|June, 1997 Archive
Friday, June 27th
Be Reveals Further BeOS Plans
At last night's LAMG meeting, Be announced that the first user release of the BeOS (which will be similar to the DR9 Early Access version) will begin shipping on July 14th. The company will be circulating free copies of the operating system at Macworld Expo in Boston this August, and will subsequently start bundling the software with PowerComputing and UMAX machines. Further pricing and distribution plans were not revealed, nor did the company comment on a supposed plan to give the OS away on the Internet. And though Be admitted to be in talks with Intel about a port to their processor, nothing has been decided.
Apple Stock Sold: Can It Be Jobs?
The never ending saga of whether or not Steve Jobs will sell his stake in Apple got more interesting today following the sale of 1.5 million shares of Apple stock yesterday. The amount, which just so happens to be how much Jobs holds, was filed for sale from an anonymous party. Apple is aware of the situation, according to MacWEEK, and they're stating that if Jobs is the seller, they're not aware of it. Incidently, if Jobs did in fact make the transaction, he couldn't have picked a worse time to sell his stake -- at the close of the market today, Apple's stock continued to hover around a 52-week low.
MetaCreations Ships Infini-D 4.0
MetaCreations, the new digital imaging company consisting of MetaTools, Fractal Design, and Specular International, announced today the immediate availability of Infini-D 4.0. Coming from the Specular side of the company, Infini-D has undergone what the company says is the 'largest revision in its six-year history'. The claim can be made due to the program's new features, which partly include: real-time previews, dynamic special effects, sophisticated particle systems, volumetric lighting effects, re-written scaleline rendered, and a re-designed interface. Retail pricing is set at $899 while upgrades are $199.
Apple FOCUS: On Tevanian, Mac OS 8
The latest Apple FOCUS: takes a brief look at the background of Apple's Avie Tevanian, along with what obstacles Mac OS 8 had to endure to get in the position it is to day. Tevanian, who was recruited by Microsoft's Bill Gates when coming out of Carnegie-Mellon University, offers amazement at the fact that, though the company went through a major restructuring and a integration of another firm, Mac OS 8 never altered course.
Lismore's Blue Label Getting Close
The once deserted genre of Power Macintosh PC emulators got a tad bit crowded earlier this month with the release of Connectix' much vaunted Virtual PC, and the field will expand once again in the next few weeks. Lismore Software's 'Blue Label' PC emulator is in the final round of beta testing, and is still on schedule for completion come July 1st.
PowerBook News From LAMG
O'Grady's PowerPage is covering some PowerBook announcements that were laid out at last night's LAMG meeting. Apple's PowerBook product manager, Sandy Green, informed the crowd that the IBM co-developed PowerBook 2400 will not ship until August, rather than the originally promised mid-July release. Apparently, Apple will use this extra time to bundle Mac OS 8 with the machines. Also covered was news surrounding the G3 chip and a speed-bumped 1400.
Intel Vs. DEC: The Latest
The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that Intel and Digital are discussing ways to settle the patent infringement lawsuit DEC brought against Intel last month. According to the report, it seems as if Digital isn't so much interested in punishing Intel as they are in receiving allowances that could conceivably lead to an alliance in the semiconductor industry.
Mac OS 8 To Have Network Installation?
Apple is said to be working with a third-party source to help IS managers centrally install and setup next month's Mac OS 8, at least according to InfoWorld Electric. No specifics have been mentioned yet, nor has any feature similar to this been discussed by beta testers of the software.
BoxTop Rolls Out GIFmation Update
Just shortly after finishing GIFmation 2.0, BoxTop Software has posted a 2.1 update. The main attractions in this upgrade are the included optimization features (intelligent frame differencing) which enable further compression of files.
Conflict Catcher: Now Mac OS 8 Compatible
Casady & Greene's highly praised and awarded extensions manager, Conflict Catcher 4, has been updated to provide compatibility with Mac OS 8. A 4.0.3 patch is available for downloading from the company's homepage.
Thursday, June 26th
Apple Reviews Advertising Account
A report authored by industry watcher, Advertising Age, states that Apple will put their $100-$150 million global advertising account up for review, and long-time agency, BBDO, will not make an attempt to regain the rights, putting to end a 12-year relationship between the firms. The ties, which some have referred to as 'stormy', began in 1986 when BBDO won the Apple contract after centering a campaign around the phrase 'The Power To Be Your Best'. The agency will still work with Apple through September, which, we assume, encompasses the campaign for next month's release of Mac OS 8.
Supreme Court Rejects CDA
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled today that the Communications Decency Act violates First Amendment rights, upholding two lower court rulings barring the proposal from becoming a law. ZDNet News has more, while the Court's opinion is available in its entirety.
Tevanian, Rubenstein Talk Rhapsody, CHRP
Apple's Avie Tevanian and Jon Rubinstein sat down with the various Macintosh publications yesterday and discussed the current state of Rhapsody, the future of hardware, and progress in the CHRP area. Tevanian made reassurance that Rhapsody is on course and they are making 'great progress'. He also went on to dispel the rumor of a so-called 'Red Box', a Rhapsody component which some have suggested would add Windows compatibility. MacWEEK has more.
On the hardware front, Apple's goal of developing hardware around a set of 'personality cards' was once again pledged by Rubinstein. This will allow the company to engineer more simplistic motherboards, thus reducing cost and confusion. Concurrently, the CHRP issue is covered by Macworld.
HFS Plus Coming In Early '98
Eric Belsley's Macintosh Resource Page has an obtained a document which lays out the details of the forthcoming file system from Apple -- HFS Plus. Slated for release in early 1998, Plus will improve the efficiency of disk space by reworking allocation blocks, much like Microsoft's FAT32 system does. Additionally, the new file system will increase the number of characters available for filenames to 255 through the use of Unicode.
Reader Notes Of Intriguing OpenStep Story
Since the publication of our OmniWeb inside look, several interesting facts about a variety of OpenStep products have been brought to our attention by readers. Arlen Britton notes of the following revelation:
"Something you and many others probably don't know is that Macromedia Freehand is in fact a feature-added Altsys Virtuoso, which came out on NeXTSTEP several years ago, before Altsys agreed to be acquired by Macromedia. Basically, the Freehand interface is copied from the Virtuoso and put on the Mac."
300-MHz StarMax Set To Ship Tomorrow
Mail order house, Softclub, will be receiving a limited shipment of Motorola StarMax 5000/300 machines tomorrow, according to a published report on starmax.net. Softclub's price of $2,399 will include 32MB RAM, 4.3GB HD, 16X CD-ROM, 10BaseT Ethernet, and 4MB VRAM. Meanwhile, CNET has posted a review of this latest speed demon from Motorola.
PhotoVR Pavilion Coming To Macworld Expo
Kaidan and Apple announced yesterday a joint sponsorship of the 'PhotoVR Pavilion' to be held at Macworld Expo in Boston this August. The expo booth will focus on virtual reality technologies, such as QuickTime VR and RealSpace. Further, companies wishing to have panoramic QuickTime VR scenes made of their expo booth should contact Kaidan.
Wednesday, June 25th
Major Serial Number Problem With AISS
Chris Kilbourn, system administrator at digital.forest, notes of a serious problem with version 3.0 of the Apple Internet Server Solution Workgroup Server Bundle, which includes the WGS 7350 and WGS 9650 models. Apparently, when users of the new systems go to enter the provided serial number in WebSTAR, the application will complain that the number is invalid. Subsequent investigation into the matter revealed that the codes being shipped are actually for WebSTAR 1.X.
One would assume that this oversight was made on the part of Apple's quality assurance division, however, a public apology from StarNine seems to indicate otherwise. In addition to the note, they have posted a temporary password (which expires on July 31st) and assure that a permanent fix will be available on July 7th.
Pricing For Global Village Combo Card
Yesterday's story regarding the availability of Global Village's new 56K Modem/Ethernet PC Card failed to provide pricing information. Though the info was absent in the press release, the company has details on their price list. The card's retail price is set at $379. Incidently, a reader notes of an interesting observation -- all of Global Village's Mac modems are priced substantially higher than their PC counterparts.
Netscape Takes Wraps Off Of Communicator 4.01
Nearly two weeks after the initial rollout of the product for Wintel platforms, Netscape posted Communicator 4.01 for the Macintosh this morning. Available for both PowerPC and 680x0 machines, the program comes in three variations -- Base, Complete, and Professional -- with the later offering Netscape Calender, IBM Host-On-Demand, and AutoAdmin. Release notes are available.
