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MacEdition Pro News : March 4, 2003

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The weird and the wonderful

Search and rename utilities upgraded for OS X

Publicspace has moved A Better Finder Select to OS X and tweaked A Better Finder Rename.

Version 3 of the Finder file filtering utility gives users the ability to find things on their hard drives using a wildcard search. The utility launches as a contextual menu in the Finder and supports drag ’n’ drop and persistent settings.

The renaming utility now allows users to insert text anywhere in the filename. It’s chiefly aimed at users who need rename files to conform to different conventions as they move files between Mac, UNIX and Windows platforms.

Anybody interested in the US$9.95 searching utility can check out the Publicspace product page for an animated GIF demonstrating the program at work. A similar show-and-tell animation is available for viewing at A Better Finder Rename’s product page for the $14.95 utility.

New table for FileMaker pros

24U Software released a new transcoding table utility for its FileMaker Pro transcoding plug-in.

The transcoding table, meant to work in conjunction with the 24U Transcoding plug-in, allows developers to create, combine and test transcoding tables before incorporating them in their programs.

The Transcoding plug-in is a FileMaker Pro plug-in. It allows your databases to “transcode” text in several ways. With the main “Transcode” function, you can translate any text from one character encoding into another based on your own encoding table. Another four functions will let you convert text and numbers to hexadecimal codes and vice versa.

With the 24U Transcoding plug-in you no longer have to limit your FileMaker Pro solutions to only one platform if you need to use foreign languages, such as Czech. You can also easily convert text to the desired character set before exporting your database to the Web.

The US$20 utility can be obtained from the 24U site.

Flash in your hand

Macromedia has inked a deal with NTT DoCoMo Inc. to put its Flash technology on the Japanese phone maker’s 2G/3G handsets.

DoCoMo said in a press release it expects the development to bode well for users of its handsets, since Flash-based interfaces will make the Web easier to access from a handheld device and the widespread use of the technology makes it easy for Web developers to build sites with the smaller screens of the handhelds in mind.

Macromedia also announced a rebranding of the Presidia Express line of products and services which it acquired when the company bought out Presidia last month. Macromedia will be calling the product line Breeze and have the Trainer and Presenter packages out on the market.

The server-hosted software solution carries an annual US$15,999 fee for Breeze training while Breeze Presentation has an annual US$9,995 contract.

Blog on

One of the latest trends in Web creation, blogging, is about to hit the handheld market.

NewBay Software is vending FoneBlog to a number of PCS service providers around the world who are looking for new ways to add revenue to their income streams. The software will allow the user to hook up to a server and update their blogs by adding text, voice or images to their pages though the messaging service of the wireless phone provider.

A page you don’t want to be on

The Mounties always get their man, and now a Web service is doing its level best to make sure your boss can find out if they got you.

Rapsheets.com is implementing a regional search feature in its extensive database of nefarious types which would allow an employer to spend no more than US$10 to search 10 US states to see if a prospective employee has had a run-in with the law.

“We have leveraged our powerful computing technology and 120 million records database to create these custom searches since so many convicted criminals have records in more than one state,” said Bill Whitford, chief operating officer for Rapsheets.com. “And we’ve priced the Regional Search to make it economical for our customers to ensure that they are getting the best reports available in the nation.”

The company says almost six million Americans have been convicted of crimes in more than one jurisdiction and its service will reference up to 40 percent more criminal records than traditional courthouse searches.

Captain FTP gets new feature

Xnet Communications took its Captain FTP into drydock to give the program an automatic update feature.

The company said the weekly update feature was a much-requested advancement from the product’s 50,000 users and has the double benefit of letting the company address support issues quickly and in a proactive manner.

The update also adds a new Go menu, synchronization of local and remote folders and the ability to restart unfinished downloads from the Finder. Captain FTP can be obtained from the Xnet download page.

Aspyr beams up a city

Aspyr Media Inc. has inked a deal with Electronic Arts to bring SimCity 4 to the Mac, days after putting pen to contract to license Star Trek Elite Force II from Activision.

SimCity 4 will feature regional game play where the mayor of a city will be pitted against regional rivals as they manage the economies of their communities. Players will also be able to peek into the lives of individual citizens of their city as they go about their daily routine, and they will have the ability to mold mountains, carve valleys, seed forests and lay rivers as they plan out their cities. The release date for SimCity 4 is tentatively set for May and is expected to retail for US$49.99.

Westlake Interactive is currently doing the Mac port of Star Trek Elite II, which is going to be built around the Quake III Team Arena engine. The game will place players as members of an elite security team aboard the Enterprise E where they will travel to exotic new worlds, carrying their choice of 13 weapons and battling Klingons, Borgs, Romulans and a host of new species. Ship date for the title has not yet been set, but the retail pricing of the game is expected to be US$49.99.

From the small screen to the big scene

Another well-played computer title may be coming to the silver screen as Infogrames Inc. sold the movie and television rights of Driver to Constantin Film and Impact Pictures.

Constantin Film is Germany’s most successful production house and movie distributor, best known for its film The Neverending Story. Impact Pictures, headed up by writer/director Paul W. S. Anderson and producer Jerry Bolt, made Mortal Kombat and Event Horizon.

The film, Driver, is currently in production and will follow the game’s plot line of an undercover cop being hired by the mob to be a getaway driver. A release date for the picture hasn’t been set, but the game developer expects to have Driver III out on the store shelves by Christmas.

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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