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Columns & Editorials

September, 1998 Archive

Headlines For Wednesday, September 30th

My First Mac Was A Typewriter
by Nancy Gravley

There are a couple of useful tools that can short cut a lot of what you may want to find on the net. We will look at both of them in this column.

Search Engines

There are a number of search “engines” available to you. Most all of them are free. The providers get paid by advertisers...

Read My First Mac Was A Typewriter

The Learning Company Continues Mac Onslaught
[2:57PM] The Learning Company continues its onslaught of simultaneous Mac/PC releases today with the latest edition of its School House Rock series. The new release is called the School House Rock: Thinking Games Deluxe. According to the company's press release:

"[With Thinking Games Deluxe] Children build important skills in thinking, problem solving, strategy, math and much more as they play mind-enriching, arcade-style games in seven different activity areas in disk one."

The new product is shipped on 2 CD-ROMs and is expected to retail for US$34.95

The Learning Company

New Mac Subscription Tracking Solution
[2:38PM] Sapphire Systems has released version 2.6 of the InHouse Subscription Manager. The new versions includes new features as well as "comprehensive manger reports." According to the company's press release:

"InHouse Subscription Manager is designed to handle all the subscription, fulfillment and circulation management requirements of magazine, newsletter and software publishers.

InHouse records all basic subscriber information and supports U.S., Canadian, & foreign mailing addresses. It maintains a complete history of all subscription activity including source, mailing key, price, premium, term and more. It includes many intelligent data entry aids for ease of use and duplication checking to insure data integrity. As you would expect from a native Macintosh application, InHouse is fully Y2K compliant."

The software is priced at US$1995.00 which represents a US$500 price drop.

Sapphire Systems

MacConnect Launches Mac Webmaster Resource Guide
[2:13PM] MacConnect has launched a new web site dedicated to bringing resources to Mac web masters. The Macintosh Webmaster Resource is free to all comers but is aimed exclusively to Mac users. According to the company's press release:

"[The Mac Webmaster Resource is] Designed as the premiere online source of information on server hardware, software, networking and management issues, is destined to become the one-stop information and education stop for Macintosh website operators. officially goes live on Oct. 1, and will initially include:

-- A searcheable database of Mac server software
-- Online documentation for the most popular Mac server
software packages
-- Tutorials, link collections and articles covering Macintosh
server hardware
-- A free email list for Macintosh webmasters
-- A free Internet discussion group dedicated to Macintosh

Mac Webmaster Resource

IMG Brings Back Q&A
[1:53PM] IMG has brought back a feature that many Mac gamers will find interesting. The Q&A section allows readers to submit their Mac gaming questions via an easy to use form, and IMG's talented staff will answer those questions. Launched yesterday, there are already some questions (and answers) posted. The Mac Observer would like to wish IMG the best of luck with their new feature!

Inside Mac Games Q&A


Headlines For Tuesday, September 29th

The Name of the Game
by The Idiots

Randy: Here an iMac, there an iMac, everywhere an iMac. The whole world has gone iMac crazy. And we love it. This is the coolest box off the Apple tree in a long time. But here's the question. Can it play games?

Gary: Well, a couple of great games come bundled with it, including MDK and Pangea's excellent Nanosaur. What a blast Nanosaur is! Even though I only played it for a few minutes at MacWorld Expo…

Randy: Gary, give me that hammer over there, and let's take a look at the guts of one of these things....

Read The Name of the Game

Entrega Releases A USB To Parallel Printer Converter
[4:30PM] Entrega has released a product they say will allow pepople to connect parallel printers to USB equipped Macs and iMacs. Called the P36 USB-to-Parallel Printer Converter, the product is expected to be released for US$49.95. It is important to remember that Mac drivers would still be required for any printer to work with a Mac. The company points to the Epson 600 which has Mac drivers available for download directly from Epson.

The Mac Observer Spin: This is another example of the benefits of bringing USB to the Mac. PC printers tend to be less expensive than Mac printers simply because of the industry standard connectors and thelarger production runs. There is ample opportunity for printer companies to make more products available to Mac owners by doing nothing more than writing new drivers. With iMac sales still predicted to be 1 million by the end of the year, there is a lot of money to be made. At the same time, developments like these could be bad news for non-USB equipped Macs as it may give company's like Epson and Hewlett-Packard less incentive to develop printers for the older Mac technologies. It is our opinion that the risk is worth it.

Entrega - Epson - Hewlett-Packard

Adaptec Releases Jam 2.5
[4:11PM] Adaptec has released the latest version of Jam 2.5, its CD recording product. Claiming new features that simplify the CD-mastering product, the company says the product will list at $299. Registered owners of Jam 2.1 will be able to download the latest version for free from Adaptec's web site.


FlexWare Offers Discount On Mac Accounting Package
[10:40AM] FlexWare is offering a discount to existing registered users of their accounting packages including Great Plains Accounting™, Dynamics™, A4™ and Connected™. According to the company's press release:

"Purchase any FlexWare Accounting(TM) module including FlexShare(TM), (FlexWare's client/server network manager), ReportServer, 5 User pack and training for just $595 each and receive 6 months telephone support at no charge. This is a savings of over 50%! A typical installation of 8 modules, FlexShare, a 5 user license, and six months of telephone support, results in a savings of over $6,400!"

