The issue starts off with news of a new version of QuickMail from CE Software, followed by an announcement of some new Macintosh Internet sites that should be of interest to all. Jamie McCarthy solemnly informs us of the true conspiracy behind Apple's decision to use IDE drives in favor of SCSI drives in the most recent Macs, we look at some PowerPC/Pentium marketing feuds, and we end with a few first impressions of Apple's eWorld online service.
This issue of TidBITS sponsored in part by:
We're in Boston for Macworld Expo this week, which means several things. First, although we are receiving email, replies may be delayed. Secondly, since this is the first time we've created and released an issue completely on the PowerBook 100, there may be some glitches, and in particular, we can't double-check URLs contained in this issue. If they don't work, try stripping off the last item in the URL and navigating in manually the last step of the way. Third, for those who would like to stop by, I'll be participating in a conference discussion on the Internet at 4:00 PM on Tuesday (you need a conference pass to attend), and Tonya and I will both be around the Hayden booth at various times. I'm sure some sort of signing will be scheduled, but don't know any details. [ACE]
Going to Macworld Expo? Don't forget to bring along the latest Newtonware offering by Bill Kearney <email@example.com>, a $5 shareware guide to all the exhibitors on the two show floors. You can view by exhibitor name or booth number, there are checkboxes to record which you've visited, and each entry has a notes field where you can jot your own comments. If you pay for the guide, you will receive an export utility to convert your exhibitor list into Names entries. Look via FTP on <newton.uiowa.edu>. [MHA]
Aladdin Systems reports that they have released a bug fix update to StuffIt Expander and DropStuff with Expander Enhancer (see TidBITS-235 and TidBITS-236). [ACE]
The Quadra 660AV has a new lease on life. Apple's announcement to dealers that the Quadra 660AV 8/500/CD model (M2691LL/A) is being replaced with a similar model (M2691LL/B) containing a tray-loading CD-ROM drive, effective today, suggests that the machine will be around for a while longer. (Its cousin, the Quadra 660AV model with 8 MB of memory and a 230 MB hard drive, was converted to the Apple CD300i Plus tray-loading drive a while back.) The Quadra 660AV models cost several hundred dollars less than similarly configured Power Macintosh 6100 models. [MHA]
No Trackpad on the PowerBook 150 according to Apple. Apparently a popular weekly paper publication slipped up and incorrectly stated that the new entry-level notebook computer sports one of the touch-sensitive devices found on the 500-series PowerBook models. In fact, the 150 has the same rolling trackball found on most previous 100-series models. [MHA]
by Mark H. Anbinder, News Editor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Director of Technical Services, Baka Industries Inc.
Last month, CE Software, Inc. announced its plans to ship QuickMail 3.0 in August. The major revision to the company's popular LAN-based electronic mail software includes long-demanded features such as text searching and spell checking, as well as new capabilities including automated mail processing. Recently, the company added news of two QM-related products, QM-Postman and ARA-Link QM.
In QuickMail 2.6, CE primarily enhanced server functionality, but version 3.0 enhances the client software and functionality. Some of the improvements bring QuickMail more in line with competing products, or answer users' long-standing demands, but other enhancements are unusual in LAN-based mail systems.
CE has always pointed to text searching as one of QuickMail's most-requested features. The inability to look for a message based on sender or message content, other than by laboriously scanning mail folders by hand, has long been a major drawback of QuickMail's folder-oriented storage system. Searches in QuickMail 3.0 can be based on sender, recipient, subject, priority, and date, or users can search within the message text itself. This last function applies to searches throughout the user's mail folders, or allows the user to find specific words within a single message.
Another long-awaited capability incorporated into QuickMail 3.0 is a spell checker. CE worked with InfoSoft (formerly part of Houghton Mifflin) to add spell-checking functionality. QuickMail 3.0 will include a U.S. English dictionary and the ability to create a custom dictionary, and foreign language dictionaries will be available. (We suspect localized copies of QuickMail distributed outside of the U.S. will include a standard dictionary in the appropriate language.)
Handy as we think those features will be, the MailManager seems to be the best reason to upgrade to QuickMail 3.0 once it's available. This feature enables users to specify how they would like their mail handled, and QuickMail will automatically reply, forward, file, print, or delete mail according to the user's wishes, based on sender, recipient, subject, priority, date, or information within the body of the message.
