[5:30 PM] Bungie Releases A Myth II Expansion Pack, For Free
Our friends at Bungie have done it again. Bungie Software has released a Myth II expansion pack made by the talented team at Badlands. The title is called Myth: Chimera, but the new single player game is really for Myth II. Better yet, you can download the expansion pack from Bungie, for free. The company is also including it in the all-inclusive Myth package called Myth: The Total Codex. According to Bungie:
Any sane game publisher charges money for their games' scenario packs. But on November 15th, when Bungie releases its new single-player Myth scenario, Chimera, it will be available for download free of charge. For those who want to save themselves some modem time, Chimera will also be available as part of the new all-inclusive, eminently affordable Myth compilation, Myth: The Total Codex.
"What the hell is wrong with us?" asked Bungie CEO Alexander Seropian. "All kidding aside, this is pretty cool. What better way to thank the legions of Myth players for their devotion than to give them this awesome scenario for free?"
The most recent addition to the Myth world, Chimera tells the story of three heroes, veterans of the wars against the Fallen, who set out to confront a vengeful sorceress and the evil she has awakened. Developed by Badlands, Chimera features new units, characters and maps, and spins a new tale in the Myth universe.
Myth: The Total Codex features the award-winning Myth titles, Myth: The Fallen Lords and Myth II: Soulblighter, Chimera, the official hint books for Myth and Myth II, a collection of officially endorsed plug-ins and fan-created multiplayer levels and the easy-to-use level editors called "Fear" and "Loathing. "Myth: The Total Codex will ship on November 15th and retail for $19.99. It will ship as a hybrid title for PC and Macintosh.
The Total Codex
The Total Codex is a tome of great power in the world of Myth. It contains the life histories of all beings, and many a hero has risked life and limb to possess it. As such is the perfect title for this all-inclusive Myth collection.
Since the release of the "Fear" and "Loathing" level editors with Myth II, hundreds of Myth players have evolved into game designers, making third-party maps and plug-ins and releasing them online. Some of the best of these are included in the Codex. Many of the plug-ins take place in game worlds entirely different from the fantasy battlefields of the Myth games, among them:
Assassin! - A single-player map set in feudal Japan pitting one ninj against a Shogun's army.
WWII Recon and WWII Titans - WWII-era combat with rifles, grenades, tanks.
Wild West - Gunslingers fight it out with six-shooters, shotguns and dynamite.
Civil War - The Blue versus the Grey with cavalry, cannon and rifles.
Pirates of the Caribbean - Cutlasses, rum and wild monkeys.
Worlds Collide - High-energy combat in an original sci-fi universe.
The Mac Observer Spin:Myth and Myth II were both very popular games and Bungie could certainly milk the franchise for a few more bucks by releasing the expansion pack as a US$19.99 retail package. This is certainly a nice way to thank the Myth community.
[4:30 PM] Apple Finally Brings CNN.com To QuickTime Fold
Apple and CNN announced today that CNN.com would (at long last) start offering streaming content in QuickTime 4 format. CNN.com has exclusively offered RealVideo and Windows Media Player content for the last few years now. The announcement was delivered at the QuickTime Live! conference at the same time that Apple announced a new CNN.com QuickTime TV channel.
Visiting the CNN.com video page reveals that of the 5 choices offered for streaming, the QuickTime choice is labeled as "Smart." RealPlayer and Windows Media Player both have choices of "28.8" and "80 +."
According to Apple:
Apple® and CNN today announced that CNN.com will begin using QuickTime 4 to stream breaking news and the day's top news reports from CNN to millions of users worldwide. CNN has also launched a new channel on the QuickTime TV (QTV) network that will feature round-the-clock newscasts from CNN Headline News, on-demand daily video reports as well as audio reports from CNNRadio.
