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October 1st, 1999

[6:30 PM] Latest Software Updates: QuitThem, Bub & Bob, MacSchedKeeper, and Kineticon updated!

All these software updates and more are listed, detailed, and constantly updated at The Mac Observer's Version Master! Go see for yourself at http://www.macobserve

The Mac Observer's Version Master

The Week's Top Stories For Week Ending 10/01/1999

[5:30 PM] Observer Reports Buying iBook At Sears (In Stock) And Receiving 10% Discount

Observer Dan Mangialetto wrote to tell us about his new iBook (lucky person!). He bought it at Sears and got 10% off the price. According to Dan:

I am writing you this note on my new Blueberry iBook which I just purchased at Sears on 10/1/99.

They had 2 in stock and if you buy it this weekend you will get 10% off with your Sears charge card. This makes up for the $1699 price tag.....dropping it to $1530 plus whatever your tax rate happens to be.

The discount does indeed make up for much of the higher price that Sears is charging.

The Mac Observer Spin: Apple is taking lots of heat around the web about iBook availability. It's great to see that Sears is actually making the best of its own inventory and is offering a deal. This may be Sears' best opportunity yet to bring in Mac buyers to their stores, and even to make their new Mac buyers out of their existing customer base. The 10% discount is great, but the availability is even better. MacCentral is reporting that inventory will be limited to at least next weekend, and possible beyond, so if you want an iBook, best head to Sears. :-)


[5:00 PM] Mac Style Sheet Editor Updated, Pro Version Introduced

Western Civilisation [Sic] has announced the release of an update to Style Master and the release of Style Master Pro. Both products are designed for editing Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) web pages. Style Master Pro introduces support for CSS2 documents. According to Western Civilisation:

Western Civilisation updates their CSS editor Style Master to version 1.5, and introduces CSS2 editing for the Macintosh with Style Master Pro.

Bondi Beach, Australia, 29th September 1999. Western Civilisation announces the release and immediate availability of Style Master 1.5 and Style Master Pro. With the Pro version, the outstanding cascading style sheet editor for the Macintosh now is first with full CSS2 editing support.

With this release, the ZDNet 5 Star rated style sheet editor is now first to provide powerful, intuitive support for editing CSS2 style sheets.

Style Master 1.5 provides a comprehensive style sheets development solution for CSS1 and CSSP. Style Master Pro takes the solution to the next level with added support for CSS2, the complete style sheets standard.

Style Master features integrated style sheet advice to smooth the learning curve for new style sheets developers, and save experienced developers trips to their reference material.

Style Master comes with our acclaimed CSS1 and CSS2 guide, and a valuable hands-on CSS tutorial. ZDNet said "Style Master's help system is extensive, attractive, and a model of style sheet implementation in itself."

You can find more information on Style Master 1.5 as well as Style Master Pro at the company's web site. An unlimited 15 day demo is also available. Style Master is priced at US$29 while Style Master Pro is priced at US$49.

The Mac Observer Spin: CSS is the way of the future for web design. In fact, we are using Style Sheets at The Mac Observer to handle much of our formatting and font control. These products from Western Civilisation are both inexpensive tools to use and master Style Sheets in your web design efforts.

Purity Software

[4:30 PM] Ambrosia Brings Long Awaited Space Game To Light

The good people of Ambrosia Software have released Ares. Anticipated for more than two years, Ares is a space-based game that offers Net play and a whole passle' of fun. According to Ambrosia Software:

"OK, pilots, here's the plan," you say into the communicator, as you eye your shipboard computer. "The Gators have a base on that distant planet to the galactic south. It's defended by a fleet of about 15 ships, plus a flak drone."

Your speech is interrupted by the sound of ships slowing from super-light speeds. It is a wing of Gaitori cruisers, and they've stopped right in the middle of your fleet! The night sky is lit up with the rays from 30 of your ships' photokinetic beam cannons. Half of the intruders leave just as quickly as they came; the others now bear a striking resemblance to space debris. Fragments of Gaitori's finest technology pelt your windshield, reminding you of hailstorms back on Earth.

