[4:25 PM] VideoScript Receives Several New Features
The makers of VideoScript have released another update to the product. VideoScript is a scripting language that is designed to make video editing easier and faster. The new release, despite its incremental version number of 1.8 to 1.8.1, includes several new features. According to VideoScript:
VideoScript 1.8.1 is now available from the VideoScript web site. Major New Features in this release include:
Alpha channel support: You can add edit and save information in alpha channels of frames and images.
Movie Exporting (QuickTime and AVI): With complete program control over compression operations, a single VideoScript program can batch compress an entire directory of movie files.
Performance Enhancements: Faster frame statistics. Many functions are now accelerated for G4!
Usability Enhancements: Better editor, improved reporting of syntax errors.
Stability Enhancements: Frame grabbing is now compatible with more capture hardware.
VideoScript is available in two versions, Professional which is priced at US$295 and Lite, which is a free download. You can find more information on the procut at the company's web site.
[3:45 PM] Apple Stock Watch: Apple Closes Lower Again
In another negative day of trading, Apple had yet another dip as tech traders continued to show concern over IBM and its personal computer business. While computer stocks closed mixed, Apple started off in the red and never recovered. Apple closed at 65 9/16, a loss of 13/16 or 1.22%. Volume was moderate for the first time in two weeks with 3,417,900 shares trading hands.
On the Mac software side, Adobe and Symantec shared in Apple's misery as both closed lower. Macromedia closed higher. Apple's PowerPC partners closed mixed as Motorola closed higher and IBM closed lower.
Apple's PC competitors were also mixed as Dell, Microsoft, Intel, and Gateway 2000 all closed higher. Compaq and Hewlett-Packard joined Apple in the losers column.
Despite the losses in the computer sector, both the Dow and the Nasdaq closed in positive territory. The Dow closed at 10649.76, a gain of 112.71, and the Nasdaq closed at 2886.57, a gain of 25.87.
For full quotes on all the companies mentioned in this article, we have assembled this set of quotes at Yahoo! for your reference. We also have these same quotes reported live (20 minute delay) on our home page [Editor's Note: As of this writing, the home page stock quotes are down for maintenance.] For other stories regarding Apple's stock activity, visit our Apple Stock Watch Special Report.
[3:15 PM] Programmable X-Keys For USB Coming To The Mac
P.I. Engineering has announced they are bringing their USB powered X-Keys product to the Mac. X-Keys is a stand alone keypad that is full programmable for use with macros, keyboard shortcuts, or any other commonly used key combinations. According to P.I. Engineering:
P.I. Engineering, inventor of the Y-mouse line of adapters and manufacturer of a full line of computer interface products, is proud to announce USB X-Keys for Macintosh. This evolution of the company's premiere line of programmable keyboard products represents not only a cosmetic change, but also a dramatic engineering innovation.
USB X-Keys for Macintosh is a fully programmable keypad that comes in two distinctive flavors, a 20 key Desktop model and 58 key Pro model. Priced at $99 and $129 respectively. Both models come packaged in special Macintosh coordinating plastics and include MacOS USB drivers.
USB X-Keys provides a bank of fully programmable keys that users can assign to any key or combination. This provides a degree of speed and macro programmability that is seen only with third party applications. Of course, since USB X-Keys looks to the OS just like a keyboard, most macro programs and system extensions can take advantage of the extra keys that the user configures.
Since it's USB, USB X-Keys coexists with other USB devices. Conformity to the USB specification assures a seamless user experience. Plug it in and it works. Once it's programmed, X-Keys looks like a USB keyboard and doesn't even require the driver to work properly. A programmed USB X-Keys unit can be moved from machine to machine and function as expected.
Having extra programmable keys can be a boon to any user. Keys can be configured to provide frequently used words or key combinations for general use, or tuned for specific applications. Photoshop and Illustrator users, for instance, can configure complex key combinations onto a single key thus liberating their mouse hand and speeding productivity. Users of the newer iMac keyboards will find that just having configurable keys that can be used for editing or function keys recaptures much of the advantage of larger, extended keyboards while adding a host of new, programmable options.
USB X-Keys comes in a 20-key which is priced at US$99.95, and 58-key version which is priced at US$149.95. You can find more information on X-Keys at the comapny's web site.
[12:40 PM] Mac OS 9 NOT shipping from Apple Store... yet
Contrary to our report that the Apple Store was to begin shipping OS 9 this week, it appears as though shipments will not happen until October 23rd. Vanessa Rios at Apple's PR department told The Mac Observer: "Everything is still on track for an October 23rd release date, both from the Apple Store and dealers around the country." The Apple Store is still reporting ship dates prior to October 23rd, but we have been assured by Apple that this is not the case.
Check back here for more information as the release date approaches.
