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May, 1997 Archive

Weekend: May 31st & June 1st
MetaCreations Official -- Casanova Joins
The merger of Fractal Design and MetaTools has been approved by the shareholders of both companies, and the resulting firm, MetaCreations, was officially announced on Thursday afternoon. Meanwhile, the company, which will be traded on the NASDAQ under the symbol 'MCRE', disclosed that Apple's former director of advanced systems group, Frank Casanova, will become vice president of the new creation. A press release has more.

A message from David Krathwohl, Apple's vice president of Developer Relations, on the DevWorld homepage signals the company's intentions of extending support for Rhapsody DR1 beyond just 8500 and 8600 machines:

"Apple's initial commitment to you was that the Rhapsody Developer Release would support Power Macintosh 8500 and 8600 systems. After reviewing this decision with developers at the WWDC and finishing engineering investigations on the impact of supporting additional configurations, we are pleased to announce that the Rhapsody Developer Release will also support Power Macintosh 9500 and 9600 systems which use an Apple-supplied display video card and driver."

The third beta of Locnar Inc.'s World Of Avalia: Velsaga is expected to be released by the end of June. The new version will feature "many new animated graphics, new building graphics, faster TCP/IP play, and many more fixes and revisions to the system to make it run much more stable, and faster as well".

PointCast 2.0 is scheduled to be released Monday for the PC platform. Besides redesigning the client to be much more bandwidth friendly, PointCast has added support for Microsoft's Channel Definition Format (CDF). No timeframes for the Macintosh version have been announced.

Friday, May 30th
New Mac Server Security Challenge
VirTech Communications Inc. of British Columbia announced today a challenge to the hackers of this world -- break into a Macintosh server running Apple Internet Server Solution 2.0 (WebSTAR 1.3.2 plus a variety of other programs) and you'll win $7,500 (US). The perpetrator will have to find their way into the server and then proceed by snatching a fictitious credit card number. Sound easy? Try your luck at challenge homepage.

Adam Chaney sent us the following impressions of the version of Connectix' Virtual PC that was shown at the recent Apple Worldwide Developers' Conference:

"The reports from WWDC are true. I used Virtual PC in the Power Computing booth. Not only was VPC easy to use, but I played Duke-Nukem 3D for DOS on it and it was very smooth. OpenStep was also booted and it worked fine. It ran on the 210 PowerCenter Pro machine. Very cool. Who needs Intel anymore?"

A press release from Dantz Development announces Retrospect 4.0, a major revision to their widely regarded backup software. Slated to be released on June 14th, the new version will be completely compatible with Mac OS 8 and will feature significant performance enhancements, among other things.

As noted yesterday, Apple has seeded MacOS Runtime for Java 2.0 Early Access Release 2 to members of the MRJ-Dev mailing list. We received an anonymous report from a reader which touches on some of the new features. Meanwhile, The Mac Observer contributing editor, Jon Bodner, had the following comments:

"1. It includes JavaC, which is the standard Java compiler. Basically, you can now do Java development for free on a Mac. This was always possible with Sun's JDK 1.0.2, but as any Java developer knows, that release was completely unusable.

2. There is no Just-In-Time Compiler in the 2.0 release yet. Thus, though performance is about 30% better than MRJ 1.0.2, it's still abysmal due to the absent JIT."

Radius' VideoVision Studio trade-in offer expires on June 28th. The company also has another promotion running: when buying a Radius Thunder 3D or Radius VideoVision PCI system, a free upgrade to Strata StudioPro 2.0 will be included. Further details are available from the Radius homepage.

HelloWorld 1.0 is a lightweight server plug-in that gives you the ability to manage a chat-room (up to 40 users) on a Mac-based server. Any server that supports that WebSTAR plug-in API can use the product, although the author recommends use with WebSTAR or the freeware, Quid Quo Pro.

Chuck Shotton's SiteWatcher 1.1 is an Internet server monitor that periodically checks to see if your servers are running properly. If the program detects any errors, it can be set up to sound an alarm or launch a specified application.

Individual Inc.'s Freeloader offline Internet service is being closed down. The president of the company is stating that this decision was made due to competition from Microsoft's and Netscape's forthcoming products.

New York-based Castle Computers' StarMax Clone Market is a new online reseller focusing exclusively on selling the Motorola StarMax line of clones. In addition, the site also offers benchmarks and weekly news.

Thursday, May 29th
Connectix Virtual PC Sneakpeek
Through the help of a source close to our staff, we are pleased to be able to give Mac Observer readers an exclusive first look at the upcoming PC emulator, Virtual PC, from Connectix in our 'Virtual PC Sneakpeek' feature article. A variety of screenshots showcasing the program in action and new information should give users more details about a product which, despite being scheduled to ship next month, is still surrounded in a large amount of secrecy.

According to listserve subscribers, Apple has seeded MacOS Runtime for Java (MRJ) 2.0 Early Access Release 2 to members of the MRJ-Dev mailing list. As we have been reporting, the 2.0 version is built around the JDK 1.1 codebase which gives Mac users access to JavaBeans and programs like Sun's HotJava browser that are built around the new JDK.

Apple has begun accepting orders for the $7,500 Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh. The machine will be sold through select Apple Authorized dealers and will come complete with the special concierge service (three-year warranty/support and delivery/set-up).

In the face of the failed merger with Sega Enterprises, Bandai's president, Makato Yamashina, will step down from his position, though he will apparently still serve as chairman of the company. Next Generation Online has more.

Novell announced yesterday their initial plans for becoming a major Internet software force. The first step towards that goal came by way of layoffs of 1,000 workers after the company announced a second quarter loss of $14.6 million.

Router problems in the northeast caused the site to be inaccessible for most of the morning. We apologize for this, although in events like this, everything is pretty much out of our hands. Thankfully, things seem to be moving along smoothly now.

Wednesday, May 28th
Intel Files Own Lawsuit
Continuing a fight in the semi-conductor industry that started with lawsuits from Digital and Cyrix, Intel announced today that they have filed their own suit against Digital, claiming that Digital refused to return confidential information. This move comes two weeks after Digital and Cyrix brought patent infringement charges against the chip giant, stating that the entire line of Pentium processors uses patented technology.

A press release from Sun Microsystems announces that the company has licensed bi-directional line layout technologies from Taligent Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of IBM, for use in the Java 2D API. The licensed technology, which will be incorporated into the next version of the Java Development Kit (JDK), is expected to enhance Java's 2D graphics and text capabilities.

NetObjects Fusion 2.0 for the Macintosh is now shipping, according to a company press release. Included with the program will be a copy of Bare Bones' BBEdit Lite along with a sixty day $100 rebate for U.S. and Canadian customers. A thirty day, fully functional demo is also available.

Netscape Communicator PR 5 includes a new revision of JavaScript, 1.2. The evolution of the scripting technology to where the 1.2 version is at is detailed by its author, Brendan Eich, in a brief NetscapeWorld article.

Software development tool vendor, Metrowerks, announced a net loss of $5.9 million on revenues of $3.6 million for its third fiscal quarter. This compares to a small loss of $147,000 in the year ago quarterly period. The company stated that slumping Mac revenues are one of the main causes of these results. MacWEEK has more.

Transend Corporation has introduced a 67Kbps modem that combines the throughput of two separate telephone lines into a larger pipe for downloading and uploading. Much like the variety of competing 56Kbps standards, however, ISPs (Internet Service Providers) will need to specifically support the Transend 67.

Matthew Glidden's Three Macs and a Printer homepage is an excellent guide for users who are trying to set up a Macintosh network for the first time. Extensive coverage (including pictures) of installing both Ethernet and LocalTalk networks is included.

MacSport is reporting that Access Software is on track to release its next-generation golf game, Links LS, for the Macintosh in mid-June. The much anticipated followup to the company's smash hit, Links Pro, has been available on the PC since last fall.

