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October 6th, 1999

[5:15 PM] VersionMaster: Virtual Hamster, SoundJam, Mr. Hankey's Song, and IPNetRouter 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

[5:00 PM] PowerPC Winning CNN AMD/Intel/PowerPC Poll

In an article extolling the virtues of the Athlon processor from AMD, CNN is offering a poll asking what processor your next computer will have. Surprisingly Motorola/Apple (i.e. PowerPC) is offered as a choice. Even more surprisingly, Motorola/Apple is winning hands down. So far.

We don't normally mention polls at The Mac Observer, but this is one of the rare fun ones that is not overly gratuitous. Therefore, GO VOTE FOR THE MAC! Keep in mind that, unlike a professional market Internet Survey, Internet "polls" are not a scientific survey. Still, it's fun to see Apple and Motorola spanking Intel as the power of the online Mac community makes its networking presence known.

FYI, The Athlon processor from AMD is the first one to offer a serious threat to Intel for market share in the PC world. Thanks to Observer George Cole for bringing this poll to our attention.

CNN Article With Poll

[4:45M] Apple Store Confirms OS 9 Pre-orders Are Shipping

The Apple Store has confirmed the fact that OS 9 is shipping and told The Mac Observer we should expect our copy (purchased) on Monday. We placed our order on September 10th, so you can judge for yourself when to expect yours. Our Apple Store representative also told us that he had seen some copies scheduled for shipping as early as Thursday, October 7th.

The Mac Observer Spin: OS 9 is scheduled to arrive at retailers on October 23rd, and this is a good sign that pre-orders are already being shipped. On the other hand, we are receiving scattered reports throughout the country that some G4s are past due and some iMacs will not be available for as much as 30 days. Considering the problems stemming from the tragedy in Taiwan, some delays in product shipments are to be expected. At least OS 9 is shipping on time. We will bring you more information on shipping dates when we get it confirmed.

The Apple Store

[4:15 PM] Motorola Shows Off 700 MHz G4 Technology

C-Net is reporting that Motorola has been showing off at the most recent Microprocessor Forum. Motorola has demonstrated technology for a 2nd generation of the G4 processor that will lead to 700 MHz chips, 2 MB Level 3 caches, and more. According to the C-Net story:

Motorola is revamping the PowerPC chip line again and is working on a processor that will boost Apple desktop computers beyond 700 MHz.

Details for a second generation of the recently released G4 PowerPC processor were disclosed at the Microprocessor Forum, an annual processor industry conference here.

Among other features, the new chip will run at more than 700 MHz, according to Naras Iyengar, senior member of Motorola's Somerset Design Center. The chip also includes 256KB of secondary cache integrated onto the processor, similar to Intel's upcoming "Coppermine" processor, he said.

"What we've done is come up with a completely new microarchitecture," Iyengar said. "This architecture is capable of reaching frequencies of over 700 MHz."

Motorola will be able to achieve faster speeds because of highly technical internal changes to the G4, Iyengar said. The chip will be able to process four instructions per clock cycle, up from three in the current G4s, he said. In addition, the chip will contain a seven-stage "pipeline," or data-assembly and processing line, rather than a four-stage pipeline. Longer pipelines allow designers to crank up chip core speeds.

"We've built in significant headroom for higher frequency," Iyengar said.

The rest of the article is also very good reading.

The Mac Observer Spin: This is cool. The emphasis of this article is that Motorola is working on technology to make PowerMacs faster. That's a good emphasis to have for a mainstream article. Of course, the fact that Motorola is going to the effort to demonstrate their goodies is also a good sign. With continued reports of strained relationships, it's always good to see signs that the companies are working toward a common goal. In any event, it would be a very good thing to see Motorola be able to push the MHz speed barriers a little more emphatically. Apple's product line continually lags behind the PC world as both Intel and AMD bring faster rated processors to marker far faster than either IBM or Motorola. This is an issue that the C-Net article also touches on.

