Sep 86 Mousehole
|Column Tag:||Mousehole Report
By Rusty Hodge Mousehole BBS
Anaheim Expo A Mixed Success!
The Anaheim MacExpo was moderately small, but that is because it was only two weeks before the giant Boston Mac show. However, it did seem to have a lot of smaller developers there that might have been lost at a bigger show. Some of my favorites were Mac WeedMan (Nova Electronics & Software, Riverside, CA), an "advanced lawn care management program" , Parameter Manager (SMS Inc., San Jose, CA), a system for analyzing technical data and DataSpace's Laser Server (Ontario, Canada). The Laser Server is a multi-user Appletalk print server, or a 2 megabyte printer buffer if you must, but a real time saver for those who spend their time in que for the LaserWriter. If the price is too high, Mac America had a software Laser spooler that does the same thing for only $99! And I almost forgot, what promises to be the new standard in word processing, HabaWord. Imagine more power than Microsoft Word but easier to use than MacWrite. Imagine multiple on-screen columns. Thanks to Vision Technologies (1-800-MAC-DISK) for demonstrating it.
Of course our PizzaFest was most fun of all. As always we ran out out of power outlets, but Jim Reekes described it best:"Where's the power outlets"? (chomp...chomp...munch...slurp.) "Could you gimme another piece of that one with the olives?" (...chomp...chomp.) "Anyone got another Appletalk connector"? [moments later] "Yer Jim Reekes,...really? I expected you to look like some....hey, where'd ya get that shirt"?"
Jim was wearing this incredible shirt covered with computers of all sorts, including a Lisa with the old twiggy drives. I got slaughtered at Maze Wars as always and there was a curious crowd of Disneyland tourists watching us play for the longest time! (The pizza parlor was a block down the street from Disneyland). Now, can we do it again in Boston? [Just give the word Rusty -Ed]
Thanks where thanks is due: Michael Sackett's Cleanup program is indespensible when it comes to putting this column together. Cleanup lets you take four "target strings" in a file and replace them with something else, including both printable and control characters. Thanks Michael! Want a password to the Mousehole? Write to us at the address shown above in our article header with enclosed SASE.
I've got a Mac+ with an external 800k drive, running HFS and I've been trying to initialize a 400k disk that has at least 394k free. No matter how I format it I can't get it to give me more than 387K free! The disk doesn't need to be HFS, I just need 394k. does anyone know how I can get a disk with that much free? What happens to the other 13k anyway?
In the old days before HFS, Apple had a K = 1000 bytes. With the advent of HFS they decided to do things the old fashioned way (the correct way) and make a K = 1024 bytes. This means that the disk still holds the same amount of information and reports the K correctly!
Hard Disk Backup
I haven't tried this on non-Apple drives, but I have used a GREAT backup program on the HD20. It is called MegaCopy from Dantz Software Development in Berkeley. MegaCopy supports date/time, FileType, and individual file selection, splits files across volumes, verifies after writing, uses a fast buffering system, etc., etc. And, because it uses the file system correctly, should work on any "standard" drive. One problem, it works ONLY ON MAC+. No, this is not an ad. It's just a great program.
System 3.2, Finder 5.3, Hyperdrive20 and lots of problems
I have a Hyper 20 in my Mac+. I am running the new 3.2 system, etc, and the other day, a friend came over with his SCSI hard disk to transfer some "new warez" onto my hyper. I run HFS in one single drawer and have had no problems except after he leaves, the boot blocks seem to get written over or something. I can transfer system and finder off the floppy back onto the hyper and it works for 3 or 4 more boots, then crashes again. The only solution is to reformat the drive and restore all the files. Is this a System 3.2 bug with SCSI? Is my Hyper a piece of poop? (I like it..) Help!
"Don't make the startup drawer HFS. Keep it a MFS drawer. The rest of them can be HFS. You should make a minimal startup drawer. Then make the rest of the space whatever you want."
800K MFS Disks
If you want 800K MFS disks all you have to do is take any initialized 800K disk and erase it with an old version of finder (i.e. version 4.1). It seems to works just fine and so do those programs that don't yet support HFS.
Warp Nine Drives
R. L. Sandefur (MouseHole Mailbox)
While I have no doubt that ISOEMAC experienced the problems reported in the May 1986 MacTutor MouseHole Report, my experience with Warp 9 in both their support and business practices has been entirely satisfactory. I ordered my hard disk (Warp 20) on 04-May 86; it was promised by 11-May 86. I felt the instructions for installing the Warp 20 were a bit terse for putting a $900 piece of equipment in a $3,000 computer but when I called Warp 9, the talked me right through the unclear parts. In using the Warp 20 (v1.6.1) with the Manx 1.06g Shell and MS Fortran 2.1 and the MFS (as opposed to HFS) and new ROMs in a 512K Mac, I had no problems. If I have a system crash due to applications I am developing, I reboot and reinstall the SCSI disk using the 3.5 inch diskette provided by Warp 9. One concern under the MFS which could be a problem under the HFS is that the Warp 20 MFS allocates files in 35K blocks.Warp 9 provides the least expensive 20 Meg internal hard disk for the Mac (as far as I know). If ISOEMAC's experience with Warp 9 an isolated event it would a shame if they got a bad reputation.
