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Dec 88 Mousehole
Volume Number:4
Issue Number:12
Column Tag:Mouseholé Report

Apple Price Increases

By Rusty Hodge, Contributing Editor, Mousehole BBS SysOP

Because this is the international edition, we thought we’ originally planned to translate the entire article into Japanese. However, since MacTutor doesn’t have the Kanjii fonts for the LaserWriter, it was decided just to pretend that the column was translated into Japanese and back to English again (like the rest of the magazine was!).

From: wayne (Wayne Correia, Cupertino, CA)

Subject: Re: New Hardware

The Mac //x is a 16 Mhz. 68030 with a 68882 math coprocessor. The new floppy drive and SWIM chip (Super Woz Integrated Machine) allows the reading and writing of Mac formatted 400k/800k/1.44mb disks, 800k Apple ProDos, 720k/1.44mb IBM formatted disks. The logic board is available as an upgrade for a little over $2000 and the drive and SWIM chip upgrade is available for $599.00 The 68030 has built-in memory management, so a 68851 PMMU is not required for A/UX operation. The base machine also comes with 4 Meg RAM on the motherboard, and room for 4 more. The ROMS are now mounted on an Apple ROM-SIMM board that plugs into a SIMM socket where the old 28 pin DIP ROMS used to be. Also, If you are only interested in the 1.44 drive, you can just buy the drive kit which installs in any Mac II. I have had one of these on my desk for about two months, and the //x is VERY compatible with Mac applications!

From: wildman (Randy Saunders, Upland, CA)

Subject: Getting Turned Down for developership

Yes it does seem the rule is “Will you be selling something at ComputerLand in 24 months”. Nothing against ComputerLand, but I have always chaffed at this particularly dumb rule of Apple’s. If you do contract programming as a consulting engineer it seems they think developership is above you. It doesn’t matter if you have contracts with the US Government (the world’s biggest computer buyer) Apple doesn’t think you are serious.

If you aren’t trying to eek out your existence selling software to “the rest of us” then they will do everything within their power to stand in your way. Never mind that the people I consult with buy the brand of computer I say the software I wrote for them runs on, period, no other factors come into the matter. I can only guess it is a hold over from the Jobs days when Apple saw itself making the next great electric toaster and thought that every home would have one. With the new and increased price of a Mac II, this camper just doesn’t see the sense in it.

My comment is, no matter what stupid things Apple does, if you just stand by and they’ll do something stupider soon. Thanx to good people in the Mac community (the folks on MouseHole in particular) support from Apple is just not the kind of thing you’ve got to have. Its easier to live without them than put up with their bulloney.

[Of all the questions on the Apple Developer Question form, the only one that they seem to pay attention to is “Will your product be on the market within the next 24 months?”. If you answer no to that, you’ll become a “Mailing List Class” developer, which means you’ll get tech notes and newsletters, but nothing much more. - Rusty]

From: andyc (Andy Cohen, Walnut, CA)

Subject: Problem with Floppy reliability tests

The problem with doing a floppy disk reliability study is that the manufacturers change their quality control over time. The good ones start to go bad and the bad ones start to get better until after a year or two any ratings made are totally invalid.

From: billd (Bill Dugan, Huntington Beach, CA)

Subject: nVIR

We made the acquaintance of the nVIR virus recently at UC Irvine’s school newspaper. We’ve got a 290MB file server running AppleShare, with about 7 SE’s with hard drives and 4 with floppies accessing it. Shared applications. Shared viruses. Now the virus is everywhere you look. I ‘vaccinated’ all the startup volumes with the May MacTutor as a reference guide. But does anybody know if nVIR is really a problem? Has anybody lost any data? (Don’t quote some yokel from MacTutor or something who insists every new MacWrite release causes problems with his MacPaint 1.0.) We got the “Don’t Panic” Macintalk message a couple times (after signing off NetTrek, so it happens) but that’s the only effect.

