News Mac Amiga CUCUG
The August 17 gathering will be one of our split SIG meetings. The PC SIG will hopefully be watching Ed Serbe put Flight Unlimited III through its paces. There was a little mix up last month which should be worked out for this month's presentation. The Macintosh SIG will see the return of former SIG Chairman Richard Rollins, as Jack Melby will be unable to attend this month's meeting. Richard always has some surprise or other up his sleeve. Come and see what's happening this time.
We welcome any kind of input or feedback from members. Have an article or review you'd like to submit? Send it in. Have a comment? Email any officer you like. Involvement is the driving force of any user group. Welcome to the group.
As predicted here some weeks back, AMD will take ruthless action across its range of microprocessors on 14 August. Intel will find it very hard to beat these prices when two flavours of its flip chip CuMine at 1GHz on the same day.
Prices below, which are expressed in US dollars, are for system integrators buying in bulk.
The 1GHz Thunderbird will cost $470,
the 950MHz Athlon Thunderbird $350,
the 900MHz chip $275,
the 800MHz processor $185,
the 750MHz Athlon $165 and
the 700MHz Thunderbird $145.
Duron processors, which AMD and its partners are not actively marketing at present, are as follows:
the Duron 700MHz chip will be $105,
the Duron 650MHz processor $80, and
the 600MHz Duron $65.
Acting on a complaint from Sun Microsystems, the European Union has issued a formal legal warning to Microsoft claiming that it has "abused its power to gain an edge in the market for server software". Should Microsoft lose this trial, they'll be facing a penalty in the form of fines. Read the BBC news story.
Late Wednesday, 26-Jul-00, Judge Marylin Hall Patel issued a preliminary injunction barring the popular and controversial online music service Napster from distributing copyrighted music. However, two judges in the Ninth Circuit Count of Appeals on 28-Jul-00 issued a temporary stay that enables the service to keep operating. The stay should remain in effect until at least early September, when both parties will have filed their arguments regarding the preliminary injunction. Napster is being sued by the Recording Industry Association of America and A&M Records, which claim the company promotes piracy and copyright infringement and that the Web site has cost the recording industry over $300 million in lost sales. Napster claims it enables legitimate swapping of recorded music by acting as a clearinghouse of links to machines where MP3-encoded songs can be downloaded. Nonetheless, Judge Patel wasn't impressed, and barred Napster "from causing, assisting, facilitating, copying, or otherwise distributing all copyrighted songs or musical compositions." Napster's service has been the subject of considerable media attention, including lawsuits from high-profile recording artists and testimony before the U.S. Congress. Nonetheless, Napster is widely seen as being targeted by the recording industry because it's one of the most visible (and easily sued) facilitator of online music swapping, while other similar services such as Gnutella and The Free Network Project are more nebulous and difficult or impossible to trace. [GD]
Apple Computer posted a $200 million profit for its third fiscal quarter of 2000 on revenues of over $1.8 billion, for an overall revenue gain of 17 percent. Apple sold more than one million machines during the quarter, including over 450,000 iMacs and 350,000 Power Mac G4 systems, for a 12 percent rise in unit sales from the year-ago quarter. Apple's profits included $37 million from continued sales of ARM Holdings plc., without which the company's profit would have been $163 million, an increase of 43 percent from the year-ago quarter. (A year ago, Apple posted a $203 million profit, but $89 million of it was from sales of ARM Holdings.) Apple's margins were up to 29.8 percent, and international sales accounted for 46 percent of the quarter's revenues.
Apple also announced that Circuit City will once again carry Apple products in nearly 600 retail stores throughout the U.S. Circuit City will feature Apple's consumer-oriented iMac, iBook, and AirPort product lines, and will also display digital video cameras connected to iMac DV systems, highlighting Apple's FireWire and iMovie technologies. The move marks Apple's return to Circuit City; in 1998, Apple pulled out of most retail superstores to focus on CompUSA's "store within a store" concept for Apple products - and because the large chains did a poor job of promoting, supporting, or even displaying Apple products. It remains to be seen whether Circuit City can do better this time around. [GD]
You're ready for more performance and have just purchased some additional memory for your Power Mac G4.
How easy-or difficult-is it to install?
We've created a series of short instructional videos that demonstrate (step-by-step) how you can easily replace some of the installable parts-batteries, cables, expansion cards, drives, and memory-in the Power Mac G4 and Power Mac G4 Cube computers.
Come Take a Look.
21.7.2000 2nd ANNIVERSARY
Just two years ago we brought to you the first Amiga news. Many things happen and we feel it's time to move to the "real world". New Amiga is still nothing more than imagination but it is possible we come back sometime in the future. Thanks for your favour and bye bye...
exCzech Amiga News team
Then on July 24, they returned Christ-like from their three days of "Blue Death", posting the following:
24.7.2k DON'T PANIC! IT WAS JUST A CRAZY JOKE
Those of you reading these lines should know, that Wintopia2000 was just a small joke to celebrate our 2 years anniversary of our Amiga related news service activities :-) What a black humor you say? Well, the design took ExiE two days of work. So, if you survived the shock, read on...
It is true our first news items were written on 21.7.1998, but Czech Amiga News were opened just a few days later back at that time. But when exactly?! That's the job for you. So, send us your tips - the day and the hour of our opening, - and that of you sending us the most accurate one (+/- 2 hours), will win HERETIC II. Winner (if there will be any) will be announced 1.8.2000. You can send your tips (write "TIP" to subject please) or congratulations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Czech Amiga News Team
Many in the Amiga Community took the joke philosophically. Others were less amused. But then, that's the kind of lunacy that makes Amigans a different breed. What are you going to do?
Software - A former version of GoldED Studio can now be downloaded free of charge exclusively from the GoldED web site. As a special bonus, we include an offer to upgrade to the latest version at a reduced price after testing the software.
According to Joe Torre, the BoXeR development team is also working on a laptop Classic Amiga (about time we got one of those!).
Greg Scott, Asimware Innovations Inc.: "Asimware is NOT out of the Amiga business. Many people have been emailing me regarding such and to set the record straight here are some facts: AsimCDFS has been discontinued. We have told many people this in the last few months. It is also stated on our Amiga webpage. MasterISO is not discontinued.
SAUG website - http://www.saug.org/
Asimware Innovations Inc.'s Amiga page - http://amiga.asimware.com/
According to Maciek Binek from Elbox, distribution of the first MEDIATOR PCI cards should begin 15.-16.8.2000. The most important part for every potential buyer - drivers - will be delivered immediately with the first cards. Others will be available later from internet. Elbox hope that there will be available appropriate drivers for sound cards beside drivers for graphics cards at the release date. Drivers for network cards, modems, ISDN and MPEG-2 decoders will follow.
Ivo Janacek, Javosoft - http://www.javosoft.com/
Elbox Computer website - http://www.elbox.com/
Another application is coming to the new Amiga. REBOL Technologies decided to port their products to the new Amiga foundation layer. Amiga SDK owners can download REBOL/Core experimental release already here.
Rebol Technologies website - http://www.rebol.com/
Glashtten, August, 10. 2000: SoftLogik has consigned distribution of PageStream to Grasshopper LCC. Thus the SoftLogik team lead by Deron Kazmeier, the owner of PageStream, are now able to focus on the development.
HAAGE & PARTNER continues to be the exclusive distributor for German speaking countries and they are qualified for offering PageStream for Amiga/Mac/Windows worldwide.
The next (free) update prospective in the next few days. All registered H&P customers can subscribe to an eMail allocator and will thereby automatically receive news and access data for updates: email@example.com.
