Mac News Review

Add a Second Display, Overlooked Leopard Features, Nehalem Chips Hits 3.2 GHz, and More

This Week's Apple and Desktop Mac News

Compiled by Charles Moore and edited by Dan Knight - 2008.04.11

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

All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted.

News & Opinion

Apple Updates

Products

Software

Desktop Mac Deals

News & Opinion

Add a Second Display to Your Mac

Maria Langer says:

"Some tips on getting the job done without pulling out your hair.

"Yesterday, I had the pleasure of adding a second display to my 24-in iMac setup. In this quick article, I'll explain why I did this and provide some tips for how you can do it, too.

"Why Two displays?

"First of all, you need to understand how having a second display on your computer can work. Basically, you can use the second display two ways:

"Use the second display to mirror the main display. You'd use this primarily when doing a presentation and you need a larger or second display to display to your audience. This is pretty common if you do a presentation from a laptop; you'd connect it to a projector which acts as a second display, then turn on mirroring.

"Use the second display to add screen space to your computer setup. So instead of having the space on one display screen, you also have the space from the second display screen."

25 Overlooked and Underrated Features in Leopard

Computerworld's Ryan Faas says:

"About five months ago, Macintosh lovers finally got their hands on Mac OS X 10.5 'Leopard,' which boasts more than 300 new features spread across its interface and underpinnings. Some of those features are well-known - the Dock's 'stacks' function, Spaces, Time Machine and Screen Sharing, to name some of those most talked about by users and columnists alike.

"But many others are buried just beneath the surface, unknown or ignored by users even though they've had Leopard installed for months. These 'hidden' features may be things you never heard of or noticed, or even used without realizing their presence or scope - but they're too good to miss.

"Here are our picks for the top 25 undervalued Leopard features."

Intel Demos 'Nehalem' Chips Clocked to 3.2 GHz

Register Hardware's Tony Smith reports:

"IDF Intel's next-generation processor, 'Nehalem', will be made available running at 3.2 GHz - if demos of the chip at Intel Developer Forum this week are anything to go by.

"Officially, the chip giant won't comment on the clock frequencies it will release the initial desktop and sever Nehalems - codenamed 'Bloomfield' and 'Gainestown', respectively - when they ship, an event scheduled for Q4 this year."

What Does Apple Have Against Canada?

The Globe and Mail's Matt Hartley says:

"Apple may be one of the most beloved consumer brands in the world, but its products cost more here than they do south of the border despite near parity in the currencies, new services often arrive long after they're launched in the US, and then there's the conspicuous absence of the company's iPhone.

"Meanwhile, other multinational consumer electronics companies, including Microsoft Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co., consider Canada a proving ground for new products and services.

"So does Apple hate Canada? It's a question that draws a mixed response from observers - and silence from the company's Cupertino, Calif., headquarters....

"Even though their currencies are within a couple of cents of parity, Apple's products and software cost Canadian consumers anywhere from 5 per cent to nearly 40 per cent more than their American counterparts pay."

How to Fix Corrupt Eudora Mailboxes

TidBITS' Adam C. Engst says:

"Although Eudora 6.2.4 has taken some body blows from Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, the email program largely keeps on ticking. That's not to say that it's as stable as it used to be, and I'm experiencing more crashes and oddities than in the past. Most recently, I was doing something with an in-progress message in the Out box and Eudora got confused, started chewing CPU time, and wouldn't respond to the keyboard or mouse. After a while I gave up and force quit the program by Option-clicking Eudora's Dock icon and choosing Force Quit.

"Unfortunately, when I relaunched Eudora, all the messages in my Out mailbox since 14-Feb-08 showed a recovered status (a ?) instead of the correct status, and all of Eudora's automatically saved versions over the few days were visible....

"But when I started checking out some of the interim versions of messages, it became clear that the problem went deeper, since message summaries for the recovered messages no longer matched their contents, and message contents no longer even filled in the appropriate fields in a message window. Clearly the mailbox's table of contents had become corrupted....

"Long ago, Eudora creator Steve Dorner had told me how to fix a corrupted mailbox, and it's something that anyone can do...."

Editor's note: I'm a veteran Eudora user, and I've experienced the same sort of stability issues running Eudora 6.2.4 in Leopard that Adam has noted, although not the mailbox corruption. Sadly, the proverbial writing is etched on the wall portending Eudora's imminent demise as a usable email client on OS X. It's marginalized now, and that won't improve with OS X's continued evolution now that Eudora development has been terminated (the new "Eudora" 8 Mozilla Thunderbird clone beta is a whole different application, and so far shows scant promise of ever becoming a satisfactory replacement for classic Eudora for those of us who are joined at the hip to that program). Not a happy lookout. cm

FireWire Set to Double in Speed

9to5Mac's Andy Space reports:

"FireWire data transfer speeds seem set to double, thanks to a new chipset that has been announced this week by developing company, Symwave.

"While there's no immediate plans to implement it in the Mac the company behind the invention is now actively seeking device and computer manufacturers prepared to employ it.

"Devices implementing support for the new technology will see speeds of 1.6 gigabits per second. Even better, it will power external hard drives without demanding they be plugged in.

"This high performance FireWire chipset - FirePHY-1600 - is already compatible with all existing FireWire drivers for Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5, Windows XP and Vista and Unibrain."

Apple Updates

iMac EFI Firmware Update 1.3

About iMac EFI Firmware Update 1.3

This update fixes several issues to improve the stability of iMac computers.

After the firmware is successfully applied to your Mac, your Boot ROM Version will be: IM71.007A.B03

You can confirm the version of the BootROM installed on your computer using System Profiler.

Aluminum Keyboard Firmware Update 1.0

With its elegant anodized aluminum enclosure, the Apple Keyboard looks equally at home in your living room or on your desk. Start enjoying the crisp, responsive feel of its low-profile keys.

New in this Version

This firmware update addresses an issue with the aluminum Apple Keyboard and the aluminum Apple Wireless Keyboard where a key may repeat unexpectedly while typing. The update also addresses other issues. Mac OS X 10.5.2 is required before installing this update.

The update package will install an updater application into the Applications/Utilities folder and will launch it automatically.

Connect your aluminum Apple Keyboard before following the instructions in the updater application to complete the update process.

If you are installing from a MacBook or a MacBook Pro, your computer's power cord must be connected and plugged into a working power source.

Firmware Restoration CD 1.6

The Firmware Restoration CD can restore the firmware of an Intel-based Macintosh computer.

Note: Restoring your firmware will reset some of your computer's preferences to defaults.

You can only use this to restore the firmware after an interrupted or unsuccessful update. If your computer is already in this state, you'll need to download the software and create the CD on another Macintosh computer, or you can take your computer to an Apple Store or Apple Authorized Service Provider to restore your firmware. This CD can be created on either a PowerPC- or Intel-based Mac, but only works with Intel-based Macs.

Note: This CD cannot be used to return an Intel-based Macintosh computer's firmware to a previous version if a successful update has already been performed.

Products

Kensington Ci70 Keyboard Has 3 USB Ports

PR: Kensington Computer Products Group has introduced its Ci70 Keyboard with USB Ports. Now busy consumers can transfer their collections of digital data and visual content gathered as they are out and about during the day into their home computers quickly and easily right through the Ci70 keyboard itself, without need for additional wires or cables.

Recent Kensington research shows that the four most frequently used personal technology products carried around during the day are a digital camera, a flash drive, a mobile phone, and an MP3 player. Consumers want to get the day's photos, work files, and music transferred from these devices into their home computer as quickly as possible. The new Ci70 Keyboard with USB Ports functions as a central hub that lets consumers synchronize their work and play lives with one simple but elegant desktop tool. By using the two USB 2.0 ports and one mini USB port at the top of the keyboard, consumers can upload content effortlessly into their home computer. No need to tackle multiple plugs and wires or try to reach that USB port that is out of sight. In addition, an attractive sliding panel keeps the ports out of sight when they are not in use.

"The Ci70 Keyboard is another great example of how the entire Kensington Ci Lifestyle Collection brings our smart made simple design philosophy to life", said Juan Rodriguez, Senior Global Product Manager at Kensington. "Our research shows that most people have a shared central home computer that is stationary and provides access to all home peripherals. Our keyboard is now the gateway into their entire home computing system. It offers wired assurance and we are bringing the convenience of the upload cable and USB connectivity to the consumer's fingertips, rather than the consumer having to crawl around on the floor after a hard day's work."

Key features of the Ci70 Keyboard with USB Ports include:

  • Comfort and ease of use - Two easy-access USB 2.0 ports allow a quick connection to wireless mice, MP3 players, thumb drives and more. The Ci70 keyboard also includes a built-in mini USB connector with cable, allowing easy downloads of content from your camera or mobile phone. The keyboard soft-touch keys offer a crisp, responsive touch for added comfort.
  • Space saving - Footprint is 35% smaller and the lower profile design saves desk space and reduces clutter. The wired component of the keyboard ensures constant connection and confidence.
  • Intuitive controls - Five keyboard hotkeys are installed for instant access to mail, media, search and more. Media keys offer volume and track control, play and pause.
  • Sleek design - Sliding door at the top of the keyboard offers a nice finished look, only opening to reveal the wire and ports when in use.

Ci Wireless Mouse Colors Add to Kensington Ci Lifestyle Collection

PR: Kensington continues to expand upon its award-winning Ci Lifestyle Collection to address findings from its ongoing in-home consumer research. In response to consumer demand, the company also released new colors of its popular line of Ci wireless mice and desktop sets. These new colors help consumers further personalize their work spaces and bring them into greater harmony with the home environments they have created.

  • Ci70LE Wireless Mouse is now available in Copper in addition to its original high fashion Rouge.
  • Ci70 Wireless Mouse now comes in Matte Black as well as its original Titanium.
  • Ci75m Wireless Notebook Mouse now comes in two new colors, white and grey to complement the original black and orange colors.

The Kensington Ci Lifestyle Collection Includes:

  • Kensington Ci70LE Wireless MouseKensington Ci70LE Wireless Mouse, Copper (SKU K72300US): Designed to "click" with your sense of style, this copper-colored mouse looks great in your home workspace. Its sleek design features honeycomb prints inspired by current home décor trends and is up to 35% thinner than a standard mouse, facilitating travel and optimizing desk space. Suggested retail price: $34.99.
  • Kensington Ci70 Wireless Mouse, Matte Black (SKU K72301US): Comfort, mobility and sleek good looks all come together with the Ci70 Wireless Mouse. A design that is up to 35% thinner than a standard mouse helps the Ci70 optimize desk space and travel easily. And the automatic sleep state conserves battery power when not in use. Suggested Retail Price: $29.99
  • Kensington Ci75m Wireless Notebook Mouse, White (SKU K72298US) and Grey (SKU K72297US): Offered in two new stylish colors, the attractive Ci75m Wireless Notebook Mouse, as reflected throughout the Ci Lifestyle Collection, is thin in profile and big on features. The back-up power feature offers a wired option for use in airplanes and other wireless-restricted environments or when your batteries are running low. Another key benefit is that the cord stows inside the mouse for easy travel. Automatic sleep state allows power conservation. Suggested retail price: $34.99.
  • Kensington Ci70 Keyboard with USB Ports (SKU K64396US): The Ci70 Keyboard with USB Ports has two built-in USB ports and a mini-USB connector to let you sync your digital photos, videos and music all right at your fingertips. The sleek, low-profile design fits into your life while optimizing your space. The wired functionality brings a sense of assurance while making content transfer easier than ever before. Suggested Retail Price: $49.99
  • Kensington Ci70 Wireless Desktop Set, Matte Black (SKU K64392US): The Ci70 Wireless Desktop Set has been designed to fit your home workspace. Its low-profile design and a footprint 35% smaller than standard multimedia keyboards optimize your workspace. The mouse docks into the keyboard when not in use, saving both space and battery power. The keyboard folds back when not in use, revealing a photo frame. This eliminates clutter while providing an opportunity to personalize the workspace. Suggested retail price: $79.99.

The entire Kensington Ci Lifestyle Collection is now available at Kensington.com and at major retailers.

Software

Magic Mail Folder Turns a Desktop Folder into an Email Out Box

PR: Magic Mail Folder is one of the fastest way to send emails. It turns a folder on your desktop into an email-sending-box. You just have to give your freshly created folder(s) the name of an email address (like myFriend@hotmail.com), and it will be recognized.

Simply drag files in it and they will be sent.

MMF works as a daemon.

NEW: The possibility to add a descriptive text to your file

Note that MMF is still in a beta-test stage.

New in version 1.0b5:

  • Correct the "can't save preferences" issue that some people had.

New in version 1.0b4:

  • You can now email RTFD files.
  • You can now email folders (they are zipped on the fly).
  • The entire code has been cleaned.

Version 1.0b3:

  • A tiny bug has been removed.
  • Now the folders are checked every minute.

Version 1.0b2:

  • Possibility to add a descriptive text (requested by user).

System Support: PPC/Intel

Free

Sophie's Cards Updated

PR: Now Leopard-compatible - Sophie's Cards isn't just for a certain time of the year - it's for any time of the year. It's good to know that you can print as many cards as you like, any time you like

With Sophie's Cards you can choose, personalize, and print greeting cards, note cards, holiday cards and envelopes from more than 550 original images and hundreds of verses, or import your own pictures and add your own words. Includes a history feature so you'll never send the same card to the same person twice.

Sophie's Cards isn't just for a certain time of the year - it's for any time of the year. It's good to know that you can print as many cards as you like, any time you like.

Sophie's Cards allows you to choose, personalize and print cards from more than 580 premium, original images and hundreds of included verses.

And to make sure that the program is as versatile as possible, you can even add your own pictures and add your own text, as you wish.

