The release date on my book, The Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh, draws ever closer. The 650-some pages of text and the disk are out of my hands and should ship by the 24th of September. The book should be available to bookstores several days after that, although it may not make it on the shelves quite that quickly, so you may have to request it.
I'm pleased about the contents of the disk, and I'd like to thank Hayden, my publisher, for going to bat for me on this one. Along with InterCon's free InterSLIP, QUALCOMM's free Eudora, Dartmouth's freeware/shareware Fetch, and the free TurboGopher from the University of Minnesota, the disk includes version 2.0.2 of MacTCP from Apple. You can retrieve everything else for free via the Internet, but the only legal way to acquire MacTCP 2.0.2 is to buy it or a product that includes it. I think I can safely say that my book will be the cheapest way to get MacTCP, given that the book will cost around $25 and MacTCP itself costs $52 with shipping if you order from MacWarehouse.
I'm especially happy about licensing MacTCP for the book, since many people seem to be seeking for it these days. Apple hasn't exactly made MacTCP readily available, and frankly, the documentation that comes with the package clearly wasn't designed for the end user. I figure you can look at it two ways. Either you get a neat book free when you buy MacTCP for half-price, or you get a $52 program free when you buy a $25 book. Either way, the net community wins, which remains one of my major goals in life.
Murdoch Buys Delphi -- Speaking of the net community, it gained a new mogul recently. The News Corp., a company owned by publishing magnate Rupert Murdoch, has purchased Delphi, which now claims to be the fifth largest commercial online information provider behind CompuServe, Prodigy, GEnie, and America Online. Delphi is the only major information service fully on the Internet, and it seems likely that many of the newspapers and magazines under Murdoch's control will eventually appear on the Internet. Of course, such a possibility raises questions about the survival of current free electronic publications, although we have some ideas percolating.
DarkStar In hiding -- We received word shortly after publication of TidBITS #191 that the Info-Mac moderators removed the Monitor Energy Saver Control Panel from the FTP archives at <sumex-aim.stanford.edu>. Apparently licensing issues caused some difficulties. The software is available on AppleLink and from many dealers and user groups.
LaserWriter Pro Energy Star Caveat -- Matthew Cravit <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes: "I recently installed the LaserWriter Pro Energy Star software on a LaserWriter Pro 630, which puts the printer into a power saver mode after a certain amount of idle time, reducing power usage by 70 percent according to Apple. After calling Apple about an unrelated matter, I asked about this software, and the representative said that they do not specifically recommend installing it because some users have reported problems with bands of toner forming on the first few pages after the printer wakes up, apparently since the toner is not being rotated during the power saving cycle. This software, by the way, only works with the LaserWriter Pro 610 and 630." [When I called Apple to confirm this, the tech support guy could not find any specific problems in the database, but he had heard of some unresolved issues. If you experience streaking after your LaserWriter Pro has been asleep, stop using the Energy Star software. Otherwise, use it to save energy and money. -Adam]
SimCity 2000 Bummer -- Joe Holmes <email@example.com> writes, "I checked out the SimCity 2000 prototype they had on display at Expo - until I asked if it could run in 16 colors. Nope. Black and white? Nope. I guess Tonya won't be able to play on the PowerBook 100. I won't be able to play on my Duo, even attached via MiniDock to my Apple Portrait Display. The same goes for PowerBook owners unless you have a 165c or 180c." [And then your battery won't last long enough to play much on the plane anyway. SimCity 2000 is destined to remain on the desktop. Perhaps the game needs all the colors to display all the neat new aspects of a city. Still, since we mainly play SimCity in airports and when we feel sick and want to be in bed, this seems a major trade-off -Adam & Tonya]