Unfortunately the English manual for PageStream 4 is not available, yet. But SoftLogic has promised this within the next 6-8 weeks. Moreover we will soon be finishing the German manual and German localization. We will inform all customers, as soon as there are news. (ps)
"This would tend to suggest AInc are concentrating on 2D rather than 3D/games for their initial efforts, then - did I get that right? :)"
Bobbie Sellers (firstname.lastname@example.org) responded:
"Not necessarily. Please remember that Matrox evinced willingness to share *information *with Amiga Inc. That means not only about what they have but what they plan on having ASAP."
At which point, Gary Peake, Director of Support at Amiga Inc. (email@example.com) weighed in:
"More correct than most so far. Hell, there are even "rumors" on the nets that some here (at Amiga) are not happy with the Matrox partnership, but in reality, Matrox have their act together and everyone here is pleased as peach punch to have them helping us.
Our relationship, partnership, involvement is a developmental one more than anything. Most video card makers can ONLY talk about shoving polygons at a monitor. Their only wish is a bigger, faster pipeline through which they can push more bandwidth (read that polygons) to the screen.
Matrox took a step back and said polygons are our friend, but there are only so many you can shove through a screen at one time. How else can we improve 3D games video? How else can we improve professional quality video editing? How else can we establish a faster, better, less expensive, quality experience for the end user and the video professional alike?
We like the answers they came up with. It involves much more than shoving polygons at you. It is a long range plan rather than a six month plan. They want to play in our space and we want to play in theirs. Everything they do is geared towards two markets ... gamers AND professional video. Their cards do NOT overheat and fall over after an hour of game play. They honor their warranties. They are honorable people providing a high quality product at a reasonable price to consumers.
And, most important of all, they have a plan that syncs well with OUR plan.
They are honorable people doing an honorable business and we are pleased they have chosen to work with us."
In his keynote address at Macworld Expo in New York, Apple iCEO Steve Jobs took the wraps off a complete revision of Apple's desktop computer offerings - plus unveiled new displays, a new keyboard, and an optical mouse.
Mouse & Keyboard
The oft-reviled "hockey puck" USB mouse introduced with the original iMac never made Apple many friends, and Apple's abbreviated USB keyboard ruffled plenty of feathers when it became standard issue with Apple's professional computers. To rectify the situation, Apple has introduced the optical Apple Pro Mouse and Apple Pro Keyboard. The Pro Mouse sports a soap bar shape and uses optical sensors instead of moving parts to track movement, so it should operate accurately on a variety of surfaces. Also, its entire top surface serves as the mouse button, levering down in front to perform a click. The force required to click the mouse is adjustable, so the mouse should work for a wide range of Macintosh users - and no moving parts means no cleaning (although the clear plastic surface will probably be permanently smudged). The 108-key Pro Keyboard features 15 full-size programmable function keys, a standard configuration of navigation keys (arrows, Home, End, Page Up, Page Down, etc.) plus a key to eject a CD or DVD disk, although it lacks a Power key. Pressing any key on the keyboard will turn on or wake up the Mac systems Apple just released, but people who use it with earlier USB- equipped Macs will have to use front-mounted power buttons instead. (The new Eject key reportedly takes the place of the Power key for use with Apple's MacsBug debugger.) The new mouse and keyboard will ship standard on Apple's desktop systems (see below), and can be purchased separately from the Apple store for $60 each.
Apple's latest iMacs introduce new colors - Indigo, Ruby, Sage, and the all-white Snow - but also sport aggressive pricing and performance enhancements while retaining the standard iMac form factor, 15-inch display, and convection cooling that eliminates the need for a noisy fan. The low-end model Indigo has an appealing $799 price, and features a 350 MHz PowerPC G3 processor, 64 MB RAM, a 7.5 GB hard disk, a 56 Kbps modem, two USB ports, 10/100Base-T Ethernet and a slot-loading CD-ROM drive, although it lacks FireWire and AirPort capabilities. Next, the AirPort-ready $999 iMac DV is available in Indigo or Ruby and adds a 400 MHz G3 processor, a 10 GB hard disk, VGA video mirroring, two FireWire ports, and iMovie, but carries a 24x CD-ROM drive rather than a DVD-ROM drive. Moving on up, the $1,299 iMac DV+ is available in Indigo, Ruby, and Sage, and offers a 450 MHz G3 processor, a DVD-ROM drive, and a 20 GB hard disk, and the high-end iMac DV Special Edition (available now in Snow as well as a slightly modified Graphite) sports a 500 MHz G3 processor, 128 MB RAM, and a 30 GB hard disk. The $799 Indigo model is due in September, but the other new iMac models are available immediately.
Dual-processor Power Mac G4s
Apple also revised the high end of the professional line to include dual-processor Power Macintosh G4 systems running at 450 and 500 MHz. During Jobs's keynote, he and Apple Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller demonstrated that a single 500 MHz G4 system easily outmatched a 1 GHz Pentium system at rendering a real-world Photoshop file; they then went on to show a 500 MHz dual-processor Power Mac G4 system deliver Photoshop performance roughly equivalent to a theoretical 2 GHz Pentium chip - it would have been nice to see them compare the dual processor G4 with a dual processor Pentium. Although software currently must be designed specifically to take advantage of multiprocessor systems, Apple's forthcoming Mac OS X will offer symmetric multiprocessing capabilities for all Mac OS X applications as well as "carbonized" applications developed for the current Mac OS, so the performance benefits of multiprocessor systems will increase over time. Dual- processor G4s are now standard at the high end of Apple's Power Mac G4 line: 450 MHz systems start at $2,500 and 500 MHz systems at $3,500, while a single-processor 400 MHz G4 system still starts at $1,600. All Power Mac G4s now sport gigabit (1000Base-T) Ethernet.
And Next... the G4 Cube
The real eye-opener of Jobs's keynote address was the introduction of the Power Macintosh G4 Cube, a surprisingly tiny 8-inch cube on a transparent plastic base that sports a 450 or 500 MHz G4 processor, 64 MB or 128 MB of RAM, a 20 GB or 30 GB hard disk, FireWire, USB, 56 Kbps modem, and Ethernet, plus support for up to 1.5 GB of RAM and 40 GB of storage. The small box might be confused for an air filter or perhaps an odd-looking speaker on your desk, but it's AirPort- ready, features a slot-loading DVD drive on top, offers easy access to internal components (just turn it over, pop up a handle, and pull), and - even better - the system is cooled by convection, so it has no fan and is virtually silent. (If all that silence gets you down, Apple includes special 20-watt Harman/Kardon stereo speakers.) Essentially, the G4 Cube features everything a mid- range professional G4 system would offer (except PCI expansion) in a 14-pound form factor that's one quarter the size of a standard G4 minitower. Prices start at $1,800 ($2,300 for the 500 MHz version) and G4 Cubes should be available in early August. For a display, you can use any VGA monitor, or choose among Apple's three new offerings, below.
Apple also rolled out three new displays, each of which combine power, video, and USB into a single cable. The $500 17-inch Apple Studio Display features a transparent chassis with a flat Diamondtron CRT display and an ultra-bright Theater Mode. The all-digital $1,000 15-inch flat-panel Apple Studio Display LCD display offers a 1024 by 768 resolution. Apple also updated its $4,000 high-end 1600 by 1024 LCD Cinema Display to use the all-in-one cable for USB, power, and video.
Whether the cause is overwhelming demand or an inability to stock its sales channel, Apple Computer is having trouble delivering to customers some of the new computers it unveiled at Macworld.
Apple's PowerMac G4 Cube and several of the new iMacs are in short supply at distributors Ingram Micro and Tech Data, sources said. While high demand is a factor, so is Apple's practice of not shipping systems to distributors before the official product launch. This helps Apple maintain secrecy about new products, but it prevents stores from getting computers right away.
