News Archive for: Tuesday July 10, 2007 (Later added items first)
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Apple posts doc w/Fix for 10.4.10 Firewire Audio Interface Problems
There's been a lot of Firewire Audio interface users that reported the device wasn't recognized properly after the 10.4.10 update and finally Apple has posted a doc on it with a 'solution':

" Mac OS X 10.4.10: No sound from some FireWire audio interfaces

Issue or symptom
After updating to Mac OS X 10.4.10, some FireWire audio interfaces may have no sound output.

Products affected:

  • Mac OS X 10.4.10
  • FireWire audio interfaces

To resolve this issue, install the FireWire SDK 24 for Mac OS X from the Development Kits page.

Note: This download requires an Apple Developers Connection (ADC) account. If you are not an ADC member, you can create an account at no charge.

This document will be updated as more information becomes available."

One reader's previous workaround was reinstalling 10.4.9 fw audio driver using Pacifist (worked twice he said) but someone else with the same FW interface said that didn't work for him BUT that reader later said even a clean 10.4.9 reinstall didn't help - nor did the Apple SDK fix above, so I asked he test the FW device with another Mac.

Apple also has a new doc on Safari 3 Public Beta: Unexpectedly quits when opened in Mac OS X 10.4 which suggests deleting the Safari History.plist file from ~/Library/Safari/.

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Price cuts on Mercury Elite-AL FW800/400/USB2 RAID drives
(from site sponsor OWC)

" New Pricing up to $80 lower on OWC Mercury Elite-AL FireWire 800/400+USB2 RAID Solutions - 1.0TB now $349.99!
OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro RAID FireWire 800/400+USB2 storage solutions utilize the latest Oxford 924 chipset and the best SATA II Hard Drive mechanisms to provide superior reliability and performance. These solutions are fully backed with a 2 Year Full Solution Warranty + up to an additional 3 years warranty covering the HD mechanisms used inside. Quality, Performance, Reliability. Currently available with up to 2.0TB (2000GB) of capacity, Elite-AL Pro RAID is a sleek and compact Aluminum design of only 9.0" Long x 2.8" Wide x 5.8" High. These Elites are Fully A/V Certified as well as EMC Retrospect Backup Certified for all your Audio/Video, Backup, Graphics, Music, General Data needs and more! With 2 x FW800 Ports, 1 x FW400 Port, 1 x USB 2.0/1.1 Port units are fully Bootable and provide excellent access flexibility to stored data based via whatever interface choice(s) are available on systems solution may be connected to.

Current OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro FW800/400+USB2 RAID prices:

  • 320GB with 16MB of Data Buffer now $239.99 ($10 Drop)
  • 500GB with 32MB of Data Buffer remains $279.99
  • 600GB with 32MB of Data Buffer Remains on Special for $275
  • 640GB with 32MB of Data Buffer remains $289.99
  • 800GB with 32MB of Data Buffer now $329.99 ($20 Drop)
  • 1.0TB with 32MB of Data Buffer now $349.99 ($50 reduction)
  • 1.5TB with 32MB of Data Buffer now $599.99 ($80 reduction)
  • 2.0TB with 64MB of Data Buffer now $1049.99 ($10 reduction)

    OWC Mercury Elite-AL Pro RAID FireWire 800/400+USB2 solutions are backed by an industry leading 2 Year OWC Solution Warranty + up to an additional 3 years warranty (for a total of 5 years) on the partner hard drive mechanisms inside our first rate solutions!

    Solutions all include the full retail version of Prosoft DataBackup III ($59 retail value) for OS X and NovaStor NovaBackup ($49 retail value) for Windows. Also included in the complete Intech HD Speedtools performance utility suite. You don't need to use any of these applications, but they're great to have when you need them and are EMC Backup Certified. Includes all cables (FireWire 800, FireWire 400, USB) and 2 Year+ Warranty as noted above.
    Ground delivery within the 48 Continental states is $2.95 for any of the above solutions. 2nd Day Air delivery also available for $7.95 or less.

    Also Available - Build your Own: Elite-Pro RAID Oxford924 800/400+USB2 RAID Enclosure Kit for $119.99. Includes FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB2 Connecting cables and 1 Year OWC Warranty. User configurable for different RAID and non-RAID modes."