"Internet users worldwide have an ever-growing interest in multimedia offerings, and CNN.com's use of QuickTime significantly enhances the quality of our video and audio streaming capabilities," said Scott Woelfel, CNN senior vice president, general manager and editor in chief, CNN Interactive. "CNN's QuickTime TV channel will provide QTV users with a rich mix of up-to-the minute international and national news, global weather forecasts and highlights from some of their favorite CNN programs."
CNN.com joins the QTV network's growing lineup of leading content providers, including ABCNEWS.com, BBC WORLD, Bloomberg, Disney.com, ESPN.com, FOXNews.com, FOXSports.com, HBO, The Knitting Factory, NPR®, RollingStone.com, Rhino Records, VH1, Virgin Radio, Warner Bros. Records, Inc., The Weather Channel® and WGBH Boston. In addition, Apple today announced new QTV channels from Financial Times, MTV, Nickelodeon, TV Land and tv-radio.com (see related release).
Macintosh® and Windows users can view QTV's diverse content via Apple's state-of-the-art QuickTime Player, which provides one-click access to users' favorite QTV channels as well as the ability to bookmark content from anywhere on the Internet. The QuickTime Player is available as a free download from www.apple.com/quicktime.
Visit the CNN.com site for news in QuickTime Streaming format.
The Mac Observer Spin:This is another very important coup for Apple. CNN.com is one of the most heavily trafficked sites on the Internet. Having content available in QuickTime 4 format further legitimizes Apple's technology. For consumers, it means we can get a much higher quality broadcast as last from CNN.com. For Mac users, it means that we will not be held back from viewing streaming content should RealNetworks once again deliver a PC update to its player before a Mac version.
Apple can also continue to leverage CNN's support for QuickTime 4 to bring other streaming content providers to the QuickTime fold. Critical Mass is indeed at hand for QuickTime Streaming.
Lastly, it is interesting that CNN.com label the QuickTime streaming choice as "smart." While this likely refers to QuickTime's ability to stream at your connection speed, it will look as if it is the "smart" choice to those who aren't tech weenies in the know. Of course, QuickTime is the smart choice, but it's great to see CNN.com acknowledge this.
[4:10 PM] Apple Stock Watch: Technology Rallies higher Without Microsoft, Apple Soars to 96 3/8
by Wes George
The markets take a well deserved breather after the recent charge forward. Today's decline was led by the financial stocks on the Dow and a broad group of technology stocks on the Nasdaq.
On November 16th the Fed will announce whether it intends to raise interest rates. Tomorrow's Producer Price Index numbers will reveal the latest measure of inflation in wholesale prices and may have some influence on the Fed's decision. Nervous investors are expected to retrench over the next week in anticipation of the Fed's action.
The Dow sagged 101.53 (0.95%) to 10617.32 on a volume of 833 million shares. Gold and oil service stocks jumped today as energy commodity prices rose.
The Nasdaq pulled back 19 points (0.61%) to close at 3124.92 on record high volume of 1.444 billion shares traded. The last high volume record was set on October 29th.
The S&P 500 moved down 11.73 (0.85%) to close at 1365.28
The Findings of Fact continued to shake Microsoft related stocks and their competitors today.
Apple gave it all back today retracing 6 3/4 points to 89 5/8. That's still better than a point above last Friday's close. Today's weakness was due in part to Richard Gardner's (Salomon Smith Barney) downgrading of Apple to Outperform from Buy. Mr. Gardner did not change his 12-month target of $115 for AAPL.
Be Incorporated (BEOS) after a big move yesterday soared 1 11/32 or (20.0%) to close at 7 27/32 today. While Red Hat Inc. retraced 5 1/8 (5.0%) to close down at 98 1/2. Microsoft ended down 1 1/16 to 88 7/8.
In Apple related stocks only Pixar, Adobe, Arm Holdings and Dell were in positive territory.
The 30-year Treasury bond dropped up 6/32 while the yield was up to 6.07%.
