News Archive for: Thursday, March 16th, 2006 (later posted items first)
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Apple releases OS X Security Update 2006-002 v1.1 for 10.4.5
(Update - Apple now has a kbase doc explaining why there was a 'version 1.1' of this update - see Safari: Blank icon after installing Security Update 2006-002 v1.0 - if you moved Safari from the default location. Original news item follows.)

Apple has a revised "version 1.1" of the recent OS X Security Update 2006-002 for 10.4.5 available now via Software update (but see note below) or at the download pages below. (The description is the same as the original release on Monday and I didn't see any v1.1 of the update for 10.3.9 as I'm typing this.)

Note: I applied the original 2006-002 update release for 10.3.9 on Monday when I posted it here, but didn't update the system here with 10.4.5 as it hasn't been turned on in a week or more. A reader that did apply the original 10.4.5 version of the 2006-002 update on Monday said v1.1 does not appear on that system, so it may be just an installer change, but there's no info on what v1.1 of the 10.4.5 update revised on the Apple download page tonight.

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Windows XP on Intel Mac Info/Boot Loader Software Download
The Windows XP on Intel Mac contest page now links to a download page for "Windows XP on the Intel Mac version 0.1" software and info. (boot loader I assume). I don't own an Intel CPU Mac but if any readers that do try this let me know how it goes. Thanks!
Update - a reader tonight said "Working here, 17in iMac, testing on a MacBook Pro tomorrow." (name withheld by request.) - also see Friday's news for a MacBook Pro owner Notes/Pix, benchmarks of Running Windows XP
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Intel CPU iMac 20in owner notes/Apple doc on Display Ghosting
(Updated again at 5PM ET with more replies)

"I'd like to talk to you about a problem with the iMac 20" Core Duo display which seems to be plagued by terrific (he means slow) response time. When moving windows on the screen, it is very easy to see ghosting effects (I'm sorry if the term is not correct, I'm french - anyway, you'll understand what I'm talking about when you'll do the tests) that are nowhere to be seen on the iMac 20" G5 display or on a 20" Cinema Display screen. (he sent a screenshot of the problem but it's too large to post here)
The picture comes from a video I've made of my screenn while moving a window (of a custom app). The green bars I've indicated with arrows are NOT due to the video : they actually exists on the screen and are probably due to a very poor response time.

You can also witness them in nearly every application but I've developed an application that highlights the problem: (Updated)
(Note: I understand readers are going to be leery of running an unknown app - wouldn't just moving windows around show the same thing?-Mike)
Well, it's very noticeable with window that have the standard Cocoa pattern - the pattern that you can see above the text zone in Mail, the thin light alternate pattern. Today, fewer and fewer apps use this pattern...that's why i made the app.
BUT : it is also very noticeable with light blue background, like the source area on iTunes :
- Open iTunes
- Select the last source of the list
- Resize the window so that you can move it easily
- Move the window and look at the highlighted source (and generaly the sources area). You should see light green trails around the highlighted source but also around the name of the other sources.

Just launch the download app and move the dark gray bar on the right and the left. You should see white trails following the bar as it is moved. You can also select the bar on the center of the window and move the window : you should see white trails around the bar AND the edges of the window.

I've witnessed the problem on every iMac (6) I've tested and it is also witnessed by a lot of people around me. It is beginning to be talked a lot in the french Macintosh forums but I've yet to see an american site talk about it.

Apple seems to know the problem, but as you can see, they minimize it and pretend it only appears on the MacOS X setup assistant (which is obviously false):
("Mac 20-inch (Early 2006): Trailing white shadow effect during setup assistant" - Apple's doc says:)

    "Some 20-inch iMac (Early 2006) computers may exhibit a white trailing effect on the display during the setup assistant when transitioning from one screen to the next. This issue only occurs during the setup assistant. It does not indicate a hardware failure and does not require service."