The shortage comes at the dawn of the back-to-school season, which is typically the second-biggest period for PC sales and often Apple's busiest season.
At the Macworld Trade Expo last month, Apple refreshed virtually its entire line of desktops and introduced a new one, the 8-inch PowerMac G4 Cube. The refresh included four new iMac colors--Indigo, Ruby, Sage and Snow--in configurations ranging from $799 to $1,499. Apple also added a second processor to high-end 450-MHz and 500-MHz PowerMacs.
The Cube computers are nearly impossible to find, sources said. Ingram is slated to get 890 Cubes with a 450-MHz processor within two weeks, or about 1,650 units short of pending orders, according to sources who have examined the distributor's database.
Neither Ingram nor Tech Data have any Indigo-colored 400-MHz models in stock, said sources close to the companies. Ingram's product database indicates that Apple has committed to send the distributor 463 of these computers. However, Ingram already has orders for 1,480 units and is not committing to any more orders.
Not all of the new computers are tough to find. Snow-colored iMacs seem to be in decent supply, while Indigo computers containing a faster 450-MHz can be found, but the full panoply of computers just isn't there, several sources said.
"Apple continues to struggle meeting demand," said Technology Business Research analyst Brooks Gray. "They need to improve their supply chain strategy in order to boost sales and meet demand for the upcoming consumer-buying season."
The timing of the shortage could hurt Apple's third-quarter revenue at a time when it faces slowing sales of its consumer iMacs and when another major Apple market, education, moves into its biggest buying period of the year.
"The timing is not good. One of the things that Apple suffers from is they tend to announce product and not have product available," Gartner analyst Kevin Knox said. "Back-to-school selling season is certainly a major factor, and it's surprising Apple would kind of miss that."
The effect on Apple's third quarter is hard to ascertain. The company saw sales slow in June. Discounts were also imposed to clear out existing inventories of the fruit-colored iMacs.
Market researcher PC Data earlier this week reported that Apple's retail sales in June dropped 15 percent from a year earlier. For June, the company had 9.4 percent market share in retail, behind top-ranked Hewlett-Packard, Compaq Computer and Emachines. For comparison, HP had 39.9 percent retail share in June vs. Compaq's 30.6 percent.
"They have a lot of pent up demand for this stuff, and you'll see them shifting this revenue into the latter half of the third quarter and into the fourth quarter," Knox said.
Although PC companies like to position themselves as technological innovators, success in the PC business often depends upon simply having the right computers for sale at the right time. An unexpected bloat of PCs in early 1999 at Compaq kicked off a chain of events that eventually led to the firing of then-CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer. Meanwhile, Dell Computer's success can be partly attributed to the company's ability to capitalize on trends in component supplies.
Supply swings have bedeviled Apple at various times in its history. Michael Spindler, the Apple CEO before Gil Amelio, saw his reign terrorized by extreme swings of computer shortages and surpluses.
Several shortages last year prevented the Cupertino, Calif.-based company from delivering new models to customers. Shortages of 500-MHz G4 processors forced the company to reprice systems, initially canceling some back orders.
A display shortage kept dealers from getting iBook notebooks to customers soon after the first units starting shipping in volume.
Apple differs from PC makers in that it doesn't ship systems to distributors and retailers in anticipation of announcing a new product. That strategy would ensure plenty of supply.
"Part of it is the secrecy thing," Knox said. Apple is notorious for zealously guarding new product details until their scheduled unveiling, which typically happens at trade shows, earnings announcements and other scripted events. Earlier this week Apple filed a lawsuit against an "unknown individual," accusing the person of disclosing product details; yesterday, the company subpoenaed Yahoo in relation to the case.
What you can find
Still, some new models are out there. Several online retailers this morning reported that Snow iMacs and dual-processor 450-MHz G4 PowerMacs are in stock. Ingram had 1,200 Indigo 450 Plus iMacs.
"We have quite good supply on the older models and reasonable supply on some of the new iMac colors: Indigo, Ruby and Snow," said a source at a major online computer retailer. The retailer had sold about 100 PowerMacs with dual 450-MHz G4 processors, with more than 100 more in stock. But the company can't get the 500-MHz models, even though about 100 orders have been placed.
Online retailer MacZone's Web site shows the Indigo 400 iMac out of stock until Aug. 28.
Tech Data this morning had 12 Indigo 450 models, seven Graphite DV SE 500 models, four Ruby 450 iMacs and two Sage 450 models; it had no Ruby 400 iMacs and no G4 Cubes, said sources close to the company.
Except for the 450-MHz Indigo model and the Snow-colored iMacs, Ingram is out of stock on virtually every new model, with more orders in place than new products coming in, sources close to the company said. The wholesaler expects to receive 369 Graphite DV SE 500 iMacs, about 1,000 short of orders. About 464 Ruby 400 iMacs are due in, with 1,480 orders pending.
New dual 500-MHz G4 PowerMacs are over-ordered, with Apple committed to delivering 768 units but Ingram holding orders for 1,575.
Knox said the shortage is more an issue of attitude than a breakdown on Apple's part.
"Apple understands what their capabilities for manufacturing are," he said. "They have pretty good estimates...as far as demand. I think their view is, 'We'll get it out there when we can get it out there.'"
The last weekend of July figured to be a big one in the Amiga world. Both AmiWest and the Software Hut sale and picnic occupied the attention club members. As with most things Amigan, there were good things and bad things that popped up.
This year's turnout at Software Hut was better than expected. In all, NCAUG sent about twelve members up. Along with the free food, Software Hut had great deals on many popular Amiga items. I noticed several AI200s and Power Tower kits sold. NCAUG's own Paul Sadlik won a raffled 1200 and proceeded to return Software Hut's investment by purchasing a tower kit for it.
Unfortunately due to problems with US Customs, there were no D'Amiga (developer units) on display. All Amiga SDKs were sold out too. The D'Amiga is being assembled by Wonder Computers of Canada. Those of us who've attended Amiga shows over the years fondly remember the problems Wonder always had in getting their stuff over the border. Funny, National Amiga (also Canadian) never had that problem.
Club members will be interested to know that Trish is offering subscriptions to Amiga Active on a monthly basis, billed to your credit card. Amiga Active is the premiere English Amiga magazine these days. If the group can combine for five subscriptions, the total cost to you will be around $13ish an issue. This is less than it would cost at Border's Books, if they carried it, which they don't. The hitch is that they would need to be shipped to one address and distributed during the main meetings. You are also welcomed to make a similar arrangement directly with Software Hut by calling them at (800) 932-6442.
Once again I would like to thank Trish and Joe for their hospitality in allowing the unwashed masses into their store.
This year's AmiWest also featured the announced unveiling of the latest Boxer prototype and the D 'Amiga. However, both events failed to materialize, as well as poor attendance plaguing the event again. NCAUG 's former chairman Bill Borsari was on hand with another smash up job in providing live IRC, video, and audio feeds from the show in Sacramento. Bill recently assumed the director role of the UGN from Wayne Hunt. Congrats!
Boxer news was not all bad at the show. AntiGravity announced the luring of famed hardware guru Joe Torre to help in the completion of their Boxer. Joe, referred to by some as a "modern day Dave Haynie", carried around the latest prototype and answered questions during an IRC interview. However, the board still needs work concerning the graphics display, according to AntiGravity's web site at <http://www.antigravity.com>. On their web site is an interesting story on how they submitted a bid to buy the Amiga from Gateway. It makes for amusing reading to say the least.
The D'Amiga demo also failed to materialize at the show. Nova Design, in an arrangement with Software Hut, was to demo a unit. As mentioned above, customs held up most of the units, but Software Hut managed to get UPS to deliver one unit to the show. Upon opening the box, there was not a full D'Amiga unit inside.