Bare Bones Rides Digital Comet's CometPage
Bare Bones Software announced earlier this week that they have begun reselling Digital Comet's CometPage for BBEdit, a plug-in which brings dynamic Web page content creation to the text editor. Registered users of BBEdit, as well as new purchasers, can purchase CometPage at a special discounted price of $49. Orders can be placed directly from the Bare Bones homepage.
Kaleidoscope 1.7 Adds Mac OS 8 Compatibility
Greg Landweber and Fred Bass have released Kaleidoscope 1.7, the first version of the popular interface changer that supports the forthcoming Mac OS 8. In addition, a variety of problems with various programs and extensions have been fixed.
Vote For Your Favorite Macintosh Site
Jason Pierce's Unofficial Macintosh PR Department is conducting a survey to determine the favorite news site of the online Mac community. Voting is open until the end of the month, and if you're a believer in The Mac Observer, we kindly ask to you let it be publicly known!
Tuesday, June 24th
Apple And Clones Making Progress
After a lengthy period of silence and just weeks before the scheduled release of Mac OS 8, Apple and its clone vendors are finally making progress with the renegotiations of the Mac OS license, according to NEWS.COM. Apple's chief financial officer, Fred Anderson, reportedly negotiated personally with Motorola, and a deal could be ready for completion in two weeks, says the article. Meanwhile, NEWS.COM is reporting that Motorola is expected to show off systems using their G3 PowerPC processor (Arthur) at this summer's Macworld Expo in Boston.
Microsoft Jumps Into Print Media
The Mac Observer has learned that Microsoft has begun sending out promotional material for their first foray into the print medium, a magazine entitled 'Microsoft Interactive Developer'. The product is being aimed at interactive media developers, and it will be produced and edited entirely by Microsoft. Despite its apparent intentions of being a legitimate magazine, the publication seems to be not much more than a bona-fide advertisement for Microsoft's technology.
Global Village Rolls Out Combo PC Card
Global Village announced today that they have begun shipping the world's first 56K Modem/Ethernet combination PC Card. Much like the company's other products, the new PC Card uses the K56flex technology from Rockwell for its 56K transmission. Pricing information isn't available but the product is evidently available now from several mail order houses.
Duke Sales To Keep GT Interested
Word out of last week's Electronic Entertainment Expo from GT Interactive's Macintosh publishing arm, MacSoft, indicates that the company has already profited from the release of Duke Nukem 3D, something that was accomplished from pre-orders alone. Both Inside Mac Games published reports saying that, based on these high Duke Nukem sales, MacSoft will continue to support the Mac with titles from GT's lineup.
PhotoGIF Illustrator Coming From BoxTop
BoxTop Software is expected to release a beta version of PhotoGIF Illustrator, their newest plug-in that functions with Adobe Illustrator, in the next several weeks. The new product will usher in many of the capabilities planned for their PhotoGIF 3.0 plug-in, and it will offer such features as: interactive color reduction, live file size previews, comments support, absolute palette control, advanced transparency tools, and automatic image tag creation.
CodeWarrior For The Novice Developer
According to a Metrowerks press release, the company's CodeWarrior: Discover Programming Edition, a $79 suite of tools aimed at the novice developer, is now shipping. In addition to a fully functional copy of CodeWarrior (including the new IDE 2.0), the bundle also contains the electronic versions of several books.
Pictorius Shipping iNet Developer
Pictorius Inc. announced last week that they have begun shipping their cross-platform Intranet development environment, Pictorius iNet Developer. The product, which is designed to 'allow multiple users in corporate environments the ability to create complex sites', will be one of the first Mac applications to take advantage of the context-sensitive menus of Mac OS 8.
RealPlayer Plus 4.0 Upgrade Difficulties
Following last week's release of Progressive Networks' RealPlayer 4.0, we've received some comments pertaining to the troubles owners of the Plus version have been having with trying to upgrade. Below is just one report:
"I have RealPlayer Plus 3.0 and tried to upgrade to v.4.0. To upgrade with the Windows version, you use the "Site" menu of the program and that links you to the upgrade site (see the upgrade HTML at RealAudio.com). However, an "Upgrade" site doesn't exist on the "Site" menu for the Mac version. An e-mail request for help from Progressive Networks has, so far, yielded no answers.
New Email Server From CE Software
A beta version of QuickMail Pro Server, CE Software's initial entry into the Macintosh POP mail server market, is now available for downloading. Expected to ship this August, the $349.95 server features built-in mailing list capabilities and easy integration with faxing and paging applications.
Ircle Adds Support For DCC Resumes
The popular shareware IRC client, Ircle, has been updated to 3.0 Beta 9. The new release marks the first Mac IRC application to support resumeable DCC file transfers. Stability and the handling of faces are also said to have been improved.
Monday, June 23rd
UMAX' CacheDoubler Put Into Action
UMAX announced today the C600x/240 and C600x/280 models, the first machines to use the clone vendor's much vaunted CacheDoubler technology. Said to increase performance by up to 25%, the technology consists of a 1MB in-line L2 cache module that pushes the speed of the processor bus to 80-MHz, which is twice the speed of the more important system bus. Both the C600x/240 and C600x/280 are expected to be available in all of UMAX' channels in early July and will be priced at $1,995 and $2,395, accordingly.
Insignia Fights Back Against Virtual PC
Insignia Solutions, makers of the original Macintosh Windows emulator, SoftWindows, has posted a response to the rumblings from Connectix' Virtual PC in the form of an infosheet entitled 'SOFTWINDOWS 95 4.0: A better choice than Virtual PC'. Because our staff has yet to receive a copy of Virtual PC, we can't judge Insignia's claims, but even if they are of the non-fictional variety, the difference in price of $200 is tough to swallow. Interestingly, Insignia's apparent advantage in the DirectX area is suspiciously absent from this note.
OmniWeb Coming To Rhapsody
In a Mac Observer feature article, entitled 'OmniWeb Inside Look', we take an in-depth look at Seattle-based Omni Development's innovative OpenStep Web browser, OmniWeb. This product is on its way towards Rhapsody in the form of a 3.0 version and we have a first hand look at a product that Macintosh users will certainly be interested in.
Apple Introduces Educational Object Economy
Apple introduced today their Educational Object Economy (EOE) project, 'a complementary online community based around the creation, sharing, and use of teaching resources that incorporate Java applets for web- based learning'. Apple plan is to provide educators with a gathering place for information, teaching plans, and other resources.
Stuffit Deluxe And Mac OS 8... Not Yet
Several Macintosh Web sites (including MacFixIt) have revealed that Aladdin's Stuffit Deluxe 4.0 package will not be compatible with next month's release of Mac OS 8. The company, however, is reportedly finishing up a 4.5 revision that will add compatibility with the new system software. Additionally, speculation is rampant that the new version will also implement multi-threaded capabilities.
Compaq To Acquire Tandem For $3 Billion
After reportedly seeking merger opportunities with the likes of Micron and Gateway 2000 over the past couple months, Compaq announced today that they have agreed to acquire Tandem Computers for $3 billion in stock. The combination of the firms will create the largest supplier of servers in the world, a major boost to Compaq which has traditionally been seen as a consumer PC provider.
Stairways' Mac UseNet Server Unleashed
Stairways Software has taken the wraps off its shareware NTTP-based UseNet news server, RumorMill 1.0. The product features remote adminstration, support for Newswatcher Prefs and Newsrc files and a small memory footprint. The release RumorMill follows Imagina Software's unveiling of Newstand (another NNTP-base news server) earlier this month.
OT/PPP Strip 1.0.1 Available
After a relatively brief private beta test period, Dennis Wilkinson's OT/PPP 1.0.1 connectivity control strip is now available for public downloading. Complete changes in this version are documented on the product's homepage.
New IRC Client: Snak
The beta 5 version of Kent Sorensens Macintosh IRC client, Snak, now supports DCC file transfers and search facilities for channel text. The new beta is available for download from here.
Friday, June 20th
Final PowerComputing PowerHour Promotion
Finishing up what has been weeks of tremendous opportunities for customers, PowerComputing has announced the final PowerHour promotion. This Monday, June 23rd, for one hour between 12PM-1PM Central Time, Power will be offering the following two deals to customers who call the direct sales line at 800-952-9246 or order via their Web site.
