April, 1997 Archive

Wednesday, April 30th
Netscape Rings Up A Duo
Netscape today announced that they have acquired two small Internet firms, a move that will likely improve its Web creation and message products. DigitalStyle, a graphics tool vendor, and Portola Communications, a company focused on messaging, will receive 2.08 million shares of Netscape stock -- shares that, based on the current market value, put the total purchase amount near $56 million. NEWS.COM has the complete story.

We received a report this morning which suggests that Netscape Communicator PR4 (the much touted release that includes Netcaster) will be a Windows only release. Apparently, PR5 will be back on all platforms, and though that release might be the last Windows beta, there may be an extra Mac and UNIX version. Dave Garaffa's BrowserWatch has also heard similar things.

Netscape CEO, Jim Barksdale, plans to forgo his salary this year and will take home only $1 in total wages. In these days of superfluous CEO compensation, it's extremely odd for someone to being doing this. Barksdale, however, is more interested with getting his company's stock higher, which coincidently, would make him a very rich man, due to his significant stock options. NEWS.COM has the complete story.

TeleType GPS (Global Positioning System) is a hardware and software solution that tracks your position on the earth through its mapping technology. The product is available on both Newton and Windows CE platforms, and software demos can be download from the company's homepage.

Dot-loa is a shareware utility for America Online users that should help alleviate many connection headaches that are associated with signing on. The utility allows you to continue working with your Mac while your AOL client software runs in the background, attempting to connect to AOL.

Steve Dagley has posted FreePPP 2.6b2. This version expires on June 1st and in addition to fixing several bugs, this release adds support for alternate phone number dialing. As always, the password for the encrypted archive can be found in the readme.

Touch3D 2.0.2 fixes some minor bugs and adds several new import/export filters including VRML export, and spreadsheet import/export. A demo is also available from this link.

The Unofficial Rhapsody on NuBus Macs FAQ provides an overview of what Apple has said publicly (and what they haven't) about Rhapsody running on NuBus machines.

Tuesday, April 29th
Ellison's Trial Balloon Takes A Dive
First reported by CNBC, Oracle chairman, Larry Ellison, announced today that he has decided against pursuing a stake in Apple Computer, at least for the time being. Ellison has stated that he will still remain interested in developments at the company, and "may well purchase stock for investment purposes or otherwise, or revisit in the future his decision regarding an acquisition or control of that firm." NEWS.COM has the complete story.

Apple's Prelude To Rhapsody
It turned out to be true -- today Apple announced that it will provide all Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) attendees, free of charge, a "Prelude to Rhapsody" software bundle, which includes the latest versions of OpenStep and WebObjects development tools. The WWDC will take place between May 13-16 at the San Jose Convention Center and it is still possible to register for the event, as Apple has pushed back the deadline until May 9th.

Mac Observer Contest Winner
Congratulations go out to Mark Thomas, whose banner was chosen as the winner of the Mac Observer "Design Our Logo" contest. Though there were plenty of outstanding entries, Mark's work was by far the overwhelming choice among the Mac Observer staff. We would like to take the time to thank everyone for their entries, and we appreciate the effort that went into creating banners. Without a doubt, the contest was a huge success, and we look forward to bringing you many more in the future!

Adrenaline Software has posted a demo of Adrenaline Numbers and Charts, the company's OpenDoc charting and spreadsheet tools. The demo, which expires on September 1, 1997, is PowerPC only and requires 16MB's of RAM, OpenDoc 1.1 or later, and QuickDraw 1.5 or later. Incidently, registered users of the full version will be soon notified of a 1.0.1 updater which corrects some minor bugs.

According to a report on Next Generation Online, the CGDC (Computer Games Developer's Conference) proved to be a showcase for 3Dfx, Lion Entertainment, and MacQuake. The anticipated shooter was being displayed running with 3Dfx's Open GL drivers (which the company says only took two weeks to port) upon a PowerPC 604 machine with 3Dfx hardware. All the whiz bang graphical effects were turned on, and the framerate was every bit as good as the PC version. Unfortunately, 3Dfx does not currently have any agreements with Mac OEM vendors, but they are supposedly in talks.

CE Software has released the public beta of QuickMail Pro 1.5. The new version of the company's email client brings, according to the company's press release, improved mail-handling performance, more efficient dial-up connections to the Internet, and several new convenience features. To obtain the beta, a form must be completed.

Mirror 1.0, from Alastair Rankine, is an application that synchronizes groups of files between computers through the Internet's FTP protocol. The software is ideal for anyone who needs to keep local and remote files up-to-date with one another.

A Business Week review offers a generally positive view on both the eMate 300 and MessagePad 2000. Meanwhile, MacAddict contributing editor Joseph O. Holmes looks at how a MP2K stood up against replacing his PowerBook Duo 2300 in 'Dongle Despair'.

The Mac Channel is a Macintosh only push technology that delivers news and information to the client software. The newest version, 1.0 Beta 3, offers better performance, more stability, short cuts, drag and drop from the article's window, and enhanced name controls. Download both the PowerPC and 68K versions from the software's homepage.

The Rhapsodic Web site has uncovered some details about the Rhapsody snapshots that were obtained by MacOS Rumors. The 'NeXT Bat Cave' is actually a server room at NeXT headquarters which contains twenty black NeXT boxes. The shots of what look to be some sort of debugger is in fact Rhapsody iv1, running for the first time in single user mode on PowerPC hardware.

A new public beta (2.0b11) of Tex-Edit Plus, a popular shareware styled text editor from Trans-Tex Software, is now available for download. Release notes have also been posted.

A Mac The Knife column has a handful of Tempo screenshots which show off the new Mac OS Setup Assistant.

Monday, April 28th
MacFest Brings Out The Big Names
Saturday's BMUG MacFest conference featured a star-studded list of notables in the Macintosh community, including: Ellen Hancock, Jean Louis Gassee, Dave Winer, Don Crabb, and Adam Engst, among others. Hancock demoed Tempo at the show, and touched on Apple's continued neglect in predicting product expectation, but Gassee made a relatively surprising announcement. The famous Frenchman confirmed that Be plans to distribute its operating system freely on their Web site. No specific dates were announced. Dailycal.org has a complete overview of the speeches.

StarNine has posted an evaluation copy of WebCollage 1.0. Acquired through a special distribution deal with Pensee Software, WebCollage provides Webmasters the ability to automatically build dynamic, changeable graphics that can be used in such situations as business graphs, stock quotes, weather maps, headlines, advertising, and much more. The full version is also available for purchase online via the StarNine Store for $199.

BackWeb Technologies today released the first Macintosh version of their BackWeb client software. The 1.2 Beta 2 version is available for download from the company's Web site. Combining PointCast- and Castanet-like models, the BackWeb client works in the background and downloads content or software from any of the fifty available channels.

MacInTouch is reporting, based on a good rumor, that Apple is planning to give away free copies of both WebObjects and OpenStep at next month's Worldwide Developer's Conference.

Now Software's Now Synchronize for PalmPilot is now available on the Mac. The product allows you to take your schedule and business contacts from Now Up-to-Date & Contact and use them with your PalmPilot. A free 30-day trial version is available on the product's homepage. The MRP notes a serious limitation with the product, however. Because the Pilot notepad is limited to 32k per note, any Now entry greater than that amount does not get converted.

Steve Tannehill has posted his initial experiences with the NewerTECH MAXpowr MP 400MHz Upgrade card on his Power Macintosh Resource Page. Actual benchmarks on this dual 604e/200MHz monster are expected to uploaded later today, but in the meantime, Steve has numbers on the effect a 1MB L2 cache had on his machine. Good reading...

JQuake is a Java applet that lets you roam around Quake maps. Because the applet is based entirely on a Java polygon engine (no 3D API or VRML calls are made), you should only try this out on a powerful machine with one of the available Just-In-Time compilers. Since the Macintosh version of Quake still has a bit of ways to go, JQuake is the closest thing to the real game you'll see.

SoundApp 2.3, the latest version of the Macintosh PowerPC native freeware sound player and converter from Norman Franke, adds support for MPEG audio layer III and uncompressed stereo Amiga IFF/8SVX files. A wide variety of additions and fixes are documented on the program's homepage.

CNET's new BROWSERS.COM tracks the Net for the latest news, events, and browser information for both the PC and Mac. The site also provides users with the latest versions of browser plug-ins along with numerous reviews and tip columns.

