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October 19th, 1999

[5:00 PM] VersionMaster: Style, MacGrayLiner, And SoundDiver Are Latest Updates

Style gets a new beta release to version 1.6.1b3, MacGrayLiner has been updated to version 2.1.2, and SoundDiver has been raised to version 2.0.9. These are the most recent updates listed at The Mac Observer's VersionMaster. You can find all the most recent updates with this service.

The Mac Observer's VersionMaster

[4:45 PM] OpenGraph Developers Asking For Feedback, Trading Free Advanced Features

VVI-DCS has announced an effort to get user feedback on OpenGraph and GraphBuilder. In return for that feedback in advance of an upcoming new release, the company will unlike advanced versions for licensees of current versions. According to VVI-DCS:

Release of the next OpenGraph and GraphBuilder CD versions is imminent. To help make them the best ever VVI-DCS is asking for input from the community. To aid that process VVI-DCS is issuing free commercial license key strings to all present holders of the Complimentary GraphBuilder CD. With that string GraphBuilder's powerful features are unlocked for comprehensive and uncompromising commercial use.

This is part of our effort to make GraphBuilder the leading interactive layout tool and OpenGraph the leading development framework for data and graphical display on Mac OS X and Mac OS X Server.

You can find more information on this offer at the company's web site.


[4:45 PM] mp3voodoo Goes Final, Includes Internal Player

Three-2-One has released what they styled as the first final release of mp3voodoo, version 1.1. The new version includes its own internal mp3player. According to Three-2-One:

mp3voodoo lets you catalog, edit, browse, select and play your mp3 files - it is the all in one mp3 organization tool. It collects the data from your mp3 files including id3 information as title, artist, album, year, genre and lets you add cover images for every album.

mp3voodoo now includes an internal mp3 player engine - in addition it still can use Quicktime 4.0, SoundApp and SoundJam MP (new!) as player.

Now it is possible to use a third party app (MACAST, SoundApp, SoundJam MP) for handling playlists; in this case mp3voodoo acts as catalog, only. Selected titles are automatically added to the playlist in the helper application. mp3voodoo is the only macintosh mp3-application with that complete third party software connectivity.

mp3voodoo is priced at US$25 as shareware. The update is free to registered users. You can find more information on mp3voodoo at the company's web site.

Three-2-One - mp3voodoo

[3:30 PM] The Apple Stock Watch: A Bad DRAM Day for Computer Hardware
by Wes George

The stock markets ended mixed on the Consumer Price Index (CPI) numbers today, which came in right as expected at 0.4%. That represents an uptick in inflation from August but the gain was mostly driven by higher energy and tobacco prices. The markets soared in the morning but fell back by the end of the day.

The Dow ended up 88.65 or 0.86% to close at 10204.93. The Nasdaq declined 0.91 or 0.04% to close at 2688.24.

Apple opened down about $2 in sympathy with Dell's warnings that 3rd quarter's earnings will be weaker due to higher DRAM prices. Apple closed at its low, down $4.75 to $68.5 along with rivals Gateway, Compaq and Hewlett Packard, all of which got clobbered today.

Dell and Gateway both received downgrades by Bear Stearns analyst Andrew Neff from attractive to buy. Micron also got a ratings cut from buy to a neutral from Salomon Smith Barney analyst Jonathan Joseph based on the DRAM price hike. Although the downgrade of Micron, a DRAM chip maker, may seem counter intuitive, Mr. Joseph believes that the higher DRAM prices will shortly lead to overproduction.

Dell says that memory chip prices are about 25% higher due to the earthquake in Taiwan and is planning to install less memory in Dell computers. Most analysts see the DRAM price issue as a short-term problem, but one that hits the PC manufacturers hard because of their narrow profit margins. Apple's profit margins are the highest in the industry.

In other news, IBM is pulling its ailing Aptiva computers off retail shelves and plans to market them exclusively via the Internet by Jan 1st. ThinkPad will still be sold in retail outlets.

Apple related stocks Adobe, Symantec, and Macromedia were up, while Power PC partners IBM and Motorola both ended down hit by the same DRAM price fears as the PC vendors.

30-year Treasury bond rose 9/32 with the yield rising to 6.34% from 6.32% Monday.

