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October 4th, 1999

[4:45 PM] Palm Issues Stealth Release Of the Palm MacPac With Major New Features

3-COM division Palm Computing has issued a stealth release of the Palm MacPac, now called the Palm Desktop For Macintosh, for their Palm line of PDAs. Thanks to Observer Ric Getter for telling us about his surprise purchase in the retail channel! The Palm MacPac is a suite of productivity apps for the Mac and the Palm. The new version of Palm's Mac offerings include major new features and other enhancements. According to Palm Computing:

The Palm Desktop Software for Macintosh version 2.5 is for use with any Palm Computing® connected organizer to synchronize with PowerPC processor-equipped Macintosh computers. The new Palm Desktop Software for Macintosh version 2.5 adds several new features, including:

  • Native HotSync® software developed specifically for the Macintosh
  • HotSync Manager can now be directly accessed from both the Palm Desktop and Instant Palm Desktop menu
  • Enhanced user management integrates the ability to switch users from within the Palm Desktop Software or HotSync menu
  • Drag-and-drop installation of handheld applications and files can now be accessed via the Instant Palm Desktop menu
  • Drag-and-drop installation of third-party synchronization conduits
  • USB compatibility with the new PalmConnect® USB Kit
  • Improved control over alarm settings
  • iMessenger Conduit for Palm VII? users
  • Electronic registration, and more!

System Requirements:

  • Any Palm Computing connected organizer and HotSync cradle
  • Apple Macintosh or compatible with a Power PC processor
  • Mac OS 7.5.3 or later
  • One open serial (printer/modem) port (USB-equipped computers, such as the Apple iMac, require the Palm Connect USB adapter.)
  • Macintosh Serial Adapter (included with original Palm MacPac kit, or available for purchase)
  • 20 MB free hard drive space
  • 6 MB free RAM

Note for current Pilot Desktop for Macintosh 1.0 users:

If possible, you should perform a HotSync synchronization between your Palm handheld and the Pilot Desktop 1.0 software before installing this software.

  1. Download the dtmac25.bin or dtmac25.hqx file.
  2. Your web browser should decode the file and you will see dtmac25.bin appear on the desktop (or in your default download folder). If your web browser does not decode the file automatically, you will need to use a decoding utility (such as Aladdin Stuffit Expander) in order to decode the dtmac25.bin or dtmac25.hqx file.
  3. Use Aladdin Stuffit Expander or similar utility to expand the dtmac20.sit archive (This may have been done automatically when you decoded the file).
  4. The "Install Palm MacPac v2" folder should appear. Open it and double-click the file labeled "Palm Desktop Installer".
  5. Follow the software installation dialog that appears to complete your installation.

PLEASE NOTE: ALL users of beta versions of the Palm MacPac (build 34 and earlier) MUST uninstall/remove the beta software from their Macintosh computers as instructed here before downloading and installing this full-release version. Users who do not remove all pre-release versions of the software will NOT be able to perform a HotSync operation and will likely experience serious system crashes.

The Palm Desktop For Macintosh is a free download. For download links and more information, check out the release page at the Palm web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: It's always good to be surprised by a cool new release, and the Palm Desktop For Macintosh 2.5 certainly qualifies. Since being a bit behind with the release of version 2.0 of the software package, this is a relatively swift release of a follow-up. Kudos to Palm for that!

Blue Line Studios

[3:45 PM] Apple Stock Watch: Apple Rebounds With Strong Showing In Today's Trading

Apple continued to regain strength today in another strong trading day. In a broad rally, Apple rose almost 5% to close at 64 9/16, a gain of 2 27/32 or 4.61%. Volume was moderate with 4,098,700 shares trading hands, the lowest volume that Apple's stock has seen since it's free fall began two weeks ago.

Apple was not alone in the plus column though as Adobe, Macromedia, and Symantec all showed strong gains. Adobe gained more than 4 5/8 to close up more than 4%.

Apple's AIM partners also closed higher. Motorola also closed up more than 4 points, a gain of 5%, while IBM closed with a more modest gain.