The MailManager is not unique in the world of electronic mail, but its functionality isn't commonly available in workgroup-oriented, LAN-based mail products. The feature is rules-based, but unlike some such systems, doesn't require users to have programming talent, according to CE. Ford Goodman, CE Software president and CEO, noted that the company had "put its user interface expertise to work and created a powerful mail management tool that anyone can use."
As an example, if you use QuickMail and plan to be away from your mailbox for a day, you could set QuickMail to reply automatically, but only to certain senders, explaining how to get in touch. Mail from other senders could be ignored until the you return, or urgent messages could be forwarded to another recipient.
QuickMail 3.0 also increases the maximum number of messages that may be filed within a personal mail folder (stored on the user's local hard drive, instead of on the server) from 100 to 250. The software supports up to 250 personal folders.
The company also added its popular auto-launch feature to the Windows version of the QuickMail client software. This feature allows users to launch the appropriate application to view a given enclosed file, direct from within QuickMail.
CE Software says QuickMail owners in the U.S. and Canada will be able to upgrade for $12 per user, which includes shipping, a complete set of disks, a user manual, and reference cards. Customers who purchased QuickMail 2.6 after 13-Jun-94 will be entitled to a free upgrade. International users should contact their local distributors for pricing and availability.
QM-Postman, a QuickMail add-on product priced at $99 per server, will provide automated mail distribution list capability. Mass mailing lists can be created manually, or can be automatically generated based on information in QuickMail's NameServer database.
ARA-Link QM, at $29 for one user, $99 for five users, and $199 for ten users, eliminates the need for users to connect to their network using ARA (Apple Remote Access) before opening QuickMail. This software automatically makes and breaks ARA connections when a user enters or leaves the QuickMail software. Site licenses are available.
CE Software, Inc. -- 800/523-7638 -- 515/224-1995
-- Information from:
CE Software propaganda
by Elliotte Rusty Harold <email@example.com>
Internet-savvy Mac users might be interested in taking note of two new services. First is a new software archive at:
This archive contains almost all freely distributable software mentioned in the FAQ lists for comp.sys.mac.misc, comp.sys.mac.system and comp.sys.mac.apps. This includes not only important software no Mac user should be without (StuffIt Expander, Disinfectant, and so on), but also programs that can be difficult to find elsewhere (Cheap Color, Typing Tutor, MacPassword, MultiSpool, and so on).
Every effort has been made to make this archive as accessible as possible. You can access it 24 hours a day via FTP, Gopher and FSP (a less common file transfer protocol). Load on the server should be light compared to Info-Mac's main site at <sumex-aim.stanford.edu> or <mac.archive.umich.edu> since this site does not attempt to be a general repository for all software in the Mac universe but only selected files. Finally almost all software stored here is compressed with the latest version of StuffIt and stored in MacBinary format to minimize time spent downloading. Make sure to use binary mode while downloading.
The second new service is even more interesting. At the same site, <rever.nmsu.edu>, is an HTML page intended to serve as a single entry point to all Macintosh resources on the World-Wide Web. Needless to say, this project may take some time. Nonetheless, it already offers a rich selection of software, information, online journals such as TidBITS, product reviews, full hypertext versions of several Macintosh FAQ lists and much more. Point your favorite WEB browser at:
Among other items, this site contains the most complete list of Macintosh mailing lists and newsgroups that exists anywhere. Users whose browsers support forms can even auto-subscribe to the different mailing lists just by typing in their name and address without having to worry about the proper syntax or formatting for LISTSERV or Majordomo commands (a long-standing problem with Internet mailing lists). See:
These two sites have only been known to the public for the last week but the FTP site has already logged over 300 megabytes of traffic, and the Web site is seeing about two hundred unique connections a day (and several times that counting people who connect more than once).
Both of these services are brought to you by the friendly folks at the Alternative Collegiate Computer Association of New Mexico State University and your local FAQ maintainer.
by Jamie R. McCarthy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Development of cost-saving IDE controllers for the Mac has also been nuked, although the project was far enough along that an IDE Mac can't be ruled out." - MacWEEK, July 19, 1993, p. 118
"The 150 is also the first Apple product available with an IDE internal drive." - MacWEEK, July 18, 1994, p. 81
There is obviously a conspiracy of some sort going on here, and I thought TidBITS readers should be the first to know about it. There is a power struggle going on between IDE and SCSI that goes much deeper than the mainstream press have let on.