From: rusty (Mr. Rusty Hodge, Orange, CA)

The biggest problem with nVIR is that it doesn’t seem to be too compatible with 6.0.2. We were getting semi-random crashes until we realized we had it and eliminated it.

[Just when we thought that the virus epidemic was over, we were hit. Of course, this happened about 4 days before a major project deadline. Moral: always check for viruses, and back up your entire hard disk weekly - Rusty]

From: billd (Bill Dugan, Huntington Beach, CA)

All I’ve done so far is patch the System files, with an INIT 32 that contains a $4E75, and then deleted all the nVIR resources and replaced them with empty ones, ID 0 through 7. Haven’t messed with applications yet at all. Interferon did detect nVIR on one hard drive (Virus RX did NOT!) and I found out by surprise that it eradicates the virus by deleting the applications! Whoops.

More on Apple’s Price Increases

From: gregf (Greg Finnegan, Tustin, CA)

[...continued from last month]

I [definitely] can’t say that I approve of the price increases for Apple products, but then again, you have to remember that this is a capitalistic society -- a company is free to charge whatever it feels the market will bear. RAM increases aside, I imagine some bean counter at Apple sat down with his new copies of Excel and worked out a cute little linear programming problem that took into account Apple’s production capabilities and subsequent demand for each product in their line: Bean Counter: Well, if we raise prices on products x, y and z, we will eliminate n% of the demand (let’s call this the marginal demand). Now our capacity = demand and our new profit will be BIG$$$$.

(Jeez, who woulda thought the my Mac investment would APPRECIATE?!?!)

From: rusty (Mr. Rusty Hodge, Orange, CA)

I agree with Greg’s message, but I’d like to add that Apple has constantly promoted itself as a company that is a bit different. Sadly, they are getting more like IBM every day. (In their marketing approach, that is.)

From: robert (Rob Anthony, Chicago, IL)

Apple does seem to be pricing for corporations, rather than for individuals, who were the main Mac supporters. I’m a big Mac fan, and hearing all this I have to ask: where’s Apple heading? I don’t mean this in a negative or rhetorical sense, but in merely a curious one. The Mac has obviously led the way for all PC’s of the late 80’s/ early 90’s, but what’s next? Speaking of NeXT (pun intended :->), apparently Steve Jobs will be announcing the NeXt machine soon, and NeXt is planing on having some sort of “strategic alliance” with IBM. At least that’s what I heard on the Boston Comp. Society BBS, which supposedly got it from the Wall St. Journal. Strange...

From: ms (Mike Steiner, Sierra Vista, AZ)

Although Apple has raised prices on many computers, they did just the opposite for the Apple IIc. They replaced the 4.25" drive with a 3.5" 800K drive, changed the operating speed from 1 MHz to 4MHz, put the entire power supply inside the case (no “brick” hanging on the power cord any more), added provisions for an internal modem, and made a few other changes (keyboard, etc.) and dropped the price from $995 to $675. Oh, yes, they changed the name to the Apple IIc Plus. Will the new Mac II be called the Mac II Plus?

From: robert (Rob Anthony, Chicago, IL)

Yup, I read about the Apple II move in the NYT. Sounds really good. Sure would be nice if they do something along those lines with the Mac sometime (increase performance while lowering price). I think Mac II Plus sounds good, and probable, but maybe they’ll go with Mac II ‘030 or something. I read in MacWeek that the Mac II as we know it may be terminated in mid ’89.

From: spud (Spud Potato, Right Over There, BS)

Subject: Re: Apple Price Increases

I can sympathize with your feelings, Rusty, but I think you’re being a bit harsh on Apple, don’t you think? After all, ALL companies make mistakes sometimes, and Apple’s successes far outnumber their failures. As for the price increase, some Wall St. analyst commented on the price increase, saying that it was “opportunistic” for Apple to do what they did. In other words... it was a good time for them to get greedy. Actually, the increase wasn’t based solely on DRAM; it also had a lot to do with gree....uh....profit margin adjustment on certain products and in most of the international markets. Also, they raised prices on the bare-bones Mac II (2 floppy model) because too many people were buying their own internal hard drives.

