Thursday, September 30, 1999
Mac OS Rumors believes
that dual- and quad-processor Power Mac G4s will be introduced
at next year’s Macworld New York. MOSR believes that Apple
wants to get symmetrical multiprocessing (SMP) fully up to speed
in Mac OS X before shipping its multiprocessor machines. According
Apple showed multiprocessor G4s to select vendors at Seybold San
Francisco earlier this month. I place my bets that Apple at least announces multiprocessor
G4s by April 2000, and an announcement at Macworld San Francisco
in January certainly wouldn’t surprise me.
Apple released a DVD-ROM update for
its G3 PowerBooks with bronze keyboards. The update is meant to
solve system hangs during bootup.
Casady & Greene revved Spell Catcher to 8.0.1 today. Spell
Catcher is a system-wide spelling checker with many useful text-manipulation
features as well as a dictionary and thesaurus. There are far too
many additions, improvements and fixes in the update to
list here. For details, see the release
notes. Spell Catcher is my favorite Mac OS utility. On Sunday,
October 3, look for a complete review (which has turned out to
be a decent tutorial, too) of Spell Catcher 8 on my review section.
I have a photo of Spell Catcher’s author, Evan Gross, that
I will post here soon. I took the photo when I met Mr Gross at
Macworld New York.
Our favorite iCEO will hold a special Apple
Event on Tuesday, October 5 at 1 pm ET. Jobs is expected
to announce the new iMac.
MacFixIt notes a confirmation
from Adobe technical support confirming that both ATM and ATM Deluxe
are incompatible with Mac OS 9, as is Adobe Type Reunion Deluxe.
explanation of some of these terms.) Reportedly, versions 4.5.2
of both ATMs and version 2.5.2 of ATR are in active development
and are scheduled for an early-November release. Overall, that’s
a very prompt response from Adobe. The last date I read for a ship
date of Mac OS 9 is October 23. (And maybe you already know the
story about ship dates. That's the date the software is shipped
to distributors.) I hereby wager another bet—that the new
font software from Adobe will ship about the same time that the
general (in other words, those of us who haven’t had dinner
with either of the two Steves) Macintosh community takes delivery
of Mac OS 9.
In another story MacFixIt notes
that PressReady isn’t ready, at least for the HP LaserJet
4000 and 5000 series workgroup printers, the HP 895C and 1120C
and the Epson Stylus Color 3000. Problems range from simply being
unable to access the inkjets through parallel-to-USB converters,
to actually crashing the printers (the latter of which may not
be the fault of PressReady).
Wednesday, September 29, 1999
Netscape Communicator 4.7
was released last night. It still contains StuffIt Expander 4.5
and an old version of the Flash plug-in. The big new feature of
4.7 is a “Shop” button on the toolbar. I can report
more when I read the still-unposted release notes.
MetaCreations revved Bryce to
version 4.0.1 (2.6M)
late yesterday. According to the Bryce Web site,
the update fixes a few small bugs and adds a new volumetric shading
mode, which enables the creation of more realistic clouds and other
gaseous forms. Bryce is a tool for creating three-dimensional landscapes
and exporting those images in a variety of still or animated formats.
Extensis released version 4.1.1 of Portfolio,
its media asset-management software. The new
version fully supports QuickTime 4, FlashPix, Flash, MP3 and
streaming media. A 30-day demo is
available, as is a free browser-only
version. Portfolio 4.1 requires at least System 7.5.3 and a Power
Mac. The full client version of the product retails for $199.95;
upgrades from earlier versions of Portfolio and Adobe Fetch are
$99.95. I use Portfolio several times each week and heartily recommend
Tuesday, September 28, 1999
Yesterday MetaCreations announced Painter
6. According to MetaCreations, Painter now features an integrated
vector- and pixel-based environment, text on a path, new brush
technologies, many interface tweaks, improved performance, support
for CMYK TIFF output and more. A Power Mac with 32M RAM and OS
8 are required. The new Painter is expected to ship September 30.
The package is available for $399 and upgrades are $149. If you’re
associated with an educational institution, you may wish to purchase
from a place like Journey Education,
who has the new Painter for $239. Amazon.com notes that graphic
artist and author Sherry London will have the 1000-page Painter
6 In Depth available in March 2000.
As many of you may already know, the Tour and Training CD-ROM
that accompanied the initial shipment of Photoshop 5.5 will only
work with QuickTime 3. Yesterday Adobe released an update (1.6M)
that will allow the movies on the CD-ROM to work with QuickTime
4. To use the update, simply download the updater, decompress it,
insert your Tour and Training CD, then launch the Overview file
that’s located in the folder that was created when you decompressed
the updater. Launching the Overview file will open the appropriate
files on the Photoshop 5.5 Tour and Training CD.
Mac OS Planet notes that
the keyboard power button works very differently from previous
Mac systems. Now pressing the keyboard button when the machine
is on causes the machine to enter sleep mode. Pressing the button
again simply takes the machine out of sleep mode. To actually shut
down the machine, you must go to the Special menu and choose Shut
Down. Hmmm... But that ain’t the way I’ve been doin’ it
for the last decade!
BoxTop Software was quick in releasing another update of GIFmation.
Version 2.3.1 provides
better error reporting and small bug fixes. GIFmation is BoxTop’s
$49.95 comprehensive GIF animation solution.
Sandwater today introduced a suite of
six new Photoshop filters. Selling for $50, the suite includes
the following filters:
1. Aetherize—adds dreamly, cloud-like effect
2. Twist—tosses pixels into a vortex
3. Swerve—turns chunks of your image into fractals
4. Lacquer—gives your images a painterly texture quality
5. Silver—when applied to shapes, this filter looks like
flowing neon liquid
6. Glare—creates a glare in your image
Sandwater also offers 4 free filters for Photoshop.
