Previous Issue | Search TidBITS | TidBITS Home Page | Next Issue
It's not as big a deal as when a car company does it, but Apple recalled Tune-Up 1.1 last week and replaced it with 1.1.1. That's embarrassing, but not nearly as embarrassed as you'd be if your portable caused a plane to have problems due to the radio frequency interference we discuss this issue. The latest rumors from Claris aren't in the slightest bit embarrassing though, and neither is Dan Walkowski's excellent trash management utility, TrashMan.
Copyright 1992 TidBITS Electronic Publishing. All rights reserved.
Information: <email@example.com> Comments: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Stimpson J. Millians writes: "The Ashton-Tate/Fox suit got dropped as a result of the Borland/Ashton-Tate suit buyout. It was part of the Justice Department anti-trust agreement. I'm not pleased about Microsoft buying Fox at all. I program FoxPro 2.0, and it's the only one out there that civilizes (i.e. GUI-izes) DOS databases in a quick, attractive manner. I hate to see a killer program hacked to pieces by Microsoft, although the Windows and Mac versions might come out sooner because of it. This surprised me even more because all of the regional Microsoft salesthings got training on the Microsoft database over the Christmas holidays, and said it would be out in the summer."
Stimpson J. Millians -- email@example.com
Tune-Up Printing Bug -- Geoff Bronner writes:
In the hoopla surrounding the release of Tune-Up 1.1 and its companion files one thing has gone unmentioned. The release of LaserWriter 7.1 with Tune-Up 1.0 introduced a bug that caused random PostScript errors when printing to Novell NetWare for Macintosh 3.01 queues. The release of LaserWriter 7.1.1 with Tune-Up 1.1 has not fixed this problem. [And there's no reason to expect this will be fixed in 1.1.1 as discussed below. -Adam]
Users at sites using Novell NetWare may get caught by surprise when the Installer that comes with Tune-Up 1.1 replaces their copy of LaserWriter 7.0 with 7.1.1 and everything stops printing.
The original bug in LaserWriter 7.1 was confirmed by a MacWEEK article (MacWEEK 10-Feb-92, pg. 5) but nothing else has been mentioned since then.
So be warned! If you are using NetWare for Mac and System 7 stay with LaserWriter 7.0.
Geoff Bronner -- firstname.lastname@example.org
by Mark H. Anbinder, TidBITS Contributing Editor
What could be more embarrassing than having to release a bug fix to protect users from a bug that can destroy their data? Having to release a bug fix to protect users from the first bug fix! Apple was embarrassed in just this way last week, when they realized that System 7 Tune-Up 1.1 was defective, and needed to be replaced. System 7 Tune-Up 1.1.1 was released at the end of last week to fix the problem.
According to an anonymous source, when the final version of System 7 Tune-Up 1.1 was compiled, a previous version of a header file was used. As a result, the Tuner accessed the wrong Process Manager globals, creating a potential crash hazard in the application purging routines. The problem apparently would only appear in certain kinds of low-memory situations, so it went unnoticed until after Tune-Up 1.1 had been released.
Apple is currently recommending that all users of System 7 (both 7.0 and 7.0.1) install the System 7 Tune-Up 1.1.1 package. Previous versions of the Tune-Up package will be replaced by the Installer.
In addition to using the Installer, which comes with the Tune-Up, users have the option of dragging the "Tuner Parts" folder from the distribution disk to their System Folders. An undocumented feature of Finder 7 will automatically install the contents of any folder that's dropped on the System Folder. (Try it! It works!)
Users wishing to protect themselves from the dreaded Disappearing Folders bug should immediately install System 7 Tune-Up 1.1.1. Tune-Up 1.1.1 should be available from the usual suspects, and can be obtained on the Internet from Apple's FTP server at ftp.apple.com [220.127.116.11] in the directory dts/mac/sys.soft/7.0.tuneup/
Mark B. Johnson - email@example.com
Mark H. Anbinder -- firstname.lastname@example.org
From Cliff Wildes, President and CEO of Microtech International
To the Editor:
Recent articles and discussions in the Macintosh community have focused on safety concerns related to the marvelous machinery we rely on for our work and enjoyment. As a manufacturer of peripherals for the Macintosh market I've been surprised to see a crucial safety and quality standard missing from the demands we make of our industry. I'm referring to the importance of strict adherence to FCC (Federal Communications Commission) Part 15. This federal regulation governs the release of radio frequency interference (RFI) generated by computer hardware. For many of us the words "FCC certified" have simply meant that our systems won't stumble when we turn on a radio or our neighbors won't complain that each time we fire up our Macs, their TV goes scrambly. But the real issue is far more serious.
RFI poses a threat to aircraft control towers, police and fire emergency response radio transmissions and medical life support systems. With the greater proliferation and mobility of our computer systems, this potential danger increases. An uncertified monitor attached to an otherwise "clean" system may cause your hard drive to fail intermittently. That's annoying at best, but consider the potential for tragedy if a "noisy" modem delays your local fire department from reaching a blaze. Or if interference from a laptop with an unfiltered power supply conflicts with the air traffic control communications on the next plane you fly. The value of strict compliance with FCC Part 15 certification becomes clear.
