[4:50 PM] That Martellaro! He Nails It Again
We don't often recommend columns in our news coverage, but today we will make an exception. John Martellaro of Applelinks and MacOPINION, has written an extraordinary analysis of Apple and the competition. The column is titled "The Art of War - Exploiting The Critical Failure Path," and is part of The Warp Core at Applelinks. From the column:
One of the principal tenants of warfare is to look for the critical failure path. This is the system or the defense that is weakest and has the most cascade failure impact on the rest of the defense. For example, if you were going to attack a well defended terrorist stronghold at night, you could either lose a lot of Marines and Seals in a direct, small arms assault, or you could cut their power source. No electricity means no flood lights, no computer driven security devices, no rooftop radar, and so on. The single point failure cascades into many more failed systems.
Now that Apple has found a critical weakness in the PC industry, the industrial design of personal computers, the next logical step is to ask how this victory is impacting the Wintel community and what the next logical move might be by Apple. It's as if the Young Warrior has planted a (temporarily) immovable Knight in the face of the enemy King. Resources will be expended removing the Knight that would have otherwise been used in an offensive on another flank.
That's just a taste, so make sure you go and read it!
[4:15 PM] Apple Stock Watch: Apple Brushes Against 100 Mark, Falls Late In Day
by Wes George
Investors took profits in their recent big gainers, such as telecoms and Internet stocks, while buying retailers and computer hardware stocks. The fundamental shift in asset allocation from the blue chip industrials to the stocks of the "new economy" continued unabated in spite of the weak bond market.
The Dow declined 40.99 points (0.37%) to close at 10947.92 on a volume of 837 million shares traded. The big financial stocks like American Express and General Electric accounted for much of the decline. The market internals continued their disappointing trends today, as only 900 stocks advanced to more than 2000 declining on the NYSE.
The Nasdaq lost 26.44 points (0.77%) to end the session at 3421.37 with over 1.5 billion shares traded. Electronic gadget retailers were up while specialty apparel vendors had gained almost 5.9% by mid day. Investors were buying stocks that stand to benefit from what is shaping up to be an unusually strong Christmas shopping season. The retail index (RLX) was up nearly 2.0% for the day.
The S&P 500 lost 8.79 (0.62%) to close at 1407.83. The Philadelphia Utility Index (UTY) was down today. 75% of the utilities on the index are now at 52-week lows. Interest rate sensitive stocks such as home builders suffered too.
30-year Treasury bonds were down 29/32 to close at 97 18/32, the yield rose to 6.30%. Last week it was the strong surge in crude oil prices that slammed the bond market. This week traders are fretting over the implications that strong Christmas sales have for inflation, and ultimately interest rates.
The Euro hit an all time low against the Dollar and the Yen, the Euro is down almost 10% since its high against the Dollar earlier this year. The Dollar rose slightly against the Yen today.
Mutual fund net inflows increased from $10.8 billion in September to $20.4 billion in October. November is predicted to break the all time record cash inflows of $28 billion set back in January of 1997.
Total web traffic over for the Thanksgiving holiday (Wednesday through Sunday) was 18% over last year. E-shopping seems to be what much of that increase traffic is about. Toy e-tailers saw an 83% increase in traffic this Thanksgiving over last year's numbers. Electronic goods e-tailers saw a 64% increase, while apparel online shopping has jump 58% from last year. According to CNBC, 18 million households are shopping online this Christmas season.
Interestingly, auction web sites saw their Thanksgiving weekend traffic increase only 1%, while software sites endured a fractional decline in traffic.
Apple soared intraday to 99 3/4 by 1:00 pm EST, and then gave it all back to close down by 1/2 point (0.53%) to end at 94 9/16. Volume was normal and there was no news out today to explain the new all time intraday high or volatility. Unfortunately, today's chart action will be interpreted as setting the upside ceiling for AAPL by many technical traders, at least in the short term.
Today was a mixed bag for Apple related stocks. Akamai jumped 20 7/8 points to 227 3/8. Arm Holdings advanced 15 5/8 to close at 144 1/4. While Adobe lost 2 1/4 to end at 71 9/16.
Corel (CORL) soared 6 11/16 to close at 20 13/16 on rumors that it may be a take over target of Red Hat Inc. because of their interest in Linux. Be OS Inc. (BEOS) was also flying high, up 3 5/16 to close at 15 3/16.
