The Apple Core: MacBook Pro benchmarks: launch times

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Date: Monday, March 6th, 2006, 08:00
Category: Software

The MacBook Pro is unquestionably faster than the PowerBook G4 it replaces, but exactly how much depends on how you use it. Apple sells the MacBook Pro as “up to four times the horsepower of the PowerBook G4” but that’s purely based on the SPECint and SPECfp benchmarks from Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation (SPEC). Apple’s benchmarks were compiled using the IBM compiler and a beta version of the Intel compiler for Mac OS.
But SPEC benchmarks don’t tell the whole story. I tested one aspect of the MacBook Pro’s speed that affects me daily and is a better barometer of real world performance: application launch times. I benchmarked the MacBook Pro (2.0GHz) against a PowerBook G4 (1.5GHz) while launching 14 (native and Rosetta) applications and here are the results…
Read the rest of the story on my ZDNet Blog: The Apple Core.


Security Update 2006-001, CVE-2006-0848, and the Architecture of Finder

Posted by:
Date: Monday, March 6th, 2006, 07:00
Category: Software

Mac OS X has been the target of a few of proof-of-concept attacks as of late and has addressed them rather quickly. Usually the security community tries to abide by a process of professional courtesy that involves disclosure, an advisory, and releasing the gory details post-patch.
Obviously you shouldn’t rely on the kindness of strangers when it comes to such things, since it should be clearly evident that in the IT world, nobody has to play fair.
But is the issue over and done with? Did Apple really solve the problem? 2006-001 mitigates only a possible method of exposure to the underlaying flaw, without actually addressing the issue. What is the issue? Metadata.
Read More…

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Firefox Universal Binary (Deer Park Alpha 2) Available

Posted by:
Date: Sunday, February 26th, 2006, 22:53
Category: Software

deerpark-icon.jpgEver since moving the MacBook Pro I’ve been on a quest to use only Universal Binary applications. Test builds of Firefox (code-named Deer Park) and Thunderbird are now available as universal binaries.

These are current rolling builds produced by a tinderbox directly from CVS with no additional patches. They contain all x86 and universal fixes and should be fully functional.
Firefox test build, equivalent to pre-
Thunderbird test build, equivalent to pre-


Clean out Your Garage With iSale

Posted by:
Date: Sunday, February 26th, 2006, 21:36
Category: Software

isale3.jpgIf you’re looking for an easy way to sell your used gear on eBay look no further than iSale. iSale is an authorized eBay client application that was a runner-up for an Apple Design Award application and it shows. The user interface is beautiful and intuitive even if you’ve never used it before.
The single best feature is that you can start using it right away with little learning curve. Start with one of iSale’s beautifully designed auction templates, add photos from your iPhoto library and even import descriptions from Amazon or eBay and post your auction in no time.
iSale features Google map integration allowing you to track your customers and even lets you host your images on dot-Mac to save money. Use iSale’s Dashboard Widget to keep up-to-date on your current auctions.
iSale version 3.0.4 is Universal Binary and adds new template designs and German and French localizations. The full versions costs US$40 and a three auction trial version is available from


Loopy Screensavers

Posted by:
Date: Sunday, February 19th, 2006, 16:56
Category: Software

Loops-Screen-Saver.jpgLOOPs are a collection of unique screensavers that loop real video. Unlike OpenGL or graphics, video brings an unique and emotional touch to your computer not available from other screensavers. The screensaver modules (like Disco, pictured) cost between US$1-3 each or can be purchased in bundles for US$7, US$10.50 or the whole lot for US$26.50.
My other current screensaver is the new RSS Visualizer that comes bundled with Mac OS 10.4 (Tiger). You can customize the RSS feed list by adding a Bookmark in Safari.


Merge? Replace? Again? Weird .Mac Problem Du Jour

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 16th, 2006, 10:48
Category: Software

I’m stumped.
dotMac Failing Emory.png
I have removed this computer from the .Mac system preferences pane, added it back. I told it to reset my information. Every time this workstation goes to .Mac to perform a sync, it asks me about my calendars. These same calendars sync to two other Macs via .Mac without incident.
There is nothing in dotmacsync.log that mentions the calendars.

