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September 28th, 1999

[5:00 PM] Powerlogix Offers Independent Verification Of G4 ROM Block Workaround

Powerlogix has had an independent test center verify that their workaround for the G4 ROM block in Blue & White G3s does indeed work. The workaround is necessary because of code included in the most recent firmware update issued by Apple that keeps an updated B&W from starting if a G4 is detected. According to Powerlogix:

PowerLogix today announced the results of independent real world testing on the first (and only) B&W G4 firmware update.

"I received a copy of the ROM patching utility from PowerLogix which is designed to overcome the so called ROM "block" in a B&W G3," said RobArt Morgan of Bare Feats, an independent speed test lab. "I ran it on a Blue & White G3/450 (Mac OS 8.6) which had its ROM already updated to 1.1f4. After installing the patch, I popped in a G4/400 ZIF from a G4/400. Yikes. It booted up no problem and was running at 450MHz (due to the jumper settings on the Blue & White motherboard)."

Powerlogix has posted much more information on this at their web site. We recommend you check it out.

Other reading on this subject:

MacInTouch - G4 ROM Block on Blue G3 Upgrades

The Back Page - Apple's G4 ROM Block Will Only Serve To Lose Customers

The Back Page - Our Love-Hate Relationship With Apple

The Mac Observer Spin: Congrats to Powerlogix for finding a workaround for this. It's too bad that Apple had to generate so much ill will for something so unnecessary. Perhaps widespread adoption of a workaround, and perhaps the release of OS 9 which reportedly eliminates the G4 block, will restore some the lost good will and we can all put this issue behind us.


[4:00 PM] Apple Stock Watch: Apple Falls Below The US$60 Level

Apple fell again today in another hard day of trading. The markets traded low throughout the day as the Dow traded down 10% from it's high which is a technical indicator that a correction is in the works. Despite this, both the Dow and the Nasdaq staged last minute rallies to close only slightly down from yesterday. Apple did not share in that late rally and closed down yet again. Apple closed at 59 5/8, a loss of 1 11/16 or 2.75%. Volume continues to remain very high as another 12,625,300 shares were traded, not normally seen as a good sign when the stock falls in price. Apple average for the last 6 trading sessions is 13,641,516, a far cry from the 3 to 4 million shares seen traded on "normal" days. Apple's official average according to the Nasdaq is 5,139,954 shares.

Mac related stocks shared in the turmoil with Macromedia, Symantec, and Adobe all closing down. Motorola and IBM, makers of the PowerPC processor, both closed higher. On the PC front, stocks were mixed. Dell, Intel, and Hewlett-Packard closed lower while Microsoft, Gateway 2000, and Compaq closed higher.

The Dow and the Nasdaq both ended the day in negative territory. The Dow closed at 10275.53, a loss of 27.86 0.27%, while the Nasdaq closed at 2756.25, down 5.50.

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.

The Mac Observer Spin: This is somewhat disturbing to see Apple's stock fall below the US$60 level. With the overall analyst mood remaining positive, and with Apple's effort to buy back US$500 million of their own stock, a support level was expected to appear. Instead, Apple has fallen steadily for the last two weeks.

Perhaps Apple's announcement of the new iMac will help propel Apple back up. Apple definitely needs some sort of announcement to recapture the heart of Wall Street, because it seems as if the Street's newfound love for Apple may be dissipating. Let's hope that we are wrong on this one. :-)


[3:00 PM] Power Management Utility Receives New Public Beta Release

St. clair Software has released version 3.2b6 of the energy-saver software, Sleeper. Sleeper controls the power functions of your Macintosh, much like Apple's Energy Saver control panel. However, Sleeper is not reliant on Apple's Power Manager and thus provides users with more options and finer control. According to St. clair Software:

Sleeper 3.2b6, the latest public beta version of St. Clair Software's screen saver and energy saving utility, is now available for downloading.

This version includes fixes for password problems at startup, wake-up of the screen when a program needs attention, a correction for the spin-up of IDE disk drives, and less confusing operation on Macs that usually use Apple's Energy Saver control panel.

Sleeper is currently available as shareware for US$20. This release is a public beta. You can find more information at the company's web site.

St. Clair Software

[2:45 PM] MacHack 15 Seeking Corporate Sponsors

MacHack 15 is looking for support and sponsors. The next version of the marathon software developing conference, to be held in Dearborn, MI from June 22-24, 2000, has already gained support from industry standouts such as Bare Bones Software and Mindvision Software. According to MacHack organizers:

Past conference sponsors have included the most notable names in Macintosh software development. Other smaller sponsors have seen MacHack as an opportunity to recruit engineers for their organizations.

"This is exciting," said Warren Magnus, Sponsorship Chair for MacHack 15. "We have established a viable model for sponsors and those who have reaped the benefits are signing up to do it again."

For sponsorship, registration, and general conference information, please visit the official MacHack web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: MacHack is a great event for the Mac development community, and can generally be looked on as a barometer of the health of the Mac market. This year's event, held last June, was a great success and we can only hope that the next one will also be as successful. The more happy Mac developers there are, the better for the entire Mac world.


[2:30 PM] The Case Of The Disappearing Macs From The University of Montreal
by Michael Munger

During summer, a short series of events took place at University of Montreal. What was left of Macintosh computers - mostly early Power Macs - in certain areas disappeared. In the building where history, philosophy, political science and other such specialties are, there were two computer labs on the third floor . One was filled with around 25 Macs, and the other with an equal amount of PC's. All the Macs were replaced by PC clones.

