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November, 1998 Archive

Headlines For Monday, November 30th
The Apple Trader

by Wes George

AOL Buys Netscape-An Analyst's View
Don't you just hate the accelerating pace of technological change nowadays? Even the business of technology is changing too fast to keep up-to-date on all of it. I know I'm confused by this last week's turn of events. AOL buys Netscape. I don't get it.

Read The Apple Trader

Top Story
iMac Number 2 Computer....Again
[12: 25 PM] Apple can claim the number 2 spot for best selling desktops again. PC Data has released their compilation of hardware statistics for the month of October and the iMac is once again in the number 2 spot. This makes the third straight month that Apple has been in the Top 5, and the company's second stint at number 2. In August, the iMac held the number 2 position despite only having been available for only two weeks in the month. September saw our Bondi-Blue sales wonder at the number 3 position.

The Mac Observer Spin: October was the month that rumors began to surface about iMac sales slowing down. Apparently reports of the early death of the iMac were greatly exaggerated. PC Data's latest results cover the month of October. Apple's loan program which offers an iMAc for as little as US$29.95 per month started at the beginning of November.

PC Data - Apple

iMac News Site Relaunched
[3: 23 PM] The iMac News Page has been relaunched and is looking better than ever. The site offers news, information, archives, and more links than you can shake a USB mouse at. The site also now features a festive holiday look so go check it out.

MacTimes: The iMac News Page

Super-Niche Super Site
[2: 44 PM] A new site has been opened to keep fans of SuperCard up to date on news, resources and other related information. The site is called SuperCard News and is sure to be a hit with fans of that technology. We wish the folks at SuperCard News the best of luck!

SuperCard News

Village Tronic Shipping MacMagic Voodoo Card
[2: 35 PM] Inside Mac Magazines is reporting that the 8 MB Voodoo card from Village Tronic is shipping. Announced in October, debuted at MacWorld Expo'98 in Düsseldorf in mid November, Mac gamers in the States can now buy it. Head over to IMG to read more about it.

Inside Mac Games

Apple's Portable Plans Reach Mainstream Press
[2: 23 PM] Computer Reseller News is reporting what Mac rumor sites such as Mac The Knife and MacOS Rumors have been reporting for months. Computer Reseller is covering Apple's rumored P1 portable that may be introduced at Macworld Expo in January.

Computer Reseller's Article

Babylon 5 For The Mac
[1: 56 PM] Matt Tingstrom has started a petition to help bring Babylon 5 Combat Sim to the Mac. Sierra has indicated that a Mac version could be in order if enough people showed interest and Matt's petition is designed to show them just that. As with all such petitions, only sign it if you are interested in purchasing the game. It looks to be a fantastic combat sim that will appeal to space enthusiasts, Babylon 5 fans, and flying sim fans of all sorts. The form is easy to fill out and the web page offers links to other Babylon 5 Combat Sim web sites for those that want more information.

Sign The Petition

MacTell Announces Price Cuts For PowerJolt
[11: 12 AM] MacTell announced over the holiday weekend that it had lowered prices on its PowerJolt G3 upgrade cards. Pricing now starts at only US$389 with the top of the line 400 MHz cards with 512k of backside cache priced at US$999. The full price list is:

  • G3 PowerJolt 233MHz 512k Cache 117mhz bus $389
  • G3 PowerJolt 250MHz 512k Cache 125mhz bus $399
  • G3 PowerJolt 275MHz 512k Cache 138mhz bus $499
  • G3 PowerJolt 300MHz 512k Cache 150mhz bus $649
  • G3 PowerJolt 366MHz 512k Cache 183mhz bus $959
  • G3 PowerJolt 400MHz 512k Cache 200mhz bus $999
  • G3 PowerJolt Pro 250MHz 1024k Cache 166mhz bus $499
  • G3 PowerJolt Pro 275MHz 1024k Cache 184mhz bus $599
  • G3 PowerJolt Pro 275MHz 1024k Cache 275mhz bus $1195
  • G3 PowerJolt Pro 300MHz 1024k Cache 200mhz bus $699
  • G3 PowerJolt Pro 300MHz 1024k Cache 300mhz bus $1399
  • G3 PowerJolt Pro 333MHz 1024k Cache 222mhz bus $939
  • G3 PowerJolt Pro 366MHz 1024k Cache 183mhz bus $999
  • G3 PowerJolt Pro 400MHz 1024k Cache 200mhz bus $1145

More information can be obtained from MacTell's web site. MacTell is an advertiser with The Mac Observer.


Headlines For Friday, November 27th

by Bill Troop

The Storage Industry-The Good, The Bad, And The Wannabees
Our favorite hardware guru, Bill Troop, ventures into the fast moving world of the Storage Industry. Bill examines the high end of hard drives, why he thinks that some magazines have it all wrong about removables, and the best way to get CD-Rs just right. For a fascinating take on the state of the Industry:

Read The Storage Industry

Ergonomic, Color Matching Mouse For iMac
[12: 26 PM] German company Tstaturen has made available the newly released ergonomic mouse for the iMac for online ordering. The Anir Mouse is Bondi-Blue, see-through, and matches the styling of the iMac nicely. The device is shaped like the original Anir Mouse which looks somewhat like a joystick, but moves like a mouse. As part of their show of support for the iMac, the company says:

"The Anir Mouse is also available for PCs and Macintosh with the traditional interfaces - only in beige, however."

The product is available in two sizes and is priced ay US$79 for American buyers. The site has pictures and links to all technical specs.

Anir Mouse

Apple's Registers New Trademarks And Domains
[12: 06 PM] Apple has registered three new trademarks and accompanying domains; MyApple (, MacMate (, and WebMate (without a domain). There is currently a lot of speculation as to whether this refers to Apple's upcoming consumer portable and a web portal site. MacTime's John Kinsella offers a compelling analysis.

MacTimes: Proliferating Portable and PDAs

Follow Up:
Mac Gamer's Ledge Interviews Electronic Arts
[11: 01 AM] Mike Dixon was kind enough to tell The Mac Observer about an extensive interview he had with Electronic Arts Engineer Chris Conway. This interview gets an in-depth view of how Future Cop made its way to the Mac. It's a good read, so head over to MGL!

Mac Gamer's Ledge: Future Cop Interview (Corrected Link)

Headlines For Wednesday, November 25th

My First Mac Was A Typewriter
by Nancy Gravley

AOL Vs. A Local ISP
This week I am going to write about choosing an on line provider. I am going to discuss the different options offered to you as a user by the different kinds of internet providers who all clamor for your business. This column will concentrate on American Online (AOL) vs. a local internet service provider.

Read My First Mac Was A Typewriter

by Bill Troop

To Hell With Microsoft, Netscape, AND AOL Too!
The browser wars aren't about good technology. They're about the public's fascination with a David and Goliath story. Users can identify with that type of story. Honestly, if you want to know the truth, I think both Netscape Navigator/Communicator and Internet Explorer are junk pieces of software, bloated with lard, the technological analogue of a P.T. Barnum fat lady.

Read Bill Troop's Opinion


Top Story
AOL Closes Deals With Netscape/Sun
[1: 49AM] AOL announced yesterday that it had closed a deal to purchase Netscape in a stock swap valued at US$4.2 billion.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Follow Up:
Electronic Arts Support For Mac On Future Cop
[10: 54 AM] Andrew Brownsword wrote us to let us know exactly how Future Cop made its way to the Mac.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Bare Bones Software Updates Mailsmith
[10: 29 AM] Bare Bones Software has updated their e-mail client, Mailsmith, to version 1.1.2. The new version brings some bug fixes to what is one of the very few real modern alternative e-mail clients. Improved features and bug fixes include:

  • "Display of more information in mail browsers and message views
  • An option to disable automatic filtering of downloaded messages
  • The ability to script the Compact and Rebuild mailbox commands
  • More navigation shortcuts, including quick access to "Find Selection"
  • as well as various performance enhancements and fixes"

The update, and more information about Mailsmith can be viewed at the Mailsmith web site.

Mailsmith Upgrade Info - Mailsmith Upgrade Download

Computing Saved By AOL?
[10: 07 AM] Somnath Banerjee of MacTimes has written an excellent analysis of the AOL/Netscape buyout and its potential impact on the industry.

MacTimes: Computing Saved By AOL?

