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October 7th, 1999

[5:00 PM] Makers Of PageSpinner Release Preview Release Of MP3 Player

Optima Systems, the maker of the HTML editor PageSpinner, have joined the MP3 crowd with the preview release of SoundSpinner MP3. SoundSpinner MP3 is a full featured MP3 player. According to Optima Systems:

"We are happy to announce the first public release of SoundSpinner MP3" said Jerry Aman, president of Optima System. SoundSpinner MP3 is an Audio player and Album manager for QuickTime 4 that plays files in the popular MP3 format plus music and sounds in AIFF, WAV, MIDI and QuickTime file formats.

SoundSpinner MP3 version 1.0 features custom searchable albums, random and sequential playing, Drag and Drop of files, folders and MP3 CD-ROMs, keyboard controls for volume and playback, support for ID3 information, conversion of tracks to small QDesign QT4 files, user selectable skins in WinAmp format and more...

System Requirements
SoundSpinner MP3 is designed for PowerPC only and uses QuickTime 4 (or better) for playing sound files. A Macintosh with a 233Mhz 603e/G3 processor, 3800 Kb free memory and Mac OS 8 or better is recommended.

The preview release of this product is a free download. The company has set pricing for the full version of SoundSpinner MP3 at US$6.95 and will be offering a bundle with PageSpinner for US$29.95. You can find more information and download links on SoundSpinner MP3 at the company's web site.

Optima Systems

[4:45 PM] Mac Optimized Voodoo 3 Card (EvilEye) Now Expected To Ship In October

The good people at MacTell have told The Mac Observer that the EvilEye Voodoo 3 card is now expected to ship later this month. EvilEye is a MacTell branded 3D card based on 3dfx's Voodoo 3 technology. It is also the only Voodoo 3 card that is shipping with Mac optimized drivers. According to Greg Snyder, VP Marketing and Corporate Communications at MacTell:

Mactell is shipping EvilEye by the end of October. The shipping date was moved from the original September date in order to ensure full native OpenGL support and bring the greatest value to our customers. EvilEye will now ship with full native OpenGL, Rave, and Glide support for the Macintosh.

Sources close to MacTell have told us that the Mac optimization has resulted in some incredible performance, though the company will not comment on EvilEye performance. While 3dfx has released generic drivers that allow Mac users to enjoy PC versions of Voodoo 3, MacTell has been working hard to optimize their card for the Mac. This should allow Mac users to enjoy performance that meets or exceeds that of our PC game playing brethren.

The Mac Observer Spin: This is an exciting product to come to the Mac. That said:

<RANT> Driver development is a miserable and boring proposition by all accounts. Most efforts by Mac companies to develop optimized Mac drivers for Voodoo cards has been met with indifference from Mac consumers. In fact, in most cases, Mac users have done our market the grave disservice of downloading Mac drivers from a Mac company while buying a PC card. They then complain because there are not enough Mac companies bringing cool cards to the Mac. The Mac Observer has been crusading to make consumers aware that it costs a lot of money to develop the optimized performance demanded by users. In the PC world, that cost is spread out among the legions of users who game on the PC platform and the cost of PC cards is that much lower. In the Mac world, companies simply have fewer people to sell to meaning they have to recoup costs by selling at a higher price.

MacTell has already said that they intend to release EvilEye at a price point that is comparable to PC branded cards, which is great. Hopefully Mac gamers will not be as short sighted as they have been in years past and opt to pay for the optimized performance that EvilEye should be delivering. This goes for any other product brought to the Mac as well. </RANT>

Bungie - Myth II - The Mill - The Wild West

[4:30 PM] Taylor Design Releases Minor Update Of TextSpresso

Taylor Design has released a minor update to their popular text cleaning software TextSpresso. The update addresses two bugs. According to Taylor Design:

Taylor Design announced the commercial release of TextSpresso 1.5.2, an update to the highly rated Mac OS text editor and cleaner. The update includes two bug fixes, one involving filtering the clipboard and one involving the Clear Characters command.

