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MacEdition Pro News : September 26, 2002, Flying into a creative fix and fading into thinking text

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Curse you, Red Baron

Fans of the old Peanuts strip might recognize Snoopy’s battlecry, but those yearning for the days when men were men and wearing leather was A-OK might want to strap themselves into their favorite gaming chairs this winter.

MicroProse Software and I Entertainment Network announced they will soon have Warbirds III, Fighter Pilot Academy out on the retail shelves. The massive multi-player online game, which ships as a cross-platform title, will also feature a special OS X version. As Wild Bill Stealey, MicroProse founder and retired USAF Lt. Col. puts it in his press release:

WarBirds III, Fighter Pilot Academy (FPA), brings a new level of sophistication to World War II game simulations. Fighter Pilot Academy provides training missions to teach new players how to drive or fly WW II vehicles including over 49 aircraft, 11 bombers, 4 tanks, 4 ground vehicles and 4 ships. FPA also introduces IENT’s new mission creation and planning system. This new system enables all IENT games to provide over 10 instant action missions where the player can jump right into the action and experience the thrill and excitement of intense WWII combat without having to wait for the action. FPA also includes five campaign missions, where the player is a member of either the Axis or Allied forces participating in simulated historical missions like the great B-17 raids over France during WWII.

Fighter Pilot Academy will use new graphics technology to provide gamers with larger visual distances, feature new explosions and damage effects, historical recorded sounds for WW II weapon systems, and terrain detail taken from satellite maps. The game will also use IENT’s patented Latency Management System to realistically manage hundreds of online players.

Warbirds’ recruiting office is now accepting all eager enlisters.

Finding a better way

Publicspace.net has brought its popular Classic utility, A Better Finder Creators & Types, to OS X. The file utility, which allows users to change file-to-application associations of their documents, was completely rewritten in Apple’s Cocoa framework to provide users with the highest degree of compatibility, speed and reliability, Dr. Frank Reiff, the shareware program’s developer, said in his release. He added that the US$9.95 program dovetails nicely with A Better Finder Rename.

A Better Finder Creators & Types is the ideal companion for A Better Finder Rename, which allows users to rename multiple files automatically. In the same tool series, A Better Finder Select allows users to select files in the Finder based on their names, types or creators. Finally, A Better Finder Attributes allows you to change the creation and modification time and date, the Finder flags and many other attributes of files and folders. This complete tool series provides unmatched Finder multi-file handing capabilities.

  • process multiple files at a time
  • change the creator and type separately or together
  • predefined creator and type lists for the most popular Macintosh applications
  • customizable creator and type lists
  • manual input for creator and type codes
  • “same as” allows you to change creator & type based on any file on your Macintosh
  • unlike most tools, you can immediately see your changes in the Finder
  • easy-to-use user interface
  • remembers settings between sessions
  • offers drag and drop support

Those interested trying the utility should check out www.publicspace.net/ABetterFinderCreatorsAndTypes/, while those interested in looking at purchasing options for the series should look at www.publicspace.net/ABetterFinderSeries/.

Sun, surf and something else

Those of us who hate looking at that goofy beach-ball wait cursor in Mac OS X can now look at something prettier, thanks to Baxter Computer Systems. The Florida-based computer dealer is distributing Blobber, a donation-ware hack that allows users to customize their wait cursors. The download includes a tutorial that allows the more creative among us to add a more personal touch to OS 10.2.

Not fade away

Our good buddies at Virtix Inc. have unleashed yet another set of transitions for Apple’s iMovie. Regular ProNews readers may recall this company made a splash on our pages a few months back with its first release.

Anyway, Virtix has cooked up a new set of 29 transitions for iMovie 2 for both Mac OS X and Classic that allow budding movie directors to add a classic Hollywood touch to their in-home productions.

Unlike the standard transitions for iMovie, Virtix Cinematic gives you control over the shape and motion of the wipe transition. Each wipe that goes in one direction can go in the opposite direction. Or, you can wipe in both directions at the same time, like a closing curtain or opening curtain. You can select a corner of the screen for your Corner Wipe or an edge for your Edge Wipe. OS X users will have the additional ability to select a point on the screen to position the Iris Wipes.

With the custom dialog box, you can choose from several levels of softness for the edges of your transitions. You can choose whether the edge of the transition should be smooth or rippled. The edge of your wipe can be colored, black and white, inverted, or scattered. The possibilities are endless!

The new Virtix Cinematic set can be downloaded for US$24.99 at Virtix’s site. Those who want to look at the effects at work can view a QuickTime movie if the product description page doesn’t suffice.

No sense of permanence

Following in the footsteps of those developers who found ways to turn hard copy into something your software could use comes Metaobject, a German firm which has created TextLightning, a PDF-to-RTF converter.

While able to do PDF-to-RTF conversions at the Finder level, TextLightning has also been folded into Devon Technology’s DevonThink, a document cataloguer that uses fuzzy logic to build associations between elements of documents without relying on an indexing system.

DevonThink is a completely new knowledge base ideal for storing, organising and retrieving documents, pictures, source codes, multi-media files, code-fragments or structured data (HTML, XML) of any kind, based on the flexible yet robust and language independent Devon technology.

Without the need for any indexing at all, DevonThink fully or semi-automatically classifies elements, lists similar contents and words immediately using fuzzy algorithms, finds and compares text and even images, summarises texts intelligently and provides high performance concordance tools. As a Cocoa application it’s perfectly integrated into Mac OS X including its own services for storing and summarising text clippings, has advanced text editing functions including rulers and provides a Finder-like interface with contextual menus, different views and drag-and-drop.

Both TextLightning and a shareware version of DevonThink can be downloaded at Devon’s site . A package deal, called ThunderPack, is also available for US$50 from Metaobject’s site.

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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