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MacEdition Pro News : January 10, 2003: And now for the cleanup crew

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As the lights dim and the echoes of the throngs of MacWorld attendees fade to the dusty pages of history; this keyboard slappin’ monkey turns to his trusty snow shovel to dump yet another blizzard of releases into our well-used bit bucket. And since the boss is away, and it’s the weekend anyway, who says this gig has to be all work and no play?

This ought to keep us busy

Aladdin Systems, best know for its compression utility, has squeezed together a great collection of shareware games into a CD which it is selling on-line for US$49.99 under the title Ten for X: Games.

The titles on the CD are Bugdom 2 and Cro-Mag Rally from Pangea Software, Airburst, 3D Bridge Deluxe, Classic Cribbage, Burning Monkey Puzzle Lab and Wingnutz: Temporal Navigator, all from Freeverse Software, Slovis Software pitches in Video Poker 5000 and Bommo Sweeper X while single contributions to the collection are Lost Minds’ Astrosquid, Codeblender Software’s DeepTrouble, Spiderweb Software’s Geneforge and Jinni Zeala Pinball from LittleWing Co. Ltd.

Yes, if you’re counting – and I know some of you are – there’s more than 10 titles in that list, but hey – who’s complaining? The new Ten for 10:Games pack follows on the heals of Aladdin’s Ten for 10:Utilities, which drew a pretty decent level of enthusiasm from all the buyer’s out there.

Lost among the din

One time Macintosh video star ATI Technologies is started shipping its top-of-the-line video card – the Radeon 9000 Pro in a Mac version earlier this week.

“ATI enjoys tremendous support from the Mac community,” said Rick Bergman, Senior Vice President, Marketing and General Manager, Desktop, ATI Technologies Inc. “In addition to its availability in Apple’s Power Mac G4, consumers can now choose to upgrade their Macs with the RADEON™ 9000 PRO MAC EDITION retail card.”

The AGP video card packs 64MB of DDR RAM, has an ADC and a DVI connector and can support two displays both running at a 1920x1200 resolution. The card also ships with a DVI to VGA adapter in order to accommodate owners of CRT displays and will support any pairing of displays, provider the user has the correct adapters.

What may be the most eye-popping aspect of the card may be its price tag – US$169.99 – which must be something of a record for a top-of-the-line Mac video card from ATI. The PC version of the card has been holding its own in toe-to-toe product comparison battles against some of the better offerings from arch-rival Nvidia

Go ahead, pull the plug

While the Moscone Center janitors may be giving me the evil eye for hanging around now that the event is done, I have no worries if they decide to cut the juice to the media center, now that American Power Corporation has released its new ES 725 Back-UPS.

The unit offers high-level surge protection for high-speed Internet lines including cable modem, DSL (Digital Subscriber Line), telephone, Ethernet, single line phone/fax, modem and DSS (Digital Subscriber Service) systems and provides battery backup for your desktop PC, monitor, hubs/routers and other electronic equipment in case of a power failure.

The US$99.99 unit sports eight power outlets and enough battery power to keep a system going for up to an hour after the plug’s been pulled. It also ships with a USB cable and an OS X version of PowerChute, the software that conducts an orderly shutdown of an unattended system so the computer’s files aren’t scrambled because of someone’s rather rude behavior.

Cutting the cord

Kensington Technology, makers of that fine FlyLight (which is coming in REAL HANDY right now) released cordless versions of its StudioMouse and PocketMuse Pro.

A key feature of the StudioMouse Wireless is the innovative Scroll Sensor, which replaces a scroll wheel with a multifunction, touch-sensitive technology. The Scroll Sensor enables users to move quickly up and down a project, scroll continuously to the start or finish of a document, or creep one line at a time – all with the touch of a finger and without moving parts that squeak or get stuck.

PocketMouse Pro Wireless takes mobility and convenience to new levels with an all-in-one design that stores a wireless USB receiver inside a small compartment in the body of the mouse, eliminating not only a tangled cord, but also reducing the possibility of a lost receiver. Also, power saving technology extends battery life by turning off the PocketMouse Pro Wireless when the receiver is stored.

