O'Grady's PowerPage » Chris Barylick

PocketMac Remote Out the Door

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Date: Wednesday, June 20th, 2007, 07:05
Category: Software

On Wednesday, software company PocketMac released PocketMac Remote, a utility designed to boost the functionality of the Apple Remote that ships with newer Macs from Front Row to Microsoft PowerPoint and Apple’s Keynote presentation program.
According to Macworld News, PocketMac Remote features play/pause, backward/forward and volume control options and retails for US$9.95 before shipping and handling.
The program requires an Intel-based Mac, Mac OS X 10.4 or later, an Apple Remote and either Microsoft PowerPoint or Apple Keynote to run.
No current demo release has been posted, but if you’ve given it a try and have feedback about it, let us know.


Cocktail Updated to 3.8

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Date: Tuesday, June 19th, 2007, 14:11
Category: Software

In other news, Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests, has been updated to version 3.8.
The new version, a small download, sports the following fixes and improvements:
Major interface improvements:
-Updated Cocktail Help.
-Improved Activity Log.
-Added possibility to join Cocktail eList.
-Added possibility to include Activity Log when providing feedback.
-Other miscellaneous fixes and improvements.
-Misc. New “Disable Sudden Motion Sensor” feature.
-Spotlight. Added possibility to enable/disable Spotlight indexing of selected disk.
-Spotlight. Added possibility to erase Spotlight index for selected disk.
-Databases. Improved rebuilding of Launch Services database.
-Databases. Added possibility to restore default file associations when rebuilding Launch Services database.
-Startup. New “Startup delay” feature.
Click the jump for the full story…


Jawbone’s Bluetooth Headset to Debut Alongside iPhone

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Date: Tuesday, June 19th, 2007, 09:33
Category: News

On Tuesday, peripherals maker Aliph announced that it would be releasing its Jawbone Bluetooth Headset alongside Apple’s iPhone at 157 Apple Store retail locations on June 29th.
According to Macworld News, the Jawbone provides the usual features found within a Bluetooth-based headset, but features a background noise elimination technology called Noise Shield. The device can also continuously adjust speaker volumes throughout the call and is made from medical grade materials.
The Jawbone retails for US$119 before delivery and is available in black, red and silver colors. A wall charger for the unit can be ordered for US$19.99 and four additional earbuds can be ordered for US$9.99.


QuickerTek 802.11n Upgrade Released for Older PowerBook Models

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Date: Tuesday, June 19th, 2007, 08:25
Category: News

Even if Apple’s newest Santa Rosa-based MacBook Pro laptops may be a bit rich for your blood, QuickerTek might have a solution. The recently-released nQuicky, which functions as an 802.11n CardBus adapter, works with any PowerBook sporting a free PCMCIA slot, including the “Pismo” PowerBook G3 (the unit with built-in Firewire) and the Black PowerBook.
According to MacNN, the nQuicky, which retails for US$150, allows for full compatibility with 802.11 b, g and n networks and boasts a speed of 300 megabits per second as well as three times the range of a standard 802.11 g network.
QuickerTek has stated that the nQuicky will be available in late June and require Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later to run. The nQuicky ships with a year’s warranty from QuickerTek.


VLC Updated to 0.8.6c

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, June 19th, 2007, 08:05
Category: Software

Video Lan Client, the popular open source media player for multiple audio and video formats (MPEG, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, Divx, ogg, etc.), has recently been updated to version 0.8.6c. The new version, a 23.3 megabyte download, adds the following bug fixes and changes:
-Windows Vista compatibility.
-Cropping in Direct3D.
-Full screen change crash on Mac OS X.
-RSS filter string overflow.
-Few memory leaks.
-MKV demuxer crash (related to seeking).
CDDA / Vorbis / Theora / SAP plugins:
-Security updates (VideoLAN-SA-0702).
-Fixed a problem with detecting embedded subtitles (GAB2 format) in AVI.
-Updated FLAC API compatibility.
-Support for new v4l2 encoder API.
-New localisation: Arabic, Persian.
VLC 0.8.6 requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to run and is available as a free download.
If you’ve tried the new version and had either a positive or negative experience with it, let us know.


