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MacEdition Pro News : May 24, 2002 : Dolby dissent, radio reprieves and shareware

by MacEdition Staff (feedback)

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We want our Dolby 5.1 and we want it now

Audio on the Mac has always been a bit of a two-edged sword. On the one hand, the Mac is often the platform of choice for creative audio professionals. There’s MOTU, Pro Tools, Cubase SX and Propellerhead Software, just to name a few off the top of our heads.

Yet on the other hand, the lack of analog audio input on some models, and anything more than basic stereo output is becoming an increasing concern. Yes, there are all sorts of alternatives for importing, editing and creating music on the Mac (otherwise it would hardly be an audiophile’s “platform of choice,” hey?); the problem is not so much with the creation of whizz-bang spiffy audio but folks who simply want to play it back. There is no realistic way to play back Dolby 5.1 digital sound on the Mac. Creative Labs did ship a Dolby 5.1-capable PCI soundcard – but with unusable drivers, that hardly counts.

So when nobody else is going to fill the void, it’s time for Apple to step up to the plate and do something about it itself. As a bit of encouragement an online petition has been set up asking Apple to make Dolby 5.1 sound a built-in standard on all future Macs. Furthermore, the petition wants a PCI card (either produced in-house or in partnership with a third party) and an external FireWire/USB solution for iMacs and iBooks.

Read the petition here, and if you agree with it, please sign it.

On the topic of audio...

Remember our recent missive about the imminent demise of Internet radio? Well thankfully, in the end it didn’t happen. That’s not to say we were running around making Chicken Little prognostications – the US Copyright Office has issued a 30-day stay of execution on accepting the royalty rates proposed by the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel.

Most heartening of all, however was this snippet in the Copyright Office’s statement:

The Register of Copyrights recommends, and the Librarian agrees, that the CARP’s determination must be rejected. A final decision will be issued no later than June 20, 2002.

That suggests the Copyright Office is telling the Copyright Arbitration Royalty Panel (CARP) to go back to the drawing board and come back with a proposal that’s, well, workable and sane.

Here’s MacEdition’s heretical suggestion: Use the same royalty rate that traditional radio stations are charged. When it can be proven that online Internet radio don’t provide the same “proven role in promoting new music” as traditional radio does, then we might talk about additional royalties.

Zik’s back

That’s Angelo Scicolone, of Zik software. He’s released updates of two of his products. The first of these is AliasMultiplier X 2.5, now localised for the French language. So what does it do?

AliasMultiplier is a simple program that creates single aliases that can open more programs, documents, folders or Web pages! Using AliasMultiplier is very simple: just drag items you want the alias to open over the application icon, then click Save and ... “There’s not step three!" AliasMultiplier has also other features, for example you can easily modify aliases or edit the launch-order of a AliasMultiplier’s alias. AliasMultiplier’s aliases are named Multi-Aliases. And it does all without installing System Extensions or Control Panels!

Possible Uses:

  • Open all your internet applications at once.
  • Open all files you need to use a document on your Mac, like libraries, etc..
  • Load custom RAM disks for use with special apps, like browsers for their cache, etc..
  • Drinking a cup of coffee while your Mac does more things at once!

AliasMultiplier X 2.5 is a $7 shareware product. For more information about AliasMultiplier, visit: http://www.ziksw.c om/software/aliasmultiplier.html

Zik also released another update of PrefsOverload, pushing it to Version 4.2. This one chiefly involves performance improvements and interface enhancements:

PrefsOverload is a full-featured tool for managing the Preferences Folder, which contains your various “preference files."

[...]

It can browse the Preferences folder and detect unnecessary preferences files, thanks to the information it gives you. Or it can display a list of probably unnecessary or damaged preferences files, allowing you to delete them or to put them into the Trash. Also PrefsOverload allows to search for specific preference files, by their type/creator or their creation/modification date and so on.

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 4.2

  • Rating engine speed was optimized and now is up to ten times faster if you use a lot of manually-excluded files.
  • Fixed a bug that prevented the “Don’t ask again” button from working in the delete warning dialog.
  • Added a “Clear All” button in the Files Exclusion Preferences.
  • Now PrefsOverload displays a modal dialog if it doesn’t find any unnecessary file.

You can download PrefsOverload 4.2 here: http://www.ziksw.com/software/prefsoverload.html

PrefsOverload is a $15 shareware product, you can buy it via Kagi here: http://www.ziksw.com/buy/

Zik seems to be quite the prolific worker when it comes to delivering updates. Most small-time shareware developers seem to have an enthusiasm for constantly improving their products. It’s an admirable work ethic that perhaps the folks at Quark could take note of.

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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