Jul 86 Mousehole
|Column Tag:||Mousehole Report
By Rusty Hodge, Mousehole BBS
In case you didn't notice, we were gone last month so that we could play catch-up with our period of down time to switch operating systems and software on MouseHole.
By the time you read this, we'll be running under ProDOS with the latest version of the SnAPP Electronic Messaging System. In case you're not too familiar with the old Apple //, the older operating system, DOS 3.3 is quite wimpy compared to ProDOS. (ProDOS is quite similar to HFS on a low level. DOS 3.3 is akin to MFS running under Finder 1.1g). So we're now faster and have more effecient storage.
Why don't we run MouseHole on a Mac you ask? A Mac is a terrible thing to waste on running a BBS 24-hours a day. MH runs on an old Apple //+ in the utility closet at our office. It has no monitor, just a Silentype printer (remember those?) that spews forth reams of log information. Exciting, huh?
Onto the good stuff. There are rumors of the Cad-Mac floating around. According to some, it has a 17 inch screen but the same pixel per inch density of the current Mac. You can have several applications open at once in the size of normal Mac windows, with plenty of left over room!
This month we have a lot of bugs and oddities to report. This is expected to go on for a long while; I wonder if the whole (Mac) world will be moved to HFS by Christmas?
The debate over the best terminal program goes on. Red Ryder is taking a lot of abuse, but if it was really a bad program, no one would care enough to talk about it, right?
-Rusty Hodge, Sys. Op.
From: Laser Dolphin
Finder 5.2 normally makes 400K disks MFS (non-hierarchical) volumes. Even if you have formatted a 400K disk with the Option key down, thereby making it an HFS volume, when you copy that volume in its entirety onto another 400K disk, the target disk is a flat volume with "little pretend folders" instead of true subdirectories.
An undocumented feature of Finder 5.2 is that, if you hold down Option when copying one 400K disk to another (by dragging the disk icon onto the other disk icon), the target volume will become an HFS volume, regardless of whether it was formatted that way in the first place.
From: MAC SCOTTY
In Finder 4.1 versions and later there is a resource called "LAYO". You can edit that resource with the ResEdit and tell the Finder not use ZoomRects when opening and closing windows or when launching programs. You can also tell it to have Icons always align on the grid so you don't have to do a cleanup all the time to straighten things out. You can also tell the finder not to ask you if it's OK to throw something in the trash or not, I get tired of having to remember the option key down!!! Try this stuff!!!!!
Just talked to Jay Friedland of Consulair Corp. this morning. For those of you writing DAs in Mac C, there is good news. A linker option is coming that will create a DRVR resource and header, and include a library of glue routines to the C open, close and control functions. Until that time (probably early Summer, but I didn't get a firm date) Consulair will continue to ship DeskMaker. However, they will also be shipping my DA header and macro source, shown in the April issue of MacTutor, as an alternative. They might also ship some other glue routines written by a few other folks. I think they'll put this stuff on one of the examples disks, but I'm not sure. If you're interested in a particular implementation of DA glue routines, now is the time to write Consulair and tell them. But don't worry too much, whatever they finally wind up using will be provided in source form for re-compilation.
For application programmers tired of writing all those glue routines for packages and Pascal calls, Bill Duvall is working on the finishing touches of a library which will cover ALL the functions now missing in Mac C. Bill is actually working from a variation of the library compiled and written by the B.M.U.G developers group. I'll be testing these new products, so I'll let you all know what's going on as soon as I can.
The Warp Nine external 800k drive is professionally packaged and there was a handwritten evaluation of the unit in the box. The Phaser 800K has all of the features of Apple's drive and it comes with a manual eject button. I have run several tests using both HFS and MFS and the drive works flawlessly. It is also extremely quiet. I have found that this drive is one of the best MacValues around. They also offer a one year warranty for $29.00 and a 30 day money back guarantee if not satisfied. If anyone is interested, Warp Nine can be reached at 800-328-6795 ext 433.
