Apple Pro App Support 4.01 Update

Apple released a “Pro Application Support” update today and called it version 4.01. The extent of the description was:

This update improves general user interface reliability for Apple’s professional applications and is recommended for all users of Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Pro, Motion, Soundtrack Pro, DVD Studio Pro, Aperture, Final Cut Express HD, Soundtrack, Logic Pro and Logic Express.

The update does not require a reboot although closing all applications is recommended.

The update is available through Apple’s automatic software update or as a standalone download of 7.6MB.

Click the picture to see it full size and the applications affected.

WordPress Plugin: WordPress Stats Updated to v1.1.1

The WordPress Stats plugin was updated a couple of times recently. The first update, to version 1.1, moved the stats page to the blog being tracked, rather than at WordPress.com. With version 1, clicking the stats page in the WordPress dashboard opened the stats page on WordPress.com. Now the page opens in an iframe on the current blog.

WordPress Stats Version 1.1.1 was released soon after. It plugs a critical SQL injection security vulnerability.

I upgraded this blog and everything seems fine – the old stats remained and they’ve been updated. The instructions say the updated plugin can be copied over the old one, no mention of deactivating the plugin first. I followed my typical procedure and shut down the plugin first, then replaced it. When I restarted the plugin I had to re-enter the WordPress API key.

Firefox 2.0.0.5 Released

http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/firefox/2.0.0.5/releasenotes/

Mozilla has released Firefox 2.0.0.5 which is primarily a security update. It patches eight security vulnerabilities including the one where IE would pass a malformed URL to it. The update is available from the Firefox website or through Firefox’s auto update feature. You can force an update check by selecting Help -> Check for Updates from the Firefox menu.

MacUpdate and MacHeist Software Bundle

MacUpdate is offering a bundle of 10 applications, all of which are now unlocked. MacHeist takes the same bundle and offers some additional goodies when you buy it through them. I bought the original MacHeist bundle but the software in this bundle doesn’t excite me (or I already have it). But if you’ve been considering a couple of the applications the $50 bundle price can result in considerable savings over the individual prices.

Based on price, the top app is TechTool Pro which lists for $98 and retails for around $80. TechTool Deluxe, which is a subset of TechTool Pro is included with an Applecare purchase.

Intaglio is a drawing program that lists for $89 and Little Snitch is an application that reports on outgoing network requests by applications and retails for $25. These round out the applications that were unlocked when a certain sales volume was reached.

There does seem to be some overlap in the software selection as Cocktail is a utility that duplicates some features of TechTool.

I do own Little Snitch and like it, but more because I’m curious about the network activity of applications (such as checking for updates or license verifications) and sometimes like to temporarily block those checks. I also own Fetch, an FTP program, that I like and use but there are free alternatives (Cyberduck is popular) so I don’t see an FTP client driving someone to purchase the bundle.

MacHeist adds five full licenses (totaling about $98 list) and includes access to two beta programs. The beta software duplicates existing bundled software (ftp client and drawing program). If your interested in the bundle you’re probably better off going through MacHeist since you’ll get the extras for the same price.

The original MacHeist included Delicious Library which seemed to be a good all-around draw for Mac users. (Even though I don’t use it myself.) This bundle doesn’t seem to have an application with such wide appeal. If you want a couple of the apps you may save money by buying the bundle, otherwise you may decide to skip this one which is what I’ll do. If your curious about the apps you can download demo copies for most of them.

The bundle is set to expire midnight EDT on Thursday July 19th, 2007. They’ve also added PhotoPresenter to the bundle.

WD My Book Button Manager Removed and Some Frustrations

This post is obsolete and screenshots have been removed.

I decided to remove the Button Manager drivers (Mac) for my Western Digital My Book 500GB drive. The button manager software is used to provide:

1. the capacity gauge that shows the drive space used

2. Safe shutdown (by pushing the drive button)

Since installing the My Book drivers I’ve had one case when my iMac just pin-wheeled when waking from sleep mode and I had to force a power off. I can’t say it was the cause but when there’s a problem the last change is usually the place to start. The “features” of the button manager don’t really provide any value to me so I decided to remove it.