Tuesday, May 27th
Sega And Bandai Call Off Merger
Initially announced on January 23rd, the planned mega-merger between Japanese-toy giant, Bandai, and top-three video game developer, Sega Enterprises, is now being called off, according to a publicized report from a Bandai spokeswoman. The merger, which is said to have been actually approved by the Bandai board of directors last week, will be officially cancelled at a press conference later today.

Still Waiting For Mac Netcaster
As touched on yesterday, despite the fact that the startup splash screen of the newly released Netscape Communicator Preview Release 5 states that the push module, Netcaster, is included, the actuality is quite the contrary. However, we've received several indications that the component will be available via a separate download within the next week, and since the new versions of Communicator have auto-upgrade features, you won't have to make another 10+ MB download.

A message posted on the EvangeList from New Enterprise Associates', Stewart Alsop, details the reasons for his decision to standardize his company on Windows-based machines. Despite the fact that Alsop praises the advantages Microsoft software gives his firm, he finds it necessary to make the following comment:

"It is even more painful [to give up using Macintosh machines] because Windows is such drudgery, so uninspired and boring and difficult to work with."

The previously announced PowerTower Pro 250 from Power Computing is now shipping, according to a company press release. The standard 604e/250MHz-based model will ship with 32MB of RAM, 2GB AV hard drive, 16X CD-ROM, IMS Twin Turbo 8MB video card, and 1MB L2 cache. Pricing starts at $4,495.

Greg Landweber's Kaleidoscope 1.6 is now significantly faster, in particular, windows open more quickly, scroll bar thumbs drag more smoothly, and progress bars are less choppy, according to the release notes. Several changes to the window shade routines were also made in this update.

The Macromedia Flash-based interface of Warner Brothers' promotional Batman & Robin Web site is designed to mimic the much vaunted 'Hi-Tech Theme' of Copland. (Flash 2.0 is required to view the site.) Meanwhile, according to various reports, Apple's eMate 300 will apparently be featured as the computer of choice for Alicia Silverstone's character, Batgirl.

Computer Warehouse, the UK's largest MacOS CPU vendor (and coincidently, the only UK licensee officially certified by Apple), announced that their New York and Manhattan line of machines will begin shipping with, at no extra charge, an additional 16MB's of RAM, larger hard drives, and extra software bundles.

FogCity's Claris Emailer Utilities homepage keeps track of all the available scripts that extend the capabilities of the email client, including new ones that handle Emailer and Eudora 3.0 conversion, mail digest handling, and NewsWatcher importing.

A message from Brad Schrick posted on Dave Winer's Scripting homepage takes a quick, albeit very interesting, look at the financial aspects of running an ISP (Internet Service Provider).

A Claris press release announces the availability of Claris Home Page Companion, an instructional Web design book for Claris Home Page, and also the first book to be published under the new Claris Press insignia.

We hope everyone's Memorial Day weekend was a safe and happy one. Everything here at The Mac Observer is now back at full swing, even a little beyond the normal. Look for some site-related announcements over the next few days -- some things that should please everyone.

Monday, May 26th
Memorial Day Holiday
In observance of the Memorial Day holiday, the Mac Observer staff will be taking the day off (except for a quick news bit below). Normal updates will resume first thing Tuesday morning. We hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday weekend, and we'll see you first thing tomorrow morning!

Netscape has the Preview Release 5 version of its Communicator suite available for download. As we noted earlier, the release notes are also available. According to a few readers who have downloaded the software, the push component, Netcaster, is apparently not included.

Weekend: May 24th & 25th
Mac Observer contributing editor, Brett Gross, takes a quick look at what the future holds for Newton-based machines now that Apple has announced the independent Newton subsidiary. One of the main things we see happening is the removal of the Apple stigma that might have caused people to look past the MP2K or eMate 300. No longer will people have to worry about the future of Newton-based machines when buying one.

A CNBC interview with Newton Inc. chief operating officer, Sandy Benett, has been posted on MSNBC. Conducted by the station's technology correspondent, Bruce Francis, the interview reveals further information regarding the new company's future financial possibilities and product directions.

Despite strong support from two major publishing affiliates (MacPlay and MacSoft), the Macintosh game market continues to be a risky area for any developer due mainly to slow sales of even the biggest titles and the inability to gain retail shelf space. Next Generation Online received the following report from a MacPlay representative which backs this up:

"We have two of our biggest games of the year, Star Fleet Academy and Fallout both with a simultaneous Mac/PC ship. We clearly have no intention of leaving the market but at the same time, retailers are making it more difficult to place Macintosh products."

ClipDragon 1.1, the newest version of the popular clipping utility, adds the ability to convert any document supported by the MacOS Easy Open interface into clippings. With this feature, you can now convert JPEG and GIF images into picture clippings.

Keiron Liddle's shareware DockMaster 1.0 (available in both 68k and PowerPC versions) is a file launcher that not only offers the functionality of other launchers, but also adds a handful of modules that track things like CPU usage, disk space, memory, etc.

An in-depth article that does an admirable job of answering the question 'What exactly is Frameworks and OOD?' is now available for reading on David Every's MacKiDo Temple.

Friday, May 23rd
Holiday Weekend Schedule
Many of you are finishing up the workweek and looking forward to the Memorial Day weekend, and we just wanted to take the time to lay out our schedule for planned updates over the next few days. As usual, we'll be rolling Saturday's and Sunday's news into the Weekend Update and we'll be taking Monday off in observance of the holiday. Normal updates will then resume Tuesday morning.

Dave Garaffa's BrowserWatch is reporting that Netscape has posted the Preview Release 5 release notes for their Communicator client. If the past holds true, we should expect to see the software posted in the next couple of days, if not later today. Curiously, whether or not the Netcaster push component is included in this release isn't decipherable from the notes.

Ted Landau's MacFixIt is covering a potentially troubling PowerBook 3400 issue. According to a report, if the Password Security feature of the 3400 is used in conjunction with the At Ease 4.0.x security driver, the machine will refuse to boot and all data on the hard drive might be entirely lost. Apple is aware of the problem and is currently working on a solution.

Gabriele de Simone of ichat sent a note to inform us about her company's newest Macintosh Internet application. The new product, dubbed ipage, is a 'personal Internet pager' that offers instant messages, direct chat, and AOL-esque buddy lists. Download the PowerPC-only Preview Release 2 version from here.

At Home Corporation, the company that directs the @Home cable Internet access service, has announced an agreement with Microsoft that will provide members of the @Home service with the opportunity to subscribe to the Microsoft Network for a flat fee of $6.95 a month.

Unveiled earlier this week, MacAddict's new Practical Mac site focuses on troubleshooting tips and hints as well as serving as a reference for how to do common tasks. The site is headed up by David Reynolds, an associate editor at the magazine, and we wish them the best of luck with this new endeavour!

Some readers have inquired about the absent SiteLink High Five award banner. The reason for this was that a prominent Web site called requested that SiteLink author, John Brochu, change the name of the award. John has since complied, and the award is now back under the name 'SiteLink Elite Apple'.

Thursday, May 22nd
Apple Announces Newton Subsidiary
After this morning's USA Today broke the initial story, an Apple press release today officially announced that the company is spinning off the Newton Systems Group into a wholly owned subsidiary. The new company, which will be named at a later date, will be headed by a CEO to be named later while Sandy Benett, who was previously the vice president of the NSG, will take on the duties of chief operating officer. The transaction is expected to be completed by June 30, 1997.

Meanwhile, a NEWS.COM article has Apple chief financial officer, Fred Anderson, saying that Apple is "open to an outside investor and IPO (initial public offering) down the road". In addition, Apple expects that the Newton subsidiary will be profitable in its first quarter of operation.

