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Jun 92 Editorial
Volume Number:8
Issue Number:2
Column Tag:The Editor‘s Page

Rioting in the Streets!

By Neil Ticktin, Editor-in-Chief

Welcome to the second issue of MacTutor 2.0. As issue #1 was being delivered, we waited on the edges of our seats for your reaction. We were amazed at the effect our small publication had. Here in Los Angeles there were riots in the streets! People everywhere rushed to their nearest store in search of a copy, and when one was not available, they tore the place apart! Overnight, the enthusiasm spread to other cities. We couldn’t have been more delighted. Then, my partner, David, the party pooper, said he had been watching the news instead of Star Trek and it was all related to someone named Rodney King and the desperation caused by the state of our inner cities. Now, you all probably knew that, but, see, we don’t get out much

Politically incorrect Pontification

Now, the riots have subsided, and it is (relatively) safe to go out again. The actual effects on us were minor, but frightening. We look in horror at the devastation, and wonder at the level of misery that would cause people to destroy their own neighborhood.

I don’t know the answers to the problems of racism, overcrowding, and poverty, but I do know that people in the computer business are quite sheltered. My own little world is almost exclusively populated by affluent, intelligent people who think similarly to me. In the event of a disagreement, I expect a dialogue, and, at worst, a lawsuit.

I can’t help thinking that the greatest casualty of this disaster is our legal system. The press, which I am becoming embarrassed to be a part of, covered the Rodney King story by showing one piece of video over and over again. When the verdicts were announced, not one reporter had the courage to say anything politically incorrect about the juror’s views. Were all the jurors racists? Or did they see something in the parts of the video we never saw that gave reason to the police officers’ actions?

The situation is similar to the Apple/Microsoft suit in that the “obvious,” and expected result didn’t match the actual outcome. Most of us have at least played with Windows and the Macintosh. Is there any one of us who can’t say that Windows copies many of the best Macintosh features? The implication here is that either our legal system cannot be trusted to find the truth or the press cannot be trusted to tell us the truth. I have to conclude that the fault lies primarily with the press. The Rodney King case shows us that the press will not present the side of a dispute that is politically incorrect. The same result is shown by the Apple/Microsoft suit for technically difficult material. The sad awful truth of the state of the media in this country is that only the popular and the simple get presented. Sadder still, is that we appear content to accept being politically correctly mislead or simply kept ignorant.

We won’t be doing any more on the Rodney King situation, but we are working on an article explaining copyright law and the Apple/Microsoft suit.

Programming Tools

There isn’t a week goes by that someone calls us to ask how they can get started with Macintosh programming. Our answer is always the same. First, buy a Mac, and get yourself a subscription to MacTutor. Second, buy the most appropriate development system for your needs. Third, get Inside Macintosh. Then, to understand Inside Macintosh, buy a good book on Macintosh programming. Finally, to actually get some work done, look at programming tools.

These pages are full of advertisements for programming tools, created by experts in each field, who have gone through the difficulties of development in a particular area. These tools can be your greatest allies. So, if you find a tool that does what you need, buy it! You will almost definitely regain the money you spent and it certainly will save you a great deal of aggravation.

I’m not here to sell you any one programming tool. That's not the point of my publishing this magazine. But, if you really want to become an efficient and happy Macintosh programmer - MacTutor, Inside Macintosh, programming books, and programming tools are the shortcuts to get you there. Because programming tools are sometimes difficult to find, the section entitled Mail Order Store, in the back of each issue of MacTutor, is a natural place to locate them.

MacTutor Evolution

So now that you have a magazine to read, let’s hear some comments! The reaction to the April/May issue has been overwelmingly positive. But we aren’t sure why. We got lots of letters saying “it’s really cool”, but not telling us exactly what you liked. We intend to bring you a progressively better magazine with each issue, but if you don’t comment, David may get his way and future articles will have young, scantily clad girls holding up the review products and commenting on the color scheme of the packaging.

We have received a few tips for our new Tips & Tidbits section, but we need more. We have article submissions, but we need more of those too. To select articles, we need letters telling us what you would like to read about. We are expanding the services of our mail order store, but again, you need to tell us what you would like to buy and what services you would like to have.

Finally, David has asked me to remind everyone to keep your subscription up to date. If you check on your address label, you will see an expiration date. If you are coming up on expiration, it’s time to renew. Renewal cards will be sent out shortly, but if you don’t get one, call us! David insisted on this reminder because he needs cash flow to pay for the next round of equipment I’ve just talked him into. By the way, when is Apple shipping the 950?

Neil Ticktin, Editor-in-Chief

The Publisher's column

a.k.a. Questions from the Computer Idiot

By David Williams, Publisher

Neil makes me write this column on my new Mac. That makes sense: he made me buy the Mac. He sat there and watched as I happily bought myself a brand new state-of-the-art PC, and further ordered upgrades (486-50) and all new software (Windows 3.1, Excel 4.0, Word 5.0). Then he made me buy a Quadra 900. He says that it is the state-of-the-art Mac. Now, he wants me to use it for all the magazine’s work. It isn’t easy. It’s easy to say I shouldn’t complain, being blessed with two “state-of-the-art” systems, but in real life, it’s a real pain

As the Computer Idiot, not being technical, I foolishly expect little things to work the same on both machines. Why don’t all of the keys do the same thing on both? For example, Home and End always refered to ends of a line on the PC (until Excel 4.0 made End work badly), but go to the ends of the document on the Mac. When asked, Neil said these little differences were “historical”. I have decided to stop asking Neil questions. These “little differences” are making me hysterical.

Obviously, there are a lot of big differences between the Mac and the PC. Apple may have lost the “look and feel” lawsuit, but the fact is that System 7 still looks and feels better than Windows 3.1. Microsoft may have won, but keeping the same keystrokes from one platform to the other wouldn’t hurt. If Windows is to end up looking and feeling like a Mac, everything else should already match.

Neil says that I shouldn’t worry too much about these differences, because both sytems are still in evolution, and a new sytem is coming soon from Taligent. He waited, of course, until after I had paid for both of the fancy new sytems to tell me this. I have decided not to listen to Neil any more. Instead, I would like to hear from Mr. Akers, Mr. Gates, Mr. Jobs, and Mr. Sculley, as well as from their staffs. What direction do they see for Taligent? What

kind of hardware will it run on? Which of these old dinosaurs I now own should I be unloading on some unsuspecting fool? Will a personal digital assistant be as user-friendly as my current analog secretary? Will it be as cute and still bring in homemade bread?

Seriously, I’d like answers to some of these questions (and not from Neil). I’d like to hear from the leaders of this industry on these pages. I think this magazine is an ideal forum for an industry discussion. So, to all readers, but especially to those of you who lead the industry, I ask you to write to us, to fill these pages with lively discussions of policy and philosophy. The only alternatives for filler I can see working are the “enquiring minds” gossip section and the “girls of the silicon valley” feature, with gatefold. Neil just hates these ideas. He likes the PDA swimsuit issue or the Quadra 900 in a G-string.....but who listens to him?

 

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