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 many of 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.


[2:45 PM] Fuse Drivers Updated With Mac OS 9 Support

Aurora Design has released new drivers for their Fuse video editing solution. The new drivers, 1.8.3, add Mac OS 9 capabilities and a couple of bug fixes. According to Aurora Design:

Aurora Design has posted new drivers for the Aurora Fuse card. Version 1.8.3 drivers add Mac OS 9.0 compatibility, include a new Video Input Active On Exit feature and fix a problem that could cause certain cards to start up at an incorrect frequency.

The drivers are a free download.

Aurora Design

[2:30 PM] PC MACLAN Updated With Major New Features

Miramar Systems, Inc. has announced a complete Windows NT to Mac networking package, PC MACLAN. As Mac OS based machines creep their way back into mainstream use, any application simplifying cross-platform connectivity is welcome. According to Miramar Systems:

Miramar Systems, Inc. announced today its first complete networking solution for Windows NT-to-Mac connectivity. PC MACLAN for Windows NT v4.1 now comes bundled with PC Migrator, A.K.A. and DataViz's MacOpener enabling users to connect, rename and migrate files between PCs and Macs on a network or removable media. The utility bundle includes the following applications:

PC Migrator : Miramar's fast file renaming and moving utility. PC Migrator adds DOS file extensions to and replaces unrecognizable characters in Mac file names while migrating them over a network from a Mac to a Windows PC.

A.K.A. : Miramar's Mac-based file renaming utility adds DOS file extensions and replaces illegal characters to Mac file names while they reside on the Mac in order to improve cross-platform productivity in a mixed network environment.

DataViz's MacOpener : DataViz's MacOpener enables Windows PCs to open, read and write to Mac-formatted media such as floppies, Zips, Jaz, and other removable media.

PC MACLAN for Windows NT v4.1 now runs as an NT service providing an enhanced level of security as the user no longer must be logged on for users to access shared resources. The upgrade also offers greater integration between NT's User Manager and PC MACLAN's Users and Groups. In addition, the application supports Macintosh resource fork compatibility on NTFS volumes and complete compatibility for NT Services for Mac (SfM).

PC MACLAN is available for US$199, with additional each additional license costing US$99. You can find more information at the Miramar Systems web site.

Miramar Systems

[11:30 AM] Now Utilities' "Now Menus" Resurfaces As ACTION Menus At Last

Power On Software has released the next piece of Now Utilities in the form of ACTION Menus. Action MENUS is based on Now Menus from the Now Utilities Package. Like Power On's other offerings from the Now Utilities acquisition, they have taken the original app and made it much better. According to Power On Software:

Power On Software announced today the release of ACTION Menus™, its eagerly awaited successor to Now Menus™, the best selling menu utility of all time. The completely new utility offers a degree of customization and configurability that elevates Macintosh power to a new level. By enabling users to create and customize menus that can be configured for their most frequently used files, folders, applications, and volumes, Mac users can work the way they want to, not the way someone else thinks is best. ACTION Menus is the latest in the ACTION Utility suite and offers seamless integration with its award-winning siblings: ACTION Files, ACTION GoMac, and ACTION WYSIWYG.

Features of ACTION Menus include the following:

  • Addition of custom menus that include a Recent Applications Menu, a Windows Menu, a Documents Menu, a Server Menu, a Volume Menu, and a Recent Documents and Folders Menu. Enhanced functionality is also provided to the Apple Menu and the Applications Menu.
  • Recent Applications Menu: Keeps track of the most recently used applications. Provides the ability to permanently add any application to the menu with a single keystroke.
  • Enhanced Apple Menu: Provides drag and drop functionality in the Apple menu so that items can be dragged from anywhere and dropped onto the Apple menu.
  • Open Windows Menu: Keeps track of all open windows in an application.
  • Recent Documents and Folders Menu: Application specific menus provide immediate access to current application's most recently used files and folders. These menus are instantly updated every time the user switches into or out of the application.
  • Server Menu: Provides five folders deep access to recently mounted servers.
  • Mounted Volume Menu: Provides five folder deep access to recent volumes.
  • Applications menu: Adds hierarchical menus listing all open windows in every running application.
  • Finder Commands added to the Applications menu and offer option to Show Finder Only and Quit All.
  • Custom Menus: Users can add up to four custom Application menus and four custom System menus.
  • Customizable Smart Items and Separators: Automate the order in which the menus display information and add user definable category separators for faster access to specific types of information.
  • User-definable keyboard commands: Assign keystrokes to instantly access favorite items or permanently remove an item or group of items. Even replace an application's keyboard commands with ones you prefer.
  • Full Drag and Drop Support: Drag files and folders into menus and eliminate the need to tediously dig through piles of folders buried deep on a drive. Also open files by dragging to the application in the menu.
  • Multi-Action Commands: Permits the creation of automated sequences for opening, quitting, getting file information, or deleting an entire category of items.
  • Mac OS 9 compatible: Compatible with Mac OS 7.5.3 and later

