TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Aug 92 Letters
Volume Number:8
Issue Number:4
Column Tag:Letters

Letters

By Neil Ticktin, Editor

Higher quality, larger Magazine for less money

May I first say that I love your magazine (I love anything about the Mac!). I’m a professional programmer for Xerox Corporation, but I do Mac programming for fun. I have some criticisms that I think could improve your magazine.

1) Remove the beginner section - there are a bunch of books out there that treat this subject - the reason that I came to your magazine is because it “pushed the envelope” and had complex, advanced algorithms in it.

2) Change the glossy paper to recycled paper, triple the size of the magazine, and then charge $5.00!

3) How about an article about the “ins” and “outs” of writing Printer Drivers?... or ...”Why It Takes Three Man-Years to Write a Mac Printer Driver” ???

...remember, I think your program should out teach basic programming skills, but should assume the audience is made up of average-to-advanced programmers... the personal attitude which should lead people to your magazine is motivation, not a general “how does one start programming the Mac?”

- Andy Ritz, El Segundo, CA

[Andy, in regards to the “beginner” section, most of our readers tell us that even though they thought they knew a topic, they found something new and interesting in Dave Mark’s articles. I understand that books are out there, in fact I urge people to buy them. I also understand that this column will not only help the new programmers, but also those who want to clean up their style.

Regarding the changing of the stock, increasing the size, and charging less. Please call me with the name of the printer that you know can do this. As far as we know, this isn’t possible without a drastic increase in price.

Finally, I would encourage someone to write an article on printer drivers. Right now, we don’t have such an article scheduled, but if you know of someone, let me know. MacTutor’s editorial goal is to provide information to all levels of programmer, from beginners to advanced. We’ll continue to make all efforts to reach this goal. - Ed.]

Less Is Better!

Thank you for the new-look MacTutor. Like many other subscribers, I was beginning to wonder what had happened to MacTutor - having assumed that my subscription had lapsed. Never mind! The replacement of the old with the new is often a good thing.

I was particularly pleased with your policy decision not to print vast amounts of code. In the future, articles which focus on particular coding tricks or secrets or useful but not well-known techniques would be most welcome. Such articles should be succinct and to the point and present only the code snippets necessary to explain the idea.

Many of the past MacTutor articles have hidden gems of knowledge inside very specialized solutions or inside programming frameworks which are not used by the everyday reader. For example I am using the THINK Class Library these days and any other “framework” is of no direct relevance to me. However, particular techniques of, say, using the toolbox, are. If these could be presented in a more generic way so that they could be easily adapted to different frameworks and programming environments, then this would be very useful. Wishing you every success with the new MacTutor.

- Paul Howson, Queensland, Australia

[Part of the purpose of Dave Mark’s article is to address how to properly access parts of the toolbox. Even if you are not a novice programmer, skim his articles and compare it with your own style. We’ll try to continue doing things in a general fashion. - Ed.]

MacApp and A/UX

I agree with you about the Tools. I need some. I understand what you're saying about POSITIVE and NEGATIVE requests. I hear and understand.

I would like some beginner's code on using MacApp. I know, you've beaten this one to a pulp. But version 3 is out, and I wasn't listening before.

I would like some coverage on programming stuff to specific A/UX and MacOS integration problems.

What a thrill to get mail from someone I just saw on a magazine editor's spot. This InterNET keeps on giving me chills (I had many conversations with Frank Da Cruz & Yoshi...WOW).

- Steven Woolgar, CHUS-FAMUS

[Steven, we’ll work to get some good quality starter articles on MacApp as well as advanced ones. As far as A/UX. I’ve heard this request a couple times. Who else is interested? More specifically, what would you like to see? - Ed.]

Glad to see you back

First of all I'm glad MacTutor is back in business! I like the renewed lay-out, the editor's intentions seem OK. I’m just wondering when you will release version 2.0.1 or the Tune-Up.

• Don't forget us Pascal programmers out here, we're still alive and kicking!

• I always enjoyed the MouseHole Report. It adresses real problems. Why not start a "Talk show" on AppleLink?

• I agree on the reduction of printed code, there's indeed no need to print yet another "DoNothing" shell.

• You could pay more attention to the international side of programming. There are still programmers abound who think that the world is flat and lies between Boston and L.A.

• If possible I'd like to receive my subscription copy before the issue appears in the local window display.

Oh and yes I will renew my subscription Can this be done through AppleLink?

So keep it going, we really need you. I learned and still learn more from MacTutor than from any other source available.

- Luc Roels, Diegem, Belgium

[Luc, as far as the talk show, AppleLink is very expensive to do this and doesn’t make sense for us. We are looking into other solutions so stay tuned. I hear you on the localization topic. I’ll look for articles.

As far as delivery. It will almost always show up in the stores a bit before your mailbox. The reason is that shippers are faster than the postal service in any country. The only way to avoid this would be to delay shipment to the dealers. But, we’ll continue to look for faster delivery methods.

Can you subscribe via AppleLink? Yes, see the front of the magazine for info on communication with us. - Ed.]