An Interesting Apple Patents Web site from Saumil B. keeps track of the latest patents filed by Apple Computer. For those of you looking for patents from other companies; a U.S. Patent Database search engine will do the job.

Friday, April 25th
OrbitPak Offer Extended Indefinitely
The one day special offer that we had on Apollo Technologies' OrbitPak, last Thursday, will continue today and last indefinitely. When placing an order for the OrbitPak via the Apollo homepage, simply state that you saw the offer on The Mac Observer, and you'll receive an instant 20% discount. If you're looking for the ultimate collection of OpenDoc software, the OrbitPak is it!

According to Apple's Mac OS homepage, Mac OS 8 has entered the official beta testing phase. There also is a link to a new info sheet about the upcoming release, including a screenshot showing off most of the new features and additions.

QuickDraw 3D was shown running on OpenStep a few weeks ago (and it has been said that the port only took five days) at the National Association of Broadcasters show, and Scott Anguish's excellent StepWise Web site has screen shots from the demo. In addition to that, StepWise is reporting that Apple is working with 3Dfx (who, incidently, will be providing their technology for Sega's next home console system) to implement drivers for QD3D for Windows.

BrowserWatch received a report which indicates that Netscape Communicator Preview Release 4, the first version that will include the company's push module, Netcaster, is scheduled to be released to the DevEdge beta testing group on or before May 9th. If the past holds true, the public release should take place shortly thereafter.

The two day Be Developer's Conference in San Jose, California, will take place on May 10-11, a strategic time frame that will delight developers of PowerPC applications as it is the same week as Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference. The conference will highlight sessions dealing with basic BeOS programming, Internet distribution, and marketing, along with advanced sessions focusing on specific technologies. Attendees will also receive the BeOS Preview Release on CD.

Design Intelligence has announced their plans to develop I Publish, the company's Windows 95/NT publishing software, for Rhapsody. Version 1.0 of the PC software is expected to ship this week (to coincide with the Seybold Conference), and the company expects to have the Rhapsody version ready in the first quarter of 1998. MacWEEK has the complete story.

Emulation.net has an expanded rundown on the features of Connectix's VirtualPC, straight from Eric Traut, one of the project's lead programmers. Most interesting is the comment from Eric which indicates that performance is changing on a weekly, and sometimes daily, basis.

MacOS Rumors has received a screenshot of the never released OpenStep 4.0. Although there are no reports to indicate that it is true, Rumors states that this version of OpenStep may be a strong influence on the user interface in Rhapsody.

Version 2.1 of KeyQuencer, a utility that automates repetitive tasks, adds a wide variety of new features and enhancements, and all changes are documented in the release notes.

thessaSOURCE has posted an in-depth preview of the alpha version of MacOS 8, complete with a handful of screenshots.

Thursday, April 24th
Free PC Card Modem Offer From Apple
Apple continues to entice it's PowerBook 1400 line through a special deal for new owners: If you purchase one of the line's models between April 15th and June 27th, you will receive a coupon for a free Dayna 33.3 Communicard Fax/Modem, or a Cellular Ready Robotics 33.6 Megahertz Fax/Modem. Owners will simply have to send the coupon they receive, along with a proof of purchase to receive their modem. (Thanks, The Unofficial Mac PR Department!)

Netscape Revenue Up 114%
Based largely upon strong server sales, Netscape yesterday announced quarterly revenues of $120.2 million, a 114% rise over the same quarter results of $56.1 million last year. Net income came in at $7.9 million, which was slightly ahead of the First Call consensus. But despite the company's revenues growing sequentially over the last five quarters, the road ahead for Netscape will be one full of competition at every turn, especially with its server line.

AllPen Software, makers of the NetHopper Web browser which is bundled with the MessagePad 2000 and eMate 300, have announced that they will be adding Java capabilities to their central product. AllPen, who has already shown their support of Java through the NetHopper Enterprise Server, hasn't yet set a time frame for the delivery of the Java capabilities.

Announced earlier in the week (see April's archive), PaceWorks today posted the demo of ObjectDancer 1.1. If you're interested in participating in the 'Test Drive' program, simply fill out the online form. Note, however: the demo, and the full version, are PowerPC only.

MacWEEK's Clifford Colby has uncovered the latest AppleScript news from Apple. This summer's MacOS 8 will include AppleScript 1.1.2, which will feature bug fixes and tweaks that take advantage of OS's features. Although Apple continues to pledge support for some sort of scripting environment in Rhapsody, they have yet to make any hard decisions.

HTML Vocabulary from Nisseb Software is a standalone HTML reference guide that includes almost every tag available. Everything from basic HTML tags to Navigator and Internet Explorer extensions are covered. The newest version 1.8, adds style sheet information, among other things.

MacWEEK has conducted tests on all of the available Java Virtual Machines on the Macintosh. As in our JVM Showdown feature article, MacWEEK found the alpha Just-In-Time Compiler from Apple to be the fastest among the group. However, for some odd reason, MacWEEK chose not to run the benchmarks with the Apple JIT running in a Web browser, which, more than likely, resulted in higher numbers.

Wednesday, April 23rd
New Speed Doubler Update
Connectix has posted the Speed Doubler 2.0.3 updater. The update adds complete support for any version of MacOS 7, including Mac OS 7.6.1. And for those of you testing MacOS 8, be sure to note that Speed Doubler 2 will not load under that version of the system software. The company is currently evaluating compatibility issues for upcoming versions of both Speed Doubler and the MacOS. The update also fixes a wide range of bugs in the copying module of the utility.

Apple Provides Important 7.6.1 Fix
Apple has released an extension that fixes the problem of MacOS 7.6.1 disabling the L2 cache on Performa 5400, 6360, and 6400 machines, and any machine based on the Alchemy motherboard. The 54xx/64xx L2 Cache Reset extension corrects this problem and not only once again enables the L2 cache, but also improves performance on affected computers.

Maxum Releases Rumpus Beta
Maxum, developers of such powerful Net utilities as NetCloak and NetForms, have released the first public beta of their new Macintosh FTP server, Rumpus. Based on the company's RushHour TCP/IP implementation, Maxum aims for Rumpus to provide the performance and reliability of high-end workstations coupled with the Mac's ease of use, security, and flexibility. If you're impressed by the beta, Maxum is offering a "buy the beta" program in which you purchase an electronic-only version of Rumpus for $99 and then receive a free year of upgrades. Download the beta from here.

Apple's eMate Parent Buy Program
Apple is offering parents that chance to not only purchase the new eMate 300, but also a combination package with includes the eMate and a Performa 6400 with 15" AV monitor. The price for the stand alone eMate 300 with either Macintosh or Windows cables is $799, and the packages with the desktop machines range from $2,299 to $2,499. Full details are available on the program's homepage.

Apple's MacOS Runtime for Java 1.0.2 fixes a problem with Java applications where the FileDialog method was returning null. The symptom was that you could not save new documents in Java applications. Download the new version from the AppleJava homepage. A revised JDK that will include this fix along with a version of JBindery with a few tweaks.

UMAX has announced price cuts on its entire line of SuperMac MacOS clones. The new prices, which apparently take effect immediately, are detailed in a Macworld Daily News story. All cuts are between $100 and $200.

Netscape has posted the 68k version of their Communicator suite. Both the Pro and Standard versions are available on the company's FTP site. (Thanks, Dave Garaffa.)

The San Jose Mercury News is reporting that ParaGraph International, makers of the original Digital Ink handwriting recognition software for Apple's Newton, is planning to announce a deal in which the company will provide virtual reality-based content to the Microsoft Network.

A press release announces a deal between Motorola and Integrated Micro Solutions (IMS) by which the video card developer will supply its TwinTurbo 128M8 card for inclusion in Motorola's upcoming StarMax 5000/300. Having already partnered with Apple, PowerComputing, and Umax, this deal puts IMS' products in the boxes of almost every major MacOS player.

The newest version of the AOL client is now available. By going to keyword: UPGRADE on AOL, users can now download the 3.0.1 version of the client software. Unfortunately, no release notes are available, thus we don't know what the changes are.

David's Kaleidoscope Schemes Collections 1.5.1 are a set of two collections, each consisting of twenty schemes, that are compatible with, and enhanced for, Kaleidoscope 1.5/1.5.1. On a Kaleidoscope related note: MacUser is holding a Kaleidoscope contest with the top prize being $500.

