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Today's News On One Page

October 26th, 1999


[5:45 PM] Observer Call: Apple's PR Firm Seeking "Non-Typical" iBook User, Quick!

Apple's external PR agency, Edelman Wordlwide, sent us a note saying they are looking for a non-typical iBook user for Business Week to use in an article. Unfortunately, in our quest to bring you the latest and greatest Mac news, we are precluded from meeting outisde people (just kidding). We are therefore turning this over to the best source we have found for help like this, you. According to Edelman Worldwide:

A Business Week reporter recently asked me to help him find an iBook user "who cuts away from the type (demographically) we associate with Apple," i.e., a college student or graphics artist. He has a finance man in mind, someone who wears a conservative suit to work, but carries a colorful iBook. This is for inclusion in a sidebar article in the upcoming computer buying guide issue.

So do you know the right person that meets this description? If so, email us at observers@macobserver.com, or e-mail Robert Carpio of Edleman Worldwide directly.

The Mac Observer Spin: From the description, it would seem that this article will be good publicity for Apple. You can't buy the kind of publicity that a major article in a mainstream print magazine like Business Week can provide. What's good for Apple is great for the Mac market (most of the time at least), so rack your brains for the perfect iBook user!

Apple - Edelman Worldwide


[4:45 PM] Hit The Mac Observer's New Forums!

As we announced yesterday, The Mac Observer has a new Forum section for Observers to talk about all manner of things. People have already started using them, but we want to invite everyone to do so! Yesterday we had hundreds of people looking at the Forums, though not everyone actually commented in them. So don't just be a lurker, talk back!

Current discussions include multi-button mice, adventure games, and a discussion on adventure games.

The Mac Observer Forums


[4:30 PM] Steve's Other Job Racks Up Impressive Results, Pixar Posts Blowout Quarter

Steve Jobs's other CEO position at Pixar has resulted in a stellar increase in that company's profits that surpasses even that of Apple. The company blew by analysts estimates for the quarter by over 100%, a rare occurrence indeed, and the company's stock shot up as a result. Pixar's revenues rose over 3000% from US$2.5 million to US$79.2 million from the same quarter last year. Profits rose 3625% from US$867,000 to US$32.3 million during the same to periods. Wall Street was ecstatic, raising the price of Pixar's stock to 40 1/2, a gain of 2 5/8 or 6.93%. The stock traded as high as 47 5/16 during today's trading. Analysts had pegged Pixar to post a US$.29 per share profit. The actual number came in at US$.63 per share.

The company cited unexpectedly good sales of A Bugs Life in the Video Cassette market. According to Pixar:

Pixar Animation Studios announced financial results for the third quarter of 1999 and for the nine months ended Oct. 2, 1999.

Revenues for the third quarter of 1999 were $79.2 million, compared with $2.5 million in the third quarter of 1998. Net income for the third quarter of 1999 was $32.3 million, compared with $867,000 for the third quarter of 1998. Diluted earnings per share for the third quarter of 1999 were $0.63, compared with $0.02 for the third quarter of 1998.

Revenues for the nine months ended Oct. 2, 1999 were $96.2 million, compared with $11.2 million for the nine months ended Sept. 26, 1998. Net income for the nine months ended Oct. 2, 1999 was $39.6 million, compared with $6.7 million for the nine months ended Sept. 26, 1998. Diluted earnings per share for the nine months ended Oct. 2, 1999 were $0.77, compared with $0.13 for the nine months ended Sept. 26, 1998.

For the 1999 fiscal year, Pixar expects to report diluted earnings per share of at least $0.85. The foregoing statement regarding Pixar's forecast for the 1999 fiscal year is forward-looking information, and actual results may differ materially. Among the factors that could cause actual 1999 results to differ are the following: (1) the timing of release of A Bug's Life home video in foreign markets, (2) the timing of Pixar's cash receipt of revenues from foreign home video sales of A Bug's Life and remaining domestic home video sales, (3) the timing of A Bug's Life merchandise sales and associated cash receipts and (4) the timing of distribution costs incurred for A Bug's Life.

Consensus estimated for the year had been pegged at US$.12 per share, well shy of the US$.85 that Pixar now expects to turn in. You can read more specifics on Pixar's financial performance in their full press release.

The Mac Observer Spin: It's good to see that Mr. Jobs's responsibilities appear to not be having any adverse affects on his second love of Pixar. If that were the case, it would be anyone's guess as to which job Mr. Jobs would choose.

In any event, a big Mac Observer congratulations to Pixar!