Bought my Warp Nine 20 Meg SCSI last week and was pleased for a day. Had been waiting for a hard drive since Feb '84! Have lost maybe 10 files since then, have had to reformat and am not knocked out by the speed. DiskBench3 came back with numbers around 3700 with access time=263. Thought I was getting a bargain until I called SuperMac Technologies and found that their new developer's price was $695! And next month they'll be giving out a free backup program... Guess I'll be taking advantage of Warp Nine's 30 day money back... Anyone have experience with SuperMac's 20meg drive???
I previously asked if anyone had a Micah AT20 internal drive. Only one of you guys responded. Having various connections, I was able to get the drive at near dealer cost. This drive is just like a Hyper. The speed is practically identical. It's quiet, uses an internal fan, and it's own SCSI port. Fully HFS compatible!! Apple's ROMs, variable partitions, etc. I love it. I've been putting it through the mill and absolutely no complaints. I recommend the drive wholeheartedly.
TML 1.1 bug w/MFS?
Does anyone here know of a bug in TML Pascal v1.1 w/MFS? Here are the symptoms: same source file, same compiler and linker, same disks...... two different applications created. Both show the same size per get info at the finder but, in the heap, the one on HFS has a code segment size of 1BEA and the one on MFS is only 38C in size (per TMON). Sounds like the problem lies in the linker. What tipped me (actually, me and Don) was that the one on MFS didn't work properly w/ command keys. So I go over to Don's and recompile it and it worked (thought I was ready for a nice padded cell at this point). Take the disks home, rename the application created at Don's and try again. Still didn't work. Does anyone one have any insight into this or is this REALLY weird?
More great tech tips
Whilst in the mini-monitor, type "G 40F6D8" and exit to the Finder. (ROM address of _ExitToShell for you programmer heads) Hidden feature for ImageWriter //s and the driver version 2.3. You can select between bi-directional and non bi-directional printing by (are you ready for this one).... Choose Print from the file menu, don't click on OK yet. First hold down the "Option-Shift-Cap Locks" keys, then click on OK. Now you'll forever be printing in bi-directional mode. To select single directional print again, choose Print, then hold down the "Command-Option-Shift-Caps Lock" keys and click OK. This must be a soft-switch in the ImageWriter drivers. Because it retains this setting until you select the other mode.
Also, "Set Startup" only works if an application is in the blessed folder.
The bi-directional printing in standard mode on a Imagewriter ll is faster, but, not ideal. After printing from draw I can understand why Apple has not been overly anxious to tell all users about this obscurely documented feature. Vertical lines look weird, and sometimes text looks weird too. Also it don't work in paint-like printing (read that as MacPaint, Fullpaint, Comicworks Paint cutter, etc.). It ain't easy to line those little bitty dots up across lines!
Alan Wootton screwed me for my 40th birthday (yup ...). He gave me a copy of SmallTalk-80. I have been sorta interested for a while. Well, it's pretty terrific. A great workout for us old stodgy programmers with silver threads amongst the missing. Anyone else got into it yet? As a side issue, I build a "PAP" device driver that allows you to do normal "PB" calls to send PostScript to the LaserWriter. (See this issue of MacTutor). Anyway, I've added laser printing to the SmallTalk-80 system (PAP driver & fileIn goodie). I was up at Apple today & was surprised to find out that they hadn't done a LaserWriter package for SmallTalk-80! So I gave them mine & they said it will probably be included with the next release. Enough bragging, anyone interested in SmallTalk-80? I feel like a real junior birdman, but I LOVE it.
I just downloaded a demo reminder program and have run across some VERY disturbing behavior. I ran it once to see what it did, DIDN'T install it, and forgot about it for a while. This morning, when I went to open my downloads folder, the mouse froze the second the window started drawing. Had to reboot, tried this several times, same thing each time. Deleted the offender using Developers Tools DA, rebooted and the 1st time, I was OK - however, it went back to it's evil ways after that. Replaced the system file. Duplicated the folder, tried to trash the original - no luck, busy/locked files it said. Went thru and deleted everything I could (certain folders that hadn't been touched in weeks were Locked, it said). Finally got rid of the original, but the duplicate folder is just as frozen. Opening the folder freezes the mouse - period. I'm using system 3.2 with Finder 5.3 straight from Apple - no funny FKEYs or anything Does anybody have any idea what the heck's going on? I don't get the feeling that the reminder program is consciously a Trojan horse, but it could be very dangerous, it seems. All help will be greatly appreciated.
