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Today's News On One Page

September 17th, 1999

The Week's Top Stories For Week Ending 9/17/99

[4:15 PM] Lates Software Updates: RoadRunner Client, Virtual PC, a new Virex Beta and More!

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

[1:45 PM] Apple Stock Watch: Up And Down Trading Sees Apple Close Slightly Higher

In a day of trading that saw Apple go up and down repeatedly, Apple managed to finish out the day with a slight gain. Today was a "Triple Witching" session in which contracts on stock options, index options, and index futures all expire. Despite or because of this (depending on who you ask), general market pressure was upward in nature.

Apple closed at 76 15/16, a gain of 1/8 or 0.16%. Volume was light with 2,475,700 shares trading hands.

Mac related companies also did well with Motorola, Macromedia, Symantec, and Adobe all closing higher. Adobe continued to reap the benefits of a record quarter and an announced 2-for-1 stock split.

PC companies showed mixed results with Dell, Microsoft, Intel, and Gateway 2000 closing higher. IBM, Compaq, and Hewlett-Packard all closed down.

The Dow and the Nasdaq both recovered territory lost in yesterdays sell-off. The Dow closed at 10803.63, a gain of 66.17, while the Nasdaq closed at 2869.62, up 62.90.

For full quotes for all the companies mentioned in this article, we have assembled this set of quotes at Yahoo!

We also have these 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.


[2:00 PM] New Plug-in Allows PDF Output Straight From BBEdit

Kas Thomas has released a free plugin for BBEdit that allows users to output PDF documents directly from BBEdit. BBEdit is a powerful and popular text editing package for the Mac. According to M. Thomas:

PDF-Blit 1.0 is a plug-in for the popular MacOS text editor Bare Bones Edit (BBEdit). It adds powerful PDF output capabilities to BBEdit so that users of the popular text editor can (for the first time) output richly formatted PDF documents straight from BBEdit. Not only that, but PDF-Blit can automatically send Apple Events to make the user's PDF file open in Acrobat Reader, launching Reader if it's not already running.

PDF-Blit allows the BBEdit user to have complete control over:

  • Margins on all 4 page edges
  • Typeface (12 fonts supported)
  • Type size (including fractional values)
  • Leading (including fractional values)
  • Text COLOR
  • Character width (expanded or condensed type, in 1% increments)
  • Auto page-numbering
  • Header content & generation (up to 3 lines of header text)
  • Colored backgrounds
  • Justification
  • HTML tag interpretation, allowing six sizes of headers, styled text (italic, bold, bold-italic, etc.), and preformatted text on the fly.
  • User-specified filled rectangles in any color, in any size, in any x-y position.

Plus, PDF-Blit allows the user to specify one of 7 different cinematic page transition effects for the PDF document, something that even Acrobat doesn't give the user control over.

PDF-Blit is a free product. As of press time, we were unable to access the product's web site at, though this could be routing troubles at Time Warner's network.

The Mac Observer Spin: This will likely be a very powerful tool for many Mac users who need to make PDF files. Commercial apps that will export files as PDF documents tend toward the expensive side. At the same time, BBEdit has legions of dedicated users who swear by it all day long. Combine free PDF software with that kind of installed user base, and you wind up with lots of users.


[1:45 PM] New Freeware SuperCard Developer Tool Released has released announced the relased of a new SuperCard developer tool that allows the use of non-standard windows for SuperCard apps. According to Chilton Webb of DevHQ:

Widget allows any SuperCard based Mac software to use non-standard windows. Mark Lucas (author of the WetWare collection) designed Widget to give the SuperCard developer the option of using non-traditional windows that can actually morph around a graphic. This is similar to 'skins' commonly found in MP3 software. The Widget page contains the Widget software (tutorial included), other example software, and pictures of software currently using Widget. Widget is free for all SuperCard developers.

Widget is freeware. You can find more information on the Widget as well as SuperCard and WetWare at DevHQ.


