|March, 1997 Archive
Saturday, March 29th
Exponential Slows Down
According to a MacWEEK article, the PowerPC X704 processor from Exponential Technology will not be as fast out of the gate as previously thought. While the 400 and 450 MHz will be the fastest desktops chips on the market when they are released next quarter, the much touted 500-plus-MHz versions won't be shipping until the third quarter. Even when these chips hit, their prices will be as eye-popping as their speed; the first generation X704 chips are expected to clock in at about $1,000.
Apple's online registration site for May's Worldwide Developers Conference has descriptions for each of the different conference tracks. Most interesting is the following bit of info under the Rhapsody track:
"While the Rhapsody Developer Release scheduled for mid year will not be available at the conference, the technical sessions and demonstrations will clearly demonstrate the significant strides that have been made."
Those of you are looking to transfer your Cyberdog notebooks into standard HTML or text should take a look at the new NotebookExport Service for Cyberdog. This service exports your notebook into a format that is usable with Internet Explorer or Netscape, and this will surely be a time saver for anyone making the switch from Cyberdog. If your in this boat, be sure to download this handy tool.
Rockstar Studios' new PPP Menu 2.0 (formerly entitled FreePPP Menu) adds OT/PPP and FreePPP 2.6 Alpha 3 support along with some other minor modifications. Download the latest version from this FTP link.
Friday, March 28th
New ActiveX SDK Beta
Microsoft has released a new version of their ActiveX software development kit (SDK) for the Macintosh. The new beta 3 version includes bug fixes and other improvements, and it requires the newly released Internet Explorer 3.01b1. As far as the actual ActiveX plug-in goes; the minimum installer for IE 3.01b1 includes the latest version, so if you're only interested in this, don't bother downloading the entire SDK, which weighs in at nearly 11MB's. Download the kit from Microsoft's SDK download page. (Thanks, Steve Roussey)
Nisus Writer And OpenDoc 1.2
As it has been widely reported, Nisus Writer 5.0 is not compatible with the newly released OpenDoc 1.2. The problem is that the programming library (Open Content) Nisus uses for its container capabilities is not compatible with 1.2. And because Open Content will see no further updates, the problem can only be remedied if Nisus is to fix the problem themselves; a process which could take many months. Check Nisus' Writer 5 News page for more information.
Mac Observer Server Problems
The staff here at The Mac Observer would like to apologize for the problems we had with the server throughout the day yesterday. It seems anytime we approach a holiday (many of you can remember St. Patrick's Day), the server running The Mac Observer decides to take a break. In any event, we know that it's extremely frustrating, and you can be sure that all our efforts are going into fixing this problem to make sure it doesn't happen again.
And on another update note: For those of you who have been inquiring about our holiday updating schedule; we will be taking Easter Sunday off, but our normal updates will resume on Monday morning.
CNET's GAMECENTER.COM has an in-depth preview of Bungie Software's upcoming Windows 95 and Macintosh stratigical blood-fest game, Myth. This top-down tactical combat game is a departure for Bungie, especially considering all of their previous titles have been of the Doom-esque variety. Myth, due out "sometime in 1997", is shaping up to be quite a wiiner.
USA Today is reporting that Netscape is in some sort of negotiations (and has been for weeks) with Be to provide companies with an alternative platform to Windows NT. A decision is likely in weeks, although the article states that Netscape isn't expected to buy a stake in the company.
Aladdin Systems has posted an update to its file management utility, Spring Cleaning. There are currently no release notes posted about version 1.0.1, nor are there any signs of what's new in the includes README file. Download this update from Aladdin's FTP site.
Extensis' new Vector Tools 2.0 (formerly called Draw Tools) add-on for FreeHand and Illustrator is now available. Download the FreeHand version here, and the Illustrator version here.
We've got reports that a new beta of Panic's Verso software and news updating tool will be available in the next two weeks. Changes include support for 68K machines and a new interface.
Thursday, March 27th
Ellison Goes After The Apple
Based on an interview with Oracle's Larry Ellison, the San Jose Mercury News is reporting that Ellison is considering a $1 billion take over of Apple. Ellison is currently forming an investor group and will decide soon whether to bid more than $1 billion for control of the company, and if he does in fact gain control, Ellison will supposedly dispose of the entire board of directors and top executives. An Ellison controlled Apple would probably see Ellison's best friend, Steve Jobs, at the CEO helm.
Q2 Losses Will Be Big, But...
A Macworld Daily News article reports that a consensus of estimates from a group of 25 analysts, collected by First Call, puts Apple's second-quarter loses at $2.01 a share, or roughly $250 million, which includes a one time restructuring charge. A third-quarter loss is also expected, but like Apple's CFO, Fred Anderson, has been predicting, the company's Q4 results should put the company in the black. The First Call consensus for Q4 is a profit of $0.07 a share, or roughly $8.7 million.
PowerBook 1400 Price Drop
According to a TechWeb article, Apple plans on cutting prices on its PowerBook 1400 notebook line, which was introduced last October. Cuts are expected to take effect on April 5th, and the minimum advertised prices are anticipated to drop by between $300 and $500. The entry level 1400cs (with dual-scan display and no CD-ROM drive) will be marked down to $2,199 and the high end 1400c/133 will clock in at $3,499.
ATI Technologies has released an updated driver for its XCLAIM VR video card. Version 2.01 fixes 7200 sound corruption, conflicts with Adobe Type Manager and transparent image problems. Download the update from ATI's Website.
Wednesday, March 26th
The Final Round For OpenDoc?
