Mac Product Watch

Today's lineup includes Apple's iMovie plug-in pack for iMovie 2; the latest version of SoundJam MP Plus; GifBuilder reborn; Jaws Digital Courier, a PDF-based client/server content-deliverysystem; Version 5.3 of the Extension Overload extension, control-panel and error-code information resource; PhotoGenetics 2.0; and IntelliNews 3.0.

Apple has released the iMovie Plug-in pack for iMovie 2, the latest version of the company's consumer video-editing application. (Note: It won't work with iMovie 1.0 through 1.0.2.) The new pack adds various effects, transitions and titles. For developers, Apple has Mac OS USB DDK 1.4.6b2, the latest build of the developer kit for writing USB drivers.

Despite its modest decimal place, SoundJam MP Plus 2.5.1 folds a variety of new features into Casady & Greene Inc.'s MP3 player and encoder. New in this version is the ability to stream music over the Internet via a re-broadcaster such as FlyCast, ShoutCast and IceCast; a tuner for accessing said streams, improvement to the encoder and device controller for portable MP3 players; support for the Nomad Jukebox; improved playlists; and speed enhancements and bug fixes. It's $39.95 by electronic download or $49.95 for a hard-copy version.

Yves Piguet's GifBuilder was one of the seminal Web applications, making animated GIF creation easy. The new Version 1.0 gains a new interface as well as support for Apple's Navigation Services. Best of all, it's free.

Don't go in the water: Jaws Systems Ltd. has announced Jaws Digital Courier, a PDF-based client/server content-delivery system. It's best used, the company says, for moving digital document masters to a single printing node. Expected to ship in the fourth quarter, JDC's pricing has not yet been set.

Teng Chou Ming and Peter Hardman have released Extension Overload 5.3, the latest version of their comprehensive extension, control-panel and error-code information resource. This version is updated to keep pace with all the latest changes and better supports non-English distributions of the Mac OS. A single-user license is $20.

QBeo has released PhotoGenetics 2.0, the latest version of its $29.95 utility for improving the quality of digital images through the use of genetic algorithms. The new version offers a simplified interface and additional printing and saving options. Upgrades from previous versions are free.

Aladdin Systems' IntelliNews 3.0 adds a Movies section to the $20 headline- and news-retrieval application.

Apple has released FireWire 2.5 (United States only), a revision of the IEEE 1394 drivers. This version fixes various bugs and supports more devices on a single FireWire bus.

Intego, known for its network security products, has introduced VirusBarrier 1.0 antivirus software. VirusBarrier automatically checks every file or application when it is opened for viruses and also features an automatic-update feature to keep on top of the rapidly mutating world of worms, Trojan horses and other nasties. It's $69.95.

Splash Technology Inc. demonstrated its G620 color server, a Mac-based system that includes Splash's color-correction and calibration technology. (Seybold San Francisco 2000 announcement)

It must've been Steve Jobs' persuasive keynote speaking style: FileFlow Inc. has announced Mac support via a free plug-in for all of the company's secure file sending, receiving and storage products. FileFlow's products also provide file compression for reduced transmission times. (Seybold San Francisco 2000 announcement)

Studion announced its soon-to-be-released ColorBlade plug-in for Adobe Photoshop 5 and 6. It lets users preview and compare how color images with different ICC profiles will render, improving the accuracy of color choices. A Mac demo is currently available. (Seybold San Francisco 2000 announcement) released XT Connector, a QuarkXTension for extracting content for use with Worldweb's Expression I/O content-management system. No price was announced. (Seybold San Francisco 2000 announcement)

Blueline Studio's $15 TextBroom 3 is a search-and-replace and sort tool for text files. Version 3.0 adds an Undo/Redo function, ups the file-size limit to about 32KB, can search for hidden characters and more.

VSE has revised its Link Tester 3.0.1 link-testing utility (couldn't see that coming, eh?) to fix some conflicts with proxy servers.

Kodak Professional has introduced its RFS 3600 scanner for 35mm film. The $1,299 scanner, expected in September, features 3,600-dpi resolution, SCSI-II and USB connectivity, and batch-scanning capabilities.

Smaller, with more features at a lower cost? That's technology for you. Nikon has announced the Coolpix 880 digital camera. For $799, you get a more compact body, 3.34-megapixel resolution, 2.5x optical zoom and USB connectivity.

Corel Corp., which purchased some of the graphics applications orphaned by the demise of MetaCreations, has announced Bryce 4.1. This update to the terrain creation and animation application adds a new mapping mode; a custom starfield map; and import and export support for Microsoft's DirectX 3D API (PC only). With this revision, Corel hopes to capture the game-developer market.

QPS Inc. has released the new Que!Fire CD-RW external drive. The company says the drive performs with 12x recording, 10x rewriting and 32x read speeds and features Burn-Proof technology, which works to eliminate burn failures. The drive is currently shipping for $449.

Sealed Media has introduced a Mac client for its digital-rights management system. The Mac version of the browser plug-in will allow users to view media secured by Sealed Media's system.