U.S. Robotics' x2 Line Test examines your current telephone lines for compatibility for the x2 technology. Though the company maintains that most of the lines in North America support the high speed connection, several of our staffers' lines failed the test.

An open letter on Red Herring's site suggests that Gil Amelio should resign from his post as Apple CEO because, in the author's words, "Apple needs a CEO who has the technological vision, the brand marketing skills, and the passion necessary to make the company profitable again."

Available from a third party vendor from sometime, Apple themselves have posted the QuickTime VR 2.0.1 extension. Besides vast technical improvements, this new version allows the standard Movie Player to play QTVR scenes -- no longer will you need a separate application of plug-ins. Sample code and libraries are also from the link above.

Despite committing to development of their FastTrack Server for the BeOS, Netscape will not make any attempt to port their line of server software to Rhapsody, according to a MacWEEK article. Netscape officials, however, strongly express that their client software will make its way over.

Steve Tannehill's Power Macintosh Resource Page has posted the May Apple Club letter from Gil Amelio. Offering nothing new, Amelio talks about a cross-country tour that himself and Dave Manovich (VP of Sales) went on.

Wednesday, May 21st
Mactivity: The Conference for Mac Professionals
The seventh annual Mactivity conference will be returning to the Santa Clara Convention Center, June 15-20. The conference, which offers a comprehensive curriculum for both Web professionals using Mac OS-based tools and for Mac managers looking to get the most out of their Mac installations, will feature keynote speeches from Apple's Guerrino DeLuca and Netscape's Marc Andreessen. If you're interested in attending, Mactivity is providing The Mac Observer readers the chance to win free passes to the event. Click here for more information.

Adobe's Illustrator 7.0 has begun shipping, according to a press release from the company. The new release marks Adobe's continued commitment for its cross-platform products, as both Windows and Macintosh versions ship today. The suggested retail price will be $595, and current users can upgrade for $99 until September 1st. Thereafter, the cost will be $129.

Apple's 'Prelude to Rhapsody Self-Support Site' is a collection of information for developers who have received the unsupported Prelude to Rhapsody kit. Reference guides on getting started and installation will surely help out the developer who is unfamiliar with OpenStep. Sample applications and example code are also provided, as are pointers to extended documentation.

Novell is expected to slash one-fourth of its entire 5,800 person workforce next week, following the release of their quarterly results, according to a ZDNet report.

This week's Cool Tool of the Week, Ambrosia's ColorSwitch Pro, has a new version available. The 1.1.0 update adds controls for PPP connections and networks, and fixes a handful of bugs, the majority of which are related to display and audio CD problems. Download from here.

Blaine Fergerstrom of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin offers up a positive review of the eMate 300. Meanwhile, it was obvious at the WWDC that Steve Jobs isn't a fan of the Newton technology, but his fellow Apple advisor, Steve Wozniak, isn't in the same boat. In this month's MacAddict issue, the Woz gloriously praises the eMate and Apple's decision to focus on specific products for its different markets.

Continuing with commentary of Apple's newest portable machines: Bob Levitus, Power Computing's former Evangelist and current MacUser contributing editor, has a preview in the Houston Chronicle of the upcoming PowerBook 2400.

Steve Dagley has posted FreePPP 2.6b3. This latest public beta, which expires on June 15th, fixes several preference file problems along with issues related to Multi-Link PPP phone numbers. As always, the password for the archive is in the readme notes.

We are proud to announce that The Mac Observer is one of five Macintosh sites that has been awarded the June 'SiteLink High Five Award'. John Brochu's SiteLink is an indispensable site for tracking the many Macintosh Web sites out there, and we thank John for choosing The Mac Observer as one of the first sites for the new award.

Tuesday, May 20th
Justice Department Probes Microsoft
In a move that's becoming more and more familiar each year, the Department of Justice has begun yet another investigation into a Microsoft business deal. This time it's the April 6th acquisition of Internet set-top box developer and provider, WebTV Networks. Although the Justice Department isn't saying publicly what they are specifically looking for, this is the second time that both companies have had to turn over documents since the deal took place. ZDNet has more.

Apple's chief operating officer, George Scalise, resigned this afternoon to become president of the Semiconductor Industry Association, according to a Reuters report. Scalise, who joined the company last spring, stated that he has accomplished all of the goals he set for himself. No replacement has been named as the COO title is being relinquished.

A message posted on the EvangeList indicates the Apple will be furthering its 'Prelude to Rhapsody' program to developers who didn't have the opportunity to attend last week's WWDC. If you've signed up for the development seeding program, you'll be able to grab a copy, although the offer is limited and you'll need to specifically request it. Furthermore, WebObjects is not included.

A Fractal Design press release announces the availability of the latest incarnation of the company's flagship product, Painter 5. Street pricing is expected to be in the area of $300, while users of current versions can upgrade for $99. A Windows release is scheduled to follow in late June.

MacLynx 2.7.1b1, the Macintosh port of the popular UNIX text-based Web browser, Lynx, is now available for downloading. Despite being a port, the program does take advantage of quite a number of Mac technologies including; Internet Config, drag and drop, Speech Manager, and external helpers. A US mirror is handling downloads.

MacSoft has posted the highly anticipated Duke Nukem 3D demo. For optimum performance, the recommended hardware is a PowerPC machine with 16MB's of RAM, although 8MB's of RAM and a 68040 processor will in fact run the game, albeit somewhat slowly. Download from the links below, but please keep in mind that this FTP server is extremely busy. We'll be posting more links as we find them.

Duke Nukem 3D - PowerPC Version (binary)
Duke Nukem 3D - 68k Version (binary)

Proteron's GoMac, a utility the emulates the functionality of the Windows 95 Taskbar, is now up to version 1.2. Besides clearing up a problem with an existing trademark, the new release handles monitor rearrangement more smoothly, fixes several problems with System 7.5.3 and 68K machines, and continues to address the situation when programs require a 640x480 display.

A Power Computing news release announces a revamped company homepage. Besides incorporating Macromedia Shockwave and Flash technology, the staff here at The Mac Observer noticed for the first time that Power is using Apple's WebObjects. On a related note; as mentioned at last week's WWDC, Dell Computer is also using WebObjects to handle the company's much vaunted $1 million a day in sales.

Bryan Goldstein's The PowerBook Memory Source has opened the first online PowerBook 2400 memory pricing guide. Further more, the PBMS has a deal with Lifetime Memory Products in which readers can pick up discounted RAM for the PowerBook 3400.

In addition to the continuing Claris Emailer 2.0 contest, MacCentral has teamed up with Bungie and IMG to present the Marathon Trilogy Box Set Trivia Contest. The contest runs until Sunday, May 25th and twenty copies of the set will be awarded. Further details are available here.

Monday, May 19th
Oracle Picks Up Navio
Larry Ellison might have passed on his bid of gaining control of Apple Computer, but that didn't stop the tycoon's spending-spree ways. Over the weekend, it was learned that the Network Computer division of Ellison's Oracle would acquire Netscape's majority stake in Navio Communications, thus giving the software giant complete control of the Netscape spinoff. Terms of the deal, which some think is Oracle's reaction to the Microsoft/WebTV pact, were not disclosed. NEWS.COM has more.

A press release from Apollo Technologies touts the company's forthcoming quarterly CD-ROM magazine, CyberDoc. Subscription rates for the product, which will focus on a number of issues involving Apple's Cyberdog and OpenDoc technologies, start at $19.95 for one year.

With last week's WWDC behind us, a lot of Macintosh fans would have liked to have the opportunity to attend, if only to get first hand technical knowledge of Apple's future operating system revisions. But what's it really like to attend the event? A MacKiDo article entitled 'Impressions from WWDC?' should give you a fairly good impression.

An Adobe Photoshop 4.0.1 Updater introduces a new Fade command feature along with several other changes, all of which are documented in the update's release notes. Note: this update is only intended for U.S. English copies of Photoshop 4.0.