"The MacUser/Macworld Product of the Year, the PowerTower Pro 225 Core, featuring 1MB L2 cache, 16x CD-ROM, 6 PCI slots and 9 Drive Bays. For this one time offer you can upgrade to 128MB RAM for FREE (two 64MB DIMMs) for just $3195 and will add a Pair of Labtec Speakers (retail value $99). Just imagine your productivity using Photoshop, Quark, Illustrator and yes, even Microsoft Word, with that amount of RAM power. Be a master, not a slave to your computer
The award-winning PowerCenter Pro 180 featuring the exclusive 60MHz bus, 1MB L2 Cache, UltraSCSI Hard Drive, 3D Acceleration and a 16X CD-ROM. For one time only upgrade to a whopping 64MB of RAM for Free (one 64MB DIMMs) for just $1,995."
BMW And Apple Kick Off Road Trip Monday
The BMW CyberDrive, a collaboration between BMW of North America and Apple Computer, begins its journey this Monday, June 23rd and runs for an entire month. Each of the 21 'interactive adventures', which starts with 'Great Roller Coasters' on Monday, will be developed using Apple's QTML technology. The site will also feature daily virtual test drives of BMW's line of vehicles.
Emulation.net Reviews Virtual PC
John Stiles' emulation.net has reviewed the final version of Connectix' Virtual PC. Testing was conducted on a Power Computing 604e/200, 512K L2 cache, and 30MB RAM, and the emulator performed well enough to run several popular PC titles, including Tomb Raider. Performance, however, supposedly suffers greatly with any software that requires the use of Microsoft's DirectX routines.
Adrenaline's Latest Moves
A Web page set up by Adrenaline Software lists the different ways in which you can extend the capabilities of their Adrenaline Numbers & Charts OpenDoc-based tools. Hardware accelerators, plug-in renderers, and 3D clip-art are just some of the items listed. Meanwhile, the company's cross-platform plans firmed up with the release of a Adrenaline Charts demo for Windows 95/NT.
U.S. Robotics To Meld PalmPilot
U.S. Robotics will upgrade their PalmPilot organizer to fit better with the current 3COM product portfolio, according to an InfoWorld Electric article. The product will go beyond just synching with desktop machines and will morph into a network communications device, featuring an Internet browser. The company notes of no intentions of creating a Windows CE clone.
Bare Bones' Rich Segal Talks Mac OS 8
In a reply to a recent DaveNet piece, Bare Bones Software's president, Rich Segal, laid out his thoughts and opinions regarding the upcoming release of Mac OS 8. Segal criticizes the implementation of the reworked user interface and goes on to suspect that the initial release of the OS will be meet with "a resounding thud".
PowerBook 3400 Battery Pricing Guide
Bryan Goldstein's PowerBook Source, which tracks memory prices for all available PowerBook models, has announced a new addition to the site: the PowerBook 3400 Battery Pricing Guide. Tracking models, specs, availability information, and pricing, the Guide is slated to expand in the following weeks with the inclusion of more models.
Final RealAudio 4.0... Mac Too!
Progressive Networks has posted the final version of their RealPlayer 4.0 client software. Contrary to what the download page states (and what we published earlier based on that information) a Macintosh version (PowerPC only) is in fact available downloading.
ZCurve Software's New MacStandardBasic
ZCurve Software's MacStandardBasic 2.20 is an update to the company's BASIC development environment. The upgrade, which is available from ZCurve's Web site, is free for current users of the product.
Thursday, June 19th
Jobs Stock Stories Surface Again
Back on Monday, June 2nd, a story surfaced on the Reuters news service that suggested Steve Jobs had filed to sell all but one share of the stock he received from Apple as part of the NeXT acquisition. The story was subsequently denied by Apple in a MacWEEK article, yet strangely, three major news outlets picked up on the story again today (Reuters, New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle). The plot remains the same -- Jobs to sell all but one of his 1.5 million shares -- but a quote adds even more mystery as to why these outlets published the latest act in this never ending novel. "I haven't sold any shares, and my intentions haven't changed at all," Jobs said.
Further investigation has revealed that the cause of these resurfaced stories is a SEC filing that was made by Apple yesterday. While the report is centered around the 1.5 million shares that Steve Jobs obtained, the document makes no mention of his intentions of selling the stock; rather, the filing outlines that Jobs now is legally able to publicly trade his stake.
Adobe Reports Second Quarter Results
Adobe announced yesterday, after the close of the market, their financial results for the second fiscal quarter, which ended on May 30th. The company yielded a net income of $40.1 million on revenues of $228.3 million, which is a significant boost from the year ago quarterly period. Revenues then totaled $204.3 million while net income was nearly half at $22 million.
What Macintosh users will find interesting is the fact that Adobe saw, for the first time ever, revenue from the Windows platform that exceeded the Mac. Out of the revenue garnered from application sales, 51 percent of it came from Windows, while the Mac brought in the other 49 percent. However, from all accounts, the upgrade cycle for Adobe's products on each platform favored better financial results from the PC side.
Macintosh Java Revelations
A JavaWorld article looks at what the lack of Sun's Java Development Kit 1.1 for the Macintosh means for development on the platform. Meanwhile, The Mac Observer has learned that although Sun holds all rights to co-developed Java work, they have no intentions of shipping future JDKs for the Mac, contrary to what some have previously thought. Instead, they have relinquished development responsibilities of both the JVM and JDK to Apple. And while Apple has been publishing the MRJ SDK for some time now, all of the JDK tools aren't expected to surface until MRJ 2.0.
Connectix Updates Virtual PC Infosheet
Connectix has posted further detailed information about the specifications of the now-shipping Virtual PC. Additional performance issues have also been discussed, including analysis of how well popular PC games such as Quake, Tomb Raider, and Duke Nukem 3D perform in the emulated environment.
MacToday Goes Nationwide
While MacToday, a bi-monthly magazine that offers what some have called "an irreverent, off-the-wall, totally biased look at the Macintosh", has previously been available on newsstands in select regions, starting with the July/August issue (which is available on the Web), the publication will begin a nationwide distribution.
WebTV Adds Two More Partners
WebTV Networks, the soon-to-be Microsoft-owned Internet set-top box developer, struck deals today with both Hitachi and Mitsubishi that will have the two electronics firms developing their own branded machines. Mitsubishi expects to ship their variation for the holiday season, while Hitachi is still determining their plans. NEWS.COM has more.
Lower Prices And Special Offer From PowerLogix
Macintosh vendor, PowerLogix, has announced price cuts of up to 27% on its entire line of PowerBoost 604e Processor Cards. The new prices are reflected below:
PowerBoost 166 New List $359
PowerBoost 180 New List $439
PowerBoost 200 New List $619
PowerBoost 225 New List $799
PowerBoost 233 New List $939
Further, the company also announced the inclusion of Connectix' Virtual PC (Windows 95 version) with certain cards and bundles. Effective from June 18th until June 22nd, anyone who orders one of the products listed below from the PowerLogix homepage will receive a free copy of the emulator, provided they specify 'Virtual PC Bundle' on the order form.
Part No. Description
PB225 PowerBoost 225
PB233 PowerBoost 233
PB225.512 PowerBoost 225 w/RapidCache 512K Bundle
PB233.512 PowerBoost 233 w/RapidCache 512K Bundle
PB200.1MB PowerBoost 200 w/RapidCache 1Mb Bundle
PB225.1MB PowerBoost 225 w/RapidCache 1Mb Bundle
PB233.1MB PowerBoost 233 w/RapidCache 1Mb Bundle
Macintosh Website Happenings
Mac Tribes from Cacti.org is a new Web site that a aims to 'make the Macintosh community aware of itself'. Meanwhile, The Unofficial Macintosh PR Department has moved to a new domain and have also altered its appearance and layout.
AnySearch Extras Add New Services
AnySearch Extras 1.5 (PowerPC only) from Scott Reynen adds a variety of new search engines to the original program that adds a button bar search field to Netscape Navigator. Notable engines on the list include: Amazon.com, Shareware.com, Filez, Deja News, and WebCrawler.
Neatnik 1.0 Neatens Up The Finder
Karl Bunker's Neatnik 1.0 cleans up the Macintosh Finder by batch-processing the location, size, and 'view-by' characteristics of folder windows. The product also brings the familiar 'stackable windows' from applications to the Finder.
Wednesday, June 18th
TechWorks Bringing Voodoo In August
As we previously reported, 3Dfx Interactive's highly-regarded chipset, Voodoo Graphics, is coming to the Macintosh, thanks to an OEM deal with TechWorks. The 4MB Power3D video card is expected to ship in early August for $249.95 and pre-orders are being taken at the company's homepage. Though the high-end performance of the card would yield productivity applications with implausible power, the target for this variation of the card will be aimed at gamers, due mainly to the fact that the Voodoo Graphics chipset doesn't perform 3D acceleration in a window.
