Mac users burst into the year 2000 energized and confident – with good reason, as it turned out. The year brought breakthrough Mac products such as AirPort, Font Reserve Server, and Voodoo5 5500, as well as impressive updates to programs such as the already well-established Microsoft Office suite and Adobe Photoshop.
The editors of
are pleased to recognize this innovation and excellence with our annual Editors’ Choice Awards. We surveyed every Mac product released between November 1, 1999, and November 1, 2000, to determine our nominees and winners in each category. These are the products that will inspire the next millennium.
RUNNERS-UP ImagePort 1.0
www.alap.com, 888/818-5790), from A Lowly Apprentice Production, is the only XTension out there that lets you tweak the layers, channels, and paths of most Adobe Photoshop files without leaving QuarkXPress. If PDF files are part of your prepress workflow, look to
Adobe Acrobat InProduction 1.0
www.adobe.com, 888/724-4508). It combines PDF preflight and color-correction tools formerly available only in several separate third-party applications, and introduces a few new aids.
For Web-graphics designers,
Macromedia Fireworks 3
www.macromedia.com, 800/457-1774) was the best tool to choose
a new version is now available). It offered an improved interface, better control of bitmapped image editing, and a History palette that allowed you to undo any number of steps in a single click and quickly turn your actions into executable scripts for reuse.
Adobe Illustrator 9.0
www.adobe.com, 888/724-4508) makes an impact with the most-powerful and most-complete set of transparency tools around.
www.newtek.com, 800/862-7837) remains a must-have for 3-D-production and -animation professionals. It boasts numerous new features and tools, including UV texture mapping, radiosity rendering, new surface and graph editors, and powerful morphing. Ashlar’s
Vellum Solids 2000
www.ashlar.com, 800/877-2745) is the only game in town for serious industrial design. It excels at working with the curvy free-form solids and surfaces prevalent in today’s industrial designs.
Peak 2.53 VST
www.bias-inc.com, 800/775-2427), Berkley Integrated Audio Software has made an already great two-track editor even better. Version 2.53 includes support for the widely used VST plug-ins (it comes with 25), has an improved interface, and ships with ASIO drivers. Best of all, you no longer need a pesky floppy-disk key to authorize the program. Mark of the Unicorn’s
Digital Performer 2.72
www.motu.com, 617/576-2760) takes MIDI and audio sequencing to the next level with its new drum editor, additional audio effects, and very accurate MIDI time stamping.
www.terran.com, 800/577-3443) is an excellent upgrade to what was already an excellent product – Media Cleaner Pro. Cleaner 5’s superb compres-sion algorithm, support for many formats, ease of use, and thorough documentation make it a necessary part of any video producer’s tool kit. Pinnacle Systems’
www.pinnaclesys.com, 888/484-3366) is more than a fabulous rotoscoping tool for video producers who want to create special effects: the program also facilitates workflow and includes new compositing features.
Optical image stabilization and a Progressive Scan photo mode make the Canon
www.canondv.com, 800/652-2666) a great midpriced MiniDV camera. Helping to nurture the world of nascent filmmakers, the
www.sony.com, 800/222-7669) is a standout, with entry-level 3-chip quality. This camera lets average folks produce professional-looking films.
www.nikonusa.com, 800/645-6689), from Nikon, continues to balance quality, ease of use, and price. The latest model boasts a 3.34-megapixel CCD and a 3x optical zoom lens. Olympus’s
Camedia C-211 Zoom Digital Printing Camera
www.olympusamerica.com, 800/622-6372) is a hit at any party, with a built-in printer for instant Polaroid shots. In QuickTime mode, the Camedia can capture up to 15 seconds of movie footage.
The only 4-megapixel camera with a custom-designed lens for digital imaging, the
Olympus Camedia E-10
www.olympusamerica.com, 800/622-6372) has great image quality and many top-level features. Professional film photographers will feel at home with Nikon’s first professional camera, the
www.nikonusa.com, 800/645-6689), since it shares many features with its 35mm counterparts.
The bright and stylish 18.1-inch
LCD display from Princeton Graphic Systems ($2,999;
www.princetongraphics.com, 800/747-6249) gives users both digital
DVI) and analog
VGA) connections, with a DVI-out connector for mirroring displays or connecting to a projector. The
Wacom PL 500
pen-tablet system ($3,999;
www.wacom.com, 800/922-9348) combines the abilities of a pen tablet with the instant feedback of an LCD screen. Yes, that means you can draw right on your screen. This new version of the pen tablet provides millions of colors, and at 15.1 inches, it’s large enough to be your primary display.
www.olympusamerica.com, 800/622-6372) has a convenient LCD panel for previewing and selecting images from SmartMedia, PC Card, Compact Flash, or Memory Stick. It uses dye-sublimation technology to produce photo-quality, full-size prints. The Epson
Stylus Photo 1270
www.epson.com, 800/873-7766) features six-color printing as well as solid black text with resolutions as high as 1,440 by 720 dpi. It offers a maximum print area of 12.76 by 43.76 inches for banner-size prints.
www.connectix.com, 800/950-5880) resurrects the most compelling feature of Connectix’s old Speed Doubler 8, namely, the ability to duplicate only new or changed items. CopyAgent goes further to offer speedy network copying. Intego’s
($70; www.intego.com, 877/946-8346) offers comprehensive firewall protection for individual users. NetBarrier filters incoming traffic, and it is the first utility to check outgoing traffic as well, to protect your personal data from theft.