Month Date Year Page First "nuked" report 7 19 1993 118 Second "available" report 7 18 1994 81
There is obviously a collusion of date and year: 19 + 1993 is 2012, and 18 + 1994 is also 2012.
The product of the month and year of the first report is 13951. 1+3+9+5+1 is 19, the date of the first report.
The product of the page and year of the second report is 161514. 1+6+1+5+1+4 is 18, the date of the second report.
The page of the first report, plus the date of the second report, equals the exact number of years that the Macintosh timestamp will be valid before rolling over (136).
Consider all the dates and pages together: 19 + 18 + 81 is 118. Note that the date and page of the second report are not only reverses of each other, but mirror images as well: 18 and 81.
This number 18 plays a pivotal role. If we take A=1, B=2, etc., the letters "IDE" sum 18. Their product is 180. Clearly 18 is the number that represents IDE.
The product of the letters "POWERPC" is 23846400. The product of "POWERPC" divided by the product of "IDE" is 132480. 1+3+2+4+8+0 is 18. The product of the letters "POWERMAC" is 19375200. The product of "POWERMAC" divided by the product of "IDE" is 107640. 1+0+7+6+4+0 is 18. What does this say about the prospect of IDE drives in RISC Macintoshes? It's evident that the possibility cannot be ignored.
The number 19 figures in as well, as the figure that represents SCSI, but it's more hidden. Computers use binary arithmetic, which is based on powers of two. Consider the number 2^1 + 2^9, which is 513. The product of the letters "SCSI" is 9747. 9747 divided by 513 is 19. By now we should not be surprised to realize that the first report, which denied IDE in favor of SCSI, was released on the 19th, on page number "one eighteen" (1+18=19).
Finally, the creepiest coincidence (?) of them all: the sum of the months, 14, is approximately the number of dollars per unit that Apple will save by using IDE instead of SCSI hard drives.
by Adam C. Engst <email@example.com>
In the bloody PowerPC/Pentium marketing war, Intel has fired another shot (well, what did you expect them to do?). Several people have reported that the magazine Computer Shopper is running a poll to see if people are interested in the PowerPC chip. To this end, Computer Shopper has set up an 800 number with a simple voicemail voting system. If you call 800/505-5087 (sorry, no overseas number), you hear a message that says, "Based on the information you have currently, would you purchase a system with a PowerPC in it?" Pressing 1 registers a YES vote and pressing 2 registers a NO vote.
Sounds fairly reasonable, so far, right? Well, it's not a terribly scientific poll, since (as far as I can tell, anyway) the system lets you vote more than once from the same number. In other words, "vote early and vote often" applies in spades. From the messages I've seen, Intel has apparently sent the number around internally and encouraged all of its employees to vote, one presumes for the Pentium. Now Apple and Motorola (although IBM wasn't mentioned in the messages I saw) are getting into the game and asking all of their employees to vote as well.
This might seem like some of a joke, after all, the poll lends itself to abuse by redial, or even automated abuse via modem. (Ideally the system would eliminate duplicate votes from the same phone number - a good use for caller ID.) However, I think the concern on both sides of the PowerPC/Pentium fence goes a little deeper than that. Think about it for a minute. There are two basic possibilities, with a third unlikely one. If Intel overwhelms the poll with a massive quantity of NO votes, that becomes a potent marketing comment - even though the poll wasn't scientific, the damage is done. If Apple and Motorola overwhelm the poll with YES votes, that's a big marketing plus for the PowerPC-based systems, even if sales don't reflect the interest shown in the poll. The third possibility is that the votes would come out more or less even, at which point the two ballot-stuffing efforts would cancel each other out, and it would be difficult for either side to score a marketing goal.
Of course, none of this has any effect on reality, but that's not point behind certain types of marketing, which rely solely on customer and media perception.
Coincidentally, I also just received a semi-anonymous posting about "Operation Market Intelligence," a write-in campaign to attempt to show the major PC clone manufacturers that there is interest in them making PowerPC-based computers that could run Apple's System 7.
