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If you use Microsoft Office, Internet Explorer, or Outlook Express you need the security patches Mark Anbinder covers this week. Other important releases include Mac OS X 10.1.4 and Adobe Photoshop 7. Also this week, Matt Neuburg reviews Suitcase 10 and Charles Wu joins us with a tutorial on how to make professional looking slide shows using iMovie - a boon to Mac OS 9 users unable to run iPhoto. Finally, Apple reports a Q2 profit of $40 million!
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Mac OS X 10.1.4 Released -- Apple has released Mac OS X 10.1.4, a 2.2 MB update available via Mac OS X's Software Update. The new software adds support for Fast 10 SCSI drives and disc recorders from SmartDisk, EZQuest, and LaCie. On the networking front, a potential delay has been removed when using dial-up PPP connections, performance of Sherlock file searching on local and remote volumes has been improved, and networks with 3Com routers can browse Apple Filing Protocol (AFP) services. Finally, network security has improved: BSD-based TCP/IP connections check and block broadcast or multicast IP destination addresses, thus avoiding a potentially serious security hole. An AppleCare Knowledge Base document published shortly after the update's release goes into a little more detail than the description of the update in Software Update. [JLC]
Photoshop 7 Arrives at Last -- Adobe announced that Photoshop 7 is now shipping for both Mac OS 9 and Mac OS X. Like a top-billed band arriving late to their gig, Photoshop 7 is perhaps the most anticipated Mac OS X software upgrade. Fortunately, it offers more than just Mac OS X compatibility: a new Healing Brush tool makes repairing damaged photographs vastly easier than previous versions; a File Browser provides a method of tracking and navigating images; new painting tools provide better brush and pen strokes; and there's even a spelling checker to help locate the typos that invariably show up during projects (like spelling the band's name wrong on the tour t-shirts). Photoshop 7 costs $600, or $150 if you're upgrading from a previous version. The program requires Mac OS 9.1, 9.2.1, or Mac OS X 10.1, 128 MB of RAM, and at least 120 MB of hard disk space; of course, with Photoshop you're advised to max out all of the preceding minimum requirements to the best of your budget and ability. [JLC]
Apple Posts $40 Million Q2 Profit -- No doubt about it: iMacs rake in the dough. Apple announced a $40 million profit for its second fiscal quarter of 2002, coming in slightly higher than analysts's expectations following component shortages which impeded the roll-out of the new flat-screen iMac. Apple had $1.5 billion in revenue on gross margins of 27 percent; international sales accounted for 45 percent of the company's revenue.
Apple shipped 220,000 iMacs during its second quarter, contributing to a total of 813,000 Macs shipped, up 8 percent from the same quarter a year ago. Apple didn't call out sales of portable systems or the iPod, but did note it has $4.3 billion in cash on hand and plans to open an additional 20 Apple retail stores by the end of the calendar year. [GD]
by Mark H. Anbinder <email@example.com>
Microsoft has released security patches to address two security vulnerabilities affecting Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, and Office applications for both the "Classic" Mac OS (Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9) and Mac OS X. Microsoft is urging all users of these programs to download and apply the patches at once.
Vulnerable software includes:
The first security vulnerability could make it possible for malicious HTML code in a Web page, HTML email message, or Office document to exploit a buffer overflow; theoretically, an attacker could exploit this buffer overflow to perform such tasks on your computer as deleting or changing files, or installing and running software without your permission. (Under Mac OS X, the attacker would have the same privileges as the current user, which could limit the vulnerability.) In the case of Office documents (Word files, Excel spreadsheets, or PowerPoint presentations), the user would have to open the malicious document to be exposed; both Microsoft and common sense both say you should never open files from unknown sources.
The second vulnerability affects only Internet Explorer 5.1 under Mac OS 8 or Mac OS 9. It could make it possible for an attacker to run an existing AppleScript script on your computer, but only if the script's name and complete path were known. (The attacker cannot install a script; it must already be available.) The most common "well-known" scripts are those in the Speakable Items folder; they perform tasks like quitting applications, restarting the computer, emptying the Trash, and more.
