TweetFollow Us on Twitter

MacHack '92
Volume Number:8
Issue Number:4
Column Tag:From the Field

MacHack Conference Report

What happened at the techiest of all conferences

By Neil Ticktin, MacTutor Editor-in-Chief

MacHack ‘92, the Seventh Annual Macintosh Technical Conference, lived up to it’s reputation - especially, the “Best Hax” contest and of course, the lightning. This year, the conference was held June 17-19 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

What is MacHack?

For those of you that don’t know, MacHack is the annual conference that is put on by Expotech, Inc.. Originally, this conference came about because the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor wanted it so. To date, the University has a part in this conference.

I had never been to MacHack, and frankly did not know what to expect. What I found was a mixture of professionals, Apple employees, and of course, classic hackers. I haven’t seen such a group since my days in the computer room at UCLA.

There are a number of different things going on at MacHack. First, individuals give presentations of papers on a variety of topics. Next, there are panel discussions that take place each day of the conference. In addition, there are business sessions, roundtables, code clinics, and of course, the machine room.

The machine room holds the heart of the conference. Here you will find Macintoshes and other toys to play with. It is open 24 hours a day for the entire conference. This room has some of the most serious hacking ever to be seen.

The KeyNote

This year, MacHack was fortunate enough to have Steve Weyl, the Director of Apple’s Developer Tools organization as the keynote speaker. Steve said a lot of things, the most important of which were his comments on the future of MacApp. In a nutshell, Steve said that if you develop using MacApp, you will have code that you will be able to port to Windows. MacApp will be available for Windows next year. [See the Editor’s page regarding the joint efforts of Apple and Symantec in regards to this topic. - Ed.] What Steve said was that MacApp is not yet available for Windows, but that it will be. The idea is that any efforts that you make using MacApp will be portable to Windows next year.

In addition to his MacApp comments, Steve acknowledged that it is too difficult and too time consuming to develop using existing programming tools on the Macintosh. He promised that we would see better tools, reference materials and even support in the future. Given what we now know about Bedrock (see Editor’s page) and about the new Inside Macintosh about to come out, it looks like Steve (and Apple) will be delivering on at least two out of three promises.

The Tornado

At every show, techie or fuzzy, there is always something buzzing in the air. This year was no different except that the buzz had nothing to do with the conference. At one point, attendees were asked to move to one side of the hotel while waiting for the tornado to pass by. During this time, lightning struck a nearby tree. Several times throughout the conference, sessions were interrupted and equipment had to be turned off because of electrical storm warnings. Something this California boy was not accustomed to.

Microsoft and OLE

Microsoft was the company making the biggest splash. They have now announced Microsoft’s Object Linking and Embedding protocol, OLE Version 2.0. This protocol will give users the ability to access the full capabilities of one program from within another program. This new version of the protocol will be integrated into future Microsoft products. Microsoft also said that they would make the protocol available to other developers.

To the user, this protocol provides a way to deal with embedded documents and objects. For example, if you had an OLE 2.0 compatible drawing program, and then embedded an object from that program into a Microsoft Word document, you could double click on the object to edit it. This would bring up the drawing program’s menus (and floating window palettes if it had them). When this happens, the word processing menus disappear. The user can then edit the image within the word processor as if they were in the drawing program to begin with.

According to Ben Waldman, Manager of Macintosh Technology at Microsoft, the new OLE is supposed to offer new conveniences to Macintosh users. In addition, it is/will be designed to reduce the amount of effort that programmer’s make adding code to every program to support new technologies. Microsoft declined to say when their applications which integrate OLE 2.0 would be released.

Apple Showing Off

Apple took advantage of the situation at MacHack to show off and talk about some its new technologies under development. Included in this list were QuickDraw GX, and upcoming system software. QuickDraw GX is evidently seen not as a replacement for QuickDraw, but an extension of it. The essential idea behind the package is to bring QuickDraw into the nineties. This includes making QuickDraw do all the things that Apple promised years ago would be in System 7, but to date have not made it. For example, with QuickDraw GX, developers will be able to easily write printer drivers instead of taking 47 man years. In addition, QuickDraw GX will become substantially more competitive with Display PostScript™. Most important is that GX will not be a problem for everything you’ve already coded to date.

System 7.1 will be the next major release of Macintosh system software. The idea behind 7.1 is to (a) clean up a bunch of things in System 7 and (b) have the first “World-Ready” Macintosh system software. This version of the operating system will accommodate all users in all languages around the world. To customize an installation with a particular language, extensions will be available to drop in the System Folder. This will give each Macintosh the language the user wants. Unfortunately, during the Apple Bashing section of the conference, we heard a lot of this is “not a priority” responses to suggestions on the System Software. To be fair, we also heard a lot of “it will be done in 7.1” responses as well. Actually, to be completely fair, it did sound like Apple was doing a good deal of user testing and refinements to their system software. We did hear a lot of answers that included such phrases as “we tried that, but users couldn’t figure that out”. This gave me the unusual feeling that Apple was actually listening hmmm well maybe it’s just a phase they're going through.

