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MacEdition Pro News : November 12, 2002: Teaching old hardware new tricks

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A window that never closes

Switchers who feel a twinge of regret at letting expensive hardware just sit around and collect dust might want to pop a new copy of PC MacLAN 9 into their old Windows box.

Miramar Systems just started shipping a new flavor of the Mac network client software for Windows systems which allows Mac users full access of PostScript and non-PostScript printers connected to Windows machines. The same holds true for newer Windows XP systems accessing AppleTalk printers on the Mac side, since Microsoft dropped AppleTalk printer support in the latest version of its operating system.

The new version of PC MacLAN also allows older Windows systems to see files larger than 2GB, view larger capacity hard drives, and provides long-filename support for Macs running OS 9. Additionally, since the main networking protocol for PC MacLAN 9 is TCP/IP, any Windows-toting road warrior can now hook up to his home-based Mac over the Internet and swap files back and forth. PC MacLAN was also updated to support AFP 3.0, meaning a Windows box can connect to and view the files of any newer Mac OS-based system.

“Miramar Systems is committed to making cross-platform networking a non-issue. Our customers demand a solution that gives them the freedom to chose the platform that makes them most productive and for over 10 years, PC MacLAN has delivered that freedom. Our newest version offers the latest evolution of this market leading solution providing Mac and PC users the best quality, highest performing product on the market” said Greg Goodman, Vice President of Product Management at Miramar Systems. “Customers continue to require multi-platform network integration software solutions, and PC MacLAN gets their job done.”

PC MacLAN will also ship with a new easier-to-use configuration wizard and three utilities to ease the movement of files between the platforms. With the inclusion of DataViz’s MacOpener, Windows users can also access Mac-formatted media mounted on Apple systems. The program will retail for US$199 with upgrades for current users running anywhere from US$69 to US$99.

Back in black

Griffin Technologyhas brought forth a limited edition of its PowerMate controller, sporting a new black-and-blue color scheme. The little knob that does a thousand things was first released by Griffin a year ago.

Beneath its good looks lies a multifunctional multifaceted programmable USB device. Out of the box, PowerMate becomes the computer’s volume knob it never had – controlling overall system volume and muting with a push of its integrated button. It also comes with preset settings for several major apps including iTunes, iMovie, Internet Explorer and others. Users may then modify and tweak the existing settings or better yet – add new settings and functions for any application with key commands. Users may create and store as many settings as they wish. PowerMate will store them all and activate the setting for whichever app is active.

The limited edition PowerMate will be available only from Griffin’s Web site and sells for US$45.

Some things never die

In the spirit of Veterans’ Day in the US – and Remembrance Day for most Commonwealth countries – it’s only fitting that we pass along this tidbit which might take some old hands down memory lane.

It seems a UK company, EyeTech Group Ltd., is in the throes of putting the finishing touches to a series of components for Amiga diehards who wish to build a brand new system with a speedy new G3 or G4 processor. Prices range from UK £360 to UK £500 for the new Amiga motherboard and CPU combination.

While the new Amiga OS – designed to run on the PowerPC family of processors – won’t be ready for shipping until sometime in 2003, systems built around this new motherboard design will be able to run a number of PPC variants of Linux – including TurboLinux, SuSE and Debian. Current shipping systems will come with LinuxPPC and UAE, a Linux emulator built to run all those 68k Amiga apps that might still be out there. EyeTech also promises to deliver the upcoming Amiga OS 4 to those who buy the board in advance of the operating system’s release.

Another tombstone overturned

A little closer to home for most Mac users, comes a little piece of software which will allow Newton owners to sync their Messagepads to their OS X 10.2 systems.

The software, NewtSync, accesses both Apple’s Address Book and its new iCal program via TCP/IP or a USB serial adapter like Keyspan’s Twin Serial Adapter.

The program is currently in a beta testing mode, but the author intends to sell it as a shareware application for US$34.

A new window for your old OS

OpenOSX just issued a new release of its XFree implementation of X-Windows which allows OS X users to drop the Unix GUI of choice on their system without even looking at their terminal app.

Without typing a single Unix command, the OpenOSX CD will install XFree 4.2.1 with the OroborOSX window manager, fully configured in less then five minutes, by simply double-clicking the OpenOSX package icon. XFree 4.2.1 and all required and optional libraries have have been compiled using gcc 3.1, for at least a 20% performance gain over previous versions of the OpenOSX CD, along with numerous bug fixes and improvements.

XFree is a native implementation of the X-Window library that is the Unix standard for graphical user interfaces. There are thousands of existing open source and commercial applications that utilize X-Windows that may be used after installation of the OpenOSX product.

XFree 4.2.1 ships with a media cost of US$30 and comes with a de-installation program. A six-month upgrade subscription costs US$80. OpenOSX also has offers on its Web site for XFree bundled with WinTel (a Pentium emulator which allows the user to install Windows 95/98 on her system) and OpenWeb (a Web server package built around Apache 1.3.22).

One icon, many uses

This little app must be every desktop publishers’ dream.

AliasMultiplier X 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 no step three!.”

AliasMultiplier, from Zik Software, will also allow users to modify aliases or edit the launch order of the programs fired up by the AliasMultiplier X alias. The program carries a US$7 shareware fee and is free to those who purchased previous versions.

More tricks for an old Jaguar

Proteron LLC released Mac OS X updates to two of its popular classic Finder enhancements.

First out of the box is MaxMenus, a little utility that allows the user to create and place customized menus in the corners of your desktop.

You can build a menu out of any items you want and put it wherever you want. In just a few moments of setup you can streamline OS X to fit your work habits.

MaxMenus also offers the power to link any item on your computer to a key combination. Just press the key combo while your mouse is over a menu item, presto, the task is done! So go all out and configure every shortcut you want. F8 for iPhoto. F9 for iTunes. F12 for the Terminal. You can even assign key combinations to your menus from the MaxMenus preference pane.

Proteron’s other effort is LiteSwitch X, a floating palette that serves as a launcher and supports contextual menus.

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