If you still want a good cheap computer, there’s always the Mac Plus...

From: jhowarth (Jack W. Howarth, Houston, TX)

Well, the way I see it, Apple’s current pricing is VERY cynical. They keep the Plus for no good reason whatsoever and price a barebones SE out of sight. Why you might ask? Because a Plus insures a later Apple hardware sale to a 68020/68030 box whereas an SE could easily become the Monster that ate the II with the help of a cheap (read $700-1700) third party accelerator. Same reason that probably left DMA off the Mac ][. Add it later and you get to sell another box or logic board. Really sickening stuff...

From: lnedry (Larry Nedry, Anaheim, CA)

I don’t see the Mac SE ever being able to compete with the Mac II even if it had an accelerator card in it. You still don’t have the options that the II has.

From: jhowarth (Jack W. Howarth, Houston, TX)

Ah, but suppose you already have an external SCSI harddrive around and can get an SE for $1400 (what a Mac+ goes for..and there is really no reason an SE should cost more) and an accelerator for $700 (Orion,Dove already are at that price point). There is no way you can get a Mac][ w/ monitor for less than $4000. So we have almost $2000 in savings. Granted it won’t do everything a II can, but the box is small, most accelerators will accept some sort of FPD card and most people can afford $4000+ for their personal CPU. Granted the II is nice, but its priced much too much like the LISA.

The hardware on the II really isn’t all that great. No DMA, the Nubus is locked up at 10 MHz so you can expand it as radically as you might like and the cpu runs with two wait states (no static RAM cache).

From: rusty (Mr. Rusty Hodge, Orange, CA)

Jack makes some good points. However, I have a Mac II (with a Radius Two page Display) and a “super SE”. The SE has a Radius Accelerator 16, Radius Two page Display and 4mb of RAM. Plus a 29ms 40mb internal drive. The Mac II visibly out-performs the super-SE combo: drawing alerts, updating the screen, pulling down windows, etc.

Besides, my Super-SE seems to be even less compatible than the II, and it also suffers from some strange occasional bugs that the II doesn’t seem to have. (Things like AppleTalk disappearing after a while- say 24 hours of operation, not resetting properly- requiring it be powered off for 10 seconds, and so on). Just some things to keep in mind. Remember, if you add enough things to a Mac, it becomes a kludge.

Also, I can’t easily stick Ethernet into the SE with all the other crap in it.

From: jhowarth (Jack W. Howarth, Houston, TX)

I believe that an accelerator with on board RAM such as the Novy or Orion boards would hold up better in comparison to the Mac II. I have a 25 MHz Novy board running on two wait states using 100 nsec RAM. This is in a Mac+ and has an auxiliary power supply/fan. The MacSpeedo benchmark shows that a 25 MHz Radius is at a certain point a the MacSpeedo scale. Well, my board is way out two dots past the red-line. Not a great test, but certainly shows that the RAM cache memory used by Radius has limitations in its hit/miss ratio especially at higher clock speeds. Life isn’t the sieve benchmark they’d like you to believe it is.

As far as 16 MHz, I used to get by with 1 w.s. using 120 nsec generic Apple SIMMs (i.e. 8% faster than a Mac ][). The AppleTalk problems just reflect the quality of the system software patches that the board maker provides. Novy has a very good track record in this area. Also, some bugs get taken out by Apple eventually. For instance, 25 MHz boards used to have a disk drive problem which appeared in System Update 5.0 and disappeared with System Update 6.0. This won’t always happen, but I believe Apple has been sensitive to making its software more oriented toward dealing with whatever CPU/FPU it finds and less just on looking at the ROM versions.

