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MacEdition Pro News : July 26, 2002: Sonnet strikes back, spookware and Fourbucks.net

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Sonnet strikes back

No sooner had we mentioned PowerLogix’s recent upgrades than multiple emails from Sonnet popped in our inbox. Well, it’s nice to see someone reads ProNews.

First off, Sonnet has announced the new Crescendo/PCI 800MHz G4 upgrade, with 1MB of L3 backside cache:

New York: July 17, 2002. Sonnet Technologies, the worldwide market share leader in processor upgrade cards for Apple Macintosh computers, accomplishes tremendous technological breakthroughs with the announcement of the Crescendo/PCI G4/800 processor upgrade for PCI Power Mac machines. This highly-anticipated product is made possible by Sonnet’s superior design, which utilizes a new 7455 AltiVec-enabled G4 chip, and 1MB of L3 backside cache.

[...]

The Crescendo/PCI G4/800 is also the first G4 processor upgrade to be compatible with certain Power Computing Macintosh clone models. Until now, some of these systems could only support G3 processor upgrades. The complete list of compatible Macintosh models is:

  • Power Mac 7300, 7500, 7600, 85xx, 8600, 95xx, 9600
  • Workgroup Server 7350, 8550, 9650
  • Daystar Genesis
  • PowerCenter, PowerCenter Pro, PowerCurve, PowerTower, PowerTower Pro, PowerWave
  • UMAX J700/S900

[...]

Pricing and Availability

The Crescendo/PCI G4/800 will be available in August and will have an estimated street price of $399.95.

Second is Sonnet’s new Crescendo/WS G4/500MHz upgrade for Wallstreet PowerBook owners. The Crescendo/WS G4/500 also corrects a Mac OS “sleep mode” issue that can prevent these machines from waking up from sleep mode under OS 9 and earlier operating systems.

The Crescendo/WS is compatible with the PowerBook’s existing hardware, software, peripherals, and RAM. This product supports a total RAM capacity of 512MB and accommodates from 32MB to 256MB SO-DIMMs. It integrates with your system software, supporting Mac OS 8.1 and higher, and the latest innovations of OS X without any additional software or plug-ins.

[...]

Availability and Pricing

Crescendo/WS G4/500 is available now and has an estimated street price of $399.95.

Sonnet’s still got some goodies for those with more “vintage” machines, the Crescendo/7200 G3/500MHz with 1MB of L2 cache. It also overcomes the RAM limitations on these older machines:

The Crescendo/7200 carries three on-board DIMM sockets that enable expansion to a maximum of 768MB, well beyond that of the original machine.

[...]

The Crescendo/7200 is compatible with Mac OS 7.5.3 through 9.1.

All Crescendo/7200 processor upgrades are compatible with industry-standard 168-pin EDO or Fast Page Mode 5 volt DIMMs when these DIMMs are used on the upgrade card. Crescendo/7200 supports virtual memory up to the full 1GB supported by the native Mac OS, and also includes broad support for third party PCI cards.

Availability and Pricing

Crescendo/7200 G3/500/1M is available now with an estimated street price of $269.95.

Mac OS X compatibility for the 7200? Not a chance...

For those more concerned with drive speeds than clock rates there’s Sonnet’s new Tempo ATA133:

This new faster addition to the Tempo host adapter line offers enhanced speed and performance to the latest-technology storage, and supports up to four internal ATA/IDE devices. It ships with one cable, which connects up to two drives, one master and one slave.

Like its predecessors, Tempo Ultra ATA66 and ATA100, Tempo ATA133 is designed to provide compatibility with virtually all ATA hard drives in nearly all PCI Macintosh models, including pre-G3 machines like the Power Macintosh 9600, and 7500. OS X recognizes the Tempo ATA133 as a native ATA controller, supporting not only ATA hard drives, but also DVD ROMs, CD-RWs and other removable devices previously only supported via the internal Macintosh ATA bus.

[...]

OS X is supported on all systems supported by Apple, as well as those supported via Sonnet’s OS X installer for PCI machines.

Last but not least is Sonnet’s Encore/ST 800MHz and 1GHz G4 upgrades, complete with 2MB of DDR L3 cache, for all Sawtooth G4 Power Macs (all G4 Power Macs with AGP graphics). And yes, this includes the Cube, although Sonnet sells an additional Cube installation kit for $29.95 and strongly recommends installation by an authorised specialist.

These 800MHz and 1GHz processor upgrades for Power Mac G4 machines utilize the new 7455 series of Motorola G4 chips and have 2MB DDR (Double Data Rate) L3 backside cache, delivering processor performance of up to three times that of the original systems.

[...]