Cyan Reveals Official Riven Website
Cyan has unveiled the official homepage for the hotly anticipated sequel to Myst, Riven. Expected to ship this fall, Riven will have quite a large reputation to uphold, since, after all, Myst holds one of the top spots on the list of all-time best selling CD-ROM titles. Meanwhile, Cyan will be showing off Riven publicly for the first time at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which starts in Atlanta tomorrow.
Latest Apple Tech Info Library News
We received the following note in regard to the latest happenings with Apple's online information resource, Tech Info Library.
"A new version of the Tech Info Library (TIL), available at http://til1.info.apple.com is much easier to search and browse, and will be officially introduced at 12:00 PM CDT Wednesday, 18 June 97. The current WAIS based TIL will be removed on that date. We hope you will find that the new database will give you many of the features you have been asking for during the past year.
We are also moving the TIL to a new high speed network for faster customer access. The new network is in the final build out stage and we expect to have the servers moved and open to the public at 12:00 PM CDT Wednesday, 18 June 97."
WebTV Set To Improve Network
Reuters is reporting that WebTV will issue a software upgrade, by the end of the month, which will add printing capabilities, support for secure transactions, and additional multimedia formats. Furthermore, it's expected that customers who already have a subscription with an ISP will now be able use that exisiting account with WebTV, albeit at a $9.95 monthly charge.
Apple's Support Of Le Mans '97 Race
The live action coverage of this past weekend's 24 Hours of Le Mans '97 race was conducted using equipment provided by Apple, according to a appreciative note on Porsche's homepage. Each trackside correspondent at the race was furnished with both a PowerBook 3400c/200 and a QuickTake 200.
Truth Petition A Success... Somewhat
Dax Dasilva's anti-Truth petition, which was started several months ago, asked Apple Computer to substitute the Truth (which is now being dubbed 'Charcoal') font with the Epsy Bold variation (from Aaron and Newton fame). A response Peter Lowe, product manager for Mac OS 8, states that the company would have suffered delays if it included Epsy, but they anticipate finishing the font for inclusion in future revisions of the operating system.
MacSense Reviews: The MacSense Successor
After unfortunate events struck the staff at the original MacSense, the product is now proceeding forward under a new editor-in-chief, Aaron Lyon, a newly revamped focus, and a new name, MacSense Reviews. Catering to graphics, multimedia, and Web designers, the new site is kicking off its presence with a giveaway.
starmax.net Alive And Well
Ben Kimball's excellent Motorola StarMax resource page, starmax.net, is now back from a brief hiatus, which was caused by a severe hard drive crash. The site is now using the service of Reprahduce and Ben anticipates adding more CGI features to the site because of this.
CyberStudio 1.1 Upgrade And Rebate
Freeware Web Server Gets An Update
Quid Pro Quo 1.0.2, the venerable freeware Web server from Chris Hawk, has been posted for downloading. Release notes documenting the changes in this release are included in the archive.
Tuesday, June 17th
Expo Attendees Get A Look At Rhapsody
During Ellen Hancock's keynote address this afternoon at PC Expo in New York, the first public demonstration (outside of the Worldwide Developers' Conference showing) of Rhapsody was made. Samples of the inter-operability of QuickDraw 3D and Java was displayed as was the standard development demo that featured QuickTime running natively in the Yellow Box. Meant only to be a showcase for the technology, Hancock revealed no major revelations about additional specific plans during her speech.
On a related note; CNET has a preview of Rhapsody, although to get the video side of things, one must install VXtreme's Web Theater Client browser plug-in, a plug-in which doesn't exactly function well over standard modems nor with machines with less than 32MB's of RAM. They do, however, have a screenshot of the operating system in its QuickDraw 3D/Java demo.
Mac OS 8 To Be Quite Pushy
An Apple press release announces the bundling of both Marimba's Castanet and the PointCast Network with next month's release of Mac OS 8. Additionally, around the time of shipment, Apple will introduce a new Apple Channel on PointCast that will offer news stories, software updates, product enhancements, product announcements, and customer support news. Along with Netscape Navigator 3.0.1, Internet Explorer 3.01, Cyberdog 2.0, and Personal Web Sharing, this announcement rounds out Mac OS 8's Internet offering.
MRJ 1.5b1 SDK Adds MRJToolKit
The MRJ 1.5b1 SDK (Software Development Kit) has been posted. In addition to adding the PowerPC-native JIT Compiler, this latest version introduces the MRJToolKit, which enables Macintosh-specific functionality to be used in the creation of Java applications. This includes print events, setting of file type and creator, and assignment of keyboard equivalents to menu items.
ClearWay Unveils Two New Products
ClearWay Technologies announced today the latest entries into their growing lineup of Web server software for the Mac. The company's FireSite Virtual Domain Manager adds multihoming capabilities to servers allowing them to host multiple Web sites on a single Web server. VDM will retail for $99 and a 30-day free trial is expected to be posted soon.
The company's other product announcement came by way of Web Archer: Desktop Internet Search System. Separated from the Web browser, this new desktop utility allows users to conduct Internet searches at any time, from any program. A preview release of the $20 program is available and a final version is expected to be finished by July 31st.
Wal-Mart Online: Strong Mac Support
Though their retail chain of stores ignores the Macintosh (like nearly every retail franchise does these day), the recently unveiled Wal-Mart Online evidently is a proponent of selling product for multiple computer platforms. The online store front offers a wide variety of Mac software titles and even one UMAX clone, although, as a reader notes, the machine is listed under 'Desktop Machines - 68000'.
Sun Chief Talks About Apple Acquisition
In an SunWorld interview with Sun Microsystems' chief science officer, John Gage, the topic of an Apple acquisition by Sun is discussed. Gage states that any kind of merger would have been 'too messy', although he doesn't rule out future discussions with Apple. Incidently, Sun also thought of purchasing Silicon Graphics, according to Gage.
NetPCs Make Their Debut
Taking the Oracle and Sun Network Computer idea and adding the likes of Intel and Microsoft to a new venture has lead to the NetPC, a sealed piece of computer hardware which made its debut at PC Expo yesterday. A wide range of big names in the PC industry are behind these $1,000 devices, including Compaq, Dell, IBM, and Hewlett-Packard. Reuters has more.
Magazines Preview Mac OS 8
Both Macworld Daily News and PC Week have conducted previews of next month's Mac OS 8 release. Each article provides opinions on the OS revision that gel with what has been published elsewhere before.
New Window Monkey Fixes Conflicts
Tiger Technologies' Window Monkey 1.1.2 fixes several conflicts with the shareware utility PopupFolder and Adobe Type Reunion, and adds several other improvements. The update is available free for registered users of the product.
Monday, June 16th
Power Keeps The Promotions Coming
Following up on last week's unusual 256MB's of RAM giveaway, PowerComputing announced this past weekend that they will be offering yet another promotion tomorrow afternoon. Here's the official information from the company's Brian Combs.
"Call Power Computing's Blue Light Special Hot Line at 800-952-9246 or order online at www.powercc.com on Tuesday, June 17th between 3:02PM and 4:06PM Central Time, and purchase a PowerTower Pro 225 machine for $3,195. You will be upgraded to 128MB (two 64MB DIMMs) of RAM and crazy Judy will also throw in a pair of Labtec speakers (value $99). Lots of RAM, great speakers -- in other words, $1,100 in extras free with the purchase of a PowerTower Pro 225.
This offer is not valid with any other PTP225 special or bundle. But, as always, you can custom configure your special system. This phenomenal offer is good for only 1 hour and 4 minutes and ends promptly at 4:06PM Central Time. Call or Order Online!"
300-MHz Macs Finally Out The Door
Although initially announced nearly two months ago by both Apple and Motorola, systems using the new PowerPC 603e 300-MHz processor have yet to hit the market, missing the brief opportunity to have the highest MHz machines on the market, at least for the time being. Motorola, however, said today that their StarMax 5000/300, with the 300-MHz CPU, will begin shipping immediately. Pricing for the base model, which includes 512K L2 cache, 32MB of RAM, 16X CD-ROM, 10BaseT ethernet, 4MB SGRAM, and a Zip drive, will be $2,899.
