OptiBay Adds Second Hard Drive to MacBooks and 15″ MacBook Pros

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Date: Monday, January 8th, 2007, 15:47
Category: News

According to an article on Macworld News, MCE Technologies announced on Friday that its OptiBay product for MacBooks and 15″ MacBook Pro laptops has begun shipping.

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According to an article on Macworld News, MCE Technologies announced on Friday that its OptiBay product for MacBooks and 15″ MacBook Pro laptops has begun shipping.
The OptiBay functions as a second internal hard drive that fits where the laptop’s optical drive should be.
The price, which includes an external optical drive that replaces the one being swapped out, begins at $329. The hard drives are available in capacities ranging form 80 gigabytes to 160 gigabytes, most functioning at 5400 RPM. A 100 GB hard drive which operates at 7200 RPM will be offered for $459. The external optical drive shipped with the units includes a USB 2.0 8x SuperDrive which also burns double layer DVD-ROM disks (functionally identical to the optical drive that’s being swapped out). An upgraded 16x DVD burner with USB 2.0 and Firewire interfaces is available for an extra $20.
MCE includes a full tool kit and owner’s manual to help with the installation, which the user performs by themselves. The firm has been offering the OptiBay kit for the PowerBook G4 and 17″ MacBook Pro laptops since October of 2006.
The OptiBay expansion requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later for the MacBook Pro 15″ and 17″ configurations and the MacBook configuration. Systems running Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X 10.2 or later will be able to use the drive on the PowerBook G4 series
If you have any comments or feedback, let us know.

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MacBook Pro Tricks for the Completely Psychotic

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Date: Monday, January 8th, 2007, 13:38
Category: Fun

An article over on MacMerc.com show a full video of a person spinning an assortment of items, among them a DVD, a copy of Maxim magazine, a puzzle and a 15″ MacBook Pro (starting at $2,499 at the Apple Store).
He’s good, but this WILL make your heart seize up and your brain cringe:




If you have any comments or feedback, let us know.

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MacBook Pro Breaks Fall on Ice…and Breaks Altogether

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Date: Monday, January 8th, 2007, 10:05
Category: Sighting

An article on digg.com points to a MacBook Pro user who, after only about three months with his new laptop, slipped and fell on some ice.

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The laptop, which was in a backback at the time, broke the fall, but the user (“Ryansw” according to his picasaweb.google.com picture gallery) mentions that Apple quoted him a $629 repair estimate which escalated to a $1,200 estimate upon discovering that the optical drive had been damaged.
The user later found a replacement optical drive online for $199 and is hoping for the best in getting the laptop back.
Even if the laptop ice capades aren’t in your plans for today, think about a sleeve and a good, padded bag. It may not look as cool as you’d like or be in your first color of choice, but between a functioning laptop and a $1,200 repair estimate, you can look a little dorkier when it comes down to it.
If anyone’s had a similar experience or has comments or feedback, please let us know.

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Adobe to Bring Premiere Back to the Mac

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Date: Thursday, January 4th, 2007, 09:34
Category: News

According to an article on Macworld News, Adobe will announce today that it will revive its Mac version of Premiere, its popular video editing program aimed at the professional market.
The new version will only run on Intel-based Macs and be included witin Adobe’s Production Studio suite that includes Adobe Encore DVD and Adobe Soundbooth.
Adobe discontinued Premiere for the Mac back in July of 2003, citing increased competition from Apple, which was focusing on its Final Cut Pro editing program. After Premiere’s withdrawal from the Macintosh platform, the firm continued to develop After Effects, its motion-graphics program, for the Mac video market.
As mentioned in the article, Apple’s decision to incorporate Intel chips into its hardware allowed Adobe to start over from scratch instead of porting old code over to the new hardware architecture, commented Simon Hayhurst, Adobe’s director of product management for dynamic media.
Adobe representatives have kept silent as to which specific features the new version of Premiere would contain, though they did mention that the Mac version would contain the same feature set present on the Windows version. Premiere and the Adobe Production Studio will be released to market around the middle of this year and Macworld Expo attendees will be the first to see it in action as the company demos the software at its booth.
No word has been given as to whether a public beta will be released for download and final pricing has yet to be set.
If you’ve heard anything more about this or have comments, let us know.

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Apple iBook G3 Logic Board Repair: Now Recommending Fire and Alcohol

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Date: Thursday, January 4th, 2007, 08:53
Category: iBook dual USB

It’s not subtle but apparently it works. Mark Hoekstra has published a full rundown on geektechnique.org as to how he fixed a 600 MHz iBook G3 with the infamous video problem (which Apple offered a logic board replacement program via a range of serial numbers to help rectify).
Since the program ended back in 2005, Mark found a forum thread over on MacNN that described how the video chip is loosely soldered onto the logic board via a Ball Grid Array.
When these solder points don’t hold, one solution is to reflow the solder using either a heat gun or even a blow torch. Given that Mark didn’t have one, he incorporated tea light candles and alcohol.
This is not recommended by any means, but it makes for an interesting sight:




In the end, the process resoldered the graphics chip to the logic board and the iBook was back to its functional self.
If you’ve seen or heard about any similar fixes, let us know.