1. ChromaSolarize—a contrast filter that
gives your images a surreal quality
2. Tachyon—inverts brightness values while keeping hues
3. Ghost—creates a smoked-glass look by changing brightness
4. Make Opaque—fills transparent areas with nearest color
Nikon announced its new CoolPix
800 digital camera. The new camera features 1600 x 1200 resolution
from a 0.5-inch CCD and 2x Nikkor lens (38-76mm). With the 800
you can shoot up to 40 images at 30 frames per second in high-speed
continuous mode. The camera accepts the same wide-angle, fish-eye
and telephoto lenses that are available for the CoolPix 950.
The camera weighs 9.5 ounces, will ship in November and will
cost about $700. See a
Friday, September 24, 1999
MacCentral senior columnist Dennis Sellers says that
Motorola’s G5 processor should have a clock speed of over
2GHz and be available by 2002 “at the latest.” David
K. Every of MacKiDo offers a different opinion in “G5
Apple’s stock has tumbled by about 20 percent since it announced
that it would report lower earnings than Wall Street expected.
In a press release Apple blamed Motorola, its supplier of the new
G4 chip, for not being able to fill its orders. Motorola volleyed
its own press release claiming that it had advised Apple all along
regarding the difficulty in ramping up production of the new chip.
Various Web sites have had different views on who’s really
to blame. What is becoming clear, though, is that Motorola is likely
going to use the excess manufacturing capacity of AMD’s microprocessor
fabrication facility in Dresden, Germany. It looks as though Motorola
and AMD will be partnering to produce enough PowerPC G4 processors
to meet demand. I look forward to receiving the next issue of the Macintosh
Weekly Journal tomorrow so that I can get the facts straight
about this new “alliance.” How are Motorola and AMD
going to avoid stealing each other’s secrets. Are Motorola
and AMD going to work in tandem to deliver the world’s fastest
microprocessors, with some agreement that they aren’t going
to compete against each other? How will this work?
Digital imaging guru Deke McClelland reviews Adobe
In a MacWEEK article today,
Adobe InDesign Product Manager David Evans tells some of what lies
ahead for Adobe’s flagship page-layout product. Evans says
the next major release of InDesign will arrive sooner than expected,
that the next version will feature a plug-ins manager and a new
set of tools for long documents. Evans also said that InDesign
isn’t written to take advantage of OS X, but that Adobe is
monitoring OS X development. I don’t understand why this
information merits an entire MacWEEK article. Adobe InDesign is
a plug-ins manager itself. The core application is only 1.7M but
the application folder weighs in at over 90M. The function of the
application is to keep up with all the plug-ins and libraries and
help those components communicate with each other through Apple
My Lawrenceville, Georgia neighbor ImageXpress revved its venerable ScanPrepPro to
version 3.5.5 yesterday. The new ScanPrepPro is compatible with
Photoshop 5.5 and Mac OS 7.5-8.6, features improved CMYK profiling
and better support for Internet images. ScanPrepPro is a Photoshop
plug-in that seeks to both bolster image quality and simplify image
acquisition and processing. The price for the full package has
gone from about $1500 a few years ago to $495 today. Upgrades are
$85-185, depending on the version you’re upgrading from.
A fully-functional demo is
IBM yesterday introduced a
new color laser printer. The Infoprint Color 8 outputs 600 x 600
at up to 8 pages per minute in a single pass. The printer supports
Adobe PostScript 3 and PCL 5c. The new printer is available now
and costs $2700.
Thursday, September 23, 1999
The busy coders at Taylor Design have revved TextSpresso to
1.5. According to the TextSpresso manual, the new
version features automatic filter updating; three new commands—Clear
Character, History To Filter and Paste Quote; and adds two new
quoting filters and one new dash filter. The regular price of TextSpresso
dropped to $20.
Internet service providers EarthLink and MindSpring agreed today
to merge early next year. The new company will bear the EarthLink
moniker. Executives from both companies will head the new company.
Charles Betty, current CEO of EarthLink, will serve as the new
EarthLink CEO, and Charles Brewer, MindSpring CEO, will serve as
chairman. When the two companies merge they will serve over three
million subscribers. The new EarthLink will be based out of MindSpring’s
headquarters in Atlanta.
Wednesday, September 22, 1999
MetaCreations shipped KPT
Vector Effects 1.5 for Adobe Illustrator 7 and 8 today. From
the Vector Effects Web page, it looks like version 1.5 is a compatibility
release for Illustrator users. I didn’t see any new filters
that weren’t a part of the original Vector Effects package.
Vector Effects 1.5 is a suite of filters for Adobe Illustrator
7 and 8 only. Version 1 of Vector Effects is compatible with FreeHand
5.5-8.0.1b and Illustrator 5 and 7. Vector Effects 1.5 is selling
for $149.95, with upgrades priced at $39.95. I use FreeHand 8 and
have found the Vector Effects plug-ins handy. I don’t know
if MetaCreations is still selling the original version.
Ledge and Mac OS Rumors are
reporting that nVidia video cards are headed for the Mac. MacGamer’s
Ledge says that nVidia has commissioned the development of Mac
OS-compatible drivers for its cards. Currently, graphics card
performance and the availability of multiprocessor machines are
the only hardware areas where PCs outshine our Macs. If you have
comments or additional information, I’d love to hear from
Xerox and Tektronix today signed a deal in which Xerox will acquire
Tektronix’s color printing division for $950 million. According
to the Associated Press/Nando Media article,
this deal will make “Xerox second only to Hewlett-Packard
in the office color printing market.” Tektronix is the producer
of the Phaser line of color laser and solid-ink printers.
