Today's News On One Page

October 11th, 1999

[5:00 PM] VersionMaster: Eudora Pro, Secret Folder, And Virtual Hamster (Again) Updated Today!

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

The Mac Observer's Version Master

[4:45 PM] New USB Consumer Device Grabs Photos From Digital Video

Dazzle Multimedia has announced it is bringing its first Mac product to market, thanks to USB. The company has announced Dazzle Digital Photo Maker which will grab photos from digital video. According to Dazzle:

Dazzle Multimedia today announced that it is extending its reach into the Macintosh market with the Dazzle Digital Photo Maker (USB). The product can be used with any USB-compatible Macintosh computer running Mac OS 8.6 or higher, including the Apple Power Mac G3/G4, iMac, iBook and PowerBook series of computers.

Use your camcorder to capture hi-res digital photos. Even capture TV-quality MPEG digital video for video e-mails and websites!

USB Solution to capture images with ease!

  • USB Plug & Play - Our USB connection auto-detects your hardware and makes installation a snap.
  • Create Photo/Video web pages in a single click using our unique web publisher button.
  • Send high-quality photo/video e-mail
  • Enhance and edit your snapshots, then easily create photo albums, calendars, posters, greeting cards and more.
  • Easy photo editing - crop, brighten, focus, red-eye and enhance.
  • USB Version Part #DM-5000

Also compatible with Windows-based PC's, the Dazzle Digital Photo Maker now allows Macintosh users to capture, edit, manage, publish and share high-resolution digital video and still images with Dazzle PhotoStudio and PhotoImpression, its easy-to-use, intuitive software programs.

With Dazzle PhotoStudio, business and home users can edit and enhance still images by cropping photos, adjusting brightness, adding contrast, increasing sharpness and removing red eye. With the Dazzle VideoImpression software, users can capture and edit video and still-image files from various video for use on their computers or on the Internet. The product also provides AVI support for video conferencing, e-mail and screen savers.

Once the digital images are enhanced, they can be uploaded to PhotoIsland (, a photo management Web site, and stored in a secure, online lock box. These images can then be used to create digital photo albums, scanned onto mugs and t-shirts or e-mailed as digital postcards.

The product is available from Mac retailers, including CompUSA and Fry's and online retailers. The product is priced at US$99. You can find more information at the company's web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: Behold the power of USB. Steve Jobs' move to USB pays off yet again with another Windows developer porting their product (in this case, the software that is included with the hardware product) to the Mac. It is almost something we take for granted after a year of USB products coming to the Mac by the score, but we felt it a good time to look back and remember that it wasn't always so. It is these kinds of consumer products in particular that help Apple sell more Macs and iMacs.

Dazzle Multimedia

[4:40 PM] Folder Synchronization Utility Updated With New Features

Lorenzo Puleo has announced an update to his synchronization utility called Folder Synchronization. Folder Synchronization will watch two folder that you name and make sure that they mirror each other. Rather than deleting and replacing entire folder, Folder Synchronization will instead append new files to old directories in the same manner as Unix. The new version adds several new features. According to Mr. Puleo:

What's new in the 1.4 version

In the "Info" area there is a new check-box: "Exact BackUp". If checked (only together with "One direction only"), FS will delete, from the Bottom Folder, all the Files and all the Folders that no longer exist in the Top Folder. This way, the Bottom Folder will be an exact copy of the Top Folder, as the Finder has replaced the entire content of the Bottom Folder.

FS, which operates differently from the Finder, will copy only the Files and the Folders which really need to be copied, deleting in the Bottom Folder the Files and the Folders that no longer exist in the Top Folder, and therefore will take less time than manually doing the same thing in the Finder. Moreover, Filters can work together with this option. e.g. If you define a filter, FS will copy (or skip) and will delete (or skip) only those Files which match that filter.

Many customers asked this option, but use this option with care. THERE IS NO WAY TO UNDO THIS PROCESS!

You can find more information and download links at the company's web site. The update is free to registered users, while the full version is priced at US$20.

