SAN FRANCISCO (07/05/2000) - The idea of relying on a daily newspaper to bring you the day's events seems almost quaint, particularly when you can access up-to-the-minute information via the Internet. The hitch is that gathering a wide range of information from the Internet, bouncing from one Web site to the next, takes time. But thanks to two new products from Aladdin Systems Inc., your bouncing days may be over.
IntelliNews 2.0.1 and MacTicker 1.6.2 bring information to your Web-connected Mac. As its name implies, IntelliNews focuses on news -- including technical, financial, world, U.S., science, health, entertainment, sports, and Mac-related stories, along with weather information and stock quotes. MacTicker skips the news but provides far more comprehensive stock information than IntelliNews and also tracks mutual funds and indexes.
Both IntelliNews and MacTicker let you control the frequency of updates (you can also refresh data manually with the push of a button). Although IntelliNews refreshes headlines no more than every 15 minutes, you can set it to refresh stock information every 15 seconds and sports scores every minute. You can configure MacTicker to update stock prices and indexes every minute and mutual fund information every 15 minutes. In both programs, the sources used generally delay stock quotes 15 to 20 minutes.
IntelliNews' friendly interface offers a rectangular window containing buttons that lead to headlines, sports scores, weather information, a user-configurable list of stocks, and an index of Mac-related Web sites (known as stations). You can also add your own stations to the list. When you double-click on a headline, IntelliNews launches your default browser and displays the Web page containing the story. Double-clicking on one of the stations brings its headlines into a window within IntelliNews.
As useful as IntelliNews is, it's missing a search function. IntelliNews would also benefit from a sort feature that filtered news by source, for example, or configured the Sports window to display only baseball information.
Similarly, although MacTicker is a fine source of nearly current financial market information -- providing details on the day's opening price, lows and highs (both daily and 52-week), and earnings and dividends shares -- it lacks a portfolio feature where you can enter information such as your stock's purchase price and the number of shares you own. Otherwise, MacTicker is well laid out, displaying financial information in easy-to-read boxes and a scrolling ticker.
Macworld's Buying Advice
Although both IntelliNews 2.0.1 and MacTicker 1.6.2 provide information you could find free on the Web, those resources won't deliver it in a neat package right to your desktop. If you're a news junkie or dedicated follower of finance, IntelliNews and MacTicker may be just the ticket for you.
RATING: 4.0 mice
PROS: Easy to use; solid set of news resources.
CONS: No find or sort feature.
COMPANY: Aladdin Systems (800/732-8881, www.aladdinsys.com).
LIST PRICE: $20.
RATING: 3.5 mice
PROS: Provides ample mar-ket information.
CONS: No portfolio feature.
COMPANY: Aladdin Systems (800/732-8881, www .aladdinsys.com).
LIST PRICE: $30.