The Mac is back. A year or so ago, many people pointed to the thinning of the Macintosh magazines (and the Macworld/MacUser merger) as evidence of Apple's troubles. It was true - a significant reduction in advertising in major magazines is indicative of a shrinking industry. We felt the pinch as well, finding it nearly impossible to sign up new sponsors for TidBITS. Now, though, Apple is spending heavily on advertising in mainstream media, ad pages appear to be on the rebound in the Mac magazines, and we're seeing the upswing as well. Last week we welcomed Digital River, one of the major players behind the scenes in online software sales, and this week we have two new sponsors starting, Maxum Development and Dantz Development. The Macintosh resurgence is good for us all on both business and emotional levels - let's face it, plenty of us have many years invested in the Macintosh industry and it's a great feeling to pull back from the abyss.
Maxum Development -- First off, we're pleased to welcome Maxum Development to TidBITS. The community of Macintosh Internet developers started out small, and at trade shows the same faces appear time after time. Over the years, companies have come and gone, but two faces have remained: John O'Fallon, president of Maxum, and Mark Kriegsman, president of Clearway Technologies. Both companies made their names producing innovative add-ons for StarNine's popular Macintosh Web server, WebSTAR - NetCloak and NetForms from Maxum, FireSite and Nitro from Clearway.
Now the two companies have teamed up to produce WebDoubler, a full-featured caching proxy server ideal for schools, libraries, businesses, and other organizations interested in improving Web browsing performance and filtering content inappropriate for the situation. WebDoubler fills a hole in the Mac world by providing Web caching along with content filtering and usage tracking. Such capabilities aren't new, but for those of us who rely entirely on Macs as Internet clients and Internet servers, it's been a difficult combination of features to find. If you're in charge of a Macintosh network connected to the Internet, take a look at the 30-day demo of WebDoubler to see if it can solve any of your problems. And if you follow the link in sponsorship area above to purchase WebDoubler, you can get it for 20 percent off.
Dantz Development -- Our second new sponsor has supported TidBITS in the past, and it's great to have them back. Dantz Development is one of the longest-standing Macintosh developers. Their flagship product, Retrospect, is generally acknowledged to be the most powerful and flexible backup program on the Macintosh. PC Week even once recommended buying a Macintosh and Retrospect to back up networks of PCs.
The latest version, Retrospect 4.1, provides an emergency CD-ROM that can boot many Macintosh models (handy when you're trying to restore an entire hard disk from a backup). More important, though, Retrospect 4.1 adds the capability to back up to standard FTP servers via Internet backup sets (coincidentally, John O'Fallon of Maxum just mentioned that they've put some work into making their Macintosh FTP server Rumpus work better with Retrospect 4.1). Especially when you combine it with Retrospect's built-in compression and encryption, backup via FTP is ideal for individuals or organizations who don't want to buy or manage a backup device (offers for Internet backup services are included) or for people who want to increase their peace of mind by adding an off-site backup of important files. I fall squarely into that latter category, although, as always, I'm hoping that I never need to resort to that secondary backup.