I'm Thankful
[9: 42 AM] Erik Barzeski at MacOPINION has compiled a list of the things he is thankful for as a Mac user. Mac users around the world will understand Mr... Barzeski's thoughts for this Thanksgiving weekend.

MacOPINION:I'm Thankful

Head Games Publishing Releases New Mac Game
[9: 22 AM] Head Games Publishing has released "Dan Gilbert's Triazzle." Dan Gilbert's Triazzle is a puzzle game based on the board game of the same name. According to Head Games Publishing:

"Dan Gilbert's Triazzle challenges players to piece together triangular puzzle pieces with partial images of insects and creatures found in the rainforest, including butterflies, turtles and frogs. As the pieces are correctly linked, the various creatures come to life. When the entire puzzle is completed, the screen becomes animated with jumping frogs, fluttering butterflies and realistic sounds of the jungle."

The game is available now and more information can be had at the company's web site.

Head Games Publishing

Electronic Arts Releases Mac Strategy Game
[7: 15 AM] Electronic Arts has released a simultaneous Mac/PC game called Future Cop: L.A.P.D. a "strategic action-packed" computer game set in futuristic Los Angeles. This game looks to be a great game for Mac gamers.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

MacOS X For Intel-A Marketing Enigma
[3:17 AM] Lucas Costner a The Clearer Picture has written a column about the marketing challenges of selling a rumored Intel version of OS X.

The Clearer Picture


Headlines For Tuesday, November 24th

The Name Of The Game
by The Idiots

Volume, Volume, Volume!
Randy: Turn it up, man.
Randy: Turn it up louder!
Gary: I can't hear you over the laser fire!
Randy: Your point being?
Gary: I gotcha. Crank it up! Because that's what this week's column is all about. Sound. Big sound. 3D-surround, bowel-shaking, subwoofer-woofing, mega-gaming sound!

Read The Name Of The Game

New Mac Web Site Launched
[3:17 PM] J.R. Mooneyham has launched a new web site devoted to technology and the Mac. He has brought two column dealing with QuickTime for the sites launching. You can read "The Quicktime as OS X Lite Gambit" and "What Apple's Quicktime/OS X Lite Gambit Could Mean for Orphaned Mac Users" at RevMac.


New Version Of CommuniGate released
[1:20 PM] Stalker Software Inc. today announced their latest release of CommuniGate. The company bills CommuniGate as "an advanced, MacOS Intranet and Internet messaging system." The new version includes many improvements and added features including:

  • Improved Anti-Spam Features
  • Improved Black Listing abilities
  • Remote-path verification and on-the-fly relay checking of the SMTP module
  • MIME encoding of embedded PICTs has been changed to make it compatible with other programs like CyberDog and to make text-only mailers such as Eudora, and QuickMail store the PICT objects as PICT files

Upgrade and pricing information is somewhat complex and can be viewed at Stalker Software's web site. A limited demo is also available.

The Mac Observer Spin: As many of our readers know, CyberDog is our e-mail client. It is great to see support for CyberDog added to a mail server despite the fact that both CyberDog and OpenDoc are Still in maintenance mode. Thanks Stalker Software!

Stalker Software

2 Ways To Get SCSI On your iMac
[1:20 PM] MacHardware at The Mining Company has posted an article discussing the 2 ways iMac owners have of adding external SCSI chains to their computers. Both options have their merits and many iMac owners will find the articles educational.

Mac Hardware

Casady & Greene Release Update To Spell Catcher
[12:50 PM] Casady & Greene has announced the release of Spell Catcher 1.6, an update to their popular spell-checking program. This update provides cosmetic fixes for Mac OS 8.5 as well as addresses a few minor problems. The updater can be downloaded from Casady & Greene's web site.

Casady & Greene

Mac E-mail To Get Personal
[12:32 PM] has announced that its proprietary system for personalizing e-mail will soon be coming the Mac. In the words of

"Signature-mail enables users to personalize their e-mail and computer documents by including an image of their handwritten signatures, greetings and drawings, and by easily changing the image's size and color."

The company has announced that a beta Mac version will be coming soon.

Linux Users Get Shockwave Player
[12:32 PM] Macromedia has announced a Linux version of its Shockwave Player. This will allow Linux users to view Shockwave content for the first time. Both PPC Linux and MKLinux are popular serving solutions for Mac users wanting to utilize their Macs as Unix machines, but the player is only available for x86 Linux right now. The new players can be downloaded at the company's Shockwave site.

Macromedia Shockwave Download

Macromedia To Demonstrate Dreamweaver 2.0
[12:25 PM] Macromedia has announced that Dreamweaver 2.0 will be shown at CNET's trade show. The event will be held in New Orleans Dec. 7 through Dec. 9 of this year. Macromedia will also be demonstrating Director 7 Shockwave Internet Studio. These two products are two of the most popular Internet content creation authoring suites.


Mindscape Updates Mavis Beacon
[11:59 AM] Everyone's favorite typing instructor, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, has been updated to version 9.0. According to Mindscape:

"Mavis Beacon use Adaptive Response Technology to evaluate and teach the typist through personalized typing lessons that focus on the typist's strengths, weaknesses, and rhythms. Age-appropriate content allows typists of any age and skill level to benefit from the program."

Mindscape is a subsidiary of The Learning Company. Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing Version 9 has an estimated street price of US$40.


Mindscape Releases New National Geographic Package
[11:53 AM] The Learning Company subsidiary Mindscape has announced the release of "The Complete National Geographic: 109 Years of National Geographic." This package comes on 31 CDs and includes "every page, article, page map, advertisement, and magazine cover from every issue of National Geographic Magazine from 1888 through 1997."

The product is shipping for US$179 for the Mac, while the DVD version for Windows is US$199 (4 DVDs). The product is available now wherever TLC products are available.


Media 100 Ships Version 5.0
[11:34 AM] Media 100 has shipped its previously announced Media 100 5.0 and its new DV Option for mixing analog and digital signals in the same program and then master to Composite, S-Video and Component analog decks, or DV devices. According to Media 100:

"Version 5.0's robust feature set includes 16:9 frame aspect ratio support for widescreen television, MEDIA 100 codec sharing for improved QuickTime integration, titling and effects enhancements, and time-saving editing features and project management improvements. This release also has been certified to work with selected expansion chassis from Magma and SBS Bit 3."

Visit the company's web site for more information.

Media 100

Headlines For Monday, November 23rd

The Apple Trader
by Wes George

Message Board Prophets
One of the things I like to do when researching stocks online is to go to message boards and see what investors are posting about a particular company. If you've never been to the various stock message or "discussion" boards you're missing a real cybertreat.

Read The Apple Trader

Monday's Mac Gadget
by Dean Philo

There are new features are everywhere in MacOS 8.5. Not all of them are easy to find. As a matter of fact, some are impossible to find. That's right, there are some very neat tricks 8.5 can only do with the help of obscure applescript commands.

Read Monday's Mac Gadget

Top Story
AOL And Sun To Divvy Up Netscape?
[3:27 AM] In a stunning development this weekend, reports are surfacing that says that AOL will buy Netscape ina deal estimateed to be worth US$4 Billion. The deal would reportedly be a stock only transaction.

The Mac Observer Spin: his development is the single largest event in the technology industry besides Apple's return to profitability. In fact, it may be looked back upon in the future as a pivotal moment in the industry.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Top Story
Microsoft To Drop Java Support In Mac And Unix IE
[8:24 AM] Microsoft has announced that it plans to "support" Java on the Mac and Unix by dropping its own implementation of the Java engine from the Mac and Unix versions of Internet Explorer.

The Mac Observer Spin: This marks a couple of departures for the company. This first is a departure from what a statement released on Friday that said the company said it would support Java on all platforms. At the time it did not define support.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Asante Releases OS 8.5 Drivers For Ethernet Cards
[2:05 PM] Asante has released new drivers for its line of 10/BaseT and 100/BaseT Ethernet cards. The new drivers are compatible with OS 8.5. the update covers the full line of Asante Ethernet cards and can be downloaded from the Company's web site.


MacDirectory Introduces OS 8.5 Hotline
[1:41 PM] The Mac Directory has introduced a Mac OS 8.5 Hotline for Mac users who have questions about the new version of the Mac OS. According to the MacDirectory:

"The MacOS 8.5 Hotline contains a list of frequently asked question and answers as well as a description of the new features available on MacOS
8.5. If this wasn't enough, there is also a 24/7 hotline for technical support. MacOS 8.5 questions and concerns can be sent via e-mail. Answers will be delivered immediately free of charge."

