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Apr 85 Letters
Volume Number:1
Issue Number:5
Column Tag:Letters


Editor’s comments are sprinkled liberally within brackets [...] so please do not mistake them for the writer’s comments. Thank you to those who take the time to write and share the technology. We need all the help we can get!

Heinich’s Benchmark on Consulair

Thank you for MacTutor! I have been programming on the Macintosh since last July and participated in the early (?) testing of the Apple 68000 MDS package. Shortly after that experience, I purchased Mac C from Consulair. Mac C, with it’s toolkit is worth every cent! However, you’ll need two drives and the Inside Macintosh document to do any serious programming. Robert Heinich [Vol. 1, No. 3 Benchmark for C] should immediately send a check to Consulair. The benchmark (attached) works primarily because of the addressing capability of the 68000 and the word sizes chosen for long, 32 bit, and short, 16 bit variables. I am just slightly curious about brands X and Y.

I have a problem (bombs 2 and 10) accessing the International Utilities Package using assembly code (e.g. IUDateString, IUTimeString, IUGetIntl). Could you publish the calling sequences in a future issue? [Would love to, if I knew them!] I could also use the format for the Apple 68K MDS assembler relocatable object files. [Try MacNosy on it] What do you pay for original articles for MacTutor? [A lot! I don’t understand your listing below.]

- John J. Novak

Mount Laurel, NJ

Consulair C Benchmark

; Consulair MAC C Compiler 1.0
; By John Novak (see above)
; {
; union u_storage{
;    long a_long;
;    struct T_0000{
;        short a_short;
;        short b_short;
;    }S_000;
; }storage;
LINK A6, #-8
; storage.a_long = 6;
MOVE.L #6, -8(A6)
XREF printf

;printf(“\na_short = %d”, storage.S_0000.a_short);

; D1 _storage
MOVE -8(A6), D1
LEA ‘a_short = %d’, A0
JSR printf

;printf(“\nb_short = %d”, storage.S_0000.b_short);

;D1 _storage+2
MOVE -6(A6), D1
LEA ‘b_short=%d’, A0
JSR printf

LEA ‘ ‘, A0
JSR printf
XREF main
; 0 errors

C Reviews Needed

Thanks for the prompt delivery of my first subscription issue. I really like your “no fluff” approach; it’s about time! Some suggestiosn:

-encourage editors to comment on development softare quality. (I’m having trouble picking a C compiler.)

-do personal profiles on the editors.

-in depth, “Mac Language” word definitions would be helpful. (How about a MacTech sweatshirt?)

- L.E. Thomas

Teaksburg, MA

[Our editors are shy, unassuming Software Developer’s! A MacTutor T-shirt with Professor Mac on it is in the works.]

External Drive in Basic 1.0

Do you have any idea how to use the external drive in MS-Basic V. 1.0?

-Peter Wollschlaeger

West Germany

[You can’t that I know of! Use version 2.0 instead. I yield to Dave Kelly]

Typos in Robert Heinich’s Listing

I’ve enclosed two copies of the source code I used to run the Byte benchmark using Manx Axtec C compiler. By using global variables, the program runs in 6.3 seconds. Changing to register variables cuts the time down to an impressive 3.6 seconds! I also ran the benchmark in the letters section of Vol. 1 No. 3 issue of MacTech with the ‘union’ struct. The Aztec compiler duplicates the results of “COMPILER Z”. I found five typos in the source code as listed:

line 8: short B_short should be short b_short with a lower case b.
line 10: )storage should be }storage with a brace.
other: all occurrances of /n should be \n instead (three occurrances).

I really enjoy your journal and look forward to recieving each issue. I don’t yet have “Inside Macintosh”, so the Journal is a big help to me.

-Thomas Fosson

Waverly OH.

New Pascal Book Due Out

I am a fan of your MacTech journal. My particular interest now is Assembly Language, though for the past year I have been involved with MacPascal. My book on MacPascal, titled “Macintosh Pascal Illustrated: The Fear and Loathing Guide” is being published by Addison Wesley and will be available in May. If you would like to publish an advance excerpt from the book, please contact me.

-Scot Kronick

Berkeley, CA

[YES, would love to!]

Ideal Development Described

Okay! I want what you offer enough to try it sight unseen. If you can really cover opening up the Mac to us who want to write our own stuff, I think you will have so much success you won’t know what to do with it. [Hope so, as I’m close to losing my Job with all the time spent on MacTutor!]

As you know, MS-Basic is “sort of useful” on a 128K Mac, but the workspace is small and it is slow. My Apple II+ with Applesoft compiler and math board is SIX TIMES FASTER! If you know of a true compiler for MS-Basic, please let me know. [You and everyone else in the world!]

