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October 29th, 1999

[6:15 PM] Unreal Tournament Demo Available Now!

We received a note from, the gaming site owned by 3dfx, saying that the Unreal Tournament demo is available, as of about 5:30 PM CDT. The download weighs in at around 50 MB, and is available exclusively from Although getting a connection to the servers takes time, once you start the download, Mac Observer staff has found connection speeds ranging from 50k/sec to 150k/sec. Mileage may vary.

Unreal Tournament Demo Page -

[5:30 PM] Apple Stock Watch: Trick or Treat, Akamai IPO up 458.41% and Apple Closes Right at All Time High!
by Wes George

The technology sectors on the Nasdaq took back market leadership from NYSE financial stocks today leading a broad extension of yesterday's rally. The Nasdaq closed at an all time high of 2,966 up 91.21 points or 3.17%. The Nasdaq's last record close was Oct. 11 at 2,915.9. Today's volume was the second largest on record for the Nasdaq.

The Dow traded higher by 107.33 points (1.01%) to close above the technically important 10700 level at 10729.86 on very strong volume and healthy market internals. This could signal a reverse to the downtrend started in August. However, the Financials and the Transports sold well off their highs towards the end of the day.

The S&P 500 also closed above significant resistance levels, up 20.49 points, or 1.53% to close at 1,362.93 helped by strong retail stocks. The S&P semiconductor equipment index set a new 52-week record high at 398.2 up 5.93%.

The 30-year US Treasury bond yield dropped to 6.149% from a high of 6.40% earlier this week. Alan Greenspan's speech last night seemed to indicate that he thinks the Fed's intervention may not be necessary because real interest rates might rise enough to slow economic growth to manageable levels.

Apple's Clever Investments Grow!

Akamai Technologies' (AKAM) initial public offering, priced at $26 a share, opened at 110 and rose as high as 166 ending the day at $145 3/16 up 119 3/16. At that price, Akamai's market value is US$13.1 billion, that's larger than Apple's, making its IPO the fourth hottest ever offered. Akamai (which means intelligent and cool in Hawaiian) specializes in private server based network solutions for accelerating heavy duty graphic data delivery on the Internet. They have sales of only US$1.3 million so far this year but expect very rapid growth next year.

Apple investor's can't complain because Apple's original US$12.5 million investment in Akamai has overnight become worth in excess of US$500 million. Apple owns 4.1 million (4.7%) shares of AKAM.

Apple also has a US$475 million stake in Arm holdings (ARMY) which skyrocketed another 10 points to close at 84 3/4. ARMY was trading in the $45 range in September.

AAPL closed at the high of the day up 2 1/4 or 2.89% to 80 1/8, which just happens to be AAPL's record all time high too. The day was so good it's spooky!

In other Apple related stocks today, Adobe rose 3 7/16 to 69 15/16. Symantec and Apple's Power PC partners also advanced strongly. In fact, almost all tech stocks rose on today's swelling tide.

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.


[4:45 PM] The Week's Top Stories For Week Ending 10/29/1999

[4:15 PM] SETI@home Team Mac Observer Update, FINALLY!

Ok, we have been slacking off at Team Mac Observer and haven't delivered a Team update in weeks. We apologize, but here we go, back in the swing of things again! We are working on having very regular updates again very shortly.

Team Mac Observer is our SETI@home team. If you need more information on SETI@home, read all about it. The good news is that the Team continued to grow during the last month. We now stand at a proud 303 members! We also continue to see the Team become faster and faster. Our Top 10 Fastest Averages are solidly in the 8 to 9 hour per work unit mark. The entire Team is about to break into the sub-17 hour average, making us one of the fastest Mac teams in the project! In addition, our Top 10 Most Completed Units group is turning in some unbelievable results.

