Early FireWire drives were anything but fast, and many a Final Cut Pro pioneer ran afoul of slow first-generation devices.
became an all-too-common Mac digital-video epithet. The problem was so bad that until recently Apple’s top brass advised against using FireWire drives for DV editing. Some of the blame goes to poorly written drivers. Updates such as Apple’s FireWire 2.7 helped. Even so, the fastest FireWire drives peaked at 13 MBps–theoretically enough to avoid dropped frames but far shy of FireWire’s top speeds. The biggest problem is that pure FireWire hard drives simply don’t exist. Instead, you get an ATA hard drive hidden inside a FireWire enclosure. The ATA-FireWire bridge causes the bottleneck.
Enter the Oxford Semiconductor 911. This redesigned ATA-FireWire bridge improves transfer rates to a real-world 29 MBps to 34 MBps, and it lets you use multiple channels and RAID options, which can push data-transfer rates to 75 MBps and higher.
Granite Digital was the first company in North America to adopt the Oxford Chip, for its $159 FireVue enclosure-case kit (510/471-6442,
). FirewireDirect’s Slim-Line Ultra drives start at $299 for 20GB (512/302-0012,
). Its FireWire enclosure kits sell for $149. Other World Computing’s Mercury Elite drives start at $250, also for 20GB (800/275-4576,
). Transintl.com sells its 30GB drive for $259 (714/634-1583,
A 4.2-megapixel camera from Toshiba America (800/288-1354,
PDR-M81, which should be shipping by late summer, features resolutions ranging from 720 by 480 pixels to 2,400 by 1,600 pixels. It has a 35mm-equivalent lens with a 2.8x optical zoom and a 2.2x digital zoom. Toshiba priced the new model at $799.
Two multifunction printers from Lexmark (888/539-6275,
($199) prints at 12 pages per minute in black-and-white and 6 pages per minute in color. The
($179) prints at 9 pages per minute in black-and-white and 5 pages per minute in color. Both have a resolution of 2,400 by 1,200 dots per inch.
A monochrome laser printer from Xerox (877/362-6567,
($649) has a print speed of 17 pages per minute and a first-page print speed of 12 seconds.
Bryce 5, from Corel (800/772-6735,
): This update to the 3-Dlandscaping tool ($309; upgrade, $159) runs on Mac OS 8.6 and higher and has native support for OS X. Among other additions are network rendering capabilities, a Tree Lab feature for creating and editing trees, and metaballs support.
Carrara Studio, from Eovia (888/394-2307,
): The update to the 3-Dmodeling, rendering, and animation software rebrands the one-time MetaCreations product. Carrara Studio adds a fully supported version of Amapi 3D, a set of 25 new plug-ins, and an interactive tutorial ($399; upgrade, $99$199).
A graphics-editing application from MacGIMP (
GIMP, or Graphic Image Manipulation Program, is an open-source application for Mac OS X. It’s used to edit animated GIFs and manipulate RGB-based file formats such as JPG and TIFF ($25).
Mimio 1.6, from Virtual Ink (877/696-4646,
): The support software for the Mimio electronic whiteboard now runs natively in Mac OS X. It also lets users export whiteboard content as video clips to iMovie. Version 1.6 is a free download to users of the $599 electronic whiteboard.
Outlook 2001, from Microsoft (800/426-9400,
): The update to the messagingand collaboration client for
Microsoft Exchange Server
($700, not including client access license) enhances users’ ability to share schedules and contact lists among Mac and Windows computers. Microsoft also released
Word + Entourage 2001 SE
($149), a bundle combining its word processing application with its integrated e-mail and personal information manager program. Microsoft expects it to be shipping by the time you read this.
Suitcase 10, from Extensis (800/796-9798,
): This update to the font manager ($100; upgrade, $50) includes an Auto Activation feature, a free copy of FontBook, and support for Mul-tiple Master fonts. Extensis will release a Mac OS X native update by the end of 2001; it will be free to Suitcase 10 users. Extensis also released
Suitcase Server 10
($1,000) for workgroup font management; it includes five copies of Suitcase 10.
The departure of Director of Maya Technologies Richard Kerris from Alias| Wavefront (800/447-2542,
): The company said it does not expect his leaving to affect the development of
for Mac OS X. A Macintosh version of the 3-Danimation software is expected to be ready in September.
Layoffs at Humongous Entertainment (800/499-8386,
): The children’s software maker–which produces the Putt Putt, Freddi Fish, Spy Fox, and Pajama Sam adventure-game series–laid off 80 workers, amounting to more than 40 percent of its staff. The company will focus on its line of sports games.