Battery Drain 1.0 Released

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Date: Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007, 08:28
Category: Software

In the category of “hey, that could be interesting”, developer Scott Finney has released Battery Drain 1.0, a free utility designed to allow laptop users to drain their batteries to a specified amount in order to prepare them for long-term storage (Apple recommends a 50% charge prior to a few months of inactivity).
Once the specified charge has been reached, Battery Drain will shut down the computer and allow the user to store it safely. One alert reviewer has noted that laptop batteries will only hold their charge for a few months in storage, so while this might not be the ultimate catch-all solution, it should help in the shorter term.
Battery Drain is a 125 kilobyte download courtesy of MacUpdate and requires Mac OS X 10.4.2 or later to run.
If you’ve played with this and can provide feedback about it, let us know.


Apple/AT&T Contract Bans Apple’s Creation of CDMA Model iPhone

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Date: Wednesday, May 23rd, 2007, 07:35
Category: News

Despite being in a position to be one of the coolest technological releases of 2007, Apple’s iPhone, the contract between Apple and AT&T will change how the iPhone is developed. According to an article in USA Today, the contract created between the two companies provides AT&T with exclusive distribution rights of the iPhone for five years also bars Apple from developing a CDMA-network-compatible version of the device for this period of time.
The ban serves a strategic function in that is keeps AT&T customers from switching over to competitors Sprint or Verizon Wireless, which both use the CDMA network protocol. AT&T’s devices currently operate via the GSM network protocol.
AT&T currently claims about 62.2 million customers, whereas Verizon and Sprint claim 60.7 and 53.6 million customers, respectively.
Part of this was to definitely be expected and if you have any comments or ideas about this, let us know.


Apple Store Now Offering Refurbished Apple TV Units

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Date: Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007, 10:08
Category: News

The lads over at The Unofficial Apple Weblog have picked up on Apple’s recent addition of refurbished Apple TV units to the Apple Store.
The refurbished units are being sold for US$249 as opposed to the regular price of US$299 and include a year’s limited warranty, which can be upgraded to a three year warranty via a US$49 AppleCare protection plan.
Click here for full details and let us know what you think.


LightSnake iChat Headset Released

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Date: Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007, 08:41
Category: News

On Tuesday, SoundTech Professional Audio released its LightSnake iChat, a USB headset designed to work with voice and Voice Over Internet Protocol programs.
The LightSnake iChat features earbud-style headphones, a lapel clip with sound controls and a mic that can be positioned in front of a user’s mouth. A standard 1/8″ stereo plug allows the device to be connected to a regular set of headphones and the audio specifications are as follows:
-THD + N (-3dBr): -76.1 dB*SNR: 83.1 dB
-Dynamic Range: 81.6 dB
-Ear bud Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20 KHz
-Microphone Frequency R3sponse: 100Hz to 16 KHz
-Signal Input Range: 0 – 2.88 Vpp
-Signal Boost Gain: +20 dB
The LightSnake iChat is compatible with Mac OS 9.0.4 or later and retails for US$29.99.


Apple Posts MacBook/Pro Optical Drive Noise Samples

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Date: Tuesday, May 22nd, 2007, 08:08
Category: News

An article over at MacFixIt points out that Apple has posted a Knowledge Base article wherein the compay offers several sound clips as to noises a MacBook and MacBook Pro’s slot-loading optical drive can make. The clips cover activities such as waking from sleep, burning a disc, importing files into iTunes and insertion/ejection.
The Knowledge Base article offers a good basis of comparison between what noises your MacBook or MacBook Pro’s drive may be making and whatever you’re experiencing on your end. In the end, the drives are a little noisier than one might expect, especially given the activities they tend to go through.
Take a listen and if your laptop’s hard drive noises seem excessive, then it might be time to take the next step and take the unit in for AppleCare service.


2.0 GHz MacBook Benchmarks Posted

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Date: Monday, May 21st, 2007, 13:31
Category: Benchmark

The guys over at Mac|Life have recently posted a benchmark report on the new MacBook laptops released late last week.
The updated laptops went from 1.83 GHz to 2 Ghz and gained an additional two megabytes of L2 cache among other changes and the review pitted the older 2 GHz black MacBook against the newest revision.
While the speed boost from 1.83 GHz to 2.0 GHz may not be epic, the piece finds seconds shaved in programs like iMovie and Photoshop with a 22% speed boost in iPhoto.
Click over to see what you make of it and if you’ve gotten your hands on the newest MacBooks, tell us how they’re working out for you, especially when compared to the previous version.


