close this bookTidBITS#57   19910422
View the documentMailBITS/22-Apr-91
View the documentApple Shuffle
View the documentSilverlining or Goldlining?
View the documentNew HyperCard Virus
View the documentThe 24-bit ROM Blues
View the documentReviews/22-Apr-91
View the documentFoot Notes

Topics:

  • MailBITS/22-Apr-91
  • Apple Shuffle
  • Silverlining or Goldlining?
  • New HyperCard Virus
  • The 24-bit ROM Blues
  • Reviews/22-Apr-91

Copyright 1991 TidBITS Electronic Publishing. All rights reserved.
Information: <info@tidbits.com> Comments: <editors@tidbits.com>


MailBITS/22-Apr-91

This may be old hat to those of you who use Word 4.0 more than I do, but try choosing About Microsoft Word... from the File menu, and then with the Command key down, click on the Word icon in the About... box. If you know of any similar tricks with other programs or the Mac in general (I know of several tricks to see pictures in the various ROMs), send me email and I'll compile them into an article.

Richard Austin writes, "I also discovered a strange phenomenon which may not be strange at all, to those who are informed. I don't know much about HyperCard, so this is probably old knowledge to you all. I recently upgraded to HyperCard 2.0, and I've found that if I open a new TidBITS issue (which is in the older HyperCard format) and merge it with my TidBITS Archive (which is in 2.0 format), I lose the font information on the merged cards. However, if I convert the stack before merging, everything turns out intact. Have you found this to be true, or am I doing something weird?" [No, Richard, you are correct. You must use Convert... from the File menu in HyperCard 2.0 to convert the weekly stacks to 2.0 format before merging if you wish to retain font information. This is a side effect of HyperCard 2.0's new method of handling fonts.]

A comment we forgot to include in our recent review of Spaceward Ho! comes from Michael J. Wolf, who is presumably not related to the actor, Michael J. Fox. "It was nice to find a company [Delta Tao Software] who didn't have the user doing the spinning wheel trick or showing the manual through a red screen backwards into a mirror to get key codes just to play the game." [Copy protection is still copy protection, and it's always irritating. Kudos to Delta Tao for avoiding it.]

Scott R. Anderson chastised me on my comment about using "baud" instead of "bits-per-second" even though they aren't exactly equivalent. He writes, ""aren't exactly equivalent?" They are only equivalent for speeds up to 1200 bps. Since most people are using 2400 bps and many are moving to 9600 bps, for most people they aren't equivalent at all. And bits-per-second actually has some meaning for most people. If you are having trouble saying it, may I suggest that you pronounce it "bips?" Let me assure you that it's just as easy as to say as "baud." Go ahead, try it: 2400 bips, 9.6 kilobips. Now isn't that easy? :-)" [Done. My Nisus clean-up macro will now replace "baud" with "bips" in case I forget. I rather like the sound of "bips" anyway. :-)]

Finally, an addition to the Spaceward Ho! review from Ken Hancock in response to a query from Joaquim Manuel Soares Baptista about hardware requirements and use of color. Ken writes, "Color is definitely not necessary for Spaceward Ho! Color is used in the game mainly for coloring icons and bar graphs. In each instance, it's used to provide a more visual indication of a colony's status - operating at a loss, making money, or will never become profitable. The biggest disadvantage of running it on a Classic/Plus/SE is the 9" screen. Spaceward Ho! has such a wealth of information, it becomes hard to even get it all in on a 13" screen. I'd love to play it on a 2-page monitor!"

Information from:
Richard Austin -- austin@zip.eecs.umich.edu
Michael J. Wolf -- wolf@fangio.cipl.uiowa.edu
Scott Robert Anderson -- phssra@unix.cc.emory.edu
Ken Hancock -- kenh@eclectic.com


Apple Shuffle

I'm thinking of writing a hit song based on the Travelling Wilbury's tune "The Wilbury Twist." Instead of the contortions rasped out by Bob Dylan, though, I'd use the Apple reorganizations. On second thought, ditch that idea, I never could get anything to rhyme.