Bill McEwen announced several news items during the show, including the release of the SDK for Windows in about a month. McEwen mentioned that the Linux version of the SDK sales have been higher than expected. Soon Linux distributors Red Hat will sell the SDK directly. Also announced was that Paul Nolan [Photogenics] will do contract work for Amiga, a free beta version of the Amiga OE will be available for download, and Amiga will offer an IPO when ready.
Amiga also clarified the issue concerning "royalty fees" that first sprang up on the Moobunny Web Page. McEwen stated that the lawyers fouled up the license agreement that appears on the Amiga SDK proclaiming a licensing fee for all programs released. Amiga 's director of support, Gary Peake, clarified that no program will be required to pay a royalty fee to Amiga. However, programmers can apply for Amiga certification of their software for $1.50 per unit.
Of Interest to most Amigans was the news concerning the AmigaOne. AmigaOne will be the consumer desk top computer based on Amiga's new OE. Designed by Amiga's Dean Blown (formerly if DKB) it will be built from standard off the shelf components and feature Classic Amiga compatibility. McEwen clarified that the compatibility will be "more than list an emulator". Brian King, famed developer of WinUAE, has been contracted by Amiga to work on this feature. Although slated for a December release, McEwen has indicated to me that a first quarter 2001 release would be more realistic.
You figure with all the progress being made on the new AmigaOE and Amiga One that most Amigans would be happy. Not quite. There seems to be a growing contingent in Germany that favors the continued development of the Classic platform on to the PowerPC CPU.
In an interview in July's Amiga Active, MorphOS developers Ralph Schmidt (former Phase5) and Frank Mariak (CyberGraphics) have announced their intention to provide a PowerPC solution for Amigans. MorphOS will provide the ability to run Amiga Classic and Amiga PowerPC code on a PowerPC only solution. Another feature of MorphOS will include AmigaOS API compatibility. This will allow coders to merely recompile their programs using a PowerPC editor. Working with MorphOS are Vapor Ware, MUI, and AHi. All announced MorphOS ports of their popular programs. MorphOS will not feature WarpOS compatibility. While first slated for existing CyberStorm PPC card owners, MorphOS will eventually be offered on IBM's POP hardware when available.
In an interview on the Amiga TopCooI website <http://amiga.topcool.de> Thomas Dillert of DCE stated that Germans are not fond of Amiga's new SDK. He expressed his support or MorphOS and of other efforts to promote the Classic platform. Thomas revealed that CyberStorm PPC and CyberVision PPC cards will be in stock soon. However, Phase5's G4 project has been shelved.
Needless to say, the actions of MorphOS and DCE may reintroduce another struggle for the hearts and minds of Amigans everywhere.
What Goes Around...
I offer this as an indication of the irony and stagnation that exists with computers today. This type of thing is a good reason why the new Amiga can succeed for providing true innovation if they pull off the plans.
Recently. Apple announced their new G4 Cube machine as an indication of the innovation going on in the mind of Steve Jobs. Well, not soon after that did Linux server maker Cobalt indicated they may sue Apple for a trademark violation concerning the term "Cube". Ironically, Cobalt themselves were sued by Cube Computers for the very same thing. Cobalt settled with Cube Computers and acquired the rights to the Cube name.
Apple themselves have also made a living on suing companies that imitated their designs. Recently Apple sued E-Machines over their iMac like computer design, so a suit by Cobalt would just plain be karma in my opinion. Of course, maybe makers of the Rubik's Cube, or the makers of Kleenex tissues should sue since they predate them all. After all, being plastic-like with a slot opening at the top, I may accidently put tissues in the DVD slot of a G4 Cube.
[Source: The National Capital Amiga Users Group newsletter, "Amiga Intuition" August, 2000. NCAUG's address is P.O. Box 12360, Arlington, VA 22209. On the web it's http://www.ncaug.org ]
AmiWest, the only west coast Amiga show, has slowly been involving since it's inception in 1998 to become a developer's and dealer's show. How is it than I can make this statement? BoXeR came to town looking for developers, the PPC in America problem was exposed, and Amiga shows off.
What's this? The BoXeR is looking for developers? Actually, the folks at Anti-Gravity decided that the BoXeR is close enough to production to begin letting developers know how to use the new Classic Amiga M/B. The venerable Joe Torre gave the developers' conference, and the ripples caused by that are sure to be felt for a while. From the view developed from AmiWest, BoXeR will ROCK! Although initially built around an 060, the PPC version will soon follow. With the on board flash-rom, the BoXeR will be able to support a variety of powerful chips; from PPC to Arm, the BoXeR will be a very capable motherboard. According to Joe Torre, "With the way the BoXeR handles memory, the BoXeR's initial 060 version will be the fastest 68k motherboard EVER!" However, PPC will soon follow the release of the board very quickly. Later models will only have the 68k chip as an option, and ship PPC only. Speaking of PPC, Americans' have been having a problem affording a PPC upgrade to their systems...
Hyperion made a showing at AmiWest:2000, only to re-discover the fact that most Americans' do not have PPC. In my infinite wisdom, I told them just how much a DCE built PPC card costs here (upwards $1200 for 200MHz and an 060). I truly expected an understanding statement; however, Ben said, "What the HXLL?" This little statement led to many things.... Let it be known, that we should be able to get an A1200 PPC card for less than $400, and the 4000 flavor should be around $500. Various dealers began discussing the problem, and thus there may be action on the part of Amiga to end this artificial inflation. Nevertheless, American Amiga users can contact DCE's European distributor, and receive a PPC card for about $20-$30 more than the price previously mentioned to order overseas (to cover shipping). Again, Amiga incorporated may intervene with this pricing, among the other things they are doing.
Speaking of Amiga, they are continuing their habit of giving away T-shirts. Different from other shows, they allowed the audience to "play" with some of the AmigaOS implemented boxes they brought. Folks, Amiga is serious, and they are getting closer. The next version of the SDK is in the works, and Amiga1 may be available before Christmas. The Amiga one is expected to carry a price tag of less than a thousand dollars. In fact the closer they get, the more realistic the new Amiga seems. Bill McEwen stood before the audience, and told us that BOOPSI will be there with many of the features we want and expect out of an Amiga. Finally, the new Amiga will not have plain UAE style emulation, but an emulation layer in the OS (this is probably comparable to the VDM in WinNT).
AmiWest saw Bill and Amiga dislodging more fears and rumors, a reduction in cost for American customers to buy PPC, and the first BoXeR DevCon. The show had many things for users, but dealers and developers came together to fix problems and to pave the way for the future. More than double the dealers and developers attended the After-Show dinner, and that is an indication of success. Well, that, and Dale Luck of the original "Amiga Team" made a showing. Generally, this convention was a dealers' convention. No major ground breaking announcements were made, just realistic advancements and down to earth problem solving. There was not a Jim Collas call to arms speech; in its place, action was being taken by all sides. These are the kinds of shows that should precede any "Call to arms."
[Post production note: This issue of the Status Register was completed on Sunday, August 13. Our aim is to cover the highlights of the preceeding month with the best articles representative of those topics. The very next day, the newest issue of Amiga World, Amiga Inc.'s online magazine, appeared. In it is an article by Kermit Woodall of Nova Design that I would have been hard pressed not to include here. So, I direct your attention to "AmiWest From the Developer's Eye" at <http://www.amiga.com/press/zine/8-1-00/amiwest/> or a local copy of it here.]
Saturday evening (July 29, 2000), the banquet was held in the same hotel in which the show was hosted in, in which Mr. McEwen made his appearance and we listened to his speech and presentation of two different systems, running the Amie SDK, in which a compiled demo was demonstrated to be running without any modifications on two different platforms, one on a PC notebook running Windows, and then other on a desktop running Red Hat Linux.