Lorenzo Puleo

[4:25 PM] SGI Adds QuickTime Streaming Support In MediaBase

SGI has announced a new version of its streaming media solution, MediaBase. SGI MediaBase 4.1 adds support for both QuickTime Streaming and RealNetworks G2. According to SGI:

SGI today announced the availability of SGI MediaBase 4.0, the most scalable, field-proven media streaming solution on the market. Users now have access to a greater range of rich media content using SGI MediaBase with the newly integrated Apple(R) QuickTime(R) 4.0 and RealNetworks(R) G2 streaming formats. With a user-friendly interface, SGI MediaBase 4.0 reduces the time and effort required to create, store and deploy media applications.

Flexible and Scalable

SGI MediaBase supports a full range of bit rates -- from narrowband streaming such as QuickTime and RealNetworks to MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 streams up to 15 Mbs -- making it an ideal solution for Internet, enterprise, and broadband applications. In addition, SGI MediaBase is scalable from one to thousands of streams to multiple clients, whether desktops or set-top boxes, regardless of bit-rate or format.

"SGI MediaBase 4.0 is the ideal solution for both narrowband and increasingly, broadband networks," said Greg Estes, vice president of marketing for broadband and Internet solutions, SGI. "By offering support for the broadest range of formats in the industry, SGI MediaBase customers can view streaming files via modem, digital cable or xDSL."

Integrated Media Management

MediaBase is the industry's most popular standards-based media server with 1,000 university, telecommunications, corporate, Video-on-Demand and Internet sites. As a standalone solution, SGI MediaBase offers users the ability to manage hundreds of thousands of audio and video assets. SGI MediaBase also integrates easily with Informix database and other industry-leading relational database technology. For users who desire it, the product is also tightly integrated with the SGI StudioCentral(TM) Library media management platform, offered separately. Capable of tracking millions of assets, StudioCentral Library enhances the value of users' digital assets by making them manageable and accessible throughout the production process.

You can find more information on SGI MediaBase at the company's web site. You can find vague pricing information at the company's web site as well.


[3:45 PM] Apple Stock Watch: Apple shows strength on a slow Columbus Day
by Wes George

Apple kicked off its 4th quarter earnings announcement week on a strong note advancing 1 5/8 to 66 7/8 on less than half of its average volume with 2,349,300 shares trading hands. Today is Columbus Day and all the markets showed very low volume. The bond markets were closed. The Dow closed down 1.58 at 10648.18.

The NASDAQ set a new high advancing 29.42 to 2915.99 in an afternoon rally led by the semiconductors. Motorola was up almost 4%. Intel announces 4th quarter earnings tomorrow and they are expected to show strong growth. The last time the NASDAQ set a new high was on Sept. 10. So far this year the NASDAQ is up 33%.

In general today was a good day for the tech stocks, IBM, Dell, Gateway, HP and even Compaq closed up with modest gains. Apple announces its 4th quarter earnings in a conference call with Fred Anderson on Wednesday. We'll post the phone numbers and time for the conference call tomorrow.

On the Mac-software front, Macromedia, Symantec, and Adobe all closed higher with Adobe posting a 5% gain. Motorola joined IBM on the positive side as all the Mac related stocks we cover closed in positive territory.

Microsoft was the lone holdout to close lower after announcing a deal with Ask Jeeves.

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.


[3:30 PM] The Mac Observer Expands Financial Coverage

AUSTIN, TX (October 11, 1999) -The Mac Observer today announced it has brought Wes George, financial columnist, online trader, and long time Apple enthusiast, aboard as Business Editor. The newly created position of Business Editor reflects the growing interest of Mac users into the business side of Apple. Bryan Chaffin, The Mac Observer's Editor-in-Chief, cites the popularity of The Apple Stock Watch, their daily report on Apple's financial performance. "With Apple's stock trading at historic highs, reader response to our daily reports has skyrocketed," says Mr. Chaffin. "The addition of Mr. George as Business Editor for The Mac Observer will allow us to continue to expand our coverage."