6th Annual Hack Contest

Each year at MacHack, The MacHax™ Group is the proud sponsor of the Hack Contest. This is the heart and soul of MacHack, embodying all that hackers are about. Hackers from around the country come to MacHack to show off their best hack. The deadline for submissions was Thursday at midnight. Hackers started presenting their hacks at 1:00 a.m. on Friday morning and continued until 5:30 a.m. The next day, attendees voted on the “Best Hack” and awards were given out.

Tips for winning (as published by the infamous Scott and Greg) were as follows: “Looking and/or sounding good is the best, but it doesn’t hurt to actually have it running at the Hack Show. Useful software also helps to get votes Suck up to everybody in sight because they all get a vote. Show it off, talk it up, offer to hand out source if you win, give away lots of money It won’t necessarily help you win, but remember that big prizes await the winners. For example, several past winners are now Blue Meanies, and many are also proud owners of the Victor A-Trap plaque Remember, Scott and Greg make all the rules [so bribing them is a great way to increase votes]. Most important, have fun!”

Some of the hacks were quite incredible. The winner was an amazing hack from Mike Neil. His “IR Man” hack blew me away (and not because his name was Neil either). In essence, this combination of hardware and software allowed one to control his/her Macintosh with a SONY VCR remote. So, for example, you could move windows with the left, down, up and right arrows; you could press eject on the remote and the disk would eject; you could press the power key and the application would quit; and my favorite, the remote’s video speed “flyweel” would control the speed of a QuickTime movie. I‘ve asked Mike Neil to write us an article about how to do this, if you are interested in such an article, let us know (or bug Mike [nicely] to do it).

Brian Gaeke wrote some great PowerBook utilities that did such things as sensing whether an AppleTalk network was connected and automatically turning on and off the PowerBook’s AppleTalk connection as appropriate. Since AppleTalk helps to eat my battery for lunch (especially by keeping the PowerBook on when it should be asleep), I found this to be a godsend.

Marshall Clow wrote a hack called Procedure Call Log which through the debugger made a list of calls as they were made. In other words, if you crashed into MacsBug you would get a history of procedure calls made in MacsBug. Unfortunately, this hack only works under MPW. Eric Shapiro has said that he would work on a THINK version and write an article for MacTutor. For those of you interested in this, let us or Eric know.

There were large numbers of other hacks including QuickTime Movies in Balloon Help by Cameron Esfahani, SloppyCopy 1.0d0, by Steve Falkenburg, which makes the Finder do a background file copy so you can continue to use the Finder; HyperInitMaker by Tom Pittman which evidently allows for debugging at startup time (the Apple people were really worried here); PowerBook Pixels™ by Jon Watte which made your PowerBook display the minimum number of white pixels to qualify for a warranty replacement of the screen and many, many more.

We’ve asked a number of these hackers to write articles for MacTutor. If you are interested in any of these or know of other hacks, encourage them to write an article on the hack. If you would like to write to one of the hackers above, you can send it c/o Xplain.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Capo 3.2 - Slow down and learn to play y...
Capo lets you slow down your favorite songs so you can hear the notes and learn how they are played. With Capo, you can quickly tab out your songs atop a highly-detailed OpenCL-powered spectrogram... Read more
OmniOutliner 4.2.3 - Organize your ideas...
OmniOutliner is a flexible program for creating, collecting, and organizing information. Give your creativity a kick start by using an application that's actually designed to help you think. It's... Read more
pwSafe 4.0.1 - Secure password managemen...
pwSafe provides simple and secure password management across devices and computers. pwSafe uses iCloud to keep your password databases backed-up and synced between Macs and iOS devices. It is... Read more
WALTR 1.5.4 - Drag-and-drop any media fi...
WALTR is designed to make it easy to upload and convert any music or video file to an iPad or iPhone format for native playback. It supports a huge variety of media file types, including MP3, MP4,... Read more
Audio Hijack 3.1 - Record and enhance au...
Audio Hijack (was Audio Hijack Pro) drastically changes the way you use audio on your computer, giving you the freedom to listen to audio when you want and how you want. Record and enhance any audio... Read more
PopChar 7.1 - Floating window shows avai...
We're also selling a 5-license family pack for only $25.99! PopChar helps you get the most out of your font collection. With its crystal-clear interface, PopChar X provides a frustration-free way to... Read more
BBEdit 11.1.1 - Powerful text and HTML e...
BBEdit is the leading professional HTML and text editor for the Mac. Specifically crafted in response to the needs of Web authors and software developers, this award-winning product provides a... Read more
Picasa 3.9.139 - Organize, edit, and sha...
Picasa and Picasa Web Albums allows you to organize, edit, and upload your photos to the Web from your computer in quick, simple steps. Arrange your photos into folders and albums and erase their... Read more
Mac DVDRipper Pro 5.0.5 - Copy, backup,...
Mac DVDRipper Pro is the DVD backup solution that lets you protect your DVDs from scratches, save your batteries by reading your movies from your hard disk, manage your collection with just a few... Read more
NetShade 6.2 - Browse privately using an...
This promotion is for NetShade and 1 year of Proxy and VPN services NetShade is an anonymous proxy and VPN app+service for Mac. Unblock your Internet through NetShade's high-speed proxy and VPN... Read more

