TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Dec 94 Editor's Page
Volume Number:10
Issue Number:12
Column Tag:The Editor’s Page

The Editor’s Page

By Scott T Boyd, Editor

Getting On The Net

I work out of my home here on the Pacific coast. With five phone lines, five computers on an Ethernet, three modems, two cats, an eighteen-month-old daughter, a wife, and views of the ocean and a mountain, we may be looking at something like the home office of the future. No home office could be complete, though, without getting wired, and that takes more than caffeine.

Since January, I’ve experimented with a variety of schemes for connecting. Ihave all sorts of accounts on all the online services, but none of them qualify as “wired”. Getting connected, in this case, means plugging in to the Internet.

I started off by doing what all the Apple escapees seemed to be doing - Igot a Netcom PNC (Personal Network Connection). Icould use MacTCP and run all of my favorite Macintosh apps. It also came with a unix shell account and an e-mail address. It cost $17/month plus an hourly fee for every hour past some allotment.

Flocking to a net provider along with a few bazillion other subscribers isn’t always the best plan. They were growing so fast that they couldn’t add equipment, staff, and phone lines fast enough. Ifound a good excuse to find a new provider - we moved north to Montara (between Half Moon Bay and San Francisco).

Once here, I hooked up with QuakeNet. They’re small, know their stuff, and answer the phone when something goes wrong (hey, it’s networking; something’s bound to go wrong from time to time). Now Ipay $85/month for a 14.4Kbps full-time connection. It’s a local call, so Ican keep my modem connected constantly for the cost of a residential phone line. Ifind myself talking on the phone less, and I expect rates to drop as competition heats up. It’s great to have an unmetered connection - I never have to think about what it’s costing me to stay connected.

I’ve teamed up with a few other home office workers, and we’re finding all sorts of ways to use the net. We’ve tunneled AppleTalk to share printers and servers. We’ve set up FTP and chat servers so we can talk to each other and exchange files. We’ve also experimented with sending voice over the net. With a little work, we’ll be able to talk over 14.4 connections, and that will also reduce our phone bills.

We got our start using MacPPP (similar to SLIP) to make a point-to-point serial connection to our providers. It’s no more complex to configure than MacTCP - straightforward, but not trivial. A couple of us are now using MachTen (Tenon’s unix product for Macs) to make the PPP connection and do ip routing. That’s more fun because now Ican use any of the machines on my net, as well as offer dialup service to friends in the area. It’s also a lot more work because it involves configuring and administering a unix box (e.g. sendmail, FTP, DNS, accounts, firewalls, etc ). You haven’t seen bad documentation until you’ve tried to run a unix system. Flexibility breeds complexity. Turnkey it’s not.

I’d like to hear from those of you who have gotten on the net and found fun ways to use it. I’d especially like to hear from those of you who have written Macintosh-based tcp/ip software to take advantage of the net. The Net offers more opportunity than just running Mosaic.

Software Piracy

Have you ever wondered about those numbers we see from the Software Publishers Association and the Business Software Alliance about software piracy? BSA claims that global piracy costs over $12 billion dollars each year. Where do they get these numbers? They throw them around as if they had a basis for their claims. If so, why don’t they document how they arrive at those numbers? Might it be that the numbers wouldn’t impress us so much if we knew how they were derived?

Piracy certainly exists, but $12 billion? They do our industry a disservice by making unsubstantiated and unbelievable claims. That doesn’t do any of us any good in the long run. Many of you work for member companies; your opinion might help these groups wise up.

Do You Do Windows?

We all hear that Windows is going like gangbusters. It’s hard to tell whether it’s hype or excitement, but there sure seems to be a lot of interest in Windows95 (formerly known as the late Chicago). Have you felt the urge or the need to do Windows?

I know developers who have made the switch so completely that they don’t do Macintosh any more. They couldn’t see missing out on the opportunity to sell their products into the much larger market that Windows seems to offer. They aren’t doing Macintosh mostly because they’re small and can’t afford to split their efforts.

Other developers have decided to add Macintosh to the list of platforms they support. How else can you increase your revenue once you have established how much Windows marketshare you can grab? These vendors see the addition of a platform as a simple money decision. Hire one or two Mac programmers and have them port the Windows code. No big deal (but no love for the platform, either).

Others have successfully built a product and a market on the Macintosh. Having worked hard to own as much market share on the Macintosh as they could, they see expanding into the Windows market as a sensible way to grow the company. Besides, by the time they’ve grown to this point, they have customers clamoring for a Windows version. In one case, it’s become more than twice as hard to maintain a product on two platforms (what do you do when a Mac technology isn’t available on Windows?), with no more revenue than expected staying with Macintosh alone. They owned their market; people bought Macs just to use their product. Putting it on Windows gave those people a choice of platform, but didn’t draw in new customers. Not all products enjoy this position, so mileage no doubt varies from company to company.

We’d like to hear from you. Let’s get some of your stories about comings, goings, reasons, and outcomes.

