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Jun 97 - Newsbits

Volume Number: 13 (1997)
Issue Number: 6
Column Tag: Newbits

Jun 1997 - Newsbits

by Jessica Courtney

Apple MessagePad 2000 Sales Booming Less Than A Month After Product Ships

The Apple Newton MessagePad 2000 is roaring out of the gate. Apple Computer, Inc. reports that less than a month after its March 24 ship date, the newest member of its Newton family of mobile business appliances is selling briskly at both the corporate and retail levels.

Announced last October, the MessagePad 2000 offers features that are important for mobile professionals, including e-mail, fax, and Internet access capability (modem and Internet service provider account must be purchased separately), as well as personal productivity software at a fraction of a laptop's weight: 1.4 pounds. Built around the 160 MHz StrongARM processor, the MessagePad 2000 performs up to ten times faster than current handheld computers in the market today and works easily to exchange data with both Windows and MacOS-based computers.

The MessagePad 2000 and its Newton Operating System Software can be an important productivity tool for users of desktop systems that run either platform.

The MessagePad 2000 incorporates a new version of the Newton operating system enabling it to support additional functionality such as voice recording and a 16-level gray scale screen. The computer comes preconfigured with a web browser and e-mail client software (modem and Internet Service Provider required for Internet access), a word processor, spreadsheet (available in most configurations), and Newton address book, calendar, and notes applications. The computer can exchange data with many major Windows and Macintosh personal information management applications, including Microsoft Schedule+ 7.0, Lotus Organizer 2.1, and Claris Organizer 2.0 using Apple's Newton Connection Utilities (included). The computer's Auto Dock feature makes these data transfers easy. The MessagePad 2000 can also transfer data to and from Microsoft Excel or Word on both Windows and MacOS-based systems.

Weeks of Run-time on a Single Charge Four AA alkaline batteries or a rechargeable battery pack with one-hour recharge will power the device for up to six weeks of normal usage. The computer has two Type II PC Card slots that support many wired and wireless communication solutions already shipping for the Newton operating system, as well as expansion for applications and memory cards. An instant on feature lets you quickly begin working -- there is no waiting for the device to bootup. The MessagePad 2000 comes standard with 5MB RAM and 8MB of ROM, Cirrus Voyager chip set, and a power efficient, backlit screen with 16-level gray scale. The entire width of a fax or web page can be scaled to be viewed and the screen can rotate 360 degrees which means that users can view and work on the screen, either horizontally, vertically or upside down, depending on their preference. A built-in microphone and speaker enables users to record and play back voice dictation. Options include a lightweight, touch-type keyboard (available as standard in some configurations), NiMh rechargeable battery pack, AC adapter, and additional flash memory cards. Built in software enables direct printing to serial, IrDA and LocalTalk printers. The optional Print Pack allows printing to parallel printers.

The MessagePad 2000 retails for approximately U.S. $950 to U.S. $1,100, depending on configuration.

Purity Software Offers WebSiphon

Purity Software announces a competitive upgrade program that can save users $150 when purchasing WebSiphon, the powerful server-side web application development tool for Macintosh web sites. The offer enables users of any retail version of NetCloak or NetForms to purchase a full retail copy of WebSiphon v1.0.2 at a special promotional price of $345 and is available until June 30th, 1997. Users who purchase WebSiphon under this program will receive a free upgrade to WebSiphon v1.5 when it ships later this year.

The competitive upgrade program was developed in response to requests by NetCloak and NetForms users who feel restricted by the limited feature-set available in current versions of these products.

WebSiphon allows you to rapidly design custom server-side web applications by embedding an easy to learn scripting language directly into your HTML documents. WebSiphon also includes Verona, the only Macintosh flat-file database server written specifically for use on a web site. Unlike other authoring solutions currently available, WebSiphon's scripting language is actually a compiled language designed from day one to produce outstanding performance on a Macintosh web server. The language offers extensive support for variables, conditional statements, powerful looping, and built-in functions. Function libraries included with WebSiphon are quite powerful, with over 80 functions available, and provide web-related services such as client redirection and authorization, string manipulation, date and time, text file support, full math support, and more. In addition, the upcoming WebSiphon v1.5 upgrade will increase the power available incredibly.