Could you please post a news about this problem?
Thanks, Eric"

If any other readers have noticed this (or not) in general use (other than the Setup Assistant), let me know. Thanks.
Update - here's some initial replies (most recent first):

"We have four 20" iMacs (Intel) here and have not seen that effect. Downloading the app and moving the bar from side to side did not show it either.
The 4 iMacs were ordered at different times.YŌ 1 right after the announcement.
-Anthony M."

" I recently replaced the wife's aging G4 "digital audio" with a 20" Intel iMac and I've not seen any sign of ghosting on any application. All Quartz actions are much faster than I've ever seen them before with no sign of ghosting.
-Barry "

" Mike, I tried the example program linked on your page today on my 2GHz Intel CoreDuo iMac 20" w/256MB VRAM and found not the slightest evidence of ghosting. I've not seen this phenomenon on my machine in any form, Setup Assistant or otherwise - all graphics are incredibly responsive. (Apple said "some" samples will show it, maybe it's only seen with a specific mfr's LCD panel as Apple sometimes uses more than one source - just a guess.-Mike)
(ASP Info) Hardware Overview:
Machine Name: iMac:
Machine Model: iMac4,1:
CPU Type: Intel Core Duo:
Number Of Cores: 2:
CPU Speed: 2 GHz:
L2 Cache (shared): 2 MB:
Memory: 2 GB:
Bus Speed: 667 MHz:
Boot ROM Version: IM41.0039.B00:
Serial Number: W86060NZU2S:
SMC Version: 1.1f2:
ATI Radeon X1600
Chipset Model: ATY,RadeonX1600
Type: Display
Bus: PCIe
VRAM (Total): 256 MB
Vendor: ATI (0x1002)
Device ID: 0x71c5
Revision ID: 0x0000
EFI Driver Version: 01.00.063
Display Type: LCD
Resolution: 1680 x 1050
Depth: 32-bit Color
Built-In: Yes
Core Image: Supported
Main Display: Yes
Mirror: Off
Online: Yes
Quartz Extreme: Supported
Status: No display connected

Cheers, Pete "

BTW - Eric wrote all the iMacs he saw with the problem have S/Ns that end in "P" and Pete's ends in an "S" - he wonders if that means anything. (I don't know what the last letter denotes - US vs EU model? no idea. I'd doubt it denotes the LCD panel mfr although S for Samsung comes to mind. I really doubt that is what it stands for though. Although it didn't show me what the last letter means, Oliver sent links to a When was your Mac born page and online Mac S/N Decoder.)

" Hello Mike! I own an iMac Intel 20" and the screen is as good if not better than my ALU Cinema Display 20". The ghosting is minimal (much better than my mom's Samsung 193 P+)...
Samo from Slovenia "

This mail wasn't from an iMac user but commented on ghosting:

" I set up an Apple 23" Display on a new PM Quad. I witnessed the same exact "ghosting" during initial setup. But after maybe 10 minutes of usage, the "ghosting" disappeared altogether and I was testing 1080P video from Apple's Quicktime HD web pages. It appears to be some sort of "warm up" issue, at least on the 23" display.
I have to say that this new 23" LCD was super bright, so much so that I turned the brightness down to ~35%. I don't remember the 23" being so bright. I wonder if Apple has silently upgraded their displays, using similar panels and brightness found in the newer iMacs? Anyway, the "ghosting" seems to have gone away altogether.
Best, Jack Z. "

Most 24in Dell LCD's i've seen also were very bright - almost washed out. (turning down brightness and most importantly changing the monitor profile helped - gamma defaulted to 2.2 or 2.3 IIRC, setting it to 1.8 made a big improvement.)

