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Macworld Expo in Boston just wrapped up, so Adam reports on the highlights and mood of the show, and we cover the Best of Show award winners. Geoff Duncan, meanwhile, triumphs over a noisy fan in his Power Mac G4 without breaking the bank. Speaking of the bank, Apple last week turned in a record successful quarter and also released a slew of updates: Mac OS X 10.4.2, AirPort 4.2, iPhoto 5.0.3, Final Cut Pro 5.0.2, DVD Studio Pro 4.0.1, and Soundtrack Pro 1.0.1. Lastly, Apple topped 500 million iTunes Music Store songs sold.

Glenn Fleishman No comments

Apple Revenue Balloons to $3.5 Billion in Third Quarter

Apple Revenue Balloons to $3.5 Billion in Third Quarter — Apple released its financial results for its last fiscal quarter, recording a staggering $3.52 billion in revenue with $320 million in earnings. Both numbers were substantially higher than analyst expectations. The same quarter a year ago produced $2.01 billion in revenue and $61 million in earnings. The company reported selling over 6.1 million iPods last fiscal quarter, which ended 25-Jun-05. Apple also sold nearly 1.2 million Macintosh computers, a 35-percent increase over a year ago.

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Two interesting side facts: gross margins are up from around 28 percent to nearly 30 percent, which is magnificent in a commodity market in which all competitors are seeing shrinking margins. The second is that international sales were 39 percent of revenue. In its SEC filings, Apple broke out sales, showing 495,000 laptops sold and 687,000 desktops. Retail sales accounted for 144,000 computers and $555 million in computer sales (not including other items). The company expects to produce similar revenue and earnings next quarter. Apple now has $7.5 billion in cash and short-term investments on hand, and about $7 billion in assets when considering all assets less all liabilities. [GF]

Jeff Carlson No comments

iPhoto 5.0.3 Fixes Bugs

iPhoto 5.0.3 Fixes Bugs — Apple last week released iPhoto 5.0.3, fixing a few issues in the photo management program. Two improvements involve books: layouts no longer change when moving an image, and a problem that caused some book orders to be cancelled has been fixed. Smart albums also now appear correctly in other iLife programs. And lastly, with Mac OS X 10.4.2 installed, editing an image no longer shifts its colors, a bug that had caused significant consternation. The iPhoto 5.0.3 Update is available from Software Update as a 41 MB download, or as a stand-alone 39.2 MB download. [JLC]

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Jeff Carlson No comments

Final Cut Studio Updates Available

Final Cut Studio Updates Available — Apple’s professional line of video editing applications saw updates last week to fix bugs and improve performance. Final Cut Pro 5.0.2, DVD Studio Pro 4.0.1, and Soundtrack Pro 1.0.1 are each available as separate downloads. If you own the entire Final Cut Studio (which also includes Motion 2), you can download a 46 MB updater that applies the fixes to each affected program. [JLC]


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Geoff Duncan No comments

Apple Sells Its 500 Millionth Track

Apple Sells Its 500 Millionth Track — Apple announced that it sold the 500 millionth track via its iTunes Music Store on 17-Jul-05: the song was "Mississippi Girl" by Faith Hill, and Apple’s giveaway winner is Amy Greer from Lafayette, Indiana. She’ll receive 10 iPods of her choosing, an iTMS gift card for 10,000 songs, and a free trip for four to see the band Coldplay perform. For the interminably curious, Apple launched the iTunes Music Store over two years ago in late April 2003, but just crossed the 300-million-downloads mark in March of this year. If iTMS’s sales remained flat, Apple could expect to sell its one-billionth track in about a year; however, the iPod’s still-growing sales and popularity will probably bring that date much closer. [GD]

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Jeff Carlson No comments

Apple Releases Mac OS X 10.4.2 Update

In a week that saw a spate of Apple updates, the company’s largest was Mac OS X 10.4.2, which incorporated a number of fixes to improve reliability and compatibility. As with earlier system updates, several built-in Apple applications were changed or replaced, such as Address Book, iCal, Safari, Mail, Automator, and Stickies. According to Apple’s release notes, Core Graphics, Core Audio, and Core Image also gained updates, with updated ATI and Nvidia graphics drivers thrown in.

