Wall Writings – My Mac Magazine #56, Dec. ’99

Hello once again, fellow Mac users! Unfortunately, yours truly is swamped with final exams, papers, and work-related tasks, so I’m going to have to make this one short this month. But, there are some tidbits and updates from past columns that I should mention, so here they are, in no particular order:

A couple of months ago, I reviewed the Pontis MPlayer3, a serial-port Mac-compatible MP3 player. At that time, I complained about the lack of high-capacity memory cards for storage, the lack of high-speed transfer methods and USB connectivity, and the lack of a belt clip. We’re is still waiting for availability of 32 megabyte memory cards, but at least the USB connector is available for $62, and an attachable belt clip can be had for $25, direct from Ponti http://www.mplayer3.com. While I still applaud Pontis’ support for older, serial-equipped Macs, they have to come up with higher capacity multimedia cards soon, or risk falling behind competitors, such as the new RIO player from Diamond, which can store up to 96 megabytes of music.

FreeVerse has updated Deathground, their Risk-like gangster game reviewed in last month’s Game Guys, to 1.1 Check it out at http://www.freeverse.com.

I first mentioned it in September, and I’m still waiting for AltaVista to release a Mac-compatiblt version of its free Internet access software, just like I’m still waiting for a Mac version of the AllAdvantage “get-paid-to-surf-the-web” viewbar. Other companies, such as NetZero and Juno, refuse to release Mac versions of their free Internet access packages, too. Fortunately, there is one start-up company that hasn’t ignored the Mac; FreeI.Net, at http://www.freei.net, has recently brough out of beta a Mac version of its free ‘Net access software. Since I’m enjoying my college’s T1 line to the Internet, I haven’t tried out FreeI.Net, so I don’t know about the quality, speed, or service of the product. Even so, thank you to this company for providing Mac users with an option for free Internet access!!!

I first mentioned these guys in September, too, and now I’m happy to report that the new Mac-centric Internet portal, MacLaunch, is officially online. I wish them the best of luck, and invite you to check them out at http://www.maclaunch.com. Unfortunately, I’m still waiting for the new pint magazine, MacLiving, to publish its first copy. Sigh…

Finally, with today’s trend of games which push hardware requirements to the absolute limit, it’s refreshing to see one of this season’s hottest titles take the road less traveled. If you’re like me and don’t have the horses to play Quake III: Arena or Unreal Tournament, check out EA Sport’s Madden 2000 football game, fresh off the press from Aspyr Media. While it does support many 3D acceleration cards, Madden 2000 only needs a 603e processor running at 180 MHz or better, only 32 megbytes of RAM, a four-speed CD-ROM drive, and QuickTime 3.0 or better. A big tip of the hat to Aspyr, who in addition to publishing Madden, has done all three Tomb Raider titles for the Macintosh and are hard at work on Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri. As soon as I receive my copy, I’m afraid my studying for final exams will take a HUGE hit. You can order your own, or get more information, at http://www.aspyr.com.

Now, I’m sorry to leave so soon, but I’ve got to get some studying done. There’s not much time before my copy of Madden 2000 arrives, so I better study now while I still can!

So, to all of you out there, have a blessed holiday season, and a happy, happy millennial New Year’s Day!

Mike Wallinga

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