tuesday | november 6

GraphicConverter 4.1 is available for download. Mr. Lempke has finally added a grabber hand, so I'm really happy. Thornten doesn't get swept away by the marketing hype that commercial software publishers live by, or else he'd be up to version 20 by now.

Illustrator 10 is also shipping, purportedly. Just last Saturday I got a demo by an Adobe rep at the PhotoPlus Expo, and I'm pretty excited about trying it (the upgrade is $140). But I think the version 10 designation is pushing it; 9.1 is more like it. (For that matter, the next version of QuarkXPress could really be called 4.5, not 5.0, but then that's marketing hype for you.)




july 2001

GraphicConverter 4.0.9, with versions for OS X, PPC and 68K, was released today. (7/21)

One utility not being updated for OS X is Adobe Type Manager; Type 1 font rasterization is built into OS X, so ATM is no longer needed. So I got the lowdown on Font Reserve for OS X, now in beta, and it looks pretty good. Check out my MacWorld Expo report. (7/20)




june 2001

I'm in the process of restructuring this website; page by page I'm hand-tweeking the HTML code to make it cleaner and easier to update. Most of the editing is now being down in BBEdit 6, and I'm using GoLive to manage links and upload files. New today is my resume. (6/15)

Thorsten Lemke announced that GraphicConverter 4.0.8 was released today. I've updated my list of features. (6/14)

Sega's Strike Fighter three-screen F-18 arcade flight simulator starts out with some training missions over Manhattan. These sorties include firing missiles at hot air balloons over Central Park. The city looks pretty accurately rendered from the air, but how does it look down low? In order to find out, you have to sacrifice a sortie to find out, and you have only about 45 seconds to explore before you're declared a failure. At $2.50 a pop this is not something you'll do everyday.

I veered off from the training course and flew over a pretty believable Roosevelt Island and under the 59th Street Bridge, then across town to the Park (I half expected to see the girls playing on the Pier at Brearley). On the second training mission I descended between buildings and flew down a wide boulevard that looked like Park Avenue. There is not alot of detail at low altitude, but 3-dimensional shapes exist for most buildings and bridges. (6/14)

The final beta of GraphicConverter 4.0.8 was posted today. Thorsten Lempke is expecting to release the new version in three days. GraphicConverter is a shareware Macintosh imaging program that is pretty amazing, and for a lot of tasks it runs circles around Photoshop. A while back I posted a list of features, or you can visit the Lemkesoft website to find out more. (6/11)

I got an e-mail on Wednesday from Darryl Peck, founder, CEO and president of Outpost.com. He writes,

"Outpost.com (forever, really!) Today I am thrilled to be able to tell you that it now appears that, like The Rolling Stones, we will indeed be here forever.... We have just announced that our friends [who needs enemies] at PC Connection have agreed to acquire your favorite company, Outpost.com.... Needless to say, we are awfully excited about this [so excited half their staff is probably out looking for new jobs right this very instant]. PC Connection is a company we have long admired [I kind of like the Post Office, myself], and to say that this is a good fit is quite an understatement."

It sounds like Mr. Peck was trying to convince himself more than anyone else. We'll see how he feels after PC Connection's next downsizing. (Actually, I always used to love Mac Connection's catalog; it wasn't until I discovered Outpost.com on the web, with their free overnight shipping, that I made the switch.) (6/8)

Netscape Communicator 7.0? AOL Time Warner Inc says it is remaking its Netscape software business into an "Internet media hub brimming with Time Warner artists and publications, aimed at office workers and Web purists not already using AOL services."  Fill it to the rim. (6/8)




april 2001

Premiere 6.0 Upgrade Woes -- I received my Premiere 6.0 Upgrade from Outpost.com, but I have to send it back because of a screw up with Adobe. The serial number supplied on the CD will not work and Adobe is the only company authorized to sell an Upgrade from Premiere 5 LE to the full edition of 6. Outpost had a few other customers in the same boat as me, so they are refunding our money. Now instead of paying $150 with Outpost I'll have to pay $199 for the upgrade from Adobe... plus tax and shipping. (4/12)

Outpost.com Down for the Count? -- Outpost.com is now charging $8.95 to ship by 2-day air. This seems like an ominous sign to me. (4/11)