Some of the points that Mr. McEwen explained to the audience during the presentation:
1. There are lots of talks, negotiations with companies and firms, big and small, Amiga is generating lots of interest, but very little commitment is shown so far.
2. Due to the missing GUI/3D and sound parts of the SDK, some of inquiries couldn't be addressed at this point.
3. Mr. McEwen showed a nice little "Notebook" manufactured by ARM, some said that it was designed by Mick Tinker, with Amie running on it, the design was very nice, and we managed to grab some pictures of it.
4. Bolton Peck, Robert Cosby (Coznfx) are now at Amiga in the hardware QA.
5. Paul Nolan (Photogenics) the legendary Amiga programming brains is also in the team, responsible for GFX and GUI.
6. Dean Brown of the DKB fame is also with the team, working hard to finish the hardware headquarters.
7. A copy of the SDK for x86 PCs running Windows was running on Mr. McEwen's notebook. A version of the SDK for Windows will be available next month.
8. Amiga will offer IPO, but no date or initial price was quoted.
9. Amiga is working on a Java implementation.
10. Amiga will give priority to existing Amiga developers over ANY other developer.
11. Mr. McEwen also compared what has been done in the past 7 months to what has been done in the 2 years under previous owners.
12. When answering a direct question whether Amiga is planing for a version of Amie or the SDK for the Be OS platform, he said " There are no current plans, since there is not enough market on that platform", which answered some rumors floating in the community.
13. Amiga's proposed royalty program:
The program is voluntary.
If the developer wanted Amiga to certify his product, and ship it with Amiga's official seal of approval, there will be a fee of $1.50 per unit sold and not per unit manufactured, or 5% of the total sales.
The royalty fee will also include an agreement with Amiga to help in market, advertising and deploying the products.
Mr. McEwen also compared this program with some big names in the industry where royalty fees were as high as $1 million dollars, or on the units manufactured, not sold.
14. Mr. McEwen will appear on several shows in the next few weeks/months.
15. The sales of SDK are very good and Mr. McEwen mentioned one instance of ex-Amiga developer returning to the platform and buying 10 copies.
16. Coz, in his usual humorous tone, asked Mr. McEwen for re-implementing the infamous Guru Meditation errors. :-)
17. Amiga will assist anyone interested in market Amiga related products
and promotional products.
Amiga will offer these products at cost to anyone interested, and Amiga will also start selling them directly from their web site.
18. Why would anyone buy the d'Amiga (The official Amiga developer box) ?
1. Free ticket(s) to Devcon.
2. Proactive communication with Amiga for enhancements, bug fixes, etc.
3. Support from Amiga directly.
19. Mr. McEwen confirmed that the sound and 3D part of the SDK will be finalized in the next few weeks.
20. No processor is chosen yet for the "AmigaOne", Amiga needs a commitment of 100,000 + units, and still evaluating several options, that means meeting this Christmas for a official launch cannot be confirmed at this point.
21. Amiga is working on implementing many of the features that the current OS has in the new OS.
22. Support for the classic software and hardware will be available in the new OS and it will be in a form which is "beyond" emulation, no specifics were given.
23. In the next few weeks Red Hat will start reselling the SDK through their channels.
24. Amie/The SDK Will run on 9 CPUs so far confirmed, target is around 13.
At the end of the speech Mr. McEwen personally handed all the people who attended the banquet T-Shirts, and thanked them for their continued support and loyalty to the platform.
Storm: Firstly Gary, congrats on working at Amiga. You've been an Amiga stalwart forever, and I know from how straight forward and honest you've been on the Team AMIGA mailing list over the years that you wouldn't work for any company just because they were called Amiga.
Peake: I came to work for Bill McEwen because he is genuinely interested in the Amiga and in taking it to a point that it should now be at had hardware and software upgrades been made over the last ten or so years.
Bill believes in the Amiga and what made it special and the people we call Amigans. I truthfully think this is our last best chance to make it happen.
Storm: You had to move your entire family from your home in Texas to Amiga HQ in Snoqualmie. A lot of trust and a pretty hectic trip? What does your family think of their new home and your new job?
Peake: Actually, the trip went fairly well. My wife Linda, as well as Jonathan and Jennifer are still in awe at the beauty of the Washington area.
Storm: When did you get the call, what exactly are you responsible for and why do you think they chose you over anyone else?
Peake: Actually, when Bill McEwen left Gateway I knew he was going to be heading in the direction of buying Amiga. Neither of us discussed my employment with Bill if he did buy Amiga from gateway though.
I got the call and offer quite unexpectedly and was proud to be asked. I never asked why he chose me, only what it was he expected of me.
Storm: You have a printing background. What skills did you bring to the job of developer support, and what have you had to have a crash course on to aid you?
Peake: Actually, I come from three generations of newspaper people. My personal experience is in newspapers, auto dealerships (Parts, Service, Marketing, and even running one or two for a major manufacturer), and lastly support for a national US company who did printing for major corporations all over the world.
Storm: What was your first mission on arrival at the HQ?
Peake: Survive a crash on one of Seattle's highways. :)
Storm: What happened?
Peake: I had had two bad flights (delayed in Houston for engine problems after two attempted takeoffs, and delayed in Phoenix for a gauge malfunction on take off. I was running very late getting into Seattle. Got my rent-a-car, took off just as it started drizzling rain. Next thing I know, about 12 minutes into my drive down the freeway, every car is stopping just as we are going over a rise in the road. I wasn't able to see them stopping until I topped the hill and tried to swerve to miss them. I almost made it, but it took the entire right side of the Hyundai off the car. I broke my glasses and watch band without even knowing I had. Was dazed for a few days, but that is normal. :)
Storm: Amiga have been saying for a long time that they have many interested parties from large and small companies. Obviously some have come to light as partners such as Sun, Corel, Matrox, Rebol, Red Hat Linux etc. What level of interest is there really, and how have you impressed the ones that are genuine?
Peake: There are several levels of partnership. Some are business to business and others are developmental. The partnerships people are hearing about are, for the most part, people who sought us out because they have heard what we are doing and want to be a part of it.
As everyone knows, Bill makes all major announcements for Amiga Inc. and we like it like that so I won't go into who may or may not be interested here.
Storm: I assume we can expect to hear of some big name partners soon? Hypothetically, if Sony, IBM or Motorola were to openly support the Amiga effort, then that in turn would attract a lot of other major developers. Unless of course the (hypothetical) big names have already been lobbying privately for Amiga.
Peake: We have quite a few friends at large companies who are ex-Amigans and are quietly and sometimes not so quietly lobbying their companies to support us. We have developers from almost every major .com company working on open source applications right now. They are doing this on their own time, just because they love the Amiga.
Storm: Yeah, Amiga has had a fair amount of good coverage over the last two months, and a lot of interest in the VP/OS.
Peake: This is not from us going out and seeking coverage. News agents are coming to us asking what we are doing.
Storm: The SDK has been released for a couple of months now. How have the sales been going? At least one retailer in the UK has only sold a few copies. Understandably sales are limited by the amount of developers that have the right system set-up.
Peake: Sales are ahead of projection at this point and we feel that as our Dev Boxes and Windows hosted SDK gets out that more developers will come on board.
It is hard to ask a developer who has a system set up for development on a particular platform to change everything he/she is doing just to develop for us. The more platforms we cover, the greater the opportunity there is for the Amiga platform to gain some really broad developmental support across the board.
Storm: So when can we expect the next version (with Windows hosting ability)?
Peake: 30-45 days.
Storm: Just to clear this up once and for all Gary, what exactly are the royalty and licensing details for software written for the next Amiga?