Apple has shuffled the deck one more time, just to be sure that no one's cheating. Apple claims that the new divisions will "sharpen management focus and concentrate company resources on Apple's mainstream Macintosh computer platform as well as on emerging business opportunities." Love that business-speak.

Basically, Sculley and Spindler have divided up the company to take advantage of their specialties and desires. Sculley will take charge of five groups: the Object-Based Systems division, the Advanced Technology Group, the Advanced Products Group, the Consumer division, and Claris Corporation. The first three divisions aim to define the future of computing, so I wouldn't be surprised if Sculley wants to make more of a name for himself as an advanced technology guru by heading them up directly. The new Consumer division (Can you say "Macs in department stores?" I thought you could.) and Claris to a lesser extent do fit in well with Sculley's marketing talents.

Spindler, in contrast, gets the more mundane, bread-and-butter divisions, the Macintosh Hardware division, the Macintosh Software Architecture division, and the Enterprise System division. Essentially, Spindler must deal with today's and tomorrow's realities, or at least the Macintosh edition of said reality. Overall, Spindler seems to have done well with such tasks in the past - that's the main reason he was promoted from head of Apple Europe. Speaking of Apple Europe, Apple's three geographic regions will continue to report to Spindler, which makes sense since he knows the overseas markets better than most.

As usual, only time will tell if this shuffle will produce a winning hand or if it's merely another silly card trick. I'm not putting any money on it one way or another.

Information from:
Apple propaganda

Related articles:
MacWEEK -- 09-Apr-91, Vol. 5, #14, pg. 76
PC WEEK -- 08-Apr-91, Vol. 8, #14, pg. 127

Silverlining or Goldlining?

There's been a bit of complaining on the nets recently because La Cie's popular disk formatting and partitioning utility, Silverlining, has suffered an increase in upgrade price. In the past, if you wished to get a minor upgrade, which La Cie terms an update, the charge was a nominal $5. With all the work that went into making Silverlining compatible with System 7.0 though, La Cie raised the update charge fivefold to $25, which many people feel is unreasonable, especially in comparison to the policies held by other companies that produce drive formatting software (like Everex, for example). In addition, La Cie requires (presumably because they don't assign serial numbers) that you send them your original disk, a policy that is wide open to problems with mail delivery and the like.

I spoke with Louis of La Cie's technical support team, and he explained the company's position. The upgrade cost from version 4.18 or any other version in the 4.x range is $50, and La Cie recommends that anyone using those versions upgrade immediately since La Cie no longer supports those older versions. The update price from any version in the 5.x range will be $25 without any exceptions, but there may not be a serious need to that right away. The latest version of Silverlining is 5.28 revision 12, and it is System 7.0-compatible with two caveats. First, problems may occur if you try to password protect a System 7.0 boot volume, and second, if you mount a System 6.0.x disk with the Silverlining DA for the first time, before the disk has been prepared for System 7.0 by a previous mounting, "there's a potential for mayhem," to quote Louis.

No new functionality has been added to Silverlining in the latest version, so if you don't need to use System 7.0 right away, I'd recommend waiting a little longer until La Cie fixes the two remaining problems. That's probably what I'll do. I use version 5.22 and have had no trouble using the basic features of System 7.0, though I haven't tried using virtual memory or file sharing yet, both of which will probably have trouble on my system because I use an older version of Silverlining. The people who stand to be burned by this policy are developers, who will want a version that is System 7.0-compatible now and will want at least the final version as well, if not several in the meantime. Those developers will have to pay attention to how many times they must get the latest update or the cost will add up fast.

I'm not offended by the price increase for System 7.0 compatibility, since $25 is a reasonable price for all that Silverlining does, but I think that La Cie should come up with a reduced price plan for people who absolutely must purchase intermediate versions in order to do development work. In addition, if you have to get a new update because of bugs in the previous one, the charge should at most cover the disk and postage costs - users should not pay for buggy software. Of course, then there's the view that developers can afford to pay for the updates since they'll be producing wonderful works of software that will make them rich beyond their wildest dreams. OK, maybe not, but if you are going to need intermediate versions of Silverlining, it's worth calling La Cie and mentioning my suggestion of a reduced price for several versions.