I will be happy to program in another language such as Pascal, Modula II, C, if it has:

- Full screen editor

- Interpreted run mode for test/debug

- true compilation to 68000 object code

- XREF for variable usage & calls

- Document program for variable definitions and comments.

- Ability to dynamically display variables & execution flow during development.

-Michael Zuteck

Kemah, TX.

[Anyone want to nominate their pick to fill Mr. Zuteck’s requirements?]

Whole Journal on Mac Pascal Wanted

Please enter my subscription to MacTutor. Other magazines seem based on the premise that most users want only ready-made applications, instruction in using paint programs, and product announcements. It seems likely that a large percentage of Macintosh purchasers, especially early ones, really wanted the 68000 processor and the toolbox traps to graphics routines. Your magazine is exactly what they need to help them realize the potential of fast and interesting graphics without necessarily succumbing to the agonies of machine language programming. [Bite your tongue, hee hee!]


We have been developing procedures for both text analysis and for computer assisted instruction. For the most part, development with MacPascal has been rewarding, but we still lack some capabilities. The most glaring omission from MacPascal is a procedure to load MacPaint files from the diskette into internal memory. It is needed to provide detailed and interesting figures within an interactive program. Also helpful would be discussion of drawing off screen and the use of off screen drawings in more than one port.

Dispose Region Crash

As you reported, quickdraw routines gobble memory, so discussion of memory management in graphics-intensive programs would be welcome. For example, I would like to know why disposing regions sometimes causes programs to crash [dangling pointers??]. Referring to the excellent article “Quickdraw Does Regions” by the Chief Wizard in Vol. 1 No. 3, does reusing the same region (by name) several times use more memory each time? Would it be possible to save memory by disposing of the region after each use?


Beyond these interests, I would like to see lots of examples and discussion of the Inline Procedures and the Toolbox routines. [See this month’s Advanced Mac’ing column by Steve Brecher] In fact, I would really like to see a whole journal devoted to Pascal programming for the Mac. I have far more questions than can be answered in a single short monthly column, even over a period of several months. [Out of 300,000 Macs, what percentage of those program, and of those programmers what percentage only use Pascal? You see the problem magazines face.]

You are starting in the right place by presenting the more basic functions, and you do it very well, but I look forward to future columns on more advanced topics.

-Gary Palmer, Ph. D.

University of Nevada

Las Vegas, NV


I recieved my first MacTech Journal the other day and I must say that it is an excellent assortment of technical information. (Excuse me while I wipe the foam from my mouth). I don’t want to sound like I’m deprived, but the usual mass market magazines do nothing more than pump you up until you wet your pants. This may make you feel excited about owning a Mac, but does little to inform you that wetting your pants byond the 5th grade is in inexcusable cultural phenomenon-Mac or no Mac.

-Romanas J. Buskus

Bridgeview, Il.

[We all rolled over your letter! Great!]

Disk Directory Format?

I am now planning a diskette lister program and need to know the format of the directory area of a diskette. I have found the definition of some of the fields but have so far not been able to locate a published reference on the complete picture. Could you point me to one? [See Jorg’s Forth column on the VTOC format.]

-William Deever

Dallas, TX.

OS Documentation Errors

There are errors in the OS Utilities appendix for register-based traps which return a value in A0. Bit 8 ($0100) must be set in the trap value for such traps. Bit 8 set tells the trap handler NOT to save/restore A0. The trap address for _GetTrapAddress is $A146. Earlier documentation had it incorrect.

-Steve Brecher

Hyper-Drive Shock

General Computer has mounted one of those little shock detectors that turn pink when abused on the underside of the HDA. Once the hard disk drive is installed, you can’t see it. So if you drop your box, they’re gonna know it and it may be a bit harder to claim warrenty.


Switching Finders under Program Control

I have seen a few messages about alternatives to the Finder. Any application can “serve” as a finder (assuming it does the right things!!). To change the application that runs when other applications exit, you need only zap the global location FinderName.

In theory, change the contents of FiinderName to contain a string which is the name of your “finder”. This could be done by a small “change finder” application which uses standard file to allow you to select the application that is to be the new finder. How about a dialog box to select between the Tardis FastFinder and the Apple Finder without the mess and permanency of changing filenames?

The file type does not have to be a “DRVR” (resource name for a driver or desk acc.); anything named FINDER (case insenitive) will do if the FinderName global contains a pascal-flavor string (counted) which is the name. The “thing” must be a runnable application, of course! The finder’s creator/type has nothing to do with it. If the “system” attribute bit is set, the Apple Finder won’t let you change the name of the application, and the Apple finder forces the “:system” attribute bit on for any files it finds named “IMAGEWRITER”, “FINDER”, “SYSTEM” and probably a few others.