The bad news is that we have slipped to #22 in the Top 100 Club Team rankings. We need all the Team members to make sure they are cranking out those work units so we can move back into the Top 20! There are currently 3 Mac teams in the Top 25, with the TidBits team sitting at #26 right now. Team Art Bell (tee hee hee) has taken over the #1 spot with an unbelievable lead of 11,000 members, more than 5 times the #2 and #3 teams.

On the platform side, the Mac platform is still firmly in command of the #2 spot behind Windows. Despite improvements in the Windows client, the Wintel platform is still turning in an average of over 30 hours per completed work unit, while the Mac platform is averaging an average of about 20 hours, 51 minutes. Once threatened by the Solaris-Sparc platform for the #2 spot, the Mac platform now leads Solaris-Sparc by some 110,000 work units. :-)

So what can you do to help? If you haven't already, join Team Mac Observer and help us show that the Mac kicks processing-butt! We have one of the fastest Mac teams, but we need your help! Get your friends and family to join too. It's a very easy process (we have all the instructions for doing so), and takes very little time (less than 7 minutes).

Finally, we would like to officially welcome Low End Mac to the Team! We have added their logo and a link to their great site in the Company listings. Your company could have its logo on the Team Mac Observer home page too by signing up 2 or more computers on our Team.

Team Mac Observer

[Column] The Back Page - My long Years As A Mac Evangelist Bring The Big Pay Off

[3:30 PM] VersionMaster Latest Updates: DiskTracker, Sundial, And Clean-Install Assistant

DiskTracker can now be referred to as version 2.0b11, Sundial has been raised to version 2.0.4, and Clean-Install Assistant has been updated to version 1.2. These are the most recent updates listed at The Mac Observer's VersionMaster. You can find all the most recent Mac software updates with this service.

The Mac Observer's VersionMaster

[2:15 PM] Happy Birthday Del Miller!

We got a note earlier this week from a fan of Del Miller's who told us it was his birthday this week! For those few who do not know who Del is, he writes for both Applelinks and MacOPINION. He is also a contributor to our series on How The Mac Changed The World. His piece called Telegraph Road was fantastic, and we recommend you read it. In fact, we say we a hint of being fans ourselves, that Del is one of the finest writers in the Mac community.

With all that said, Happy Birthday Del!

Applelinks - MacOPINION

[2:30 PM] Security Hole Found In Mac OS 9's Multiple User Feature
by Dave Hamilton

It appears as though a security hole has been found in Mac OS 9's Multiple Users component. It affects users of the "Lock The Screen" feature in the "Login" tab of the Global Multiple User Options settings, found in the Multiple Users Control Panel.

If you select to have the computer "Lock The Screen" after an idle time, the system will do just that. When you return, the machine asks for a password. You can either enter your password to continue your session, or choose to "Log Out" the current user and start a new session as someone else. If you choose "Log Out," the computer then begins a shutdown sequence for all the running applications. If an Application needs to prompt the user, to save a document for example, one of the options is typically "Cancel." If cancel is chosen, the shutdown process is terminated, and the user is never logged out. This leaves you with full access to the previous user's account.

The bug was first posted on Security Focus (bugtraq id: 745) and, according to them, Apple has been notified and entered the bug into the Mac OS 9 bug tracking database. We have verified the problem here at The Mac Observer as well.

The Mac Observer Spin: Things of this nature are BOUND to happen as security-related features are added to an existing operating system. It took Unix many, many years to get to be as secure as it is, and it will take the Mac OS some time to mature in this aspect, as well. We must remember that Mac OS 9's Multiple Users features were designed with convenience in mind first, and they certainly perform that function quite well. Being able to have separate preferences, document folders, and applications configured for each user in a home or office is a wonderful thing and should not be overlooked. That said, everyone should be aware of the limitations of the security side to this feature as well.


[8:00 AM] Apple Picks eCommerce Standouts For New Small Business Seminar

Apple Computer's upcoming small business seminar is set to feature a host of popular third party applications focused on the internet, and specifically, ecommerce. Blue World Communications, Inc. Lasso, StarNine's WebSTAR, and Imacination Software's Ch-Ching! are going to be the featured products at the upcoming seminar.

