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

Ys Chronicles II (Games)
Ys Chronicles II 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: After a hard fight to recover the six sacred books in Ys Chronicles I, Adol is back for a sequel! | Read more »
FINAL FANTASY Ⅸ (Games)
FINAL FANTASY Ⅸ 1.0.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $16.99, Version: 1.0.4 (iTunes) Description: ==========●Special sale price for the FINAL FANTASY IX release! ●20% off from February 10 to February 21, 2016... | Read more »
Tennis Club Story (Games)
Tennis Club Story 1.03 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.03 (iTunes) Description: Aim for the ace position of tennis club prestige in this simulation! Your leadership decides if players make it to the big... | Read more »
Juggernaut Wars guide - How to use skill...
Juggernaut Warsis a brand new auto-RPG on iOS and Android that challenges you to build a team of heroes, send them out into various different missions to defeat waves of heroes, and level them up to increase their power. The actual combat itself... | Read more »
Check out the new Pirate Attack update i...
Love pirates and board games? Well, you'll love the new Pirate Attack themed update that just launched in Game of Dice. It adds a bunch of new content themed around pirates, like an all new event map based on a pirate ship which revamps the toll... | Read more »
Splash Cars guide - How to paint the tow...
Splash Cars is an arcade driving game that feels like a hybrid between Dawn of the Plow and Splatoon. In it, you'll need to drive a car around to repaint areas of a town that have lost all of their color. Check out these tips to help you perform... | Read more »
The best video player on mobile
We all know the stock video player on iOS is not particularly convenient, primarily because it asks us to hook a device up to iTunes to sync video in a world that has things like Netflix. [Read more] | Read more »
Four apps to help improve your Super Bow...
Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and whether you’re a Panthers or a Broncos fan you’re no doubt gearing up for it. [Read more] | Read more »
LooperSonic (Music)
LooperSonic 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: LooperSonic is a multi-track audio looper and recorder that will take your loops to the next level. Use it like a loop pedal to... | Read more »
Space Grunts guide - How to survive
Space Grunts is a fast-paced roguelike from popular iOS developer, Orange Pixel. While it taps into many of the typical roguelike sensibilities, you might still find yourself caught out by a few things. We delved further to find you some helpful... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple refurbished 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 15″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2... Read more
BookBook For iPad Pro Coming Soon
The iPad Pro is a device unlike any other, and with Apple Pencil, it’s the ideal portable sketchpad: all that’s missing is the modern easel and portfolio to go. TwelveSouth’s BookBook for iPad Pro... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Silver Retina MacBook on sale...
B&H Photo has the 12″ 1.2GHz Silver Retina MacBook on sale for $1399 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $200 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price for this model from... Read more
iPads on sale at Target: $100 off iPad Air 2,...
Target has WiFi iPad Air 2s and iPad mini 4s on sale for up to $100 off MSRP on their online store for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for... Read more
Target offers Apple Watch for $100 off MSRP
Target has Apple Watches on sale for $100 for a limited time. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices for online orders only, in-store prices may vary: - Apple... Read more
Apple refurbished 2014 13-inch Retina MacBook...
Apple has 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 shipping is free... Read more
Macs available for up to $300 off MSRP, $20 o...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad using Apple’s Education Store and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free, and... Read more
Watch Super Bowl 50 Live On Your iPad For Fre...
Watch Super Bowl 50 LIVE on the CBS Sports app for iPad and Apple TV. Get the app and then tune in Sunday, February 7, 2016 at 6:30 PM ET to catch every moment of the big game. The CBS Sports app is... Read more
Two-thirds Of All Smart Watches Shipped In 20...
Apple dominated the smart watch market in 2015, accounting for over 12 million units and two-thirds of all shipments according to Canalys market research analysts’ estimates. Samsung returned to... Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up...
B&H Photo has 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $180 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 12″ 1.2GHz Gray Retina MacBook: $1499 $100 off MSRP - 12″ 1.2GHz Silver... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions (US) - A...
Sales Specialist - Retail Customer Service and Sales Transform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the 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
*Apple* Subject Matter Expert - Experis (Uni...
This position is for an Apple Subject Matter Expert to assist in developing the architecture, support and services for integration of Apple devices into the domain. Read more
*Apple* Macintosh OSX - Net2Source Inc. (Uni...
…: * Work Authorization : * Contact Number(Best time to reach you) : Skills : Apple Macintosh OSX Location : New York, New York. Duartion : 6+ Months The associate would Read more
Computer Operations Technician ll - *Apple*...
# Web Announcement** Apple Technical Liaison**The George Mason University, Information Technology Services (ITS), Technology Support Services, Desktop Support Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.