News Common PC Linux Mac CUCUG
The April 17 gathering will be one of our split SIG meetings. The Linux SIG will be engaged by John Ross in some Java programming. The PC and Macintosh SIGs will conduct open forum Question and Answer Sessions. If you have any problems, this will be the meeting to have them addressed.
We welcome any kind of input or feedback from members. Run across an interesting item or tidbit on the net? Just send the link to the editor. Have an article or review you'd like to submit? Send it in. Have a comment? Email any officer you like. Involvement is the driving force of any user group. Welcome to the group.
Microsoft Works 7.0 (retail box)
Works 7.0 is home productivity software for your PC. The suite includes a word processor, spreadsheet, database, and calendar. And, Works 7.0 has new, professionally designed templates, and a new tool to help organize common projects. The software is even easier to learn and use, but flexible enough to let more advanced users jump right into what they want to do. Works helps you make professional-looking documents and get tasks done quickly. Keep track of up to 32,000 records with Works Database. Organize and track expenses, home inventories, and collections with Works Spreadsheet. Make planning and managing projects easier with the new My Projects organizer. Get quick access to your schedule, to-do list, and Works tools via the quick-start Task Launcher home page. Street price $46.99.
Microsoft Windows XP Inside Out (Book and CD)
Ed Bott and Carl Siechert have combined their considerable talents for producing user-level documentation in creating Microsoft Windows XP Inside Out. One of the most carefully researched books on Windows XP to date, this large volume has all the information and procedures most everyday users of the operating system will want. With its nicely formatted how-to instructions, detailed documentation of command-line commands, intelligent explanatory text, and broad scope, this book makes a great reference for a family or business that uses Windows XP extensively. Even the illustrations are more helpful than usual, largely because the publisher has gone to the trouble of annotating many of them with pointers and labels. Street price: $31.49.
Microsoft Plus! Digital Media Edition
"At $20, this is a software package perhaps unmatched in terms of bang for the buck if you're really into digital imaging and computer music" - James Coates, Chicago Tribune (January 18, 2003). Pioneering features in Plus! Digital Media Edition like Photo Story offer photo buffs the ability for the first time to tell the story behind their digital pictures with easy- to-create digital photo albums," said Dave Fester, general manager of Microsoft's Windows Digital Media Division. "Packed with cool new innovations like this, Plus! Digital Media Edition takes the photos, music, and home movies in Windows XP to a whole new level. Street price: $19.99.
Apple has rolled out several improvements in its latest system release, Mac OS X 10.2.5. Bluetooth support has been added for Nokia 7650 and P800 phones, and the Bluetooth Setup Assistant now recognizes some Microsoft mice and keyboards. Also supported are a trio of Canon cameras, and a host of disc burners. On the networking front, the update fixes issues of DNS lookup, copying files to an SMB volume, Internet Sharing of certain DSL or cable modem connections, .Mac passwords up to 32 characters long, and problems with LDAPv3 connections timing out. The update also resolves a security issue with shared Drop Box folders and problems with internal modems connecting to certain Scandinavian ISPs.
Of course, the 10.2.5 update includes a grab bag of other enhancements, such as the date being reset to 1969 or 1970 at startup, improved Mail responsiveness and character encoding in a dozen languages, and fixes to Classic. Lastly, Apple Event traffic between Classic and native Mac OS X software has been improved. Apple is offering the update in three configurations: a stand-alone 38.2 MB update from Mac OS X 10.2.4, available via Software Update or as a separate download; a downloadable 81.9 MB Combo update for any version of Mac OS X 10.2 or later; and as an update CD that can be purchased from the online Apple Store for $20 (look in the Apple Software section). [JLC]
Apple's widely adopted beta Web browser received an update today to Public Beta 2. New in this incarnation is the capability to browse multiple pages within the same window using a tabbed interface, along with the AutoFill features made popular by Internet Explorer. This release includes a new Reset Safari option, which clears the history, cache, cookies, and Downloads window, along with any saved names and passwords, AutoFill text, and Google search entries. Safari Public Beta 2 also improves compatibility with Web standards, boosts AppleScript support, imports Netscape and Mozilla bookmarks, and is available in English, Japanese, French, and German. The update is available via Software Update, or as a 3.7 MB download. [JLC]
Apple has released Security Update 2003-03-24 via Software Update and as a stand-alone 4.5 MB download. The update fixes a hole that could allow unauthorized remote access to the system via the open-source Samba code that underlies Mac OS X's built-in Windows File Sharing (available from the Sharing preferences pane). Also fixed is a problem with OpenSSL that could allow RSA private keys to be compromised. Although Windows File Sharing is off by default, the update is still important, and Apple recommends that all customers install it. That's easy if you're running Mac OS X 10.2.4 or Mac OS X Server 10.2.4, but Apple says those with earlier versions of Mac OS X must either update to 10.2.4 or visit the OpenSSL and Samba Web sites for additional information on the available fixes, not that we could find any that would help a normal Mac user. Our advice? If you're not running Mac OS X 10.2.4, keep Windows File Sharing turned off. If you are, install this security update. [ACE]
For several months now, many iPod owners have been reporting dramatic decreases in battery charge that minimize the music player's vaunted 10-hour playing ability. Apple last week released iPod 1.2.6 Software Update, which more accurately gauges the battery charge so the iPod does not shut down prematurely. Apple claims that the update offers longer standby time for all iPods and increases playback time on scroll-wheel models. Separate updaters are available for Mac OS X (5.2 MB), Mac OS 9 (6.2 MB), and Windows (12.6 MB). [JLC]
Companies like to populate their board of directors with notable industry leaders, but in typical Apple fashion the company has snagged a director with more name value than most: former Vice President Al Gore. In making the announcement, Steve Jobs cited Gore's experience of "having helped run the largest organization in the world - the United States Government." Although this is his first private sector board seat, Gore brings more than just name recognition to the post: during his 25 years of government service, he was instrumental in helping to fund what became the Internet, he currently serves as a Senior Advisor to Google, and he holds three visiting university professorships. Gore fills the board seat formerly occupied by Larry Ellison, who resigned last year due to scheduling conflicts. Kudos to Apple for having the sense of humor to link to the Crazy Apple Rumors commentary about Gore's election on the Apple Hot News page. In a related move, Apple also announced a variety of changes to corporate governance, including adding independent directors, increasing the use of independent board committees, and reducing the number of outstanding stock options. [JLC]
Nearly five years ago, Apple bucked the general computing trend by thinking different and releasing a gumdrop-shaped machine that reinvigorated the company and ushered in a wave of translucent plastics. Last week, Apple quietly discontinued the CRT iMac, which has been replaced by the popular flat-screen iMac and the eMac. [JLC]
There was a question about image formats in the last MacSIG. Someone wanted to know the best format to save an image in for various uses. I told Kevin, I'd write something up about image formats and color. The following is not the end all of info on the subject. It is just a quick look/see. It is not totally accurate, but pretty close to the mark. It comes down to this...
JPEG is one of the most common image formats on the web. It is particularly good for photo images where there is a lot of color and texture change. It allows millions of colors in the image. It is a "lossie" format. I don't like that description, but I haven't seen a better one-word description, yet. What this means is that it is a compressed image and the compression system sacrifices image quality for size. I have been told this happen every time you open the file. So hypothetically, the image would turn to mush if you opened and closed it enough times. Can't say I have tested this theory. (Don't plan to, either.)
