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MacEdition Pro News : November 25, 2002: PDFs GoLive, contests and other neat stuff

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Pluggin’ in PDFs

Adobe Systems will release a new module for GoLive that will allow Web creators to convert their pages to PDF format. Adobe believes the plugin will better integrate PDFs into Web pages and speed the process of getting client approval for page layouts.

Web developers were early adopters of Adobe PDF technology and according to a recent Web search on Google, more than 20 million Adobe PDF documents are now indexed on the Web. The GoLive PDF Module is designed to accelerate and enhance publication of Adobe PDF documents to the Internet, enabling Web developers to view Adobe PDF documents without having to open a separate application. Through new toolbar options, GoLive users will be able to navigate, edit, export and print Adobe PDF files from within the application. This new module will also allow developers to convert HTML files to Adobe PDF for easier client review and collaboration.

The PDF plugin will be incorporated into a new version of Adobe Web Collection, a suite of programs which include GoLive, Photoshop, Illustrator and Acrobat. The new version of Web Collection for both Macintosh and Windows is due to be released for by month’s end. The PDF plugin will be rolled into that collection for US, Canadian and UK customers, or can be purchased separately from Adobe for US$19.95 once the module is released by year’s end.

Vote early, vote often

No, it’s not yet another Florida election, it’s iDevGames, which is letting the people decide who is going to pick up all those great geeky goodies in their uDevGame contest. Like most shareware offerings, the honor system is fully at play in this contest.

Forty-one entrants submitted their wares in the hope of garnering some of the US$15,000 prize pool. Voting kicked off Nov. 18 and will end Nov. 26. iDevGames will compile the votes and announce the contest winners on Dec. 2.

A listing of all entries including descriptions, screenshots, and download links can be found at: this location.

Gamers participating in the voting process are encouraged to play games in full, vote thoughtfully and honestly, and vote only on the games which they have played. Participants may cast their votes at: this link

The envelope, please

In a similar vein, Bob LeVitus, a well-known Mac writer, has produced a short list of nominees for his first – and hopefully annual – Dockies Award.

The award, which celebrates the wide world of shareware, freeware and otherware not found in shrinkwrap, will be formally announced in a gala celebration during Macworld San Francisco on Jan. 9, 2003. Public input, while welcome, will have no bearing on the outcome.

Bob “Dr. Mac” LeVitus has collected and evaluated thousands of freely-distributed OS X programs. In this session he’ll demonstrate his favorites – the best and brightest non-commercial software available today and award “Shiny Silver Disc Awards” to what he deems the top programs in categories like: best productivity enhancers, best free productivity enhancers, best low-cost games, best free games, best Web sites to find and download all this fabulous stuff and lots of other best-of-breed shareware, freeware, and otherware demonstrations. You’ll get all this delivered in Dr. Mac’s trademark style (a mix of encyclopedic knowledge of Mac OS X’s inner workings, bad jokes, and worse puns). Come early; seats fill up fast.

The list of nominees are:

Audio/Video/Graphics:
Curator; GraphicConverter; PixelNhance; Slick Transitions & Effects; Sound Studio
Backup and File Synchronization:
Carbon Copy Cloner; ChronoSync; ExecutiveSync; OmniDiskSweeper; Synchronize! Pro
Finder Enhancement:
DragThing; Drop Drawers; LaunchBar; LiteSwitch; MaxMenus; Snard
Game:
Goban; iColumns; iPoker; JewelToy; WingNuts
Internet:
Acquisition; MacReporter; NetNewsWire Lite; Transmit 2; URL Manager Pro; Watson
Productivity:
OmniGraffle; OmniOutliner; StickyBrain; textSOAP
System Utility:
Cee Pee You; File Buddy; Grafboard; Memory Usage Getter; MemoryStick; Pseudo; System Manager; TinkerTool; USB Overdrive
Screen Saver/Effect:
Bumps; illumineX Screen Saver Pack; Marine Aquarium; Mister Hankey; StonerView
System Enhancement:
Default Folder; FruitMenu; PTHPasteboard; Snapz Pro; Visage; Windowshade

Writing with style

Back in the real world, business letters and other pieces of formal correspondence have a formatting and style that usually eludes the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal that lurks within all of us. Without having an authority on all things etiquette at one’s elbow, it can be somewhat embarrassing when some of your prose appears to be written by someone with a Grade Three education.

Enter Objectpark Development, which released LetterWorks, a template-driven Cocoa application which removes the niggly bits of formal correspondence and automates other aspects of formatting with drag-and-drop simplicity.

LetterWorks lets the author focus on content while layout, formatting and default text are determined by a predefined stationery. In addition, LetterWorks automates the process of filling in the receiver’s address!

In summary, LetterWorks allows you to...