Before you fire up your lecture explaining to us that MHz speed ratings don't mean a thing, the general public does not know, understand, or care. They have it locked in their heads that higher speeds mean faster processors and the Keeping Up With The Jones' mentality that engulfs our culture wants to have that "faster" chip. Unfortunately, their perception is their reality and the fact that they are wrong does not change their viewpoint. For Apple to continue to gain momentum, they must be able to bring out higher rated Macs.

Public Access Software

[3:45 PM] Apple Stock Watch: Apple Closes Lower In Last Minute Trading

Apple's stock traded in positive territory throughout the day, only to close in the red in the last few minutes of trading. While markets were nervous about yesterday's tightening bias, those issues seemed pushed aside in today's trading. Still, a general rally in the market left computer oriented stocks mixed.

Apple closed at 67 3/16, a loss of 3/4 or 1.10%. Volume remains strong with 7,171,300 shares trading hands. Adobe, Symantec, and Macromedia all closed higher, with Macromedia posting a gain of 8 15/32 or 18.21%. In the AIM circle, IBM closed lower, though Motorola closed higher.

On the Dark Side, Microsoft, Intel, and Hewlett-Packard all closed higher. Dell and Gateway 2000 both closed lower while Compaq closed unchanged.

The Dow and the Nasdaq both ended the day higher. The Dow closed at 10588.34, a gain of 187.75, while the Nasdaq closed at 2857.21, a gain of 57.54.

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.


[3:30 PM] It's Time For iBook!

Our good friend Oliver Dueck, former Webintosh staff member, has started a new web site for iBook owners. The new site is called The iBook Times, and it's a sharp looking site that offers resources, information, and news. According to M. Dueck:

Just want to let you know that iBook Times, at, debuts today. This iBook site will feature all the latest iBook news, weekly polls, an iBook mailing list, and much more.

Olicer was always a shining star at Webintosh, so we are confident that this will be among the best iBook sites on the 'Net. If you are interested in iBook information, go check it out!

iBook Times

[Column] Computing With Bifocals - Sending HTML Files Through E-mail

[Editorial] A giant step backwards for Adobe?
by Bill Troop

[11:30 AM] Contour Design Offers "Support" For Graphite Macs With New UniTrap

Contour Design has released a new version of their popular iMac mouse enhancement add-on, UniTrap. UniTrap snaps over the "hockey puck" style mouse, or iPuck as it is often called, that ships with the iMac and the G3/G4 computers. The new UniTrap sports the graphite color scheme of Apple's new G4 and iMac DV Special Edition machines. Contour Design has also released the UniTray, a precision mousing surface. According to Contour Design:

The UniTrap transforms your iMac, G3 and G4 mouse to a sleek, comfortable, full-sized mouse. It completely encloses the round mouse to give the user maximum comfort and control. The larger contoured button provides easier clicking. Now with the addition of the all-new Graphite color, all six colored interchangeable buttons will be included in every package.

The UniTray provides comfort and control with any mouse. It's Ultra-Glide mousing surface delivers smooth cursor control, providing the user with maximum response. It has a 100% gel palm support. Most mousepads today have an elevated wrist rest that restrict mouse movement, the UniTray has a wrist rest that allows the mouse to slide over it freely. Translucent frost and flavored design gives you the perfect match and makes for a stylish addition to your workstation.

The UniTrap and UniTray are each available for US$14.99. You can visit the Contour Design web site for more information.

Contour Design

[11:30 AM] Alternate RoadRunner Login Client Updated

Xorsis Software, Ltd. has released version 1.6 of their RoadRunner login client. The RoadRunner client provides an alternative method for logging into the RoadRunner cable modem network, and the new version adds new connectivity support. According to Xorsis Software:

The latest version includes support for the Digital authentication protocol, which is used by many Road Runner login servers across the US Version 1.6.x does not support the Toshiba and HP protocols, although we are planning to add support for them in an upcoming version.