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iChat sees improvements in video performance under certain circumstances, and can be set to log out of one computer automatically if you log in on another. Dashboard also gets a new feature, a Widgets widget that helps you manage your widgets; I know, that sounds like looking at a mirror in a mirror, but it’s actually a widget that lets you activate or deactivate installed widgets, and optionally send third-party ones to the Trash. This update also includes a variety of AirPort-related updates, including WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access version 2) support for AirPort Extreme Cards (described elsewhere in this issue).

Mac OS X 10.4.2 is available via Software Update as a 21.5 MB download when upgrading from version 10.4.1, or as a 57.5 MB download for a Combo Update when upgrading from version 10.4.0. You can also download stand-alone installers: a 44 MB update from 10.4.1, or a 58 MB combo update.

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Glenn Fleishman No comments

AirPort 4.2 Software Supports WPA2

A few days after Apple pushed out Mac OS X 10.4.2, which includes client-side changes to AirPort software to support a newer, stronger encryption system, the company released AirPort Software 4.2, incorporating the necessary base station support. Separate versions are available via Software Update or as stand-alone downloads for Mac OS X 10.3.3 through 10.3.9, 10.4.2, and Windows.

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This update adds full support for WPA2 (Wi-Fi Protected Access version 2), which provides an access point the capability to offer AES (Advanced Encryption System) encryption keys. Only newer hardware sold starting in late 2002 can handle the computation required, so original AirPort cards and base stations cannot be updated to handle WPA2.

The original WPA, which appeared as an update to Panther, offers a superior encryption algorithm and other improvements for Wi-Fi security for AirPort Cards, AirPort Extreme Cards, and AirPort Extreme and Express Base Stations (see "AirPort Firmware Updates Fix Major Bugs" in TidBITS-760). WPA2 is a further refinement – technically, it’s the full ratified version of IEEE 802.11i – that works only with AirPort Extreme Cards when connecting to WPA2 Personal- or WPA2 Enterprise-configured networks. AirPort Cards cannot support WPA2 because of limitations in silicon; WPA was designed to be backward compatible with early 802.11b cards, such as the AirPort Card.


Some businesses have been waiting until WPA2 was released before deploying their Wi-Fi networks because of its government-grade encryption. WPA2 also has a few features that add to WPA, such as fast reauthentication, which allows a laptop using WPA2 Enterprise – a system that uses a unique login that produces a unique session key – to roam without a long delay when moving from base station to base station.

AirPort 4.2 includes new versions of AirPort Admin Utility and AirPort Setup Assistant, and firmware updates for both AirPort Extreme and AirPort Express Base Stations.

This update brings Apple current with the rest of the industry. Interestingly, older WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy) encryption is all that is available for the software base station created through the Create Network command in the AirPort status menu. WEP is cryptographically broken; one hopes Apple will eventually offer at least WPA for improved security of ad hoc networks.

Adam Engst No comments

Macworld Boston 2005: An Intimate Affair

Apologies in advance if my title either had you hoping for a hot and steamy tale of nookie behind the trade show floor curtains or caused you to think of an awful made-for-TV movie starring out-of-practice celebrities. No, the joke is merely that whenever someone came up to me at Macworld Expo last week in Boston and said, "I can’t believe how small the show is!" I’d always reply, "It’s not small, it’s just an intimate gathering of a few of our closest friends."

Seriously, Macworld Expo again shrank to new lows in terms of the number of exhibitors and attendees. I’d put the number of exhibitors at under 60 and the rumblings I heard place the attendance figures slightly lower than last year, when 8,000 to 10,000 people were expected. (In contrast, January 2005’s Macworld Expo in San Francisco saw nearly 36,000 attendees). As always, IDG World Expo did a good job managing the perceived size, so the aisles on the first day felt crowded and busy, and the session rooms were small enough to seem full, even with fewer people in the seats.

The choice of Boston’s Hynes Convention Center was an inspired move, since it’s far more appropriate for a show the size of Macworld Expo than last year’s site: the cavernous Boston Convention and Exposition Center (BCEC). Navigating the Hynes Convention Center never took more than a few minutes compared to some of the hikes necessary in the BCEC, during which you started wondering if you should have brought provisions. But even more enjoyable was the fact that the Hynes Convention Center is on Boylston Street in the heart of Boston, one block from the shops and restaurants on the trendy Newbury Street and within walking distances of numerous hotels. It’s all too common to go to a trade show and see no more of the host city than the streets to and from the airport.

