As the holiday gift-giving season approaches (notice that we said nothing until after Thanksgiving - a bit of a pet peeve here in the U.S. where we're often deluged with holiday capitalism earlier and earlier each year), we're hoping that readers can contribute paragraph-long suggestions of your favorite new games and gifts for Macintosh owners. Due to our battles with repetitive stress injuries, we simply cannot play games and must rely on others for recommendations. Don't worry about including contact information unless you have an email address - for this article we'll assume everyone can talk to their local dealer or read the mail order catalogs on their own. Thanks! [ACE]
America Online buys ANS -- In a distinct case of putting $35 million of its money where its mouth has been, America Online today announced plans to purchase ANS (Advanced Network & Services), the company that has managed and operated the NSFnet Backbone Service since 1990. The ANS backbone network is among the largest and fastest public data networks, carrying daily traffic in excess of three billion packets over more than 12,000 miles of leased 45 Mbps (T-3) fiber-optic circuits. The acquisition of ANS follows on the heels of two other Internet-related acquisitions by AOL, BookLink Technologies and NaviSoft.
AOL also announced a closer alliance with Sprint, the network provider that currently carries more than 80 percent of AOL's traffic. I wonder if the closer alliance might be related to the fact that ANS and Sprint compete directly in the Internet provider business. The ANS acquisition also raises the possibility that AOL might consider changing its name from America Online to AOL, since the addition of the ANS network could significantly improve world-wide access to AOL. [ACE]
Mike Blake-Knox <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
A freeware alternative to DeskTape for putting Mac data on a DAT is Sauro Speranzo's suntar program. I've used it to transport large amounts of data between Mac and Unix systems. It supports BinHex and so should also be quite usable between Mac systems. It has the advantage that a recipient doesn't need a DAT on her Mac if she has LAN access to a Unix system.
Internet mailing lists are often hard to find, since there are so many. However, there's a Web page that supposedly lists all of them. It enables you to sort alphabetically or by category, and when you sort by category, you can get more detailed information on the list. The site appears to be a functional advertisement for a $99 tool (currently only Windows-based, but a Mac version is in the works and slated for November release - they'd better hurry) called InfoMagnet, which lets you find, search, and participate in LISTSERV-based mailing lists. From the sounds of it, Info-Magnet is a front-end interface to the often-complex LISTSERV commands.
In addition, another Web page enables you to search a database (maintained by Dartmouth College) of almost 6,000 mailing lists. The database is updated weekly, and this site has become one of my favorite tools on the Web. [ACE]
Apple's latest product info is available right at your fax machine via AppleFax, a fax-back service Apple provides. Those in the U.S. can dial 800/510-2834 for sales literature or 800/505-0171 for common tech support solutions. (Sorry, we haven't seen any international numbers.) Call from your regular phone or your fax machine; you'll be asked to tap in your fax number using the numeric touch tone keypad. On your first call, request an index of available documents, so you'll have the ID numbers for each of the pieces that can be faxed to you. [MHA]
High demand for certain Macintosh Performa models is to blame, Apple says, for its decision to ship some new systems without the Global Village modem that would normally be included in the box. Instead, buyers will find a coupon in the accessory kit with instructions to call Apple to request that the modem be shipped (at no cost to the customer). The alternative, Apple says, was to hold back shipments of such popular systems as the Performa 475 and 575 until sufficient modems were on hand, thereby narrowing buyers' choices during the holiday shopping season. [MHA]
Piet Seiden <email@example.com> writes:
I know the treatment of non-U.S. Macintosh users is a recurring issue in TidBITS. But apparently earlier pleas have only had minimum effect as problems continue to appear almost every time I examine some new application's keyboard shortcuts for menu commands. Many developers like to use characters like < or > or [ or ] or ; or : or other non-letter characters. Since many, if not most, of these characters are only accessible on many European keyboards in combination with the Shift and/or the Option key, they cannot be used as keyboard shortcuts. Take for instance the Common Ground MiniViewer that you use to browse Apple's Information Alley newsletters. On a Danish keyboard only the "Previous" command has a working keyboard shortcut. All other shortcuts are ignored. There are two solutions: either developers write their own equivalent of the menukey toolbox routine or they should refrain from using anything but the letters a to z and period and comma as shortcut characters. I believe Apple's Thought Police have guidelines saying much the same. This small issue generates a lot of aggravation over here.
[On a related note, version 1.1 of the Common Ground MiniViewer uses Command-Period as the keyboard equivalent for the Next Page command, in blatant violation of the Apple Human Interface Guidelines. Command-period is supposed to be reserved for interrupting an action. -GD]
DeskTape Price -- Oops, the list price I quoted for DeskTape in TidBITS-253 was out of date. The current list price is $329, and you can get it via mail order from Club Mac for $289. [ACE]
Club Mac -- 800/258-2622 -- 714/768-8130 -- 714/768-9354 (fax)
Dantz Development Contact Info -- I keep accidently including old phone numbers and contact information for Dantz Development because I go back to old TidBITS issues to extract them. Thus, I want to set the record straight and put the right information into an issue. My apologies to the folks at Dantz. [ACE]
4 Orinda Way, Building C
Orinda, CA 94563
Mosaic Name Changes -- While I'm cleaning up administrative details, it's worth noting that Mosaic Communications Corporation has changed its name to Netscape Communications Corporation and the name of its excellent Web browser from Mosaic Netscape to Netscape. The reason? Netscape Communications said it wants to establish an identity separate from NCSA's Mosaic Web browser. In addition, the name change addresses trademark concerns raised by NCSA (perhaps due in part to NCSA's agreements with Spyglass for licensing Mosaic and with O'Reilly & Associates for the popular What's New page).