Apple Bears Fruit Of OEM Deal
Apple announced today the next-generation of models in its inkjet printer line. Resulting from an OEM deal with Hewlett Packard, the new line of machines consists of the StyleWriter 4100, the StyleWriter 4500, and the StyleWriter 6500, which happens to be the first ever Mac OS and Windows compatible inkjet from Apple. Additionally, the StyleWriter EtherTalk Adapter II, an adapter that allows the printers to be used on Ethernet networks, was unveiled.
Newton Inc. Makes First Appearance
The newly formed Newton subsidiary, Newton Inc., will be making its first industry appearance today at PC Expo, which runs until Thursday in New York. A press reception featuring the company's chief operating officer, Sandy Benett, will expand the subsidiary's vision for the future. In addition, a handful of Newton developers will be on hand as a part of the company's booth. A PRNewswire story has more.
Production Problems Could Hurt Bottom Line
The widely reported production problems of Apple's PowerMac 8600 and PowerBook 3400 lines are well known, but since the delays are now just starting to clear up, the effect on Apple's upcoming third quarter results could be significant added losses, at least according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle. Production problems of higher-end machines have plagued Apple over the past few years and one can only hope that this is the final time we see this crop up.
Coverage Of Hancock's Keynote
PC Week Radio will be providing Webcast coverage of this week's PC Expo, including tomorrow's keynote speech from Apple's Ellen Hancock, which is scheduled for 12:30PM-1:30PM/EDT. Furthermore, the videocast of an interview with Hancock directly from the Expo will be available at 10AM on Wednesday morning.
Summer's Boston Be Developers' Conference
Be has laid out plans for their second developers' conference of the year and unsurprisingly, the company has centered the event around a major Macintosh magnet, this time being Macworld Expo in Boston. The conference, which runs from August 4-5, will once again be free to all attendees.
News From Apollo Technologies
Apollo Technologies' long promised Web browser, InstantSpace, is now set to become publicly available on June 20th. The product will be available for downloadable purchase for $39 and there will supposedly be a number of configurations available. Meanwhile, the company has also announced that its offering Jesse Feiler's "Cyberdog: The Complete Guide To Apple's Internet Productivity Technology" book for sale on their Web site.
MacSurfer's Headline News Expands
MacSurfer's Headline News, the popular Mac news indexing Web site, is expanding its already comprehensive coverage via a second index page that will track a wider range of Mac sites.
GIFmation 2.0 Now Available
The relatively lengthy alpha/beta cycle of BoxTop Software's GIFmation 2.0 has ended and along with a newly redesigned site, the company has the final version available for purchase. A demo of the $49 GIF animation application has been posted as well.
CrossBasic: Shareware BASIC Environment
Targeting both the Macintosh and Java platforms, the $30 shareware BASIC environment, CrossBasic DR1, from Andrew Barry is an implementation that brings a set of visual components to the venerable programming language.
Friday, June 13th
Netscape Security Flaw Discovered
Danish software firm, Cabocomm, has discovered a security hole in Netscape Navigator that allows Web sites to obtain the local hard drive files of visitors. The story was first reported by CNNfn and subsequent testing by PC Magazine's PC Labs confirmed that a problem does indeed exist with at least Navigator 3.0.1, although it should be stressed that a specific filename must be already known for any damage to be done.
But beyond just the discovery of a flaw, a more interesting situation lies within this story. As a part of their continuing 'Bounty Hunter' program, Netscape offered Cabocomm $1,000, but the Danish firm demanded more compensation for their discovery. After Netscape refused to pay 'several thousand dollars', Cabocomm passed the bug information along to CNN who in turn notified PC Magazine.
Netscape has since announced that they have indeed located and fixed this problem, a glitch that apparently has been in the software for over two years. Patches for Windows versions will be available on Monday, but Mac fixes aren't expected for another two weeks.
Motorola 'Way Cool' Software Contest
Motorola's StarMax 'Way Cool' software contest gives users the chance to vote for their favorite Mac product from a list of eleven recently released applications. The six entries who receive the most votes will be distributed with every StarMax system sold from August 1, 1997 to December 31, 1997. Additionally, the winners will be featured in Motorola's Macworld Expo Boston booth and a September print advertisement.
Delivery Of JavaStation Delayed
The full-scale commercial release of Sun Microsystems' JavaStation, their version of the network computer, has been delayed until this fall, according to a NEWS.COM report. Sun's JavaStation OS has been equally pushed back to a similar time frame. Packed with a Sum microSPARC II, networking, and a monitor, the JavaStation will sell for under $750.
Rhapsody On PowerBook 1400: Hancock Says Yes
In a continuing investigation into whether or not Rhapsody will run on the NuBus-based PowerBook 1400, O'Grady's PowerPage uncovered an AOL chat transcript with Apple's Ellen Hancock. Basically, Hancock gives reassurance that Rhapsody will work on all Mac's that were shipping in January '97, including PowerBooks, regardless is they're PCI-based or not.
Microsoft Acquires Java Firm
Microsoft announced today the acquisition of Cooper & Peters Inc., a software company specializing in object-oriented user-interface framework technologies for Java. The move was evidently made to strengthen Microsoft's Application Foundation Classes. Terms were not announced.
Yet Another AOL Email Outage
The San Francisco Chronicle is covering the most recent America Online email outage. Over 150,000 subscribers were without email access early yesterday morning. AOL's vice of president of marketing, David Gang, however, points to the Internet's overloaded infrastructure as the culprit of the troubles.
ICMP Logger Tracks Incoming Pings
John Bafford's ICMP Logger 1.0 is a utility that keeps a detailed log of all incoming TCP/IP ping packets, which is beneficial for any server administrator fearful of the Ping Of Death problem. Time, date, IP address, and size of packets are all tracked.
Rockstar Rolls Out GearBox 1.0
Rockstar Studios has announced the availability of GearBox 1.0, the company's Internet connectivity tool. Consisting of a network manager, dialer, and diagnostic features, GearBox simplifies the process of entering configuration info, in addition to allowing users to have multiple connection setups. A free demo of the $29.95 product is available.
Global Village Updates Teleport Firmware
Global Village's Teleport Comm Slot 1.511 firmware has been posted. The upgrade updates the Teleport to the V.34+ ITU standard, enabling connection speeds of up to 33.6 kbps. As it was widely reported when the initial firmware update debuted, Performa Teleport modems aren't officially support, despite several successful upgrades from owners.
Thursday, June 12th
Microsoft, Netscape Put Browser War Aside
It's an occurrence you won't see happen on a recurring basis, but Microsoft and Netscape have put aside their ongoing battle in the browser world and have pledged to support a new initiative dubbed 'Open Profiling Standard' that will protect online users' personal information. Sixty other firms have announced support for the standard, including VeriSign and FireFly Network. Also, the companies involved will be working with the World Wide Consortium. USA Today and Reuters have more.
The goal of the OPS specification is to provide users the ability to not only create personal identification cards, but to also allow them to specifically choose which information can be sent to the Web sites they connect to, something which can't be done with cookies.
UMAX Expands Entry-Level Line
UMAX announced today four new entry-level systems that will expand the company's previously available C500 and C600 lines. All of the introduced models offer a upgradeable PowerPC 603e CPU via a Zero Insertion Force (ZIF) socket, a name that is quite familiar in the Wintel world. More importantly, UMAX has broken the $950 price point with the entry-level C500LT/180 model, which uses a PowerPC 603e 180-MHz processor. This marks for the second time in as many months that UMAX has introduced the cheapest Mac available.
3COM/U.S. Robotics Merger Approved
The blockbuster merger of two networking giants, 3COM and U.S. Robotics, has been approved by the shareholders of both companies. Said to be in the range of $8.5 billion, the deal is expected to be officially closed later today, which will also mark the end of trading for U.S. Robotics stock (both companies will trade under the 3COM name). The newly created firm will have an estimated $5.5 billion in annual revenues. Reuters has more.
NewerTech eMate 300 Module Report
The newly released NewerTech memory expansion module for the eMate 300 is now starting to arrive in users' hands. Blaine Fergerstrom provides us with his initial impressions of the upgrade:
"I got the Newer eMate 300 memory module last night. Installation was too easy, taking less than 5 minutes -- not including the required full backup and restore of the unit before and after installation. After backup, I removed the expansion cover just below the handle with the included mini-torx wrench. Disconnect the battery by unplugging a connector. The 1-1/4" x 3/4" memory module snaps into the empty simm-type slot in an instant. There is plenty of room to spare in the expansion compartment. Big hands handle it easily. Replace the cover and torx screws. Turn it on, restore the software and I'm back in business. The machine does indeed feel zippier now, almost as quick as the MP2K in many cases. This is a must-have accessory for any eMate 300 owner. I can now put other programs on the eMate!"
