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MacEdition Pro News : January 8, 2003: Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow…

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Well, another keynote’s in the bag and we’re off and running midst a blizzard of product announcements flowing from the floor (and elsewhere) of the Moscone Center.

Steve! You forgot something

The busiest man of the morning walked away from the stage with something still left in his bag of goodies. Apple Computer has brought the X11 windowing environment to OS X.

X11 for Mac OS X offers a complete X Window System implementation for running X11-based applications on Mac OS X. Based on the de facto-standard for X11, the open source XFree86 project, X11 for Mac OS X is compatible, fast and fully integrated with Mac OS X. It includes the full X11R6.6 technology including a window server, libraries and basic utilities such as xterm.

With the complete suite of the standard X11 display server software, client libraries and developer toolkits, X11 for Mac OS X makes it even simpler to port Linux and Unix applications to the Mac. Based on XFree86 4.2.1, X11 for Mac OS X gives you a complete, rootless X11R6.6 implementation, as well as display server and client libraries – plus headers in the SDK. X11 for Mac OS X supports ssh tunneling for secure display sharing.

The X11 product is available as a public beta from apple’s rather busy server farm.

Make a Rendezvous with a server

Xnet has created what it believes to be the first Rendezvous enabled server software. Xnet’s new Crocodile FTP Sever teams with the company’s client software - Captain FTP - to make for a brain-off solution for moving files back and forth.

“The charter of our new product line is to enable Zero Configuration IP Networking. That means making it possible to take two computers, and connect them with a crossover Ethernet cable, and have them communicate usefully using IP, without needing a man in a white lab coat to set it all up for you. Captain FTP Client for Mac takes the advantage of Rendezvous to discover and directly connect with the Crocodile Server on your PC. That’s it! With Zero technical discussion you can get your files produced on Mac and share it with rest of the world using powerful Crocodile Server,” said Wolfgang Falz, a Xnet Public Relations representative.

The US $80 FTP server software can be downloaded from Xnet’s server. The software runs over Windows.

Fire in the hole!

Well, SmartDisk Corp. has made it official (again). The company will be shipping a 200GB hard drive sporting the new 1394b connection. Someone at SmartDisk had inadvertently posted information about the new product on its website a day before the MacWorld keynote.

“FireWire 800 sets the stage for a huge leap in the speed of data transfer between Mac platforms and their peripherals,” said Stuart Cox, Vice President, Product Development for SmartDisk. “Our FirePower hard drive takes advantage of this new speed to satisfy the hunger for faster data access and massive file storage, as is so often required in Apple’s media-intensive user community.”

The drive will be built around a 3.5-inch 7,200RPM mechanism, sporting an 8MB cache, and will utilize Oxford Semiconductor’s new 922 chipset. The drive will also have a USB 2.0 connector to allow for slower connections to Windows desktops. The FirePower drive is expected to be on the market sometime in March.

A better backup

Also announcing a roadmap for FirewireB support is CMS Peripherals which is showing its new one-button backup solution for Mac OS X at the San Francisco show.

The hardware backup solution currently runs over FirewireA and is shipping in drive sizes up to 160GB. It does a one-time complete backup upon installation and then does incremental backups every time the device is connected to the system. The drive also ships with software to allow the use to schedule full or incremental backups to accommodate users who require that feature.

No matter which the backups are conducted, a complete restore is available to the user at a touch of one button. The user can also use the mechanism to drop the same information on another system. The backup solution is nifty enough that it was selected by MacWorld as the runner up in the storage category for the magazine’s best of show Eddy Awards.

“The ABSplus is truly quick and easy, and it boots into Mac OS X in a single keystroke,” said Ken Burke, president of CMS Peripherals. “Macworld magazine is known for their high level of professionalism, expertise and thorough examination of Macintosh technology. We’re extremely pleased to be recognized for our contribution to the Mac community by the Macworld editors.”

The company’s roadmap for a 1394b implementation of the backup solution will have the new hardware rolling out sometime this year.

Whad’ya mean no faster hardware?

Those who might be bemoaning the lack of faster towers being announced at this rendition of MacWorld, might be cheered to know they can put a sizable amount of pop into their old towers.

Sonnet Technologies announced the release of a new 1.2GHz chip upgrade for all older AGP-based G4 towers.

The upgrade chip is one of Motorola’s 7450 series processors and sports 2MB DDR L3 backside cache and works with both the 100MHz and 133MHz motherboards that ship in the older systems.

In order to work in both 100 MHz and 133 MHz bus speed machines, the new Encore/ST includes advanced technology that automatically detects the bus speeds of its host machine and sets the performance of its processor accordingly. The card integrates seamlessly with all software applications and supports all operating systems from Mac® OS 9.2 through OS X with no additional software required.

Sonnet is currently taking orders on the chip upgrade which is expected to carry a US $799.95 price tag. There is also a US $29.99 mounting kit for Cube owners to accommodate the upgrade chip in those machines.

With a song in my heart

Well, now that audio pros are going to get an OS X native of Pro Tools next month, they might desire a new tool to help build that catalogue new hit tunes they will process with that new top-of-the-line Digidesign kit. Well, those minstrels wandering the miles of aisles in the Miscone Center might want to waltz over the the 4D booth (#1442) where the database company is showcasing a new app build around its wares which adds a hefty accompaniment to the creative process.

