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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 to MacTheKnife, 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. (See an 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 (13.3M) 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 it.

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. 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. They include

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 to transparency
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 picture.

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 Redux.”

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 Photoshop 5.5.

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 events.

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 available.

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.

Both MacGamer’s 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 you.

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.

Symantec’s Norton 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 for Disk 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 RIPs.

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 quarter.”

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, Inc. According to the press release, “ 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 today only).

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.”

The WWW 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 future.

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 this fall.

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.

See a photo of the new G4.
Government warning (1.9M QuickTime 4 movie, for standard dialup connections)
Government 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 site.

Email Jaddie. Email Becky.

“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.

An example—

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 applications.

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 email:

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 order.

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 13.

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 increase.

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 2000.

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 Engine.
  • 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:

  • Finder 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.
  • SoundJam MP 1.1.1—update for arguably the best Mac OS MP3 encoder and player provides Mac OS 9 compatibility and QDesign AIFF files.
  • Kensington MouseWorks 5.3—driver for Kensington mice and trackballs.
  • Macromedia Flash Writer 1.0—a plug-in for Illustrator 8 for exporting Flash-formatted files.
  • Macromedia Shockwave/Flash 7.02d159—the Web browser plug-ins for playing Shockwave and Flash media gets stability and privacy enhancements.

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 stellar utility.

Thursday, October 7, 1999

Motorola announced a refined architecture for its G4 chip at this week’s Microprocessor Forum in San Jose, California. According to MacCentral, 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.

$999 350MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 6G hard drive, 64M memory, 5 flavors
$1299 400MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 10G hard drive, 64M memory, DVD-ROM, iMovie software, 5 flavors
$1499 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.


New Features/Improvements
Previous iMac Features
350-400MHz processors 233-333MHz processors
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 Less-than-groovy sound
2 FireWire ports (2 higher-priced models only) for connecting to high-speed peripherals such as hard drives and digital video cameras No FireWire
Easy-access slot for upgrading memory No easy access
Support for AirPort wireless networking via $99 AirPort card 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.

See left-side view of the new blueberry iMac.

See left/front view of the new graphite iMac.

See rear 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 Internet
  • VoicePrint passwords
  • Keychain—a central repository for all of a user’s passwords
  • 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.

Monday, 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.)

PC 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 760.)

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.