Also successful were the special productions: Andy Ihnatko’s keynote was hilarious as always, and it was enhanced by the guys who signed his talk for anyone in the audience who was deaf; even though I don’t know American Sign Language, I was at times torn between watching Andy and watching how the guys doing the signing translated his jokes into an uproarious combination of facial expressions and body language. The Mac Brainiac Challenge was once again a hoot, even if my team lost in the end (though I was pleased that my Classics degree came in handy for answering the question of the source of Lorem Ipsum, the dummy text that designers use to test the look of new layouts: it’s from Cicero). The Geeks & Gadgets stage on the show floor was popular too, particularly for the iPod sessions, all of which were mobbed.


On the downside, the changed hours enjoyed mixed reviews at best; starting at 11 AM on Tuesday and Wednesday worked well for letting people sleep off the previous night’s events, but keeping the show floor open until 7 PM was awful. It ran through dinner time for many people, the floor was nearly bereft of attendees, and the people working the booths were even more exhausted than normal. On Wednesday, when I spoke to the Boston Macintosh Users Group after the show ended, I talked straight through until nearly 9 PM.

Despite the small size, most people I talked with weren’t unhappy, unless they were expecting a show more along the size of Macworld San Francisco. The cost of exhibiting was on par with Macworld San Francisco, so at least some vendors selling products at booths found the reduced number of attendees problematic, even if the people present were buying at the usual rate. Similarly, attendees were disappointed mostly if they had anticipated spending a lot of time browsing through booths of products they hadn’t seen before. With only five or six aisles (there were six, but some weren’t full) of booths, it didn’t take long to work the floor, and relatively little was new to anyone who has been paying attention to the world of the Macintosh of late. As with other recent shows, a number of the vendors were showing iPod accessories.

Expo Notables — This will be the first time in ages that we’re not doing a superlatives article calling out the most notable products and happenings at the show. Put bluntly, there just wasn’t much that warranted mention, and our friends at Mac Publishing pretty much pegged it with their Best of Show awards (see Geoff’s "Macworld Boston Best of Show Awards" elsewhere in this issue), although a few other booths and products caught my attention.

Rimage had guys outside the Hynes Convention Center handing out entry forms to win their Rimage 360i (a CD/DVD recording/printing device); the cool bit was that they were wearing 35-pound (16 kg) backpacks containing laptops and LCD screens on arms that projected over their heads advertising the company’s products. We may one day see cloth that can display moving images, but it won’t be nearly as eye-catching as a guy with a monitor suspended over his head.


Tonya and I were also impressed by the stylish iPod-holding purses and backpacks from the amiable wife-and-husband team of Joallyn and Dave Cartwright (Delarew Designs). Joallyn put a lot of thought into designing bags that protect the iPod while allowing the user to see and control it through a clear plastic window that faces inward to avoid advertising the iPod’s presence; the earbud cable feeds through another opening. Then there was Cableyoyo, with a slim plastic device that you use to wind up your cords; it’s elegant, but essentially a fancy twist-tie. Lastly, Quark was once again present, and I couldn’t resist chuckling at the sign they had posted with their presentation schedule, which laid out, in great detail, in case you were confused, just to be absolutely clear, that they would be discussing QuarkXPress 6.5 every hour on the half-hour.



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The booth that most surprised me, though, was the Apple Specialists Pavilion, co-produced with HP, so it featured lots of current Macs along with HP printers that use a new ink-based printing technology. I’ve been hearing the Apple Specialist term for years, and I knew that TidBITS sponsor Small Dog Electronics was an Apple Specialist, but I’d never internalized what is special about them. It turns out that the Apple Specialist program collects over 160 independent Macintosh dealers and service centers like San Diego’s Crywolf and New York’s Tekserve, all of which have survived by earning the undying loyalty of their customers over the years. About 50 Apple Specialists were represented in the largest booth on the show floor, and the technical know-how was amazing. But even more interesting is that the Apple Specialists have banded together to form the Apple Specialists Marketing Co-op (ASMC), which has negotiated (and in some cases helped design) exclusive products like the miniG series of hard drives from Transintl, the iListen MX voice-recognition and headset/microphone bundle, and more. The ASMC also held a one-day "best practices" meeting on 11-Jul-05 that included presentations, round-table discussions, a table-top vendor fair, and a "vendor speed dating" event that must have been hilarious ("You have 3 minutes to introduce yourselves and generate the rough outline of a reseller agreement. Got your business cards ready? Go!").