[2:50 PM] MAC-O-RAMA Offers Sale On iMac Voodoo Card

MAC-O-RAMA has announced a new price on the iMac Game Wizard for Rev A and Rev B iMacs (the ones with the Mezzanine port). According to MAC-O-RAMA.

Do you love your iMac but you're looking for a little more action? Get the card that will give your Voodoo2 games a little kick in the butt!! MAC-O-RAMA has the 8MB iMac Game Wizard IN STOCK NOW for only $179.

This is the only way to add Voodoo to your iMac and the company that makes these cards is out of business, so it's best to hurry if you want one.


[2:45 PM] Snap-To-Desktop Utility Updated With A Pro Version Software has released a new version of SnapTop called SnapTop Pro. The Pro version includes features that give it a higher performance than SnapTop. According to Software:

SnapTop Pro from Software has been released. SnapTop Pro is a unique Macintosh utility that will boost your productivity and enhance your overall enjoyment of your Macintosh. What SnapTop Pro does is simple... It allows the user easy and instant access to his/her desktop from any application. You often work with many applications at one time, and switching back and forth and hiding applications to be able to view and use items on your desktop and/or in the Finder is a drag (to say the least)... SnapTop Pro fixes that! It offers easy, customizable key combinations that instantly snap to your desktop and hide open applications (hide, not close). Snapping back is as simple as another key stroke. And there is even an option for snapping to the desktop and closing all Finder windows for instant access directly to the root of your desktop.

SnapTop Pro is a completely redesigned version of the popular SnapTop utility. The Pro version is completely PowerPC optimized and offers dramatic speed improvements, better customization, SnapTop Turbo for response control, and much more.

SnapTop v1.5 is still available for 68K and low-end users.

SnapTop Pro is priced at US $8.99 and is shareware. The company offers a 10 day demo. You can find more information and download links at the company's web site.

[11:30 AM] Direct From France - Apple Expo Day Two: The Cinema Display And Adobe
by Philippe Bogdan

Another day in Paradise :-)

It's amazing how many companies are demonstrating their software and hardware at the Apple Expo. There are over 200 companies at this year's Expo, a very high number. Everything from the fairly big Castelwood booth where they are demonstrating their ORB drive (which looks like a good option to the Iomega Jazz Drive but may well arrive too late as DVD Ram drives are showing up in a few booths... too bad because it's cheap at 230 Euros, and the specs look good too) to the small but really friendly Casady & Greene booth where they are presenting SoundJam MP!

The biggest booths belong to the French Mac retailers. Most of these companies are mail order companies, some don't even have a real storefront, but their special offers during the Expo are attracting thousands of customers at their stands all day long.

The main attraction seems still to be the iBook and the Apple Cinema Screen. You can't get your hand on one of them without having to wait in long lines behind others trying them!

The Apple Cinema Screen looks so incredibly good! If only Apple could come out with a 17 inch mode with an affordable price tag! In my opinion, it really is the best screen I've ever looked at and it seems to be more convenient to use too.

Today's main conference today was the Adobe conference. This conference was centered around a presentation of their new InDesign software. Most of the people at the conference were Xpress using publishing professionals (only 2 were using PageMaker). as in the US, Quark Xpress is THE publishing software in France, but many users haven't upgraded to version 4 because of Quark's costly upgrade policy. The presentation itself was well done by a French demonstrator and showed InDesign's major features and the seamless integration with Illustrator using PDF.

InDesign's strong point may well be in the area of typography. InDesign includes tools that make possible what has been almost impossible to do in typography since the advent of Desktop Publishing software. These tools will allow users to do some things that were only possible with traditional machines that were the norm 20 years ago.

Also relating to InDesign was another conference, hosted by the French magazine SVM Mac, that dealt with the impact that Adobe's aggressive pricing structure for InDesign will have on publishing professionals. Unfortunately Quark declined an invitation to be part of the panel at this conference... Too confident or too scared? The consensus among the attendees seemed to be a sort of "wait and see" attitude, at least until the end of December when Adobe special offer on InDesign end.

