September 7, 2000
Adobe is apparently ceasing further development of PressReady, a software-based raster image processor (RIP). Adobe cites a low return on investment as an impetus for the decision. Adobe says it will remain active in the RIP business, but will pursue other channels of distribution. This likely means that Adobe will work with manufacturers to bundle the Adobe product with their higher-end inkjet printers.
Extensis released Suitcase 9.0.1 yesterday. Suitcase is the font management utility Extensis purchased from Symantec a couple of years ago. Symantec purchased Suitcase from its original developer (Baseline, I think). The new release is much, much faster than 9.0 at system bootup and when adding or deleting a lot of fonts at once. Extensis claims a six-fold increase in performance and I don’t doubt it. The new release requires less memory than previously and solves a conflict between the Suitcase FontEngine and Carbon Lib 1.0.4. Find out more about Suitcase 9 (the font management utility I use) or download a free 30-day demo.
Accelerate Your Mac updated its Mac-vs-PC Photoshop comparison by including results from the new 450MHz dual processor Power Mac G4. In a previous test the 1GHz Wintel system outperformed the 500MHz single processor Power Mac G4, but that didn’t happen when the PC was compared to the new 450MHz dual-processor Power Mac. Using PSBench, a Photoshop action containing 21 tasks and is the same PSBench used in the original comparison, the dual-processor Power Mac bested the 1GHz PC by about 6 seconds. I wonder how much faster the new 500MHz dual processor Power Mac would be.
Epson announced a new crop of Mac-compatible inkjet printers that boast 2880 x 720 resolution. The Stylus Color 980 and 980N are targeted toward graphic designers, though neither is a photographic inkjet printer. The 980 and 980N will sell for $199 and $449, respectively (after a $50 rebate). The “N” is for networking, and network it will—with Ethernet or IEEE 802.11-compatible wireless networking. Can you say AirPort printer?A software-based PostScript 3 raster image processor (RIP) will soon be available for the new printers for $145, enabling users to do low-cost color proofing from their desktops.
August 30, 2000
MacWEEK.com reports that Jobs’s Tuesday demo of Mac OS X included a multi-column font panel. It would be nice to know if that was a font menu. PowerOn’s WYSIWYG offers a multi-column font menu for Mac OS 9 applications.
Casady & Greene released a 2.5.1 update for SoundJam MP Plus/Free. Full release notes are on the SoundJam Web site. The update provides new features as well as improvements to existing features. The main new feature is the ability to broadcast MP3 streams over the Internet. SoundJam has been optimized for the new dual-processor G4s and now works with Mac OS 8.1. See the wickedly cool Jukebox SoundJam skin.
MDJ today wrote an informative and interesting preview of Adobe’s flagship image editor. I’m more eagerly anticipating the arrival of Photoshop 6, scheduled to ship in late September, than I am the public beta of Mac OS X, which is will be released September 13.
Check out this Adobe Web page for access to PDFs telling more about Photoshop 6. You know Adobe is serious when it has a PDF entitled “Competitive advantage: Top 10 ways Adobe Photoshop 6.0 beats Macromedia Fireworks 3.0 for Web graphics.” An article on MacWEEK.com says Motorola will discuss new silicon-on-insulator G4 microprocessors in October. The article states that in addition to making design changes to the G4, Motorola is moving to a new chip fabrication process. Hopefully, we Mac users will soon see the fruits of this labor.
Corel released a 4.1 update for Bryce today, Bryce’s first update since Corel purchased the software along with other titles from MetaCreations earlier this year.Got FireWire? Then you’ll want Apple's FireWire drivers, now at version 2.5.
Photoshop 6, the second-most important upgrade in the product’s history, was announced today. The new version is scheduled to ship in late September for an upgrade price of $199. The full price is estimated to be $609 in stores and mailorder outlets. People upgrading to the new version may register Adobe GoLive 5 for $99.
In very general terms it looks as though the new upgrade is sporting a lot of vector integration, a completely revised type engine, a substantially improved and expanded layering system, substantially improved Actions (you can now even create Action droplets and leave those on your desktop for drag-and-drop image editing!), and a slightly revised interface. A new version of ImageReady will accompany the new Photoshop.
The new Photoshop will run in OS X’s classic environment; the new version is not carbonized. Adobe says a carbonized version is forthcoming. My guess is that Photoshop 6.5 will be announced at February’s Seybold and will cost $99 for those who upgrade or purchase Photoshop 6.
