Thursday, June 30, 2005

iMac G5 rev 2: a lot cooler?

iMac G5 (Part 11)

Macintouch has done excellent journalism covering the heating and reliability problems with the G5 iMac initial release:
...I have been told recently that Apple is no longer replacing the midplane assemblies, they are now replacing fans with a newly designed fan which tells me they have been having problems with their rev.1 boards. I guess the new rev. 2 boards are being reported all over the net. I can attest that the first version fans were horrible, at least the heat issue was a problem and it certainly didn't do much for quietness.

[A new 1.8GHz Power Mac G5 is almost identical to our 20' 1.8GHz iMac G5 in architecture, but we find it's running a *lot* cooler in the big aluminum case, according to ThermographX - by some 50 degrees F. -MacInTouch]"
The new 20" iMacs are a lot cooler than the prior model. I think they may be safe to buy.

OmniOutliner 3.0.3 is out (via Macintouch)

MacInTouch Home Page: "OmniOutliner 3.0.3 is an outliner and organizer that offers styles, columns, attachments, inline notes, AppleScript support, and other features. This release adds Automator support, improvements to recorded audio and HTML export, speed improvements when editing large outlines, and other changes. OmniOutliner 3 is $39.95 ($69.95 Professional) for Mac OS X 10.2 through 10.4."

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Creating child and restricted access accounts in OS X Tiger

macosxhints - 10.4: Create safe, simple accounts without passwords

Nvu 1.0 has been released

Download Nvu 1.0

WYSIWYG HTML editing and simple web content management for Linux, Mac, Windows. Based on Mozilla.

Changing Tiger screen capture formats (via Tidbits)


Calibrating a new LiOn battery: iBook example

Macworld: Secrets: Laptop Battery Smarts

I do this sort of thing unintentionally fairly often, but it's worth knowing about. I suspect a similar procedure might be of value for other LiOn battery devices.
Calibrate the Battery New Apple batteries, those included with a machine and those bought separately, arrive partially charged and need to be calibrated. This procedure provides a baseline for the processor built into the battery, so the processor can effectively regulate power consumption. To calibrate your battery, first plug in the laptop and charge the battery to 100 percent capacity; the light at the end of the Apple-supplied power cable will go from orange to green when the battery is fully charged. Next, unplug the power adapter and let the battery run down. The machine will put itself to sleep and refuse to wake up. Plug the adapter in again and fully recharge the battery. (You can use the laptop as you normally would during the calibration process.) You need to calibrate the battery only once.
The rest of this MacWorld article is excellent. Great advice.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

iPhoto 4: the bizarre 4.21 GB 'not enough room' bug

This is one of the most annoying bugs I run into. I'll try to export photos from iPhoto 4, and I get an error messages saying there's not enough space left -- when there's plenty of space left.

This error message arises from many bugs, but the most annoying is the 4.21 GB boundary bug. When that's the amount of drive space left, iPhoto croaks on export. Some sort of 'divide-by-zero' bug.

If I duplicate a large folder to get my free space below 4GB the error goes away and I can export.

Unfortunately iPhoto 5 is unuseable on a G3 machine and has a reputation for very nasty bugs.

Friday, June 17, 2005

When Apple support fails: the customer relations number

iMac G5 (Part 11) notes:
So thanks very much to the folks at the Apple Customer Relations department and to the guys at the Apple Store in Houston. I can't forget the folks at MacInTouch for providing this forum for discussing the problem and possible solutions. And the big thanks go to Stephen Hart for forcing me to call the Customer Relations phone line (800-767-2775). And final thanks go to the companies which make external FireWire hard drives so that people like me can make data backups.
If you're having problems with Apple's service, this is a place to go.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Granite Digital for firewire enclosures

MacInTouch Home Page:

I like the sound of this advice:
Louie Berry:

My suggestion to him would be take a hard look at Granite Digital's large product list of FireWire enclosures, bridge boards, cables, and complete single units and RAID arrays. Throughout the last several years of reported FW problems, I've never had one instance of trouble from Granite stuff. They write their own firmware for the chipsets and I don't believe an update has been required since the release of 10.2. I use Granite enclosures on all manner of Macs from legacy machines to the latest G5s and move them from machine to machine; OS 9 to Tiger.