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Mercury Pro Pioneer DVR-111 based Firewire/USB 2.0 DVD/CD burners
Sponsor OWC sent a press release on their updated OWC Mercury Pro FireWire/USB2 Dual-Layer DVD & CD Burners using the new Pioneer DVR-111 (16X DVD, 8X Dual Layer DVD, and 40X CD Max rated burn speeds) that also supports DVD-RAM. (The previous DVR-110 model also supported DVD-RAM, although the 110D didn't unless cross-flashed with 110 firmware.)
Their external drives come with NTI Dragonburn, EMC/Dantz Retrospect Express Backup, media (5 DVD/25 CDR discs), connecting cables and a 1-year warranty.
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More New iMac owner comments on Unresponsive Keyboard
Yesterday in comments on the Mac WoW performance page, an Intel Core Duo iMac owner mentioned sometimes it seems like the system stops taking input from the keyboard (and he'd disconnect/reconnect it as a workaround). Another reader replied he'd seen the same thing although other new iMac owners that have written hadn't mention the problem before (including other Intel iMac WoW users)

" I just noticed a post where an iMac user complained of the keyboard is not always responding. I am getting the same thing...
My new (Intel CPU) iMac is a 20" 2.0GHz, 2Gig Ram... only thing on it is WOW and iLife '06.
I ALWAYS have to (once or twice) a day unplug the keyboard and plug it back in.
(Since other Intel iMac owners didn't mention it, I'd try a different keyboard as a test. (And I wonder if Activity Monitor or the system's logs would show anything useful on this.) He later replied:)
Doesn't matter what keyboard I use (Apple).,.. I've got a 2.3Ghz Dual Core G5 Tower whose keyboard does the same thing.
And it's directly connected.
No other peripherals hooked up, Just keyboard and mouse.
Also the volume keys stop working after a while. Fortunately, the little remote still works for adjusting the volume.
Mouse is a Lopgitech Trackman, but the apple mouse did it as well.
ARGH! :)
(I asked if he was using any Logitech software.-Mike)
Nope. The ONLY software on there is Apple's software, and world of warcraft, and Onyx...
Oh, and remote desktop... (microsoft connection client)... and Various widgets...
I'm attaching my system profiler report so you can see

-Richard H"

Since not every Intel CPU iMac owner previously reported this problem I'd be tempted to try removing all addons, 3rd party widgets, etc. as a test - but another reader replied to this post that he also has seen this problem occasionally.

" Add me to the list. Intel iMac 1.83GHz, plain vanilla OS X install, no other third party hardware. I'm using the stock Apple Keyboard and Mighty Mouse, and I too get this intermittent keyboard freeze.
The mouse and remote both work fine, and a quick unplug/plug takes care of the problem. It's an annoying but thankfully rare problem.
-David B. "

If I had this problem on a vanilla system (no 3rd party addons, etc.) I'd call Apple support to report it. If enough do maybe they can look into what is causing this. And after another report later tonight from a new iMac owner that he's had this problem a few times, I think this is more common than I originally thought.
Another new iMac owner also wrote about keyboard problems but he was connecting it via a hub:

" I have the 20" Intel iMac (2GB RAM/256MB video RAM), and have had problems with keyboard/mouse freezing. As mentioned, the temporary solution was to disconnect/reconnect.
The keyboard was connected to an old Keyspan 4-port USB 1.1 hub (powered). Once, when disconnecting the hub from the computer didn't work, I tried just disconnecting/ reconnecting the keyboard at the hub. That worked. From that I figured the hub might be the problem.
I purchased a new powered Belkin Hi-Speed USB 2.0 7-Port Hub (F5U237), and have not had any keyboard/mouse freezes since.
(a powered hub was also a fix for a couple of readers w/PB G4s and USB iPod sync/transfer problems) The old hub may have been underpowered or the board was an older spec that was having compatibility problems, or maybe just wearing out...I don't know. But the new hub did the trick.

I never had any system slowing from that. I did/do have problems with the "rcd not responding" problem with Front Row, causing extreme system sluggishness, even after the Front Row update (though less). The solution is to always start Front Row from the keyboard (Command- Escape).