Sounds like an excellent service from our friends at MacDirectory.

MacDirectory - MacDirectory OS 8.5 Hotline

New Server Solution For The Mac
[1:04 PM] EveryDay Objects, Inc. has released version 1.2 of jServe, its web server solution for the Mac. According to EveryDay Object:

"jServe currently supports HTTP, FTP, SMTP and POP3, with support for many additional protocols planned for future releases. The HTTP server provides full support for the Java Servlet API including server side includes. Servlets can also be invoked via SMTP."

jServe is priced at only US$45 and is available now from the EveryDay Objects web site.

EveryDay Objects

WebChecker Helps Web Users Check Web Sites
[12:49 PM] Jeremy Kezer has released the latest version of WebChecker, version 1.2.1. In the words of Jeremy:

"WebChecker is a utility program designed to help you manage web pages you check frequently. It will check to see if a web page has been modified, and will notify you - or even automatically launch your favorite web browser - when it detects any changes."

This is especially handy for following sites like The Mac Observer which is updated throughout the day. Version 1.2.1 includes some bug fixes as well as enhanced extended page checking.


New Sound Internet Sound Tool Released
[11:25 AM] MacSourcery and AudioEase have jointly released BarbaBatch 2.5, their batch audio processor. The program is designed to allow multimedia artists to assemble sounds that are internet ready in a variety of formats. Features of the new version include:

  • "Segment conversion allows users to convert custom 'snippets' of audio directly into internet savvy formats.
  • The ability separately control the fade-in and fade-out of converted files as well as the conversion from and to of all flavours of QuickTime audio.
  • Conversion to Macromedia Director compatible AIFC IMA files is also new BarbaBatch 2.5.BarbaBatch 2.5 also adds full support for the professional version of QuickTime 3's Qdesign format."

A demo version of BarbaBatch 2.5 is available from MacSourcery with upgrade pricing starting at US$50. Upgrades from version 2.4 are free. The full version is priced at US$395.


MicroNet Ships Express RAID 2.0
[11:07 AM] MicroNet has shipped version 2.0 of ExpressRAID, its disk management software for DataDock storage solutions. ExpressRAID is offered as a free upgrade to any MicroNet customer with a hard drive or array that shipped with PowerRaven or DiskWorks RAID software.


RealNetworks To Release New Multimedia Tools
[10:36 AM] RealNetworks has announced RealProducer G2 and RealProducer Plus G2, a new line of multimedia production tools. The new products actually replace RealEncoder and RealPublisher that are part of RealSystem G2. The new tools will allow multimedia artists to design and publish "next-generation streaming media content for the Internet and corporate intranets."

RealProdcucer G2 and RealProducer Plus are expected in the 1st quarter of 1999 for the Mac.


Newer Technologies Reduce Upgrade Prices/Ads New Configurations
[10:02 AM] Newer Technologies has reduced the prices on its MAXPowr and NuPowr lines of G3 upgrade cards. In addition, the company has added 4 new configurations to these lines. Pricing on the MAXPowr line of cards now begins at US$449 showing a US$50 decrease while the top of the line MAXpowr G3-G3 400MHz/1MB/200 is priced at US$1649 representing a US$450 decrease in price.

The company has added a new card for upgrading PowerBook 1400s running at 233 MHz with 512k of L2 cache and a card to upgrade PowerBook 2400s running at 240 MHz with a full MB of L2 cache. A 266 MHz and 300 MHz MAXpowr version have also been added for desktop machines.

Newer Technologies

Bungie Spanks The Mac Observer
[3:11 AM] Bungie decided to remind The Mac Observer that they are in charge of their plans for World Domination and not us. Responding to our story on Friday in which we said that a source had told us that an internal date of December 6th for the shipping date of Myth 2, Matt Soell of Bungie said:

"I think you guys need to get better sources. It should be before the end of the year, but it sure won't be December 9. We'll announce a release date as soon as it goes GM..."

Other mail we receievd from beta testers and messages posted on the Myth fan site Voracious Rabbits suggests that the date is either December 20th or that no one knows. Several beta testers wrote us to say that everyone is working hard, and many different dates were given. None thought our date was correct.

The Mac Observer Spin: Myth may be the only thing that generates more fantacism than Macs. Thanks to all who wrote in or about us.

Bungie - Voracious Rabbits

Headlines For Friday, November 20th

Top Stories
Myth II Shipping Date Set?
[5:26 AM] Sources close to Bungie's development efforts have reported that a target shipping date for Myth II: Soulblighter has been set internally at Bungie. Myth II is the soon to be released sequel to the wildly popular Myth: The Fallen Lords real-time strategy game released last year at this time.

The Mac Observer Spin: Bungie is the single most important game developer for the Macintosh platform. While they do not put out as many games as porting companies like MacSoft, they perform an even more important role of actually developing Mac games from the ground up.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Trivectus Announces Launch Key 1.5
[1:26 PM] Trivectus has announced the latest version of Launch Key, version 1.5. Launch Key is a small utility that allows you to assign up to ten Finder-clickable objects to a quick keyboard combination "to make them available instantly at any time, no matter what program is in front." According to Trivectus:

"Since the assigned object can be anything clickable in the Finder, you can assign such diverse things as a desktop printer (to see what's in the queue quickly), an AppleScript applet, an alias to a remote server, an important document, and of course applications like your e-mail program or your web browser. All of these are just a key press away with Launch Key."

Launch Key 1.5 is available from Trivectus for US$15.


ER Actor Cast As Steve Jobs For TV Movie
[12:54 PM] Noah Wyle from the hit TV drama ER has been cast as Steve Jobs in a made-for-TV movie according to Entertainment Tonight. The movie is to be called "Pirates of Silicon Valley" and will likely be airing in May of 1999.

Entertainment Tonight Online

Think Different: Think Coffee
[12:35 PM] While not really a news item, the Mac Observer staff felt that this new Mac coffee mug was so cool we would mention it. The black mug features a "Get a Mac" image on the from with the phrase "I think therefore I own a Mac" on the back. It is being offered by the MacSurfshop for US$9.95.


$1.1 Billion Suit Against Apple Gets Witnesses.
[10:31 AM] IMATEC has once again announced a $1.1 Billion patent infringement suit against Apple Computer today, but this time the company has come armed with expert witnesses. The suit claims that Apple is infringing upon various patents owned by IMATEC in Apple's ColorSync technology and that Apple is willfully violating said patents. Apple responded in April of this year with a counterclaim that it had developed ColorSync before IMATEC had received its patents and has counter sued to get IMATEC's patents revoked.

The Mac Observer Spin: This lawsuit is going to go nowhere regardless of the pedigree of IMATEC's witnesses.

[Editor's Note: We would link to IMATEC as is our policy, but they do not have a web page that we can find.]


Bungie Posts Site For Oni
[5:41 AM] Bungie has posted a new web site for their upcoming game Oni. Oni was announced at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo with a trailer, but quickly dissapeared into Bungie's famously tight-lipped security. The game is being billed as a full-contact-action game.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Headlines For Thursday, November 19th

Top Stories
Apple Continues To Score Big With First Time Buyers
[10:26 AM] According to Centris, a research and information services firm, Apple is the number two choice on the minds of people planning to buy computers for the first time. This is according to a report just issued by Centris that claims that 49% of all US households will have computers by January of 1999.

The Mac Observer Spin: 2 key factors in this report are that the sampling was performed from October 26th to November 6th. Apple's US$29.95 per month loan program for iMac buyers was introduced on November 5th, allowing for just one full day of advertising on Apple's part to effect consumer's interest in regards to this report.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Top Stories
New Mac CD-ROM Magazine Announced
[12:05 PM] A new Mac oriented CD-ROM magazine has been announced that promises "the coolest 650 megabytes of software you can stuff on a CD-ROM."

The Mac Observer Spin: Lot's of cool stuff here. We wonder if Ziff-Davis regrets some of their decisions.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Top Stories
Gaming And "Special Interests" Get Boost To Mac Expo Floor
[9:39 AM] IDG Expo Management has announced some new additions to the main Expo floor for January's Macworld Expo in San Francisco. The chief among them is that a Mac Gaming Championship will be held, similar to the one held in New York's Macworld Expo this past fall.

