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New on-line column: George Mann's Digital Soup
Sorry for the confusion latest news is now at Digital Soup Page
21 January 2004


"A Better Finder Rename" is a contextual menu plugin for the Macintosh Finder which allows users to quickly rename multiple files. "A Better Finder Rename" is ideally suited for Macintosh webmasters, users who need to transfer files from or to Windows or Unix, as well as for all other Macintosh users who deal with large numbers of files.

Feature list:
* interactive/ automatic modes
* process subfolders
* process files and folders separately
* numbered and alphabetcial list creation (e.g. image1, image2, etc.)
* replace anywhere in the file name
* replace at the beginning of the file name
* replace at the end of the file name
* add at the beginning of the file name
* add at the end of the file name
* convert to uppercase
* convert to lowercase
* convert to Proper Case
* reformat number (e.g. File1 -> File001)
* manipulate numbers in filenames (add, substract, etc.)
* remove characters at the beginning of the file name
* remove characters at the end of the file name
* remove file extensions
* manual batch rename
* examples for each mode
* fully integrated with the Macintosh Finder
* supports drag & drop renaming
* supports droplet creation & editing for automating frequent tasks
* customizable hot key start up

For more information, as well as a demonstration of ABFR, please visit: http://www.publicspace.net/ABetterFinderRename/

SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS: MacOS version: A PowerMacintosh with MacOS 8 or later. MacOS X version: A PowerMacintosh with MacOS X 10.0 or later

PRICING INFORMATION US$19.95 for a single user license US$49.95 for a site license


PUBLICSPACE.NET has provided shareware and trialware for the Macintosh community since 1996. It publishes software products developed by Dr Frank Reiff, currently working as a IT architect for a leading European financial institution. PUBLICSPACE.NET publishes the "A Better Finder" series of Finder enhancements and the MacBreakZ! personal ergonomic assistant designed to prevent RSI.

Please visit our website at: http://www.publicspace.net/
19 January 2004

Techie Tours announces Photoshop Techniques and Photo Safari
with Steve Caplin
16 - 22 May 2004

Valletta, Malta - 19 January 2004 - Techie Tours announces Photoshop Techniques Workshop
and Photo Safari with Steve Caplin, 16 - 22 May 2004. Steve is the author of How to
Cheat in Photoshop and The Complete Guide to Digital Illustration. His satirical photomontage
work appears in various UK media including The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Times
Magazine, The Independent, Radio Times, Men's Health and PC Format magazines, amongst many
others. Steve also contributes a weekly photomontage cartoon to The Times. His work has included
commissions from Saatchi & Saatchi, Lowe Howard Spink, and Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

Steve is a Contributing Editor for "MacUser Magazine" and writes a monthly Photoshop workshop
in "Total Digital Photography". Steve lectures widely on photomontage techniques.

"We are delighted that Steve is coming for this workshop," said Jim Sims of Techie Tours. "The skills,
secrets, and techniques Steve will provide during the classroom sessions will be of immense value
for even the most professional Photoshop user. Having Steve accompany us on the photo safaris
around Gozo and provide photography advice makes our package most exciting!"

Steve Caplin will teach you how to be your best with Photoshop. Workshop focus will be on
photomontage, digital photography, and advanced Photoshop techniques.

This workshop is recommended for experienced to professional Photoshop users.

For more information:  http://TechieTours.com

About Techie Tours
Techie Tours provides high quality IT workshops coupled with an exciting tour experience in the
stunning Mediterranean locations of Malta and Gozo. We also arrange custom corporate conferences
at reasonable costs.

Techie Tours
email: info@techietours.com
web: http://TechieTours.com
Phone/Fax: (356) 21 564636
Jim Sims
Techie Tours

Telephone: ++ (356) 21 564636
Fax: ++ (356) 21 564636

The Netscape Browser Lives On

It turns out that quite a few Macintosh Users still consider Netscape to be
the best all-around browser available.

I had thought that I was one of the few people left on Planet Earth that still used Netscape. So in my last Bangkok Post column I mentioned that I had just updated to version 7.1 and that the program was even better than before. I made some jokes about being one of the last users left and thanked Netscape (AOL-Time Warner) for continuing to publish and improve their product.

Well to my surprise I received more email than I had in a long time, from Netscape Users all over the world. They have all been experiencing the same feeling of being one of the last users left of what we all consider to be the most complete internet browsing package available.

The most often mentioned reasons for staying with Netscape for most users seems to be the tight integration and ease of use of the mail and browsing functions. Second most popular reason was a general disliking of Microsoft products and the feeling that Safari and Apple's Mail application are just not final products yet. One reader actually admitted to using Composer just like I do, but he also uses BBEdit when Composer lacks the necessary tools.

My own personal main reasons for staying with Netscape are the tight integration between Browser, Mail and Composer. The last being the thing I get the most flack about from my friends. Sorry guys but I like to surf, compose, upload (RBrowser), check my mail, surf, compose some more, upload and resume surfing without ever leaving my browser, except for the ftp part, which I prefer to do manually, (Netscape does have an automated Publish function in Composer if you want to push the one-application concept to the limit).