AnySearch, PrivNet's Netscape plug-in that brings a direct link field to a handful of popular search engines, has a new public beta (1.0b12) available. In addition to adding compatibility with future versions of PGPmail, the product has now been moved to new Metrowerks code libraries.

Alex T. King wrote to inform us of his new Macintosh site, The Undiscovered Mac. The purpose of the page, according to Alex, is to help less experienced Mac users get the most out of their systems by explaining ways they can optimize their software and hardware.

CNET.COM has an early preview of Netcaster, the forthcoming push module for Netscape's Communicator suite that is due for public consumption this week, at least on the Wintel side of things.

Friday, May 16th
WWDC Comes To An End
A MacWEEK article has coverage of the WWDC 'fireside chat' with Steve Jobs. The session apparently pooled a number of inquires about the killing of OpenDoc, and Jobs admitted to being "one of the people who put a bullet in your technology". Meanwhile, Guerrino DeLuca wrapped up the conference with some closing comments and demos. Most interesting; out of the 440 applications Apple tested on Rhapsody's Blue Box, only 4 failed to run. DeLuca closed things out with a demo of the full Rhapsody workspace and desktop running on a PowerPC Mac.

Netscape Communicator Release Date
Netscape has announced that they will ship the final versions of its Communicator client and SuiteSpot 3.0 server at its developers' conference, DevCon, in San Jose the week of June 9th. The company is also promising that Communicator, which will retail for $59, will include Netcaster and the WebTop environment. What is not know, however, is if this release date holds true across all of the product's platforms. PC WEEK has more

Despite a report on NEWS.COM that claims Netscape will release the 'preview release 4' version of its Mac Communicator client next week, a tip (presumably from a Netscape employee) received by Dave Garaffa's BrowserWatch indicates that we shouldn't expect to see PR5 until sometime within the next seven to ten days.

While Apple's WWDC Webcast does allow viewing of Tuesday's keynote speech, if you're viewing the pages with the RealPlayer plug-in, you won't be able to fast forward or rewind the clips. To fix this, simply paste in the following address into the 'Open Location' field in the RealPlayer, and you'll then be able to jump to any point of the clips you want. Note; if you're interested in Avie's Rhapsody demo, jump to 48:30. (Thanks, Shawn Darraugh)

Mac Home Journal has posted an interview with Gil Amelio. Much of the content is standard 'Gil-speak', although the good doctor does make a small mention of Apple's plans for further eMate revisions. While he doesn't come right out and confirm that it will be a business oriented model, he does state that it should be out this year for under $1,000.

Continuing our coverage of the IPO: Company founder, Jeff Bezos, apparently has three times the number of shares that actually went public yesterday, so, though his company is valued at a 'mere' $60-$70 million, his personal worth is now upwards of $232 million.

Jeff Keller's PowerWatch page has a handful of user-submitted PowerCenter Pro reviews available. As Henry Norr stated in his MacWEEK review of the machine, if you're looking for the best price vs. performance ratio for a Mac machine, this system looks very difficult to match.

The PowerBook 3400 shuffling that we reported on yesterday, might not take place until Monday, according to O'Grady's PowerPage. Meanwhile, the PowerPage is also reporting that Kanga, Apple's fall PowerBook, is scheduled to be introduced on October 23, 1997.

Thursday, May 15th
Exponential Closes Doors
Citing the inability to raise another round of financial capital, Exponential disclosed today that they will be closing their doors. This comes after Apple's announcement on Tuesday that they would be bypassing Exponential's X704 processor in favor of the next-generation G3 line from Motorola and IBM. Product delays and the inability to meet its much hyped spec of 533MHz recently caused the chip maker to lay off 25% of its staff. MacWEEK and Macworld each have articles on this story.

Shares Of Soar
Seattle-based, one of the most successful online store fronts thus far, kicked off its initial public offering this morning with a stock offering of three million shares. The opening price for the shares, which trade under the symbol AMZN, was $18 and it's expected that the IPO will raise more than $54 million in capital, giving the company a market value of $438 million. Early morning traded saw the stock near $30 per share, but at the market's close, it 'only' held onto a five point gain. A Reuters report has more.

Originally announced last November, Apollo Technologies' Web browser, InstantSpace, never did see the light of day. That however will change come next month, at least according to an Apollo press release. Initially based on a license agreement with Spyglass, InstantSpace will now be based off of Microsoft's Internet Explorer technology, and will not support OpenDoc, despite the company's original intents.

CE Software has the second beta of QuickMail Pro 1.5 available for downloading. A tremendously long list of bugs are fixed in this release, all which are documented in the release notes.

As with the company's newest product, CastPainter, Totally Hip has closed off public beta testing for WebPainter 2.0, and will instead limit testing to 'qualified' users. If you're interested in joining, be sure to hop on over to the product's homepage right away as testing is scheduled to get underway this Monday.

According to O'Grady's PowerPage, Apple will shuffle its PowerBook 3400 lineup this weekend. The 3400c/180 16/1.1GB will apparently be discontinued, while the 3400c/180 16/1.1GB/CD and 3400c/200 16/2GB/CD will be replaced with models decked out with a 12x CD-ROM and larger hard drives.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is conducting a contest in which you can win a PowerBook 3400, though you will have to download the new Internet Explorer 3.01.

Initial shipments of Apple's MessagePad 2000 and eMate 300 included a beta revision of the product's connection utility which, needless to say, made quite a number users upset. Fortunately, that gripe should cease as Apple has posted the Newton Connection Utilities 1.0 Updater. Check out the readme for further info.

The patent infringement lawsuits from Digital and Cyrix against Intel are expected to draw a counter suit from the chip giant, according to a Reuters story. Earlier this week, Digital fired claims that Intel has knowingly used patented technology in its line of Pentium processors. Cyrix then followed with a similar claim.

Version Tracker has spotted the 1.0c release of Microsoft's Personal Web Server. No release notes accompany the software, so we're not sure what additions or changes have been made. Download from here.

Dennis Sellers, the newest addition to the staff over at MacCentral, has an in-depth synopsis of this past weekend's Be Developers' Conference.

Wednesday, May 14th
Apple Looks Past Exponential
Apple announced yesterday at the WWDC that they have decided against using Exponential's X704 processor in any of their machines this year. Stating that they "didn't see a significant performance advantage", the company will instead concentrate on the upcoming next-generation G3 PowerPC from Motorola and IBM. While Apple may not have been terribly impressed with the X704's performance, chances are that the chip's high cost also contributed heavily to their decision. NEWS.COM has more.

First spotted by MacOS Rumors -- a recent update to John Carmack's .plan finger file has revealed some further information regarding the Quake port that was displayed yesterday by Avie Tevanian at the WWDC. Here is a direct quote from Carmack himself:

"98% of the support I need for games is present in rhapsody, and now that there is an existing game for it, the remaining decisions can be rationally guided. I am still going to press the OpenGL issue, which is going to be crucial for future generations of games.

I am definately going to support Quake 2 on rhapsody. I may make a public release of the QuakeWorld demo, but I will probably wait until we get the full screen api working. Omnigroup has a little qspy-like openstep program that we can use with it."

Responding to an article published over the weekend, Bandai has posted a public statement denying that is has stopped development of its Pippen @Mark machine. Despite poor sales and the upcoming merger with Sega, the company's commitment to the platform will remain unchanged. Macworld has more.

At a WWDC ceremony last night, Apple announced the winners of its second annual Human Interface Design Excellence (HIDE) awards. Best overall design went to YOYO Telephone Manager 1.5.1 from Big Island Communications while Sienna's Starry Night Deluxe 2.0 and MetaTool's Kai's Power GOO 1.0 were the respective first and second place runner-ups.