Toy Story 2's first 5-day total take at the box office was 80.8 million. That's a new Thanksgiving week record for box office receipts, beating last year's record of 46 million set by a Bug's Life, also a Pixar animated film. Ironically, Pixar was down 2 1/2 to close at 44 1/8, largely because of the fact that Toy Story 2 is the last income Pixar can expect till its next film which isn't due out till 2001. An analyst said today that she expect Toy Story 2 to gross about 800 million total at the box office.
Apple's Power PC partners, Motorola and IBM diverged today. IBM declined 3/4 to close at 104 1/4, while Motorola gained 1 11/32 to end at 120 3/8.
All the PC vendors ended higher. Compaq gained 9/16 to close at 25 3/16. Dell was strong too, up 13/16 to close at 43 3/4. Both Microsoft and Intel ended the session in the red.
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.
[3:40 PM] Mac Wanted: MacDirectory Sets Up Mac Classifieds
The MacDirectory has set up a new classifieds section for Mac users. The classifieds are free to post to and are designed to help Mac users buy and sell Macs and Mac stuff. According to MacDirectory:
MacDirectory has launched a new Classifieds Section specifically for Macintosh users. Developed to help Macintosh users sell and find Macintosh products at low cost, MacDirectory continues to address the needs of Macintosh users worldwide.
MacDirectory Classifieds Section features product listings categorized by section such as computer systems, peripherals and accessories. In addition, MacDirectory has added a "wanted" section for individuals looking to purchase specific products. "If you are looking for a specific product, submit your request, and we will help you fulfill it via MacDirectory's online community," added Payton. Macintosh users are welcome to submit their products. There is no cost to post your information and MacDirectory will include the your product listings for 60 days.
[2:15 PM] Take Your WinNT-Mac Networking To The Extreme
Group Logic has released an update to ExtremeZ IP. ExtremeZ IP is designed to make Mac to Windows NT networking much faster. The new version, 1.1, brings Mac OS 9 compatibility and a plethora of other enhancements and improvements to the software. According to Group Logic
Group Logic, the Virginia-based graphic arts software publisher, recently introduced ExtremeZ IP 1.1, the latest version of the software solution. Recently ported to the Alpha microprocessor line, ExtremeZ IP 1.1 offers faster file sharing performance, enhanced file format compatibility with Microsoft's Services for Macintosh (SFM), and faster startup times, as well as support for Mac OS 9 technologies and for workstations with remote access service (RAS) or multiple network cards.
ExtremeZ IP 1.1 enables Macintosh workstations to access files on a Windows NT server faster than the previous version, which was introduced in August. ExtremeZ IP 1.1 also features enhanced compatibility with SFM, which allows for seamless interoperability when copying files back and forth between ExtremeZ IP and SFM volumes, and faster startup times, which substantially reduce the time it takes to "index" a Macintosh volume at startup.
In addition, ExtremeZ IP 1.1 supports Mac OS 9 encrypted logins and Services Location Protocol, Version 2, which enables the software to be accessed through the Network Browser in Mac OS 9. ExtremeZ IP users can assign access rights to anyone for any file or folder in an ExtremeZ IP volume, and can hide any volumes that a user does not have privileges for, enhancing the product's utility for Internet users needing remote file transfer. ExtremeZ IP 1.1 also provides better support for NT computers with multiple IP addresses, including those running RAS.
Group Logic's port of ExtremeZ IP 1.1 to the Alpha chip allows customers running Windows NT on Alpha microprocessor-based computer hardware to dramatically increase file-sharing performance for Macintosh users. It also enables them to substantially extend the life of their Windows NT 4.0-based Alpha file servers, so that users gain increased return on their computer investments despite Microsoft's and Compaq's cancellation of Windows 2000 for the Alpha platform.
Developed by Group Logic in conjunction with Intergraph Computer Systems, ExtremeZ IP is an AppleShare® server software package for Windows NT. When installed and running on a Windows NT file server, the product allows Macintosh users running Mac OS 7.6 or greater to mount the Windows server through the familiar chooser interface. Since ExtremeZ IP runs the AppleShare protocol on top of the TCP/IP protocol, it performs substantially faster than Windows NT's built-in Macintosh file sharing services - Services for Macintosh (SFM) - which uses the slower AppleTalk® protocol. ExtremeZ IP can replace Services for Macintosh, or run alongside it, if necessary, for compatibility.
With ExtremeZ IP, graphic arts professionals and others using Macintosh workstations in conjunction with Windows NT file servers, like Intergraph's ExtremeZ InterServe servers, experience a highly accelerated response when opening or saving files. Depending on the speed of network interface cards (NICs) used, the product can speed files to and from Macintosh workstations by two to five times.