You can find out more by visiting the following links:
You can download a 19-page color management guide for Photoshop 6 from Digital Dog.
Motorola is scheduled to demonstrate a 1GHz+ G4 microprocessor at the Microprocessor Forum in San Francisco on October 10. The chip is supposed to be the fruit of Motorola’s move to a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) fabrication process. I hope this bodes well for Apple’s professional desktop product. At last year’s Microprocessor Forum, Motorola demonstrated a 780MHz G4, but we Mac users still haven’t experienced processors that run faster than 500MHz, which looks awfully humble compared to Intel’s 1.4GHz Pentium IV that’s scheduled to ship in October.
On August 25 Olympus America announced a 4-megapixel digital camera, the Camedia E-10. The new SLR camera will be Olympus’s best digital camera to date, featuring a 4X f2.0-2.4, 9–36mm zoom lens (equivalent to 35–140mm in 35mm photography) that yields images of up to 2240 x 1680 pixels. The camera supports SmartMedia and CompactFlash Types I and II, which means the camera will support the IBM Microdrive. See a photo of Camedia E-10.
Important Upcoming Events
June 22, 2000
John Siracusa wrote an informative article for Ars Technica that provides technical answers to questions about Mac OS X.
Microsoft purchased game developer Bungie Software last week. According to Wall Street estimates, Bungie was purchased for $20–40 million. Why did the popular developer sell its assets to Microsoft? According to MWJ, it’s because Bungie is interested in being a big player in the home console-game market and wants to take advantage of Microsoft’s Xbox technology. Xbox will compete with PlayStation 2, Dreamcast, and the next-generation Nintendo machine. Though Bungie is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Microsoft, it’s still Bungie’s decision which platforms its games will run on. Bungie first began as a Mac-only company, so Mac gamers can have a cautious optimism that Bungie titles will run on their favorite computing platform.
As noted in the June 20 issue of MWJ, Yamaha is now shipping its $150 CRW8824, an internal EIDE CDRW that writes to both recordable and rewritable CDs at up to 8x speed. Yamaha will offer internal and external SCSI and FireWire versions of this drive in July.
Motorola and IBM had better accelerate the pace of PowerPC development for desktop computers or Apple should begin looking for another chip supplier. A recent test by Michael Breeden pitted a 1GHz PC against a 500MHz G4 in Photoshop and showed that the PC is faster overall. Certainly a dual-800MHz G4e, OS X-based Power Mac would be faster than the 1GHz PC, but that’s vaporware to us lowly end users. Today’s fastest PCs are faster than today’s fastest Power Macs and that’s a fact we Mac fans must live with for now.
June 14, 2000
I realize I haven’t updated the site in a long time. I just haven’t had the time. Or the ability. Mac news is booming these days and I can’t digest it as fast as it’s coming in. In case you didn’t know, Internet Explorer 5 for Macintosh is out, you can now print to non-PostScript printers with Adobe InDesign, Illustrator 9 is shipping, and Epson is now churning out printers that claim to print photographs better than traditional photo processing. Extensis completely rewrote Suitcase, a font-management utility. A free demo of Suitcase is available. AppleWorks 6 finally became stable with the 6.0.4 update. I predict that Photoshop 6 will ship in August. A public beta of Mac OS X is scheduled for a summer release. Macworld New York takes place from July 18–21. Membership in the Atlanta Macintosh Users Group is still the best $40 a Georgia Mac user can spend (unless you’re Richard Gordon and you’re just too smart for the Atlanta Mac professionals!).
I’m anxiously awaiting the imminent release of Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 for Macintosh. MSIE 5 should ship this week, according to recent statements by Irving Kwong, manager of Microsoft’s Macintosh Business Unit.
Adobe announced InDesign 1.5 today. The $100 upgrade of Adobe’s new flagship page layout program boasts 70 new features, including text on a path, vertical justification of text and a handy eyedropper tool for copying attributes between objects and text. Registered users of QuarkXPress and Adobe professional publishing software may purchase an InDesign license for $299. If you’re just starting out and have no software, InDesign will set you back $700.
I haven’t explored FreeHand 9’s new features yet, but have noticed that the new program sports slightly modified application and document icons (see them). In developing a logo for a friend’s CD, I didn’t notice any speed or stability issues. That’s good news for any “dot-oh” release.