The final version of Microsoft's Internet Explorer 3.01 is now available for downloading. In addition to the new features that were introduced with the beta version (JavaScript, Fat Web Pages, etc.), the final release offers an improved email client, new monitoring features, site password management, and much more!

Following yesterday's move by Digital, Cyrix today followed suit by filing their own patent infringement lawsuit against Intel. Claiming that Intel's products infringe on one or both of two of their patents, Cyrix will presumably go after the same compensation as Digital; monetary value and removal of questioned technology.

Buried in one of yesterday's WWDC press releases is an interesting detail about the Internet bundle of Mac OS 8. Apparently, Apple wants no part of the browser wars as they will be including not only Cyberdog 2.0 in the summer OS revision, but also Netscape 3.01, Internet Explorer 3.01, and America Online 3.0.

mBED Software has posted the first public beta of mBED Interactor 1.0. The product, which according to the company's release notes is "designed specifically for Web multimedia authoring, supporting the Internet's widely-adopted file standards and ready to utilize live Web data", is available for download from here.

Totally Hip Software has introduced the newest product of their ever growing lineup, CastPainter. The product is a stand-alone cel animation and content graphics editor designed for use with Macromedia Director 6.0. If you're interested in beta testing it, be sure to hop on over to the its homepage.

Tuesday, May 13th
WWDC Keynote Happenings
It was the second anniversary of his first public speech as Apple CEO, and as with almost every other keynote address he has given over the past year, today's speech at the WWDC was one of the bigger moments in Gil Amelio's tenure at Apple. Amelio, however, only took up a little over thirty minutes of the first session, but in that time, he did confirm that Rhapsody will ship in three incarnations; the PowerPC Mac version, a Windows layer, and another that will be a complete Intel OS. More on the WWDC throughout the entire day!

The public relations wheel at Apple is spinning overtime with a slew of WWDC-related press releases.

Pulling some key information out of these press releases: Apple plans on hosting the Yellow Box APIs on the Mac OS 8 successor, Allegro. In addition, Rhapsody for Intel (as the separate Intel-based OS is now being called) will include the core OS based on Mach technology, the Yellow Box development environment, and the advanced Macintosh user interface. And finally, Apple is demonstrating MacOS Runtime for Java 2.0 (which is based on the JDK 1.1) at the event, and is expecting to post it on their AppleJava Web site within the next couple weeks.

In today's StepWise WWDC coverage, Scott Anguish touches on the Rhapsody demos that were put on by Avie Tevanian and John Landewehr. Most intriguing was id Software's Quake running in a window under Rhapsody. Despite only taking two weeks to get working, according to Scott, the game was quite speedy and offered complete sound support. One would have to believe, however, the quick 'port' was due to the fact that Quake was originally developed under OpenStep.

The MacUser and MacWEEK tandem are collaborating on their coverage of the WWDC, and have posted an incredibly lengthy and in-depth pre-WWDC interview with Apple's CEO, Gil Amelio.

In a stunning charge that came out of left field, Digital Equipment has filed a lawsuit against Intel claiming patent infringement. According to Digital, Intel has been using their proprietary technology in the entire Pentium line, including the Pentium Pro and Pentium II processors. In essence, Digital is stating that two-third's of all Intel's profits are coming from their technology.

ClearWay Technologies today announced the availability of FireSite 2.0, an updated version of the company's Web site acceleration software that supposedly delivers "T-1 speeds" from Web sites using ISDN or modem lines. The new version of the software adds a Virtual Domain Management system, protection against media hijacking, and dynamic multimedia Themes. Pricing starts at $99, and a thirty day evaluation copy is available from the company's homepage.

A report on the Bloomberg News Service (picked up by the Los Angeles Times) is stating that, through a filing with the Securities and Trade Commission, Apple is hinting that its financial losses could extend into the fourth quarter, a period that the company has been building up to be its first profitable quarter. The merit of this report, however, rests on the phrase "at least".

Reports that we have received indicate that Adobe is expecting to release Illustrator 7.0 sometime during the later part of this month. In the meantime, if you've been waiting to get your hands on this release, Adobe has posted a demo; one that weighs in at over 20MB's. The download page notes of a number to order the Adobe Graphics Sampler CD, but according to an Adobe rep, the one including Illustrator 7.0 is not ready yet.

MacInTouch is reporting that Claris will announce today its intentions of porting FileMaker Pro Server to Rhapsody. In addition, the company will be producing Web authoring and publishing tools for the platform, although there's no word yet on any version of ClarisWorks.

Symantec has officially announced Norton Utilities 3.5. As we noted last week, this upgrade includes a faster SpeedDisk, a bootable CD-ROM, and CrashGuard, a new component that helps you safely exit problemed applications. The full version will retail for $99, while the upgrade will be $49 for previous owners.

According to Ambrosia's president, Andrew Welch, the company will be releasing a 1.1.0 update for its ColorSwitch Pro utility next week. The main addition will be a new module that adds an OT/PPP (and FreePPP) and Network support.

The PowerPC version of the Macboy 2.0 Lite organizer is now available for downloading. New features of the lite version include; streamlined interface, file/folder links, sticky windoids, and a new ViewFinder tool.

Monday, May 12th
Apple's Cross-Platform Rhapsody Plans
An article from the San Jose Mercury News' Jodi Mardesich takes a look into Apple's forthcoming plans for its cross-platform Rhapsody strategy. The strategy, which will be put into place throughout the week at the WWDC, will have Apple providing three versions of Rhapsody; one for the Macintosh, one that will run on top of Windows, and another that will be a complete Intel operating system.

Apple's WWDC Webcast For Free!
'Due to significant new announcements', Apple has decided to killed off plans for the $99 Webcast of this week's Worldwide Developers' Conference, and will instead offer the event free of charge. All keynote and technical sessions will be available via video-on-demand through Progressive Network's RealPlayer. Incidently, we have received no word about any kind of refund for people who might have previously registered.

Scott Anguish's excellent OpenStep information center, StepWise, will be covering the WWDC live from the event. Scott will be posting daily reports via his MessagePad 2000 and Toshiba Tecra laptop (running OpenStep), and in addition to the Webcast, this will be the place to turn to for the latest news on this week's big event.

Tenon Intersystems has posted a demo of WebTen, their UNIX emulation environment coupled with the Apache Web server software. Meanwhile, the development tool used in porting Apache to the Mac, CodeBuilder 1.0.1, is now being offered for $149. The product, which contains the GNU distribution of Objective-C, aids UNIX developers in making the transition from a UNIX environment to Rhapsody.

A Reuters' news story out of Tokyo is reporting that Japanese toy giant, Bandai, has decided to stop producing its Pippen @Mark, due to disappointing sales and looming concerns over its price and abilities. The very poor product reviews the company saw could have only given more leverage to this decision.

Apple's CEO, Gil Amelio, was in Atlanta last week speaking at the Apple marketing center, and Amelio took the time to give the Atlanta Journal-Constitution an interview. One of the topics discussed was the eMate 300. Below is a direct quote from the article:

"The company is again producing innovative products. They include the PowerBook 3400, considered the fastest laptop, and the eMate. The eMate is designed just for students, and the company is "selling hundreds of thousands" of them, says Amelio."

Quietly announced in the BeOS Tour white paper, it seems that the BeOS Preview Release will include a new lightweight component software technology called 'Replicator'. As with other component software, code from one application can be shared with others, and most interestingly; the entire Tracker (the BeOS' Finder) itself will be a container. Thus, you'll be able to embed things like Web pages right onto your desktop. Apparently, it only took the Be engineers seven lines of code to add containing capabilities to the Tracker.

BoxTop Software's GIFmation 2.0 has gone beta. The feature set has been frozen, and no known bugs are present in the software at this time. Significant changes since the last release include; addition of more drag and drop, more preferences, minor rendering bug fixed, and PICS import dropped.

