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MacEdition Pro News : April 25, 2002: Update numerology, musical propellerheads, glowing knobs and basic crossgrades

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They're running out of numbers!

With WWDC only a few weeks away and rumored to give developers a sneak peek at what Mac OS X 10.2 (née Jaguar) will be like, you’d think the rate of minor point releases would slow down. We had only noted last week the rumored imminent release of Mac OS X 10.1.4 (released a few days later), when the good folks at Think Secret rang the Batphone again. According to Think Secret, the boffins at Apple are apparently already hammering the final kinks out of OS X 10.1.5.

What’s in this release? “A host of improvements” according to Think Secret. Namely, bug fixes, added support for third-party peripherals, and better stability for certain apps. Get the straight dope from Think Secret – although we must warn people that spring-loaded folders, alas, are not on the list.

Calling all musical Propellerheads!

The strangest things float into our ProNews inbox. Things like press releases using names you can’t help but giggle at – say, “Propellerhead.” CellSynth, a music synthesiser app, has incorporated support for ReWire (by, you guessed it, Propellerhead Software) in its latest update. Mac audiophiles will probably understand the original press release better than us trying to summarise, so here are the relevant bits:

This new release of CellSynth contains support for ReWire from Propellerhead Software allowing the user to link directly with the popular software sequencers Digital Performer 3.0, Cubase VST and EMagic Logic.

[...]

CellSynth is unusual in catering for both musical beginner and expert alike. The program is easy and intuitive to use, with an on-line manual, tutorial and support. Synthesis experts will be immediately at home and able to create new sounds quicker than ever. All output can be recorded to disk for use in other software or streamed directly to sequencers such as VST, Logic or Digital Performer. Modeling classic analogue and digital synthesisers has never been so easy.

New Features in version 1.7:

Conforms to ReWire 1.0 from Propellerhead Software
Streams Stereo Audio from up to 32 separate Cells to sequencer tracks
Minor bug fixes to 1.6

CellSynth is shareware and available immediately as a download from http://www.cellsynth.co.uk/. It works with PowerPC Macintosh systems with Mac OS 8.6 or better.

The coolest knob on the block

“It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a ... shiny silver knob?” If you haven’t seen the Griffin PowerMate before, you could be forgiven for wondering what it’s for. Well, it’s a knob (duh!), but a really cool one, complete with a blue glowing rubber base (see picture):
PowerMate

So, what does it do? Basically anything a mouse, trackball, scroller or other USB controller can do, with a great deal of customisability and precision. Griffin released this software update in response to Mac OS X 10.1.4 breaking the previous version.

Griffin Technology, Inc. has released Version 1.1 of the PowerMate software for OS X. This software is free and available immediately for download. Version 1.1 quickly addresses new compatibility issues brought about with the recent release of Apple1s OS X 10.1.4. This free upgrade also adds multiple functionality and feature improvements of the Griffin PowerMate - USB multimedia controller.

PowerMate Software version 1.1 for OS X adds several new “mouse” and “scroll” functions to the selectable computer actions. This allows you to add scrolling functionality to an application - even if a key command doesn’t exist for this function. Version 1.1 also adds an adjustable Sensitivity slide bar allowing independent sensitivity settings in each and every unique Application Setting you’ve programmed your PowerMate to have.

The feature most requested - and now included in PowerMate Software Version 1.1 is Gaming Mode. Now PowerMate truly is the ultimate gaming accessory. Strafe opponents in Quake or UT aiming with PowerMate. Relive the 80s playing Tempest on MacMAME the way it’s supposed to be played - with a solid-aluminum spinning knob complete with a blue glowing rubber base.

The PowerMate Software Version 1.1 for OS X is available at http://www.griffintec hnology.com/ftp/index.html.

It’s all basic to me

REALbasic, FutureBASIC, MetalBasic – how many versions of the one programming language are there? Well, one less now, according to the folks from Staz Software, maker of FutureBASIC. No, it hasn’t gobbled up another company, but it’s offering a competitive crossgrade to owners of MetalBasic. Here’s the skinny:

Staz Software, Inc., developer of FutureBASIC, has long looked on MetalBasic with interest and goodwill [...] Andy Gariepy, the driving force behind FutureBASIC for over a decade, had this to say: “I’ve always worked hard to improve FutureBASIC. It’s easy to understand Marin Saric’s determination to make the most of MetalBasic.” Still, there has been concern among MetalBasic coders as to Mac OS X support and the continued development of the environment.

FutureBASIC is one of the few programming environments to have crossed the great divide from 68K to PPC and now to Carbon. The people at STAZ Software understand the need to stand-by users, but also how difficult these changes can be.

Reading between the lines here, it looks like MetalBasic is not going to make it to OS X, and Staz Software is offering an alternative. However, it goes to great pains to make sure its message is received as it is intentioned:

Please let this be clear. We are not saying, “Drop MetalBasic.” We are saying, “Lever your MetalBasic knowledge in another IDE.” MetalBasic users will see that FB coders are already showing how to use and optimize MetalBasic code with FB.

Staz Software has therefore agreed to offer a competitive crossgrade to MetalBasic users. You can subscribe to FutureBASIC for the cost of an upgrade. That is a US $70 saving!

Here’s where it gets tricky – MetalBasic is a free language. How can Staz Software tell who’s bona fide and who’s a freeloader? Read on:

Any MetalBasic user who posted in the MetalBasic forums (http://www.glacial.com/metal/forum/) at Glacial.com (http://www.glacial.com/metal/) prior to the 2002/04/19 qualifies.

Just send the URL of your post with your order.

If you are a MetalBasic user but didn’t post – contact us and talk this over. If you can show a history of MetalBasic use [contributed code, generated applications...] then you too may benefit from the offer. We don’t want to exclude genuine MetalBasic users. We just want to weed out the freeloaders.

The offer is valid until July 15, 2002. There’s also a free demo to have a look at before buying. “Forumware”? That’s certainly a novel way of offering competitive crossgrades.

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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