Review: Roxio Toast 10 Titanium and Toast 10 Titanium Pro

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Date: Tuesday, February 24th, 2009, 15:59
Category: Review

By Robert Kaneko
Roxio has once again updated their flagship authoring software package. The latest update, Toast 10 Titanium, continues the natural evolution of a mature product. It gives the user some hints about where Roxio might go with the product as we begin to approach the end of the general use optical storage era. It also presents users with a choice. Roxio has, for the first time, split the product into two versions. There is Toast 10 Titanium, which is the standard version of Toast that users have come to know and love. There is also Toast 10 Titanium Pro, a new variant that basically includes four extra third party authoring solutions in with the basic Toast package.
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Let me admit up front that I am a long time fan of Toast. It sits on my short list of “must have” applications. As I noted in my Toast 9 Titanium review last year, I find it an invaluable resource for authoring and archiving beyond the basics provided by Apple’s iDVD, iTunes and Finder disc burning features. In addition, Roxio seems to anticipate that one new feature that I didn’t even know I needed that makes me want to open my wallet one more time.
Toast 10 Titanium has joined the growing list of applications that now requires Mac OS X 10.5 or later. The funny thing is, I didn’t know that when I started this review. Sitting comfortably in my world of ignorance, I installed Toast on my trusty PowerBook G4 running OS X 10.4.11. It worked beautifully! I used most of the new features, including the ability to download and convert flash video from sites like YouTube, and they worked perfectly. I might have run into problems with AVCHD support or Blu-ray, but since I don’t have hardware that supports those features I remained blissfully unaware. Toast and SonicFire Pro 5 (part of the Toast 10 Titanium Pro package) both worked flawlessly. It wasn’t until I tried using the new Mac2TiVo feature that I realized there was a problem. That’s when I actually read the system requirements and moved the installation to a Leopard machine.
If you are familiar with any of the recent versions of Toast, especially Toast 9, Toast 10 is nearly identical. Roxio has once again polished the interface, dropping the styling of Toast 9 in favor of a more Leopard-friendly look, but the general structure of the program remains largely unchanged.
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Click the jump for the full review…

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Apple Releases Safari 4 Public Beta

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Date: Tuesday, February 24th, 2009, 09:05
Category: Software

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Apple announced the release of the Safari 4 public beta on Tuesday. According to Mac Observer, the new version of the browser includes the Nitro JavaScript Engine, faster JavaScript 4.2 processing speeds and a long list of new features including Cover Flow browsing for history and bookmarks.
The browser also includes Accessible Rich Interactive Applications, full page zoom support, CSS effects and CSS Canvas support, HTML 5 offline support, offline database support, and smart search recommendations. Other new features include a new Web Inspector, a page elements view, a JavaScript debugger, a page resources view, and more.
The Safari 4 public beta requires Mac OS X 10.5.6 or later on Leopard or Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later on Tiger as well as Security Update 2009-001 to install and run. The browser is available for both Mac and Windows as a free download.
If you’ve tried the new version and have any feedback on it, hit us up in the comments, forums or drop me a line at chris @ powerpage.org.

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Best Buy Offering 8GB iPhone 3G to Some Reward Zone Members for US$99

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Date: Tuesday, February 24th, 2009, 08:37
Category: iPhone

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In the several years I’ve shopped at Best Buy, I’ve never signed up for their Reward Zone program. And maybe it’s time I did.
According to Macworld, Best Buy is apparently selling both the 8GB and 16GB iPhone 3G for US$100 off their respective retail prices. And unlike similar past deals from AT&T, these are brand new handsets, not refurbished units.
The catch: The deal is only applicable to Best Buy Premier Silver Reward Zone members, the “silver” status arriving if you’ve spent US$2,500 at Best Buy during a calendar year.
The other proviso: Customers need to have been a Reward Zone member by February 21st, so it’s too late to swing out, snag a MacBook Pro, sign up for the Reward Zone program and save that much more off an iPhone 3G. The price is also only good through February 28th, requires an in-store purchase and for the user to sign a two-year contract with AT&T.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve seen this offer at your local Best Buy, let us know in the comments or forums.

