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MacEdition Pro News : June 3, 2003
Groping in the grab bag

by MacEdition Staff (feedback)

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In this issue

Busy as beavers

DEVONtechonologies has revamped their suite of freeware tools: BlueService, CalcService and WordService.

The programs, which load as services in OS X, enable other Cocoa applications to access new features offered by the freeware tools. BlueService allows applications to send text to BlueTooth-enabled devices, while CalcService and WordService allow those applications to execute simple calculations or reformat text.

The new version 3.1 of CalcService comes with a bunch of new functions, ceil(), floor(), round(), acosh(), asinh(), atanh(), cosh(), sinh() and tanh(), and WordService 2.4.2 features a new “Speak Text/Stop“ command.

Also, other WordService commands can be used while a text is spoken, “Insert Date/Time/Date & Time” use the system-wide formatting preferences and the German localization has been updated. Additionally, the keyboard shortcuts Command-“<” and Command-“>” have been removed from BlueService and CalcService, because they are used for window switching in some Mac OS X localizations, for example German.

The three new tools, along with DEVON’s AntiWordService (a service that allows cocoa text apps to read Microsoft Word’s .doc files) are available separately or as a bulk package from the DEVON site.

Controlling those clips

Developer einstein’s legacy LLC released Cinematics, a media player that allows the user to build and manage video playlists.

Cinematics can be used for a wide variety of applications, both in the office and at home. Whether you are a business owner who needs to showcase your products or a home video enthusiast who needs help organizing and presenting your digital video collection, Cinematics is an excellent tool to help you with your needs.

Among the features of the US$25 title is full-screen playback, controls to adjust the frame rate and speed of playbacks, context sensitive playback menus and access to movie information. The program also handles QuickTime, MOOV, MPEG and Microsoft AVI formatted video.

A demo version of the software is offered on the developer’s site.

Adding to the effect

Stupendous Software has been tinkering with their iMovie effects packs again and came up with a couple of nifty tricks for Apple’s ubiquitous video editing software.

The “SplitScreen & PiP” plugin pack has been updated with a new split screen effect called “Side By Side”, which places images from two clips next to each other, shrinking them so that the entire frame is on screen.

The “Labels & Overlays” plugin pack, which contains effect for placing text and markers on an image, now includes two new effects for placing time counters (in seconds and frames) on clips.

The new effects are free for registered users of the company’s plugin packages. New users pay US$25 per package, or can pick up the whole collection of 350 effects for US$200.

A work in progress

Purgatory Design added a few more tools to Intaglio which will cheer the hearts of those looking for a low-cost program for technical designs.

The latest 1.3 update adds multiple on-screen rulers and automatic dimensioning to the program while improving grid design and drawing unit displays.

A demo of the US$59 program is posted on the Intaglio product page.

Blast for the past

Those users still running old Mac hardware and operating systems, but pining for some of the neat things one can do with an OS X-only program - like iPhoto - will be glad to know there’s a developer like Imaja around.

The company released PicScan, a US$19.95 slideshow generator/viewer and photo browser which will run on any Mac with a 68k processor, OS 7 and 20MB of RAM.

PicScan is an easy to use image slideshow generator and thumbnail browser. Slideshows can be controlled interactively using the keyboard or a thumbnail view. PicScan supports two monitors for interactive use with laptop computers and video projectors.

Images dissolve smoothly from one to the next, and the pacing and other parameters can be interactively controlled from the keyboard during the slideshow.

The program will assemble slideshows from images in any format supported by QuickTime. A demo of the program can be obtained from the PicScan product page.

Taking instruction

MacSpeech released a new version of iListen aimed at sweeping up a larger portion of the medical, legal and educational markets.

The new iListen 1.6 improved the programs ability to generate transcripts for the legal and medical professions, provides handsfree error correction, and features a number of tune-up to speed up the program’s learning ability.

iListen is unique in its capability to let you dictate and correct directly into almost any application on your Macintosh in either Mac OS X or Mac OS 9. No copy and paste, just work directly with the tools you really want to work with, but do it with your voice instead of the keyboard and mouse.

Transcription support, coupled with iListen’s new correction capabilities on Mac OS X make this the only practical Speech Dictation, Voice Command & Control, and Transcription Solution for Mac OS X.

Owners of iListen 1.5 can upgrade for free, while owners of older version face a US$39.95 upgrade price. A full version of the program carries a US$99.99 sticker. Those who purchase the program before July 31 will also get the recently released iListen iLife Vocal Solution package as part of the deal. The iLife package allows the user to vocally control all four programs in Apple’s iLife collection.

Linking up the web

Zik Software released an updated version of their browser bookmark utility iLink.

iLink is a bookmark manager designed specifically for people who use more than one browser. Using more than one browser means having some bookmarks in Internet Explorer, some others in Mozilla, some others in OmniWeb and so on... so that you need to open a browser to simply use one of your bookmarks.

When launched, iLink automatically searches for and imports bookmarks from any web browser installed on your Macintosh and imports these bookmarks every time you launch iLink to reflect the all bookmarks present in each browsers. Safari and Mozilla, for example, import Internet Explorer bookmarks only once, so if you add a bookmark to Internet Explorer it will not appear in Mozilla or Safari, but it will be available in iLink!

iLink also offers the ability for users to organize their bookmarks and will launch your default through a double click on a bookmark, or allow the user to chose an alternate browser through a contextual menu selection.

iLink works with Safari, IE 5.2, Camino, Mozilla, Netscape 7.0, OmniWeb, Opera and iCab. It is available for download from the Zik Software site and carries a US$15 registration fee.

Hot date set for frozen software

Blizzard Entertainment has set July 1 as the street date for the world-wide release for The Frozen Throne expansion pack for Warcraft III.

“We’re very excited to announce that development on Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne has been completed,” said Mike Morhaime, Blizzard Entertainment president and co-founder. “When we set out to create the next installment of the Warcraft series, we wanted to increase the strategic gameplay possibilities and depth of the Warcraft universe by introducing a wide array of new Heroes and units specifically designed to enhance each race. We’re extremely proud of these new additions, and we look forward to sharing them with players.”

The US$35 hybrid release add four single play campaigns, four new hero races, three new tilesets to provide new unexplored territories, five neutral heroes which can be recruited to strengthen a player’s army and expanded capabilities for hosting tournaments and clans on Blizzard’s Battlenet servers.

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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