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November 16th, 1999

[4:30 PM] Madden NFL 2000 Released At Last!
by Staff

Long anticipated, Madden NFL 2000 has been released. Madden NFL 200 is a 3D football simulator that has been a huge hit in the PC world. Aspyr Media, an Austin, Tx. firm, ported the game to the Mac for Electronic Arts. According to Aspyr:

Aspyr Media today announced the immediate availability of Electronic Arts' Madden NFL 2000, the first major sports title for the Macintosh.

Madden NFL 2000 is the latest in the EA SPORTS John Madden Football series, which accounted for 57 percent of sales for all PC-based football games in 1998 according to PC Data.

"Madden NFL 2000 signifies the return of the big boys to the Mac gaming community," said John Schappert, executive in charge of production, Electronic Arts.

"The new iMac and Power Mac G4s make the Mac a great platform for hard core gamers and beginners alike, and provide a huge business opportunity for game developers to create exciting new titles," said Clent Richardson, Apple's vice president of Worldwide Developer Relations. "Mac gamers everywhere will be thrilled they can now enjoy the bone-crunching fun of Madden NFL 2000."

Madden NFL 2000 takes gaming to a new level with new modes, enhanced Madden-designed Artificial Intelligence, new 3D player graphics and new motion-captured offensive and defensive moves -- like diving catches, wrap and gang tackles, touchdown celebrations and other helmet-popping gameplay.

More than 100 football teams are available, including all current NFL teams, 85 All-Time and Super Bow teams, plus numerous secret teams. Madden NFL 2000's wide range of teams, from past and present, provides a multitude of match-ups for historical football fans, those interested in this year's teams and those who just want to play some good old-fashioned hard-hitting football.

Madden NFL 2000 is priced at US$49.95. MAC-O-RAMA is listing the title for US$46 and there are doubtless other specials on the Internet. You can find more information at Aspyr's web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: Ported for Electronic Arts by Aspyr Media, Madden NFL 2000 was originally going to be a simultaneous Mac/PC release. Problems that allegedly centered around OpenGL delayed the Mac version despite Aspyr's hard work, much to the chagrin of the Mac gaming community that was looking forward to the high profile simultaneous release. If Mac gamers would like to see more games like this come to the Mac quickly, and despite the delays this game did indeed come to the Mac more quickly than most, then they should go out and buy it. In the battle to make the Mac a better gaming platform, the power of money speaks volumes. If Electronic Arts makes a hefty profit from the Mac release of this game, then they will be pleased as punch to bring more such releases to the Mac.

Aspyr - Electronic Arts

[4:20 PM] New Facility Center Opens Up At Apple Market Center in Atlanta
by Staff

Sterling Ledet and Associates have announced with Apple that they will be opening a new training facility in the Apple MArket Center in Atlanta. The facility will offer the opportunity for users to check out some of the latest Mac hardware from Apple, ICE, and other manufacturers. According to Sterling Ledet and Associates:

Sterling Ledet and Associates has opened their newest hands-on training facility in the Apple Computer market center in Atlanta. With the addition of this state of the art facility, Ledet and Associates will be able to offer users at all skill levels, the opportunity to learn the latest cutting-edge technology in digital video, Internet and web design, and graphic arts/publishing applications.

Users who choose to take advantage of this opportunity should prepare to be impressed. This new training facility boasts Apple's latest professional level workstation, the Power Macintosh G4, and the revolutionary new Studio Display LCD monitor. Each workstation is fully equipped with these, as well as Wacom interface tablets, offering the optimum learning environment in which to hone their skills.

The Grand Opening celebration is scheduled for Monday , December 6th at the Apple market center in Dunwoody, GA between 1:30 - 6:30 pm. The Apple market center is located at 1100 Abernathy Rd., ste. 1800, bldg. 500.

In addition to the open house celebration, Adobe Systems, and Macromedia will join Apple in providing product demonstrations for leading software applications in graphic arts & publishing, Internet design & e-commerce, and digital video.

Additionally, sponsoring partners including hardware sales & support provider Demographics, memory component supplier Microtech International, and video graphics accelerator card provider ICE, will have products available to view and sample.

There is no charge for admittance to this event and refreshments will be served. Professionals and amateurs alike are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity to see some of the latest in technology available from these top providers of products and services.

You can find more information on the event, including registration information, at Apple's web site. Alternately, you can call 1.800.895.4853.

The Mac Observer Spin: This is a great direction for Apple to move in. There has long been a lack of Mac training facilities and training courses around the country. In fact, the mere fact that one has to be trained to use Windows 9x and Windows NT seems to have actually increased the desirability of using those systems. As backwards as it seems, Apple can only benefit by having more high-profile training facilities. The only negative is that Apple has very few Market Centers and only in the largest metropolitan areas. Hopefully Apple will work with companies like Sterling Ledet and Associates to open up other training centers in other areas.