Correctly Efficient

I just got the second issue of the new MacTutor. I haven’t quite finished reading it all yet, but from my initial skim through it it looks like every article has something of interest to me-which is great!

I’ve just finished Mike Scanlin’s article on “Efficient 68000 Programming”. It’s got lots of useful tips that I will endeavour to keep in mind. However, one of his code samples annoys me, because it repeats a mistake that a lot of Mac assembly-language hackers seem to make.

On page 40 he gives the following replacement for a _BlockMove call:

Subq #1,Dx
@1 Move.B (A0)+,(A1)+
Dbra Dx,@1

Now, it’s a well-known feature of the DBcc group of instructions on the 68000 processor family that they terminate the loop when the count reaches -1, rather than zero. What’s not so well-known is that this is no accidental quirk, but a carefully-thought-out design feature. It allows you to automatically handle the case where the loop count is initially zero, without having to put in a separate test before entering the loop.

Here is an example of the right way to use a DBRA to move a block of bytes:

 move.w count, d0
 bra.s  @9
@1 move.b (a0)+, (a1)+
@9 dbra d0, @1

Notice how the loop is entered by branching to its end? That causes an extra initial execution of the DBRA instruction. This subtracts 1 from the loop count (adjusting for the termination on -1 instead of zero), and it will fall through without actually entering the loop if the count was initially zero. Elegant, huh?

It is also possible to use DBRA with a 32-bit loop count. Here is an example skeleton loop:

 move.l count, d0
 bra.s  @9
@1 swap d0
@2
; .. body of loop ..
@9 dbra d0, @2
 swap d0
 dbra d0, @1

Basically this is a DBRA loop within a DBRA loop: the outer loop counts down the high word of the 32-bit count, while the inner one handles the low word. Since the SWAPs and the outer DBRA are only executed once every 64K iterations of the inner loop, you’re still effectively getting the full speed of a simple DBRA loop.

There-now I’ve got that off my chest, I must finish the rest of the magazine.

- Lawrence D’Oliveiro, New Zealand

More Pascal!

For your information, the journal is quite interesting. I believe it could be a bit more technical, and would also like to see more Pascal programs. (I know, few times Pascal and “Technical” appear in the same sentence; however, I believe that Symantec’s Pascal has become powerful enough to write full fledge applications.) Overall, the magazine is quite useful, as well as helpful. Try to keep it oriented towards programmers.

- Edward Wolpert, Knoxville, TX

[Edward, great suggestion. I too would like to see more Pascal articles. They are getting harder and harder to find because of the incredible success of C and C++. I will keep vigilant in my search for more Pascal articles! - Ed.]

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

beaTunes 5.0.2 - Organize your music col...
beaTunes is a full-featured music player and organizational tool for music collections. How well organized is your music library? Are your artists always spelled the same way? Any R.E.M. vs REM?... Read more
iFFmpeg 6.4.1 - Convert multimedia files...
iFFmpeg is a comprehensive media tool to convert movie, audio and media files between formats. The FFmpeg command line instructions can be very hard to master/understand, so iFFmpeg does all the hard... Read more
Hopper Disassembler 4.2.6- - Binary disa...
Hopper Disassembler is a binary disassembler, decompiler, and debugger for 32- and 64-bit executables. It will let you disassemble any binary you want, and provide you all the information about its... Read more
iExplorer 4.1.2.0 - View and transfer fi...
iExplorer is an iPhone browser for Mac lets you view the files on your iOS device. By using a drag and drop interface, you can quickly copy files and folders between your Mac and your iPhone or... Read more
TunnelBear 3.0.15 - Subscription-based p...
TunnelBear is a subscription-based virtual private network (VPN) service and companion app, enabling you to browse the internet privately and securely. Features Browse privately - Secure your data... Read more
Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1.16 - Easy-to-use...
Carbon Copy Cloner backups are better than ordinary backups. Suppose the unthinkable happens while you're under deadline to finish a project: your Mac is unresponsive and all you hear is an ominous,... Read more
Day One 2.3 - Maintain a daily journal.
Day One is the easiest and best-looking way to use a journal / diary / text-logging application for the Mac. Day One is well designed and extremely focused to encourage you to write more through... Read more
Sketch 45 - Design app for UX/UI for iOS...
Sketch is an innovative and fresh look at vector drawing. Its intentionally minimalist design is based upon a drawing space of unlimited size and layers, free of palettes, panels, menus, windows, and... Read more
NeoFinder 7.1 - Catalog your external me...
NeoFinder (formerly CDFinder) rapidly organizes your data, either on external or internal disks, or any other volumes. It catalogs all your data, so you stay in control of your data archive or disk... Read more
Day One 2.3 - Maintain a daily journal.
Day One is the easiest and best-looking way to use a journal / diary / text-logging application for the Mac. Day One is well designed and extremely focused to encourage you to write more through... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Kalimba™ (Games)
Kalimba™ 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** BAFTA-nominated ‘Best New Property’ 2015 ** Jump, slide and fly your way through a beautiful, mind-bending world in this award-... | Read more »
All That Remains: Part 1 (Games)
All That Remains: Part 1 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: “Duncan Price is paranoid” they used to say. He’s just a “local nut” they said. They used to say a lot of things about... | Read more »
Super Samurai Rampage (Games)
Super Samurai Rampage 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Super Samurai Rampage is a bloody, retro pixel style high score chaser. You play as a legendary Samurai warrior provoked... | Read more »
You can now travel to Skyrim in The Elde...
The Elder Scrolls: Legends' new expansion has opened up Skyrim's craggy mountains and snowy plains for exploration today. Heroes of Skyrim is out now, adding a bunch of new Skyrim content to Bethesda's recent CCG. [Read more] | Read more »
High-stakes solitaire game 'Missile...
Missile Command and Solitaire might seem like an odd couple, but indie developer Nathan Meunier has brought them together to create his first game, Missile Cards, which launched on the App Store today. [Read more] | Read more »
Eos 2 (Music)
Eos 2 2.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $5.99, Version: 2.0.2 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Supercell celebrates Hay Day's comm...
Before there was Clash Royale or Clash of Clans, there was Hay Day. Now, Supercell's first game is celebrating its fifth anniversary, and the developer is commemorating the event with this touching new video. Supercell picked one long-running Hay... | Read more »
Dive into epic summer adventure with Oce...
Summer may be the best time to enjoy ocean adventures, and now you don’t even have to leave the comfort of your own home, thanks to the folks at Joycity, creators of Oceans & Empires. The old-timey naval MMO is getting a sizable new June Grand... | Read more »
Missile Cards (Games)
Missile Cards 1.0.9 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.9 (iTunes) Description: "Missile Command meets Solitaire...only with more doomlasers, death, and explosions." | Read more »
Collect mini assassins in 'Assassin...
Assassin's Creed is traveling back in time to the Spanish Inquisition for its latest mobile entry, Assassin's Creed Rebellion. The game is giving the series a look that's a huge departure from its past design, recreating classic characters in a... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