La Cie -- 800/999-0143

Information from:
Louis at La Cie
Edgar Knapp -- knapp@cs.utexas.edu


New HyperCard Virus

And TidBITS doesn't have it! I just checked all of the HyperCard stacks on my hard drive with the free "Find HyperVirus 1.3" stack from macclub benelux, the official Macintosh Users' Group of Holland (where the virus was first reported), Belgium, and Luxembourg, and it doesn't exist in any TidBITS stacks. Phew.

So what is this virus? It appears (note that I haven't seen a copy yet) that it is one of the first of the HyperCard script viruses, if not the first (I haven't seen the Dukakis virus either). I gather that the virus takes advantage of HyperCard's message passing to install itself in stacks whenever possible. No ill effects have been reported, although one of its scripts plays the song "Muss i denn zum Staedtele hinaus..." which might or might not be an ill effect, depending on your musical tastes. (Do you get the impression that I'm doing this all completely second and third hand and don't quite know what I'm talking about? Good, because that's what's happening.)

I haven't heard of any of the major virus checking programs other than SAM (and Virex, eventually) changing to find and delete this new virus, probably because it would be extremely difficult to detect and remove any HyperTalk script that could be construed as a virus. I recommend either using the definition below if you own SAM 3.0 (2.0 can't find it because it doesn't have a data definitions entry dialog) or finding the free Find HyperVirus 1.3 stack from macclub benelux at your local purveyor of free and useful software.

Paul Cozza, SAM's author, posted this virus definition for SAM 3.0.

Open the Data Definitions dialog in SAM 3.0 Virus Clinic by choosing "Add Definition (Data)" from the Definitions menu. Then enter the following information:

Virus Name: HC Virus
File Type: STAK
Search String pop-up menu: ASCII
Search String text field: if char 1 to 2 of LookAtDate <11

The string in the Search String text field above is an ASCII string. Blank areas between words are spaces. The string IS case sensitive.

As a guard against incorrect entry, SAM 3.0 has a "Check field" in the Definitions dialog boxes. If all of the above information is entered correctly, then your check field should be A0BD.

Symantec -- 408/253-9600
Microcom -- 919/490-1277

Information from:
Paul Cozza, SAM Author
macclub benelux -- BEL0082@applelink.apple.com
Patrick Hoepfner -- hoepfner@heawk1.gsfc.nasa.gov

Related articles:
MacWEEK -- 16-Apr-91, Vol. 5, #15, pg. 17

The 24-bit ROM Blues

I love coincidence because it generally means I've got an article for TidBITS. Luckily it seems to happen all the time in this industry. A week or two ago, Tonya got a question about the upper memory limit in the SE/30 versus the IIsi at work, and someone complained to me about SE/30 ROMs in email (can't remember why, offhand), and when I catch up on my Usenet news, I find that a brouhaha has been brewing on the Internet about ROM upgrades. People are debating the idea of new ROMs for the II, SE/30, IIcx, and IIx, though it's not so much a debate as a group yell. No one is rabid about the subject yet, since System 7.0 hasn't shipped, but as soon as people can upgrade to System 7.0, owners of the SE/30, IIcx, and IIx will be unhappy because they will be unable to address more than 16 MB of RAM (I think it drops by 13 MB of RAM that you would really be able to use because of the address space for the video and the PDS slot, though I definitely don't completely know what I'm talking about). With the price of 4 MB SIMMS dropping constantly and virtual memory in System 7.0, that limit will suddenly become a real constraint. There's nothing worse than memory limitations - I hate it when I can't remember what I'm supposed to make for dinner and I hate old PC-clones and their foolish 640K main memory limit. Jim Gaynor of Ohio State University says that the spec sheets for the SE/30-class machines advertise their ability to address up to 128M of RAM, which will only become possible with true 32-bit clean ROMs.

