Trojan Horse alert! Read on for the details of the latest Trojan Horse/virus combination found in an extension called Graphics Accelerator. Adam reviews the Web-savvy Anarchie Pro 3.0, the latest incarnation of Peter Lewis’s popular FTP program. Also this week, we give a nod to our dedicated translation teams, look briefly at two new anti-spam laws that just passed in California, and announce Adobe Illustrator 8.0 and WebSTAR 2.1.1.
Graphics Accelerator Trojan Horse — An extension posted to the Info-Mac Archive on 25-Sep-98 has been identified as a destructive Trojan Horse/virus combination. The Graphics Accelerator extension purports to speed up graphics programs running on PowerPC-based Macs. Instead, it corrupts applications (and thus many control panels and background applications in the Extensions folder) and writes viral code to them. Even if you remove the Graphics Accelerator extension, the next time an infected application launches, it will replace the extension. As a workaround, delete the extension then create an empty folder with the same name to prevent the virus from replicating. (Note that the first character in the file name before "Graphics Accelerator" is the non-printing character ASCII 1, which often appears as a square box; you can create this character in SimpleText and many other editors by pressing Control-A.) You must reinstall infected applications from scratch or restore them from backup copies (see Adam’s recent article series on backups). The Info-Mac moderators have removed Graphics Accelerator from main Info-Mac Archive, but it may still be available on some Info-Mac mirrors until their next update. Although all Info-Mac files are scanned for viruses, the number of submissions prevents the moderators from launching or installing all of them. As of this writing, no antivirus packages detect this virus. [JLC]
Digital River Sponsoring TidBITS — We’re pleased to welcome our latest sponsor, Digital River. For the most part, Digital River keeps a low profile, because they’re in the business of helping companies sell electronic versions of software that can be sold online and downloaded, rather than being distributed via on physical media in shrinkwrapped boxes. Digital River provides technology and services to more than 1,300 software publishers and over 500 retailers operating online software stores. The upshot of this sponsorship for TidBITS readers will be exclusive deals – sometimes great deals – on downloadable software from well-known Macintosh companies like Aladdin Systems and FWB Software. For instance, this week Digital River has a deal on the venerable CanOpener utility (it opens any file, which is great for recovering data from damaged files or peeking into files you can’t otherwise open) from Abbott Systems for $49.95, $15.05 off the normal price of $65. We hope you find the deals attractive, and we’re happy to have Digital River providing them for everyone’s benefit. [ACE]
Illustrator 8.0 Draws Upon New Features — Adobe released Illustrator 8.0 today, boosting its stalwart drawing program with a number of new features and interoperability enhancements. Further blending the fields of vector-based drawing and simulated natural media, Illustrator’s new Gradient Mesh feature offers the capability to create and edit gradients with several colors and blending directions. Other features are geared toward streamlining Illustrator’s workflow. The Pencil tool enables you to edit paths by drawing the changes (instead of placing and editing path points); the new Actions palette, a feature borrowed from Photoshop, enables you to automate repetitive tasks; and the Eyedropper tool now picks up type attributes, as well as colors. System requirements include a PowerPC-based Macintosh, Mac OS 7.5 or later (Mac OS 8 recommended), and at least 32 MB of RAM (64 MB recommended) with 20 MB available for Illustrator. Illustrator 8.0 retails for $375; upgrades from previous versions cost $129 and owners of other Adobe products or competing programs (such as CorelDRAW or Macromedia FreeHand) can buy Illustrator 8.0 for $199. Canadian and U.S. owners who purchased Illustrator 7.0 after 23-Jul-98 can receive the upgrade for the cost of shipping and handling (a valid proof of purchase is required). Kudos to Adobe for releasing the Macintosh and Windows versions simultaneously. [JLC]
Free WebSTAR 2.1.1 Update from StarNine — Although the current version of StarNine’s widely used Mac OS Web server is 3.0.1, StarNine has held to its promise to release a free bug-fix update for WebSTAR 2.x customers. WebSTAR 2.1.1 includes enhancements to WebSTAR’s data cache and directory indexer, plus fixes for Open Transport memory leaks on PowerPC machines and extensive improvements to WebSTAR’s server-side include (SSI) plug-in. Be sure to follow the instructions carefully when updating an existing WebSTAR 2.x setup; you may have to revert to a clean WebSTAR 2.x installation if you’ve modified your server application or support files. The 6.9 MB updater will update any version of WebSTAR 2.x or WebSTAR/SSL 2.x to version 2.1.1; a 6.5 MB WebSTAR 2.1.1 installer is also available, although it does not include an SSL version of WebSTAR. Although StarNine is obviously focussed on promoting WebSTAR 3.0.1 (and is currently giving away free copies of GoLive CyberStudio 3 Personal Edition with WebSTAR 3), it’s great to see a company supporting its customers by releasing updates for previous versions of its products. [GD]
As the peaks and valleys of the stock market have reminded the United States media of late, we live in a global economy. To those of us who spend many of our waking hours on the Internet, that’s nothing new – some of our best friends live on other continents.