Peake: See the amiga.com web site <http://www.amiga.com/corporate/071800-mcewen.shtml>. I think Bill spells it out plainly.
Storm: Initially, Nvidia were chosen to become the graphic card partner, and they are the leaders at the moment with their GEforce 2 chipset. Why did you change to having Matrox (with the much older G400 card) as your development partner?
Peake: No, we were looking at NVidia. We decided to go with Matrox because they are looking at the same 3D, games, and professional video targets we are. I do not agree that Matrox is a second best choice. Quite frankly, one gets much better screen imagery and no heat up and shut down problems with the G400. I think it is an excellent developmental video system and what they have coming will be even better. Amigans deserve quality at an affordable price and we think we can get there with Matrox's support and assistance.
Storm: You've seen what Matrox have to offer for their next generation gfx cards, haven't you? What's your impression, what kind of memory are they using (the new Fujitsu memory?), and what kind of 2d and 3d performance?
Peake: Sorry, I can not discuss any of Matrox's plans. They speak for themselves. We, all of us, at Amiga Inc. are very excited by the direction they plan to take 3D in the games markets as well as with professional video.
Storm: A major ingredient for the success of the new Amiga will be the availability of applications and games. How many and what is being ported to or written for the VP? Are there many big software developers actively involved in software development, and how many would be original or enhanced, rather than just ports?
Can I suggest Id, Bullfrog, DMA Design and Electronic Arts for the killer games department :)
Peake: Again, I can't get into specific ports or games designs except to say that we have some very active games designers already working as I type this.
Storm: Paul Nolan was hired recently. What exactly is his role at Amiga? Will he be doing more than just GUI and interface design? Hopefully he'll do an enhanced Photogenics for the AmigaOne.
Peake: Paul Nolan is working with our internal development team on the new AmigaOE. I can't speak for Paul. He will have to talk about his future plans. I can say that I hope Paul ports Photogenics over.
Storm: What's the status with Matt Chamut (The Silicon Graphics artist). I'm hoping you'll still be using a version of his brilliant GlowIcons for the AmigaOne.
Peake: I have not personally spoken to Matt though I would welcome a chance to do so. I am not sure if anyone else has from Amiga.
Storm: Bill has stressed again that Amiga are to build hardware reference platforms for a desktop, a handheld (pda), and a notebook (portable). Are Amiga also going to build any systems to sell direct to the public themselves?
Peake: Bill has repeatedly said that we are NOT a hardware company. I have no reason to doubt that.
Storm: As the Amiga OS is not hardware dependant, I assume that whatever Amiga suggest as a reference platform is just the best combination you think works best/fastest with the OS, and that PC manufacturers can still build whatever they want for it?
Peake: We have some ideas of where we want to go in the immediate and long term future and our reference platforms are designed to take us there one step at a time. The initial Dev Box specs were based entirely on our desire to have an affordable box for developers to get started from. In truth, we could have selected many different platforms because what we are building is platform independent.
Storm: In Team AMIGA, a number of initiatives were pursued to help Gateway's future (ha-ha) Amiga products. Of special interest were the efforts to create a disabled-friendly interface with computer speech (for blind people) and feedback, voice recognition (for blind people) etc., and also the piracy protection research. Have any of these been continued and are Amiga interested in trying to perfect and implement them?
Peake: Privacy and special needs are always important issues.
Storm: I'll take that as a yes then :)
Peake: Yes, these issues are on Fleecy's mind and he is developing the technology behind what we are doing.
Storm: All of life is about compromise. What have Amiga had to compromise on in the development of the AmigaOne?
Peake: Nothing that I am aware of so far. Our developmental process is unlike any standard procedure. Everyone contributes, everyone works, everyone believes. It makes it much easier to reach finished product that way.
Storm: I know you probably won't tell me, but what is left to be done before a product can be shipped? :)
Peake: I take it that your ESP is back working again?
Storm: Not well enough or I wouldn't have to ask you the question in the first place :)
You are in control of developer support. What about the user groups, is anyone interested in helping them to help Amiga? Hopefully you'll show off the SDK at SEAL-O-RAMA! in September :)
Peake: I am in charge of all support for Amiga Inc. actually. We have a user, user group and developer site almost finished. The dev site got good reactions from developers so my team in now working behind the scenes to bring in all the options necessary to run dev support under authentication.
The user and user group support sites will be totally open to all without any password protection. They will be open soon.
Storm: Do you foresee any difficulties when the AmigaOne range do get released?
Peake: While I try to be a realist, my cup is always half full. We make life what it is. I believe people will see it operate and want one.
Storm: Is there anything that the Amiga community can do to try and help make the Amiga a success again?
Peake: Offer support. We aren't doing this because we needed a job. We are doing this because we believe. Watch what we produce and then criticize if it isn't up to your standards, but don't criticize what you haven't seen. And always check rumors before spreading them. We will gladly answer any questions about any rumors floating.
Storm: What is Amiga's opinion of projects like the BoXeR? Is it a possible competitor, or an ally? And what about promising developments like the QNX one?
Peake: People get confused when they think in terms of "competition" and it is easy to understand why, but what we are building will run hosted or stand alone on so many hardware and software platforms that it really doesn't matter.
In what we can do, in what we are producing, we have no competition.
Storm: Finally, when do you roughly estimate, or hope to have a new Amiga based system on sale?
Peake: I believe Bill said Q1 2001 it WILL be out there. We have no intention of missing that deadline.
Storm: Any rough idea on how much?
Peake: Our original target is under $900.
Storm: Thanks Gary.
Gary Peake can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org
[Editor's Note: Amiga.org visitor calling himself "SkyRaker" sent us this response he received from Dave Haynie, ex-Commodore Engineer and current Vice President of Technology for Met@box <http://www.metabox.de> about the new Virtual Processor (VP) coding system for the new Amiga. We immediately wrote to Mr. Haynie and received his permission to reprint.]
"SkyRaker": What do you think of the Amiga new direction (VP Code)?
Dave Haynie: We'll have to see. Functionally, what I would call a "neutral distribution format" is a very compelling thing. This is a bit different than a classical virtual processor. You do target a virtual machine of some kind, but oddly enough, some compilers do this anyway for the high-level part of the compiler (Lattice/SAS, for example). The idea here is that, rather than run a Javaesque JIT, you actually make the translations persistent, whether run at install or run time.
There are big advantages to this. For one, if you're keeping the translated code for a long period of time, you can spend considerably more time in the translation. One primary reason Java JITs don't match native code is that they're not keeping around translations for very long, so there's an inherent limit on how much time the compiler can spend in optimizations. If you have this, you can do lots of interesting things. For one, the local native back-end/JIT/VM can be finely tuned to the specific processor you have: not just PPC, but PPC7400 with vectorizing; not just x86, but Athlon-specific x86, etc. And if you integrate profiling in this, the run time system can gradually improve the quality of the translated code over time, as it analyzes how that code is running. DEC did much of this stuff way back, on the FX!32 project. Apparently, IBM, HP, Sun, and a few others have also done at least some research on this.
Then there's the issue of processor support. Windows NT, driven by the most successful software company in history, out and out failed on 3/4 of the platforms it supported, simply because of the lack of native code support. Windows CE is having some of the same problems today, not due to a single dominant processor, but the fact that in the early days, most machines ran either MIPS (R3 or R4) or Hitachi SuperH-3, but now they're supporting at least six processor families (though only StrongARM has made it to a handheld). This is a good illustration -- even the best cross-platform support doesn't account for processors not yet supported or even invented. A _good_ VP system can.