2006-02-16 10:12:52 -0500|Info|Starting .Mac Sync Session for 'sempai'
2006-02-16 10:13:01 -0500|Info|The dataclass Keychains will not sync because the dataclass is disabled in the .Mac Preferences
2006-02-16 10:13:01 -0500|Info|No anchors or first sync for this dataclass - Full Syncing dataclass Mail Rules, Signatures, and Smart Mailboxes
2006-02-16 10:13:01 -0500|Info|The dataclass Mail Rules, Signatures, and Smart Mailboxes will not sync because it is not enabled in the .Mac Sync Preferences
2006-02-16 10:13:01 -0500|Info|No anchors or first sync for this dataclass - Full Syncing dataclass Mail Accounts
2006-02-16 10:13:01 -0500|Info|The dataclass Mail Accounts will not sync because it is not enabled in the .Mac Sync Preferences
2006-02-16 10:13:01 -0500|Info|Nothing to sync for this session - cancelling the sync
2006-02-16 10:13:01 -0500|Info|Ended .Mac Sync Session

Any ideas? Remember, I have removed this machine, added it back, done a reset, to no avail. I even did a “Backup” from iCal and AddressBook on known-good machines, then imported that backup to iCal and AddressBook on this machine. Still asks me to merge or replace.

iLife '06 Updated

Posted by:
Date: Thursday, February 16th, 2006, 08:08
Category: Software

ilife-06-updates.jpgApple has released a rash of updates to the iLife ’06 suite of applications via Software Update. As usual the PowerPage recommends waiting 72 hours before installing any update from Apple. (Anyone remember the iTunes MiniStore fiasco?)


Mac OS X 10.4.5 Released

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, February 15th, 2006, 09:00
Category: Software

10.4.5-screen-shot.jpgA new “dot release” of Mac OS X is available via software update:

The 10.4.5 Update is recommended for all users and includes general operating system fixes, as well as specific fixes for the following applications and technologies:
– iChat video conferencing
– Safari rendering of web pages
– usability of Dashboard and widgets
– viewing of QuickTime streaming media behind a firewall
– printing to some Epson printer models
– iDisk and Portable Home Directory syncing
– time zone and daylight savings for 2006 and 2007
– VPN connections to Cisco servers when using NAT
– compatibility with third party applications and devices
– previous standalone security updates
For detailed information on this Update, please visit this website:
For detailed information on Security Updates, please visit this website:


Why I Like NewsGator

Posted by:
Date: Wednesday, February 15th, 2006, 08:44
Category: Software

I’ve been using dozens of various RSS and Atom readers and aggregators lately. This is in no small part because it has been a requirement these days, and where I was once happy with NetNewswire Lite I have had to use various web-based, mobile, and even a few Windows (!!) readers.
Like many of you, I don’t have just one computer. I want to read my feeds on a Mac or two at home, a Mac at the office, a company-supplied Thinkpad, or my SE P910 smartphone. So it really doesn’t make any sense to use a desktop client unless I want to keep reading the same things over and over again.
So I’ve focused a lot on the web-based readers out there, and what follows is my short tale of discovery on what is out there, and why I like NewsGator Online so much.
Read More


US Government Shunning Mac users

Posted by:
Date: Monday, February 13th, 2006, 11:06
Category: Software

New Grant System Excludes Mac Users

“Uh, this would be the same government that spent a lot of time and money pursuing Microsoft for its anti-competitive behavior?” one blogger wrote. “And they now offer a government site that mandates monopoly?”

Contrast to the move that Massachusetts recently made to only use non-proprietary formats in state offices.
Sounds like a logical step for me, why should Government only be accessible to people who run Windows?
If you’re a Mac user in the United States, you should be giving hell over this. Tens of billions of dollars were spent, and apparently one of the goals was to require people to use Windows. There is no reason these days to not support standards that are cross-platform.
Some people will try to suggest that this is fine because there aren’t as many Macs deployed, but note this gem:

Critics note that in contrast to the domination of PCs in the business community, Macs constitute about one-third to one-half of the computers scientists and academicians use.

Ah, to know your target audience and shun half of your userbase. Thanks, guys.