But every now and then, something happens to bring this globalism to the fore and gives us the chance to cast the spotlight on several groups of volunteers whose work makes a tremendous difference. Many English-speaking readers of TidBITS may not realize this, but each issue of TidBITS is translated into a number of languages by dedicated sets of Macintosh users spread around the world. Currently, teams are working actively on Chinese, Dutch, French, German, and Japanese translations of TidBITS. In the past, volunteers have also set up Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese translations, and we’ve also been approached by folks interested in translating TidBITS into Russian, Swedish, Danish, Thai, and other languages. Sometimes these efforts haven’t made it past the planning stages or held to the weekly pace, but all speak volumes about the generous, global nature of the Macintosh community.
From our perspective, these translations mostly just happen. We set up Web and email infrastructure for them and handle the email bounces, but since we don’t read any of these languages well (if at all), and can’t display the character sets of several, we don’t think much about each translated issue. We do correspond frequently with some of the translators, and especially the people who coordinate the translation teams.
It was a message from Sander Lam, one of the coordinators of the Dutch team that set the gears moving. Sander wrote:
It’s worth mentioning that TidBITS-448 will be our 100th (capital 1, capital 0, capital 0) TidBITS Translation In A Row. We are very proud of this achievement. There were some issues before this streak started, but TidBITS-448 will be our 100th reliably produced translation. I want to stress "reliable", because as you’ve mentioned recently in TidBITS Talk, "volunteers + reliable" is not a self-evident combination. Everyone is motivated, but people do go on holidays, make long days at their paid jobs, take care of their families, or have other occupations that conflict with translating on a regular basis. Yet all of us meet all of our self-imposed deadlines, and this little factory just keeps on producing!
Congratulations are due to the Dutch team for this achievement! Since we publish 48 issues each year, 100 issues is roughly two years of consistency, and from a loose group of volunteers spread around the world (including the Netherlands, Belgium, and even Greece), the accomplishment is doubly impressive.
But what about the other translations? A quick check of the German team’s Web page showed that they’ve done 129 issues (although they’ve taken a few months off of late), Gregoire Seither and Emmanuel M. Decarie of the French team noted that they would hit 115 issues this week (and offered special thanks to Chantal Samuel David and Michel Contant for being on the team since the beginning), and Hisashi Nishimura chimed in to note that the Japanese team has translated a whopping 163 issues, each of which goes out to over 9,000 people on the Japanese TidBITS list.
(And the TidBITS staff do so like to throw in the occasional odd phrase or word – like "whopping" – just to keep the translators’ task a bit more interesting. Other expressions that have provoked discussion on our internal translator list include "in a tizzy" and "the cat’s pajamas," and some of the subheads in the Macworld Expo overview in TidBITS-412 caused no end of consternation, given that they were puns on commercials, band names, and other verbal artifacts of pop culture.)
Whatever the raw number of translated issues, all of the translation teams have done a fabulous job at spreading TidBITS around the world. We lack the words to thank them sufficiently and would ask only that we all give them a round of electronic applause!