The patches for Microsoft Office 2001 (263 K), Office X (1.8 MB), and Outlook Express (new version 5.0.4; 8.6 MB), and patches for Mac OS 8 and OS 9 users of Internet Explorer (new version 5.1.4; 5.4 MB), are available for download from Microsoft's Macintosh download site. Mac OS X users should apply the patch to Internet Explorer for Mac OS X via the Software Update feature of Mac OS X, available via System Preferences. Mac OS X users must still manually download and apply the patches for Office or other applications.
Microsoft says versions of Internet Explorer prior to 5.1, of Outlook Express prior to 5.0.1, and of Office prior to Office 98 are no longer supported, have not been tested, and may or may not be subject to these vulnerabilities.
The current security patches, when applied, also patch all previously noted vulnerabilities in these versions of the Microsoft applications.
Microsoft is offering free user support by phone to U.S. and Canadian callers at 866/727-2338. International users should contact their local subsidiary for information about obtaining free support for downloading and installing these patches.
by Matt Neuburg <firstname.lastname@example.org>
In a recent issue of TidBITS, I reported that Font Reserve, the font management utility I'd been using for years, had made the transition to Mac OS X with somewhat limited success. Consequently, I had a look at the competition. I've been using Extensis's Suitcase 10 for a couple of weeks now, and so far it has barely missed a beat; it does just about everything I want a font management utility to do, and it does it simply and reliably.
Keep in mind that my font needs are fairly simple. I have a lot of fonts, of many kinds, but in general I use relatively few of them at a time. I have no co-workers with whom I must share fonts, though occasionally my work requires a particular set of fonts. I want to know what fonts I have, what they look like, and where they are, and to be able to activate and deactivate them conveniently, at will, and without accidentally creating any font conflicts, so as to keep the number of open files small and my Font menus short.
My first experience with Suitcase goes back over ten years, to the days of System 6, when it was a utility by Steve Brecher, published initially by Fifth Generation Systems and later by Symantec. In those days, Suitcase was nothing short of revolutionary, since it freed users from problems and limitations built into the system's rather lame handling of fonts. All of that, however, is mere nostalgia, since Suitcase 10 likely has nothing in common with the old Suitcase but the name; even what it does has changed, since in those days a suitcase meant more than fonts (remember sound suitcases, FKEYs, and desk accessories?), and font formats and font management have undergone considerable evolution.
One Window to See Them All -- On Mac OS X, Suitcase is a single ordinary application with a single window. You can show or hide this window, but the application itself must be running for Suitcase to do its job; thus you'll probably make Suitcase a Login item, so that it starts up when you restart or log into the computer. Fonts activated by Suitcase can be temporary or permanent; the latter are automatically remembered whenever Suitcase shuts down and reactivated the next time it starts up. Typically, you'll access Suitcase from the Dock, which opens its window.
Suitcase's window can display all the fonts in the five places where active fonts can live on Mac OS X - the System folder, the Library folder, the Network folder, your user Library folder, and the Classic System Folder. It won't manage fonts in any of these locations, of course, but the mere display of them is helpful, saving you from having to look in all five places to learn what's where. The window also displays - and can manage - any fonts you've brought to its attention by dragging them into the window; such fonts can include .dfonts, Windows .ttfs, TrueType, and PostScript fonts. Fonts inside Suitcase are aliases - unlike Font Reserve, there is no option for making a vault of actual fonts - so it remains up to you to keep track of where your fonts really are. Thus, my first move was to remove all active fonts from everywhere except the System folder (leaving in place also a few fonts that the Classic system seems to need), place them in a central location, and hand them over to Suitcase to manage.
You can view fonts by suitcase or by name, and in useful subsets, such as all active fonts or all non-system fonts. You can also create font sets; you use these to activate and deactivate groups of fonts together, and you can do so through Suitcase's Dock menu, a useful shortcut.
Over on the Classic side of things, Suitcase is represented by several extensions and a shared library; the most important of these is the Suitcase Bridge, which causes fonts activated by Suitcase under Mac OS X to be available in Classic (if they are of a type that Classic handles, of course). If you reboot under the Mac OS 9 system that serves as Mac OS X's Classic, you find that Suitcase works there too; in an elegant reduction of clutter, an alias in the Apple Menu Items folder points to a Mac OS 9 version of the Suitcase application hidden inside the very same Suitcase package you installed on Mac OS X.
