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September 29th, 1999

[4:45 PM] Use Your Mac To Learn About Electric Fields

Yves Pelletier, the maker of the excellent GIF animation tool GIFbuilder, has released yet another educational/learning application for the Mac. M. Pelletier has released YP Electric Field, which helps simulate electric fields. According to M. Pelletier:

Yves Pelletier announces the availability of YP Electric Field 1.0, a new learning tool about electromagnetism.

YP Electric Field simulates up to 26 electric charges (located in the same plane) and draws lines of force, equipotential lines and electric field vectors in the area surrounding the point charges. The user can move the charges and change their numerical value. A probe measures the electric potential and the magnitude and direction of the magnetic field at any position.

System Requirements: YP Electric Field runs on any Macintosh computer with MAC OS 7.0 or better. It needs about 250 Kb on your hard disk and 1 Mb of RAM. The software runs on older models with 68000 processors (Mac Plus, Mac Classic), but simulations are slower.

The product is priced at US$20 and a demo is available. You can find more information on YP Electric Field at M. Pelletier's web site.

Yves Pelletier

[4:15 PM] Apple Stock Watch: Apple Still Heading Down In Another Negative Trading Day

Apple dipped once again today, continuing the downward trend began when Apple announced an earnings warning last week. General trading was again negative today with both the Dow and the Nasdaq closing down and that included most of the personal computer industry as well.

Apple closed at 59 1/16, a loss of 9/16 or 0.94%. Volume was moderately high with 5,867,000 shares trading hands, though that represents a roughly 50% decline over trading volumes during the last 5 days. Apple had traded as high as 61 1/4, up one point on the adjusted closing price yesterday, though afternoon trading dragged Apple back into negative territory.

Mac related companies closed mix, a positive outcome when compared to the rest of the industry, as Symantec and Motorola both closed higher. Adobe and Macromedia joined Apple in negative-land however. On the Dark Side, IBM, Dell, Microsoft, Intel, Gateway 2000, Hewlett-Packard, and Compaq all ended the day lower.

The Dow closed at 10213.48, another loss of 62.05, while the Nasdaq closed at 2730.27, a loss of 25.98.

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.


[2:45 PM] HP Announces ColorSync Support In Printer That Apple Will Distribute

After several years of sometimes on again, sometimes off again support for the Mac in their excellent line of printers, Hewlett-Packard has announced a new support for an Apple technology. The company has announced support for ColorSync in some of its professional line of printers amd has announced that Apple will be distributing the HP DesignJet ColorPro GA through its own distribution channel. According to HP and Apple:

Hewlett-Packard Company today announced that it has teamed with Apple Computer, Inc. to provide graphics professionals with HP DesignJet printing systems that are Apple ColorSync-compatible. HP also announced that its new HP DesignJet ColorPro GA printer, which provides Macintosh users predictable color output for B+/A3+ size conceptual proofing, will be distributed through Apple's network of resellers.

The new HP DesignJet ColorPro GA printer, like the HP DesignJet 488CA, 1000 Series, 2000CP Series and 3000CP Series printers -- features ICC (International Color Consortium) profiles for the ColorSync color-management workflow system. With ICC profiles, users can achieve predictable and consistent color output -- key criteria for producing conceptual proofs for clients. ICC profiles enable the printer to emulate such professional output devices as offset printers, taking into account such specific characteristics as inks, paper and finish.

"Our relationship with Apple enables us to provide the Macintosh-based graphic-arts community with the industry standard in color management, available through an extended network of HP and Apple authorized resellers," said Ignacio Fonts, marketing manager of the HP Inkjet Commercial Division, which designs and manufactures HP DesignJet printers. "Today's announcement reinforces HP's commitment to this important market."

"Graphic-arts professionals demand high quality and reliable color accuracy at every stage of the design process," said Clent Richardson, vice president of worldwide developer relations of Apple Computer, Inc. "Apple's ColorSync technology provides unparalleled solutions for this field, and, combined with HP's leadership in professional large-format printing systems, delivers the best of both worlds."

In theory you can find more information on DesignJet printers at the company's web site. In practice, it would appear that the DesignJet page does not bother with any information about actual products, but instead has all manner of other information.

The Mac Observer Spin: It's great to see this step between Apple and HP. Printer choice is a great thing, and HP makes some of the best printers on the market. This is not to slight the likes of Epson and other Mac printer manufacturers. Epson in particular deserves major kudos for stepping into the void left by HP when it exited the consumer Mac printer market. In any event, we view this agreement between Apple and HP as a very positive move with ramifications that reach beyond just having another printer available for the Mac.


[Column] Computing With Bifocals - Looking at Hacking From Both Sides

[9:30 AM] Adobe Announces Incompatibilities Between OS 9 And ATM, Fix To Come Weeks After OS 9 Release
by Nora Feder

In an odd - some would say 'stealthy' - announcement last Thursday, Adobe revealed that Mac OS 9 harbors a surprise for graphic designers and other users of Type 1 (PostScript) fonts: Adobe Type Manager will not run on the new system, which is slated for October release.