Apple has released OpenDoc 1.2, which presumably, will the last major revision the technology will see on the MacOS platform. Major speed and memory improvements have been introduced as has a feature that allows you to start the OpenDoc runtime at startup. This allows OpenDoc applications to launch in roughly half the amount of time. Also, this version finally handles icons properly in the application menu and it also adds a stationery folder in the Apple Menu. Apple's OpenDoc FTP site has 1.2 available for download.
Digital Harbor Rides The Java WAV
Digital Harbor's popular OpenDoc word processor, WAV, is on its way to a Java transformation. With OpenDoc not exactly having a bright future on the MacOS platform, Digital Harbor will be focusing all their efforts on bringing new developments and major enhancements to what is being dubbed, Java-WAV. Owners of the original WAV will receive a free upgrade when the Java version is released later this year. Check out DH's homepage for further information.
Three Days Of Riven
CNET's GAMECENTER.COM is having a three day marathon preview of the much anticipated sequel to Myst, Riven. In-depth discussions with Rand and Robyn Miller about the detailed story line and immersion factor are some of the more interesting things disclosed. But the fact that the actual game engine will remain pretty much the same will surely disappoint a few individuals.
Duke And Quake Are Coming... Slowly
Inside Mac Game's Website is the definitive place for every Mac gamer who's looking for the latest information. IMG today reveals the tentative release dates for MacPlay's much anticipated lineup of upcoming games. The PC ports of Duke Nukem 3D and Quake continue to move along, but they are, unfortunately, doing so at a snails pace. Duke is scheduled to be released around June 1st, and Quake's slated date isn't until July 15th (nearly one entire year about the original PC release). On the positive side; Next Generation Online is reporting that a Quake demo will be release sometime in April.
Kantara Internet Search Service 1.1 is now available in demo and full versions. KISS allows users to utilize over one dozen Internet search engines directly within Cyberdog. New in 1.1 is the ability to search multiple engines at once. Hop on over to the KISS homepage for download information.
Mac Observer staffer, Bob Stewart, received the following message from a Progressive Network employee when inquiring about a version of RealPlayer 4.0 for 68K machines:
"Sorry for misunderstanding your initial question. We have no plans to develop our software (RealPlayer 4.0) for the Mac 68K variety; your system must have at least Power PC capability."
ClearWay Technologies today announced 'ClearWay Simple Cache Manager', a free WebSTAR plug-in which automatically refreshes Web server RAM caches using a simple set of configurable rules. The PowerPC version is available now from the CSCM homepage, and a FAT version is expected by April 15th.
A new beta of Fog City's mailing list manager, LetterRip, is now available. Version 1.1b5 offers an improved SMTP mail server that prioritizes mail delivery, although debugging code still remains. Download this version from the LetterRip beta homepage.
UserLand's new Frontier 4.2.2 update adds support for the new get-source hook in Internet Explorer 3.0.1b1. This hook provides the ability to design Web-based distrubution models that embed software and data. The new concept is called Fat Web Pages, and you can see examples of this in action at the Fat Web Pages and Frontier site.
MacSense has a photo of the upcoming Power Macintosh 6500. The 5500 and 6500 line will not only be the replacement for the consumer Performa brand, but also for education systems. Some higher education outlets are already receiving machines, as we've gotten a report that the Stanford bookstore is offering both the 6500/225 32/2GB/12X/ZIP and the 6500/250 32/3GB/12X/ZIP/Video In/Out for $1810 and $2110 respectively.
Dragon Systems, Inc. has developed and ported their high performance speech recognition toolkit to run on the new MessagePad 2000. The software sports a wide range of features and interesting technologies (check out a Yahoo! news story for more info), and this all can be pulled off due to the MP2K's StrongARM CPU, which supposedly runs equivalent to a Pentium 133.
InfoWorld Electric has an interesting little news tidbit. During Bill Gates' upcoming keynote speech at the Software Development '97 conference, he will be promoting Microsoft's Java and distributed component strategy as well as outlining plans to support Apple's newly acquired WebObjects technology.
Tuesday, March 25th
Internet Explorer 3.0.1 Beta
PC Expo Not Only For PC's
This summer's PC Expo will have a nice little addition for Macintosh attendees; Mac OS Expo. The exhibit area, which is going to be supported by Apple, IBM and Motorola, is expected to be a significant part of the show, in size at least. In addition to Mac developers now having the chance to show off their products, Apple's Ellen Hancock will give Mac OS Expo its own keynote speech. Yahoo! News has the full story.
Bares Bones Software has released an updater that brings BBEdit 4.0.X to 4.0.4. Their homepage doesn't yet reflect the new version, but CNET's DOWNLOAD.COM has it available for download.
Cyberdog 2.0 Beta 2 is now available for 68K users. Download the latest version from this link. And one more Cyberdog-related item; release notes for this newest beta have also been made available.
River Run Software announced today availability of their LAN-base email client, Mail on the Run!, for the MessagePad 2000. Mail on the Run provides access to email servers running cc:mail, Lotus Notes and Microsoft Mail and is available for $89.
Highland Software has an evaluation version of FileCrypt available. This extension, which is compatible with PGP, gives you access to encryption in all applications. Download from the FileCrypt homepage.
Marimba has a new alpha version (1.0a7) of their Castanet Tuner available for download via their FTP site. If the PC and Solaris beta programs are any indication, expect a steady stream of Castanet updates throughout the next couple of months, until the final release of 1.0. But because of the Tuner technology, you shouldn't have to download new versions every time one is made available; your Tuner should be updating itself.