The Mac Observer Spin: Apple has worked very hard in recent months to show their commitment to the previously ignored consumer market. The iMac and the new loan program is just a part of this effort as the company has done everything is could to reach out and embrace games and other consumer level concepts like never before.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Into The Fire
[2:46 PM] Jeff Lewis of MacOPINION has written a very entertaining article that contrasts Mac users and PC users as compared to Babylon 5 fans and Star Trek fans. Jeff is sure to generate lots of mail with this as he hits upon 4 of the most touchy and sensitive subjects that have some of the most devoted fans/followers in modern culture: Macs, PCs, Babylon 5, and Star Trek. heh.


Shareware Utility For Tracking Project Time
[1:47 PM] Karl Bunker has released a new version of his popular utility for tracking time spent on jobs and projects. According to Bunker:

"To start tracking time on a new project you make a single menu selection and type in a name for the project. Tracking the accumulated time spent on a project is accomplished by clicking a start/stop timer button. Switch between projects with a popup menu. View the log of a project by clicking a button."

This update also includes support for OS 8.5 Navigation Services. A demo is available at the web site with pricing set at US$35.

Multimer Pro 3.1.1

New QuickTime 3 Plug-In Effects Released
[1:39 PM] Buena Software today announced the release of Effects Pack #1. Effects Pack #1 consists of 10 new plug-in effects for use with Quicktime 3 and MacOS. There are 6 filters and 4 new transitions included in the software. These filters and transitions allow users to "spice up" QuickTime movies. According to Buena Software:

"Included in the package are such effects as Color Pass, which lets you convert a movie to black and white, while leaving one specific color unchanged; Color Replace, which lets you replace one color with another; Camcorder, which makes your movie clips look like they were filmed through a camcorder view finder; Contrast & Brightness, which allows you to dynamically change the contrast and brightness of a clip; Negative, which produces a photo-negative of your clips; Video Noise, which allows you to add a dynamically varying amount of noise to your clips; and Cool Transitions, a set of 4 psychedelic transitions for moving from one clip to another."

Pricing for Effects Pack #1 is US$30 with immediate availability. The company offers a demo at their web site.

Buena Software

New Version Of Interactive Music Generation Software
[11:47 AM] SSEYO has released version 2.1 of Koan Pro, its interactive music generation software. According to SSEYO:

"As a truly generative system, Koan creates music on the fly through a series of user configurable rules. This approach results in very small files (typically 1 to 20k) which are ideal for creating a compelling low bandwidth sound environment that can play for many hours."

The company also plans on releasing a Mac browser plug-in "shortly." The plug-in would allow web masters to embed Koan files to web pages.


Effort To Bring MP3 Player To The Mac
[11:18 AM] Mark Delfs is directing an effort to get Diamond Multimedia's RIO MP3 player to the Mac market. The RIO MP3 player is a very nifty portable music device that can take MP3 files from a PC (currently) and play them like a standard walkman-like handheld music device. Mark has information on RIO and directions for politely writing (always important to be polite when writing these letters!) Diamond to show them there is interest in the Mac market for the RIO.

RIO For The Mac

The Deep Blue Good-bye
[10:18 AM] Columnist John Martellaro writes his good-bye column at MacOS Daily. He talks about the tough job of running a Mac web site and we at The Mac Observer think everyone should go and take a look! :-)

The Event Horizon

OneWorld Systems Brings Increased Mac Support To Networking
[9:58 AM] OneWorld Systems has brought more Mac networking options to the MAc market by increasing its support for the Mac in OneWorld 5000 1.6 communication server package.

The OneWorld 5000 is the only communications server that offers Internet routing, remote access, send fax, and receive fax in a single product. OneWorld 5000 now has full native Macintosh support for faxing, Apple Remote Access 2.0/3.0, and Internet Routing.

The company has also added support for GlobalFax protocols. Administration still requires the use of a Windows app, but OneWorld has added full support for Windows emulation software Virtual PC, RealPC, and SoftWindows. Registered users can upgrade for US$1000 and the product will be available on Friday, November 20th.

OneWorld Systems


Headlines For Wednesday, November 18th

My First Mac Was A Typewriter
by Nancy Gravley

How to Use Your Mac to Facilitate an Old Fashioned Holiday
Do you think that is a contradiction in terms? It isn't. The special abilities of the Mac to produce graphic based products lends itself to all kinds of holiday items that you can produce much cheaper than you can buy, and at the same time make them unique and personal. Our editor said no, no, no! No holiday columns until after Thanksgiving. However, since he also said he doesn't shop until the last minute we can ignore him. [Editor's Note To Self: Find the time to chastise Nancy about this one] All of these suggestions take time and you may want to get started now.

Read My First Mac Was A Typewriter

New 3D Modeling And Sculpting App Announced
[1:46 PM] Play, Inc. has introduced a cross-platform 3D modeling and sculpting application called Amorphium. Amorphium is the first product to be introduced since PLay, Inc. merged with Electric Image earlier this year. The product offers 3D modeling without having to use wire-frame models in a way the company likens to modeling with clay and a brush in real-time. Features include:

"Interactive sculpting, painting, distortion tools, energy balls, displacement mapping, texture mapping, true 3D morphing, and powerful 3D text generation."

The product is aimed at web designers, desktop publishers, business graphics, art education and personal creative projects. Pricing for Amorphium is set to be US$149.95 with availability in December of this year.


PC Magazine Awards Macromedia MVP Awards
[1:31 PM] PC Magazine awarded Macromedia MVP awards for both Dreamweaver and Director at Comdex this week. Macromedia Dreamweaver 1.2 was selected as the most valuable product in the Web Publishing Internet Software category. The competition was limited to Microsoft's FrontPage and NetObject's Fusion (GoLive Cyberstudio is not available on the PC, yet). Macromedia Director 6.5 Multimedia Studio was selected as the most valuable product in the Multimedia Development Software category.


Videonics Releases Upgrade To Effetto
[1:20 PM] Videonics has released Effetto 1.1, and upgrade to the compositing and video effects suite. The new version promises to be much faster than previous version. According to Videonics:

"Effetto version 1.1 adds RAM and disk caching capabilities to the product. Compositors can expect to see playback and rendering speeds two to five times faster, which makes the rendering process more seamless and efficient."

The product also supports popular standard third-party After Effects plug-ins including Digi-Effects, Final Effects Complete, Boris Effects and the ICEfx systems from ICE. Effetto 1.1 is available immediately.


More "Smart and Friendly" CD-R Offerings
[1:04 PM] Hot on the heels of this week's release of SpeedRacer, Smart and Friendly has announced the release of the CD TurboWriter in both internal and external configurations. Smart and Friendly claims that the CD TurboWriter will write a CD-R or Audio CD in 12 minutes. The company is bundling its usual set of software including Adaptec's Toast. The internal model will be priced at US$599 with the external model coming at US$699. Both models will be available before the end of the year.


New USB Hub And Cables Introduced
[12:49 PM] Interex has introduced a line of USB Hubs and USB cables that are aimed at the iMac market. The Hub is designed with a "Bondi-blue bottom/clear top color combination" and includes 4 USB ports, and a 2 meter matching color cable. The cables can be purchased separately in both 2 meter and 5 meter lengths.

The Mac Observer Spin: This week in particular has seen a rash of iMac product announcements, many of them from PC oriented companies. Interex's press release makes it clear that their new products will work with an USB equipped computer, but that the color and design aspects of the design were catered strictly toward our favorite Bondi-blue Mac. The computer industry has never before seen one specific computer model receive so much attention from manufacturers from around the world.


Speaking Of iMac Zip Drives....
[12:40 PM] Microtech has released a USB slim Zip drive they are marketing specifically for the iMac. The company says the product measures 6.25 x 4.2 x 0.75 inches and weighs only 0.8 pounds. IT is expected to retail for US$229 and should be available by Christmas.


iDrive Releases iZippy
[4:05 AM] iDrive has released a product they are calling iZippy. iZippy allows iMac owners to connect a Zip drive directly to their iMac without using a USB connector. The product comes packaged with all the hardware necessary to make it work, including a Zip drive. An extra bonus is that the iZippy gets all its power from the iMac, eliminating an external power supply. Potential owners may want to carefully check out their iMac warranties before installing the iZippy. The unit sells for US$169.95 direct from iDrive.


