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

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

iDefrag 5.1.7 - Disk defragmentation and...
iDefrag helps defragment and optimize your disk for improved performance. Features include: Supports HFS and HFS+ (Mac OS Extended). Supports case sensitive and journaled filesystems. Supports... Read more
TrailRunner 3.8.832 - Route planning for...
TrailRunner is the perfect companion for runners, bikers, hikers, and all people wandering under the sky. Plan routes on a geographical map. Import GPS or workout recordings and journalize your... Read more
VOX 2.8.14 - Music player that supports...
VOX just sounds better! The beauty is in its simplicity, yet behind the minimal exterior lies a powerful music player with a ton of features and support for all audio formats you should ever need.... Read more
WhiteCap 6.6 - Visual plug-in for iTunes...
WhiteCap is a sleek and sophisticated music visualizer and screensaver that features futuristic, wireframe mesh visuals with dynamic backgrounds and colors. WhiteCap contains thousands of visual... Read more
VueScan 9.5.65 - Scanner software with a...
VueScan is a scanning program that works with most high-quality flatbed and film scanners to produce scans that have excellent color fidelity and color balance. VueScan is easy to use, and has... Read more
Carbon Copy Cloner 4.1.13 - 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
TrailRunner 3.8.831 - Route planning for...
TrailRunner is the perfect companion for runners, bikers, hikers, and all people wandering under the sky. Plan routes on a geographical map. Import GPS or workout recordings and journalize your... Read more
Quicken 4.4.2 - Complete personal financ...
Quicken makes managing your money easier than ever. Whether paying bills, upgrading from Windows, enjoying more reliable downloads, or getting expert product help, Quicken's new and improved features... Read more
Adobe Illustrator CC 2017 21.0.2 - Profe...
Illustrator CC 2017 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $19.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous Illustrator customer). Adobe Illustrator CC 2017 is the industry... Read more
Paparazzi! 1.0b2 - Make user-defined siz...
Paparazzi! is a small utility for OS X that makes screenshots of webpages. This very simple tool takes screenshots of websites which do not fit on one screen. You specify the desired width, minimal... Read more

5 dastardly difficult roguelikes like th...
Edmund McMillen's popular roguelike creation The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth has finally crawled onto mobile devices. It's a grotesque dual-stick shooter that tosses you into an endless, procedurally generated basement as you, the pitiable Isaac,... | Read more »
Last week on PocketGamer
Welcome to a weekly feature looking back on the past seven days of coverage on our sister website, PocketGamer. It’s taken a while for 2017 to really get going, at least when it comes to the world of portable gaming. Thank goodness, then, for... | Read more »
ROME: Total War - Barbarian Invasion set...
To the delight of mobile strategy fans, Feral Interactive released ROME: Total War just a few months ago. Now the game's expansion, Barbarian Invasion is marching onto iPads as a standalone release. [Read more] | Read more »
Yuri (Games)
Yuri 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: It's night. Yuri opens his eyes. He wakes up in a strange forest.The small, courageous explorer rides on his bed on casters in this... | Read more »
Space schmup Xenoraid launches on the Ap...
10Tons Xenoraid is out today on the App Store, bringing some high-speed space action to your mobile gadgets just in time for the weekend. The company's last premium title, another sci-fi game titled Neon Chrome, did quite well for itself, so... | Read more »
Star Wars: Force Arena Beginner's G...
Star Wars: Force Arena joined the populous ranks of Star Wars games on mobile today. It's a two-lane MOBA starring many familiar faces from George Lucas's famed sci-fi franchise. As with most games of this nature, Force Arena can be a little obtuse... | Read more »
Mysterium: The Board Game (Games)
Mysterium: The Board Game 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $6.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: The official adaptation of the famous board game Mysterium! | Read more »
Sonny (Games)
Sonny 1.0.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0.4 (iTunes) Description: Reimagined for iOS, cult-hit RPG Sonny brings challenging turn-based combat that requires strategy and mastery of each new skill to... | Read more »
Towaga (Games)
Towaga 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: "It has been foretold that a masked being would stand atop the legendary Towaga Temple, dwelling among shadows to fulfil The Black Moon... | Read more »
Bubble Witch 3 Saga Guide: How to get th...
King's bringing its fairytale bubble-popping puzzler back for its 3rd outing in Bubble Witch 3 Saga. If you're familiar with the series, not much has changed here on the surface level, though you'll likely be pleased with the improvements. If you'... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Opera Announces Neon Concept Browser For Mac
Opera is inviting users to get a glimpse of what Opera for computers could become with its Opera Neon browser concept. Each Opera Neon feature is described as “an alternate reality” for the Opera... Read more
Tellini Releases TabView 3.0 Missing Tool fo...
Tellini has announced the release of TabView 3.0. TabView has been the first macOS viewer for PowerTab tablatures. PowerTab is a well-known and widely adopted tablature editor for Windows systems and... Read more
13-inch 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for...
Overstock.com has the 1.6GHz/128GB 13″ MacBook Air on sale for $130 off MSRP including free shipping: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MMGF2LL/A): $869.99 $130 off MSRP Their price is the lowest... Read more
12-inch 32GB Space Gray iPad Pro on sale for...
B&H Photo has 12″ Space Gray 32GB WiFi Apple iPad Pros on sale for $55 off MSRP including free shipping. B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 12″ Space Gray 32GB WiFi iPad Pro: $744.44 $55 off... Read more
9-inch 32GB Space Gray iPad Pro on sale for $...
B&H Photo has the 9.7″ 32GB Space Gray Apple iPad Pro on sale for $549 for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Read more
Apple iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP,...
B&H Photo has 21″ and 27″ Apple iMacs on sale for up to $120 off MSRP, each including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - 27″ 3.3GHz iMac 5K: $2199 $100 off MSRP - 27″ 3.2GHz/1TB Fusion iMac... Read more
Apple refurbished Apple TVs available for up...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 32GB and 64GB Apple TVs available for up to $30 off the cost of new models. Apple’s standard one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: -... Read more
1.4GHz Mac mini, refurbished, available for $...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished 1.4GHz Mac minis available for $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, and shipping is free. Their price is $80 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest... Read more
16GB iPad Air 2, Apple refurbished, available...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 16GB iPad Air 2s available for $319 including free shipping. A standard Apple one-year is included. Their price is $60 off original MSRP for this model. Read more
Mac Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP, refurbish...
B&H Photo has Mac Pros on sale for $200 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges sales tax in NY only: - 3.7GHz 4-core Mac Pro: $2799, $200 off MSRP - 3.5GHz 6-core Mac Pro: $3799, $200... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Crows N...
Job Description: Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, Read more
*Apple* & PC Desktop Support Technician...
Apple & PC Desktop Support Technician job in Los Angeles, CA Introduction: We have immediate job openings for several Desktop Support Technicians with one of our 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
*Apple* Premier Retailer - PT Service Specia...
DescriptionSimply Mac is the largest premier retailer for Apple products and solutions. At Simply Mac we are all Apple , all the time. Same products. Same prices. Read more
*Apple* Premier Retailer - Service Manager -...
DescriptionSimply Mac is the largest premier retailer for Apple products and solutions. At Simply Mac we are all Apple , all the time. Same products. Same prices. Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.