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>

 
AAPL
$116.47
Apple Inc.
+0.16
MSFT
$47.98
Microsoft Corpora
-0.72
GOOG
$537.50
Google Inc.
+2.67

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Cobook 3.0.7 - Intelligent address book....
Cobook Contacts is an intuitive, engaging address book. Solve the problem of contact management with Cobook Contacts and its simple interface and powerful syncing and integration possibilities.... Read more
StatsBar 1.9 - Monitor system processes...
StatsBar gives you a comprehensive and detailed analysis of the following areas of your Mac: CPU usage Memory usage Disk usage Network and bandwidth usage Battery power and health (MacBooks only)... Read more
Cyberduck 4.6 - FTP and SFTP browser. (F...
Cyberduck is a robust FTP/FTP-TLS/SFTP browser for the Mac whose lack of visual clutter and cleverly intuitive features make it easy to use. Support for external editors and system technologies such... Read more
Maya 2015 - Professional 3D modeling and...
Maya is an award-winning software and powerful, integrated 3D modeling, animation, visual effects, and rendering solution. Because Maya is based on an open architecture, all your work can be scripted... Read more
Evernote 6.0.1 - Create searchable notes...
Evernote allows you to easily capture information in any environment using whatever device or platform you find most convenient, and makes this information accessible and searchable at anytime, from... Read more
calibre 2.11 - Complete e-library manage...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital... Read more
Herald 5.0.1 - Notification plugin for M...
Note: Versions 2.1.3 (for OS X 10.7), 3.0.6 (for OS X 10.8), and 4.0.8 (for OS X 10.9) are no longer supported by the developer. Herald is a notification plugin for Mail.app, Apple's Mac OS X email... Read more
Firetask 3.7 - Innovative task managemen...
Firetask uniquely combines the advantages of classical priority-and-due-date-based task management with GTD. Stay focused and on top of your commitments - Firetask's "Today" view shows all relevant... Read more
TechTool Pro 7.0.6 - Hard drive and syst...
TechTool Pro is now 7, and this is the most advanced version of the acclaimed Macintosh troubleshooting utility created in its 20-year history. Micromat has redeveloped TechTool Pro 7 to be fully 64... Read more
PhotoDesk 3.0.1 - Instagram client for p...
PhotoDesk lets you view, like, comment, and download Instagram pictures/videos! (NO Uploads! / Image Posting! Instagram forbids that! AND you *need* an *existing* Instagram account). But you can do... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Ubisoft Gives Everyone Two New Ways to E...
Ubisoft Gives Everyone Two New Ways to Earn In-Game Stuff for Far Cry 4 Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 21st, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
Golfinity – Tips, Tricks, Strategies, an...
Dig this: Would you like to know what we thought of being an infinite golfer? Check out our Golfinity review! Golfinity offers unlimited ways to test your skills at golf. Here are a few ways to make sure your score doesn’t get too high and your... | Read more »
Dark Hearts, The Sequel to Haunting Meli...
Dark Hearts, The Sequel to Haunting Melissa, is Available Now Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 21st, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Meowza! Toyze Brings Talking Tom to Life...
Meowza! | Read more »
Square Enix Announces New Tactical RPG f...
Square Enix Announces New Tactical RPG for Mobile, Heavenstrike Rivals. Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 21st, 2014 [ permalink ] With their epic stories and gorgeous graphics, | Read more »
Quest for Revenge (Games)
Quest for Revenge 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: The great Kingdom of the west has fallen. The gods ignore the prayers of the desperate. A dark warlord has extinguished... | Read more »
Threadz is a New Writing Adventure for Y...
Threadz is a New Writing Adventure for You and Your Friends Posted by Jessica Fisher on November 21st, 2014 [ permalink ] In the tradition of round-robin storytelling, | Read more »
SteelSeries Stratus XL Hardware Review
Made by: SteelSeries Price: $59.99 Hardware/iOS Integration Rating: 4 out of 5 stars Usability Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars Reuse Value Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars Build Quality Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars Overall Rating: 4.31 out of 5 stars | Read more »
ACDSee (Photography)
ACDSee 1.0.0 Device: iOS iPhone Category: Photography Price: $1.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: Capture, perfect, and share your photos with ACDSee. The ACDSee iPhone app combines an innovative camera, a powerful photo... | Read more »
ProTube for YouTube (Entertainment)
ProTube for YouTube 2.0.2 Device: iOS Universal Category: Entertainment Price: $1.99, Version: 2.0.2 (iTunes) Description: ProTube is the ultimate, fully featured YouTube app. With it's highly polished design, ProTube offers ad-free... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Save up to $400 with Apple refurbished 2014 1...
The Apple Store has restocked Apple Certified Refurbished 2014 15″ Retina MacBook Pros for up to $400 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping... Read more
New 13-inch 1.4GHz MacBook Air on sale for $8...
 Adorama has the 2014 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook Air on sale for $899.99 including free shipping plus NY & NJ tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP. B&H Photo has the 13″ 1.4GHz/128GB MacBook... Read more
Apple Expected to Reverse Nine-Month Tablet S...
Apple and Samsung combined accounted for 62 percent of the nearly 36 million branded tablets shipped in 3Q 2014, according to early vendor shipment share estimates from market intelligence firm ABI... Read more
Stratos: 30 Percent of US Smartphone Owners t...
Stratos, Inc., creator of the Bluetooth Connected Card Platform, has announced results from its 2014 Holiday Mobile Payments Survey. The consumer survey found that nearly one out of three (30 percent... Read more
2014 1.4GHz Mac mini on sale for $449, save $...
 B&H Photo has lowered their price on the new 1.4GHz Mac mini to $449.99 including free shipping plus NY tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this new... Read more
Check Apple prices on any device with the iTr...
MacPrices is proud to offer readers a free iOS app (iPhones, iPads, & iPod touch) and Android app (Google Play and Amazon App Store) called iTracx, which allows you to glance at today’s lowest... Read more
64GB iPod touch on sale for $249, save $50
Best Buy has the 64GB iPod touch on sale for $249 on their online store for a limited time. Their price is $50 off MSRP. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale price for... Read more
15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $17...
 B&H Photo has the 2014 15″ 2.2GHz Retina MacBook Pro on sale for $1799.99 for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. B&H will also include free copies of... Read more
New Logitech AnyAngle Case/Stand Brings Flexi...
Logitec has announced the newest addition to its suite of tablet products — the Logitech AnyAngle. A protective case with an any-angle stand for iPad Air 2 and all iPad mini models, AnyAngle is the... Read more
Notebook PC Shipments Rise Year-Over-Year as...
According to preliminary results from the upcoming DisplaySearch Quarterly Mobile PC Shipment and Forecast Report, the global notebook PC market grew 10 percent year-over-year in Q3’14 to 49.4... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC)- Retail S...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Project Manager, *Apple* Financial Services...
**Job Summary** Apple Financial Services (AFS) offers consumers, businesses and educational institutions ways to finance Apple purchases. We work with national and Read more
*Apple* Store Leader Program - College Gradu...
Job Description: Job Summary As an Apple Store Leader Program agent, you can continue your education as you major in the art of leadership at the Apple Store. You'll Read more
*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
Senior Event Manager, *Apple* Retail Market...
…This senior level position is responsible for leading and imagining the Apple Retail Team's global event strategy. Delivering an overarching brand story; in-store, Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.