This is the last week that TextSpresso will be available at the extra low price of $20. TextSpresso's normal price of $29 will be reinstated on Monday, October 11, 1999.

You can find more information and download links at the company's web site. TextSpresso 1.5.2 is a free update to registered users. The company offers a 30 day demo. The following purchase options are available for TextSpresso 1.5.2 (through Sunday, October 10, 1999):

  • Single User: $20
  • 5 User Pack: $90
  • 10 User Pack: $160
  • 25 User Pack: $350

Taylor Design

[3:45 PM] Apple Stock Watch: Apple Dips Again As IBM Drags Down Computer Stocks

Apple dipped again today as the market punished computer stocks amid negative comments on IBM (an excellent report from Reuters). Like many stocks, Apple started today in positive territory, but dipped into the red in late morning trading and never recovered. Apple closed at 66 3/8, a loss of 13/16 or 1.21%. Volume was moderately heavy with 5,409,700 shares trading hands.

Symantec, Macromedia, and Adobe all shared in the misery, though Macromedia was coming off an 8 point gain yesterday and a 15 point gain since October 1st hinting at profit taking as being a part of their loss today. Apple's PowerPC partners, IBM and Motorola, also closed lower.

On the PC front, Microsoft, Gateway 2000, and Dell both closed higher after Dell announced the Taiwan quake would have little impact on their operations. Intel, Compaq, and Hewlett-Packard joined the losers ranks.

The Dow and the Nasdaq closed mixed. The Dow closed at 10537.05, a loss of 51.29, while the Nasdaq closed at 2860.70, a small gain of 3.49.

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] Play In The Wild West With New Myth II Conversion

The Bar7 group has released a Myth II: Soulblighter Wild West conversion. For those who may not know, a conversion is a set of maps/levels with all new characteristics, in this case, the theme is the Wild West. This conversion looks to be very fun! According to the Bar7 group:

"You fixin' to die old and gray, tired and whimpering with two bits to your name and only cold gruel to suck out of your empty stinking gum holes? Listen up pardner, Wyatt Earp is roundin' up a posse and headin' up to the town of Hog Wallow, he's going to take down Cold Chuck Johnny and his boys. Gonna string 'em up or shoot 'em down. There's 20 dollars gold and a name to be made fer yerself by hitchin' up with 'em."

This news reaches you while you are with a branding crew working for old Jeb Thompson, a mean SOB who still hasn't paid you for the 3 weeks hard work you gave him. 16 hours a day of roasting your hands over branding coals. Sick of breaking your back and aching for adventure you saunter up to old Jeb and bury your scarred, burnt fist deep into his guts as hard as you can. "Paid in full you old bastard" you mutter as you step over his curled and gurgling form. You ride back into town and sign up for the adventure of a lifetime and the next morning you find yourself in the town of Hog Wallow, armed and willing to die for a cause...

Welcome to "The Wild West", a crap in your pants, barroom brawl of a MythII:Soulblighter conversion brought to your by the Bar7 group. Tired of the same old thing? Well, when was the last time:

  • You got pithed like a lab frog by the .44 caliber projectile of a Winchester repeater
  • A dance hall girl punched you backwards into a whiskey filled horse trough
  • Your scrotum swelled up into the exact shape of your saddle
  • You had your leg sawed off by a drunken surgeon who stank of urine
  • You got BSed by somebody's Myth conversion release hype

The Wild West features all this (and this ain't no hype you varmints):

  • All new map
  • All new units
  • New ambient life
  • Professional new sounds
  • Destroyable stuff
  • New weapons and effects from them
  • New and altered scenery
  • 4 new meshes for the new map
  • Exceeds Bungie quality
  • And many surprises

So y'all mosey on over to or Thursday October 7 at high noon PST and turn them thar tenderfeet inta boot leather, them greenhorns inta longhorns and them Saturday afternoons into lost weekends!

You heard 'em! Download the maps, and we'll see you!

