999software.com Sponsoring TidBITS -- We're pleased to welcome our latest sponsor, 999software.com, a young Internet company calling itself "The Internet's Discount Software Superstore." 999software.com's concept is simple: sell shrinkwrapped programs, sometimes older programs languishing in warehouses, for a mere $9.99. This approach works well for all parties. The original publishers get a chance to sell off stock and gain customers for future upgrades, and consumers can buy highly rated commercial software at prices below even those of many shareware programs. Due to limited budgets for educational software, 999software.com's products have proven popular with schools as well. Since many of 999software.com's current products are games and educational programs, the $9.99 price is also attractive to parents or kids who know a given game or learning program may hold interest for only a month or so.
999software.com was inundated with orders after our brief mention of them in the most recent Macworld Superlatives article and responded by creating a 999mac.com entry point into their product database, so it's easier to see just Macintosh products. But they do carry Windows software as well, which could be a useful way to find presents for friends or relatives using PCs. 999software.com's latest foray is 999movies.com, which applies the same sales concept to videotapes of popular movies. In this day and age of disposable content, it's great to see a company giving us deeply discounted prices on products that may just happen to have been released a year earlier. After all, if you've never seen a game like Riven, You Don't Know Jack, or Imperialism, what difference does it make to your enjoyment of the game that it's been out for a year? Be sure to check out 999software.com in the sponsorship area at the top of each issue for special offers, such as this week's free shipping (for which you must use the URL listed in the sponsorship area). [ACE]
GraphicConverter 3.7 Adds Features and Fixes -- Mac users looking for a Swiss Army Knife of graphics programs can download GraphicConverter 3.7, an update to Lemke Software's tool for viewing nearly 120 graphic file formats. (One use for GraphicConverter recently mentioned in TidBITS is reading faxes sent over the Internet; see "Facts about Internet Faxing" in TidBITS-484.) The new version adds numerous features and bug fixes, including the capability to drag & drop images onto the application's icon, a command for slicing images into rectangular sections, plus numerous file format tweaks and export improvements. GraphicConverter 3.7 is available in English and German versions as either a 3.1 MB download for the full program, or a 900K updater from version 3.6.2. Registering the program is $30 for European residents; otherwise, GraphicConverter is $35. Owners of previous versions of can upgrade for free. [JLC]
MacTuner Update Simplifies Worldwide Listening -- Trexar Technologies has released MacTuner 2.1, adding performance and interface improvements to its utility for connecting to radio and television stations over the Internet. If you're wondering what music is playing in London, or want to hear Moscow news in Russian, MacTuner makes it easy to connect to online radio and television broadcasts from around the world. MacTuner 2.1 features improved continent maps, which can be zoomed to a larger size to better locate countries and enhanced support for proxy servers using Internet Config or Internet control panel settings. A demo of MacTuner is available as a 2.2 MB download; you can purchase a license (which removes the demo's 20-day limitation) for $23. [JLC]
SoundJam 1.1 Adds G4 Support -- Casady & Greene has released SoundJam 1.1, a free update to their $40 MP3 player and encoder. The primary improvement to SoundJam 1.1 is support for the new Power Mac G4's Velocity Engine (previously known as AltiVec). Support for the Velocity Engine increases file conversion speed by two to four times on 450 MHz and 500 MHz Power Mac G4s. You can now enter your own genre information, specify the ID3 tag version SoundJam uses to store meta-information within MP3 files, and see ID3 information in the file information windows. Low-level improvements include better MP3 conversion sound quality, enhanced AppleScript support, better overall stability, better support for playing songs from an AppleShare server, and various minor bug fixes. SoundJam 1.1 is a 1.5 MB download. [ACE]
Adobe Ships InDesign -- Adobe is shipping InDesign, its next-generation design software that replaces the aging PageMaker as the company's flagship page layout program. Developed from the ground up as a modern competitor to QuarkXPress, InDesign's modular architecture allows third-party developers to add functionality to the core application. For design and prepress users, InDesign includes several advanced layout and typographical features, such as optical kerning, a multi-line text composer, optical margin alignment, unlimited undo, and zooming from 5 to 4,000 percent. (For a great overview on many of these features, check out Olav Martin Kvern's article "We've Come a Long Way" in Adobe Magazine, available as a 407K PDF file.) InDesign also includes built-in support for PDF files and can open PageMaker and QuarkXPress documents directly. InDesign's street price should be $700 (Adobe's list price is $739); owners of Photoshop, Illustrator, PageMaker, or QuarkXPress can take advantage of a special upgrade price of $300 until 31-Dec-99. InDesign requires a Mac with a PowerPC 604 or better processor, Mac OS 8.5 or later, 48 MB RAM (128 MB recommended), and 120 MB of hard disk space. [JLC]
Fog City Releases LetterRip Pro 3.0.6 -- Fog City Software has released LetterRip Pro 3.0.6, a free update to the company's simple yet powerful mailing list management software (see "Going Pro with LetterRip Pro" in TidBITS-473). The changes in LetterRip Pro primarily improve the handling of non-ASCII characters such as accented or international characters in both MIME and non-MIME digests. Fog City recommends that all owners of LetterRip Pro upgrade; the changes affect only the server, which is a 550K download. [ACE]