When you compress an image with JPEG compression you get what I call, 'JPEG Worms,' blurry squiggly distortions of the image. The more the compression the bigger and nastier the 'worms.' JPEG images can be RGB or CMYK colors. When I save any JPEG I use the highest quality setting possible. Image quality is important to me, much more so than hard drive space. Many digital cameras get around the size problem and possible loss of quality by storing a large image 17" x 23" at 72 ppi (pixels per inch) They then put about a 60% (±) compression rate on it and they get an image that takes up about 196 KB of disc space. The same image saved as an uncompressed TIFF would be about 5.3 MB. More on TIFFs later.
GIF is one of the next most common image formats on the web. It is good for images where the colors and textures are simple. Something like a logo or simple color graphic background would be a good candidate for this format. It only allows for 256 colors or index colors, though. Photo images stored as GIFs tend to show banding when there is a gradient, like light from a window shining on a wall. It makes for bad color or texture because of this banding problem. The same image I was referring to in the paragraph above would be 804 KB saved as a GIF.
Now we get to image formats that are not so common on the web...
TIFF is one of the best formats available for those interested in image quality over image size. TIFF files are large, but you don't lose any quality. This is what I store my image as. TIFF files can be RGB files, CMYK or Index colors. In many ways, the TIFF file format is the most flexible file format for images. As mentioned above, the same 21" x 17" x 72 ppi image would be 5.3 MB large. There are compression systems for TIFF images - LZW, JPEG, ZIP. But JPEG we have talked about, LZW is not supported by all image and graphic applications, and ZIP is an archival method and might not be importable or exportable to other applications.
PICT is Apple's image format and so is not completely cross-platform friendly. It is a good method of storing images, but it might not work well in all applications. Files can be index, RGB or CMYK color. There are several levels of JPEG compression available for PICT files. And the test file I have been referring to above would be 2.8 MB large.
EPS files are great files in the graphics field. But they are problematic when it comes to applications recognizing them and/or handling the info in them correctly. Evidently, there are many different variations of EPS. And not all applications recognize every version.. My experience with Photoshop is pretty hit and miss. Certain applications like Freehand and Illustrator, which are designed to work with Photoshop, can export EPS file that Photoshop has no problem with. Some other apps. can't export an EPS that Photoshop will recognize at all. Quite often any font that is in an EPS requires the the system opening up the EPS have the font installed for the image to be displayed properly. There are other potential hassles involved with EPS files as well. But, when the apps. can produce the correct EPS file, the graphic can be much better and potentially sizable with less loss of image quality. When it works, it can work VERY well, but when it fails, it can be very spectacular.
So, a file 17" x 21" x 72 dpi would be...
- 196 KB as a JPEG,
- 804 KB as a GIF,
- 5.3 MB as a TIFF,
- 2.8 MB as PICT and
- 7.2 MB as a Photoshop EPS.
Any file, PICT, TIFF or whatever, becomes a JPEG with all it's hassles when you apply JPEG compression to it. RGB is a Red, Green and Blue color scheme used in all projected color - film, monitors, etc. CMYK is a 4-color scheme (cyan, magenta, yellow, black) used in printing color documents; it is a reflective color scheme. You tend to not be able to get the real bright, pure colors in a CMYK color scheme.
That's all I could think of at this time. Hope it is of interest.
More than 20,000 websites have been hacked since the war on Iraq began according to one security firm.
UK security firm F-Secure has seen a dramatic rise in the number of hack attacks since the conflict started last week.
In the first few days of the conflict there was a flurry of attempts to access vulnerabilities on websites such as that of the US Navy.
Defacements from pro-Islamic hacking groups suggested that it was the beginning of a new era of cyber hacking.
Now it seems that the hackers are getting closer to sensitive targets with both the Whitehouse and Number 10 websites suffering attacks over the weekend according to F-Secure.
"More and more people are joining in the fray," said General Manager of F-Secure Jason Holloway.
"The majority of the messages are still anti-war," he added.
Qatar-based TV station Al-Jazeera has reported that a denial-of-service attack could have been conducted on its website.
The attack has not been confirmed and could just be due to a large weight of traffic. Al-Jazeera has now launched an English-language version of its website which has also suffered outages.
This conflict has seen a new breed of hacktivist, in the shape of pro-peace campaigners who have been joining pro-Islamic hackers and pro-American groups in expressing their grievances online.
Political tensions around the globe are often mirrored in cyberspace.
Increased tensions in the Middle East and between Pakistan and India have all been used by so-called hacktivists to launch web defacements and denial of service attacks.
Three Iraq war-related computer viruses, including the Ganda worm, have also been spotted by F-Secure, although the damage done by these has been limited.
A possible glitch with a new processor has thrown a wrench into Intel's plans to bring out new silicon for high-performance chips for top-of-the-line PCs.
Intel delivered a new chipset on schedule Monday but delayed a matching Pentium 4 processor at the last minute, leaving a raft of upcoming PCs without a processor, at least for a while.
The chipmaker had planned to deliver both its new 875P chipset and a new 3GHz Pentium 4 processor, paving the way for a number of new desktop and workstation models from PC makers including Dell Computer, Hewlett-Packard and Gateway.
Currently, the 3GHz Pentium 4 is the only chip that supports the faster 800MHz bus delivered by the 875P chipset. PC makers could offer computers with the 857P and existing 533MHz-bus Pentium 4 chips, but they are highly unlikely to do so.
The possibility of a problem with the 3GHz Pentium 4, discovered at the last minute, forced the company to delay the chip late Sunday. During tests, Intel found "anomalies" with the new chips and decided not to deliver any more of them to PC manufacturers.
Intel has "seen some anomalies, and we're going to put (the 3GHz Pentium 4) on ship hold, temporarily," said George Alfs, a company spokesman. "We're investigating (the problem) and hope to be shipping soon."
These issues do not affect current chips, such as the 3.06GHz Pentium 4 with a 533MHz bus that has been shipping since November, he said.
PC makers have inventory of the new 3GHz chip, but it is unlikely any of the chips have gotten to end customers yet. Intel is still talking with PC makers about what to do with the 3GHz chips that are in the field.
Launches of complicated new processors, chipsets and other chips are subject to delays, but problems associated with Pentium 4 chips have been fairly rare. Intel postponed the introduction of the original Pentium 4 by about a month because of a minor chipset bug. The last holdup that Intel faced for a major desktop processor launch came during an intense clock-speed battle with chip rival Advanced Micro Devices, when Intel announced and then recalled its 1.13GHz Pentium III.
AMD has had its share of delays as well. The most recent pushed out the introduction of the Athlon 64, the company's next generation of desktop processors, until September.
Aiming for the high end
Although desktop PC prices continue to fall, the market for top-of-the-line PCs is active. The 875P chipset, code-named Canterwood, will become the new nervous system for such desktops, which typically are priced at $1,500 and higher.
A chipset routes data between the processor and various PC parts, such as RAM or the hard drive. Boosting the performance of a chipset improves the performance of a PC.
As previously reported, the 875P is the first of two new Intel desktop PC chipsets coming out this spring that are designed to enhance PCs with Intel chips.
The 875P starts that transition by offering PCs a faster 800MHz bus, faster memory and an increased maximum hard-drive capacity. Intel said the chipset will provide a significant increase in performance, compared with current products.
But the 875P will also be known for what it does not include. The chipset is Intel's first product in about six months for high-end PCs that does not include Rambus RDRAM. Instead, the 875P includes dual-channel support for 400MHz double data rate SDRAM, or DDR400.
"There was a situation where Intel's DDR platform had not been at the level of competing platforms," said Dean McCarron, chief analyst at Mercury Research. "This allows Intel to have an offering for every performance level. It represents a significant improvement in input-output capability" for PCs.