InfoMedia's WorldVillage has unveiled a Java-based multiplayer online gaming server called SpringerSpan Games. The service aims to counter Microsoft's move of cutting cross-platform development of its Internet Gaming Zone, by allowing anyone with a Java VM the ability to play on the network. SpringerSpan includes 11 classic board games, of which all, coincidently, are offered by the IGZ.

Weekend: May 10th, 11th
Be Developers' Conference News
The two-day Be Developers' Conference in San Jose, California kicked off Saturday morning, but even before the event began, Be got things started late Friday night with a set of preview release notes. Besides unveiling more information about the BeOS Preview Release, the company officially announced Netscape's intentions of building a native version of its FastTrack Server for the platform. In addition, come this fall, the product will be bundled with the OS. Be also garnered support from NeoLogic Systems through the release of the company's NeoAccess 5.0 database engine.

So far, the show's events have included technical publisher O'Reilly & Associates announcing that it will become the official publisher of technical documentation for the BeOS. Their first title, the two-volume 'Be Book', will go on sale this July. Also, CMP Technologies stated that they expect to release their BeOS word processor, BeWord, on their Web site on Sunday morning.

And as expected, Be has posted a wealth of new information regarding the BeOS Preview Release. A technical white paper, 'BeOS: The Media OS', details why the company thinks its OS is perfectly suited for digital media creation. Also posted is a guided tour of the preview release containing screenshots depicting many of the new features. For further information on the changes, be sure to check out the what's new document, in addition to the complete product data sheet.

In final game of the ultimate match between man versus machine, IBM's Deep Blue defeated world renowned chess champion, Garry Kasparov. The match, which lasted just over one hour, ended a three game streak of draws. Kasparov, who will take home $400,000 from the IBM sponsored event, resigned after the 19th move of the match, and was, as one observer put it, "wiped off the board". A Reuters story has more information.

A report on MacWEEK indicates that Apple will introduce a pair of updated 8600 and 9600 machines this summer built around the upcoming Mach 5 PowerPC processor. Meanwhile, MacWEEK also has an article detailing pre-show developer reaction to this year's Apple Worldwide Developer's Conference.

The PointCast Automatic Upgrade feature that updates the client software to current versions does not include the new control strip module, which gives control over updates and the product's SmartScreens. Don't worry, however, PointCast now has the file available for download from their Web site.

Version 1.6.5 of NameCleaner, a file name manipulation utility, incorporates changes designed to improve its performance in large-scale cross-platform conversions. Download links and more details are available from the product's homepage.

Intense Media, developers of the batch download utility, NetBatch, have announced that development of NetBatch PRO has begun. This updated version will feature drag-and-drop support, better low memory management, and a new download method known, dubbed IDS. Check out the product's comparison sheet for more information.

Apple has posted an updated Display Enabler. The new version, 2.2.2, corrects a resolution problem caused by the use of MacOS 7.6.1 on NuBus-based PowerMacs with AppleVision monitors. Click here to download the update, and be sure to check out the official release notes.

PPP Menu 2.0.3 from Rockstar Studios addresses functionality issues when using Apple's OT/PPP. In addition, the product's homepage reports the bugs that were reported to development team have been fixed.

Friday, May 9th
UMAX Unveils SuperCheap SuperMac's
UMAX today announced the availability of the SuperMac C500 LT/140, the first $999 machine from the MacOS licensee. The system is based on a PowerPC 603e/140, which sits on a user-upgradeable daughtercard, and includes 16 MB's of RAM, 1 MB of video DRAM, 8X CD-ROM, 1.2GB hard drive, and two PCI slots. Also introduced was the C500i/180 which will ring in at $1,195. The 180 has the same specs as the 140, with the exception of a PowerPC 603/180 processor, an upgradeable 256k of L2 cache, and a 33.6 modem.

In addition to introducing the new models, UMAX also cut prices on its entire line of SuperMac clones. The reductions take effect immediately, and they are in the range of $200-$500. A UMAX press release details the specifics.

In a preview of this weekend's Be Developers' Conference, yesterday's San Jose Mercury News reported that Netscape will announce their commitment to the platform via a native BeOS version of its FastTrack Web server. Coincidently, Netscape's chief technologist, Marc Andreessen, will be a keynote speaker at the event.

Keeping with news about this week's PowerPC developers' conferences in California: Apple has posted Monday's session schedule of events for their WWDC. The itinerary might be handy for people attending, or it might be frustrating for people who wish Apple repeated last year's free Webcast.

A report posted on the PowerList, a PowerBook-centric mailing list run by the PowerPage's Jason O'Grady, discusses a meeting with an Apple Engineer and a NeXT District Manager that had them indicating that future versions of Apple operating system's would go through a public beta test.

One of the most popular Web servers available, Apache, will soon be making its way to the Mac platform via a product called WebTen, a UNIX emulation environment from Tenon Intersystems. The product, which is expected to ship this week, is based on Apache 1.2, has WebSTAR plug-in compatibility, and includes a special TCP/IP stack that supports multi-homing. MacWEEK has the complete story.

New Enterprise Associates' partner, Stewart Alsop, has another, shall we say, interesting, article in the new issue of Fortune. Alsop surely has a strong opinion about what future directions Apple should take, but from the tone of the article, we tend to think Alsop is still angry over the fact that Apple passed up on buying Be, a company which his investment firm has a large stake in.

Macromedia's Flash 2.0 is now available in a downloadable trial version. The new version of this vector based graphics creation tool has seen a slew of new features added, all which are documented in the product's release notes.

Sustainable Softworks' Internet connectivity monitor, IPNetMonitor 1.6c1, fixes a bug in finding the TCP/IP Preference file on localized versions of the MacOS.

Thursday, May 8th
Exponential Cuts Workforce
In a Macworld interview, Exponential's vice president of marketing, Rick Bergman, confirmed that the company will be reducing its staff by 25%, bringing the number of employees down to 70. The company, who's X704 processor has been hyped as the fastest chip for desktop machines, has failed to deliver anything thus far, and even when they do begin the ship this quarter, the processors will clock in at 410MHz, far below the original 533MHz figure. Exponential, however, is expected to release a 500MHz version in the third quarter. Macworld Daily News has the complete story.

PowerBook 2400c Announced
Apple today officially announced the IBM-designed PowerBook 2400c. The product began its life as an OEM agreement between IBM and Apple, and initially, was only intended to be made available in Japan. A strong demand for a sub-laptop, however, reversed that decision. The machine, which is planned to go on sale in Japan at the end of the month, comes packed with a 180MHz 603e PowerPC processor, 256K L2 cache, 10.4-inch active-matrix display, 16MB's of RAM, and a 1.3GB hard drive, yet weighs only 4.4 pounds. A US rollout is expected in late July for around $3,500.

Continuing with news about Apple's new portable powerhouse: MacUser has posted an initial review of a pre-production model including benchmark scores. The article has a few snapshots of the machine, but for those looking for a larger view -- as reported on several sites -- PC Watch has posted an expanded photo. Meanwhile, yet another picture is still available on the MacWorld Sweden Web site.

Several people in the comp.sys.newton.misc UseNet newsgroup have indicated that they ordered eMate 300's and received them well before the delivery date Apple gave them. In addition, the list of products for the previously mentioned Apple Employee Promotion includes the eMate 300. Evidently, the machine can be picked up for $699 through the promo, but oddly enough, this doesn't include any connection cables. Blaine Fergerstrom notes, however, that the cable is just a simple Mac serial cable.

OT/PPP Strip is a control strip module that is used in conjunction with Apple's OT/PPP for connecting and disconnecting from your provider, among other things. The final 1.0 version fixes a crucial bug that caused many desk accessories (Chooser, Calculator, etc.) to quit with a Type 10 error. Download from the product's homepage.

