Mac Product Watch

Today's lineup includes MacsBug 6.6.3, the latest version of Apple's debugging tool; Strata 3D Pro; Version 2.0 of Everyday Software's Dock Manager utility; Eradicator 1.5, an upgrade to a utility for clearing outdated, invisible files; and SysQuake 1.3, a design and simulation package for dynamic systems.

Geek alert: Apple has released MacsBug 6.6.3, an update to the venerable debugging tool for the Mac OS. New to this version is compatibility for the new line of Macs introduced this summer as well as some bug fixes. The flip side is that Version 6.6.3 requires Mac OS 9 -- as well as knowing what you're doing. In other words, if you have to ask, you probably shouldn't install this.

Strata has introduced Strata 3D Pro, a new version of the company's $595 "Web-enabled" 3D graphics application. This version features object-modeling tools, texture management, realistic lighting, special effects and camera controls. It also includes a full complement of plug-ins for effects such as Deform, shading, model handling and more.

Everyday Software's Dock Manager 2.0 is a free utility that allows customization of scroll arrows, the Application Switcher and Sherlock.

Eradicator 1.5 from Searchware Solutions adds a "Select All" and other new features to the utility for discovering and deleting out-of-date invisible files.

Calgera's SysQuake 1.3 enhances the design and simulation package for dynamic systems with new numerical functions based on LAPACK, support for serial ports and input of user functions using the C programming language. It's available for approximately $1,400 for a single-user license; an educational license is about $500. A limited-feature version, SysQuake LE, is free.

Longtime NeXTstep (and Mac OS X Server) developer Stone Design has released its Super Sever Suite of seven graphic design applications for the Mac OS X public beta. Included in the $499 collection (until Oct. 31, when the price returns to $1,295) is Create, a multipage drawing and layout application; PhoToWeb 1.0, for managing digital images for Web use; Slice & Dice 1.2, for building navigation bars and image maps; PStill 1.4.3, which converts EPS and other PostScript files to PDF format; Pack Up & Go 1.2.1 for file compression; TimeCard 1.0.4 to track time spent on projects; and GIFfun 2.1, for building Web animations.

CXC's Mactella 0.9.2 is the latest version of the Gnutella-based file-sharing client, incorporating minor display tweaks and bug fixes.

Hugh Kawahara has added "printer" and "eject" items to TaskMenuBar 2.2.2, his $15 utility for adding application-launching and application-switching icons to blank space in your Mac's Menu bar.

Perhaps in light of recently revealed security holes in Internet Explorer, there are two new utilities for deleting information from Web browser caches. Gongrad's $5 History Cleaner 1.0 eliminates the cache, history files and download history of a number of browsers, including Internet Explorer 4 and 5, Netscape Communicator 4.x, and recent versions of iCab. Atmani's Cookie Dog 1.0, also $5, reveals the content of all cookies in Internet Explorer and can automatically delete them.

In case you haven't noticed, Apple Computer Co. has released the Mac OS X public beta, which will be available for $29.95 (covering shipping and handling) once the online Apple Store resolves some of its problems; as of this writing, links to the Web site return "Forbidden" and "Server Error" messages. For more information, take a look at ZDNet's scoop story Inside the Public Beta Mac OS X.

Apple (aapl) has also announced two new iBooks. The revised line includes the regular, $1,499 iBook in Indigo and Key Lime, complete with a 366 MHz G3 processor, ATI Rage 128 Mobility graphics, 64 MB of RAM and a 10 GB hard drive. The $1,799 Graphite or Key Lime Special Edition ups the specs to a 466 MHz chip and replaces the CD-ROM drive with a DVD drive. In addition, Apple said that ATI's Radeon graphics card will be a $100 configure-to-order option for Power Mac G4 desktops and Power Mac Cubes. No mention was made of upgrade deals for recent purchasers of these systems.

For developers, Apple has updated its Carbon SDK 1.1a5 development kit for Carbon (Mac OS X-savvy) applications. While it's nice to see that work is continuing, it's a little worrisome that the primary development tools for future Mac applications is still in alpha.

But if the Radeon doesn't float your boat, there's the just-announced Voodoo 5 5500 AGP 3D accelerator card from 3dfx Interactive Inc., which complements the previously shipped PCI version of the card. The AGP card matches its progenitor in specs, but should take advantage of the expanded bandwidth AGP affords for slightly improved performance -- not to mention better compatibility with AGP-equipped Power Mac desktops. The company said is will institute a pre-order program "in the very near future."

Alessandro Levi Montalcini has let loose the latest version of his $20 Universal Serial Bus driver, USB Overdrive 1.3.7. This latest version adds visual cursor feedback in Auto Scroll and fixes a conflict that arose in Mac OS X's Classic environment.

Adrenaline Software's Adrenaline Charts Pro 1.5 adds a new animation engine, more output formats, alpha channel support, Velocity Engine optimization and more to the $399 interactive charting application.