Like Via Technologies or Silicon Integrated Systems, which also offer chipsets for Intel processors, Intel chose DDR400. Intel passed over the alternative, Rambus' RDRAM technology, because it wanted to serve the widest portion of the PC market possible, an Intel representative said. At one time, Intel backed RDRAM and expected the memory to proliferate in the PC market. But this has not occurred, due to factors such as a higher price.
Another feature specific to the 875P is called Performance Acceleration Technology (PAT), which increases the speed at which data moves between the processor and memory.
The 875P will also pack AGP (accelerated graphics port) 8X, which connects the graphics chip to the processor; and Serial ATA, a faster and relatively new way to connect a hard drive to the rest of the computer.
But one of its most popular features will likely be an option that allows PC makers to add a technology called RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks). RAID allows two hard drives to pool their storage capacity, turning, say, a pair of 120GB drives into a single storage vessel that equals 240GB. RAID also can be used as a safety net to back up data.
PC makers already are planning models based on the technology. Gateway this week had planned to launch the 700XL, a new desktop model that will utilize RAID to provide 400GB of storage capacity, using two 200GB drives.
The desktop will also incorporate the new 3GHz Pentium 4, 1GB of DDR400 RAM, a DVD burner, a CD burner, ATI Technologies' latest Radeon 9800G Pro graphics card and an 18-inch flat-panel display. It will sell for $3,499. A less expensive model without RAID, the 700X, was also in the works.
Dell, which has also planned to launch a new Dimension 8300 desktop with the 3GHz Pentium 4 and the 875P, expects to include a RAID setup at a later date. The company chose to use an add-in card for RAID, and it is still testing that configuration for bugs, a company representative said.
Dell will take orders on the Dimension 8300 desktop while it investigates the processor issue, a company spokesperson said. "We're still looking into the scope of the issue and how it's going to impact us," he said.
Gateway is also looking into the issue, a spokesperson for the company said.
Should a long delay result, PC makers could still use the 875P chipset. Pairing the chipset with current 533MHz bus Pentium 4 chips would still produce some performance gains for future desktops, McCarron said.
"They could easily go with current bus frequency processors until 800MHz bus parts become available," he said. "Though, unless it's a major flaw, I can't imagine it it'll mess up any (PC makers') production plans."
HP, meanwhile, announced a new xw4100 workstation model featuring the new Pentium 4. The desktop, designed for tasks such as computer-aided design, will offer customers higher performance than previous HP workstation models, the company said. The machine, due out in May, will start at $799 for a bare-bones system with a basic graphics card. When beefed up for 3D graphics duties, it will cost $2,500.
On the horizon
Despite the possibility of delays in the launch of the new desktops, Intel views the 875P chipset as the start of a transition that will spawn a new generation of PCs.
A second chipset, dubbed Springdale, will include many of the same features as the 875P when it is released in May. Springdale will cost less and be available in more configurations, making it the choice for bulk of the Intel processor desktop PC market.
The most popular Springdale version is likely to offer the 800MHz bus as well as Intel's current 533MHz and 400MHz bus speeds. It should also include a built-in graphics chip. The combination of bus speeds and graphics would allow manufacturers to build a wide range of desktops from the same platform.
Intel is also expected, within weeks, to launch a new 3.2GHz Pentium 4 chip as its new flagship desktop processor. The announcement could include price cuts for older chips.
The company may also add more Pentium 4 processors to its lineup, likely at speeds of 2.8GHz, 2.6GHz and 2.4GHz. These chips will sport the company's new 800MHz bus and include Intel's hyperthreading technology for boosting application performance.
Aside from providing a wider variety of clock speeds, the chips also could help increase the popularity of hyperthreading. Some PC makers have been shipping PC and workstation models with the feature turned off by default. The new chips should lead PC makers to tout the technology more actively.
Once it begins shipping, the new 3GHz Pentium 4 chip will sell for $417 in lots of 1,000. The 875P will cost $50 without RAID and $53 with RAID, when purchased in lots of 10,000, Intel said.
Microsoft plans to deliver two specialized versions of its Windows operating system software for Advanced Micro Devices' forthcoming 64-bit processors.
In March, Microsoft released both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows Server 2003 to PC manufacturers for Intel chips, including the Xeon and Itanium 2. It also released a 64-bit version of Windows XP for Itanium 2 workstations.
Now the company is doing the same for AMD chips.
Microsoft said Tuesday that it will offer a 64-bit version of Windows Server 2003 for AMD's Opteron server chip. The software giant also intends to release a 64-bit variant of Windows XP for the chipmaker's Athlon 64 processor for desktops and notebooks.
Microsoft and AMD have been working together since at least April 2002. The two companies have since demonstrated prototype versions of the 64-bit server software and other Microsoft applications running on Opteron servers.
But until now the software maker had not officially named the versions of its operating system that would be adapted for AMD chips. Beta versions of the operating systems will be available at midyear, Microsoft said.
Opteron, the first of the two 64-bit chips to debut from AMD, will launch later this month at an event in New York. The Athlon 64 launch in September, AMD has said.
The new chips are designed to offer higher performance than current AMD processors. But their most prominent feature will be 64-bit addressing, a feature that AMD has dubbed x86-64.
The x86-64 technology adds several new instructions to the current x86 processor architecture so that it can address 64 bits of data, twice as much as can 32-bit AMD Athlon and Intel Pentium x86-based chips. That increase will let computers--mainly servers--access a much larger amount of memory at once, improving performance by reducing the need to seek out data on a hard drive.
The x86-64 format allows AMD chips to support both 32- and 64-bit addressing.
"Charles W. Hancock Jr." writes
> I took the Knopix CD up to the old 98 machine and booted it. It was
> effortless, but it's all in German and I don't speak German well enough
> to understand everything, so how can I make the English version run (if
Since I gave this CD out to everyone who attended the last meeting, and others may have the same question, I'm copying the whole group [UI-PCUG].
The English documentation (viewable from Windows), and the F2 help screen (cheatnotes.txt) covers this. Type:
at the boot: prompt.
Hint: with the default German keyboard mapping the = key gives you
something else, so use the ) to get an =.
Hint: Using the default DE-bootimage, SYSLINUX boots with German
keyboard layout. The '=' letter is located at Shift-0 on this
keyboard (just in case you want to change keyboard and language
Most of the web pages have a language selection menu where EN is English.
The English version is now online at:
and should be available in town on UIArchive soon.
(It's a slow download from Germany.)
The files have been changing, and hard to mirror, but there are some English copies now available locally from:
No matter what changes, these locations will list the latest versions we have on campus at least until next summer.
Once again I find myself checking out the newest SuSE release, and to tell you the truth, I really enjoy it. My personal computer is running Slackware (yes, I upgraded to 9.0 immediately), and I wouldn't trade it for any other distribution in the world, but I've got to say is that SuSE is still at the top of their game. When you look at all the desktop distros out there such as Mandrake, Lycoris, and Red Hat, they all really have their endearing factors, but they all are lacking in one way or another. This is not to say that SuSE is perfect, because it's not. It has it's irritations just like any other OS, but they are minimal. More on that later... let's get on with it.
Joe Eckert at SuSE, as always, rushed a copy of their newest Professional release to us. I finished up my work, brewed a fresh pot of coffee, and sat down with our new found treasure. It was just like Christmas. No other distro really gets me this excited, except for maybe Slackware :) Hey, I'm the first guy to check out all the new toys, and I don't miss a chance to play.