ExtremeZ IP is available in both server and workstation versions. The software makes Windows NT Workstation a viable alternative to Windows NT server for small Macintosh-based workgroups. With ExtremeZ IP, publishing professionals experience Macintosh-to-Windows NT connectivity that takes advantage of all the throughput capabilities of 100Base-T Ethernet. Accelerated performance will also be seen on 10Base-T Ethernet and maximum gains will be seen on Gigabit Ethernet. The result is increased productivity, more efficient use of computing resources, and streamlined workflow throughout the enterprise and across the Internet.
The update is free to registered owners of version 1.x. Pricing for the full version starts at US$1399. The company offers a demo version and more information for the product at the company's web site.
[1:00 PM] InstallerMaker Update Brings Host Of Improvements
Aladdin Systems has announced an update to InstallerMaker. InstallerMaker does just what its name implies and allows developers to make installers for their products. The new version, 6.5, includes Mac OS 9 compatibility and lots of other features. According to Aladdin Systems:
Aladdin Systems, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Aladdin Systems Holdings, Inc., today announced StuffIt InstallerMaker(tm) 6.5 is now available for download. InstallerMaker 6.5, the complete installation and data distribution standard, now allows developers to create installers that can expand their product distribution as well as gather applicable marketing information directly from their customers. New features include DemoMaker, which turns applications into demoware in minutes, an electronic registration card that can be customized to include marketing messaging, support for multiple Gestalt conditions, an auto-update installer archive feature, Mac OS 9 compatibility, new language modules, new lower pricing, and more.
INSTALLERMAKER 6.5 NEW FEATURES AND BENEFITS
Creates Demoware Quickly and Easily
The new DemoMaker feature allows developers to easily create demos of their software to increase product awareness and distribution to reach new customers. Developers simply choose the number of days for the demo to be active, paste in the graphics, and the demoware is ready to ship.
Custom Online User Registration
Now developers can incorporate a custom electronic registration form into their installers. Developers can ask their users basic information, as well as include quick marketing surveys, cross-selling information, product or company branding text, or more. The form can be returned via e-mail or the Internet, with the installer set to automatically launch the user's Web browser and open to the developer's Web page. The user can also print the form to be faxed or mailed.
Support for Multiple Gestalt Conditions
Now InstallerMaker supports multiple Gestalt conditions, including custom Gestalts for individual archive items, to make it even easier to build the most complex installers in record time.
The new Archive Freshening feature eliminates repeated searches for modified files by automatically updating installer archive files. Now developers can build installers in less time, with fewer hassles.
InstallerMaker can now create zero-user-interaction installers. All alerts, prompts and dialogs may be suppressed to completely eliminate any requirements for a user to respond, even to error alerts.
Additional enhancements have been made to InstallerMaker to improve its performance. Developers can now create custom installers that support up to 224 packages to provide more flexibility for the most complex installers. InstallerMaker's language modules now include the following languages: Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, and Brazilian-Portuguese. Plus, 33 new Destinations have been added for Apple's new system defined folders and InstallerMaker and its installers are now Mac OS 9 compatible.
New Lower Pricing
InstallerMaker's licensing structure now offers lower pricing, plus developers can include up to three products in the projected total unit count to be distributed during the license period. The new pricing is as follows: $250 for up to 10,000 units, $500 for up to 30,000 units, and $1,000 for up to 60,000 units.
Other InstallerMaker Features
StuffIt 5 technology provides up to a 15% compression increase to build smaller installers that download faster, increase network bandwidth, and reduce distribution costs for all-around savings
PowerPC native for increased speed and performance, cutting build times in half
Significantly faster disk searches when using file type and creator in search criteria
Verify function identifies and reports damaged archive items for easy removal
Several timesaving features create custom installers easily, in less time
InstallerMaker and its installers require a Macintosh with a 68020 or better processor. The InstallerMaker application requires System 7.1 or higher and 8 MB of allocated memory. Technical support is free for licensed developers.
The product is available as an electronic download or on CD-ROM. Current registered owners are allowed a free upgrade. You can find more information at the company's web site.
[9:00 AM] MacHack 2000 Gets Off To Early Start
MacHack 2000 has gotten an early start by announcing they are accepting White Papers and registration now. MacHack is an annual developer conference held in Dearborn, Michigan. According to MacHack:
Thanksgiving has come and gone. Now it's that time of year again...
Time to prepare for MacHack 2000.
MacHack solicits and accepts papers on a wide variety of topics related to software development. For example, papers from the last few years include topics ranging from emulation, optimization, cross-platform development techniques, encryption and compression, anonymity in internet communications, 3-D GUIs, and exception-handling strategies, to a variety of object architectures.