Sterling Ledet and Associates

[3:45 PM] The Apple Stock Watch: Stocks Soar After The Fed Hikes Interest Rates, Apple Rises to 91 3/16
by Wes George

A cautious Federal Reserve raised Fed fund and discount rates 25 basis points and adopted a neutral stance. Interest rate hikes are usually not good news on Wall Street, but this bull market responded with a strong continuation of the ongoing rally. The Fed also warned, "the economy is growing at an unsustainable rate."

The Nasdaq roared to a new all time high, up 73.53 points (2.28%) to close at 3293.07 on another record volume day with 1.39 billion shares traded. The Nasdaq is now up 50% year to date.

The Dow advanced by 171.58 points (1.59%) to close at 10932.33

The S&P 500 also hit a new record high today, up 25.64 points (1.84%) to close at 1420.03.

On Wednesday, Wall Street will be watching for the new housing starts number and the important Consumer Price Index for October.

Apple received a boost today from ABN AMRO analyst Jonathan Ross who initiated coverage on Apple with an outperform rating and a one year price target of $155. Mr. Ross said, "We believe no PC maker is better positioned with consumers to take advantage of large opportunities in the emerging device and home networking markets." Apple rose 1 3/4 to close at 91 3/16 on less than half the normal volume.

Tomorrow, Hewlett Packard announces 4th quarter earnings after the bell. Analyst will be looking for $0.73 per share with a 9% revenue growth.

Apple related stocks, Adobe, Symantec, and Akamai rode the wave higher, while Macromedia declined fractionally. Apple's Power PC partners, IBM and Motorola, both ended the day higher.

Dell, Microsoft, Intel, Compaq, and Hewlett-Packard all closed higher. Gateway was the only major PC manufacturer to close in negative territory.

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.

The Mac Observer Spin: Go figure, the Fed raises rates and stocks close at all time highs. Analysts have speculated that many traders were just relieved that the rate hike was no longer an unknown issue.


[3:00 PM] Audit Your Mac For Y2K Compliant Apps
by Staff

Pedagoguery Software has updated the Millennium checker utility, Y2K Software Audit, to version 1.33. The program functions by comparing software installed on your system with a list of Y2K compatible applications. According to Pedagoguery Software:

The previous version was Y2K Software Audit 1.32, released October 4 1999.

Changes since the previous version:

  • Database size: 2,033 files.
  • Minor improvements to interface appearance.

Y2K Software Audit is available as shareware for US$38. A limited trial package is available. You can find more information at the Pedagoguery Software web site.

Pedagoguery Software

[3:00 PM] Put Your Web Pages On Phen-Phen With Mizer Update
by Staff

Antimony Software has updated the web code optimization tool, Mizer, to version 1.8. Mizer helps "shrink" web code and images, allowing for faster upload and download times. According to Antimony Software:

Optimizing a Web site for peek performance used to be a tedious and time consuming process requiring extraordinary skill and meticulous attention to detail. The benefits were great:

  • Faster pages capturing more real readers
  • Better first impression made to customers
  • Increased server performance
  • Less bandwidth cost
  • Better site security

However, so was the cost in time, since before Mizer no tools existed to automate this process. It wasn't practical for most people to think about doing, despite the benefits.

With Mizer, doing everything you need to do to ensure your have an optimized web site that is as fast as it can possibly be, is an easy one step process that starts with a drag and ends with a drop.

Five minutes latter, you have a frighteningly fast web site to upload to your server without the hassle, without the time, and without the learning curve.

Mizer is available for US$69.95. You can find more information at the Antimony Software web site.

Antimony Software

[2:30 PM] HyperGames For Hyper People
by Staff

HyperInfo Canada Inc. has updated their HyperCard stack of games and utilities, HyperGames, to version 2.2. According to HyperInfo Canada:

HyperInfo Canada Inc. has posted HyperGames 2.2, an update to the HyperCard stack, which is jam-packed with more than 75 exciting games and useful utilities. Creative games include an acclaimed Pong clone, a Pac-Man clone, animations, music makers, mathematical puzzles, educational quizzes, etc. Original HyperTalk utilities include a Find/Replace function, an Internet data converter, an automatic index generator, a progress bar, synchronized multiple scrolling fields, and much much more. HyperGames is also an ideal vehicle to learn scripting, as well as to demonstrate the awesome power of HyperCard.

HyperGames is available as shareware for US$10. You can find more information at the HyperInfo Canada web site.

HyperInfo Canada Inc.

