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

OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 - Apple's lat...
OS X Yosemite is Apple's newest operating system for Mac. An elegant design that feels entirely fresh, yet inherently familiar. The apps you use every day, enhanced with new features. And a... Read more
Apple iOS 8.1.3 - The latest version of...
The latest version of iOS can be downloaded through iTunes. Apple iOS 8 comes with big updates to apps you use every day, like Messages and Photos. A whole new way to share content with your family.... Read more
SpamSieve 2.9.19 - Robust spam filter fo...
SpamSieve is a robust spam filter for major email clients that uses powerful Bayesian spam filtering. SpamSieve understands what your spam looks like in order to block it all, but also learns what... Read more
RapidWeaver 6.0.5 - Create template-base...
RapidWeaver is a next-generation Web design application to help you easily create professional-looking Web sites in minutes. No knowledge of complex code is required, RapidWeaver will take care of... Read more
Duet 1.2.2 - Use your iPad as an externa...
Duet is the first app that allows you to use your iDevice as an extra display for your Mac using the Lightning or 30-pin cable. Note: This app requires a $14.99 iOS companion app. Version 1.2.2:... Read more
Alfred 2.6 - Quick launcher for apps and...
Alfred is an award-winning productivity application for OS X. Alfred saves you time when you search for files online or on your Mac. Be more productive with hotkeys, keywords, and file actions at... Read more
1Password 5.1 - Powerful password manage...
1Password is a password manager that uniquely brings you both security and convenience. It is the only program that provides anti-phishing protection and goes beyond password management by adding Web... Read more
GarageSale 6.9.2 - Create outstanding eB...
GarageSale is a slick, full-featured client application for the eBay online auction system. Create and manage your auctions with ease. With GarageSale, you can create, edit, track, and manage... Read more
calibre 2.17 - 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 librarian... Read more
OmniGraffle Pro 6.1.2 - Create diagrams,...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more

New WOTA: U-Boat Compass ‘Wets’ Your App...
New WOTA: U-Boat Compass ‘Wets’ Your Appetite for WOTA: Wolves of the Atlantic. Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Warship Solitaire Review
Warship Solitaire Review By Nadia Oxford on January 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: A WAR OF NUMBERSUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Warship Solitaire might lack frills and looks, but it offers some thought provoking... | Read more »
Keep Track of Your Hectic Work Schedule...
Keep Track of Your Hectic Work Schedule With Shifts Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] iPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad | Read more »
All Star Quarterback Review
All Star Quarterback Review By Campbell Bird on January 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: PLAY YOUR PARTUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Train your way to the Super Bowl in this free-to-play sports management game.   | Read more »
Sentinel 4: Dark Star Adds New Campaign...
Sentinel 4: Dark Star Adds New Campaign and More Posted by Ellis Spice on January 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Wheel & Deal Review
Wheel & Deal Review By Tre Lawrence on January 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: SIMPLE FUNUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A simple arcade shooter that has a retro feel.   | Read more »
Join the NAVY in a Big New Update for WW...
Join the NAVY in a Big New Update for WW2: Sandbox. Strategy & Tactics Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Earthworm Alchemy Review
Earthworm Alchemy Review By Campbell Bird on January 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: FEED THE WORMUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Feed this funny looking worm and dodge bombs in this charming, free-to-play arcade game.   | Read more »
Graphic Novel App netwars – The Butterfl...
Graphic Novel App netwars – The Butterfly Attack has Received Some New Episodes Posted by Jessica Fisher on January 27th, 2015 [ permalink ] | Read more »
DataVault Password Manager Review
DataVault Password Manager Review By Jennifer Allen on January 27th, 2015 Our Rating: :: SECURE DATA STORAGEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Store your passwords and other sensitive information safely, thanks to... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple Releases New Tranche Of OS Updates For...
Apple has released incremental bugfix and security updates for its most recent Mac and iOS versions. OS X Yosemite 10.10.2 Update Apple says this update includes the following improvements: Resolves... Read more
Samsung To Be Main Supplier Of A9 Chips For i...
Korea’s Maeil Business Newspaper reports that Samsung has beat out its chipmaking rivals, Taiwan’s Qualcomm and TSMC, as supplier of chipsets for the next generations of both its own Galaxy S6 and... Read more
Save up to $340 on iMacs with Apple Certified...
The Apple Store has Apple Certified Refurbished iMacs available for up to $340 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free. These are the best prices on... Read more
AppleCare Protection Plans on sale for up to...
B&H Photo has 3-Year AppleCare Warranties on sale for up to $105 off MSRP including free shipping plus NY sales tax only: - Mac Laptops 15″ and Above: $244 $105 off MSRP - Mac Laptops 13″ and... Read more
Apple refurbished Time Capsules available sta...
The Apple Store has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for up to $60 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $255... Read more
3TB AirPort Time Capsule on sale for $349, $5...
B&H Photo has 3TB AirPort Time Capsules on sale for $349 including free shipping plus NY sales tax only. Their price is $50 off MSRP, and it’s the lowest price available for this model (except... Read more
16GB iPad Air 2 on sale for $446, save $53
Walmart has 16GB WiFi iPad Air 2s on sale for $53 off MSRP on their online store. Choose free shipping or free local store pickup (if available). Sale prices available for online orders only, in-... Read more
Save up to $300 on a new Mac, $30 on an iPad,...
Purchase a new Mac or iPad at The Apple Store for Education and take up to $300 off MSRP. All teachers, students, and staff of any educational institution qualify for the discount. Shipping is free,... Read more
MasterCard Brings Contactless Payment, Apple...
MasterCard, the official card of the Waste Management Phoenix Open, and the PGA TOUR are bringing the latest payment technology to the spectator experience with the introduction of contactless... Read more
Petitioning Dropbox For Mac OS X 10.4 and 10....
Last week Dropbox announced to its users that app support for Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5 will end May 18 — disappointing news for those of us who are still getting useful service out of older PPC Macs... Read more

Jobs Board

*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
As an ambassador of the Apple brand, the ASC is accountable for driving sales performance by: Connecting with customers. Discovering customers' needs and values. Showing Read more
*Apple* Tree Children's Center is hirin...
Apple Tree Learning Center is Hiring Preschool Teachers! Phoenix Childrens Academy is a national leader in the early childhood education industry and we are currently Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
**Job Summary** As an Apple Solutions Consultant (ASC) you are the link between our customers and our products. Your role is to drive the Apple business in a retail Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant - Retail Sales...
As an ambassador of the Apple brand, the ASC is accountable for driving sales performance by: Connecting with customers. Discovering customers' needs and values. Showing Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant- Retail Sales -...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Resellers store. The ASCs role is to grow Apple product Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.