Micromat


[4:00 PM] Apple Stock Watch: DJIA Throws Out The Old, Brings In The New, Apple Up 9/16
by Wes George

Today, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 4 long time components and replaced them with Microsoft (MSFT), Intel (INTC), SBC Communications (SBC) and Home Depot (HD). This was the first time in the history of the Dow that any of the components have been drawn from the Nasdaq. The Dow components dropped were: Chevron (CHV), Goodyear Tire and Rubber (GT), Sears (S) and Union Carbide (UK).

The affected stocks moved up in morning trading after the announcement, but profit taking reclaimed most of those gains. The changes to the DJIA do not go into effect until Monday in order to give large portfolio managers time to adjust their holdings.

The Dow declined 47.80 or 0.46% to close at 10302.13. The Nasdaq was down 4.48 to close at 2811.47. The S&P 500 sagged 11.72 or 0.91% to close at 1281.88. The volume was strong. the 30-year bond fell 11/32 to yield 6.378%

Apple was rose 9/16 today to close at 75 1/16 on less than average volume.

In Apple related stocks today, Adobe and Macromedia both closed down while Symantec rose on the news that it will provide software services over the Internet. Apple's Power PC partners ended mixed with IBM up 1 5/8, while Motorola was down. Apple's rivals Gateway, Dell and Compaq all ended the day higher. Pixar (PIXR) was up today on the news that they beat earnings estimates in a big way. Intel closed slightly higher, while Microsoft closed slightly lower.

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 many of these same quotes reported live (20 minute delay) on our home page. For other stories regarding Apple's stock activity, visit our Apple Stock Watch Special Report.

Apple


[3:45 PM] MicroMat Updates TechTool Pro With Mac OS 9 Compatibility, Other New Features

MicroMat has released a new version of TechTool Pro, bringing the repair and analyzing utility to version 2.5.2. The new version packs several improvement, despite the incremental version number increase, including compatibility with Mac OS 9 and PowerMac G4s. According to MicroMat:

MicroMat Inc., developer and publisher of innovative Macintosh troubleshooting utilities, today announced TechTool® Pro version 2.5.2, a major update of their acclaimed troubleshooting program.

TechTool Pro allows users to test their computers like a professional, without the need for years of experience or a computer degree. The user can repair many Macintosh problems, verify system configurations, optimize performance of their media, check the integrity of crucial System software and enablers, make sure that the machine is running its fastest, and reveal the hidden culprits that cause the computer to slow, freeze or crash.

MicroMat's TechTool Pro chief architect, Jeff Baudin, had this to say about his company's new version: "Version 2.5.2 is our best version yet. We've taken drive repair to a whole new level. Besides the cool new features, we've added a battery of new repair routines that should make TechTool Pro the first choice when tackling a drive or other computer related problem."

* New "Rebuild Volume" Feature TechTool Pro now allows the user to manually rebuild the directory of their drives/volumes. This is utilized by selecting the new REBUILD VOLUME option under the Control menu of the simple interface or by choosing that option at the Volume Structures panel of the Expert interface.

Utilizing the Rebuild Volume feature is a helpful maintenance routine for several reasons:

  • It can detect and correct small problems in the drive directory before they become large problems.
  • Rebuilding the directory will create a smaller, optimized directory that can increase access speed on the drive and can shorten boot time for the computer.

TechTool Pro 2 has always rebuilt new directories (instead of patching the old one). The program also has always optimized these new directories. However, this was only done when a problem was detected and the user proceeded with the repair. This new feature allows the user to execute a rebuild manually. In previous versions, the ability to manually rebuild the directory was hidden. This was a technical support feature used by our support staff.

When used in conjunction with the new CheckDrive feature, the Rebuild Volume feature should become a valuable tool in your maintenance arsenal.

New "CheckDrive" Feature The new CheckDrive feature allows the user to preview a volume rebuild or drive repair prior to committing those changes to disk. After the volume structure has been rebuilt or repaired, TechTool Pro will mount a clone of that volume onto the desktop.

The user can then open this "CheckDrive" to inspect the contents and to verify that no problems will occur during repair. Files, folders and applications can be opened on the CheckDrive for inspection. Once the user is satisfied with the results, they can return to TechTool Pro and make the repair permanent which will then unlock the original volume and remove the CheckDrive.

To make comparing the original volume to the CheckDrive volume easier, MicroMat has added the new Technical Comparison feature (see below).

New "Technical Comparison" Feature A new feature that runs in tandem with the new CheckDrive feature is the Technical Comparison feature. As explained previously, the new CheckDrive feature will create a clone volume of what the repaired volume will look like after repairs have been executed. The technical comparison option allows the user to view technical data about the original volume and the CheckDrive volume.