The Small Business Seminar is going to provide suggestions for running and managing a small business. Apple is recognizing the outstanding software on the Mac platform for simplifying the needs for the small business user, and is focusing a large part of the seminar on those products. According to Apple Computer:

Small business is booming again! The Internet now offers a powerful way to set up and run your entire business from front to back. New easy-to-use and affordable resources enable you to establish first-class infrastructure online. These resources are powerful enough to use anywhere you have access to the Internet, and will help you lower costs, improve customer and employee communications, and achieve greater overall results quickly and affordably.

You are invited to a special small business seminar to explore the new world of the Internet Office. This free seminar, hosted by Apple Computer, Inc. and SCORE, will feature two exclusive tracks on how to set up and run your business on the Internet.

You will learn how to leverage the Internet with the very latest products from Apple Computer and how to set up your own "iOffice" using the latest "dot-com" services tailored directly to the needs of entrepreneurs and small business owners.

And this, according to StarNine, Lasso, and Imacination:

WebSTAR is a full-featured yet easy to administer Web server which includes SSL encryption, a critical requirement for secure e-commerce. The Lasso Web Data Engine provides advanced Web connectivity to FileMaker Pro and ODBC databases along with a sophisticated Web programming language for dynamic data handling. Ch-Ching! delivers an elegant interface to rapidly configure your online store and administer database content with various options for real-time Internet based credit card processing.

Apple's Small Business Seminar is free, at locations throughout the country. You can find more information at Apple Computer's web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: This is a very important effort from Apple. With eCommerce still in its infancy, especially with small and medium sized businesses, Apple has a lot of room for growth. Since small companies become big companies, this could even be a sort of slow trojan horse for Apple to gain strength in the corporate market.

In any event, it is vital that Apple promote itself in cost effective ways like this to the business world. With their servers being so much easier to maintain, configure, and use than their Wintel alternatives, Apple could really gain new ground.

Another consideration is their choice of outside products as components for these business solutions. When Apple helps developers sell software, this makes for happy developers. Happy developers, particularly in booming areas like the Internet and eCommerce, make for a healthy industry.

Apple Computer

[8:00 AM] 3dfx Plays Coy, Hints At Possible Future Mac Support

3dfx broke the Voodoo silence on Tuesday, commenting on the demise of Mactell. Mactell, a G3 upgrade, video card, and FireWire peripheral manufacturer, shut their doors on Monday. Mactell was in the final stages of developing a Voodoo3 card with Mac optimized drivers. 3dfx, the manufacturer of the Voodoo product line, currently has unsupported beta Mac drivers that allow a Mac user to purchase a PC branded Voodoo3 card, and run it on their Mac. The company is also now hinting that more Mac support may be in the works. According to 3dfx:

We are sad to hear that Mactell has closed its doors and will no longer be supplying products to the Mac market. It is unfortunate that business conditions did not allow them to continue operating, as we know many Mac users were waiting for the EvilEye Voodoo3 product that was scheduled to be released in the near future. We believe this product would have had a very positive impact on the Mac market, raising the standard for 3D graphics on the platform.

Now, more than ever, 3dfx is showing its support for the Mac platform. We are committed to delivering the fastest, highest performance graphics controllers that Mac users have ever seen, the same way as we've always done on the Mac and other CPU's. The Mac is growing as a game platform and anywhere there's gaming going on, there's a market for 3dfx's superior performance. That's not to say that other Macintosh segments won't also be the beneficiary. Design, Publishing and Authoring professionals won't mind having blazing 2D performance available to them in their work along with the ability to blast away at their favorite game when they finish.

We're going to make sure that our technology is available to Mac users in reasonable timeframes and at fair market prices. We don't see Mac users as second class citizens - we think they want and deserve the same levels of performance available to users of other platforms, and that's really what we're dedicated to.

