News Archive for: 10/14/2004 Thursday's News (later posted items first)
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Tweaked Pioneer DVR-107D firmware 1.20
In reply to an earlier post on the official Pioneer DVR-107 v1.20 firmware, a reader sent a note that a tweaked version (for 12x rip, region-free, etc.) is available at a source mentioned here before - and also mentioned another popular firmware site -
(As mentioned in the earlier post, the easiest way to flash the 1.20 update is to rename the 1.20 firmware file extension to .118 and overwrite the v1.18 firmware file included in the french site's DVR-107 flasher/firmware download.)
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6 Apple 'Mini-Stores' to open Saturday
Apple's hotnews page has a press release titled Apple Unveils New "Mini" Retail Store Design that confirms that six "Mini Stores" are to open this Saturday, October 16th. (Ars also had a story on the mini-stores.)
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(from their PR email)

" is an exchange stock of GEMA free music pieces. Registered users have the possibility, in Apples garage volume software composed pieces of uploading in the source format on our server. The uploaded pieces stand for other registered users for free use for order.

Our users can cooperate in such a way in different creative projects world-wide, which refine provided pieces or freely for own projects use and publish. The condition for publication own or changed pieces, is not the denomination of our service with left on our starting side and designation of the author as source proof. "

(FYI - the earlier news items on Excel problems after the Office 2004 SP1 update has been updated with a note on the cause. The post on Homeworld 2 very slow performance w/iMac G5 (FX5200 graphics) was updated to note it's a known issue with the FX5200 and 10.3.5 mentioned in the demo's readme file. I just finished moving another truckload of furniture and am really beat, so the 'son of frankenmac' article will be posted tomorrow.)

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Price drops on Mercury Elite 40-400GB FW400/USB Drives
(from site sponsor OWC)

"New Elite 400/USB pricing
All OWC Mercury Elite Pro FireWire 400 + USB 2.0/1.1 Combo solutions include Dantz Retrospect Backup for Mac and PC, Intech HD Speedtools for Mac, FireWire Cable, USB Cable, preformatted/pretested with free software loaded, and a 2 Year OWC Warranty.
40GB 7200RPM 2MB was $129.99, now $119.99
80GB 7200RPM 2MB was $139.99, now $129.99
120GB 7200RPM 8MB was $179.99, now $169.99
160GB 7200RPM 8MB was $189.99, now $179.99
200GB 7200RPM 8MB remains $209.99
250GB 7200RPM 8MB was $269.99, now $249.99
400GB 7200RPM 8MB was $549.99, now $529.99
Best Regards,
Lawrence R. O'Connor
Other World Computing
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Pioneer DVR-107 Firmware update 1.20
(late in posting this from a reader mail on the 13th. He used the OS X flasher/script linked in the FAQ with the trick of renaming a later firmware file extension which is simplier than editing the flasher script.)

" Hi Mike,
There's an update of the Pioneer DVR-107D firmware dated 30/9/04, v1.20. ... Not sure what it adds - probably just more media as the kernal part hasn't changed since the 1.16 update. (see list before for 1.20 changes) I installed it by downloading and extracted (using Stuffit) the PC .exe update file from the pioneer europe site then downloaded the v1.18 firmware update (and os x flasher/script) from
I replaced the R7100701.118 firmware file (in that download) with the R7100701.120 firmware file (renamed.118) and ran the flasher. Alternatively you could edit the Terminal script, replacing all mentions of .118 with .120. After a reboot, Apple System profiler recognises the drive, Revision 1.20. I haven't had the need to test writing yet, but CDs and DVD show up fine.
Ian S. "

If you decide to update your 107D drive, remember to remove any disc in the drive first (and I always quit any other running apps first). I suspect the french site will eventually have a download with 1.20 firmware included in the future.

" Hi Mike,
if someone wants to know what the new firmware adds:
Greetings from Germany
Burkhard B. "

The revison history page shows these changes for 1.20:

  • 8X DVD-R Media Writability Improvement
  • 8X writing on New BeALL +R Media
  • 8X writing on New LEADDATA +R Media
  • 8X writing on New MPO +R Media
  • 8X writing on New NANYA +R Media
  • 8X writing on New TDK +R Media
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iMac G5 owner comments on Homeworld 2 problems (known issue w/Nvidia FX5200 and 10.3.5)
(missed this mail dated Oct. 4th until today )

" Hi Mike,
Just a quick note to let you know that the new game, Homeworld 2 from Aspyr does not work on the new G5 iMacs.
The frame rate is something like 1 frame every 3 seconds or worse.
One person cited a problem with the Nvidia drivers in 10.3.5 but it must be a disappointing purchase for new iMac buyers.
Also the game across all cpus's sets your mouse speed to a very low setting after playing--sort of annoying.
Knights of the Old Republic plays beautifully on the new iMacs--the only known bug has to do with it not remembering widescreen resolutions.
Lance M. "

A powerbook g4 12in owner noted the same slowdown (w/mobile FX5200 grapics). I don't own the game or an iMac G5 but and asked if any readers had a suggestion (and if it was common issue) - about a dozen readers replied today mentioning a note in the game's readme file:

On some nVidia FX5200 video cards (including mobile chipsets) under Mac OS X 10.3.5, the game will run very slowly. This is a known nVidia driver issue and will be fixed by a future OS X update."
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EyeTV 1.6.3 Updater
MU today lists ElGato's EyeTV Updater 1.6.3 with a long list of changes. (See the release notes for a complete list in install info.)
I've added this update to the previous page of EyeTV Owner reports/tips and welcome feedback on the update from EyeTV owners.
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MS Excel error after Office 2004 SP1 Update (updated w/cause)
(Update - see below for a reader note on the cause of this problem)
I don't own Office 2004 for the mac and the reader that sent word on the Service Pack 1 update yesterday didn't note any problems (after a reboot), but here's a mail from another reader that mentioned a problem when exiting in Excel after the update:

" Hi Mike
I just updated MS Office 2004 Teacher Edition on my Titanium PB G4 867 with the SP1 posted on the xlr8yourmac newssite. I updated from the app not the standalone installer. After the update when I close excel now I get the error:
Compile error in hidden module: AutoExec
Thanks, Allan
(he later wrote)
I'm running 10.2.8 and I am repairing permissions now. "

A reader replied with the cause of the problem:

" Hi Mike, I had the same problem with the Excel quit error after upgrading.
It's a conflict with Acrobat. The solution is to remove the PDFMaker.xla file from the Office/Startup/Excel folder.
Kail B. "
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Another Hard Drive bites the dust in my Pismo
Sorry updates were light yesterday but my workhorse PB G3 hard drive suddenly started making loud "TWACK" like noises (not the usual clicking - this sounded like taking a pencil and snapping it against the top of the drive intermittently, along with some occasional almost cutting glass like sounds). Luckily I had a firewire hard drive with enough space to backup the drive (and amazingly despite the noises all data seemed ok). I swapped in an OEM 40GB drive from a previous Powerbook G4 drive upgrade and cloned the contents back successfully. The failing drive had been used heavily (day and night) for about 2 years, but this is at least the 2nd drive (maybe more) I've replaced in that system since 2000.
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Reviews of MacMagic and Logitech's MX 1000 Laser Mouse
Erik of IT-Enquirer wrote he's posted reviews of MacMagic productivity enhancement tool and Logitech's MX 1000 Laser (vs LED) Mouse.
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Sonnet announces SerialATA to ParallelATA Adapter
As regular readers know from past reports here, although Apple originally posted a kbase doc that SATA/PATA adapters are not supported with the PowerMac G5, there's been several reports here since last fall from G5 owners using one, with some noting problems after wake from sleep for instance (slow performance, etc.) that based on the last report may have been fixed with a later OS update perhaps (or with a different chipset adapter). The Sept. 9th news page here had a Dual 2.5GHz G5 owner report on the Abit "SERILLEL2" adapter (silicon magic chip based, appx $25) which said he had no problems using it.
Now Sonnet today has a press release on their Tempo Bridge SATA/PATA adapter they say will begin shipping October 25, 2004, with an MSRP of $49.95.
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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive/Cardreader Compatibility Database Update Listing
The Drive Compatibility Database had 2 new reports added this morning. (Entries from Wednesday, entries today are added the next newsday morning.) The database includes reports on Combo DVD-CDRW, CDROMs, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, DVD+R, CDRW, Hard Drives and Removables (tape drive, ORB, ZIP, MO drives, CF/Smartmedia readers, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, Firewire, SCSI, USB, adapters). Current total 13,733 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)

    CDRW Drives:
  • Firewire Sony CRX1600L/A2 used w/iMac slot-loading (OS X 10.3)
    (confusing report on native burn support)

    Hard Drives:
  • IDE Seagate Barracuda ATA IV 80GB in B&W G3 using IDE PCI card (OS X 10.3)
    (Illustrated guide to adding a 2nd HD here in B&W G3 rev2 and G4 towers up to the QuickSilver models.
    IDE articles page RAID section has an illustrated guide for adding 2 more drives in the side bays.)

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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Rate Your CPU Upgrade Reports Database Updated
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 4 new reports this morning (entry from Wednesday, entries today are added the next newsday morning). Total to date: 9,586. Here's a summary of the reports added today (search by brand/mac model for full reports - latest reports always shown first):

  • Daystar G4/550 in (pismo) Powerbook G3 2000 (rated 9)
  • Fastmac G4/550 in (pismo) Powerbook G3 2000 (rated 10)
    (listed under 'other brands')
  • PowerLogix BlueChip G3/900 in (pismo) Powerbook G3 2000 (rated 1)
  • XLR8 G4/500 (at 600MHz) in B&W G3 (rated 10)

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

(Warning - Overclocking may not be reliable and could lead to hardware failure or corrupted data.) 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). For detailed reviews with performance tests and install tips, see the CPU Upgrades page.)

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Video card/System performance database updated
The Video card/system performance database has been updated to include several more Cinebench 2003 and Quake3 scores (from G5 system owners). You can post your own system results of the various tests listed there or search to compare results from other systems/CPU/graphics cards combinations.
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Recent Reviews and Articles:
Listing/links to recent articles and reviews you may have missed.
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