Tuesday, April 22nd
AppleShare 5.0 Unveiled
The final version AppleShare 5.0 was officially announced yesterday, and pricing for the server software is included in the press release. AppleShare will be available in one of the Workgroup Server configurations, and a shrinkwrap version will sold through Claris and is expected to be available in May. And as with all of the beta releases, the final version does not function on a PowerPC 603 (or 603e) processor.

JDK 1.2 Due This Summer
According to a NEWS.COM report, Sun Microsystems will be delivering their JDK 1.2 this summer. This version of the development kit is set to make many improvements to the Java environment, including several seemingly simple things such as the ability to drag and drop text. Along with enhancements to the compiler, JDK 1.2 will also have a new version of JavaBeans, code-named Glasgow. This version of the hyped component architecture will apparently co-operate with existing programs. (ie. you'll be able to add a Java animation in a word processing document.)

Pictorius iNet Developer is an application that claims to satisfies the dual requirements of Net application development and intranet and Web publishing. For Web development teams who have multiple authors, iNet Developer will allow users to access, edit and update the same site simultaneously with any changes occurring immediately. Download the beta, which requires 32MB of RAM, from here.

Jeff Keller's PowerWatch has a review of a pre-production PowerCenter Pro 210, the only available MacOS machine with a 60-MHz bus. Both the 210- and 180-MHz models are expected to begin shipping on May 5th, and they will be available in both low profile and mini-tower enclosures.

The InfoMac Archive has completed its lengthy transition from the servers at Stanford University to its new home at MIT. The Web based HyperArchive, which tracks the latest software submissions, is back in operation and has the latest entries.

Mac Home Journal has an online review of the eMate 300, and while the product receives glorious accolades, the magazine criticizes Apple's decision to only offer the product in the education channel. We agree with this also, and we hope that the rumors of a business oriented model (supposedly called 'eMate 1000') do in fact surface.

If you're looking for the latest news and rumors about anything concerning the MacOS platform, be sure to check out MacOS Rumors. The staff over there has done a tremendous job with gathering inside sources that provide daily glimpses inside the development of Rhapsody. To prove this point; today the crew has secured snapshots of the 'The NeXT Bat Cave' at Apple, a room rumored to be in the basement in Cupertino, and several screens of what appears to Rhapsody's kernel running in a fully textual debugger.

Berkeley Systems' infamous series of You Don't Jack trivia games has made more inroads in their netshow family. Available on the PC for several weeks, You Don't Know Jack Sports netshow has finally been released for the Mac. For any sports fan out there, this is an absolute must download. Not only are there two new episodes available each week, but there are also $500 Tuesdays in which you can win, you guessed it, $500.

Locnar Inc. has announced the third beta of The World of Avalia, their online multiplayer RPG game. This latest version is not yet available, but Locnar promises to have it online by April 27th. When it does hit the Net, you'll see the largest changes in the game since its initial beta was released. The game engine has been optimized and streamlined, and this has provided faster and smoother gameplay. According to Locnar, this beta should give users a much better idea of what the final product (which is scheduled for July) will offer.

Greg Landweber's Kaleidoscope 1.5.1 is a maintenance release that fixes a wide variety of bugs and offers many minor changes and improvements. Numerous changes where made to give Kaleidoscope the ability to live more happily with many popular shareware/freeware utilities.

Monday, April 21st
Apple Lays Out WWDC Plans
Apple announced today their plans for next month's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Apple is scheduled to provide a demo of an early version of Rhapsody, (although as noted before, the DR release will not take place at WWDC) as well as a preview of MacOS 8. On the keynote side of things; Gil Amelio will have the honors of preaching to the development community and a couple of former NeXT employees (Avie Tevanian and Jon Rubinstein) will lend him a hand. Most interestingly, Steve Jobs will be hosting a special informal 'fireside chat' with developers.

Workgroup Servers Announced Today
As expected, Apple today unveiled the two newest members of its server family; the Workgroup Server 9650/233 and 7350/180. Each machine will be available with three different software bundles; Application, AppleShare, and Internet. The configurations with the Application software bundle are expected to be released in May, but the AppleShare and Internet solutions will not show up until June.

NetObjects has the public beta of Fusion 2.0 available for download. (Please note: the entire package is nearly 15MB's in size.) As mentioned on Saturday's News, this major upgrade adds many anticipated features such as a spell checker, the ability to import entire sites, and easier frames creation.

PaceWorks today announced ObjectDancer 1.1, an update to their professional animation tool that adds speed rendering, enhanced output, and greater customization for Web animation creation. The final version is scheduled to ship within one month, and a beta version is set to be available on the PaceWorks homepage, but at press time, there are no signs of the update.

Greg Landweber's Aaron 1.6.1 adds an optional Aaron Espi Enabler extension (which is only 1k in size and takes up zero RAM) that changes the system font back to Espi Sans Bold 10. This allows Aaron to use the popular Espi Sans font instead of Landweber's Veritas, a replica of Apple's Truth (the MacOS 8 font).

gURLfriend 1.0 from Jeff Luszcz is a utility that parses your Netscape or Internet Explorer bookmarks files into a format that is more convenient to post onto a Web site. Information such as the add date, the last visit, and the last modified time is removed to cut down on file sizes. Download from here.

Netscape has posted a screenshot of the forthcoming Netcaster component of their Communicator suite. And while on the subject of Netcaster; NetscapeWorld has an excellent article on the new push technology from Netscape, and it states that the PR4 version of Communicator, which will include Netcaster, should be available by May 15th.

Version 1.1 of Email Merge, a program used for creating mailings of individualized email messages, fixes all known problems with previous versions and adds automated finding of email client programs, the option of importing data directly from the clipboard, and faster import sampling. Download from here.

BoxTop Software's GIFmation 2.0a5 fixes six bugs in QuickTime import, a bug that could result in corrupted files, and some menu handling bugs. New additions in this release are the ability of importing Photoshop layers and more saved preferences Also, this is the first release to complete have documentation. Download the latest version from here.

Mike Pinkerton's OpenDoc Revolution Web site has a Quilt FAQ from former OpenDoc engineer, David McCusker. McCusker talks about the future of Quilt (the second generation of Bento, OpenDoc's structured storage layer) and what it would mean if Apple released it in the public domain.

Pitango Multimedia Systems' ClickWorks, a development tool that is specifically designed for multimedia publishing, has a new update available for download. The release notes for version 1.1 are also available. Pitango does have a demo version of ClickWorks, but please note; it's 1.0.3, not 1.1.

A Fat Web Page from UserLand is keeping Frontier users up-to-date with the latest bug fixes. The newest version, 4.2.3a, offers fixes for the bbSite Suite, the BBEdit component of Frontier.

A new feature debuts on The Mac Observer today. The 'Cool Tool of the Week' section will be a weekly spotlight that offers a new piece of interesting shareware or freeware every Monday morning. Our first Cool Tool goes to Navigator Button Editor 1.2 from Skylar Stein. This utility lets you replace the directory buttons in Navigator with your favorite URLs. Be sure to check it out!

Saturday, April 19th
Prices Fall On Performa And PowerBook Lines
As expected, Apple has lowered the prices on both its Performa 6360 and 6400 line as well as the entire PowerBook 1400 lineup. Each Performa model, which includes the Performa 6400/180, Performa 6400/200, Performa 6400/200 Video, Performa 6360, has been cut by $200. The PowerBook 1400's, however, have seen significant drops, in some cases, as much as $900. Check out Apple's press release for further information.

New Servers From Apple
MacWEEK has the scoop on Apple's upcoming server plans. Set to ship in May, the new series will consist of two machines based on the PowerPC 604e 180/210MHz processors. The Workgroup Server 7350/180 and 9650/233 will each be available with a choice of three software bundles; Application, AppleShare, and Internet. The 7350/180 will cost between $2,899 and $3,599 (depending on software bundle) and the 9650/233 will be $5,799 to $6,899.

Apple's Move To Stop Ellison?
When Gil Amelio made his appearance on CNBC last Thursday, one of the questions asked of him was about a story in the New York Times in which Apple was said to be in negotiations with investment bank Goldman, Sachs & Co. The initial thought of Apple being in talks with Goldman about a possible suitor was correct, except that the move has been apparently made to stop an attempt by Larry Ellison to gain control Apple. Known for helping firms fight hostile takeovers, Goldman, along with and public relation firm, Abernathy MacGregor Group, will be Apple's defense. A Macworld Daily News article has more.