For instance, if the file or folder count on the CheckDrive was different from the original drive, the user may not notice this discrepancy with a cursory inspection of the CheckDrive. By gleaning over the data in the technical comparison; the user can quickly ascertain if there is a potential problem before proceeding with the repair. To help further clarify these changes to the user, the results in the CheckDrive column is color-coded. Black text means that there is no change, green text indicates a favorable change and red text indicates an unusual or suspect change.

Compatibility

TechTool Pro is now fully compatible with OS 9.0. It is also "Pure HFS+" ready for when Apple decides to implement the new wrapper-less volume structure.

New Macintosh Model Compatibility

TechTool Pro has been modified and tested to work with the G4 computers, iBook as well as the new line of iMacs introduced in October 1999.

System Requirements

TechTool Pro requires a Macintosh II or above, System software version 7.0 or better, a CD or DVD drive, and a minimum of 5 megabytes of RAM. It is PowerPC native and works with the latest Macintosh models including clones.

Registered owners of version 2 can download the version 2.5.2 updater at no charge by visiting http://www.micromat.com. Those who wish to purchase a new, bootable CD with the latest version can order it for $25 plus tax, shipping and handling directly from MicroMat at 800-829-6227 or 707-566-3831.

An optional TechTool Pro Quarterly disk update service is available for $99 per year plus tax and can also be ordered directly from MicroMat at the number above. Additional information available at http://www.micromat.com/ttpq.html

The update is free to registered owners of version 2.x. A new bootable CD with the new version can be purchased for US$25 by registered owners of 2.x as well. The full version is priced at US$84.95 at Outpost.com. You can find more information on TechTool Pro at the company's web site.

Micromat


[3:30 PM] VersionMaster Latest Updates: Trade Assist, WeatherTracker, And NetMinder Ethernet

A new version TradeAssist has been released bringing it to version 1.5, WeatherTracker storms along to version 3.0.3, and NetMinder Ethernet has been updated to version 4.2. These are the most recent updates listed at The Mac Observer's VersionMaster. You can find all the most recent Mac software updates with this service.

The Mac Observer's VersionMaster


[3:15 PM] MacMall's 3rd Quarter Results Impacted By Apple Product Shortages

MacMall's parent company, Creative Computers, has announced its 3rd Quarter results. The company reported an increase in total sales, though the company's Apple sales declined sharply due to product shortages. Apple had US$700 million in backorders at the end of the last quarter (Apple 4th fiscal quarter), which ended September 30th. These shortages were due to a confluence of events including G4 production problems at Motorola and the Taiwan earthquake tragedy. According to Creative Computers:

Creative Computers: 3rd Quarter Highlights:

  • Basic EPS $(.24)
  • EPS $(.07) excluding investment in eCOST.com.
  • Internet sales grow to $32 million - up 237% from the prior year.
  • eCOST.com sales for the quarter increase to $8 million and exit the quarter with monthly sales at $4 million.
  • Out-bound business-to-business sales for the quarter grow 87% over last year.
  • Apple sales decline 12.3% due to product availability.

Creative Computers, Inc. ("Creative") (Nasdaq:MALL) announced a consolidated third quarter loss of $.24 per share on sales of $172 million. This compares with earnings of $.11 per share for the third quarter last year on sales of $170 million. Excluding Creative's investment in eCOST.com (http://www.ecost.com), Creative lost $.07 per share for the quarter. This year's Q3 sales and results were adversely impacted by Apple product availability difficulties. Last year's Q3 sales and results benefited from new product introductions by Apple. Consolidated Internet revenues for the quarter surpassed $32 million, a 237% increase from last year. Outbound business-to-business sales also experienced strong Q3 growth, increasing 87% from last year. Creative completed the successful distribution of its 80% ownership in uBid (Nasdaq:UBID) on June 7, 1999 by distributing approximately .7 shares of uBid for every share of Creative Computers. uBid is no longer a subsidiary of Creative and will not be reported in Creative's results going forward. Accordingly, Creative's share of uBid's losses through the June 7, 1999 spin-off date of $.60 per share are reported as discontinued operations in Creative's year-to-date results.

The Mac Observer Spin: This is indicative of many Mac retailers around the country, if not the world. Apple's product shortages impacted retailers just as much as it did individual customers. The flip side is that as Apple continues to catch up on the back orders, the 4th quarter (Apple's fiscal 1st quarter), should be a blowout quarter for all concerned.

Creative Computers has been reporting increasingly good results with their Mac sales for the last several quarters. This had been in sharp contrast to years before the iMac and the return of Steve Jobs. Hopefully we will see a big comeback during the current quarter.