The threat to the Macintosh seems to go further. Reliable sources add that a few people close to the University's leadership want to eliminate the Macintosh as much as they can. In the University's offices, nothing but PC's are allowed to get in, it is an official policy. They would not only replace them in computer labs but they are also thinking about getting rid of the Mac store serving students on campus. One of the store's salesmen got the message soon and converted himself into a PC salesman at the end of the summer. He switched locations... and sells PC's in the University's PC store.

When questioned about the reasons why the Macs were replaced in a computer lab, the technician said that there were very few classes offered there on the Mac platform and they needed more PC's to give classes. Amazingly, during the last two years, this writer noticed that there were not more classes given in the PC lab than the Mac lab, and both were equally available to all students for general use like work or Internet access.

A few quick calls helped to find who might have pushed such changes and ideas at University of Montreal. The director of the DITER (DITER is a French name but this organization's function is to take care of technology at the university), Jean-Francois Giguere, admitted that he bears some responsibility on technological decisions, but he also says that faculties decide what they want to do about computers.

No matter what, the threat over Macs at this university is clear. A puzzling fact is that the Mac store that might disappear is the one that sold the most iMacs in the Province of Quebec, and the number of Macs sold there is enormous. At the University of Montreal, a whole lot of students buy and use Macs, like the educational market in general.

The Mac Observer Spin: It shows that PC bigotry has no cure. Even when Apple rocks the computer world, some still find a way to eliminate Macs from their institutions, despite the fact that there is a strong Mac following inside the very buildings of their campus.

The head of the technological direction and the technicians can say whatever they want to the public, but a lot of students did use the Mac labs to type their work or research on the Internet. Many also bought their own Macs at the Mac store inside the university's own walls. Do they believe they know - more than anyone - what is good for their students? Or did a few pro PC folks do some lobbying around the big offices to eliminate the Macs?

The idea that faculties get to decide what they want is funny when we know that school boards and IT departments that make such educational decisions are usually under the influence of a PC bigots. Nobody will ever admit anything, and it is sad to see an educational institution refusing to promote choice, especially when it is important for both platforms to be present in the education field. Not only is this presence necessary, it is wanted. When the store inside one of the buildings is the number one iMac seller in the province (a Canadian province is like a state in the US), there are good reasons to believe that the Mac is popular on campus. This makes the PC bigotry even harder to swallow.

Michael Munger is a a native of Quebec and a student for the last two years at University of Montreal. Michael is the author of On The Flip Side here at The Mac Observer.

University of Montreal

[Column] On The Flip Side - Counter The G4 Trouble, Slash iMac Prices!

[Column] Wasting Time With The Idiots - Dr. Macinstein: Using PC Parts On Your Mac

[9:00 AM] Win A Touchscreen iMac From Dealmac!

dealmac is giving away and iTouch enabled iMac. The iTouch system is provided by Elo Touchsystems, and has a value of US$1799. According to dealmac:

The iTouch combines Apple's Pentium-crushing iMac G3/333 with Elo's sophisticated touchscreen technology, allowing for powerful kiosk, education, and demonstration applications. Plus, it works just like any iMac, with the same ease-of-use and award-winning industrial design.

The giveaway runs from September 27 to November 8 and is open to residents of the US and Canada.

For more information on the contest, please visit the dealmac web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: Touchscreen iMacs are cool, no way around that. Check out our review for more information. This is a cool contest from dealmac, and we recommend that everyone go register, it's pretty easy.

dealmac - Elo Touchsystems

[8:30 AM] New Sim Brings The World Of Critters To The Mac

Milo Bird has released an artificial intelligence program for the MacOS called Critters. Critters is a program in which the inhabitants of the Critter-world evolve, change, and adapt to their environment over time. According to Milo Bird:

In Critters, none of the behavior is programmed into the simulation, the Critters themselves develop solutions through evolution to the problems of finding food, breeding, and avoiding predators. Critters is ideal for use in academic institutions, but has been designed to appeal to everyone, no matter what knowledge of the subject they have. Critters has the following key features:

  • Easy for anyone to use, it looks and works like all Mac applications should.
  • Allows you to set the size of the universe and how it will appear on screen.
  • Shows detailed statistics for the whole population so you can track the process of evolution.
  • Features a graph window, which allows you to view data as far as 5000 steps ago for analysis of useful values, such as population.
  • Lets you view and edit the genome of individual creatures, including the ability to track them and their offspring
  • Has comprehensive settings so you can set the parameters of the universe the Critters live in.
  • Universes can be saved and opened at a later date or sent to another person.
  • All the main windows can be captured as PICT files as a record or for any other use.
  • Includes an easy to use help feature that shows you the principles behind the way Critters works, without using reams of boring text.

This fascinating program is available as shareware for US$10. For more information, please visit the Critters web site.


[8:30 AM] CD Caterpillar 5 Released W/Cinderella, Little Red Hen, More

Inspired Logic, LLC has released C.D. Caterpillar 5.0. Caterpillar is a non-threatening, user friendly teaching tool that helps improve reading skills for children. Caterpillar is based around a "learn by doing" method. According to Inspired Logic:

The stories featured in Version 5.0 include the entire text of Sarah Crewe by Frances Hodgson Burnett and The Light Princess by George MacDonald. Also included in Version 5.0 are Cinderella; The Cloud; The Little Red Hen and other short stories. The controls are simple, and everything is explained verbally; no initial reading ability is assumed.

Any level reader can get started with C.D. Caterpillar. Immediate, direct assistance is always available just by clicking on the problem word. C.D. Caterpillar keeps track of the problem words, reinforcing them later in highly focused games.

C.D. Caterpillar is available for US$16 for the home version, and US$80 for a classroom licensee. You can find more information at the company's web site.

Inspired Logic

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