WebSiphon requires a Macintosh computer running System 7.5 or higher, 1 MB RAM for WebSiphon, and a Macintosh web server.

A demonstration copy of WebSiphon is available from Purity Software's web site at

Astrobyte Announces New Web Authoring XTension

Astrobyte announces BeyondPress 3.0, the latest version of its web authoring XTension for QuarkXPress. The 3.0 version supports both Windows and MacOS, includes all the document-conversion features of its predecessor, and adds powerful Web page authoring and management tools.

WYSIWYG Web Authoring

BeyondPress 3.0 lets designers create web pages using advanced text formatting and page layout tools. Using the Cascading Style Sheet support of Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.0 and the upcoming Netscape Navigator 4.0, plus Bitstream's TrueDoc font technology, BeyondPress converts stylized text in a QuarkXPress document to formatted text on a web page, retaining the intended fonts and type size. BeyondPress uses HTML tables to approximate the layout of a QuarkXPress page.

BeyondPress 3.0 helps designers place text, images, and multimedia/interactive elements on web pages by letting them drag these elements into a page. QuickTime, Java, RealAudio, animated GIFs, and Shockwave files can be imported into web pages just as images and text are brought into QuarkXPress pages. Java applet preview capabilities, live play of animated GIFs and QuickTime movies, and image-editing features add to BeyondPress' utilities. BeyondPress also supports Live Picture's FlashPix format, in conjunction with the Live Picture XTension.

BeyondPress 3.0 builds on the authoring environment of QuarkXPress. Web designers benefit from QuarkXPress' advanced find/change, spell checking, box borders, rotation, polygonal shapes, and master page features when creating web pages. BeyondPress adds full drag-and-drop capabilities, letting designers move images, text, or entire pages from QuarkXPress to an HTML editor or to the Finder, retaining text formats, image quality, and the approximate layout of the page.

Document Conversion

As in previous versions, BeyondPress 3.0 will convert existing QuarkXPress documents to web pages, without changing their formatting. Images can be cropped, scaled, and converted to JPEG and GIF formats. Modified color palettes can be created for individual images, or a specific color palette can be applied to all images. BeyondPress can convert all images on a page to the Netscape 216 color palette (the colors that most browsers display best on both Windows and MacOS). Hypertext links, background colors and images, and complex image maps are easily created with BeyondPress.

Single-user copies will be $495 worldwide until June 30; $595 thereafter. BeyondPress 2.0 users can upgrade for $149 until June 30; $179 thereafter. BeyondPress 1.0 users can upgrade for $249 until June 30; $299 thereafter. Cyberpress users can upgrade for $349 until June 30; $449 thereafter.

BeyondPress 3.0 is available directly from Astrobyte, from its Web site

Motorola Bundles DAVE with StarMax Systems

Thursby Software Systems, Inc. (TSS), developer of MacOS cross-platform solutions, announced a bundling agreement with Motorola Computer Group (MCG) that includes DAVE software to be shipped with StarMax systems beginning in mid-May.

DAVE V1.0.1 is the latest release from Thursby Software. It is a very fast, new version of its powerful MacOS to Windows networks connectivity software. Motorola has strategically included DAVE for cross-platform connectivity with new StarMax configurations focused on the "enterprise" market. DAVE is the only software solution that enables StarMax users to share files and printers with Windows NT (Server and Workstation), Windows 95 and Windows for Workgroups computers using TCP/IP. DAVE makes the StarMax fit into Microsoft networks as if it were a PC.

This solution is unique because DAVE uses the open, industry standard protocol TCP/IP for file sharing, not AppleTalk. It is installed on the familiar MacOS system and not the PC. No additional hardware or software is required; it simply utilizes the current network infrastructure. DAVE makes the MacOS system totally compatible and interoperable with Wintel networks, supporting Internet and corporate intranet access, while requiring little intervention from PC administrators.

DAVE is designed with ease-of-use in mind and is as AppleShare-like as possible. Users select DAVE from the Chooser and then easily mount PC user's shared directories. DAVE is a full featured product, integrating with NT Services for Macintosh and supporting multiple mounts. It offers a secure environment through encrypted passwords and supports both the 68K and PPC Macintosh.

DAVE retails for $179.00 and is available worldwide. Information regarding Thursby Software products can be found at


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