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More Like a Soiree — The fact is, Macworld Boston 2005 simply wasn’t a news event. Few new products were introduced at the show, and nothing that happened really qualified as news. The small press room was never full when I happened to stop by, and I saw almost no mainstream press in attendance.

All that said, it was a fine show, even if it has become more of a limited regional event aimed at networking local vendors and attendees. Given the shrinking size, the question of whether it will happen again comes down to whether IDG World Expo earned enough money to make it worthwhile. IDG World Expo has said that it is committed to future shows in Boston at the Hynes Convention Center, though at press time no announcements of dates for next year have been made.

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Assuming it was profitable enough to continue, or could be further refined to be profitable, I’d encourage IDG World Expo to consider replicating the concept of a small regional show in a variety of cities. With the expectation that such a show wouldn’t have tens of thousands of attendees, the big name exhibitors wouldn’t feel the need to attend every show (or have their presence missed, as was the case at Macworld Boston), and a lot of people who would be unlikely to travel to either San Francisco or Boston could still take advantage of the training sessions and the opportunity to see and talk with vendors. Such an approach would also acknowledge the reality of Macworld San Francisco as the most important event in the mainstream Macintosh world, rather than pretending that Macworld Boston will ever regain the equal status it held in the glory days of yesteryear.

Geoff Duncan No comments

Macworld Boston 2005 Best of Show Awards

Our friends at Macworld magazine and Mac Publishing announced five Best of Show winners at the IDG Macworld Conference and Expo 2005 in Boston. To be eligible, products had to be introduced at the show itself (or recently enough that they generated excitement amongst attendees) and be available for hands-on evaluation by the Macworld editorial staff. Not surprisingly given the success of Apple’s iPod, winners included products aimed at the digital music market.

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The winners are:

  • Harman Kardon’s Drive + Play, scheduled to be available in September for $200 (plus several hours of installation time if you want to hide the cables, or an estimated $100 to $150 in installation costs), is an in-car iPod music system featuring a backlit LED display which lets users see the contents of their iPod and control the "Brain," the interface which connects to the iPod (and charges it while driving). Most interesting is the LED-illuminated controller, whose rotating wheel and four buttons mimic the iPod’s click-wheel. A 3.5 mm output jack plugs into a car stereo, although the Drive + Play can also broadcast to any unused FM frequency as well as route audio from other devices such as a satellite radio. It demoed well in a fancy BMW, though many people were also quite taken by the car’s color LCD navigation screen.


  • Parliant’s PhoneValet combined hardware/software product turns a Mac into a call center, with features like voicemail and call history (see "PhoneValet, Can You Get That?" in TidBITS-699 for a review of the initial release). Two new enhancements take PhoneValet two steps further. The PhoneValet Anywhere server software enables PhoneValet Message Center 3.0 users to access voicemail messages, reports, logs, and phone books from anywhere via the Internet. PhoneValet Podcast is an extension to PhoneValet Message Center 3.0 which includes tools for recording phone conversations and later editing them via VST-enabled editions of BIAS’s Peak Express and SoundSoap 2, creating a powerful solution for podcasters and others who conduct phone interviews or record events via phone for later broadcast or publication.




  • The inexpensive The Print Shop for Mac 2.0 from Software MacKiev will be shipping this August, and it starts to take on the big boys of page layout by introducing new tools like gridlines, rules, and snap functionality, plus a new project window which enables users to group items into four predefined categories. The Print Shop also gains drag & drop functionality with Apple’s iPhoto, Mail, and other programs, and draws on the capabilities of Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger’s Spotlight and Core Image technologies.


  • SketchUp 5.0, from Last Software, is an architectural design tool for Mac OS X. The new version expands libraries, offers augmented sketching tools, improves file import/export, and adds a collection of "sandbox" tools for landscape designers.


  • Transpod for iPod shuffle is an FM transmitter for Apple’s iPod shuffle portable music player which can tune to any available FM frequency. It plugs into a car’s cigarette lighter or accessory jack, simultaneously plays music and charges an iPod shuffle via USB, and offers a 3.5 mm stereo output. The small size of the iPod shuffle may make the Transpod for iPod shuffle more successful than the previous Transpod, which was awkwardly designed and clumsy to use.


