TweetFollow Us on Twitter

MWSF '04

Volume Number: 20 (2004)
Issue Number: 2
Column Tag: Review

MWSF '04

by Michael R. Harvey

Round-up of what we saw this year

Announcements, Announcements, Announcements

This MacWorld Expo saw no earth shattering releases, but a whole pile of new and updated releases form companies across the spectrum of Mac-dom. Some of those announcing, or releasing, new and updated products included Microsoft, with their Office 2004 for Mac, and Timbuk2, with two new cases added to their line of packs and laptop cases. There was also news from Oxford Semiconductor, showing off their OXFW912 FireWire 800 to IDE bridge chipset. LANDesk Software demonstrated their latest LANDesk Management Suite 8, while ATTO Technology announced that their host bus adapters fully support both the G5 processor and Panther. What else? Read on.

Apple

Serious iron for the rest of us

The G5 processor finally made it in to the Xserve. With two 2.0 GHz processors packed in, the new Xserve is capable of ever greater processing performance. You can check out Apple's website to see all the pretty graphs showing off the horsepower of this revision. Not so widely known about the new Xserve G5 is that it now has a hardware RAID built in, which gets you hardware RAID level 5, 150Mbps serial ATA drives, and set rebuilding in the background. Very good news.

Almost more important for network administrators is the updated Xserve RAID. With capacity up to 3.5 Terabytes, fourteen hot swappable drive bays giving you a $3.14 per gigabyte price point, this updated unit places itself in a very attractive position for any network or server administrator looking to expand their storage. There is also hardware set rebuilding in the background, just like the Xserve G5. This ability in the Xserve RAID is a firmware update, and should be updateable on older Xserve RAID units.

Whither G5?

The G5 desktop system has been around for a few months now, so where do software developers stand on updating their applications for the 64-bit architecture? I decided to get a sample answer by talking to folks whose programs really beat the snot out of hardware. Alias, the makers of Maya, and Discreet, makers of Combustion (who just released version 3 at the expo). Both companies said that they saw tremendous improvements in performance running their current versions on G5 hardware, without any patches to take advantage of the new hardware advancements. Each also ran into a few compatibility issues, none deal breakers, and all fully documented on their web sites. Last, both Alias and Discreet said they currently have no official plans to update their applications to take full advantage of the G5 architecture, citing the already significant speed boost they currently have. It is something they are always looking at however, so don't expect them to let the advantages of the G5 wait for too long.

Drive Savers

1-800-440-1904. The one phone number every admin has handy, and prays they never have to call. These folks were at the show, showing off some of the more extreme recovery jobs they've received. Their enterprise business is growing. They are more and more able to handle really big recovery jobs. Don't worry, if you ever need them , they will be there.



Dantz

The big announcement from Dantz this time around was version 6.0 of Retrospect for Macintosh. A multitude of improvements have been rolled into the new version. High on the list is the removal of the 1 TB limit present in previous version. You can now back up data sets and volumes up to 1,000 TB. Fibre channel support has been added, as well as the ability for backups to span multiple FireWire and USB disks. Obviously, the latest Macs and operating systems are now supported, and Dantz also includes a disaster recovery CD with Mac OS X 10.3.1.

Netopia

Timbuktu Pro 7.0

Timbuktu Pro has been the gold standard for remote computer control for years. Version 7.0 only improves on an already great product. Released in December, version 7.0 adds Panther support, including the ability to handle the fast user switching feature of 10.3. You can also now control how much color information is being sent to the controlling computer from the controlling computer. Pop up tip balloons are now part of the program to help you figure out the functions of the not always clear icons. Additionally, some features that in past versions were controlled with AppleScripts are now part of the preferences, making set up and control easier overall.

NetOctopus

Netopia previewed version 5.1 of netOctopus at the show. The main new feature of this will be the Software Delivery System (SDS). It will be added to what Netopia is calling their netOctopus Enterprise Systems Manager. There is a long list of features that this system will over. One new feature that will certainly take a load off your network is the ability to resume interrupted downloads without having the re-download the package from the staging server. The new version will be released by the end of the first quarter.

LaCie

The biggest thing coming from LaCie this show was what they very modestly call the Bigger Disk. It should be available by the time you need this. What it is is a box stuffed with four drives, and the necessary hardware to make it look like a single one terabyte volume. The internal hardware uses RAID 0 and spanning to present the host computer with one logical drive. Hence, the host machine requires no drivers to make use of the disk. It's got three interfaces, FireWire 800, FireWire 400, and USB 1.1/2.0. It is also equipped with a temperature sensing fan to help keep it cool, as well as running quieter. It'll have a price of $1199 when available.