On the Dark Side, Intel, Microsoft, and Gateway 2000 all closed in positive territory. Hewlett-Packard and Compaq closed in the red.

The Dow and the Nasdaq joined the individual stocks in the plus column. The Dow closed at 10401.23, a rise of 128.23, while the Nasdaq closed at 2795.97, a strong gain of 59.12.

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 [Editor's Note: As of this writing, the home page stock quotes are down for maintenance.] For other stories regarding Apple's stock activity, visit our Apple Stock Watch Special Report.

Also, if you have not done so already, check out today's column from the Apple Trader titled "A Brief Technical Analysis Of AAPL: Time To Average Down?"

The Mac Observer Spin: This was a broad market rally, but it is hopefully no coincidence that Apple took part. With October traditionally being a terrible month for stocks, it's anyone's guess as to what will happen.


[Column] The Apple Trader - A Brief Technical Analysis Of AAPL: Time To Average Down?

[Column] Monday's Mac Gadget - Do Something Useful with Your Function Keys

[7:00 AM] Text Manipulation Utility Released In Public Beta

Blue Line Studios has released public beta v1.1 of their text manipulating software, TextBroom. TextBroom allows users to "cleanup" text files by searching for, and replacing, annoying strings of text. According to Blue Line Studios:

TextBroom is a utility that handles nightmarish text files. Suppose you receive a list containing 3,796 e-mail address lines and you suspect it to contain duplicate entries. TextBroom lets you remove all duplicate lines easily with just one click. Or perhaps you have just saved a spreadsheet from within Excel "As plain text"; the resulting document now contains no less than ten thousand tabs; 10, 12, 17, 31, etc. tabs in a row. TextBroom can replace the superfluous tabulators with just a single one, or with the character you specify.

Other features include the smart finding and replacing of "funny" number separators. For example, TextBroom can replace the apostrophe within "10'000", while the string "you're", also containing an apostrophe, will not be changed. TextBroom also features the automatic removing and adding of space characters where required; the removing of annoying e-mail quotes, as well as smart upper/lower case functions like word caps, sentence caps, and the fixing of two-letter caps.

Also very valuable is the picking of words or lines containing certain characters. Perhaps you have a large text file with e-mail addresses littered everywhere; just specify "@" as the search character and TextBroom will dutifully collect all the e-mail addresses found in the text.

TextBroom is available as shareware for US$15, and a time limited demonstration version is available from the Blue Line Studios. For more information, you can visit the Blue Line Studios web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: This is a cool utility, especially for people who have to deal with large and funky text files. Unlike some of the other text cleaning utilities that have made their way to the market of late, TextBroom looks as if it may offer more customized uses.

Blue Line Studios

[7:00 AM] Developer's Code Utility Updated With Major New Features

Excel Software has released version 2.0 of their software reengineering tool, MacTranslator. MacTranlator 2.0 assists in the process of generating software models from source code. According to Excel Software:

Used in conjunction with the MacA&D modeling tool, it allows software developers to automatically generate UML class diagrams and an integrated dictionary from Java, C++ or Object Pascal code. Structure charts generated from C, Pascal, procedural Basic or Fortran code illustrate a program's function calling structure. Used in conjunction with the QuickCRC modeling tool, CRC cards can be generated from Java, C++ or Object Pascal. MacTranslator 2.0 adds Java language support, project scripting and a reengineering wizard. It can process code files in large projects up to 10 times faster than version 1.0.

MacTranslator 2.0 supports new Java features like nested classes. Java packages translate to design namespaces that handle name scope and map design elements to files in code folders. The new MacA&D 7.0 or QuickCRC 1.2 is required for generating design models from Java code with MacTranslator.

From a user's perspective, the typical code reengineering process involves issuing commands to build a list of code files, extracting dictionary information to a text file, adding comment delimited code keys to the source files and generating a list of referenced modules. Output files are imported into MacA&D or QuickCRC to generate models. MacTranslator commands can be issued from a menu or invoked from a project script.