Following yesterday's announcement of Symantec's Norton Utilities 3.5, we received a few small reports which touch on the product's features and a new tool that is included called CrashGuard. While reports indicate that the CrashGuard feature doesn't necessarily prevent applications from crashing, they tend to happen much more gracefully.

Maxum's FTP server, Rumpus, has reached final candidate stage, and is available for downloading from here. The program's official release date is scheduled for May 16th, and thus, Maxum's "buy the beta" discount is coming to an end. The special pre-release price is $99 and includes a free year of upgrades.

SoundApp 2.3.1 from Norman Franke fixes a small preference problem and improves MPEG playback stability. MPEG decompression has also become more responsive, and a low frequency buzz when converting certain files has been eliminated.

CNN is currently testing its new upcoming online service, CNN Plus. This 'premium news outlet' is free during its initial testing phase, but it's expected that they will charge once they unveil the site publicly. A daily Java crossword puzzle and chats with CNN personalities seem to be the highlights of this 'plus' service.

Tiger Technologies' Window Monkey 1.1 gives Macintosh users the ability to add background patterns, pictures or textures to any window in the Finder. Twenty-five patterns are initially included, and more can be added through a simple copy and paste.

Wednesday, May 7th
Microsoft Picks Up Java Start-Up
Microsoft today announced that they have signed a definitive agreement to acquire Dimension X, a start-up firm based in San Francisco that specializes in Java development. The company, thus far, has been known for their Liquid Motion (a multimedia authoring tool) and Liquid Reality (a Java-based VRML browser) tools, and these products, as part of the acquisition, will be morphed into Microsoft's DirectX. Terms of the deal were not announced.

New Communicator... No Mac
The newest beta of Netscape Communicator is now available, and as we reported last week, this release is for Windows 95 and NT machines only. Macintosh and UNIX versions are no where to be found, but it's expected that the next beta will bring all platforms in line once again. The push module of Communicator, Netcaster, was originally thought to be included with this beta, but Netscape is now saying that it will be released next week.

Symantec has begun sending out brochures to current customers informing them of the release of Norton Utilities 3.5. The upgrade, which apparently will only come on CD-ROM, will cost $49.95 and will add a feature called CrashGuard (presumably a tool to help keep your machine from crashing) along with a much faster SpeedDisk. (Thanks, Noah Fulmer)

Reversing information they published last week, Next Generation Online is now reporting that MacSoft will in fact offer a demo of MacQuake, supposedly some time before the game's July 15th release date. In addition, MacSoft is expected to post a demo of Duke Nukem 3D within the next week.

A news piece off the Cox News Service which talks about the positive reviews Apple is seeing with the new MessagePad 2000 also touches on something very intriguing. Apparently, Apple is in negotiations with CNN to equip the cable news giant's field reporters with MP2Ks.

WyndMail announced yesterday a new wireless service and software for the Newton. Pricing starts at $29.95/month for 200 messages, and it scales up to $149.95/month for unlimited usage. While the company does claim to offer the only wireless Newton service, several users are already using Richochet.

Bryan Goldstein of The PowerBook Memory Source wrote to inform us that TechWorks is now offering his Web site a discount on PowerBook 1400, 2300, 3400, and 5300 RAM. All TechWorks prices are discounted, and some modules are seeing up to a 5% cut. The offer expires on May 16th, and further details are available on the PBMS news page.

In his most recent column, Mac The Knife has a handful of snapshots of the upcoming, revitalized StyleWriter line of Apple printers. By simply looking at the footprint mold of this line, it's pretty easy to guess that Apple Imaging's new OEM partner is none other than Hewlett-Packard.

According to a Macworld Daily News report, Visioneer will be adding color to its popular scanning peripheral when it introduces its new PaperPort Strobe. The product is expected to sell for $329, and it will offer 300 DPI at 24-bit color.

Farallon's Internet division will port Microsoft's NetMeeting 2.0 collaboration software to the Macintosh, according to a NEWS.COM report. The software, which won't be available until next spring, will be bundled with Timbuktu Pro.

The Macintosh Resource Page has a posted the transcript of chat on with Apple's Open Transport manager, Richard Ford. The future of Open Transport and networking in the Yellow Box of Rhapsody are a few of the topics discussed.

Tuesday, May 6th
Quark Picks Up mFactory
Continuing the consolidation in the Macintosh market, Quark today announced that they have agreed to acquire mFactory, developers of mTropolis, a multimedia authoring application that directly competes with Macromedia's Director. Terms of the deal, which is pending approval from mFactory shareholders, were not disclosed, and more than likely won't be as the companies are both privately held. A MacWEEK story has further details.

Though Apple is now accepting eMate 300 orders from the general public (see yesterday's news), according to Blaine Fergerstrom, it was apparently quite easy to get one of these machines by simply going through the parent 'buy program'.

"I actually called that number on the parents' flyer from Apple. They ask, "Are you a parent?" You say yes; they ask, "How many do you want?" Expect a two week back order. I didn't tell them my kid was two years old."

The Apple employee promotion program began this week. The promo, which may or may not happen each quarter, allows employees to purchase a select group of Apple products, in most cases, for substantial discounts. If any of you know an Apple employee and are interested in picking up some new Apple branded hardware, now is the time to get in touch with them.

First spotted on MacOS Rumors -- Apple's Executive Vice President of Marketing, Guerrino De Luca, will be the guest of an Apple chat this evening at 9PM/EDT. The main area of discussion will focus on the company's future plans for customer marketing. Click here for further information.

U.S. Robotics has posted a high speed script for use with their USR Courier and Sportster line of modems including models with x2 technology. The script, which is available from here, is intended for use with ARA 2.0, 2.0.1, 2.1 and OT/PPP 1.0.

MacInTouch has received an updated report on the PowerBook 2400. In addition, Ric is reporting that Apple's backlog for the 8600 line is now more than 15,000 systems. If you try and order one today, you'll apparently get a six week quote on delivery.

The Macintosh Resource Page is continuing its coverage of the compatibility issues that come along with purchasing a 1MB L2 cache. As Eric notes, the widely carried module from IDT Technologies yields tremendous performance, but compatibility is a sticking point.

Monday, May 5th
A Comet Is Coming On May 12th
According to publicized reports, Apple will introduce the IBM-manufactured PowerBook 2400, aka 'Comet', on May 12, and for the first month after introduction, the product will be only offered for sale in Japan. The sub-laptop, which was designed after IBM's own ThinkPad 560 line, is expected to be released here sometime this summer, although some reports have indicated a variety of summer timeframes.

NewerTECH To Expand eMate 300
NewerTECH is set to debut an internal expansion module for Apple's eMate 300 that will completely max out the unit's flash/static RAM, leaving the PCMCIA card slot open for a modem, according to reports we've received. The module is due out around the end of the month, and as the eMate can only accept either one PCMCIA Type II or Type III card, the upgrade will prove to be a valuable addition.

PointCast has released the 1.0.1 version of its client software. The new version adds six new channels including The Wall Street Journal, Pathfinder, TechWeb, Chicago Tribune, Star Tribune, and Philadelphia Online along with a control strip module that allows users to control updates and SmartScreens. Download from here. Note: 1.0 users will automatically receive the update through the client.

First reported by O'Grady's PowerPage -- it seems that sales of the eMate 300 are no longer being limited to parents and the K12 market. Apparently, you can now call Apple directly (1-800-434-3033) and order the product for $799. If anyone has already done this and received shipment, we would like to hear from you.

A message on the MacOS Runtime for Java developer's mailing list from Apple's Java Product Manager, Will Iverson, has shed some light onto the MRJ and Marimba Castanet situation. Though both companies proudly announced at Macworld in January that they would be integrating each other's products, the actual truth is that Castanet will only be bundled with upcoming versions of MRJ.

Next Generation Online is reporting that though MacQuake is still on track for a July delivery, the game's publisher, MacSoft, will not be releasing a demo. This decision comes as a large surprise, especially considering the game's distribution on the PC.