Tuesday, September 21, 1999
Our ever-eavesdropping friends over at Mac OS Rumors today opine that
by the middle of next year, Apple will be shipping boxes sporting
800+MHz G4 processors with more than 1M of L3 cache, putting Apple
in a position to easily “crush” Merced. These comments
appear in an article that predicts availability of the world’s
first mobile supercomputers by the time of Apple’s
Worldwide Developers Conference next May.
Adobe notes today
that if you’re using AdobePS 8.6, you shouldn’t be
using PDFWriter. Instead, Adobe says, you should use its free Create
Adobe PDF 4.0 (4.2M).
This new plug-in allows Acrobat 4 users to create PDFs directly
from the AdobePS 8.6 printer driver, obviating the need to create
a PostScript file and launch Distiller.
The Web mavens at Boxtop Software yesterday released an update to GIFmation.
According the Boxtop Web site, the 2.3 update “adds QuickTime
4.0 effects, even better optimization and boasts a tremendous speed
improvement.” GIFmation is a $50 GIF animation solution designed
to produce the smallest file size, offering advanced animation
and alignment controls and up to 16x zoomable previews and more.
Utilities for Macintosh 5.0 and Norton
Anti-Virus for Macintosh 6.0 officially began shipping today.
Norton Utilities is a suite of utilities that includes Disk Doctor
and Speed Disk. Norton Utilities is now integrated with Norton
Anti-Virus when these two products are installed together. Disk
Doctor’s purpose is to scan your hard drives and files
for damage, repairing most damage that occurs under regular (and
sometimes not-so-regular) use. According to Symantec, the new
Disk Doctor can now be run on the boot drive and features an
undo feature that can restore your drives to their condition
before Disk Doctor was run. The purpose of Norton Speed Disk
is to arrange your files so that each file is stored to disk
in contiguous blocks. Such an arrangement optimizes performance
of your drives. Reportedly, the new Speed Disk will also optimize
your drives’ directories. Symantec says that the new Norton
Anti-Virus features faster scans, faster auto-updating and now
uses Apple Guide. Symantec’s new upgrades (at least the
boxed versions) feature bootable CD-ROMs that are supposed boot
all PowerPC-based Macs. Norton Utilities 5.0 costs $100; upgrades
are $50. Norton Anti-Virus 6.0 costs $70; upgrades are $30.
I have both Symantec upgrades on backorder but haven’t received
them yet. Today I noticed that the Symantec Store has downloadable
versions of these products available from its Web site. I don’t
know if the downloadable versions of these products come with a
disk image that can be used to build a bootable maintenance or
emergency CD. I think that they would not come with such a disk
image. I’ll post an update when I find out. Nevertheless,
if you, too, haven’t yet received your boxed copy of Norton
Utilities 5.0, you can download 30-day, fully-functional demos
Doctor and Speed
Disk from Symantec’s Web site. I couldn’t find
such a demo for Norton Anti-Virus.
Epson is offering Stylus
Color 900G customers a $199 FireWire option. There is no information
on Epson’s Web site regarding a performance comparison between
printing via USB and printing via FireWire. An interesting comparison
would be see the two data transfer interfaces’ performance
compared when printing standard QuickDraw documents and when printing
documents created by either the Epson or Birmy PostScript software
Monday, September 20, 1999
Today Apple issued a press
release stating that this quarter’s earnings would be
less than expected due to a shortage of G4 shipments from Motorola.
Steve Jobs said that
“Apple has received orders for over 150,000 Power Mac
G4s since the product was announced three weeks ago, and we regret
that we will not be able to ship them all this quarter. This
is a temporary issue, and we hope to catch up early in the coming
Motorola argues that it has advised Apple on a daily basis regarding
its ability to fulfill Apple’s orders, stating in its own press
release that “The only time a company does not encounter
these kinds of challenges during a product launch is when it produces
a chip nobody wants to buy.”
MacWEEK reporter Daniel Drew Turner had a conversation about
the next generation of PowerPC processors, G5, with Motorola’s
PowerPC marketing director Will Swearington. In the conversation,
Swearington says that the 64-bit G5 will run older, 32-bit applications
in native mode. Turner notes that Intel’s next generation
of processors, codenamed Merced, will also be 64 bit but will run
the older, 32-bit applications only under emulation, which means
that users of the older applications won’t see the speed
benefits of the new processor. The G5 processor should debut at
2GHz or higher, which will give the G5 an enormous speed advantage
over Merced. Unfortunately, Swearington wouldn’t comment
on when the G5 will ship. On a related note, Turner notes that
the G4 will move to silicon-on-insulator (SOI) fabrication, but
couldn’t get a comment on a shipping date from Swearington.
Swearington did say that Motorola has had SOI G4s running in its
labs for several years. Turner quotes the Microprocessor Report
as saying SOI “can boost microprocessor speeds by up to 35
percent over conventional bulk-CMOS processes...”
In another MacWEEK article,
Apple’s Phil Schiller, vice president of worldwide marketing,
said that Mac OS X Client won’t be made available for third-party
systems running on the CHRP-based PowerPC platform. Schiller also
stated that Mac OS X Client “will only run on Apple hardware
equipped with a G3 or G4 processor.” I wish MacWEEK had asked
Schiller if X would run on first- and second-generation Power Macs
that have been upgraded with a G3 or G4 processors. The article
also puts Schiller on record as stating that Mac OS X Client will
ship in early 2000, possibly as soon as January’s Macworld
Expo in San Francisco. I personally believe that Jobs will announce
Mac OS X and give it a March ship date.
AppleInsider posted 36 screenshots of
Mac OS 9 and stated that problems with ATM, Adobe Type Reunion,
Stuffit Deluxe, Suitcase, MasterJuggler, and Norton AntiVirus and
File Saver still remain.
Insider Software released an 8.0.1 update for FontAgent today.
