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

Airmail 3.3.2 - Powerful, minimal email...
Airmail is an mail client with fast performance and intuitive interaction. Support for iCloud, MS Exchange, Gmail, Google Apps, IMAP, POP3, Yahoo!, AOL, Outlook.com, Live.com. Airmail was designed... Read more
Numi 3.15.1 - Menu-bar calculator suppor...
Numi is a calculator that magically combines calculations with text, and allows you to freely share your computations. Numi combines text editor and calculator Support plain English. For example, '5... Read more
TextSoap 8.4.1 - Automate tedious text d...
TextSoap can automatically remove unwanted characters, fix up messed up carriage returns, and do pretty much anything else that we can think of to text. Save time and effort. Be more productive. Stop... Read more
TextSoap 8.4.1 - Automate tedious text d...
TextSoap can automatically remove unwanted characters, fix up messed up carriage returns, and do pretty much anything else that we can think of to text. Save time and effort. Be more productive. Stop... Read more
Backblaze 4.3.0.44 - Online backup servi...
Backblaze is an online backup service designed from the ground-up for the Mac. With unlimited storage available for $5 per month, as well as a free 15-day trial, peace of mind is within reach with... Read more
Numi 3.15 - Menu-bar calculator supports...
Numi is a calculator that magically combines calculations with text, and allows you to freely share your computations. Numi combines text editor and calculator Support plain English. For example, '5... Read more
EtreCheck 3.3.3 - For troubleshooting yo...
EtreCheck is an app that displays the important details of your system configuration and allow you to copy that information to the Clipboard. It is meant to be used with Apple Support Communities to... Read more
BusyContacts 1.1.8 - Fast, efficient con...
BusyContacts is a contact manager for OS X that makes creating, finding, and managing contacts faster and more efficient. It brings to contact management the same power, flexibility, and sharing... Read more
TunnelBear 3.0.14 - Subscription-based p...
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
Apple Final Cut Pro X 10.3.4 - Professio...
Apple Final Cut Pro X is a professional video editing solution.Completely redesigned from the ground up, Final Cut Pro adds extraordinary speed, quality, and flexibility to every part of the post-... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

The best new games we played this week
We were quite busy this week. A bunch of big mobile games launched over the past few days, alongside a few teeny surprises. There're lots of quality games to load your phone with. We've gone and picked out five of our favorites for the week. [... | Read more »
Magikarp Jump beginner's guide
Magikarp Jump is a mystifying little game. Part Tamagotchi, part idle clicker, there's not a whole lot of video game there, per se, but for some reason we can't help coming back to it again and again. Your goal is to train up a little Magikarp to... | Read more »
Goat Simulator PAYDAY (Games)
Goat Simulator PAYDAY 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** IMPORTANT - SUPPORTED DEVICES **iPhone 4S, iPad 2, iPod Touch 5 or better Goat Simulator: Payday is the most... | Read more »
GRID Autosport delayed until autumn
Sorry mobile racing fans -- GRID Autosport has been delayed a few months. The game is now expected to launch this fall on iOS. Feral Interactive announced that they wanted more time to work on the game's UI and overall performance before launching... | Read more »
Zombie Gunship Survival Beginner's...
The much anticipated Zombie Gunship Survival is here. In this latest entry in the Zombie Gunship franchise, you're tasked with supporting ground troops and protecting your base from the zombie horde. There's a lot of rich base building fun, and... | Read more »
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish (Games)
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish 1.2.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $3.99, Version: 1.2.2 (iTunes) Description: Explore the ruins of the City of Mordheim, clash with other scavenging warbands and collect Wyrdstone -... | Read more »
Mordheim: Warband Skirmish brings tablet...
Legendary Games has just launched Mordheim: Warband Skirmish, a new turn-based action game for iOS and Android. | Read more »
Magikarp Jump splashes onto Android worl...
If you're tired ofPokémon GObut still want something to satisfy your mobilePokémon fix,Magikarp Jumpmay just do the trick. It's out now on Android devices the world over. While it looks like a simple arcade jumper, there's quite a bit more to it... | Read more »
Purrfectly charming open-world RPG Cat Q...
Cat Quest, an expansive open-world RPG from former Koei-Tecmo developers, got a new gameplay trailer today. The video showcases the combat and exploration features of this feline-themed RPG. Cat puns abound as you travel across a large map in a... | Read more »
Jaipur: A Card Game of Duels (Games)
Jaipur: A Card Game of Duels 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: ** WARNING: iPad 2, iPad Mini 1 & iPhone 4S are NOT compatible. ** *** Special Launch Price for a limited... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Memorial Day savings: 13-inch Touch Bar MacBo...
B&H Photo has the 2016 Apple 13″ Touch Bar MacBook Pros in stock today and on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 13″ 2.9GHz/512GB... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch MacBook Airs availa...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at $849. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each MacBook, and shipping is free: - 13″ 1.6GHz/8GB/128GB MacBook Air: $... 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
12-inch 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up...
B&H has 12″ 1.2GHz Retina MacBooks on sale for up to $150 off MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY & NJ sales tax only: - 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray Retina MacBook: $1449.99 $150 off... Read more
15-inch 2.7GHz Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro o...
MacMall has the 15-inch 2.7GHz Silver Touch Bar MacBook Pro (MLW82LL/A) on sale for $2569 as part of their Memorial Day sale. Shipping is free. Their price is $230 off MSRP. Read more
Free Tread Wisely Mobile App Endorsed By Fath...
Just in time for the summer driving season, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company has announced the launch of a new Tread Wisely mobile app. Designed to promote tire and vehicle safety among teens and... Read more
Commercial Notebooks And Detachable Tablets W...
Worldwide shipments of personal computing devices (PCDs), comprised of traditional PCs (a combination of desktop, notebook, and workstations) and tablets (slates and detachables), are forecast to... Read more
Best value this Memorial Day weekend: Touch B...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2016 15″ and 13″ MacBook Pros available for $230 to $420 off original MSRP. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2.6GHz... Read more
13-inch MacBook Airs on sale for up to $130 o...
Overstock.com has 13″ MacBook Airs on sale for up to $130 off MSRP including free shipping: - 13″ 1.6GHz/128GB MacBook Air (sku MMGF2LL/A): $869.99 $130 off MSRP - 13″ 1.6GHz/256GB MacBook Air (sku... Read more
2.8GHz Mac mini available for $973 with free...
Adorama has the 2.8GHz Mac mini available for $973, $16 off MSRP, including a free copy of Apple’s 3-Year AppleCare Protection Plan. Shipping is free, and Adorama charges sales tax in NY & NJ... Read more

Jobs Board

*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* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
*Apple* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**509643BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Location Number:** 001482- Apple Valley-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Best Buy Apple Read more
*Apple* Media Products - Commerce Engineerin...
Apple Media Products - Commerce Engineering Manager Job Number: 57037480 Santa Clara Valley, California, United States Posted: Apr. 18, 2017 Weekly Hours: 40.00 Job Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.