This month's PC Magazine cover story focuses on a couple Java related issues including the wide variety of Java Virtual Machines available for each platform. Macintosh JVMs were routinely criticized for their performance (as they should have been), but PC Labs, obviously, didn't have the chance to test the speedy MRJ 1.5a1.

Computer Plus in Phoenix is apparently selling the PowerBook 1400cs 12/750/8X CD-ROM drive for $1599, though the company's Web page doesn't reflect this price. The coupon for Apple's free 33.6 modem deal is also included. Keeping with PowerBook news; Apple has posted an info sheet update for the upcoming 1400/166. (Thanks, John Kestner)

An Apple press release reports that the company is donating more than $100,000 in computers and software to the Grand Forks School District, a district that was forced to close on April 18th due to the flooding of the Red River.

A demo of Fallout, the PC and Macintosh tactical turn-based, action strategy, RPG-esque game from Interplay's Mac division, MacPlay, is now available for downloading. Be sure to note, however, the demo weighs in at a hefty 28MB's. The full version is expected to be release this summer.

According to the product's homepage, the free Macboy Lite organizer will be available for download on May 10th. Though the product will be the free sibling of a shareware product, Macboy Lite will deliver a complete and powerful feature set that doesn't skimp on capabilities.

The shareware onscreen text anti-aliasing extension, SmoothType 1.2, from Greg Landweber now performs significantly faster and takes up much less RAM. Download the new version from the SmoothType homepage.

Weekend: May 3rd & 4th
Amelio Talks Rhapsody
As reported in Friday's update (see below), the editors at MacWEEK and MacUser sat down last week for an exclusive interview with Gil Amelio. The possibility of Apple bringing Open Transport over to Rhapsody was discussed, along with Amelio's admission that Rhapsody's Yellow Box, now being dubbed 'Concert', will be ported to the Intel platform. More interestingly, Amelio stated that the Windows 95 port is nearly complete and will probably been shown off at WWDC.

Dave Garaffa's BrowserWatch received a report that indicates the beta 1 version of MacLynx 2.7.1 (in both PowerPC and 68k versions) should be available by May 15th. Release notes for the alpha 4 version are also available. For anyone looking for the lightest of lightweight browsers on the Mac, this is something to look forward to.

The San Jose Mercury News is reporting on a tax deal between the city of Cupertino and Apple Computer that could save the company between $5 to $10 million in the next five years.

BoxTop Software has released GIFmation 2.0a6. This new alpha, which is available from here, adds progress reporting in all needed actions and new compatibility plug-ins. A bug in the Photoshop layer import has also been fixed.

MacInTouch has posted an Open Transport update from Apple's Richard Ford that was on the WebSTAR mailing list. Basically, Apple is looking for additional Open Transport 1.2 (the version that will be included in Mac OS 8) beta testers to help validate several major bugs, including the Ping of Death.

Friday, May 2nd
According to the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh homepage, Apple will begin accepting orders for this beast on Thursday, May 15, 1997 at 9AM/Pacific. All orders must be directed through an Apple Specialist dealer, but if you don't happen to have one within 100 miles of your location, you can email Apple at [email protected] and a representative will get back to you within two days. Shipment of the machines is slated to take place after July 1st.

A message on the Mac The Knife message board from MacWEEK senior editor, Matthew Rothenberg, which is included below, points to the possibility of Open Transport coming out of its maintenance mode.

"Check out Rick LePage's interview with Gil Amelio in the next MacWEEK (full Web version is available from here): The big man says Apple is considering bringing Open Transport back from Siberia."

Apple has posted MacOS Runtime for Java 1.5a1 on the AppleJava Bleeding Edge page. This version integrates Apple's Just-in-time Compiler (JITC) for PowerPC machines which significantly speeds up nearly all Java operations. In addition, according to release notes, improvements to the graphics code should be evident on both PowerPC and 68K machines.

We have updated our JVM Showdown with new benchmarks to reflect the newest release of MRJ. You'll find that, as Apple has stated, MRJ 1.5a1 does really deliver on the promised graphics improvement -- performance is roughly twice as fast as the combo of MRJ 1.0.1 and the JIT extension. Floating-point performance has also been significantly improved.

MacGurus is offering 1MB L2 cache DIMMs for $199. The modules work with bus speeds of up to 60MHz, and the following machines have been tested and are supported by the company: PowerMac 7200, 7300, 7500, 7600, 8500, & 8600, PowerTower, PowerTower Pro, PowerWave, PowerCenter, Performa 6400, and Performa 5400. In addition, as we noted earlier in the week, The Power Macintosh Resource Page has conducted benchmarks on a 1MB L2 cache (tests are noted on the PMR's April 27th news), and the results are very encouraging for anyone in the market.

Apple CEO, Gil Amelio, has publicly stated this week that there is "no truth to the rumors" that Apple is spinning off its Imaging division (which just so happens to be one of the company's few profitable segments) to Fuji Xerox Co. MacWEEK has the complete story.

wwwART 2.0 from MicroFrontier Inc. is a light-weight and inexpensive image creation and paint program designed specifically for creating and altering graphics for Internet use. A locked copy of the application (which needs a $19.95 purchaseable key code) is available for downloading from the product's homepage.

Thursday, May 1st
FredLabs Cancels VirtualMac
Due to limited resources and lack of investor interest, fredlabs Inc. have canceled their VirtualMac project, a Macintosh emulator for the BeOS. According to a note on the company's homepage, there was apparently no investors interested in the VirtualMac idea. Be, however, doesn't seem to be worried about this announcement as the BeForever Web site has received word from Be's Mark Gonzales which states that Be will be officially announce their plans for overall Mac OS compatibility at the Be Developer Conference.

Macromedia Announces Disappointing Results
After the market closed yesterday, Macromedia laid out their fourth quarter financial results. The company's revenues came in at $13 million, down substantially from $34 million in the same year ago period. Because of this low revenue, net losses for the fourth quarter totaled over $15 million, or $0.41 per share. This compares with a net income of $6 million in the same quarter last year. The company has stated before that the delay in Director 6 is impacting sales heavily. A Macromedia press release details more.

Monday's resignation of Rick LeFaivre, Apple's vice president of the Apple Technology Group, is detailed in a article in today's San Jose Mercury News. LeFaivre, who rejoined Apple just four months ago, resigned on Monday night and then became Borland International's chief technology officer on Tuesday.

First announced at the recent JavaOne developers conference, JavaSoft has posted the first draft of the 'Glasgow' JavaBeans Specification. The white paper contains information about this next revision of the JavaBeans standard. Click here for download links to PDF and postscript versions.

The merger between MetaTools and Fractal Design, which is now scheduled for May 29th, will result in a company called MetaCreations Corp and will carry the NASDAQ ticker symbol MCRE, according to a MacWEEK article. MacWEEK is also reporting on an upcoming cascading style sheet editor from Media Design.

The final 1.0 version of Marimba's Castanet Tuner is now available for download. Please note: the download page still carries the beta label, but several people have notified us that it is in fact the 1.0 version. Also, it seems the Tuner update hasn't been made available yet, but that should happen relatively soon.

Fog City Software has a large collection of Claris Emailer 2.0 scripts available for download. This group of utilities gives you the ability to do the following: import Eudora mailboxes, export Eudora Mailbox, more forward export capabilities, message extraction, and more.

A transcript from Monday night's pre-Worldwide Developer's Conference Rhapsody chat with Apple's Ken Bereskin, John Signa, Jim Black, Jordan Dea-Mattson is now available from here.

NEWS.COM is reporting that Apple will soon release a PowerBook 1400 with a 166-MHz PowerPC 603e processor. No specific release dates are known, but pricing is expected to be in the $3,200 and $4,400 range.

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