From: ROGER STEWART
The famous 8 pin Minidin connectors can be found at HB Associates (800) 423-3014.
ROM revisions (again, sigh)
From: STEVE BRECHER
At 400002, EE = Lonely Hearts (original) F4 = Lonely Hearse (rare) EA - Lonely Heifer (final). Two bytes of code changed (between Hearts and Heifer -- hardly anyone has Hearse) seems too little to get worked up about. [Hmm, if it was enough for Apple to pay the big $$ to make a mask change, it must have some importance...-Ed.]
An Upgrade for us 'Lonely Hearts'?
From: HIGH ORDER BYTE
I heard a rumor that Apple was going to make an upgrade available for people who have the older version of the ROM's. This is only rumor though. I can't see Apple charging the consumer to fix their own goofs. That's why I don't think it will ever happen. Wouldn't later versions of the System and/or Finder have patches to the ROM's for any serious bugs?
Every time a new version of something comes out, I get warnings of it. Like Systems 3.0. "It has bugs... use 3.1". Then I read Cserve and Apple condemns 3.1, and says to use 3.1.1. Then, I hear 3.1.1 has problems like trashing system files. Then, I hear that the 'NEW' Font/DA Mover 3.1 had problems too. [Aldus just sent a postcard to all Pagemaker registered owners that says that 3.1.1 can trash Pagemaker files and that Apple is working on it...-Ed.]
Is it safe to use ResEdit to cut and paste these DA's in? What's the deal with Apple? I mean, G's. Makes me feel like going back and using Finder 1.1g and System .97. (Well, not really)
From: JIM REEKES
Can someone explain what this means..... Hold down the Command-Shift-Option keys and choose 'About ResEdit...' What does "PIG Mode On" mean? Do it again and it makes "PIG Mode Off" PS, I wish I could claim discovery of this, but it was passed on to me by 'The Lone Falcon'.
ResEdit 1.0D11 Easter Eggs
From: LASER DOLPHIN
Various interesting "features" of ResEdit 1.0D7 and 1.0D11: Pig Mode <toggle Pig Mode by holding down Command-Option-Shift and selecting "About ResEdit">: When Pig Mode is ON, a 512K Mac with new ROMs takes much longer to open resources, and keeps the drive running "forever" when a resource has been opened. On a Mac+, ResEdit with Pig Mode on simply will not open resources, giving an error dialog instead. WHAT THE HELL IS PIG? Option-Command plus selecting "About ResEdit" gives an acknowledgement box instead of the standard About box. The standard About box has a picture of a bullet in it. If you have used the Chooser DA to give your system a name, that name appears in the case of the bullet. There's only enough room for about four characters. Is Apple saying there's a bullet with your name on it? The various About boxes are in ALRT resources 144, 145, and 146 in ResEdit 1.0D11. Happy hacking!
Servant? What's Servant?
How 'bout that Andy Hertzfield anyway? Remember a few months ago I told you all about a new Multi-Mac like version of the Finder that Andy was working on? Well, he's got a name for the thing now: Servant. According to my sources close to Mr. Hertzfield and inside the big Apple, Servant is now about 40% complete. It pretty much has all the Finder's functions plus it of course allows multiple applications to reside in memory and on the desktop at the same time. It is also only about 30K! No kidding. It requires at least a 1 meg of memory though. Last month (I think) Andy sold the first-look-at-the-source rights to Sculley and Co. for a mere six figures. He retained 100% of the publishing rights to Servant. Apple has the ball now. Andy told a Bay area users group that Apple plans to create a new Finder using Andy's ideas. If Apple does it right, Andy won't interfere or complete Servant. He's unofficially giving Apple a month to come up with something, but he says he thinks our friends in Cupertino are going to screw it up. And if this too comes to pass, he's going to complete Servant by the end of '86 and sell it for about $40. Expect freebie betas to appear by the end of July though. Overall I'd say this is pretty good news.