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    Reminder on Tip for G4 Tower Power-Up problems
    (from a recent reader mail)

    "450 dual Mac G4 was running OSX. Bought new in 2000. Replaced first power supply in 2004 when running OS9.1. Just crashed in April 07 and guess what, new power supply needed again. However, repairman still hasn't got it working-says it could be motherboard...
    -Nancy "

    Two power supplies failing sounds suspicious to me - and after the comment that the latest swap still didn't help I suggested she try resetting the PMU. I have seen (many times) the problem where a G4 tower will not power up (in some cases the power button never lights either when pressed). It could be something more serious, but first try a PMU reset - with AC power cord disconnected press (firmly/completely) the reset button on the motherboard (next to the battery typically). Make sure you fully press the button down until it bottoms out (recessed button so it's easy to not get it fully depressed - using a toothpick (big end) may help ensure this.)
    I've 'fixed' many G4 towers that would not power up or had flaky power related issues (or freezing) by resetting the PMU. Some shops will just 'shotgun' repairs by replacing a PS, or logic board, CPU, etc. Again resets are not always a cure, but it's certainly something to try before paying for expensive repairs.
    (And BTW - if you do need major parts replaced, Apple's list prices for major components are often very high - too high to be practical on most older Macs IMHO. You can often find a complete working system for -much- less than a 'dealer repair' job. You can find motherboards, PSs, CPU modules, etc. used also but I've seen people part out an older Tower for more than they were selling for complete on ebay. Granted buying used is a risk, but you may find a later/faster model (or parts from similar systems) for a fraction of the cost of major component replacement parts from a dealer.)

    BTW - a reader that bought a "dead" Quicksilver for cheap wrote:

    " Just reading about the G4 with a supposedly dead PSU. I purchased a "dead" G4 Quicksilver really cheap about 18 months ago, and was told the PSU was dead and would cost upwards of $200 to repair.

    I removed the NVidia graphics card and memory, etc, refitted the memory and an ATI graphics card, hit the reset button and the machine powered-up.
    The QS is still running some 18 months on.
    -S. "

    Of course that's not always the problem but in the last 5 years or so I've seen dozens of G4 towers that failed to power on/power up fixed by this (if done properly - the last time I 'fixed' one of these even I failed to fully press the button down initially.)

    Some early G4 towers had a problem with the front control panel board burning out. (You can squeeze the sides of the metal box behind the front cover to remove it and check to see if you notice any burned IC - the failed units often showed visible damage to the chip IIRC.)
    While in there with a system that old, also check the motherboard battery. (Weak batteries can lead to corrupted nvram contents, etc.) If you have a meter, check the voltage of the battery in the socket (under load) - it's a 3.6V Lithium battery and if it checks low, replace it. (Apple lists 3.3V as min acceptable IIRC). These batteries are sold online (OWC has them also) and at most Radio Shack, Batteries Plus, etc. but brick and mortar stores usually sell them for 2x the cost of places like OWC.

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    ATIcellerator II feedback page updated
    The latest update to the ATIcellerator II feedback page is from a G5 tower owner that mentioned he recently had to downclock his OEM 9800XT card's memory to eliminate artifacts seen in 3D games. I suggested he check to see if any dust is clogging the card's cooler/heatsink fins. If clogged, it also affects cooling/airflow over of the 9800XT's vram, as that cooler design has a fan cover/shroud over the vram. And while in there, also check that the cooler/heatsink(s) are still secured/tight, fan working properly, etc. (A Mac Pro owner recently wrote about Dust Clogging the X1900 XT's Heatsink Fins, causing artifacts in 3D games even when run at the stock clock speeds.)
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    OpenArena Update (free Q3 engine game)
    Missed it previously but there's a recent update to OpenArena, a free stand-alone game based on the Q3 engine. (You do not need Quake III Arena to play this game.) Downloads for OS X, Windows and Linux are there (it's a big download - 250MB+)
      Version 0.7:
      This is our biggest release ever, to state the obvious :)
      Significant Changes:
      - 10 new player models
      - 26 new maps
      - ce1m7, oa_bases3, dm4ish, dm6ish, and cbctf1 also had several changes
      - Bloom (activated by r_bloom 1)
      - New announcer voice
      - New gibs
      - Quake's DM maps converted, from dm1 to dm7
      - uses ioquake3 revision 1107
      - more menu graphics, i.e. the player model button is actually there!
      - lots of other stuff like redone sounds and textures
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    Other News/Misc. Software Updates
    (Updated 3:45PM)

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