Operation Market Intelligence has several problems. First, the contact information given for companies such as Compaq, Dell, the IBM PC Co., and Gateway is spotty and relatively random (unlike the very specific Computer Shopper poll above), which makes me suspicious as to how effective any contact with those people would be. Second, if the people contacted are not at all interested in working with the PowerPC and System 7 right now, being hassled by large numbers of letters and phone messages won't make a positive difference, if it makes one at all. Third and finally, I'm not at all convinced that individuals writing in to express personal opinions would have any effect on large computer manufacturers. Let's face it, all posturing aside, these companies care primarily about their large customers. It's in some ways a conflicting attitude because most are also chasing the holy grail of the individual consumer (after all, there are only so many large companies, whereas there are millions of individual consumers).
So in the end, I don't have high hopes for a write-in campaign from individuals who aren't even existing customers (for the target companies) having much effect. I'd like to be wrong, but it seems that the best way to focus a specific public opinion on a large organization is for a single entity, much as the EFF and CPSR have done with certain political issues, to collect email messages from all over, and then funnel them to the appropriate person in the target organization. That should get the point across without negatively impacting on the target organization in any form, which is a bad way to attempt to convince an organization of a point of view. After all, if hundreds of people called you and flooded your mailbox with requests for you to fundamentally change the way your business operates, you might listen, but you'd also be upset about the constant interruptions.
After years of AppleLink's exorbitantly high access charges, Apple has finally decided to provide a real online service. Yes, there's a whole new world out there to explore - Apple's eWorld.
I know what you're thinking - with CompuServe, America Online, GEnie, Prodigy, Delphi, BIX, the Internet, and all sorts of miscellaneous bulletin boards out there, what can be all that new in this brave new world? Well, some of the information providers inhabiting the eWorld only exist on one of the other services, and Apple's graphical interface is one of the most visually pleasing ones I've seen. Although eWorld isn't without its problems, they'll probably be easier to fix than some of our real world problems.
I ordered my free eWorld software through one of the reply cards in one of the many Mac magazines, and it arrived within two weeks. Installing the software on the two disks was simple, and required virtually no instruction if you're familiar with the standard Mac installation process. For computer neophytes, however, the enclosed paper documentation walks you through everything step-by-step. My only complaint was what seemed to be a long installation time; this gets even longer when you first connect, and must download new and updated graphics for parts of the interface.
Since Apple based the system on AOL's basic software, the interface may be familiar to some of you, but with a different twist. Once connected, you look down on the eWorld, and you see different buildings to click on and explore. There's an Arts & Leisure Pavilion, with entertainment news on everything from movies to books to music; a "Living Well" center; online games and computer game reviews; and travel tips and info from Fodor's and Tribune Media Services. The Learning Center offers Grolier's Encyclopedia, which is pretty well done, but its other areas (including the Educator Connection and the TimeMachine timeline) were under construction during most of my exploring. The Computer Center is where I spent most of my time - more on it later. There's also a Business & Finance Plaza; a Community Center with "auditoriums" for large presentations and forums and conferences for other online discussions; an eWorld Info Booth for helpful news, tips, and customer support; the eMail Center, an electronic post office; the Newsstand, with quick news bites from USA Today, online news from Reuters, and numerous columns from different commentators; and the Marketplace, which offers online shopping from MacZone and airplane tickets, car rentals, and hotel reservations through Eaasy Sabre.
I became interested in eWorld mainly as a way to stay abreast of Apple news, to quickly find system software updates and utility releases, and to access to ZiffNet/Mac's proprietary software and MacWEEK's online articles. Thus, I did my most in-depth exploring in Macintosh-related areas in the Computer Center. Since this happens to be the most complete section, from what I can tell, it seems to be a good benchmark for what eWorld will become. I also played around with the email functions to get a feel for the features offered.