Each accepted paper is published in the MacHack Conference proceedings and included on the MacHack CD. Each author gives a 50-minute presentation on his paper during the conference.
While there are no fixed limits, MacHack papers generally run from 8 to 16 pages (2000 to 4000 words). Authors are encouraged to remember that the audience is very "hands on." MacHack attendees live to try out new ideas. For that reason, supporting code examples are strongly encouraged. (By the way, papers that are clearly intended as marketing will be rejected. It's ok to present a new product, but the underlying technology is the important part, not the commercial entity.)
Authors accepted for MacHack 2000 get to attend the conference for free. (Well, not exactly free -- we will waive the US$525 conference fee. Authors still have to get to Michigan and pay the hotel bill.)
The real reason to come is that MacHack is THE place to absorb new ideas from the top minds in the industry, a chance to make a difference while having a good time.
So, why wait? This is a chance to share ideas with hundreds of cutting-edge software developers, influence the entire computer industry, nudge it in a new direction, or revolutionize ways of thinking.
Oh, since most of us start counting from zero, this IS the first MacHack of the new century and therefore a chance to make computing history.
Abstracts are required by January 31, 2000. Paper proposals should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org with a subject field of "MacHack Abstract".
For attendees, discounted registration is available for early action. Full attendees can register for $425 online, a savings of $100 off the regular registration rate, students can register for $50 which includes all-access to the conference as well as a special meal package. Total attendance is limited to 400. Student attendance is limited to 50. More details are available on the conference web site.
You can find more information on MacHack at the event's web site. The conference takes place from June 22-24, 2000, in Dearborn, Michigan.
The Mac Observer Spin: MacHack is the largest gathering of developers outside of the World Wide Developer Conference held in Cupertino. MacHack has a special emphasis on coding, or hacks, and has grown in popularity during the last few years. As a barometer of the health of the Mac developer community, MacHack is a very important event that we watch closely.
[8:45 AM] Paint A Panda On Your Desktop With PandoMural Update
The good people of Panda Systems have updated PandoMural. PandoMural allows users of pre-OS 8 Macs to display images on their desktop instead of desktop patterns. Users with other versions of the OS can use it as well. The new version includes bug fixes and Mac OS 9 compatibility. According to Panda Systems:
Panda Systems is pleased to announce the upgrade of PandoMural to version 1.1.
PandoMural is a freeware Macintosh program for displaying pictures on your desktop in place of the desktop pattern. PandoMural supports the following picture formats: PICT, JPEG, GIF, PhotoShop (2.5/3.0), SGI (Silicon Graphics Image), BMP*, PNG*, TIFF* and TARGA*. (*Requires QuickTime 3.0 or greater)
A list that allows you to keep your pictures in different folders and disks.
Preview of each picture as it is selected in the list.
Changing of the desktop picture at startup to the next/random picture from the list.
Automatic changing of the desktop picture at a user defined interval without restarting.
Version 1.1.1 - Fixed a bug that caused PandoMural 1.1 to crash on 68K Macs. Added support for Multiple Users in MacOS 9. Added support for PNG and Targa formats when using QuickTime 3.0 and better.
You can find more information on the product at the company's web site. PandoMural is freeware.
The Mac Observer Spin: On a sad note for fans of Panda Bears, this release comes after Hsing Hsing has been put to sleep. Hsing Hsing was the male half of the mated Panda pair that was given to the US by China in the late 70's.
Crescent Vision Interactive has announced a child-centric draw and paint program, Discover Painting for Kids. The new title is designed to make it easy for kids to learn basic draw and paint skills, as well as familiarizing them with common computer tasks. According to Crescent Vision Interactive:
Kid Friendly Interface Encourages Exploration and Creativity:
Discover Painting's unique interface is a virtual kid's painting studio where everything on the screen can be clicked and used to compose a picture. This studio layout uses brightly colored, rendered images of everyday objects to represent the various painting tools. Many of these easy to use tools are actually sophisticated image processing effects in disguise.
Discover Painting features over 30 painting and drawing tools, in addition to a library of 144 stamps, visual special effects, sounds effects, and an expandable set of coloring pages and starter backgrounds.
Parent Friendly Too:
Discover Painting also includes an option specifically designed to conserve printer ink. Complete instructions are provided in the form of standard help screens and automatically appearing tool tips. The main window always opens full screen to maximize the painting area and to minimize the chance of kids accidentally clicking on something off limits.
Discover Painting for Kids is available for US$25. A time limited demonstration version is also available. You can find more information at the Crescent Vision Interactive web site.