TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Sep 99 Tips

Volume Number: 15 (1999)
Issue Number: 9
Column Tag: Tips & Tidbits

Tips and Tidbits

by Jeff Clites <tips@mactech.com>

Easy-to-Read MacsBug

If you spend very much time in MacsBug on a color screen, you know what the color dot/bar pitch does to small fonts, and you might really yearn for a better font in which you can easily distinguish fuzzy hex digits by their overall shapes. Whoever did the font in MacsBug obviously did not do any time-and-motion studies on character recognition. The worst offender is the gratuitously slashed zero, which is very hard to tell from both the eight and the (cap) letter "B". There are a (very) few times when you need to distinguish a zero from the letter Oh, but most of the time it's in a strictly hexadecimal setting.

I have been using a modified Monaco font for many years now, in which the hex digits are carefully crafted to be easily distinguished. It saves eyestrain and substantially increases productivity. However, until recently I had to muddle along with the illegible blur that MacsBug puts up. Here is how to fix your copy too.

Only three characters need work, zero, and the letters "B" and "D". I also improved the letter "A", but the benefit is less marked. These are the pixels you need to be concerned with:

Old, illegible:

         x x x     x x x x     x x x x       x x x
       x       x   x       x   x       x   x       x
       x     x x   x       x   x       x   x       x
       x   x   x   x x x x     x       x   x x x x x
       x x     x   x       x   x       x   x       x
       x       x   x       x   x       x   x       x
         x x x     x x x x     x x x x     x       x

New, improved:

           x       x x x x     x x x           x  
         x   x       x     x     x   x         x
       x       x     x     x     x     x     x   x  
       x       x     x x x       x     x     x   x  
       x       x     x     x     x     x   x x x x x
         x   x       x     x     x   x     x       x
           x       x x x x     x x x       x       x

By narrowing top and bottom of the zero, we make it easily distinguished from the more rounded letter "O"; removing the slash makes it visibly different from eight and "B". The letter "B" is further distinguished from eight by extending the serifs out to the left; the same change on "D" distinguishes it clearly from both zero and the letter "O". The more pointy top of the "A" helps distinguish it from eight. The letter "C" opens to the right, while "D" appears to open to the left.

How To Do It

Start with a copy of MacsBug. You will need a hex file editor that works on the data fork.

MacsBug has its own font, which has grown over the years, but the bits in memory are still relatively recognizable. Each character is the leftmost five bits of a byte, with ten pixel rows, seven for the main character cell, two descender rows, and one ascender for parentheses and a few others which rise above the regular character height. Since this is not drawn with QuickDraw, there is no need for RowBytes to be even-and in some versions of MacsBug it's not. The pixels are pretty easy to find in a hex file editor: just search for "8888 8888". In different versions of MacsBug, the font gets linked into different parts of the file, so you just have to look for it.

After you find the pixels, you need to determine the RowBytes. The top row is mostly zeros, but the font begins with space, "!", quote, and "#" (in ASCII order), so the beginning of the second row is pretty recognizable as "0020 5050". Now look for the third row to begin with "0020 50F8" anywhere from 99 to 186 bytes later (more or less). The exact distance is RowBytes, but you should check it on the characters you are changing.

Sixteen bytes after the space, the digits start with zero, and 17 bytes after that the letters start with "A". You will look for patterns like these and make the noted changes (don't forget, words may align differently if RowBytes is odd):

	0 1  2 3  4 5  6 7  8 9                   A  B C  D E
	7020 7070 10F8 70F8 7070 0000 0000 0070 7070 F070 F0F8
	20                                        20      E0

	8860 8888 3080 8008 8888 0000 1000 4088 8888 8888 8880
	50                                        20 48   50

	9820 0808 50F0 F008 8888 2020 20F8 2008 E888 8880 8880
	88                                        50 48   48

	A820 1030 9008 8810 7088 0000 4000 1010 A8F8 F080 88F0
	88                                        50 70   48

	C820 2008 F808 8820 8878 2000 20F8 2020 F088 8880 8880
	88                                        F8 48   48

	8820 4088 1088 8820 8808 0000 1000 4000 8088 8888 8880
	50                                           48   50