In order to work in both 100MHz and 133MHz bus speed machines, the new Encore/ST will automatically detect the bus speeds of its host machine and run at the specified performance of its processor. The card integrates seamlessly with all software applications and supports all operating systems from Mac OS 8.6 through OS X with no additional software required.

Availability and Pricing

Encore/ST G4/800MHz and Encore/ST G4/1GHz will be available in August with estimated street prices of $499.95 and $699.95, respectively. The Cube Dealer Installation Kit has an estimated street price of $29.95.

You can download an optional Mac OS X compatibility installer from Sonnet for $29.95. For more information on Sonnet’s PCI X Installer Updater check out http://www.sonnette ch.com/news/macosx_update.html. For further information on any of these products, check out Sonnet’s site.

That’s quite a PR barrage. Well, one more won’t hurt – Sonnet was also awarded “Best of Show” at MWNY for its new Encore/ST and Wallstreet G4 upgrades.

Spector spookware

This next press release is definitely from the "there’s-a-market-for-everything" department. It’s a “spyware” product from the folks at Spectorsoft called (funnily enough) Spector, allowing you to monitor how people use your Mac by taking timed screenshots. Here’s the skinny:

Spectorsoft Corporation just announced the Macintosh version of its award-winning Spector spyware program - the first automatic Internet and PC activity recorder designed for consumers and businesses.

[...]

In the three years since the introduction of Spector, there has been an explosion of Internet affairs – married or coupled adults who are seeking sex outside of their relationships. Spector was initially envisioned as a tool for parents concerned about what their children were doing online. However, it soon became obvious that the majority of customers were using Spector because they were suspicious about the time their spouses were spending online – particularly in chat rooms and instant messaging services.

[...]

Spector works by automatically taking periodic screen shots of a PowerPC-based Macintosh and saves those screenshots to a local or network drive for later viewing. Screen shots can be taken as often as every few seconds, or as infrequently as once every few minutes.

Spector is ideal for consumers and corporations alike. Consumers now have the ability to see exactly what their children or spouse do on their computer when they cannot be around. Corporations and educational institutions can now make sure their employees and students are using their computers appropriately.

[...]

In addition to recording by taking screen snapshots, Spector also records every keystroke typed. With Spector’s detailed and automatic snapshot recordings, one can see all emails, chat conversations, instant messages and Web sites visited.

Spector is available today for PowerPC-based Macintosh computers (iMac, iBook, Power Mac G3, Power MacG4, Power Mac G4 Cube, PowerBook G3 and PowerBook G4) running Mac OS 8.0 through 9.x.

Spector is priced at $69.95 per license and is available for immediate download from the company Web site: www.spectorsoft.com.

That’s certainly something to give the black helicopter crowd the willies. In a perfect world we’d have serious concerns with a product that feeds on “marital paranoia” and encourages distrust of friends and family (how does one explain spying on an innocent spouse, for example?) But the world isn’t, and hence the demand for this product. More information on Spector for the Mac can be found at the company’s Web site.

One final caveat: Your suspected philandering spouse or porn-surfing child can thwart this software by booting into Mac OS X.

To dot Mac or four bucks?

This is not particularly Mac-specific but we’ll give the guys at Vantech, who run the Web hosting service Fourbucks.net a tip of the hat for seizing an opportunity when they see it. Their email, promoting a “cost-effective alternative to Apple’s .Mac” hit our inbox a scant few days after the MWNY keynote. We normally wouldn’t run something so generic, but you have to admire the innovative (somewhat brazen) opportunism of these guys:

Vantech’s Fourbucks.net service provides universal POP and SMTP email, plus fast Web site hosting with exciting interactive features for less than half the price of Apple’s .Mac membership fee. And now through midnight July 18, 2002, Mac users can switch from their mac.com accounts to fourbucks.net and get free account activation -- an instant savings of $25.

Fourbucks.net allows Mac users to serve their iPhotos, iMovies, Web pages, and other files to anyone on the Internet. Fourbucks.net POP email works flawlessly with dozens of email programs, including Apple’s Mail client and Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express.

In addition, Fourbucks.net provides the following unique features:

  • Fourbucks.net customers can use their own domain names (yourname.com) for their Web sites and in their email addresses
  • Fourbucks.net provides interactive Web site features including a guestbook page and software to setup an email response form
  • Fourbucks.net supports the popular CGI, Perl, and PHP scripting technologies, as well as the MySQL open-source database, so customers can develop their own Web applications

Yes, the email isn’t IMAP, but you’re allowed unlimited email addresses and a heap of features that will appeal to novices and hard-core developers alike. The pricing plans start at $3.99 a month. The special offer ends on July 26th, so check it out now.

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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