FlexWare Accounting is a multi-user client/server accounting package that is something of a rarity on the Mac platform. One of the complaints that some businesses have about the Mac is that there is no accounting software available. FlexWare is the counter to this argument. The company claims it is speedy and challenges anyone to find a better Mac OS accounting package.


Farallon Releases 10/100 Ethernet Card For Comm Slot II
[10:08AM] Farallon has released an Ethernet card for Macintoshes equipped with a Comm Slot II. The include the Power Macintosh 4400, 6400, 6500, 7220 and 20th Anniversary Macintosh; Performa 6400, 6410, and 6420. Farallon is partially aiming the Fast EtherTX 10/100 Comm Slot II card at education users wanting to add ethernet abilities to their Macs without using what is often the only PCI slot available to them.



Headlines For Monday, September 28th

Apple Store Selling 333 MHz G3s
[10:30AM] Macintouch reports that the Apple Store is now listing and selling PowerMac G3s running at 333 MHz.

The Mac Observer Spin: Apple announced the machines in August, but almost immediately pulled them. While euphoria over the iMac's incredible success has Apple basking in the glow of unprecedented press coverage, high end power users are clamoring for faster PowerMacs. It is imperative that Apple be able to get the high end product line in shape. Apple needs to ship faster machines in a more timely manner in order to maximize the success it is currently experiencing.

Apple Store - MacInTouch

Adobe Releases Illustrator 8.0
[10:03AM] Adobe has released the latest update to Illustrator, version 8.0. Adobe says the new version packs many new features and significant improvements to existing tools. The company has also increased the level of compatability and integration with other Adobe products. The new version will be priced at US$375 for the retail, and an upgrade will be US$129 for registered users of previous versions.


SyQuest Taking Advanced Orders for SparQ USB
[7:28AM] Specifically citing the iMac's popularity, SyQuest says its catalog vendors are now taking advanced orders for its new, and unreleased, SparQ USB 1 Gigabyte drives. The company plans to ship the product beginning in November,


Monday's Mac Gadget
[6:52AM] Let's face it, there are certain applications and/or folders you use All The Time. How do you keep them handy? Is there anything you don't like about your setup? There are many tools out there known as "docks" that try to keep your everyday tools handy in an ever-present window. One of the most popular is DragThing, by James Thomson.

Read Monday's Mac Gadget

The Learning Company Announces 4 New Mac Titles
[6:00AM] The Learning Company announced 4 new Mac titles for kids today. The titles are educational programs designed to make learning fun for kids. The new titles are: The ClueFinders' Math Ages 9-12, Reader Rabbit's Reading Ages 4-6, Reader Rabbit's Math Ages 6-9, and Reader Rabbit's Math Ages 4-6.

The Learning Company


Headlines For Friday, September 25th

Mac Zone Adds New Service
[9:29AM] Mac Zone and its parent company Multiple Zones hass added a new service that some anylists have predicted will be the norm in the fututre. Partnering with Digital River, the Multiple Zones online stores will now have the ability to offer over 100,000 diferent downloadable software products. This means that you can peruse their catalog,s, choose a software product, pay for it and immediately download it.

Mac Zone

Boca Research Ships PowerBook Modem
[9:20AM] Boca Research has announced it is shipping the Global Village 56K (V.90) PC Card modem for Macintosh. The new modem will first connect via v.90 protocols, and failing that will try 56k(flex) protocols. This modem is designed to eliminate the types of confusion that can happen when users encounter ISPs with different levels of modem support.

Boca Research



Headlines For Thursday, September 24th

Matsushita Announces DVD-RAM For The Mac
[10:21AM] Matsushita has announced a DVD-RAM drive for the Mac. Citing high demand in the Mac Market, the company intends to release the new drive at 100,000 Yen, or about $732.


The Story Of Andy Grove And His....iMac?
[9:50AM] Time Magazine reported that Andy Grove likes the iMac, saying that the future of computing will be very close to the smash hit floppy-less wonder. According to the Time story, Mr. Grove said :

"Sometimes what Apple is doing may have an electrifying effect on the rest of us. It's nothing we couldn't have done, but Apple went ahead and did it."

High praise indeed from the man whose company has been hammered by Apple advertising claiming that its G3 processor "Toasts The Pentium II." Mr. Grove is the Chairman of Intel and was also its long time CEO until earlier this year. Mr. Grove also criticized the lack of a floppy drive.

Read The Full Time Magazine Story

New Mac 3Dfx Card Available
[9:40AM] IMG reported yesterday that Village Tronics has released an 8 MB VooDoo card called MacMagic. Beyond being the first 3Dfx card to support 8 MBs of RAM for the Mac, MacMagic is also to be priced at only $99. Village Tronics also claims the card to have unrivaled Mac compatibility.

IMG - Village Tronics

CompUSA Announces Two New Superstores
[9:29AM] CompUSA has announced the simultaneous grand openings of two new Computer Superstores in Tallahassee, Fla. and Sunset Hills, Mo. on Friday, September 25, at 8 a.m. Both stores will feature the Apple "Store Within A Store."