[12:30 PM] URL Manager Update Aimed At New Mac/Internet Users
Alco Blom has updated URL Manager Pro to version 2.6. URL manager does just what its name implies, it helps you manage your bookmarks from a central location. New in this version is support for the iCab web browser and OS 9. According to Alco Blom:
Undoubtedly the most important improvement in version 2.6 has been has been a complete overhaul of the URL Manager Pro documentation. The new reference material, which is available online in Adobe Acrobat format, includes a tutorial, a brief introduction to URLs, and a complete reference section.
"The documentation was completely rewritten from scratch," says Alco Blom, designer and developer of the program. "Our target audience was twofold: we wanted to make the program as easy as possible to use for users new to the Apple and to the Internet, the iMac public. With them in mind, we took special care with the tutorial. And to help our power users get the absolute maximum from the program, we compiled an exhaustive reference to all of URL Manager Pro's countless options."
URL Manager Pro, the professional bookmark manager for the Macintosh for use with Netscape Navigator/Communicator, Microsoft Internet Explorer and iCab, gives users a more convenient way to manage bookmarks, E-Mail addresses and Newsgroups.
URL Manager Pro 2.6 is Mac OS 8.6 and Mac OS 9 savvy. It features support for the Keychain of Mac OS 9 and fully supports the new iCab Web Browser. URL Manager Pro can now track the History for multiple browsers concurrently. URL Manager Pro is available in English, Japanese, German, French, Italian, Swedish and Spanish.
URL Manager Pro is available as shareware for US$30. You can find more information at the URL Manager Pro web site.
Chaotic Software has released a new MP3 organization tool, MP3 Rage. With the growing popularity of the MP3 format, the number of MP3 players and encoders have also been growing at an alarming rate. MP3 Rage serves as a companion program to help simplify the organization and management of large MP3 collections. According to Chaotic Software:
MP3 Rage provides a full-featured and reliable MP3 tool set for the avid MP3 user. Tools included:
Supports all known versions of ID3 tags (including v1.0, v1.1, v2.2.0, and v2.3.0)
QuickEdit - allowing you to individually edit MP3 tag and file information
Cataloger - easily create a catalog of your MP3 files, and information about them, for use in a database application or MS Excel.
Finder - quickly locate MP3 files by genre, title, or other criteria in a folder or disk for editing or organizing.
Organizer - organize your MP3 files by artist, genre, or any criteria you choose!
Renamer - allows you to painlessly rename your MP3 files on disk using tag information.
Tag Changer - rapidly change the tag information of hundreds of files MP3 Rage is the perfect companion to any MP3 player, including SoundJam, Macast, and more!
MP3 Rage is priced at US$20 for a single-user license. Site licenses are priced at US$200 and a multi-site license is priced at US$500 multi-site license You can find more information at the Chaotic Software web site.
[12:30 PM] Window Control Utility Updated WIth Major New Features
Hyo Ahn has released OmegaWindow+ 1.2. OmegaWindow+ allows easy management and control over window view and placement on the desktop, without ever needing to use the mouse. As keystroke commands become more prominent and commonly used in today's applications, having control over the desktop's behavior from the keyboard becomes a major concern. According to Hyo Ahn:
OmegaWindow+ (OW+) is a mouse-free window manager. It allows you to resize, move, zoom, collapse, close, toggle, restack, swap windows without ever touching your mouse. It relies on user-defined hot keys to provide a consistent way of manipulating a window from any applications and Finder.
Version 1.1 includes the following bug fixes and features:
The v1.1 have a quitting problem of a background application. The problem shows up when both Netscape (could be anything) and a MS software are being used. It is now fixed (thanks to Rob Field-Marsham for testing).
The v1.1 is not able to share time with background applications when the front application needs an update while the OW+ assistant dialog is up. This problem is fixed in the version 1.2.
The v1.1 has a bug which gives the system crash when canceling a "rename window title" in the assistant dialog (thanks to Joris H. for finding it). It is fixed now.
Rewrite keyDown event patching routine.
It supports pop-up windows at Finder. You can use WindowOrder commands (e.g., ToggleWindow or SwapWindow) to pop-up windows (thanks to Rich O'Brien for testing). The v1.2 have two options for CloseAllButFront command if you have pop-up windows. (a) If the caps-lock key is up, CloseAllButFront command closes only regular windows but leaves pop-up windows in the tab mode (i.e., they are sitting in the bottom of screen), (b) if the caps-lock key is down, CloseAllButFront will close even pop-up windows and leave only the front-most window.
You can have an option (caps-lock key is down or up) to apply WindowShade command to either the front-most window or all open windows.
OmegaWindows+ is availabe as shareware for US$25, with a discounted price for students which is US$15. You can find more information at OmegaWindows+ web site.