Unfortunately, a mission briefing is not the time for nostalgia. After a quick damage report, you continue relating the plans. Blue group will create a diversion away from the planet, and hopefully draw away some of the defenders. Green group will escort the engineers to the drone. If Green can take it, Blue and Green will converge at the drone and defend it until reinforcements can arrive.

Your comrades slide into formation, and prepare for battle. They're doing remarkably well for folks who only started seeing intergalactic action yesterday. You smile to yourself, until you realize that you've probably just spoken to some of these guys for the last time. How many of them will live to see Earth again? The question races through your mind as you enter lightspeed, with the rest of Blue group in pursuit. The thought will have to be tabled -- in an instant, you'll find out whether your RADAR was right about those 15 defenders.

Ares is an exciting blend of action and strategy in uncharted space. Use your ships to control and protect planets, increase your manufacturing capacity, and fuel your war machine. A shrewd pilot with limited resources can decisively outwit a stronger opponent, so planning and execution are critical. Strategy outmatches guns any day in this game.

Start with simple patrol missions, and work your way up to planetary invasions. Capture and hold strategic points, or your victory will be more costly! Send a swarm of ships to engulf the enemy, or sacrifice a lone fighter to draw them into a trap! No technique is too unconventional in your quest to recapture your home planet.

Ares' developer, Nathan Lamont, has crafted an exciting universe with 20 strategic missions for a single player to accomplish. But the fun doesn't stop there! Two players can go head-to-head via AppleTalk or the Internet. Ares even sports integration with Scott Kevill's GameRanger service, so finding an opponent should be a snap.

Another new feature is the addition of three in-depth turorial levels to ease you into the commander's chair, explain basic tactics, and teach game controls. Absorb the knowledge, and use it to spank the oppressors. Ignore it, and go home disintegrated.

Ares requires any 68040 or Power Macintosh computer with MacOS 7.5.3 or later, a 13" color monitor, and 6 MB of free RAM.

You can find more information and download links at the company's web site. Ares costs US$25 and has a demo available as well.

The Mac Observer Spin: Inside Mac Games has more information on Ares and the background behind the two-year wait for this great game.

Purity Software

[3:45 PM] Apple Stock Watch: G4 Shortage Continues To Haunt Apple's Stock

Apple fell again as the markets regrouped following yesterday's "window dressing" trading day. October is traditionally a poor month for stocks as portfolio managers continue to juggle their stocks in preparation for their upcoming prospectus releases. Another factor in Apple's decline was a CS First Boston lowering of their earnings estimates for Apple in the 4th quarter. Despite the fact that Apple announced their earnings warning last week, today's announcement from CS First Boston still affected Apple's stock. According to CBS Marketwatch:

Shares of Apple Computer sank almost 3 percent after Credit Suisse First Boston's Michael Kwatinetz lowered his fourth-quarter earnings-per-share estimate following the Fortune 500 company's profit warning early last week.

On Friday, CS First Boston's Kwatinetz lowered his fourth-quarter profit estimate on Apple to 45 cents per share from 76 cents, based on information "already digested by the market," a research update said.

"Demand for Apple's products remains high, however we believe revenue will come in at about $1.35 billion, about $275 million short of our original forecast," he wrote in the research update.

Apple closed at 61 23/32, a loss of 1 19/32 or 2.52%. Volume was lower than it has been in recent trading sessions with 5,488,200 shares trading hands.

Mac software companies were mixed with Macromedia trading higher while Adobe and Symantec ended the day in negative territory. Apple's AIM partners, IBM and Motorola, both ended the day lower.

On the Dark Side, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Compaq joined Apple in the red, while Dell, Intel, and Gateway 2000 all closed higher.

The Dow and the Nasdaq also ended the day lower. The Dow closed at 10273.00, a loss of 63.95 and the Nasdaq closed at 2736.88, down 9.28.