Big Island's YoYo Grows Up
Big Island Communications has announced the availability of YoYoLand for Macintosh v2.0. The update to the popular communications manager (which incidently, won the top prize in Apple's Human Interface Design Excellence awards) adds support for up to six YoYos on a single Mac. Control of dialing exceptions has been improved and a number of interfaces changes have been made as well. A free update for current users is available.
Intuit And Excite Team Up For New Web Venture
After announcing plans for significant layoffs yesterday, Intuit revealed today that they will be investing $40 million in Excite (for a 19% stake) to aid in the creation of a new online financial channel. The company's also will enter into a seven-year agreement which will have Intuit promoting and distributing the new channel. The new venture will offer financial news, stock quotes, tracking, and transactional services, etc.
Get Your Mac UseNet News Here!
The final version of Newstand, the Mac UseNet news server from Imagina Software, has been released. Offering full RFC compliance and complete NNTP functionality, Newstand is, at least to our knowledge, the only available Mac UseNet server. Both Lite and Pro versions are available and pricing is $498.98 and $998.98, accordingly. An educational discount of 10% is being offered by Imagina as well.
ClearlyHome Gets An Update
ClearlyHome 1.0.1, an update to the virtual domain server plug-in, fixes a bug that could have posed a potential problem in the way other WebSTAR plug-ins function. In addition, this version update is now compiled with the latest Metrowerks ANSI library, providing a possible speed boost.
Deal-Mac's Virtual PC Watch Tracks Prices
Pricing and availability of Connectix' Virtual PC is now being tracked by deal-mac. A variety of mail order houses are included as are a few several special discounts and bundles.
New Shockwave Supports Streaming
Macromedia has posted Shockwave r4, an updated version to the plug-in that supports the real-time streaming capabilities of the recently released Director Studio 6. Click here to download.
Extension-Less Screen Saver
Chaotic Software's screen saver, NOVA 2.5, is now compatible with 68k machines. A small memory footprint and an extension-less design make NOVA one of the more reliable Mac screen savers available.
Wednesday, June 11th
Connectix To Boot Up Virtual PC Next Week
A press release from Connectix announces that their Virtual PC emulator will begin shipping next week. Two versions will be available, one that ships with Windows 95 and one with Windows 3.11/DOS, and pricing will range from $149-$169. Additionally, a $25 redeemable coupon will be included for current owners of Insignia's SoftWindows. As revealed earlier this week, the product will support the Pentium MMX instruction set, although multiprocessing capabilities will not be included in this release.
Connectix is recommending, at the bare minimum, a PowerPC 603e/180 with 32MB's of RAM installed for the Windows 95 version. Suggested requirements for the Windows 3.11 variation drop down to a PowerPC 100 with 24MB's of RAM.
Meanwhile, MacCentral has an 'interview' with the Connectix development team that made this product possible. An interesting look at how the project originally got started is also included.
Netscape's Developers' Conference Kicks Off
Netscape's third annual developers' conference, DevCon, started in San Jose this morning. The event, which runs through Friday, will be followed closely through daily updates, press releases, etc., by NetscapeWorld's DevCon Daily Web site. Though the release of the final version of Communicator is the cornerstone of both the conference's theme and a major Web promotion, only a Windows version has been released thus far.
Interestingly, during his keynote speech this morning, Netscape's Marc Andreessen announced plans for a 100% Pure Java version of Communicator. Netscape intends on shipping it late next year and will build it using the JavaBeans component architecture (which incidently, Netscape pledged support for yesterday).
3Dfx Voodoo Coming To The Mac
The much vaunted 3Dfx Voodoo chipset will be making its way to the Mac platform via an OEM deal with Techwerks, according to a Next Generation Online article. More importantly, due to the nature of the design of the Glide APIs (the programming interface that makes up the native 3Dfx calls), games based on Voodoo will be easily portable to the Mac, something that could conceivably jump start what has seemingly been a stagnant Mac market.
Intuit Plans Reduction In Workforce
Intuit, developer of Quicken, revealed their intentions of cutting their workforce by 10%. Layoffs will total 420, with the majority of that number -- roughly 300 -- coming by the way of the closing of a telephone support center in New Mexico. Due to slowing sales in the company's hallmark product, the company says the staff reduction is necessary to remain profitable. Reuters has more.
MacUser Looks At Mac OS 8
In the August issue of MacUser, Henry Bortman previews a beta copy of Mac OS 8. And much like the reports being heard from nearly every beta tester, Bortman agrees that the release of Mac OS 8 will be one of the most exciting and significant upgrades to the Mac platform in a number of years.
QuickTime 3.0 Delayed Until Late Summer
Originally expected to be released this past April, NEWS.COM is reporting that Apple has apparently decided to push the release of QuickTime 3.0 back until late summer. The cause of the company's decision is said to be based on unsatisfactory developer reaction to early alphas and betas, although according to some, this time frame has been known for some time.
WebInnovation: The Conference For Webmasters
Adding to the crowded field of computer conferences and shows next week (PC Expo/Mac Expo and Mactivity '97 are on tap) -- WebInnovation, a conference squarely aimed at Webmasters and Web content creation houses, will take place from June 17-19 at the San Jose Convention Center.
CE's QuickMail Pro Goes 1.5
After a relatively short public beta test, CE Software has made the full QuickMail Pro 1.5 Update available for downloading. The upgrade, which is free to all 1.0 users, is said to be up to seven time faster than the original release and it offers over 130 improvements. A What's New document lays out the full details.
FreePPP 2.6b4 Now Available
FreePPP 2.6b4 has been posted. The software expires on August 1st and this revision does away with the password protected archive. Steve Dagley notes on the following changes: problems with 'Check line every...' have been fixed as has the code for converting FreePPP/MacPPP preferences.
Tuesday, June 10th
Sun's Java Web Server Released
JavaSoft has released their Java Web Server (JWS) 1.0, an "easy-to-use, extensible, easy-to-administer, secure, and platform-independent solution". Besides offering the standard Web serving features, JWS supports what Sun has labeled 'Java Servlets', an architecture that allows Java applets to extend the server's capabilities. Despite its platform-independent billing, the server requires a virtual machine that complies with JDK 1.1, something that isn't yet publicly available on the Mac.
Mactivity To Kick Off Next Week
Mactivity '97 kicks off next week at the Santa Clara Convention Center and Apple's Senior Vice President of Marketing, Guerrino De Luca, will be one of the featured keynote speakers. And in an effort to make the keynote "the most impactful and relevant presentation by an Apple executive at any conference this year", Mactivity's Paul Kent submitted to Apple a possible list of topics for De Luca to cover. Read all about it here.
SpaceCraft Brings 3D To Java
A press release from InWorld VR announces the availability of the SpaceCraft J3D Tool Kit, a 100% Pure Java API that allows developers to write high-performance 3D worlds. A wide variety of demos showcasing the technology are available from the company's homepage. Additionally, an evaluation copy of the $130 product will be bundled with Roaster Technologies' Roaster Release 3.
Yet Another Power Promotion
Following yesterday's big 256MB of RAM giveaway, PowerComputing has announced yet another promotional offer. Effective from this past Saturday, June 7th through July 31st, people who purchase either a PowerBase 200 or PowerBase 240 machine will receive a $100 mail-in rebate coupon.
Mac Internet Explorer 4.0... 45 Days Away
Contrary to earlier expectations, Microsoft has posted their official cross-platform plans for Internet Explorer 4.0 and surprisingly, the company is touting that they will deliver beta versions of the software for not only Windows 95 and NT platforms but also the Mac OS within the next 45 days.
Adobe SiteMill 2.0 Clarification
Following yesterday's Adobe SiteMill 2.0 registration report, Adrian Rivais wrote in with the following expanded information:
"A SiteMill 1.0 registration number will work too. I think it's important to note as SiteMill 1.0 owners were promised a free upgrade to 2.0 and some, after reading yesterday's report, may feel somewhat cheated."
Bluto Gets A Lot Of Names
After shifting through over 3,000 entries, Bare Bones Software has chosen a name for their upcoming email client (codenamed 'Bluto'), but the new moniker will not be publicly posted until the software gets closer to release. A list of the company's favorite entries (divided into some interesting categories) have been posted.
