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Mar 86 Mousehole
Volume Number:2
Issue Number:3
Column Tag:Mousehole Report

HFS and the MacExpo

By Rusty Hodge , Mousehole BBS

It has been another exciting month at the MouseHole, but then again, aren't they all? This month was exciting because of the San Fransisco Mac Expo, which I wasn't able to attend due to a previous engagement. Even without me, the "MouseHole Pizza Fest" did take place again at Roundtable Pizza. They made it real nice for all the 'Holers, and if you are ever in the area you should drop in and say hello to them. Their pizza is teriffic and the service is great.

A few predictions for the coming months are in order. Expect to see a glut of used 512k Macs on the market. (Wow, breath-taking prediction here!) Macs and external drives are already selling used for under $1400, but with all the "Certified Developers" out there getting Mac+'s you can expect this to fall to under $1000 soon. I also expect the Mac to be the defacto standard for high-end (read: professional) music applications. Mac and MIDI are a powerful combination, and as witnessed at the Winter NAMM convenention (a trade show for the musical instrument industry), everyone it seems is coming out with MIDI software for it.

Finally, to get a password for the MouseHole, send a SASE to us at Post Office Box 2323, Orange, CA 92669. Currently there is about a 30 to 60 day lag, and we haven't forgotten about you (hopefully!). If you don't have a modem but you have something great to tell us, write! We enjoy all the cards and letters that just say hello. And thanks to everyone else who has written in the past. (You should see some of the great post cards we have gotten from overseas!) See you next month- Rusty.

HFS & the FINDER

From: KATZ

I got curious what would happen with a lot of files on an HFS volume.

Files in Root Time: Finder to boot

10 3 secs

60 10 secs

110 16 secs

160 21 secs

250 56 secs

400 3.5 mins

I put them into a folder and was back to 3 secs. If the folder was open it took about 10 secs for the FINDER to come up. So I guess the moral of the story is keep the root directory as close to empty as you can unless your in no hurry. [Hard to do with all the buggy programs that don't work with HFS yet, and require various files in the root directory! -Ed.]

Also I tried it with 1000 files and 30 minutes later the watch was still there! With 6000 files I got a message that said there wasn't enough memory to add another disk. I only had the one hard disk on line. All of the above times are with files 2K in length and all were in the root directory.

FAST MAC & SCSI ROMS

From: BOB DENNY

I was talking to this guy from (name withheld) yesterday and he casually mentioned that HE didn't see the need for that darned 2 MIPS Mac they showed him...

Uh, the Tecmar guy who wrote the Apple SCSI ROM code... well, seems that he %#^$@# it up royal. On "blind" transfers, he didn't test it with very many periphs and turns out it's got timing bugs. To the tune that disk vendors have to put a special patch resource in RAM for their disk type. I dunno what the implications are concerning multiple mixed device types on SCSI. [Note: a SCSI hard disk rep confirmed this to me, that Apple's impementation only works for the particular hard disk controller hardware with which they tested the thing, due to the "blind write" transfer. If you have anything other than that particular vanilla brand controller, you've got to patch the code. In effect, the SCSI disk developer's are currently debugging Apple's code on a day to day basis! -Ed]

Faster than a speeding scrapbook....

JIM REEKES

After using the standard 512k Mac with the HD20, I noticed a BIG slow down with the scrapbook. Well, after using the new Mac+ and the HD20 I noticed a BIG speed up with the scrapbook. In fact, now I can flip through the clippings faster than my eyes can read! Wow. Its unbelievable!

SCSI Manager

From: STEVE BRECHER

I'm sure Erich is a fine fellow, but as noted by Bob, the 128K ROM SCSI Manager is far from optimal code. I suppose you could consider the problem with "blind" writes as a timing problem; I see it as a logic error. "Blind" reads should work OK, except slower than they could be.

The MicahDrive (an internal hard disk, software by yours truly) uses exactly the same SCSI interface chip as the Mac+ external SCSI, and transfers data 2-4 times as fast as the 128K ROM SCSI Manager.

I doubt the MacDrive is faster than a HyperDrive -- probably what was measured was HFS vs. MFS. Benchmarking Mac disk hardware is tricky.

128K ROMs

From: MAC SPY

Here are some measured ratios of old drawing speed to new drawing speed.