If you or anyone you know might like reading TidBITS in one of these languages, visit our translation page for information on finding the various translations on the Web and subscribing via email.
Joining the U.S. states of Nevada and Washington, California has now passed two bills regarding spam, both of which go into effect on 01-Jan-99. The Bowen bill requires spammers to make spam easier to identify and filter by labeling it with "ADV:" in the subject line; adult-oriented spam must use "ADV:ADLT". The bill also requires spammers to set up toll-free telephone numbers or use accurate return email addresses to enable Internet users to remove themselves from spam lists. Violators are subject to a $500 fine for every message sent and a misdemeanor offense. The bill applies to spammers in California or those sending spam to users living in California.
The Miller bill, aimed at protecting email providers, allows any organization that provides email and has equipment located in California to sue spammers for computer trespass and to recover losses caused by dealing with spam attacks. The bill allows for damages of $50 per message with a maximum of $15,000 per day, or actual damages, whichever amount is greater. The bill also makes it illegal "to knowingly and without permission use the Internet domain name of another individual, corporation, or entity in connection with the sending of one or more electronic mail messages and to thereby disrupt or cause the disruption of computer services."
Neither bill is likely to eliminate spam, though the Miller bill offers some ammunition to organizations that are being exploited for spam delivery. The Bowen bill is more problematic because it in some ways legitimizes spam. It also worries some free speech advocates because of its labeling requirements. The hard part remains tracking down spammers to prosecute them; in addition to email headers, spammers also tend to forge physical addresses, phone numbers, credit card processing details, and ISP contact information. In my view, the fact that these people go to such lengths to hide indicates that even they don’t believe they’re engaging in legitimate business activities.
This month saw the long-awaited release of Anarchie Pro 3.0 from Peter Lewis and Stairways Software. Anarchie, an FTP client, has been an essential part of many people’s Internet tool kits for years. Although its chief competitors – the venerable Fetch from Jim Matthews of Dartmouth College and the upstart NetFinder from Peter Li and Vincent Tan – don’t lack for strong features, Anarchie has long been my favorite FTP client. With Anarchie Pro, Peter added a few new features that even more solidly cement Anarchie’s place on my hard disk.
What is It? For those new to the Internet or those who have never explored past a Web browser’s all-encompassing window, Anarchie is an FTP, or File Transfer Protocol, client program. You can use it to upload files to or download files from FTP servers on the Internet. Before the advent of the Web, people used FTP more heavily; today FTP has faded into the background somewhat, although it’s no less important. For instance, most of the Info-Mac mirror sites that store gigabytes of Macintosh shareware provide access via FTP. And when you publish Web pages, you must upload them to a Web server – the most common method remains FTP.
Anarchie introduced several important features when it was first released, including a Finder-like interface with multiple windows, support for drag & drop, and bookmarks that could exist as separate files in the Finder. Anarchie was fast, easy to use, and very much a Macintosh application. (For more information see "Anarchie Rules" in TidBITS-211.) Jim Matthews took up the challenge, improving Fetch tremendously to bring it on par with Anarchie, and Peter Li and Vincent Tan released NetFinder, an even more Finder-like FTP client.
It’s safe to say that Peter Lewis isn’t the sort of person to move quickly without cause, and Anarchie generally didn’t require many updates. The occasional bug fix here, a small feature release there, sure, but major revisions of Peter’s products appear infrequently. In part, Peter can get away with it because his software is good from the beginning, and also because he adds major features to major revisions.
HTTP Support — I said before that Anarchie was an FTP client, and that remains true. With Anarchie Pro 3.0, though, Peter made Anarchie into an HTTP client as well. Does that mean it’s a Web browser too? Yes and no. Anarchie Pro can now download Web pages and display the links on them, but it doesn’t display the text or graphics on a Web page. Anarchie Pro is essentially the guts of a Web browser sans the display engine.
