop them to organize them in playlists. Sort recordings according to series and seasons, artists, genres, etc. You can create as many playlists as you like for convenient searching and perfect organization.

Teletext and digital radio

The convenient teletext function provides useful information related to the TV program and more. Teletext can be displayed on a black background or transparently superimposed on the current program. Navigating teletext is as simple as on a conventional TV set. If radio stations are available via DVB-T in your service area, you can not only listen to them, but also record them to your hard drive and export them to iTunes or your iPod.

Support for iPods with video functionality

Transfer music videos, TV shows and other recordings to your iPod with a single click. Connect it to your TV and enjoy the recordings not only on the iPod's display, but also on your TV screen. The iPod export is fully automatic - as soon as the recordings are complete, they are automatically converted to iPod format and transferred to iTunes for synchronization with your iPod.

Perfect Mac integration

EyeTV is a universal application that delivers its full performance on PowerPC and Intel Core platforms. The management and organization of recordings has also been optimized for Mac: each recording is stored in a separate file that you can rename, copy, move or launch in the Finder. The appearance fits, too: all program windows and the elegant onscreen remote control are perfectly matched to the Mac OS design.

Convenient remote control

Thanks to the Cinergy remote control and the full-screen menu of the EyeTV application, you can now enjoy TV on your Mac from the comfort of your sofa. All important functions are literally in the palm of your hand--there's no need to get up continually to use the keyboard. The Apple Front Row media center is fully integrated and only a click away. Naturally, the full-screen menu will also work if your Mac does not have Front Row and an Apple Remote.

Scope of Delivery:

  • TerraTec Cinergy T2
  • USB 2.0 cable (0.6m)
  • Portable aerial with magnetic base
  • Remote Control incl. batteries
  • Software CD-ROM: Elgato EyeTV (Mac), TerraTec Home Cinema (PC)
  • Manual on CD-ROM

MSR: €129 plus shipping

Gibson Introduces Line of Computer Peripherals

If you're at all into guitars, or a serious rock, pop, country, folk music, to jazz fan, then you will probably be familiar with the Gibson Guitar Corporation.

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada Gibson introduced a wide range of new consumer electronics products, including the Gibson Les Paul Standard 512 MB USB 2.0 Flash Drive, the Gibson External USB 2.0 500 GB Hard Drive, the Signature Series Les Paul Standard 1 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive, Gibson Pure Gold Digital Audio Fiber Optic Cable, Gibson Pure Gold USB Cable, Gibson Pure Gold HDMI Cable, Gibson Pure DVD-R & DL Media, Gibson Pure CD-R Media, Gibson Pure Gold External USB 2.0 Triple Format DVD Recorder, Gibson Pure Surge Protectors 10 Outlet, and the Gibson Pure Surge Protector 4 Outlet.

Being a longtime guitar freak and music fan, I think this sort of "convergence" is pretty cool. Take a look.

Les Paul StandardOne of the most unique of the products is the Signature Series Les Paul Standard 1 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive - the first in a collector series of flash drives that are miniature replicas of iconic Gibson guitars. Each drive comes with a miniature case and USB cable for connecting the drive to a USB port. The 1959 Gibson Les Paul is the first edition to be offered. The Signature Series 1 GB USB 2.0 specs include read speed up to 14 Mbps, write speed up to 6 Mbps, data retention up to nine years and an LED indicator with read/write status. The USB extension cable is included.

Les Paul StandardAnother flash drive, the Gibson Les Paul Standard 512 MB USB 2.0 Flash Drive offers consumers the convenience of transferring and storing data, digital video, audio, and multimedia files in a flip housing that eliminates the need for caps and protects the USB connector. In addition, the Flash Drives offer the uniqueness of the Gibson Les Paul Standard guitar design which is recognized the world over as an icon of rock-n-roll. The Les Paul Standard 512 MB USB 2.0 specs include read speed up to 14 Mbps, write speed up to 6 Mbps, data retention up to nine years, and an LED indicator with read/write status.