Geoff Duncan No comments

Starting My Very Own G4 Fan Club

Amongst the TidBITS staff, I’m a bit of an anachronism: my main Mac is an ever-aging Power Mac G4 Quicksilver I bought (cheap!) in early 2002. The machine originally shipped with dual 800 MHz processors, and last year I installed a Sonnet Encore/ST G4 Duet processor upgrade, taking the CPUs to 1.27 MHz. (See TidBITS-754 for a review.) I currently have no plans to replace the machine, since I regularly use professional audio software which can’t run under Classic and hasn’t made it to Mac OS X.


However, the QuickSilver has had one problem since they day I bought it: it’s loud. Later I realized – and thanked my lucky stars! – it wasn’t nearly as loud as the Mirrored Drive Door G4s (the so-called "Windtunnel" G4s) that replaced it in Apple’s product lineup. Apple eventually instituted a power supply replacement program for the Mirrored Drive Door models to quiet them down, but those machines are still an industry-leading example of cacophonous computing. [Speaking as an owner of one of the aforementioned Power Macs, I can say with some assurance, "Eh? What was that?" -Adam] However, no such noise-dampening replacements were made available for my system, and I just counted myself lucky the sound was tolerable most of the time.


A Harley Under the Hood — Things changed in mid-2004 when the QuickSilver began emitting an occasional loud, vibrating hum. The first time, I admit I gently kicked the machine: that solid bump seemed to make the sound go away. But over the next few weeks the new noise gradually became both louder and more frequent, and I noticed it seemed to happen during heavy processor loads or during days my office was particularly warm. I figured my Mac had developed some sort of vibration problem when one fan or another kicked into high gear to dissipate heat. But the Mac lives under my desk, so isolating the cause meant crawling around and probably running the machine for a long while with its case open: that might delight my cats, but wouldn’t be a good idea in general. Loud and annoying as the new sound was, I let things be.

Last year while I was reviewing the Sonnet CPU upgrade, I once happened to be under my desk when the loud, vibrating noise started up. Ah ha! From my lower vantage point, I could easily determine that the noise wasn’t from the large fan in the power supply, as I’d feared, but originated in a smaller (60 x 60 x 25 mm) fan which moves air directly across the processor heat sink. (You can see this fan labelled "1" in the first picture I took documenting the Sonnet CPU upgrade.) My sound level meter happened to be on my desk above me at the time: holding the device under my desk about three feet from my computer, the sound level measured over 60 dB. That’s as loud as typical spoken conversation, and louder than some washing machines and refrigerators!

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I didn’t fuss with the fan while I tested the Sonnet CPU upgrade, hoping that removing and re-installing it might cure the noise problem. However, TidBITS reader J.J. Tiger noticed I said the fan was blowing air out the back of the machine. He contended it should be pulling air into the machine, and cited Apple service documents backing him up. Another "Aha!" moment: my fan had been blowing the wrong way for over two years! I opened the machine and changed the direction of the airflow by reversing the fan in its plastic shroud – no rewiring needed. I hoped that would be the end of my phantom noise.

Alas, no: within a few days I had the loud hum again. I completed the Sonnet CPU upgrade review, then took a more direct approach with the fan: I peeled off (but saved!) a sticker identifying its make and model and put a small drop of mineral oil into the exposed spindle. Success! The humming went away… for a month. By that time I was less charitable (and in more of a hurry): the fan got a squirt of WD-40. Success… for a few weeks. As my frustration grew, a few Google searches revealed other QuickSilver owners who experienced perhaps-similar sounds: none of their fixes seemed to apply to my situation, so my fan kept getting squirts of WD-40, and I’d occasionally remove it and try to clean its inner workings. I also tried dampening the shroud with bits of foam and using small clamps to hold the fan more securely in the shroud – but the sound always came back. I had to face facts: it was time to replace the fan.

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Full of Hot Air — Plan A: I tried to locate new or refurbished CPU cooling fans for Power Mac G4s. The closest thing I found online was offered by We Love Macs, which advertises a fan with a white plastic shroud very different from my own. No dimensions, power requirements, or part numbers were listed for the fan itself, so I couldn’t immediately determine if that would work in my Mac. But I could have missed some specs because I was aghast at the price tag: $75! Yow!


