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The Idiots finally exchange Christmas Presents
January 18th, 2000

Gary: Wow, what a whirlwind holiday season that was.

Randy: Christmas, the New Year and MacWorld Expo San Francisco all in a row.

Gary: The Holy Trinity.

(lightening bolt zaps Gary)

Randy: Cool!

Gary: Man, I hate when that happens.

Randy: And it does so often.

Gary: Anyhoo!…We never exchanged Christmas presents in all the confusion.

Randy: I was beginning to think you stiffed me, like last year.

Gary: I gave you that Mac OS System 8.6 updater.

Randy: Uh, that was free from Apple.

Gary: Well, honestly. Some people certainly are picky about their gifts. Which is why I know you'll be happy with this year's gift. Ta da!

Randy: Holy Snikes, Batman! It's a Macally USB PC cardbus adapter for my PowerBook G3. Man, this is something I have been jonesing for since the Lombard (a.k.a. Bronze Keyboard) G3 PowerBooks came out with USB onboard!

Gary: Yeah, I knew you had been eyeing a USB PC card for a while now.

Randy: True enough. I was getting impatient waiting for a Mac compatible PC card to come out and I was thinking of trying out a Wintel version with the USB card adapter drivers from Apple's web site. I have read reports on O'Grady's Powerpage that readers have had success trying this with their PowerBooks.

Gary: Well, now you don't have to go to such desperate measures. Macally is finally out of the gate with their Mac version of the much sought after USB PC card.

But don't be surprised if you still have to download the drivers from Apple's site. The card doesn't even come with any software. In fact, the packaging instructs you to specifically use Apple drivers.

Randy: And for the record, the USB card adapter drivers are not really meant for PC cards at all. They were written for USB PCI cards, but luckily enough they also work on the PC cards too.

Gary: But not without some fiddling in the Extension Manager first, though. Different users will need to turn certain USB card adapter extensions off to get the card to successfully recognize USB devices. And be sure you run Alessandro Levi Montalcini's excellent USB Overdrive, too. Otherwise certain devices like the Gravis USB Gamepad Pro will not be recognized.

Randy: All right, so there are some driver issues to work out. But at last I will be able to play serious games on my PowerBook. On the plane, on a train, even when I'm in Spain.

Gary: Thanks there, Dr. Seuss.

Randy: You are most welcome Gary, though you are so hairy…

Gary: Oy! I am regretting this gift already. And you should talk, sweater boy.

Randy: But the thing I will enjoy most of all, is playing my PowerBook gaming station on my huge-ass TV set through the video out on my 'Book.

Gary: Oh yeah, baby! Just one more thing the Mac can do great is act like an awesome console game machine. (You desktop owners can run video to a TV if you have a video card with S-Video or RCA video out too. Just have one long cable to go from your office to the living room. Or better yet steal the TV into your office!)

Randy: Your wife will divorce you if you do this.

Gary: But enough about your gift. What did I get from you?

Randy: Hey nice Christmas spirit. Here ya go, greedy.

Gary: Oooh! Casady & Greene's MP3 player, SoundJam MP! Awesome!

Randy: Now you can convert all of your favorite CD's to MP3 format, and you can download all of your favorite music from the Internet.

Gary: Not only that, but it also decodes MP3 streams, so I can hear streaming music over the Internet without having to download separate files.

Randy: Bitchin'! I didn't know that. Usually you have to have a separate player and encoder. Casady & Greene have had a long history of producing killer utilities for the Mac, and this is no exception.

Gary: But with this one, you can really waste some serious time.

Randy: Which is what we are all about!

Gary: SoundJam MP also supports multiple skins so that the player can look like all different kinds of things like rocks and old-fashioned radios. New skins are constantly coming out so you can expand your library of skins on a regular basis. In fact, some guy came out with a skin that mimics Aqua, the GUI that will be used in OS X. Of course, they already had to take it down at the insistence of Apple. Sounds like someone in Cupertino needs to take a chill pill.

Randy: The most incredible thing about SoundJam MP is the cool built-in screensavers that pulse right along with the beat of the music. Just set up Melt-O-Rama up and you will stare at the screen for hours. It's better than a campfire, and if you are wasted, forget it. See ya next month.

Gary: What is this wasted that you speak of?

Randy: Man, you are such an Idiot.

Gary: The MP3 standard at basically equivalent sound quality compresses music about 12 to 13 times smaller than normal audio CD's. This means that you could compress 12 or 13 CD's and if you have a CD burner, put all of that music on one CD, to travel light, for example.

Randy: Oh, is that what that means?

Gary: I swear to God, I will kill you.

Randy: Always in the Christmas spirit, man.

Gary: How about I stuff a little Christmas spirit down your throat?!?

(horrific crashing sounds ensue)

Gary Randazzo and Randy Soare are the co-founders of IWS Interactive, a New York based game developer for Macintosh. The IWS in IWS Interactive stands for Idiots With Sticks. How that came about is a long and boring story, but suffice it to say that at four in the morning, it seemed like a good idea.

The demo for IWS Interactive's upcoming mystery-adventure game, Manhattan Apartment Hunter, has recently been released to rave reviews. The Idiots have been into gaming on Apple computers even before the Mac was around. Does anyone remember Choplifter on the Apple IIe? (Boy, we know we do.) Now, they are committed to help ensure that the Mac remains the premiere gaming platform on the planet.

You can email your comment and suggestions to Randy at , and Gary at .

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