Gibson Pure External Hard DriveThe Gibson Pure External USB 2.0 500 GB Hard Drive is packaged in unique Gibson designs, and is a large 3.5" 500 GB hard drive with 7,200 RPM. It has an 8 MB cache size, supports USB 2.0 high-speed data transfer (480 Mbps), backward compatible with USB 1.1. The universal adapter is included and has an aluminum-case body for optimal heat dissipation with a unique Gibson glow. Gibson Pure Gold USB cable helps achieve maximum performance from a USB device enabling clear, error-free data transmissions. This cable allows connection directly to a computer, providing quick and easy operation with a printer, scanner, external enclosure, USB hub, cell phone, digital camera, camcorder, PDA, and MP3 player. The USB 2.0 cable (backward compatible with USB 1) supports speeds up to 480 Mbps and has 24K hardened, gold-plated contacts. It has maximum data-signal integrity and features unique Gibson packaging with the company's trademark Gibson headstock.

The Gibson Pure Gold HDMI Cable has the most advanced interface available, providing high-resolution sound and picture quality. Its specs include silver plated pure copper conductors to provide excellent signal and bandwidth, quad-layer high density shielding for quality protection against RF1 and EMI, nitrogen-injected dielectric insulator, 24K hardened gold contacts, stabilized impedance, and the highest uncompressed digital video signal transfer. Available lengths are 6.5'/2M and 13.1'/4M. It has the Gibson signature glow emblem on it also and comes in Gibson designed headstock packaging.

Gibson also introduced the External USB 2.0 Triple Format DVD Recorder emblazoned with the signature Gibson logo. The recorder is manufactured to connect easily to any computer and allows the consumer to burn to DVD+/-R Double Layer or DVD-RAM. It conveniently drags and drops files onto DVD-TAM repeatedly like a flash drive and stores up to 8.3 GB per DVD DL disc. It has a built-in universal power adapter and aluminum-case body for optimal heat dissipation. It is plug-and-play and hot swappable. The Gibson Pure Gold Digital Audio Fiber optic Cable has advanced construction and ultrahigh quality materials, raising the standard for high performance interconnection by reducing jitter and maintaining superior digital signal fidelity. Spring-load connectors ensure proper alignment and protective mesh exterior provides maximum durability and flexibility. With an 8'/2.4mm cable and durable metal connector, it is perfect for DVD/CD players, DACs, S/PDIF, and Dolby Digital Audio Devices.

Gibson also introduced the Gibson Pure Surge Protector series. The Gibson Pure Surge Protector 10 and 4 Outlet offerings have specifically designed power connections for home theatre and media center protection. Both come with a lifetime warranty, 24K Gold Plated coaxial cable connects and line protection. The 10-outlet surge protector features a built-in circuit breaker, coaxial cable protection, LED indicators, grounded outlets and labeled outlets. The 4-outlet surge protector features a power switch and audible alarm. Both come in Gibson designed packaging.

Gibson Pure Audio offers both DVD-R and DL Media and CD-R Media for the first time at this year's CES show. Gibson Pure Video DVD-R & DL Media is best for archiving large volume data, digital video and multimedia files. Specs include 4.75 GB/120 min 1x-16x and 8.5 GB/215 min 1x-8x, along with reusable high-gloss metal tins and movie-prop style DVDs. The Gibson Pure CD-R Media is best for archiving music and multimedia files. Specs of the CD-R Media include 700 MB/80 min 1x-52x with reusable black high gloss metal tins and retro vinyl record style CDs.

Gibson Signature Series Les Paul Standard 1 GB USB 2.0 Flash Drive

A unit themed on the all-time quintessential Gibson Model, the Les Paul Standard, recognized the world over as an icon for rock and roll 1959 addition is the first of Gibson's Signature Series flash drives.

Features:

  • 1 GB of storage capacity lets you safely store data, digital video, music, photos, and multimedia files
  • USB 2.0 provides you with high speed data transfer rates up to 480 Mbps

Specifications:

  • Read speed up to 14 Mbps
  • Write speed up to 6 Mbps
  • Data retention up to 9 years
  • LED indicator - read/write status
  • USB Extension Cable Included

Gibson Les Paul Standard 512 MB USB 2.0 Flash Drive

Gibson Pure USB 2.0 flip out flash drive offer's user's the convenience of transferring and storing data, digital video, photos, and multimedia files. The flip out housing eliminates the need for caps and protects the USB connector.

