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MacEdition Pro News : December 14, 2001: Privacy, pixellations and petitions

by MacEdition Staff (feedback)

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The computer ate my homework!

We’ve previously covered numerous products from the folks at Mireth Technology, but their latest product update, ShredIt, has a new feature we think is quite interesting.

Mireth Technology has released version 4.9 of ShredIt for Macintosh. A privacy utility, ShredIt is the electronic document shredder for Macintosh that securely deletes files, folders and disk free space. Throwing a file in the trash does not remove the file contents from the hard disk - it just removes the file name from the directory, leaving the data intact and vulnerable. What you threw away can be recovered by anyone with access to your computer - your roommate, a business associate, the thief who just emptied out your office. Don’t risk throwing private and confidential data in the trash - securely delete it with ShredIt.

New in this release is the Safe Place™ feature which allows you to protect important documents from accidental shredding. For example, you could move your child’s homework into a Safe Place folder so that it could not be accidentally shredded.

ShredIt - the eDocument shredder™

ShredIt for Macintosh costs $15(US) and can be ordered from Mireth’s web site at www.mireth.com. Bulk discounts are available. You can also download a free demo copy from www.mireth.com. For more information, contact Mireth Technology at marketing@mireth.com.

Call us crazy, but we find the image of thousands of dismayed students discovering that Teacher has installed a technology (the so-called “Safe Place”) that prevents them from “losing assignments” quite amusing...

What 3D application dearth are you talking about?

This next press release had impeccable timing, coming only a few days after we noted a iDevGames article in a previous ProNews. (For those who didn’t catch it, it’s a detailed response to a Wired article claiming the Mac is a “graveyard” for 3D apps.) Enter Pixels, Inc., with a timely press release:

Pixels, Inc. announces the availability of PiXELS 3D version 4.0, the fourth incarnation of their award winning PiXELS 3D animation software. It is the first 3-D animation software designed primarily for use on Apple® Macintosh® computers running OS X®. PiXELS 3D version 4 has also been redesigned from the ground up to provide the maximum flexibility to designers and animators, while improving the interface to make the product easier to use for less technical users. Best of all, PiXELS 3-D is 100% customizable.

This redesign has resulted in a new interface that provides a perfect combination of power and ease of use. The UI can now be customized as desired to suit each user’s workflow. Every UI element is completely script-able and customizable. Designed around their Open3D™ architecture, the new plug-in API has been dramatically expanded to provide developers with direct access to every core function. Plug-ins for version 4 can now be interactive and dynamic, providing real-time feedback and custom UI widgets with direct manipulation capabilities.

PiXELS 3-D also incorporates Tempest, Pixels’ revolutionary rendering engine. This renderer is based on the REYES Image Rendering Architecture, which was developed by the Computer Graphics Research Group at Lucasfilm. It provides many benefits not currently available in any other commercial 3-D animation software at this price point. This unique approach to rendering is fast, produces unparalleled realism, and allows for displacement at the micro-polygon level. This allows users to add incredible detail to 3D scenes without the need to model complex, polygonal objects. Tempest also provides support for procedural models, curves (hair), and particle systems as well as programmable shaders. PiXELS 3-D provides unmatched levels of shading complexity and texture types with complete control of surface color, reflections (environment maps), bump maps, displacement maps, shadows and refraction included.

[...]

A full beta version is currently available for purchase and download through the Pixels web store (https://store.pixels.net). The final version is scheduled be released this month.

The Mac a “graveyard” for 3D apps? Look out - someone call Buffy! This graveyard’s sure got a helluva lot of walking dead amongst it.

“Metametadata”

No, that’s not a typo: The Mac community is having a fairly rigorous discussion about metadata at the moment. The consensus so far is that, in comparison with Mac OS 9, Mac OS X’s use of metadata is fairly ordinary – and people don’t want to be shackled to filename extensions, hidden or otherwise.

John Siracusa of Ars Technica has put together both a well thought out alternative proposal for how Mac OS X could handle metadata and a petition to sign if you support his proposal.

Not long after this, the anti-metadata petition sprung up in opposition to Siracusa’s proposal. And while we don’t want to tell our readers how to think, there is one misconception that does need clarification. The anti-metadata petition, by Todd Blanchard, states:

In a networked world, I applaud the elimination of resource forks and non-standard meta data. While I understand the need to use HFS+ as the main file system to maintain backwards compatibility with older Mac files, I don’t believe we should be using anything not available in a standard unix file system going forwards.

This may create the false impression that either resource forks are necessary for the metadata proposal or that Siracusa is advocating their return. This is incorrect as Siracusa’s introduction clearly states:

Please note that the proposal fully supports the move away from classic Mac OS “resource forks”, and the eventual replacement of the HFS/HFS+ disk format with something more advanced.

At MacEdition, we fully support open (and sometimes difficult) discussion about how the Mac OS is changing. We strongly urge you to read the petitions and decide for yourself how this affects you.

We’ll be keeping a link to this story on our front page as we believe this is an important topic for all Mac users.

Looking for old ProNews segments? Check out our index at http://old.macedition.com/news/. Do you have news releases or tidbits of interest to the Macintosh professional? Send them to pronewsnotes@macedition.com.

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