New Mac Web Site Opens Doors
[3:47 AM] A new Mac web site called Macinsites has opened its doors this week. The site carries a comprehensive list of Mac links along with brief explanations of what each linked site does for you. The most innovative aspect of Macinsites is the ability for users to add their own links.


The Mining Company Posts Poll
[3:28 AM] The Mac Hardware section of The Mining Company has posted an online poll asking how much RAM users want to see come standard in Power Macs from Apple.

The Mining Company

MacOS Daily Closing Shop
[3:21 AM] MacOS Daily is closing shop and has posted some final notes that many Mac users will enjoy. 25 Reason's Not To Buy A Mac is in particular, a very amusing column. Swing by MacOS Daily and check out their Good-Bye Messages

MacOS Daily

New App Turns Ungarbles Gobbledygook
[3:15 AM] WestCode Software has released ungarble it!, a utility that promises to "clean up garbled e-mail or other text with little more than a mouse click." According to WestCode:

"ungarble it! works inside any application, eliminating the need to launch or switch programs to process the text."

The web site has screen shots that will better explain what this application can do for you. Ungarble it! is available at an introductory price of US$14.98 for the next 30 days, and will jump to US$19.98. The price includes a 60 day money-back satisfaction guarantee.

WestCode Software

Headlines For Tuesday, November 17th

The Name of the Game
by The Idiots

More Questions Only An Idiot Would Ask
The letters roll in, and the most common theme is, "You guys are Idiots!"

Gary: That sounds like a perfect reason to read a little VIEWER MAIL!

Read The Name Of The Game

NEC Releases New Flat-Screen CRT Monitor
[1:38 PM] NEC has released two new flat-screen CRT monitors. The MultiSync FP950 is a 19" monitor with an 18" viewable area that supports a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1440 at 76Hz, though the recommended resolution is 1280 x 1024 at 85Hz. The MultiSync FP1350 is a 22" monitor with a 20" viewable area also supporting a maximum resolution of 1920 x 1440 at 76Hz though its recommended resolution is 1600 x 1200 at 85Hz. Both monitors have a USB channel for software configuration and control. The company is expected to release the products in January of 1999 though pricing information has not yet been released.

Smart and Friendly

SpeedRacer Gets Smart And Friendly
[1:21 PM] Smart and Friendly has released a new CD-R, CD-RW, and CD-ROM unit called SpeedRacer. SpeedRacer will write CD-R and CD-RW media at 4X speed, and will playback CD-ROM at 16X and be purchased in either internal or external configurations. Adaptec's Toast is included with the external version. The SpeedRacer Internal is $499, while the expected price for the CD SpeedRacer External is $599. Both units should be available before the end of 1998.

Smart and Friendly

FileGuard Updated For OS 8.5 And HFS+ Compatibility
[11:41 AM] ASD Software has announced the release of FileGuard/FileGuard Remote version 3.1.2. FileGuard/FileGuard Remote 3.1.2 bring the apps to full compatibility with Mac OS 8.5 and HFS+. The company is currently offering competitive upgrades through MacZone and MacWarehouse and says that an iMac version of the apps is about three weeks away.

ASD Software

New USB Hardware and Software Keys Announced
[11:06 AM] Rainbow Technologies has announced SentinelSuperPro-USB and SentinelEve3-USB software protection keys. These devices are similar to other hardware dongles with the added ability to hot-swap them and the company claims they are smaller than earlier devices. The company is also touting the new products as hardware protection devices to help deter thefts among portable computing devices.

Pricing starts at US$19.95 for an evaluation copy.

Rainbow Technologies

New Log Analyzer Tool Released
[10:57 AM] Analog Helper 1.0, a graphical configuration tool for Analog, has been released. Analog is a very popular log analyzer for the Mac. According to Analog Helper's makers:

"Analog Helper lets you control and preview the results of hundreds of settings, and means you need not touch the complex syntax of Analog's configuration files."

Analog Helper is US$25 shareware.

Sig Software

Snak 2.0b6 Released
[10:20 AM] Kent Sorensen has released the latest version of his shareware IRC client, Snak. Snak 2.0b6 has a ton of new features and Kent assures us it is one of the finest IRC Mac clients available.

Kent Sorensen

Talk About Employee Benefits
[9:49 AM] Kaidan, Inc. announced yesterday that it would be leveraging Apple's new loan program to purchase iMacs for their employees. All of their employees. Kaidan's president, James K. Anders says:

"Apple has done their part by offering such a compelling product as the iMac and by providing affordable consumer credit. We wanted to make sure that every Kaidan employee was able to take advantage of this offer, so we decided to ‘think different’ and make the payment. I personally view this as an investment and not an expense. Kaidan has a Macintosh-based infrastructure and with our QuickTime VR-related product line, we wanted to make sure that everyone here has unlimited access to the tools they need for their personal and professional growth."

Hiring information for this maker of QuickTime VR-related imaging products can be found at there web site. :-)

Kaidan, Inc.

Headlines For Monday, November 16th

The Apple Trader
by Wes George

Take Iomega, Please
The price of a corporation's stock is almost entirely based on opinions about future prospects for that company and what people think about the state of the economy. What people think, feel and believe is almost always more important than what the facts are.

At first glance, especially to the novice investor, this may seem counter intuitive. Obviously the great growth companies out there like Cisco, Lucent and even, if I may dare, Microsoft have all the fundamental financial health indicators clearly peaked out in positive territory. They have consistent strong quarter over quarter growth, great profit margins and they dominate their respective industries. These are hard facts that no one can deny, but the facts are really secondary to the emotions of the Wall Street herds.

Read The Apple Trader

Monday's Mac Gadget
by Dean Philo

I'll assume most Mac Observer readers are techno-junkies - certainly enough so that most of us have MacOS 8.0 or later. But if the Mac users reading this are anything like the ones I know personally, most of us don't really use contextual menus. FinderPop may well change that.

Read Monday's Mac Gadget

Top Story
iMac Named Top Hottest Desktop System of the Year
[10:25 AM] Computer Retail Week, a retail channel trade magazine has named the iMac the Hottest Desktop System of the Year for 1998. The magazine polled 200 retail front-line sales people to obtain the result and lest anyone think it was a Mac-centric crowd, Windows 98 was chosen as the hottest software product. Computer Retail Week's Editor, Mark Harrington, said:

"iMac was far and away the leading desktop chosen by our sales associate readership, the key influencers in retail stores. The win is especially impressive considering iMac has only been available to consumers since mid-August. It's a real tribute to Apple's efforts."

Congratulations Apple!

Apple - Computer Retail Week

New Mac Compatible USB SmartMedia Reader/Writer Announced
[12:47 PM] Hagiwara Sys-Com has announced a Mac USB version of its SmartMedia Reader/Writer. The unit allows USB equipped Macintosh computers and iMacs to both read and write SmartMedia. Hagiwara Sys-Com says the product supports both 5V and 3.3V SmartMedia and requires no external power supply. The company will be demonstrating the product at this year's Comdex and plans to ship the SmartMedia Reader/Writer USB Version in mid-1999. Pricing information is not yet available.

Hagiwara Sys-Com

New E-mail Security Software Extended To Eudora Pro
[12:26 PM] Entrust Technologies has announced a new software tool for managing secure e-mail communications for Eudora Pro. The product, Entrust/Express 4.0, "automatically and transparently retrieves certificates from a directory whenever a user's name is entered into the 'To' list." The product was formerly available only for Microsoft Outlook and Express. Entrust/Express 4.0 is available now for US$39 direct from Entrust and its VARs.


USB Graphics Tablet Announced
[10:49 AM] CalComp Technology has announced the USB version of its Creation Station graphics tablet. Creation Station is a 4 inch x 5 inch graphics tablet and includes a small format tablet, a pressure-sensitive pen and a mouse. CalComp says that both the pen and mouse are cordless and battery-less. The company is also shipping the product in a translucent purple case that "compliment's the iMac’s look." The company also claims that the product features WYPIWYG or "where you point is where you go." It comes with a one-year "no questions asked" warranty. CalComp will ship the product in early 1999 and is expected to retail for US$129.