Wow. I have been using the Apple HD20 now for a few months. (I like it) It is storing about 550 files or 15mb. I am real careful about fragmenting the disk, and about every other month I format a fresh drive and install all my files on the new HD20. (Good thing I work at a dealership) Out of curiosity I wanted to find out how fragmented the old drive may have become. According to FEdit+ the old drive had a Fragmentation Index of 0.11 whatever that means. Sometimes it got a high as 0.15. Anyway, on the fresh disk the index was 0.00. Hurray. I check the drives with Get Info from the Finder and the new drive has an extra 300k of space. Hmmmm. By Finder copying all the files from one HD20 with 15mb to another blank HD20, I gained 300k of storage! Nope, this had nothing to do with the DeskTop file. I wiped it out before testing. The moral is, Initialize your HFS hard drives on a regular basis. This will also speed up the drive access time.
Just received DataFrame from SuperMac and am quite pleased. ($695 developer price is nice too!). Disk bench3 gave numbers of 2138/2113 read/write and access of 534. My Warp nine (which is going back tomorrow) was 3727/3742 and 251. The Warp Nine kept losing files (Sorry, that file had to be skipped!@*#) and was quite noisy. The DataFrame seems faster but also suffers from a soft squeeking noise. Hmmmm. Anyway, it is HEAVEN to finally have a hard disk! Let's here it for 400K of fonts and 15 desk accessories!!
RAMsafe & Hard Drives
When using Servant .75 and RAMsafe I have found that when you use the shutdown feature from Servant the supposed Non-volatile RAMsafe becomes volatile! Servant's shutdown clears RAM even with RAMsafe. The only company that had anything excitingly new at Anaheim MacExpo was Peak Systems. They introduced a 65MB hard disk that features an advertised 23 millisecond access time and a list price of 2495.00! A friend of mine was so impressed he purchased one on the spot. We ran DiskBench 3.0 and received access times of 122 and 136. As far as I know this is the fastest Mac Hard Disk currently available. The Peak drives also come with a 1 year warranty.
No Startup Screens
I've had a couple of friends tell me that they've had some wierd things happen with the new system software and Startup Screens. Now I hear that Apple does not recommend using Startup Screens with System 3.2, and may remove the capability for them in future Systems. Too bad, I thought it was one of little things that made the Mac 'personal'.
Re: "Apple will be introducing more new products in the next twelve months than in the past nine years." Scully said the same thing on the CompuServe conference. Are they including minor items like joysticks and interface cards? Best I can tell, not counting minor items, Apple introduced about 12 major products in 9 years (Apple I, Apple II, II+, //e, //c, Mac, Mac Plus, Apple ///, Lisa, LaserWriter, DMP, Imagewriter, IW II, (There's 13 already) Scribe, three modems, five monitors). When you deduct the non-major items from that list, you are left with about a dozen. Prediction: New products will be announced on Sept. 15th. Rationale: the rebate program for the // series ends on Sat, Sept. 13th.
The new 16 bit Apple // is based on the 65xxx (forgot the last three digits) a bastardized version of the 6502. Internally, it looks like a souped up 6809 with fancy instruction and bank select registers. It certainly isn't as nice as a 68000, but it'll make a neat upgrade for the Apple 6502 family. 68020 are the way to go for high powered machines. Motorola is really aiming at dropping the price of the 68020 and 68881, and they've just released a 20MHZ version of the 68020. There are rumors that they're working on the 68040...which is basically a super pipelined 68020 (with a separate data bus for the instruction cache). In a year or so, it'll probably be cheaper (more bangs/buck) to design a computer with a 68020 than with a 68010 or 68000. Forget Intel; it's actually kinda sad that they've based all their "modern" CPU's on the old 8008. (The 80287 is to some degree compatible with the 8008. Wow. Lots of Mark-8 software out there...I've heard there's a great teletype driver on paper tape available for the 8008.)
Had a chance to see the MegaScreen at the Business Forum. Very nice indeed. 19" 1,000x900 monitor that lets you get a full size pagemaker document up at full size. The price is a little hard to swallow with all the competition coming up. Had a talk with a developer who is working with some of the other monitor makers, says that Burrell Smith's new monitor is a verticle and will be very competitive in pricing. Almost forgot to mention the price........Megascreen is $2,995. Awfully nice!!!
Faster SetIText Operation?
I have a dialog that has about 80 static text fields in them.The data is all 3-5 characters long and my problem is that it is incredibly slow. It takes almost 5 seconds to print to 80 fields. I am using SetIText(itemHandle,string); what I need is some kind of alternative to this. I am convinced that it is the rom call that is causing the speed problem.
The way I solved the problem (just in case anyone was wondering) is I stored the rectangles that get returned when I call GetDItem into an array that is indexed the same way my static text fields are; then to print text to the field, I do an EraseRect, a MoveTo and a DrawString based on which rectangle/field is indexed. It turned out to be about 4000 times faster (literally).