Headlines For Wednesday, September 23rd

The Top Ten Reasons I Like My Macintosh
by Nancy Gravley
I had a very trying day at work today. We all have them, but mine was totally related to trying to accomplish a fairly simple task using a PC and Microsoft Word. Nine hours later, only 3/4 of the way complete I walked into my house as my phone was ringing. It was the editor of The Mac Observer asking if I would please write a column about using a Mac. After laughing hysterically I assured him that it would be my pleasure...

Read My First Mac Was A Typewriter

Top Story
Apple #3 Computer Maker For August!
[11:10AM] Apple has skyrocketed to the number 3 computer maker for the months of August. Attributable mainly to the phenomenal success of the iMac which came in as the number 2 computer model with 7.1% market share behind a Hewlett Packard 6330. This is contrary to earlier reports that placed the iMac at the number one spot. Apple's market share for August was 13.5%.

The Mac Observer Spin: The iMac alone accounts for a higher market share than Apple as a whole has had in more than two years.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Trading Software Released For The Mac
[1:23PM], Inc. has released a new software package that attempts to bring Position Cost Averaging to individual investors. According to the company's newsletter:

"Position Cost Averaging is a spreadsheet program that will run in many popular formats such as: Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Works, Quattro Pro, and Excel for Macintosh."

There being very little financial software available for the Mac, it is great to see a newcomer to the market., Inc.

BoxTop Software Updates ProJPEG
[11:00AM] BoxTop Software has brought ProJPEG up to version 3.1. Promising new features and improved stability, the company says the update is available immediately.

BoxTop Software


Headlines For Tuesday, September 22nd

The Mac Observer Proudly Announces The Name Of The Game
Randy: Welcome to our inaugural column -- a new corner in the Mac Observer library of Mac-oriented information. We are your hosts. My name is Randy and the man sitting beside me with the brown paper bag on his head is Gary. Around our place people just call us The Idiots, and after you read this column, we're sure you will too.

Gary: At least I have pants on.

Randy: As you all might guess by the name of the column, we will talk about Mac gaming here.....

Read The Name OF The Game

Simultaneous PC/Mac Release Of Red Jack
[7:48AM] THQ ,Inc. has announced the release of Red Jack: The Revenge Of The Brethren, an immersive 3D adventure game. According to the company's press release:

"Gamers play as the hero, Nicholas Dove, a 17-year-old boy on tiny Lizard Point Island, who joins the crew of the renegade pirate ship Marauder to follow his destiny -- which may just hold a fortune in gold and treasure that has been hidden for 17 years by the infamous pirate legend RedJack."

THQ, Inc.

New 3D Sound Tools For Pro Tools
[7:30AM] Aureal Semiconductor Inc. has announced A3D, a new plug-in for the dominant force in professional sound mixing, Pro Tools. A3D is designed to allow sounds to truly sound as if they are emanating within a true 3D environment and the company claims their technology is being used by over 100 games. According to the company's press release:

"From within the A3D Pro window, users can "grab" a sound source and place it at any location in environments with a variety of dimensions and reflection characteristics. Aureal Wavetracing(TM) technology creates these reflections and provides realistic reflective surfaces, from plywood walls to concrete floors to studio environments."

Aureal Semiconductor

German Software Company Making US Debut With Pixelboxx
[7:20AM] NADS GmbH is announcing that it seeks an American Distributor for its Pixelboxx image archiving system. The system consists of a black box with a Pentium processor, 128 MBs of RAM, and an 18 GB hard drive. It comes with its own proprietary software written in Java that runs from a browser. The company claims the system can hold up to 1 million images.


The Learning Channel Announces 5 New Mac Titles
[6:41AM] The Learning Channel has announced 5 new Mac titles. The new titles are "Sesame Street Elmo's Art Workshop,""Sesame Street Search & Learn Adventures" (developed by Children's Television Workshop), "Madeline Rainy Day Activities,""Madeline Thinking Games" and "Schoolhouse Rock Thinking Games." All 5 have relatively low minimum system requirements (System 7,1, 68040 processor or better) and are expected to retail for only $19.95 each.

The Learning Company

Memory Maker Announces Modules For iMac
[6:15AM] Another iMac product is announced as Crucial Technologies brings both RAM and SGRAM (for video) modules to the iMac. Available in 32 MB, 64 MB, and 128 MB flavors for RAM and 2 MB and 4 MB modules of SGRAM, Crucial says their RAM and SGRAM are the same ones that go into an iMAc in the first place as they are a memory supplier for Apple.

Crucial Technologies


Headlines For Monday, September 21st

NewTek Announces OpenGL for LightWave 3D
Top Story: [11:11AM] In one of the most major announcements to hit the Mac 3D graphics world this year, NewTek has announced OpenGL for LightWave 3D.

The Mac Observer Spin: OpenGL is an industry standard developed by SGI and licensed by Microsoft. LightWave 3D is one of the leading 3D engines available on the Mac platform and this release by NewTech could mean big things.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Logitech Announces New Mac USB Product
[12:35PM] Continuing what is becoming a litany, Logitech has announced a new USB product that is Mac compatible. The new product is called QuickCam Pro and it will work with any Mac that is USB equipped, including Apple's smash success, the iMac. Logitech acquired the QuickCam product line from Connectix earlier this year.