For years Granite was the leader in top quality SCSI cables, terminators, RAID, etc. and switched their main thrust to FireWire about five years ago. I have no connection with them except as a satisfied customer for about 10 years.

Monday, June 13, 2005

iBook and PowerBook battery innards

The Cult of Mac Blog
It's complete surprise to me that the iBook's battery pack is filled with ordinary-looking rechargeable batteries. Apparently this is also the case with the PowerBook....

Update: AppleFritter has a forum thread with some handy hints for do-it-yourself repairs of iBook and PowerBook batteries.
AppleFritter is down right now, but I'll f/u with more detail. I've an old battery I can experiment on.

Image Sharpness Problems under iPhoto 5.x

iPhoto (Part 13, Macintouch)

Tom H. Koornwinder

Dave Middleton wrote on June 1 about iPhoto under Tiger: "When editing only the sharpen bar to sharpen a photo, while changing nothing else, the photo sharpens fine. Then while saving, the photo reverts to the previous more fuzzy state, and the sharpened edit cannot be saved at all."

I observed the same phenomenon (under system 10.3), but then I found an Apple help file "iPhoto: Sharpness adjustment may not be apparent when viewing at less than 100 percent", where this is explained. In reality the sharpness changes were saved, but since the image has been re-aliased to fit your screen, the image's true sharpness may not be apparent. To evaluate whether an image is sharp or needs sharpening, always view the photo at 100 percent/full size.

iSight on older machines: iGlasses

MacInTouch Home Page: "iGlasses 1.1.3 makes it possible to control iSight video settings from within iChat AV and other programs and also activates the iSight on G3 computers which fall below Apple's minimum requirement of 600 MHz. This release adds settings support for iMovie HD, QuickTime 7 Pro recording, ohphoneX, Delicious Library, ineen, BTV, BTV Pro, and SecuritySpy, plus fixes to improve compatibility with ShowMacster and EvoCam, and other changes. iGlasses is $8 for Mac OS X 10.2 through 10.4 with QuickTime 6.4 or later."

Friday, June 10, 2005

Ric Ford (Macintouch) on MacTel

Macs on Intel (Special Report)

I agree with Ric, except for the wild card of Intel's universal platform. It reminds me of OS/2. OS/2's Win32 emulation was so good that no-one could make money selling OS/2 applications. Then Microsoft broke the Win32 emulation. For Microsoft, it was like mugging a baby.

Why won't that happen again? Forget Adam Osborne. Remember OS/2.
In the days immediately following Apple's big announcement this week, we've seen typical waves of speculation and reaction throughout the Mac community, representing the full range of viewpoints. It's an interesting and necessary part of the process, but there is much about this change that's simply out of our hands and outside our purview, including Steve Jobs's specific plans for future Apple products and strategy. We can guess about them, and we can offer our suggestions and requests, but we can't discuss any specifics that we don't have because they're still secret.

... * Don't hesitate to invest in good Mac computers today, but things may get a little tricky as Apple gets closer to abandoning the PowerPC platform in 2006. We might see some big discounts, but Apple might also run out of stock, as it typically does before new product introductions, before it lets prices drop.

Decide whether you want to invest in long-term or short-term PowerPC Macs, considering that the first Intel Macs are likely to have teething problems and that the first Intel Power Macs aren't even due for another two years.

We love the Mac Mini for its low cost and good performance, and the iBook G4 offers the same thing on the laptop side. With Intel versions of Minis and laptops due first, these low-cost options are an ideal bridge between aging Macs and the future.

The Power Mac G5 is our recommendation for long-term power running your existing applications. It's reasonably priced (well under $1500) at the low-end, and even that model has plenty of power, plus the major advantages of dual-disk RAID capability and upgradable graphics. Obviously, the high-end models give you more power, and that's what we'd choose if we were compressing media all day long.