John Wallace, President of Power On Software, noted, "If the reception given ACTION Menus by our beta testers is anything like the response we get from the Macintosh community at large, this product is a candidate for the Macintosh Utility Hall of Fame." As one beta tester stated, "ACTION Menus is the most useful, versatile, and robust menu customizer ever created for the Macintosh." "I LOVE it... you couldn't pry Menus off my system with a crowbar," wrote another tester.

ACTION Menus is priced at US$49.95, but Power On is offering a special offer of US$29.95 as an introductory price. The company also expects shrink-wrapped versions to be available in retail outlets for an ESP of US$39.95. Power On is also offering a demo version of the product. You can find more information on and screenshots of the product at the company's web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: Now Utilites were a godsend in their day and many users lamented their passing. Hope sprung anew when Qualcomm acquired the package only to squashed as time went on. Since Power On bought the package, they have turned the basic utilities into very useful individual pacakages. We think that ACTION Menus will prove to be the most popular yet.

John Holder Software

[10:45 AM] Up For Sale At eBay

Jason Pierce has placed up for auction at eBay, marking the end of the site. Citing other business interests that were expanding, Mr. Pierce said it was time to move on. According Mr. Pierce:

At this point my company has grown and we are moving into areas which prohibit us from really focusing on Of course this is not our last Mac resource, I am sure we will be back at some point, it will after all be hard to stay away ;-)

The site is being auctioned with a starting bid of US$100,000. This does not include the MacTimes archives or other site structure, though that too is negotiable. According to the sale information posted at eBay:

Every year companies spend millions promoting their online brand identities. A year ago hearing a radio ad for a web site was unheard of. Today it is common place. Web sites such as and others are plastering their URL across every advertising medium they can find. These companies are not only promoting themselves, they are building the brand recognition of their web site domain. Unfortunately most of the great web site domain names have been taken. Those left now are hardly worth promoting. Fortunately not all web site or businesses go on forever. Every so often a great domain goes up for sale. Here is your chance! is for sale. The starting bid is reasonable and we have not set a reserve price. For those looking to build on an established Macintosh resource, or for those looking to build a new Mac centric business, no better domain exists. Established early in 1997, is and has been known and respected in Mac circles for several years. With mentions by MacHome Journal, MacAddict, MacWeek, and various national newspapers, there are few Mac fans who are not familiar with Why are we selling such a great domain? To move on. Our company has grown and moved in directions unforeseen back in 1997. Many of our online efforts now involve much more than the Mac community. Are we abandoning the Mac online? No. We will be back with new resources that, although they may not be totally Mac centric, are every bit as exciting and useful. Unfortunately the domain is no longer part of our online strategy. Of course that means it can now become part of yours. Who is the domain for? has the name and brand recognition. Now it is up to you to decide how to use it. Macintosh resource, online reseller, you choose... What you get... the domain. We are not selling the back archives, our receivables, payables, or any business interests over than the domain itself. We are however willing to provide access to back archives if you plan on continuing the site as a Macintosh resource. If this is the case we will also leave in place the various back end admin systems we have developed and implemented to make running the web site easier. Questions on the domain may be mailed to

Head over to eBay and check out the status of the auction!