The update will cause FontAgent to remain unlocked even if you
boot with extensions disabled or install a new System Folder. FontAgent
is a utility that optimizes your font configuration by organizing
and examining your fonts, repairing damaged fonts and deleting
duplicate fonts. FontAgent isn’t designed to replace Suitcase,
ATM Deluxe or MasterJuggler.
Wednesday, September 15, 1999
The iBook began shipping today, said Steve Jobs at the Apple Expo
in Paris, France. Jobs reported that there were 160,000 preorders
for the Apple’s stylish new portable, and that figure doesn’t
include the Japanese market, which has traditionally been a strong
portable market for Apple.
Though Apple didn’t unveil any new products at the Paris
Expo, Adaptec announced two new ultra-high performance SCSI cards
for PCI Macs. These are the first cards to support the new Ultra160
standard. The PowerDomain 39160 and the PowerDomain 29160N can
transfer data at an alarming rate of 160M/sec, though in order
to realize the speed of these new cards, you must use hard drives
that are designed to work with these cards. The PowerDomain 39160
is a dual-channel card that can connect up to 30 SCSI devices,
whereas the 29160N is a single-channel card that’s supposed
to feature “aggressive pricing.” Pricing wasn’t
announced for the 29160N, but pricing for the 39160 was set at
$555. Both cards feature Adaptec’s SpeedFlex, which means
that all devices on the SCSI chain can operate at their maximum
speeds. This is pretty slick; previously, when you put a slower
hard drive on your SCSI chain, the entire bus slowed down to accommodate
the slowest device. The 39160 is shipping now and the 29160N will
ship later this fall.
David K. Every of MacKiDo gives his opinion on
what’s in store for the PowerPC and offers an estimate of
when we’ll likely see the next generations of PowerPC processors.
Corporate restructuring is the soup de jour at Extensis,
as Extensis today becomes a subsidiary of Creativepro.com, Inc.
According to the press
release, “Creativepro.com Inc. is the parent company
of the Extensis Products Group, makers of software productivity
tools for creative professionals.”
A ha! Thanks to a swift reply from Oleg Okhrimets at Panopticum,
I can now offer you a link to
a really cool—and free—Photoshop plug-in! (See “Alpha
Strip” in yesterday’s news.)
Tuesday, September 14, 1999
MacInTouch posted a real-world review of
Adobe PressReady 1.0, concluding that the new RIP rocks in overall
quality but misses a few points for folks on the high end of the
color proofing market.
Motorola yesterday announced
its roadmap for the PowerPC
processor. Upon looking at the document, I found it difficult to
discern the years in which the G5 and G6 series of processors are
going to be introduced. (I’m sure that was Motorola’s
intention.) The G4 is slated to migrate to silicon-on-insulator
(SOI) technology and reach a clockspeed of 1GHz. The G5 is slated
to handle over 2GHz and will feature an extensible architecture,
a new pipeline, new bus topology and will eventually become a 64-bit
chip but retain backward compatibility.
Panopticum introduced Alpha
Strip today. This $40 Photoshop plug-in facilitates the creation
of masks from fields of geometric figures. Even if you don’t
buy the plug-in, just looking at its interface will
give you some creative ideas. Panopticum was offering a free
filter called “Strip.” I was unable to locate Strip
on Panopticum’s Web site but will update this tidbit if
I find it.
Taylor Design gave TextSpresso AppleScript
support with its 1.4
release. TextSpresso is the Swiss Army knife of text-manipulation
utlities. With TextSpresso you can easily convert HTML to plain,
untagged text, get rid of PC line feeds and other unnecessary carriage
returns, implement ligatures, smarten quotes or make them straight
and more. TextSpresso features 100 levels of undo and allows you
to create your own text-manipulation filters based on predefined
filter categories. Like Text Cleaner, TextSpresso is a Tucows 5-cow
product, but unlike the $79 Text Cleaner, TextSpresso is $29 ($19
After reaching as high as 78 1/2 today, Apple’s stock closed
at 77 13/16, setting another 12-year high.
Belatedly, I posted the PDF version of the September/October issue of Maclanta, the
bimonthly newsletter of the Atlanta
Macintosh Users Group.
Monday, September 13, 1999
Ric Ford offers a review of
the new Yikes Power Mac. His review serves as a good reference
for understanding the performance difference the new G4 processor
makes when most other variables are held constant.
In this week’s column Mac
the Knife predicts that multiprocessor G4s will be a reality sooner
rather than later. The Mac community’s favorite utensil reports
that Apple demonstrated multiprocessor machines behind closed doors
to select vendors at Seybold.
According to AppleInsider we’re
likely to require updates for Extensis Suitcase, the StuffIt Engine
and Adobe Type Manager when we upgrade to Mac OS 9 in October.
Reportedly, an updated version of ATM will accompany Sonata’s
release, and Extensis is always on the ball with timely updates.
Let’s hope that the new version of our favorite OS doesn’t
require us to battle system conflicts as we did back in the days
of System 7.5.
Studio 405 updated Text
Cleaner to version 1.6. The update provides improved performance,
removal of PC line feeds and text cleaning within QuarkXPress
documents. Text Cleaner 1.6 also permits a 30-day demo. See a
screenshot of the Text Cleaner interface. Studio 405 advises
those of you who install the new version of Text Cleaner to remove
the previous version’s entire folder. Text Cleaner costs
$79 but its little brother, Text Cleaner Lite 1.5.2,
is free. Text Cleaner was rated 5 out of 5 cows by Tucows.
Sunday, September 12, 1999
Graphic Converter was
revved to version 3.7.1 (update, full).
Release notes for the update are available on the Graphic Converter history page.
Graphic Converter imports 120 graphic file formats and exports about
40 formats, features batch conversion and an image browser. Graphic
Converter is a $35 shareware product from Lemke Software.