	7020 F870 1070 7020 7070 0020 0000 0020 7088 F070 F0F8
	20                                                E0

Save the changes, and after removing the original MacsBug to a safe place, drop your new improved version into the System Folder and reboot! If you made a serious mistake, you can hold the shift key down and reboot again to remove it. Small mistakes will just look funny on screen. But if all goes well, you should immediately notice improved productivity while reading MacsBug screen displays. It also looks brighter!

Tom Pittman

<72457.2237@compuserve.com>

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Apple iBooks Author 2.5 - Create and pub...
Apple iBooks Author helps you create and publish amazing Multi-Touch books for iPad. Now anyone can create stunning iBooks textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books, and more for iPad. All... Read more
MYStuff Pro 2.0.26 - $39.99
MYStuff Pro is the most flexible way to create detail-rich inventories for your home or small business. Add items to MYStuff by dragging and dropping existing information, uploading new images, or... Read more
MarsEdit 3.7.8 - Quick and convenient bl...
MarsEdit is a blog editor for OS X that makes editing your blog like writing email, with spell-checking, drafts, multiple windows, and even AppleScript support. It works with with most blog services... Read more
Yasu 3.0.3 - System maintenance app; per...
Yasu was created with System Administrators who service large groups of workstations in mind, Yasu (Yet Another System Utility) was made to do a specific group of maintenance tasks quickly within a... Read more
Yasu 3.0.3 - System maintenance app; per...
Yasu was created with System Administrators who service large groups of workstations in mind, Yasu (Yet Another System Utility) was made to do a specific group of maintenance tasks quickly within a... Read more
MYStuff Pro 2.0.26 - $39.99
MYStuff Pro is the most flexible way to create detail-rich inventories for your home or small business. Add items to MYStuff by dragging and dropping existing information, uploading new images, or... Read more
MarsEdit 3.7.8 - Quick and convenient bl...
MarsEdit is a blog editor for OS X that makes editing your blog like writing email, with spell-checking, drafts, multiple windows, and even AppleScript support. It works with with most blog services... Read more
Apple iBooks Author 2.5 - Create and pub...
Apple iBooks Author helps you create and publish amazing Multi-Touch books for iPad. Now anyone can create stunning iBooks textbooks, cookbooks, history books, picture books, and more for iPad. All... Read more
TunnelBear 3.0.1 - Subscription-based pr...
TunnelBear is a subscription-based virtual private network (VPN) service and companion app, enabling you to browse the internet privately and securely. Features Browse privately - Secure your data... Read more
ExpanDrive 5.4.0 - Access cloud storage...
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