Jim has started a mailing list to discuss this problem and to consolidate support for the ROM upgrades. To subscribe, send mail with the body of the message being SUBSCRIBE to newroms-l-request@agvax2.ag.ohio-state.edu. The list address itself is newroms-l@agvax2.ag.ohio-state.edu (I'm irritated when I subscribe to a list and can't figure out how to send mail to it). One interesting thing that came out of the initial discussions on Usenet is that although the SE/30-class machines all have ROM SIMMs which can be easily upgraded (and are even advertised as a feature in the spec sheets for those machines), the Mac II has socketed ROMs, which means that ROM upgrades are easy for that machine too. In fact, Apple has provided at least on upgrade for the Mac II ROMs. It had something to do with early Mac II ROMs being unable to "switch into 32-bit mode to access the EPROMs of NuBus boards that actually have 16 MB address spaces. This means that the Slot Manager would not see the board and all the calls would return an error." Thanks to Russell Davoli for that - I also remember hearing about a problem with the Mac II and Apple's 8*24 GC video board that was solved by a free ROM upgrade. Perhaps it was the same problem. A number of people expressed interest in a ROM upgrade for the Mac II as well, because of this. A Mac II with a PMMU and a ROM upgrade would be functionally almost identical to the SE/30-class machines with ROM upgrades.

I've heard people at Apple are also discussing this now, but a ROM upgrade would mean that bunch of old ROMs would start floating around just waiting for someone to make a Mac clone with them as Outbound did. Apple does not want this to happen, especially since it might screw up marketing for the new portables scheduled for this fall. (Oh, the word is that on the TV show "Night Court" a few weeks ago, the character Harry used a tiny personal computer that actually was one of the new portables. Didn't see it personally.) A number of possibilities for controlling this problem came up on Usenet, among them charging an exorbitant price and then returning the extra money when Apple received the old ROMs and tracking the upgrades and ROM returns by serial number. At least Cornell uses the price method with motherboard upgrades already. When we upgraded our SE to an SE/30, the price was about $1300 if we went with the "Apple upgrade," but if we didn't want to trade in our motherboard, the price went up to about $2400 for the "third party upgrade." It worked - we didn't to keep our SE motherboard.

Another worry inside Apple is that the Mac is all Apple has these days and Apple doesn't want to foster competition until it has another platform closer to release date, which could easily be 1993 or later. Nonetheless, it's obvious that Apple is working on new ROMs, judging from what they did with the Classic's boot ROMs (which, incidentally, contain System 6.0.3 AppleShare drivers that recognize a Macintosh running System 7.0's file sharing). Allowing a Mac to boot from ROM is good for a diskless workstation on a network, but it is also good for a small, light portable computer that could call in to a network for data storage. Combine that with the wireless technology General Magic is working on and that Apple petitioned the FCC for, and you get a very small portable that has boot ROMs and exists continually (while in range, anyway) on a wireless network for data exchange and storage. Interesting thought, but I digress. I'd settle for 32-bit clean ROMs for my SE/30 for the moment and will beg and plead for the portable later on.

Information from:
Jim Gaynor -- gaynor@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu
Russell Davoli -- davoli@natinst.com
Dave Barnhart -- dbarnhar@oiscola.Columbia.NCR.COM
Kent Borg -- kent@sunfs3.Camex.COM
John Price -- price@uclapp.physics.ucla.edu
Matthew T. Russotto -- russotto@eng.umd.edu
Chris Silverberg -- macman@wpi.WPI.EDU
John Scudder -- jgs@merit.edu
Paul Campbell -- paul@taniwha.UUCP
Jeff Sullivan -- jas@ISI.EDU
Tony Gedge -- tonyg@cs.uq.oz.au


Reviews/22-Apr-91

  • MacWEEK
    • License Server INITs, pg. 71
      • KeyServer 2.3.7
      • Quota 2.0
    • SoftPC Classic, pg. 71
    • Virtus WalkThrough 1.03, pg. 74
    • DOS File Mounting Utilities, pg. 78
      • AccessPC 1.1
      • DOS Mounter 2.0
    • EndNote Plus, pg. 78
    • Low-end Animation Programs, pg. 82
      • ADDmotion
      • Animation Works
    • MacTools Deluxe 1.1, pg. 87
    • Little Mouse, pg. 87
    • Mac/Mainframe Connectivity Packages, pg. 89
      • MacWorkStation
      • Connectivite3270
      • MitemView 2.0
      • SimMac

References:

  • MacWEEK -- 16-Apr-91, Vol. 5, #15
    • (mislabled as #14 on the MacWEEK cover)

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