From: jhowarth (Jack W. Howarth, Houston, TX)

The Novy board for one allows for 4 meg of 32 bit bus 16/20/25 MHz memory so that the screen memory is fast as or faster than on a Mac ][. Also, the MacPlus ROMs are copied into this ‘fast’ RAM allowing the accelerator to run full tilt. The only point on which I would give the II a significant advantage is that the SCSI bus runs about 4 times faster on a II. However, with drives like the DataFrame XP40 which are 1:1 interleaved, I have found that the disk cache of 128K or more can dramatically increase the performance of the drive. I believe that the cache may have an ability to read in many tracks at a time allowing the MacPlus’ meager SCSI interface to better cope with the 4.5-9 fold faster CPU (depending on the clock).

On another tack, I have to mention that boards like the Novy allow the user to upgrade to a higher clock speed. If you have the CPU/FPU already, you only have to spend $100 for a set of high performance PALso get to 25 MHz. Much better than spending umpteen thousand for a whole new box.

From: andyc (Andy Cohen, Walnut, CA)

The increases do show arrogance, but if the market will bear it then they can do it. The market WILL bear it. Say! how much was a fully loaded LISA?!

From: rusty (Mr. Rusty Hodge, Orange, CA)

Yeh. It’s like Honda with the $30,000 Acura. Or the new Toyotas that cost $35,000+. “If we charge more money, people will buy more.”

Okay. I guess they will. I get to optimistic at times.

From: adept (Roy Lovejoy, Silicon Valley)

Subject: Print Record Fields moved.

How nice of them to do this. If your print routines are not working, this may be why..

1) The number of copies set in PrJobDialog is not store in the iCopies field of the prJob field of the print handle. (that would be too easy) It is really stored in iRowBytes field of the prXInfo field.

2) Likewise the percentage of enlargement/reduction can be found in the iBandH field of the prXInfo.

3) as per previous ‘Landscape’ question, you can determine portrait/landscape by looking at the rPaper field of the print handle. If rPaper.right > rPaper.left then you have Landscape mode on. (theoretically, until Apple changes that too!)

The only reason I can figure why these changes have take place (1 & 2) is what I gleaned from a conversation with an Apple project manager in the Printer group. He basically said that they don’t want developers mucking with the Print Handle themselves, only using the routines given. (if routines would be able to set all of the attributes that the PrJob & PrStyle Dialogs do, then I could understand this.. But until that day....) Hopes this helps someone.. p.s. the fields mentioned in 1 & 2 are read/write, i.e. you can change them.

From: petey (Peter O’Leary, Huntington Beach, CA)

Subject: LSC 3.0.1!

Just got my long-awaited Lightspeed C (they actually call it “THINK C” now, it seems) upgrade. It has some neat new features (precompiled headers cut number of lines compiled by 30-50%) but the main addition (they admit) is the source level debugger which I CANNOT USE because my SE suffers from the dreaded 1 meg disease (I started out on a 64K Apple II+ and now you tell me that 1024K is not enough... oop ack). Anyone out there blessed with at least 2 megs and the new LSC 3.0.1, could you please let me know if I should shell out $ for a couple’a SIMM’s. I’ll trust your judgement. Maybe I should just go ahead and go up to 8 megs before LSC 4.0.0 hits the street...

From: emmayche (Mark Hartman, Fullerton, CA)

By all means, get the extra memory and use the debugger. I have found that the debugger works best when two screens are available (this way I don’t get extraneous update events for windows - hard to debug event loops that way), but not everyone has dual screens - it’s still great. (Occasionally hangs up a bit, but it’s sure better than it used to be.)

From: dsa (Dave Stine, Saugus, CA)

Subject: Think 3.0 & 2MB

You hafta be pragmatic about this “at least 2MB” mantra you hear nowadays. If you just need it to run Think 3.0, then there might be some hard thinking to be done. If you are planning on working in MPW, HyperCard, 4th Dimension or any other large environment, you might just as well shell out the bucks and get it over with. In my humble opinion, the Think 3.0 debugger is the best thing to happen to a Mac C hacker since Lightspeed itself.