The RoadRunner client is shareware and is available for US$15. You can find more information at the Xorsis Software web site.

Xorsis Software

[11:10 AM] sLog, Web Register Get Maintenance Updates

Public Access Software has updated sLog to version 2.2.5, and Web Register to version 2.6.1. These updates are minor in nature, and include bug fixes, as well as a few new features. According to Public Access Software:

sLog is a Macintosh monitoring package that automatically logs startup, shutdown and crashes as well as general notes about the computer in one log file. sLog 2.2.5 is a minor update to sLog Viewer adds CPU identification to "Computer Info" and a better menu layout with new keyboard shortcuts.

Web Register is an alternative to the ubiquitous "Register" application bundled with most Macintosh ShareWare that offers an easy to use universal interface to opening Web Site URLs that very simple. Web Register 2.6.1 is a minor update adds the ability to quickly and easily open "Web Register" applications using Drag 'n' Drop in the Finder or by using AppleScript.

sLog is available for US$15, while Web Register is available for US$40. Both updates are free to registered users. You can find more information at the Public Access Software web site.

Public Access Software

11:00 AM] Cool New PCI Card From OrangeMicro Offers FireWire And USB

Orange Micro has announced a combination FireWire/USB PCI expansion card. The OrangeLink Card features FireWire (IEEE-1394), which is a high speed connection developed by Apple, allowing near real-time digital video editing and up to 400Mbps data transfer rates. FireWire has caught on, and peripherals from external CD-Rs to video cameras to hard drives are constantly being released with FireWire connectivity. The OrangeLink Card also has support for Universal Serial Bus (USB), which is another type of connection allowing nearly any type of device to be connected to a computer. USB and FireWire are slowly but surely replacing Serial, Parallel, and SCSI has standard Mac and PC peripheral connections. According to Orange Micro:

The OrangeLink™ FireWire/USB Board has 2 USB and 2 FireWire ports which are compatible with all known peripherals conforming to those specifications. It is a half size (7") PCI card. The FireWire ports run at 400 Mbits per second and provide 15 watts of power on a typical system. They draw power from the PCI bus of a host system when it is needed by devices such as the new VST portable disk drives. The OrangeLink uses the new OHCI FireWire technology similar to that implemented on Apple's new G4 computer. The OrangeLink FireWire/USB PCI Board comes with two software packages which will allow users to connect Digital Video (DV) camcorders to the FireWire ports for input, output and video editing functions. Premiere LE is included for Macintosh users, and Ulead Video Studio software is provided for PC users. Both packages are designed for users who are new to digital video editing. More sophisticated software such as Apple Final Cut Pro and Adobe Premiere 5.1c (full version) are also compatible with the OrangeLink series.

The OrangeLink FireWire/USB card has a suggested price of US$159 and is expected to ship in November. You can find more information at the Orange Micro web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: Ok, this is a cool card for pr Blue & White G3 owners, especially those who are already tight with their PCI slots (Apple, that's a hint to go ahead and put more slots in your PowerMacs). For those who are not ready to upgrade to a new PowerMac G4, but still want to be able to use all the cool USB and FireWire devices that are coming out, this card is just perfect. Hopefully, other companies will also come out with similar cards...

In the meanwhile, kudos to OrangeMicro for being the first!

Orange Micro

[Review] Quicken 2000, A Must Have Update

[8:30 AM] Mac Gamer's Ledge Hosts Big Mac Gaming Event This Weekend

Our good friends at Mac Gamer's Ledge (MGL) have announced a very cool Mac Game Event for this Saturday. Mac Game Events are organized by MGL to bring Mac gamers together to play the latest and most cool Mac games on the latest Mac hardware. This weekend's event will be held in richmond, Virginia and features iBooks, PowerMac G4s, and some exclusive opportunities to play some unfinished games not yet on the market! According to MGL:

MacGamer's Ledge (, a well-established Mac games web site founded in 1994, is announcing its second "Mac Games Event" to be held this weekend, Saturday, October 9, 1999 in Richmond, VA. This semiannual event is open to the public free of charge, and is hosted by Capitol Mac. Each MGL Mac Game Event showcases playable versions of games in development, the latest Apple hardware, many 3rd party game hardware components, and hourly game giveaways. In addition, there will be limited amounts of freebies (t-shirts, demo disks, etc.) donated by many of the event's contributors/sponsors, special one-day-only deals on games and Mac systems in-stock at Capitol Mac, and get there early!