Adobe Systems Inc. kicked off Seybold Seminars San Francisco 2000 by unveiling Photoshop 6.0, the latest version of its image-editing application. The upgrade is due to ship later this quarter for the Mac and Windows. It will support up to 8,000 layers (up from 99); let users enter text directly into images without a dialog box; and include enhanced color-management capabilities as well as new vector-based drawing features. Photoshop 6.0 will include Version 3.0 of ImageReady, Adobe's Web graphics package. The software will be available for a street price of about $600, and upgrades from earlier versions will be $200 each.

Adobe (adbe) also rolled out InScope, a Web-based publishing system for workflow and asset management. The software, which carried the code name Stilton, is designed as a complement to Adobe InDesign, the San Jose, Calif., company's page-layout application. InScope is due to ship in September for Mac and Windows systems. Pricing will depend on configuration, Adobe said.

If any Mac game fans are listening, Apple Computer Inc. (aapl) has released Game Sprockets 1.7.5, the latest version of its software library collection for game and Universal Serial Bus USB) input devices. This collection includes support for "nearly" all the HID-compliant USB hardware including wheel mice, and it offers higher quality 3D sound filtering. Apple also claims improvements for "graphics-intensive game applications." And what game nowadays isn't graphics-intensive?

Revenge of the nerds: Following the revelation of a possible security hole in its free encryption software, Massachusetts Institute of Technology has made available PGP Freeware 6.5.8, which closes off that little error. Due to export restrictions, this download is limited to U.S. citizens in the United States or Canadian citizens in Canada. McAfee has released the commercial version, PGP Desktop Security 6.5.2a, which adds more file sharing and other capabilities, for $71.95.

But they make good hardware: There's now a Mac version of drivers for Microsoft's IntelliType Keyboards. Confusingly, the IntelliType line includes the Microsoft Natural Keyboard Pro and Internet Keyboard Pro, one of which features a split design for enhanced ergonomics. Both also have two USB ports on the back of the keyboard and Hot Keys for common functions.

Olympus America's new Camedia E-10 is a 4-megapixel digital camera that retails for $1,999 and features a 4x zoom lens, a rotatable preview LCD panel, USB connectivity, NTSC support and both SmartMedia and CompactFlash capabilities. It is expected to ship in October. The company also announced the Camedia P-200 printer, a portable, self-contained printer that delivers photo-quality color prints. It'll also ship in October for $599.

The Squamish Media Group has released SoundSaVR 2.0.1, a $199 application for converting sound into single- and multinode QuickTime VR movies. Through QTVR's wired sprite capabilities, these sounds (from sources including MP3, RTSP, MIDI, voice or other) can pan, autoplay and more. Version 2.0.1 includes a full preview mode and various bug fixes.

SmartDisk Personal Storage Systems (which purchased VST) has released its VST 1394/USB PCI Upgrade card, which adds two FireWire and two USB ports to any PCI Power Mac running Mac OS 8.5.1 or higher. The online price is $149.95.

Max Power Software introduced Quick Text 1.0, a free text editor that includes color, font and style features. It also includes support for text-to-speech, Contextual Menus and more.

The Cinco Group has released its $99.55 Theme Creator 2 for, well, creating themes for FileMaker Pro 5 files. Version 2 gains a new interface; theme families; support for color, fill, pen and fonts; XML import and export; HTML preview and more. Owners of the previous version can get a free update.

MacCoder 3.0 is a complete rewrite of Pine Hill Products' source-code editor. Its latest features include a new interface, support for auto indenting and new information. It's $15 shareware.

Evergreen Technologies Inc. has expanded its product line with new FireLine FireWire hard drives. The latest models come in 30GB, 40GB, 60GB and a mind-goggling 75GB capacity. Prices range from $349.99 to $799.99.

Internet Pictures Corp., which would also like to be known as iPix, has released iPix Wizard 2.3, which adds image-resolution mapping, automated key retrieval and improved screen dialogs to the "virtual tour creation tool."

It's not dead, just resting: Apple has released WebObjects 4.5 Update 2 for Mac OS X Server 1.2, Windows NT 4.0 or 2000, Solaris and HP-UX. This incorporates all the changes made in Update 1, which was only available for Windows versions. On top of that, Update 2 incorporates a boatload of fixes for programming and interface bugs, among other glitches.

Qualcomm's Eudora 4.3.3, the latest in a long line of beta fixes for the popular (and free) e-mail client, fixes a few show-stopping bugs on certain machines and features better password security for people who don't save their passwords. The more adventurous can also download the Eudora Pro 5.0 B14 beta.

Morrison SoftDesign has updated its FontXpress font-collection utility for QuarkXPress users. Version 5.0.4 features a new stand-alone font collection option, bug fixes and more.

Combat Mission 1.05 is the latest update to Big Time Software's 3D, turn-based WWII tactical game. The update fixes bugs, improves enemy AI and fine-tunes many of the historical capabilities of weapons.

