Net Gains: Return of the Mac
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A number of people have taken us to task over the last week for suggesting recently that Apple Macintosh users get a poor deal when it comes to the Internet. "You suggest to gullible PC-users that they get a better deal," says Miriam Downing.

It's a fair point. There is, in fact, plenty of excellent software for Macintoshes available for downloading and the situation is improving all the time.

If you want to stay at the cutting edge of Internet activity, for instance, you could do a lot worse than get hold of the latest version of AudioCatalyst, which is now available for Macs.

This piece of shareware, which you can download from the Internet, fills a long-standing gap in the Macintosh world. Basically, the program lets you strip tracks from CDs and then convert them into MP3 files, the format which has become the Internet standard for sending near-CD quality sound files. It's an extremely user- friendly program, which allows you to convert CD tracks and standard sound files directly into MP3 - something that has never been possible on a Macintosh before - although on slower Macs you can spend a fairly hefty 15 minutes converting a five-minute song, so an entire album could take hours. The package costs $30 and can be downloaded directly from the company's site. The makers promise free upgrades as they become available.