To coincide with the Seybold Conference in New York, NetObjects will be posting, on Monday, a beta version of Fusion 2.0 for the Macintosh on its Web site. This major upgrade to the popular Web site creation tool, which has been available on PCs since February, will add desired features such as; a spell checker, the ability to import entire sites, simpler frames creation, and more. Owners of 1.0 will be entitled to a free upgrade. NEWS.COM has more.

An Infoseek article describes the brisk sales Apple is seeing with the MessagePad 2000. Most interestingly; it doesn't seem to be just Macintosh fanatics picking these beauties up. Steve Elms, president of Newton Source, estimates that 60 percent of his MessagePad 2000 customers are using PCs, while the other 40 percent use Macs.

We've received reports from sources that indicate that MacOS Runtime for Java 2.0, which supports the JDK 1.1 standard, will ship in alpha form later this month. This is a key step in Java support for Apple, as the 1.1 version of the JDK is quickly becoming required to run many Java applications, including Sun's HotJava Web browser.

Friday, April 18th
Iomega Drops The Price Of Jaz
Following recent prices cuts to their Zip line, Iomega announced yesterday that it has reduced the minimum advertised price of its Jaz drives by $100. Starting May 1st, prices on the external drive will be $399 and the internal drive will see the same cut; its price will be $299. We expect that this move was made to counter SyQuest's recently released SyJet, a Jaz competitor that offers 50% more storage at the same price point. In two weeks however, that won't hold true. An InfoSeek article has the complete story.

Amelio Preaches To The Choir
Apple CEO, Gil Amelio, has posted a letter to the company's customers that diligently tries to put a positive spin on the recent financial losses. And while we don't think it's possible to ever paint a rosy picture about a $708 million loss, Amelio does a good job by not focusing on what has happened in terms of losses. Great products are what will return Apple to the black, and Amelio seems to realize this.

The free Apple MacAdvocate CD-ROM, which contains all of the "Why Mac?" material, demos, product info, system updates, games, Apple TV commercials (including 1984), etc., is now back in stock. Hop on over to the Macintosh Advantage order form and be sure to order your copy today. Note however; the form states that delivery is expected to take three weeks.

If you're looking for some analysis on the upcoming PowerBook 2400, be sure to check out a report that MacInTouch received today. While the report does in fact gripe about the small keyboard, it does comment that it is about the same size as the Duo 230/2300 keyboard and is more responsive. Other than this 'problem', the 2400 is looking to be a dandy machine.

Marimba has the 1.0b2 version of their Castanet Tuner for the Macintosh available for download. Grab the latest version from their FTP site.

UserLand Software has posted the final version of Frontier 4.2.3. Among the major new features added to this release are; enhancements that allow for easy templating for BBEdit-based Web developers and preliminary support for Microsoft's CDF "push" format. The full Frontier 4.2.3 package is available here, and if you already are using Frontier, simply hop on over here for the upgrade package.

Thursday, April 17th
Amelio Appearance on CNBC
Apple's CEO, Gil Amelio, made an appearance on CNBC's Money Wheel this afternoon. During an interview with their tech analyst, Bruce Francis, Amelio commented on Apple's license fee position with the clone vendors and categorized their talks as normal business negotiations. As far as actual fees, Amelio stated that some fees will go up (presumably software fees) and others will go down (hardware fees). He also reiterated that the company, despite their recent losses, is still on track for a return to profitability in the fourth quarter. Beyond that, Amelio stressed that the company is not for sale, and that he knows of no one interested in purchasing the company.

The Newton Takes A Trip To The Mountains
Logica has developed the world's first mobile Internet photo journalism system using an Apple Newton, an Agfa ePhoto 307 digital camera, and special Logica software. This system will be used by Sir Christian Bonington to send real time pictures back to the UK direct from the site of his upcoming expedition; Sepu Kangri - a 6950 metre unclimbed peak in a previously uncharted region of Tibet. Pictures will be displayed, starting tomorrow, on this Web site.

We've gotten some inquiries about whether or not the copy of Digital Harbor's WAV that is included on Apollo Technologies' OrbitPak is upgradeable to the forthcoming JavaWAV. Apollo's Dean Capone has stated that Digital Harbor will in fact upgrade OrbitPak buyers to JavaWAV for free once it's released, so as long as you register your copy of WAV.

Macworld Daily News is reporting that Apple plans to scrap release plans for the CHRP version of MacOS 7.6. Due to the fact that MacOS 8 is CHRP compliant right out of the box, (along with it being only a little less than three months away), another delay might be warranted here since we tend to think that it would cut down on customer and licensee confusion.

Apple NetFinder 1.0b6 offers better security, more options for configuring, new look and feel for log windows and preferences dialog, new "Get Info" comments capability, numerous bug fixes, and much more.

SiteMill, Adobe's advanced Web site management tool, is currently at public beta 2.0b2.3. Download the latest version from here.

Totally Hip Software has WebPainter 2.0b22 ready for download. No release notes are currently available, so we have no idea what changes have been made in this newest beta release. In any event, if you're looking for an overview of what WebPainter 2.0 offers, be sure to check out Bryan Chaffin's preview.

The fine folks at MacSense have resumed publication following the death of Alex Narvy's (the MacSense Webmaster) mother. Our condolences go out to Alex's family, and we wish him, and the entire MacSense staff, the best of luck in the future.

UserLand's Frontier 4.2.3b4 is now available for download. Many changes have been made in this beta release, but the most notable changes are; Frontier now conforms to the new Fat Pages FAQ, and a new connection between BBEdit and Frontier has been implemented.

Wednesday, April 16th
Apple Reports Second Quarter Results
Apple has announced their second fiscal quarter results, and as expected, once again, they are not very pretty. The company's total loss for the quarter was $708 million, or $5.64 per share, on revenues of $1.6 billion. The large loss was mainly due to the one-time charges for the purchase of NeXT ($375 million) and the recent restructuring ($155 million). Despite this large loss, the company still has $1.4 billion of cash on hand, and it still continues to believe that a return to profitability in the fourth quarter will happen.

AIMS Gets A New Name, New Owner
As expected, the free Apple Internet Mail Server 1.1.1 has seen its development handed over to the folks at Qualcomm. The server solution will now go under the name Eudora Internet Mail Server, and along with the new moniker, a new version is already available. Revision 1.1.2 includes a few small bug fixes and some OpenTransport tweaks. Download from Qualcomm's FTP site.

Symantec has released the latest version of their Norton Utilities Speed Disk, the disk defragment module of Norton Utilities. Version 3.5b4 is available for download here, and it expires on April 28th. And though we recommend taking caution with all beta software, an extra amount of forethought should be used when operating a beta revision of a disk optimizer.

NetEvents is an application from WebSTAR author, Chuck Shotton, that provides a scriptable set of TCP/IP services for Macintosh script writers using AppleScript, Frontier, other scripting systems, or even C programs. NetEvents is part of a complete TCP/IP scripting system that is a result efforts between BIAP Software and UserLand Software. The latest version, 1.0b7, is available for download from here.

A Macworld Daily News report is confirming that dealers are expecting Apple to cut prices on the Performa 6360, 6400, and PowerBook 1400. No time frame has been made available, nor have any specific pricing details.

MacInTouch has a report from Marvin Price on the Exponential/400MHz-powered 9600. Price states that he generally experienced 50% to 60% performance gains when using Adobe After Effects.

A report on BrowserWatch is sure to please any Macintosh user who is looking for a quick, lightweight Web browser. Lynx, the text parsing UNIX champ, has been ported to a variety of platforms, including DOS, and it's now on its way to the Mac. Dubbed MacLynx, this version will be based on the Lynx 2.7.1 source code and it will support features like InternetConfig, AppleEvents, GetURL AppleEvents, and much more.

Tuesday, April 15th
Ellison Still Pushing For A Bite Of Apple
It's a story that Oracle's chief won't let die: In an interview in this morning's Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Larry Ellison said he believes there is a "very high possibility" that his bid to acquire Apple will succeed. Ellison expects the decision to be made within several weeks, and he continues to stress that it is himself, not Oracle, making the bid for Apple. Ellison's goal? "If the acquisition succeeds we can position Apple as our production base for the NC, which we are promoting." InfoWorld Electric has more.