MacInTouch spotted a new server update: Sonic Systems, makers of a wide range of Macintosh server solutions, has a beta of their DNS server, SonicDNS, available for download.
Monday, March 24th
Mac Observer Hounds Wanted!
The Mac Observer staff is expanding, and if you're the type of Internet scavenger who searches for all the latest information about new software releases or new products, you'll be a perfect fit. We are currently looking for ten 'Mac Observer Hounds' who will be an elite group of news hounds that are always on the lookout for the latest information. (All positions have been filled; the staff here at The Mac Observer would like to thank everyone for their interest!)
The World of Avalia Gets An Update
A new beta of the online Macintosh RPG game, The World of Avalia: Velsaga, is now available. This newest beta dramatically improves game play speed as well as streamlining the TCP/IP play aspect of the game. The development team at Locnar Inc. are hoping to bring Avalia to stores shelves this summer and are currently in negotiations with several distributors. And down the road, there will be a full-blown multimedia addition to the title for its 3D beta along with native mode PowerPC support. In the meantime, hop on over to the Avalia homepage to download the latest free beta.
The early reports from users of the MessagePad 2000 are very encouraging. Praise for its sheer speed, improved handwriting recognition and enhanced screen resolution are the typical things we've been hearing. If you're in the market from one of these beauties, be sure to check out NewtUser's in-depth review.
Speaking of the Newton; in this morning's Wall Street Journal, the first MessagePad 2000-specific ad can be found on page B7 in the MarketPlace section. The ad fills nearly the entire page and it displays the MP2K and its keyboard being surrounded by a list of its advantages. An HTML version of the ad is available on Apple's Newton homepage.
Terry Morse Software has released a new version of Myrmidon, their Web tool that turns any Macintosh file into an HTML document. Version 1.2 adds new HTML conversion features and improved graphics conversion. Both a demo and an updater for current owners are available from the Terry Morse homepage.
NEWS.COM is reporting that Microsoft has sent an open letter to the OpenDoc community inviting developers to join its independent software vendor, presumably to further advance its group of ActiveX developers.
The developers of the newest Macintosh FTP client on the block, NetFinder, continue their impressive pace with adding new features and fixes bugs. The latest version, 1.1, fixes nearly ten bugs and includes new features such as; upload and download permissions, many new preferences, display of more info in the Kinds field and much more. Check out the version history file for more information on what's new, and download the latest version from here.
BoxTop Software, makers of the popular PhotoGIF 2.1 Photoshop plug-in, are currently working on their next graphics tool, GIFmation. The alpha version the staff here at The Mac Observer got to play around with is very impressive, and be sure to look for a full preview tomorrow afternoon or evening.
O'Grady's PowerPage has an exclusive snapshot of the German version of the PowerBook 3400 (shown at the CeBIT Expo last week) which is decked out with an eye catching white keyboard.
Saturday, March 22nd
Cyberdog Still Running
Despite the significant cuts to the Cyberdog team (an Apple source has indicated that half the team has been laid off), the remaining members have mustered together a new beta of Cyberdog 2.0. Apple's Cyberdog homepage doesn't yet have the release notes, but version 2.0b2 seems to offer yet more speed and stability improvements over the already solid 2.0b1. This is sure to be one of the last public betas, as there seems to be just a few loose ends to tie up before the final 2.0 version is ready to go. Download both the PowerPC version from the download page. (According to Apple, the 68K version will be ready on Monday.)
Name That Bare Bones Email Client
As they say, Bare Bones Software is going postal with a fully featured email program, codenamed 'Bluto'. This client has an impressive feature set, but what it doesn't have is a name. Though many people would like to see the 'Bluto' name stick (it would be neat too, since afterall, just how many codenames actually end up being the product's actual moniker?), nothing is set in stone quite yet. Bare Bones is now taking public suggestions for the name, and you can offer up your own ideas by hopping over to their 'Name Our Email Client' page.
Qualcomm has another 3.1 final candidate updater for Eudora Pro 3.0 publically available. Download 3.1fc37 from here. Release notes are also available.
Friday, March 21st
Hotline Dials Up Another Beta
Hotline, the new Internet and Intranet communication tool that combines new protocols for chat, file transfer and news is now available in a new beta. Version 1.1b21 adds over twenty new features including; a new get info button for files, InternetConfig support, new access privileges, drag and drop uploading, and much more. Download both the client and server (68K and PowerPC versions) from this link.
The Adrenaline Is Still Pumping
Thanks go out to Kenneth Trueman, director of sales and marketing at Adrenaline Software, for keeping us up-to-date on the latest happenings with his company. Despite Apple's freezing of OpenDoc and Cyberdog, Adrenaline is going forward with their release of Adrenaline Numbers & Charts. Kenneth said that they put the final touches on the duo last Friday and it's now off to the duplicators this week. Boxes and manual are being manufactured too (which isn't a normal thing in the OpenDoc world) and the combo should be available the second week of April.
Marimba Bangs Out An Alpha Of Bongo
Marimba's Bongo software toolkit is now available in early demo form for the Macintosh. Download this, presumably early alpha, demo from here. Bongo is a visual interface builder that allows for rapid development of user interfaces for Java applications and Castanet channels. Much like Castanet, Bongo has been out for several months in final form on Win95/NT and Solaris platforms, but it's good to see Marimba making their products truly cross-platform.