Wes George is the author of The Apple Trader, a weekly column at the Mac Observer that deals with Apple's financial performance. Mr. George recently taught a seminar on trading stocks with your Mac at MACWORLD Expo '99 New York called Stock Market Investing With Your Mac. Mr. George is a long time Apple investor who has traded stocks for over 10 years.

About The Mac Observer
Founded in January 1997, The Mac Observer features daily Mac news, analysis, resources, and weekly columns. One can visit The Mac Observer at

The Mac Observer

[Review] Orbit USB 2-Button Trackball, Solid Low-end Offering
by Kyle D'Addrio

[Column] The Apple Trader - How Windows Costs The World Economy Billions In Lost Productivity Each Year

[Column] Monday's Mac Gadget - Experience the Amazing Automated Mac

[11:15 AM] Photogenetics Updates, PlusPack Addons Released

Q-Research has updated their image enhancement utility, PhotoGenetics, to version 1.10. Q-Research has also announced the availability of add-ons, PlusPak, for the PhotoGenetics application, providing new features. According to Q-Research:

Q-Research, the company that launched PhotoGenetics, the first user-friendly image enhancement software based on "genetic algorithms," today introduced PhotoGenetics PlusPak -- new add-on components to correct spatial distortions, enhance specific colors or create artistic variations of an image.

Additionally, the company released PhotoGenetics 1.10 for Windows 95/98/NT and Mac OS, a more intuitive version of the software that includes new drag and drop image file management capabilities.

The PhotoGenetics PlusPak Dewarp Evolution corrects spatial distortions -- a common problem with the optics of many digital cameras, particularly when taking wide angle shots. The standard version of PhotoGenetics includes a similar function using predefined dewarp genotypes. With the new dewarp add-on, PhotoGenetics PlusPak users can create their own genotypes, tailored to their specific camera, zoom settings and lenses.

PhotoGenetics PlusPak

The Isocolor Evolution creates unique and varied images by only changing one specific color in a photo -- making it less colorful, more brilliant, darker, paler or changing the color altogether. Using this add-on, a school bus in an image can be changed to a more vibrant yellow or even green. Another example would be the evolution of a brown door to a purple door

The Artistic Evolution add-on in the PhotoGenetics PlusPak is designed to produce extreme modifications of an image, creating unusual and strangely compelling results. For example, some colors become saturated, while other colors change altogether. After this evolution, photos may look like a watercolor painting or a psychedelic rock poster from the ‘60s.

The PhotoGenetics PlusPak is available for US$29.95, which includes all of the enhancements. Enhancements can be purchased separately for as little as US$9.95 each. The PhotoGenetics application is available via download for US$29.95, or on CD for US$39.95. You can find more information at the Q-Research web site.


[11:15 AM] OmniGroup Updates MacOS X Browser & Backup Utility

The Omni Group has released OmniGroup Backup and has updated OmniWeb to version 3.0.2. OmniGroup Backup is a new application for backup and data storage on the Mac OS X Server. OmniWeb is a full featured web browser for Mac OS X, and the new version incorporates a number of bug fixes. According to The Omni Group:

OmniGroup Backup Personal Edition is a fully functional application. It gives users the ability to back up and restore files from extended Macintosh (HFS+) and Unix (UFS) volumes, as well as set a schedule for unattended backups. The Professional Edition has extra features including the ability to back up Unix network volumes (via NFS) and to create unlimited fileSets and archives.

Omni president Wil Shipley commented, "We are very happy to be providing the backup software for this community -- Mac OS X is a technology in which we believe very strongly. We decided a year ago to assist Apple by writing an application of their choosing for them for free, and this was what they said would help their customers the most. We're very pleased with the results so far, and we have some really cool plans for future versions of Backup, as well."

OmniGroup Backup Professional Edition is available for US$119.95 for a single license, while the Personal Edition is free to users of Mac OS X Server. OmniWeb is available for US$59.95 for a single license. You can find more information about OmniGroup Backup and OmniWeb at he Omni Group web site.