So: Plan B. I decided to play like I was a non-technical Apple customer and investigate what I felt was likely to be the worst-case scenario: replacing the part through Apple. Even though my computer is long out of warranty – and I didn’t maintain AppleCare coverage on it – I called three local Apple-authorized service providers about replacing the fan. The technicians who spoke with me were uniformly knowledgeable and polite (and even returned calls promptly!) but their proposed solutions were essentially equivalent: $45 to $80 for the fan itself (they couldn’t tell me for sure until I brought the machine in), plus about $45 for the minimum half-hour labor charge to install the fan. Moreover, the fan would have to be ordered from Apple, typically a 2-4 business day process which they couldn’t begin until they had my machine. Although one service center said they didn’t need to hold on to my machine while they were waiting for the part, the cost of replacing the part through Apple would be $90 to $125 (plus tax!), as well as potentially losing the use of my machine for at least a few days.

Cooler Heads Prevail — Still a little aghast, I switched to Plan C. Although I’d never looked into it, I knew that folks who build and modify their own PCs often buy and upgrade cooling systems separately from power supplies and processor cards. Sure enough, I found a vast number of Web sites which cater to these do-it-yourselfers. Armed with the sticker I’d peeled off my noisy fan, I searched several online vendors for the same brand and part number used in my Mac, as well as CPU fans with the same size and power ratings.

The results were much more satisfying: prices for appropriate fans ranged from $4 to $10 each, varying by site and manufacturer, although some vendors required minimum orders of 5, 8, 10, or even 100 units. However, none of the sites I initially searched carried the exact fan Apple used in my G4.

I was confident I could use my collection of screws, clamps, and dampening material to install a new fan in the existing shroud, but I preferred to purchase the original part if possible. I’m comfortable replacing many electronic components, but I’m not an engineer and I’m not sure I can successfully select substitute components when I don’t have any particular expertise with the items. (Magnetic guitar pickups, yes; cooling fans, not so much.) The last thing I needed was inappropriate wiring or power mismatch to prevent installation or cause problems further down the line – especially since I need to keep this machine running as long as possible. So I pulled my trump card and contacted Bobby Orozco, a casual acquaintance out on the Olympic Peninsula who is a marine and ham radio aficionado. (These folks are often electronics experts.) Bobby recommended contacting Allied Electronics, which has been in business since 1928 and offers a dizzying array of parts, components, and tools. And darned if I wasn’t already familiar with Allied! I haven’t ordered from them in years (they may not even have had a Web site, it was so long ago) but I maintain my solid-state instrument amps using components originally ordered through their catalog. And sure enough: Allied had my exact fan for $5.22. I ordered two: one to install, and one in case I goofed up.


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A Breath of Fresh Air — The fans arrived as promised from Allied with no connectors attached. This is a perfectly reasonable way to sell generic components (after all, Allied doesn’t know how I’m using the fan or what connector I might need!), but it could make powering the fan via the connector on the Mac’s motherboard a bit of a challenge. Fortunately, I already had appropriate crimp-on quick disconnects for some of my music equipment; they cost about $1.50 from Radio Shack. Four squeezes with needlenose pliers and I was ready to install the fan. However, users without the appropriate parts could easily splice the connector from the original fan onto the leads from the new fan. Installing the new fan was a cinch: after all, I’d already removed the old one half a dozen times for cleaning and lubrication.

I’m happy to report the results are worth every penny. The Quicksilver G4 was substantially quieter on first starting up with the new fan, and after six weeks I’ve yet to hear the old obnoxious vibrating hum, so this saga may finally have ended! I’d love to use my sound level meter to report how loud the machine is now, but it only measures accurately down to 50 dB: under my desk from three feet away, the Mac doesn’t make enough noise to generate an accurate reading. It’s still not a quiet system, but its noise level is very much improved.

The bottom line is that while keeping an aging Mac running can be a losing battle and sometimes isn’t cost-effective – especially going through Apple-certified channels! – sometimes simple repairs can give these machines a new lease on life for a few dollars and a bit of electrical tape.

TidBITS Staff No comments

Hot Topics in TidBITS Talk/18-Jul-05

The second URL below each thread description points to the discussion on our Web Crossing server, which will be faster.

Roomba: a Robot Underfoot — Tonya’s review of the Roomba vacuum-cleaner robot prompts feedback from TidBITS Talk users that own Roombas or have questions about it. (9 messages)



Squeezebox — A reader uses several Squeezeboxes (the music streaming component from Slim Devices) to set up a Pluto home audio system. (3 messages)



‘Evil’ Widgets in Dashboard — Readers discuss the potential security vulnerabilities in Dashboard, and how the Mac OS X 10.4.2 addresses a problem (or, in some people’s opinions, fails to address it). (11 messages)