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MacEdition Pro News : March 25, 2002: Glucose firewalls, fingerless keyboarding, hotrodding vintage laptops and faster Harmonis

by MacEdition Staff (feedback)

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Are cheap firewalls sweet?

Glucose Development Corporation has updated its firewall utility, Impasse, for Mac OS X. It may be worth a look for two reasons – it’s popular, and (perhaps more importantly) it’s cheap.

Glucose (http://www.glu.com/) today introduced Impasse version 1.1, a major upgrade to the easy-to-use firewall utility for Mac OS X.

Since its initial release on February 26, Impasse has been downloaded over 10,000 times and we have received hundreds of emails requesting features and complimenting Impasse’s usefulness. This tremendous response is truly a testament to Mac OS X’s rapidly growing and devoted user base.

Glucose Impasse version 1.1 delivers the user community’s two most requested features: automatic firewall startup on boot and interactive packet deny/allow logging tools.

[...]

Our goal is to deliver the finest firewall available for Mac OS X for the best price. So our request is that the user community keep on sending their comments, questions, and complaints to feedback@glu.com because this communication between developer and user is truly the lifeblood of the Impasse product.

For a limited time, Impasse can be registered for the value price of US$10.00. Impasse is available for purchase now at http://www.glu.com/products/impasse/. A free 30-day demo is also available for download.

As the company’s Web site says: “Easy to use security. 10 bucks.” If you do give Impasse a try, don’t forget to send on any useful feedback, since the folks at Glucose have asked for it!

Look Ma, no hands!

Here’s an announcement sure to please both people with impaired hand function and broken keyboards alike. Niemeijer Consult, makers of KeyStrokes, a popular onscreen keyboard application for the Mac, is releasing its software for Mac OS X. More details about Keystrokes is below in the press release:

...KeyStrokes for Mac OS X, will be the first fully functional on-screen keyboard to run natively on Apple’s next generation operating system and one of the first accessibility solutions bringing the power of Mac OS X to people with disabilities.

[...]

An on-screen keyboard is typically used by a person who because of illness or injury cannot use a standard keyboard. KeyStrokes for Mac OS X works by drawing a keyboard image on the display and using a mouse, trackball, head pointer or other mouse emulator to type characters into any standard Macintosh application. For those who can position the pointer, but not click the mouse buttons, an integrated and system-wide dwell-based utility allows mouse button clicks to be entered by simply holding the cursor motionless for a programmable period of time. With KeyStrokes for Mac OS X a person who can only use a mouse or mouse emulator can have complete access to the Macintosh, the Internet and by extension the World.

The suggested introductory retail price for KeyStrokes for Mac OS X will be US$ 195 or Euro 220 (excl. VAT). This price includes a copy of KeyStrokes 2.2 for applications running natively on Mac OS 7.1 through 9.2. Discounts will be available for users of KeyStrokes 2 and for volume purchases.

Today, Niemeijer Consult also announced the debut of TouchStrokes for Mac OS X, a basic, but fully-functional, onscreen keyboard for Mac OS X targeted at server management, touch screens, tablets, and couch surfing. The suggested retail price for TouchStrokes for Mac OS X will be US$ 95 or Euro 110 (excl. VAT). Discounts will be available for users of KeyStrokes 2 and for volume purchases.

The software will be available worldwide as a download and on CD from specialized distributors and resellers starting March 29.

This is good news for Mac folks who can’t use a normal keyboard, as we understand research into the iBorg is still a work in progress...

“Boxy, but good...”

That was the euphemism used by at least one magazine to describe the debut of the PowerBook 1400. While it sported a CD-ROM drive, it came with a pedestrian 117MHz processor, a somewhat unmemorable 17MHz advance on its predecessor. It was the laptop equivalent of the Volvo; it didn’t burst into flames, but it was slow.

Well now, thanks to Sonnet, proud PowerBook 1400 owners can get their little bit of payback with an upgrade card that boosts performance to a whopping 1100 percent of that stock 117MHz CPU. From the press release:

Sonnet Technologies, the worldwide market share leader in processor upgrade cards for Apple Macintosh® computers, announces the Crescendo/PB G3 466-1M, Sonnet’s fastest upgrade yet for the PowerBook 1400, and the latest addition to its product line of Crescendo processor upgrade cards. This upgrade offers a powerful 466MHz PowerPC G3 processor with 1MB Level 2 backside cache, which produces an impressive 11x increase in performance over a 117 MHz stock machine that used a 603e processor. The Crescendo/PB is compatible with the PowerBook’s existing hardware, software, RAM and peripherals. It transparently integrates with your system software, and performs flawlessly with Mac OS 7.5.3, through OS 9.1.

Availability and Pricing

Crescendo/PB G3 466-1M is shipping now and has an estimated street price of $299.95. This new product replaces the Crescendo/PB G3 400-1M at the same price.

Sonnet Harmoni: Poor man’s iMac?

If you, like many other potential customers, were a tad crestfallen with Apple’s novel approach for dealing with the new iMac’s “overdemand”, there is some small comfort for those on a really tight budget. If that long-awaited upgrade to your Bondi Blue iMac is now $100 out of reach, consider Sonnet’s Harmoni as a temporary stopgap option. It’s now 600MHz with on-board FireWire:

TOKYO, JAPAN March 21, 2002. Sonnet Technologies, the worldwide market share leader in processor upgrade cards for Apple Macintosh computers, announces the new HARMONi G3 600 MHz processor upgrade/FireWire combo card, the second member of the HARMONi family of iMac upgrades. HARMONi was introduced in July 2001 at the Macworld New York show. Sonnet has been the only company to announce a FireWire-enabled upgrade for the original iMac. Now the new 600 MHz version will increase the performance of the early Revision A-D iMacs up to 250% of the original speed. Sonnet uses a powerful 600 MHz IBM PowerPC G3 processor, with 256K 1:1 Level 2 cache that is fully integrated on the processor chip itself. HARMONi G3 600MHz is OS X-ready without any need for further software upgrades.

HARMONi also incorporates a FireWire port, which gives the first-generation iMacs the plug-and-play connection to high-performance peripheral devices such as the iPod, digital cameras, DV camcorders, and CD-RW and DVD-R drives.

[...]

iMac models compatible with HARMONi are: iMac 233 MHz, 266 MHz, 333 MHz (Rev A-D). The combo card operates with the iMac’s existing hardware, software, RAM and peripherals. It integrates seamlessly with the system software, supporting from Mac OS 8.1 through the latest innovations of OS X. Up to 512MB of RAM can be installed on HARMONi, further supporting dramatic performance improvements.

Availability and Pricing

HARMONi™ G3 600/FireWire combo card will be available in early Q2 2002. Estimated price: $399.95

Particularly heartening in this press release is evidence that upgrade card manufacturers are finally getting their hands on G3 chips above the 500MHz barrier. Here’s hoping the same happens soon with the G4.

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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