MacTranslator commands can be written as a text script called a project file that can be executed with one command. This makes it easy to automate the reengineering process. Large projects may include thousands of files partitioned into hundreds of code folders. An interactive wizard steps the user through the reengineering process with a series of screens. It then creates and runs a project file for object-oriented or procedural-oriented projects.

Users can customize MacTranslator and its output by selecting the language and default options. Detailed information can be collected from the source code such as class attribute and operation data types, function arguments and descriptive comments. A generated design can be enhanced with MacA&D to generate new code. Several types of library files are supported for processing large projects with multiple code folders. MacTranslator can edit list files, reports, library files and code files with user definable file extensions that are easily customized for any development environment.

MacTranslator 2.0 is available for US$495. 5 user and unlimited site license's are also available. You can find more information at the company's web site.

Excel Software

[7:00 AM] New Web Resource Announced For FutureBASIC Developers

Users of Staz Software's FutureBASIC have a new repository of information and support, The web site's producers are promising a comprehensive resource for developers interested in FutureBASIC. According to

The website is a one-stop experience for information about FBII and FB^3. Much of the information is provided for free to all visitors as a way to promote use of FutureBASIC. The organization requests, however, a one-time registration from frequent users in order to maintain and improve the site. The first benefit of membership is a CD containing this entire site, as of the date you joined, as well as support-list archives, and more. The information contained therein is of immense value to newbies and veteran programmers alike.

There are four main top-level folders available via ftp on this site: Programs, Sample_Source, FB^3, and AOL. The Programs folder contains a multitude of fully functional applications written and contributed by FB programmers. The Sample_Source folder contains snippets of sample source code (and even full applications) describing a variety of techniques related to Mac programming with FutureBASIC II. The FB^3 folder (new!) is for source code relating to the recently released FutureBASIC^3. Finally, the AOL folder contains archives of the old message boards from when Ariel Publishing maintained a presence on AOL, including all of the source code that was housed there.

You can use FutureBASIC to produce any kind of Macintosh code resource: INITs, control panels, applications, WDEFs, CDEFs, pure code, and even HyperCard XCMDs. FB supports a majority of the Mac toolbox, and as new functions and features are released by Apple in new versions of System software, it's not hard to tell FB how to use these features. Staz Software, Inc. also provides tons of sample code, including interfaces to the serial ports, QuickTime movies, Balloon Help, and low level event handling.

The registration fee for frequent users is US$20. You can find more information on the site at the site. Go figure... :-)

[7:00 AM] Archive For Mac Updated With Maintenance Release

Yenco Software has updated the disk cataloging program, Archive for Mac, to version 4.1. Archive for Mac allows users to catalog, store, and search detailed information about their disks. Version 4.1 is a maintenance release addressing a specific big. According to Yenco Software:

Archive for Mac features quick and easy disk cataloging, searching by any file name, folder name, disk name, creator code, file type code, or label. It provides document launching, access to detailed information about your files, built in context-aware help and much more! It is fully compatible with Mac OS 8.6 and Year 2000 compliant.

This version contains a bug fix which allows Archive to automatically save changes to documents when any disk catalog operation is completed. This fix applies to both standard catalog and RapidCatalog sessions.

This version also includes:

  • RapidCatalog which speeds up the process of cataloging disks.
  • Breaks the 32K text limit in search results.
  • Reports on disk activity in both standard and RapidCatalog sessions.
  • Shortcut for viewing the contents of any disk in a catalog file.
  • More feedback while searching a catalog
  • Reports the number of items found.
  • Improved context-aware help system
  • Better column formatting
  • Appearance manager improvements
  • Better handling of low RAM memory situations.
  • Minor bug fix to "Welcome" window.
  • Double-click lists in "Disk Selection" window.
  • Updated contact and license info.
  • Design change in "About" and "Welcome" windows.
  • Internet style text feedback on links.
  • Using default "arrow" cursor.
  • Built with SuperCard 3.6

Archive for Mac is available as shareware for US$20. Demonstration versions of the application are also available. You can find more information at the company's web site.

Yenco Software

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