The Mac Observer Spin: We wish Jason and the rest of the staff at MacTimes the best of luck in their new ventures. MacTimes was a bright spot in the Mac community for a long time and it will surely be missed. In the meanwhile, it will be interesting to follow the auction. No bids have been placed yet, but the auction just started yesterday. At the price level Mr. Pierce has set, casual bidders are locked out. Should some big players get involved, this could get really interesting.

MacTimes - MacTimes eBay Auction

[Column] Wasting Time With The Idiots - Hey, What Are You Doing? Playing With Your OS?

[Column] On The Flip Side - Steve Jobs Is A Big Bad Meanie, So What?

[8:00 AM] Need Those Missing Keys On Apple's USB Keyboards? Try Keyswapper

John Holder has released a potentially invaluable utility, Key Swapper 1.1. For those frustrated by the lack of certain keys on the new Macintosh keyboards, most noticably the forward delete key, KeySwapper allows unused keys to be set to function as any missing key. According to Mr. Holder:

Are you missing any keys on your new iMac, G3, G4, PowerBook or iBook keyboard such as the Forward Delete key, End key or the function keys F13-F15? Wishing you had these keys? Well, now you can have those keys with KeySwapper!

KeySwapper will allow you to use any key(s) you like to emulate other keys that your computer may not have (such as the Forward Delete key, the Page Up key, the End key, function keys F13-F15, etc.).

This program performs functions that will benefit any Mac user and is extremely simple to set up and use. You can now define all those useless function keys on your extended keyboard (or any other keys) to perform extremely useful tasks!

KeySwapper is available as shareware for only US$5. You can find more information at the John Holder Software web site.

John Holder Software

[8:00 AM] BackJack Online Backup Service Lowers Price

Synectics Business Solutions, Inc., the company that runs the online data backup and recovery service, BackJack, has announced major pricing changes in their BackJack service. With more people having access to high bandwidth connections like cable and DSL, online data backup services have become more practical. According to Synectics:

Synectics Business Solutions, Inc. today released new pricing for BackJack, it's online backup and recovery service. BackJack is a Macintosh-based online backup solution which enables users to get their critical Mac files backed up and offsite - securely, cost effectively and conveniently. Launched in early 1998, BackJack continues to be the only complete service of its kind for Mac users. This new pricing confirms the company's commitment to provide the most advanced online backup technology at the fairest price possible for a wide range of Macintosh users.

Using the most sophisticated 128-bit CAST encryption technology available, BackJack securely transfers and stores data via the Internet. Backup operations are completely automated to execute at the most convenient times and provide efficient use of computer operations. Archiving and revision options are available to accommodate the need for historical data. Free recovery of lost data is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week should an unfortunate disaster occur.

BackJack monthly subscription start as low as US$9.95 for 40MB of storage. Other options are available. You can find more information at the BackJack web site.


[8:00 AM] Black Cat Systems Updates Mac Ham Radio Utility

Black Cat Systems has updated their ham-radio assistant program, Mac Grayliner, to version 2.1.2. According to Black Cat Systems:

Mac Grayliner displays a map of the entire Earth, showing day, night, and more importantly, the terminator between day and night. Studies have shown that enhanced radio propagation occurs between two points which are both on the day/night terminator.

In addition, the locations of active NCDXF/IARU beacons can be displayed in real time, along with the beacon callsign, country, and location. This should be helpful for identifying DX openings.

Mac Grayliner requires a Mac with a color display.

Mac Grayliner is available for US$15. You can find more information at the Black Cat Systems web site.

Black Cat Systems

[8:00 AM] New Utility Simplifies Access To Appearance Control Panel Features

Public Access Software has released a utility to simplify access to the Appearance control panel, Appearance Menu 1.0. According to Public Access:

Appearance Menu installs a System-wide menu that contains a shortcut to the Appearance control panel as well as a list of all saved Appearance "Themes" that are available on the user's computer. Themes are collections of color, font, background patterns or images, sound and Appearance settings such as Platinum or Paper introduced in Mac OS 8.5.

Appearance Menu will allow the user to more quickly and conveniently change the currently active Theme from any running program without resorting the somewhat slow and cumbersome Appearance control panel.

Appearance Menu is available as shareware for US$5. You can find more information at the Public Access web site.

Public Access Software

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