It must be christmas, the MacUpdate bundle just ended with another bonus app, and the Mac Giving Tree at Macheist is open for signups. Get Synergy (iTunes controller) and Enigmo 2 (puzzle game) now, with two more apps unveiled on Christmas day. Sign up two other people and you get two more free apps. No hints to what they are at the moment, but you can’t complain about free Christmas presents. I’ve played Enigmo 2 for a couple of hours this afternoon and got to level 16 with many more to go, so what could be better than free entertainment?
Things have not been going well in the disc burning dungeon at Basshead towers. The big name disc burning/video editing/everything but the kitchen sink software that I have used for a couple of years was struggling with dual layer discs. I tried everything I could think of. Firmware update for the Pioneer 215 drive? Already on the newest one. Burn at 4x or 2x instead of 8x? Didn’t make a difference, discs still either failed during burning or could not be verified. Change disc brand/dye type? No change, still burning coasters. Reboot and close all other apps/startup items before burning? Still no good.
The only thing I hadn’t tried at this point was some different software, and there’s quiet a bit of it available. The first one I tried is SimplyBurns, an oss/gnu disc burning package. It’s not flashy but offers a lot of funtionality. And the best part is that it flies through burning and verifying dual layer discs. These are from the same spindle that previously failed, burned at 8x with not a single coaster yet. Donations to the project are accepted, so give it a try and do the right thing if you find it useful.
Before completing my switch to the Mac platform my favourite bittorrent client on Windows was uTorrent. It combined a good feature set with good performance and tiny system resource requirements. It was unavailable for Mac OS until recently when some alpha versions with limited functionality appeared. That’s now changed with the release of a Mac beta available from mac.utorrent.com. The site makes it clear that this is beta software so may contain serious bugs, but anyone looking for a lightweight bittorrent client should give this great piece of free software a try.
The big push doesn’t start until Monday, but the third release of the OpenOffice.org office suite is now available from mirror servers. I grabbed the Mac version (with native Aqua interface) from the UK mirror server a short time ago but there is a long list of worldwide mirror servers at the distribution.openoffice.org site.
I had a quick play with the suite this morning and so far I’m impressed. The Writer component managed to import my CV (resume) with no problems. It’s a Word document with lots of fancy tables so the software coped well to keep all the elements where they should be. The interface looks a little dated with white toolbars, but for a free office suite the Mac version of OOo 3.0 looks like a highly usable bargain. Also available for Linux, Solaris and Windows, read on for a screenshot gallery. Read more…
The biggest story this morning is the 60 day extension of Mobileme accounts. Apple sent an email last night to subscribers informing them of the free extension:
We have already made many improvements to MobileMe, but we still have many more to make. To recognize our users’ patience, we are giving every MobileMe subscriber as of today a free 60 day extension. This is in addition to the one month extension most subscribers have already received. We are working very hard to make MobileMe a great service we can all be proud of. We know that MobileMe’s launch has not been our finest hour, and we truly appreciate your patience as we turn this around. Read this article for more details.
I had a look at the article, and it appears everyone with an account is eligible, even those with free trial account. If I’m adding the extensions up right, that means a UK customer on a 60 day trial who was incorrectly billed will get six months for free before paying. If only service did everything that was initially promised, reliably, that would be a pretty good freebie.
Last time I looked at three of the commercial anti-virus packages available for the Macintosh, from Symantic, Sophos and Mcafee. Of the three only Symantic’s Norton anti-virus for Mac was aimed at home users, and Sophos was anything but straightforward for a home user to buy. So what else is available? Read more…