News Archive for: Thursday Dec. 13, 2007 (Later added items first)
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Apple doc on Creating Custom Ringtones in GarageBand 4.1.1
In a follow-up to the GarageBand 4.1.1 update (see earlier post below) Apple has a new doc on How to create custom ringtones in GarageBand 4.1.1 for the iPhone. That doc also links to another one on How to create custom ringtones for your 3rd-party mobile phone with GarageBand '08 (aka GarageBand 4.x).
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Quicktime 7.3.1 Update (security fixes) for OS X Leopard, Tiger and Panther
Just showed up in Software update (appx 4PM eastern). Here's the info from the SU panel:
"QuickTime 7.3.1 addresses security issues.
This update is recommended for all QuickTime 7 users."

For details on the specific security fixes (3) see this new apple doc About the security content of QuickTime 7.3.1. (I think these are the 2 vulnerabilities I linked to in Tuesday's ONN.)
Update - Apple now has download pages for this update for OS X Panther, Tiger, Leopard and Windows.

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GarageBand 4.1.1 Update released
This also just appeared in Software Update (using the AL iMac) at appx 4PM Eastern. Here's the info from the SU panel:

"GarageBand 4.1.1 Update
This update improves overall stability and addresses issues with file export to iPhone. "

Update - Apple now has a download page with the GarageBand 4.1.1 updater. (FYI - see later post above for info on creating ringtones with GarageBand.)

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Problems with Passive Mic Headsets (Mac input is line level, not mic level)
I have to plead ignorance on this one as I've never tried a headset with a Mac but see below for replies (issue is macs have line level inputs, not mic level). There's been some reader notes on bluetooth headsets in the past but not wired types that I recall. I think most readers used USB headsets (or an iMic adapter) which is why this hasn't come up before (that I recall).

" Hi Mike, Sorry for the long delay in getting back to you. I have now had a chance to try three different headsets (Sennheizer, Logitech, and Plantronics) on four different Macs (new 24" iMac, 2 x 2.5Ghz PowerMac, 2.33Ghz 15" MBP, 2.4Ghz "Santa Rosa" 17" MBP) and the Audio Line-in port supports the external (headset) mic on NONE of them using the regular phone/mic mini-jacks under Leopard.

Two of these headsets (Sennheizer & Logitech) are dual interface, meaning they come with a USB dongle that the mini-jacks plug into. Using this dongle (USB input in other words) both headsets work with all the machines, so it's obviously NOT a hardware issue. (see below - it is a hardware issue as the mac's mic input is line level and therefore needs a mic preamp.)

I have read on the Apple Discussions forums that the mini-jack mic input is designed for active (amplified) microphone input only. To test this I plugged the headphone plug into the mic input and spoke loudly into the one of the earcups (speakers) of the headset and DID get the sound to register on one of the MBPs - I didn't repeat this on other machines but it gave credence to the "active mic" theory in that the output would be many times that of a passive mic.

This seems ridiculous to me. Theoretically it's true that "pros" will be using active mics to record, but anybody using a regular headset to use voice chat in World of Warcraft (as I want to do), other games, or to use VOIP is going to be very disappointed, and I would imagine are going to outnumber the "pros" recording directly to the Mac rather than going thru a sound mixer (which would have built-in output attenuation control) by thousands to one. So if this is the case, what is Apple thinking?

Of course with 2 of my 3 headsets I can get the USB input to work, but in WoW it's not easy, usually necessitating 2 game starts and a system reboot to accomplish (I'm not alone, others have said they have to go through the same hoops). Adding insult to injury all these devices work exactly as they should in WoW played on my Windows Vista laptop - one of the few things that do - whether input is via mini-jack or USB.

So there you have it. I'm curious if passive mini-jack mic input works on Tiger systems (all mine have been upgraded to Leopard); do any of your readers know? And is there any kind of a workaround or fix for this besides using the USB input or buying a microphone amplifier?
Thanks for your time,
-Tim L."

BTW - I just checked the owner's manual for the AL iMac and pg 25 notes the mic input is for "external powered microphones" so it's a hardware issue (line level input). Here's some replies that confirm that with notes on other options like USB models (which Tim said he has) or a Griffin iMic (which had been mentioned here before but I'd forgotten about it - in fact a couple months ago I collected the firmware update for the first model iMic ...)

" I had the same problem with a cheap pc gaming headset and my Mac Pro. I went with this USB one (Gigaware USB headset from Radio Shack) to get around the powered mic requirement.
It has worked great in Battlefield 2142. You do need to go to System Preferences > Sound and set the input and output the first time. Typically runs $30, but I have repeatedly found it on sale for $10 at the local radio shack here.
-Mike F."

" It's a microphone thing not a software thing. The "dongle" is essentially a mic preamp and an audio interface (sound card). All Mics. need a preamp to take them to a usable level (line level). Macs have a Line level in and not a Mic level in (preamp). Most PC sound cards have a mic level input meaning it does the amplification. Its probably the WORST mic pre on the planet but it does the job. The thought behind the line in on a Mac is out of the box quality recording NOT chatting through WoW. If there are software hoops it's because of software between the "dongle", which is the complete wrong word for it, and WoW.
Another solution would be to just use the built-in microphone on the Mac. (on some mac models, but not towers) Then he can just wear headphones.