A quote in the San Fransico Examiner last week from Adobe's CEO, John Warnock, that had him saying, "Adobe is not interested in rewriting its applications for the Yellow Box (of Rhapsody)... There needs to be a middle ground.", was apparently taken out of context, according to Warnock himself in a MacWEEK article.
NEWS.COM is reporting that Power Computing is considering building PC's using Intel processors, possibly through the introduction of a subsidiary division under a different name.
Lismore Software Systems is working on a PC emulator for PowerPC based Macintosh's. Code named 'Blue Label', this emulator seems to be putting a nice feature set together that should compete quite nicely with Insignia's SoftWindows line. As of now, Lismore says that a PowerPC 601/60MHz will yield 386/50MHz performance.
The Macintosh Guy of Portland has unveiled an all new site which now features the MacTip of the Week.
Thursday, March 20th
New ContentServer for Frontier Beta
A new beta of ContentServer for Frontier is now available. Version 1.0b9 fixes one bug in the installer, and the author, Brent Simmons, anticipates this to be the last beta. ContentServer is what made Dave Winer's InternetWorld News Room such a success; it allows for automated system management for sites with numerous authors. Content can be supplied via FTP or by email. Download the latest version from the ContentServer homepage.
New MkLinux Update
MkLinux DR2.1 Update 1 is now available. Apple's Linux server has it available, although you will probably have better luck getting it from one of the FTP mirrors. Enhancements in this update include; initial SCSI tape support, a bug fix in CD audio that could cause filesystem corruption on PCI Macs, the ability to boot on machines with more than about 90MB RAM and messages from the Mach microkernel should no longer clutter the console screen.
Interesting id Software Tidbits
Though not our typical content; we have quite a few game fans on the staff so: There is always some interesting things id Software's John Carmack reveals on his finger .plan file (which is accessible through a simple finger of [email protected]), and Tuesday's posting is no different. He goes through all of the current operating systems and gives his honest opinions (don't read it if you don't like reading bad stuff about the MacOS), but what is most interesting is Carmack's final comments:
"If Apple does the right thing with Rhapsody, I will be behind them as much as I can. NeXTstep needs a couple things to support games properly (video mode changing and low level sound access). If Apple/NeXT will provide them, I will personally port our current win32 products over.
If I can convince Apple to do a good hardware accelerated OpenGL in Rhapsody, I would be very likely to give my WinNT machine the cold shoulder and do future development on Rhapsody. (I really don't need QuickDraw3D evangelists preaching to me right now, thank you)"
Basically, support from id for Rhapsody is a good thing. Though Carmack is known to very difficult to work with, Apple is in a position to have the best game development house in its corner. (Interesting side note: For those of you who don't know; both Doom and Quake were developed under NeXTstep. Carmack abandoned NeXTstep in favor of NT right after Quake shipped, for various reasons, OpenGL being the big one.)
PointCast Download Update
The fine folks over at PointCast asked us to remove the FTP link we had to the latest beta of their Macintosh client software. Because the beta points to a test broadcast facility with a limit of 10,000 viewers, traffic could become a problem when the company sends out information about the latest beta to a mailing list of 7,000 beta testers. Instead, to obtain the latest version, simply email PointCast and after they get your request, they'll add you to the official beta list and will email you the URL and passwords to get the latest version.
Our friends over at MacCentral are reporting that they spoke with Claris this morning and that the final version of Claris Emailer 2.0 should become available on April 7th. The estimated retail price will be $49.95, and it will be available for online purchase.
Qualcomm continues its stream of final candidate versions of the 3.1 updater to Eudora Pro. Download the 3.1fc34 (just how high will it go?) updater from here.
Wednesday, March 19th
Hutchings Software Goes After ODF
The Mac Observer has acquired a document that Hutchings Software, makers of the Rapid-I Button Live Object, sent out to the ODF development community (ODF is the development framework used for OpenDoc). Hutchings is requesting control of the future of ODF from Apple so that not only enhancements and bug fixes can be made, but also they want to keep ODF a viable solution for at least the next year. If OpenDoc developers want to sustain the possibility of making further revenues in the future and continue developing OpenDoc parts, it is necessary for there to be continuation of ODF development.
OrbitPak On The Launchpad
While OpenDoc and Cyberdog won't be making their way to Rhapsody, they still have quite a bit of MacOS life in them, and Apollo Technologies is proving that. Through the help of the members of the Component 100 association, Apollo is readying a collection of OpenDoc components and Macintosh software entitled OrbitPak, which will be released on or about, March 29th. For $99.95, you'll get top notch software from the likes of Corda Technologies, Digital Harbor, MetaMind Software, Hutchings Software, and much more. Hop on over to the OrbitPak homepage for more information!
New PointCast Beta
PointCast has released a new version of its Macintosh client software. See Today's News for information on downloading. According to the included release notes, this beta offers the following new features; password protected Smart Screens, new channel support (CNN, Wired, Health, LA Time, New York Times, Boston Globe, Mercury Center and Miami Herald), automatic updates (no need to download entire client to upgrade) and many performance improvements.
Apple formally announced the 20th Anniversary Macintosh today. This 240-MHz 603e dream machine, complete with a Bose sound system and Italian leather wrist rests, will be priced at $7,500 and will be limited to 12,000 units. Apparently, the only countries receiving the unit will be France, Germany, Japan, United Kingdom, and the United States. NEWS.COM has the complete story.
Steve Tannehill's Power Macintosh Resource Page has a copy of Gil Amelio's March letter to Apple Club members that covers the recent restructuring.