The iMac G5 - second revision - is probably the best bet in the middle. It does everything pretty well; the price is attractive; and it's wonderfully serviceable....

... What about the reverse, running Windows applications on Intel Macs? That seems far more likely, but not yet in a clear, well-defined way (considering that Intel Macs aren't even designed yet). This possibility represents an enormous disincentive to the creation of Macintosh applications, to the point where we have to question the whole strategy Jobs pitched to us this week. With Mac OS X running on Intel hardware hosting Windows applications, what's left of the Macintosh? Tiger's Finder and Spotlight? This makes no sense. A Mac-only digital video distribution system? An all-encompassing Apple application suite? We just don't get it.

Why Firewire ports fail (and USB too)

Macintouch: FireWire Part 5

At some point during this past Minnesota winter I'd plug a USB cable into the front of my PC and the machine would reboot. Turned out it was a static charge effect (the machine seems ok, but it's incredible how much voltage was traveling into that machine). I started grounding myself on the metal case and the problem stopped. It sounds, though, as though I should have grounded the cable as well.

This is a significant problem for Firewire and USB port designers:
Michael Johas Teener

I read Ron Doerynck's experience (and numerous others over the years) about FireWire port reliability ... and I wish there was a simple answer, but it's actually quite complex:

1) The static discharge protection on most FireWire ports is actually quite good and meets all industry standards (basically, it meets the 'body model' ... the expected amount of energy delivered by a charged-up human body when it touches the computer). Indeed, the FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 sockets and plugs have special features to intercept the spark and send it to chassis ground rather than let it get into the FireWire silicon. Unfortunately, the 'body model' is a bit optimistic if you live in Alberta (or Montana, or Wyoming, or ... especially in the winter), so you can deliver some truly huge jolts.

2) The other big problem is that frequently it's the FireWire *cable* that builds up the big charge (just walk across the rug in an Alberta winter holding that cable) ... the cable is *NOT* body model ... it's a really big, long capacitor and can build up an even bigger charge ... and the spark can be delivered right to the FireWire interface when you plug it in. The protection against this is to touch *BOTH* the computer *AND* the plug with your finger, or to touch the plug to the chassis before plugging into the socket.

3) There have been some devices (computers/boards/peripherals) with 'suboptimal' FireWire protection circuits, particularly when the cable is a bit out of specification and fails to make a good solid ground connection. The systems that shipped in the last few years all have pretty robust interfaces (although I haven't looked at the Mac Mini, so I can't comment on it). The interfaces on the Xserve are particularly robust.
If you have a ground nearby, ground your USB or Firewire cable prior to plugging it in during high-static weather. This is harder for laptops, I wonder if that's the reason laptops seem most vulnerable to port failure.

Configuring fans to cool a system

PC Cooling and Power

I've been adding fans to cool my tower system -- too many drivers. I think I've configured them incorrectly!

If my power supply is indeed exhausting air (I hope it is) I need one pusher fan up front and on the side, and set all the rear fans to exhaust. I'll try it ...

A quieter pc - some easy steps

Easy Steps for a Quiet PC

Yes, WD drives sure are noisy ...
Hard Drives

Hard drives are constantly rotating at extremely high RPMs....

If you care about noise, then that 10K or 15K RPM screamer is just out. Instead, you'll want to look at a quiet 5400 RPM or 7200 RPM hard drive with some kind of acoustic management and fluid drive bearings. The reference quiet hard drives are the older Seagate Barracuda IV and V models. I've seen comments that the newer 7200.7 models aren't as quiet, but I don't know if that means "these are loud" or if it just means "they're not perfect". The current king of high-capacity drives with good, quiet performance are the newer Samsung SpinPoints. I have a mix of Samsungs and Barracudas and I'm happy with both of them. I also have a newer Maxtor model with fluid drive bearings, and while not silent, it's definitely better than the older Maxtor I used to have. The only manufacturer I adamantly refuse to use is Western Digital -- their drives are just painfully noisy.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

iMac G5 and the new MacTel machines: it's about heat

The sad story of the iMac G5 is one of the best illustrations of how badly IBM's chip design has gone (I'm still planning to buy one....).