Aladdin Systems


[2:15 PM] Moving At The Speed Of The Internet: Mactell's FireWire Line To Be Picked Up

Not sure if we are talking about rumors or business in our title, but word has reached us that Mactell's FirePower line of FireWire products has been picked up by a new company. We have no details on whether the FirePower name will be retained, but since it is a good one, one can hope. We also do not have a company name or other details that we can confirm.

Also still up in the air is EvilEye, Mactell's Voodoo3 card that was expected to be released in October or November.

When we can confirm this company that has picked up the FirePower line, we will publish more information.

The Mac Observer Spin: It's good to see this product line being picked up. FireWire devices are important to Apple's future in a number of ways. Apple's leadership in technology is at least partially tied up in FireWire as they are the patent holders on the technology. In addition, the success of the PowerMac, and now the iMac DV line, can be greatly enhanced by having a large number of FireWire devices on the market as Apple has moved away from SCSI. Lastly, since Apple does make money on licensing FireWire, the more devices there are and the more widespread the technology is, the more money Apple makes.

Good luck to the mystery company!

Mactell


[9:30 AM] Aladdin Out Of The Closet, Goes Public

Aladdin Holdings, the parent company of Aladdin Systems, makers of the must-have line of Stuffit brand utilities, is now a publicly traded company. According to Aladdin Holdings:

Aladdin Systems, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Aladdin Holdings, Inc., is a leading provider of compression and access software for Macintosh and PC computers.

The change in Aladdin's material trading status came about as a result of a restructuring, which included a significant capital infusion for research, development and marketing. The Company made no management changes, and there will be no consolidation of workforce as a result of the restructuring.

"We're very excited that the public will now have an opportunity to participate in our growth," said Jonathan Kahn, CEO of Aladdin Systems, Inc. "We plan to continue developing innovative products, leveraging our position as a market leader, and to provide the maximum return for our shareholders."

Aladdin Systems, Inc. provides computer users with software that helps them Transmit, Access, and Organize their information. Aladdin's flagship product, StuffIt compression software, is a worldwide standard for file compression. With more and more files being transmitted over the Internet, a compression standard is now a critical part of everyday computing. StuffIt increases bandwidth by an average of 20% with no added hardware cost. StuffIt was recently released on the Windows platform, having been available for Macintosh computers for many years.

You can find more information at the Aladdin Systems web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: Congratulations to Aladdin! The Mac built Aladdin into the company that it is today, and its great to see such a company be able to go public! Once again, this is far cry from the market realities if 2 - 4 years ago when a small company heavily vested in the Mac market would have had a difficult time even talking to investors, let alone going public.

This certainly helps dull the pain from Mactell's closure yesterday...

Aladdin Systems


[9:30 AM] Powerlogix's Cache Profiler Updated With Mac OS 9 Compatibility, G3/G4, More

PowerLogix has updated their Cache Profiler software to version 1.1. The new version allows the backside cache to be measured and configured on all G3 and G4 machines. The new version is also OS 9 compatible. According to PowerLogix:

G3/G4 Cache Profiler version 1.1 will:

  • accurately report clock speed on G4 as well as all G3 processors (including those with 9:1 or 10:1 bus ratio)
  • accurately report cache speed settings on all G4 as well as all G3 processors (including those with 9:1 or 10:1 bus ratio)
  • allows easy configuration of backside cache (up to 1Mb for G3, up to 2Mb for G4)
  • offers full legacy compatibility settings, bringing advances from the latest Apple machines to the older Macs
  • dynamic power management, and even support for configuring the backside cache when using Linux.

G3/G4 Cache Profiler offers an intuitive interface and the most complete feature set of any competing product, including software compatibility for Adaptec SCSI cards, Media 100, and other cards that are usually finicky when used with G3 or G4 processors.

PowerLogix Cache Profiler is free. You can find more information at the PowerLogix web site.

PowerLogix


[9:30 AM] Rearden Technology Update WebCam Software

Our friends at Rearden Technology have updated both SiteCam and SiteZAP to version 4.1. SiteCam and SiteZAP are web server/camera applications allowing control over camera settings on a site, as well as full serving capabilities. According to Rearden Technology:

SiteCam 4.1 and SiteZAP 4.1 updates are now available. Now with logging for convenient traffic monitoring, the 4.1 updates also contain bug fixes and have increased performance.

SiteCam is full-featured Webcam software for the Mac OS, incorporating FTP, streaming video, image archiving, time-lapse generation, motion detection and a full Web server. SiteCam's Web server is powerful enough to serve an entire site -- in fact, the Rearden Technology home page is served by SiteCam 4.1!