The big attraction to MGL's game events are the exclusive public showings of upcoming Mac games. On Saturday, those who attend will get to PLAY the latest builds of the following Mac games in-progress:

  • Backyard Football (from Humongous Entertainment) [exclusive first public showing]
  • Civilization: Call to Power (from MacSoft)
  • Descent III (from Graphic Simulations Corp.)
  • Heretic II (from Logicware) [exclusive first public showing]
  • Last Call (from Simon and Schuster Interactive)
  • Madden NFL 2000 (from Aspyr Media)
  • Rainbow Six (from MacSoft
  • Tomb Raider III (from Aspyr Media)
  • Unreal Tournament (from MacSoft)
  • Zork Grand Inquisitor (from Logicware) [exclusive first public showing]


In addition, the event will showcase these games (and many other recently release Mac games from Ambrosia Software, Blizzard, Freeverse Software, Gathering of Developers, MacSoft, Sierra Studios, Maxis, Electronic Arts, and Lucas Learning) on several Apple systems. Some of the hardware to be showcased at the event include:

  • G4 minitowers
  • iBooks
  • PowerBooks
  • iMacs; and maybe even the new iMac!
  • Intensor LX gaming chair (from Imeron)
  • Intensor FX gaming seat (from Imeron) [exclusive first public showing]
  • Apolla II graphite speakers (from PELE Enterprises) [exclusive first public showing]
  • Cyborg 3D USB joystick (from Saitek)
  • Benwin flat panel speaker system (Benwin)
  • ...and more

You can find more information at MGL's web site, so head over and check it out.

The Mac Observer Spin: This is the kind of event that is just awesome for the Mac game market. It is nothing short of spectacular to hang out with a bunch of other Mac gamers whilst playing the latest Mac games. In addition, the opportunity to see, and play on, the latest hardware is another great community builder. Kudos to MGL for putting together such an impressive event! Hopefully MGL will be able to put together Mac Game Events in other parts of the company in the future...

Mac Gamer's Ledge

[8:30 AM] AuctionMac Adds Several New Categories Including PDAs

The good people at have added several new categories of items and broken existing software categories into several more. is a Mac only auction site and all told there are nine new categories including ones for PDAs and another for iBooks. According to has expanded services once again. has unveiled nine new categories for auctions and browsing. In computers, we have added both iBook & iMac areas as well as a new PDA category. The PDA category was regularly requested by users, and will house auctions for Palm, Newton, and other Mac-compatible PDAs and accessories.

We have also split the software area (formerly one single category) into seven new sections. We have specialty areas for business, publishing, games, graphics, education & children, utilities, and general software. Software auctions have been extremely popular among bidders and sellers, and all users wanted a more agreeable category setup.

These new categories are available immediately for all forms of auction, including AuctionMac Bid-n-Buy. Bidders are encouraged to check out and bookmark the new categories as they grow and expand. Sellers can take advantage of the new flat rates to sell in any category, regardless of item value. Either way, we always appreciate your feedback and support.

So head over to and check it out. The company is also hosting an iBook giveaway contest, so make sure you register for that while you are there!

Today's Mac Headlines

[Podcast]Podcast - Apple Weekly Report #135: Apple Lawsuits, Banned iPhone Ad, Green MacBook Ad

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[Podcast]Podcast - Mac Geek Gab #178: Batch Permission Changes, Encrypting Follow-up, Re-Enabling AirPort, and GigE speeds

We also offer Yesterday's News On One Page!

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