Macintouch iMac G5 (Part 10)

Rob Porter

Is there a specific number of imac G5 users that have had these various problems mentioned on this site? I browse through this and many other sites that touch on the problems of the imac G5 but, I have failed to see a number that shows the comparison of imac G5s sold to the imac G5s returned for problems. I am an IT person at a large company (100 machines) and all but 14 of our machines are imac G5s and G4s, the rest are powermacs and 4 wintel machines. As of yet we have had no problems nor symptoms. Is there a specific run of machines that were affected?

[We have] 28 total imac G5s in a fairly cool large building but only 2 are used for graphics or photo editing and they are on automatic setting for the processor. All the machines stay on all the time and the only thing I have seen is were the sleep light stays constant instead of pulsing and only pulse when put to sleep by the power button.

[Ric Ford, MacInTouch]

The problem appears to cross a wide range of iMac G5's, occasionally affecting even the second revision now shipping, although some components have been changed. Previous statistics from repair depots and multiple-unit purchasers were not encouraging - well into the double digit percentages.

I'm fairly sure that it's a heat-related issue, which in turn relates directly to processor loads and modes. If you run your systems in a cool environment at low processor loads, I think it's less likely you'll see failures. I'm currently running my own very-early 20' model at 'Reduced' processor speed to try and keep it healthy, since I don't have any hours to waste on repair hassles. This makes it slower than a cheap eMac, but it's also quieter, and I seldom need high performance, plus I've still got the beautiful big screen.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Gordon's Tech: Why the name change

Very few people read this blog -- it's where I keep notes for myself on tech issues. The design is for desperate searchers, not readers. Still, here's why the name has changed:

Gordon's Notes: Why the name change?

OSX86: some reassuring news from users of the new development platform

Accelerate Your Macintosh! News Page - 6/8/05

A developer provides some details on the development version of OSX86: (MacTel)
First, the thing is fast. Native apps readily beat a single 2.7 G5, and sometimes beat duals. Really.

All the iLife apps other than iTunes, plus all the other apps that come with the OS are already universal binaries....

They are using a Pentium 4 660. This is a 3.6 GHz chip. It supports 64 bit extensions, but Apple does not support that *yet*. The 660 is a single core processor. However, the engineers said that this chip would not be used in a shipping product and that we need to look at Intel's roadmap for that time to see what Apple will ship.

It uses DDR-2 RAM at 533 MHz. SATA-2. It is using Intel GMA 900 integrated graphics and it supports Quartz Extreme. The Intel 900 doesn't compare favorably to any shipping card from ATi or nVidia. The Apple engineers says they dev kit will work with regular PC graphics cards, but that you need a driver. Apple does not write ANY graphics drivers. They just submit bug reports to ATi/nVidia. So, when we asked where to get drivers for better cards the engineers said "The ATI guys are here." He's right, they've been in the compatibility lab several times.

It has FireWire 400, but not 800. USB 2 as well. USB 2 booting is supported, FireWire booting is not. NetBoot works.

The machines do not have Open Firmware. They use a Phoenix BIOS...

They run Windows fine. All the chipset is standard Intel stuff, so you can download drivers and run XP on the box.

Rosetta is amazing.... The tests I've run, both app tests and benchmarks, peg it at between a dual 800 MHz G4 and and a dual 2 G5 depending on what you are doing.

... Rosetta tells PPC apps that it is a G3. Apps should fall back to their G3 code tree. Everyone I tested did.

The UI tests in Xbench exceed a dual 2.7 by a large margin. (other specific tests are much lower than a G5 per Xbench site results.-Mike [jf: I think Quart Extreme is enabled on this machine, it's disabled on OS X Tiger!])

I've been talking to and watching a lot of devs. There are a lot of apps from big names running in the Compatibility lab already. Some people face more pain, sure, but Jobs wasn't kidding when he said that this transition would be less painful than OS 9 to OS X or 68K to PPC.