Sorry About The Confusion

Last month I wrote about EvenBetterBusError - what it is, what it does, and why software that doesn’t work with it is buggy. Unfortunately, we experienced a glitch in the prepress process, and wound up with source code lines that wrapped, making the assembly source listing confusing and hard to read. Worse yet, two good quotes got pushed off the page!

Since the issue of reading from or writing to memory location 0 is so important, here it is again. Greg Marriott wrote EvenBetterBusError (aka EBBE). It puts a 4-byte value into memory location 0 which will generate a bus error or an illegal instruction on any Macintosh if someone dereferences a nil pointer or if they jump to 0. EBBE periodically checks to see whether someone has written to location 0 (probably using a NIL pointer). If so, it drops into the debugger and says, “Write to NIL.” EBBE can help you make your software better.

Here’s reconstituted code which shows you everything that EvenBetterBusError does. It’s pretty simple. It installs a VBL task which periodically checks location 0, drops into the debugger if it needs to, and stuffs $50FF8001 back into location 0.

It’s never ok to write to location 0, nor is it ever ok to dereference a NIL pointer. Code that does these things is buggy.


/* 1 */
        BRA.S   InstallVBL
BeginCodeBlock
VBLRecord   
  DC.L 00000000,0001  ; QElemPtr,  queue type (1==VBL queue)
  DC.L 00000000       ; ptr to VBL code
  DC.W 0001,0000      ; timeout count &phase count
        MOVE.L  $0,D0               ; put location 0’s contents into 
D0
        ANDI.L  #$7FFFFFFF,D0       ; strip the high bit
        CMPI.L  #$50FF8001,D0        ; see if someone wrote over it
        BEQ.S   SkipDebugStr        ; if not, everything’s ok
        CMPI.L  #$40810000,D0       ; see if it’s ProcMgr’s safe value
        BEQ.S   SkipDebugStr        ; if so, everything’s ok
        PEA     BuggyCodeWroteToNIL
        _DebugStr
SkipDebugStr 
        MOVE.L  #$50FF8001,$0       ; put a bus error value at $0
        MOVE.W  #$0001,$000A(A0)    ; reset the VBL timer
        RTS
EndOfCodeBlock

BuggyCodeWroteToNIL   DC.B 'Write to NIL',00
SizeOfCodeBlock  equ EndOfCodeBlock-BeginCodeBlock
          
InstallVBL 
        MOVEQ   #SizeOfCodeBlock,D0 ; allocate a block for code & data
        _NewPtr  ,sys       ; make a block in the system heap
        MOVE.L  A0,-(A7)            ; remember this block's address
        MOVEA.L A0,A1
        LEA     VBLRecord,A0        ; a static copy of our VBL record
        MOVEQ   #SizeOfCodeBlock,D0 ; the size of the VBL code & data
        _BlockMove            ; copy from INIT into sys heap block
        MOVEA.L (A7)+,A0            ; the system heap block
        PEA     $000E(A0)           ; addr of ptr to VBLin VBL record
        MOVE.L  (A7)+,$0006(A0)     ; stuff ptr to VBLcode
        _VInstall
        MOVE.L  #$50FF8001,$0       ; put a bus error value at $0
        RTS

Food For Thought

Post mortem debugging can be fun, especially when you get to see the victim die over and over again in slow motion!

- Greg Marriott

Seen On The Net

Macintosh, for those who can see through Windows.

- reported by baileyc@beetle.com

Dilbert
by Scott Adams

 
AAPL
$104.81
Apple Inc.
-0.02
MSFT
$45.73
Microsoft Corpora
+0.71
GOOG
$538.73
Google Inc.
-5.25

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

BusyCal 2.6.3 - Powerful calendar app wi...
BusyCal is an award-winning desktop calendar that combines personal productivity features for individuals with powerful calendar sharing capabilities for families and workgroups. BusyCal's unique... Read more
calibre 2.7 - Complete e-library managem...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital... Read more
Skitch 2.7.3 - Take screenshots, annotat...
With Skitch, taking, annotating, and sharing screenshots or images is as fun as it is simple.Communicate and collaborate with images using Skitch and its intuitive, engaging drawing and annotating... Read more
Delicious Library 3.3.2 - Import, browse...
Delicious Library allows you to import, browse, and share all your books, movies, music, and video games with Delicious Library. Run your very own library from your home or office using our... Read more
Art Text 2.4.8 - Create high quality hea...
Art Text is an OS X application for creating high quality textual graphics, headings, logos, icons, Web site elements, and buttons. Thanks to multi-layer support, creating complex graphics is no... Read more
Live Interior 3D Pro 2.9.6 - Powerful an...
Live Interior 3D Pro is a powerful yet very intuitive interior designing application. View Video Tutorials It has every feature of Live Interior 3D Standard, plus some exclusive ones: Create multi... Read more
The Hit List 1.1.7 - Advanced reminder a...
The Hit List manages the daily chaos of your modern life. It's easy to learn - it's as easy as making lists. And it's powerful enough to let you plan, then forget, then act when the time is right.... Read more
jAlbum Pro 12.2.4 - Organize your digita...
jAlbum Pro has all the features you love in jAlbum, but comes with a commercial license. With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code!... Read more
jAlbum 12.2.4 - Create custom photo gall...
With jAlbum, you can create gorgeous custom photo galleries for the Web without writing a line of code! Beginner-friendly, with pro results Simply drag and drop photos into groups, choose a design... Read more
ExpanDrive 4.1.7 - Access remote files o...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