" My brother has been playing WoW on the eMac for 2 years, and with (USB) headsets too (he was a GM of a guild). This is before the integrated voice chats that Blizzard incorporated into WoW after the more recent patch; he uses Ventrilo back then. I'm sure it will work fine with WoW's solution too as it does on any other app. He uses a standard Logitech headset... it also worked with another pair of some brand I don't remember.
The solution is only via USB iMic. Tiger won't make any difference, the passive line in port will not work, its designed to not work with passive microphones. iMic works fine without drivers, it's a wonderful product. You just have to choose iMic in Preferences > Sound > Input. Then it will stay like that, there shouldn't be any reconfiguring needed after the initial setup. iMic works fine in Leopard as my mom uses it to call Malaysia using VoipStunt and Fusion-enabled Windows XP.
Cheers!, Amin"
"I'm afraid Apple has been using line-in (as opposed to microphone-in) ports for a very long time. I know my MDD only had Line-In and didn't support any non-amplyfied Mics, as well as my beige G3, which required a special Apple Mic with a particularly long 3.5mm jack to get enough juice. Standard PC microphones haven't worked in Macs for ages, so it really isn't that much of a change. I agree that it's a pity and particularly annoying in the case of headsets, but that's how it is.
Griffin's iMic is a good way to solve the problem without driver problems and compatibility issues, though, as it offers line-in/mic-in in all in one device.
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Mac Battlefield 2142 Update 1.40 with Highway Tampa Released
I missed this yesterday (don't own the game though) but the EA Battlefield site posted Mac Battlefield 2142 Update 1.40 with Highway Tampa:

"Following an extensive conversion process, the final version of Battlefield 2142 Update 1.40 on Mac is now ready for download. This update includes the final version of Highway Tampa for Battlefield 2142, the new tank-fest map developed in co-operation with our partner Intel."

See the linked page for downloads of the updater and a complete list of the 1.40 changes/fixes.

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Epson Scanners w/OS X Leopard reports page updated
The Canon Scanners w/OS X Leopard (notes on support, alternative (Twain SANE) drivers) page was updated again this morning with notes on a G5 tower/Epson 2400 (and 3170, 4870) owner on using the (pre-10.5) twain driver in Photoshop OK and noted using the (older) v2.65A Epson Scan software (stand-alone) OK as well. (He never updated to 2.77A.)
Also added two more 2450 scanner user reports - one OK, the other not (the latter mentioned the scan utility version is listed as 2.73 although the download at Epson's site lists 2.77A).
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Issues with Missing Sync with OS X Leopard
(from a reader mail asking for help - updated with replies below)
" Sorry for the following long winded description.
I am having problems syncing iCal with my Palm and my iPod. It seemed to have started with the latest upgrade to missing sync. After upgrading my MBP would not sync any new calendar events with my palm. When i checked the conduit none of my calendars were checked. So i selected a few calendars it still would not sync and when re-checking the conduits again none of the calendars would be checked. I then tried deleting some old calendars in ICal and when i again checked the conduit and the old calendars were still listed (but none of these calendars will stay checked in the conduit).

I have requested help from the developer of the missing sync but they will not answer me. So my next step was to use my IPod but again my new calendar events wont sync. When i go into the setup in ITunes to select the calendars i want to sync the events wont sync and when i review the settings the calendars will be unchecked. Additionally the old deleted calendars still show up in itunes even though they are deleted in ICal.

Has anyone else had this problem, or have a guess on how to reset these sync features?
I am running OS 10.5.1 on a 17" MBP.
thanks, Rob "

I don't use missing sync (or a Palm) but if any readers have a suggestion/comment, let me know. Thanks. (Also sent him some general suggestions and a link to a recent apple doc on .Mac Sync, OS X 10.5: Calendar syncing issues)
Update: Here's some reader replies:

"FYI on the Missing Sync, only the betas will function even semi-properly on Leopard. Older versions should not be used.
However, we have a deeper problem, which is that iCal and Address Book are sometimes not connecting to the central SyncServices database (the Truth). Most often it's iCal, and symptoms are that no changes sync, categories may not show up in Missing Sync, etc. However, this affects anything that syncs with the Truth - dotMac, Entourage, and many other programs. Here's a thread where we nailed down 1 problem (of many) that exposed this.
- Joshua O."

" Check the Mark/Space website, specifically:
markspace forums - Missing Sync for Palm OS Beta (w/posts on OS X 10.5 sync issues)
(One of the issues listed with the non-beta version is not being able to sync events selectively)

" May not be relevant, but I'm using Missing Sync with a Blackberry. I was using Pocket Mac for Blackberry but never could get it working consistently.
Missing Sync works great with some caveats which are in the release notes. The one that hangs me all the time in syncing with iCal is when the wireless syncing is turned on on the Blackberry at which time I get errors and non-syncs for random appointments and events. Once wireless syncing is turned off all works without a hitch. Not sure if the Palm has a similar issue. Your reader did not say which iPod though if it's an iPod classic style iPod, I can't imagine why it's not just a copy to the device.
It's also fast compared to most other syncing software I've used.
-Mark G. "
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WD Scorpio 320GB SATA Notebook Drive
From a reader mail yesterday - missed it as Mail flagged it as junk.

" WD Scorpio 320GB 2.5" SATA
Western Digital's WEB store just emailed me to tell me that they have the new Scorpio 2.5" SATA 320GB 5400 rpm drive in stock for $199.99. I ordered one for my MacBook Pro. They have been out of stock for a long time. This is the only place I have been able to find this drive in stock and at this price. Here is the link they sent me
(Note - as of appx Noon eastern today it's shown "Out of Stock")
BTW - A drive upgrade database report on Nov. 20th from Scott S. mentioned he's using this drive in his MacBook Pro running 10.5.1 - he said it was "Quiet (if not as perfectly silent as the stock Fujitsu) and very fast. No driver issues of any kind". He said he paid a bit more last month ($210) as some PC parts dealers charge over list for new/scarce items.
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Other News/Articles, Misc. Software Updates
(Updated 6:30PM Thursday)

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Recent Articles and Reviews
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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