How to build and care for your team in D...
Before you hit the trail and become a dog sledding legend, there’s actually a fair bit of prep work to be done. In Dog Sled Saga, you’re not only racing, you’re also building and caring for a team of furry friends. There’s a lot to consider—... | Read more »
How to win every race in Dog Sled Saga
If I had to guess, I’d say Dog Sled Saga is the most adorable racing game on the App Store right now. It’s a dog sled racing sim full of adorable, loyal puppies. Just look at those fluffy little tails wagging. Behind that cute, pixelated facade is... | Read more »
Let the war games commence in Gunship Ba...
Buzz Lightyear famously said, “This isn’t flying, this is falling – with style!” In the case of Gunship Battle: Second War, though, this really is flying - with style! The flight simulator app from Joycity puts you in control of 20 faithfully... | Read more »
How to get a high score in Fired Up
Fired Up is Noodlecake Games’ high score chasing, firefighting adventure. You take control of a wayward firefighter who propels himself up the side of a highrise with blasts of water. Sound silly? It is. It’s also pretty difficult. You can’t... | Read more »
NBA 2K17 (Games)
NBA 2K17 1.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Games Price: $7.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Following the record-breaking launch of NBA 2K16, the NBA 2K franchise continues to stake its claim as the most authentic sports video... | Read more »
Dog Sled Saga (Games)
Dog Sled Saga 1.0.1 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.0.1 (iTunes) Description: A game by Dan + Lisa As a rookie musher, foster a dogsledding team whose skills will grow if they're treated right. Week by... | Read more »
60 Seconds! Atomic Adventure (Games)
60 Seconds! Atomic Adventure 1.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.2 (iTunes) Description: 60 Seconds! is a dark comedy atomic adventure of scavenge and survival. Collect supplies and rescue your family... | Read more »
Tons of Bullets! (Games)
Tons of Bullets! 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: Tons of BulletsA retro 2D pixel platformer infused with tons of bullets and tons of features!Fight as Kenji the Ninja and... | Read more »
Sorcery! 4 (Games)
Sorcery! 4 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: *** PLEASE NOTE: Sorcery! 4 requires a minimum of iPad 3 or iPhone 4 *** An epic adventure through a cursed citadel of monsters,... | Read more »
Building the perfect Animation Throwdown...
Animation Throwdown is a casual card game full of plenty of inside jokes from some of your favorite cartoons. It’s accessible as far as card games go, but that’s not to say that it hands your victories to you easily. There’s quite a bit that goes... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Duplicate Sweeper Free On Mac App Store For O...
To celebrate the launch of Apple’s latest macOS Sierra, Stafford, United Kingdom based Wide Angle Software has announced that its duplicate file finder software, Duplicate Sweeper, is now available... Read more
13-inch Retina MacBook Pros on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 13″ Retina Apple MacBook Pros on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY tax only: - 13″ 2.7GHz/128GB Retina MacBook Pro: $1174.99 $125 off MSRP - 13... Read more
Evidence Surfaces Pointing To New A10X Chip F...
Citing a job description for a Project Lead position at Apple’s Austin, Texas engineering labs, Motley Fool’s Ashraf Eassa deduces that development is progressing well on Apple’s next-generation in-... Read more
Check Print’R for macOS Allows Anyone to Easi...
Delaware-based Match Software has announced the release and immediate availability of Check Print’R 3.21, an important update to their easy-to-use check printing application for macOS. Check Print’R... Read more
Apple refurbished 11-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 11″ MacBook Airs (the latest models), available for up to $170 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is... Read more
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
Major Version 5 Release Of Free myTuner Radio...
AppGeneration Software has announced the release of myTuner Radio 5.0.1, an important update to their live radio app for iOS and Android platforms. With myTuner Radio, you can listen to more than 30,... Read more
TheAppStore Searches And Filters iOS And macO...
Boston based InchWest has announced the official launch of TheAppStore, a free web based service that lets users search iOS and Mac apps on the web without iTunes or the App store. TheAppStore... Read more
2TB Time Capsule on sale for $199, save $100
Amazon has 2TB Apple Time Capsules on sale for $199 including free shipping. Their price is $100 off MSRP. Choose Amazon as the seller when making your purchase, rather than a third party seller. Read more
12-inch 1.2GHz Rose Gold Retina MacBook on sa...
Amazon.com has the 2016 12″ 1.2GHz Rose Gold Retina MacBook on sale for $1254.02 including free shipping. Their price is $345 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model from any... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Retail - Multiple Positions- Manhatt...
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
Sr. *Apple* Mac Engineer - Net2Source Inc....
…staffing, training and technology. We have following position open with our client. Sr. Apple Mac Engineer6+ Months CTH Start date : 19th Sept Travelling Job If 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
Restaurant Manager (Neighborhood Captain) - A...
…in every aspect of daily operation. WHY YOU'LL LIKE IT: You'll be the Big Apple . You'll solve problems. You'll get to show your ability to handle the stress and Read more
US- *Apple* Store Leader Program - Apple (Un...
…Summary Learn and grow as you explore the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll master our retail business inside and out through training, hands-on Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.