(I asked Rick if he'd ever seen the keyboard problem with it directly connected (no hub)-Mike)
During the short period of time when I was prepping the new iMac for daily use I didn't have any problems like that. I never used it long enough connected directly to have it crop's possible it might not have happened at all if I'd worked on it that way for a long stretches. The unresponsive keyboard/mouse would generally happen only once or twice a day once I was using it daily.
-Rick "

See below for a Mini owner's notes on keyboard via Hub use causing a performance hit.

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Notes on High CPU usage w/Keyboard connected via Hub
A mail yesterday from a Mini owner mentioned high CPU usage that he said was due to connecting his USB keyboard through a Hub:

" High CPU Utilization in kernel_task
I recently noticed kernel_task consistently taking up to 50% CPU utilization or more. Various items such as the dock were responding very slow. The symptoms showed on OS X 10.4 and 10.4.5 (don't know about versions in-between since I only checked while re-installing OS X).

In troubleshooting this issue, I discovered that connecting my USB keyboard (Microsoft Natural Keyboard) to my Mac Mini through a USB hub was the culprit. I found the same issue with both a Belkin powered USB 2.0 7-Port hub and also a non-powered Belkin USB 2.0 "Thumb Hub".

Removing the hub from between the keyboard and the USB port on the mini took the load back down to 1-2%. All other USB devices connected to the hub (CD Burner, iPod, printer, camera) cause no issues.

Considering the limited number of USB ports on the mac mini, (but Intel Mini has 4 now), there may be other people who have keyboards attached via a hub to their Mac mini. If others could note if they also see this issue, it may point to a 'best practice' that could bring back some responsiveness to folks who suddenly found their systems slower after making a usb cabling change. It may also point to other devices, besides keyboards, that have the same issue if connected through a hub to the Mac mini.
Michael "

If anyone else has seen this let me know.

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Macromedia Flash Player Update to Address Security Vulnerabilities
Dale sent a note that there's a security bulletin (dated Mar. 14th) that mentions "Critical vulnerabilities" in their Flash Player and recommends getting the updated ( player at their downloads page.
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Other Net News/Misc. Software Updates
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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 1 new report (entries later today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 10,221. Here's a summary of the reports added (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Sonnet G4 Dual 1.8GHz (7447A) in (Quicksilver) G4/AGP (rated 8)

    (Full reviews of G4 and G3 upgrades compared to stock CPUs, including real world apps/game tests, install info, etc. are linked at the CPU upgrades page. OC/CPU module articles are on the Systems page.)

You can find the full reports by searching the database selecting the indicated Mac model and upgrade card brand/type. If you've upgraded the CPU on your Mac, please post an entry in the database. Search the database for entries from most every upgradable Mac model *before* you buy. (Searchable by mac model/upgrade brand).

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CDRW/DVD/Hard Drive/Storage Compatibility Database Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility Database had 2 new reports added this morning. (Entries later today are added the next newsday morning.) The database includes reports on CDRWs, Combo DVD-CDRW, DVD-ROM, DVD Burners, Hard Drives and Removables (tape drive, ORB, ZIP, MO drives, NAS, CF/Smartmedia readers, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, SATA, Firewire, SCSI, USB, adapters). Current total - 15,640 reports. (searching by drive type/brand, mac model etc. listed below will show the full reports, most recent first - does not include updates to previous reports) iApps burn support mentioned in reports unless otherwise noted.

You can find full owner reports (latest shown first) by searching the database by drive/brand/interface/mac models (the latest reports are shown first in searches). For guides to installing CD/CDRW/DVD drives or Hard drives in many mac models, see the IDE Articles page. The Firewire articles page also has guides on case kits, installing drives, etc.
If you've added a IDE, SCSI, Firewire or USB hard drive, CDRW, tape drive, etc. make sure you add a report to the database. (If you post an updated entry - make sure you use the same name, etc. as you did before so I can find your past entry. Thanks.)
(Incomplete entries are deleted. Do not post questions in the database, it's for drive reports not questions on what drive to buy - for that try searching the database for reports from owners of your mac model on the drive type/brand/interface, etc. you're interested in.)

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