Ok, I’ve tried it. You can change finders at will by just filling in a “Pascal” (counted) string at absolute location $2E0 containing the filename (no device name) of the application that you want to act as the finder.

I’ve written an application that puts up a dialog box and lets you select either FastFinder or Mac Finder. [Hey, Bob, how about an article on this? This is great stuff!]

-Bob Denny

Lisp Sounds Good

ExperLisp is going to be great for the Mac even though the price is $500. A feature of the lisp code is that it is upward compatible on the Symbolics 3600 series lisp computers.

-The Terminator

New Finder 2.6X Features

2.6 is the newest finder. It has some interesting new features...When the alarm clock is on the desktop (not active), you cannot use cmd E to eject disks. It goes beep. You have to use the menu command.

RAM disk and other things that formerly showed up as being on AppleBus are now shown as on AppleTalk. Get info now shows bytes used and the number of files in use.

Under the special menu there is now a shutdown command that ejects all disk and re-boots. This is REAL handy.

Empty folder is gone, instead there is a new folder command. The put back command disappeared too. Big loss (hee hee). What did put back do? I never used it. Guess no one else did either.

There are a lot of changes to the standard file dialog. It “permits further character scrolling without additional input, automatically selects the first file, handles ejecting hard disks correctly”. (How do you eject a fixed hard disk??)... “and many other minor tweaks were made”, to quote Mr. Capps. An update utility SFUdate will update other disks to this new standard file dialog format.

Oh, finally, the best thing about 2.6 is that it optimizes itself for a FatMac, loading in resources normally not “pre-loaded” and only purging what it actually has to. Tremendous increase in desk accessory speed.

-Rusty Hodge

Sys Op

Switcher works with 2.6X

I’ve had no problems with Switcher 0.90 under Finder 2.6X. I’ve been warned that 0.90 is the only reliable switcher. The later versions have more features, but bomb more frequently, and when switcher bombs, it usally takes the whole disk with it.

-Robert Wiggins

The switcher (1.1) problem only occurs when you try to run it from a RamDisk that has the system and finder on it. Switcher doesn’t seem to check and see if the memory is assinged to something else before taking of.

-Rusty Hodge

Rumor Mill at the Expo

I just got back from S.F. after an 8-hr. drive. It took me almost as long to get on the mousehole! Impressions:

- No color for the Mac in 1985, probably not in 1986.

- No 800K floppy drive for at least 6 months.

- No dedicated hard disk for the Mac from Apple for at least 3 months, probably 6 months.

- “Mac XL” stands for “Mac Extra Large” or “eX-Lisa”. The new finder should be out officially real soon!

- I enjoyed David Smith’s 35-minute commercial for MacTutor, oops, I mean talk on becoming a machine language wizard. Had lots of fun at Round Table Pizza playing Maze Warz on two Mac networks with all the mouseholers at the MouseFest.

-Midnight Macker


Print catalog now works the way it’s supposed to. MacPaint 1.4 will now print a catalog of the last disk accessed.

-Don L.

Paint File in Ram

Yes, the new Paint 1.4 will keep the whole picture in ram on a FatMac, eliminating disk access during show page and hand movements.

-The Jerk


FBI ALERT: I heard a rumor today that the FBI is watching this board and is keeping an eye on a few people, so watch what you say.

-The Jerk

InLine Trap Example

For anyone using Mac Pascal, here is a quick way to change the title of the drawing window:

Program Sample;
    SetWTitle = $A91A;
    InLineP(SetWTitle,thePort, ‘title’);

This uses the undocumented “InLine” facility which gives access to any toolbox routines by it’s trap number.

-Don L.


Got some lables from Apple to stick over the Lisa name on the boxes, so it reads Macintosh XL. What’s that tell ya?


Absoft Fortran

Just got Absoft’s FORTRAN in the store last’s Great! Makes application programs that can be run from the finder, compiles totally into 68000 code (at least that’s what it says...). It even lets you save out assembled code in a text file to load in with your favorit assembler! I ran a floating point benchmark on it to see what the speed was and here are the results:

Mac. 15.92 secs

IBM 170.5 secs

Applesoft 390 secs

IBM (8087) 12.06 secs

Apple II (68000) 40.7 secs

DEC PDP 11/34 27.6 secs

-The Atom

Spinwriter 5500 to Mac

You can run a Spinwriter 5500/7700 series on the Mac serial port using the Daisy Wheel Connection Program from Assimilation Process (NOT THE NEC VERSION!). You need a different cable:

Mac: 2 > 2 :Spinwriter

3 > 3

7 > 7

20 > 19

Also connect 5, 6, 8 and 20 together on the spinwriter side. Use the NEC option in the selection box and set for 600 baud.

-Dave Smith


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