TidBITS Available in Russian -- Thanks to the diligent efforts of Leif Halvard Silli, Zoia Nikolskaia, and a few others, you can now read TidBITS in Russian. Several issues are available on the Web now, and if you want to receive future Russian issues in email, send a message to <email@example.com>. Please help spread the word to other Russian-speaking Macintosh users! Leif and Zoia can also use additional translation help, so if you'd like to volunteer, check out the Web site for details and contact information. [ACE]
Apple Ships QuickTime 4.0 -- Apple Computer has released the final version of QuickTime 4.0, the company's all-encompassing cross-platform media playback and authoring software. QuickTime 4.0 is powerful technology, supporting an enormous variety of data formats used for video, audio, images, and other data (including MPEG, Windows AVI, Photoshop images, PNG, and FlashPix) along with a slew of compression and transport technologies. QuickTime 4.0's most prominent new features involve streaming media such as live broadcasts or pre-recorded audio and video. Apple is seeking to extend QuickTime's dominance in digital media production to real-time Internet-based content, competing against RealNetworks' well established RealPlayer and Microsoft's Media Player. QuickTime 4.0's most visible new features, however, revolve around radically redesigned playback and application interfaces designed to look like consumer electronic devices. Apple's QuickTime 4.0 announcement claims the new controls are "stunning" and "intuitive"; nonetheless, the revised look and feel has drawn consistent criticism - see Isys Information Architect's evaluation of the QuickTime Player interface for a cogent example.
QuickTime 4.0 is available for free via the Internet for both Mac OS and Windows; on the Mac OS, QuickTime 4.0 requires a 68020 or better processor running System 7.1 or higher, although several features operate only on PowerPC-based systems. The installer itself is a scant 380K, but then you must choose which QuickTime components you wish to install, with typical selections entailing another 6 to 15 MB of downloaded data. QuickTime Pro 4.0, which adds authoring, editing, export, and enhanced playback capabilities, is available from Apple for $30. If you previously purchased QuickTime Pro 3, you can upgrade to QuickTime Pro 4.0 free of charge. [GD]
FileMaker Pro 4.1v2 Does Four-Digit Years -- FileMaker, Inc. has released a free 1.2 MB update to FileMaker Pro 4.1v2, which enhances the way FileMaker copes with two-digit years in dates. Essentially, all dates that specify a two-digit year are now converted to dates with four-digit years, including dates in field displays, printed output, find requests, and other areas of the program. These changes help remove some ambiguities in FileMaker's date handling create confusion amongst FileMaker Pro users and developers, especially with the approach of the year 2000. (See "Parsing Like It's 1999" in TidBITS-475 for a discussion of Y2K issues on the Macintosh.) The update also fixes a handful of bugs and date-related importing issues, plus offers stricter validation options for date, time, and numeric values entered into fields. The FileMaker Pro 4.1v2 updater operates with the Worldwide English edition of FileMaker Pro 4.1v1; it doesn't work with localized versions of FileMaker Pro or with any version of FileMaker Pro 4.0 or earlier. Thus, the FileMaker Pro 4.1v2 update leaves some folks in a lurch, since many existing FileMaker Pro users didn't feel the ODBC features that appeared in FileMaker Pro 4.1 were worth paying $150 (with rebate) to upgrade. (See "FileMaker Pro 4.1 Does ODBC for a Price" in TidBITS-447.) [GD]
Synchronize Pro 4.0 Syncs over Internet -- Qdea has released Synchronize Pro 4.0, an update to its industrial-strength synchronization utility that now works over the Internet. (See "Tools We Use: Synchronize" in TidBITS-482 for a review of Synchronize Pro's sister utility.) Synchronize Pro enables you to back up, synchronize, or mirror files using TCP/IP; as a result, local network operations perform faster than using AppleTalk. Copying or comparing files can be automated and scheduled. The utility can also initiate and close AppleTalk Remote Access connections, mirror AppleShare privileges to other file servers, and shut down the computer or put it to sleep. A limited version of Synchronize Pro 4.0 is available as a 1.8 MB download and works for free on folders of 10 MB or less. The unrestricted version of the program costs $100. [JLC]