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QuickTime & Mac Audio Capabilities Table — Past & Present

Martin Russ serves up the latest Apple news.

After QuickTime, QuickTime VR, and QuickTime MIDI, the latest product preview from Apple's busy R&D facilities is QuickDraw 3D, a cross‑platform application program interface designed for creating and rendering high quality 3D graphics in real‑time. It consists of several toolkits, including those for high‑level modelling and rendering. Also included with the package are details of the platform‑independent file format, because the intention is to make it an open graphics architecture.

As with most software these days, QuickDraw 3D has been available to developers for a while, and demos have been seen on the Internet. Because QuickDraw is such an integral part of the Mac's Operating System Toolkit, anything which extends its functionality could drastically affect the way the screen looks and feels — which is why user interface guidelines are included. Zooming in and out of 3D objects is good fun, but without rules users could be completely lost.

For musical Mac users, QuickDraw 3D is yet another indication that multimedia is not just a fad. Just as text‑only screens looked very old‑fashioned when the Lisa and Macintosh came out, so today's flat 2D windowing systems, with crude video and distorted, choppy audio, will soon look antiquated to the next generation. Musicians need to be aware of what is happening to computers, because the cosy world of selling music on a CD is beginning to look increasingly uncertain. Sales of video games now make more money than feature films, and more computers were sold last year than TVs in the States. CD‑ROMs have seen huge increases in new releases, and MIDI file publishers are upping their percentages as they realise that printed music is being joined by electronic media as viable sources of music publishing. These are increasingly chaotic days, and there are no forseeable calm spots ahead.

Tip Of The Month

Having suffered a nasty computer virus infection which crept past my detection systems and forced a reformat of my drive, now is probably a good time for me to recommend these two essentials:

  • Get protected against viruses. Disinfectant is excellent freeware, whilst Symantec's SAM 4.0 offers a subscription service to ensureup‑to‑date protection against viruses.
  • Make a backup of your hard disk now! Mirroring it is still a cheap option, with prices of a few hundred quid per Gb, but see the News section for a removable alternative to look out for.

Apple News In Brief

    The Max mailing list on the Internet has been buzzing recently with the news that Opcode have finally released Max version 3.0. As previously mentioned in Apple Notes, this graphical MIDI processing & control toolkit now has all sorts of extra goodies (IAC, bug‑fixes and new objects) plus the ability to make stand‑alone applications. Contact MCMXCIX on 0171 723 7221 for more information.
    Just as DIY information publishers have got the hang of HTML, along comes the next raft of WWW newbies. Heading a pack of new and powerful object‑oriented programming languages is Sun Microsystem's Java. At the moment, to make forms and other interactive elements of HTML work as you want, you need to write cgi‑bin files using C. Java replaces this with object‑oriented features. This will enable any text or picture object to be manipulated in a way which will make multimedia WWW pages much more powerful (and probably even harder to produce, too!). For more details, try the Sun WWW pages at:
    Let's face it, floppy disks just don't hold enough information any longer. When most Macs come with hundreds of Megabytes of hard disk, a mere 1.4Mb on a floppy seems a little small. This may be about to change, because the Iomega Zip drive is the first of several new removable disk formats that offer storage sizes of about 100 Mb on a floppy‑sized disk, with a cost of about 10p per Mb — cheaper than floppies! The catch with any really good idea like this is that supply may not match demand initially, and that you are never sure which of the formats will eventually win...
    The Alesis QuadraSynth Plus Piano and S4 Plus sound module now come equipped with free Sound Bridge software for the Mac. The software takes up to 8Mb of SampleCell or AIFF format sounds, and allows them to be transferred to the QuadraSynth Plus Piano or S4 Plus sound module. They can also be stored on an 8Mb Alesis QuadraCard PCMCIA Flash RAM Card. For more details, contact Sound Technology on 01462 480000.

On The Net

Last month's Apple Notes mentioned the WWW address of my own pages, but the gremlins crept in and it was slightly incorrect. Here's the information again:

You'll find lots of links to information sources on the Internet, and these cover many topics other than music and MIDI!

One of the most valuable resources is a selection of good search utilities: trying to find things on the 'net can be a slow and frustrating process. Archie, Veronica, Yahoo, WebCrawler and more can all be found in the 'Searcher' section, and can produce more links than you expected. It is said that there is already so much material available on the World Wide Web that you could spend the rest of your life just reading it continuously, at one page per second!