After Dark 3.0, released this August, was the long-awaited, feature-loaded king of Mac screensavers. However, like any version ending with a period and zero (did anyone say "Norton Speed Disk 3.0?"), it's having teething pains. In this case, since After Dark patches system software at a low level, the troubles show up as conflicts with other packages.
In an attempt to make users' lives easier, Berkeley Systems, Inc. (BSI) recently released a list of known and suspected conflicts, with causes and workarounds. They've also promised an updater to registered users.
To register, send email to <firstname.lastname@example.org>, including your After Dark serial number, and your full name, address, and daytime phone number. Questions can be directed to BSI's technical support team at <email@example.com>.
The conflict list details thirty conflicts that affect the 3.0 engine; new products from BSI, such as The Simpsons, use this engine and are also affected. The list is available via the Web and FTP respectively, at the URLs below.
These conflicts are in addition to the ones listed at the end of the After Dark Online Manual included on your installer disks. (That Online Manual is worth a read; it makes a great deal of my Screensaver FAQ redundant.)
The fact that system-level software has conflicts is nothing to get excited about. After Dark 2.0 went through eleven revisions in four years due to conflicts with new system software, and a mole inside BSI tells me that, although their sales have doubled with the release of 3.0, tech support calls have not quite doubled, so, relatively speaking, things must be better. (Well, they would say that, wouldn't they?)
In the meantime, if you want to be entertained by a screensaver, but don't trust After Dark to do it, check out the only free After-Dark-compatible program, Tom Dowdy's DarkSide of the Mac.
And, if you're interested in entering the After Dark module programming contest that we talked about in TidBITS-241, download the After Dark 3.0 programming kit, which BSI has just released online. This version adds example code for CodeWarrior and for all versions of Think C, and is stored at: