O'Grady's PowerPage » Chris Barylick

USB 3.0 Specification to be Ready in June

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 10th, 2009, 13:03
Category: News

Agilent Technologies, Inc., stated at a conference in Tokyo today that it would have a test-ready version of the USB 3.0 specification ready in June. The time frame should provide computer and component makers with a reference point for building hardware that can be checked for compatibility in the second half of the year. Final USB 3-capable computers and peripherals should be ready by 2010.
According to Tech-On, the USB 3.0 spec should increase bandwidth to 5 Gbps as well as simultaneously reduce the average power consumption while increasing the power output for hard drives and other devices that would otherwise require an AC adapter.
As always, let us know what’s on your mind over in the comments or forums.


Rumor: Apple May be Building Netbook

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 10th, 2009, 09:09
Category: Rumor

Despite its public comments regarding the issue, Apple may in fact be working on a netbook which could be released sometime this year.
According to the DigiTimes newspaper, Apple has ordered displays from a well-known touch-panel supplier for use with such a system sometime in 2009.
According to the report, Taiwan-based Wintek will start shipping the panels to the Cupertino-based Mac maker sometime during the third quarter of the year for an official launch at an unknown date.
“Wintek revealed that it is currently working with Apple to develop some new products, but it said it does not know what applications the new products are for,” the DigiTimes report said. “Wintek added that no shipment schedule has been worked out yet, but shipments are likely to begin in the second half of the year.”
In the original report, the Commercial Times stated that Quanta Computer would be responsible for assembling the netbooks.
Such a move would appear to be contradictory to comments made by Apple executives, who in recent months, hav downplayed the market for stripped down, sub-US$600 notebooks.
“As we look at the netbook category, that’s a nascent category,” Apple chief executive Steve Jobs said last fall. “As best as we can tell, there’s not a lot of them being sold.”
Other criticisms have gone on record from Apple chief operating office Tim Cook, who noted that netbooks are “principally based on hardware that’s much less powerful than we think customers want, software technology that is not good, cramped keyboards, small displays.”
“We don’t think people will be pleased with those products,” he added. “It’s a category we watch, we’ve got some ideas here, but right now we think the products are inferior and will not provide an experience to customers they’re happy with.”
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments or forums.


Japanese Developing Headphones Which Could Allow iPod to be Controlled by Facial Movements

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, March 10th, 2009, 08:58
Category: iPod

iPod users may soon be able to adjust the volume of a song or flip between tracks via a motion of their head according to Macworld UK.
Per the article, Japanese researchers have developed a pair of headphones that use infrared sensors to interpret facial movements as a way of controlling a digital audio player.
“An iPod can start or stop music when the wearer sticks his tongue out, like in the famous Einstein picture.
If he opens his eyes wide, the machine skips to the next tune. A wink with the right eye makes it go back,” Kazuhiro Taniguchi from Osaka University’s Graduate School of Engineering Science told news agency AFP.
The headphones might be able to monitor the user’s mood and play a track to correspond with how the user is feeling at any given moment.
“It monitors natural movements of the face in everyday life and accumulates data. If it judges that you aren’t smiling enough, it may play a cheerful song.”
It is thought the headphones will be patented in Japan before being made available to the public in the next few years.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and let us know what you think in the comments or forums.


Apple Releases Second Mac OS X 10.5.7 Beta

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 9th, 2009, 10:09
Category: Software

Apple appears to be close to getting its Mac OS X 10.5.7 maintenance update out the door as the company issued a new build of the update this weekend. According to AppleInsider, Apple released build 9J22 to third-party developers recently. The build apparently contains nearly six dozen code corrections, a barebones weight of 440 megabytes, and requests that developers focus their testing efforts on over 20 core components, including AirPort, Mail, graphics drivers, and Time Machine.
Per sources close to the story, Apple has directed a significant focus on addressing syncing issues that have plagued many of Leopard’s standard, forward-facing apps, such as as Mail, AddressBook, and system preferences.
Interestingly enough, Mac OS X 10.5.7 has been publicly mentioned on Apple’s online store as being a prerequisite for use with ATI’s Radeon HD 4870 Graphics Upgrade Kit for owners of previous generation Mac Pros. After the blunder was widely reported, Apple changed the page to indicate that the card required 10.5.6, which is actually the case for the recently-refreshed Mac Pro, which will ship with a custom milestone of 10.5.6 that includes the appropriate driver support.
However, given that standalone orders for the US$349 card are not expected to ship for another five to seven weeks, its likely the original requirements on the page were accurate and that Mac OS X 10.5.7 will be released within that same time frame.
As of Saturday, it was reported that build 9J27 had been distributed and included 10 new bug fixes targeting FileVault, Time Capsule, preference panes for Print & Fax and MobileMe, iCal sync, and more.
Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and if you’ve had a chance to play with the 10.5.7 builds, please let us know in the comments or forums.


Adobe Releases Lightroom 2.3 Update

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 9th, 2009, 10:11
Category: Software

On Thursday, Adobe released Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.3, the newest version of its professional-grade image editing program and Adobe’s first application to support 64-bit processing.
The new version, a 67 megabyte download (courtesy of VersionTracker), adds the following fixes and changes:

  • Additional camera support for the Nikon D3X and Olympus E-30
  • Slideshows could return to the first image randomly during playback.
  • A memory leak could cause Lightroom to crash while attempting to process files with local adjustments.
  • Canon EOS 5D Mk II sRAW files could process with artifacts in Lightroom 2.2.
  • Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2.3 retails for US$299 and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
    If you’ve tried the new version, let us know what you think of it over in the comments or forums.