Mac OS 9 will "deinstall any version of ATM Light or ATM Deluxe that it detects because all versions of ATM are incompatible with this new OS," according to the September 24 announcement, which we have seen only on the ATM user-support forum on the Web and an unofficial Adobe forum on CompuServe. A user will be able to install a copy of ATM on a Mac running OS 9, but "the machine will crash at boot time when it encounters the ATM control panel INIT," Adobe says. Adobe Type Reunion is also incompatible with OS 9.

This means that applications that rely on ATM for Type 1 font rasterization will be unable to show these fonts clearly onscreen, and - more seriously - will not be able to print them on non-PostScript printers, a category that includes most of the inkjet color printers widely used in graphic design studios today for creating comps and proofs. The announcement blames Apple - specifically, "late changes in the OS 9 development cycle" - for the conflict, saying that "Apple removed an API (application program interface) which ATM depends upon. Removing this API causes the computer to crash at boot time when any version of ATM loads." Adobe promises a fix - new versions of ATM Light, ATM Deluxe, and Adobe Type Reunion Deluxe, to be available "after the first week of November." This, however, is some weeks after Apple's scheduled OS 9 release date, and Adobe says the date is subject to change.

The Mac Observer Spin: Tucked away at the end of Adobe's statement is a paragraph that says owners of current versions of Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign, and certain other Adobe applications "WILL be able to continue to use PostScript Type 1 fonts in OS 9, even without ATM. This is because these applications have built-in Type 1 font support."

This raises a fantastic question: Does Adobe intend to abandon ATM? (The last we heard, it was to be built into future versions of both Mac and Windows operating systems.) Thinking fantastically (even paranoically), It's possible to imagine a software developer in Adobe's shoes thinking that would be a neat trick to pull on Quark and Macromedia - designers would have to stick to Adobe applications if they wanted to use publishing industry-standard Type 1 fonts. The question is fantastic, of course - no company of Adobe's stature (or success) could expect such a ploy to work. Or is this just a gigantic Adobe-Apple communications SNAFU? It has been a while since anyone tried to reassure us that Adobe and Apple are boon companions.

Both companies are probably counting on market inertia and the likelihood that the majority of Mac users will never notice the incompatibility. Those who use only TrueType fonts (with no version of ATM or ATR installed) will also be immune. Apple isn't shipping OS 9 on its new G4 computers, which will also help - it takes time, money, and effort to acquire and install OS 9 deliberately, so most of us won't have it.

What is clear from software history is that some users will be caught short, with potentially calamitous results. Regardless of how they got to this point, Adobe and Apple are duty-bound to publicize the OS9/ATM incompatibility loudly - and soon - instead of sweeping it under a rug.


[8:30 AM] XLR8 Rolls Out 500 MHz G3 Upgrade, Rolls Back Product Line Prices

XLR8 has announced the release of two new PowerPC G3 upgrade cards, the MACh Speed G3z 500 and the MACh Carrier G3 500. Both cards feature a PowerPC 750 (G3) chip running at 500Mhz, faster than Apple's current G3 offerings. The company has also cut prices across the board with price cuts reaching as high as 20%. According to XLR8:

500 MHz MACh Speed G3z

The new ultra fast ZIF G3 upgrade boasts G3 performance up to 20% faster than Apple's new 400 MHz supercomputing G4 systems. It installs in minutes via the Mac's ZIF (zero insertion force) socket. This upgrade is fully compatible with all Power Macintosh G3 configurations and Apple's 400 MHz Power Macintosh G4 system. It includes XLR8’s exclusive Auto Caching Technology and PowerPack software.

500 MHz MACh Carrier G3

XLR8 Bundles the new ultra fast ZIF with its own patent pending CarrierZIF technology, producing the 500 MHz MACh Carrier G3 for pre-G3 systems. XLR8's exclusive Carrier design allows this upgrade to deliver the world's fastest CPU performance and is fully G4 upgradeable.

Price Cuts

XLR8 also introduced new lower pricing across its entire G3 upgrade line. The new pricing reflects reductions of up to 20% on leading XLR8 offerings.

XLR8 G3 Upgrades Cache Speed Old SRP New SRP Reduction
300 MHz MACh Speed G3 200 $449 $359 -20%
333 MHz MACh Speed G3 167 $459 $399 -13%
366 MHz MACh Speed G3 183 $579 $489 -16%
400 MHz MACh Speed G3 200 $599 $599
300 MHz MACh Carrier G3 200 $499 $399 -20%
333 MHz MACh Carrier G3 167 $529 $429 -19%
366 MHz MACh Carrier G3 183 $649 $529 -18%
400 MHz MACh Carrier G3 200 $669 $629 -06%
450 MHz MACh Carrier G3 225 $799 $749 -06%
500 MHz MACh Carrier G3 250 $999
300 MHz MACh Speed G3z 200 $359 $299 -17%
333 MHz MACh Speed G3z 167 $379 $349 -08%
366 MHz MACh Speed G3z 183 $499 $449 -10%
400 MHz MACh Speed G3z 200 $549 $559 -02%
450 MHz MACh Speed G3z 225 $679 $599 -12%
466 MHz MACh Speed G3z 233 $699 $599 -14%
500 MHz MACh Speed G3z 250 $899

Both products are available immediately. The MACh Speed G3z 500Mhz sells for US$899, while the upgradeable upgrade card, the MACh Carrier G3 500Mhz, is listed for US$999. For more information, please visit the XLR8 web site.