The main problem between Apple and Andy seems to be that Andy has a much grander view of what an operating enviroment for the Mac should be. When Servant is complete, Andy feels it should also have a resource editor built right into it. Along with some other features, which I'll mention in a bit, Andy says Servant will wind up at about 70K. It eats a lot of memory though, about 100K for screen buffers alone. Personally, I'm not losing sleep over lost RAM.
By the way, Servant is at minimum, 4 times faster than the present Finder. Andy acomplishes this by not using the Resource Manager, and since he wrote most of it I suppose he can get away with this. Since the Finder bogs down keeping track of too many resource maps, Andy's Servant 'unwinds' all resource information into one gigantic array for easy traversing. No, I'm not sure what this means either, but this is how it was explained to me. Anyway, Servant is fast.
Servant will also have a dandy query function. With this you'll be able to search and sort files quickly on huge HFS volumes.
Andy is also one-upping DAs by introducing 'Servant Tasks,' functions that can execute in the background. This means downloading, print spooling and other stuff. Andy may even do away with the 'Apple' menu altogether and place DAs as icons on the desktop. It boggles the mind. I'll keep you posted on further developments.
News from Tecmar: TDisk, Tecmar's SCSI hard disk for the Mac+, has been "temporarily" suspended. Originally targeted for release 2/28, then 4/30, problems finding a "reliable 3 1/2 drive" caused the delays. The reason for the suspension wasn't told to me. Although I can't say much about it, there is an alternative product that is receiving alot of attention at Tecmar. Let's say "it requires the MacServe software to be really useful." (and I quote). It's big and fits in the OLD MacDrive cabinet. Drives are half high, using a new controller, and the current large capacity (can't say) can be doubled by putting another drive in the cabinet. Can't say any more. You didn't hear it from me.
From: PAUL HELLER
Got a Plus and ImageWriter 2 the other day ... about an hour after I got everything set up, I was fooling with the Mac when I heard some spitting sounds coming from the direction of the printer. I looked over to my left to see a really scary-looking cloud of white smoke billowing out of the Imagewriter, accompanied by spitting and popping noises. I lunged for the power cord, yanked it, and pulled the cover off the printer ... by this time the room was filled with acrid smoke. Seems it was the paper feed motor on the left side; it sizzled when I touched it with a wet finger, and the plastic nearby was getting soft. No doubt this is just a spectacular case of infant mortality ... but it's sobering. I don't think I'll leave my printer on overnight anymore ...
Red Ryder Opinion
From: GARY VOTH
I have kept silent about Red Ryder for many months while others have sung it's praises here and in print. It has achieved something akin to cult status among Macintosh devotees. Those in the know say that the program's author, Scott Watson, is the only major "shareware" author for the Macintosh that has made any money. That may be, but in my opinion, RR is the ugliest Macintosh program in wide use, and one for which I would not pay for. At the risk of tooting my own horn (and making enemies out of some of you RR buffs), my own shareware program Communique, which is written in interpreted BASIC, is miles ahead of RR in terms of its user-interface and "style" of operation. I'm NOT suggesting that Communique, which is intended for novice to intermediate users, is as powerful as or can substitute for a program like RR, but only that Red Ryder could be brought a long way towards respectability by its author. John Dvorak once wrote in InfoWorld that Scott had complained to him that he has sold a few thousand copies of RR but that he never gets mentioned in the magazines. I think if you look at the program you will see why: It is written BY a hacker FOR hackers.
If you were using ASCII Express, you probably fall into the "power user" category. My recommendation would be to check out both the HFS-compatible version of Hayes's SmartCom II, and MicroPhone, which I believe is being distributed by Software Ventures. SmartCom II is simply wonderful. It is non-intimidating enough for beginners (even to the point of being "cute"), but has a powerful auto-pilot facility with which you can automate most of your tele-communications. MicroPhone (which I haven't yet seen) is written by Dennis Brothers, author of MacTEP and creator of the MacBinary protocol, and is said to be very powerful. Brothers, who may be the ultimate Mac telecommunications hacker, seems to have gotten his "human factors" right on this one too. Both of these packages offer TTY and DEC VT-100 emulation. Neither will work with synchronous 3270 protocols; keep MacTerminal around for that. I think they're the best general purpose terminal packages around, but there are others that offer a wider variety of emulation modes. Telescape from Mainstay is one. InTouch is also good. Tekalike offers Tektronics graphics terminal emulation, should you need it. Good luck. Gary.