Other Features -- Automatic activation of fonts referred to by a particular document does not work for Mac OS X-native applications. On the other hand, automatic activation of fonts in response to your starting up a particular application does work: you make a special kind of font set called an "application set," and include in it the fonts you typically need for that application. Such fonts remain active even after you quit the application that activated them - or until you restart the computer, which on Mac OS X might be never - so if your goal is to keep your Font menus short you must deactivate application sets manually from time to time.
Suitcase reports font conflicts as they arise upon activation of a font, and lets you decide how to proceed. Having this choice is valuable; for example, sometimes you absolutely must activate a font even though there's a conflict. Still, Suitcase's explanation of the problem can be less than helpful. When I tried to activate one font, Suitcase balked, claiming there was a font conflict with a system font but without telling me what system font it conflicted with, where it was, or how it conflicted, and it gave me no means to discover this for myself. I could activate the font anyway, because Suitcase lets you override even system fonts when there's a conflict; but I would have preferred to be told just what the trouble was.
A nice feature is that you can import fonts into Suitcase temporarily. When you restart Suitcase or choose Remove Temporary Fonts, the listings for those fonts vanish from Suitcase's window. That's great for when you need some fonts just for a single job. In the same vein, you can select font listings and choose Collect Fonts For Output to have the fonts copied into a single folder for convenient transmission to another user.
When you click a font listing in Suitcase's window, you can see some samples of that font. For more extensive scrutiny of the font, you use an enclosed application, FontBook, originally by Matthias Kahlert and now maintained by Lemke Software, the folks who bring you GraphicConverter. This is a worthwhile utility, showing a font in various layouts and using various keyboards; but unlike Suitcase itself, it can't display fonts you haven't yet activated. And it hasn't been updated to show the non-ASCII characters in Mac OS X's many Unicode fonts; for that, you'll need Font Checker. (See "Two Bytes of the Cherry: Unicode and Mac OS X" in TidBITS-624 and TidBITS-625 for more on Unicode support.) Another problem with this strategy is that Extensis must synchronize with another developer's product; for example, a recent download of Suitcase 10.1.2 included an outdated version of FontBook, and if you bypass Extensis and download FontBook directly from Lemke Software, your copy is unregistered.
The manual is a decently written but poorly designed PDF. (Whoever creates a two-column layout for viewing on a computer screen, may his hard disk forever emit an annoying hum.) It contains quite a few errors, such as claiming Suitcase is scriptable when, as far as I can tell, it isn't.
Final Words -- Some users have reported problems with Suitcase crashing, but I can't comment since I haven't experienced this myself. The Suitcase shortcoming most evident to me is that, unlike Font Reserve, its window doesn't work like a database; you cannot, for example, assign extra attributes to a font, such as class and owner, and then sort or filter or search on these. The result is that a font list of even moderate size becomes difficult to manage, and a font that you remember by nature but not by name (for example, it's a sans-serif font) becomes all but impossible to find.
Apart from this, I find in using Suitcase that there isn't much that I miss from Font Reserve, and there are some things that I like better. There are a few things one must read the manual to learn: for example, the only way to switch between permanently and temporarily activating a font is to Option-click its listing; there's no button or menu item to help, so you just have to know, and that's poor design. Otherwise, Suitcase's interface is straightforward and simple, a single readily understandable window; its handling of font families and suitcases is clean and seamless; it deals helpfully with font conflicts, despite the exception mentioned earlier; and it works with every type of font I have.
Suitcase 10 costs $100; the upgrade from Suitcase 3 is $50. It requires Mac OS X 10.1.1 or higher. A 30-day demo is available as a 15 MB download.
by Charles Wu <email@example.com>
Apple's winning iPhoto software makes it easy not only to collect and categorize your digital photos, but also to create slide shows that feature blended transitions between pictures and an accompanying sound track. However, iPhoto is available only under Mac OS X. Although other applications under Mac OS 9, such as iView MediaPro, offer slide show capabilities, I use a handy program that came with my Mac to create nifty slide shows: Apple's iMovie 2.