Apple announced last week that there have been 1,036 new software titles and hardware products announced for the Mac since the iMac's introduction in May of this year. Make it 1,037 now that Logitech has announced the QuickCam Pro.


FileMaker Releases FileMaker 4.1
[12:10PM] FileMaker has announced the availability of FileMaker Pro 4.1. The new version brings in support for querying ODBC databases without having to learn any SQL programming.

FileMaker, Inc.

Apple Introduces AppleWorks 5.0
[11:59AM] Apple has announced that AppleWorks 5.0, formally ClarisWorks Office 5.0, is now available. The name change has been planned since Apple brought ClarisWorks and other Claris products back into Apple proper while changing the emphasis and name of the company to FileMaker, Inc. Pricing will remain the same at $99 for a retail package while upgrades will be $79 to owners of previous versions of the application.

Apple - FileMaker, Inc.


Headlines For Friday, September 18th

Adaptec Announces Layoffs.
[2:41PM] Adaptec has announced it will be laying off about 200 people as it restructures the way it does business. The company is refocusing on its core business of SCSI connectivity and intends to shed some of the other businesses it has gotten into during the last few years. The company will farm out its Fibre Channel and external storage device businesses and will spin off another, PC communications, into a separate company.

Adaptec has long been a leader in the SCSI market and its SCSI cards have long been the standard to beat. The company has indicated that the many different directions it was going have detracted from its core business and that it was time to get back to basics.


Metrowerks Releases CodeWarrior 4.0
[9:59AM] Metrowerks has released the latest version of CodeWarrior, version 4.0. The newest edition of the development package offers several new features as well as improved optimization capabilities.

The Mac Observer Spin: This upgrade seems aimed primarily at Windows developers, but The Mac Observer sees this as a good thing.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

EveryWare Ships Tango Enterprise 3.5
[11:03AM] EveryWare has shipped its latest upgrade to Tango Enterprise. The new version, labeled 3.5, packs a host of feature upgrades despite its nominal increase in the version number. Like other developers of Internet based applications, EveryWare has focused on adding features that allow for Teams to work on the same project. Tag support, keyboard shortcuts, project building features, as well as a bundling agreement with Corda Technologies for PopChart 2.0" According to the company's press release, this gives developers "the opportunity to easily create dynamic Java charts and graphs on the fly."

EveryWare - Corda Technologies


Headlines For Thursday, September 17th

ComputerWare Announces Record Sales
Top Story: [9:59AM] ComputerWare, the San Francisco Bay Area Mac retailer, announced record sales of Macintosh computers. For the month of August, the company sold 20% more Power Mac G3s than it did Power Mac systems in the comparable period of 1997. In addition, the company sold some 1700 iMacs, making it the most successful 30 day period in the company's history.

ComputerWare has been making headlines for the last month for its opening day sales as well as an independent exit poll the company did for the first 500 iMacs they sold. That poll showed that 12% of their iMac sales were to first time computer buyers and that some 13% were Wintel users "making the switch." News sources around the globe have since referred to that poll as an indication of national trends.

Congratulations to ComputerWare.


Another iMac Success Story
[10:50AM] The Daily Californian reports that UC Berkeley's sales of Macs are up 50% over last years sales. Macs comprised about 40% of systems purchased and specifically says that 200 iMacs are part of that increase. The story also says that Mac sales had actually declined during the last 2 years until this August when the iMac hit the streets.

The Daily Californian

V.90 Modem Standard Officially Ratified
[10:30AM] After months of being a defacto standard, the International Telecommunications Union formally made the protocol a standard today. Both Rockwell and 3Com agreed upon the standard in February of this year, and began producing modems conforming to the protocol almost immediately. This followed a period of consumer frustration with the conflicting standards the two companies were each producing, Flex and X2.

International Telecommunications Union - Rockwell - 3Com

Removable Storage For The iMac Hits Stores
[10:15AM] Imation is hoping that iMac owners start spelling the company's name as iMation today. The company announced that its Imation SuperDisk USB Drives were available in some stores across the country. This may be important to many iMac owners looking for floppy disk capabilities as well as larger removable storage options. The company also announced the availability of Mac formatted SuperDisks. The SuperDisk USB Drive will recognize Mac and PC formatted floppies and SuperDisks on an iMac or USB equipped Macintosh. The SuperDisk USB Drives are expected to retail for US$149.00.


New Web Layout Application Announced
[9:40AM] Dario Gibellini has announced a new shareware application called Web-O-Tron. According to Dario's press release, the product will

"facilitate the search of a suitable web page layout for the user. Amateurs and professional users are able to put together their own layout by choosing from and combining a variety of layout parts."

Web-O-Tron is a shareware product with a cost of US$10,



Headlines For Wednesday, September 16th

Finding People On The Net (With Your Mac)
By Nancy Gravley: My First Mac Was A Typewriter

A wonderful benefit of the net is the ability to find specific people, whether they be old friends, old school mates, lost family members, or old loves. It does work, and I know people who have found friends they knew 30 or more years ago, including one person who has rekindled an old love. I know someone else who began searching for a friend from college....