Whether we do that by going directly to the end-user with our own retail product or by selling our components to Mac specialists is something we continually reassess. In the end 3dfx is going to assure users that they will benefit from high performance graphics on their Macs - and that's what really matters.

You can download Mac drivers right now for a PC branded Voodoo3 card. You can find more information at the 3dfx site.

The Mac Observer Spin: With Mactell out of the picture and no other Voodoo3 cards announced for the Mac, 3dfx holds the potential to help further propel the Mac into gaming equality with the Wintel market. This announcement, was a very cleverly coy statement that managed to pay tribute to Mactell, hint at Mac support, and still not commit to anything. Our take is that the company will come forward with supported (and possibly marketed) Mac products by the end of this year (holiday season), or the beginning of the next year. Think MACWORLD.

We hope that our guessing is correct as 3dfx has become such a powerhouse in the gaming world. Their support for the Mac could lead to making the Mac a more credible gaming machine in the eyes of gamers. Should that happen, the Mac gaming market could pick up some of that momentum that seems to have sagged in recent weeks.

In any event, we welcome this statement from 3dfx as a sign of hope for future Mac products.


[8:00 AM] Classic Cribbage Card Game For Little Cabbage

Freeverse Software has released a version of the classic card game, Cribbage, for the Mac OS. Among the highlights of Classic Cribbage is the option to play via the internet with other. According to Freeverse:

Freeverse Software today announced the release of Classic Cribbage, the premier, Cribbage game for the Macintosh. With Freeverse's patented elegant design, Classic Cribbage features multiple skill levels, support for two, three or four players, customizable decks and an incredibly simple internet play via the HMS Freeverse game server. Cribbage is one of the most popular card games in the English speaking world, and now Classic Cribbage from Freeverse brings that same blend of strategy, skill and luck to the Mac.

Classic Cribbage is available in an electronic version for US$19.95, or on CD for US$29.95. You can find more information at the Freeverse Software web site.

Freeverse Software

[8:00 AM] Final Version Of Y2K App Checker Released, Finally

Blue Line Studios has released the final version of their millenium software compatibility application, Y2K App Checker. Y2K App Checker compares software installed on a particular system against a database of known compatible and incompatible applications, and produces a report. According to Blue Line Studios:

Y2K App Checker checks your installed software according to the database from, the currently most complete resource available regarding applications with Y2K issues. If Y2K App Checker finds any programs on any mounted volume that have a known year 2000 incompatibility, it lists the programs' names, their specific problems, and the recommended solutions.

"The development and testing took us much longer than we originally anticipated," Dan C. Kueng, president of Blue Line Studios said, "but now we have to offer quite a useful tool for the Mac community."

"While is is widely known that the Mac hardware and operating systems are safe," Richard Barron, president of, explained, "many people don't think about their applications as having problems with internal date handling. has been compiling information on the not-so-compliant Mac applications in order to help spread the word about checking your Mac for compliance--and hopefully avoiding any embarrassing situations without Y2K ready machines come January first. We see this venture with Blue Line Studios as another large step in spreading the word about Mac Y2K issues before they turn into problems."

Blue Line Studios is providing Y2K App Checker to the Mac community for free. You can find more information at the Blue Line Studios web site.

Blue Line Studios

[8:00 AM] XLR8 Photoshop 3.x and 4.x With G4 Extensions From XLR8

XLR8 has introduced a set of extensions to allow users of older version of Photoshop to tale advantage of the new G4 processor's Velocity Engine. The Velocity ExtensionsTM and MACh Speed Control allow versions 3.x and 4.x of Photoshop to accelerate such tasks as blending, blurring, and sharpening. According to XLR8:

XLR8, the award-winning leader in Macintosh performance and peripherals, announced the official release of their newest G4 performance software packages. These packages, the XLR8 MACh Speed Control™ and the new XLR8 Velocity Extensions™, provide exclusive benefits of G4 AltiVec™ performance and compatibility within Mac OS 8.6 and 9.0. This software is included with the purchase of any XLR8 G4 upgrade.

