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MailBITS/13-Dec-99

Holiday Hiatus -- It's the Christmas holiday season here in the United States, which means that TidBITS is taking its yearly holiday break. We'll continue to post Macintosh news and new polls on our home page, and look for this year's TidBITS Gift Issue to arrive soon. The next regularly scheduled issue will roll out on 04-Jan-00. Please note that we'll be reconfiguring many of our servers during this break, so some services may be temporarily unavailable, particularly 16-Dec-99. [JLC]

<http://www.tidbits.com/>

IBM Ships ViaVoice Speech Recognition -- IBM has shipped ViaVoice for Macintosh, the first continuous speech recognition program available for the Mac OS. (IBM announced the product last July at Macworld.) The $80 ViaVoice includes a noise-cancelling headset microphone and requires a PowerPC G3 or G4 Macintosh introduced after August 1998 (233 MHz or faster), Mac OS 8.5.1 or later, 48 MB of RAM, and 200 MB of disk space. ViaVoice needs to be trained to an individual user's voice profile, but thereafter users can dictate text into its SpeakPad application, then transfer the spoken text to directly supported programs or another application via the clipboard.

<http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=05484>

Longtime TidBITS contributor Glenn Fleishman <glenn@glenns.org> has described his ongoing difficulties with ViaVoice in TidBITS Talk; possible early adopters might wish to read his experiences. Glenn did discover the lone Macintosh ViaVoice support person happened to be an Italian in Scotland. As Glenn put it, "So I'm on the phone to New York, transferred to Scotland, talking to an Italian person about standard English voice recognition. (The next line should be, "and a priest, a rabbi, and a minister walk into my office.")" [ACE]

<http://www.ibm.com/software/speech/mac/>
<http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tlkmsg=5277>

The Tilery 4.1 Improves Display Options -- Semicolon Software has released The Tilery 4.1, an update to its utility for switching between open applications by clicking on configurable tiles. The new version now remembers tile placement and sizes on different monitor resolutions, displays 32-bit true-color icons, and uses Navigation Services under Mac OS 8.5 and later. It also adds a Select New Original command for reassigning existing tiles. New users can use all the features of The Tilery 4.1 during a 30 day trial period, after which some features are disabled; shareware registration is $15. The Tilery is a 456K download. [JLC]

<http://www2.semicolon.com/Rick/Tilery.html>

Anarchie 3.7 Rolls In Mac TCP Watcher -- Stairways Software has released Anarchie 3.7, its popular FTP and HTTP file transfer and Internet searching tool. (See "Anarchie (Pro) Continues to Rule" in TidBITS-448 for a review of version 3.0). Anarchie 3.7 includes a Watch menu which can generate a technical, low-level report on the status of your TCP connectivity and sports many functions from Stairways' earlier Mac TCP Watcher 2.0, which Anarchie now supersedes. Anarchie can now do DNS lookups; perform traceroutes to remote systems (so you can see the path packets are taking to and from another computer on the Internet ); perform ICMP, TCP, and UDP tests of remote systems, and display a list of all active and listening TCP connections on your Mac. Unfortunately, these new functions aren't scriptable or accessible via key commands, which is sure to frustrate frequent users. Anarchie 3.7 is free to registered users; otherwise the product is $35 shareware. Anarchie is a 1.4 MB download and requires System 7 and MacTCP 1.1 or later (System 7.5.5 and Open Transport 1.2 or later both recommended). [GD]

<http://www.stairways.com/anarchie/>
<http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=05110>
<http://www.stairways.com/mactcpwatcher/>

StarNine Ships WebSTAR Server Suite 4.1 -- StarNine Technologies has released WebSTAR Server Suite 4.1, the latest edition of its widely used collection of Mac OS Internet servers, including Web, email, FTP, Proxy, and directory services capabilities. Major new features in version 4.1 include full Mac OS 9 compatibility and an enhanced search engine which can serve as a Web crawler, indexing material available from any Web local disks as well as remote sites. WebSTAR Server Suite 4.1 also features a myriad of fixes and tweaks to its plug-ins, significant improvements to its FTP and email servers, and enhancements to its Web-based email interface. WebSTAR Server Suite 4.1 also ships with Active Concepts' Funnel Web 3.6 Lite log analysis tool, so WebSTAR users can more easily analyze their server usage and performance (Funnel Web 3.6 Lite is limited to 50,000 hits per report). WebSTAR Server Suite 4.1 is a free 8 MB downloadable update for owners of version 4.0. WebSTAR normally retails for $600, with discounts for upgrades, academic, and volume purchases; a 30-day demo version is also available from StarNine's Web site. [GD]

<http://www.starnine.com/webstar/webstar.html>
<http://www.activeconcepts.com/prod.html>

Free SoundJam 1.5 Update Improves MP3 Encoding -- Casady & Greene has released SoundJam MP 1.5, a free update to the company's popular MP3 player and encoder. SoundJam 1.5 offers numerous major improvements, with a focus on encoding capabilities, including variable bitrate (VBR) encoding (see "Making MP3s, Part 2" in TidBITS-505 for details), a "Faster" encoding mode, the option to play the converted track during encoding for real-time feedback on conversion quality, batch conversion of CDs, and better Internet streaming performance. SoundJam, which retails for $40 (electronic download) or $50 (physical format) requires at least a PowerPC 603 running at 100 MHz with Mac OS 7.6.1 or later. The update is a 1.6 MB download. [ACE]

<http://www.soundjam.com/>
<http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=05648>

Macworld Expo SF '00 Events List Online -- Ilene Hoffman has once again started up the Robert Hess Memorial Macworld Expo Events List. If you plan on attending Macworld Expo in San Francisco from 05-Jan-00 through 08-Jan-00 (note that the show extends to Saturday this year), check the list for public events and parties you might want to attend. If you're hosting an event at Macworld Expo, be sure to fill out the Macworld Event Submission Form. As always, we strongly encourage anyone planning an event to read our "Macworld Geek Party Guide" from TidBITS-415 for tips on how to throw a successful trade show party. [ACE]

<http://www.xensei.com/users/ileneh/partylist.html>
<http://db.tidbits.com/getbits.acgi?tbart=04694>

Macworld SF Netter's Dinner 2000 -- Speaking of Macworld Expo, if you're interested in attending the annual Netter's Dinner, visit Jon Pugh's Netter's Dinner 2000 Web page for information and a link to the Kagi-based signup form ($17 per person) for the necessary pre-registration. It doesn't look like Jon will be able to attend this year, so I'll again be emceeing the dinner and performing the ritual raise-your-hands survey. We'll start gathering at 6:00 PM on Thursday, 06-Jan-00, at the top of the escalators inside Moscone on the south side of Howard Street. At 6:30, after we've all gathered, we'll make the traditional walk to the Hunan on Sansome and Broadway in an impressively large crowd. Space is limited to 300 people, so register early! [ACE]

<http://www.seanet.com/~jonpugh/nettersdinner.html>

Poll Preview: Digital Exposure Time -- This week's issue offers the second part of Arthur Bleich's article on digital cameras, and the polls will continue to follow along this week and next, with a special poll that will appear during the final week of the year. The question this week, then, is when did you (or do you) plan to buy a digital camera? Next week's question will narrow the topic even further, asking how much you paid for your camera. As always, visit our home page to vote. [ACE]

<http://www.tidbits.com/>