Prosoft

Prosoft was showing off the updates to two of their products, Data Rescue, and Data Backup. Data Backup is a completely new program, built from the ground up by Prosoft. Previously, they had licensed Tri-Backup from Tri-Edre Software. When that agreement ended, they engineered their own version. The other application updated was Data Rescue. This update added the capability to do content based recovery, as well as recover images from digital cameras. These two utilities, along with Data Recycler, are now also bundled into the Data Safety Suite.

Now Software

The folks from Now Software showed their latest update to Now Up-To-Date and Contact, bringing the version to 4.5.1. They added Panther compatibility, as well as stability enhancements and other refinements. They also talked a bit about the next major revision, version 5.0, due later this year. There's nothing official, yet, but it's going to be the biggest, most complete update to the program ever. Keep an eye out for it.

Just plain cool

MacWorld always has a lot of consumer oriented products on display. These are some of the absolutely coolest gadgets I came across at the show.

DLO



Back in November, I reviewed Digital Lifestyle Outfitters Transpod all-in-one FM transmitter and car charger. I loved it. I also had two complaints. One, it didn't swivel left and right. Two, they hadn't yet come out with one for the 3G iPods. Well, I can complain no more. They had on display, and available for sale, the Transpod FM. Not only is it designed for the latest iPods, it has the ability, on the extender arm, to swivel left to right. Add to that a digital tuner, and auxiliary output, and you have the best of in car iPod accessories. They also have a wide variety of other accessories, including some very interesting cases. Check them out at www.everythingipod.com.

Harmony

These guys are great. They had on display their latest offering, the SST-659 Family remote. Designed to be easier for everyone in the house to use, with separate direction and activity keys, making it easier for the younger ones in the family to get things going. It also has a great price point. The one thing you sacrifice on this remote is the included TV listings in the remote. You get the service for two months, then must pay a yearly fee. Still, this device is by far, one of the nicest remotes you can get to feed your need to channel surf. www.harmonyremote.com.

MacAlly

As always, MacAlly had a wide variety of offerings on display. New to their clan of products were a line of backpacks and laptop cases, all quite nice looking. The one thing that caught my eye, however, was their retractable cable kit with multi-function tips. I wasn't able to find out too much about it, and it's not yet even on their website. I am very interested to see something like this that can reduce the cable clutter in my bag, and will be following up on this one.

Altec Lansing

The inMotion portable iPod speaker set was far and away the coolest offering the folks from Altec Lansing had on display at MacWorld. Compact, and well designed, these speakers were specifically designed to support the iPod, and give you room filling sound from a very small form. These speakers run off either A/C power or from four AA batteries. When plugged in, the inMotion will also charge your iPod, while the batteries can run for 24 hours straight. These are an absolute must of the traveling iPod user. www.alteclansing.com

O'Reilly

That name should be known far and wide in the tech community. O'Reilly has, almost literally, a ton of well received tech focused books in publication. At the show, they had them al there, as well as one new title that doesn't quite fall into the techie category (perhaps). The Best of The Joy of Tech is a presentation of the online comic series by Nitrozac and Snaggy. Anyone who has been involved in the Mac community for any amount of time will get a big laugh out of these panels. They also had an excerpt from David Pogues new book, iLife '04, The Missing Manual, on the floor practically moments after the suite was announced during the keynote address. First impression is that this new addition to the Missing Manual series will up hold the good reputation these books have.

"The show floor is closed."

Those are some of the sweetest words you can hear on Friday after a long week of Expo. This years edition had a lot going for it. There were no really big, gee whiz announcements, but there was a lot going on. What we covered above was only a fraction of all that was written and talked about that week. As for the show itself, the floor, as well as the conference sessions, were well attended. Most everyone, exhibitor, and attendee alike, seemed to feel they got their moneys worth out of San Francisco this year.