Saturday, September 11, 1999
Strider Software updated TypeStyler to
version 3.46.3 (no, that’s not an error). According to Strider’s
Web site, the update “adds
CMYK support to files exported as EPS, fixes a bug that prevented
proper exporting of TS documents when using the Small Caps feature
as well as a couple of minor bugs uncovered in TS3.46 and TS3.46.2.”
Consortium endorsed Starnine’s WebSTAR suite
of Mac OS-based Internet servers, stating that WebSTAR servers
are more secure than Unix-based or Windows-based Internet servers.
Friday, September 10, 1999
Adobe shipped PressReady
1.0, a software-based PostScript solution for select inkjet
printers. As of the shipping date, PressReady supports only the
Epson Stylus Color 800, 850, 1520 and 3000; HP DeskJets 895C, 1120C
and 2000C; and Canon’s BJC-8500. The software is available
for $149 for a limited time, after which the estimated street price
is expected to be $249. Registration entitles the registrant to
18 months of product updates, which are expected to include support
for a broader range of inkjet printers. I hope this RIP (raster
image processor) supports my Epson Stylus Photo EX in the near
Adobe posted a 4.0.1 update for GoLive,
its flagship Web authoring software. According to Adobe’s
Web site, the “update fixes several problems that occur with
Adobe GoLive 4.0. GoLive 4.0.1 delivers improved overall stability
and usability, especially with Mac OS 8.6. The functionality and
feature set of the application have not changed.”
Semplice Software made the elegant Font
Gander Pro 1.6 available for download from its Web site (also
from my mirror).
Font Gander Pro is the best solution for browsing fonts. You
don’t even have to install the fonts in order to preview
them at high resolution. Gander Quill, a part of Font Gander
Pro, is an excellent utility for creating custom type templates
for printing samples of your type. This terrific type utility
is easily worth the $35 registration fee. Publish magazine
awarded 4.5 stars (out of 5) to Font Gander Pro.
Thursday, September 9, 1999
Steve Jobs was appointed to Gap Inc.’s Board of Directors.
Jobs recently added Millard (“Mickey”) Drexler, CEO and
Chairman of Gap Inc, to Apple’s Board. This means that Jobs
is a leader in three billion-dollar companies. He should be required
to write an autobiography.
Tuesday, September 7, 1999
Apple made its QuickTime 4.0.3
update available. According to the Mac
Resource Page, version 4.0.3 “updates the QuickTime and
QuickTime PowerPlug Extensions; the QuickTime (browser) plugin;
the QuickTime Authoring, Capture, Image, Internet Extras, Web Helper,
and Streaming Extensions; and the QuickTime Updater itself.”
Apple’s stock reached 76 3/8.
September 4-5, 1999
Over the weekend, Irving Kwong, manager of Microsoft’s Macintosh
Business Unit, emailed Mac news sites to inform them that Internet
Explorer 5 will ship this winter and Outlook Express 5 will ship
Friday, September 3, 1999
Apple’s stock reached a 12-year high, closing at 73 1/2.
Tuesday, August 31, 1999
Apple brings the world’s first personal supercomputers to
market. Dr John Warnock of Adobe Systems hailed the G4 as being “the
fastest machine to run Adobe’s products.” Steve Jobs
said in his Seybold keynote address that the goal for designing
the G4 was to create the ultimate Photoshop machine. Given that
the new G4 was shown to complete a series of common Photoshop operations
nearly three times as fast as a 600MHz Pentium III-based Compaq,
I think Apple achieved its goal.
photo of the new G4.
warning (1.9M QuickTime 4 movie, for standard dialup connections)
warning (3.2M QuickTime 4 movie, for fast connections)
Adobe officially announced immediate availability of InDesign,
its self-proclaimed “Quark killer.” InDesign is the
professional-level successor to DTP stalwart PageMaker. InDesign
is based on an object-oriented, modular code base, which should
make InDesign a prime candidate for third-party add-ons, and for
easy, frequent updates from Adobe. InDesign is reported to sport
the most advanced typography engine in the world, the ability to
open QuarkXPress and PageMaker files, to publish PDF files directly
and many other features. InDesign retails for $740 but registered
users of QuarkXPress, Photoshop or PageMaker can get a single-user
license for the new DTP heavyweight contender for $299.
This Web space was created on July
13. In the coming months, Macintosh, Internet and publishing-related
information will be posted here.
Visit our personal
“On paper this should work, but in the
long run the only paper bearing a technology that works like
it’s supposed to is toilet paper.”
—Richard A. Gordon
Sunday, December 5, 1999
Check out the hottest new Mac site I’ve
seen in a long time. This site contains great ammo to use on Windroids.
The LA Times is credited with stating that “Steve Jobs
and Steve Wozniak, inventors of the Apple computer, were recently
named the 5th most influential businessmen of this century. Bill
Gates is 50th.”
Wednesday, October 20, 1999
Microsoft released Outlook Express 5.0 yesterday (9.1M).
Outlook Express is Microsoft’s free email and news client.
New features of this release include (from the ReadMe):
- Address AutoComplete—Type an address in a message, and
Outlook Express shows names and addresses of contacts in your
Address Book that match, whether you type a first name, last
name, nickname or email address.
- Smart Attachments—Sending and receiving email with attachments
is easy—even when the sender and recipient are using different
email programs and computing platforms. In the Attachments pane,
located just below the addressing window, you can add and remove
file attachments, and change attachment settings. By default
Outlook Express encodes attachments using AppleDouble format,
which can be read by both Macintosh and Windows operating systems
alike. Other encoding formats are also available.
- Improved Preview Pane—In the Preview pane, you can easily
read email and perform common email tasks without opening a separate
message window. For example, you can use buttons in the Preview
pane to increase the size of text and rewrap text so that it’s
easier to read a message.