Omni Group

[11:15 AM] VST Announces Plenty Of FireWire Devices For iMac

VST Technologies is offering a full array of FireWire compatible storage devices for the new iMac DV as well as G3 Professional systems, and the recently announced G4. With a glut of USB products, it is easy to stress the USB system on a machine. FireWire enabled devices allow users to take advantage of the blistering speed of the FireWire technology, while conserving valuable USB ports. According to VST:

VST's product offerings for the new iMacs include their ultra-slim FireWire Hard Drives, Full Height FireWire Hard Drives and FireWire Zip Drives as well as their ultra slim USB Hard Drives and Floppy Drives.

VST's industry leading ultra slim FireWire Hard Drives are the most portable hard drives on the market today, measuring a mere 3" x 5.5" x 7". Available in 6, 8, 10 & 14 gigabyte (GB), they feature full support for hot-plug/unplug capabilities and provide sustained data transfer speeds of up to 12 megabytes per second -supporting a wide range of high-end digital video editing, audio and multimedia applications. VST also offers their Full Height FireWire Hard Drives, which are currently available in 14GB and 22GB capacities. Additionally, VST's ultra slim USB Hard Drives, the smallest USB hard drives in the world, are available in both 4GB and 6GB versions that come in Black, Tangerine and Blueberry colors and also support hot-plug and unplug capabilities. The USB floppy drives come in the same iMac colors of Tangerine, Blueberry, Bondi Blue as well as Black.

At 400MB/Sec (megabits per second) FireWire is the preferred interface for high-speed storage and video capture. FireWire supports up to 63 devices and is hot-swappable, allowing the consumer to leave the computer running while adding additional FireWire peripherals. Cables are thin and less bulky than SCSI, and may be up to 14 feet in length. There are no device IDs, terminations, jumpers, or switches to set. It's true plug-and-play.

The company has full product availability and pricing information at their web site.


[8:30 AM] Keep It Simple Stupid At

Linton Media LLC has announced the launch of a new web site devoted to the Macintosh consumer, serves to provide opinions, easy to understand technological news, and industry insight to the Macintosh community. According to Linton Media:

The mission is clear: With values-oriented leadership, and with a collaborative commitment to innovation and excellence,'s purpose is to provide a thorough information resource for Internet Macintosh consumers. strives to offer content that is free of technological jargon. It offers end users a concise, simple analysis of the Macintosh industry.

The content of is pro Macintosh; however, news and product reviews are strictly objective. All published commentaries or reviews are offered by professional, accomplished journalists. The primary aims of are to promote 100 percent original, thought-provoking content.

Our vision is to help everyday users understand the implications of current events in the Macintosh computer industry. It is asking "HOW or WHY" these applications or events will affect an individuals way of thinking and computing. is currently up and running, and you can visit the site for more information.

[8:30 AM] Sound Recording Utility Updated

Black Cat Systems has updated the audio recording utility for the Macintosh, Audiocorder, to version 1.3.1. Audiocorder simplifies the process of recording sounds on your Macintosh by allowing greater control and more options in the recording process. New in version 1.3.1 is playthrough ability, allowing the user to hear what they are recording. According to Black Cat Systems:

Audiocorder is a VOX program which allows your Mac to act as an audio recorder. It allows you to set the volume that the sound must reach to begin recording, and the volume at which it should end recording. It also allows you to set the trigger length for the start and stop values, which helps you to eliminate recording short bursts of sound or ending the recording process during a short pause (such as in normal speech).

Each sound file is stored in AIFF format, a Macintosh standard sound format. The audio is sampled at 11, 22 or 44 kHz, with a sample size of 8 or 16 bits, either monophonic or stereo. The name of each file contains the date and time (down to seconds) the recording began.

Audiocorder is used in a wide variety of applications, including digitizing LPs and tapes, recording animals and other natural sounds, and automated recording of radio transmissions.

Audiocorder is available as shareware for US$20. You can find more information at the Black Cat Systems web site.

Black Cat Systems