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Constantin reviewed on 18 Feb 2008
This remote looks like it has everything that anyone could ever want in a universal remote control. A slick interface, a nice feel, pretty plastics.

The trouble starts, however, when you try to use the software that comes with it. Version 7.4.0 did not work for me at all, refusing to launch. I subsequently downloaded version 7.4.1 in the hopes that it might be more compatible with 10.5.2.

An hour on Tech Support Level 2 later, and we had some answers. For one, the Logitech software is not compatible with case-sensitive file systems. Any of you who formatted their hard drives this way may as well give up now. Allegedly, the 7.5 version of the software will contain a fix, but I am not holding my breath.

I give props to their tech support for providing me with the Java debugger that alerted me to the first instance of a case-sensitive file name issue. Once I had that name fixed, the Remote Control software would launch, download the latest upgrades, only to crater when it tried to install them. I presume that there are more file-name sensitivities at work here, it's too bad that Logitech doesn't have the QC to get file names right.

In comparison, the other bugs (installing two applications in my Applications folder, not a Logitech folder, the misplacement of config files (just what are they doing in my home folder?), or the requirement to restart the computer after installing the Logitech software) are minor in comparison.

I can only hope that the Windows XP version will behave better in Parallels. Furthermore, for the sake of the tech support folk at Logitech I hope that Logitech manages to hire Mac programmers with a clue in the future. 7.4.1 is an alpha release at best, considering how easily its broken.

2 Replies

Constantin replied on 18 Feb 2008
Oh, and one more thing... I am allegedly on version 7.4.2 now, FWIW. When the program is started it now flakes out with an error message along the lines that I should give it permission to write to the Applications folder. Brilliant!
Constantin replied on 19 Feb 2008
Well, the Parallels approach did not work, even though I enabled the USB device. Others have managed to get it to work, though on older versions of the software. I suspect a weird interaction between the version of Java that I have installed and the program itself.

Version 7.4.1 for XP did install itself successfully and worked on the work PC I have. Thus, I suggest for those that want a workaround to use BootCamp for maximum compatibility.

The initial setup is promising. The Harmony One seems to be at least partially compatible with the Mac Mini PVR I have, allowing me to get Front Row, etc. activated. More debugging to follow to get all the menus / actions right, but it's a start.
Constantin tipped on 16 Sep 2007
I love this program and am a long-time, paid user... sadly, AliasMenu 3.1 does not currently work on Intel Macintoshes, something that Benoit is allegedly working on for the next version release.

In the meantime, I'm suffering through the foibles of the dock, etc. craving the elegant simplicity of AliasMenu on my Intel laptop (sigh).
[Version 3.1.1]


Constantin reviewed on 11 Aug 2007
I purchased Knox because I thought it was a neat program that could help me run multiple data vaults with ease. The thought being that I could have one vault for a laptop hard drive backup, another for documents, etc.

Trouble is, Knox keeps crashing when I try to move large numbers of files. Worse, it destroys its prefs file or wherever it stores its registration information, requiring me to re-enter the serial number over and over.

Ultimately, it may be easier to simply put aliases to encrypted DMG files on my desktop and calling it a day. At least if these crash, I do not have to re-enter the serial number again.

For those that care, these problems crop up on a G5 Tower whether I'm doing firewire transfers in target disk mode or plain-jane AFP transfers.
[Version 1.5]

1 Reply

Constantin commented on 14 Sep 2007
Hi there,

Some further review showed that the issues I was having with Knox quitting were related to FileVault being turned on. I am not sure why, but other file-related operations in the OS were having issues also. Once I turned FileVault off, these issues with copying files into and out of my home folder disappeared.

Thus, there is hope that Knox will be stable from now on, but I'll have to dig up and re-enter my registration code first. As an improvement suggestion for future releases, it would be great if system crashes, etc. would not cause Knox to lose its registration information also. Thanks, and I'll be back to post an update re: Knox stability in the future. Cheers, C.

Constantin reviewed on 30 Sep 2006
I continue to use MPFreaker despite some annoying issues, even in version 1.5. However, it does what it is supposed to, and pretty well for the most part. MPFreaker allows the rather painless retrofit of lyrics, artwork, and other ID3 information to your audio file collection. For me it has worked well with both MP3 files as well as M4A files (i.e. apple lossless).

Unlike downloading artwork from the iTunes store, MPFreaker downloads artwork from around the web. As a result, it's potential reach is much higher, but the quality of the artwork is probably more variable as well. However, if you have a large collection (and anything that can be even remotely construed as obscure), the iTunes artwork servers are unlikely to have it, and MPfreaker may have a better shot at retrieving the info.

That is not to say that MPFreaker is incredibly successful. It too struggles to find artwork and other info sometimes. Then it's your opportunity to search google, amazon, and discogs, among other sites for the missing data. In these instances, I use MPFreaker to identify which albums are missing what, find the data online, and then paste it in via iTunes.