Michael R. Harvey

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

The best scanner app on mobile
People always say that the best camera is the one you have with you. Well, the same is true with scanners, and your phone can be a pretty great tool for scanning receipts and other documents while you're on the go. [Read more] | Read more »
MARVEL Avengers Academy guide - How to g...
MARVEL Avengers Academy lets you build your own superhero school and fill it with heroes from the Marvel universe. It can be a little slow going to get your school's attendance up though, so we've gathered together somesome tips to help you do this... | Read more »
Shadow Blade: Reload guide - How to hack...
Shadow Blade: Reload is the kind of action-platformer that would have happily sucked up hours of your time on a console a few years back.Now, you can take it with you wherever you go, and its mobile conversion is not too shabby at all. To help you... | Read more »
Tomb of the Mask guide - How to increase...
Tomb of the Mask is a great endless arcade game from Happymagenta in which quick reflexes and a persistent attitude can go a long way toward earning a top score. Check out these tips to see if you can give yourself an edge on the leaderboards. [... | Read more »
Smooth Operator! (Games)
Smooth Operator! 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Smooth Operator is a weird, weird two-player kissing game. Squeeze in for 2 player fun on a single iPad, creating awkward... | Read more »
Sinless: Remastered (Games)
Sinless: Remastered 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
_PRISM Guide - How to solve those puzzle...
_PRISM is a rather delightful puzzle game that’s been tailor made for touch screens. While part of the fun is figuring things out as you go along, we thought we’d offer you a helping hand at getting in the right mindset. Don’t worry about messing... | Read more »
Fractal Space (Games)
Fractal Space 1.3.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.3.1 (iTunes) Description: Live the memorable experience of Fractal Space, a unique first person adventure & puzzle game by Haze Games! Will you... | Read more »
Set off on an adventure through the Cand...
Like match three puzzlers? If so, Jelly Blast, the innovative iOS and Android game which launched last year, is worth a look. Jelly Blast sees you head off on an epic adventure through the Candy Kingdom with your friends Lily, Mr. Hare, and Mr.... | Read more »
Ellipsis - Touch. Explore. Survive. (...
Ellipsis - Touch. Explore. Survive. 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

13-inch 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for...
B&H Photo has the 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MJVE2LL/A) on sale for $899.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for... Read more
Sale! 27-inch 3.2GHz 5K iMac for $1799, save...
B&H Photo has the 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion 5K iMac (MK472LL/A) on sale for $1799.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for... Read more
cb Hardcase – Handmade and Premium Protective...
Baden-Baden, Germany based company cb innovations has introduced the new cb Hardcase for iPhone. Featuring fine Italian Premium leather that makes for a unique look and feel, the cb Hardcase... Read more
Free Quartz News Aggregation App Puts News Yo...
Quartz have released their new iPhone app. via the Apple App Store. The app, exclusive to iPhone (also compatible with iPad and iPod touch.), provides a whole new way to experience Quartz, which set... Read more
Apple Watch on sale for $100 off MSRP, free s...
B&H Photo has the Apple Watch on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - Apple Watch Sport: $100 off - Apple Watch: $100 off Read more
Sale! B&H Photo offers 12-inch Retina Mac...
B&H Photo has 12″ Retina MacBooks on sale for $300 off MSRP for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Gray Retina MacBook: $999 $300 off MSRP - 12″ 1.... Read more
Save up to $470 with previous generation 27-i...
B&H Photo has previous-generation 27″ iMacs available for up to $470 off original MSRP, with prices starting at $1329. Each iMac includes free shipping, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: -... Read more
12-inch 1.1GHz Gray Retina MacBook on sale fo...
Musician’s Friend has the 12″ 1.1GHz Gray Retina MacBook on sale for $1199.99 including free shipping. Their price is $100 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Read more
11-inch 256GB MacBook Air on sale for $999, $...
B&H Photo has the 11″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for $999.99 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. That’s $100 off MSRP. MacMall has the 11″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air on sale for $... Read more
Free Reverso Context 3.1 For iOS Offers Conte...
Montreal, Canada based online and mobile translation and dictionary company Reverso has just released its Reverso Context 3.1 mobile app. The app provides its users with contextual translations of... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solution Specialist - Healthcare - C...
*Job Description* The Apple Solution Specialist - Healthcare proactively drives revenue and profit in the assigned sales segment, Healthcare, specific to Apple . This Read more
Infrastructure Engineer - *Apple* /Mac - Rem...
…part of a team Requires proven problem solving skills Preferred Additional: Apple Certified System Administrator (ACSA) Apple Certified Technical Coordinator (ACTC) Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Simply Mac *Apple* Specialist- Service Repa...
Simply Mac is the largest premier retailer of Apple products in the nation. In order to support our growing customer base, we are currently looking for a driven Read more
*Apple* Reporter - Business Insider, Inc. (U...
Business Insider is looking for a reporter to cover Apple , the biggest and arguably most important company in tech. As our primary Apple reporter, you will: * Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.