Iomega Shipping USB Zip Drive
[10:44 AM] Iomega is now shipping its USB Zip Drive for use with iMacs and other USB equipped Macs. The new drives are completely compatible with other Zip disks and will retail for US$149.95.



Headlines For Wednesday, November 11th

My First Mac Was A Typewriter
by Nancy Gravley

Use Your Mac To Keep Up With The Government
Have you sometimes wished you knew just what was going on in your state legislature and how it might impact you? Usually we don't find out most of these things until they are a done deal and we read about them in the paper or hear about them on the news. You may conclude that a special interest group or a powerful lobby has gotten involved and created one-sided deals, or you may wonder why in the world a legislature would address insignificant things.

Read My First Mac Was A Typewriter

Bill Gates Calls Apple Claims Outrageous
[3:42 PM] Speaking at Microsoft's annual shareholder conference, Bill Gates steadfastly defended his company against claims by Apple, Saying: "That's simply untrue. We've never done anything of that kind, and it's outrageous that anyone would make that claim.''

Mr. Gates also claimed that the DOJ's antitrust trial was driven by Microsoft's competitors.

The Mac Observer Spin: It is possible that Mr. Gates sees nothing wrong with leveraging market share of Windows in order to gain market share for other Microsoft products. And it is even possible that he sees nothing wrong with Microsoft negotiators threatening to cancel Office for the Mac if Apple didn't make Internet Explorer the default browser on the Mac. It is also fair to say that it is even possible that Microsoft did none of these things (that is for the courts to decide).

It is probable that many of Microsofts competitors are themselves trying to leverage the court case to make their own gains in the marketplace, the underlying concept behind the trial is Microsoft's actions during the course of business.

Apple - Microsoft

New Voice Recognition Technology Patented
[3:29 PM] Applied Voice Recognition has announced that they have been awarded a patent for their voice recognition technology. Called the VoiceCOMMANDER Speech Operating System, or SOS, the technology allows interfacing between other voice recognition technologies as well as letting the user set up their own Graphical User Interface that reflects their needs.

"The users develop an interface that reflects their most common uses of the computer, as well as their own look and feel for the graphic user interface. The intelligent help agent interactively converses with the user to confirm their selections. The SOS adds complete dictation and voice command functionality to enhance personal computers that run Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows NT, or Macintosh."

Applied Voice Recognition

Apple's Debt Rating Raised
[9:45 AM] Apple's debt rating was raised by Standard and Poor's in wake of Apple's first profitable year and phenomenal success with the iMac. The new rating make it easier and cheaper for Apple to seek loans. Apple's senior debt was raised to B+ from B-, while its subordinated debt was raised to B- from CCC. This is good news for Apple as ir shows the industry believes in its ongoing recovery efforts, though the ratings are still not high enough to be considered investment grade.


Headlines For Tuesday, November 10th

The Name of the Game
by The Idiots

Time Is On Our Side
Gary: What? You want to do another game review already?
All right, all right. We just did a game review of MDK two columns ago, but I say, we gotta do a review of Buried in Time 3: Legacy of Time.
Why is that, oh, wise one?
'Cause it KICKS ASS!

Read The Name Of The Game

New QuickTime Multimedia Content Creation Tool Released
[4:28 PM] Tribeworks, Inc. has introduced a new product called iShell. iShell is a QuickTime 3 development application that the company calls a digital media suite. Tribeworks claims that iShell allows content creators to create interactive applications without doing any programming while allowing programers to add to iShell's functionality without impeding the creative developers. According to Tribeworks:

"iShell's Editor features seamless integration of all media types supported by QuickTime 3, including full-motion video and CD-quality audio, from any location whether local or over the Internet."

iShell is not for amateurs however, as it is priced at US$2000 for the full development suite. A trial version is available at the company's web site.


USB Ethernet Here
[3:46 PM] Entrega has released a USB hub with a built-in Ethernet converter and a USB to RJ-45 adapter that allow users to connect to an Ethernet network without an Ethernet card. The USB Hub with Built-In Ethernet includes 3 USB ports in addition to the RJ-45 output. The hub is priced at US$129 and the adapter is priced at US$99 with immediate availability.


Follow Up:
MacInTouch Reports Further On QuickTime Bug
[3:12 PM] MacInTouch has brought additional information to the table concerning the QuickTime "bug" reported by Mindcraft in their independent study of QuickTime errors found when QuickTime was run on Windows. A MacInTouch reader analyzed the Mindcraft report and found that the only actual problem specifically mentioned in it is that QuickTime does not properly register nonstandard fine-name extensions such as ".qt", ".vfw", and ".aifc." We encourage those of you who are following this story to go read the MacInTouch Reader Report.

MacInTouch Reader Report

Steve Jobs To Deliver Macworld Expo Keynote
[7:25 AM] Apple has officially announced that Steve Jobs would be the keynote speaker for this year's Macworld Expo in San Francisco. Mr. Jobs will speak on January 5 at San Francisco's Moscone Center. As with other Mac Expos, the keynote presentation will be open to registered conference attendees only.

The Mac Observer Spin: While Mr. Jobs's agenda is not known, we expect to see some product announcements from Apple. Two product lines have yet to be officially announced and Mr. Jobs, known for delivering crown pleasing presentations, may take the opportunity to announce one or both of them at the Expo. The first is the Professional line of Power Macs which was once rumored to be introduced at the end of 1998 which is already at hand. The other is the long rumored, and teasingly hinted at by Mr. Jobs in a Fortune article, Portable product that makes up the 4th corner in Apple's product line. A portable announcement is less likely as Apple is supposedly another six months away from completion of the product.

Also expected at the Expo is final sales numbers for 1998 for the iMac. Analysts have predicted that up to 1,000,000 iMacs may be sold by year's end, but an announcement of even 600,000 units sold through 1998 would be astounding. We are still predicting that sales will top 1,000,000,.


QuickTime Testers Called "Dubious" By Novell
[7:25 AM] The same company that Microsoft claims to have produced independent test results showing that Apple's sloppy coding was responsible for error messages generated when QuickTime for Windows was used was accused by Novell of producing biased reports in an unrelated set of tests.

Read The Full Mac Observer Article


Headlines For Monday, November 9th

The Apple Trader
by Wes George

Waiting For The Big One
You were probably thinking things are starting to look up again in the economy. The stock market is acting bullish. It's now certain Clinton isn't going to get impeached. I'm not sure why that's important, except that the stock market hates uncertainty even more than lecherous presidents. Perhaps you were wishing you had bought in the last down-turn and wondering if it's not too late to buy back in now?

Read The Apple Trader

Monday's Mac Gadget
by Dean Philo

File Transfer Protocol (ftp) is built into all the popular web browsers. It's so integrated that many people don't even realize it's there. So why would anyone want to install another program to handle ftp? I didn't know either, until I found Netfinder.

Read Monday's Mac Gadget

Microsoft "Reveals" Apple's QuickTime "Error"
[1:28 PM] Microsoft has issued a press release today in which they claim to prove that the error messages relating to QuickTime use on Windows was nothing more than "programming errors" on the part of Apple and not some form of malicious sabotage as alleged by Avie Tevanian.

The Mac Observer Spin: High stakes behavior for what is arguably the highest-stake game in the history the world.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Apple Releases AppleShare IP 6.1
[10:25 AM] Apple has released an update to AppleShare IP to bring the server software up to version 6.1. The new version is OS 8.5 compliant and feature rich.

The Mac Observer Spin: Apple needs to be careful as it makes cross-platform aomparisons. In this case, Apple compares the performance to Windows NT, which is faster.... mostly.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Interactive Magic Announces Wings Of Mercury 2.1
[10:03 AM] Interactive Magic has announced a new version of A-Ok! The Wings of Mercury. A-Ok! The Wings of Mercury is a simulation of Project Mercury, the first American spaceship. According to Interactive Magic:

"A-OK! squeezes you into the pioneering Mercury spacecraft with full–color cockpit and window views, digitized sound effects, from the click of a switch to the roar of the Atlas booster engines, and on–line versions of the actual flight plans and checklists used by the Mercury astronauts."

The new version includes PowerPC native code and improvements to the interface. Expected to ship on December 1st of this year, A-Ok! The Wings of Mercury will retail for US$49.95 (disk) and $39.95 (electronic). Upgrade pricing is $9.95 (disk) and $4.95 (electronic).