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 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: Analysts are all still maintaining a "buy" rating on Apple despite the fact that the last few trading sessions have seen Apple consistently trading in a range of US$60. Tuesday's announcement of new iMacs could change this.


[7:30 AM] Amid Rumor Hoopla, Apple Announces "Special Event"

Apple's Hot News section has announced a Special Event to be held on October 5th, just around the corner. While the announcement is very brief, we'll give you 2 guesses as to what will be announced at this special event, and the first guess doesn't count. According to Apple:

Apple Interim CEO Steve Jobs will host a special Apple event in Cupertino Tuesday morning, Oct 5. Come back to this page during the event to view the show with QuickTime 4.

Special Apple Event
Tuesday, Oct 5, 1999, 10 am PT
Cupertino, CA

So make sure you are set with QuickTime 4 if you are not already and get ready for what should be a great presentation.

The Mac Observer Spin: Apple will, of course, most likely be announcing the rumored new iMac. This should be a great event that will be remembered as another great moment for Apple. If the new iMacs are all they are supposed to be, Apple will have another huge hit on their hands.

Since Apple cracked the legal whip on the various Mac web sites that posted images of the new iMacs following our own announcement of the specs for the new models, Ziff-Davis property, MacWeek. has run two stories (Kihei iMacs reach launch pad and Do photos portray new iMacs?) on the issue. [Editor's Note: Neither article properly attributes The Mac Observer for first breaking the story.] Both stories featured a screenshot of another web site that includes a new iMac image as well as the same extensive details Apple was tense about in the first place.

In any event, this Tuesday will be very exciting and we are looking forward to it!


[Column] The Back Page - How The Mac Has Changed The World: The Gift of Time

[7:00 AM] Web Server Security Plug-in Receives Major Upgrade

Purity Software has updated Web Sentinel to version 2.1. WebSentinel is a web server plug-in allowing greater flexibility in online security. The new version, though incremental in its version number change, offers major new features. According to Purity Software:

WebSentinel is a web server plug-in that replaces or supplements your web server's built-in security, allowing more flexibility and power to manage users and secure areas with a complete Macintosh user interface. Some of the many features include auto-expiring users (subscription management), administration groups, optional HTML-based login forms, GREP match strings, and custom "No Access" files for each realm. WebSentinel's plug-in architecture allows you to integrate with your existing user data and security architectures.

New in version 2.1:

WebSentinel v2.1 has been developed with two goals in mind: to provide a stability and performance enhancing maintenance update, and to extend the environment with several new key features.

Denied Workstations - Denied workstations allow a specific workstation or range of workstations, specified by IP address or hostname, to be denied access to the site, without the ability to log-in. Each workstation can be set to one or more realms, or the entire web site.

New Web-based Administration - The web-based administration for WebSentinel has been completely rewritten, allowing administration of all WebSentinel features. This interface uses a new script architecture that allows anyone familiar with AppleScript to extend or replace the standard web-based administration pages.

Updated Scripting Interface - The scripting interface to WebSentinel has been updated to support the new features of WebSentinel. Through this interface you can exchange information with WebSentinel from AppleScript, Userland Frontier, Purity's own WebSiphon, Pervasive Software's Tango, Blueworld's Lasso, and other Apple Event savvy environments.

Persistent Login Cookies - When using web login forms for authentication, WebSentinel now supports the ability to specify how long the username and password will be saved on the browser's computer, instead of expiring after the browser quits. This allows users to not have to keep typing their username and password when entering the site, if they choose to. A simple optional checkbox on the login form allows the user to choose whether they want this feature enabled.

Automatic Installer and Self-repair - WebSentinel no longer requires you to install any additional libraries or files other than the WebSentinel Plug-in itself. When the web server starts up, WebSentinel will automatically create any default files and Data Target Plug-ins necessary for WebSentinel to function. Just drop the WebSentinel Plug-in in your web server Plug-ins folder and you're ready to go!