My First Mac Was A Typewriter

Entrega Introduces iMac Matching USB Hubs
[6:15AM] Entrega announced 2 USB Hubs today that will match the iMac's color scheme. The new hubs come is either a 4 port or 7 port variety and allow any Mac or PC equipped with USB to connect USB devices to their Mac (or PC). According to the company's press release:

"Mac owners have a discerning eye, and we wanted to make a hub specifically for them," said David Murray, vice president of product marketing at Entrega. "We designed our new hubs to match the iMac colors -- they look great together!"

The company also announced a series of USB cables that are not, unfortunately, colored. The hubs will retail for $79.95 and $129.95, depending on the number of ports. Pricing for the cables was not announced. - SCI Systems

NEC and Altec Lansing Announce Mac USB Products
[5:40AM] NEC and Altec Lansing have announced a new product line jointly developed called IntelliBase. IntelliBase is a monitor base designed that includes either 4 USB ports, a speaker system, or both. The speaker system is a digital USB sound solution that processes sound at the speaker level. This negates the need for a sound card or onboard sound as in the Mac, but it is not clear if it will work with the Mac.

NEC - Altec Lansing


Headlines For Tuesday, September 15th

MacMall Introduces New Software Site
[12:48PM] MacMall has announced a new site for Mac software called the Macintosh Software Buyers Guide. This new site is designed to bring in Mac buyers by bringing together one thousand Macintosh software titles in one virtual location. Since finding software is often difficult for Mac users, especially in retail outlets, MacMall may find willing buyers lining up on the internet.

The Mac Observer Spin: We found the interface of the site to be klunky as well as slow, but this is likely due to the fact the site is driven by Active Server Pages. We also found that many outdated versions of software were being offered, some over a year out of date. Other inconsistencies include GoLive Cyberstudio being offered on the home page but not the web design section. If MacMall can correct some of these opening day bugs, the site could be an excellent resource for Mac software buyers.

Macintosh Software Buyers Guide

Demand For iMac May Lead To Outsourcing
[12:22PM] reports that Apple may increase the manufacturing capacity for the iMac line by outsourcing to SCI Systems. SCI Systems has handled Apple manufacturing in the past and with sales of our favorite Bondi-Blue Mac exceeding all predictions, Apple may turn to SCI again to help meet demand. SCI's market niche is manufacturing other companies' products and they currently make systems for Compaq as well as Hewlett-Packard. - SCI Systems

Quark Ends Charade
[10:40AM] Quark has officially ended its pretense at acquiring Adobe. Citing Adobe's unwillingness to even talk about the plan, Quark has ceased its efforts.

The Mac Observer Spin: The company sounds almost surprised that Adobe was not interested. That reaction is the real surprise.

Quark - Adobe


Headlines For Monday, September 14th

IBM Announces Breakthrough Display Technology
[4:20PM] In the second time in as many weeks, IBM has announced a breakthrough technology, this time in the world of flat panel displays. The new technology boasts an incredible 200 pixels per inch (ppi) resolution which the computer giant says makes it virtually indistinguishable from the printed page.

The Mac Observer Spin: Wow. Once this technology makes its way into products, all bets are off.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Epson Announces New Mac Scanner
[10:55AM] Epson has announced a new scanner for the Mac, the Perfection 636. The new scanner sports a SCSI connection and the company claims it is the fastest scanner in its class. Seeking to reach people after the Holy Grail of scanning, the company has included a technology called Text Enhancement Technology (TET) which will reportedly increase OCR reliability. The scanner is scheduled for release in October of this year.


Network Associates End Confusion Over Virex
[9:50AM] Network Associates, the owners of Virex since they acquired Dr. Solomons in June of 1998, has announced its ongoing plans for development of the what many consider to be the top anti-virus software for the Mac.

The Mac Observer Spin: Network Associates has been under some criticism during the days since the acquisition of Dr. Solomon's and this announcement is encouraging, but it leaves some questions unanswered.

Read The Full Mac Observer Story

Symantec Releases Norton Utilities 4.0
[9:30AM] Symantec has finally released a version of its award winning maintenance utility for the Mac, Norton Utilities for Macintosh, that is compatible with Apple's HFS+ file system. The new Norton Utilities for Macintosh is PowerPC native (for the first time), and sports a nice new interface. It also brings along some new capabilities which, combined with the speed increases inherent from the PowerPC native code and the support for HFS+, make for a much needed upgrade. Pricing is listed at $99.95 and $49.95 for upgrades.



Headlines For Friday, September 11th

Meida 100 Releases Version 5.0
[11:00AM] Media 100, the maker of one of the industry leaders for video and film editing , has released Version 5.0 of its namesake commercial product. Version 5.0 mhas a series of improvements that are sure to delight users. According to the company's press release:

"Version 5.0 for Media 100 gives users an extraordinarily productive environment in which to deliver broadcast-quality projects right from their desktops," said Sue Imhoff, product marketing manager. "With this release, we've added a powerful combination of features and functionality to the product line, enabling our growing user community to be even more creative than ever before with their MEDIA 100 systems."

Media 100 has just released it first product for Windows NT and seems intent on reaffirming its dedication to is Mac installed user base.