Both mice use optical sensors for tracking and have a five-year warranty. The multi-button StudioMouse also comes with the MouseWorks software which lets the user program more complex functions and execute them with the click of a button. The wireless StudioMouse sells for US$89.99 while the cordless PocketMouse carries a US$49.99 sticker.

Gear for a real road warrior

Linksys has teamed up with automotive electronics firm Zandiant Technologies to develop wireless networking devices that will allow people to hook up to the Net while in their cars.

With demand for digital media escalating, Linksys and Zandiant are positioned to deliver innovative products that extend the availability of broadband content to other devices through compelling new wireless applications. Market research firms such as Instat MDR, Parks Associates, IDC and many others say that sharing Internet access, files, printers and digital music are the leading applications used on a home network. Linksys and Zandiant’s vision is to take Internet content with location specific information and make it available from inside an automobile.

“By combining our respective strengths in wireless networking and mobile electronics, Linksys and Zandiant make a very strong team in offering a valuable solution that provides additional functionality to WLANs while innovating the car with accessories that can utilize and communicate with a home network’s broadband connection,” said Albert Wong, President & CEO of Zandiant Technologies.

While no specific products were mentioned in the joint statement one can only wonder what the morning commute is going to be like in a couple of years, if these guys ever get their products on the road. Mind you, I could put a device like that to work right about now.

The future is now

Smith Micro Software ain’t sittin’ around waiting for somebody else to put the Web on the road.

They’ve released QuickLink Mobile, a wireless phone connection kit which lets you hook up your Mac to AT&T, Cingular, NexTel, Telus, T-Mobile and Verizon wireless networks.

QuickLink Mobile offers the freedom and convenience of wireless Internet connectivity from your Mac. With QuickLink Mobile and your favorite Mac running Mac OS X connected to a data capable mobile phone you will have quick and easy access to the Internet. QuickLink Mobile is the prefect solution for mobile professionals around town and frequent travelers across the country.

The US$59 connection kit supports nearly 40 phones from five major manufacturers i the mobile business. Smith Micro has posted further information and a compatibility chart on their Web site.

It sounds like the perfect partner to go with the company’s new version of FAXstf X Pro, the full-featured program compared to the version that has shipped with many Macs. The senior version adds features like group faxing, multiple coverpage support, multiple modem support and exporting faxes to TIFF or PDF.

“Thousands of Mac users rely on FAXstf X for their daily fax activity. FAXstf X Pro’s new Fax Browser and feature enhancements make it even easier for high-volume users to manage their faxing tasks,” said William W. Smith Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Smith Micro. “FAXstf X Pro is a seamless business productivity tool for sending, receiving, and managing faxes. We listened to our customers and we designed a product that is robust while at the same time presents a new level of simplicity of use not found in any faxing product on the market today.”

The pro version will cost US$89.95 and there are a variety of upgrade options available to purchasers. Smith Micro expects to start shipping FAXstf X Pro sometime during the first quarter of this year.

When ya gotta go

Iomega Corp. released a king-sized portable drive at MacWorld.

The company rolled out a 60GB FireWire drive wrapped a PDA-sized enclosure and uses a 4,200 RPM mechanism. It also has a USB 2 interface and comes with Norton Ghost and Iomega’s Automatic Backup to carry out back ups and recoveries on that other platform.

“External hard drives have exploded into an exciting storage category in recent months because low-cost external drives can extend the life of a personal computer and vastly improve the computing experience,” said Michael Johnson, general manager of optical and sourced products for Iomega Corporation. “The new Iomega HDD 60GB Portable Hard Drive gives users the space they need for everything from editing digital video clips to capturing and holding a disk image of their internal hard drive.”

The drive is now rolling out to resellers in the Americas and sells for US$399.95.

A little light reading

No sooner had Apple put together its iLife suite of digital lifestyle programs together, then did PeachPit Press come to the fore with a new book and DVD detailing the use of those new programs.