Another benefit of not using the iTunes store is to bypass the new artwork storage process that Apple has introduced as of iTunes 7.0... instead of storing the images in the song files themselves, the pictures are now stored separately in a folder for art. From a space/efficiency point of view, this is the right approach... Trouble is, many music/streaming devices out there do not yet have the ability built-in to read these folders, so I prefer to bloat my songfiles for now.

Unfortunately, every time the application hangs (and it does happen from time to time), the preferences file is obliterated and your registration information is lost. Frankly, re-entering the information over and over is getting awfully old. Perhaps the best approach is to make a copy of the preferences file so that I can simply copy it over the corrupted preference file.

While we are on the topic of improvement potential, how about a multi-threaded application that takes advantage of the fact that most of us have high-speed connections to the internet? The present app goes through the list one song at a time, and a review of IP traffic in that time shows almost no activity. By sending data requests for 10 songs at a time, MPfreaker could boost its output 10x and have zero impact on the host computer or its internet connection.

I bring this up because the average songfile takes 5+ seconds to process (never mind the time it takes to make "deep searches") and neither the CPU nor the Internet connection are the bottle-neck. Go over a couple of thousand files and your machine will be working on the problem for days. Combine that with stability issues, and you have a recipe for unhappiness. As I write this, MPFreaker is hung, again, while "Scanning Directory".

Another feature request that I would find very useful is if MPFreaker could hunt songfiles that have bitmap images in them and to convert them to JPGs at a set quality. Apparently, pasting images via iTunes may result in a bitmapped image being appended to the song file, so a lot of space gets wasted that way.
[Version 1.5]


Constantin reviewed on 22 Sep 2004
SpamAssassin is a godesend. Here is an intelligent way to tag spam at the server level, then decide what to do with it. Using procmail or whatever, spam-tagged mail can be deleted, for example. More importantly however, is that spam can be stopped at the server level, i.e. before tying up your internet connection, computer, etc. (particularly if you're using a dialup connection).

The new approach of blacklisting spam according what web-sites it is pointing to is brilliant, as it makes it that much harder for internet scum to succeed overcoming spam filters.
[Version 3.0]


Constantin reviewed on 14 Sep 2004
I found MPFreaker to be a great tool for my iTunes collection of songs. Since I ripped the music from my own collection, I didn't have artwork or necessarily all the dates in the tag field.

MPFreaker filled in about 50% of the missing artwork and 90+% of publishing dates, etc. For me the $20 were well worth it.

Perhaps the author can incorporate more checks and balances to create artwork and genre consistency. Some of my albums had 3 different artworks and even deep search accuracy had its bad hair days (Dire straits is not Hard Rock). However, this is not necessarily the fault of MPFreaker, it could simply be the result of bad library entris in the databases it is referencing.

Overall, I recommend this program to anyone that wants more info from his/her iTunes collection.
[Version 1.0b13]

Constantin commented on 15 Jul 2004
I second David's request for collapsed tunnel detection, auto rebuild, and notification. As I have stated earlier, the code already exists as open-source code in AutoSSH.

B3 seems to be quite stable. I have had no major issues yet, so I'll be using it for now.
[Version 2.0b3]


Constantin reviewed on 05 May 2004
I now have used Powermail 5 for a couple of days and there are a lot of things to like and a few to lament.

Overall, the focus of the program has changed to make it more accessible to novice users. I now can recommend the use of Powermail to anyone who wants a powerful, fast, and effective e-mail client. While PM starts off simply, there are many excellent features waiting below the glossy interface for you to take advantage of and grow into.

As always, my POP, SMTP connections have been rock-solid. Even multiple MB files have transitioned without a hitch. As usual, Powermail gives good feedback as to its activity with your mail accounts. The ease with which it will switch between locations is great, allowing you to use different SMTP servers for example when you switch from the office to the home (which is required by most ISPs these days).

With the addition of SpamSieve, the best Spam filter on the Mac platform has been seamlessly integrated into the best e-mail client. This is a welcome upgrade, considering that the older method of using AppleScripts to designate spam was a bit more cumbersome. Furthermore, placing the spam folder at the end of the list eases the visual clutter. Since I had SpamSieve already trained from my earlier use of the program, the new integration was seamless and effective.

The new toolbars in PM5 take some adjustment for folks like myself who liked the compact and orientable predecessor. It's a visual transition akin to OSX versus OS9... New users won't notice this though, and you can now customize the toolbars in Powermail.

As always, the filters of Powermail are very fast and very simple to set up. The filters and the subsequent reactions of PM5 have been beefed up with more choices. Now, conditions and reactions can be added and subtracted individually instead of the old system where reordering or changing filter actions was more cumbersome. So if you like auto-filtering mail, Powermail has the goods.

