by Mark H. Anbinder, News Editor -- firstname.lastname@example.org
The FreeSoft Company recently shipped the long-awaited 3.0 release of their popular Second Sight bulletin board software. Second Sight 3.0 is the successor to Red Ryder Host and Second Sight version 2.1; the company also publishes White Knight, the popular terminal software formerly known as Red Ryder.
Although graphical interface BBS software and mail packages such as FirstClass, TeleFinder, and NovaLink Pro have taken over much of the Mac-based BBS, service bureau, and email market, text-based BBS software such as Second Sight is still popular. The universal VT100-compatible interface that's presented to all users regardless of client platform carries a strong advantage; the graphical packages require specialized client software that is typically available for a limited range of platforms.
Second Sight 3.0 incorporates into the main host application all of the administration features previously handled in a suite of separate utility applications. The authors clearly based many of the improvements in each module on features from the many free and shareware utilities that have been developed by Second Sight users over the years. The modeless multi-window host environment allows the sysop to perform most maintenance and administration tasks while the host system is active and in use.
The host software supports serial DTE rates (between computer and modem) from 300 to 57,600 bps, and DCE rates (between modems) from 300 to 14,400 bps, plus 16,800 bps and the yet-to-be-released 28,800 bps speed. Hardware handshaking (RTS/CTS flow control) is fully supported on Macs equipped with a "Gpi" (general purpose input) pin in their serial ports; the Mac Plus, Classic, and LC family Macs are not so equipped. The software now offers "true multi-line support," including support for Creative Solutions's Hurdler and Applied Engineering's QuadraLink and QuadraLink DMA cards, all of which are multiple-serial-port NuBus cards.
Second Sight 3.0 includes numerous enhancements from the outside user's point of view, as well. The software provides full ANSI color and graphics terminal extensions, permitting colorful menu displays, text file graphics, and color ANSI animations. A new Group Mail feature allows individual messages to be sent to groups of users. All file transfer protocols have been refined, and all now support both MacBinary and non-MacBinary uploads and downloads, enabling both Mac and non-Mac users to work with files comfortably.
The fully customizable menus, displays, and command structure make Second Sight more attractive than most other text-based BBS software designed to run on a Macintosh host machine. (Most such packages are designed to operate just like corresponding text-based BBS software on DOS machines.) This factor puts Second Sight ahead of the less-expensive Hermes, and also gives it an advantage over the text-oriented command line interface in FirstClass. NovaLink Pro is also fully customizable, but Second Sight modification is easier on the administrator.
Upgrades from Second Sight 2.1 are available for $25 to users who purchased the software on or after 01-Nov-93, for $35 if 2.1 was purchased between 01-Oct-93 and 31-Oct-93, or $45 between 01-Sep-93 and 30-Sep-93. Other 2.0 or 2.1 owners may upgrade for $50, and owners of pre-2.0 versions may upgrade for $75. (Registered users should receive instructions on their various options in the mail.) The suggested retail price of the new version is $199.
New copies of Second Sight will be available from Macalot Software at 412/846-2177, and MacZone at 800/248-0800 or 206/883-3088. For instructions on upgrading from a previous version or for other authorized dealers, contact:
The FreeSoft Company -- 412/846-2700 -- 412/847-4436 (fax)
-- Information from:
The FreeSoft Company propaganda