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MCE Ships 500GB OptiBay Hard Drive for Unibody MacBook, MacBook Pro Notebooks

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Date: Tuesday, February 24th, 2009, 07:04
Category: hard drive

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Accessory maker MCE Technologies announced that the company is now shipping its OptiBay hard drives for Apple’s unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro notebook line.
Per MacNN, the drives range in capacity from 250GB to 500GB and arrive with an 8MB buffer. The 350GB and 500GB drives run at 5400rpm, while customers can choose a 7200rpm option for the 320GB model. The company claims that the OptiBay components consume less power than the original drives, contributing to a 10 to 15% extension of the battery life. The drives also support status monitoring and spin-down commands from the Mac OS.
The OptiBay hard drives are now available starting at US$190 and an optional enclosure can be used to convert the existing drive into an external storage device.
Customers can also purchase an OptiBay kit for the unibody MacBook and MacBook Pro, allowing the use of any standard 2.5″ HDD. The kit can be purchased for US$130.
If you’ve used an OptiBay kit before, let us know how the experience went in the comments or forums.

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Review: Pure Digital Flip Mino HD

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Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 20:32
Category: Review

By David Klein

For many of us, purchasing a digital video camera is similar to purchasing a digital camera: a stressful experience. Am I buying the best one in my price range? What about the competitor’s? Is that enough megapixels? Is that enough storage? Endless questions and confusion. Most settle for average quality in the US$100 to US$200 range, and they are surprised by the above-average results. They get something compact and light with an LCD screen, a decent lens, and clear pictures.

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Fortunately, we now have a comparable experience with digital video: the Flip Mino HD. It’s compact, stylish, sleek, and light. It has a 1.5″ screen, and it records in 1280 x 720 (720p) resolution. Yes, that’s high definition and it’s shocking for such a small package. However, the other surprising part is the audio. Even with lots of ambient noise and jarring interruptions, the Mino HD manages to pick up close-range audio. For example, it clearly records the holder of the camera who may or may not be narrating (something I enjoy doing with my Flip).

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Charging the Flip and downloading videos is easy using the built-in USB connection that pops out of the top after flipping a switch. You have two options for accessing your videos. You can either copy them from the Flip, which mounts as an external hard drive on your desktop, or you can use the free software which is ready to install when you connect. My recommendation is to avoid this software. Although it allows you to organize, edit, and upload your videos, the interface is questionable. I prefer to use iMovie on my Mac when editing is actually necessary.

Click the jump for the full review…

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Xumii – Social networking portal for the iPhone

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Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 20:05
Category: iPhone, Software

Last week saw the release of Xumii for iPhone, a free social networking application for Apple’s heralded smart-phone. Xumii is not new to the mobile community. It can run on many of the mobile phones capable of running Java-based applications. It was only a matter of time before a version came out for Cupertino’s pride and joy.
Xumii professes to be “your mobile, social addressbook” and intends to be the default location for keeping track of your social contacts. By adding your account login for networks (also known as “communities”) such as Facebook, Google, or MySpace, Xumii can list all of your friends and display their current status messages or chat status. Tapping on a contact allows you to see their full status message, online status, an option to invite them to use Xumii, and lastly, a method of sharing media stored on any of your added “communities”. If you select a contact who also has a supported chat account, and is online, the option to initiate a IM chat will also be listed.


Xumii has some other nice features, such as a separate page for recently updated status messages, and a rudimentary listing of top news stories, but it’s greatest strength is probably the media sharing feature. By clicking on the Share tab at the bottom of the screen, Xumii presents you with a list of photo albums from Flickr, Yahoo, or Facebook, to mention a few, which you can browse and then Share with your contacts, even across social networks. So, if you have that friend who is still a MySpace hold-out, you can still share your Facebook pictures with them. Xumii also mentions being able to view YouTube video on their web site, but apparently that feature is not yet available on the iPhone. Perhaps Apple feels this would be duplicate the function of the iPhone’s YouTube app.
I have a few criticisms of the app presently, which are likely due to the fact that it is a 1.0 product. On other mobile devices, you have the option to change the status message on any of your “communities” individually, or choose to post the same message to all your networks simultaneously. Currently with the iPhone app, it is all or nothing. If it had to be one or the other, I would rather have the ability to change individual messages. While I expect this feature to be added, it does keep me from truly considering this a one-stop solution. Since I rarely post across all my networks, I will still have to use the Facebook app or AIM app to do this individually. Also, another minor quibble is that contacts that appear on more than one “community” are listed separately, and in the case of AIM accounts, listed alphabetically by their AIM handle rather than their real name, making searching less convenient then I’d like.
With the addition of some missing features, I think Xumii for iPhone can do a lot to reduce the clutter of individual networking apps and offer a convenient interface. There is a lot of competition out there, but Xumii has a lot of experience in the mobile space to leverage and will hopefully develop a strong, feature-rich solution.

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Possible Footage of Next-Gen Mac Mini Emerges

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Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 10:42
Category: Rumor

A quick video has been leaked over to MacRumors displaying what could be the next generation Mac mini. The new unit appears to include FireWire 800 (which swaps out FireWire 400), a fifth USB 2.0 port and a Mini DisplayPort.
Since a picture’s worth a thousand words, take a look:




Mac Mini 2009 Edition – video powered by Metacafe


As always, let us know what you make of this in the comments or forums.

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Hack Demos Apple iPhone Using Apple Wireless Keyboard

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Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 09:11
Category: Hack

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This could be interesting, provided you’re willing to jailbreak your iPhone or iPod touch handset.
Ralf Ackerman has just posted a blog entry demonstrating a jailbroken iPhone using an Apple Bluetooth wireless keyboard. Details are still sketchy, but it’s an interesting proof of concept that makes one wonder when Apple will officially support this?
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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How To: Get Around Unibody MacBook Pro Freezes During Screenshots

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Date: Monday, February 23rd, 2009, 08:30
Category: How-To

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As exciting and cool as your new unibody MacBook Pro may happen to be, there may be some bugs to sort out.
According to MacFixIt, a number of users have posted to the Apple Discussions board complaining that the screenshot function on their late-2008/unibody MacBook Pro notebooks cause the system to freeze for a few minutes.
Apple Discussions poster ikarus79m described the situation as follows:

“I have noticed a super weird bug with my new MacBook Pro. At least while running the integrated graphics chipset (not yet tried in power mode.) When I snap a screenshot using Shift+Command+3 (or 4) my computer takes the screen grab, however, then freezes for a minute or two. After that it comes back to life.”

There are several potential causes for this problem, the first being a driver issue, where the screenshot utility is more prone to problematic behavior when running with the drivers for the newer computers. This may be supported by some users having the problem only when running on the GeForce 9400M GPU.
Potential fixes are as follows:

Repair permissions: This problem seems to be influenced by some permissions problems for core system files. Fixing permissions using Disk Utility seems to help the problem. Alternative to Disk Utility, users might wish to do a more in-depth system cleaning using a third-party utility such as AppleJack or OnyX. These utilities can fix multiple problems beyond just permissions, since they can clear many caches, run built-in maintenance scripts, and run a variety of other tasks to keep the computer running optimally.
Reset the SMC and PRAM: While it’s unlikely that hardware settings in the SMC and PRAM would directly affect the screen shot utility, some users have seen improvement after resetting them. It is possible that some faulty setting could interfere with driver function. To reset the PRAM, hold the options-command-P-R keys down all at once after restarting, allowing the computer to reset s couple of times before releasing the keys and allowing the computer to boot normally. This Apple Knowledgebase article (http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1411) contains the steps for resetting the SMC on various MacBook models.
Workaround: Because this problem is with the internal screen capture utility, users can bypass it by using a third-party screenshot utility.

If you’ve seen this issue on your end, let us know in the comments or forums.

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EMC Releases Retrospect 8 Beta 4

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Date: Friday, February 20th, 2009, 07:47
Category: Software

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EMC Corporation on Friday released the fourth public beta of Restrospect 8.0 its long-standing backup and recovery software for the Mac. The new beta consists of the following new features and changes:

  • Stability has been greatly improved, and this build should feel much better.
  • Proactive Backup (old Backup Server) monitoring is now functional, and the Pause/Run/Resume buttons now work as expected.
  • Email notification is working as designed now.
  • Repair and Rebuild Catalog functionality has been added.
  • It is now possible to set a password for the Retrospect engine by going to Preferences>General and clicking the Change Server Password button. Once you set/change the password, you will need to remove the Retrospect engine from the sidebar and re-add it using the new password.
  • Partial archiving of Time Machine data has been added. Retrospect 8.0 cannot restore a functioning Time Machine volume, but it can restore files backed up from a Time Machine volume to any non-Time Machine volume.
  • Backup and restore activities can now be previewed when using the Backup and Restore Assistants.
  • The restore files and folders workflow now has an option to restore to a new folder. When choosing this option, Retrospect may incorrectly warn you on the summary page that all other files will be deleted from the destination. This is not the case.
  • Media request notifications have been improved.
  • Several bugs related to rules (selectors) have been fixed; a handful may still remain.
  • The Retrospect 8.0 beta is currently available as a 29.7 megabyte download and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
    Retrospect 8.0 is expected to ship in the first quarter in three versions: Desktop 3-User (US$129 new or US$59 as an upgrade), Single Server (US$809 or US$539), and Multi Server (US$1,669 or US$939). Users who purchased a new Retrospect 6.1 license on or after January 14, 2008 will receive a free upgrade.
    Let us know what you think in the comments or forums.

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