New 15-inch 2.8GHz Touch Bar MacBook Pros on...
MacMall has the new 2017 15″ 2.8GHz MacBook Pros in stock and on sale for $2279 including free shipping. Their price is $120 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for these models: - 15″ 2.... Read more
Will iPad Running iOS 11 Be The ‘Ute’ Of The...
Steve Jobs’ analogy comparing iPads and PCs to cars and trucks respectively is seven years old but still stimulates discussion and debate. Appearing on an All Things D panel in 2010 shortly after the... Read more
Free CarePassport App gives Patients control...
Boston based CarePassport is on a mission to enable patients to take control of their medical records by allowing patients to aggregate, store, share and manage all their medical data including... Read more
Western Digital Launches New My Passport Ultr...
Western Digital Corporation has expanded its WD brand My Passport portable drive line with the redesigned My Passport Ultra drive. In addition to a new metallic look, the drive offers intuitive WD... Read more
Clearance 2016 13-inch MacBook Pros available...
B&H Photo has clearance 2016 13″ MacBook Pros in stock today for up to $210 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB Touch Bar... Read more
Apple Releases iOS 11 Public Beta; How To Get...
The official release of Apple’s latest mobile operating system iOS 11 is vaguely slated for the fall, but as of June 26, ordinary users can download an iOS 11 public beta. To download the iOS 11... Read more
Extend Life of MacBook Pro Retina 2.0TB With...
MacSales.com/Other World Computing has announced availability of the new OWC 2.0TB Aura Pro Solid State Drive for mid-2012 to early 2013 Apple MacBook Pro with Retina display. One of the fastest... Read more
BBEdit SummerFest 2017 Discount Ends Friday,...
You can get 20% off BBEdit for a limited time in Bare Bones Software’s http://www.eastgate.com/Tinderbox/Specials/SummerFest.html?mc_cid=f2101ca260&mc_eid=[UNIQID]SummerFest 2017 sale and... Read more
Use Apple’s Education discount to save up to...
Purchase a new Mac using Apple’s Education discount, and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free: - 15″ 2... Read more
Clearance 27-inch 3.3GHz 5K iMac available fo...
Amazon clearance 27″ 3.3GHz 5K iMacs (MK482LL/A) available for $1799.90 including free shipping. Their price is $500 off original MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Online Store WW Customer Insights -...
…with data mining tools: R, SAS, etc.Experience with common shell scripting tools: unix, python, apple script, Swift etc. Apple Online is one of the largest and Read more
Engineering Project Manager, *Apple* Online...
…the electronic commerce (eCommerce) systems and solutions that enable and support the Apple Online Store (AOS) - one of world's largest online retail businesses, Read more
*Apple* News Product Marketing Mgr., Publish...
…organizational consensus on strategy and vision for publisher tools, authoring, and Apple News Format.Carries this strategy and vision across the organization to Read more
*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions - Apple,...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Security Data Analyst - *Apple* Information...
…data sources need to be collected to allow Information Security to better protect Apple employees and customers from a wide range of threats.Act as the subject matter Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.