  • create professional quality letters by facilitating pdf letter heads that print with your letters
  • choose from the stationeries included or roll your own using the built-in layout editor
  • fill in the receiver’s address instantly via drag & drop (supporting the Apple Address Book and the vCard standard)
  • use all the popular word processing features like styles, fonts, colors, alignment, spell checking, hyphenation, etc. plus advanced features like kerning adjustment or rotated text
  • get the feeling of Mac OS X – LetterWorks was created from ground up and exclusively for Mac OS X (using Cocoa)

The program is available online and carries a US$29.99 price tag. A demo of LetterWorks is available from Obje ctpark Development’s Web site.

Slingin’ a faster Web

From our friends at FAQ-Mac (the Spanish-language Web site that trades content with us) comes this little nifty script, which is designed to put a little pop into Chimera.

Within the HTTP 1.1 protocol there exists a way to accelerate navigation of webpages by sending the server a request to send numerous TCP/IP packets for a webpage on the same channel. This technique is called HTTP pipelining.

Chimera is able to benefit from this functionality, but must be activated manually. Most current servers already support this acceleration and this script changes Chimera’s preferences to activate this function.

If you haven’t been clued in by now, Chimera is a Mozilla-based browser for OS X that uses the Gecko rendering engine and is working its way through the beta stage.

Please touch that virtual dial

Griffin Technology has been fiddling with its iMic USB audio adapter again, and that’s a good thing for Mac users.

Griffin released Version 1.5 of the iMic Control software, adding controls for volume, input gain, bass and treble. The best part of the new software release is that these features can be extended to other programs where these controls did not exist and can be used to tweak the audio output on your Mac.

This software gives sound shaping control to applications that previously had none – such as Web browsers streaming music or audio. It also enables Audio Play-Through monitoring on Mac OS 9.

iMic Control 1.5 includes an adjustable input gain control. This allows users to adjust their sound input level when recording music or voice into the Mac. This is especially useful for people recording sound into iMovie, which has no way of adjusting the level of sound being recorded. The combination of iMic Control 1.5 software and an iMic gives this very important control back to the user.

Another key feature included in iMic Control 1.5 is Bass and Treble control. Although many individual apps include multi-band Equalizers, there has never been a way to control the Bass and Treble of the Mac itself. What if the overall sound of an iBook needs more bass? Or a user wants to adjust the Treble of external speakers? With the free iMic Control software they have both settings available to their Mac to adjust its sound any way they desire.

The software can be downloaded from Griffin’s Web site.

Hooked up at a better price

Dr. Bott also had a little audio news for us this week – it’s dropping the price on its iPod Connection Kit. The kit comes with either an FM transmitter or a cassette tape adapter and both variations are bundled with an automotive charger for your iPod, an extension cable, a male-to-male mini-stereo cable and a carry pouch for the Pod.

Drives are gettin’ bigger all the time

Our fine friends at WeibeTech have pushed the upper limit of their hard drive capacity to 250GB. The new mechanism is now AC-powered rather than bus-powered and the cases support ATA-6 drives while being compatible with USB 2.0 using ATA-5 mechanisms.

“This product provides support for ATA-6 drives which is not available in the regular version of DesktopGB. It is also less expensive than Super DesktopGB because it is AC-powered, not bus-powered. Finally, it maintains USB compatibility for ATA-5 drives,” said James Wiebe, CEO of WiebeTech. “As a result, it is the perfect choice for users who want inexpensive, extremely high performance support for high capacity drives.”

Owners of WiebeTech’s older wares have an upgrade option open to them. In other drive news, WiebeTech has dropped the price on its line of 60GB MicroGB hard drives. The drives use the smaller 2.5" form factor hard drives commonly found in laptops, thus being ideal for portable users.

Update City

Well, the folks who have brought you other fine wares featured in earlier editions of ProNews have been busy. In an effort to catch up with all the goings-on, we offer the following tidbits:

Stupendous Software has updated all four of its iMovie effects packages, adding new effects to each of its US$25 bundles. Existing users can download the new packages for free from the online store.

MacSpeech has updated its iListen dictation software to work with the current range of Olympus digital voice recorders and has added support for UK English. (Apparently folks in the UK not only talk funny, they spell funny, too! Like, get with the programme, dudes.) The update can be downloaded from the company’s support site. Those interested in the new version can check it out at Macworld UK, which kicked off in London on Wednesday.

Mobility Electronics announced it’s upgraded the Magma line of PC Card-to-PCI breakout chassis to be compatible with Jaguar. The company states in its press release that the upgrade puts it in a prime position for when manufacturers like Digidesign and Pinnacle Systems update their high-end cards for OS X.

Pullin’ on the Bungie cord

Awwww, say it ain’t so! Ambrosia Software is taking two of its better titles – EV Nova and Deimos Rising – to the Windows platform. The formerly Mac-only shareware house has teamed up with Windows porting houses Trihedron LLC and Contraband Entertainment to build the Windows versions of the programs. Oddly enough, Ambrosia is looking for beta testers on that other platform. Sign up if you’re interested.

Get ’em while they last

Cajun Games is blowing out the last few copies of Food Chain, its award-winning 1999 effort for US$3.99 (plus shipping and handling). Anybody interested in picking up the title is encouraged to link to the company’s Web store.

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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