GoLive 5 Progress Report -- I'm using GoLive 5 to produce this site, and for the most part I'm pleased. But there are still bugs. If I highlight a paragraph and type new text in its place, it can be a couple of minutes before the new text appears, and then it might not be correct. Likewise, pasting after copying (even one letter!) can take forever. Highlighting tables is a real pain, and I still wish that there would be a magnifying glass tool so that I could zoom into areas to do fine tuning. Supposedly, re-importing a site into 5 eliminates the slowness bug, but I did that a couple of times and it's still slow.




may 2000

GraphicConverter 3.8.1 has come and gone -- A couple of days ago Thorsten Lemke released GraphicConverter 3.8.2, which among other things supposedly fixed the CMYK TIFF problem I alerted him to. Unfortunately, it is only a partial fix. Whereas 3.8.1 was creating reversed-out previews and thumbnails of CMYK images, 3.8.2 gets them positive, but with a purple cast. Thorsten wrote me today and told me that "Photoshop uses some special color scaling for CMYK files. I do not have the exact values." I think that sounds like a challenge for Thorsten, and I'm sure he'll solve it. (5/2)




april 2000

QuarkXPress Update -- Quark this morning has re-posted its 4.1 to 4.11 updater. It fixes slowdowns with OS 9. (4/18)

GraphicConverter 3.8.1b8 -- Once again Thorsten Lemke has posted an updated beta of GraphicConverter, the last before he releases version 3.8.1. He has fixed the problem with CMYK files that I alerted him to a couple of weeks ago. (4/18)

PhotoCD Support -- GraphicConverter's support for opening PhotoCD images is seamless and easy to use. Photoshop has a more involved approach, requiring source and destination ICC profiles. Unfortunately, it no longer seems to work. I have been chatting with another designer on one of Adobe's user chat groups, and we have yet to find a solution. full chat so far

Follow-up -- I reinstalled the PhotoCD software from the PhotoShop 5.0 CD and now it works fine!

USB Cheaper Than ADB? -- Let's say you have an older pre-USB Mac like the 7300. Your mouse is worn out and needs replacement. A new Apple ADB mouse is around $75. The Kensington Mouse-in-a-Box for USB is only $25, but it's not ADB. Amazingly you can get a USB adapter PCI card with two USB ports for only $40. Any new USB peripherals would be useable on a new Mac if you ever upgrade in the future. (4/14)

iCab Preview -- iCab Preview 2.0 as been released, and it's pretty nice. The pop-up menus in the Toolbar Favorites bar that IE5 pioneered work with iCab, too. (4/14) direct download | download page with more about icab

Problem With Apple Menu Options -- Apple Menu Options is the control panel on the Mac which displays sub-menus in the Apple Menu. If you put an alias of the Control Panels folder, for instance, in the Apple Menu Items folder, all the items within that folder will be displayed in a popup menu for easy selection. (4/11)

This is so convenient that I put aliases of the System folder, my applications folders, my preferences folder, and more in the Apple Menu Items folder. The problem is that if anything changes in a folder, Apple Menu Options updates its database. In my case, items in the System folder and the Preferences folder, to name two, change constantly. This was causing a chronic slowdown of my computer, especially at startup. I turned off AMO and poof! A faster computer again.

A Busy Week for Updates -- The biggest news of the week came from Apple. Mac OS 9.0.4 was released Wednesday. I tried it and liked it, but I can't upgrade from OS 8.6 until an update for SmartCopy (part of SpeedDoubler) comes out (in the meantime I have two systems on my drive so that I can continue to test drive the new OS). Apple also posted updates to QuickTime and DVD Player. (4/8)

A compatibility update to the MAXpowr control panel (v 2.0.3) came out yesterday. DreamWeaver was updated to 3.01.622, but now that I use GoLive I don't really care. And anyway, Adobe announced GoLive 5 and Illustrator 9, both of which sound really cool.

Thorsten Lemke asked me to e-mail him a CMYK TIFF so that he can test it with GraphicConverter, and I did. SoundJam MP and TechTool Pro were updated, and the April virus definitions were posted for Virex.

Black Outlines Removed -- There's a setting when creating frames in GoLive for turning borders off and on. If it's not selected (not off OR on) then IE5 will display frames with a black outline. You have to select it and set it for 'Off' to get rid of the outlines. (4/7)

I also discovered numbered anchors so that I can link to specific articles on a page, and how to link back up to the top of a page.