Improved Import of Users with Realms - The simple tab-delimited import file format that WebSentinel supports has been improved to support an optional realm match string as the last item. When importing any users with realm permissions, providing a realm match string will allow functional realms to be automatically created as the users are imported.

User Sign-up Script Example - Included with the package are new example scripts that you can use to simplify administration on your subscription-based web site. A form allows users to pick username and password, and WebSentinel will automatically create their account.

Logout Link Feature - When using web-based HTML login forms, the site administrator now has the ability to add a "Logout" link to their web site. On a shared computer, the user of the web site can click the "Logout" link so that subsequent users of the computer will not be able to use the previous user's account. An optional URL can also be specified to redirect the user to, once the logout is complete.

The upgrade is free to registered users of version 2.x, while the full version is priced at US$199. Upgrades from version 1.x are priced at US$99. The company offers a demo and more information on the product at their web site.

Purity Software

[7:00 AM] Looking For That Cool, New, Hard To Find Mac Game?

Normally, a web retail site that has just added three new titles for sale would not make the news. However, MacTreasures is not a normal retail web site. The specialize in "n Macintosh software and hardware not found on retail shelves," and this means that the three new titles they added are hard to find. According to MacTreasures:

MacTreasures announces the addition of three new CD games to its site, Rasche's Doppelkopf, Rasche's Skat and Rasche's Sheepshead. Popular in Europe, each title is available in either English or German versions.

All of these products, and more, may be found on the MacTreasures web site. MacTreasures is an online web catalog currently listing almost 8,500 commercial unique and hard-to-find Macintosh software, hardware, and Newton products. Our titles are NOT found on retail shelves and are rarely promoted through direct mail catalogs. We carry software for everything from the Apple II's to the iMac's.

Rasche's Doppelkopf (Double Sheepshead) is a card game played by four people. Among card games, it is relatively complex (like Bridge) which gives it the ability to hold the interest of players over a long period of time. The basic outlines of the game have been standardized by the German Doppelkopf Association. The computer simulates three players each with selectable playing styles. Sound, game statistics, and assorted card types add variety. Explanations of the rules, playing strategy suggestions and a training mode are available for beginners.

Rasche's Skat is a card game played by three or more players. Individual games are undertaken by a soloist and two opponents. Invented in the early 19th century in Altenburg, Germany, it has developed into the most popular and widespread German card game. It is played today by over 20 million players worldwide. Bridge players will find a new challenge. Players of Euchre, Pinochle, and Sheepshead will enjoy the step up. The computer simulates up to two players. You can play under the official rules of select other popular non-official options such a pub Skat, Doubling and Redoubling, and Bock Rounds.

Rasche's Sheepshead (Schafkopf) is a popular family and community card game. Although the basics can be learned quickly, it has a number of subtleties which give it the ability to hold the interest of players over a long period of time. The rich history of this game has produced a number of local variations, but the basic outlines have been standardized by the German Sheepshead Association. These and US rules from the National Sheepshead Association, for the basis of this program which implements a four-player version of the game. My Mac is a monthly electronic magazine for everyday Mac users. It is dedicated to bringing Mac readers product reviews, information, humor, commentary, and great links to other Macintosh resources.

Rasche's Doppelkopf is priced at US$42.
Rasche's Skat is priced at US$46
Rasche's Sheepshead is priced at US$42.

MacTreasures offers academic pricing as well as gift certificates for all of their products.

The Mac Observer Spin: You have to love a touch of the Old Country. More seriously, you have to love a web site that specializes in hard to find Mac software! MacTreasures has all manner of software and goes far beyond just games. Check it out!


