FreePPP 2.5 Released -- On Sunday, the FreePPP Group released version 2.5 of their free PPP client. FreePPP 2.5 is a major step up from the previous 1.0.5 and contains more features than MacPPP 2.5, Apple's version of the same code. Make sure to read FreePPP's documentation for a list of bug fixes and known conflicts. [ACE]
StuffIt Expander 4.0.1, DropStuff 4.0 -- Last week, Aladdin Systems released new versions of their popular utilities StuffIt Expander and DropStuff with Expander Enhancer. StuffIt Expander 4.0.1 - which decodes and decompresses a variety of online file formats - continues to be free, and now offers much better performance on Power Macs and better handling of split and segmented files. DropStuff with Expander Enhancer enables users to compress and BinHex files and significantly augments StuffIt Expander's decoding abilities (including handling most PC and Unix file formats). DropStuff 4.0 also offers improved performance on Power Macs and better handling of segmented files. DropStuff is $30 shareware, and (though the documentation doesn't seem to say anything about it) registered users of previous versions of DropStuff can apparently continue to use their registration numbers. Aladdin's sites have been hard to reach, but the following URLs should be accurate, and the software should appear on Info-Mac mirrors in the near future. [GD]
Don Norman Speaks Live on the Net -- Don Norman, Apple Fellow, former Apple User Experience Architect, and expert in the field of human interface design, will give a talk via the Internet at the KMi Stadium on Wednesday, 15-May-96. The talk will take place at 5 PM British Summer Time (noon on the east coast in the United States; 9 AM on the west coast). To participate, I recommend dropping by the KMi Stadium Web site before the talk and trying out one of the previous presentations. The Web site has links for locating RealAudio (which you need) and for CU-SeeMe (which is optional). I assume you'll also be able to play back the talk after Don's live appearance, though you must attend the talk live in order to be one of the lucky few who get to ask Don a question. [TJE]
DNS on Macintosh Heats Up -- Apple has released version 1.0.2 of MacDNS (its DNS server software) for free. (DNS software maps the names of Internet machines to their IP addresses; before Macs had DNS capabilities, they were forced to rely on other platforms for DNS service.) MacDNS is included in Apple's Internet Server Solution package, and while it seems to function relatively well, it has been criticized for not providing recursive or secondary name service.
Not to be out-done, Men & Mice of Reykjavik, Iceland, released the results of performance comparisons between MacDNS, Unix BIND, and their QuickDNS Pro product. Though QuickDNS Pro costs about $300, it does provide recursive and secondary name service, and appears to out-perform other DNS options significantly. Men & Mice has also made their test methodology available.
Glenn Anderson's free DNS server for the Mac, MIND, has been useful for a number of Mac Internet sites, but it suffers from a set of known problems and, according to Ric Ford's MacInTouch, no further development of MIND is currently planned. [GD]
AOL 2.7 -- America Online released version 2.7 of its client software last week. The new version fixes a number of outstanding bugs and offers an improved Web browser, although Web performance through AOL's network still seems quite slow (although that's not the browser's fault). [GD]