For full quotes on all the companies mentioned in this article, we have assembled this set of quotes at Yahoo! for your reference. We also have many of these same quotes reported live (20 minute delay) on our home page. For other stories regarding Apple's stock activity, visit our Apple Stock Watch Special Report.
[3:45 PM] Apple Adds 6 More Heavy Weight QuickTime TV Channels Including MTV, CNN, and Nickelodeon
Apple has announced the addition of 6 new channels to QuickTime TV, Apple's QuickTime Streaming delivery of Internet content. The new channels include some of the biggest names in entertainment, including two properties from the Seagram's empire, MTV and Nickelodeon, as well as CNN. According to Apple:
Apple® today announced it will add six new channels from leading international news and entertainment organizations to the growing lineup of content providers on QuickTime TV (QTV), the Internet's highest-quality network for streaming audio and video.
New channels include CNN.com (see related release), MTV, Nickelodeon, TV Land, Financial Times and tv-radio.com. The tv-radio.com channel alone will feature content from more than 50 radio stations and five TV stations in France. The CNN.com, Nickelodeon and TV Land channels are available immediately; the MTV, Financial Times and tv-radio.com channels premiere on November 15.
"We are excited to be working with QuickTime TV," said Taran Swan, Nickelodeon Online's senior vice president. "Starting today, kids everywhere can access great Nickelodeon content through Apple's high-quality QTV network, and classic TV fans can watch clips from their favorite shows thanks to QTV's TV Land programming."
"When we decided to bring our French music and entertainment programming to an international audience, we investigated what streaming technologies were available," said Benoit Sillard, tv-radio.com's CEO. "After experiencing QuickTime TV, we had no doubt that the QTV network was the only choice since it alone had the power to let us create a technologically innovative, high-quality channel that could reach millions of Internet users worldwide."
CNN.com, Financial Times, MTV, Nickelodeon, TV Land and tv-radio.com join the QTV network's growing lineup of leading content providers, including ABCNEWS.com, BBC WORLD, Bloomberg, Disney.com, ESPN.com, FOXNews.com, FOXSports.com, HBO, The Knitting Factory, NPR®, Rhino Records, RollingStone.com, VH1, Virgin Radio, Warner Bros. Records, Inc., The Weather Channel® and WGBH Boston.
Macintosh® and Windows users can view QTV's diverse content via Apple's state-of-the-art QuickTime 4 Player, which provides one-click access to users' favorite QTV channels as well as the ability to bookmark content from anywhere on the Internet. The QuickTime Player is available as a free download from www.apple.com/quicktime.
The Mac Observer Spin:This is another coup for Apple. MTV, CNN, and Nickelodeon all help add to the critical mass Apple needs to make QuickTime TV a success. The new channels also add some compelling content for viewers to watch. Congrats to Apple and the new channels!
[3:00 PM] VersionMaster Latest Updates: NetBarrier, Startup Doubler, And IdeaKeeper
Internet tool NetBarrier has been tweaked to version 1.2.1, the excellent utility Startup Doubler has been updated with MacOS 9 support to version 2.5, and IdeaKeeper can be thought of as version 1.6b9 with its update. These are the most recent updates listed at The Mac Observer's VersionMaster. You can find all the most recent Mac software updates with this service.
[2:00 PM] A New Mac Gaming Site Hits The Internet
Mac game lovers rejoice. A new Macintosh gaming site has launched, and promises give Mac gamers another great source for gaming news, strategies, reviews, and opinions about the state of gaming on the Mac OS. Clan MacGaming follows in a long line of great Mac gaming sites, and looks to carry on a strong tradition of Mac gaming excellence. According to Clan MacGaming:
Imagine a gaming community dedicated to their platform of choice- a community that utilizes Mac Servers for web content, provides multi-game tidbits, reviews, and strategies, integrates member chat services, offers gaming resources like maps, patches and plugins, and houses several Mac gaming orders like Myth II, Quake 2, Unreal Tournament, and Starcraft on one big, happy web site? Imagine what you'd call this self-contained Mac gaming community...