Media 100, Inc.

Your Mac Running Your Home One Step Closer
[8:20AM] Adaptive solutions (a.k.a. Swing Software) has released MouseHouse 2.0. This product is designed to allow your Macintosh to interact with X-10 devices in order to allow scheduling, remote control, and other features. According to the company's press release:

MouseHouse 2.0, home automation for the Macintosh, allows you to control lamps and electrical appliances using the existing wiring in your home. This allows for greater convenience, energy-savings, and home security. MouseHouse 2.0 allows you to set up weekly schedules and perform sequences of commands by using inexpensive appliance modules throughout the house.

The company's president, Jeff Smeenge, says that their goals are long range. "Our strong love for the Macintosh and its interface has driven us to design MouseHouse to bring the two worlds together. Our plans for MouseHouse are to evolve it into the main interface on top of the OS as the computer becomes a true home "appliance" over the coming years."

The Mac Observer Spin: Expect to see more software like this in the coming years. As more and more offices and homes are developed from the ground up to be "smart homes," or homes pre-wired with ethernet and X-10 controls, having your computer control these functions will become more and more desirable and eventually necessary until it becomes ubiquitous. Other emerging technologies will in this area will focus on voice activation.


Aim Wins Publishing Award For G3
[7:50AM] The AIM partners, Apple, IBM, Motorola received the Publish Impact Award from Publish magazine in recognition of the G3 PowerPC chip. The chip was sited for being a time saver in the publishing industry for such things as Photoshop tasks and the rendering of Vector based graphics.

There has been a recent de-emphasis from both Motorola and IBM in recent months on their focus on the Mac market for the PowerPC line of processors. Both companies were stung by Apples abrupt exit of the licensing business and have seen other applications for the PowerPC begin to outweigh the Mac market. With the success of the iMac and the upcoming success that Apple is likely to see, it is possible that Motorola and IBM may both become more interested on the Mac market once again.

Apple - IBM - Motorola


Headlines For Thursday, September 10th

Top Story: IDC Says Apple Has Highest Growth % For 3rd Quarter
[8:15AM] IDC released data today on 3rd quarter computer sales. It predicted that Apple would be the big winner as far as growth percentage.

The Mac Observer Spin: The iMac is largely responsible for this growth, although reports from around the country suggest that all aspects of the Mac Market are also seeing increases. Watch for a the best 4th quarter that Apple has had in years.

Read The Full Story

Ellison's Attorneys Saved Apple
[2:20PM] reports that Larry Ellison was swayed from buying Apple at $13 a share by his attorneys. According to the story, Ellison's attorneys told him that he knew too much Insider information about Apple due to his close relationship with Steve Jobs. Report

QuickTime In Top 50 Software Titles
[11:20AM] Media Metrix reports that QuickTime among the Top 50 software titles during the 2nd quarter. Media Metrix uses a technology called PC Meter to rank software in use, as opposed to the usual method of ranking software by titles sold through the retail channel. While it remains unclear whether Mac software titles are judged at all, QuickTime from Apple is ranked number 31 out of the Top 50.

QuickTime is a standalone product on the PC side and being ranked 31 is outstanding. The report does say however, that QuickTime was ranked number 30 last March. Media Metrix was unavailable at press time to answer questions about its ranking system. We will bring you more when it is available.

Follow Up [4:50PM]: Stacie Leoni, a spokesperson for Media Metrix, informed us that the sampling involved in the 2nd quarter findings include little or no Mac users. While QuickTime did fall from the number 30 spot to the number 31 spot, the actual number of users climbed from 4.5 million to 5.4 million PC users. With QuickTime 3.0 being released near the end of the 2md quarter, expect the 3rd quarter numbers to rise even more. This is significant to Mac users because the more Mac technology that becomes a standard in the Wintel world, the more opportunities there are for Mac software development.

Media Metrix Report - Media Metrix

New Firewall Solution For The Mac
[7:59AM] OpenDoor Networks has released DoorStop, Mac firewall solution. According to the company's press release:

"DoorStop (TM) is a software-based "firewall" product which lets server administrators specify client IP addresses that should be denied access to particular services. The product can also keep a log of all access attempts to the server. DoorStop enhances the security of Macintosh servers by providing additional levels of protection and logging, above and beyond those already built into the Mac OS and the servers themselves."

The Mac Observer Spin: Firewall tools are very important to companies with networks that must be exposed to the internet, but must be protected from unauthorized access. While there are many such tools for Windows NT and the many flavors of Unix such as Linux, there are fewer solutions for the Mac. Products like these combined with the greater networking capabilities of OS 8.5 shipping in October may mean that many businesses will have an easier time of staying with the Mac or even increasing their Mac presence.



Headlines For Wednesday, September 9th

IBM Introduces New Hard Drive
[1:30PM] IBM has introduced a new hard drive that is a fraction of the size of drives made with current technology.

The Mac Observer Spin: IBM now has a leg up on the competition and will likely enjoy that lead for a while. Watch for this development to cause a new tangent in what was the Great Race of the storage industry, capacity. The world is about to become a more interesting place.