Constellation Gets A Real Name
Netscape today unveiled Netscape Netcaster, an upcoming component of the Netscape Communicator suite that enables "push" delivery of dynamic content to the desktop. Gone under the codename 'Constellation' since November, Netcaster uses the same 'channel' analogy as PointCast; you will be able to subscribe and receive different channels, from such providers as ABC News, HotWired, Infoseek, and CBS SportsLine. Netcaster will be a part of the fourth preview release of Communicator, which is expected to be released within the next 30 days. Check out Netscape's official press release for more details.

Apple Confesses To L2 Cache Problem
Apple has posted an announcement which acknowledges the L2 cache problems on Performa 5400 and 6400 machines (and all machines that our based on the same motherboard). Apparently, the problem resides when the '54XX/64XX Update version 1.1' extension is installed. Until a fix is made available, Apple recommends reinstalling MacOS 7.6 and not adding the above extension, as this will also disable the L2 cache.

NetBatch, a powerful batch downloading utility for the Macintosh, has a new version available. Revision 1.05rc is, according to the authors, 20% to 80% faster than revision B. It also fixes a bug which occurs when a user tries to save a file. Download from here.

ObiWan 5.1.1, the shareware online help system from Stairways Software, corrects the version number which previously caused the program to timeout. A patch for earlier versions is available along with the full version.

Dave Winer's Frontier Scripting newspage has some Rhapsody comments from Peter N. Lewis, author of popular Macintosh Internet shareware programs such as Anarchie, NetPresenz, and InternetConfig. Lewis' comments, which are pulled from an interview with Jodi Mardesich of the San Jose Mercury News, show that Apple isn't exactly keeping developers up-to-date with the latest Rhapsody happenings.

The installation instructions for the release of Cyberdog 2.0 state the OpenDoc 1.2 must be previously installed, but a message posted by Apple's Kevin Avoy on the cyberdog.general implies that you can get around this by doing a custom installation of Cyberdog 2.0. This tip can be handy for people who don't want to jump to OpenDoc 1.2 for fear of its incompatibility with such software as NisusWriter.

IPNetMonitor 1.4c1 is a new version of the popular IP connectivity monitor. Both PowerPC and 68K versions are available for download from the IPNetMonitor homepage. Release notes are also available.

Alco Blom's excellent bookmark utility, URL Manager, has a new update available. Version 1.4v6 adds WorldScript support, more shared menus, helper support for Navigator 3.0, and a couple bug fixes. Download the latest version from either the USA site or the Europe site.

Marimba's Kim Polese has been awarded one of Time Magazine's 25 most influential Americans. It was Polese who, when at Sun Microsystems, coined the Java name for a project that was started in the early 90's under the codename 'Oak'. As you may know, Polese, along with four other original members of the Java team, have since moved on to their newest venture, Marimba.

Computer Warehouse, the largest MacOS CPU vendor in the UK, today announced their own line of clones. The systems will use an OEM motherboard from Motorola and the entire line will come standard with a PowerPC 604e/200 and a 16X CD-ROM drive. Check out CW's homepage for detailed specs on all three systems.

Monday, April 14th
Motorola Hits The 300-MHz Mark
Motorola today announced a new StarMax system built about the 300-MHz 603e PowerPC processor. The StarMax 5000/300 will be targeted for use in corporate and small or home office environments and by graphics professionals and will come standard with 32MB of RAM, a 16X CD-ROM drive, an ethernet card, a 4.3GB hard drive, and a Zip Drive. Although both Apple and Motorola have announced their 300-MHz systems, neither are expected to be on the market until sometime in May. NEWS.COM has the complete story.

Apple Reveals Some More Java Information
Apple has provided The Mac Observer with some more interesting behind the scene details about their Java development. As many of you will recall, Apple prominently announced last year that it would be using a JIT-compiler from Roaster in their Java runtime. Apparently, Apple decided to go with a JIT of its own since they felt Roaster's JIT was a very late comer to the game. The major reason was that Roaster's technology is based off a completely different source base from the JavaSoft VM, which would make much more difficult to get to JDK 1.1. Incidently, the 2.0 release of MacOS Runtime for Java will be compliant with the JDK 1.1 standard.

Liquid Audio Drips On The MacOS
Liquid Audio is a new audio streaming technology that is being hyped to deliver "true CD-quality Dolby Digital encoded songs". Regardless of that claim, the LA player does provide some interesting features that will please fans of streaming audio. Along with built-in encryption to allow for future online purchases, the program allows users to view art, lyrics and credits as well as production, agency and copyright information while listening to music. Download the MacOS beta from here.

Announced at last week's NAB convention, Lari Software's LightningDraw/WEB is the first content creation tool to support the forthcoming vector media capabilities of Apple's QuickTime 3.0. A 30-day free trial version is available for download from here.

The final version of Cyberdog 2.0 is now available for download. The Cyberdog homepage hasn't been updated to indicate the new release, but Apple's FTP server does in fact have both the PowerPC and 68K versions available.

Chronos' Consultant is a powerful and intuitive Personal Information Manager (PIM) that features multiple calendar views, contact management, Gantt Charts, caller ID, intelligent telephone dialing, English translation, text-to-speech, and a seamless interface. A demo is available on the Chronos homepage.

Bare Bones Software has BBEdit Lite 4.0.1 available for download. The Macintosh Resource Page also has copy of it on its MRP Software Page.

MacToday has an exclusive online interview with Apple's CEO, Gil Amelio. While most of the information has been harped over and over before by Gil, this is one of the few times when he has publicly discussed PowerBook licensing. His quote sums Apple's position up quite well: "We currently don't have plans to license PowerBooks to Mac OS compatible vendors."

Sunday, April 13th
Adobe Clarifies Rhapsody Position
A MacWEEK interview with the president of Adobe Systems, Charles Geschke, has uncovered some more information regarding their Rhapsody plans. Though he expects a transition period, Geschke predicted that all the company's software will be Rhapsody-native. He also confirmed something that has been known for quite some time; in the future, Adobe's core group of graphics applications will ship simultaneously for Mac and Windows machines.

The Pound's Doors Close
The Mac Observer editor-in-chief, Dan Hughes, has decided to close the doors on his successful Cyberdog Web site, The Cyberdog Pound. Because no future development of Cyberdog and OpenDoc will occur, there simply won't be enough related content to warrant an entire site dedicated to the two technologies. As mentioned on the Pound, however, if some version of Cyberdog ever does resurrect from Apple, there is a possibility that a Cyberdog section will be added to The Mac Observer.

MacCentral has spotted a new update to FreePPP 2.5. Version 2.5v3 incorporates a fix from Craig Prouse for the getbuffer crash released last week in FreePPP 2.6 Beta 1. The only change in 2.5v3 is this fix, and Steve Dagley recommends that all users of FreePPP 2.5v2 update to the newest version. Download from here.

NetFinder 1.1.3 fixes a large list of bugs and adds support for Netscape Navigator 2.0.2 scripts and double-clickable Internet Config Preferences files. Download from here.

The final version of Eastgate Systems' WebSquirrel 1.5 has been released. This update adds support for Frontier, HotSauce, and Francois Pottier's Big Brother, among some other things. A fully functional demo is available for download from here.

Nisus Software has a Nisus Writer 5.0.4 updater available for download. Numerous bugs are fixed in this revision, but most importantly, OpenDoc support has now been pushed off to a separate module. This way, users will be able to turn off Nisus' OpenDoc support but still use OpenDoc 1.2 for other things.

Friday, April 11th
Big Loses Coming Next Week
MacWEEK is reporting that First Call Corp. is expecting Apple's second-quarter losses to be in the $629 million range. It has been widely known that a large chunk will be written off due to the NeXT purchase ($322 million), and the recent restructuring ($155 million) will also be added to the mammoth one-time charge. The only remaining question is how significant the operating losses will be; First Call expects $152.1 million. The good news is that everything is being written off this month, and that Apple is still on course to turn a profit in Q4.

The Aladdin Desktop Tools 1.0.3 Update adds support for MacOS 7.5.5 and 7.6. The new versions of Desktop SpeedBoost, Desktop Makeover and SpeedBoost that are installed are now compatible with these recent revisions of the system software. Download the updater from the ADT homepage.