Interactive Magic

Headlines For Friday, November 6th

CompUSA Opens Another Apple Store-Within-A-Store
[11:42 AM] Of course, they also opened a new retail outlet at the same time, but The Mac Observer has its priorites down! The new CompUSA location is in the San Fransisco Bay Area in San Rafael, Ca. The new unit has 24, 550 square feet which should offer Mac buyers plenty of room in the Store-Within-A-Store.


Zoom Introduces Mac ISDN Terminal Adapters
[11:21 AM] Zoom has introduced two external ISDN Terminal Adapters for the Mac market today. Both versions ship with all drivers, software and cables needed for use on your Mac including FaxSTF and MicroPhone LT. According to Zoom:

"All models feature two POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service) ports, each of which can handle up to five voice telephony devices, such as standard telephones, fax machines and analog modems. In addition to POTS ports, the MX model features a V.34 faxmodem to provide interoperability with analog modems and fax machines around the world."

Pricing starts at US$219 and the products are available "for immediate delivery."


Automation For The Mac
[10:53 AM] Walnut Systems has released Cruise Control, an application that let's you automate "any task at any time." According to Walnut Systems:

"Tasks may be scheduled for one time operation or repeated hourly, daily, weekly, monthly or yearly. Individual dates may be skipped. Cruise Control will even turn on the computer to perform tasks in the middle of the night, and shut down a user's computer after work, even if the user forgets."

Cruise Control also supports AppleScript making further customization possible and it is compatible with OS 8.5's Navigation Services. Cruise Control is scheduled to be released next Monday, November 9th and will retail for US$85.

Walnut Systems

PC Company Announces USB Hard Drive For iMac
[10:08 AM] DataZONE has announced a USB version of their DataBook portable hard drives. the company also announced that the product would work with iMacs, and presumably any Mac equipped with USB. The DataBooks also have the distinction of being able to survive a fall from a desk with a rating of being shock-rated at 10,000 G's. The drives are available from 2 GB to 14 GB with pricing starting at US$349. The product should be available this December.


MetaCreations Announces Power Tool 5
[9:46 AM] MetaCreations has announced the newest version of their immensely popular Kai's Power Tools 5. KPT 5 is a set of Photoshop Plug-ins that offer digital artists a vast array of filters and special effects. New features included with KTP 5 include:

  • "ShapeShifter creates shapes and objects with refracting glass edges, 3D light sources on beveled metallic surfaces, soft, curved and lit Web buttons, and text.
  • Orb-It explodes a source image into thousands of spheres with variations in size, density, and realistic 3D lighting.
  • FiberOptix creates anything from furry text, to green shag carpet, pink plastic silly string, and lush creeping vines.
  • Blurrrr is a professional suite of filters including the classic zoom, spin, and other indispensable blurs updated with real-time previews, pro-precision 64-bit color, and 128-bit math with new algorithms and variations.
  • FraxPlorer is the new, definitive Fractal Explorer featuring real-time fly-throughs, 1000% larger previews, and never-before-seen fractal styles"

MetaCreations suggests that KPT 5 will be available "this fall." The product will be priced at US$199 with upgrades available for US$99. [Editor's Side Note: MetaCreations lists the minimum processor requirements for the PC version to be a 166 MHz Pentium with a recommended minimum 266 MHz Pentium II. There are no minimum PowerPC processor recommendations for the Mac! :-)]


Judge Jackson Spanks Microsoft over "Misleading" Questions
[2:14 AM] Judge Thomas Jackson scolded Theodore Edelman, the Microsoft attorney responsible for cross-examining Apple's Senior Vice President Avie Tevanian, on Thursday.

The Mac Observer Spin: The exact nature of this trial concerns whether or not Microsoft leveraged their overwhelming market-share (scholars differ as to whether Microsoft has monolpoly) or attempted to leverage their market share in any of their markets to gain further market share in other markets. Under US antitrust laws, this is specifically barred.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Headlines For Thursday, November 5th

Top Story:
Apple Officially Rolls Out Loan Program
[9:34 AM] As we reported on October 28th, Apple has officially rolled out their consumer loan program which allows consumers to lease an iMac for as little as $29.95 per month. Qualifying buyers will also make no payments for 120 days and no down-payment.

"For the price of three pizzas a month, you can own an iMac," said Steve Jobs, Apple's interim CEO. "The world's coolest consumer computer has just become the most affordable."

CompUSA and other participating Apple resellers will be handling the entire loan process which is actually being provided by Apple.

The Mac Observer Spin: WoooooHooooooo!!! Apple has made one of the smartest moves it could have possibly made with this new program. The iMac was already headed towards being the most successful consumer computer ever. That success lays the proper groundwork for other first time buyers to see, giving them the confidence they need to buy an Apple product. The loan program now comes in with the perfect timing for Christmas and the Holiday buying season to bring everything together.

Apple - CompUSA

Apple Bundling Adobe PageMill 3.0 With iMac
[3:03 PM] Apple and Adobe announced today that Apple was now bundling Adobe PageMill 3.0 with all new iMacs. This is in addition to the 6 MB of VRAM and the ATI Rage Pro that replaces the older Rage II video cards. iMacs are also now shipping with OS 8.5 as well.

Apple - Adobe

Alien Skin To Release Xenofex
[11:34 AM] Alien Skin is about to release a new product called Xenofex1.0. Xenofex consists of 16 photoshop filters the company bills it as "16 Inspirational Effects to Energize Any Graphics Project!" Originally announced in July of this year, Alien Skin willbe releasing the product very soon. Alien Skin is the producer of graphic tools such as the Photoshop Plug-in Eye Candy and their recent buyout offer of Quark for "US$134 and a couple of T-shirts and hats."

Alien Skin

Funnel Web 2.5 Released....For Mac
[10:23 AM] Active Concepts has released Funnel Web 2.5, a free upgrade to registered owners. Funnel Web is an outstanding log analyzer for Mac, Windows NT, and Unix, but the newest update has been shipped for the Mac first. The application allows for real-time log processing and has a very easy-to use interface that is entirely HTML based. Version 2.5 will now deliver a report that breaks down users into seven regions, Antarctica, Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, North America and Oceania. In addition, the product now allows for off-site processing whereby logs are downloaded by Funnel Web, processed, and the results of the analyses are then uploaded back to the server (this saves server processing time). The company claims their product is the only Mac log analyzer that supports off-site processing. The new version also offers a new feature that gives site owners the Mean Path Through Site. Other features according to Active Concepts:

"Memory processing enhancements in Funnel Web 2.5 have resulted in a performance increase of up to 40% for large log files. Support has been added for JPEG, PNG and BMP graphics, comma-delimited and RTF export, and Robot exclusion through filtering on agents. Support has also been extended for FileMaker and added for DoorStop, AppleShare IP and several new routers."

While the update is free to registered users, the product sales for US$249 for the Standard version and US$499 for the Professional edition.

Active Concepts

SyQuest Users Get Data Recovery Help
[10:15 AM] SyQuest officially suspended operations on Monday, November 2nd and a company called DriveSavers has introduced a program to help SyQuest users recover data and migrate to other solutions. The company is offering tech support help for SyQuest users on their web sites and they offer 48 hour turnaround times for most services.

DriveSavers - SyQuest


Headlines For Wednesday, November 4th

Demo's, Shareware, and Freeware. Oh My!
by Nancy Gravley

Demo's, Shareware, and Freeware. Oh My!
There is some totally cool "stuff" available on the net for Macintosh users, and in today's column I want to tell you about some of it. Some are demo's, some are shareware and some are free. I don't know exactly why individuals create all the shareware and/or free programs and then share them at little or no cost. Perhaps it is because they can, or because they enjoy the creativity, or because they just like to be part of the coterie of program creators; but whatever the reason it gives those of us who can't do it choice after choice of programs to help or simplify our lives.

Read My First Mac Was A Typewriter

More European Good News For Apple
[4:18 PM] Reuters is reporting that Apple had a 25% gain in sales during the 3rd quarter of 1998 (Apple's 4th fiscal quarter). But despite the large leap in sales, Apple had only 2.8% market share in Europe and did not make the Top 10 list for PC companies. This contrasts with Apple's position as the number 3 computer maker in the US during the month of September. These latest numbers being reported from CONTEXT in late October. CONTEXT pegged Apple's sales at 2.7% with a rise of 29%.