The test machine used is a clone we built with the following specs:
* Abit KG7-RAID mainboard
* AMD Athlon XP 1600+ CPU
* 512MB RAM
* LG 40x CD/RW
* SoundBlaster Live! Platinum 5.1 w/ Live!Drive
* 3Com 905C NIC
* 60GB HDD
* 128MB MSI NVIDIA GeForce4 MX440 AGP Video
* 256MB USB Pen Drive
The nice part about a machine like this is that we usually don't run into too many compatibility issues. In a way I prefer this, but it would be nice to have some really interesting parts to test with, but our budget doesn't permit it at this time. Donations are welcome :)
If you've ever installed SuSE Linux before, the installation routine has not changed much at all. If you haven't, let me explain the procedure briefly for you. SuSE has always had a great installer, though it can be a bit cumbersome due to the amount of user input it requires... compared to other distros in its class. For instance, Ark Linux requires the end user to answer only a few questions before proceeding. Red Hat and Mandrake ask a few more. Slackware asks more, but is for a more experienced user. SuSE stops at every step of the way and asks about configuration. I'm not really saying this is bad, because it isn't, but it's not for the impatient. The nice part about it is that when setup is complete, you will have a running system that really doesn't require any more setup. Once the OS is up and running, you can immediately begin working (or playing, depending on the situation). The first thing I noticed when the installer started was that it was using anti-aliased fonts and the Keramik theme. Nice touch! Compared to their previous versions, this is a welcome change. Most people view this as purely eye candy, but I tend to think of it differently. I see it as less of a strain on your eyes to read the text presented to you. It also looks more appealing to new users. Those of us who have used Linux extensively have grown somewhat used to looking at jagged fonts over the years, but to a new user (coming from Windows or Mac), this is an immediate turn off. My hat's off to SuSE for realizing the importance of first impressions.
The next thing that stood out, other than flawless hardware detection and my time zone was actually correct, was that GNOME was not selected by default in the software list. Well, what about all my apps that require the GNOME/GTK libraries? No problem. I did a search on some of the libraries necessary for operation of traditional GNOME/GTK apps and they were all preselected. Nice touch. This goes a long way with me. For the diehard GNOME users out there, it is still an option. Don't worry. I used to be a GNOME user, but tried KDE 3.1 when it came out and was immediately a convert. SuSE has always placed more emphasis on the KDE environment, so this was not surprising at all. I made some custom selections to try and break dependencies, and in true SuSE fashion it popped up with a dependency check prompt asking me about my choices. It displayed all the dependencies I was going to break and allowed me to solve them either by removing the offending package or installing packages to meet the requirements.
The next noticeably improved feature is that... you better sit down for this because it's huge... YaST (Yet another Setup Tool) actually WORKS! During setup YaST prompts you near the end for online updates through the YOU (YaST Online Update) tool. Usually you either sit there for 20 minutes while it times out, or it just simply doesn't work at all. This time it connected to the Internet, downloaded updates, and prompted me with the selections it found (I think there were only three). One of them was Microsoft core TrueType fonts (along with a classic Microsoft license agreement)... another nice touch. I installed the updates with no problem at all. YOU also has a new option for automatic updating through YaST. Another fine point I did not overlook.
The graphics card setup was uneventful aside from the fact that it did not detect the monitor properly. It tried to use the VESA 1024x768 driver and the actual monitor is a 17" KDS VS7. No big deal here, I just selected my monitor from the massive list presented and everything was cool as a cucumber. According to the installer, I would have to download my own NVIDIA drivers to enable 3D support. No big surprise. I do this anyway.
More eye candy was waiting for the first boot. SuSE has covered the boot/service messages with a nice 3D splash screen complete with a progress bar. For those of us who need to see those boot messages, it tells us that we can press F2 to enter verbose mode. I tried it and it worked perfectly. No errors on boot.
It booted straight into KDM, I logged on as madpenguin to view the complete end user experience. When I logged in, I was presented with a traditional, and quite polished, SuSE Linux desktop.
The desktop hasn't changed much in the past couple of releases, and it very similar to SuSE's most recent Office Desktop release. It looks to me like the only thing missing is Crossover Office/Plugin setup. In any case, aside from being a classic KDE desktop, SuSE has placed some of the most important icons there to get you going with minimal fuss. One huge improvement is that they have finally fixed the K Menu. For those familiar with SuSE releases of the past, the K (and GNOME) menu was a nightmare to navigate. Customizing was even worse. The newly redesigned SuSE K Menu is greatly improved (click on the screenshot below for a closer look at the basic menu). Everything is organized perfectly and it's easy to find the program you need to do the job at hand. No more SuSE menu! That was one of my prior complaints with this distro was to please clean up the menu system. They have done it and done it well.
For those who are inclined to do multimedia production on Linux, I think SuSE is well equipped to handle your needs. Though it seems they have slimmed down their A/V production applications, there is still a good bit to keep you happy. I recommend that the place more emphasis on A/V editing and production apps. SuSE is one of the only distros around that actually seems to support them and it would be nice to see more. For now, users will find traditional apps such as Broadcast2000 (this has been replaced by Cinelerra and should be updated), Audacity, Jack, MeterBridge, etc. SLab, a multi-track audio recorder, used to be included and I am kind of sad to see it go... and I hope it comes back. For those of us who feel the need to do video production, MainActor (a commercial application) has been included in the package. Mainactor allows for video capture/editing similar to Adobe's Premiere, but missing some of the functionality. It's still a great app to be rolled into the price of the distro. Once again, hats off to SuSE. I'd rather see commercial apps like this rolled in rather than something like Sun's StarOffice. OpenOffice.org works just as well (and as a side note, version 1.0.2 is also included).
Other apps included with this release represent a wide variety of some of the best open source software available today, without overdoing it. Some say minimal is better, and in most cases that may be true... but when SuSE is evaluated, you need to approach it from this standpoint: Most end users who will be using this distro will want it to work out of the box, and it does. Flawlessly. The distro is designed to make the user immediately productive and it does an excellent job.
System performance is unchanged from what I can tell since the 8.1 release. KDE loads and runs perfectly with no delays launching windows and apps take minimal time to load. It's not quite as fast as source-based distros, but for an everyday user, this is completely acceptable behavior. It still runs TONS better than Windows 9x, NT/2000, and XP combined.
Once I installed the current 1.0-4191 video drivers from NVIDIA's site, performance in glxgears was lower than other distros I've used. For instance, on Slackware Linux (and also VectorLinux), graphics performance was about 2500-2600 frames/second using OpenGL. With SuSE Linux 8.2 I am experiencing frame rates of about 2000-2100 frames/sec. This is a noticeable drop in performance, but again, for most users this will go unnoticed. From my experience with past SuSE releases, this seems to be normal behavior, though I don't really understand why. Maybe if they place some more attention to 3D/OpenGL gaming performance, SuSE will become the choice of hard core gamers as well. That might be an interesting target audience. Linux is becoming a great gaming platform, in most cases outperforming Windows in speed and stability, so for SuSE to jump on this now would be a serious plus. Conclusion
While it may not be the first choice for veteran Linux users, SuSE Linux 8.2 is an excellent choice for people new to the Linux world, as well as individuals who want an operating system that comes complete with everything they will ever need. It also is a preferable distro to use for audio/video content creation due to amount of programs it comes with of this nature. There are still others who may be interested in just having a system that works. In all cases, SuSE does the job very well with minimal effort.