Bungie - Myth II - The Mill - The Wild West

[3:00 PM] Second South American Apple World Hits Brazil Later This Month

Miller Freeman, the producers of exposition events around the world, are getting set for Apple World '99, to be held in Brazil later this month. This event is largely similar to MACWORLD Expo which held in the States, and Apple Expo which held in France. The event is being hyped along with a 200% increase in Apple's market share in Brazil (from 1% to 3%). According to Miller Freeman:

It takes place in Sao Paulo from October 13 to 16: Apple World '99, the second edition of the largest trade show in Latin America focused exclusively on the Macintosh platform.

Major cities, like New York, San Francisco, Tokyo and Paris, headquarter trade shows where the main stars are Apple computers and technology. The goal of the event is to bring together all manufacturers of equipment, software and services destined for the Apple Macintosh platform. The largest trade shows of this kind, MacWorld San Francisco and MacWorld Tokyo, bring together nearly 400 exhibitors and are visited by more than 100 thousand people each.

The fair will take place during Apple's best moment in Brazil. After closing 7 consecutive quarters with profits and increasing its revenue by 20% around the world, the company that manufactures Macintosh computers announced it had opened offices in the Brazilian cities of Curitiba and Rio de Janeiro. They also foresee adding another office in Northeast.

The growing interest in Apple products in Brazil can be seen by the increase in the number of Mac-compatible software programs and peripherals developed. According to the IDC -- International Data Corporation -- the Apple platform increased its Brazilian market share from 1% last year to 3% this year, with a possibility of reaching 5% at year-end 1999.

"The Apple World trade show is going to crown a year of successes for Apple, both in Brazil and worldwide. Our users never had so much support," stated Luciano Kubrusly, general director of Apple Computer Brazil. "Apple is the only company that can have a trade show exclusively dedicated to its own brand, as it is the one that has the most loyal users, who are proud of their computer to the point of display bumper stickers with the apple logo on it," added Kubrusly.


  • Visual Communication South America / Apple World
  • Where: Expo Center Norte, Pavilhao Vermelho
  • When: October 13 to 16, Wednesday to Saturday
  • Schedule: from 2:00 PM. to 9:00 PM., and Saturday from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
  • Support: ABER, ADG, ABTG and Senai
  • Sponsors: Alphaprint / Scitex, Canon and Heidelberg
  • Information: visit or call Brazil,
  • ++55-11-3873-0081

The company has an English version of their web site, though we were unable to pull up specific information about the event.

The Mac Observer Spin: South America in general, and Brazil in particular, are potentially big markets for Apple. Brazil is one of the worlds largest emerging economies. Going from 1% to 3% may not seem to be that big a deal, more specifically, it may seem like their market share went from less than nothing to nothing, but that small increase offers Apple the opportunity to springboard to a much higher marketshare. Hopefully Apple World '99 will have the same kind of success enjoyed by MACWORLD and the Apple Expo this year.

Observer Call: Any Observers attending this event are invited to send us reports. Products, attendance, public reaction, mood, size, and any other aspect will be of interest to Mac users around the world. Bonus points for Portuguese and Spanish versions of your reports in addition to an English report. Please ask any questions you may have.

Miller Freeman - Miller Freeman (English Version)

[1:30 PM] October Issue Of Apple Wizards Available For Download

Apple Wizards had released their October issue. New this month is the availability of the entire issue in .html format. Apple Wizards has also added more to their "Reviews" section, and sports a number of high-power product reviews of ultra-popular Macintosh applications. If you are considering purchasing a new product or updating an old one, be sure to check the Apple Wizrd review section. According to Daria Aikens, Business Director for Apple Wizards:

Apple Wizards is proud to announce our October issue and for the first time ever, its available in HTML format! That's right! Every single info-packed column and review is no more than a URL away. Keep reading to hear what he have in store for Mac users everywhere.

Are you always complaining that you never win anything? If so head on over to the website and check out our new reader feedback column, Connect, where winning cool Mac stuff is as easy as sending us email!

This month's reviews include Extensis Portfolio, NetBarrier, Norton Utilities 5/AntiVirus 6, and Cythera. We have a informative article about Macs in the print publishing world and a tribute to women of the Macintosh community!