I Am Dolphin Review
I Am Dolphin Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: NEARLY FIN-TASTICUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Swim around and eat nearly everything that moves in I Am Dolphin, a fun Ecco-ish kind of game... | Read more »
nPlayer looks to be the ultimate choice...
Developed by Newin Inc, nPlayer may seem like your standard video player – but is aiming to be the best in its field by providing high quality video play performance and support for a huge number of video formats and codecs. User reviews include... | Read more »
Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Wi...
Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Witch Review By Jennifer Allen on October 24th, 2014 Our Rating: :: CLASSY STORYTELLINGUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Fighting Fantasy: Caverns of the Snow Witch is a sterling... | Read more »
A Few Days Left (Games)
A Few Days Left 1.01 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.01 (iTunes) Description: Screenshots are in compliance to App Store's 4+ age rating! Please see App Preview for real game play! **Important: Make... | Read more »
Toca Boo (Education)
Toca Boo 1.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Education Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.2 (iTunes) Description: BOO! Did I scare you!? My name is Bonnie and my family loves to spook! Do you want to scare them back? Follow me and I'll... | Read more »
Intuon (Games)
Intuon 1.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.1 (iTunes) Description: Join the battle with your intuition in a new hardcore game Intuon! How well do you trust your intuition? Can you find a needle in a... | Read more »
Ravenous Rampage (Games)
Ravenous Rampage 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Partia 2 (Games)
Partia 2 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $5.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: Partia 2 is a SRPG (Strategy Role-playing) video game inspired by Fire Emblem and Tear Ring Saga series. In a high fantasy... | Read more »
Puzzle to the Center of the Earth Review
Puzzle to the Center of the Earth Review By Campbell Bird on October 23rd, 2014 Our Rating: :: SPELUNKING PUZZLESUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Do some puzzles to make some platforms in this smart and fun free-to-play... | Read more »
Puzzle to the Center of the Earth – Tips...
Dig this: Would you like to know what we thought of all this puzzling-around the deep recesses of the planet? Check out our Puzzle to the Center of the Earth review! Puzzle to the Center of the Earth is a surprisingly deep and challenging puzzle... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple Planning To Sacrifice Gross Margins To...
Digitimes Research’s Jim Hsiao says its analysts believe Apple is planning to sacrifice its gross margins to save its tablet business, which has recently fallen into decline. They project that Apple’... Read more
Who’s On Now? – First Instant-Connect Search...
It’s nighttime and your car has broken down on the side of the highway. You need a tow truck right away, so you open an app on your iPhone, search for the closest tow truck and send an instant... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro on sale for $949,...
Best Buy has the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro available for $949.99 on their online store. Choose free shipping or free instant local store pickup (if available). Their price is $150 off MSRP. Price is... Read more
Save up to $125 on Retina MacBook Pros
B&H Photo has the new 2014 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to $125 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. They’ll also include free copies of Parallels... Read more
Apple refurbished Time Capsules available sta...
The Apple Store has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for up to $60 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $255... Read more
Textilus New Word, Notes and PDF Processor fo...
Textilus is new word-crunching, notes, and PDF processor designed exclusively for the iPad. I haven’t had time to thoroughly check it out yet, but it looks great and early reviews are positive.... Read more
WD My Passport Pro Bus-Powered Thunderbolt RA...
WD’s My Passport Pro RAID solution is powered by an integrated Thunderbolt cable for true portability and speeds as high as 233 MB/s. HighlightsOverviewSpecifications Transfer, Back Up And Edit In... Read more
Save with Best Buy’s College Student Deals
Take an additional $50 off all MacBooks and iMacs at Best Buy Online with their College Students Deals Savings, valid through November 1st. Anyone with a valid .EDU email address can take advantage... Read more
iPad Air 2 & iPad mini 3 Best Tablets Yet...
The new iPads turned out to be pretty much everything I’d been hoping for and more than I’d expected.”More” particularly in terms of a drinking-from-a-firehose choice of models and configurations,... Read more
Drafts 4 Reinvents iOS Productivity App
N Richland Hills, Texas based Agile Tortoise has announced the release of Drafts 4 for iPhone and iPad. Drafts is a quick capture note taking app with flexible output actions. Drafts 4 scales from... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Apple Inc. (U...
…important role that the ASC serves is that of providing an excellent Apple Customer Experience. Responsibilities include: * Promoting Apple products and solutions Read more
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager / Business Analyst, WW *Appl...
…a senior project manager / business analyst to work within our Worldwide Apple Fulfillment Operations and the Business Process Re-engineering team. This role will work Read more
*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
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.