GraphicConverter 3.8.1b7 -- There are more bug fixes in this latest update, but I discovered a problem with Betas 3 through 7. When you use GraphicConverter to create icons and previews of a CMYK TIFF image, they come out reversed (negative). I have alerted Thorsten of this. (4/4)




march 2000

Adobe InDesign 1.5 -- According to Adobe, the first update to its new page layout program is now available. Because of the outcry from users like me, Adobe has lowered the upgrade price from $99 to $30 for 60 days if you paid $299 for version 1.0, and free if you paid $699. Although this is still unfair, at least $30 is affordable. (3/30)

Adobe product marketing director Peter Kellogg-Smith told MacWEEK that the company now realizes it made a mistake by charging for an update before issuing a free bug fix. Over the next several months, he said, Adobe representatives will keep a close eye on Internet message boards and other user forums. He promised that the company will move aggressively to address reported problems through workarounds, patches or free maintenance updates -- before it sells a full upgrade.

Readers are reporting that the upgrade is backordered. And Oupost.com told me they weren't expecting the upgrade until April 11th.

GraphicConverter 3.8.1b6 -- Changes include bug fixes from the image storage change, applescript command print accepts now a window reference, trim command to applescript added, fill requires now less memory and is faster, option to display new folder in the same browser window added, 300x300 and 400x400 as option to browser added, batch function pict improved (supports now insertion of an image with opacity), bug in sharpen edges command in applescript fixed and other changes. Please report any bugs or suggestions to lemke@ping-net.de (3/27)

Internet Explorer 5.0 -- Internet Explorer 5.0 Is now available from the Evil Empire. It features the new somewhat speedier Tasman (Tasmanian Devil?) engine, a tacky new interface, and the annoying habit of drawing black outlines around all frames. Since IE is fast becoming the internet standard browser, we designers will just have to find a way to work around its faults. (3/27) direct download

Tex-Edit Plus -- Version 3.0 of Tex-Edit Plus, one of my favorite shareware programs (I paid the fee), is now available for download. Read why I think Tex-Edit Plus beats SimpleText. (3/27)

GraphicConverter News -- GraphicConverter 3.8.1b5 fixes a bug that caused it to crash on some older systems. What I'd like to know is, who discovered this in the day or two since beta 4 came out, and how did Thorsten fix it so fast? (3/24)

A Better Finder Rename -- A Better Finder Rename 2.9 fixes some bugs, but there are no new features. I installed the upgrade anyway since it is one of my most useful pieces of shareware. (3/24) download page

GraphicConverter 3.8.1b4 -- GraphicConverter 3.8.1b4 has some bug fixes. It also seems to work fine now with the upgraded ACTION Files. (3/22)

GraphicConverter 3.8.1b3 -- GraphicConverter 3.8.1b3 allows images larger than the QuickDraw limit of 16000 bytes in width, solving a long-standing problem that prevented me from opening horizontal 64 Base (4096x6144) Kodak Pro-PhotoCD images.

To paraphrase Tony Soprano, "It's Dead to Me." After receiving some less than positive reactions to the $99 upgrade price of its page-layout program InDesign, Adobe Systems, Inc. has told MacNN it will be reevaluating its upgrade strategy and could possibly make some type of change in the near future. (3/16) more (macnn.com)

ACTION Files 1.5.2 -- PowerOn Software has released a free update to ACTION Files which adds Mac OS 9.0.2 compatibility, but no new features. (Thanks to Adobe, I know the difference between an update and an upgrade.) (3/16) download page

Rapster1.0b5 -- You can save some money by not buying music CDs and downloading bootleg MP3 copies of them instead. The hottest program around for finding these recordings is Napster, but it is only for PCs. I discovered a Mac clone named Rapster, and though I've only just begun to play with it, it has a clean interface and seems to work really well. (3/15) download page

Adobe InDesign 1.5 Upgrade Fiasco -- Adobe seems to be getting cranky in its old age. In fact, they're acting amazingly Quark-like. Who else beside Quark would announce their first "update" to a program, then have the nerve to ask $99 for it? (3/13)

Anyone who bought InDesign for $399, or $699 after January 1st, would agree that this so-called update is merely adding features and fixes that should have been in the program in the first place, like text on a path. But Adobe thinks we should pay $99 for their efforts.