Game devs seem optimistic. They see porting Windows/x86 to Mac/x86 as much easier. They look forward to the day they don't have to support PPC.

I was talking to a (game Developer) that said about 1/3 of the process is handling endian issues, the rest is Win32/DirectX. For the next 3-5 years, their job will be harder since they have to port to two processor architectures and most bugs *are* endian related and that they will have a hard time making the PPC versions run as well as the x86 versions.

This transition is not about current P4 vs G5. It is about the future directions of the processor families. Intel is committed to desktop/notebook and server in a big way. Freescale/IBM are chasing the embedded market and console market. Apple would have been in a lurch in 2 years.

Also, all the cell people and the AMD people need to be quiet. Apple evaluated both. AMD has the same, if not worse, supply problems as IBM. Their roadmap is fine, but the production capacity is not.

They tested Cell as well. That processor is NOT intended for PC applications. (it was designed for game systems, not as a general use CPU) The lack of out of order execution and ILP control logic creates very poor performance with existing software. Having developers rewrite for cell would have been MUCH more work than reworking for Intel. And that's what this is, you rework your codebase in ALL cases, not rewrite it.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

iPhoto add-ons: printing

There are so many of these iPhoto Add-ons. The trick is how well they really integrate. Via Macintouch.
Photoprinto 1.2 is a utility for creating and printing photo albums and single sheets. It can import photos from iPhoto or from folders, create albums or single pages with customizable templates, add frames and captions, crop, apply effects, and more. This release adds compatibility with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger, export to HTML and web pages, additional Core Image filters (Tiger only), Spotlight search support (Tiger only), and other changes. Photoprinto is $29.95 for Mac OS X 10.2.5 and up.

PhotoBooth 1.5 enables printing full size or cropped pictures directly from an iPhoto library or folder. When set to a standard or custom size (and when cropped), pictures are automatically resized to fit the selected format. This release adds compatibility with Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger and iPhoto 5, the ability to print multiple photos at once (including multiple photos on a single page), an improved interface for selecting images to print, and support for metric units. PhotoBooth is $29.95 for Mac OS X 10.3 and 10.4.

Reducing heat in a multiple drive system: enable power saving

I'm not sure I know everything that went wrong with my Vantec/IDE saga, but it did make me very conscious of how darned hot my XP system is nowadays. I have 3 200 GB drives and one removeable 80GB drive in one tower case. I've added extra fans and, far more importantly, better room cooling, but there was one simple fix that didn't occur to me until recently. I used XP's power save utility to spin the drives down after 10 minutes of non-use. So far that hasn't bothered me at all and it sure drops heat output.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

systeminfo: handy XP command line system information utility

I thought I'd heard most XP tricks, but this one was new to me.

Atomic I/O letters column #45:
I'd like to be able to keep tabs on how long my WinXP computer's been running since the last time I rebooted. I know there are plenty of uptime monitoring utilities with all kinds of features, but can't I just use a console command?


You're looking for the 'systeminfo' command. It defaults to spitting out a bunch of configuration data for the computer you're using, including the uptime. You can also use it with the /s option to get the same info from any other Win2000 or WinXP computer on your network - or on the Internet - for which you have a login. The /u and /p options let you specify the username and password.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Repairing Permissions is Useless Exercises in Futility Part 2: Repairing Permissions is Useless

"Repair permissions" is a common recommendation for OS X troubleshooting. Personally, I've had permissions problems with applications (incorrect group), but OS X disk utility repair permissions did nothing (I fixed the problem manually). This article explains why; the OS X utility seems only to repair permissions on a some core systems files. Any other permission problem, typically due to bad behavior by an app installer, cannot be fixed this way.

In practice corrupt preference files and corrupt caches are a much more common problem source than permissions repair.

The more savvy the tech writer, the more likely they are to say repairing permissions is grossly overrated.

Friday, June 03, 2005

iClip lite: a useful Tiger widget?

The Unofficial Apple Weblog (TUAW)

I've tried various multi-clip utilities, but this one appeals to me. Elegantly simple.

