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MacEdition Pro News : September 5, 2002: Type, display, game, rename, learn

by MacEdition Staff (feedback)

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A cooler way to hunt ’n’ peck

Those who never got the hang of touch typing will doubtlessly be cheered by the news that TouchStrokes and KeyStrokes from Niemeijer Consult is now ready to roll with Apple’s new Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar release.

The programs place a representation of a keyboard onscreen which users can manipulate through a touchscreen or traditional pointing device like a mouse or tablet. As the boys down the road from Amsterdam’s infamous red-light district put it:

KeyStrokes for Mac OS X is a fully functional virtual keyboard for users with disabilities and provides an integrated, system-wide dwell-based utility which allows mouse button clicks to be entered by simply holding the cursor motionless for a programmable period of time. It runs natively on Mac OS X 10.1.3 and higher and works seamlessly with all standard Mac OS X applications (including those running in the Classic environment) allowing you to type virtually anywhere a hardware keyboard can be used.

With a retail sticker of US$95 (or 110 Euros) and a downloadable demo at www.assistiveware.com/touchstrokes.html, if you ain’t stompin’ in yer klompen (Dutch for wooden shoes) to get there now, well let’s just say we’ve got a crateload of James Last records to getcha motivated.

Locked and loaded

Also geared up for Apple’s new OS are the folks at Dr. Bott who announced that their ever-popular VGA Extractor – which snaps onto the ADC connector – is compatible with both Mac OS X 10.2 and the dual-display video cards found inside Apple’s latest G4 towers. The new towers come with an ADC-to-VGA adapter. The folks at Dr. Bott believe the adapter is something Mac users will crave in their desire to “get the big picture.”

”Dual displays offer a unique way to increase productivity without the expense of new super-sized displays.” said Eric Prentice, CEO of Dr. Bott LLC. “Never before has adding an additional VGA display been so affordable, if you own a new PowerMac G4, second VGA display support will cost only $35 (US).”

Not to be outdone, the folks at Dr. Bott also announced a new driver package for the Proscope, a USB microscope, has been finalized for Jaguar and will shortly be posted at www.theproscope.com. The new drivers will be included in all units shipping from the factory starting next week.

While finding a home in schools, universities and with certain law enforcement agencies, Prentice and company notes the ProScope has been hugely successful in the home market.

The largest buying group for the ProScope(TM), however, has been the general public. The ProScope(TM) is hours of fun and is rapidly replacing old analog microscopes as the scope of choice due to its flexibility and ability to save images as both single pictures as well as QuickTime(TM) movies.

It’s a hit (and a big one at that)

In the world of Mac gaming, the 100,000-units-sold plateau is something of a high-water mark, so with delight in their eyes and a pocketful of cash, the people at GameHouse proudly announce that their downloadable hybrid Super Collapse reached that milestone at the end of August, ten months after its initial release.

Collapse has been wildly popular – “this is our first downloadable game to achieve this mile marker so quickly,” says Garr Godfrey, cofounder of GameHouse, which features a variety of free and downloadable games on its web site, www.gamehouse.com . “The demand for Collapse has been so unbelievable that we are considering introductions of similar games,” concludes Godfrey, hinting there soon may be a new offering in the works.

Super Collapse is a Tetris-like game where the player tries to collapse blocks before they reach the top of the screen, and as the player progresses though the levels things just pile up faster. Super Collapse was named RealNetworks’ 2001 Game of the Year.

Forever yours

PublicSpace.net has released a new version of A Better Finder Rename, its utility for Mac OS X and OS 9. Version 4.9 of the US$14.95 utility features a new 8.3 DOS truncation scheme and a couple of minor bug fixes. PublicSpace is also offering permanent upgrades and licenses for the utility (a concept we wish the House of Mud would adopt for Photoshop).

A brief explanation of the utility and its features follows in the company’s press release:

“A Better Finder Rename” is a contextual menu plugin for the Macintosh Finder which allows users to quickly rename multiple files. “A Better Finder Rename” is ideally suited for Macintosh webmasters, users who need to transfer files from or to Windows or Unix, as well as for all other Macintosh users who deal with large numbers of files.

Feature list:

  • interactive/ automatic modes
  • process subfolders
  • process files and folders separately
  • numbered and alphabetical list creation (e.g. image1, image2, etc.)
  • replace anywhere in the file name
  • replace at the beginning of the file name
  • replace at the end of the file name
  • add at the beginning of the file name
  • add at the end of the file name
  • convert to uppercase
  • convert to lowercase
  • convert to Proper Case
  • reformat number (e.g. File1 -> File001)
  • manipulate numbers in filenames (add, subtract, etc.)
  • remove characters at the beginning of the file name
  • remove characters at the end of the file name
  • remove file extensions
  • manual batch rename
  • examples for each mode
  • fully integrated with the Macintosh Finder
  • supports drag & drop renaming
  • supports droplet creation & editing for automating frequent tasks

Those interested in the US$14.95 utility can check out the company’s site at www.publicspace.net/ABetterFinderRename and view an animated GIF of the program in action.

Get yer geekware here

Hey, is Jagwire leaving you a tad confused? Unsure of how to put all that Unix goodness to work for you? Don’t fret, dear user, help is but a mouse click away.

The folks at www.tackyshirt.com have opened an online store to offer their four-DVD set of OS X training videos. As their press release explains:

Our new DVD set consists of 4 DVDs covering 16 hours of Mac OS X instruction. Each of the 64 lessons is 15 minutes long and the instructors are Mac community luminaries Andy Ihnatko, Bob LeVitus, John Welch, and Shawn King. The full set is only $49.95 and those who preorder get a free TackyShirt t-shirt.

Hey, free T-shirts – you can’t beat that! They’re more valuable than free pens in the retail trade. And retailers consider free pens to be like free smokes in prison. (Give one away and you’ve got a friend for life.)

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