The problem was I couldn’t find any information about how to remove. So I did some research and this worked for me.

I found two process in Activity Monitor that seemed to be the button manager: WD Button Manager and WDBMService. (click the thumbnail to see process info). There wasn’t anything in the startup processes for my user ID or in the library files in my user profile (and since this is hardware I didn’t really expect any).

I did find some promising files in the Library files for the system. In the Library folder right off the root of the system drive there’s a StartupItems folder and in that there’s a WDBMService folder which was obviously the button manager software. I dragged the WDBMService folder to my desktop to remove it from the StartupItems but still have it in case things go really bad. Then I rebooted.

After the reboot there wasn’t any trace of the WD Button Manager drivers and all seemed well. So I deleted the WDBMService folder from my desktop.

The WD My Book drive has given me a few other minor frustrations. First, under Windows the auto-off feature worked great. I turned off my Windows laptop and the My Book powers down. With my iMac the My Book goes into sleep mode but stays on. I suppose it could be a Mac issue, maybe the iMac continues to provide power to the FW800 port when the iMac is off.

While the drive itself is very quiet the drive spins so fast that when I put it on my wooden desk I could feel the vibration through the desk and there was a slight hum from the wood. There’s no “feet” or other padding on the drive so the case sits right on the desk. I put a empty slim CD case under the drive and it eliminated the vibration and humming.

I was trying to think of some hard drive or CD burner which was bundled with software that actually worked and was worth using. I couldn’t come up with any which I guess is why I’m not really upset about the software issues. I bought it strictly for the hardware specs and not the software or bells and whistles, expecting the software to be a waste. So based on my expectations I’m happy with the My Book and would buy another. Has anyone every bought an external drive (disk or optical) and been happy with the bundled software?

 

Windows Home Server RTM

http://blogs.technet.com/homeserver/

Microsoft has released Windows Home Server to manufacturing (RTM). According to the Home Server blog post it should be available in a couple of months. Windows Home Server will only be available through hardware manufacturers. This seems to have the potential to be a really cool product from Microsoft that can serve as a media center and provide backup protection for files. The potential weak link here is the hardware manufacturers that will be designing the hardware.

OS X 10.4.10 Wireless Issues Resolved

This post is obsolete and screenshots have been removed.

I finally got around to researching the wireless problem that surfaced after I applied the OS X 10.4.10 update. In short, every time the computer booted, or woke from sleep I’d have to reconfigure the wireless network. For wireless I use 802.11g with WPA for security.

The solution was simple. I deleted the network from my preferred network list then re-added it. Since then it’s worked much better, almost perfect. Waking from sleep is problem free. But, booting up fresh sometimes takes several minutes to join the network. Since I rarely power off completely this is a minor inconvenience.

It’s also worth mentioning that I deleted the wireless network password from my keychain. This did not fix the problem but it is something I did before deleting/re-adding the preferred network so it may also be needed. To do this run the “Keychain Access” app from the Application -> Utilities folder. Use the search field to search for your wireless network name and delete any password entries found.

The steps to delete and re-add the preferred network are:

1. Open preferences then open the network preferences. (Click the thumbnail to see a full size screenshot) Select Airport if you have any choices and click the configure button to open the configuration screen.

2. Select Airport in the “Show” list if it isn’t already selected. Selected your network in the preferred network list then click the minus sign to delete it. Then select the + sign to add a new preferred network and enter the information for you wireless network. Click the “Apply Now” button to save the changed.

Resetting the preferred network resolved the problem for waking from sleep. The problem remained with fresh boots. So I then changed the configuration to tell it to keep looking for recent networks if none were found, rather than prompting for any available network. It may take several minutes (sometimes up to 10) but it would connect to the network. I noticed that when this occurs very few networks are listed (there are many within range) and the list grows over time.

To set the option to keep searching for recent networks click “Options” on the configuration screen (see the screenshot for step 2 above). Select “Keep looking for recent networks” from the first pick list. I also check “Automatically add recent networks to the preferred networks list” although this is unrelated to the problem.

Since these changes everything has been fine and I’m keeping my fingers crossed. My wireless access point is described here. It’s my only Mac that uses wireless.