I also use programs like Adobe Go Live CS (great program) but I use it in combination with Netscape Composer, which has a very good HTML Source Editor built in, that can be accessed easily at any time without interrupting your work flow. Right now I am writing this article directly in Netscape Composer and in a few minutes I will upload it, and then email the link to MacSurfer.com, all without ever closing the Netscape application.

It makes me feel like starting an International Netscape Macintosh Users Group and taking up a collection to buy the application back from Time Warner before they decide to dump it on the garbage heap. My feeling has always been that they only bought the application to canibalize it for their AOL browser, so I was very surprised to see a very good (if just a little buggy) upgrade.

It's not that I dislike Safari (it isn't fully grown up yet, so how can you dislike it?) but when Apple announced Safari I had only one thought on my mind. How long will Netscape survive without Apple's full support as the browser of choice?  Microsoft sure has no reason to support Netscape. So who will keep it alive?

The original (un-edited) Bangkok Post article that started all this:

Switching from Jaguar to a Panther without getting scratched in the process

As usual I found that it is better to be late than early when it comes to installing a major upgrade in operating systems

This column was delayed due to circumstances beyond my control. I went to do a simple upgrade to my operating system and got stuck doing more than 18 hours of system software downloads and installs (while sitting at the computer) from the Apple website.

Just by coincidence, I went online to do these routine upgrades, at the same time that Apple decided it was time for an annual housecleaning. It also didn’t help that I was hanging onto OS 10.2 (Jaguar) longer than most and had decided on that moment to upgrade to the sleek new OS 10.3 (Panther).

Now that the painful process is over, I am the proud owner of OS 10.3.2, Quicktime 6.5, a number of essential mystery programs, and a huge bunch of security upgrades that should protect me from terrorist attacks and probably even nuclear holocaust. Why anyone would want to attack my computer I am not sure, but Apple thinks it best that I be secure against all eventualities, so be it.

But it was well worth the long wait, the painful upgrade process, and missing my Bangkok Post deadline (sorry about that). My computer is now happy, content and purring like an F1 racer. I may be imagining this but it seems as if my cooling fan (17inch PowerBook) does not kick on as often as it was either.

While I was at it, I also decided it was time to upgrade Netscape (yes I am one of the few who still uses Netscape) to System 7.1 and that was also well worth the effort. The upgrade gave me a lot more speed and a few really nice improvements.

I know I am the only person on planet earth to use Netscape Composer, or maybe I’m just the only one who admits it in public, so I really appreciate it when they go out of their way to make the program even more powerful and easier to use (just for me). Don’t bother trying to get me to see the error of my ways, many have tried and failed. I’m just thankful that Netscape keeps finding the money to keep their doors open.

This is basically my take on the Apple OS 10.3 upgrade too, a lot more speed and a few really nice improvements. The new finder window is magic. All of a sudden the OS X finder feels as intuitive as the OS 9 finder always was. It took a little while but thank you Apple for a job well done.

And I almost forgot what the fuss was all about. All the windows are now a brushed stainless steel (or is that supposed to be aluminum?) kind of look. Yeah OK nice, but I sure hope our fearless leader doesn’t wake up some morning feeling that the world needs more pink and lavender, that might make me switch to another brand of coffee.

By the way, I have never understood why people waited all night in the rain to be the first in line to buy the newest (and always buggy) software. It has been my experience, in 18 years of constant Mac use, that it has always been best to wait a few months and let the bugs be found and properly fumigated before moving into a new operating system.

Mac Janitor

There is a very useful utility that anyone who uses OS X should have and can download from the internet for free, it is called Mac Janitor. Just do a search for it with Google. Basically what Mac Janitor does, it keeps your files in order and throws away files that are not necessary.

If you leave your computer on 24 hours a day this is not an issue because UNIX computers do their housekeeping in the middle of the night. The programmers who get the really big bucks at Apple just haven’t gotten around to taking care of those of us who use portables and other mere mortals who turn off their computers when they go to bed. They will get around to it eventually, but for now it is a good idea to get Mac Janitor and do the housekeeping when it is convenient. It is very easy to use and takes very little time. Your computer will thank you for the kindness that you bestow on it.

Testing, Testing, Testing

I am now a full time camera testing machine. Since Nikon was kind enough to let me put my fingerprints on all their newest professional digital camera equipment, I am now taking on the consumer cameras as well. Starting with Nikon’s new CoolPix 3700 ultra small digital camera. The CoolPix 3700 will be going on the market some time in January 2004. It is Nikon’s first ultra-small camera and should find it’s way into a lot of Nikon user’s pockets.

Over the holidays I am also testing the Casio Exilim EX-Z4, the Samsung Digimax U-CA 3, the Archos AV 320 Video Recorder (PDA), and the Sigma SD 9. It will take some time (and a big shoehorn) to get all these items into this column, but you can see the individual product reviews (for these and a lot more) in my new Digital Photography & Macintosh web site dpmac.com.
earlier news - click here

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