[1:45 PM] Knock-Knock - Who's There? DoorStop Final
by Staff

Opon Door Networks, Inc. has released DoorStop Personal 1.0. DoorStop Personal is a software based firewall for the Mac OS. According to Open Door:

DoorStop Personal is an easy to use, end-user version of Open Door's powerful server firewall software, specifically focused on protecting Mac OS 9's new Internet services. Open Door also announced upgrades to its Security Suites for Macintosh servers and a white paper on Mac OS 9 Internet security, rounding out its Mac OS security offerings.

DoorStop Personal Edition, which runs on Macs back to Mac OS 8.1, is an important security enhancement for any Mac that is connected to the Internet for long periods of time, for instance through a cable or DSL modem or an intranet. Although the Mac OS is one of the most secure, today's increasingly popular permanent connections, in combination with Mac OS 9's new Internet features, significantly increase the Mac's exposure and warrant additional protection beyond that provided by the OS itself.

DoorStop Personal Edition requires a PowerPC Mac and Mac OS 8.1 or later. Its features include:

  • Built-in support for Internet file sharing (through Mac OS 9's file sharing and ShareWay IP)
  • Built-in support for Mac OS 9's Program Linking over TCP/IP
  • An advanced mode for protecting any TCP/IP service
  • Logging of allowed and/or denied TCP/IP connections.
  • Online help

DoorStop is available for US$59 for a single user license, and US$1299 for a 50 user site license. Educational discounts are available. You can find more information at the Open Door Networks web site.

Open Door Networks

[1:00 PM] Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay, Version 1.0.8
by Staff

Objective Software has updated the utility, DockZone, to version 1.0.8. The new version fixes a bug related to Mac OS 9. DockZone provides an area on the right side of your screen that is set aside for icon storage. According to Objective Software:

DockZone delimits an area on the right side of your main screen, where the volumes and the trash are usually located, giving your Desktop a BeOS or Rhapsody look. The control panel lets you customize the dock colors and its width.

DockZone is available as shareware for US$10. You can find more information at the Objective Software web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: This is another great example of the great Mac shareware market. This is a very handy utility for those who like to use a socking concept.

Objective Software

[Column] On The Flip Side - Your Mac Looks Terrible, Admit It

[Column] Wasting Time With The Idiots - Cyber Idiocy: The Idiots Preview GameRanger

[11:30 AM] Aladdin Ships Mac OS 9 Compatible Stuffit Deluxe Update & Brand New Version
by Staff

Aladdin Systems has shipped two new versions of Stuffit Deluxe, both of which include Mac OS 9 compatibility. The company has released an update for Stuffit Deluxe 5.1, and an entirely new 5.5 version. According to Aladdin Systems:

Aladdin Systems, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Aladdin Systems Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ BB: ALHIE) today released free Mac OS(R) 9 compatible updates for registered StuffIt(R) 5.0- 5.1 customers. The Mac OS 9 compatibility is also available in the latest StuffIt 5.5 upgrade, also released today.

StuffIt Deluxe 5.1.5 has been tested extensively under Mac OS(R) 9.0 (and earlier) operating systems. The 5.1.5 update for StuffIt Deluxe simply provides support for Mac OS 9.0 and includes the most current version of StuffIt Expander, version 5.5. Aladdin's latest upgrade, StuffIt Deluxe 5.5, offers many new features as well as, Mac OS 9 compatibility. The following features apply to StuffIt Deluxe 5.5 and are NOT available in the StuffIt Deluxe 5.1.5 Update.

New StuffIt Deluxe 5.5 Benefits and Features:

  • Faster compression and expansion (an average speed improvement of 20%)
  • Mac OS 9 compatibility
  • Make self-extracting archives for Windows (.exe) from your Mac
  • Archive CM(tm) provides easier access to the contents of a StuffIt archive via the Macintosh Contextual Menu, allowing more ways to retrieve specific items within a compressed archive
  • Create StuffIt or Zip files to send to Windows users - now there's a choice if users want to create a Zip archive or use the superior StuffIt compression
  • Magic Tools(tm) - Four new tools were added to Magic Menu(tm): "Get More Info" on files, "Copy or Move" files to any location with a single command, "Make Aliases" of files in any location, or "Gather" a group of selected files into one folder
  • DropConverter updates old StuffIt archives to the 5.x format
  • Now create .uu and .zip files (popular Windows formats) with Archive Via Rename(tm), exclusive to StuffIt Deluxe. By simply adding or removing the UUencode (.uu) or Zip (.zip) suffix, those files will encode, compress or expand
  • Symantec DiskDoubler (R) (.dd) translation now supported by the StuffIt Engine(tm)
  • Create and expand Bzip (.bzip) files (common to the Unix platform)
  • Secure Delete allows users to permanently and completely remove sensitive information by securely deleting it from their disk(s)
  • StuffIt Icons were updated with a new look- version 5.5 files are accessible by any version of StuffIt Expander 5.X
  • Aladdin DropStuff 5.5 compresses faster, includes Bzip and DiskDoubler expansion support with the StuffIt Engine, and is Mac OS 9 compatible

System Requirements

Recommended System configuration for StuffIt Deluxe 5.1.5 is a Macintosh with System 7.5.3 or greater and 15 MB of free hard disk space. StuffIt Deluxe 5.1.5 is fully compatible with Mac OS 9.0. StuffIt Expander 5. 5 and DropStuff 5.5 require System 7.1.1 or greater, and are also fully compatible with Mac OS 9.0.