Boca Research Shows Stronger 4th Quarter Sales
[4:18 PM] Boca Research Turned in a much stronger 3rd quarter for 1998 showing a than the 3rd quarter, with sales of US$22.8 million, compared to sales of US$18.5 million for the 3rd quarter of 1997 and US$13.2 million for the 2nd quarter of 1998. The company still posted a loss of US$2 million for the quarter, but this compares to a loss of over US$10 million during Q2 of 1998. The company cited an increased retail presence in addition to sales to Apple. The company also said that so far during the 4th quarter there had been no sales to Apple and the company was unsure of their future with the Cupertino based company.

Boca Research

New QuickTime To MPEG2 Transcoder Introduced
[3:57 PM] Wired, Inc. has introduced a new product that allows QuickTime to MPEG2 transcoding. Designed to be used with Wired's MediaPress hardware add-on, the MediaPress Transcoder will take any Quicktime movie and encode it into an MPEG2 stream without converting the data into the analog domain. Combined, the two products will transcode QuickTime to MPEG2 up to 20 times faster than standard software transcoding alone.

Wired, Inc.

Macs In Space
[3:46 PM] John Glenn was joined by a Mac in order to test the behavior of the E. Coli bacteria in microgravity. The experiments were conducted using a Mac product called AgentSheets which can build Java applets for the Mac without doing any actual Java programming. AgentSheets is made by a company of the same name who claims that applets exported from AgentSheets runs up to 50 times faster than "any comparable products on the PC."

AgentSheets - Nasa

Headlines For Tuesday, November 3rd

The Name Of The Game
by The Idiots

3D Or Not 3D. There Is No Question.
Randy: Hey, Gary, I just got the coolest 3D accelerator for my Mac. Now my gaming machine is complete.

Gary: Sweet! Which board did you buy?

Randy: It's got the Screaming Raging Banshee Pro IIc chipset and 80 megs of VRAM, a passthrough cable to the 2D accelerator with 1 gig of WRAM that I interleaved for faster bilinear filtering. It speeds up QuickTime, QuickDraw 3D, OpenGL, Glide, Rave, 3Dfx, my coffee maker and my morning shave by two billion triangles!

Read The Name Of The Game

Metrowerks Releases CodeWarrior For TriMedia
[11:02 AM] Metrowerks has once again demonstrated their ability to be first to market with development tools for emerging and existing technologies. Today they announced CodeWarrior for Phillips TriMedia, the multimedia processor that may or may not be coming to the Mac. TriMedia will perform four billion operations per second (BOPS) in the first generation TriMedia processor. Applications for TriMedia include MPEG-2 video, DVD, AC-3 audio, H.32x video telephony, real-time 3D graphics, and communications. It is the 3D graphics market that has generated the most interest in the industry and Apple has shown some interest in bringing the chip set to the Mac. CodeWarrior for TriMedia will allow developer to develop TriMedia projects with C in an IDE that includes:

"a project manager, editor, class browser, highly optimizing compiler, source- and assembly-level debugger, stand-alone assembler, linker, debug monitor, TriMedia simulator and kernel-awareness for pSOS+(tm)."

Pricing for CodeWarrior For Phillips TriMedia starts at US$2500 for one seat and includes Metrowerks's standard of one free upgrade and tech support.


BestWare Releases M.Y.O.B. Accounting 8.0
[10:38 AM] BestWare has released the latest version of its popular accounting package, M.Y.O.B. Accounting. The new version add many features and make the Windows version and Mac version more feature-equivalent. One of the primary new features is Professional Time Billing.

"The Professional Time Billing feature in M.Y.O.B. Accounting Plus is unique in several important ways: M.Y.O.B.'s Time Billing provides the ability to track carryovers and write-offs while maintaining a complete audit trail of the original time. The user simply enters activities as they are performed - either one at a time or in a daily diary. M.Y.O.B. handles complete and partial time billing. For partial bills, the user can have the remaining time carried over to the next billing period or written off. Either way, M.Y.O.B. keeps a comprehensive audit trail of time spent, time billed, written off, and carried over. Billing can be tracked in units as well as hours. Time can be tracked in 6,10,12,15 or 30 minute units, for example, which is how time billing professionals actually track time spent with clients. o Both billable and non-billable time can be tracked."

M.Y.O.B. Accounting 8.0 is expected to retail for US$199 [Note: The Windows version will retail for $179] and is available now.


New SCSI Card Released For The Mac
[9:35 AM] Initio has released a new SCSI host adapter to the Mac market today. The new card, dubbed the Miles U2W Ultra2 SCSI host adapter, includes LVD technology that enables data transfers of up to 80MB/sec and SCSI cable lengths of up to 12 meters. LVD technology strengthens data signals allowing the longer cable lengths. The card supports SCSI, SCSI-2, SCSI-3, UltraSCSI and Ultra2 SCSI in any combination, and ships with SoftRAID v.2.1 from SoftRAID LLC. The card requires System 7.5.2 or higher, and carries a full five year warranty. The Miles U2W Ultra2 SCSI card is available now and retails for US$399.


Media 100 To Release Media 100 5.0 Early
[8:24 AM] Media 100 announced the early release of version 5.0 of its namesake product, Media 100. The new version supports ITU-R BT.601, which the company says makes the product compliant with current broadcast standards. In addition, the company is now offering Digital I/O in a DV Option that can be added to many of the company's systems. Version 5.0 will start shipping later this month. The product had originally been planned for Q1 1999. Pricing starts at US$5995 with the DV Option adding US$2995. Current registered users can update for $1,295, with Platinum Software Updates can update at no charge.

Media 100

Headlines For Monday, November 2nd

Monday's Mac Gadget
by Dean Philo

No mac is an island. When you get onto the internet, you eventually find files stored in formats you've never heard of. Nothing is more frustrating than not knowing what tool you need to read a mystery download. This is especially true for the many people who like to listen to sound files. Songs, sound effects, old commercials, TV theme songs, and even rude noises can be found in abundance, permeating the Internet in a cacophony of sounds. For those without the right tool to listen to them it can be an ear-shattering silence.

Read Monday's Mac Gadget

Apple's Avie Tevanian And Microsoft Butt Heads
[1:23 PM] On Friday the DOJ released Avie Tevanian testimony as part of its antitrust trial against Microsoft. The testimony was very harsh and directly critical of Microsoft's business practices saying that Microsoft leveraged its office productivity monopoly against Apple in order to ensure that Apple made Internet Explorer the default browser on shipping Macs. In addition, Dr. Tevanian said that Microsoft ordered Apple to stay out of the multimedia playback market by keeping QuickTime limited to the Mac OS and any other OS other than Windows. Apple would be "allowed" to make content creation software for Windows. The story is very similar to that told by Netscape CEO Jim Barksdale who reported that Microsoft wanted to "split" the browser market with Netscape, with Netscape only allowed to make browses for platforms other than Windows.

Dr. Tevanian also said Microsoft would likely continue its practices unless direct action were taken against the company.

Microsoft issued a rebuttal to Dr. Tevanian's written testimony over the weekend. The rebuttal characterized Dr. Tevanian's testimony as wrong, inaccurate, and in some cases "completely false." The Redmond-Wa. based company said that the QuickTime issue was simply an attempt to see if there was common ground between Apple and Microsoft and that malicious error-warning messages associated with QuickTime use on Windows was all Apple's fault for improperly engineering QuickTime for Windows. Microsoft went to pains to reiterate their support for the Mac and for Apple "despite Dr. Tevanian's testimony."

Apple -Microsoft -Dr. Tevanian's Testimony -Microsoft's Rebuttal

Think Toaster: Stand Alone Scanning Appliance Now A Reality
[11:41 AM] Microtek has announced a stand alone scanning appliance that does not need a PC to operate. Microtek has visions of toasters and coffee-makers dancing through their heads as they attempt to bring the ease-of-use inherent in these items (and in Macs) directly to the non-nerd computer user.

The Mac Observer Spin: Microtek is likely the first among many to bring such stand alone products to the desktops and kitchen counters of America in the push towards making computers a commodity. It will be a boon to self-serve computer services such as Kinko's and large offices that need occasional scanning services, but don't want to dedicate an employee or Mac to do it.

Read The Full Mac Observer Article

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