As you may have noticed last Friday, we sent out the first test message to almost the entire TidBITS mailing list. It was quite successful, as was the release of DealBITS that day as well, which was the first stress-testing of ListSTAR/SMTP. We're not quite sure whether we'll distribute the first complete issue via ListSTAR next week or the week after, but it will be soon. In the meantime, if you are not on the TidBITS list and wish to subscribe (all existing subscriptions will be transferred), send email to <firstname.lastname@example.org> rather than working through the Rice LISTSERV. [ACE]
Apple Announces New Macs -- As anticipated in TidBITS-337, Apple has announced faster versions of the Power Mac 7600, 8500, and 9500, along with a new top-of-the-line 9500/180MP that features two PowerPC 604e processors running at 180 MHz. The new 9500 and 8500 models are based on the PowerPC 604e, whereas the revamped 7600 sports a 132 MHz PowerPC 604 processor. All the new machines feature 8x CD-ROM drives and upgradable CPU daughter cards that should support speeds of up to 250 MHz. Prices range from about $3,000 for the Power Mac 7600/132 to $5,700 for the Power Mac 9500/180 MP. Also of interest to owners of recent Power Macs, Apple announced a 180 MHz PowerPC 604e-based CPU upgrade card for about $900. Availability of these systems varies; a few should appear in late August, others should arrive in September.
Additionally, Apple officially announced the Performa 6400-series, sporting a mini-tower design and PowerPC 603e CPUs running at 180 and 200 MHz, priced from about $2,400 to $3,000. I've heard reports that some dealers currently have these Performas in stock. Apple also announced Avid Cinema, a PCI-based digital video editing system available for $459 as an option for 6400 Performas. [GD]
Clone Wars Heat Up -- Lest you think Apple is alone in showing off new machines this week, hold on to your socks: Power Computing, DayStar, and UMAX are competing for your attention too. In addition to its recently-introduced PowerTower Pro (see TidBITS-337), Power Computing has announced a PowerBase line of consumer-oriented Mac-compatibles starting at about $1,500. Built around the PowerPC 603e, PowerBase systems range in speed from 180 to 240 MHz, sport three PCI slots, 8x CD-ROM drives, and (gamers take note!) video acceleration that improves 3-D texture mapping and QuickTime performance.
What's more, DayStar is introducing the new Genesis MP 360+ (with two 180 MHz 604e CPUs, starting at $5,500), in addition to 180 and 200 MHz versions of its four-processor offerings, starting at $8,500 and $10,000. These systems are targeted at high-end graphics and video professionals, and DayStar is reportedly shipping them with no hard disks or RAM to let customers more easily customize the systems.
Rounding out the pack, UMAX is expected to show a new spate of SuperMac-branded Mac-compatibles at Macworld, including revved-up versions of its S900L series and a set of 603e-based "SuperMac C" consumer machines due in September. The SuperMac C series reportedly range in speed from 140 to 200 MHz, sport 8x CD-ROM drives, and range in price from $1,600 to $2,600. As of this writing, DayStar's and UMAX's Web sites don't cover their new products, but they'll probably make information available soon. [GD]
BulkRate to Speak TCP/IP -- Greg Neagle is readying version 2.5 of the shareware BulkRate, an offline message reader for FirstClass servers. BulkRate lets FirstClass users retrieve mail and conference messages for reading offline; version 2.5 supports TCP/IP connections to a FirstClass server, is compatible with FirstClass's threading features, and can use any available serial port for modem connections. Though SoftArc, publishers of FirstClass, have been working on an offline client for years, Neagle's BulkRate is the only viable solution available now. A beta version of BulkRate 2.5 is available via FTP or from the system fc.digitalpopcorn.com (port 3000, username and password "br", sans quotes) using the FirstClass client. [MHA]