Monday, June 9th
The Mac Observer: Now Web Crossing Enabled
Through the use of Lundeen & Associates' Web Crossing server software, The Mac Observer is now fully interactive via the Mac Observer Interactive section. Please take the time and register with the program (it will only take a few seconds) and have a look around. In addition to the message area capabilities of WebX, the software provides a Java-based chat area that will be used in the future for things like chats with our staff and special guests.
DayStar Ships Quite A Lot Of Mac-MHz
DayStar Digital is now shipping its Genesis MP 900, the first Mac OS-based machine to use four 225-MHz 604e processors. Pricing starts at $9,999, while the Genesis MP 800 has been lowered to $8,499, down $1,500 from its previous price. As always, only software directly written for the multiprocessor API will see significant performance gains. A list of which programs conform to that API is maintain by DayStar.
Microsoft Makes Another Move Toward TV
In what Bill Gates is calling the biggest deal in his company's history, Microsoft announced today that they have invested $1 billion in Comcast Corp., the nation's fourth largest cable company. The investment, which was made to strengthen Microsoft's position in the cable TV business, gives the software giant an 11.5% stake in the company. The deal consists of the purchase of $500 million in Comcast stock and preferable stock.
News From Adobe's Mill
Adobe has sent the following special offer to users who previously downloaded the online demo versions of either PageMill 2.0 or SiteMill 2.0:
"We're offering you a special opportunity to buy the full version of PageMill and SiteMill for only $99. All you have to do is call 1-800-411-8657 and mention special offer #32904. And if you purchase Adobe PageMill 2.0 by June 15th, 1997 you also get at no extra charge:
- Adobe SiteMill - for easily managing all of your site's resources and keeping links up-to-date - now it's included with PageMill!
- Adobe Photoshop LE - the easy-to-use Internet version of Adobe's industry-leading image-editing software.
- 1,000+ ready-to-use images, sounds, animations, Web templates, Web software, and much more!"
Meanwhile, the 2.0e version of SiteMill that was recently posted on Adobe's FTP servers is apparently the final version, not a late beta as some have previously noted. Interestingly, when the product is launched, a registration block appears and a PageMill registration number reportedly will work. This seemingly goes hand and hand with the above offer.
Mercury News Looks At Amelio
An article in yesterday's San Jose Mercury News takes an intriguing, in-depth look into the life of Apple's CEO, Gil Amelio. From his times growing up in what he labeled 'an Italian ghetto' to his successful and most prominent turn around campaign at National Semiconductor, everything you wanted to know about the seemingly private life of the good Dr. is here.
Amazon Dries Up For A Bit
Online bookseller, Amazon.com, had a widely reported outage late Friday afternoon. Customers trying to reach 'the world's largest bookstore' were met with a message stating that the site was down for repairs. The scheduled down time, however, turned into outage that lasted most of the night. Reuters has more.
Shotton's HitTunes Available
Chuck Shotton, author of StarNine's WebSTAR, has released HitTunes 1.0, a freeware WebSTAR plug-in that plays user-configurable sounds when certain documents are requested from a Web server.
ichat Pager Hits PR3
A new preview release, PR3, of the ichat Pager (formerly known as iPage) is now available for downloading. Besides improving stability, performance, and memory overhead requirements, the new version adds a file transfer feature.
Screen Gear 1.1.1 Released
Screen Gear 1.1.1 is a new version of a shareware screen saver application that plays QuickTime movies, PICT and JPEG images, AIFF sound files. The developers have also announced a new pricing structure for volume purchases.
Friday, June 6th
Power Promotion: 256MB Of Free RAM!
For a brief amount of time on Monday afternoon, Macintosh clone vendor, PowerComputing, will be offering an unheard of offer in the computer industry. If you order one of the new PowerTower Pro 250's from the company's Direct Sales Line (800-952-9246) on Monday, June 9th from 1PM-2PM Central, you'll receive, at no extra charge, 256MB of RAM. Base configurations of the machine start at $4,495.
AppleScript Moves To Rhapsody
Despite the fact that Apple has widely proclaimed their intentions of supporting some variation of a scripting language in Rhapsody, they never officially announced that it would be AppleScript. But according to an InfoWorld Electric article, this is exactly what Apple has decided to do -- apparently, they will in fact move the AppleScript environment over to Rhapsody.
MRJ 1.5 Goes Beta
MacOS Runtime for Java 1.5b1 is now available from the MRJ Bleeding Edge homepage. As you'll recall, the 1.5 version includes the PowerPC native Just-In-Time Compiler, which significantly speeds up nearly all Java processes (as evident from our JVM Showdown feature article). Adrian Rivais notes on some possible installation problems related to the new beta:
"Just a warning I discovered about the MRJ 1.5 beta. It does not remove the old MRJ Just-In-Time Compiler, the one at build 16. It also doesn't remove the old Applet Runner. It's best to delete everything dealing with the MRJ 1.5 alpha and then install the MRJ 1.5 beta."
MessagePad 2.1 Update Posted
Apple has posted the 2.1 Update for U.S. MessagePad 2000 machines on their FTP servers. Complete upgrade instructions are documented in the upgrade's release notes. The following changes have been made to the system software:
- Data may have been lost when sending large blocks of data via the serial port. This has been fixed.
- When writing large amounts of cursive text, an out of memory condition was sometimes encountered. This has been fixed.
- Fixed a problem causing the error message "Newton still needs the card..." when certain communication cards are ejected.
- Text on the cover page of a fax is now clear.
- Battery level indicator in Extras will now accurately display battery charge.
- The power switch detection sensitivity has been improved to minimize false detection of system or backlight on/off events.
Progressing With RealPlayer 4.0
Progressive Networks has posted RealPlayer 4.0b2. In addition to improving the quality of video over dial-up connections, the new beta, which is PowerPC-only, adds a couple new features including: easy access to daily news and the ability to collapse the player into a smaller desktop window.
Concept Apple PDA Designs
Astro Products Inc., a product and graphics design firm based in Palo Alto, California, was commissioned by Apple to do several concept designs of future PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants). The results, which are spread out over three distinctive looks, have been posted for public consumption.
CodeWarrior To Move To Windows CE?
Don Crabb's New Product Gossip of the Day newsletter (which is available for free subscription from here) is reporting that Microsoft has signed an agreement with Metrowerks that will have the development tool vendor selling a version of CodeWarrior that supports Windows CE.
Connectix Updates Original Speed Doubler
A Speed Doubler 1.3.3 update is intended for users who are still using the older version. Several folder related additions have been added to Speed Copy and a check for an incompatible version of the Apple disk cache has been implemented into Speed Access.
Thursday, June 5th
Microsoft Offers CDF To Netscape
Microsoft is offering its Channel Definition Format (CDF) to Netscape for use in the Netcaster component of the Communicator suite, according to an InfoWorld article. The two browser giants are each promoting their own specific technology as the standard for push media, and without a middle-ground, publishers won't have the ability to write one channel and deploy it to every browser.
Electronic Arts Plays 'SimBuyer'
Continuing their streak of picking up smaller developers (a list which includes BullFrog, Origin, and Jane's, among others) -- Electronic Arts announced yesterday that it has agreed to purchase Maxis for $125 million in stock. The maker of the popular 'Sim' line of titles will be paid 0.3644 of EA's shares for each of their 11.26 million outstanding shares. A Reuters news report has more.
Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, will be the keynote speaker at MacHack '97 in Dearborn, Michigan. The event, which runs from June 26-28, will be limited in attendance to the first 300 registrants. Meanwhile, Apple CEO, Gil Amelio, is scheduled to make an appearance at the Stanford CEO Forum on June 19th.
Reuters reaffirms Apple's anticipation of returning to extended profitability in its next quarterly period, ending in September. The recent restructuring will allow for a break even point at $7.5 billion in revenues.
Apple will close a circuit board manufacturing plant in Singapore and intends on laying off 250 people, according to a Nando article. The layoffs, which are result of the company's worldwide restructuring, will reduce the Singapore workforce by 31 percent. The plan is expected to be completed by the end of August.
UserLand has released OBD Engine 1.0b6, the first publicly available cross-platform piece of Frontier. The engine provides C developers with a free library that allows building of Frontier-compatible object databases.
The beta 4 version of The Mac Channel is now available. The latest revision of this Mac-only push product is '40% faster than previous versions and uses an intelligent caching system to minimize bandwidth usage', according to the release notes. Both 68K and PowerPC versions are available.