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Hybrid Blu-Ray/HD Disc Could Sway DVD Wars

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Date: Thursday, January 4th, 2007, 08:26
Category: News

Conscious of the fact that the HD DVD and Blu-Ray DVD wars are now in full swing, Warner Brothers plans to formally introduce a new disc capable of playing both formats according to article in today’s New York Times.
The new disc, called the Total HD disc, will premier at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Since last year, the Blu-Ray format, backed by Sony and others, has gone head to head with the HD-DVD format, backed by Microsoft and Toshiba. While the two formats offer a slew of new features, executives cited in the article mention a hesitancy to adopt to a single standard – a conflict reminiscent of the Beta/VHS conflict of the 1980′s.
As a result, studios have chosen sides and are releasing movies in either format. For example, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney Pictures are releasing current works in Blu-Ray DVD format while Universal Studios, Warner Brothers and Paramount are releasing only in HD-DVD, the decision depending on which companies own which firm and which format they’ve sided with.
A crossover or hybrid solution may be more popular than initially anticipated. Electronics makers such as LG Electronics and other tech firms are expected to announce new DVD players with drives for both the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD format at CES. The players are expected to initially be more expensive than single-format players but solve the problem of which standard to adopt.
Time Warner president Jeffrey L. Bewkes commented that Warner’s Total HD disc has a better chance of catching on than dual-format players and that consumers were willing to pay more for a higher quality, as proven by the studio’s “Superman Returns” selling for $19.99 in standard DVD format at Best Buy as well as $29.99 in Blu-Ray format and $34.99 in HD-DVD format.
Everything else is speculation until next Tuesday, but if the formats could be bridged either by a hybrid disc or DVD player, I’d add it to my shopping list.
If you’ve heard anything about this or have ideas or comments, let us know.

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CardRaider Helps Resurrect Deleted Memory Card Files

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Date: Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007, 16:21
Category: Software

Memory cards are terrific up to a point. And if you’ve ever accidentally deleted your picture files from them, that point usually involves repeated cursing.
CardRaider, which has been recently released from ecamm, may actually help recover from this. In cases where files have been deleted from a memory card, the user can plug the card into a USB reader (or the camera itself if it uses a USB connection) and search through the card to recover lost photos, then port the photos over to an iPhoto library.
CardRaider searches through sectors of a memory card that have not been written over, so odds are you can’t add additional photos in the space the deleted ones occupied. It might not be the ultimate catch-all, but it could be useful in cases where some great photos might have been lost by accident.
CardRaider is available for a $19.95 registration fee with a 1.9 megabyte demo available for download.
CardRaider is written as a Universal binary which support both the PowerPC and Intel-based hardware architectures and requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to run.
If you have any comments or feedback on this, let us know.

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Apple and HP May Ship LED-Backlit Laptops This Spring

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Date: Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007, 15:50
Category: News

Apple and rival Hewlett-Packard look to be planning to introduce LED-backlit displays on their laptop computer products according to a report on DigiTimes.
The LED-backlit systems would improve the image quality of the LCD screens used in the laptops and provide more even lighting as well as improve the overall color range on the screen. The idea of LED-backlit laptop displays has been approached with a certain degree of caution due to higher power requirements in the past, but could represent the companies focusing on media-centric strengths.
The article’s cited source refused to to discuss the exact models that would receive the new displays but mentioned that part manufacturers Cree and Nichia would be the main suppliers for the necessary components.
If you have any comments or feedback on this, please let us know.

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“Month of Bugs” Project Pins Down QuickTime and VLC Vulnerabilities

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Date: Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007, 08:08
Category: News

According to an article on Macworld News, two Mac users (“LMH” and Kevin Finisterre) have begun a self-described initiative called the Month of Apple Bugs to “improve Mac OS X” by locating security flaws in Apple’s operating system as well as third party applications.
The duo published their first finds recently. Known as “MOAB-01-01-2007″, the first document describes a vulnerability in QuickTime’s Real Time Streaming Protocol features:
“By supplying a specially crafted string (rtsp:// [random] + semicolon + [299 bytes padding + payload]), an attacker could overflow a stack-based buffer, using either HTML, Javascript or a QTL file as attack vector, leading to an exploitable remote arbitrary code execution condition,” said the programmers.
The reported bug presently affects QuickTime 7.1.3, which is the current version for both the Mac OS X and Windows operating systems. The team suggests that the user disable QuickTime’s rtsp:// URL handler or uninstall QuickTime in the short term in their write up of the bug.
The second published bug focuses on VLC, the popular open source media player program.
The bug, which is present in version 0.8.6 of the program for Mac OS X (both the PowerPC and Intel version are affected by this bug, according to the report), allows an M3U file to be created which can be either opened locally or via a web server, compromising the security of the machine.
The only workaround to date is to disable VLC’s udp:// URL handler uninstall VLC or update to a new version of the program once it becomes available.
Where identification is concerned, “LMH” is the handle for an as-yet unidentified person helping with the project while Kevin Finisterre is the founder of Digital Munition and has been credited with the creation of the InqTana worm, a proof of concept that exploited a Bluetooth vulnerability present on some Macs and raised a relevant security issue in February of 2006.
If you have any comments or feedback about this, let us know.

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One Laptop Per Child Project Aims to Begin Production in July

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Date: Wednesday, January 3rd, 2007, 08:00
Category: News

An article on Engadget describes how the One Laptop Per Child project, headed by Nicholas Negroponte and the MIT Media Lab in collaboration with other organizations and vendors with the goal of creating a laptop that can be used by third world nations and purchased by governments, hopes to begin producing several million units around July.
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The computers, also known as the 2B1 and the XO-1 (previously the “$100 laptop”) will be manufactured by Quanta computer, will be handed over to kids for testing next month. The units include bleeding edge technologies such as improvements in battery conservation, mobile ad hoc networking which can make the most of limited Internet connection resources in a classroom and Flash drives instead of hard drives to be durable and thrive in third world education environments.
The units will function off a Fedora Core Linux operating system and be commercially available after production for about $225, a change from an original plan of only selling the laptops through government agencies.
If you have any comments, feedback or ideas about this, let us know.

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