Sorry this issue is a day late. Between Independence Day (a solemn American holiday during which we attempt to affirm our proud heritage by blowing things up) and finishing the second edition of Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh, there wasn't time. Also, I accidentally let a title slip through in TidBITS-232 with a too-long underline. Easy View users may not have noticed Mark's OneWorld review in TidBITS-232. Sorry! [ACE]
Software and Support -- We've been thinking about the relationship between good software design and technical support, and rather than blather about it and then run follow-up articles, we are requesting opinions from those who have shipped software products. How do you minimize support issues? What would you do differently if could do it over? Is it possible to create a program that has minimal support needs? Send comments to <firstname.lastname@example.org> and I'll use them in the article, although I probably won't be able to reply to each one individually. [ACE]
Owners of GlobalFax software for the Duo Express Modem may purchase the Global Village PowerPort/Mercury for the PowerBook Duo (see TidBITS-232) as a $270 "upgrade" if they order directly from the manufacturer. Global Village wants to return the customer's investment in GlobalFax, which retailed for $129. [MHA]
Global Village -- 800/736-4821 -- 415/390-8200 --email@example.com
AOL TCP/IP Updated -- America Online has a new version of its client software, complete with a non-expiring TCP tool. It is, however, still in beta, and thus may have problems and is not supported by the telephone tech support folks. To become a beta tester, send your AOL screen name to MacBeta once you log on. Set your FTP client to binary before retrieving the file since it's an unbinhexed binary file. [ACE]
The Power Macintosh 7100 can display up to 32,768 different colors at a 640 x 480 display resolution with 1 MB of VRAM, not 16.7 million colors, as incorrectly stated on electronic data sheets. Apple corrected the error on the printed version of the data sheets before distributing them a few months ago, but the version on the Apple Reference, Performance and Learning Expert CD (ARPLE), and on eWorld has the error. [MHA]
Jonathan Kurtzman <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
There are several interesting things about El-Fish, reviewed in TidBITS-231. Its fish breeding capability, which follows genetic rules, is fairly well-known. Less known is something which may in the end prove more important, namely that its animation is algorithmic and not frame by frame. This is why it is so life-like. The program was developed in Russia. The animator emigrated to the Boston area where I met him in a computer store. He explained and demonstrated for me how he had developed mathematical descriptions of the possible motions. This was necessary because the program will breed incredibly odd-looking, impossible fish, making frame by frame animation impossible. Because the fish move by rules, they essentially choose where to swim from moment to moment. To prove this wasn't a fluke, he then showed me a program of horses trotting which he said he put together in a few days. It was eerie to watch the horses run next to each other, cross, turn away, etc. While much animation is moving toward captured motion (optically, magnetically), the potential of algorithmic animation is vast. By the way, he hated the straight at you / away from you azimuths (because they look squashed) and was upset that they were added to his work. I hesitate to tell you how little he was paid.