Mac OS X Public Beta Set for 13-Sep-00 -- At last week's Seybold Seminars in San Francisco, Apple iCEO Steve Jobs announced the company would release its long-awaited public beta version of Mac OS X on 13-Sep-00. The announcement lets Apple fulfill its promise to get the public beta out in "Summer 2000," as the season ends in the northern hemisphere about a week later. The full launch of the software is slated for January of 2001. Jobs didn't specify whether the beta software would be available for a free (but extremely large) download, or whether it would be sold to users. [MHA]
First Trojan Horse Hits Palm Platform -- According to McAfee Associates, a Trojan Horse has been discovered that affects users of Palm OS-based handheld devices, such as those from Palm, Handspring, IBM, TRG, and Sony. (A Trojan Horse is a program that hides malicious intent behind something that appears desirable. Unlike a virus, which most outlets have been calling this problem, a Trojan Horse spreads when a user deliberately installs it, thinking it's something it isn't.) The LibertyCrack Trojan Horse masquerades as a tool designed to defeat the shareware protection of the legitimate software Liberty, which lets Palm OS users run Nintendo GameBoy games. Instead, it attempts to delete all applications from the handheld and reboot it. On a Palm OS handheld, the Trojan Horse will appear in the Applications launcher with the same icon as the Liberty application and the name "Crack 1.1." [MHA]
VSE Releases Link Checker 3.0 -- VSE has released Link Checker 3.0, adding features that expand the number of Web URLs it can verify (see "Tools We Use: Link Checker 2.5" in TidBITS-537). The new version supports the HTTP 1.1 specification, plus user authentication and cookies for connecting to Web sites that require such input. Link Checker 3.0 also tests an unlimited number of links (restricted only by available disk space), and creates reports in plain text as well as HTML. Link Checker 3.0 is available as a 1.6 MB download. A free demo is available, which can be registered for $35 for the standard version (which tests one Web site), or $100 for the unrestricted Business version; upgrades are free for owners of previous versions. [JLC]
SoundJam MP 2.5.1 Continues to Evolve -- Casady & Greene has continued their history of significant feature updates to SoundJam MP Plus, the company's popular MP3 player and encoder. New in version 2.5.1 is support for broadcasting from your Mac to Internet rebroadcast services, a tuner for finding Internet music streams, support for both CPUs of the new dual-processor Power Mac G4s in encoding, conversion to WAV format, improved interface niceties when controlling portable MP3 players, support for the Nomad Jukebox, numerous enhancements to the playlist functionality, and a wide variety of other minor changes. Especially welcome are the major speed increases in the Playlist Composer feature that enables ad-hoc creation of playlists - it was too slow in 2.0, as we noted in "SoundJam Keeps On Jammin" in TidBITS-535. Still missing, however, is an improved Alarm Clock interface that doesn't rely on closing the Alarm Clock window to confirm and apply time setting changes. SoundJam MP Plus 2.5.1 is a free update (2.9 MB download) for registered users; it now requires Mac OS 8.1 on at least a 100 MHz PowerPC 603-based Mac. [ACE]
Minor Tweaks in Eudora 4.3.3 -- Qualcomm has released Eudora 4.3.3, a minor update to its widely used email program. Version 4.3.3 fixes a crashing bug on fast Macintosh systems (the release notes aren't more specific), and improves password security for folks who don't have Eudora save their email account passwords for them. If you're not experiencing problems, we recommend ignoring 4.3.3 and waiting for Eudora 5.0, which is currently in public beta. The update is available in two forms: a 613K patch that will update version 4.3.2 to version 4.3.3, and a larger 5.2 MB updater that will upgrade any version of Eudora 4.x to version 4.3.3. Eudora 4.3.3 is available only for PowerPC-based Macs; the latest version for 68K-based Macs is currently 4.2.2. [GD]
Poll Results: Them Tomes, Them Tomes -- Brick-and-mortar bookstores still have a place in the hearts and minds of TidBITS readers, to judge from the results of last week's poll question asking what factors most influenced your decision to buy a computer book. 66 percent of the respondents said that flipping through a copy of a book was important, followed distantly by published reviews at 42 percent, word of mouth at 35 percent, and reader-contributed reviews at 30 percent. Plenty of respondents (19 percent) voted for Other and told us in TidBITS Talk that we should have included Author, Publisher, and Book Series as options. I was interested to see that only 16 percent of respondents felt that special pricing was important, and only 9 percent felt they were significantly influenced by bookstore descriptions of books or author sites or events (and I have to say that book signings are often pretty sparsely attended these days). Coming in dead last as an influencing factor was advertising, but that may be in part because advertising for computer books is extremely scarce.
Also featured prominently in TidBITS Talk last week were suggestions for beginning Macintosh books and AppleScript books (most of which focused on Internet resources, since there aren't many AppleScript books available). [ACE]
Poll Preview: 68K or Bust?! Before there were candy-colored iMacs dual processor G4s, or convection-cooled cubes, Apple spent more than a decade building "68K Macs" based on the Motorola 68000 processor family. Many of these systems (ranging from the original 128K Mac through the once-mighty Quadras and several iterations of the PowerBook line) are still in use today for word processing, email, and various server duties (TidBITS Talk is served from an 11-year-old SE/30!). But the longevity of these systems owes as much to software as hardware, and these days most software is developed only for PowerPC-based systems. So this week we ask: Do you still use a 68000-based Macintosh, and if so, do you attempt to keep its software up-to-date? Vote on our home page! [GD]