It’s clear why Peter didn’t go to the effort of making Anarchie Pro into a full-fledged Web browser. For one, parsing and displaying HTML – particularly with all the wonky HTML that’s out there – is a mind-bogglingly difficult task. Worse, once you’ve done all that nasty, horrible, annoying work, you get to compete with Microsoft and Netscape and their free Web browsers. It’s not a recipe for sanity, much less success.
So what’s the point of adding HTTP support to Anarchie Pro? Some Web sites are essentially just lists of links – Yahoo is a perfect example. If you don’t want to waste time downloading graphics and rendering tables, Anarchie Pro can download the same lists in much less time – sometimes half as much according to my informal tests. Plus, you can then sort the listing by name or path (try sorting www.cnn.com by path to group the different listings). Once you’ve found a file you want, you can download it with a double-click or view it in your Web browser by choosing View Selection from the Remote menu. Unfortunately, you can’t drag items from Anarchie Pro directly into a Web browser window to display them, nor does Anarchie Pro have a command to send an item’s URL directly to a Web browser, rather than downloading the file and asking the Web browser to open it. Peter’s planning to add a Command-click shortcut to do that, much as Internet Explorer uses Command-click to open a link in a new window or Anarchie itself enables you to Command-click URLs in the Transcript window. Of course, you can copy an item’s URL and paste it into a Web browser, but that’s too much work.
Another feature enabled by Anarchie Pro’s new HTTP support is the capability to download an entire Web site. Obviously, you shouldn’t go around pointing this feature at just any Web site, but it can be a great way to snag all the files on a Web site so you can work on it. Note that this feature doesn’t fix links in the downloaded site so it will be guaranteed to work locally, unlike WebWhacker-type programs.
Better FTP Support — While adding HTTP support, Peter hasn’t ignored FTP. Anarchie Pro can now resume failed transfers for both FTP and HTTP, assuming the remote server supports it (some do, some don’t). If you use Anarchie to maintain your Web site, a new Mirror Put FTP Site command enables you to keep all your files locally and have Anarchie Pro automatically upload new or changed files, and delete files that you’ve deleted from the local version. You can even save a bookmark to your mirror upload, so starting an upload becomes a matter of double-clicking. Unfortunately, you can only use this feature with folders that won’t change on the server or else Anarchie Pro overwrites the changed files on the server. For instance, even if I downloaded my entire WebSTAR folder and then made a local change, Anarchie Pro would try to overwrite the new log file with the old one, since the two would be different sizes. I’d like to see Peter add some more intelligence to this feature so it could either synchronize files in both directions or be taught to ignore certain files (considering our WebSTAR log files can be over 20 MB in size, I don’t want to download them regularly).
People using BBEdit to create Web pages can now use Anarchie Pro to edit Web pages directly via FTP, without needing to go through the download/upload cycle. Of course, Anarchie Pro still must download the file when you choose Edit with BBEdit from the Remote menu, but when you save the file in BBEdit, Anarchie Pro immediately uploads a new copy. You probably wouldn’t want to edit your entire site regularly this way, but it’s a great way to make a quick change.
Those who have never been fond of downloading files in Web browsers will be pleased to learn that Anarchie can step in for Web browsers when downloading files via FTP. In the past, setting this feature required an AppleScript, but Anarchie Pro puts it up front in the Settings menu. With the help of an extension, Anarchie Pro can override Internet Config’s settings and handle downloads for files via HTTP as well. Anarchie Pro does this by telling Internet Config to send HTTP URLs that point at BinHex, MacBinary, or similar files to Anarchie Pro. Unfortunately, Web browsers don’t route URLs through Internet Config, so this works only in other programs that do send all URLs through Internet Config, but it might still be handy.
Finally, although this feature has existed in Anarchie for a while now, I’ve found the Mac Search command in the Search menu quite handy of late. Basically, Mac Search looks in the listings for the Info-Mac Archive (and the UMich archive, though that seems to be defunct these days) for matches to your search string. Anarchie displays those matches in a normal listing window, and double-clicking one downloads it from your preferred Info-Mac or UMich mirror site, as set in Internet Config.