Block Fortress has a Big New Update for...
Block Fortress is a survival-style game that's as fun as it is blocky. It's also just gotten a rather sizeable update that adds a lot more cool stuff. [Read more] | Read more »
Simple and Surreal Star Base Sim rymdkap...
I really like rymdkapsel. Not just because I'm a sucker for games that are cleverly simple or highly stylisitc, but because it's fun and challenging. Actually it's extremely challenging, which is why I was excited to learn that it's getting a couple... | Read more »
Check out the anticipated Angel Stone in...
Fincon has finally revealed Angel Stone in action in the first ever official gameplay trailer for the anticipated hack and slasher. Angel Stone is set in a post-apocalyptic world in which humanity is in danger of being wiped out by the demonic... | Read more »
Moleskine Timepage is an All-New Calenda...
Moleskine Timepage is a bit of a departure for the notebook manufacturer (since it has little to do with notebooks), but it certainly carries their simple and elegant style quite well. [Read more] | Read more »
Jog on Over and Check Out the New Runtas...
Runtastic has put out a fair number of apps to help you sleep, track excercise, and train various parts of your body. Now it's time for your legs to have their own time in the spotlight with Runtastic Leg Trainer. [Read more] | Read more »
It's Lights Out in the Upcoming Pla...
Ember’s Journey is a stark puzzle platformer with a twist: the entire game is played in darkness. The only light you can see by is the one emanating from your own character. [Read more] | Read more »
MooVee - Your Movies Guru (Entertainmen...
MooVee - Your Movies Guru 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Entertainment Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: MooVee helps you effortlessly manage your movies, on your iPhone. | Read more »
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions (Games)
Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Enjoy the next chapter in the award-winning Geometry Wars franchise and enjoy stunning, console-quality... | Read more »
CHAOS RINGS Ⅲ (Games)
CHAOS RINGS Ⅲ 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $19.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: The newest addition to the popular smartphone RPG series is finally here! ・CHAOS RINGS Overview | Read more »
The Popular Insight Series of Travel Gui...
Getting around in a country when you can't understand the primary language can be tough. Fortunately there are several options available to help wold travellers with the important stuff like giving directions to a cab driver or asking where the... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple restocks refurbished Mac minis for up t...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 Mac minis, with models available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz... Read more
13-inch 2.4GHz Retina MacBook Pro (refurbishe...
The Apple Store has 2013 Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.4GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pros available for $879–$320 off original MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13... Read more
Apple refurbished iPad Air 2s now available f...
The Apple Store is now offering Apple Certified Refurbished iPad Air 2s for up to $140 off the price of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: -... Read more
MacBook Airs on sale for up to $80 off MSRP
Save up to $80 on the purchase of a new 2015 13″ or 11″ 1.6GHz MacBook Air at the following resellers. Shipping is free with each model: 11" 128GB MSRP $899 11" 256GB... Read more
Free Glide Live Video Messaging App Brings Ne...
Glide, an Israeli startup whose popular live video messenger has attracted more than 15 million users, has released significant updates to its free iOS app. Glide for iOS now gives users more control... Read more
Top Markets Saturation To Slow Global Smartph...
According to a new mobile phone forecast from the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, smartphone shipments are expected to grow 11.3% in 2015 — down from 27... Read more
Apple’s Education discount saves up to $300 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (refurbished) avai...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $829, or $270 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $400 off original MSRP, starting at $979. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and... Read more
What Would the ideal Apple Productivity Platf...
For the past four years I’ve kept a foot in both the Mac and iPad camps respectively. my daily computing hours divided about 50/50 between the two devices with remarkable consistency. However, there’... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
Program Manager, *Apple* Community Support...
**Job Summary** Apple Support Communities ( discussions. apple .com) helps customers get the most from their Apple products and services by providing access to Read more
Senior Data Scientist, *Apple* Retail - Onl...
**Job Summary** Apple Retail - Online sells Apple products to customers around the world. In addition to selling Apple products with unique services such as iPad Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Watch SW Application Project Manager...
**Job Summary** The Apple Watch software team is looking for an Application Engineering Project Manager to work on new projects for Apple . The successful candidate Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.