InDesign and Acrobat PDF could bring an important revolution to the publishing world in Europe where Quark Xpress has long reigned as king. According to Adobe France, most Quark Xtensions developers are now also working on designing InDesign plugins.

Another Adobe announcement centered around the beta plugins that put the Mac version of Acrobat 4 on an even level with the Windows version. Adobe said that these plugins are on Adobe's web site now for a free download.

The Mac Observer Spin: Despite the impressive reaction to Adobe from Apple Expo attendees, it seems that not everything is well with Apple. The major French newspaper "Le Monde" wrote in the September 15th issue:

The small Apple is still financially fragile despite 7 financially good [quarters] <snip> but do you know any other show where apple fruits are being offered to visitors?

What do you have to do to impress we French? :-)

Philippe Bogdan lives and work in France. His exclusive coverage of The Apple Expo comes direct from Paris.

Apple France

[10:40 AM] Reliable FireWire Backup Hits Market With FireWire DAT

The good people at MacTell have released a product that Blue & White and G4 owners will no doubt be glad to hear about. The company has announced the FirePower FireDrive DAT, a FireWire Digital Audio Tape drive. According to MacTell:

Mactell Corporation today announced that their new external FireWire tape backup drive, the FireDrive DAT, is shipping.

The FirePower FireDrive DAT is an external 4mm digital tape backup solution incorporating all the speed and versatility of IEEE 1394, or FireWire, technology. Fully hot swappable and extremely flexible, the FireDrive DAT will utilize a 6GB tape that costs less than $15.00, making it an extremely cost-effective storage and archiving solution.

The FireDrive DAT is bundled with the award-winning backup software, Retrospect 4.1, from Dantz Development as well as Desktape Pro 4.8, a desktop mounting utility, which allows the tape drive to be mounted to the desktop and used as a hard drive. Desktape Pro makes the FireDrive DAT a digital VCR and Jukebox by giving the user the ability to record, store, and play back up to 2 hours of MPEG-2 video, 3 hours of DVD encoded video, 2 hours of MPEG-1 video, or 100 hours of MP3 music tracks in real time from a single tape.

MacTell tells us that they re shipping the product now. The FireDrive DAT is priced at US$849, though it is expected to be priced at US$799 on the street. You can find more information on the drive at the company's web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: Another important FireWire product shipping! Tape backup is considered vital by many Mac users, especially in the business market, and this product helps fill that void.


[Updated 10:30 AM] MacOS News Around The Web

[8:45 AM] Addonics Releases USB CD-RW For iMac

Addonics Technologies has released a new USB CD-RW portable device aimed at laptops and iMac owners. The new device is very small and referred to as a Pocket device by the company. According to Addonics:

Addonics Technologies today announced a compact CD-Record/CD-Write (CD-RW) drive with PC Card and USB interface.

Called the Pocket CDRW, the PCMCIA drive enables notebook PCs or USB-equipped desktop PCs or iMacs to record and playback digital quality sound and video, or to rewrite and backup data onto CD-R or CD-RW media.

The drive, which measures 6.4" x 5.4" x .8" and weighs around 14 OZ, is one of the smallest CDRW drives available in the market. The drive works with CD-R and CD-RW media discs. Each disc can hold about 74 minutes of audio or about 650MB of data. The Pocket CDRW is suited for many personal and business uses such as: archiving data; software distribution; recording or playing personalized CD-audio discs or running CD-ROM applications. By writing data in the UDF (Universal Disk Format), the CD-R or CD-RW media can be read by other CD ROM drives. With this data compatibility, the CD-RW becomes a viable replacement for floppy drives and a very attractive large capacity removable storage alternative.

Addonics is including the excellent Adaptec Toast CD mastering software package with the Mac version. The retail price is set at US$529 for this version. The company has not yet added information for the new product to their web site.

Addonics Technologies

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