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May 92 - Letters

Letters

LETTERS

PROVINCIALISM
I would be pleased if Apple (and APDA, etc.) would cease dating publications by what would seem to be the season in the northern hemisphere (for example, "Winter 1992"). This practice is inconsistent with Apple's dedication to Worldwide Software and the avoidance of cultural values. In addition to it being ignorant and arrogant, it is both confused and confusing--the seasons in the U.S.A. are not, I believe, simply the opposite of ours.

Furthermore, what the heck is "Winter 1992"? Which end of the year is it? Is it sometimes also known as "Winter 1991"?
--Dr. Ross L. Richardson, Australia

Thanks for the kick in the pants--and for inspiring the theme of this issue's editorial. The change (back) to using months has been made in this, our May issue. I wish we could have done it for Issue 9 (February, a.k.a. Winter 1992), because I agree that "Winter" is particularly confusing, but the timing was too tricky. In fact, just after hearing from you about this, I received a "Winter 1991" catalog in the mail!
--Caroline Rose

WHERE'S THE SKB STACK?
Wow, a real Developer CD! At first I thought it was one of those errors that are in my favor (a rarity for sure!). But no, I will continue to receive Developer CDs. Last year I would have considered murder to gain access to one of these.

Needless to say I've been over it as much as possible. There's one thing that I can't find. I can't seem to locate the Search Knowledge Base stack. I was able to select which stacks to search and get the report of all Tech Notes containing what I was looking for. I don't mind telling you that it saved my butt on a couple of contracts. I've looked in the logical places on the CD for it. Where is it?
--J. R. Hughson

Yes, since Issue 8, subscribers to develop have been getting the entire Developer CD Series disc and not just the Developer Essentials subset. Truly the bargain of the century (tell your friends). We're glad you didn't have to resort to foul play to get one.

The Search Knowledge Base (SKB) stack was modified slightly and integrated into the Developer Info Assistant (DIA) stack-- so it was only hiding, not gone. We apologize for not communicating this change to you. To go directly to the SKB utility, just open the DIA stack (in the Start Here folder) and click the "Search..." button.
--Caroline Rose

ON LOCATION (MOOF!)
It was nice to get more goodies on the CD that came with Issue 8, but the CD has a couple of deficiencies that I think should have been detected/eliminated.

1. Unless something is wrong with my copy of On Location, the On Location index on the CD can't be used to view the files it references. On Location says that the index is out of date. I don't know about all files, but this was true of the sample I tried to look at. To rebuild the index on my hard disk will take a big chunk of my limited hard disk space.

2. The time I spent with the CD from develop Issue 7 getting accustomed to the Search Knowledge Base stack was for naught since SKB is not present on the CD that came with Issue 8. The old version does not work on the new CD without substantial modification. I found Issue 7's SKB very useful.

By the way, what does "Moof!" mean?
--Pete Roberts

The On Location index was indeed broken on the Developer CD Series disc Volume X. Our apologies, and thanks for alerting us. It works fine on later CDs.

As for the apparent disappearance of the Search Knowledge Base (SKB) stack, please see the answer to the previous question.

Moof is a sacred tradition among Apple's Developer Technical Support engineers. It means several things. First, it's the sound that the dogcow makes. (The story of the dogcow is "hidden" in Macintosh Technical Note #31 on the CD; if you can find it, you'll be considered a Moof initiate.) The dogcow is integrated into our artwork in a number of places. Take a look at the cover card of the Technical Notes stack or Q & A stack, for example. There's also a guest appearance of the dogcow in this issue of develop (see the Print Hints column).

Second, the word is used to indicate any software that's a hack, something untested and on the edge. Certain folders on the CD are marked Moof, such as "Tools & Apps (Moof!)" and "Development Platforms (Moof!)." This is to let you know that these folders contain software that's not fully tested or sanctioned by the powers that be. When you open these folders you cross the boundary into hackerland.
--Sharon Flowers

QUICKTIME MOVIES ON THE CD?
I want to thank you and your staff for a truly wonderful publication. I currently hold a dual position as a Macintosh/ Windows developer and as director of a research lab using UNIX ® boxes with Motif; of all the trade magazines I get (and let me tell you, I get a zillion of them), develop shines above all the rest. The articles addressed aren't always the ones I'd have chosen, but with as large an audience as you probably have, you still manage to print more than enough for me to get plenty out of each issue.

The CD has also provided me with hours of exploration each time. I would really like to see you include QuickTime movies made by Apple employees and maybe even readers.

Keep up the good work--and treat yourselves to pizza on me (send the bill to my mailing address).
--Robert H. Zakon

Thanks for the glowing comments. You have no idea (or maybe you do) how much these things mean to us.