Paragraph of Text 1.50

CopyBits Aligned 1.35

CopyBits (region -> rect) 2.30

CopyBits Stretching, General 1.30

CopyBits Stretching, selected ratios 1.30

FillRect 1.44

InvertRect 1.32

Slanted Lines 2.29

Verticle Lines (region -> rect) 4.98

PaintOval 2.19

FrameOval 2.14

PaintROval 1.71

FrameRRect 1.58

The trap dispatcher has been modified to use unpacked long words instead of a packed format so of course the trap table was expanded to 2 tables. The OS table is at $400 - 7FF and the Toolbox table at $C00 - 13FF. The ROM now uses bit 11 as the definitive way to distinguish between OS and Toolbox traps. This means that there are now 256 different OS traps (Ax00 thru AxFF, where x varies depending on parameter bits) and 512 different Toolbox traps (A800 thru A9FF).

The 128K ROM includes many system resources that were RAM-based in the original system.

DRVR 2 (.Print), DRVR 3 (.Sound), DRVR 9 (.MMP), DRVR 10 (.ATP), SERD 0 (serial drivers), CDEF 0 (button), CDEF 1 (scroll bar), MDEF 0 (text menus), WDEF 0 (standard window), PACK 4 (SANE), PACK 5 (Elems), PACK 7 (BinDec)

ResEdit

From: DON L

Try this one. Create a small graphic image in Draw or Paint. Copy it to the Clipboard and go to ResEdit. Edit an ICON or ICN#, (CURS and maybe some more) then do a Paste. Also, when editing an ICON hold the shift key down and drag the mouse to get a selection rectangle to cut or copy from the ICON.

The version of ResEdit used was 1.0 D5. Don't know which older versions may have that capability.

Disk Cache

From: KATZ

I haven't seen any documentation for this but if you have the new ROM's, and the new control panel, the disk cache will work but only for an applications resources. All you have to do is set the applications cache bit with Fedit 3.5 and set the size of the cache with the control panel. Seems to work pretty smooth. [Note: Fedit 3.5 may have problems on Mac Plus systems. Try ResEdit 1.0d5 by selecting a file and doing a "Get Info" within ResEdit. You can then set the cache bit for the file. -Ed]

MacExpo

From: BOB DENNY

I had a whirlwind day at the Mac show yesterday. Wish I'd stayed, but ... Odesta is showing their "Double Helix" and "Multi-User Helix". Both of these products knocked my socks off. Object-oriented databases are here to stay. General Computer is showing their HyperDrive 2000, a 20-mb internal disk with 1.5mb RAM & a 68881 hardware floating point chip.

Consulair has a bunch of new stuff, including a rev of their development system which runs under HFS, the only one that does at present. Bill Duvall has set up a really nifty "path manager" which allows you to define various folders for libraries, "H" files, etc. It makes the HFS environment really go to work for you as a developer. Plus, Consulair's compiler emits code that supports the HyperDrive 2000 hardware floating point ( instead of slow SANE), as well as another memory upgrade's FP chip (I forgot the name). I can't WAIT to get my amber replacement CRT, also seen at the show. "Studio Session" is a RAD radio/tape with VU meters for each of channels ... it looks and sounds GREAT. "Orbiter" from the folks who brought you GATO, also fascinated me. It's got a data base of mission profiles, and carries you through a complete mission from launch to landing.

On the APPLETALK front (near and dear to my heart)... I mentioned Multi-User Helix, a VERY slick adaptation of their "Run-Time" Helix where folks on various AppleTalk nodes can "visit" a database on one of the nodes, opening windows (forms) and viewing or updating the information. It has a cute record-locking mechanism that beeps the lock holder when another user wants the record, and the "Help" dialog tells the appropriate story ... Hayes unveiled a "half bridge", which allows you to connect two AppleTalk nets via an RS-232 link, up to 9600 baud. Dial-in LaserWriters... We are looking at implementing the half-bridge protocol on our VAX so you can dial in and join an internet. There were the usual gaggle of wimpy disk servers, with one exception ... General Computer had their HyperNet there. It looked to be VERY well designed, supporting multiple accessors to a single volume/drawer. Anyone can "export" a volume, and EVERYONE else can use the files on it, including applications. Remote volumes act exactly like local ones. This product does NOT depend on Hyperdrives. It works with most any disk, floppy or hard. Oh, yeah, only one "write" path can be open to a given file... multiple readers, single writer.