From: MAC SCOTTY
I think that RedRyder is simply the best package available! It does everthing you could possibly want to do. It sounds like someone may be jealous of Scott Watson's program!!
Here's my two cents worth on Red Ryder ... Scott Watson's Red Ryder has got to be one of the ugliest damn Mac programs I've ever seen (the original version of MacNosy being the worst). Being a professional graphic designer, illustrator and typographer, I think I can say this with some confidence; RR's menus are poorly organized and cluttered with icons, making it difficult to read and use. Its menus are also poorly worded, making them confusing. RR has an inconvenient method of editing macros. Using RR is not completely intuitive. I can go on and on, but ... Red Ryder works! And it works well. It's supported and it's constantly being improved by its author. It might just be the most powerful terminal program available for the Mac. However, I don't use it. Why? Simply because it's ugly and poorly organized. I'm sorry, but even a product as powerful as RR is dimmished by bad design. I use Dennis Brothers' MicroPhone. MicroPhone is not as powerful as RedRyder. Even Dennis Brothers would admit that. However, when I first received even a beta copy of MicroPhone, in less than fifteen minutes I had written three macros for my favorite BBSs. The release version is even easier to use. I still can't get RR to work properly. The macro utility works better now in 8.0 but it's still incredibly stupid design. Yes, stupid. Thinking about it again, perhaps I was wrong about which program is more powerful. Anyway, it's someone elses turn on the soapbox now. -- Don
RR AND RRH
From: SALTY DOG
I've been using Red Ryder since 5.0 came out and absolutely love it. The versions 7.0 and 8.0 have an excellent macro recorder. All versions have been most reliable with MacBinary and Xmodem/CRC. The program is easy to use and is upgraded to the many changes in the Mac world much faster than any other program. Now with the roundtable on Genie, Scott is in daily contact with his users. The most exciting thing for me, however, is what's lying up ahead. Scott has promised a high-res BBS version of Red Ryder Host and an accompanying version of Red Ryder. Later....Salty
From: THE ATOM
More on the Red Ryder debate... Red Ryder is ok, the ONLY reason I use it is because you don't have to open a document to get the settings, and you can switch from 1200-2400 baud without pulling down a menu.. on the minus side... the xmodem transfer is terrible! Before 8.0 I got maybe 1 download out of 50 that worked. Now its up to 45 out of 50 but I've had it trash a couple of my disks completely, so that they give a system error when you stick them in! (no eject,init at all).. The save off top option is really strange, and the text selection doesn't work too well either. What do I do now? I switched to Microfone. which if you haven't seen, look at it, its great!! The xmodem works perfect, tells you a lot more info during the transfer than red, and I've never had it go out to never-never land during a transfer (fast too)..
It also has Watch Me mode (I think it had it before RR not sure tho) that will make you a macro by just logging on to a BBS. AND its macro capabilites are incredible, almost like a languange with loops / if-then-else, repeat until, send/receive /wait for text..etc.. about 30 commands. And you can set up macros at the bottom of the screen as buttons, so you don't have to switch the "mode" at the top like red.
But the thing I dislike most about RR, is that its window is fixed and you can't resize or move it. DA's are virtually useless since you can't have them open while on a system. And whenever Hertzefield releases his Multi-mac finder, you'll be able to see your other applications behind Microfone and select them, instead of using a switcher-like command key or menu choice ala the old Multimac (going from paint to finder).
From: THE DUMACKER
RR9.1- this came and went so fast I didn't see it.
RR9.2- I have yet to have this thing blow out on me!