I am glad that they have fixed a few of the long standing issues that I have had with this distro, such as the K menu being completely unreasonable in structure, and the online update feature never working. Both have been solved with the 8.2 release. With the 2.4.20 kernel, it's pretty up to date and speeds along at fairly decent speed. Like I said before, source-based distros perform better, but for an RPM-based distro, this one is top notch. Well, if Linus Torvalds uses SuSE as his home system (and he does), that's good enough for me. Enough said.
All in all, on a scale from 1 to 10, I would give SuSE Linux an even 8.2. It's easy to use, pretty to look at, works very well, and is downright stable. The only complaint I really can think of through this whole experience is that some of the applications didn't work. You would launch them from the K menu and nothing would happen. Either that or you would see the feedback indicator blinking and then die. No errors or anything. They just didn't work. I know that the developers would have trouble checking every app to make sure that it works the way it should, but it should play a higher priority than what it currently does. This isn't new to the 8.2 release, but has been around for as long as I can remember.
Another thing to look into would be to make SMB setup accessible from YaST. There are common UNIX services such as NIS and NFS that can be controlled from there, but no SMB. It would be nice to be able to setup and connect to SMB shares, as well as authenticate to Windows domain controllers... all through the YaST tool. that's my wish. Considering the target audience of the SuSE desktop, this should also be job one. Many people would love to be able to easily connect to Windows networks with ease from Linux.
That's about it. If you'd like to know my thoughts on anything I haven't mentioned here or may just be planning on making the switch to Linux, feel free to contact me. I'd love to hear from you and give you a hand. Take care!
MadPenguin Out >:)
As an additional note to prospective buyers, if you preorder SuSE Linux 8.2 any time before April 15th, you will receive a free SuSE T-Shirt. :) Not too bad at all.
Setup and installation
* Improved software installation
* Use of various installation sources, also for individual packages
* Online update is possible even before the first login
* Detailed help in the YaST Software Installer and in the Yast Online Update
* SuSEwatcher: automatic information about available update patches
Graphical user interfaces
* KDE 3.1 with clear menu structures
* Protective mechanisms for various configuration possibilities
* Desktop sharing framework (VNC)
* Gnome 2.2 with improved usability and fonts
* OpenOffice.org 1.0.2 with new functions
* Improved integration of OpenOffice.org
* Quick-start function for OpenOffice.org
* Exchange 2000 compatibility for KOrganizer
* New version of the project management tool MrProject
* Encryption of directories and partitions
* New functions for ISDN and KInternet
* GNUCash with integrated HBCI standard
* Improved profile manager
* Expanded WLAN support
* Fax/answerphone functionality for ISDN cards with CAPI support
* Professional video editing with MainActor
* Hard disk recording with Audacity
* 3D graphics with Blender
* Kooka, scanning software with OCR, handwriting recognition, and
automatic dictionary integration
Documentation and help
* Expanded help system
* 100 pages more documentation, also available on DVD/CD
New versions and professional tools
* Kernel 2.4.20
* XFree86 4.3
* KDE 3.1
* GNOME 2.2
* gcc 3.3
* Sun Java 1.4.1
* Kiosk functions in KDE 3.1 (limitation and handling of
permissions for administrators)
Years ago, when APS Technologies was the dominant hard drive vendor in the Macintosh world, I had a chat with Paul McGraw, one of the co-founders of the company, about why APS was starting to sell Macintosh clones. He said that since Apple was shipping such large hard drives at the time, he thought the hard drive after-market was going to become significantly less profitable. He was probably correct, particularly given the size of drives in today's Macs. Those of us who don't do video (which happily eats all the disk space you can throw at it) are unlikely ever to fill them.
But does that mean there's no reason for an external hard drive? Far from it. For quite some time after I bought my first Power Mac without SCSI, I lived without one. Not having a large external drive made me uncomfortable, though, and I was surprised how relieved I felt after buying one for secondary backups (primary backups at the time were going to VXA-1 tape), testing backup software, providing a boot disk for troubleshooting, and so on.
Should you rush right out and buy an external hard drive? It mostly comes down to whether or not you're the type of person who solves problems, either for yourself or for other people. Plenty of people just use their Macs, and if something goes wrong, they get help from elsewhere. Those people probably won't use an external drive sufficiently to justify the cost. But for people like me, who are always helping friends and relatives when we're not whacking our own systems into shape, an external hard drive is a necessity. Actually, that's a good question for a poll: do you currently have an external utility hard drive? Vote on our home page!
Over the last few months, I've been working with what feels like the mother of all external drives - Maxtor's 250 GB Personal Storage 5000. It isn't just a big FireWire and USB hard drive, though - it offers OneTouch Backup, which is a physical button on the front of the case that, when pushed, launches the bundled Retrospect Express and backs up your internal hard drive. I reviewed the Maxtor Personal Storage 5000 for Macworld recently; go read that review for details.
Although I gave the drive a positive write up in Macworld, I criticized the product for its default configuration, which actually duplicates the contents of your Mac's internal hard drive to a folder on the Maxtor drive. That prevents it from being bootable; Mac OS X's System folder and other important support folders must apparently be at the top level of the disk for it to boot. Maxtor also made a mistake in how they configured the Duplicate action in Retrospect such that files you rename, move, or delete on your internal hard drive appear multiple times in the duplicate. So, what I'd like to do here is tell you how to reconfigure the Maxtor Personal Storage 5000 to make it into the ultimate utility drive. Don't worry if you don't have one of these drives; this approach works equally as well with any large FireWire hard drive and Retrospect Express. These instructions are specific to Mac OS X, but much of the general advice remains relevant for Mac OS 9 users who don't already have a utility drive.
A Clean Start
Unlike many external FireWire drives, the Maxtor Personal Storage 5000 does not come pre-formatted, forcing you to initialize it in Apple's Disk Utility. That's not a bad thing, though, since I've seen problems on pre-formatted FireWire drives from different manufacturers. Specifically, I could make a duplicate to the drive using Retrospect Express, but I couldn't convince that duplicate to boot into Mac OS X. Reformatting and making another duplicate eliminated the problem.
As a result, I recommend you initialize any external FireWire drive first thing, before you start using it. If you want to be really sure that the drive is clean, click the Options button in Disk Utility's Erase tab and select "Zero all data" as well.
There's one other decision you may need to make at this point. Will you ever want to open your FireWire drive, extract the drive mechanism, and install it in your Mac with its contents intact? I haven't found solid information on this topic, but some people have had trouble using a mechanism connected to the IDE/ATA bus if it was initialized in the FireWire drive enclosure. To be safe, first initialize the drive inside your Mac, and then put it back in the FireWire case; obviously, this isn't a possibility for PowerBook or iBook owners, unless you have a friend with a Power Mac that can be used to initialize the drive. I did not do this with the Personal Storage 5000, but I did make the extra effort with the bare drives I bought for use with Granite Digital's FireVue FireWire drive bay, which I'm now using for backups and which I'll write more about soon.
Should you partition at this point? Although I used to partition religiously, I'm no longer a huge fan of them, and the system I describe below works well for backing up multiple Macs without partitioning. Unless you have a specific reason for partitioning, I wouldn't bother.
Make It Bootable, Make It Useful
Any good utility drive must be bootable, because you may need to use it when your Mac's internal hard drive isn't able to start the Mac. Plus, if you ever want to reformat your hard disk and restore from backup, a drive that can boot the Mac simplifies the process significantly. (Otherwise you must reformat using your Mac OS installation CD-ROM, reinstall the Mac OS, and then restore over the newly installed copy of the operating system.)