As far as the Computer Center goes, you'll never become bored! The Apple Customer Center is located here, offering information on different products and technologies under development, quick answers to common tech support questions, and Apple news and press releases. An Apple Developer section was under construction. The ZiffNet/Mac Software Center is stocked with freeware, shareware, and ZiffNet's excellent copyrighted software (which can't be uploaded elsewhere). Although the freeware and shareware can easily be found on other services and the Internet, the ZiffNet/Mac stuff is only available though eWorld and CompuServe - and frankly, I'd rather deal with eWorld. There's also Straight to the Source, with product information, newsletters, and updates from companies such as Aladdin, Berkeley Systems, Cassady & Greene, CE Software, Claris, Deneba, Farallon, Global Village, Micromat, Mirror, Nisus, Now Software, and SuperMac (among others). More information providers are signing up all the time, so keep an eye out for more and more companies communicating online! Finally, there's a gold mine of information in the last two sections, Getting the Most from Your Computer and News & Industry Info. In Getting the Most, you'll find the BMUG Helpline (along with a huge BMUG online presence - go crazy exploring this stuff!), Hands On with ZiffNet/Mac, and multimedia stuff in Morph's Outpost on the Digital Frontier. In the News section, you'll find InfoWorld, MacUser, Industry News, MacWEEK, Macworld, and a reference section. I spend a bunch of time here, catching up on the latest Mac happenings through MacWEEK.
The eMail Center is fairly easy to use, and has a number of solid features. Internet mail is free, most importantly, and you can send outgoing messages (but not attachments) of up to 24K using just the plain Internet address without any of the fuss required on CompuServe or AppleLink. Incoming messages (sent to Joe User at the address <firstname.lastname@example.org>) break into 7K chunks, however (because the same computers handle NewtonMail, which can't be larger than 7K, reportedly). You can move incoming mail between Opened and Unopened folders, save to your hard disk, and delete messages. Outgoing mail can be held until you mail it through the Automatic Courier (which also downloads files you've queued up), and you can keep copies of mail you've sent. There's a basic address book function to keep track of your friends, and the Automatic Courier can be scheduled to send and get mail, and to download files, at certain times (the end of a session, at a certain time on certain days, and so on). Overall, I think the eMail Center is a fairly solid piece of work.
The eWorld is not without its problems, though. The local access numbers I could automatically find during the set-up procedure (done by the software calling an 800 number) were only 2400 bps lines - a shame when 9600 bps access carries no surcharge. This isn't really Apple's fault, though - blame SprintNet. Also, the second time I dialed in (around 9 PM Central time), I experienced huge system slowdowns, and was subjected to four time-outs due to "host not responding," and was logged off. After a call to eWorld Customer Service at 800/775-4556, though, everything was made well again. The support person on the other end was great. He answered my questions honestly, and even tracked down a local number that offered 9600 bps access and told me how to obtain an updated file for my Supra modem. Finally, while the amount of information available to the public introduction is impressive, there's a lot of "construction" going on in this new world. Plan to keep exploring if you want to find everything that's useful to you.
So how useful is eWorld? For home users without Internet access, I think eWorld is a good choice. There's a lot of stuff here for the whole family, and the interface is fun and easy to navigate, although I recommend making note of the various shortcuts. However, I wouldn't recommend eWorld for much Internet usage. Right now, the only Internet connectivity is through the email gateway, although Apple promises more services (presumably like FTP, WAIS, and Gopher) and TCP/IP connections, such as those AOL has been testing, in 1995. But then again, some of the information providers, like MacWEEK, ZiffNet/Mac, and Fodor's aren't on the Internet. The access charges for eWorld are fairly reasonable, although higher than the competition by a good bit. The monthly fee is $8.95, and includes two hours of evening and weekend time (evenings are 6 PM to 6 AM, your local time). Additional evening and weekend hours are $4.95 each. There's a $2.95 per hour surcharge for weekday (Monday through Friday, 6 AM to 6 PM local) access. To use the service, you need the software (free with the reply cards in many computer magazines, or pre-installed on many new Macs), System 6.0.7 or later, 4 MB of RAM, a modem, and a credit card (no paying by check or direct withdrawal currently).
All in all, I think Apple has built a solid foundation in this brave new eWorld. I left AOL fairly quickly, since I have free Internet access through my school, but I'm going to stick with eWorld even through I can get Apple software through FTP. The availability of ZiffNet/Mac software and MacWEEK online make it a winner for me. I'm pretty sure that after some quick exploration, you'll find something that's useful to you, too.
Non-profit, non-commercial publications and Web sites may reprint or link to articles if full credit is given. Others please contact us. We do not guarantee accuracy of articles. Caveat lector. Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. TidBITS ISSN 1090-7017.