Ever More Nice Touches — Peter puts a lot of effort into the details of his programs, and nice touches abound. Many of these you might not find right away, although Anarchie does include tips that you can have displayed at startup or whenever you want from the Window menu. Here are a few:
Support for the Mac OS 8 Command-Delete keyboard shortcut for deleting files.
Support for Mac OS 8.5’s Appearance and Themes.
Support for Apple Internet Address Detectors (IAD), so you can hand off URLs to Anarchie Pro from any application that supports AIAD. (Find out more about IAD in the Internet Data Detectors section of the article "Of Mice and Menus" in TidBITS-398.)
Support for Apple’s forthcoming Keychain, which helps you save passwords securely.
Support for saving passwords in bookmarks, something Peter resisted doing before because it’s a huge security loophole. In the past, you could add passwords to Anarchie bookmarks by editing them in a text editor like BBEdit, since the bookmarks were just text files containing URLs. Now Anarchie Pro warns you of the problems and makes you enter the password again before saving.
Display of the transfer mode (Text, Binary, or MacBinary) in the progress window.
Extended login capabilities for people who must connect through firewalls.
Completely reorganized menus to account for Anarchie’s new capabilities.
Audible feedback when transfers start and finish if Anarchie is in the background.
A recent transfer display that’s useful for telling if a download has stalled. Check out all the other transfer display options by clicking the labels in a progress dialog box while a file is downloading.
The capability to set permissions for files, at least with FTP servers that support the SITE CHMOD command. Occasionally, FTP servers assign incorrect permissions to uploaded files, preventing anyone else from downloading them, so it’s nice to be able to fix this from within Anarchie Pro.
Order from Chaos — Overall, Anarchie Pro 3.0 is an impressive upgrade from 2.0. It adds useful new features and extends its reach past FTP to downloading via HTTP as well. New users will appreciate Anarchie Pro’s broad set of features, and existing users have plenty of reasons to upgrade.
Anarchie Pro’s documentation is split between SimpleText files that list new features and provide a quick start tutorial, a local HTML file that contains all the documentation, and a remote FAQ file on the Stairways Software Web site. All the documents exist on the Web site as well in HTML format. On the whole, they’re clear and well-written, plus they include background information and tips you probably won’t stumble on otherwise.
Although I have little experience with different character sets, our diligent Japanese translation team tells me that there’s an issue with Anarchie and double-byte character sets. Apparently, Anarchie’s default Latin-1 character encoding conversion scheme can play havoc with text encoded in the MS Kanji (also known as Shift-JIS) encoding scheme. A widely distributed patch from Motoyuki Tanaka <[email protected]> solves the problem for MS Kanji, plus EUC-JP (Japanese), Big-5 and EUC-TW (Chinese) and KS C 5601-1992 (Korean). To install the patch, download it and open it using ResEdit. The file contains only a taBL resource. Open the taBL resource, copy resource ID 128, open a copy of Anarchie Pro in ResEdit, open Anarchie Pro’s taBL resource, and paste the new resource 128 over the original one. Save and close the copy of Anarchie Pro, then test to make sure the patch works.
I expect to see a 3.0.1 or even 3.1 version of Anarchie Pro relatively soon, since Peter has received a bunch of feedback about the new features, and he’s evaluating how to tweak them right now. Things like being able to Command-click HTTP links to open them in a Web browser and more intelligent mirroring would be welcome.
Anarchie Pro requires System 7 and MacTCP 1.1 or later, although Peter strongly recommends using System 7.5.5 and Open Transport 1.2 or later. Anarchie Pro 3.0 remains shareware, so you can check it out to see if you need its new capabilities. If so, you should pay the $35 shareware fee, or if you upgrade from a previous version of Anarchie, the cost is $20 (with a $5 per copy discount for registrations after 01-Jan-98). Remember, unlike certain massive companies, Peter can’t afford to give Anarchie away for free, so please pay your shareware fee if you use it. You can download Anarchie Pro from a number of mirror sites as a 1064K BinHex file or a 788K MacBinary file.