There are two ways of making your FireWire utility disk bootable, and which you choose depends on the size of the disk and your situation. If you're the only person who is likely to use the disk, even if on another person's machine, the easiest way to make it bootable might be to use Retrospect Express to make a duplicate of your internal hard disk to the external disk. You wouldn't want to do that if other people might be using the external drive, or if the duplicate would take up too much of the useful space on that disk.
The other alternative is to install clean copies of Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X on the external disk. You definitely want both, since some troubleshooting tools still run only in Mac OS 9. Plus, you never know what sort of Mac you'll want to use with your utility drive, so having Mac OS 9 available for older Macs that have never seen Mac OS X is a good idea. I opted to install clean versions of both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X on the Maxtor Personal Storage 5000.
Although Apple provides some basic utilities with both versions of the Mac OS (Drive Setup and Disk First Aid in Mac OS 9, and Disk Utility in Mac OS X), you should also install any other troubleshooting utilities you may have, such as Alsoft's DiskWarrior or Symantec's Norton Utilities (the Norton SystemWorks bundle is a good way to acquire Norton Utilities and Retrospect Express all at once). Also be sure to install Retrospect Express or whatever other backup software you may use. Remember that this disk will also hold your backups, so you want to be able to boot from it, reinitialize your internal hard disk, and restore from backup with a minimum of fuss.
Default Retrospect Express Configuration
Let's now look closely at how the Maxtor Personal Storage 5000 configures Retrospect Express by default, and how you can reconfigure it to meet your needs better.
The magic of the Personal Storage 5000's OneTouch button is that when you press the button, software that's installed on your Mac automatically launches Retrospect Express and executes a Retrospect Express script called "Maxtor OneTouch."
A bit of background: Retrospect Express scripts are nothing like AppleScript scripts - they're merely an automated way of telling Retrospect Express exactly what to back up and where to store the results. They come in three basic types: Backup scripts, Duplicate scripts, and Archive scripts. Backup scripts create backup sets, which store multiple versions of changed files and which only Retrospect Express can read. Duplicate scripts duplicate the selected files or disk to the destination as files in the Finder, but changed files are overwritten with the current version on subsequent runs. Archive scripts remove the files from your hard disk once copied elsewhere - avoid them unless you're sure of what you're doing.
The default Maxtor OneTouch script is a Duplicate script, so the "backup" you get from using it is actually a duplicate of your hard disk on the Maxtor Personal Storage 5000. That's not terrible, but with a duplicate, you lose access to previous versions of files, so if a file becomes corrupt, you could easily end up with only the corrupt version on your backup. True backups store multiple versions of changed files so you can revert to an earlier version that doesn't have the corruption.
The problems arise in the way Maxtor chose to configure the Duplicate script. First, they chose to store the duplicate in a folder at the top level of the Personal Storage 5000. That decision makes it a bit easier to back up multiple Macs to the same drive (since each would be in its own folder), but also makes it so the duplicate cannot boot a Mac in Mac OS X. Mac OS 9 isn't as picky about the location of its System Folder. Although I haven't confirmed this, I also worry about permissions confusions during restores, if you've backed up multiple Macs to standard files on the same disk. Still, this is a design decision, and it's not inherently wrong.
What is wrong is the way Maxtor sets the Replace Corresponding Files option in the Maxtor OneTouch Duplicate script. If you make a backup, and then move, rename, or delete a file from your internal hard disk, then perform another backup, you may find the results confusing. Thanks to the Replace Corresponding Files option, Retrospect Express won't see the original files on the duplicate as corresponding, so it won't replace them. In short, you will end up with the original file and another in the new location, with the new name, or in the Trash. It's a potential nightmare when the time comes to restore, since you must sort through and figure out which of the files is the correct version.
If you decide to stick with a Duplicate script, you can fix this misbehavior: Launch Retrospect Express, select the Automate tab, and click the Scripts button. Then, double-click the Maxtor OneTouch script to edit it, click the Destinations button, and choose Replace Entire Disk from the pop-up menu. Close and save and you won't have to worry about multiple versions of the same files littering your backup.
Better Retrospect Express Configuration
However, I don't recommend you follow the above instructions, because even though a Duplicate script may seem the most obvious way to back up for a novice user, it's simply not the best way to back up, period. Good backups store multiple versions of changed files, and for good backups, you want to use a Backup script. With just a pinch of cleverness, you can still use the OneTouch button on the Personal Storage 5000 to initiate the backups.
(For those of you who are following along, but don't have a Personal Storage 5000, never fear, since you can easily initiate a backup in Retrospect Express by creating a "run document" that, when opened, does exactly the same thing as pressing the OneTouch button. Just choose the script from Retrospect Express's Run menu and save it to a file from the Manual Execution dialog.)
The trick is the name of the script. First, we rename the existing script to get it out of the way. Select the Maxtor OneTouch script in the Scripts window and from the Scripts menu, choose Rename and call it something like "old Maxtor OneTouch." Now we replace it. Click the New button in the Scripts window, and choose Backup when Retrospect Express prompts you for a type of script. Next, Retrospect Express asks you to name the script. Call it "Maxtor OneTouch" (without the quotes, of course). The name is important - if you get it wrong, the OneTouch button won't do anything. When you're done, Retrospect opens the Backup: Maxtor OneTouch window where you configure your script.
Click the Sources button, and in the Volume Selection dialog, select your internal hard disk and click OK. Assuming you only want to back up one disk (Retrospect Express would be happy to do more if you have multiple partitions), click OK to close the Maxtor OneTouch: Sources dialog and return to the Backup: Maxtor OneTouch window.
Click the Destinations button next, and in the Backup Set Selection dialog, click the New button to bring up the Backup Set Creation dialog. From the Backup set type pop-up menu, choose File, set a password if you feel it's necessary, and give your backup set a name in the Name field (I usually append "Backup" to the name of the hard disk I'm backing up). Click the New button, and in the Save dialog that appears, save the backup set on the Personal Storage 5000, perhaps at the top level or in the main user's Documents folder - it doesn't matter. Back in Backup Set Selection dialog again, select your newly created backup set, click OK, and click OK once more in the Maxtor OneTouch: Destinations window.
Back in the Backup: Maxtor OneTouch window, click the Selecting button to open the Maxtor OneTouch: Selecting dialog. Choose All Files Except Cache Files from the pop-up menu (there's no reason to back up Web browser cache files), and click OK to return to the Backup: Maxtor OneTouch window.
You could, if you wanted, fiddle with the options, but you want verification and data compression turned on, so the defaults are fine. And, particularly for folks who don't have a Personal Storage 5000, you could also set a regular schedule on which Retrospect Express would automatically back up your Mac. But if you're going to rely on the OneTouch button, there's less need to do that. Close the Backup: Maxtor OneTouch window, and when prompted, save your changes. Quit Retrospect Express.
That's it, and from now on, when you press the OneTouch button, Retrospect Express launches and executes your Maxtor OneTouch script, backing up your Mac to the Personal Storage 5000. The first time will take a while, of course, but subsequent backups will be much faster, since they don't have to copy as much data.
What if you want to use the 250 GB Personal Storage 5000 to back up multiple Macs in an office? All you must do is connect the Personal Storage 5000 to each Mac in turn, and then run through the process outlined above for creating a Maxtor OneTouch script for each machine. It's easiest to create a separate backup set for each computer, rather than directing all the backups into a single backup set. Then, all you must do to initiate a backup is to plug the drive into the Mac and into an electrical outlet, wait for it to mount on the Desktop, and then press the OneTouch button.