MacInTouch is reporting that the sole developer of Apple's QuickTime Netscape Plug-In, Jason Rusoff, has apparently been laid off. If the vaunted QuickTime Media Layer is such an integral part of the new Apple going forward, wouldn't you think that would include its only significant ties to the Internet? (It should be noted: For some unknown reason, MacInTouch has taken down this information)
Tuesday, March 18th
More On The MessagePad
The person who reported to MacInTouch with his initial MessagePad 2000 gripes has sent Ric a correction. Apparently, graphics can be viewed in the Nethopper 3.0 browser, but some people are reporting that after, roughly, 700k of images are viewed, the Newton's heap will fill up and your machine will reboot. Like we mentioned yesterday, we would love to hear more reports about this from any new MessagePad 2000 owners. Email us!
Aladdin Systems today released an upgrade to their Internet bookmark manager, CyberFinder. Version 2.1.1 now seamlessly supports Microsoft Internet Explorer as well as Netscape Navigator and it also allows users to gather bookmarks from any HTML file and convert them into CyberFinder bookmarks while leaving the original HTML file untouched. Users of CyberFinder 2.0 or 2.1 can download the free update here, and there is also a trialware version available.
VersionTracker has the scoop on a new version of WebPainter from TotallyHip Software. WebPainter 2.0 is a significant upgrade to the already impressive initial release. Changes in this version include; improved user interface, new GIF playback settings, improved user manual, enhanced tutorials, and much more! Download 2.0b14 from the beta download homepage.
Monday, March 17th
Unlucky St. Patrick's Day
The luck of the Irish wasn't with the Mac Observer staff late last evening and throughout the entire afternoon today. We had a wide range of server problems that hindered anyone from accessing the site, and we apologize for any frustration this might have caused. It certainly caused enough frustration on this end. We're terribly sorry for the inconvenience!
MessagePad 2000 Problems
MacInTouch has the scoop on an apparent limitation with the newly released MessagePad 2000. It seems that Apple neglected to upgrade the amount of DRAM (which is the Newton's amount of heap; ie. memory space to run applications) in the 2000, and though the include Web browser, Nethopper 3.0, can view grayscale images, if you run out of heap, you'll MessagePad will reset. While the MessagePad was never intended to be a fully fledged Web browser, this situation presents a glaring problem, especially since Apple is promoting the MP2000 as a handheld Internet access device. We would love to hear more about this situation from any new MP2000 owners.
First reported by the fine folks over at Inside Mac Games; Locnar Inc. brings the first multiplayer, graphical role playing game for the Macintosh. Entitled "The World of Avalia: Velsaga", this RPG offers a totally modular and organic gaming system that is playable over the Internet and AppleTalk networks, and is in many ways similiar to the forthcoming online experience from Origin, Ultima Online. This interesting title is now in public beta, and can be download from the Avalia homepage.
Microsoft has posted a fix for the Java security problem within Internet Explorer 3.0. Sun recently discovered a major security hole in Java that allows an applet to turn off all security safeguards, providing full access to the native file systems and other critical machine resources. If you're using IE3.0, be sure to grab the fix.
Although this next bit of info pertains to happenings on the darkside, it is nonetheless interesting. Microsoft's Internet Explorer 4.0 Public Preview is due out on the PC within the next couple of weeks, and if hearing about Microsoft's latest moves fancies you, be sure to check out CNET's in-depth preview. Ex-Apple Newton designer, Steve Capps, surely has some interesting ideas brewing out in Redmond!
Sunday, March 16th
Analog 2.1.1 keeps this popular Macintosh Web log analyzer in step with the UNIX version. Language support has also been rewritten to use separate language files, with the configuration command, LANGFILE. Also, Analog now reports the page requests per day in the output file. Download 2.1.1 from the Analog homepage.
LetterRip, the Macintosh mailing list server from Fog City Software, has a new beta available. Version 1.1b4 further improves performance although this beta still has debugging code and always generates files called leak logs. Fog City recommends only using the update if your comfortable running pre-release software. Download this update from the LetterRip download page.
Friday, March 14th
De Luca Clarifies Licensee Situation
Speculation and rumors on Apple's future license fee plans ran rampant when they decided on calling 'Tempo' MacOS 8. But during today's restructuring conference call, Guerrino De Luca clarified what Apple intends to do. Currently, clone vendors have to pay Apple two sorts of fees; one for the MacOS license, and one for the hardware license. With the introduction of CHRP hardware (and a CHRP-compliant version of MacOS 8), clone vendors would no longer have to license the Apple developed hardware. This would cut Apple's license revenues in half, and thus, Apple plans on negotiating a deal where the cloners have to pay more for the software license. Furthermore, De Luca strongly stated that Apple has every intent on licensing Rhapsody to their family of clone vendors.
Apple's Official Restructuring Plans
As promised, Gil Amelio made significant changes to the company with the introduction of Apple's newest restructuring plan. On the job front, 4,100 total (this includes both full and part time) employees will be laid off. Employees won't know if their on the 'hit' list until next Tuesday, however. The operating system strategy altered a bit also; MacOS 8 is still on schedule for July, but instead of two MacOS releases in 1998 (Allegro and Sonata were planned), Allegro will be the only major release, although two 'updates' will be made between Tempo and Allegro.
The following technologies that will not be advanced beyond Allegro include; OpenDoc, Cyberdog, Open Transport, Game Sprockets, QuickDraw GX, Apple Video Conference Software and the AIX servers. Apparently, because of the rave reviews of the eMate 300 and MessagePad 2000, the Newton will be maintained, although Guerrino De Luca did mention that Apple will explore a wide range of options. Apple's restructuring press release outlines everything, and the technology FAQ answers some questions in depth.