Clan MacGaming. That's what.
We're proud about debuting our "labor of love"- aka our dedication to Mac gaming. Well, it's almost finished, so go have a look for yourself - the missing pages will turn up eventually. We promise.
Oh, did I mention what we do? We're a Mac Gaming Clan! We play LOTS of games online, especially when we're not up 'til 3:00 AM fixing our stoopid' site. We even got a Hotline server for chatting and archiving the latest game patches, files, plugins, and Macintosh drivers.
For the full experience, visit the Clan MacGaming web site.
[11:00 AM] Salomon Smith Barney Cuts their Rating on Apple to Outperform from Buy
by Wes George
Solomon Smith Barney has downgraded Apple's stock today after the stellar run-up in the stocks price over the last few months. The company downgraded the stock from a Buy to an Outperform based on its increased valuation. Currently, Apple has a price to earnings ratio (P/E) of 26.12 as of press time.
Apple's (AAPL) stock has advanced strongly since the low of $58 on Sept. 29th. Yesterday, Apple reached $97.7 intraday, up almost 20 points in the last five trading sessions.
The Mac Observer Spin:Salomon downgrade of Apple from Outperform to Buy "based on valuation" is ludicrous. Apple still trades at a PE ratio of about 28. The average PE ratio for the PC vendors is closer to 43. Gateway PE is 54 and Dell's is 63. Even sad Compaq has a PE or 32. Apple is undervalued even if it has "gotten ahead of itself" as they say on the street.
Apple's long term trend is steeply higher. As famed investor Fayez Sarofim said last month to Money Magazine, "The biggest mistake is selling your winners. You should hold on to the ones that have done well and sell the others. It's the exact opposite of what most people do." Apparently, "most people" includes Salomon Smith Barney. Expect a volatile ride into the triple digits by the Christmas season.
Today Apple was off by as much $7 in early morning trading but is now coming back. The broad based sell off in technology stocks this morning is a healthy rest for the Nasdaq which has seen a rare 7 consecutive all times highs. Microsoft is down by more than $3 at this writing.
Tribeworks is announcing today at the QuickTime Live! conference a new product called iShell 2. iShell 2 allows QuickTime content developers to extend their content. According to Tribeworks:
Tribeworks - providers of next-generation multimedia services, tools and solutions - today announced the preview release of iShell 2, a powerful multimedia-authoring suite that sets new media professionals free from the browser's visual and delivery limitations. iShell 2 enables the creation of customized media players that seamlessly launch from a website. Using iShell 2, content providers own a direct customer relationship by immersing audiences in unique media rich environments that combine online full-screen video, custom players, and interactive presentations.
iShell 2 lets content break through the frame of the browser, and enables the creation of customized media players that seamlessly launch from a website. Content providers can therefore own a direct customer relationship by immersing audiences in unique media rich environments that combine online full-screen video, custom players, and interactive presentations.
iShell 2's unique ability to create highly customized streaming media players make it the perfect solution for online music, publishing and film content providers. This new functionality is in addition to iShell's established capabilities in CD/DVD-ROM, connected disc and website publishing - that can be authored and played on Windows, WinNT and Macintosh machines. iShell 2 players can be of any arbitrary shape, can contain holes, and are dragable with the ability to play in the foreground or the background.
iShell 2 Applications
iShell 2 enables rich-media content and interactive experiences to be delivered via highly customized players that are fully functioning Internet applications. The myriad of uses for iShell 2 range from corporate communications to interactive streaming media players:
Media and Entertainment Industries - Now, any entertainment company can create Internet TV stations, video jukeboxes, Internet radio, MP3 players and webcast players that are unique.
Advertising Agencies - Agencies can provide clients with rich-media advertising such as intersticials and integrated branding campaigns that truly stand out.
Corporate Communications - Sales presentations, video news releases and event webcasts can easily be incorporated into a company's communications strategy and reflect corporate culture.