- One Key Read—Save time by minimizing the number of key
strokes and mouse actions required to read messages. Press the
spacebar to scroll through a message. At the end of the message,
press the spacebar again to move to the next unread message.
- Info Bar—Located at the top of messages you receive,
contains important information about the message. For example,
if you replied to a message, the Info Bar includes the date you
replied and provides a link so that you can view your reply.
If you performed more than one action on a message, a link appears
so that you can view the history of the message.
- Advanced Find—Use the Advanced Find dialog box to search
for messages by a wide variety of criteria, and by more than
one criterion at a time.
- Address Book Enhancements—In addition to storing email
addresses, home and work addresses and phone and fax numbers,
the Address Book has custom fields you can use to add any information
you want, such as birthdays or names of spouses. The Address
Book is also tightly integrated with messaging. For example,
when you address a message, you automatically access addresses
in your Address Book. And when you receive a message from someone,
you can easily add the sender to your Address Book.
- Microsoft Office-like Appearance and Behavior—It’s
now easier to switch between Outlook Express and Microsoft Office
programs. For example, Outlook Express menus are now similar
to Office menus. For text editing, you can also use keyboard
shortcuts that match those in Microsoft Word.
- Account Setup Assistant—You can easily set up mail, news,
and directory service accounts by using the new Account Setup
Assistant. This six-step wizard makes it easy to quickly configure
your existing accounts or create a new Hotmail account.
- Easy importing—You can import messages, contacts, rules,
signatures and account information directly from several other
email programs, as well as from earlier versions of Outlook Express.
If you are switching from a program that Outlook Express can
not import directly from, you can still import your contacts
by exporting the information to a text file and then importing
the text file. Outlook Express automatically matches data fields
in the imported text file to its own data fields, so information
stays exactly as you intended.
- Junk Mail Filter—If you regularly receive junk email,
Outlook Express can help you manage it by automatically identifying
potential junk messages. In the Junk Mail Filter dialog box,
you can specify how you want to distinguish messages identified
as potential junk mail. For example, you can make the messages
a different color from your other messages, mark them as read
or run an AppleScript to handle them.
- Error Log—Outlook Express includes a new error-reporting
system. If your workflow is interrupted by an error, such as
a connection or protocol problem, Outlook Express displays a
dialog box that describes the problem and, if appropriate, offers
guidance in correcting it. An error log is kept for reference
until you quit Outlook Express.
- Schedules—Automate certain tasks by creating a schedule
that specifies what you want Outlook Express to do and when you
want it done. Outlook Express then performs the tasks at the
time you specified.
- Mailing List Manager—The new Mailing List Manager helps
you manage the messages you receive from the mailing lists you
subscribe to. The Mailing List Manager can automatically sort
and file these messages, so that you can keep them separate from
your personal and business messages.
- Multiuser Support—Outlook Express supports users who
share a computer by storing separate account information and
Preference settings for each user. Outlook Express also supports
the new multiuser functionality available in Mac OS 9 and later.
- Multiple Accounts—Outlook Express makes it easy to manage
multiple email accounts. You can switch among a number of POP,
IMAP and Hotmail accounts.
- Hotmail Support—Now you can use Outlook Express to send
and receive messages from a Hotmail account rather than connect
to the Hotmail Web site with a Web browser.
- IMAP Support—Store your IMAP messages in server folders
for sent messages, draft messages, and deleted messages. You
can also create rules that apply to IMAP messages.
- Synchronization with 3Com Palm Connected Organizers—Outlook
Express includes built-in support for sharing contacts with Palm
connected organizers ensuring that you have the most current
information in both Outlook Express and your Palm organizer.
Additional Features in Outlook Express 5
- Drag and drop installation with self-healing lets you quickly
install and launch Outlook Express 5.
- If Microsoft Office is installed on your computer, you can
easily check spelling in your messages. You can choose to check
spelling as you type messages or all at once when you send them.
You can also switch spelling dictionaries without quitting and
restarting Outlook Express.
- The Mail Merge feature in Microsoft Word lets you easily address
letters and envelopes to your Outlook Express contacts.
- Improvements to Unicode, character set encodings, and newsgroup
encodings makes it easy to send attachments and receive messages
composed in other languages.
For more information visit the Official
Outlook Express Web Site. Another great Outlook Express site
is the Unofficial Outlook
Express Web Site. Outlook Express is one of three primary
products developed by the Microsoft Business Unit, a division
of Microsoft created in 1997 to develop market-leading Mac OS
Mac OS Rumors and AppleInsider report
that Apple is hard at work to bring multiprocessor G4s to market.
Both sites speculate that the high-powered machines could arrive
at approximately the same time as Mac OS X early next year.
Friday, October 15, 1999
Apple did reverse its decision to cancel all advance orders for
G4s. In the wee hours of this morning, Apple sent the following
Dear Valued Apple Store Customer,
Yesterday the Apple Store decided to cancel all G4 orders placed
before October 13. After a good night’s sleep and digesting
emails from many upset customers, we have decided to reverse
this decision. Please give us an opportunity to reinstate your
If you ordered a Power Mac G4 configured with a 400 MHz or 450
MHz processor prior to October 13, we will honor the original
price quoted for your order.
If you ordered a Power Mac G4 configured with a 500 MHz processor
prior to October 13, you can choose either the same configuration
with a 450 MHz processor at $350 less than your original order
price, or you may substitute any other configuration with a 450
MHz processor at the original prices in effect before October
Please call us at the Apple Store at 800-MY-APPLE for assistance
in reinstating your original order. We apologize for any inconvenience
we may have caused you.
The Apple Store
In other news Adobe
is reportedly working on a new imaging application targeted for
consumers that will be released this winter.