Macintosh Audio Recording: Ric Ford's review of the Edirol R-1 and OS X sound editing software

Macintosh Audio Recording (Part 7)

Ric Ford [MacInTouch]

In addition to what I wrote before (jf: about the Edirol R-1), here are some more observations after recording several concerts live:

* The levels display is a different mode in recording than in record-pause; you have to hit the Display button several times to get it. (Levels show only in these two modes.) Initially, with live music, I had the levels at about half. This proved to be way too low. I guess they're peak meters, rather than RMS or average meters, so you need to get them up pretty high for music with a large dynamic range. I did well keeping them at about 75% "full". (This is even more critical at 16 bits than at 24.)

* Sensitivity seems to be less than that of an Mbox. I had the input level all the way up for some low-volume stuff in a small hall, and the levels were pretty low. I was glad I had 24 bits when it came time to mix.

* As I'd hoped, the Audio-Technica AT-822 stereo mic is a great match for the R-1. Hook 'em up, get good mic placement and levels, and you should have a recording you can use for a high-quality CD with minimal minimal effort and processing. I like the AT-822 better than the built-in omnidirectional mics, at least in a hall with echo. The omnis got a little muddy with a big band and needed some help later with EQ.

* I've successfully used Lexar 80x WA 2GB CompactFlash card and a SanDisk Ultra II *4*GB CompactFlash card; once I finally figured out that the SanDisk card had a secret little switch to choose between two 2GB banks or the whole 4GB memory! Edirol warns that some Lexar cards can use too much power, which is why I bought the SanDisk, although I didn't notice a problem using the Lexar card.

* Here's a big warning: It's easy to confuse the similar power switch and "hold" switch. If you do, then change batteries with the power on, you can lose your recording! I did this once, and it was embarrassing to say the least. Now, I tend to hit "stop, record-pause, record" between songs to write the data to the card. Interestingly, I only lost the *middle* session out of several when I made the power-switch "cockpit error".

* I avoided the special effects processing during recording, trying for a cleaner recording and also to avoid their extra drain on battery life. I was afraid of running out of battery power at the wrong time, so I did the switch before it was necessary. I'm guessing battery life is about what Edirol estimates - some 2.5 hours on a set for recording. An AC adapter is included, too.

* With a good-sized CompactFlash card, the R-1 could also make a pretty nice music player. I bought some Apple in-ear headphones to get isolation and monitoring in a small package. They're not bad for monitoring, although I don't care much for the sound for critical listening (where's the midrange?). For that, my favorite headphones are the Audio-Technica ATH-40fs, which a MacInTouch reader and sound engineer told me about. They have wonderfully flat response, but only a 1/4" plug and a long straight cord. (Radio Shack sells 1/4" to 1/8" adapter/extension cables.)

* I'm still trying to figure out what effects the built-in limiter (switchable) has on the sound. At first I thought the limiter was hurting the high-end but I think the problems I'm hearing might be from levels that were too *low*, in combination with 16-bit recording that I used at the first concert to conserve space on the card.

Later, I pushed the levels all the way up in a rehearsal with the limiter turned off, trying to get digital clipping, and it was pretty hard to hear, although I could see a little bit with an analyzer. For wide dynamic levels, I strongly recommend 24-bit (WAVE) format and trying to get the levels high enough. The jury is still out on the limiter.

After the live recording sessions, I spent a lot of time working with the audio, trying to clean up some issues with limiting, levels and EQ - none of which you'd have if the recording was done right. I was doing it on the fly in live concerts with all the attendant issues.

I continue to find the $30 Amadeus II application to be an incredibly useful, reliable and effective tool. It's a stunning value with support for all kinds of filters. Free "Carbon-MDA" VST filters include some great stuff, including dynamics (with expansion, as well as compression) and stereo image plug-ins, along with many more. (I kept tripping over "Combo", though, which sounds like something other than it is - a big guitar-amp distortion model.)

