Apple continues to focus on the \"Macs in Science\" theme with two new articles on the subject. \"Measuring the Eye for Clearer Vision\" documents Ophthalmic Technologies\' 3D i-Scan, a scanner capable of producing a 3D tomographic structure of the eye that can be sliced and rotated on multiple planes and on any axis. \"Apple Charts the Human Body for the Visible Human Project\" details the Visible Human Project, jointly funded by the National Institute of Health and the National Library of Medicine and is conducted at nine separate educational institutions. Both projects make extensive use of Apple\'s Power Mac G4 and iMac.
Apple has posted the Power Mac G4 AGP Update, which improves stability of the AGP Rage 128, after we first noticed the software\'s appearance via Software Update one week ago.
Blizzard Entertainment has announced that they will kick off the new year with a reset of the Diablo II Standard and Hardcore Ladders: On January 1, 2001 at 12:01 a.m. PT, the Diablo II Standard and Hardcore Ladders will be reset signifying the start of the new season. All characters created before January 1, 2001 will no longer appear on the Ladder. If you wish to be on the Diablo II Ladder after this date you will have to create a new character following the reset. The Diablo II Ladder reset will not otherwise affect any existing characters and no characters will be deleted. The Battle.net site will list the top 10 Ladder players on each ladder for each Realm. The new Ladder season does not have a final ending date; however, it is probable that the next Ladder reset will occur when the Diablo II Expansion is released.
Apple\'s next-generation operating system, Mac OS X, tops Wired\'s Top 10 Vaporware products for 2000. \"Last year\'s winner of the Vaporware Awards was Microsoft for Windows 2000, the oft-delayed update to Windows. This year, the crown passes to Apple, for Mac OS X, the oft-delayed update to the Mac OS.\"
An interview with Planet Moon Studios co-founder Bob Stevenson is the latest in Stomped\'s Year-End 2000 series talking with one of the members of the Giants: Citizen Kabuto development team. \"I would rarely be so blatant about our own stuff,\" remarks Stevenson, \"but one of the biggest moments of this year was actually laughing out loud watching our cutscenes come together in Giants. I haven\'t actually laughed at a game out loud since the old Lucas Arts adventures.\"
Unreal Fortress Build 300 is the latest version of the popular mod for Unreal Tournament. This new version makes dozens of bug fixes and tweaks to gameplay, classes, weapons, grenades, equipment and more. [site unavailable]
MaxProg has posted HTTP BenchMark 1.2, a tool for checking Web servers\' bandwidth from the client side. It comes with 10 Web hosting providers\' URLs. This version offers an improved interface.
Afternoon tech news: Tests have shown a flaw in the support chips for the Intel Pentium 4 that impacts system performance when passing large amounts of data over the PCI bus; Network Associates has announced that it expects to lose up to $140 million this quarter and that its CEO, president and chief financial officer are all leaving the company; and the outlook for the semiconductor industry will not greatly improve during the first quarter of 2001, due to slow holiday sales, too much inventory and a slowing global economy.
Virtual Drummer 4.1, a $10 shareware drum machine for the Macintosh, is now available. The update adds a drum mixer, a playback indicator and auto scroll.
Dantowitz Consulting has released ZipBurst 2.0 Pro, a location-based search engine; ZipBurst 2.0 CGI Lite, which offers unlimited database file searches, but doesn\'t have the location-based features; and CodeBurst Library for WebSiphon, for encryption protection of data, cookies and when hosting databases on shared Web servers. The company is also running specials on its software from now until Dec. 31.
id Software CEO Todd Hollenshead notes in his .plan that Quake III: Team Arena is on sale at CompUSA and Best Buy for $18. Mac users can buy the Windows version of the game and use the data from the CD and the latest public beta build of Quake III: Arena 1.27g to play the game.
Likely Software has released DopeWars 4.1 for the Mac, a new version of the $5 shareware game that challenges players to make money selling illegal drugs on the street while staying alive. Version 4.1 fixes a bug with the high score list. The authors note that only 6 of the more than 15,000 people who downloaded the game have registered and urge those who like the game to pay for it.
IMG continues their Mac Gaming 2K series with an interview with Brian Greenstone of Pangea Software, the company that has most recently released Cro-Mag Rally and Bugdom for the Mac. Greenstone shares his thoughts for the year in Mac gaming and what lies ahead for the industry. \"I think it\'s sad that there is hardly any original development on the Mac anymore,\" says Greenstone, \"but at the same time, I\'m happy to see so many PC games being ported. It was a good year, for sure.\"
WarCraftIII.Net answers more than 100 questions in the newly unveiled Unofficial FAQ for WarCraft III. The questions and answers span a variety of topics including races and units, heroes, buildings, technology, multiplayer and Battle.net, the World Builder and gameplay.