Western Digital Releases Scorpio Notebook Drives

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Date: Monday, May 21st, 2007, 11:39
Category: News

On Monday, hard drive manufacturer Western Digital announced that the company has started shipping its 250 gigabyte Scorpio SATA drive for laptop systems.
According to Macworld News, the 2.5″ hard features a 12 millisecond seek time and spins at 5,400 RPM with a 1.5 gigabyte per second transfer rate and eight megabytes of cache built into the device. Additional bells and whistles include a ShockGuard firmware technology which works to protect the drive against bumps, an IntelliSeek feature which calculates the optimum seek speed of the read/write head actuator and a WhisperDrive feature designed to reduce noise and conserve power.
The drive also features perpendicular magnetic recording to stack data stored on the drive in a denser formation.
Western Digital is currently selling the Scorpio series in 40, 60, 80, 100, 120, 160, and 250 gigabyte capacities, the 250 gigabyte model retailing for US$199.99 while the other unit prices vary depending on capacity.


Apple Comes Under Legal Fire for Laptop Screens

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Date: Monday, May 21st, 2007, 09:06
Category: News

A class-action lawsuit being brought against Apple claims that the company’s current laptop displays are not capable of displaying millions of colors, despite Apple’s advertising claims.
The claim, according to an article over on Dailytech, states that Apple knowingly shipped displays that did not meet its original claims.
The document then goes on to point out that Apple’s glossy screen technologies, which are currently found on the MacBook laptop, offers users with deeper blacks and more vibrant white colors, but that many users experienced graininess and sparkling effects given the dithering technologies used in the units. A test cited within the document states that the dithering only occurs in the Mac OS X operating system software and that Windows XP users noticed a superior image quality where gradients were concerned.
In addition to being disappointed with their products, users also reported that they were chastised by Apple representatives and employees for appearing to be overtly picky about the quality of their displays. The complaint also illustrates the point that several customers posted messages on Apple’s web forums only to later find their posts altered or entirely removed by forum administrators.
For more information, take a look over at the Apple Core blog entry on this issue and if you have an opinion on this issue, we’d love to hear what you have to say.


QuickTime’s Understated Sidekick: Perian

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Date: Monday, May 21st, 2007, 08:23
Category: Software

Sometimes your friends open up a network port on their Macs and let you see some of what you’ve been missing. And no matter how savvy or cool you think you are with your shareware, workarounds and free programs, they demonstrate something that blows you away.
Recently, a friend showed me Perian, a set of open source QuickTime components that provide additional support for AVI, FLV, 3ivX, DivX, Sorenson H.263 and other video formats. The end result was QuickTime cleanly opening and working with file formats that had previously needed third party programs such as VLC to play back.
Perian 0.5 is a 944 kilobyte download courtesy of cachefly and requires Mac OS X 10.4 or later to run.
If you’re interested, give it a shot and let us know what you make of the experience.
Perian is free yet backed by donations and the development group accepts tips via Paypal. If you like what they’re doing, chip in a little bit and support the effort or take a look at the project’s wiki to learn how to become involved with development and testing.


Adium X Updated to Version 1.0.4

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Date: Monday, May 21st, 2007, 08:00
Category: Software

Adium, the free multiple-protocol chat client with support for environments such as AIM, ICQ, Jabber, MSN, Yahoo!, Google Talk and Novell Groupwise, has been updated to version 1.0.4 and includes bells and whistles such as tabbed messaging and encrypted chat modes for privacy.
The new version, a 13.2 megabyte download, adds the following fixes and changes:
-Fixed a crash introduced in 1.0.3 which could occur when accounts disconnected or status changed.
-Fixed a crash introduced in 1.0.3 which could occur after a chat is closed.
-Fixed group chat when message history is enabled.
-Fixed incorrect updating of icons in an active chat when a contact’s icon changes or your own icon changes.
-Properly upgrade OTR fingerprints and private keys made in Adium 1.0.2 and earlier (#6891).
-Fixed deletion of temporary images when they are no longer needed (#4711 and #6732).
-Fixed a crash when command-dragging the message window (#6873)/
-Improved chat transcript viewer performance after finishing transcript indexing.
-Added ability for external processes to communicate with Adium via Distributed Objects (connection name: @”com.adiumX.adiumX”).
-We now follow updates to the system time zone (#5383).
Adium requires Mac OS X 10.3.9 or later to run and is coded as a Universal Binary capable of running at native speeds on both PowerPC and Intel-based hardware.
If you’re tried the new version and have feedback about it either way, let us know.