This was supposed to be Adobe's "Quark Killer", and it's modern plug-in architecture was supposed to make upgrades quick and easy. It looks like it will be sitting on designers' shelves a little bit longer. more (adobe.com)

Xcelerate -- I just completed a two-day course at Chase on Using Xcelerate Internet Publishing System. This is a Java-based program (accessed through Netscape, but not IE) which Chase employees are using to automatically upload content to Chase.com. This is a new approach to content creation catching on in large corporate environments since their websites have become too large for webmasters to manage. Xcelerate is not the most exciting program in the world, and the resulting pages are pretty plain to look at. But Andy Oeftering, the instructor, did a really good job making it interesting to learn about. (3/10)

Perhaps AppleWorks 6 will have to be renamed AppleWorks Sucks. Reports are pouring in that it's super slow even on the fastest G4s, that features have been crippled, that it takes more steps to do tasks that were simple in version 5, and that there are not enough new features to justify the $80 upgrade price. But the Aqua buttons look cool. (3/8) more (macintouch.com)

GraphicConverter 3.8.1b2 -- Thorsten Lemke has released a new beta of his shareware image editing program. Changes include improvements to AppleScript support and the addition of Electric Image export. (3/7)

WebTV -- I found out more about WebTV, and it sucks. Picture quality is poor since you view web pages on your TV. Even though the box is only $100, the extra costs add up. First, you need a phone line to hook it up, since it uses a built-in modem. And you are stuck with WebTV as your ISP, for a whopping $25 a month, which doesn't even get you a personal web page. In fact, many web sites don't even work. So add about $540 a year just to use it. As for ease of use, the small cordless keyboard has tiny, hard-to-read labels on all the function keys that are as confusing to a novice as any alternative. All in all, I don't get it. (3/6)

GraphicConverter 3.8.1b1 -- Two weeks ago, Thorsten Lemke e-mailed me from Germany to let me know he'd released version 3.8 of his shareware image editing software, GraphicConverter. Now he's posted GraphicConverter 3.8.1b1, his first beta version of 3.8.1! It seems pretty stable, except I can't use it with ACTION Files and have been forced to use the Mac's built-in Navigation Services. (Try ACTION Files 1.5.1 by PowerOn Utilities; it's much better!) This has proved better than I thought, since I discovered that you can select multiple items to open at once in the open dialog box. Cool! (3/2)




february 2000

Power-Line Networking -- Ever wonder what obstacles stand in the way of using household power lines for computer networking? Probably not, right? But anyway, Bill Machrone's "Up Periscope" column in this week's PCWeek is pretty interesting. (2/28) full story from pcweek

EarthBrowser 1.0.4 -- EarthBrowser 1.0.4 is a 3-D model of the Earth that is constantly monitoring conditions around the globe. It's a very cool piece of shareware and well worth the $19.95 that the author asks for it. Today's update now uses Network Time Protocol (NTP) to synchronize clock, has a speed increase in drawing the Earth and fixes a bug with time miscalculation. (2/24) download page

AppleWorks 6 -- AppleWorks 6 is also now available, and it sounds pretty nice for what it is: a low RAM, easy to use alternative to Microsoft Office. (2/24) features (apple.com)

Proximity-J Icons -- IconFactory has released icon artist Talos Tsui's latest set of folder replacement icons, Proximity-J, a freeware icon collection optimized for the smooth edges and 32-bit colors of Mac OS 8.5 (and higher). Tsui is the author of the popular Yosemite Folders series of icons. The Yosemite icons are so cool, I didn't think I'd ever find something to replace them until these came along. They're nice. (2/23) download page

Netscape Communicator 4.72 -- Netscape has posted Communicator 4.72, an update to its popular browser. (2/23)

iCab Preview v1.9a -- iCab Preview v1.9a, an alternative Mac web browser from Germany, was released today. (2/23)

GraphicConverter 3.8 -- Thorsten Lemke e-mailed me from Germany to let me know that he released GraphicConverter 3.8 today. I've been testing beta versions for him, and it's a great compliment to Photoshop. (2/17)




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Copyright © 2008 Sandy Campbell. All rights reserved. Last updated April 15. Back to top.