Deus Ex Central has updated its 93-page comprehensive walkthrough for Deus Ex, the role-playing/action/adventure game for the Mac and PC. The walkthrough is now more easily navigated with links to each specific section available on every page.
AppleInsider has notes on possible V\'Ger G4 delays, which could impede Apple\'s abilities to ship faster G4 systems and G4 PowerBooks next month.
Stomped recently published an interview with Human Head Studios Business Director Tim Gerritsen in its ongoing Year-End 2000 interview series. In the interview, Gerritsen addresses the reaction to the company\'s third-person 3D action game released late this year, Rune. \"Rune was a great game,\" says Gerritsen, \"and we believe in it despite what the hard core print press seems to think.\"
Pangea Software has begun selling t-shirts for the company\'s latest kart racing game for the Mac, Cro-Mag Rally. The t-shirts are available in sizes ranging from small to extra large and cost $15 each.
A New York Times article details the addition of technology to the curriculum at several traditional liberal arts colleges around the U.S. Among the classes profiled is a Freshman English class at Vassar College which uses iMacs to build hypertext fiction and submit assignments to the professor online. [registration required]
French Touch Software has announced that WaterRace for the Mac is now shipping. In addition, the company has released a new demo for the 3D water racing game. WaterRace Demo 1.1 adds a new ship, two new levels, an improved camera system, an adaptive AI which adjusts to the player\'s skill level and several minor bug fixes. A French version of the WaterRace Demo is also now available.
IMG begins their Q&A series on reflections on the past year in Mac gaming with Mike Donges of MacPlay. \"I think that the Macintosh gaming market is in great shape,\" says Donges. \"We still have a way to go to reach a critical mass, but all the right things are happening.\"
Michael Mitchell let us know that his pre-ordered copy of Heroes III Complete has shipped from The 3DO Company. The $40 boxed set includes Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Restoration of Erathia, Heroes of Might and Magic III: Armageddon\'s Blade (expansion) and Heroes of Might and Magic III: The Shadow of Death (expansion) and is currently only available by ordering directly from the company.
Stephen \"Oswald\" Toumi of Silicon Ice Development, Project Coordinator on the Urban Terror mod for Quake III: Arena, contacted games.macnn.com with information on how to successfully run the latest version of the mod on the Mac.
Richard Bannister has posted NeoPocott 0.38, a Neo Geo Pocket Colour emulator for the Macintosh. This release, for all platforms, adds Sonic and Metal Slug 2nd Mission playing support, improves sprite support in some games and fixes several opcodes.
Greenleaf Technologies has released DigiGuard, a digital-rights content wrapper for the Macintosh that encrypts digital content with a secure wrapper until a purchase transaction is completed. Pricing for the product is not available.
Today we\'ve published Kitty\'s Adventures in The Sims Volume 1, a new weekly feature at games.macnn.com which presents fictitious stories on lives in The Sims while also providing our readers with downloadable objects for the game. Today\'s edition is titled \"Surrogate Shoppers Makes For Happy Sims\" and offers more than a dozen new objects for owners of The Sims to download.
Hot topics in our forum include games to play for alleviating the Christmas break boredom, running the Oni Demo in Mac OS X and gamers continuing to play StarCraft despite its growing age.
Last Friday, Bungie Studios and Gathering of Developers released the Oni Demo for the Mac, Graphic Simulations Corporation provided an update on the steady progress of Tales of the Sword Coast, an expansion set for Baldur\'s Gate, and an interview with Ritual Entertainment\'s Richard \"Levelord\" Gray revealed details on the company\'s next game following the releases of Heavy Metal: FAKK2 and SiN Gold on the Mac.
TechSono Engineering has posted PixMachineMac 1.0.5, a minor update to the application for downloading files from news groups.
Late last week, Smart Storage and NuGenesis Technologies partnered to provide a data capture, storage and retrieval product for science-based customers. NuGenesis has begun integrating SmartStor Archive software into its Scientific Data Management System, an application-independent software and database platform that automatically creates a common electronic format. The API is a complete read/write archival storage solution for Windows NT. The entire configuration can be viewed as a single drive letter, allowing Windows, UNIX and Macintosh clients to archive and retrieve data from the same network location.
H&R Block has released Kiplinger TaxCut Deluxe 2000 for the Macintosh. The software\'s price has been reduced to $20, which includes one federal electronic return filing and a free state software download. This version offers a new \"My Taxes\" pre-interview feature, adds an enhanced planning feature and resource library and provides a new \"Where Am I?\" window for navigation.
games.macnn.com covers Blizzard Entertainment\'s announcement of an upcoming ladder reset for Diablo II and a note on where to find Quake III: Team Arena for $18. In addition, the site covers the releases of Heroes III Complete and WaterRace Demo 1.1 for the Mac. [updated]
Today\'s update at Xicons.com features \"Colors,\" a set of colorful transparent icons for OS X.