Features:

  • 512 MB of storage capacity lets you safely store data, digital video, music, photos, and multimedia files
  • USB 2.0 provides you with high speed data transfer rates up to 480 Mbps

Specifications

  • Read speed up to 14 Mbps
  • Write speed up to 6 Mbps
  • Data retention up to 9 years
  • LED indicator - read/write status

Gibson Pure Audio 500 GB External USB 2.0 Hard Drive

Gibson's External USB 2.0 500 GB Hard Drive connects easily to any computer and lets you safely back-up your system, store business files, movies and pictures of family and friends, the latest computer games, and your favorite music.

Features:

  • Large 3.5" 500 GB Drive
  • 7,200 RPM
  • 8 MB Cache Size
  • Supports USB 2.0 High Speed Data Transfer (480 Mbps) Backwards Compatible with USB 1.1
  • Universal Power Adapter Included
  • Aluminum Case Body for Optimal Heat Dissipation
  • Plug & Play and Hot Swappable
  • Unique Gibson Glow

Links

Quicky USB Transceiver for iMacs Now Sports LED Status Indicators

Quicky USB TransceiverQuickerTek announces the introduction of a new Quicky USB Transceiver for wireless iMac networking. This powerful device provides up to ten times the wireless performance of any USB iMac with 500 milliwatts of RF power. The SRP of $225 makes this a no-brainer for adding maximum wireless power.

Other wireless networking enhancements require the disassembly of the computer to attach to the AirPort card or other connection inside. Quicky easily attaches to the USB port only - and can even be powered from USB. Of course, an AC adapter is included for maximum flexibility.

New updates to Quicky design include four high-visibility LEDs for transmit, receive, power and link. The new external case design also distinguishes this new Quicky USB Transceiver. In addition to the 500mW of RF power, Quicky includes a 5dBi antenna which is not only more powerful than the internal antenna, but it also is positioned up and out of the confines of the iMac case.

Quicky temporarily clips to the top of the iMac case. The Quicky is a unique combination of the wireless networking power of the Transceiver and a more powerful external antenna. It requires no skills to either set up or use. Once Quicky is clipped on and the short cable is connected to the USB port, users experience ten times more RF power than a stock iMac. This additional wireless power delivers greater operating distances from the AirPort Base Station or wireless access point, and more available networks to choose from.

Quicky works with all 802.11/b/g WiFi equipment including Apple AirPort and AirPort Extreme - even the new one just announced at Macworld Expo. Quicky works with all AirPort-equipped iMacs and requires no software drivers.

Like most QuickerTek products, Quicky is backed with a one-year warranty on parts and labor.

QuickerTek has been a recognized leading innovator of antennas and RF products for Apple Power Macintosh, Mac Pro, iMac PPC and Intel, PowerBook, MacBook and MacBook Pro computers. QuickerTek products can be purchased online and from authorized dealers.

Software

iStat pro System Monitoring Widget

iStat proiStat pro is the ultimate system monitoring widget, consisting of nine sections which can be minimized, expanded, or closed. It features detailed information on CPU, memory, hard drives, IP and external IP, bandwidth, CPU temperature, battery, uptime, temperatures, and fans. You'll know exactly what's going on inside your Mac!Not for the faint-hearted or anyone with a small screen.

Features

  • 9 Sections that can be show or hidden
  • Anti-aliased graphs
  • Filtering of CDs and DVDs in drives section
  • Ability to control which drives, network interfaces, temperature and fan sensors are displayed
  • Built in update checker
  • 3 designs with a total of 10 skins

New features in iStat pro 3.3:

  • Added module to read temperature and fan speeds on Intel based Macs (speedit no longer required for temps)
  • Added airport signal quality readings. AirPort icon in network sections contain 4 bars which represent the signal quality.
  • Fixed a bug that caused issues with dividers not showing on wide skin in some cases
  • Various minor improvements

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

System Support: PPC/Intel

Free

For more information, visit:

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