From: adept (Roy Lovejoy, Silicon Valley)

Subject: LSC 3.0.x

I agree.. Get as much memory as possible. (there is a postulate somewhere that states that you always need 150k or 10% more memory than you actually have!) Two screens helps a lot too! (remember though, if you are working with a large project, keep an ‘empty’ project around.. using the debugger with large projects tends to corrupt the project & even the debugger & LSC! so often you need to replace the project) But...I still like LSP 2.0x over LSC 3.0x any day.. (best of LSC) And you can keep breakpoints in your documents, not only in the debugger! Watchpoints are cool!

From: emmayche (Mark Hartman, Fullerton, CA)

Subject: Printing multiple pages

I’m having some trouble printing multiple “panes” of a single document on the ImageWriter II. Is there anyone out there who’s a print guru who could look at a bit of code for me?

From: retzes (Steven Retzlaff, La Mesa, CA)

Subject: LSC 3.0 math-library problem

I was trying to use LSC to compile a Mandelbrot-graphics program and ran into the following problem: link error: _fabs _log _sqrt . This was with 68020 and 68881 code generation enabled, _ERRORCHECK_ and _MC68881_ defined, math.h included, and the math881 library added to the project. the program usage was something like:

fxr = fabs(xder) ;

dist = log(x2+y*sqrt(x2+y2)/sqrt(xder*xder+yder*yder) ;

All the variables are locally defined as double. The program refused to compile unless I changed the function names to _log, _sqrt, and _fabs. Even when it linked, the fabs routine intermittently caused a Bus-Error-Exception and according to the LSC Debugger, failed to assign a value to the Left-Hand-Side variable fxr from fabs. The rest of the 68881 inline-operations (+,-,*,/) seem to work ok, but the math-functions don’t link properly, and fabs doesn’t work( I had to use a if <0 statement to emulate it).

From: robert (Rob Anthony, Chicago, IL)

Subject: C “pretty printer”

A rather non-technical question: a friend of mine is looking for a “C pretty printer, preferably with varying fonts”. I don’t usually program in C, suggestions?

From: thecloud (Ken Mcleod, La Habra, CA)

Subject: Re: C “pretty printer”

I have “PrettyPrint 2.0”, by Andrew Shebanow... you can select font and size, as well as a number of other options (italicize comments, etc.). It allows you to pretty-print C, Pascal or assembly source.

From: rkk (Russell Kadota, Huntington Beach, CA)

Subject: scroll bars

Hi all -- just a quick question here. Is the width of a standard scroll bar defined anywhere, like as a quickdraw global for instance?

From: billd (Bill Dugan, Huntington Beach, CA)

I define mine as #16. Global? Don’t know of any.

From: chenette (Philip Chenette, Los Angeles, CA)

Subject: Opening ICONS

A question-- I’m playing around with a copy of MiniEdit, the program which is developed in Stephen Chernikoff’s MacIntosh Revealed. I’m trying to learn Mac programming from this. When I quit the program, I can’t open any other Icons on the desktop. They select just fine, but double clicking to open just doesn’t work. Rebooting solves the problem. Any thoughts on what’s going on here?

From: thecloud (Ken Mcleod, La Habra, CA)

MiniEdit does something it’s not supposed to do: it changes the system event mask. Look for a call to SetEventMask(theMask), where “theMask” is (I think) keyUpMask... comment out this line, and your double-click problems will go away. This was a bad blunder, considering MiniEdit is supposed to be the quintessential “example program”!

From: chenette (Philip Chenette, Los Angeles, CA)

THANKS! I tried this question on Compuserve a few weeks ago--Nary a response!

From: thecloud (Ken Mcleod, La Habra, CA)

No problem. That’s why the Mousehole is here!

From: jhowarth (Jack W. Howarth, Houston, TX)

Subject: LSP Ship date

Symantec tech support now claims that LSP 2.0 will not ship until late November. I certainly hope that they will have a MacApp released by that time to justify an extra two months of development time. Ugh...and to think that they won’t even start screwing up orders until late Nov.

From: thecloud (Ken Mcleod, La Habra, CA)

After their record with the LSC upgrade, I decided not to send in my money for the LSP 2.0 update that they promised would be available now (end of September). Looks like I made a good decision!

 
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