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MacEdition Pro News : June 27, 2002: Warm fuzzies, typing thumbs, ScriptEase and a hint of leather

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Opera’s warm fuzzies

Remember Opera? They’ve been a little quiet on the Mac front ever since releasing the final version of Opera 5 for Mac OS 9 (and the Mac OS X Public Beta 4 seems to be in a permanent holding pattern). In a perfect world, it would be nice if we had instant feature parity with Opera’s Windows version. However, we’re not here to lament the slow progress of Opera’s Mac development.

Occasionally it’s worthwhile to take a look at the corporate culture of the companies developing the browsers we use. Opera has made some interesting announcements recently, first of which is its global donations program:

Oslo, Norway – May 28, 2002 – Opera Software today unveiled its new Global Donations Program, giving registered versions of Opera away for free to organizations for the physically challenged, elementary schools, as well as Web designer schools and programs. Organizations can apply for free registered versions of Opera through http://distribute.opera.com/donations.

You can read more about the program at http://www.opera.com/press/dart.html

This may seem like a non-event given that most other developers are giving their browsers away anyway (and some can afford to do this more than others). Regardless, Opera’s values and mission statement is refreshing and well worth a read.

More recently, Opera has committed itself to support right-to-left languages such as Hebrew, Russian, Arabic and Korean in future Opera versions for the Mac.

OSLO, Norway – June 20, 2002 – Opera Software today announced that future versions of its Web browser, including Opera for Mac, will support Hebrew and all other right-to-left languages. Unlike its competitor Microsoft, who is once again showing its disdain for making the Web open and accessible to all by not supporting these languages in the Internet Explorer for Mac OS X browser.

Microsoft’s decision to not support right-to-left languages was first reported by The Register in its article “Microsoft’s Mac Hebrew snub prompts Israeli AntiTrust complaint”, which describes how Microsoft’s decision not to provide Hebrew support in its Macintosh Internet Explorer browser or Office suite has prompted a complaint to Israel’s antitrust department.

“By not providing localization, Mac users are being forced to convert to Windows,” said Hakon Lie, CTO, Opera Software ASA. “Unfortunately, these acts from Microsoft show how minority groups are easily discriminated against when a company wields its monopoly power.”

[...]

Opera emphasizes maintaining the Web as a place that preserves cultural diversity. To read about this, as well as Opera’s other values, please visit: http://www.opera.com/press/manifesto.html

Perhaps it’s twisting the knife just a little bit about Microsoft’s decision. To be fair on Microsoft, we should also link to the response to the Register’s article from Kevin Browne, General Manager in charge of Microsoft's Macintosh Business Unit:

The relevant fact for this discussion is that number of Macs in use by Hebrew-speaking people around the world is regrettably too small for us to consider localizing a product as extensive as Office, and Apple has not named it a top tier localization for Mac OS X, so we will not localize IE either. Combined with the tiny market segment opportunity, the currently weak support for the Hebrew language in Mac OS X itself makes it cost-prohibitive for Microsoft even to support typing in Hebrew in the English versions of Office and IE.

While current versions of Opera do not yet have support for Hebrew, Russian and Arabic, the company claims it’s actively working on it. Opera also promises this localisation should be easy to port from Windows to Mac versions. Only time will tell.

Do you type using the “eagle method?”

You know, the “eagle method” – look, circle, swoop, look, circle, swoop – and so on. If that typing technique describes you, then Runtime Revolution’s Ten Thumbs may be just what you need.

Runtime Revolution today released Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor 2.3. The new version brings full Mac OS X compatibility to Ten Thumbs, along with other enhancements, refinements, and new features.

Ten Thumbs has received critical acclaim for its easy-to-use, step-by-step approach to learning keyboard skills:
  • Fun on screen characters help to engage learners.
  • Skill tests provide feedback and target areas for additional practice.
  • A structured set of tutorials guides learners in their study.

Ten Thumbs is appropriate for learners of all ages, and is used in schools, at home, in colleges, universities and industries, including call centers and financial services organizations.

[...]

Ten Thumbs Typing Tutor is now available for all major personal-computer platforms:

  • OS X
  • Classic Mac OS
  • Windows 95/98/2000/NT/ME/XP
  • Linux

A free trial version of Ten Thumbs is available from: http://www.runrev.com/tenthumbs/download.shtml

Ten Thumbs is $25.95 and available for download from the company’s Web site. There’s also a half-price offer for students available at https://order.kagi.com/cgi-bin/r1.cgi?2GE2.

ScriptEase

A short and sweet PR blurb for a third-party FutureBasic plug-in:

Bernie Wylde announces ScriptEase, Version 0.0.1

Create FutureBASIC scripts up to 32,765 chars in length.

ScriptEase, an FB^3 plug-in, creates and runs its own pseudo-scripts that break the built-in Simple Scripts 255-char barrier. But... size isn’t everything... ScriptEase scripts run like lightning! A must-have productivity tool for all FutureBasic programmers.

ScriptEase is freeware.

Yes, that’s Version 0.0.1, but at least the author’s candid enough to admit it. For further information, check out: http://homepage.ntlworld.com/bernie.w/downloads.html#s+

For those who like leather...

...covering their iPods, that is. Dr. Bott is now stocking LeatherPod, a leather case for the iPod from E-pac.

LeatherPod from e-Pac is a deluxe iPod case in European design that features play-through usability while still offering protection for the iPod itself. The removable shoulder strap and belt clip provide versatile yet elegant ways to keep your iPod with you on the go.

”The LeatherPod is a truly befitting the professional with high quality soft leather and European design.“ said Jens Dietrich, of Dr. Bott KG. “All the style, comfort and features do not add up in price – in fact, the LeatherPod is surprisingly affordable!”

Pricing & Availability:
LeatherPod retails for $29.95 is available immediately.

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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