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December 93 - Letters

LETTERS

NEW CD & PACKAGING: GOOD
I just received develop Issue 14 in the mail (a little late, but worth the wait!). As usual, the articles are enlightening and entertaining. The Bookmark CD is an excellent idea as well (although the former student in me doesn't like the idea of missing out on system software). I enjoyed opening up the journal to find my CD in a case that could not be broken, even by the worst of mailmen! And, as always, the CD contains a great wealth of information. I would even go so far as to say I'd pay more than the price of a yearly subscription with or without the CD; it's really worth it! So, I'd like to congratulate you and everyone else on the develop staff (as well as all the contributors) for creating an amazing journal for me (and I guess other developers!) every three months.

Keep up the good work, as I look forward to future issues. (I just renewed my subscription.)
--David A. denBoer

Thanks for the good words about develop and especially about its CD. We've received a number of letters from developers who are less than thrilled about our recent changes (see below). It's wonderful to hear from a happy subscriber.
--Caroline Rose

NEW CD: BAD
I subscribed to develop after reading the MacWeek article that pointed out what a good deal it was, especially with respect to the Developer CD Series. APDA told me on the phone that my subscription would start in a few weeks, and promptly debited by VISA account. After a few weeks had gone by, I phoned ADPA to ask why I hadn't received anything. I was told that they had been swamped with orders as a result of the MacWeek article.

Now I find out that there's been a "change" to develop's CD. What bothers me is the apparent motivation behind all this. You knew that you were swamped with orders, which were generated by a specific MacWeek article. What did this article say? Simply that readers should subscribe to develop to get the system software. So what did you do? Take away the software! Didn't it occur to anyone making this decision that loyal customers might be angered?

I, for one, am not a happy camper.
--Ken Ribet

Regarding the CD change: We basically took only Inside Macintosh and system software off the CD. We have since restored Inside Macintosh; that decision was made a bit hastily. But I think the decision to discontinue essentially giving away the system software was a sound one. We're making every effort to give developers the best support possible, but compromises are sometimes necessary.

The decision not to supply the system software on the CD accompanying develop was made independently of the MacWeek column and before it appeared. The timing was unfortunate, but it's not easy, or particularly practical, to reverse company decisions based on what MacWeek chooses to publish. (I hope you don't really think the column motivated us to remove the software from the CD!) We informed the MacWeek columnist immediately of what was about to happen, and he let his readers know. It did occur to us that developers subscribing in response to that column might be angry. But most of them turned out to be happy to receivedevelop and all it does have on its CD for $30 a year. The majority of our subscribers have been understanding about the CD change, saying it always did seem like too good a deal to be true.

I'm always sorry to hear from an unhappy camper. But thanks for writing.
--Caroline Rose

NEW CD PACKAGING: SO-SO
Your new packaging for the Bookmark CD sent with develop Issue 14 shows an appreciated effort for environmentally conscious packaging.

Unfortunately, this packaging is not U.S. Postal Service-friendly. I was able to flatten the CD enough so that it's working fine. Using a stiffer mailer and including the words "DO NOT BEND" clearly visible for the mail carrier would help prevent the CD from being damaged.

develop has been a great assistance to my business. I look forward to each and every issue.

Thank you for your assistance.
--Edward Salm

Sorry about your delivery problem. We've had a couple of other complaints about this, though not enough to justify the expense of implementing a solution like the one you suggest. We'll keep your words (and the unsuspecting mail carrier) in mind as we continue searching for packaging options that work without increasing the price of a develop subscription.
--Diane Wilcox

WHITHER THE DOGCOW?
I can't fight it anymore; I have to ask. In the Letters column in develop Issue 10, you say the story of the dogcow is hidden in Tech Note #31 on the CD. I found Tech Note #31; it was funny, but contains no references to "dog" or "cow" or "Moof!" What gives? I need to know the story of the dogcow!!!!
--Gary Robinson

The Tech Note you saw is actually #31A, "GestaltWaitNextEvent," which indeed is not on the subject of dogcattle. The original Tech Note #31, "The Dogcow," is no longer available, but I can give you some clues on where you might find a copy. It used to be hidden in the Technical Notes Stack on the early versions of develop's CD (most notably "Phil and Dave's Excellent CD"), although no one here seems to be exactly certain when it stopped. It appeared on paper only once, as part of the monthly mailing to Apple Associates and Partners back in April of 1989. Assuming you're not that far behind on reading your mail, you may want to try trolling the net. Macintosh programmers are an unusual breed, and I'm sure you'll find someone who has a copy.

Why the continued secrecy? The answer has a little bit to do with history and a lot to do with tradition, and may or may not have to do with an exchange of spies during the Cold War. But there's good news: your letter has inspired me to write up how the dogcow furor and Tech Note originated -- Apple cultural minutiae that may be of interest to other crazed Macintosh developers. The editor threatens to publish it in a future issue, assuming it passes by our censors.
--Mark ("The Red") Harlan Author, Tech Note #31

DO THE WRITE THING
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 303-4DP, 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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