Regarding QuickTime movies on the CD, I agree that would be great, sorta like the old days when we had an audio track on every CD: our chance to get creative and add some entertainment value. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that it will happen, for a few reasons. The main one is that we'd have to get rid of a lot of useful stuff to make room for the movies (which, as I'm sure you know, tend to be largish). Even though we have 600 MB of space on the disc, it's always burstingly full.

So despite the fun we could all have with movies, the Developer CD is just not the place for them, alas. The QuickTime CD is, of course, chock full of fun movies, if you haven't seen it yet. It's available from APDA as part of the QuickTime Developer's Kit, APDA #R0147LL/A.

Thanks again for writing, and if you have ideas for articles you'd like to see (or want to write one yourself!), please don't hesitate to let us know.
--Dave Johnson

P.S. The pizza was delicious. All 114 of us thank you heartily. The bill is in the mail.

NOT READY FOR PAPERLESS
I'm more concerned about the environment than most, but the race to achieve the paperless office, without determining what people's needs really are, will only end up convincing them that the electronic office has not come of age! Apple isn't considering that we've spent most of our lives looking at the printed page, so the productivity loss now in using on-line electronic media is high.

The fact is most people relate more easily and absorb information more quickly from the printed page than from any existing on-line method. A case in point is develop. Scanning Issue 8 on-line took more than 30 minutes, just for a quick scan.

An equal amount of information could have been obtained from the printed magazine in less than 1 minute. That's a factor of 30!

I applaud the effort to save trees, but how many trees are being saved when developers merely print the information themselves (single-sided, I might add)? If Apple wants to make an impact in this area of environmental concern I suggest they provide a set of integrated on-line tools that allow retrieval of information in a way that's more human oriented. Apple held a carrot under our noses at the 1991 Worldwide Developers Conference called BlueNote, but they've been unable to deliver. In the meantime we're expected to make do with the existing (poor) HyperCard ® utilities. Come on, Apple--now is the time to make a difference.
--Todd Stanley

I couldn't agree with you more that Apple needs to develop an electronic publishing strategy that advances the art of access to information. But Apple is many people and consensus is somewhat of an endangered species! Current strategies, electronic develop included, do make some advances. Regretfully, in some ways they are more difficult to use than the tried-and-true print media.

But beyond regret and apologies we actually have some solutions in the works. The "BlueNote" carrot that was dangled before you is in fact now in use on the Developer CD. It's being used to present chapters from the new, improved Inside Macintosh. Unfortunately, like most solutions to date, it creates as many problems as it solves. So please be patient as we try to come up with a solution that does the electronic medium justice.

As a side note: This discussion should send a message to the developer community. There's clearly a need in the marketplace for generic electronic publishing tools. And where there is a need, there is opportunity.
--Corey Vian

WHERE'S PRINTED DEVELOP?
I'm an Apple Associate and lately I have not been receiving the printed version of develop magazine. Issue 7 was the last printed one I received. I don't know why this happened, but I would like to receive the printed version again.

The CD-ROM paperless approach is admirable, but it doesn't work for me because I do all my reading while commuting on CalTrain.
--Joe Zuffoletto

Letters like yours are all too common. What's happened is that, starting with Issue 8, printed develop was removed from the mailing to Apple Associates and Partners. In various places (including in the mailing itself), it was announced that developers would have to explicitly subscribe to keep getting develop in printed form-- but apparently many developers didn't see this announcement. Since then we've received a lot of less-than-positive feedback about the decision to drop the printed magazine out of the mailing and about the difficulties in trying to read it on the CD (see, for example, the previous letter). The paperless approach isn't working for a lot of people, as it turns out.

For now, you'll have to subscribe in order to get printed develop. If you don't want to go through the trouble of finding the subscription form in develop on-line, you can place a phone order at 1-800-877-5548--or you can subscribe through APDA.

As for the future, rest assured that Apple is paying attention to the feedback and has learned a lot from it. I can't say what will happen, but I know that the more developers tell us what they want, the more likely they are to get it. So thanks for writing to us.
--Caroline Rose

UP TO HIS EARS IN CDS
I agree 105% with your editorial comment in Issue 8 (about preferring to read develop in printed form). I guess I'll cast my vote by subscribing to develop, but I need another copy of the CD like I need a typewriter. I sometimes wonder whether I should still keep all the old CDs that compete for room in my limited collection space. I want the hard copy develop, but it bothers me to waste that CD that comes with it.
--Bruce Radford

Apple Associates and Partners who subscribe to develop to get it in hard copy do end up with an extra CD. At one time I was concerned about the extra cost of this as well as the waste. It turns out that the CD doesn't add much at all to the cost of develop. But as for the waste, I don't have an answer; maybe some of our readers do?

I wouldn't recommend holding on to the old CDs (which only compounds your disposal problem, but oh well). For the most part they're cumulative--we've only deleted old versions of international system software and a few other things that we had pressing reasons to remove. In particular, the develop code on the CD is kept up-to-date, and any bugs are fixed, with each new CD.
--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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