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Autumn 91 - Letters

LETTERS

THREADS PACKAGING
I'm impressed with threads and futures and I think they'll be of real use to me in a commercial product I'm working on. I have a simple problem. I don't think we can ship your INIT with our application. Doing so constitutes an unnecessary invitation to support hassles (as well as a just plain unaesthetic package, in my opinion). Is there any chance that you could repackage the current threads and futures stuff as straight libraries (in THINK C form, please)?
--Richard Reich

The latest version of threads and futures, which is on this issue's CD, has been augmented so that you have your choice of how to package the code. Just use the INIT as is, or copy the code resources into your application. Let me know if you need any more help. My number is (408)974-0355.
--Michael Gough

THREADS IN A BLACK BOX
I was really pleased to see the article on threads in Issue 6 of develop. There have been several instances in my programming experience on the Macintosh when I had some long involved processing that was not easily restructured to pass control to the interface or to other applications. The Threads Package seems like the best way to handle this problem that we are likely to have without major changes in the Macintosh OS.

However, I was disappointed to discover that Semaphore, one of the examples from the CD, crashes. If you click before the program is finished, it exits normally, but if you let it run its course, it crashes after it's done beeping. I hope that a corrected version of the Threads Package will be available on a future develop CD.

If the source code for this package had been provided on the disc, I would at least have a chance of understanding the source of the bug and correcting it. Instead I must rely on the possibility that a corrected version of the object code will be provided with a future issue of develop. We can count on Apple to provide updates for object libraries supplied with MPW; hence we have no need for the source. Can we rely on the same level of support for object libraries without source distributed ondevelop CDs?

I've seen develop evolve from a journal with good articles on programming techniques into a journal with articles that were basically blurbs for source code, and now into a journal with articles that are blurbs for black boxes provided on the CD. I still think develop is an extremely useful resource for Macintosh programmers. However, I urge you to try to include source code when you possibly can.

At any rate I am looking forward to seeing a corrected version of the Threads Package in a future issue of develop --I intend to give it a try even if it is a black box!
--Dennis C. De Mars

You're right, the Semaphore example crashes, and it is a bug in the Threads Package. I guess I always clicked out early during the final testing. Issue 7 has a follow-up article to Threads that includes an updated (and fixed) Threads Package.

To address your concern about develop heading toward "black boxiness": The Threads Package is the only develop article ever that hasn't included source code. We debated for a long time whether that was OK, and many people expressed the same concerns you did. We decided that Threads was unique enough and useful enough to justify it. The reaction has been extremely positive, so I think we did the right thing.

I assure you that we won't make a habit of featuring black boxes, and that as long as Michael Gough keeps supporting Threads, the latest CD will contain the latest version. Threads is not an official Apple product, though, so use it in your application at your own risk. It's possible that we will be able to publish the source code someday.

Thank you for taking the time to write! People's comments are the best barometer we have for how we're doing.--Dave Johnson

CD SETUP (AND MORE!) ON CD
How about including on the Developer Essentials CD-ROM a copy of the latest version of the CD Setup disc that comes with the AppleCD SC drive? It would be a convenient way to get a current version of the AppleCD SC software, and a lot of people who are browsing your CD have an AppleCD SC anyway.
--Kazimir C. Stusinski

The latest version of the CD Setup disc is on this issue's CD. Note that it's now the "Developer CD Series" disc, the same disc that Apple Associates and Partners receive. The contents of Developer Essentials was only a subset of the Developer CD Series disc; now you can have it all!
--Caroline Rose

EVASIVE SNIPPETS
The Snippets section of develop always has such neat-sounding code fragments in it . . . if only I could find them! I always peruse the Developer CD Series disc that arrives with each issue of develop, but many of the snippets can't be found, either by my old-fashioned hand searching or by using the HyperCard® stack that, hopefully, really does have a complete index of the contents.

It's safe to say that it seems that most can't be found. Assuming they are there--somewhere--I'd like to suggest that the code you list in the Snippets section be included in the develop folder. Even a directory or stack in that folder that would point me to them would be a terrific savings in time. Keep up the good work!
--Chris Gibson

Snippets have had a rough time. They didn't make it onto the Issue 6 CD at all. And, although they were on the Issue 7 CD, they were not mentioned in the Contents Catalog stack on the Developer CD Series disc. They can be found with the DTS sample code. That seems the most logical place for them, since they're not strictly a develop thing: they come from DTS (Developer Technical Support); we just describe them (and we've decided to stop that--they're now described in a text file in with the snippets). Sorry for the confusion!
--Dave Johnson

ONE UGLY DUDE
I just wanted to comment that I was totally shocked when I saw Harry Chesley's picture in develop this month. " This is one ugly dude," I thought. Perhaps his picture was sabotaged. Or maybe he really is a Vulcan with three Adam's apples!
--Dan Wood

Actually, that picture wasn't supposed to be printed at all. It's top secret, the result of an internal Apple project in the area of desktop bioengineering.

But now that the cat's out of the bag, I guess I can mention that we're expecting to ship the product second quarter next year. It attaches to the SCSI port of the Macintosh. You stick one of your fingers in a hole in the front, and it modifies your DNA. The actual physiological changes take about a week to materialize.
--Harry Chesley

P.S. The three Adam's apples are a bug, which we're planning to fix in the next rev.

WHERE'S LOUELLA, REALLY?
I sent mail to your predecessor, Louella, at louella@applelink.apple.com, but your system denied knowing about her. Any help you could give me in addressing e-mail to her would be very much appreciated.
--An AdmirerIn Issue 7, I joked that Louella had retired to raise flowers in Holland. Well, I was close: she has left Apple to paint and write until her money runs out. We'll miss her terribly but will remember her always as our "Spirited Guide." She'll be living wherever the living is easy (and cheap), but letters will always get to her through this address: 932 Rosette Court, Sunnyvale, CA 94086. Sorry, she will no longer be electronically plugged in.
--Caroline Rose

COMMENTS We welcome timely letters to the editors, especially from readers reacting to articles that we publish in develop . Letters should be addressed to Caroline Rose (or, if technical develop -related questions, to Dave Johnson) at Apple Computer, Inc., 20525 Mariani Avenue, M/S 75-2B, Cupertino, CA 95014 (AppleLink: CROSE or JOHNSON.DK). All letters should include name and company name as well as address and phone number. Letters may be excerpted or edited for clarity (or to make them say what we wish they did). *

 
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