The exclusive XLR8 Velocity Extensions deliver substantial performance improvements for XLR8 G4 upgrades when running Adobe Photoshop 3.x or 4.x. Since these extensions utilize custom AltiVec performance code, users can expect performance gains of 50% to 300% faster than the same application running on non-XLR8 G4 systems or upgrades. This first release of the XLR8 Velocity ExtensionTM package enhances basic Photoshop functions, resulting in advanced performance with:

  • Blend — Color, Blend - Gradient Tool,
  • Blur, Blur More, Blur — Motion, Blur — Radial, Blur — Smart, Gaussian Blur, High Pass, Motion Blur
  • Despeckle, Feather, Find Edges,
  • Rotate, Rotate Canvas 180, Rotate Canvas 90 CW, Rotate Canvas 90 CCW, Rotate Canvas Arbitrary, Rotate Canvas Flip Horizontal, Rotate Canvas Flip Vertical,
  • Sharpen, Sharpen Edges, Sharpen More, Unsharp Mask,
  • Image Size, Resize, Canvas Size

Since components of these functions are called for in various areas, users see additional performance in other Photoshop functions such as Variances, Duplicate, Transform and Free Transform. XLR8 has also further optimized Gaussian Blur and Unsharp Mask large radius filters. These perform up to 5 times faster than non-enhanced software.

"We are continuing to expand the list, as well as working to investigate advanced functionality for newer versions of Photoshop. We also hope to deliver Velocity Extensions for addition applications currently under NDA." Said Gary Dailey, Director of Marketing for XLR8. "Each addition spells better performance for XLR8 customers."

The current XLR8 Velocity Extensions listed above are available on the initial CD shipping with our G4 products this week. Registered XLR8 G4 customers will be upgraded to the new versions of the Velocity Extensions, as they become available.

You can find more information at the XLR8 web site.


[8:00 AM] Synchronize Update Addresses Time Zone/Daylight Savings Issues

Qdea has announced new versions of the software backup applications Synchronize! and Synchronize! Pro. The new versions address problems regarding Day Light Savings time. According to Odea:

Qdea announced today the release of the backup and file synchronization utilities Synchronize! Pro 4.1 and Synchronize! 3.8.

This release addresses the change in file modification times which occurs when a user changes the time zone or Daylight Savings Time. This is an issue that has existed since Apple introduced file sharing, and has recently become more of a problem with the introduction of MacOS Extended Format (HFS Plus) for hard disks.

Synchronize! and Synchronize! Pro allow for the change to file modification times, so that files with modification times which differ can be correctly compared.

Synchronize! Pro is available for US$99.95, while Synchronize! is available for US$29.95. You can find more information at the Odea web site.


[8:00 AM] FontAgent 8 Rolled Out

Insider Software has updated the font management package, FontAgent, to version 8. Version 8 contains many new features, as well as a number of performance and stability enhancements. Insider Software is also offering users of Extensis Suitcase 8 a special offer. According to Insider Software:

Insider FontAgent 8 contains many improvements and enhancements including:

  • new interface supports reusable Settings
  • ability to analyze multiple folders and drives simultaneously
  • ability to verify and add new fonts to an existing font library
  • and much, much more!

FontAgent from Insider Software is the leading utility for organizing, managing and repairing Macintosh font libraries.

Insider FontAgent 8 is available in a Limited Edition which allows users to have 250 fonts on a system for US$29.95, and a Standard Edition allowing and unlimited number of fonts for US$69.95. Users of Extensis Suitcase 8 are eligible to purchase Insider FontAgent for US$39.95. You can find more information at the Insider Software web site.

Insider Software

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[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

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