The Foxtrot search technology is blazingly fast as ever, even if you throw in some wildcards to broaden your search. Lookups in a 16,000+ e-mail database take less than a second on a 3-year old laptop. If it's in there, Powermail will find it fast.

In closing, I found the new version of Powermail not only better in terms of features but also easier to use for novices. If you do not mind paying for a quality piece of software, then download Powermail and see if you like it better than its competition.

Lastly, while $25 for an upgrade may seem steep, it's not out of line with most programs today. Consider that CTMDEV actually does a lot of work within a given version (at least 3 in PM4)... and the last time we had to upgrade was in 2002. Compare that to Quicken, VirtualPC or other commercial programs where yearly upgrades are more expensive and usually bug-related. I happily paid for my upgrade, companies like CTMDEV should be supported.
[Version 5.0b18]

1 Reply

Constantin commented on 05 May 2004
Powermail has almost never quit on me. OS X is usually also stable. However infrequently my system goes down, was a nuisance to get Powermail back on its feet again.

Whenever PM4 or the computer running it crashed, the search index would have to be rebuilt. Depending on the size of the database, this could take a long time and would not allow the use of PM4 until it was done.

I am happy to report that the index-rebuild in PM5 happens in the background. No further interruptions and the progress can be checked just as any other background operation. Great job, CTMDEV!

Constantin reviewed on 06 Nov 2003
SpamStopper is one of those applications that any webmaster should not be without. It allows you to mask your mailto addresses on the web to make them less accessible to e-mail scraping web-bots.

In other words, using SpamStopper should cut down on the amount of Spam you receive as a result of posting a e-mail address on your web-site.

The nice thing about SpamStopper is the nnumber of options it gives you. For a long time, the standard response to scrapers was via the use of unicode characters (which work with most/all browsers while shielding the content from many scrapers).

Even better, SpamStopper also allows more secure means via javascripts, etc. However, Javascripts will make your site less accessible, as some browsers have that turned off for security.

Anyway, as the scrapers evolve, so does SpamStopper. The program is well-maintained and does what it claims to do well. The interface is simple and intuitive. Much commercial software could learn a thing or two.

Lastly, using an obfuscating tool like SpamStopper has some negatives. Some web-bots "break" on Unicode and will flood your error log with 404's. Furthermore, SpamStopper is but a single tool. In order to maximize site security, you ought to also use .htaccess, robots.txt, and honeypot files to punish naughty bots.
[Version 1.4.5]

Constantin commented on 09 Sep 2003
Back again. After deleting the search index via the finder and rebuilding it, PowerMail is as stable as ever.

Some further comments: The Foxtrot-based search function really screams! No matter how convoluted the search, Foxtrot returns a result in less than a second (pretty impressive for 13K+ messages, a 60MB message DB, on a 500MHz G4 Laptop).

As for MacMend comments, I doubt that the reviewer has spent the requisite time with PM before deciding it was a geek tool. IMHO, it can be everything you want it to be, from a simple mail client to a swiss-army knife.

I used Claris Emailer previously, and while the import of the address DB was more complicated than I would have liked, this is a once-only event, like getting into a car for the first time and adjusting the controls to your liking.

I consider it a feature that PM does NOT generate HTML-based mail. This is an e-mail client. I reserve HTML for my web-site, where it belongs. Furthermore, PM makes it easy to or whether not to render the HTML. This prevents folks that plant web-bugs from verifying your address for example.

I agree that PM should be bundled with SpamSieve, *whenever it is necessary*. For example, now that I have enabled SpamAssassin on my mail server, the slew of non-identified Spam has gone down to a trickle.

Speaking of filtering, the filters in PM are very, very fast also. I still hope for some additional versatility here such as Boleean AND/OR/ etc. switches in the future.

Lastly, I'd like to mention that the technical support for this product has been been great in my experience. E-mails are replied to promptly, and the folks doing the support actually read your message and communicate solutions effectively (i.e. they don't send you a canned response).

For me, PowerMail is a premium product that deserves its premium price through its intuitive UI, the excellent search engine, the adequate filtering, and the support for all sorts of mail accounts ranging from simple POP sessions to IMAP, SSL, and beyond.

Übergeeks addicted to BBEdit will probably opt for Mailsmith. Most beginners will be happy with the rudimentary features in Anybody in between should opt for PowerMail.
[Version 4.2]

Constantin had trouble on 06 Jan 2005
I have used AdGate for ages, and love the efficiency with which it removes ads. However, I recently started running into trouble with it, specifically while using OS X 10.3.7

Under OSX 10.3.7 and the version of Safari that ships with it, I could cause a kernel panic (!!!) whenever I browsed to with Safari (all other browsers were OK). Once I turned off AdGate, the issues disappeared.

I will try the clean-up suggestions next, as I suspect that cookies and their ilk may be involved. However, I have yet to understand how an application like AdGate could help to cause a kernel panic.
[Version 3.5.1]

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