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

Vivaldi 1.7.735.46 - An advanced browser...
Vivaldi is a browser for our friends. In 1994, two programmers started working on a web browser. Our idea was to make a really fast browser, capable of running on limited hardware, keeping in mind... Read more
HandBrake 1.0.3 - Versatile video encode...
HandBrake is a tool for converting video from nearly any format to a selection of modern, widely supported codecs. Features Supported Sources VIDEO_TS folder, DVD image or real DVD (unencrypted... Read more
Slack 2.5.1 - Collaborative communicatio...
Slack is a collaborative communication app that simplifies real-time messaging, archiving, and search for modern working teams. Version 2.5.1: New The way we load teams you don't view often has been... Read more
BBEdit 11.6.4 - 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
BBEdit 11.6.4 - 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
beaTunes 4.6.12 - Organize your music co...
beaTunes is a full-featured music player and organizational tool for music collections. How well organized is your music Library? Are your artists always spelled the same way? Any R.E.M. vs REM?... Read more
Tinderbox 7.0.1 - Store and organize you...
Tinderbox is a personal content management assistant. It stores your notes, ideas, and plans. It can help you organize and understand them. And Tinderbox helps you share ideas through Web journals... Read more
FotoMagico 5.4 - Powerful slideshow crea...
FotoMagico lets you create professional slideshows from your photos and music with just a few, simple mouse clicks. It sports a very clean and intuitive yet powerful user interface. High image... Read more
Direct Mail 4.3.9 - Create and send grea...
Direct Mail is an easy-to-use, fully-featured email marketing app purpose-built for OS X. It lets you create and send great looking email campaigns. Start your newsletter by selecting from a gallery... Read more
Tinderbox 7.0.1 - Store and organize you...
Tinderbox is a personal content management assistant. It stores your notes, ideas, and plans. It can help you organize and understand them. And Tinderbox helps you share ideas through Web journals... Read more

The best sales on the App Store this wee...
The App Store has quite an exciting lineup of discount games this week that range across a variety of genres. It's a great opportunity to catch up on some of the premium games you may have been holding off on -- and some you can even grab for free... | Read more »
The best new games we played this week
Ah, here we are again at the close of another busy week. Don't rest too easy, though. We had a lot of great new releases in mobile games this week, and now you're going to have to spend all weekend playing them. That shouldn't be too much of a... | Read more »
Rollercoaster Tycoon Touch Guide: How to...
| Read more »
Rabbids Crazy Rush Guide: How to unlock...
The Rabbids are back in a new endless running adventure, Rabbids Crazy Rush. It's more ridiculous cartoon craziness as you help the little furballs gather enough fuel (soda) to get to the moon. Sure, it's a silly idea, but everyone has dreams --... | Read more »
Tavern Guardians (Games)
Tavern Guardians 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Tavern Guardians is a Hack-and-Slash action game played in the style of a match-three. You can experience high pace action... | Read more »
Slay your way to glory in idle RPG Endle...
It’s a golden age for idle games on the mobile market, and those addictive little clickers have a new best friend. South Korean developer Ekkorr released Endless Frontier last year, and players have been idling away the hours in the company of its... | Read more »
Tiny Striker: World Football Guide - How...
| Read more »
Good news everyone! Futurama: Worlds of...
Futurama is finding a new home on mobile in TinyCo and Fox Interactive's new game, Futurama: Worlds of Tomorrow. They're really doing it up, bringing on board Futurama creator Matt Groening along with the original cast and writers. TinyCo wants... | Read more »
MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL (Games)
MUL.MASH.TAB.BA.GAL.GAL 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ENDLESS UPGRADES. CONSTANT DANGER. ANCIENT WISDOM. BOUNCY BALLS. Launch Sale, 40% OFF for a very limited time!!! MUL.... | Read more »
Dungeon Rushers (Games)
Dungeon Rushers 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Dungeon Rushers is a 2D tactical RPG combining dungeon crawler’s gameplay and turn based fights. Manage your team, loot dusty... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $2...
Newegg has the 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook (sku MLH82LL/A) on sale for $1349.99 including free shipping. Their price is $250 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model.... Read more
13-inch MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSR...
B&H Photo has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (MMGF2LL/A): $899 $100 off MSRP - 13″ 1.6GHz/... Read more
9-inch 32GB Silver iPad Pro on sale for $549,...
B&H Photo has the 9.7″ 32GB Silver Apple iPad Pro on sale for $549 for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Their price is $50 off standard MSRP for this model... Read more
13-inch 2.0GHz Apple MacBook Pros on sale for...
B&H has the non-Touch Bar 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for $100 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 13″ 2.0GHz MacBook Pro Space Gray (... Read more
15-inch Touch Bar MacBook Pros on sale for up...
B&H Photo has the new 2016 15″ Apple Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.7GHz Touch Bar... Read more
12-inch Retina MacBooks on sale for $1150, $1...
B&H has 12″ 1.1GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 12″ 1.1GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1149 $150 off MSRP - 12″ 1.1GHz... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished 11-inch MacBook Ai...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 11″ MacBook Airs (the latest models recently discontinued by Apple), available for up to $170 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each... Read more
Apple Park Opens to Employees in April With T...
Apple has announced that Apple Park, the company’s new 175-acre campus, will be ready for employees to begin occupying in April. The process of moving more than 12,000 people will take over six... Read more
Manhattan Neighbors for Safer Telecommunicati...
A new education and advocacy group focused on cell phone and wireless risks, Manhattan Neighbors for Safer Telecommunications, launched today at http://www.ManhattanNeighbors.org. Manhattan... Read more
Portable Dual DisplayPort Monitor Dock Enable...
IOGEAR has announced the launch of its USB-C Dual DisplayPort Monitor Portable Dock (GUC3CMST). The dock enables users to easily connect two DisplayPort monitors to a USB-C or Thunderbolt 3 laptop to... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Wireless Lead - T-ROC - The Retail O...
…of knowledge in wireless sales and activations to the Beautiful and NEW APPLE Experiencestore within MACYS. THIS role, APPLE Wireless Lead, isbrandnewas MACYS Read more
Manager *Apple* Systems Administration - Pu...
Req ID 3315BR Position Title Manager, Apple Systems Administration Job Description The Manager of Apple Systems Administration oversees the administration and 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* Retail - Multiple Positions- Chicago...
SalesSpecialist - Retail Customer Service and SalesTransform Apple Store visitors into loyal Apple customers. When customers enter the store, you're also the Read more
Manager *Apple* Systems Administration - Pu...
Req ID 3315BR Position Title Manager, Apple Systems Administration Job Description The Manager of Apple Systems Administration oversees the administration and Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.