So, basically, I see a ton of potential here. I have mentioned exactly these concerns to both the KOSH and Phoenix projects. Whether they'll even get close to delivering on it remains to be seen. Though this is the way things will go in the future. Sun's MAJC project is leveraging Java, for example, to enable hardware you'd never likely build without the notion of a VM.
"SkyRaker": Would you ever go back?
Dave Haynie: "Never say 'Never'" - Sean Connery But I can't see it happening. I have my own company running successfully now (Met@box AG, started in '96 with Andy Finkel and two German businessmen), I don't have to move to horrible places like California or Washington, etc. And I don't see them doing any actual hardware engineering. But we'll see.
The July 20, 2000 General meeting began with President Jim Lewis introducing the club officers, your contact people for help if you need any. Jim also introduced our guests for the evening, Robert and Dorothy Nichols from Decatur.
President Lewis then asked Kevin Hisel if there was any PC news this month. Kevin spoke a little bit about the "dot net" initiative from Microsoft, which even after it was announced can only be characterized as "ambiguous". He said Microsoft released Internet Explorer 5.5, which should have been called IE 5.05 since all it adds is Print Preview. Kevin said, in all, he is "underwhelmed".
A brief discussion of Internet phone service ensued.
Kevin reported that a lot of "dot coms" have been going out of business in the last week. The stock market is not being to kind to non "profit generators."
Kevin concluded by speaking about a PC File Requester fixer called DlgXRSizer. He said it addresses some of the problems former Amiga users have with the Windows file requester. He particularly like the authors approach to shareware - pay what you think it's worth - between $10 and $30 suggested. DlgXRSizer can be found at <http://www.gajits.com> and there are versions for both W9x and NT/2000.
Next, President Lewis asked Richard Rollins if had any news he'd like to bring up. Richard began with a general computing topic, stating that Ziff-Davis, a principal player in the computer publishing business, was just bought by CNet for $1.6 billion dollars. Richard was particularly concerned how this would effect one of his favorite TV shows, ZDVT. A discussion of this buyout followed.
George Krumins reported that there was a new hole in Microsoft software that had been both theoretically and actually proven to exist which would allow the mere receipt of email to sped viruses. By exploiting the ActiveX date section of Microsoft's software coded could be launched to activate other code, ie. a virus. This brought out more "admiration" for Microsoft programming skills.
President Lewis asked Kevin Hopkins if there was any Amiga news. Kevin reported that Amiga had been getting quite a lot of media exposure lately. Bill McEwen had been interviewed in the New York Times and on CNNfn in the last month. The Amiga still remains the computer that will not die. Jim related a little Amiga history to our guests, so they knew what we were talking about. Kevin continued with the news that the Software Developers Kit had been released and was receiving fairly favorable reviews, except from one former Commodore employee, but his arguments had been taken apart rather handily by the Amiga community. Kevin also announced that Software Hut in the US, Wonder Computers in Canada, and Eyetech in the UK are currently selling Amiga Development machines. These aren't the final Amiga machine, the Amiga One, slated to come out later, but are, in fact, PCs with the Amiga development software installed, running over RedHat Linux 6.1. Kevin Hisel expressed his concerns that no "big name" PC makers have joined in and that Amiga Inc. seems to be relying on old line Amiga developers and resellers to bring their product to market. Kevin Hopkins said that this might be to aid in those Amiga loyalists' survival, sell to their natural constituency, and perhaps even to distance themselves from the stigma of the last "big name PC maker" that ran the Amiga through a meat grinder.
The next review of news came from Jack Melby. With Macworld running this week there was quite a bit of Macintosh news to cover. First, Jack reported that Apple is coming out with a new keyboard and mouse. Having been almost unilaterally declared the worst mouse and keyboard in the industry, the iMac "hockey puck" mouse and "dinky" keyboard are being replaced with an optical mouse and a full size keyboard, effective immediately.
Jack then talked about the Photoshop demonstration run at Macworld. First Photoshop was run on a 500 Mhz G4 against a 1-GHz Pentium computer. The G4 defeated the Pentium. But then the true purpose of the demonstration was revealed. Steve Jobs introduced the Apple dual-processor G4, running Mac OS 9. He announced that Apple is converting both its G4/450 and G4/500 models to dual-processor systems, also adding a Gigabit Ethernet on the motherboard. All for the same price as the original models. Effective immediately. They then re-ran the Photoshop comparison with the new system. "If you do the math, that's equivalent to a 2-GHz Pentium III, if you could even buy one," Jobs said after the more dramatic contest. Jack said he just ordered the 450 Mhz dual G4 today and, as an aside, he has a 450 Mhz G3 machine for sale.
Jack continued with news of the new iMacs and he read the specs for those models. He said there's even a new color - white - or "snow".
He then talked about the newest machine, "The Cube." Anyone familiar with the NeXT machine is going to see Jobs' hand on this one. It's a 450 Mhz or 500 Mhz G4 single processor machine in an 8 inch by 8 inch cube. The G4 Cube is priced at $1799 for a 450/64MB/20GB configuration and $2299 for a 500/128MB/30GB model and will only be sold through the Apple Store.
Jack went on to talk about the Chairman of Microsoft's Mac Division and his presentation of Microsoft Mac Office 2001. Jack said he listed off feature after feature of the new Office, ending with "Only for the Mac", to the point where the audience took up the refrain "Only for the Mac."
Jack related that the public beta of OS 10 is due out in early September. Jack, who is a beta tester for OS 10, said he has been unable to make the System crash. He's taken applications done, but never to the point of taking down the entire System. He asserted that OS 10 is "astonishingly faster" and even older applications not written for it run 1.5 to 2 times faster than they did before. And, "it worked right out of the jewel case."
President Lewis then opened the floor for our Question and Answer Session:
Jim Huls asked about the Apple Display Connector, a single cable running between the monitor and computer for a "one cable connection" between the two. Jim wanted to know if there was going to be a problem with the new machines requiring new monitors because any non-Apple monitor would require an adapter, which currently doesn't exist. During the discussion that followed it was determined that the video card in these machines had both connectors, ADP and 15-pin DIN VGA.
Harold Ravlin announced that Netscape 4.74 was out. Jack Melby said, "Yes, and it's on this month's club CD." Harold also informed us that Sun's StarOffice will be Open Sourced.
Norris Hansel had a question about Macintosh developers. In answer, Jack Melby said most Mac developers have signed on to OS 10. Richard Rollins expressed a hopeful note, saying many game developers are now releasing their games simultaneously to the PC and Mac market, where they used to do a PC version and then six month later - maybe - releasing a Macintosh version. He concluded things are looking up for the Mac.
There was a discussion of the Macintosh AirPort. Several examples of it's use around campus were given, with particular emphasis given to its range. Lucent Technologies, one of the AirPort's developers, is making an AirPort card for PCs.
Jim Lewis spoke a little bit about the new business he's going into called Go America.
Don Shaffer had ZIP disks for $6 a piece.
Kevin Hisel reported that his cable modem service had gotten better in the last three weeks.
Quentin Barnes has been setting up "firewalls" for people.
Emil Cobb asked about how to set up additional email accounts on @home.
This evening, Edwin Hadley showed the Wacom Graphire tablet. The Graphire also comes with a cordless pen and mouse. The entire package sells for just under $100.
The first thing Ed did was introduce us to the many preferences and setting you can use on the Graphire via its Control Panel. He said he pretty much uses the default settings, but once you get into using the tablet, there are little tweeks you can make for your own tastes. He said one of the only difficulties he had with the tablet was when he first started using it. It would act erratically - the cursor jumping around. However, after opening the Control Panel and closing it again, the software seemed to pole the tablet and reacquire it. From then on, the Graphire has worked as expected. Susan Kraybill said she had the same trouble with her Graphire and it was cured the same way.