A very complementary application is Rogue Amoeba's $32 "Audio HiJack Pro", which can do almost anything, including *real-time* plug-in effects, a wonderful feature I've yet to find on any other reasonably-priced application. (Actually, DSP-Quattro has it for $150, but I didn't care for its plug-in user interface with its microscopic type.) I spent some time with BIAS Peak 4 - a 10-day trial version - finding it pretty fast and efficient, with support for 5 real-time plug-ins, but I think it should be priced at about half the $500 level it carries. I mean, you can buy an Mbox with ProTools for that....

When my hands got tired mousing around with silly graphical controls on plug-ins, I ended up trying and buying three plug-ins from Elemental Audio (Neodynium, Equium and Firium), which just stunned me with the quality and innovation of their user interface and functionality. I have no idea who's behind these (couldn't find any names), but they represent the best of the best in computer software and interface design, in my opinion. The company's *free* "Inspector" plug-in is invaluable, too, with RTAS, VST and Audio Unit versions. Even the customer experience (researching, trying and buying) was also flawless, and pricing seems quite reasonable for what you get. Check 'em out.

As for USB 1.1, I assume it works but is much slower. The other option is to simply take out the CompactFlash card and put it into a FireWire or other reader. Just don't make the mistake we did, where a friend ejected another card without dragging it to the trash first, and the Finder showed a completely foreign directory structure overlaid on my card when I inserted it. That was pretty scary, once I realized what had happened, but I quickly ejected the card, and I don't *think* that's what trashed my middle recording. Just be careful about this, and note that it can't happen if you connect the R-1 via a USB cable. (Edirol warns that certain USB cables may be problematic - those with built-in resistors - so be careful about that, too.)

All in all, I think this is an outstanding compact recording system, well matched with the battery-powered AT-822 mic or quite usable with its built-in mics. The Mbox may give you a little better signal-to-noise ratio with excellent balanced mics and its outstanding preamps, but you can do very professional live work with the R-1 and have a lot more mobility, while avoiding all the complexity and pitfalls of a Mac-based system.

The sweetest version of OS X 10.3.x (Panther)?

MacInTouch Home Page: "Panther dot 7 has got it all for now - .8 and .9 were both troublesome."

Now that 10.3 is a legacy OS, one can choose the 'stopping point' for older machines. This Macintouch expert votes for 10.3.7 as the place to stop for a machine that won't go to 10.4. I'm ok on 10.3.9 but I find this plausible.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

iPhoto 5 bug - color shifting (Macintouch)

iPhoto 5 broke the color profile functionality that was present in past versions of iPhoto. That's bad enough, but it turned out to have a nasty side effect. Under some circumstances repeated edits of a photo causes cumulative damage to a photo's color information.

This appears not to be Tiger specific, but occurs with iPhoto 5 on Panther as well. This is a bad enough bug that one should not update to iPhoto 5 until it's fixed. From Macintouch:

Joe Zobkiw

Regarding the iPhoto/ColorSync Profile post from the Apple discussion boards, here is an interesting experiment to show the relationship between different color profiles:

Open "ColorSync Utility" from /Applications/Utilities. Click on the Calculator icon in the main window. Select two different profiles for the right and left sides (sRGB Profile on the right and Generic RGB Profile on the left, for example) and then move any slider. Note the opposite slider(s) and how far they move in comparison in order to achieve the same color in the other profile.

For example, if Generic RGB Profile has red set to .5 and green and blue set to 0, sRGB Profile has red set to .5732, green to .0975 and blue to -.0339. You can see immediately the relationship between various profiles and how if values are saved from one profile and "applied" to another profile (not using ColorSync functionality but just "saved" as belonging to the other profile) how the colors would be very different.

Stuart Hertzog

James Bailey is on the right track in pointing to a change in embedded profile as being the reason for color shifts in edited iPhoto files. But ColorSync is not the problem: ColorSync is just OSX's color management system.

It seems that iPhoto is not properly re-saving the embedded profile of an edited file, turning it into an 'untagged' file (without color management information). When a color-managed application such as Photoshop or iPhoto opens what it sees as an untagged file, it will assign whatever default RGB profile it happens to be using, thus displaying shifted color. The color information is all present and correct, it's just that the wrong profile is being used.