Now, iMovie doesn't even pretend to have all the picture management tools available in iPhoto, but it does let you create QuickTime slide shows, DVDs (if you have iDVD or DVD Studio Pro), and even videotapes of your photo collection. You can employ professional-looking transitions such as wipes and dissolves, add audio and text narration, and lay down a soundtrack that works in conjunction with the photos. Because iMovie can make QuickTime movies and export to video, you can send narrated stories of your adventures to people with or without computers.
This article is a step-by-step introduction to creating a professional slide show using iMovie 2. Although designed primarily to capture and edit digital video, iMovie can also import still images and turn them into video clips, which can then be edited using all of iMovie's controls. By taking advantage of this feature, we can build a movie composed of many still images.
I'm going to assume that you've already transferred the photos from your digital camera (or scanned print photos if you don't have a digital still camera) to a folder on your hard drive. And, of course, I'm assuming that you have iMovie, which has been included free with every FireWire-equipped Mac since July 2000; the Mac OS 9 version of iMovie 2 is also available for $50 from the Apple Store.
Start the Show -- A random collection of photos is fine when they're spread out across the dining room table, but a great slide show tells a story. Start by coming up with a narrative for an event such as a birthday party or a vacation. Let's assume that you've spent the day taking pictures of your child's birthday party and you want to share the experience with grandparents who live somewhere else.
When you launch iMovie, it prompts you to create a new movie project. Call it something meaningful, like "Third Birthday." At first your project is empty, so use the File menu's Import File option to navigate to the folder containing your photos. You can import each file individually, but it's easier to select all the files by pressing Command-A, which highlights all the files. After you click the Import button and wait a few minutes (depending on how many pictures you're importing), the images appear as thumbnail clips in the right section of iMovie's interface, also called the Shelf. At this point, the photos haven't yet been added to a movie; the Shelf acts like a holding pen.
Assemble the Cast -- As you look at thumbnails in the Shelf, start thinking about which photos to use and the order in which your slides will appear. One of the dirty secrets of digital video is that because it is now so cheap, people tend to shoot far more footage than they can use; a typical movie may have five to six times more film than what appears in the final product. The same is true of most slide shows. Thankfully, you don't have to extract sections of scenes - just choose the pictures you want.
To start building your movie, drag and drop your chosen thumbnails to the bar at the bottom of the screen, which is called the Clip Viewer, keeping in mind that the movie will play from left to right. You can reorder the movie by dragging and dropping pictures to other locations in the Clip Viewer.
iMovie assigns a default time of five seconds to each picture, indicated by the numbers that appear at the top of the clip. If you want to modify the length of time a picture is displayed, select the clip and change the value in the Time field at the top of the Clip Viewer. (iMovie uses timecode notation for clip length, so a length of five seconds looks like this: "00:05:00". Broken down, this reads as "zero minutes, five seconds, and zero frames" - since each second of video is comprised of 30 frames, a number such as "00:12:26" would be zero minutes, twelve seconds, and twenty-six frames, or just four frames shy of becoming thirteen seconds.)
At this point, you've created a basic slide show. Using the controls in the Monitor (the main window), play your slide show from start to finish, or scroll forward and back through the movie by dragging the Playhead (the small triangular control located just below the Monitor's screen). It's a pretty boring slide show so far, though, so the following steps will make it much cooler.
Adding Titles -- Let's start by adding a main title to the slide show. Click the Titles button at the bottom of the Shelf to display the Titles panel, which shows a list of available title styles. Clicking an item in the list shows a rough example in the preview window at the top of the panel, so feel free to click each one to see the different styles. Let's use Centered Multiple, which displays several lines of text, faded in and out in series. Type the name of your slide show in the text fields below the title list; iMovie shows only two lines at a time in this title style, which is why the fields are broken out in pairs. The second set can be used to enter the date of the event, some comments, or whatever you choose. Click the plus-sign button to add another set of two lines. Since this is the title of the entire slide show, we want it to appear on its own instead of piggybacking on one of the slide images, so click the checkbox labeled Over Black. When you're satisfied with the results, use drag & drop to place the title name (Centered Multiple) at the beginning of the slide show. Now you've added a professional intro. A small black bar appears on the bottom of the clip's thumbnail, with a red bar inching across to indicate the progress of rendering the title clip. Don't worry, you can work with other pictures while this is going on.