During a lull, discussion turn to the new Macintoshes just announced at Macworld. One question that was raised during the break had been, "What advantage would the multi-processor Macs be since they've come out before OS 10?" Jack said that is no problem since OS9 is multi-processor enabled and, he continued, the MacOS has been multi-processor aware since OS8.
The tablet comes with 413 MB of software "stuff" - a paint program, 8 MB of Education and Training software - quite a lot else.
Dorothy Nichols asked about have to allocate more memory to programs and wondered if she should reset the program to what it was when she was done. Jack said "No." You can be sure that most developers say their programs take less memory than they really do. He said most of the trouble with memory on the Mac is that once a program finishes with its memory and returns it to the machine, there is no guarantee that the memory is contiguous with other free memory. Memory tends to get fragmented on the Mac, due to the way the OS was originally design. To insure that you get the best and most efficient use of the memory you have in your machine, you need a program like MacOS Purge, a freeware memory defragmenter.
Edwin then showed Freehand 9 and some of the work he has done at his real job. He also showed an animated GIF he made using Freehand, Photoshop and Graphic Converter for a friend of his who owns a business. This GIF was a rotating gear around a central logo for "Gearhead City". In the process of going through some of the tricks he had to pull to get what he wanted, Ed mention of keyboard commands that are of general use. One is the Apple-Z combination which is an almost universal "Undo" command. The other was Shift-Apple-3 which takes a snapshop graphic of the current desktop and deposits it in the root directory of your system disk. Ed used this later trick when constructing the frames of his animation.
The July meeting of the CUCUG executive board took place on Tuesday, July 25, 2000, at 7PM, at Kevin Hisel's house. (For anyone wishing to attend - which is encouraged, by the way - the address and phone number are both in the book). Present at the meeting were were: Jim Lewis, Rich Hall, Emil Cobb, Richard Rollins, Kevin Hopkins, and Kevin Hisel.
The meeting began with Richard Rollins complaining about the length of time spent at the last meeting going over "The Death of the Amiga" yet again and going over Amiga news. Jim explained that he had done a little history for the benefit of our guests that evening in order to understand the news items they were hearing. Kevin Hopkins stated that Jim "tolerated" Amiga news to humor him. Richard said he didn't mind Amiga news if there was any. He just didn't want to waste valuable meeting time with "Is the Amiga dead. Is it not." Kevin stated that it definitely is not dead. He related the news that the AmigaONE machine is due out by Christmas and the newest item of interest is the announced Amiga Emulation Layer, a native engine to run original Amiga code straight up - no emulator. Kevin also noted that a couple of months ago there had been no mention of the Amiga at all, but Richard had missed that one.
Rich Hall: Richard said he had nothing to report financially as there had been very little activity. He acknowledged the check from Kagi he had just received from Kevin Hopkins.
On a personal note, he spoke a little bit about his vacation. He'd just gotten back from Wisconsin, which was unseasonably very chilly. He said, however, "It's beautiful."
Emil Cobb: Emil reported twenty-two people in attendance at the last meeting. He requested a list of local members from Kevin Hopkins for badge making purposes.
Richard Rollins: Richard began by saying he was thinking of hiring himself out as a Rainmaker. He was speaking about his own recent vacation to Florida. He said it rained 19 of the 24 days of his vacation. He traveled from Illinois to Florida and back and the rain just seemed to follow him everywhere he went.
Turning to club business, Richard joked that the club ought to get a G4 Cube. This led into a discussion of the new Macintosh machines just announced at Macworld.
Richard said he would be doing the program for the Mac SIG next month, as Jack Melby will be out of town. He said it may be a Q and A Session unless he can come up with something. At that point, Jim Lewis said Ed Serbe would be doing a game demo for the PC SIG. Actually, a flight simulator, which some argued was not a game. Jim said we would have a "Killer 3-D card" installed in the club machine for this demo. He said Champaign Computer Corp. would be loaning us the card. He then said the PC SIG had done a Q and A this month because we didn't have the projector. The Q and A had been "engaging."
Richard concluded by saying he was sorry he had missed so many meetings lately. He said he had missed more meetings in the last three months than he had in the preceding 15 years. But, it couldn't be helped.
Kevin Hopkins: Kevin delivered a copy of the membership database, as usual, and the Kagi check.
Kevin brought up the subject of the PC portion of the newsletter and requested that the PC people in the group provide the input for that branch of the club. This hadn't happened with this month's issue.
Continuing with newsletter business, Kevin talked about uploading the web version of the newsletter to the old "Kramer" server. The problem was that the Domain name had been changed over to the new server and the webmaster had to move the appropriate files to that machine to make it "visible". This spawned a discussion of IPs, domain name servers, etc. Kevin Hisel noted that Kramer will be gone by the end of the week.
Kevin Hopkins then brought up the activities of the CommoHawk user group which is also going to an email version of their newsletter and how they are revamping their dues structure because of it. We reviewed our format decisions: plain text vs. PDF. We also talked about the software used to create HTML and PDF documents. There was a Discussion of HTML editors. Kevin Hisel quoted a review he had read which said, "The Best one is DreamWeaver and it sucks."
Richard Rollins returned to the topic of getting a new Macintosh machine for the club. This time he was more serious. Richard said the 8600/200 604e we have is "getting to the end of its valuable life, the point at which we can get any money out of it. If we going to upgrade, we should do it soon. It's a 604e and it may not be able to run OS 10." After some discussion, it was decided to review the situation once OS 10 comes out. Jim Lewis talked about the balance between losing residual value as time goes on versus the gain in quality by waiting for a newer hardware.
The discussion flowed back to the newsletter's format, PDF versus text. Kevin Hisel said he prefers plain text since its easier to view on the computer scene. PDF is obviously better for printing out a document, since that's what it's made for, but the time spent in formatting the document and the expense of the software really aren't that convincing for making a change. Kevin said he really prefers the HTML version that appears on the web site later.
Kevin Hisel: Continuing on that theme, Kevin said, "Frames are evil." Barring that, "Nothing to add." But the discussion returned to the web server machine, so Kevin made note that it is much better than the old machine. He said Solaris makes a difference. RAM makes a difference. We also doubled the processor speed. Kevin said you'll really notice the difference in the searching feature - newsletter searches fly.
Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Bresnan Meeting Center in the Champaign Park District Headquarters (398-2550). The Center is located at 706 Kenwood, 1/2 block south of the corner of Kenwood and John Street, in west Champaign. Kenwood is the fourth north-south street off of John as you are going west, after crossing Mattis. The Center is in the northwest corner of Centennial Park, northwest of Centennial High School.
Membership dues for individuals are $20 annually; prorated to $10 at mid year.
Our monthly newsletter, the Status Register, is delivered by email. All recent editions are available on our WWW site. To initiate a user group exchange, just send us your newsletter or contact our editor via email. As a matter of CUCUG policy, an exchange partner will be dropped after three months of no contact.
For further information, please attend the next meeting as our guest, or contact one of our officers (all at area code 217):
President/WinSIG: Jim Lewis 359-1342 NOSPAMlewis_j_e@yahoo.com Vice-President: Emil Cobb 398-0149 email@example.com Secretary/Editor: Kevin Hopkins 356-5026 firstname.lastname@example.org Treasurer: Richard Hall 344-8687 email@example.com Corporate Agent: Jim Lewis 359-1342 NOSPAMlewis_j_e@yahoo.com Board Advisor: Richard Rollins 469-2616 Webmaster: Kevin Hisel 406-948-1999 khisel @ cucug.org Mac SIG Co-Chair: John Melby 352-3638 firstname.lastname@example.org Mac SIG Co-Chair: Charles Melby-Thompson 352-3638 email@example.com
Surf our web site at http://www.cucug.org/