[7:00 AM] My Mac October Issue Ready For Download

My Mac Magazine has released their latest issue. The 54th issue includes information about CD burning, the usefulness of owning a G4, inside information about the iBook, plus more. According to My Mac Magazine:

My Mac is a monthly electronic magazine for everyday Mac users. It is dedicated to bringing Mac readers product reviews, information, humor, commentary, and great links to other Macintosh resources. Below details the contents of our October issue:

  • In the "Nemo Memo," John Nemerovski explores the concept of a "Lifelong Learner" while interviewing Jeffrey McPheeters -- a 24/7 technology guru.
  • Mick O'Neil's "The Mac Factor" informs us how the iBook, Apple's newest and best yet creation, can revolutionize our public school classrooms!
  • What's the point of having a G4? What's the point of remaining with your trusty ole' system, whatever version? See what Beth Lock has to say in "Babes in Boyland."
  • Tim Robertson, our fearless publisher and founding father, guides us through the intrincies of burning CDs in "The Beginners Guide: Making CDs." (And if you don't know what burning CDs means, you definitely need to check out this article!)
  • Entertaining and educational? For the best of both worlds while raising Mac-literate children, read Lyn Price's review on "Blue's 1-2-3 Time Activity." You'll be glad you did.
  • Our brilliant webmaster, Adam Karneboge, and equally brilliant writer, Derek Miller, review the latest SimCity creation, "SimCity 3000." Is it better or is it worse than previous incarnations? Read their reviews and find out!
  • Those of us unlucky enough to have to work on PCs at work will welcome Bob McCormick's review of "MacDrive 98 3.0." I'm getting my copy!
  • Technophiles will enjoy John Nemerovski's review of computer speakers: the TBenwin BW2000 Flat Panel. Impressive.
  • "GoClick" is the latest, and definitely greatest, HTML converter. Read Adam Karneboge's second review in this issue and find out why.
  • John Nemerovski is his usual profilic reader-self. His informative, detailed, and humorous reviews can be found in "Book Bytes."
  • "The Game Guys," Mike Wallinga and Adam Karneboge, review Ambrosia's latest role-playing game, "Cythera."
  • "KnowledgeSpider Web," by David Price, untangles the web weaved by so-called market share numbers and PC spin doctors. Enjoy!
  • Fenton Jones presents several programs and methods for analyzing your database in FileMaker 101 Part 19.
  • Poetry and Ralph Luciani are well-met in this month's "Me and My Mac."
  • Barbara Bell rambles about Halloween and the English language before jumping into her Helpful Hints in "Starting Line."
  • While in "Wall Writings," Mike Wallinga gives us the latest on Alta Vista, AllAdvantage, Trexar, and the BookEndz docking station.
  • While you're at My Mac, don't forget to check out Krishna Sadasivam's newest cartoon!

You can find this issue of My Mac at the company's web site.

My Mac Magazine

[7:00 AM] New Oni Web Site Launched

Chris Kelly has informed the Mac Observer the there is a new site devoted to Bungie's upcoming release, Oni. Oni is a 3D game that promises to redifine how Observers view gaming on the Macintosh and the PC. According to Chris Kelly:

I am just letting you know that there is a new Oni site in town, and we have the only site that is update on a daily basis. Some of the other sites are updated weekly, but ours is the only daily updated site devoted to Bungie's Oni.

The site is up and running, with plenty of resources, though some are still being worked on. With Oni's release expected within the next few months, this is one of the many sites dedicated to Oni that have been launched.


[7:00 AM] Learning About Musical Instruments Now As Easy As ABC 1.1

Nigrin Software has updated the popular music education program, Instrumental ABC's, to version 1.1. Instrumental ABC's helps interested users learn about symphonic orchestra musical instruments, and the update offers interface improvements and increased stability. According to Nigrin Software:

We have updated our Macintosh, shareware release, Instrumental ABC's to Version 1.1. This update makes the interface more user friendly, and fixes a bug that would cause the application to crash when used with OS systems earlier than 8.1.

Instrumental ABC's is an educational program targeted for pre-adults, but is for anyone who wants to learn about the standard musical instruments used in the Symphonic Orchestras of today. It includes varying multimedia information on the 21 different instruments showcased in the application. It also has a "Quiz" window that challenges users to recognize the differences between instruments by identifying them solely the on sounds, pictures or text descriptions presented.

Instrumental ABC's is available as shareware for US$27. You can find more information at the company's web site.

Nigrin Software

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