Apple Wizards is a free monthly ezine. You can find current and archieved issues at the Apple Wizards web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: Sites like Apple Wizards are what make the Mac community great. You will not find sites like theirs devoted to the Wintel platform, especially done as well as Apple Wizards.

Apple Wizards

[Column] Ask Dave - Dealing With The Undeletable Folder From [That Hot Place]

[11:45 AM] Larry Ellison Offers Hint Of Apple Handheld

In an excellent interview (to which we linked in yesterday's MacOS News Around the Web) by C-Net reporter Melanie Austria Farmer of Larry Ellison, a hint was dropped that appears to support long standing rumors that Apple was planning to release a handheld computer. Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, is also a close friend of Steve Jobs and a member of Apple's Board of Directors. M. Ellison is known as a none-too-shy outspoken individual and was an instrumental force behind Steve Jobs's move back to Apple. According to the interview:

C-Net: What's new with Apple Computer? It finally released the iBook, but Apple doesn't have a handheld yet to compete against the PalmPilot or the Windows CE devices. Any word on Apple's future plans?

Larry Ellison: With Steve [Jobs] back, Apple has again become an innovation leader in our industry: Fabulous technologies like the new Apple display technology and fabulous industrial design, fabulous new software announcements. Will Apple do something in handheld? Steve doesn't like to pre-announce things.

My opinion is that Apple is going to be the great digital appliance company. As the appliances become digital, the very coolest digital appliances will come from Apple--the easiest to use, the prettiest to look at, the most successful will come from Apple.

The rest of the interview is also very interesting and we recommend that you read it. Most of it deals with Oracle, but there are a few other Apple tidbits.

The Mac Observer Spin: It's hard to be a figure such as Larry Ellison and not be misinterpreted by the press. That's us. It's also hard to ignore what this very powerful technologist has to say, especially when it comes to Apple. M. Ellison is motivated, aggressive, and doesn't care to much for following other people's expectations.

That said, Mr. Ellison has as much insight as anyone involved with Apple and offers the added bonus of sometimes speaking of things long before M. Jobs does. In this case, by simply indicating M. Jobs does not like to pre-announce things, M. Ellison implies that there is indeed something to pre-announce. His references to digital appliances is also telling. Apple's current product line is not a "digital appliance" product line which would seem to indicate that we have many new products to come out of Apple. It is always possible that M. Ellison's comments are about nothing or even about a product that could evolve into something else. Keep in mind that M. Ellison's early statements about the product that would go on to become the iMac made it sound more like an NC of some sort than the consumer computer that it is.

In this case, there have long been reports that Apple was going to release its own handheld. These reports have revolved around M. Jobs' fascination and respect for the Palm unit from 3-COM's Palm Computing division, though they have also included hints that any handheld would in fact use some version of the MacOS.

To play Devil's Advocate to our own arguments, M. Jobs' has gone on record as saying that Apple's 4 Corners product strategy was now complete.

Still, M. Jobs wants to move Apple in new directions and handhelds are obviously a part of the future. Our bet is that Apple will release a handheld of some sort, but the time frame is certainly unknown.

Oracle - Apple

[9:00 AM] Setting Sun Screen Saver Updated

Dair Grant has released an update to the ultramodern screen saver, Setting Sun. Version 1.2 includes bug fixes and enhances compatibility while introducing some new features. According to Dair Grant:

Setting Sun is a modern application based screen saver, which uses plug-ins to draw interesting images when your computer is idle and provides password protection if required.

Setting Sun includes a wide range of high-end 3D plug-ins, ideal for an iMac, iBook, Blue & White G3, or G4 (but older Macs are fully supported).

It requires a PowerPC based Mac, QuickTime, System 7.5 or later, and both QuickDraw 3D and OpenGL for running 3D faders.