NeTProfessional is a new bi-monthly magazine focusing exclusively on Mac OS hardware and software solutions for Internet and Intranet Professionals. The premiere issue is now available on newsstands for $4.95, and it includes a sixty-four page directory of Mac OS Internet products. An online subscription form is available.

The MacOS 7.6.1 Update for PowerBook 3400 machines is now available for download.

Sloop 1.0 is an extension that adds cursor focusing to the Macintosh. Popular on X Window systems, cursor focusing brings forth a new way of navigating between windows: by simply moving your cursor over an open window, it will gain control of it without clicking. Download from the Sloop homepage.

Ircle, the premiere Macintosh IRC client, continues its impressive release pace with another new revision. Release 3.0b3(8) adds a handful of new features and it fixes a wide variety of bugs. It's available for download from here. A history list is also available.

IPNetMonitor 1.3 (PowerPC only) is now available for download. This application provides a set of seven integrated Internet tools (Ping, Trace Route, Name Server Lookup, WhoIs, Finger, Monitor, and Subnet Calculator) which allow Macintosh users to monitor their connection to the Internet.

The EVIL Group is working on an all-new Marathon Infinity scenario entitled 'Marathon: EVIL'. This scenario will offer new physics, new shapes, new maps, new sounds, new soundtrack, and new images. Screenshots are available from the EVIL Group's homepage, although we didn't receive any word when this scenario will be released.

Eudora Light 3.1 from Qualcomm is now available for download. Light is the free sibling to its Pro counterpart, yet this new version continues to offers great features and improvements. To find out which client fits your needs the best, check out a comparison chart between Pro and Light 3.1.

Thursday, April 10th
Adrenaline Announces Shipping Dates
Adrenaline Software has announced that their OpenDoc tandem, Adrenaline Numbers and Charts, will begin shipping on April 17th with a suggested retail price of $149.95, and an expected street price of $99. The current public beta test will end on May 1st. Also, using ActiveX technology, Adrenaline has ported Charts to the PC and it's currently available in early beta form. PC Charts can be used as either a stand-alone application or embedded in an ActiveX container, like Microsoft Excel or Word.

Power Set To Debut New PowerCenter Line
InfoWorld Electric is reporting that Power Computing will announce a new line of PowerCenter systems this Monday. The systems will roll out with the low-end, PowerCenter Pro 180, checking in at $2,095 and the high-end, 210, at $2,395. Both systems will sport a 60-MHz bus, 1MB of L2 cache, 16X CD-ROM drive, ATI's popular 3D Rage video system, 16MB of RAM, a 2GB hard drive, and 10Base-T ethernet. The only difference between the systems is in the processor; the 210 will have a PowerPC 604e/210 while the 180 will have a 604e/180.

Radius Gets A Reply
A note on Reply Corporation's homepage, indicates that the maker of the DOS on Mac products has been acquired by Radius. As of yesterday, Radius will be responsible for the marketing, sales and support of all DOS on Mac products. No press release is available nor are any financial details.

Welcome Applelinks.com
We're extremely pleased to welcome our second sponsor, Applelinks.com. Applelinks.com is a comprehensive site with over forty pages of Macintosh news and links, all in an easy-to-use, well organized format. They also have a mailing list that delivers Mac News right to your mailbox.

Apple, Sun And The Newton
According to an article in today's USA Today, Apple is in negotiations with Sun Microsystems over the possible sale of its Newton handheld computer division. Apple has said they have been exploring their options with the Newton since mid-March's restructuring, and the article reports that they have already talked with Inventec, a Taiwanese company. Meanwhile, Sun's interest in the Newton could be probably linked to the possibility of turning it into a Java-based mobile network computer (NC).

MacInTouch has a letter from Filtered!'s Scott Ripley, entitled 'Apple Is Ripening', in which Jim Gable, VP of Platform and Tech Marketing at Apple, and Ricardo Gonzalez, product manager for Rhapsody, discuss the status and some of the future plans for Rhapsody.

Following yesterday's exclusive PowerBook 2400 snapshot from O'Grady's PowerPage, the new MacWorld Sweden site has a new, much larger, picture of Apple's forthcoming sub-notebook. The closer look shows off the 2400's curvy industrial design quite well, in addition to its smallish keyboard.

The Frontier 4.2.3b2 updater from UserLand now adds support for Netscape Navigator. Up until now, only Internet Explorer had the ability to view the new Fat Web Pages.

After going through more than thirty-nine public beta releases, Qualcomm has finally released the final 3.1 updater for Eudora Pro. The updater is available for download from here, and a README file is also available.

The Macintosh Resource Page reports that an employee of Other World Computing has confirmed that Mac OS 7.6.1 is in fact disabling 256K and 512K L2 caches (Apple or third party) on 6400/180 and 200s. Apple is apparently aware of the problem, and is "investigating it."

Wednesday, April 9th
Apple And IBM Talk License Fees
News stories throughout the day (which have all been spawned off by an article in The New York Times) have been reporting that Apple and IBM are in negotiations to discuss the license fees Apple charges for the MacOS. Apparently, Apple is seeking the raise the current $50 fee ten-fold, at least for high-end systems from the cloners, because of inroads the companies are making on Apple's market. This issue is almost identical to the one brought up during Apple's restructuring, except for the fact that IBM is now the main party involved.

MacOS 7.6.1 Harmful To Some Machines
MacFixIt is covering a problem in which upgrading to MacOS 7.6.1 on some machines will disable the L2 cache, resulting in significant performance drops. At this time, it seems like only Alchemy based computers (which include PowerBase's, Performa 6400's, etc.) are affected, and several reports are pointing the problem at RAM Doubler. Be sure to stay tuned to MacFixIt for the latest on this situation.

Apple Responds To JVM Showdown
Will Iverson, Java & Components Product Manager at Apple, responded to our story on Macintosh Java Virtual Machines, entitled JVM Showdown, with the following clarifications and additional information.

"A few things to add to the article if you're interested...

JDK 1.1 support will be provided with MRJ 2.0, which should be available as a prerelease within the next few weeks

We developed the MRJ JIT technology in house; the JIT from Roaster Technologies was not used.

We've done a lot of work on optimizing graphics operations (mainly reflected by the last three tests) which is not included in the JIT prerelease currently available. These should provide a dramatic improvement in our scores beyond what is currently available in the version you tested."

Apple has released the latest version of their Just-In-Time compiler for MacOS Runtime for Java. Version 1.0 build 16 replaces 1.5a1c6 that had been distributed on a limited basis is available for download from here.

A Macworld Daily News report has the latest information about QuickDraw 3D and its performance over Direct 3D. Apple expects that the QD3D API will be one of the first available for Rhapsody, and more interestingly, product manager Shawn Hopwood said it took only five days to port QD3D over to OpenStep.

The fine folks over at BoxTop Software have available another version of their impressive GIF animation creation utility, GIFmation. Version 2.0b4 is available for download in either 68K or PowerPC versions. Be sure to check this handy utility out while you still have the chance!

Ben Kimball's starmax.net has details on the new StarMax configurations from Motorola. According to Ben, the lineup has been split into two configurations, a "Home" and "Enterprise" line. Roughly speaking, the Home line is just the existing stuff renamed, but the Enterprise line adds internal SCSI, a 10baseT Ethernet card, an internal Zip drive, and a new software bundle including Microsoft Office and DAVE.

Radius announced yesterday their support for the upcoming FireWire standard with two products; MotoDV, an application that captures video clips from DV camcorders and VTRs, and it's sibling, PhotoDV, an application that does roughly the same thing except in relation to still images. Yahoo! News covered both the MotoDV and PhotoDV announcements.

O'Grady's PowerPage has an exclusive picture of the upcoming PowerBook 2400, aka Comet. Also noted; according to PC Week, the PowerBook 3400 with a decked 300MHz 603ev processor (the same one that is used in the recently announced PowerMac 6500 line) will be available in June.

Marimba has their Castanet Tuner 1.0b2 available for download. As we have mentioned before, if you already an earlier copy of the Tuner, you do not need to keep downloading each new beta. The Tuner should update itself, although through our experience, the 'upgrade package' for the Tuner is usually a few days behind the full beta.