MasterWriter 1.0 is a software which combines a seven-dictionary reference set, a database for organizing works in progress, a word processing tool, a hard disk recorder, a MIDI drum loop library and a date-of-creation song registration service.

“4D’s scalability is known, but MasterWriter really highlights 4D’s flexibility and power,” said Brendan Coveney, president and CEO of 4D, Inc. “MasterWriter is a high-performance, tightly integrated set of databases with productivity features to help songwriters create better work in less time. We’re thrilled to feature such a high-quality example as MasterWriter to showcase what can be done in 4D. Whatever your business proposition, 4D provides the database-driven application development environment which powers creation of applications on Mac OS X.”

The MasterWorks look-see comes a week before the program makes its official debut before the UK-based BMI songwriters association next week. The program will be made available after that event and will retail directly from MasterWorks for US $289.

And a thought in my head

Meanwhile at the adjoining booth, 4D is showing off its newly released 4D 2003. The new version of the venerable database product — released at the MacWorld show — sports stronger web and application integration to allow different programs to share each other’s data and functionality.

“Whether you’re a custom developer, an IT professional, or an end user, 4th Dimension 2003 has your needs covered, said Brendan Coveney, president and CEO of 4D, Inc. “Integrated support for Web services that provide application integration capabilities, combined with the power of Mac OS X version 10.2 lets 4th Dimension 2003 change the way business is done. Now customized, cost-effective solutions that significantly improve productivity are within anyone’s reach.”

4D 2003 also contains an integrated compiler, increased scalability, new printing and reporting features, and enhanced developer capabilities - including a new method editor.

A preview of the next revolution

Runtime Revolution is giving show attendees a sneak-peek at Revolution 2.0, the company’s multi-platform rapid application development tool. Highlights of the new version include a new aqua interface, spreadsheet fields and support for XML, Unicode, and MIDI.

Version 2.0 builds on Revolution’s proven ease and power, bringing these major new features to Revolution’s developer community:

  • Access to OS X’s Unix underpinnings
  • Transcript Cookbook with many fully-annotated code examples
  • Unicode/Asian languages text entry and editing
  • Spreadsheet and table fields
  • XML library for creating and parsing XML documents
  • Automated report printing engine
  • All-new integrated debugger
  • More comprehensive SQL database support
  • Fully Perl-compatible regular expressions
  • MIDI music file creation and playing
  • Video capture and playback

Prices for the new Revolution range from US $99 for the student edition to US $995 for the Professional Edition, with free upgrade going to those who purchase Revolution 1.1.1.

Open source video

OpenOSX added an open source based video editing tool to the plethora of products vying for primetime prominence in the production studio.

Film Gimp has been developed from The Gimp (The GNU Image Manipulation Program), specially enhanced for motion picture’s film-resolution of 16-bit color-space and includes a Frame Manager. The Gimp is the open source alternative to Adobe Photoshop. Film Gimp is like Gimp on wheels and has been used on major motion pictures such as Scooby-Doo, Harry Potter, Stuart Little and Stuart Little 2.

The busy beavers at OpenOSX have rolled in a dozen and half open source offerings into Film Gimp, but the best news for Mac OS X users is that they won’t having to type a single Fink or Unix command in order to install the program on their machines.

Film-Gimp carries a US $40 license fee and a six-month upgrade subscription can be had for an additional US $60. Film Gimp can be obtained from the company’s servers.

More iMovie goodness

Even with iMovie 3.0 chugging its way to desktops everywhere, Stupendous Software has broadened its range of plugins for iMovie 2.

The Honolulu-based company updated their Levels & Balances package along with releasing a revision of their Smoke & Glass collection.

The Levels & Balances pack now includes nine new tools to allow the user to correct white-balance and tweak the color tones of their footage. The Smoke & Glass effects package has added 10 new effects to create vertical wisps of smoke and a broad range of glass refraction effects. The rendering speeds of the Smoke & Glass package have also been made to work twice as fast as the previous version.

The packages sell for US $25 each and owners of the current version of the effects packages can upgrade for free.

Whack, slap and a double smack

A little note just slide in under the door from the House of Mud. It seems Adobe’s sales reps have been busy pushing InDesign into that space so obviously left vacant by the publishers of Quark Xpress.

Adobe’s sales efforts now have InDesign entrenched as the page-layout program of choice for 425 art and design institutions worldwide. Meaning there’s going to be a whole pile of art grads coming to the industry who will neither see nor care about the beleaguered king of desktop publishing’s products.

In North America prestigious schools integrating InDesign into their coursework include: Arizona State University, California Institute of the Arts, Carnegie Mellon University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Syracuse University, The Art Institute Online, Sheridan College and University of Illinois.

In Europe and Japan colleges teaching InDesign include: Les Gobelins Ecole de l’Image (France), Ecole Nationale Superieure des Arts Decoratifs (France), Estienne Ecole Superieure des Arts et Industries Graphiques (France), Fachhochschule Munchen (Germany), Gutenbergschule Frankfurt am Main (Germany), Glasgow School of Art & Design (United Kingdom), Lycee Professionnel Industrie Graphique Gutenberg (France), Nippon Designer Gakuin (Japan), Remark Learning (Japan), Royal College of Art (United Kingdom), Tama Art University (Japan) and Technische Fachhochschule Berlin (Germany).

Man, I can hear Furious Freddy screamin’ and hollerin’ all the way from here. Somebody must have got a big ol’ can of whoop-ass for Christmas.

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