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MacEdition Pro News : March 29, 2002: Apple students, iMovie magic, Top Gun 2002 and shareware soldiers

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Get ’em while they’re young

A new Web site, (or ASD) has recently launched, although it is not to be confused with the ADC or anything affiliated with Apple. It’s a third party initiative, and after Apple’s recent unfortunate antics with young developers, they may need all the help they can get. Here’s the skinny:

March 26, 2002 – Today (ASD), a new web community for young developers of the Mac platform, opened its doors to the public. ASD supports a relaxed, informative, developer-centric atmosphere through web forums, weekly chats, feature articles, tutorials, and a student life section. The site’s creators hope to break the mold of traditional developer sites by delivering a media rich experience using interactive media such as QuickTime and Flash to explain programming concepts.

One of the spotlight features ASD is running to celebrate its grand opening is an iPod Breakout contest, awarding certificates as high as $30 to the top three high scores, and $5 certificates to a few random entries as well. The contest will run throughout April and further details and rules can be found on the site.

Relevant URLs:

The site is packed full of resources and info a budding student may need. Like an iPod breakout contest – what more does a student need? As an added bonus that will surely please CodeBitch, their Web site is fully HTML 4 compliant. [CB: aside from a few Netscape-4-friendly compromises!]

“iMovie ILM”?

Well, perhaps it’s stretching it to compare Virtix, Inc. to Industrial Light and Magic, but for many iMovie boffins, Virtix’s new packages of special effects plug-ins may be good enough. And for US$40, they’re a tad more affordable.

SALEM, NH – Virtix, Inc. announces the immediate availability of Virtix Bravo and Virtix Echo, the first special effect packages that utilize the new iMovie(R) Plug-in Software Development Kit from Apple Computer(R) (NASDAQ:AAPL). Apple’s iMovie SDK allows the professional-grade special effects and transitions of Bravo and Echo to be seamlessly integrated into iMovie’s user interface.

Virtix Bravo contains 20 professional-quality special effects for iMovie. These effects include: Blur Edges, Edge Detector, Emboss, Extreme Color, Funhouse, Heat, Laser, Lightning, Median, One Color, Pixel Fixer, Rain, Smoke, Sparkle, Sparkle By Color, Spins, Stained Glass, Topograph, Tunnel, and Zoom.

Virtix Echo contains 18 professional-quality special effect transitions for iMovie. These transitions include: Burn Through, Clock Wipe, Crystal Fade, Dream, Flying Blocks, Fog, Materialize, Materialize Flicker, Page Peel, Pan, Shrinking Tiles, Smoke, Sparkle, Sparkle Aperture, Swirl, Vertical Bars, and Wipe.

Under OS X, Virtix presents a new user interface to the iMovie user that was not previously available. iMovie users can now position laser beams and lightning bolts, zoom up on a portion of an image, fix the broken pixels of a camera, and warp and distort images all by selecting positions in the iMovie preview window. OS 9 users will be able to use all of these same effects through the traditional iMovie slider interface.

Virtix Bravo and Virtix Echo are available immediately via download through the Virtix Online Store at Virtix Bravo and Virtix Echo are available for $24.99(US) when purchased separately, or $39.99(US) when purchased together. Both packages work with iMovie 2.0.3 for Mac(R) OS 9, iMovie 2.1 for OS X and iMovie 2.1.1 for OS X.

Full disclosure – nobody at MacEdition has had time to test these out (they are brand new to the market) but they sound damn neat. For any brave soul who has given them a whirl, please give us your feedback below!

Top Gun 2002?

On a similar topic but perhaps a little more upmarket, Global cuts, Inc, an online provider of royalty-free QuickTime footage, has announced its Aircraft Carrier Series from footage shot recently in the Persian gulf.

From the press release:

STOCKHOLM. March 25. Well, it just doesn’t get better, or cheaper, than these pictures from Global Cuts. Introducing one full hour of Super 16 mm footage shot in the Persian Gulf, aboard the aircraft carrier USS Constellation. F-18 take-offs and landings, crew at work, ship aerials, flaming jet’s all included in this new series.

“Not everyone gets the opportunity to spend 48 hours on a US aircraft carrier,” says Jesper Karlsson, CEO of Global Cuts. “And definitely not with a Super 16 mm camera.” Karlsson continues, “We captured some terrific footage here. Our customers are really lucky that we’ve decided to offer it at such low prices.”

The USS Constellation Series includes five compilations, and each one has approximately 40 royalty-free clips. The clips range from 5 to 45 seconds and are delivered on multiple CDs, DVD or LaCie Studio Drives. Upon request they also are available on Beta SP tapes and Super 16mm film negatives.

A QuickTime teaser movie is available at: If airplane footage isn’t your thing, check out the company’s site for a full list of all its video compilations.

The foot soldiers of shareware

Every now and then, it’s nice to give a tip of the hat and say, “Here’s to the little guys.” Zik’s Software is an excellent example of what one person with the right skills and enthusiasm can achieve on the Mac. “Zik” (aka Angelo Scicolone), based in Sicily, is a one-man software company, whom we’ve covered previously for his preference management utility, PrefsOverload. He’s recently updated the utility to Version 4.1.1 – the main features from his press release are below:

Main Features

  • Runs on MacOS Classic and MacOS X
  • Accurate scanning, based on mother application, modification date and internal preferences database.
  • Not only displays if a file is possibly unnecessary, but also displays a rating on the side.
  • Finds damaged preference files
  • Very fast scanning
  • Scans for non-standard Preferences folder, so you can scan Preferences folders of all operating systems on your computer (including MacOS X) and of all MacOS X users, logging in as root user.
  • Full PDF help included
  • Runs on PowerMacintosh and 68k machines

What’s New in Version 4.1.1

  • Now PrefsOverload does not freeze on clicking “Enter Code” in the startup shareware reminder. This bug was introduced with PO 4.1.
  • If PrefsOverload doesn’t find the previously selected Preferences Folder at startup, it warns the user and selects the default one. Before, you had to update it manually to prevent crashes.
  • Carbon version compiled with REALbasic 4.0.2 (4.1 was compiled with RB 4.0.1).

You can download PrefsOverload 4.1.1 here:

He’s also released another little utility called WebLauncher. What it does is explained below:

WebLauncher is a useful dock application which allows you to open and download URLS directly from the dock. WebLauncher can speed up your work in many ways: for example, you haven’t got to wait your web browser to launch or, if you have to open an URL that you copied from a document, you can open it with a simple click instead of opening your browser, entering the URL and so on... Moreover, WebLauncher can automatically open URLs in the browser’s front window or in a new one, instead of manually creating a new window, typing or pasting the URL and so on... And, surely, WebLauncher can launch automatically bookmarked URLs. At the moment, WebLauncher supports only Internet Explorer 5.1, but I plan to add support for all available MacOS X web browsers.

System Requirements

  • MacOS X 10.0 or later
  • Internet Explorer 5.1 or later

WebLauncher is a $7 shareware application.

For more informations, visit:

Zik’s software has numerous similar productivity and system pruning utilities available at his site that are well worth a look. We’ll refrain from bursting into a Ballmer-like refrain of “developers, developers, developers!” – but there must be dozens of other small-time developers like Zik out there. If you’re one of them, don’t be shy; please let us know what you’re doing.

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