Tuesday, April 8th
Welcome EduPress Publishing
We're extremely pleased to welcome our first sponsor, EduPress Publishing. Their Ultimate ClarisWorks 4.0, a project based step-by-step training solution, will teach you how to create integrated documents from beginning to end with ease. Each book includes a Solutions Disk with text and graphics for the project. The project based format of the book makes learning entertaining and automatic. Detailed screen shots guide you every step of the way. Once you've completed the projects, you'll be able to apply your skills at any level.

Java Virtual Machine Showdown
With the Macintosh finally starting to become a truly viable Java platform, the decision on what Java Virtual Machine to use for running your Java applets and applications is becoming more and more important. We run all of the available JVMs on the Mac through their paces and pass the results along to you. If you're interested in Java on the Mac, this JVM Showdown is a must read.

MetaTools Picks Up Specular
MetaTools announced today a definitive agreement to acquire Specular, one of the leaders in professional 3D animation and graphic design tools on the Macintosh, for $6.4 million. MetaTools, who already has the proposed merger with Fractal Design waiting in the wings, will meld the Specular engineers into their Real Time Geometry Labs. Check out the official MetaTools press release for more information.

Apple Adds Fire To The MacOS
Yesterday, Apple pledged support for FireWire in this summer's release of MacOS 8, codenamed 'Tempo'. Developed by Apple, the FireWire high-performance serial bus technology can transfer data at 200 megabits per second, and that number is likely to double later in the year. And because of the benefits of the technology (autoconfigurable, hot-swappable, large unit capacity), it is highly likely that FireWire will eventually replace SCSI. Developer information and Apple's press releases are available from the FireWire homepage.

Version Tracker spotted that software.net has the final version of Apple Personal Web Sharing 1.0, which will be included in MacOS 8, available for downloadable purchase at a price of $15.95

Macworld Daily News has a first hand report on a new Motorola Computer Group motherboard, a prototype that is based on the CHRP platform and a new Motorola-designed motherboard named Viper. Decked out with 266MHz PowerPC G3 CPU on a 66MHz system bus, the prototype outperformed the Power Computing PowerTower Pro 250.

The Fat Web Page specification has been altered, and from now on, the Frontier implementation now conforms to the Fat Pages FAQ. An update to Frontier that complies to this is now available, although UserLand recommends upgrading only if you're an experienced user.

PPP Menu 2.0.2 is another bug fix update to Rockstar Studios' extension that allows easy menubar access to your basic PPP commands. Download from here.

Motorola's Advanced Digital Consumer Division last week showed off Sun's JavaOS running on a PowerPC processor. The JavaOS, which thus far only ran on Intel and Sun hardware, was running on a PowerPC MPC821 which Motorola uses in portable computing and personal communications products. One would tend to think that eventually someone will port the JavaOS to the family of PowerPC chips we're more familiar with. Yahoo! News has the story.

Belmont Research, Inc. today unveiled the Macintosh version of CrossGraphs, the company's advanced data visualization and graphical reporting software. CrossGraphs' ability to present data in arrays of graphs, which reveal important trends and relationships, now extends across all industry-leading computing platforms. Yahoo! Finance has the entire story.

Monday, April 7th
MacOS 7.6.1 Update Now Available!
The MacOS 7.6.1 update is now available for download via Apple's FTP servers and mirrors. The download page provides a few straight forward questions that will guide you to the proper files that you need to download. No new features are introduced; this update is solely intended to improve stability through reliability improvements, and to bring Mac OS 7.6 support to recently introduced computers not currently supported by Mac OS 7.6. If you plan on downloading the individual disk images, DiskCopy 6.1.2 is needed to decipher the new distrubution format. However, the self-extracting Net installation does not require DiskCopy.

Microsoft Snatches Up WebTV
Microsoft announced yesterday that they have purchased WebTV Networks, the development studio who's technology powers the WebTV consumer set-top boxes from Sony and Magnavox. The deal is said to be worth $425 million in both cash and stock. As far as technology goes, it looks like WebTV will eventually be ushered over to the WinCE operating system and its version of Internet Explorer. Check out the Microsoft press release for more information.

First spotted by Version Tracker, Apple has posted their much anticipated Just-In-Time Compiler (1.0a1c6) for MacOS Runtime for Java. The release notes state the MRJ 1.0.1 is required, but since that version only added 68K support, we assume that the JIT compiler should work with MRJ 1.0. Download here.

The final 1.0 version of the Macintosh PointCast client is now available. Currently, the software is PowerPC only, but a 68K version is expected in the future (apparently the CFM-68K Runtime bug bit PointCast too). Thanks to PointCast's Tony Gentile for the tip!

NEWS.COM is reporting that Fuji Photo Film and Apple may form an alliance in the area of imaging products and software. The article quotes the Japanese newspaper, 'Nihon Keizai Shimbun', and goes on to say that the Fuji has already agreed to supply Apple with digital cameras for use under the Apple name.

The full release of Claris Emailer 2.0 is now available for purchase from several online stores. Both software.net and BuyDirect.COM have it available for $39.00 and $39.95 respectively. Users who have already received their copies are reporting that the final version is very stable and that it fixes some automatic connection bugs.

Integrated Micro Solutions has introduced the first 155Mbps and 25Mbps ATM PCI adapters for the Power Macintosh that take advantage of the Macintosh's Open Transport in native mode. A Yahoo! Business Wire story has more information.

Marimba has the first official Macintosh beta version of their Castanet Tuner available. No release notes are available (as usual), and it should be noted that MacOS Runtime for Java 1.0 does seem to be included.

MacUser Online has an interesting interview with Power Computing's CEO, Joel Kocher. This ex-Dell Computer executive always has some intruiging things to say, and this interview offers some insight into Power's mobile and server plans.

For all you Java fans out there; John McChesney's HotSeat has an interview this week with Sun Microsystems' CEO, Scott McNealy. RealAudio is required.

Over the weekend, Netscape posted the latest version of its Communicator suite, 4.0b3. The general consensus is that this beta offers many stability improvements along with a large reduction in the amount of memory needed (though, as MacFixIt is reporting, Netscape will now take large amounts of memory from the system heap), but unusual glitches and abnormalities are still abound. Download from Netscape's FTP servers. Release notes are also available.

RockStar's PPPMenu 2.0.1a fixes, in RockStar's own words, "99.9% of the bugs reported on newsgroups and directly to us most of the problems that have been reported". Download here.

Friday, April 4th
Connectix Powers Up A Virtual PC
It seems like good 'ole Mac The Knife was right afterall. It might have been years ago that he mentioned it, but MacWEEK's famous slithery insider got it right on the money; today Connectix demonstrated its upcoming PowerMac PC emulator, Virtual PC. This offering will be comparable to Insignia's SoftWindows; it's features include full SoundBlaster Pro support, Ethernet networking, CD-ROM support, modem support for access to the Internet and support for PC printing. The Virtual PC will also provide a shared Mac folder that will allow easy file transfers from both the Mac and PC environment.

But the biggest question of all, and it's still yet to be revealed, is; what kind of performance will this emulator yield? Connectix says "Virtual PC is the first software compatibility product to give to Power Macintosh users true playable performance of Windows 95 and DOS games and entertainment titles", but no specific numbers were given. Along with the lack of performance numbers, no price was announced either, although we won't have to wait long to get this interesting product in our hands; release is scheduled for June. Check out today's press release for more information.

Fog City Delivers LetterRip 1.1
Fog City Software today announced the availability of the final version of LetterRip 1.1, their high performance mailing list manager. This new version provides new message headers to make unsubscribing easier, enhanced server logging and additional server accounts. All owners of the original version can upgrade for free by downloading the updater from the LetterRip download page. The full version of LetterRip retails for $299 and includes 12 months of support and updates.

O'Grady's PowerPage has a report on the upcoming PowerBook 2400, aka Comet. Although this speedy subnotebook will fill a much needed hole in the current PowerBook lineup, its itsy-bitsy keyboard is drawing complaints left and right. (The report is in the PowerPage's April 3rd news.)

It's another new day, so as usual, Qualcomm has new Eudora 3.1 final candidate updaters available for download. Grab the latest beta, 3.1fc39 from Qualcomm's FTP site. And on a related note; we're not the only ones who are wondering why Qualcomm insists on releasing new betas every few days; our fellow Macintosh buddies over at MacCentral have the same question on their minds.