Adding titles to individual slides follows the same process, but without enabling the Over Black option. Instead, select a thumbnail in the Clip Viewer and choose another title style; type the title; choose options for font, size, color, and duration using the controls in the Titles pane; and drag the title style at the position just to the left of the picture it will appear on. iMovie overlays titles on top of clips, so if the title's duration is longer than the clip, the title overlaps the next clip or creates a new clip if it's at the end of the movie.
Adding Transitions -- By now, our slides appear in the order we want, and many of them include titles. However, each slide image appears abruptly one after another, so let's make our show a little more interesting. The biggest "ooh-ahh" factor in old Kodak projector slide shows was elicited by two projectors blending into each other's image, so let's use the Overlap transition to create the same effect. Click the Transitions button in the Shelf to view the list of available transitions and select Overlap. Specify the effect's duration by dragging the Speed slider. When you're satisfied with the effect shown in the preview window, drag the transition to the space between the two slides where you want the effect. iMovie inserts a transition icon in the Clip Viewer and renders the transition.
Adding Narration -- At this point you have the equivalent of a silent film, so let's turn it into a talkie. Click the Audio button in the Shelf to bring up the Audio panel. Before you begin speaking, position the Playhead in the Monitor window at the point where the narration will begin. Using a built-in or external microphone connected to your Mac, click the Record Voice button to record some dialog about a particular image. Click Stop when you are done.
As iMovie recorded your voice, it switched to the Timeline Viewer, which displays more detail about when clips start and stop. As you record, a small orange bar appears on the audio track portion of the timeline. Click the segment to find out how long your voice clip was. If you want to match the image's duration to that of the narration, select the picture's clip, switch to the Clip Viewer, and edit the Time field. Repeat this for every slide you want to add narration. If you want to add sound effects, iMovie provides some fun ones that you can drag onto the Timeline or Clip Viewers.
Adding a Soundtrack -- The last step is to add a score to your slide show. You can import audio files in AIFF or MP3 formats, which appear as purple bars in iMovie's second sound track area. Position the Playhead at the point you want the music to begin, then use the Import File command under the File Menu to navigate to the folder containing your music and import a clip. If the music is too long, you can shorten it by dragging the triangle on the far right of the song clip. Unlike iPhoto, you can add more music clips where you want.
You're done! You've created a professional looking slide show. Now, it's time to release it to the world at large.
Exporting the Movie -- How should you pull your slide show out of iMovie? If you are going to send it via email or post it on the Web, export the show as an appropriately sized QuickTime movie. If your recipients don't have a computer, consider sending them a videotape or DVD.
Select Export Movie from the File menu and select QuickTime from the pop-up menu at the top of the dialog box that appears. iMovie includes some commonly used settings for exporting to different movie sizes, such as Web Movie, Email movie, or CD-ROM movie. The higher the quality, the more disk space the movie will occupy, so make sure you have a powerful enough machine and sufficient disk space.
If you are making a videotape, you have two options. Export a QuickTime movie using the To Camera or For iDVD export options and then copy it to a regular videotape recorder, or record directly from your computer. The first approach gives you the best quality, since you're recording from either a MiniDV tape or DVD. The latter option requires your Mac to be equipped with a video-out port and the appropriate RCA style cables that plug into your VCR. From the iMovie monitor, click on the full screen mode and press record on your VCR. It may take a few tries to synchronize the two actions.
Either way, you've put together a slide show that's more interesting than most of what's created in business presentation programs, and which didn't require upgrading to Mac OS X or purchasing third-party software. And in the process, hopefully, you've discovered that iMovie can be a fun tool to use, even if you don't own a digital camcorder.
[Charles Wu splits his time between Mountain View, CA and Denver, CO and is currently a member of the redundant economy, contemplating either business school or returning to the work force. His last position was as a Technical Marketing manager, and in the past has worked as a software engineer, product manager and in business development for various technology companies. However, he is still trying to figure out what he wants to be when he grows up and is entertaining any interesting ideas. In his spare time he runs a restaurant review site for Denver called Zig Zag Club.]
Non-profit, non-commercial publications and Web sites may reprint or link to articles if full credit is given. Others please contact us. We do not guarantee accuracy of articles. Caveat lector. Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. TidBITS ISSN 1090-7017.
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