FastTrack Schedule 7.0
www.aecsoft.com, 800/346-9413) is simple enough to make first-time users productive but feature-rich enough to keep sophisticated users happy. Voice recognition on the Mac platform still needs some work, but IBM’s
ViaVoice for Macintosh, Enhanced Edition
www.ibm.com, 800/825-5263) improves on the original ViaVoice by adding direct dictation into any Macintosh application, AppleScript support, and a USB-ready headset.
RUNNERS-UP MYOB Accounting Plus Version 9
www.myob.com/us, 800/322-6962) remains the best accounting program for small and midsize businesses. Enhancements include multiuser support, recognition of foreign currencies, and improved search functions. AEC Software’s powerful
www.aecsoft.com, 800/346-9413) is a specialized project-tracking database that serves novices and experienced users alike.
With guided tours of 25 rooms and 3,000 images and illustrations, Montparnasse Multimedia’s
Louvre: The Virtual Visit
www.montparnasse.net, 800/843-2665 for Barnes&Noble.com distribution) is the next best thing to seeing the French museum in person. The DVD-ROM software is easy to navigate and offers a wealth of information about art and history. Edmark’s
www.edmark.com, 800/362-2890) successfully blends text, audio, and video to teach kids history; topics range from cave painting to the Vietnam War.
For people who make their living writing, producing, and creating, Official Software’s
Official Copyright 1.5
www.officialsoftware.com, 888/325-5445) is a straightforward and informative tool for protecting intellectual property. ISI ResearchSoft’s
www.isiresearchsoft.com, 800/554-3049) is an improvement on what was already the best bibliography-management application available. This version adds some welcome interface changes and beefed-up search functions.
Surpassing the original Diablo might seem like a nearly impossible task, but Blizzard Entertainment’s
www.blizzard.com, 800/953-7669) pulls it off. This sequel improves upon the original’s lush graphics and adds new adventures and characters. Activision’s
Quake III Arena Mac
www.activision.com, 800/656-5426) doesn’t reinvent the wheel, but it is a masterful first-person shooter game. Great graphics and network play help this game stand out from the crowd.
Boa CD-RW 12x10x32x FireWire PM
www.ezq.com, 714/694-0031) takes the fear of ruining discs out of CD-R burning by using a Plextor mechanism with BURN-Proof technology. Microtech International’s
IBM 1GB Microdrive
www.microtechint.com, 800/626-4276) is impressively small on the outside but big on the inside. IBM introduced this PC Card-size drive last year, but pushing it to an amazing 1GB capacity this year puts it in a class of its own.
Palm m100 Handheld
www.palm.com, 800/881-7256) is an outstanding value, offering almost everything its more expensive competition does
except mail and expense software) at an entry-level price. It’s bundled with Mac desktop software and a Mac adapter. For those who crave Internet access, the
Palm VIIx Handheld
www.palm.com, 800/881-7256) is a dream come true. With it, you can surf the Web using text-only Web clippings. You can also send and receive e-mail through a Palm.net account or access POP accounts using third-party software.
The Newer Technology
www.newertech.com, 877/605-0010) is the only way to turn an iMac into a G4 with the Velocity Engine. The
ATI Radeon Mac Edition 32MB DDR AGP
www.ati.com, 905/882-2600) makes a leap in graphics-card speed and power. This card will inspire a new generation of games and 3-D-design applications.
Apple wised up and ditched the crippling round input device that shipped with its computers, in favor of the
Apple Pro Mouse
www.apple.com, 800/692-7753). With high precision, the sleek-looking optical mouse glides across any surface, and it makes mouse pads obsolete.
Microsoft Trackball Explorer
www.microsoft.com, 800/426-9400) was the first trackball to use optical technology. It comes equipped with Microsoft’s excellent Intellipoint mouse software.
Internet & Development
In addition to traditional chat tools,
AOL Instant Messenger 4.1, a free utility from America Online (
www.aol.com, 800/827-6364), offers voice-chat and file-transfer capabilities and the ability to send images and sound files instantly.
AvantGo Mobile Internet Service for Macintosh 3.3
www.avantgo.com, 888/884-8812) lets you take the Web anywhere by downloading Web content to any Palm OS handheld.
Why pay for a program to build, post, and update your Web site when you can use Pyra Labs’
Lasso Studio 1.5 for Dreamweaver 3
www.blueworld.com, 425/646-0288), from Blue World Communications, gives users without database knowledge an easy way to add database functionality to Web sites; Lasso includes a wizard for building a new database or connecting to an existing one.
Adobe LiveMotion 1.0
www.adobe.com, 888/724-4508) is the first program to let you produce animations in the Flash file format (SWF) without the steep learning curve of Macromedia Flash. The multimedia-authoring application
(free to individuals, varying prices for commercial use: $975 for Silver membership and $2,750 for Gold;
www.tribeworks.com, 800/807-4458), by Tribeworks, combines object-oriented design with QuickTime media and allows you to create custom interfaces for streaming media.
Linksys EtherFast 4-Port Cable/DSL Router
www.linksys.com, 800/546-5797) is easy to install and easy on the wallet. It also has four autosensing, 10/100 ports. Dartware’s
($295, up to 10 devices; ($1,995, unlimited;
www.dartware.com, 603/643-2268) is the best network manager for the Mac – or maybe for any platform. It gives you an instant visual representation of your network.
Already a popular environment for HTML developers, Bare Bones Software’s
CodeWarrior for Mac OS, Professional Edition, v.6.0
www.metrowerks.com, 800/377-5416) updates this multilingual integrated development environment for Mac OS with more standards-compliant compilers. Most important, CodeWarrior 6 lets developers create applications for Mac OS X.
Director of Product Evaluation KRISTINA DE NIKE managed this year’s awards.