Nov 87 Mousehole
|Column Tag:||Mousehole Report
By Rusty Hodge, Mousehole BBS
From: Frank Henriquez
Ive noticed a few programs that define the EventRecord as a constant.
Message: DC.L 0 etc..
Since EventRecord is very much a variable, isnt defining it as a constant, and therefore a code segment resident, a big mistake? (thereby asking for trouble with the 68020 and a real MMU).
From: Jim Reekes
Yes, defining the EventRecord (or any variable data) as a DC is a *serious* mistake. This code will break under future systems, and probably caching type processors like the 68020.
I believe this problem was started way back in the original Apple MDS Programmers Manual. In it, Apple printed example source code where the data records were defined as DCs. (probably just a lazy-mans way of avoiding the use of A5 offsets in their code :-)
Assembly in general
From: Frank Henriquez
Maybe its just me, but...assembly language on the Mac is fun, fast and EASY. 68000 assembly language is easy to learn and powerful, and using Mac specific routines is not much harder than in a high level language. Ive noticed that Im spending more time coding than I would if I were using C or Pascal (so, what was a structure again? go get the C book. Oh yeah, that right. Now, how do I make this routine work? grab Inside Mac. OK, got it...hours later, Ive forgotten what I was trying to do in the first place). IM is documented well enough that calling routines from assembly is no big deal. I guess all this talk about how difficult and tedious assembly language is is just a rumor spread by assembly language programmers trying to keep their job security...
From: Jim Reekes
I AGREE with Frank. 68000 assembly on the Mac is very easy, considering other computer systems. The Mac has more calls to be used from the ROM than most other development systems. The 68000 has a wealth of instructions and addressing methods. Loading up the stack is very easy for passing parameters for trap calls. MPW Asm is the only way to fly. But, if youve got a large scale program in development you might get lost. (as I did) So I switched to Pascal for the bulk of the code, then re-wrote the procedures that needed speeding up. All of this is easy enough under MPW. [The two problems with assembly is losing your train of thought as the program gets bigger, and the difficulty in debugging. With LSP for example, I can find a bug immediately. With assembly, I had to guess and go through several compile-link iterations. So I can generate much more code in the same time with Pascal. But there was a certain charm about doing it all in assembly Oh well. -Ed]
BYTE benchmarks: Mac vs. IBM
From: Arnold Woodworth
What really amazed me was the large discrepencies between the benchmark figures in the Mac ][ vs. IBM article and those in the Macintosh C compiler review (in the same issue of BYTE!!). Either something is wrong or a Mac Plus with a commercial C compiler is faster than a Mac ][. What did these guys use to run the benchmarks on the Mac ][? MS Basic? Dont laugh. If the Mac Plus benchmark times are divided by 4 (Mac ][ should be 4 times faster in theory), they make the figures of the Mac vs. IBM article look like they were run with an interpreter. BYTE should get the Mac C compiler reviewer and the IBM vs. Mac ][ authors together and make them do an article on the differences between their benchmarks. THAT would give us meaningful way to judge which machine is faster.
More MS bugs
From: Peter Griffith
Heres yet another bug in the MS 1.0 basic compiler: my data acquisition board sends the string +OVLOAD when the voltage exceeds the upper limit. Calling the function VAL(+OVLOAD) should return the number 0, but instead causes the stack to overflow onto the heap, resulting in a system error. Only thing to do is to check strings to make sure its a number before using VAL.
Apple Marketing Assistance
From: Pete Harbeson
How on EARTH does anyone get a straight answer out of Apple?? I called developer relations with a simple question (well _I_ thought it was simple) about any market research they might have access to focusing on the insurance/finance industry. They switched me to marketing research. THEY switched me to marketing. THEY switched me to some VERY strange office that seemed awfully paranoid that I was even talking to them (Uh...how did you get this number? You didnt get it from Apple, didja?). THEN I got sent back to the switchboard with instructions to ask for business marketing. They werent in (has anyone else noticed that Apple has entire departments that seem to take the day off together?!). GOOD GRIEF! Id send a letter to somebody, but itd probably just get sucked into some vast, endless, internal mailstrom at Apple and never get delivered (dont you think Im doing well to keep my sense of humor?) (he stomps away, gritting his teeth and muttering IBM software will be an easier sell in this industry anyway...grumble grumble...) [The Apple IIgs would suggest that Apple does not know what market research is and hence wouldnt know who should take your call. Does anyone know what identifiable market the IIgs is targeted for, given the pricing in comparison to a Mac? Apple representatives at the Paris Expo said 200,000 Apple IIgs systems have been sold so far. -Ed]
The eye strain is starting to get to me working on a CRT 8 hours a day, 5 days a week; not counting weekends. Does anyone have any advice or suggestions regarding the selection and purchase of a CRT screen filer (i.e. whats good, bad, etc.). Thanks in advance. [My eye doctor told me either give up computing and become a forest ranger, or plan on buying glasses in increasingly stronger lenses. At least my metal frames look nice -Ed]
From: Jim Reekes
Dirk, I personally bought and recommend a UV filter for the Mac. I believe mine was called Perfect Vue, or something close to that. The screen becomes a cool blue. I like it much better.