Emailer Merge creates customized information from databases and merges them with either Emailer or Eudora messages. The newest version, 1.3, adds support for attachments and the ability to save merge configurations.
Speed Demon 1.1, a new 3D racing game from the Mac division of Cerberus Development, is now available for downloading. The shareware edition comes with two scenarios and is limited up to two players over AppleTalk and TCP/IP networks.
Wednesday, June 4th
NewerTech eMate Memory Module
NewerTech is now shipping their internal expansion RAM module for the eMate 300. The information sheet states that the 4MB DRAM/2MB Flash RAM memory module will go beyond just extending storage space by effectively doubling the 16-bit eMate data bus to 32-bits. So, that means, by adding the expanded memory, you'll not only be doubling the machine's storage capabilities, but the information stored will be accessed twice as fast.
Revised JVM Showdown Feature
Mac Observer contributing editor, Jon Bodner, has completed a major revision of our JVM Showdown feature article. Since the original posting, several new Java Virtual Machines (JVMs) have hit the market and the update provides benchmarks and information for all of them, including Roaster Release 3 and the developers-only release of Apple's MacOS Runtime for Java 2.0d2.
ClearWay Technologies' Simple Cache Manager 1.1 is a free WebSTAR plug-in that automatically refreshes Web server RAM caches. Configurable rules control how the plug-in functions, the simplest being when Netscape users select a 'super reload'. Both 68K and PowerPC versions are available.
CNN Custom News is the joint venture between CNN Interactive and Oracle that we touched on earlier this week. Set to be officially announced at a joint keynote speech later today from Ted Turner and Larry Ellison, Custom News allows users to set up their own news page, including information from outlets other than CNN.
According to a TechWeb article, Corel has delayed the release of Corel Office for Java yet again. This time the date has been pushed back until October, almost a full year after its originally promised time frame. Slow advances in support for JDK 1.1 across all platforms is being cited as the major cause.
Helium 3.0, a shareware program from Tiger Technologies, improves Balloon Help on the Macintosh. Instead of having to go to the menu bar, Helium allows Balloon Help to be invoked by a simple key combination.
First spotted on O'Grady's PowerPage -- MSNBC's nightly technology show, The Site, has replaced their on-camera Microsoft-OS based machine with a PowerBook 3400c decked out with a Metricom Wireless modem.
MacCPU will have NewerTech's MAXpowr 450-MHz (dual PowerPC 604e/225-MHz) cards in stock today, according to The Power Macintosh Resource Page.
Summit Technologies has released The House Manager v2 PR2, a software tool that's design to help manage the different aspects of fraternities and sororities.
The winning schemes from MacUser's Kaleidoscope contest have been posted for downloading. Kaleidoscope 1.5 or better is required to view these themes.
Tuesday, June 3rd
Lismore's Blue Label Speeds Up
Originally billed to provide 386/486 speed, Lismore Software's PC emulator, Blue Label, has seemingly gone under extensive optimization as the product is now said to provide Pentium performance. The project's spec sheet indicates that a PowerPC 100-MHz will yield Pentium 50-MHz performance, and much like Connectix' Virtual PC, Blue Label will emulate an entire PC so it will be possible to run a variety of operating systems.
In addition, Blue Label will offer a boot manager that allows direct booting into the PC emulated environment. The memory overhead of the Mac OS would then be eliminated, which in turn offers all memory to the emulator. At this time, Blue Label is slated to be completed on July 1st.
New Products From StarNine
StarNine has announced their first cross-platform Internet products. The company will begin this strategy with the simultaneous release of 2.0 upgrades for Pacific Coast Software's WebCatalog and WebMerchant. The products, which aim to make online commerce a more affordable venture, will be published, marketed, and supported by StarNine. It's expected that a Mac OS version will be available by the end of the week with a Windows NT version following in late-July.
UMAX's CacheDoubler, a proprietary memory controller for in-line cache, will make its debut at PC Expo later this month, according to a MacWEEK article. Expected to initially debut in SuperMac C500 and C600 machines, the new technology will push processor bus speeds to 80-MHz.
Several people have noted that Maxum's $99 FTP server, Rumpus, is now shipping (the product homepage hasn't been updated to indicate this). A fully functional demo is available as well. A 1.1 update and a 'Pro' version are already scheduled to deliver more advanced features.
PointCast's president and CEO, Chris Hassett, will be stepping down from the ranks of chief executive as the company begins recruiting a replacement to take over the day-to-day operations. Hassett will still retain his chairman title. The management shuffling is expected to be a precursor to a possible IPO.
Apple's 'Got it Yet?' Super Summer Sweepstakes offers college students the chance to win a wide variety of prizes including: a $1,000 Shopping Spree, a trip to a snowboard camp, a PowerBook 1400, and an eMate 300. The contest runs through October 10th.
An article in yesterday's Los Angeles Times hinted that Microsoft would be discontinuing its troubled Internet online service, MSN. That, however, apparently isn't the case, at least according to a NEWS.COM article featuring comments from Jeff Sanderson, general manager of marketing for MSN.
Toshiba unveiled the Libretto 50CT today, a $1,999 full-function notebook that weighs less than two pounds and runs Windows 95.
Intel introduced the Pentium 233-MHz MMX processor yesterday, the fastest chip in the company's standard Pentium line. Priced $594 at in quantities of 1,000, the chip is set to be available immediately from a wide range of vendors.
Monday, June 2nd
Jobs Gets Back Apple Stock
After selling off all but one single share of his Apple stock in 1986 when he was ousted as CEO, Steve Jobs now officially owns 1.5 million shares, giving him ownership of 1.12 percent of the company, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Jobs, who received the shares as part of the NeXT acquisition, can now publicly trade the stock if he so desires. NEWS.COM has more. Meanwhile, a seemingly confused Reuters report states that Jobs has already filed to sell his stake.
After the announcement from Apple that they will be supporting the 9500 and 9600 PowerMac lines with the Rhapsody DR1 release, Buz Zoller sent a report to remind us that, theoretically, this should mean that PowerComputing's PowerTower Pro will be supported as well. If anyone can confirm this story either way, we would greatly appreciate it.
"Just a quick note on the added support for the 9500/9600 for the DR1 of Rhapsody. The Power Computing PowerTower Pro line uses the same logic board as the 9500/9600 (Tsunami) and will therefore also run the DR1 of Rhapsody. So developers have another option outside of Apple."
Despite being based on the same logic board, the supplied video card in PowerComputing's Tsunami-based machine might end up being the item that hinders compatibility, as noted by Joseph Harpe:
"Notice that the Apple announcement specifically states it will work on 9500/9600s which use "an Apple-supplied display video card and driver." PCC's machines ship with the IMS TT M8. I'd imagine it might be possible to use an ATI Xclaim card instead, but I wouldn't even bet on that necessarily. The video seems to be a sticking point in all the news I've seen."
In a Mac Observer feature article, "Newton Vs. PowerBook", contributing editor, Brett Gross, takes a look at which one of the mobile machines will fit your needs the best. The decision will still be up to you, but knowing what areas each machine excels in will go a long ways toward helping the process.
Comments Ric Ford received on his MacInTouch site over the weekend revealed that Connectix' Virtual PC is scheduled to ship within the next two to three weeks. A note sent to us from Rob McCall reiterates this. Additionally, the product's homepage states to "stay tuned for more details coming soon".
"I just thought I'd let you know I talked with MacConnection today and asked them if they have any information about Virtual PC. They said they now showed it in their computers as available on June 15th for a price of $148.95. They did not show it bundled with any other software at this time. They expect to be open to taking orders in about 7 days or so."
CNN Interactive and software giant, Oracle, are expected to announce a new interactive news venture next week, according to a Reuters story. A joint Spring Comdex keynote speech from Ted Turner and Larry Ellison is expected to showcase the official announcement this Wednesday.
In a Red Herring article, "Keeping The Doctor Away", Luc Hatlestad recreates the scenario that resulted in Apple purchasing NeXT. According to Hatlestad's sources, an emergency Apple board meeting was scheduled and both Jean Louis-Gassee and Steve Jobs were given the opportunity to show off their respective systems. Needless to say, we all know who won.
"Designed specifically to help young children excel in school and inspire learning at home", Claris' ClarisWorks for Kids is expected to be released this summer. A pre-release beta version is now available for downloading.
An update (1.0.1) to Chris Hawk's freeware Web server, Quid Pro Quo, fixes several problems with server side includes. If you're interested in hearing more about the product, be sure to check out a Mac Observer review from Oliver Dueck.