    Cydia Opens Unauthorized iPhone Application Store

    Posted by:
    Date: Monday, March 9th, 2009, 06:07
    Category: Legal

    Though the App Store provides some incredibly fun and useful stuff, there are still some iPhone and iPod touch applications that can’t be acquired through this end. Applications like Cycorder, which lets you use your iPhone as a camcorder or PdaNet, which allows users to use the iPhone’s cellular data connection on their computer via a Wi-Fi connection, may never see the light of day via Apple’s online retail channel for the handset and according to Wall Street Journal, have been available through Cydia, a software installer developed by 27-year-old California graduate student Jay Freeman.
    Starting today, Cydia will be opening its own app store, providing a way those jailbreak developers to easily sell their applications.
    Freeman has stated that Cydia “intends to charge developers no more than the commission Apple does for his site’s billing services.” The paper reported that two more rival app stores are also underway, including one interested in “selling adult games for the iPhone.”
    Though this seems like these App Store rivals may need to have their lawyers on speed dial, many technology law scholars have said that an Apple legal victory isn’t necessarily a given, as this qualifies as uncharted legal territory.
    “Courts have said you shouldn’t use the DMCA to leverage your copyright monopoly into other markets,” said Susan Crawford, a professor at the University of Michigan Law School, who said that federal courts ruled that previous DMCA-related cases were less about preventing copyright infringement, but rather about stifling competition.
    Last December, the EFF proposed an exemption to the DMCA that would legalize jailbreaking. In response, Apple filed their opposition to the proposal in February arguing that it could lead to problems with the iPhone’s security and reliability, as well as providing a potential venue for pirated iPhone applications.
    Many tech law experts still say that the jailbreakers might actually have a viable defense. While jailbreaking and unlocking are not the same process, the iPhone unlocking process requires jailbreaking, so it seems likely that the same legal reasoning to defend against unlocking might hold.
    Either way, Cydia’s Freeman has stated that he’s ready for the impending legal challenges to come…
    If you have two cents to throw in on this, please let us know in the comments or forums.


    Users Report Additional Graphics Issues with 17″ Unibody MacBook Pro

    Posted by:
    Date: Friday, March 6th, 2009, 09:53
    Category: MacBook Pro

    As nifty as the new 17″ unibody MacBook Pro happens to be, a combined Apple/NVIDIA firmware update may be necessary. According to Engadget, a number of users on the Apple Discussions board have cited serious issues with the GeForce 9600M graphics card installed in the notebook. A GeForce 9400M card is also found in the notebook as well, but complaints cite that the random green lines and nasty artifacts appear only when the more potent card is kicked into action.
    Most folks have stated that a reboot solves the problem momentarily, but eventually the issue returns to haunt them.
    Stay tuned for additional details as they become available and please let us know if you’ve seen this problem on your end in the comments or forums.


    iFixIt Offers New Mac Mini First Look Guide, Guide to Adding Second Internal Hard Drive and 1 TB Upgrade Kit

    Posted by:
    Date: Friday, March 6th, 2009, 08:45
    Category: Mac Desktop

    Computer outfitter iFixIt has released a slew of new items in the wake of Apple’s recent Mac mini refresh. First, the company’s First Look guide has been rewritten to include the following highlights:

  • Both the hard drive and RAM are easily upgradeable once you remove the upper case.
  • The processor is now soldered to the logic board. Those people who had grown accustomed to upgrading mini processors will be greatly disappointed by this.
  • As usual for the mini, a putty knife is required to disassemble it.
  • The SuperDrive used in the new Mac mini is finally SATA, as in the new iMacs and MacBooks.
  • If you install 2GB RAM in a $599 low-end mini, it recognizes and uses 256 MB of video memory.
  • (more…)

    Apple Releases Time Capsule & AirPort Extreme 7.4.1 Firmware Update

    Posted by:
    Date: Friday, March 6th, 2009, 08:37
    Category: wireless

    Late Thursday night, Apple leased version 7.4.1 of its firmware for its 802.11n-based AirPort Extreme and Time Capsule routers. The revised firmware, which can be downloaded either via Mac OS X’s built-in Software Update application or the update application within the AirPort Utility program makes the following fixes and changes:

  • Resolves an issue in which a client computer may be disconnected when waking from sleep.
  • Addresses an issue in which redirecting SMTP port services may disable IP-layer networking.
  • Improves the reliability of Back to My Mac-based disk sharing.
  • Includes recent AirPort security updates.
  • For AirPort Extreme with 802.11n (Fast Ethernet), AirPort Extreme with 802.11n (Gigabit Ethernet), AirPort Express with 802.11n, and original Time Capsule models, the firmware 7.4.1 update:

  • Enables remote administration and remote access to compatible USB connected drives via Back to My Mac (except on AirPort Express).
  • Improves reliability when backing up to a Time Capsule via Time Machine.
  • Includes recent AirPort security updates.
  • The update requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to install and run.
    If you’ve tried the updates and noticed any major changes, let us know in the comments or forums.


    Cocktail 4.3 Tiger Edition Released

    Posted by:
    Date: Thursday, March 5th, 2009, 15:37
    Category: Software

    On Thursday, shareware developer Maintain released version 4.3 of Cocktail (Tiger Edition), Cocktail, the popular shareware utility program that allows for additional Mac OS X system tests.
    The new version, a 2.0 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:

  • Added ability to clear potentially harmful files such as most common trojans, worms or other files that may harm your system in any way.
  • Added ability to clear CrashReporter and HungReporter logs.
  • Addresses an issue in which Cocktail may stop responding during a scheduled clearing of caches.
  • Fixed compatibility issues with QuickTime 7.6.
  • Updated Automator actions.
  • Updated Help files.
  • Cocktail 4.3 retails for a US$14.95 shareware registration fee and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.
    If you’ve tried the new version and have any kind of feedback about it, let us know in the comments or forums.