Education Institutions and Providers - Training, distance learning and course materials can now be truly interactive, engaging and easily updated with timely information.
iShell 2 Features
iShell 2 will fundamentally changing how people experience interactive media on the Internet. Feature developments of this powerful multimedia-authoring suite include:
Multiple Window Options - iShell 2 enables Letterbox (CD-ROM-like), Standard (browser-like) and Player windows. The Player window can be of any arbitrary shape.
Window Type Changing - Projects can dynamically change window type within one iShell 2 project - from a player, to letterbox window, to a standard window.
Player Installation - With iShell 2, code and plug-ins, in addition to the media, can come from the Internet. End-users only need to install the Player once.
Universal Runtime - The iShell 2 Runtime works for any project, as it is plug-in independent. End-users don't need to install plug-ins; authors can use versions preferred.
Web Integration - Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer can automatically run an iShell project on the Web for transparent launching of iShell projects from sites.
Project Webs - Authors can have a set of projects that link to each other because the Launch URL command has a runtime option that allows one project to link to another.
Visual Programming Environment - iShell 2's visual, object-oriented programming environment includes a visual debugger, making it as powerful for designers as it is for programmers.
Pricing and Availability
iShell version 2 preview release is available to Tribeworks Full Members - iShell 2 final release will be available as a free download from http://www.tribeworks.com. Tribeworks Full Memberships, which are held by many of the world's top multimedia designers and developers, are $2000 per year, or through an initiation fee of $500 and monthly payments of $150. Annual renewal fees are only $1000, or $100 per month. Full Tribeworks Members receive high-end technical support, discounts on third-party products, instant online access to other top multimedia developers, and iShell's Software Developer's Kit (SDK).
The company has not yet added information on iShell 2 to their web site.
Net.Dreams has announced the availability of a WebSTAR enhancement, Flex-able 1.0. Flex-able simplifies such common tasks as file downloading and forms management. According to Net.Dreams:
Net.Dreams today announced the immediate availability of Flex-able 1.0, a new extensibility toolset for WebSTAR Web servers. Flex-able makes it easy to implement a variety of add-on capabilities such as file uploading, form processing, form-to-email processing, counters, rotation, redirection and string functions. Flex-able is now available for any W*API-compatible Web server, such as WebSTAR, WebTen, and AppleShare IP.
"Flex-able lets you extend your WebSTAR server to do a lot of things with form data," explained C.J. Holmes, president of Net.Dreams. "It's easy to use, giving you all kinds of tools in minutes from mail processing to uploading multiple files at once to HTML rotation. Flex-able is a little Swiss army knife of extensibility tools."
Flex-able makes it easy to implement form data processing features on your W*API-compatible server. With Flex-able, it's finally simple to upload multiple files without using FTP. Flex-able transfers Web site form data to files, generates e-mail from form data, and provides hit counting and HTML rotation with a simple, straightforward interface.
Flex-able is available for US$299. You can find more information from the Net.Dreams web site.
[8:45 AM] SQL Tool Gains Performance With New Update
Paradigma Software has updated the Valentina Database Line to version 1.6. The new version includes minor bug fixes and feature enhancements. According to Paradigma Software:
Version 1.6 of the Valentina database core technology adds enhancements over its release 1.5 for use of database cursors and use of SQL. Version 1.6 increases performance of using database cursors and allows each cursor to exist in its own independent memory space. Version 1.6 also adds support for two additional SQL commands. Since its 1.0 release, all Valentina products have gained speed and performance enhancements in working with different file types and importing data, as well as many fixes. A list of all updates and enhancements is available on the Paradigma Software Web Site.
The technology upgrade appears in all Valentina database products:
Valentina 1.6, the scriptable database management system. Database designers or anyone skilled at scripting can work with Valentina and any AppleScript friendly interface builder such as Digital Technology's FaceSpan or IncWell's SuperCard product.