Changes for 1.2 include:

  • Five new faders (Collage, Dim, HAL 9000, Matrix, and Typewriter)
  • New "Darth Maul" mode for Yum fader
  • New Random Fader to switch faders automatically
  • New smooth gamma fade when screen saver activates
  • Compatibility with Mac OS 9
  • Menu bar clock now updates if password set
  • Added control over CPU usage, AppleScript support, and FPS counter
  • Improved fade and wake behavior for badly behaved apps
  • Several minor bug fixes (see release notes for details)

Setting Sun is available as shareware for US$20. You can find more information at the Setting Sun web site.

Purple Shark Software

[9:00 AM] Full Featured Mac E-commerce Solution Updated

MDG has shipped version 3.1.1 of their suite of ecommerce/server tools. WS4D/eCommerce 3.1.1 , Web Server 4D 3.1.1 , WS4D/Developer 3.1.1 and WS4D/Developer eCommerce 3.1.1 include feature enhancements as well as bug fixes. According to MDG:

MDG announced today that it shipped version 3.1.1 of WS4D/eCommerce, its a single application that includes a full featured web server, shopping carts, storefronts, credit authorization, virtual domains, and database publishing.

WS4D/eCommerce is an all in one application that includes: full featured web server, shopping carts, storefronts, customer tracking, order tracking, credit card authorization, virtual domains, guestbooks and database publishing. The eCommerce features include: 

  • No HTML to write, even for multiple StoreFronts hosted by a single server! All HTML is completely customizable for those that wish to make changes.
  • Sherlock Optimized - using Apple's Sherlock Technology - all products searchable via Apple's Sherlock.
  • Export Orders into popular Accounting Packages which include: Quicken, QuickBooks, MacAuthorize, PCAuthorize, Microsoft Excel, and AppleWorks.
  • Unlimited Products for Single or Unlimited StoreFronts.
  • Browser Configurable - The StoreFront is completely configurable from any browser. Modify your StoreFront, Products and even View Orders from your browser.
  • Credit Card Number Verification - using a mathematical formula, WS4D can determine if the credit card number is valid.
  • All Shoppers, Products, Storefronts, and Orders stored in powerful relational database
  • Single application can be either a Web Server or a CGI to your existing web server (CGI feature MacOS only).
  • Products Search Engine Accessible.
  • Export orders to Quicken, Excel, MacAuthorize, PCAuthorize, QuickBooks or AppleWorks.
  • Authorizenet Support for real-time credit card authorization
  • Customer Address info saved on Server - repeat customers only need to enter their e-mail address and password - Credit Card info NOT stored on server.
  • Option to print completed order form for completion via Fax or Mail.
  • Support for International Characters and Currencies
  • Server Cookies - allows tracking/carts to work even if Browser cookies are disabled.

New Features in Version 3.1.1 include:

  • Supports AuthorizeNet 3.0 Including Relay Response (still supports AuthorizeNet 2.5)
  • Added Minimum Order Amount Feature
  • International Character Support
  • Tracks 1st Referrer for all Orders
  • Publish Products to Search Engines
  • Server Side Ping and TraceRoute
  • Supports Rebound 2.0 from Sophisticated Circuits
  • Bug Fixes

Web Server 4D 3.1.1 is available for US$295 and WS4D/eCommerce Single, which includes Web Server 4D 3.1, WS4D/CGI, WS4D/eCommerce 1 Store, is available for US$495. WS4D/eCommerce 3.1.1 is a free upgrade for anyone running Web Server 4D 3.0/3.1.1 or WS4D/eCommerce 3.0/3.1. You can find more information at the MDG web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: A full e-commerce package for the Mac is a good thing.


[9:00 AM] SoundJam MP Updated With Several Performance Enhancements

Casady & Green have released a maintenance upgrade to the popular MP3 player/encoder, SoundJamMP. The new version includes a host of bug fixes and other performance enhancements. According to Casady & Green:

SoundJam MP v1.1.1 supports the recently announced powerful Mac OS 9 operating system. Additional improvements include support for QDesign AIFF music files, and properly handles pls and m3u streams. Also, as previously announced, SoundJam MP takes full advantage of the Power Mac G4 with Velocity Engine.