SiteZAP uses all of the powerful features of SiteCam, plus adds Zoom, Angle, and Pan capabilities, allowing users to control the Web camera remotely, even across the Internet. A complete package, SiteZAP includes easy to use software plus a high-end pan, tilt and zoom camera.

SiteCam is available for US$149. Registered users of version 4.0 are eligible for a free upgrade, while registered users of versions 2.x or 3.x can upgrade for US$49. SiteZAP is available for US$1995, which includes a camera and cables. Registered users of SiteZAP, regardless of version, are eligible for a free upgrade. You can find more information on SiteCam and SiteZAP at the Rearden Technology web site.

Rearden Technology


[9:30 AM] Networking Security Utilities From Open Door Announced

Open Door Networks has released two products specifically designed with OS 9s internet features in mind. ShareWay IP 3.0, and DoorStop Personal Edition both enhance the already impressive internet features in Apple's latest OS release. According to Open Door:

Open Door Networks Inc., the developer of Mac OS 9's Internet file sharing feature, today announced major additions to its line of Macintosh Internet products, enhancing the security of Mac OS 9's Internet features, and of Internet-connected Macs in general. ShareWay IP 3.0, a major upgrade to Internet file sharing, is shipping immediately, and DoorStop Personal Edition, an end-user version of Open Door's powerful server firewall software, is available in a public beta release.

Open Door's product announcements were made in concert with Mac OS 9's retail availability, enabling Mac OS 9 users to enhance their system's security from day one. "DoorStop Personal Edition, in combination with ShareWay IP and Mac OS 9, represent a superb mix of Internet power, Macintosh ease of use and absolutely essential security," said Gavin Eadie, Director of Strategic Technologies at the University of Michigan. "We're really excited about what Open Door and Apple have been doing in these critical areas." Michigan's network includes over 6000 Macs.

PRODUCT FEATURES

ShareWay IP 3.0, available immediately off Open Door's Web site at http://www.opendoor.com/shareway/, is a major upgrade to the technology chosen by Apple to implement Mac OS 9's Internet file sharing. ShareWay IP 3.0 requires Mac OS 7.5.5 or later, and works with 68K as well as PowerPC Macs. New features include:

  • Real-time connection logging (new for Mac OS 9 users)
  • Ability to allow or deny IP access for guests, and for specific user names
  • Display of IP-connected users' names and IP addresses
  • Ability to change the TCP/IP port number used
  • Full Mac OS 9 support
  • Online help.

DoorStop Personal Edition, available as a public beta release, is an easy-to-use version of Open Door's DoorStop firewall software. DoorStop was originally developed for use on servers such as AppleShare IP and Open Door's ShareWay IP Professional. DoorStop Personal Edition is a greatly simplified version of the server product, making protecting Mac OS TCP/IP services as simple as clicking on service icons. DoorStop Personal Edition requires a PowerPC Mac and Mac OS 8.1 or later. Its features include:

  • Built-in support for Internet file sharing (through Mac OS 9's file sharing and ShareWay IP)
  • Built-in support for Mac OS 9's Program Linking over TCP/IP
  • An advanced mode for protecting any TCP/IP service
  • Logging of allowed and/or denied TCP/IP connections.

ShareWay IP 3.0 is available in two formats. The Personal edition is US$39, while the Standard edition sells for US$249. Special pricing is available for upgrade and educational users. DoorStop Personal Edition is scheduled to ship in November, and advanced orders are being taken for US$59. You can find more information on ShareWay IP and DoorStop at the Open Door Networks web site.

Open Door Networks


[9:30 AM] Nu Sans Font Family Updated

Marty Pfeiffer of Scooter Graphics has updated the Nu Sans font family to version 9.3. The Nu Sans fonts bring sharper printing features to the Nu Sans font family. According to Scooter Graphics:

Version 9.3 is now available in PostScript and TrueType flavors. This version adds Mac OS 9.0 computability. The TrueType Nu Sans uses hand-edited TrueType instructions to increase readability at *all* point sizes. A demo version of Nu Sans is available from:

Nu Sans is inspired by Apple Computer's Espy Sans bitmap font. Espy Sans was going to appear in Copland, but instead we got Charcoal in Mac OS 8.0. Nu Sans brings the most aesthetically pleasing element of that abandoned project to your screen and your printer.

Registered users can select Nu Sans in the Appearance Control Panel after applying a patch.

The Nu Sans font family contains 4 fonts and is available for US$12. You can find more information at the Scooter Graphics web site.

Scooter Graphics


[Column] Wasting Time With The Idiots - The Idiots Say Goodbye To The One-Button Mouse


[Column] On The Flip Side - Wireless Internet... Don't Freak Out Yet



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