Kanzu Utilities has released MultiAlias 1.0, a freeware utility that can create aliases that point to multiple files. With it, you can open multiple files or applications with one double-click.

Version 1.5 of Atmani's free Download Watcher adds a new user interface and code base as well as support for System 7.5 to the utility that automatically disconnects PPP connections when downloads are complete.

Manuel Kirchner has given us GrooveRecorder 1.0, a $15 direct-to-disk AIFF recorder than can schedule and break up recordings to get around the Mac OS's 2GB file-size limit, which cuts off high-quality recordings at 3 1/2 hours.

Public Access Software has introduced Touch CMM 1.0, a free Contextual Menu Module that can "touch" a file in the Unix sense of the word, setting the file's creation date to the current date and time. It also features the ability to "Touch@Noon," which sets the info to 12 p.m. on the current date.

Shipping is a product feature, and Macromedia is shipping the most recent object of litigious affection in the software world, Flash 5. This latest version of the seminal vector-based Web-animation application gains a new Bezier pen tool and shared symbol libraries; better integration with other Macromedia products such as FreeHand and Generator; XML transfer; Web-native printing; and a new, tabbed user interface that has been the subject of a look-and-feel lawsuit from Adobe Systems Inc. You can buy into this for $399 ($149 for upgrades from Flash 4); the Flash 5/FreeHand 9 bundle is $599 ($249 upgrade). To support the new Flash features, Macromedia has released a new Flash Player 5.0r30 for Web browsers.

For developers only: Apple has released CarbonLib SDK 1.1a4 (developer registration required). Even though the public beta of Mac OS X will be out "real soon now," this vital tool for developing Carbon applications is still in a pre-release form. Still, it's nice to see progress.

Yamaha's new CRW8824FXZ CR-RW drive, with FireWire connectivity, 8X write/8X re-write/ 24X read speeds and a 4 MB buffer, promises to be a speedy drive. For $349.99, it comes bundled with Adaptec Toast 4.1, Adobe PageMill, PhotoDeluxe and more.

RealLegal has made available a free Mac viewer for e-transcript, the company's electronic-transcript application for court reporters.

Chaotic Software's MacArmyKnife 2.1 adds a File Finder for disk searches, a File Info To Clipboard Contextual Menu Plug-in and more to the $20 "all-purpose" utility.

Logitech has released MouseWare 3.5.1 drivers for its Universal Serial Bus mice and trackballs. (Reports on MacFixIt warn that this upgrade may require Mac OS 9 users to upgrade to Mac OS 9.0.4, and also that installing the new drivers before removing previous versions could result in control errors.)

It's not exactly a new version, but Alsoft Inc. has announced a new DiskWarrior 2.0 CD bootable on new Macs. (Scroll to the top of the page; the anchor point is slightly misplaced.) Users of the current version of this disk repair utility can get a new CD for $19,.95 plus $5 shipping and handling in the U.S. and Canada.

MapShooter 1.0 is HabakukSoft's map-creation software for Laminar Research's detailed commercial flight sim X-Plane. The company has also released PATHy 1.0, a $10 flight-planning tool for X-Plane.

If you use QuarkXPress regularly, odds are your livelihood depends on it; if so, you'll be interested in the company's Quark FixIt XTension 4.11 for fixing an acknowledged memory bug in QuarkXPress and QuarkXPress Passport 4.11 -- the glitch pops up when moving placed picture files -- as well as an error with losing paths to DCS 1.0 files when collecting files for output.

It used to be called Anarchie: Interarchy 3.8, the FTP and server/network info utility, takes advantage of Apple's Sherlock and Keychain technologies. It's $35 shareware.

Lighthead Software's Texter 1.0 is a $5 shareware, simple text editor that can save text as Netscape- or Internet Explorer-native HTML files.

Etchelon Macdoodle 2.0 is not an adjunct to a secret government e-mail sniffer but a basic painting application for children between three and 12 years old. Version 2.0 gains a Stamps feature for drawing with predefined shapes and pictures; a new Brush shape; improvements to the program's Smart Brush; and a Random Start feature. And all for the low price of $7.

August Software has released a its ODBC Router SOHO Edition, the company's Open Data Base Connectivity product for Mac and Windows. Although it runs on Windows NT and Windows 2000 (and really, who can keep them straight today?), ODBC Router hooks Mac users into any ODBC network system. The company said the product retails for less than $400.

Aladdin Systems Inc. has simultaneously introduced and released iClean, a file- and cache-management utility. It deletes Web cache files, Internet histories and cookies as well as fixes lost aliases and automatically empties the Trash. It's available alone for $29.95 or as part of Aladdin's more comprehensive Spring Cleaning suite.

Canon has announced a Mac version of its Canon Video Home Edition home video-editing application. Apparently aimed at exactly the same market as Apple's own iMovie, this $50 software does not include FireWire support as iMovie does, but it will run on pre-Mac OS 9 systems, which iMovie officially won't (but in some cases will).


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