For those who might care; Apple developers will not be able to trade in their Monochrome monitors for RGB as the rest of the retail market can. It still costs less to simply purchase an RGB with the discount. [Apple Color monitors and 80 Meg hard disks are now shipping! I got both within the last few weeks. The tape units are supposed to ship shortly -Ed]
From: Frank Henriquez
MCM Electronics, a TV and electronics hardware supply company, is selling Macintosh flyback transformers for about $33.00... Then in EEN Times, theres an ad from Hamilton Electronics offering a 68020, 68881 and the PMMU for $400, all rated at 16 MHZ. If you can find someone willing to buy the 68020 & 68881, the PMMU would only cost about $130.
I read with great interest Andrew Singers comments in the August MacTutor regarding the future of Lightspeed on the II...seems System 4.1 really knocked them for a loop (and everyone else).. *however* I am wondering about the code that Lightspeed ver. 1.0 is presently generating...does it use any taboo addresses? In one of my LSP programs I call TrackControl for a scrollbar; my actionProc continuously redraws a drawing in the window to suit the value of the scrollbar. It works great under system 3.2 *but* <surprise!> causes an instant crash under system 4.1 the minute the scrollbar is clicked. Which gives me pause for thought, especially since I have now heard the rumor that code generated by LSP will not run on a Mac II. Well, I knew that Lightspeed itself wouldnt run (I dont have the beta 1.01 version, but then I dont have a II either), but if programs developed with Lightspeed 1.0 are incompatible with the II (or System 4.1!) through no fault of the programmer then that is Real Bad News. Can anyone confirm this or shed some light on Lightspeed-created code?
From: The Cloud
After reading the Color Life article in this months MacTutor, I noticed that it was written with LSP 1.1 for the II (obviously).. apparently it (the 1.1 version) was released at the Boston expo. Are the new libraries/interface files included in this update? And will my programs compiled with 1.0 run on a MacII? or do I have to get 1.1 and recompile them?
Oh, I wish I had an Ap-ple Mac-in-tosh Twoooo... Thats the Mac Id truly like to own... Cause if I had an Apple Mac-in-tosh Twooo.. Then Id probly really hiss and moan. (until things start getting fixed)
[LSP Ver. 1.1 is out as a patch program. I have it and it works great, since I compiled the Color Life program with it. And there are new libraries for all the Mac II stuff. It should be uploaded to Genie and CIS by now. -Ed]
I just heard that Apple is _NOT_ going to ship A/UX on 40MB tape... Theyre going to ship it on 80 MB drives!
Hmmm...A/UX on an external 80 Meg Drive gives new meaning to the phrase UNIX BOX.
LaserWriter driver weirdness
From: Jim Reekes
Question: What do you think will happen if I select to print pages 0 to 0 on the LaserWriter?
Wrong toner-breath. Check it out. It doesnt matter which application you use, its the LaserWriter drivers. Next I tried printing pages 0 to 9 using Word 3.01 and it continued to print the first page forever. I had to power off the printer.
From: Dave Kosiur
Just another note about HyperDrive/HyperCharger software upgrades. General Computer nows CHARGES for their system software upgrades! (I think its $30.00) They claim that its due to including a new Laser Spooler (they now use Thinks, not MacAmericas).
For those of you who are interested, the latest version of their software is V3R2, which is meant to work with Finder 5.5/System 4.1 (it does work), and includes special AppleTalk & Easy Access files for use with the HyperCharger.
FKEYS, FULLWRITE, WORKS1.1
Just found out that my FKeys will not work (either Apples or the ones I installed) when I open a file in Microsoft Works (or Excel). Word is ok as are all others Ive tested so far. Is this generally known or what? Received my Visa bill today & found the charge for FullWrite that I ordered weeks ago. So I guess its on the way (they promised not to charge me until it shipped). Saw in Microsofts flyer that version 1.1 of Works is available. But no details. Does anyone know anything about this? [Microsoft is making a big deal about Works now being available on the IBM PC! Is this a trend or what? And yes, it is 1.1 now. I just got it. There is no copy protection; you personalize your software instead. This is great! We commend Microsoft for this approach and encourage all software vendors to follow suit. VT100 emulation has been added. Label printing has been improved including the Imagewriter jam problem! The Zoom box is now supported so you cant grow a window on a large screen and then not be able to shrink it on a smaller screen. -Ed]
Does anyone out there know why xlisp 1.7 doesnt run on an SE?
From: Roy Hashimoto
I couldnt get xlisp to work on my Macintosh II, either, so I took the source code, fixed a few things to make it compatible with Lightspeed C, and rebuilt the whole thing.
It seems to work fine on the Macintosh II and on a Macintosh Plus, so I have great confidence that it will work on an SE. The only drawback is that I havent yet figured out how to do the interface to the Mac Toolbox, so the toolbox, toolbox-16, and toolbox-32 functions are disabled.
From: The Psuedohacker
Since I seem to be in a ragging mood lately, I thought Id mention that the current issue of MacWorld, the October Issue, has a very interesting editorial about computer journalists and their ethics or lack of them as the case may be. Throughout the editorial David Bunnell, Mr. PC World himself, mentioned certain examples and policies that his magazine never would be guilty of. For example if a product is poor, and users should stay away from it, Macworld will tell us, the readers. Also, their reviews, which carry alot of weight, are always very thorough and objective, uh-huh.
This comes from a magazine thats been known to not review products unless the publisher advertises in Macworld. They also just dont give negative reviews.
I cant honestly remember the last time I read a negative review in Macworld but I do have fond memories of the multi-page spread on how to clean a mouse, that they published a couple of years ago. [Funny you should mention the mouse article. It was that article that inspired the creation of MacTutor! You might call it a case of fluff overload. -Ed]