OpenDoc & Cyberdog Survive, Sort Of
The Mac Observer and The Cyberdog Pound have learned what the future holds for OpenDoc and Cyberdog. This information will be laid out during the restructuring plan, due to be announced in the next few minutes. Quite simply, OpenDoc and Cyberdog will be a part of both Tempo and Allegro, but they will not be ported to the Rhapsody Yellow Box. Instead, Apple will use the OpenStep API's and Java as their component software technology going forward. More on this and the entire restructuring plan as it develops!
The Apple Shrinks Today
Later this afternoon (specifically 4:30PM/EST), Gil Amelio will announce Apple's much anticipated restructuring plan. The company is expected to drop many products and technologies that have been non-profitable in the past, and the size of the company is expected to be decreased by one-third. We won't know, officially, what products and technologies are on the 'hit' list until the plan is announced, but OpenDoc, Newton, Pippin, AppleScript are always rumored to be on that list. Interestingly, although Apple should be announcing the exact number of layoffs today, Apple employees won't know if their staying or not until next Tuesday.
Shockwave Shocks Your Email
MacInTouch first reported on a Shockwave security problem that, apparently, gives Shockwave sites the ability to read your email. If the sites 'guesses' the correct location of your mail files, all of your email is susceptible. Because of their default mail folder locations, Netscape and Eudora are prime targets on the Macintosh, but according to Claris' Jud Spencer, Emailer is not:
"I just wanted to let people know that Emailer 2.0 is not vulnerable to this sort of thing. Emailer 2.0 stores its mail in a database not individual text files. Emailer 1.0 stores individual mail messages as text files but it does not store them at any easily guessed pathname."
Internet Explorer 4.0 Mac News
Though PC users are probably growing more antsy with each delay of Internet Explorer 4.0, NEWS.COM uncovered information that should make Macintosh users happy. Microsoft is saying that the Macintosh and Windows 3.1 versions of IE 4.0 will ship within 90 days of the Windows 95 release, a significantly faster turnaround than the 3.0 port. And although Microsoft won't take on the dubious task of integrating one of their products into the MacOS, IE 4.0 for the Mac will be able to receive 'pushed' information channels from Internet broadcasters.
Be has released an update to the PowerMac version of the BeOS. The first version (DR8.2) is set to expire on April 1st, and it also doesn't include PPP dial-up support. The new upgrade (DR8.3) fixes both problems, and it also provides true multi-processor support for those of you who are lucky enough to have a dual processor Macintosh. Check out the BeOS 8.3 Update page for information on downloading and installing the update.
Thursday, March 13th
New Online Gaming Service
Inside Mac Games reports that Adventure Gaming Online's upcoming online gaming, Gameworld, will support for the Macintosh. Because the environment will be built using Java, any browser that is Java-enabled will be able to use the service. Gameworld, however, will be providing their own custom role-playing and strategy games; they won't be using popular commercial games like WarCraft II or Command and Conquer. Services which support games like these, (TEN, Mpath, etc.) still find it necessary to ignore the Macintosh.
Inferno Fizzles On The Mac
The development kit of Lucent Technologies new network operating system, Inferno, is now available, but not for Macintosh users. The programming environment that Lucent is dubbing as a 'Java Killer', will put forth the same concept of 'develop once, run anywhere', but as of now, the development kit and the actual operating runtime system are only available on Windows95/NT and UNIX systems. For more information, check out the Inferno homepage.
RubberFlex Software has a new animation program and Netscape plug-in that allows creation of 'rubbery animations' for the Web. Using RubberFlex's AnimaFlex technology, interesting little animations that have extremely small file sizes can be created. The demo of RubberWeb 1.0 is available for download as is the Netscape plug-in.
First spotted by the folks over at MacSurfer's Headline News, PC Week Radio has yesterday's InternetWorld keynote speech by Gil Amelio. Click here to listen, but please realize that this is a RealAudio file, so you must have some version of RealAudio installed.
Wednesday, March 12th
Roadmap For WebObjects
Apple today announced at InternetWorld the 1997 roadmap for WebObjects, the Web development platform it acquired from NeXT that allows developers to rapidly create dynamic Web applications while enabling access to existing corporate data. Apple plans to release WebObjects 3.1, which will fully integrated server-side Java capabilities, this spring. And then this summer, version 3.5 will arrive with major ease-of-use enhancements, and best of all, support for the developer's release of Rhapsody. And finally, WebObjects 4.0 will be released next winter and will further advance the Java capabilities, ease-of-use and integration with market-leading products.
GoLive Goes Live With CyberStudio
GoLive Systems, makers of the Macintosh HTML tool, GoLive Pro, have released their latest Web creation tool for public beta testing. CyberStudio, much like NetObjects' popular FUSION product, gives users a desktop-publishing-like interface to do their Web work and this allows nearly anyone, regardless of their knowledge of HTML, the chance to create attractive Web pages. CyberStudio supports Apple's MCF format, and it also includes many site management capabilities. Signup for the beta test here.
The search engine that has gone by the name of 'V-Twin' for the past couple of years, finally has its own identity: Apple Information Access Toolkit 1.0. AIAT was announced at InternetWorld today and is available now to developers and will be licensed as an SDK.
Gil Amelio had center stage at InternetWorld today, and during his keynote address, he highlighted Apple's Internet/intranet strategy for the coming months. Check out the press release for the full details. Interestingly, Amelio seemed to not have discussed client-side Internet access tools at all. Publishing and content creation is where is mainly focused.