[11:30 AM] Jesse Berst Poll To Help Decide If He Switches To iMac
As posted yesterday evening in our MacOS News Around the Web section, Jesse Berst has stunned us with a story and a poll that asks whether he should switch the entire Anchor Desk team to iMacs. That's right, the famed Windows/Microsoft user is contemplating having his office staff run their operation on the Mac. According to Mr. Berst:
I'm heavily scheduled; I need to be organized and efficient. Computer down time is not acceptable. I use top-of-the-line IBM equipment and the latest versions of Windows 98 and Internet Explorer. Even so, I have at least one Windows crash a day -- and a major incident every two weeks. And I'm not alone. Last week Wall Street Journal columnist Walter Mossberg excerpted from a diary he kept detailing a week's worth of Windows irritants. He recorded 23 incidents in a seven-day period in which six different PCs he used either crashed, froze or exhibited some other puzzling or unexpected behavior.
Walter, I feel your pain.
The Mac Observer Spin: Included in the story is a poll asking his readers to decide for him, and so far the Mac is winning hands down. While this is the second poll to which we have linked in the last three days, we hate most Net polls at The Mac Observer. They are usually, though not always, gratuitous attempts to garner extra page views by preying on people's desire to have their voice heard. The problem is that without a scientific survey methodology applied to these polls, they are worthless as a means of gauging actual public opinion.
In this case, if Mr. Berst is being genuine in his offer of allowing the poll decide for him, the poll could change the course of one of the most influential technology writers on the planet. Mr. Berst's coverage may be sensational in nature most of the time, but he garners lots of eyeballs. With a public switch to iMac for AnchorDesk, this could actually offer more legitimacy for Apple in a largely anti-Mac constituency. This, in turn, could help Apple sell a few more boxes.
Let's play Devil's Advocate to our own arguments. This could be another cheap stunt by Anchor Desk to raise a few hackles in the ongoing Platform Wars and garner a few more hits in the process. If so, then it is a sad and pathetic event. However, we got the feeling that Mr. Berst may be genuine in this story and we would love to see him switch to the Mac, and not from an "I told you so" stand point. We just want for Mr. Berst to be happier when he works with his computer, honest! :-) Go Vote!
[8:30 AM] Disk Charmer Updated With Numerous Changes
Fabrizio Oddone has updated the disk management utility, Disk Charmer, to version 3.1.5. Managing non-Mac OS native disks can sometimes be problematic, and the built in management utilities in the Mac OS are somewhat limited in scope and power. Disk Charmer allows greater flexibility and control over disk volumes. Version 3.1.5 adds support for OS 8.5's Navigation Services. According to Fabrizio Oddone:
Disk Charmer is a neat utility that lets you conveniently erase and copy disks, and handle disk images in Disk Copy 4.x and DiskDup+ format. If you have Mac OS 8.1, you can now use the Mac OS Extended format (a.k.a. HFS Plus) and even set the minimum allocation block size. Disk Charmer lets you create larger disks: you gain 9K on 800K disks, 19K on HD disks, 1.5MB on Zips, 2.1M on MO230 disks.
Disk Charmer is available as shareware for US$10. You can find more information at the Disk Charmer web site.
[8:30 AM] Video Software, BTV, Updated With Performance Enhancements
Ben Bird has released version 3.2.2 of the video editing utility, BTV. BTV allows users to view video from a number of different sources. The new version includes bug fixes and performance enhancements. According to Mr. Bird:
BTV is the essential software for anyone with video input hardware. It allows you to easily view video from any video digitizing source, either full screen or in a window. It has been successfully tested with a number of video sources including various video input cards, TV cards, built-in video hardware, USB and FireWire video sources.
Features of BTV are as follows:
Full-screen video with no menu bar
Video in a window which can be dragged around the screen or resized
Automatic monitor resolution switching to the resolution of your choice (usually 640x480 or 800x600) and back to the original resolution on quit
Multiple monitor support - play full screen video on one monitor while you work on another
AppleScript support - main commands are scriptable
Can capture a PICT file, either straight to the desktop with an automatic file name or through the normal save dialog box
Can record a movie to disk using custom video and sound settings
Easy access buttons to control record, PICT capture and muting
Can black out other monitors on a multi-monitor system
Can disable screensaver and powersaver
Can adjust size of picture with arrow keys and sound volume with + and - keys
Can hide the mouse (this can be done automatically on startup)
Can spin down hard disks for less noise (this can be done automatically on startup)
Saves all video and sound settings
BTV 3.2.2 has a number of improvements over version 3.2.1:
Improved movie capture performance
Easy access buttons in title bar of the BTV window to control movie recording, PICT capture and sound muting
AppleScript enhancements: video height and width control added
Misc minor bug fixes
BTV is available as shareware for US$15. You can find more information at the BTV web site.