Apple Ups iPhone Battery and Screen Specs

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 18th, 2007, 15:53
Category: News

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We’ve seen it before – Apple under-promises and over-delivers when a product’s launch date comes around.
It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it does fray the nerves a bit.
In a recent announcement, the company has announced that its upcoming iPhone will feature a longer battery life and has switched its display from optical-quality glass.
For the full details, check out Jason O’Grady’s The Apple Core blog and let us know what you think.


Newton Connection Reaches Version 1.1

Posted by:
Date: Monday, June 18th, 2007, 09:22
Category: Software

I’ll grant that this is somewhat out of left field, but someone wrote me a few weeks ago wondering if I could fix their Apple eMate. There are still Newton units out there and for those of you who still have one, Newton Research‘s Newton Connection 1.1 has just been updated to version 1.1.
The new version, a 6.6 megabyte download, still allows users to back up their Newton data onto their desktop, but without needing to enter the Classic environment. The software is still a work in progress with the authors stating the program can’t sync yet but asking for bugs and feature requests to be submitted.
Version 1.1 offers the following fixes and changes:
-This version of the application is self-contained and does not require an installer – simply move the NCX application wherever you like.
-The frameworks installed separately as part of version 1.0 (build 21) are no longer needed and can be removed by double-clicking the UnInstall21 script.
-The script runs in the Terminal application which you should close when it has completed. If the script fails, open UnInstalltext editor to view the files that should be deleted and do it manually in the Finder.
Newton Connection requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run and is available for free.
If you’ve tried this or another Newton communication program and have either positive or negative feedback, let us know.


Macworld Runs Benchmarks for 17″ Santa Rosa MacBook Pro

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Date: Monday, June 18th, 2007, 08:42
Category: Benchmark

The guys over at Macworld News have posted the benchmarks for Apple’s newest generation of the MacBook Pro laptop.
The new units, which are based on Intel’s Santa Rosa hardware architecture, fared well in tests and performed as expected for the most part, but lagged in graphics cards tests, despite the new Nvidia GeForce 8600M GT graphics chip found on the new laptops sporting more VRAM and additional upgrades over the ATI Mobility Radeon X1600 found on the previous generation of MacBook Pro laptops – specifically in tests involving frame rates on Unreal Tournament 2004.
Macworld has stated that the magazine, Apple and Unreal Tournament makers MacSoft, are looking into the situation and that the game’s code itself may not be optimized for the new hardware.
Improvements offered by the much-lauded Santa Rosa architecture appear to be present, as tests revealed that the new chipset and backlit-LED displays helped improved battery conservation.
For the full report, click here.
If you’ve picked up a 17″ MacBook Pro with the Santa Rosa architecture and can provide comments or feedback about it, let us know how it’s worked for you.


FCC Clears Apple Bluetooth Headset

Posted by:
Date: Friday, June 15th, 2007, 17:14
Category: News

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In a pretty-much-expected move, the Federal Communications Commission granted approval to Apple’s Bluetooth Headset today. Full documentation is available here.
According to iLounge, the move signals the accessory being ready on time for the June 29th launch of the iPhone.
To date, the headset is designed around a single button which allows the user to accept incoming calls.
More information on the headset will be posted as soon as it becomes available.


Palm Lays Off Employees in Restructuring Process

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Date: Friday, June 15th, 2007, 13:05
Category: News

Late Thursday, Palm announced that it had instituted layoffs that would affect a “small percentage” of its 1,200 employees. The firm stated that most of these employees would be downsized from Palm’s development group and affect the employee base within the United States.
According to Macworld News, Palm has faced a steady decline in its handheld device markets and has taken on a restructuring effort in which equity investors Elevation Partners took a 25% stake in Palm, investing US$325 million in the company.
Once an unquestioned leader in the handheld market, Palm has seen its market share decline in the face of growing competition, even in the smartphone market, where its Treo handheld device has historically done well.
A spokesperson for the company said that despite reorganization and layoffs, Palm is still hiring in other areas.
“We’re flattening our organizational hierarchy and doing some realignment,” he said.
An exact number of possible future layoffs was not immediately available.