What's it for? Fine Art, Anniversary, Congratulations, Christmas, Love, Easter, Get Well, Sympathy, Frameable art, vacation pictures, new baby pictures, recipe cards, postcards, and . . . well, anything you'd like, even if it's to just tell someone that you are thinking about them and that you care!

Using Sophie's Cards is straightforward. The program uses a tab interface and selection panes similar to a spreadsheet.

  • Select an Occasion (including holidays) and the program offers you a menu of appropriate images and verses.
    - or-
  • Select a Sophie's Cards photo from Occasions or Picture Type, and add your own words using My Words.
    - or-
  • Easily import you own pictures to create a completely personalized card using My Words & Pictures.
  • Print envelopes with an easy to use address feature.
  • Track cards you have sent with the Card History feature.

Print in nine different card sizes, and matching envelopes, including note card, half fold, postcard, and "Frameable art", in both US and international sizes.

New pictures (and verses - currently more than 700) are added with each successive version, as we continue to grow the program's eclectic content to ensure that Sophie's Cards blends the ideal with the real - a mirror of life as it should be.

Remember the days when communication still meant something? When the thought behind the words were more important than the words themselves - when expression was an Art?

Quality stationery, which no electronic messaging can replicate, coupled with the look of a fine writing instrument written in your own hand (if you like), communicate more than the individual components. It means you had time to express yourself. Sophie's Cards makes all this possible, and more.

It's easy to go from concept to reality with Sophie's Cards. Choose the image you want (or import your own), and include verse (if you want); and in just a few minutes you can create a beautiful card that conveys the elegant message you intended. Please see the Features page for a step-by-step guide on how to use the Program.

New in version 5L.6.4.4: Sophie's Cards is now "Leopard" (OS 10.5.x) compatible

System requirements: Power PC G3, G4, G5 or Intel based Mac with at least 256 MB of RAM running Mac OS X v10.4.8 through 10.5.x; 1 GB of available hard disk drive space, and a photo quality inkjet printer; CD-ROM drive for CD versions of Sophie's Cards.

System support: PPC/Intel

$39.95 demoware

Newton Connection Connects Your Device to Your OS X Mac

PR: Newton Connection (NCX) allows you to backup your Newton data to your Mac desktop, import and export Dates, Names, Notes and NewtonWorks, install packages, and use your Mac desktop keyboard to enter text on your Newton device. In fact, most of the functions provided by the Newton Connection Utilities (NCU), but without the need for the Classic environment.

New in version 1.2: Incorporates a screenshot function.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.4 or later.

MacSpeech Dictate Now Available with High-end Microphones

PR: MacSpeech, Inc. has announced that MacSpeech Dictate is now available for direct purchase from the company's web site in the US.

Now customers can also select from a variety of specialized microphones, including desktop and wireless, for their MacSpeech Dictate solution. Within the United States, new MacSpeech Dictate solutions with a choice of headsets are priced starting at US$199.

"The MacSpeech Dictate solution available through retail sources includes an approved headset for quality input and accurate dictation results," explained Andrew Taylor, president and CEO of MacSpeech, Inc. "When people order directly from us, they can get a special microphone. Some people require advanced sensitivity, while others prefer a freestanding desktop mic, or still others want a really nice wireless mic. All of the special options are tested to work well with MacSpeech Dictate."

MacSpeech Dictate is a new speech recognition product for the Macintosh, with underlying speech recognition powered by the dictation technology used in Dragon NaturallySpeaking from Nuance Communications, Inc. MacSpeech Dictate delivers a truly Mac user experience, and conforms to behaviors already familiar to Macintosh fans worldwide. Beyond dictation, MacSpeech Dictate lets people perform basic navigation of their Mac and control it with their voice to launch applications, open new windows, execute menu commands, etc.

Compatibility and Additional International Availability MacSpeech Dictate requires Intel-based Macintosh hardware and requires Mac OS X 10.4.11 or higher, including Mac OS X 10.5.

MacSpeech Dictate is currently available in other English-speaking countries through International resellers and distributors.

JoeSoft Announces the Release of Hear Sound Enhancer

Hear Sound EnhancerPR: JoeSoft announces the availability of Hear, a sound enhancement program for the Mac.

"Hear is a great new program that makes everything sound better on your Mac. All your music will be vastly improved, your movies will surround you with rich sound and your games will now blow you away" says Greg Brewer, CEO of Prosoft. "Once you've listened to your music or movies with Hear, you will never want to be without Hear.

Hear greatly improves audio quality in movies and music throughout all of your Mac OS X applications. Hear offers a wide array of settings that are quick and easy to find, which will greatly improve the sound quality of your music, movies and games. With Hear, music is richer, movie sounds are more powerful, dialog is clearer and games will blow you out of your chair!

Hear is available to purchase online at JoeSoft.com for $49.95 and at authorized partners.

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