MWNY 01: Software Roundup Part II

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Date: Friday, July 20th, 2001, 20:32
Category: Archive

Proving that OS X is increasingly evolving into an OS in which you can get real work done, QuicKeys, Microsoft software, and Microsoft alternative ThinkFree Office are all coming to X.

Proving that OS X is increasingly evolving into an OS in which you can get real work done, QuicKeys, Microsoft software, and Microsoft alternative ThinkFree Office are all coming to X.

X Automation. Automation utility QuicKeys has been “built from the ground up” as a new product for OS X, not a simple X port. With a full “Aqua look and feel,” QuicKeys will allow the creation of Multi-step Shortcuts from individual actions, an all new QuicKeys Editor for working with shortcuts, multiple key press shortcuts, transfer of shortcuts to another computer, custom toolbars, a special Dockling, text completion shortcuts, and even the ability to run Unix commands. You can download a beta now from CE Software.

New stuff from Redmond.After demonstrating some of Office 10 for OS X at the keynote, Microsoft has provided more details on its website and has announced its Messenger and Windows Media Player products will also come to X. Thoroughly aquafied, Office 10 involves an entirely new Aqua UI, with 1,000 redesigned dialog boxes, toolbar icons and alerts. Beauty should be more than skin deep: Microsoft has incorporated the Quartz Drawing Layer into its code to add anti-aliasing and transparency features and improve graphics features. These important OS X features are not necessarily incorporated into Carbon apps. There are new features, too: multiple selection (noncongtiguous selection) in Word, keyboard shortcuts and automatic recovery in Excel, and more animation effects in PowerPoint.

Of particular interest to us portable users: Microsoft says it has incorporated the Carbon Events framwork into Office 10, to improve battery life. Hopefully the same can be said in general for upcoming updates from Apple to the battery-sucking OS. More details on Office 10 are available on Mactopia.

In addition to Office 10, MSN Messenger 2.0 is available for free download immediately, and will support forthcoming .NET “Alerts,” an information-on-demand service. Windows Media Player for Mac OS X has been announced for Carbon, as well, for release later in the fall.

MS alternative. While many Mac users have been disappointed that progress on a version of StarOffice for OS X has apparently ground to a halt, software maker ThinkFree has just announced its own Microsoft alternative: ThinkFree Office for OS X, which debuted in a preview version at Macworld. The Java-based suite features Microsoft Office file compatibility, and is nearing a final release later this fall. Apps in the suite include: Write, a WYSIWYG Microsoft Word compatible word processor/HTML editor, Calc, a Microsoft Excel compatible spreadsheet, and Show, a Microsoft PowerPoint compatible presentation graphics program, as well as file management and sharing utilities that connect to online ThinkFree services. ThinkFree says it takes full advantage of Aqua, as well as OS X’s text-to-speech and multilingual support.

ThinkFree Office will be available on a subscription model, with a fee of $49.95 per user, per year. The preview version won’t be free: users will have to subscribe. Once they do, however, they are entitled to the latest version on any operating system, including OS X, Windows, and Linux. The final version is due fourth quarter 2001.

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