I just heard from Roy McDonald (president of Connectix) that they have a newer and snazzier version of MAXIMA. I haven't received the copy that he said they sent me, but I'll write more about it later. MAXIMA 2.0 is essentially a RAM disk and memory enhancement utility, but one with power coming out of its ears. It works under both System 6 and System 7 under either 24-bit or 32-bit addressing and no longer is limited to systems with more than 8 MB of physical RAM. In 24-bit mode, MAXIMA allows you to use up to 14 MB of physical RAM for application memory. Connectix is aiming MAXIMA at users who have lots of memory but for various reasons (most notably incompatible software) must stay in 24-bit mode, which limits the amount of available RAM. When you use the RAM disk capabilities of MAXIMA, the RAM disk (created in whatever size you desire) appears on the desktop like any other hard disk. Any other hard disk, that is, with an access time in the nanoseconds. If the RAM disk contains a System and Finder, MAXIMA automatically uses it as the boot volume, which speeds up standard usage significantly. Lest you be concerned about losing information, MAXIMA's RAM Disk can survive system crashes and restarts as long as the power isn't interrupted. I assume that Connectix has figured out a method of preventing memory from being cleared at restart, which I find quite impressive. If you do need to shut off the Mac, MAXIMA can save its contents to a folder on the hard disk and then reload them on the next startup. This I have to try! MAXIMA 2.0 will list for $129, and upgrades will be free to currently registered users of the previous version.
International Business Software's DataClub virtual server has been out for a while now, and I've done a little testing on the copy they sent me. Unfortunately, that version isn't completely compatible with System 7, which cut my testing short. The disk space on the System 7 Mac seems to be available to System 6 Macs, but the System 7 Mac can't connect to the server and you can't reconfigure the DataClub Control Panel under System 7 if it is active. I think that if I didn't want to use the disk space on the System 7 Mac, I could have used it as a client machine without difficulty. I was extremely impressed with the ease of installation and setup, though. Installing on our Macs here took a whopping two minutes and didn't require looking at the manual at all. For a powerful networking package, such ease of installation impresses me, but you have to realize that I've had lots of knock-down, drag-out fights with TOPS on different networks. IBS isn't letting us down, though, and in August, DataClub 2.0 should be out, boasting full System 7 compatibility (aliasing, Balloon Help, 32-bit addressing and TrueType). In addition, IBS has figured out some new methods of dealing with things that increase DataClub's performance by up to five times (and it was already faster than TOPS and AppleShare in many cases). I look forward to receiving the new version so I can report on it in more depth. Upgrades will be free if you bought DataClub after 01-Jun-91. For one and three user packs registered before that date, the price is $59; for 10 user packs, it's $99, and 50 user packs are $399.
In one respect, DataClub 2.0 won't be as accomplished as 1.1. IBS decided to spin off the dedicated server feature of DataClub 1.1 into a separate product, DataClub Dedicated. As far as I can tell, DataClub Dedicated works just like DataClub 2.0 except that it completely takes over its assigned Mac (other than mail and other background tasks). Using one or more servers running DataClub Dedicated results in even more storage space and better performance, because nothing else is happening on that Mac. Needless to say, DataClub Dedicated is designed for very large networks and supports up to 200 users, half of which could be DataClub Dedicated servers (though that would be a little strange - 100 users and 100 servers). The beauty of DataClub is that even with multiple DataClub Dedicated servers and other copies of DataClub 2.0, each user sees only one server with huge amounts of disk space, which is much easier to work with than a desktop cluttered with multiple servers.
Murph Sewall writes, "A couple of other really cute System 7 freeware extensions are "Optional Help" (which works fine with HelpMeister) and "Switch." Optional Help lets you define a "hotkey" for balloons (if HelpMeister is used to turn on Balloon Help, then the "hotkey" is the control key). Switch lets those of us who have keyboards with startup keys use that key to cycle applications (even niftier than "Just click" and doesn't require foregoing System 7's standard application menu). Since I leave my IIci on all the time, the startup key has been vestigial up to this point. It's nice to have something for it to do :-). I also use Applicon which is an even nicer way of gaining nearly instant access to background applications. MacWrite II's "WordFinder" thesaurus DA also requires MacWrite II as the foreground application (maybe that's one thing version 1.1v2, which was supposed to be mailed in June but hasn't arrived yet, is supposed to fix?). I installed the WordFinder in MacWrite II version 1.1v1 with Font/DA Mover 4.1 which I got with the TrueType disks for System 6 (hold down the option key while clicking OPEN)."
Connectix -- 800/950-5880
International Business Software -- 800/733-2822
MacWEEK -- 25-Jun-91, Vol. 5, #24, pg. 16
InfoWorld -- 01-Jul-91, Vol. 13, #26, pg. 36