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

Cyberduck 4.7.1 - FTP and SFTP browser....
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more
PDFpen 7.2 - Edit and annotate PDFs with...
We're also offering PDFpenPro for 30% off! PDFpen allows users to easily edit PDF's. Add text, images and signatures. Fill out PDF forms. Merge or split PDF documents. Reorder and delete pages. Even... Read more
Skype 7.9.746 - Voice-over-internet phon...
Skype allows you to talk to friends, family and co-workers across the Internet without the inconvenience of long distance telephone charges. Using peer-to-peer data transmission technology, Skype... Read more
Apple GarageBand 10.1 - Complete recordi...
The new GarageBand is a whole music creation studio right inside your Mac -- complete with keyboard, synths, orchestral and percussion instruments, presets for guitar and voice, an entirely... Read more
Duplicate Annihilator 5.7.7 - Find and d...
Duplicate Annihilator takes on the time-consuming task of comparing the images in your iPhoto library using effective algorithms to make sure that no duplicate escapes. Duplicate Annihilator... Read more
OS X Server 4.1.3 - For OS X 10.10 Yosem...
Designed for OS X and iOS devices, OS X Server makes it easy to share files, schedule meetings, synchronize contacts, develop software, host your own website, publish wikis, configure Mac, iPhone,... Read more
Firefox 39.0 - Fast, safe Web browser. (...
Firefox offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals and casual... Read more
pwSafe 4.1 - Secure password management...
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
Kodi 15.0.rc1 - Powerful media center to...
Kodi (was XBMC) is an award-winning free and open-source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub that can be installed on Linux, OS X, Windows, iOS, and Android, featuring a 10-foot user... Read more
Coda 2.5.11 - One-window Web development...
Coda is a powerful Web editor that puts everything in one place. An editor. Terminal. CSS. Files. With Coda 2, we went beyond expectations. With loads of new, much-requested features, a few surprises... Read more

This Week at 148Apps: June 29-July 3, 20...
Into July With 148Apps How do you know what apps are worth your time and money? Just look to the review team at 148Apps. We sort through the chaos and find the apps you're looking for. The ones we love become Editor’s Choice, standing out above the... | Read more »
Sonic Runners Guide
Despite its flaws, Sonic Runners' platforming action is actually quite fun. Though it can be a little more complicated than old-school Sonic games. Here's how to make sure you're up to speed when jumping in. [Read more] | Read more »
Rage of Bahamut is Giving Almost All of...
The App Store isn't what it used to be back in 2012, so it's not unexpected to see some games changing their structures with the times. Now we can add Rage of Bahamut to that list with the recent announcement that the game is severely cutting back... | Read more »
Adventures of Pip (Games)
Adventures of Pip 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** ONE WEEK ONLY — 66% OFF! *** “Adventures of Pip is a delightful little platformer full of charm, challenge and impeccable... | Read more »
Divide By Sheep - Tips, Tricks, and Stre...
Who would have thought splitting up sheep could be so involved? Anyone who’s played Divide by Sheep, that’s who! While we’re not about to give you complete solutions to everything (because that’s just cheating), we will happily give you some... | Read more »
NaturalMotion and Zynga Have Started Tea...
An official sequel to 2012's CSR Racing is officially on the way, with Zynga and NaturalMotion releasing a short teaser trailer to get everyone excited. Well, as excited as one can get from a trailer with no gameplay footage, anyway. [Read more] | Read more »
Grab a Friend and Pick up Overkill 3, Be...
Overkill 3 is a pretty enjoyable third-person shooter that was sort of begging for some online multiplayer. Fortunately the begging can stop, because its newest update has added an online co-op mode. [Read more] | Read more »
Scanner Pro's Newest Update Adds Au...
Scanner Pro is one of the most popular document scanning apps on iOS, thanks in no small part to its near-constant updates, I'm sure. Now we're up to update number six, and it adds some pretty handy new features. [Read more] | Read more »
Heroki (Games)
Heroki 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: CLEAR THE SKIES FOR A NEW HERO!The peaceful sky village of Levantia is in danger! The dastardly Dr. N. Forchin and his accomplice,... | Read more »
Wars of the Roses (Games)
Wars of the Roses 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple refurbished Mac minis available startin...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 Mac minis available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $80 off... Read more
College Student Deals: Additional $100 off Ma...
Take an additional $100 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through August 8, 2015. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take... Read more
Sky Atlas Star Walk 2 App For iPhone And iPa...
Vito Technology, developer of educational apps for Android and iOS, is for a limited time offering free of charge their Star Walk 2, the next generation of the company’s best-selling stargazing guide... Read more
13-inch 1.6GHz MacBook Air on sale for $849,...
Amazon has the 2015 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $849.99 including free shipping. Their price is $150 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model. Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999,...
Adorama has the 13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $999 including free shipping plus NY & NJ sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Read more
Updated Mac Price Trackers
We’ve updated our Mac Price Trackers with the latest information on prices, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers: - 15″ MacBook Pros - 13″ MacBook... Read more
15-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has new 2015 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $225 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $1819 $180 off - 15″ 2.5GHz Retina... Read more
RamDisk4Mac App Helps Run Your Mac Faster And...
Ever use a RAM disk? If you’ve come to the Mac in the OS X era, likely not. The Classic Mac OS had a RAM disk function built-in, but that was dropped in the conversion to OS X. What is a RAM disk?... Read more
13-inch 1.6GHz MacBook Air on sale for $849,...
Best Buy has the 2015 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $849.99 on their online store this weekend. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for online orders... Read more
Apple Refurbished iMacs available for up to $...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 27″ 3.5GHz 5K iMac – $1949 $... Read more

Jobs Board

*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
Senior Payments Security Manager - *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple , Inc. is looking for a highly motivated, innovative and hands-on senior payments security manager to join the Apple Pay security team. You will Read more
Sr. Technical Services Consultant, *Apple*...
**Job Summary** Apple Professional Services (APS) has an opening for a senior technical position that contributes to Apple 's efforts for strategic and transactional Read more
Sr. Payment Program Manager, *Apple* Pay -...
**Job Summary** Apple Pay is an exciting environment and a…devices in a simple, private and secure way. The Apple Pay Team is looking for an experienced Senior Read more
Project Manager - *Apple* Pay Security - Ap...
**Job Summary** The Apple Pay Security team is seeking a highly organized, results-driven Project Manager to drive the development of Apple Pay Security. If you are Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.