Valentina 1.6 SDK for Macintosh OS, and Valentina SDK for Windows 95/98/NT, allow developers to add powerful database functionality to applications developed in Metrowerks CodeWarrior environment, and Microsoft Visual C++ development product.
Valentina for REALbasic 1.6, a set of add-on classes for REAL Software's popular REALbasic 2.0 professional development environment for Macintosh and Windows, also gains additional functionality with its newest release. Programs developed with V4RB 1.6 can read and write raw data for added flexibility in storing non-text data. V4RB 1. 6 also adds additional facilities for debugging code associated with database-enabled applications.
The Valentina Line starts at US$49.95 for the basic version, while the SDK version is available for US$699.95. Version 1.6 is free for registered users of version 1.5. You can find more information at the Paradigma Software web site.
[8:30 AM] Blue World To Lasso Support For Upcoming Dreamweaver 3
Blue World Communications has extended compatibility of their Lasso line of web database applications to include Macromedia's Dreamweaver 3. The company is releasing a version of Lasso Studio that will work exclusively with the upcoming Dreamweaver 3 package from Macromedia. According to Blue World Communications:
Blue World Communications, Inc. today announced that the forthcoming Lasso Studio for Macromedia Dreamweaver will operate exclusively with the recently announced Macromedia Dreamweaver 3. Lasso Studio for Dreamweaver--currently in private beta testing--provides a complete Web application development environment for rapidly building sophisticated database-driven Web applications. Lasso Studio for Dreamweaver will offer the first comprehensive solution for building robust dynamic Web applications entirely within Dreamweaver, a leading web site authoring solution from Macromedia, Inc.
"New and current customers who have seen demonstrations of Lasso Studio for Dreamweaver have expressed overwhelming enthusiasm for this product," said Bill Doerrfeld, president and CEO of Blue World Communications. "Blue World is excited to soon deliver on the promise of providing Web application developers and Web designers a ground-peaking solution which dramatically eases the process of building database-driven Web sites."
Complete Web Application Development Environment
Lasso Studio for Dreamweaver will introduce a visual, structured development environment for building database-driven Web applications aimed at meeting the needs of beginning and advanced users alike. Beginners will be able to Web-enable databases within mere minutes of installation. Lasso Studio Configuration Wizard links database schema information for dynamic display throughout Lasso Studio for Dreamweaver. Lasso Studio Form Builder allows beginners to instantly create database-linked Web forms. Developers will engage the full power of custom editing enabling the guided creation of complex, accurately coded programming constructs using the Lasso Studio Property Inspectors, Tag Editor, Tag Selector, Sub-Tag Editor and more.
Supports Multiple Databases and Platforms
Combined with the new Blue World Lasso Studio Web Data Engine 3.5.5--previously referred to as Lasso Developer 3.5.5--, Lasso Studio for Dreamweaver will allow Web developers to quickly Web-enable FileMaker Pro databases as well as any ODBC-compliant database--including Oracle, Microsoft SQL Server, Sybase, Informix and Microsoft Access--using a common, intuitive tag-based approach--without requiring SQL programming. With the database and platform independent architecture of the Lasso Web Data Engine, solutions created using Lasso Studio for Dreamweaver can easily migrate and scale across multiple databases and platforms with little or no change to one's code.
Lasso Studio for Dreamweaver is scheduled for release in December 1999 and will be available for US$299 as an electronic download version, and US$349 for the boxed version. You can find more information at the Blue World Communications web site.
Lorenzo Puleo has released a new beta version of the file sync/back up tool, FolderSynchronizer. Version 1.6b adds stability and performance enhancements. According to Mr. Puleo:
The best way to synchronize or backup on Macintosh. Choose two folders and then they will be synchronized exactly. FS can filter the documents to copy, by Type, Creator and Modification Date. FS can do multiple Synchronizations or BackUps from your custom lists. Scriptable by AppleScript.
FolderSynchronizer is available as shareware for US$20. You can find more information at Lorenzo Puleo's web site.