The Macintosh News Network (MNN) has published an excellent guide to
Mac OS 9. Not only can you see many screenshots from the new OS,
but you can also see what problems you may encounter when you upgrade
and what you can do (or what’s being done by developers)
to solve those problems. Another great Mac OS 9 resource is MacFixIt’s Troubleshooting
Mac OS 9 Forum.
Thursday, October 14, 1999
Whoa! Hold on. It looks as though Apple may agree to go ahead and
ship 450MHz systems to those who ordered 500MHz G4s at a discounted
price. More later.
Apple reported its
fourth-quarter results yesterday, posting profits of $111 million
on revenues of $1.34 billion. This wasn’t as bad as Wall
Street or Apple had predicted. Apple CFO Fred Anderson blamed the
light revenue on an extensive product backlog of 400,000 systems
and increasing component costs. Anderson said that Apple shipped
772,000 systems during the quarter, with iMacs accounting for 58
percent, Power Macs 28 percent and PowerBooks 13 percent.
In an effort to fix things, Apple announced that
it’s going to sell the Power Mac G4 in 50-MHz lower configurations—350MHz,
400MHz and 450MHz—until the first calendar quarter of 2000.
Motorola is having technical difficulties in
getting the 500MHz G4 to pass quality-assurance testing and is
likely not to be able to ship the new chip in volume until the
first quarter of next year. What really ignited a firestorm of
posts on many public Mac forums late yesterday afternoon was that
Apple actually adjusted its pricing upward. The 450MHz Power
Mac G4 is now priced at the same level that the 500MHz G4 was priced
at before the kabash was put on the 500MHz chip until early next
year. Apple also cancelled all its orders for 500MHz systems. I
had a 500MHz G4 ordered for a client. When I received the cancellation
notice from the Apple Store, I was stunned.
In a telephone press conference Anderson said that
sharply increased memory prices resulted in the adjusted price
Good news from yesterday’s announcements include word that
Motorola signed an agreement with IBM for IBM to produce G4 chips.
We should see the fruits of this agreement in the first half of
Casady & Greene released the 8.0.6 update for Conflict
Catcher yesterday. According to the update’s ReadMe
file, the update
- Added Mac OS 9.0 All and Base sets.
- Updated the Clean-Install System Merge for Mac OS 9.0.
- New Reference Library with descriptions for over 4750 files
(including descriptions for Sherlock internet search sites).
- System Report recognizes the G4 Processor and the Velocity
- Fixed bug which caused the Clean-Install System Merge to fail
in some situations.
- Added SpeedTools and Control Strip groups.
- Fixes several minor bugs.
Extensis released version 4.1.1a of Portfolio,
its $200 media asset management tool. A 30-day demo is
available, as is a free browser-only
version. Portfolio requires at least System 7.5.3 and a Power
Mac. Portfolio has my vote for being easy-to-use, fast, versatile
and feature rich.
In other Apple news this week, Time magazine features Steve Jobs
on its cover (see picture).
Time features an
interview with Jobs, previews the new iMacs and discusses Pixar
and the upcoming Toy Story 2.
Sunday, October 10, 1999
Cool recent software updates include:
Icon 2.1—a contextual menu module that makes copying
and pasting custom icons a breeze. This new version adds the
ability to convert a Mac icon to a Windows .ico file.
- TextSpresso 1.5.2—text-manipulation
utility containing over 95 filters.
- URL Manager Pro 2.6—utility
dedicated to managing all of your bookmarks and other URLs. This
new version adds support for 32-bit icons and the iCab Web browser.
MP 1.1.1—update for arguably the best Mac OS MP3
encoder and player provides Mac OS 9 compatibility and QDesign
MouseWorks 5.3—driver for Kensington mice and trackballs.
Flash Writer 1.0—a plug-in for Illustrator 8 for
exporting Flash-formatted files.
Shockwave/Flash 7.02d159—the Web browser plug-ins
for playing Shockwave and Flash media gets stability and privacy
I added a review of
Casady & Green’s Spell Catcher 8 today. It shows lots
of screenshots and some of the cool stuff you can do with this
Thursday, October 7, 1999
Motorola announced a refined architecture for its G4 chip at this
week’s Microprocessor Forum in San Jose, California. According
Naras Iyengar, PowerPC Product Manager at Motorola, said that the
new architecture could boost the processor’s clock speed beyond
700MHz. The new architecture involves increasing the length of the
processor’s pipeline, which is the pathway each instruction
travels through the processor. Another signficant change will be
to bring the chip’s level-2 cache onto the processor itself.
What was not announced is when the new chips will be available to
Apple. Given the desire of Apple and Motorola to close the processor
clockspeed gap with x86 chip makers, I think the new chips will likely
be announced at Seybold next April and be available in May. Intel
and AMD will soon ship their 700MHz processors. Comparing the clockspeed
of one model of chip to the clockspeed of a different chip is analagous
to comparing apples to lemons. Most consumers aren’t aware
of that fact, and that perception disserves Motorola and IBM, the
developers of the PowerPC microprocessor.
Wednesday, October 6, 1999
Steve Jobs introduced the new iMacs at Flint Center in Cupertino,
California yesterday. Apple and Akamai servers were so overloaded
that many Mac faithful couldn’t access and view the live
presentation. Lots of new goodies were announced, the first of
which is three new iMacs.
||350MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 6G hard drive, 64M memory,
||400MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 10G hard drive, 64M memory,
DVD-ROM, iMovie software, 5 flavors
||400MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 13G hard drive, 128M memory,
DVD-ROM, iMovie software, graphite
Here’s a table that shows what the new iMacs offer that
the previous iMacs did not.