Fetch 3.0.3 is now available and it includes a bug fix in the View File command. Apparently, in 3.0.2, the first character and some subsequent characters were not being displayed properly. To aid in distrubution, The Macintosh Resource Page is mirroring this newest release.
Keeping with the updates to Macintosh FTP clients; Version Tracker is reporting that the newest Mac FTP client, NetFinder has a new update available. Version 1.0.2 fixes no fewer than ten bugs, so if you're using NetFinder, be sure to download this latest update.
Tuesday, March 11th
A MacWeek article by Adam Engst discusses the security issues of running a Macintosh based Internet server. While no one has ever hacked a Macintosh Web server, this is no reason to ignore taking precautions when setting up your server. After all, no reputation is going to protect an improperly configured setup. The Mac Observer's Jon Bodner looks at this issue along with Apple's server presence in his latest perspective column.
MacInTouch reports that AppleShare IP 5.0 Beta 3 is now available. New in the beta includes performance and reliability improvements and support for a print server, although it should be noted that the print server is not yet included. See the AppleShare IP homepage for information on downloading.
The InternetWorld News Room has the scoop on a deal between StarNine and Pensee in which StarNine will announce that they have acquired the marketing rights to Pensee's WebCollage. For those of you unfamiliar with the product, WebCollage is a new Web tool that automatically builds dynamic, changeable graphics. Be sure to check out the WebCollage homepage for more information about this hot product.
The popular Internet bookmark utility, URL Manager from Alco Blom, has a new public beta available. This new beta offers many new features and enhancements including revised shared menus, shared menus with Emailer 2.0 and BBEdit 4.0, a new Email button launcher and much more. Download the latest version here, and be sure to check out the release notes.
Monday, March 10th
Virtual Reality From OLiVR
OLiVR (online interactive virtual reality) is a new media technology and a set of viewing tools that allows for streaming virtual reality movies. The Macintosh Netscape plug-in that allows you to view OLiVR scenes is now available in alpha, although the hefty hardware requirements (the installation instructions suggest giving Netscape 32MB's of RAM!) will limit many of us from downloading. Download the plug-in here, and be sure to check out the FAQ. (On a related note: Apple has licensed the OLiVR streaming technology for use in the upcoming QuickTime VR 2.0.)
InternetWorld News Room
UserLand's Dave Winer is heading up the Webmaster duties of Apple's InternetWorld Web presence, and he is promising to provide quite a show of his own. Through the use of Frontier and the new ContentServer suite, Winer has constructed a News Room (which will cover all the latest happenings at InternetWorld) that allows content to be provided from anyone, anywhere. Be sure to bookmark the News Room page as there are sure to be some mighty interesting things taking place over there throughout the week.
If you're not into the WYSIWYG way of creating Web pages, there are few text editor alternatives on the Macintosh, and though BBEdit is the most popular, it isn't the only option. Pete Keleher's Alpha, like BBEdit started out as a programming tool, but with the addition of HTML Mode, Alpha becomes a fully featured Web editing tool. See the Alpha homepage for more information.
Thanks to Mark Hurst for sending information about his Creative Good site. Each day, Mark writes a column, geared toward non-techies, explaining a different aspect or feature of the Internet.
If you're looking to boost the amount of memory in your aging PowerBook or your hot new 1400 or 3400, The Powerbook Memory Source homepage from Bryan Goldstein is a great place to get all the latest PowerBook memory prices.
Saturday, March 8th
CFM-68K Finally Get Its Fix
The software enabler that hindered 68K users from using many popular applications, including America Online 3.0, Cyberdog, Internet Explorer 3.0, etc., is now finally 'fixed' and ready for download. Apple states that all known problems are now fixed, and for those of you wondering when this version will be rolled into the system software; supposedly 7.6.1, due in late March, will include it.
Microsoft IE Security Issues
First reported by MacInTouch, Microsoft has posted a security note which states that the Macintosh version of Internet Explorer 3.0 is susceptible to the recent revelations of yet another Java bug. Windows users don't have to worry about this problem (due to the fact that Microsoft doesn't use Sun's technology for the PC Java VM), but the ActiveX issues which were recently discovered should have PC users very worried. (For those who didn't hear; students at MIT found a security hole in the PC version of IE that allows Web sites to run local applications. Thus, with the proper settings, IE could, in effect, run deltree.exe and format your entire hard drive.)
A new FTP client has appeared on the Macintosh. NetFinder 1.0.1, developed by Peter Li and Vincent Tan, sports a spiffy Finder-like interface, resuming downloads, drag and drop throughout, and a host of other nice features. Download at the NetFinder homepage.
Friday, March 7th
Internet World News
MacWEEK has an article describing some products that will be showcased at next week's Spring Internet World '97 in Los Angeles. Among mentioned; Pointcast will be rolling out the final version of its Macintosh client. Due publically by the end of the month, the client will offer nine new channels including CNN, New York Times, HotWired, TechWeb, etc. along with a major speed boost. Also, UserLand Software will debut Frontier Content Server, a free add-on to their popular Frontier scripting program that allows users to add content to Web sites via FTP or email.
MacInTouch is reporting that Apple's Newton MessagePad 2000 began shipping into its distrubution channels yesterday. This means that we should be seeing this blazing handful of fun hitting Newton outlets by next Friday. Curiously, instead of billing this Newton as just a regular PDA, Apple has been referring to the 2000 as a "handheld Internet computer" in all recent press releases.