Still, there are two issues to consider. First, plugging and unplugging cables, both FireWire and power, can be a royal pain if you have to root around behind desks and look for unused sockets. It might be worth buying some extra FireWire cables and Maxtor power adapters so the cables are easily accessible. Second, the license for the bundled copy of Retrospect Express is technically only for a single computer, so it's up to you to decide if you're comfortable interpreting the license such that it's acceptable to use that copy of Retrospect Express with multiple Macs as long as you use it only with the Maxtor Personal Storage 5000 drive.
Lest all this seem overwhelming, let's recap what we've done here. We reinitialized the disk, which is a good idea with any new external drive. Then we made it bootable, either by duplicating the internal hard disk to it, or by installing clean versions of both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. We also installed all troubleshooting and backup utilities so they'd be available when needed. Then we configured Retrospect Express to make good backups rather than the less-useful duplicates.
Run through these steps with your external FireWire drive, whether or not it's from Maxtor, and you'll be all set the next time trouble comes knocking on your Mac's door.
PayBITS: If Adam's advice helped you set up a utility hard disk in
anticipation of future problems, show your appreciation via PayBITS!
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IRVINE, CALIFORNIA April 15, 2003. Sonnet Technologies, the worldwide leader in processor upgrade cards for Apple Macintosh computers, announces the new Encore/ZIF G4 1.0 GHz model, the fastest processor upgrade available for Power Macintosh models with ZIF (Zero Insertion Force) processor sockets. This upgrade utilizes the 745X series of Motorola G4 chips, has 256K L2 and 1MB L3 cache, and delivers total processor performance of up to ten times that of the original systems. The first shipping version of the new Encore/ZIF G4 1.0 GHz is compatible with Beige G3 Power Macintosh models. Announcements of additional speeds and further compatibility with Blue & White and G4 PCI Graphics systems are expected in the coming weeks.
The completion of this project required that significant issues in voltage, logic, temperature and other key parameters be resolved. "Sonnet has once again overcome obstacles that others thought to be insurmountable," states Robert Farnsworth, Sonnet’s President and CEO. "Sonnet adds this innovation to our broad support for the Macintosh." The new Encore/ZIF installs in minutes, integrates seamlessly with all software applications, and supports all operating systems from Mac OS 8.6 through OS X.
"Sonnet is very excited to announce this significant speed bump to the Encore/ZIF line," reports Farnsworth. "The Encore/ZIF will enable an entire generation of Macs to attain modern levels of performance."
Availability and Pricing
The Encore/ZIF G4 1.0 GHz model will be shipping soon at the following MSRP:
Encore/ZIF G4 1.0 GHz-1M EG4-1000-1M $699.95
Sonnet's Entry-level Encore/ZIF G3s and G4s Sonnet continues to offer its entry-level of award-winning Encore/ZIF G4 models, which are compatible with all Beige G3s, Blue & White G3 Towers, and PCI Graphics G4 Towers. MSRPs on these models are:
Encore/ZIF G3 500 MHz-1M EG3-500-1M $169.95
Encore/ZIF G4 500 MHz-1M EG4-500-1M $299.95
About Sonnet Technologies, Inc.
Sonnet Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Irvine, California, is the worldwide market share leader in processor upgrade cards, ATA disk controller cards, and other enhancement products for Apple Macintosh computers. After Apple Computer, Inc., Sonnet is the largest producer of PowerPC processor-based products in the computer industry. Founded in 1986, Sonnet offers processor upgrades for more Macintosh models than any other company. To locate an authorized reseller or purchase product, visit the Sonnet Technologies web site at http://www.sonnettech.com, or call the company at 1-949-587-3500.
I got there late. Ed Hadley will fill in the first part of the meeting.
03-20-03 - The meeting started with the usual intros. Rich Rollins was the Emcee. What follows is a rough review of the nights events.
Joined - Ira Levinston, Anthony Philipp
Visitor - Muni Nakamora (Sorry, if I misspelled your name.)
Kevin Hisel was running a spyware (Ataware) app trying to clean his computer after having downloaded all sorts of extra crap while downloading Realplayer so he could watch Bagdad being bombed. RealNetwork adds a lot of extra software that Kevin didn't want and so he was running Ataware to clean the drive on his laptop. This sparked a general discussion of spyware software, and the problems related to the process.
George Krumins wanted to know when the 'give away' was happening. Kevin said during the WinSIG. He then mentioned what the prizes were going to be.
Richard Rollins asked Mike Latinovich to say a few words about the new AMD chip that was supposed to be out now - soon? Mike says "It's not out yet!" (But, it is supposed to be coming any day!) Developers have them, but they aren't out for the average consumer, yet. But the server version is about ready for launch. A discussion about what it is supposed to be and do insued.
John Melby mentioned a 'persistent' rumor that AMD may start manufacturing PPC chips for Apple. A discussion followed about "unsubstantiated rumors." v There was also a discussion about a totally new line of Athelon64 chips to be coming out in the near future - a 64 bit processor. They should replace the old 32 bit line at approx. similar prices. Consumer models are still "pie in the sky" for the time being, though.
There was a discussion about 64 bit stuff. AMD is still waiting for Microsoft to develop a native 64 bit OS. A Unix version is around, but a Windows version isn't, yet.
Someone mentioned Screensavers.com for a newsfeed RSS service (Rich Site Service). He wants to be able to be obsessive/compulsive about news without anyone knowing. He wants something that doesn't require having to go to the site every half hour. He would prefer a free one if possible.
Apple is supposed to be planning a new 30" Cinema display in the future. Al Gore joined the Apple BOD. Apple is discontinuing the original iMac. For a while Apple still has them available through the educational stores. The 17" Powerbooks are finally starting to ship.
There was a discussion of Intel's new Centrino chip for mobile applications. One of the new members mentioned he had some experience with it and was somewhat impressed, but it has it's flaws, because of 802.11 variation limitations. Also, he feels the power conservation hype isn't that important. It has a MB of L2 cache. The general consensus was that it was an interesting step, but there is room for improvement.
Intel is strict about the chip sets that run with it.
There was talk of a new RAM chip - Registered DDR - from Micron. It comes in a 1GB stick. A discussion followed of RAM capacities and capabilities and "How big is their stick" comparisons.
George Krumins said that the WinSIG should give away the software he was demonstrating that evening.
Emil is going to connect a camera to his computer and play with iPhoto some. George is doing a demo on a database app. (Kevin Hopkins arrives. See below.)
Linux news... SCO is suing IBM. This seems to be a semi-suicidal act. There is talk of this being a tactic to get bought.
A bunch of new Unix builds are out. There was a discussion of various Linux systems and support for them. Harold says he actually read a license and decided that if he signed the thing, it could get him fired. It would have obligated the U of I in ways that aren't kosher. And it gave Red Hat the OK to audit the U of I computer's that run it.
There was a discussion of interesting things that companies are doing - maneuvering against each other and ultimately the customer. Some of the companies seem to be doing the things that the creators of Linux were trying to get away from. (Won't get fooled again...)
New Mac versions of Unix out, Samba has a major bug in it and beware if you are running it.
There were some comments about Knopix and how it could be used to saves drives and other things...
A new Eudora is out that actually works with OS 10.
Jack Melby discussed some problems with 10.2.4 update: Excessive battery draining, System clock resetting to yesteryear. A modem problem - instability. These problems have been fixed in the up coming 10.2.5 update.
