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Winter 92 - Letters

Letters

CURLING UP WITH DEVELOP
Regarding your editorial in Issue 8: I agree with you on liking to have a "hard copy" to be able to curl up with when trying to understand something for the first time. I can always go to the computer and try examples or ideas. But to lay back and put up my feet or nestle under a quilt in bed is more relaxing to let concepts sink in and develop on their own, to spring forth with clarity later.

I like the idea of sending the disc separately in its own case--though I never had a mangled disc problem. It is the magazine itself that has a rougher trip. I received Issue 8 without the disc and hope that the disc is not far behind. The mailing label on the back cover was half off, not torn, but detached. Flapping in the breeze, so to speak.

Keep up the good work on the magazine. I look forward to it each time.
--Robert Redmond

Thanks for your letter. It's not only heartening to hear from developers who agree with me on this, but it makes a difference. Your opinions do count.

The disc is now in a separate case, but it's not mailed under a separate label. They should have arrived wrapped cozily together. We'll send you the disc right away. Sorry about that.

--Caroline Rose

TEXT FORMATS GALORE
There's a problem with the Macintosh Technical Notes which I'm finding with increasing frequency in Apple's electronic publications. The only word processor I use is Nisus, with which I can read MS Word 3.0 and 4.0 files without buying a Microsoft product. This may be an unreasonable prejudice, but I bet it isn't uncommon.

But  Nisus can't decipher fast-saved Word files. This means, I suspect, that the entire set of new Macintosh technical publications is unavailable to me. Worse, I fear that the next Developer CD is going to have lots of files with new, valuable, and (for me) hidden information.

I know Apple is serious about electronic distribution of technical documents. I'm sure fast-saving in Word is a great convenience to the authors, but surely using a format not widely readable defeats the purpose of the exercise. I don't object to standardizing on Word 3.0 or 4.0, so long as that format-- and not Microsoft's convenience variant--is actually used.

Could you please  ask your authors, when providing documents for publication, to use an accessible format?
--Fritz Anderson

Thank you for alerting us to this problem. It was a snafu on our part. None of the files should have been fast- saved in Word.

We know that having text documents in Word and MacWrit e ® represents a bias toward these products. Unfortunately our alternatives are limited and we'll probably have to continue using these products until the spring.

The good news is that we're working on a new text formatting tool. This tool will be available on the CD and will be able to open, search, and print text documents available on the CD. The dilemma of how to make every document available to every developer has been a topic of discussion for some time. We're hoping this will solve the problem.

Again, thank you for your input. Developer feedback is the fuel of change around here. Keep it coming.
--Sharon Flowers

NEW AND IMPROVED CD
I just received Issue 8 of develop , and was pleased to find that the developer's CD has improved. Is this new?--Mike Caputo

Yes, starting with Issue 8 the CD is not just Developer Essentials, but the entire Developer CD Series disc (of which Developer Essentials is just a subset).
--Caroline Rose

SUBMITTING TO DEVELOP
First of all, I'd like to say that I'm a big fan of develop . The combination of excellent technical articles (with required humor) and a CD-ROM of other developer materials is unmatched. At least the flak surrounding the CD-ROM has finally calmed down in the Letters section. I've always liked the idea from the start even though I purchased a CD-ROM drive only last week.

I'm writing to find out if develop  accepts articles from non-Apple employees. I haven't looked through the back issues to see if there were any, but none come to mind. If so, do you have a style guide for writing articles?

Keep up the great work!
--Paul-Marcel St-Onge

Thank you for your kind words about   develop; it's always a pleasure to receive mail from a big fan. Yours is the type of letter that editors in chief dream of.

We do indeed accept articles from non-Apple employees (see this issue's Editorial). We have a vast array of materials ready for prospective authors, including an introductory document, a short submission form, a set of detailed author's guidelines, and even a Microsoft Word template for entering your article in a   develop-like format. We'll start with the intro and then send the rest as you need it.

On the subject of the CD-ROM controversy, it may experience a revival as a result of Apple's dropping printed  develop and Tech Notes from the monthly mailing to Associates and Partners. We'd like to hear what developers think about that.
--Caroline Rose

ART ILLEGIBLE ON-LINE

Figure 1 from Michael Gough's article on Futures (Issue 7) was illegible when printed under System 7 from a Macintosh II on a LaserWriter II NTX. It's just as illegible on the screen. Any ideas?

The HyperCard® format on the CD is convenient for flipping to pages and articles but is terrible for seeing all of a page at one time, since HyperCard's windows are not resizable. Further-more, HyperCard is slow--especially from a CD. And searching is neither fast nor intuitive.
--Steve Tyler

I looked into the problem and found out that a mistake was made when the electronic version of Issue 7 was created: Art that's in EPS format is normally opened in an application that interprets PostScrip t® and then saved as a PICT. This process wasn't followed, with the result that the conversion to PICT was only an approximation, and so not very legible. This will be fixed in Issue 7 on the CD.

Regarding the HyperCard format, a lot of people agree with you. We're working on an alternate viewing mechanism--but this mechanism may not apply to   develop for a while yet. Meanwhile, HyperCard's windows are in fact resizable. If you're not able to resize them, your memory partition for HyperCard is probably not large enough; try increasing it.
--Caroline Rose

PLEASE WRITE!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 your name and company name as well as your 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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