Changes in version 1.1.1:

  • Ready for Mac OS 9
    - SoundJam MP is fully compatible with Mac OS 9.
  • Improved Encoding
    - Converts from QDesign AIFF files.
    - Option-Start Encoding will ask for a destination folder for new music file.
  • Properly supports pls and m3u streams
    - SoundJam MP now understands multiple tracks in pls and m3u files and plays them properly.
  • Updated On-Line Help
    - Updated On-line Help text for the new features.
  • Improved shuffle ordering
    - Deleting files now resets the shuffle ordering.
  • Improved Control Strip Module
    - Control Strip module supports older operating systems.
  • Improved Visual Plug-ins
    - Command-F toggles going from window to full-screen in Visual Plug-ins that support full screen.
  • Supports QDesign Files
    - AIFF files created by QDesign are fully supported.
  • Improved Visual Display
    - Improved visual display of peaks in skins.
  • Get Info now works for the main player
    - Typing command-I while the main player is active will bring up get info window for currently playing song.
  • Improved PowerBook Support
    - Supports ENTER key on PowerBook.
  • New Delete Tracks Warning Preference
    - Added a preference option to disable the warning when deleting tracks.
  • Various Bug Fixes
    - Fixed potential crash bug in intensity stereo mp3 decoding.
    - Fixed crashing bug with offline volumes.
    - Tag info is preserved when copying URLs from playlist to playlist.
    - Fixed remembering the playlists when quitting.
    - Other assorted bug fixes.

SoundJamMP is available as a download for US$39.95, or on CD for US$49.95. Version 1.1.1 is free to registered users. You can find more information at the SoundJamMP web site.

Casady & Green - SoundJamMP

[8:30 AM] Trans Intl Announces RAM For New iMac Line

Trans Intl. has announced the availability of memory modules for Apple's most recent release of the iMac. The new iMac model uses a memory type that is different from previous iMac versions. According to Trans Intl.:

Trans Intl. today announced the availability of 32 MB, 64 MB, 128 MB and 256 MB 100 Mhz SDRAM DIMMs for Apple's new family of iMac computers. The new family of iMacs includes iMac, iMac DV ("Digital Video") and iMac DV Special Edition operating at 350-400 Mz.

The main memory architecture for the new iMacs is different from the older family of iMacs. Newly redesigned iMacs support 3.3v Unbuffered 168-Pin PC-100 SDRAM DIMMs while earlier iMacs supported 144-pin SDRAM SO-DIMMs commonly used in Powerbook G3s and PC notebooks. The new iMacs have two memory expansion slots for main memory expansion. The system's main memory can be upgraded up to 512 Mb (Maximum).

Trans Intl. memory modules conforms to Apple's stringent electrical and mechanical design guidelines and are unbuffered 168-Pin, 3.3v, 64-bit wide, PC-100 SDRAM DIMM complaint operating at 100 MHz bus speed (the fastest memory technology available). The SDRAM modules are built with 64 Mbit and 128 Mbit SDRAM components, 32, 64 and 128 Mb (64 Mbit SDRAMs) , 256 Mb Module with (128 Mbit SDRAM).

Memory prices are currently in a state of flux, thus you can find more information and current pricing at the Trans Intl. web site.

Trans Intl.

[8:30 AM] Mac FireWire E-mail List Launches With 450 Members

For those looking for information or support about FireWire, Eric Prentice has informed us of a FireWire focused e-mail list. The MacFireWireList has been in existence for just under a year, and serves to provide people with a forum for finding information about the technology. According to Mr. Prentice:

With Steve Jobs' announcement of the new iMac DV, I'm pleased to announce that users and future users of FireWire have a place to go for assistance and advice about everything FireWire for the Mac.

MacFireWireList began ten months ago and now has almost 450 members ready for all kinds of question and discussion about the FireWire on the Mac.

You can find registration and other list information at the MacFireWireList web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: Mailing lists are great resources, especially for something as specific as FireWire as it will attract many people with hard core interests in the technology. If you have interests yourself, you should definitely check it out.


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