[8:30 AM] Power On Expands Mac Utility Empire With ACTION WYSIWYG

Power On Software has released Action WYSIWYG. Action WYSIWYG is a font management application allowing users easy access to fonts from most any program. Unlike some font management applications, Action WYSIWYG displays all fonts in a multi-column format, eliminating the need to scroll through a long font list to reach a desired font. According to Power On:

ACTION WYSIWYG can display more fonts on screen simultaneously than any other product available, making it an indispensable utility for graphics professionals or anyone who uses more than a few fonts. It is ideally suited for users who need to instantly see what their documents will look like as they select different fonts. ACTION WYSIWYG offers the following features and benefits:

  • View all available fonts in their actual typeface, thereby eliminating any guesswork as to how a finished document will look. Compatible with all major programs, including Adobe products , Quark Xpress, and Microsoft Office.
  • Multiple column view of all available fonts - Instead of having to scroll hundreds of fonts, which can be annoyingly slow, ACTION WYSIWYG shows all available fonts instantly in a unique multi-column display that expedites the process of selecting the correct font for the job.
  • Display only the fonts you need for the job by assigning fonts to specific programs, thereby eliminating those fonts that you don't need for a particular application.
  • Group fonts by family - ACTION WYSIWYG automatically collects and groups fonts into submenus by family.
  • Customizable font menus - Users can reorder their font menus and assign a size and color for displaying each font, thereby making font selection even easier. Rearranging is as simple as pointing and clicking.
  • On the fly display activation - Just hold down a modifier key to see the names of the fonts without viewing them in WYSIWYG mode. This is ideal for all symbol fonts such as dingbats and bar codes.

An electronic version of ACTION WYSIWYG is priced at US$29.95 and is available now from Power On's web site. In addition, the retail-packaged software is available at dealers and mail order resellers worldwide, with an estimated street price of US$39.95. Owners of ACTION Files and ACTION GoMac, two of the award winning products in the ACTION Utilities suite, are also eligible for special pricing. You can find more information at the company's web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: Power On is quickly becoming a power house in the Mac utilities market. ACTIONFiles, ACTIONGoMac, ACTION WYSIWYG, as well as the other products they have purchased, including DiskLock, Now Up-To-Date, and Now Contact, are among the best utilities on the market.

Power On Software

[8:30 AM] New Site Offering Free Desktop Images Launched

The design firm Manual Labor has launched a new website devoted to desktop design called will feature new computer-generated desktop images each week. According to Manual Labor:, a new Web site that provides exciting new desktop graphics for Macintosh and Windows computers -- one new image every week, in fact. focuses on computer-generated textures, not scanned or photographed images. Images will range from the abstract and surreal to realistic images. All images are free for use as desktop images.

Artists are invited to submit their work to It can be a great way to get exposure for their work. Contributors retain rights to their art and agree only to allow their art to be featured and be licensed as desktop art for users.

The site, which is newly launched, will be adding archive sections and other resources, and all images are free. For more information on downloading or submitting original desktop artwork, HEad to the web site.

[8:30 AM] MacRevolution Continues To Expand Mac-Only ISP Services

The Macintosh only ISP, MacRevolution, has announced availability from over 1300 access points in The States and Canada, including DSL service to over 200 cities. According to MacRevolution:

MacRevolution has now become the largest Mac-only ISP! MacRevolution is proud to announce that they have expanded to over 1300 access locations throughout the United States and Canada, including access to Alaska and Hawaii. Expansion also includes DSL services to over 200 cities throughout the United States and an expansion to their Webhosting program with additional high-speed lines and more Macintosh G3 servers.

MacRevolution offers unlimited internet access for US$18.99 a month. For more information, please visit the MacRevolution web site.

The Mac Observer Spin: For the service area to expand as it has is a testament to both MacRevolution's business accumen, as well as the state of the Mac Market. This expansion is made possible by agreements with a myriad of companies who are handling some of the physical connectivity aspects. Those agreements would not be possible without a basic belief in MacRevolution's business model as well as the basic strength of the Mac market by those companies with whom MacRevolution is dealing. Congratualtions to MacRevolution!


[8:30 AM] New AppleScript Web Site Launched

Greg Spence has launched a new web site dedicated to scripting via AppleScript at AppleScript is a system-level scripting language allowing automation and customization of control over applications and the MacOS itself. If you are using System 7.5 or later, you already have everything you need to get started scripting. According to Greg Spence:

We have just launched a new site for AppleScripters and were wondering if we were worthy of a mention in your news section. We offer a fresh new approach to the scripting community, with new content and weekly updates, featured scripts, a bulletin board, and more.

So go check out web site for more information!

The Mac Observer Spin: This is an information packed site that adds to the other great AppleScript sites on the Net. If you have any interest in AppleScript, we definitely recommend that you check it out.

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