Read The Full Story

My First Mac Was A Typewriter
[12:50PM] The Mac Observer is proud to announce "My First Mac Was A Typewriter," A new column by Nancy Gravley. Talking to a generation that remembers what the world was like before there was color, Nancy covers issues for people who don’t care how their computer works, but rather what their computer and the internet can do for them.

My First Mac Was A Typewriter


Headlines For Tuesday, September 8th

MacEvolution Calls For Q4 Profit For Apple
[12:50PM] MacEvolution is calling for Apple to net $71 million in profits for Q4 od fiscal 1998. If so, Apple will have completed 4 profitable quarters in a row totalling $248 million for the year.

MacEvolution Report

Insignia Releases SoftWindows 98
[11:40PM] Insignia Solutions has released the latest version of its Windows computability software, Soft Windows 98. The company lists a host of improvements including faster networking, more device support, and support for 3Dfx2 technology. The softwindows line of products emulates the Windows operating system as opposed to its sister product RealPC and its competitor Virtual PC which emulates the hardware necessary to trick Windows into running on a Mac.

Insignia was once the only software emulation game in town for running Windows on the Mac. While the emulation was somewhat sluggish, it found a large niche for those Mac users that needed to run Windows applications. With the introduction of Virtual PC by Connectix, which took a totally different, faster, and less expensive approach than emulating the entire OS, Insignia saw its sales erode. Since that time Insignia has steadily improved the performance of SoftWindows while dramatically lowering its price.

Insignia Solutions - Connectix


Headlines For Monday, September 7th

The iMac Has European Debut
[1:30PM] The iMac had its initial European launch this weekend in The United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, and Austria. Reports circulating on the internet suggest the same kind of success that the iMac enjoyed in America. iMacUmac, which bills itself as the first European web site dedicated to the iMac, reports that Apple has allowed the various local Apple authorities to sell in whatever ways they deem appropriate. Visit the site to read reports from many European countries.

iMAcUmac - iMac


Headlines For Saturday, September 5th

The Force Affirms Macintosh Support
[11:30AM] Pinnacle Systems has announced that Skywalker Sound has standardized on Pinnacle System's miroMOTION DC30 for digital video playback. According to the company:

"miroMOTION DC30/DC30 Plus miroMOTION DC30 and miroMOTION DC30 plus for Mac OS(R) computers bring the company's award-winning non-linear video capture technology to the creative professional using the Apple platform. miroMOTION products support Apple's QuickTime(R), and come bundled with Adobe Premiere(R). The miroMOTION DC30 family of products are a cost-effective, high quality non-linear digital video editing and capture solutions, that sell for under $1,000."

Skywalker Sounds is a division of Lucas Digital Ltd. and is a sister company to Industrial Light and Magic. While much of the Lucas family of companies uses Macs for development, especially graphic, special effects, and sound, LucasArts, the company's gaming division has shown little or no support for the Mac in game development.

Visioneer - Umax


Headlines For Friday, September 4th

Visioneer Challenges Umax In Court
[12:30PM] Visioneer has sued Umax saying the computer peripheral maker and former Mac clone maker is engaging in false advertising. The suit involves Umax claims about its Astra series. John Blair of Visioneer commented to us concerning this issue.

Visioneer - Umax


Headlines For Thursday, September 3rd

MediaLogic and Dantz Announce Bundling Deal
[2:00PM] MediaLogic and Dantz Development have announced a bundling deal where Retrospect will be bundled with all Ionic tape library shipments to Apple Macintosh distributors and resellers in the US and Europe. According to the companies' press release the bundling deal will

"create [an] out-of-the box, automated backup solutions for customers operating in a networked Macintosh environment. The combination of backup software designed specifically for the Macintosh and a tape library able to scale to over three terabytes of data capacity makes the bundled product an ideal solution for firms heavily involved in computer imaging and animation."

Dantz has long been a leader in back-up solutions for the Mac. The company's CTO and co-founder, Richard Zulch, has also been credited with behind the scenes help in developing Apple's HFS+ file system that gives large Mac hard drives a more efficient storing scheme.

Dantz Development - MediaLogic

Apple Chooses OzEmail For Installed Provider
[12:42PM] Apple has chosen OzEmail for its installed internet service provider for the iMac in Australia. Australia is a good market for Apple and OzEmail has long been the market leader for ISPs in the area. This agreement is similar to the one inked with EarthLink who is the installed provider on iMacs shipped in the US. OzEmail charges from $2.50-$5.00 (Australian) per hour for connectivity and is giving away 100 hours of free service during the first month to iMac customers who sign up with them. In addition, OzEmail representatives will be on hand at Apple centers throughout the country on September 5th, the day the iMac is released to Australia.

OzEmail - Apple

Interex Announces New USB Products
[10:37AM] Interex has announced 3 new USB products that include Mac and Windows support. The new products are: The USB Bus View Hub, the USB Scrolling Mouse, and the USB Dual Port PCI Card.

The Mac Observer Spin: While many people decry the use the of USB, this announcement by Interex is an example of how important USB for the Mac will be.

Interex, Inc.


Wednesday, September 2nd

Follow Up and Top Story:
Seybold Details

[2:27AM] We take a closer look at some of yesterday's Seybold announcements from Apple and other companies.