For anyone using WebSTAR over a Internet dialup connection, be sure to check out Rick Gies' WebMASTER. This software product that takes care of problems associated with WebSTAR going deaf when a network connection must be reestablished. More information is available on the WebMASTER homepage.
Thursday, March 6th
MRJ 1.5 Due Within Next Two Weeks
Macworld Daily News has the scoop on the latest happenings regarding Apple's Macintosh Java executor, MacOS Runtime for Java. The 1.5 version of MRJ will include a Just In Time (JIT) compiler, which translates Java byte code to the native code of the machine running the compiler, and will be available in public beta within the next week or two. The final version is expected in early April.
A Glimmer of Hope Crushed by the Eight Ball?
According to Computer Intelligence, a publication that tracks computer industry trends and buyer activity, the Mac OS market share grew 11 percent in January, marking its second consecutive month of growth. And over the course of the past year, sales have been up 61.4 percent. The good news is that along with this growth, the market share of Intel machines dropped by 5.1 percent. But the bad news is that the current group of clone vendors only have license agreements for MacOS 7.X, and thus, when Apple announced that Tempo will carry the MacOS 8 moniker, they left the door open to raise the license fees. According to a TechWeb article, the figure being floated around is an increase of anywhere between $100 to $1,100 per system sold.
We would like to point out some small changes that are taking place on The Mac Observer today. We've added a section near the bottom of the page entitled "News from around the Net" which tracks all the latest interesting articles from other sites. And also, you'll probably notice that we have changed our news format a bit. Instead of just offering the longer paragraph length stories we've been doing so far, we'll start to mix things up with shorter length news.
Not necessarily Macintosh related, but it's always interesting to follow the latest Java news: According to NEWS.COM, Sun Microsystems is shipping the 1.0 version of its JavaOS to its licensees. The JavaOS is a operating system designed to power network computer and other devices and is currently running on Sun Sparc and Intel platforms, although a StrongARM version is expected later this year.
For all you MechWarrior 2 fans out there who are envious of the PC crowd's ability to play MechWarrior over network connections, you'll be happy to know that Activision has unveiled NetMech for Macintosh. Hop on over to the NetMech homepage to download this update. Be warned, however; NetMech is a 20MB download.
The 3.1 beta cycle of Eudora appears to be coming to an end; Qualcomm has posted final candidate versions of Eudora Pro and Light. Download the 3.1f30 updaters from the Qualcomm FTP site.
Wednesday, March 5th
Tempo No Longer 7.7
MacWEEK has learned that this summer's upcoming MacOS revision, code named 'Tempo', will not carry the MacOS 7.7 label as previously thought. Instead, Apple will use the mystical MacOS 8 banner, which was previously used for the now defunct Copland project.
Tuesday, March 4th
Fetch Reaches 3.0.2
One of the two most popular Macintosh FTP clients, Fetch, is now available in final 3.0.2 form. The newest version includes a handful of bug fixes, and most importantly, Fetch is the first Mac client to support resuming downloads. It should be noted that feature does not work with all FTP servers; the server must support the REST command.
Public Emailer Beta Gets a New Update
Those of you who were having trouble converting your Emailer 1.X files over to the public beta of Emailer 2.0 will be happy to know that the latest public beta (2.0x52) makes the transition much more forgiving. No release notes are available, and it's quite likely this transition process is the only change since the last public beta.
Macworld's Make It or Break It List
Macworld Daily News has posted an article from Galen Gruman which lays out the likely scenario that will take place from the latest Apple reorganization, due the middle of this month. Gruman predicts that OpenDoc development will be entirely dropped, and from all the reports The Cyberdog Pound has been seeing, we would have to agree. Curiously, Gruman makes no mention (besides a small reference to Java) of one of the most crucial aspects of Apple's future; its Internet development.
Monday, March 3rd
Free MacOS Web Servers
Last week, Microsoft released the full 1.0 version of it's Microsoft Personal Web Server software for the Macintosh. The MPWS is a control panel that allows everyone from beginners to experts the ability to host Web pages. MPWS is clearly not aimed to be a full time Web server solution, and anyone looking for a more powerful freeware product, should definitely check out Chris Hawk's excellent Quid Pro Quo.
Frontier Rides To 4.2.1
Frontier, the extremely popular and powerful software tool that is widely used as a high performance Website creation environment, from UserLand Software has been updated to 4.2.1. There are numerous changes to this release, all which are documented in the release notes.
Marimba Ups Castanet Tuner to Alpha3
Continuing with their promise of bringing their Castanet Tuner software over to the MacOS, Marimba has posted a new alpha version of their client software. There are currently no release notes associated with this new version, and since this is still an alpha release, please use with caution. (MacOS Runtime for Java 1.0 and Internet Config are required to run the Tuner.)
Saturday, March 1st
PowerBook 3400 Watch
Looking to buy the world's fastest portable computer? The PowerBook 3400 is a hot item, and as fast as they are, they've been flying off store shelves even faster. Thankfully, the Power 3400 Watch Page from O'Grady's PowerPage takes care of finding one by allowing vendors to post information on their current stock of 3400's. If your in the market for this speed demon, this is a definite must visit!
Doom and Gloom for Cyberdog
It's one of the few homegrown Internet technologies Apple has, and it's the only Apple branded Internet access tool available. But according to authoritative and reliable sources inside Apple, Cyberdog appears likely to be cut from the lineup when Apple announces it's layoff plans. Hop on over to FriscoSoon's Cyberdog Pound for the latest on every bit of news surrounding this situation.