Previous iMac Features
|64-128M of memory standard
||32M of memory standard
|6-13G of hard disk storage
||3-6G of hard disk storage
|100MHz main system bus
||66MHz main system bus
|128-bit, 8M graphics accelerator on 2x AGP
||64-bit, 2-6M graphics accelerator on PCI
|No cooling fan for quieter operation
||Fan necessary to cool internal components
|Groovy sound with option to add subwoofer for true surround
|2 FireWire ports (2 higher-priced models only) for connecting
to high-speed peripherals such as hard drives and digital
|Easy-access slot for upgrading memory
||No easy access
|Support for AirPort wireless networking via $99 AirPort
||No AirPort support
Essential features the new iMacs inherit from their
forerunners include 10Base-T networking, v.90 56k fax/modem and
2 USB ports. If you purchase your new iMac from J&R Computers
or CompUSA and sign up for long-term CompuServe Internet access,
you’re eligible for a $400 rebate. The new iMacs are now
shipping in quantities of tens of thousands each week.
view of the new blueberry iMac.
view of the new graphite iMac.
view of the five flavors of iMac.
Jobs also announced the October 23 release of Mac
OS 9. The nine key features of the new OS include:
- Multi-user environment whereby each user has his or her own
Desktop and level of access.
- Sherlock2—find and shop for nearly anything on the
- VoicePrint passwords
- Keychain—a central repository for all of a user’s
- File Encryption
- Personal File Sharing over the Internet
- AppleScript that can now function over the Internet
- Enhanced Network Browser
- AutoUpdate—have your Mac automatically search for system
updates from Apple
Mac OS 9 will also bring along a lot of headaches if third-party
developers don’t offer updates and/or patches for their products.
See Monday’s news for details.
OS 9 will retail for $100. Customers who became registered users
of Mac OS 8.5 or 8.6 on or after October 5 are eligible to get
OS 9 for $20. Customers who became registered users of Mac OS 8.5
or 8.6 before October 5 are eligible for a $20 mail-in rebate.
Mac OS 9 will require 32M of physical RAM with virtual memory enabled
and a PowerPC processor.
Mac OS Rumors (MOSR)
stated yesterday that it has photos of prototype enclosures for
the next generation PowerBooks. MOSR said that translucent plastics
and flat-black plastics are definitely going to be part of the
next-generation PowerBook package. MOSR further stated that the
enclosures it saw were approximately 1.1 inches thick and that
current design specifications made no provision for a cooling fan.
Today MOSR opined that
speed-bumped versions of Apple's current PowerBooks should edge
their way to market late this month or early next month. The speed-bumped ’Books
should reach 466MHz.
Tuesday, October 5, 1999
TidBITS, the weekly ezine published
by Adam and Tonya Engst, celebrates its 500th issue today. TidBITS
is informative and free, so check it out.
October 4, 1999
Various Web sites are reporting incompatibility issues with the
soon-to-be-released Mac OS 9. Persistent, repeatable problems exist
with Adobe Type Manager (both regular and Deluxe), RAM Doubler
and Speed Doubler, current versions of Disk First Aid, Apple Telecom
software (that means many Performa, 6500-series and some Duo users),
Color StyleWriter 4000-series drivers, various components of StuffIt
Deluxe and more. Symantec states that the FileSaver that’s
a part of Norton Utilities for Macintosh (NUM) 4.x is incompatible
with Mac OS 9, but that all components of the new NUM 5.0 and Norton
Anti-Virus for Macintosh 6.0 are compatible. Aladdin says that
new versions of Expander, DropStuff and the StuffIt Extension will
be included on the Mac OS 9 CD. Aladdin also states that it’s
working on a revised version of StuffIt Deluxe that will solve
all compatibility issues with Mac OS 9. (By the way, an Aladdin
representative informed a friend that the next version of StuffIt
Deluxe will feature the ability to create self-extracting archives
for Windows users.)
World reports that the earthquake in Taiwan is causing a
huge rise in memory chip prices, possibly leading to a 10- to
30-percent increase in PC prices. A quick glance at the Macintosh
Resource Page’s RAMWatch
Price Trend Graph shows memory prices sharply increasing,
though not nearly to the price levels of the spring of 1997.
In an Inc. magazine article,
Dr Steven Berglas says that Apple’s current board of directors
should “show Mr Jobs the door.” Dr Berglas, a clinical
psychologist specializing in management consulting, postulates
that egomaniacal leaders such as Jobs are effective in saving a
companies from folding, but that such leaders have historically
proven ineffective when the saved businesses reestablish themselves.
Epson bestowed yet
a couple of more printers upon us today. The Stylus Color 860 and 760 both
feature 1440-dpi output, 4-picoliter droplet size, USB and parallel
connectivity and optional network connectivity. The 860 features
a faster print speed (9.5 ppm for black text, 7 ppm for color output)
and quiet operation and is aimed at businesses. The 760 is aimed
at the small office or home user. The new printers are priced at
$279 and $229. (Epson is offering a $30 mail-in rebate for the
IBM expects to claim a record in magnetic disk data storage, says
John Markoff of the New
York Times. IBM will soon announce that its engineers have
succeeded in fitting 35 billion bits of data, which equals approximately
32.5M, within a single square inch. Currently, the densest commercially
available disk drive is from Toshiba and offers 11.6 billion bits
of data per square inch.
Adaptec Toast 4.0 is now shipping. The new Toast features a lot
more than past versions, possibly justifying the $99 price (though
there’s a $20 mail-in rebate for registered users of previous
versions or competing products). Key new features include on-the-fly
conversion of MP3s (technically, these are MPEG-1, Layer III files)
for audio CD burning, support for USB and IDE connectivity, the
inclusion of software (and a cable that connects to a stereo) that
allows you to record albums and cassettes and remove the inherent
hissing of these media, integration with CDDB (the Internet-based
database that automatically names the tracks of the CD and provides
and inserts other information for each track) and the inclusion
of a CD labeler. Bootable CD support is improved and support for
80-minute CD has been added. For more details, visit the Toast
4 Deluxe Web page.