The biggest problem I have seen with X-Modem on 9.2 is using the "Supercharged" feature. I find this inoperable on Baudville and Macville. I see it as only being a slight problem in tim time timing! Oh yeah, it doesn't work on Genie either.
From: TIM HEWITT
Here are a few known bugs in the current release of System/Finder/Chooser [3.1.1]. These came from a techie at General Computer, and will soon be announced with fixes in an Apple release.
#1) The Resource Manager in the 128k ROMs, has a problem with odd sized resources. Be very careful, as this bug can trash your system totally, and if you are running a hard drive -any brand- it may cause your hard drive to be unreadable.
#2) Chooser does not call _UpdateResFile after you change your printer options. This means the new printer info is not written out to disk in some cases. Suggested fix- run chooser from within another app only. This will guarantee that the changes get written out when the application closes normally.
#3) Finder 5.2 does not close and update open resources when exiting via Shut Down. This can cause corruption of the resouce map and leave the file unreadable. [Aldus just sent a postcard to registered owners saying 3.1.1 can trash Pagemaker Files. Could this be related? -Ed.]
The latest unofficial word from Apple (I called about this) is we may see System 3.2 released with the RM bugs fixed, and the rest of the bug chasing will continue into 3.3. If not there will be a fix (installer scripted) for problems, and a new Finder. It depends on a couple of other known bugs planned to be fixed in 3.2, being fixed. When 3.2 is released, a new Finder and Chooser will accompany it. If you know of any bugs in the ROMs, let them know at Tech Support and maybe we can get them fixed in this release.
The New Mac
Gee....it has been a while since we've had any rumors on a new Mac. I thought I'd pass this one on so we all can clear desk space for it. A friend is a developer for a Mac product that is highly dependent on the dimentions of the Mac Case. He has been talking to Apple recently and they gave him dimensions for the new Mac. Almost exactly the size of the Imagewriter I... appoximately 16x12x5. That's the CPU box of course..Guess I'll have to remodel my MacTable
I wish I had some great information about new coprocessors or terrific new architechture. We all know what it will probably have. And now I have seen an Apple supplied sample of the plastic to be used in the case of "Johnathon". It will be PLATINUM GREY....at least that is how Apple refers to it. Light in color, around the same density as the current Mac. Time to call the interior decorator and get rid of all this beige!
External INIT resources
From: BOB DENNY
You can have an INIT resource that gets run during boot without putting it into the system file. Just put your private INITs into a file of type RDEV and put the file into the "blessed" folder on HFS (anywhere on boot volume for MFS).
Parameter RAM & Debugging w/Symbols
From: DON L
The "Chooser" never seems to update parameter RAM. It only modifies the low memory copy at SysParam (20 bytes at $01F8). To force the update of parameter RAM you must change a setting in the "Control Panel". The control panel always seems to update parameter RAM immediately.
Here's a tip for those of you who like the way the high level languages put symbol names in the code segment for the Mac debuggers to find, but want to get the same effect from assembly language. The debuggers are keyed to the LINK...UNLINK combination followed by a RTS or a JMP instruction. They look at the eight bytes following the RTS or the JMP and take them as the symbol name. The eight bytes should not contain any lower case characters. The following two examples show how to code this with and without parameters passed on the stack.
MOVEA.L (SP)+,A0 ; return address
ADDA #mmm,SP ; parameter byte count
From: CHIEF WIZARD
Just as an added note on the previous post, the common method of storing the name after the routine has the high bit set on the first character only. Some debuggers rely on this, and some don't. Also, be sure to have EXACTLY eight characters. Pad with spaces if your name is shorter than 8.
Softworks Business Basic
Just got my copy of Softworks BUSINESS Basic (same as their PERSONAL Basic with ISAM file stuff added). Well, it does a terrible job with HFS, just like the PERSONAL Basic. You can still run it and get around all the incompatibility problems, but you've got to understand why it doesn't work. Hope they get their act together.
