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MacEdition Pro News : November 14, 2002: Fix leaks, add effects, accounting wars, and a tad more

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A plumber’s friend

FWB Software, long known for its excellent hard drive utility FWB Hard Disk Toolkit, is adding another tool to its array of handy implements.

The company just released its new Privacy Toolkit, a three-program package that aims to lock down files and folders on your system.

“Privacy Toolkit, originally named SubRosa, is the first of many security products we are going to release in the course of the next few months. In this day and age, security is the number one concern of most computer users. The information on your computer can easily be accessed by friends and foes,” stated FWB’s President Mark Hurlow. “Privacy Toolkit Volume 1 eliminates the chance of illegal access to your documents.”

“As many users of SubRosa vol. 1 can testify, Privacy Toolkit is amazingly easy to use,” declared Marko Kostryko, FWB’s Director of Engineering and the developer of Privacy Toolkit. “Version 1.5 of this product brings goodies such as unicode compliance, greater than 2 GB support, a redesigned shredder, and BlowFish encryption engine support.”

The package contains a 128-bit encryptor built around the BlowFish encryption algorithm, a decryption tool and a tool that completely zeros out any files the user wants removed from their system. The package carries a retail price of US$34.95.

Mind-blowing clear fun

One of the more quizzical traits of Mac users in the Far East has been this habit of customizing the look of their Mac laptops. It’s been a big thing over there for years and now it looks like this particular flavor of Oriental madness is making its way to mainstreet America.

Dr. Bott is picking the lines of iBook parts from Micro Solution and Felicidad, both of Japan. A move which Dr. Bott expects will put a sparkle in the eyes of Mac users on this side of the big puddle.

“Dr. Bott Imports fall outside what many people would consider our core product lines,” said Eric Prentice, CEO of Dr. Bott LLC. “While these products carry a higher price tag, they are great examples of what Mac users find interesting in different parts of the world.”

Products include replacement lids and palm rests for iBooks, case fans and other interior goodies for the G4 towers, iPod accessories, and ... well just look at the stuff you can get.

Moving up to the big time

Virtix Inc., having a couple of effects packages for iMovie under its belt, is taking its wares to Apple’s premier video editing program Final Cut Pro.

The company released Virtix Effects for Final Cut Pro, a downloadable package of 30 effects that can be used within Final Cut.

This package contains several all-new effects, like Bubbles, Rain and Snow (just in time for Christmas!). A new point-to-point Laser effect allows the user to create a glowing beam of light between two keyframable points - useful for science fiction saber duels. A point-to-point lightning effect called Zap allows you to create an electrical arc between two keyframable points.

The other effects in this package are a selection of effects, previously made available as part of eight packages of effects for iMovie, which have been revised and updated for use in Final Cut Pro. Effects like Blur Edges, Funhouse, Glint, Spotlight and Witness Protection make use of keyframable positions. Other effects now have additional capabilities and keyframable sliders not available in the iMovie version.

Virtix is selling the package for US$149.99 and has an introductory deal that knocks US$25 off the sticker price. Virtix also has a page where interested parties can view stills and a demonstration movie of the package at work.

Padding out the set

The folks at Stupendous Software have been doing a bit more than catching a few waves while hangin’ out at their Honolulu Hawaii headquarters. The company recently released 33 new plug-in effects for iMovie to compliment the 99 other effects the company released last month.

Levels & Balances (13 effects, 3 free)
This package brings Photoshop-style image adjustment controls to iMovie. Included are effects for adjusting the levels of an image, as well as effects for setting the gamma, color balance, and white balance. The color balance and adjustment effects allow independent control over the shadow, midtone, and highlight regions of the image.

Smoke & Glass (20 effects, 3 free)
This package includes effects for a number of animated smoke effects, as well as frosted glass effects and several wavy glass refraction effects. The smoke direction and speed can be set by the user, as can the rate of change of the smoke shapes. The wavy glass effects allow the image to be stretched and distorted in various ways.

Like the previous set, the effects are broken into two packs which sell for US$25 each and there are a half dozen free effects people get when they download the demo package.

Stepping into the void

Canadian accountants still crying over Intuit’s announcement of no more payroll updates for MYOB (Intuit bought out MYOB’s assets in Canada early this year) can dry their tears. A Toronto-area firm - BusinessCare - is selling a localized version of CheckMark’s MultiLedger and a Canadian version of CheckMark’s Payroll.

MultiLedger, while not exactly a household name in the Great White North, is an integrated accounting program that carries out the usual functions of the better-known brands, including tracking purchase orders, invoicing, inventory and job costing, as well as provincial and federal sales taxes.

The stand-alone product, Canadian Payroll, will import employee data from MYOB and track all deductions from federal income tax to the employee coffee fund. Working demos of both programs are available for download from BusinessCare’s Web site.

Meanwhile stateside

Intuit is inviting US business people on the Mac to take a look at their forthcoming offering of QuickBooks Pro V for Macintosh. A preview of the program has been posted for those interested parties to evaluate, and the QuickBooks team is soliciting comments from those users to incorporate in the final release.

Meantime, MacAccounting Software will be thumping the tub on behalf of Appgen’s MyBooks at the Southern California MacFair on Nov. 16. Representatives from MacAccounting will be showing MyBooks during a seminar on business productivity on OS X.

Bad mojo

A while back we told you about August Schultz, a man tempting the wrath of Apple’s legal department through the issuance of T-shirts using Apple’s old six-color logo and the Happy Mac icon.

At the time we kind of felt dear old Auggie would be making the acquaintance of Apple’s legal department, a.k.a. the Men of the Monochromatic Hue. That blessed event has yet to transpire. However, Auggie did send us a note saying he was experiencing a series of trials and tribulations stemming from his attempt to spread sweetness, light, MacJoy and 250 T-shirts around the world from the ZenBubblegum Web site.

Read on:

A catalogue of third-party-instigated and unrelated incidents took the concept of “bad luck” to new heights.

Immediately following the simultaneous worldwide launch of the limited edition ZenBubblegum “Classic Apple” T-shirt, both the domain hosting company and the ISP responsible for handling ZenBubblegum’s Web site and e-mail suffered major problems with their services.

Both incidents had catastrophic results for ZenBubblegum. Firstly, the Web site – featuring full details and online purchase options for the Apple T-shirt – suffered from erratic performance and was offline for considerable periods. Secondly (even more disastrous in our electronic age), no e-mails could be received for over a week.

Apart from the immense frustration and administrative problems this caused for ZenBubblegum’s day-to-day activities, e-mail was also the method by which sales of the Apple T-shirt were received and communicated. It couldn’t have been much worse.

The Internet companies ZenBubblegum had partnered with were frustratingly slow to react and entirely unapologetic about their performance. Obviously, ZenBubblegum wasn’t happy with this. Once the full situation became clear, the Web site was immediately moved to a more reliable, dedicated hosting service where it is now online in full operation. The e-mail service is also much more reliable.

Auggie goes on to say that while the site was up and down, some orders got missed, delivery addresses went askew, and that he has received some credit card information from people to whom he cannot connect a name or an address. He asks all interested parties to reestablish contact so that he can straighten the whole mess out.

Who could have guessed that messing with the brand of a company run by a Buddhist would create such bad karma?

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