At the AppleTalk developers conference a few days ago, there was a STRONG statement made that AppleTalk will be in ALL future Apple Products. Whew! [Good! -Ed]

Desktop Reorganization

From: GARY VOTH

For all you HD 20 owners out there: It is a good idea to periodiclly reconstruct the Desktop file on the hard disk. The Macintosh Finder stores program icons and other information in this file long after specific programs have been deleted from the hard disk. (Ever wonder why a program will sometimes appear on one startup disk with an old icon? It's because the Finder uses the icon resource stored in the Desktop file instead of the current one stored in the program's resource fork. To see the new icon on that disk you must rebuild the Desktop file.)

To "shake loose" this excess bagage from your disk and optimize the time it takes for the Finder to build the desktop, hold down the Command and Option keys simultaneously when booting up the system with the HD 20 Startup disk. The newest versions of the Finder now legitimize this command with a dialog: "Are you sure you want to rebuild the Desktop File on [volume name]? (This might take a few minutes.)"

There is very good news indeed for HFS volumes: the Finder retains the names of all of your subdirectories (folders). You need never fear having to reconstruct all of the folder names on your HD 20. (This is not the case, however, on standard MFS formatted volumes -- you still get folders with Unnamed#n, etc.)

I've had my hard disk less than a month and I brought the Desktop file down from 48k to 33k in one fell swoop!

To get an idea of how nicely constructed the new operating system is, take Fedit (versions 3.2 and later) and peek at the volume header information for the HD 20. Check out all of the volume caching fields. With RAM disk caching implemented on the Mac+ control panel, it seems Apple has gotten very serious about optimizing the performance of their little graphics workstation. Good show!

Finder 5.1 Features

From: DAVID EDWARDS

This was a new one on me, while sleeping with my finger on the OPTION key, I closed a window and next thing I knew all the open windows on the screen started closing up... Boy was I surprised or had I missed something! It works on finder 5.1d4 with either a close box or using the file menu.

From: GARY VOTH

I discovered a really nice feature of Finder 5.1... When executing under Switcher, the Shut Down command changes to Quit! Simply pull down the special menu and choose Quit when you want to exit. It also is "Switcher aware" in that it contains the parameter resource showing its optimum configurations; just double-click for a 192K Finder!

Even newer Finder

From: DON

Personally, I think the most exciting thing I saw at MacExpo was not the new Mac, the MC68881 upgrades, amber monitors (remember mood watches anyone), or even that new paint/draw combo from the Silicon Beach boys. It was Andy Hertzfield's new Finder. Remember when he was down in Santa Ana two months ago talking about starting another project after Switcher? Well, he did.

And remember Multi-Mac? Well, forget it. Andy took about 6K of his Switcher code and has built a new multi-tasking Finder around it. He had MacWrite, MacDraw and another program all up at the same time on a 512K Mac with his Finder peeking through in the background. The new Finder has a lots of nifty features too besides multi-tasking. And it's fast.

Andy figures he'll be finished with the thing in mid-Summer. I asked him if he was under contract with Apple for the project and he said no. However, Apple (blue pin-stripe three-piece suits and all) will probably buy it anyway. They would be out of their minds not to.

By the way, Andy also showed off his patches to MDS and the system file which allow it to work properly under HFS. This patch is really bizzare and actually has more to do with the system file than MDS.

I think the man is some kind of mutant (in the good sense of the word), but if he keeps writing software like this, maybe we should ask the federal government to declare him some kind of national monument.

By the way, if your writing an application now to run with background tasks under Switcher, it will work correctly under his new Finder.

Amber Screen

From: DAVID ROBINSON

Who ever asked about the Amber screens here is the info straight from MacExpo: ORANGE DROP (S.A.S. ELECTRONICS INC.) 1-800-331-8133. They only want $99 to swap your tube (could be worth it for novelty sake!)

Just a quick word, a friend of mine set me straight on the Green/Amber/ Black & White debate. He says that Green is the optimum in low light conditions, Amber is for High Light conditions. BUT>>>> It seems that everybody defeats the purpose by turning up the brightness so high that no matter which tube they have it hurts there eyes!

ANSWER, don't bother changing your tube, just keep the brightness down to a reasonable level and allow your eyes to adjust to it. Take breaks every 15 min. and focus on something far away to relax the muscles in your eyes.

Apple rumor

From: BRETT

A VERY misinformed Macintosh owner at a local user group meeting told me in the STRICKEST confidence, that he had it from a source very close to Scully that Apple will be using a 8086 in the new Mac+. Where do these wild rumors start? ... I wonder, .... nawwwww.

 
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