Scenic Soft has released TrapWise 3.1.1, a tool for specialized trapping needs. This release provides enhanced compatibility with DTP applications, accepts input of PDF 1.3 files and supports USB dongles.
During the past week, MacDesktops.com has posted 14 new pictures, including 6 (art), Apple (holidays), blue silk (art) and don\'t worry (portraits).
Style 1.8, a scriptable text editor for the Macintosh that picks up where SimpleText leaves off, adds RTF export and import, support for integration with ftp client, long file names, and other options.
Fourth World yesterday released WebMerge 1.0, a $70 Windows and Mac tool that generates static Web pages using templates from database files, including FileMaker Pro and Microsoft Access: "[it] is an ideal solution for webmasters who want to publish database information on any Web server but don\'t need dynamically generated pages." A demo is available.
Morning tech news: Handspring will acquire Bluelark Systems, developers of Blazer and BlueSky, a Palm OS Web browser and proxy server system; Rudi Gassner, who was to take over the Bertelsmann Entertainment music division, died over the weekend, causing a management vacuum at the company; and Nintendo has quashed rumors of its intent to purchase Sega.
Over the holiday weekend we noted the release of Rewind 1.03, MPegger Drop Decoder 2.0, Adobe SVG Viewer 2.0b2, a $100 rebate from MYOB for QuickBooks owners, and two new articles at AppleInsider.
Now AAPL Stock: 94.02 ( -2.58 )
Remote S for Tesla Apple Watch app drives car out
Developer Allen Wong has created the Remote S for Tesla app, which can be used to remotely activate the Model S electric car via an Apple Watch, and drive it a short distance. Aside from providing data about the car and some basic function controls, the unofficial app uses the manufacturer's Summon command to allow the car to turn on, exit the garage, and park near to the user's location. The app is available to purchase from the App Store for $10. http://apple.co/1PprF4t
Seagate 3TB unreliability suit expands
The Seagate 3TB class-action hard drive lawsuit has been expanded to more devices. The expanded suit, filed today, now includes Seagate's Barracuda 3TB Hard Disk Drive, Desktop HDD 3TB, Backup Plus 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, GoFlex 3TB External Hard Disk Drive, or any other Seagate hard drive with model number ST3000DM001. The law firm, Hagens Berman, is seeking information from consumers such as time in service, purchase price, and the nature of any drive received in return from Seagate as a replacement for a failed unit. http://bit.ly/1Pc34Cq
BlackBerry Canada, Florida hit with layoffs
The BlackBerry campus has reportedly been wracked with layoffs. Sources familiar with the company's Waterloo office staffing claim that close to 35 percent of the local workforce has been laid off, with the deepest cuts being made in the BlackBerry 10 OS and hardware teams. Additionally, the state of Florida has been officially notified that the company's Sunrise facility will see 75 people fired. Enthusiast site Mobilesyrup puts the layoffs at around 1000 total. http://bit.ly/1Pc1Rep
Instagram tests multiple account support for iOS
Instagram is trialling support for multiple accounts in its iPhone app with a small number of users. The Facebook-owned photo sharing service confirmed the reports of the tests to TechCrunch, which will allow a single user to manage more than a single account within the app, transferring between two or three accounts with a few taps. It is unclear when the feature will roll out to the public, but it has previously tested it with the Android version of the app since November. http://tcrn.ch/1SPKEKh
Foxconn CEO declares Sharp deal near done
The Foxconn bid for Sharp is allegedly only waiting on specific details of the deal. Foxconn CEO Terry Gou has declared that his company has privileged negotiation rights for the Apple iPhone screen supplier, saying that "we have a consensus, the rest is a process ... I don't see a problem completing this process." Gou hopes the deal, worth up to $5.6 billion, will be formalized by the end of February. http://reut.rs/1SPEQjN
MIT demoes 'Eyeriss' AI chip for mobile
At the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco this week, MIT researchers presented a new chip designed specifically to implement neural networks. The researchers claim that "Eyeriss" is 10 times as efficient as a mobile GPU, so it could enable mobile devices to run artificial-intelligence algorithms such as Siri or Cortana, rather than uploading all data to a remote server for processing. http://bit.ly/1TISJBe
Pocket for iOS adds readability settings
Offline reader iOS app Pocket has updated, with reader-friendly changes. With the new revision, premium subscribers can adjust character spacing, and choose from eight new fonts including one that makes it easier for sufferers of dyslexia to read saved content. The app itself is free, with a premium subscription available for $5 a month, or $45 a year. http://apple.co/1KuILBl