Author/host Jim Heid was given the unprecedented opportunity to work with advance copies of the new iLife programs. “No one outside of Apple has more experience with the new versions of iPhoto, iMovie, and iDVD,” said Scott Cowlin, Executive Marketing Director at Peachpit Press. “We’re thrilled to be able to bring Jim’s expertise to the Mac community.”

The book and DVD manual, which is to be published in February, is designed to have the user work with the material on the DVD while holding the book open to the appropriate page. The book will be comprised of highly graphical double-page spreads to help the user follow along and learn how leverage the integration of the programs to build a complete project. The will be on the shelves for US$29.99.

Ain’t no river deep enough

Software MacKiev and Riverdeep have signed an agreement that will see MacKiev port 20 home and educational titles to Mac OS X.

“Riverdeep has some of the most popular consumer and educational software available today and we are excited about the opportunity to put our award-winning design teams to work in bringing them to Mac OS X,” explained Software MacKiev President, Jack Minsky. “Our company has become known for our dedication to the art of Mac OS X interface development, and we are looking forward to bringing these important titles to the platform in style.”

The two companies were showing Mac OS x versions of The Print Shop and ClueFinders at MacWorld and have committed to bring Kid Pix Deluxe, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, Edmark Thinkin’ Things, Dr. Seuss’ ABCs and the entire ClueFinders series to Mac OS X this year.

When mommy says “no”

The days of unlimited surfing of the Net on OS X for children and childlike employees have come to an end now that Intego Inc. has released Content Barrier X 10.0.

Intego beefed up its classic version of Content Barrier for the move to OS X by expanding its keyword filtering abilities and backing up the program with an automatic update feature which can be scheduled to check for updates to all Intego programs installed on the computer. Additional features include:

Customizable Categories – In addition to ContentBarrier X’s predefined filtering categories, users can also set their own custom categories for Web content blocking.

Predatory Chat Blocking – An anti-predator function blocks language typically used by child predators in online chat rooms and over instant messaging applications.

Multiple User Support – Individual restrictions can be set for different users based on age and maturity.

Newsgroup/Email/Download Control – Users can preset whether children can access newsgroups or email.

Internet Access Control – ContentBarrier X can restrict access to the Internet to include only certain times or days.

Automatic Log, Email Notification – To make sure controls are being followed, ContentBarrier X keeps a log of all Web sites visited. An automatic email feature notifies the parent if certain events occur.

Content Barrier X 10.0 is currently available from Intego for US$59.99 and includes both the OS X and OS 9 versions. So kiddies, no booting over to Classic to beat the Net cop.

Show me the way to go home

In a somewhat related event, Palm’s OS division and Garmin International have teamed up to bring a Palm-powered GPS mapping solution to the market.

The Garmin iQue 3600 runs on Palm OS 5 and sports nifty features like a voice recorder, SD expansion slot, MP3 playback and a speaker so the owner can hear the little unit give directions.

“By integrating the Palm OS with GPS functionality, we’ve built a one-of- a-kind mobile companion device that offers a smart way to navigate through the day, whether traveling to a business appointment or taking the scenic route,” said Gary Kelley, Garmin’s director of marketing. “Combining the Palm OS with our GPS technology is a logical combination for a handheld device and allows Garmin to participate in the momentum already established by the Palm Economy.”

Garmin’s innovative Que technology delivers location awareness, electronic mapping, automatic route calculation, turn-by-turn voice guidance and map data interface to the iQue 3600. Que technology enables users to see where they are, find a street address, know where the next turn is via visual and voice guidance, get back on track when they’ve strayed off course and navigate efficiently to their desired destination.

The iQue also packs 32MB of memory and is able to run any other Palm OS program. Garmin is also selling additional maps for the unit which cover the continental US, Hawaii, Canada, UK, Scandinavia, and western Europe. Suggested retail for the iQue 3600 is US$589 and the unit is expected to begin shipping during the second quarter of this year.

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