Another capitalist feeding frenzy season is upon us, and we at TidBITS are going to help in our usual fashion, by soliciting new, unique, or interesting gift ideas for the Macintosh user on your list. So please send one paragraph descriptions of your favorite gift ideas to <email@example.com> before 10-Dec-95 and I'll compile them for the next issue of TidBITS. I'm especially looking for ideas that are a bit out of the ordinary, and please include contact information for any companies whose products are not readily available on the Web or via mail order. [ACE]
Apple Cuts Prices on Consumer Macs -- Apple announced Friday it was cutting prices on a series of Performa and Power Macintosh models (including two DOS Compatible models) in an effort to target holiday shoppers and year-end purchasers. Though final prices are set by dealers, these are Apple's new estimated street prices with the percent change: [GD]
Machine Configuration Old Price New Price Change ------- ------------- --------- --------- ------ Macintosh Performa 640CD 12/500/DOS/15" $1,999 $1,499 25.0% DOS Compatible Macintosh Performa 5215 8/1G/4xCD/15" $2,199 $1,999 9.1% Power Macintosh 6100/66 16/500/2xCD/DOS $2,299 $1,999 13.0% DOS Compatible Power Macintosh 7100/80 8/700/2xCD $1,799 $1,499 16.7% Power Macintosh 7200/75 8/500/4xCD $1,699 $1,549 8.8% Power Macintosh 7200/90 8/500/4xCD $1,899 $1,699 10.5%
ClarisWorks Update -- Claris's recent release of ClarisWorks 4.0v2 fixes a number of problems and enables ClarisWorks 4 users to save files in ClarisWorks 2.0, 3.0 and 3.1 format. According to the release notes the new version also adds support for drag & drop, speeds up some features, plus fixes problems with mail merging, rotating library images, and the Address List Assistant. The new version also comes with new RTF and WordPerfect 3.1 filters. An updater that updates ClarisWorks 4 is available online; the updater has created some confusion over two details:
The release notes say that the updater updates ClarisWorks 4.0v1, but, as Claris later explained it, "ClarisWorks 4.0 and 4.0v1 are one and the same. Sorry. We should have made Get Info report it that way." The updater should work fine on any copy of 4.0, and it did work fine on my copy.
The updater won't necessarily work unless you move the updater file into the same folder as the ClarisWorks application. A Claris representative said that a new version of the updater corrects this problem; this new version updater has not yet appeared on Info-Mac nor in Claris's software library. [TJE]
UMAX Licences Mac OS -- On 27-Nov-95, UMAX Data Systems, Inc. (UDS) a Taiwanese manufacturer, announced an agreement with Apple to license the Mac OS and manufacture machines built to the PowerPC Platform beginning in late 1996. Until that time, UDS will sell Macintosh clones from other manufacturers to Asian markets. UDS currently manufacturers scanners and other computer peripherals, and Apple says they awarded the licence to UDS because UDS best understands the Macintosh market. UDS plans to target the Chinese market with improvements to the Chinese Mac OS and more Chinese Mac applications. [GD]
Apple Announces Chinese Dictation System -- On 28-Nov-95, Apple announced a Chinese Dictation Kit, which converts spoken Mandarin (Putonghua) speech into simplified or traditional Chinese text. Users configure the system for their speech patterns by reading several pages of text into the kit's special Apple Dictation Microphone (which comes with the kit); though this configuration process consumes almost 30 MB of disk space, the result is a 700K user profile that can be moved between machines on a floppy disk. Users typically start at about 40 characters per minute, and work up to 60 or more characters per minute with extended use. The dictation kit software includes over 3,500 single characters and more than 12,000 multi-character words, plus error correction features and the ability to customize the system's vocabulary. The Chinese Dictation Kit requires a Power Mac with 4 MB of free RAM, System 7.5, Chinese Language Kit 1.1.1, and 16-bit sound. It's expected to be available in early 1996 at an estimated price of $300. [GD]