Welcome to the December 2000 issue of ATPM. Issue 6.12 contains the following articles, reviews, and features. Before we introduce them, though, here is a short look at what happened in November. Happy Holidays!
© 2000 Grant Osborne
This November was relatively quiet in terms of major Mac news.
Last month’s reader poll asked whether you own(ed) any Apple stock. Nearly 50% said that they currently owned Apple stock, while 6% don’t now, but used to. This month we want to know how important you think printed manuals are. Go cast your vote; we promise not to take too long figuring out what you voted for.
Apple Cider: Tidings of Comfort and Joy?
Tom Iovino discusses how anonymity on the Internet can lead to increased profanity and rudeness. Remember that we are dealing with real people and that we should treat them as such.
“As we enter this year’s holiday season, however, I have to wonder about that spirit of friendship and good will toward men, and just how many people actually possess it.”
Beyond the Barline: The People vs. the Recording Industry—Part III
David Ozab analyzes three major events in the online music industry: Napster’s partnership with Bertelsmann, the conclusion of Universal Music Group’s lawsuit against MP3.com, and the official Napster client for the Mac.
“Who Loses? First, the members of the Napster community. Again, I feel no pity toward them. They associated with thieves and attempted to justify what amounts to petty theft. Now the thieves are in league with even bigger thieves, namely record execs. The old saying, ‘there is no honor among thieves,’ summarizes a tough lesson for the Napster community.”
About This Particular Web Site
Paul Fatula introduces us to LangMaker, your own language generator; ResellerRatings, a rating service for online computer vendors; McSweeney’s Internet Concern, a quirky e-zine; Typing Injury FAQ, which informs us about RSI and similar problems and offers advice; and How Stuff Works, which explains the intricacies of how common household items operate.
Graphics and the Internet: Part IX—PNG
Grant Osborne continues his series on Graphics and the Internet with an introduction to the PNG file format.
“One of the other reasons PNG hasn’t taken off is ignorance. Whenever you read an Internet graphics tutorial, all you read about is GIF this and JPEG that. PNG rarely gets a mention. It would be good if PNG took, but history has shown that the stronger product doesn’t necessarily win the market.”
How To: Buying a CD Burner
Gregory Tetrault explains what to look for when you decide to buy a CD burner.
“First, you should decide whether you want both CD-R and CD-RW capabilities. If all you want to do is create music CDs, only CD-R is necessary. However, if you don’t already have a good, high-capacity backup system (like a DAT tape drive), then I recommend you get a CD-R/CD-RW drive.”
Beach Head 2000
Gregory Tetrault explores Beach Head 2000, a panoramic 3D arcade-style game that puts you in charge of defending a beach head by shooting incoming attackers.
“BH 2000 joins the long list of games that miss out on greatness because they were ported from Windows. In spite of BH 2000's problems, I enjoyed playing the game. BH 2000 becomes addicting because it’s fun to blast lots of enemies and to see if you can reach the next level. The ability to save levels decreases the frustration factor: you can reload a level and try different tactics. This game would receive a Very Nice rating if all the bugs and omissions described above were fixed.”
Eric Blair introduces GoClick, a nifty Chooser extension that lets you to convert documents to HTML by using an application’s Print command.
“I was skeptical when I read how simple GoClick made creating Web pages. Typically, if something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. That’s not the case here. GoClick lives up to its lofty billing. There are a few bugs and annoyances that keep GoClick from getting an Excellent rating—mostly the fact that two of the bugs involve major applications on which many people rely—but it is easily the best approach to graphical Web page designing that I have ever seen.”
Making iMovies (book)
Jamie McCornack’s book review explains why this is a title every aspiring director should own.
“These sins (except for the last one) go back to the 60s, when 8mm movies reached the masses. If you’re too young, ask your folks if they remember visiting friends to watch their vacation movies. They’d sit in a darkened room, nursing mixed drinks and nibbling party snacks made from breakfast cereals, while Ralph narrated, ‘Here’s Martha and the kids standing by the Grand Canyon and waving—except for Clarissa, she’s the shy one.’”
Understanding Interactivity (book)
Paul Fatula shares his own insights on interactivity and its role in the computer revolution in this extensive book review.
“Let me be totally up front with you: I want you to read this book. Understanding Interactivity is about just what the title leads you to believe. It gets you thinking about what interactivity is, how it should be used, and how little it is used to good effect in most programs and Web sites that you see today. Rather than being a programming book that tells you how to write code, it tries to give you an idea of how programs should work in order to give users an enjoyable and productive experience.”
Gregory Tetrault reviews ZephIR!, an ADB solution that lets Mac users control various devices with a virtual remote control and complex AppleScripts using an infrared transmitter.
“When I read about ZephIR! I got excited. The idea that I could control all my audio/video equipment with my Macintosh had great appeal. I ordered and installed both ZephIR! and X-10's POWERMID. However, my excitement waned after spending hours trying to create virtual remote controls. It diminished further when I couldn’t overcome Playlist and Custom Remote problems even though I am a proficient AppleScript programmer. ZephIR! needs a thorough manual, active help features, extensive offline tutorials, and a larger library of prebuilt components.”
For unto us a child is born…find out why he is real special.
Desktop Pictures: Reader Submissions
Enjoy desktop pictures from various readers, presenting a wide variety of topics such as leaves, ranch landscapes, an Irish Pub, Southern France, the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial, and Puget Sound.
Trivia Challenge: NCAA Basketball
This month, Edward Goss challenges you to match colleges/universities with their corresponding basketball teams.