The Mac Observer Spin: Apple is continuing its well orchestrated parade of Things Done Right. The Cupertino company, under the direction of Steve Jobs, is doing all the right things at an almost perfect pace. Mr. Jobs has managed to not only get the mainstream press saying good things about Apple and the Mac, he has managed to keep their ongoing attention in a way that is the envy of industry execs everywhere.


Apple Releases iMac Software Update 1.0
[5:00PM] Apple has released a software update for the iMac that is appropriately enough called the iMac Software the update is only for iMac users.

Apple recommends every iMac customer install this update. However, only iMac customers that use additional USB devices other than the Apple USB keyboard and Apple USB mouse included with their iMac are likely to notice the improvements after installation.

iMac Software Update 1.0

Apple Stock Regaining Lost Ground
[1:10PM] After losing over 25% of it's value during the last week, Apple's stock is on the rebound. While market scare and the overall downward trend may be to blame for the loss, the market seems to be showing its continued confidence in Apple after Steve Jobs's keynote speech at Seybold yesterday. The stock is at 36 and 25/32 at the time of this writing, representing a 7.78% increase for the day and almost 15% increase since Monday.

Apple Stock

Conflict Catcher 8 Released
[12:30PM] Casady & Greene has released the latest update to their popular extension manager application, Conflict Catcher. The primary new feature of Conflict Catcher 8 is the ability to merge old systems with clean installs. With all OS 8.x versions of the MacOS recommending clean installs, this feature will be a major time saver for many power users. Conflict Catcher 8 is available for US$79.95, plus shipping and handling. All previous owners of Conflict Catcher can upgrade for $79.95, less a $30 mail-in rebate (the rebate expires Jan. 1).

Casady & Greene

Helios Announces MacOS X Support
[4:30AM] Helios has announced that it will continue its support for the Mac when it ships its pre-press server solutions for MacOS X. Touting itself as "Supporting more AppleShare installations worldwide than any other Unix/RISC server software," Helios will ship its new line of products built for G3 powered MacOS X systems when the OS is delivered. Helios also promised a demonstration at next year's Seybold in San Francisco.


iMac Is ByeMac in Japan
[4:22AM] Apple reports that the iMac is sold out in Japan through the quarter ending in October. We predicted the iMac would a hot seller in Japan, both because of its attractive price point and its form factor. While Japan did not receive nearly as many of the new computers as did the states, it is an excellent sign that the demand is high. Asia has not been a good market for Apple during the last 18 months, and the iMac will likely be a big part of their recovery in the region.


Apple Announces 333 MHz Server
[4:07AM] Apple has announced what they call the "Most Powerful G3 Server Ever." The new 333 MHz Macintosh Server G3 system is priced at US $4,599 and pricing on the 300 MHz server has been reduced to $2,999. Both systems are equipped with 1MB level 2 backside cache, a 1.44 MB floppy drive and a 10/100BASE-T PCI networking card. The systems support up to 768 MB SDRAM memory, have one PCI expansion card slot open, and can be configured with multiple 4 GB and 9 GB Ultra/Wide SCSI disks and a 24X CD-ROM drive. They are also shipping with System 8.1 and AppleShare IP 6.



Tuesday, September 1st

Jobs At Seybold: Think Faster
[5:07PM] Steve Jobs used his Keynote Address at Seybold today to announce many new products:

  • New PowerBooks are officially announced
  • 4 areas of major improvement in 8.5 were discussed
  • MacOS X versions of Freehand 8, XPress 4, and Photoshop 5 were previewed
  • WebObject 4.0 is announced with speed improvements of up to 4 times

The Mac Observer Spin: Apple, for the first time in a few years, has everything to be proud of at this year's Seybold. New products, an OS that doesn't have glaring technological shortcomings, and the cooperation of some of the biggest software developers in the industry.

Apple - Press Release

Newer Announces Processor Upgrades
[3:02PM] Newer Technology has announced a new line of Upgrade cards aimed at G3 owners and pre-G3 owners. These cards will run as high as 400 MHz and show some very impressive MacBench results.

The Mac Observer Spin: Newer is capatalizing on the same market segments that fuled the growth of the clone makers like Power Computing. As long as Apple continues to be unable to deliver the latest processors until long after companies like Newer have already fulfilled the high-end demand, Apple risks keeping customers left unsatisfied.

Newer Technologies

IBM Ships Copper-Bases PowerPC chips
[2:44PM] IBM has officially shipped the first copper-based PowerPC chips. These chips are able to run at higher clock speeds than chips made with older technologies and also have the benefit of runing at lower temperatures. The chips are expected to make their way into PowerMacs from Apple sometime during the new few months. The new chips are already shipping in upgrade cards from some vendors (see earlier story from today). The new chips, running at 400 MHz mark IBM’s entry into the 400 MHz world.


Apple's QuickTime Pro 3.0 For NT
[4:48AM] Apple’s QuickTime Pro 3.0 now available for NT. Intergraph, the computer manufacturer most interested in taking Apple’s market share away in the publishing and graphics world, is the first to license QuickTime Pro 3.0 for Windows NT. Intergraph has long been known for their efforts to enter Apple's stronghold of publishing. as well as graphic design.

Apple - Intergraph

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