Although this is a bit older news, it is very interesting none-the-less. Specular, one of the leaders in graphic design and 3D animation tools for the Macintosh, have announced the forthcoming version of their next-generation 3D modeling tool, Infini-D 4.0. This major revision offers a laundry list of new features and enhancements, and most importantly, a new interface that will make the experience of working in a 3D environment much easier. Infini-D 4.0 is due out on the Mac in May, and is expected to be priced at less than $1,000. More information is available from the press release.

MacWEEK has an interesting article about Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal's recent purchase of 5 percent of Apple and his relationship with Oracle's Larry Ellison. Alwaleed even states he has some intentions of buying more Apple stock, but not before he hears what Amelio and Ellison's intentions are.

Thursday, April 3rd
Sunny Stories Rise Again
You've heard the story dozens of times, but apparently, Apple and Sun Microsystems are in talks again to work out a friendly merger. A report from the New York Times indicates that an executive close to Apple has revealed that Sun and Apple have resumed discussions, discussions which fizzled last winter when Gil Amelio took over the helm at Apple. CNNfn has a report on this story, and Yahoo! has the Reuters wire clipping.

Thanks go out to BrowserWatch's Dave Garaffa for tipping us off to some Netscape news. The PR3 version of Netscape Communicator has been sent out to Netscape DevEdge Gold Members, and if history repeats itself (as often is the case when dealing with Netscape software releases), the public version should be released in the next two weeks.

A MacUser Online column by Jeff Pittelkau, entitled 'Newton: Apple's Golden Egg', substantiates what we've been hearing from nearly every new MessagePad 2000 owner; this machine has what it takes to erase all previous shortcoming notions about the Newton platform.

According to a NEWS.COM report, Macromedia is set to cut nearly 10% of its work force, a number which translates to fewer than 55 employees. The layoffs are being caused almost directly because of the delay in the release of Director 6.0 Multimedia Studio (now due to ship in June, instead of the expected launch last month). This delay is anticipated to result in a substantial fourth-quarter loss.

A new version of ContentServer, the Frontier scripting add-on that allows remote site management via FTP or email, has a new version available. Release notes for fc1 are available here, and the software is ready for download from here.

The newest Macintosh FTP client on the block, NetFinder, has yet another update available. Version 1.1.1 has a slew of changes, which are evident by the release notes. Download the latest version from this link.

Apple has a new version of QuickDraw 3D, 1.5.1, available for download. Release notes are available, and while there are apparently no new features, the amount of bug fixes is quite overwhelming.

Wednesday, April 2nd
MacOS 7.6.1 Inching Closer
Apple has posted a placeholder page for the upcoming MacOS 7.6.1 update. No delivery dates are revealed on the page, but the general consensus in the Macintosh community seems to point for a release this week. Incidently, the 7.6.1 update will be the first to use the greatly improved Disk Copy 6.1. This new version will significantly streamline the process of installing new updates, and this is unquestionably a breath of fresh air for all of us. Disk Copy 6.1 is available for download here.

JavaOne Conference Brews Today
Sun's 1997 Worldwide Developer's Conference, JavaOne, kicks off today, and a slew of new product announcements are bound to be flowing throughout the next couple of days. Today's main attraction will be keynote speeches from the likes James Gosling, Alan Baratz, Eric Schmidt and Vinton G. Cerf. PC Week will be Webcasting the keynotes, although this morning's speeches have yet to be made available. And later tonight, Bill Gates will divulge his thoughts about Java.

Apple will be participating in JavaOne as well, and their booth will be showcasing it's Java tools and applications including; Mac OS Runtime for Java, applets, advanced Java technology, Website development and serving, enterprise computing, publishing, and WebObjects. An Apple press release has more information.

Corel is using JavaOne to officially unveil the first beta of it's Corel Office for Java suite. The beta is available on the Office for Java homepage, but be warned, the beta is on the large side, weighing in at nearly 9MB's. Once we obtain a copy, look for some analysis.

CompuServe And AOL In Talks
Rumors started flowing yesterday about a possible merger between America Online and CompuServe and as absurd as the deal may sound, Wall Street is apparently taking both companies seriously. Earlier today, the Street halted trading on CompuServe, but it did in fact resume within one hour. But more interestingly, CompuServe is now confirming that they are in business negotiations with America Online for a possible buyout.

Saudi Prince Takes A Bite Of Apple
First Larry Ellison, now a prince. Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, one of the world's wealthiest men, has purchased more than 5 percent of Apple. The shares were purchased in several blocks over the last few weeks, and the total investment is in the range of $115 million. The San Jose Mercury News has the entire story on this rather strange set of events.

Kawasaki On The HotSeat
Guy Kawasaki was recently on John McChesney's HotSeat. The 30-minute RealAudio interview discusses numerous topics although Guy seemed to want to stick to his theory about the press trying to form some sort of conspiracy against Apple Computer. Bad press could undoubtably cause fewer Macintosh's to be sold, but many doubt that they are the ones causing Apple to lose $100+ million each quarter.

A Macworld Daily News article has the scoop on the latest happenings with the newest PowerPC chip. Discussed under the code-names Arthur and G3, Motorola and IBM have officially christened this chip with the PowerPC 750 moniker. The 750, which will show up by midyear, will start at 250MHz and grow faster over time and it will outperform the 604e in most tasks, although engineering and 3-D calculations won't be one them.

Kaidan, Inc. recently announced KiWi, an affordable panoramic VR tripod head that brings digital photographic panoramas to an even wider audience. KiWi supports a wide range of digital and conventional cameras, such as the Kodak DC50, Apple QuickTake 100/150/200, APS film cameras, up to 35mm SLR cameras equipped with 15mm lenses. KiWi will be available on April 30th for $99.95

Nando.net has a review of the eMate 300 taken from The Sacramento Bee. The reviewer seems to generally like the product, although some of his later comments are wonderfully suspicious. For instance, he questions that "its small size and high value could make it a very attractive item for thieves." I guess he ignores that any piece of high-tech hardware is susceptible to this, and he instead labels it as an eMate flaw.

Another round of Eudora 3.1 final candidate releases are available. Version 3.1fc38 expires on May 1st and is available for download from Qualcomm's FTP site.

Tuesday, April 1st
New MRJ Release Adds 68K Support
MacOS Runtime for Java 1.0.1 is now available. This new version adds support for 68030 and 68040 processors, yet it seems that no other new features have been added. We will still have to wait until the forthcoming, and often-delayed, version 1.5 for important features like the JIT-compiler. Download the latest version from this link. Also, according to the MRJ homepage, the 1.0.1 SDK should be available later this week.

Iomega's Zip Prices Takes A Dive
Iomega has cut the price of its Zip Drive. Effective April 1st, the price will be $149, down one-quarter from its original $199 price tag. The price reduction applies to Iomega branded external SCSI and parallel Zip drives and Iomega's internal SCSI Zip drive which includes a Zip Zoom SCSI card. More information is available from the Iomega press release.

Mac Observer contributing editor, Oliver Dueck, has added PowerPricing to his excellent Buying A Mac site. This new section is a PowerBook pricing guide that tracks the latest price tags of the 1400 and 3400 line from a list of nine vendors. An absolute must-see site for anyone in the market for a new PowerBook.

Analog, the Macintosh port of the popular Web server log analyzer, has a new update available. Version 2.1.1a adds support for Dutch/Flemish and NetPresenz 4.1 and fixes some problems with the NetPresenz log parser. Download from the Analog homepage.

Symantec announced yesterday that Apple will be bundling Norton Utilities 3.2 on its new Small Business Macintosh 6500/250 and 4400/200 models. Both systems are expected to be released this month, and will also include Microsoft Office.

An Apple press release announces the availability of Newton Toolkit for Windows 1.6, an object-oriented development tool that enables Windows programmers to develop software for Newton OS-based mobile computers, including the new MessagePad 2000.

BoxTop Software's GIFmation 2.0 is now available in a new public alpha. GIFmation is a second generation GIF animation tool that is extremely easy to use yet offers powerful features. Download 2.0 Alpha 3 from the GIFmation homepage. And be sure to check out Bryan Chaffin's preview of the first alpha.

Macromedia has a new version of Flash 2.0, their content creation tool that creates small Shockwave animations. No release notes are currently available, but both 68K and PowerPC versions are on Macromedia's FTP site.

Digital Semiconducter continues to up the ante in the microprocessor wars with a new 600-MHz version of its Alpha 21164 processor. Workstations using this chip are expected to be introduced soon. InfoWorld has the full story.