I tried version 3.0 of ZBASIC and it was the pits. Looks like they have not worked out all the bugs. I typed in a couple of simple statements in the editor mode and returned to the command mode and... BOMB!!! Also it looks like they made too much effort in trying to keep their BASIC compatible with other machines. Most serious programmers will use the toolbox for most applications anyway (Toolbox commands are not transportable from one machine to another). They told me last week that version 3.2 was soon to be released. Hope they fix it. They said they haven't sent any copies to MacUser, MacWorld, Macazine, NibbleMac or myself (MacTutor). I wouldn't send out my unfinished product to them either. [That's interesting because they sent me a copy of 3.01 so they must think it's ready for review. -Ed.] Dave
Mac vs Amiga
From: FRANK HENRIQUEZ
I got my Amiga a couple of months ago, so I guess that means I'm an "expert" on the pros and cons of the Mac and the Amiga. In terms of hardware, the Amiga is really wonderful; great graphics (in color, if you're into color...) stereo sound, nice high powered co-processor chips to do all the dirty housekeeping for the CPU and a true expansion slot (not to mention serial and parallel ports and 3 video outputs...) The Mac is a swell little machine, and a true work of art, in terms of design, but it's quite limited in terms of hardware. (You're probably thinking I've been brainwashed by Commodore Software. Ah yes... THAT.
The Mac wins hands down on this one, and in a big way. I have yet to see an Amiga program that can compare in quality to an equivalent Mac program.
In part, this is due to the truly moronic and amateurish operating system and development tools (the OS is refered to as "AmigaDOG") good ol' Finder 1.1 would be an improvement over it's Amiga equivalent, the Workbench. A good deal of the problem lies in the details; the Amiga lacks a standard user interface, like the Mac's and what there is in terms of standards is at a very low level. The Amiga has a long way to go to catch up with the Mac...at least in software.
From: BOB DENNY
I have been using Lightspeed C for the past month or so. It's really a delight to use. However, those of you contemplating the switch should be aware of the following:
(1) int's default to 16 bits. Like Lisa Pascal, but a pain when converting applications written in other Mac C's. Bogus assumption for 68020 with 32-bit "bus". I almost think it's bogus in any case, since the "natural" word size is 32-bits.
(2) There is a 400+ byte "preamble" (CODE-1) of code on the front of ANYTHING that Lightspeed makes ... drivers, DA's, CODE resources... as well as apps. This makes it useless for FKEY's, INIT resources and many driver applications. The preamble contains code blocks for handling switch statements, long multiplies & divides and some other language ops that they implemented in threaded code.
(3) CODE resources cannot use static data (ref'd off of A5 or A4), but Lightspeed won't even compile such code. Why not let "us" handle global area setup and A4/A5 setup in ASM? Did that in Consulair; can't do it in Lightspeed.
(4) RelConv won't deal with "resource" code. So you can't link things like PROC resources, etc.
Despite the preceding, I use Lightspeed for almost everything. What I can't do in Lightspeed I just do in MDS assembler/linker. It's really wonderful with TMON, which shows the routine name & other symbols because the Lightspeed linker can put symbol info into executable image like the Lisa linker. AW-REET!
To use LightSpeed with stuff not in the MacTraps library, you can do the following undocumented trick:
pascal void foo() = 0xA123;
This declares a function foo with void return to be a toolbox trap A123. The "void" can be replaced by come other type of function return type. The function can be called with an arbitrary number of args. This sweet little extension allowed me to write an H file for the list manager and completely avoid glue routines. The only bad part (and I don't give a damn) is that the compiler doesn't type check the args. Awwww....
Now if they just hadn't defined INTs to be 16 bits ...
TRUE BASIC RELEASED
Addison-Wesley has released true Basic for the Mac and this baby looks great! My favorite benchmark runs in 0.95 sec which makes it faster than an HP 9836! And it has matrix operations including inverse. In fact the Basic looks very much like HP Basic with blocked If Then Else constructs. More next month!