The 5.1.5 updater is free to registered owners of version 5.x. You can find more information and download links for the update at the company's web site. The company has priced version 5.5 at US$79.95. Upgrade pricing is complex:

If customers purchased StuffIt Deluxe 5.0.x or 5.1 on October 16, 1999 or later and have a proof of purchase, they are entitled to a free StuffIt Deluxe 5.5 upgrade (which includes Mac OS 9 compatibility).

Upgrade pricing for the new version, StuffIt Deluxe 5.5, is as follows: Registered users of StuffIt Deluxe, StuffIt Lite, and DropStuff can upgrade to StuffIt Deluxe 5.5 directly from Aladdin for $19.95 plus S&H, and applicable tax. A $60 mail-in upgrade rebate is also available when purchasing from retailers. Aladdin is offering a $30 mail-in rebate to new users in the US and Canada. All StuffIt mail-in rebates are valid in the US and Canada and expire March 31, 2000 (see rebate terms and conditions).

You can find more information on upgrading at the company's web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: Kudos to Aladdin Systems for not taking the low path of only offering Mac OS 9 compatibility through the new 5.5 version.

Aladdin Systems

[8:30 AM] VideoScript Update Adds Several New Features
by Staff

VideoScript, Inc. has announced the release of another update to VideoScript. As the name implies, VideoScript is a scripting language designed to automate and simplify the digital video editing process. The new version, 1.8.2, adds several new features and other improvements. According to VideoScript, Inc.:

VideoScript Inc. proudly announces version 1.8.2 of VideoScript, their powerful tool for digital video processing.

New features in this version include:


  • Sharpen, Blur, Detect Edges and more... Its like having Photohop(tm) filters which you can apply to every frame in a movie!

Error Handling:

  • Create more robust VideoScripts with a powerful syntax for catching and handling errors.

Alpha Channels:

  • You can load edit and save information in alpha channels of frames and images.
  • You can add alpha channels as well.

Performance Enhancements:

  • Improved speed in movie indexing.
  • Movies can now depend on other movie files, so you can join two movie files together more efficiently.

Usability Enhancements:

  • Better multitasking.
  • Better editor, improved reporting of syntax errors.

VideoScript is available in two versions. VideoScript Lite is free. VideoScript Professional is US$295.00. You can find more information on the product at the company's web site.

VideoScript, Inc.

[8:30 AM] Consolidation Of Mac MP3 Market Begins With Proteron Acquisition
by Staff

Proteron Software has announced the acquisition of MPecker from @Soft, thus beginning the first round of consolidation in the Mac MP3 market. Proteron will market the product as MPegger until it is consolidated with their MP3 flagship, N2MP3. According to Proteron:

Proteron, LLC today announced the acquisition of the digital audio encoder "MPecker" from @Soft, Inc. MPecker by Rafael Luebbert, pioneered MP3 encoding on the Macintosh and remains the only Mac encoder which supports MPEG Layer II (MP2). With the acquisition, Proteron brings to market an exciting product which was previously unavailable because of international patent restrictions on MP3 technology.

The acquisition is a landmark in the Macintosh MP3 world and solidifies Proteron's lead as the premier developer of MP3 encoding software for the Mac. Making the announcement from COMDEX, Sam Caughron, President of Proteron, explained, "With this agreement, Proteron adds to its assets a wealth of development experience with MP3 as well as solid technology for the improvement of its flagship product, N2MP3."

Until N2MP3 and MPecker can be merged into a single, powerful utility, MPecker will be marketed and sold by Proteron under the new name "MPegger". It will support encoding of AIFF, Sound Designer II and PCM audio files into both MP3 and MP2 files. Normalization, resampling and extensive control of file naming are other highlights of the MPegger encoder.

An exact release date has not been set for the hybrid uber-encoder, but the product is expected to be available in the first quarter of 2000. The uber-encoder is expected to include the best features from both N2MP3 and MPegger as well as real-time audio recording/encoding.

MPegger will be priced at US$24.95. The company has more information on the product at their web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: The Mac MP3 market is far more crowded and robust than the much larger Windows MP3 market which is dominated by WinAMP, a free product. While the Mac has several commercial MP3 products available, the competition is fairly fierce due to the smaller nature of that market. Consolidation in one form or another is fairly inevitable and we think that this will be seen as one of the first moves.

Proteron - N2MP3

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