(OK, here's where I came in.) Linux news: SCO is suing IBM for patent infringement, Kris Klindworth talked about them. He said it is basically thought that they are making themselves a nuisance in hopes that IBM will buy them out, just to make the problem go away.
Red Hat has decided to redo their entire line of products. Harold Ravlin talked disparagingly about Red Hat's service agreement. At his work, they've decided to go with SuSE to avoid it.
Kris said, "Lots of interesting things happening with the companies in the Linux community right now."
Mozilla 1.3 is out.
Yellow Dog Linux 3.0 is coming soon.
Samba 2.8 has a big security hole in it. If you're nuts enough to run it on the net, get the patch.
Jack Melby said that Apple has released its latest version of X11.
Richard Rollins revisited a problem he had been having with Eudora's inability to run on OS 10.2. He said they have released a new version, Eudora 5.2 beta 5, which now works with OS 10.2.
George Krumins talked about some more Windows patches.
Jack Melby reported that Mac OS 10.2.5 will be out in about three weeks. He also spoke about some of the bugs in 10.2.4. There is a problem with excessive battery drain, a problem with the system clock being reset to 1969 on dual processor machines when they are not connected to a network, and there is a problem of the OS being unstable on machines using modems to connect to the net. All of these items are corrected in the 10.2.5 update.
Kevin Hisel gave an update on the Illini tournament basketball score (a game the Illini eventually won).
Richard Rollins spoke in glowing terms about Dazzle, a hardware interface for connecting various devices (DVD players, videotape machines, audio sources of various types) to your computer in order to edit them and them output them again. The Firewire version costs $275.
Jack Melby talked about the difficulties of recovering material from old audio tapes.
Emil Cobb showed iPhoto. He began by importing some pictures he had taken just before. He pulled them in to his iBook using its USB connection. Just by plugging in his camera, iPhoto recognized its presence and sucked in the photos.
Emil showed how easy it is to present a slide show of all those photos with music added.
Emil said iPhoto likes 256 MB of RAM or the more memory you throw at it. It also needs a machine capable of 1024 x 768 video resolution. Ed Hadley said it wouldn't run on his iBook, which was only capable of 800 x 600 resolution. Kevin Hopkins asked Emil about which OS iPhoto would run on. Emil said it is an exclusively OS X application.
Emil then made a photo album of just his new photos. He showed how to get information on each photo and how to add notes of your own to that picture. He then talked about importing and exporting photos and the different file formats that were available.
During Emil's discussion of iPhoto's ability to mail out pictures, Jack Melby said that if you choose to mail a photo, iPhoto reduces the file size to something rational. iPhoto will let you choose which mail program you's like to use.
There was a discussion about picture quality and file format and how it changes over each generation of copying. Ed Hadley had a lot to say on this subject, in particular as it related to TIFF versus JPEG manipulation.
Emil talked about menues at the bottom of the iPhoto window.
Emil talked about iPhotos editing features. Although not the greatest, they are very serviceable. He showed the Red Eye tool, the retouch tool, and a few others. He showed some photos that he'd printed out, which sparked questions about his printer, its resolution, and the paper he used to print out on. Emil has an inexpensive Epson 777 printer, capable of 1440 x 2880 dpi, that he got from the U of I's Micro Order Center. He gets his ink cartridges from http://www.printpal.com .
Emil then burned a CD with his photos on it. iPhoto will only burn in its own format, so you can view them a home DVD machine.
Emil then demonstrated how to use Image Capture to read a Smart Media card.
You can add music and captions to your photos with iPhoto.
Harold Ravlin noted that if you take high resolution pictures, it can take a long time to write the picture to your card. So if your expecting to take a rapid series of pictures, Emil said you'd better have two cameras.
Jack Melby: Jack began by announcing that new Samba and new Airport software had been released by Apple. He said tab browsing will be available in a new version of Safari in about a week.
Jack reported that a reliable source has rumored that three new 2.3 GHz PowerMacs will be ready by July. He said there is also a persistent rumor that AMD will be adding PowerPC chips to their line.
Jack also said that the World Wide Developers Conference date has been changes. It is believed developers attending this conference will leave with OS 10.3 in hand. "Panther's" official release date is September.
Turning to the next MacSIG, Jack said that the program slot is currently open.
He then went on to talk about a new version of iChat, with full video conferencing, an Office compatible version of iWorks, and some information about Keynote.
Rich Hall: Treasurer Richard Hall gave his usual, exemplary Income report.
Kris Klindworth: Kris reported that there would be a change in the format of the Linux SIG. The meeting will now begin at 6:15 PM. There will be a half an hour demonstration and fifteen minutes of Questions and Answers. There will be a presentation every other month.
Next month, John Ross will be doing Java programming.
Touching on Linux news, Kris said this had been a good public relations month.
Kevin Hopkins: Kevin reported that we currently have 38 members. Two new members joined at the last meeting. Emil said he had the paperwork and would get it to Kevin.
Kevin Hisel: Kevin reported that we are almost out of prizes, provided by the Microsoft Mindshare program.
Kevin commented that the wireless set up we now have at the meetings is one of the best things the club has ever done.
Emil Cobb: Emil reported that we had 23 members in attendance at the last meeting.
Richard Rollins: Richard said he enjoyed the last meeting. He was lucky enough to win Front Page. He said Jim Saxon won Alpha 5, and he couldn't remember who won the golf game.
Richard said Emil did a great job on his iPhoto demo. Emil said it isn't very powerful in its cleanup and editing features, but it is very good at what it does do. He also noted that there is a freeware program that will allow Toast to burn a PhotoCD from iPhoto.
Next month, the PC SIG is open so they will have a Question and Answer Session. The Mac SIG will do a Q & A as well. Jack said he would bring a new CD of OS X stuff.
Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Illinois Technology Center. The Center is located at 7101 Tomaras Ave in Savoy. To get to the Illinois Technology Center from Champaign or Urbana, take Neil Street (Rt 45) south. Setting the trip meter in your car to zero at the McDonalds on the corner of Kirby/Florida and Neil in Champaign, you only go 2.4 miles south. Windsor will be at the one mile mark. Curtis will be at the two mile mark. Go past the Paradise Inn/Best Western motel to the next street, Tomaras Ave. on the west (right) side. Tomaras is at the 2.4 mile mark. Turn west (right) on Tomaras Ave. The parking lot entrance is immediately on the south (left) side of Tomaras Ave. Enter the building by the front door under the three flags facing Rt 45. A map can be found on the CUCUG website at http://www.cucug.org/meeting.html . The Illinois Technology Center is also on the web at www.IL-Tech-Ctr.com .
Membership dues for individuals are $20 annually; prorated to $10 at mid year.
Our monthly newsletter, the Status Register, is delivered by email. All recent editions are available on our WWW site. To initiate a user group exchange, just send us your newsletter or contact our editor via email. As a matter of CUCUG policy, an exchange partner will be dropped after three months of no contact.
For further information, please attend the next meeting as our guest, or contact one of our officers (all at area code 217):
President/WinSIG: Richard Rollins 469-2616 Vice-President: Emil Cobb 398-0149 firstname.lastname@example.org Secretary/Editor: Kevin Hopkins 356-5026 email@example.com Treasurer: Richard Hall 344-8687 firstname.lastname@example.org Corp.Agent/Web.Mr: Kevin Hisel 406-948-1999 Mac SIG Chairman: John Melby 352-3638 email@example.com Linux SIG Chairman: Kris Klindworth 239-0097 kris.klindworth@Carle.com
Visit our web site at http://www.cucug.org/, or join in our online forums at http://www.cucug.org/starship/index.php .