If you just can't let it die, Sonnet Technologies Inc. has announced a Crescendo G3 7200 Processor Upgrade Card for that NuBus Mac model. It's expected later this year for $500. The company also unveiled other processor upgrade cards based on its own "Fortissimo" (not to be confused with the code name for Apple's upcoming Mac OS 9 revision) bus-doubling technology: the $400 Crescendo G3/400/1M and $500 Crescendo G3/500/1M, both for NuBus Macs; and the $400 G3/400/1M upgrade for the PowerBook 1400.

ADS Technologies has shipped its PYRO 1394DV for Notebooks, which adds FireWire connectivity to notebooks without the speedy transfer standard. The $99.95 adapter includes connectors, cables and camcorder drives.

Fuji Photo Film U.S.A. has announced its FinePix 1300 and FinePix 2400 Zoom digital cameras. They will be available in October and September, respectively. The consumer-oriented 1300 will cost $249 and feature a 1.3-megapixel CCD for a resolution of up to 1,280 by 960 pixels. The $499 2400 Zoom, in contrast, will boast a 2.1-megapixel sensor and a 3x optical zoom.

Sig Software's Drop Drawers 1.2.5 adds system theme support and other improvements to the $15 interface utility, which adds various floating and collapsible "drawers" to the Desktop. What's more, it's Carbonized, and a limited-functionality Mac OS X version is available.

Smart Disk Inc. has announced its $70, USB-based VST Flash Media Reader desktop accessory for reading both SmartMedia and CompactFlash flash memory cards from digital cameras, MP3 players and other devices.

Nike Inc. and S3's Rio Division have shipped the Nike PSA/Play 120, a Mac-compatible portable digital music player designed with an eye toward fitness enthusiasts. (If you don't like it, does that mean you're a lazy slob?) The player features a rounded design, raised buttons for no-look control, 64MB of built-in memory with an expansion slot, a remote control with LCD display and support for both MP3 and Windows Media sound formats. The 120 model will retail for $299.95, with a memory-limited 60 version coming in at $199.95.

DenebaCAD 2.0.2 adds updated QuickTime compatibility, improved import and export filter improvements, new keyboard shortcuts, support for double-byte characters, AutoCAD compatibility, and more to Deneba Systems Inc.'s professional CAD application. The upgrade is free.

You've got to admire a company whose motto is, "Saving your ass, one day at a time" -- especially when it's true. Bare Bones Software Inc. has introduced BBEdit 6.0, the latest version of the professional text-centric HTML editor that has long been in the "you can have it when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers" category with Web gurus. New to Version 6 is support for multibyte text and Unicode; comprehensive OSA support; HTML markup through contextual menus; multiple clipboards; a text re-wrapper for quoted text; support and syntax checking for HTML 4.01 and XHTML 1.0; and more. Upgrades are $39 (except for owners of Version 5 who purchased it between June 1 and Oct. 21, in which case it's free); new copies are $119. There's also a free demo available.

Is it really here? Qualcomm Incorporated has -- after a long, long public beta cycle -- released Eudora 5.0, a major revision to its seminal e-mail client. Version 5 gains automatic file-sharing and synching capabilities, statistic tracking, and better integration with Palm OS-based handhelds. Qualcomm offers a free-but-"sponsored" mode, in which you pay by subjecting your eyeballs to a small, autorefreshing ad banner; otherwise it's $49.95 or $29.95 for upgrades from a purchased copy of Version 4.

It has nothing to do with Harvey Keitel: Terran Interactive has announced Cleaner 5, a revamp of the popular media-processing application formerly known as Media Cleaner Pro. Cleaner 5 is now marketed as a complete solution for putting streaming media on the Web, with capture, enhance, encode and publishing capabilities; support for almost every streaming-media standard; and integration with most popular Web design tools. Due in October, it's $599 for the full version or $179 for upgrades, except for those who purchased Media Cleaner Pro 4 after Sept. 10, who can get a $49 deal.

3dfx Interactive has released its long-awaited (by budget-conscious gamers, at least) Voodoo 4500 PCI 3D accelerator card for the Mac. The little sibling to the Voodoo 5500 card has a single VSA-100 processor (compared with the 5500's twins), 32MB of RAM, 32-bit color and support for full-screen anti-aliasing.

Sony has announced its first portable, FireWire-based CD-RW drive, the $399 Spressa Mobile. The drive incorporates 8X read/4X rewrite/24X playback speeds into a compact design and comes bundled with CD-burning software Toast and Mixman Studio.

Fuji Photo Film USA Inc. has shipped its Fujifilm FinePix 40i digital camera. The $699, compact unit can record digital images, MP3 audio and digital video and supports USB and SmartMedia connectivity.

CE Software Inc. has announced availability of its Meeper 1.0, a $19.95 utility for adding visual and sound effects to Mac alerts. The price goes down to $9.95 if purchased with the company's QuicKeys 5.0.


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