News Archive for Monday March 8, 2010     Goto Current News Page

Macs | CPU Upgrades | Video | Storage | Audio/HT | Apps/OS/Networking

Aperture User's Speedup Tip
(From a reader mail today - I've never used Aperture personally but I think this would apply to earlier versions as well.)

"Mike, Having tried Aperture 3 via the trial, I was about to throw in the towel due to snail like speed of my library. It's (only) 10k pictures and on a Core2Duo Santa Rosa, one would think it would have enough oomph not to cripple the machine while Aperture was running with any other app. (Although since it's a notebook, the 2.5in (non SSD) drive can be a bottleneck for apps like this.-Mike).

But alas, it was dog slow. Searching for answers, some on the interweb had suggested defragging the HD, using a commercial program. Not wanting to pay and wanting a better solution, and considering that I have my media libraries on a separate partition than my system, I instead backed up my library to another disk (as well as the iTunes library), and erased the partition. I then copied the 45GB iTunes library back first, then an 8GB disk image, then the 30GB Aperture library. I then erased the disk image, leaving an 8GB gap and two contiguous media libraries. I hoped this would speed up Aperture. (I don't know if this will trick the HFS+ to add files directly after the two libraries as both are wrapped in packages, but it was worth a shot. But either way, it created two contiguous, fragment free libraries to start with.)

The difference is night and day. Aperture is now about as responsive as iPhoto, despite it's better features and higher quality processing. And it no longer randomly freezes or quits. I will absolutely buy it now, despite a few flaws. Knowing that all it takes to speed it back up is to run this trick every few months.
-Mike K."

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Valve makes it official - Steam and Source games coming to the Mac in April
Valve has officially confirmed it today (and note the comments on "Steam Play" for those that already bought PC versions of games)

"Valve to Deliver Steam & Source on the Mac

March 8, 2010 - Valve announced today it will bring Steam, Valve's gaming service, and Source, Valve's gaming engine, to the Mac. Steam and Valve's library of games including Left 4 Dead 2, Team Fortress 2, Counter-Strike, Portal, and the Half-Life series will be available in April.

"As we transition from entertainment as a product to entertainment as a service, customers and developers need open, high-quality Internet clients," said Gabe Newell, President of Valve. "The Mac is a great platform for entertainment services."

"Our Steam partners, who are delivering over a thousand games to 25 million Steam clients, are very excited about adding support for the Mac," said Jason Holtman, Director of Business Development at Valve. "Steamworks for the Mac supports all of the Steamworks APIs, and we have added a new feature, called Steam Play, which allows customers who purchase the product for the Mac or Windows to play on the other platform free of charge. For example, Steam Play, in combination with the Steam Cloud, allows a gamer playing on their work PC to go home and pick up playing the same game at the same point on their home Mac. We expect most developers and publishers to take advantage of Steam Play."

"We looked at a variety of methods to get our games onto the Mac and in the end decided to go with native versions rather than emulation," said John Cook, Director of Steam Development. "The inclusion of WebKit into Steam, and of OpenGL into Source gives us a lot of flexibility in how we move these technologies forward. We are treating the Mac as a tier-1 platform so all of our future games will release simultaneously on Windows, Mac, and the Xbox 360. Updates for the Mac will be available simultaneously with the Windows updates. Furthermore, Mac and Windows players will be part of the same multiplayer universe, sharing servers, lobbies, and so forth. We fully support a heterogeneous mix of servers and clients. The first Mac Steam client will be the new generation currently in beta testing on Windows."

Portal 2 will be Valve's first simultaneous release for Mac and Windows. "Checking in code produces a PC build and Mac build at the same time, automatically, so the two platforms are perfectly in lock-step," said Josh Weier, Portal 2 Project Lead. "We're always playing a native version on the Mac right alongside the PC. This makes it very easy for us and for anyone using Source to do game development for the Mac."

Support for the Mac in Source and Steamworks is available to third parties immediately. Interested developers should contact Jason Holtman at"

And the Left 4 Dead Blog has an update today regarding the above. Here's a clip:

"Steam on the Mac will behave just like Steam for Windows, but through Steam Play will add cross-platform ownership. That means if you own Left 4 Dead 2 for Windows, then you already own it for the Mac. There's no need to buy it twice...

Plus, Mac and Windows players can go head-to-head, since both Left 4 Deads are cross-platform compatible. Mac owners can even host their own servers and create their own maps, just like Windows users.

The Mac Versions of L4D1 and 2 don't run under emulation software but in native code...

We'll be releasing the exact system requirements soon. The Mac versions will be updated in sync with the Windows versions, so the platform wars can continue uninterrupted."

BTW - On Tuesday their Team Fortress 2 official blog also has a post on Your Mac Questions Answered with similar notes (native code, if you own TF2 on PC you already own it on Mac, Mac and PC users can compete, etc).

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MakeMKV 1.5.0 (Beta) for OS X
I hadn't checked for an update since back in January (ref: reader post on Playing Blu-Ray Movies in OS X using VLC and MakeMKV) but this weekend noticed there's a MakeMKV 1.5.0 (Beta) for OS X released on March 4th.

    MakeMKV v1.5.0
  • Added ability to decrypt M2TS files during backup
  • Added UPnP streaming mode
  • Added OS drive access mode supporting all drives on OSX
  • Significantly enchanced command-line interface
  • Improved support for AVCHD sources
  • Corrected error when chapters were missing with some blu-ray discs
  • Corrected error when some blu-ray discs couldn't be opened
  • Improved disc access speed on Linux
  • Miscellaneous stability and UI improvements

The betas are free but time out after 60 days. (Reinstalling later beta resets that.)

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Apple Support/How-To/Troubleshooting doc updates

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