Sadly, noncompliance is frequent in our industry. At the Fall 1991 Comdex computer trade show, more than 100 companies were fined by the FCC. Last summer, 3 stores were fined $2,000 each for the sale of uncertified equipment to home users. Our own research has shown that the majority of Macintosh subsystem manufacturers are shipping hard drives, optical drives and tape systems that are uncertified. Manufacturers fail to do the required testing or fraudulently use old or fictitious FCC registration numbers. As noncompliance has become more commonplace, so has the potential for problems. With the growth of ever more complex business networks, the risk of serious interference problems explodes with so many different computer peripherals interfacing throughout our systems.
The publications which test and review products in the marketplace have themselves been slow to require authentic proof of certification as a qualification for hardware reviews. All too often, benchmark tests and "best buy" recommendations lead consumers to products which manage a lower price point by sidestepping the admittedly expensive but legally and morally essential RFI review process. And those of us who take the time and expense to meet these critical safety standards often cannot match pricing based on such unethical practices.
For the past two years, I have raised this issue with trade publications. Demanding compliance and certification is merely a demand for meeting minimum legal requirements for the products we sell, a demand for responsible journalism. When publications ignore noncompliance, they shortchange consumers, degrade our industry and condone unfair competition. If the trades placed more of their emphasis on investigating the companies which advertise in their pages, they might prevent a product that is not tested and certified by the FCC from appearing in their recommendation lists or on the cover of respected industry publications. I would hate to think that these publications have given major awards to companies that manufacture illegal products!
Our industry has moved into a "commodity" phase and the temptation grows to rush development, use lower quality or used components, or degrade standards in order to ship faster and sell cheaper. Sound managers however recognize that such economies are self-defeating. When we try to pass off lesser components and potentially dangerous products to our consumers, we may gain a quick profit but we undermine long range achievement. While we decry the success of Japanese manufacturers, we cannot compete as quality producers if we ignore even basic safety standards. What kind of lessons are we teaching the new developers, dreamers, users in our industry? That it's okay to ignore the law if it brings in more advertising dollars, cuts corners for profit or market share? Do we really want "As long as you make a buck, it's okay?" to be our industry's message?
As manufacturers of storage solutions, Microtech has made it a point to market only products which comply with and are certified under the FCC rules. We've spoken up for effective enforcement by the FCC. We've advocated strict standards amongst our colleagues in the marketplace. We've adopted a policy of nonparticipation in reviews which do not demand FCC compliance and certification for recommendation. We know all too well the costs of this process - Microtech alone has invested an estimated half million dollars in our own compliance efforts. Obviously, we'd love to be able to bring to market a new drive without facing the rigors of this process, the delays, the costs and the paperwork required. But we know that not only would that be illegal, it would be immoral. And we know that the long term health of our company and our industry rests on maintaining the highest quality. We require this of ourselves and we ask that all members of the Macintosh community demand the same from themselves, the companies they deal with and the publications we all rely on.
President and CEO
Microtech International, Inc.
Christina O'Connell, Microtech -- email@example.com
Just so you don't all think I'm being a slug and just printing the above letter to the editor, here's some more information that might be of interest on this subject.
Essentially, there are two levels of FCC certification, A and B. Class A certification for devices used in office environments is easy to get since the vendor does the testing itself and doesn't have to file anything with the government. Class B, which covers devices used in the home, is much more difficult to get, since it requires an independent testing lab to do the work and the FCC to certify the device. Any device certified as a Class B device must carry a sticker with its FCC ID number prominently (which usually seems to mean on the bottom or back) displayed. Class B certification, because of the independent testing and the FCC certification, isn't all that cheap at about $3000 to $4000, according to Tom Hora of the FCC, as quoted in a MacWEEK Special Report on the subject. (Incidentally, if you're interested in this subject, you should definitely find the issue listed below and read the full article - it's an excellent treatment.)
All of the devices I use regularly (and could easily tip over or read the back of) had an FCC ID sticker, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the device is clean because in some instances, the ID number could refer to the case of a hard drive rather than the mechanism, or could refer to a certain size mechanism but be used for numerous different size drives. It appears, from some conversations on ZiffNet/Mac and CompuServe, that some vendors don't even realize they have to get FCC certification, and others may have sold uncertified drives in the past.
I've implied, as does Cliff Wildes above, that the problem is limited to hard drives. Many types of electronic equipment can have problems with radio frequency interference, and even my keyboard, mouse, answering machine, and telephone have FCC ID numbers. My impression is that every electronic device that can create or react to radio frequency interference must be certified if it is to be used in the home.
Perhaps the most important place where RFI can cause problems is on an airplane. Airplane pilots can refuse to allow passengers to use any device that will create RFI, so those two guys in the Apple PowerBook commercial who connect their machines via LocalTalk might be shut down. (Ten to one they're really playing Spaceward Ho! over that impromptu network - I sure would be!) Interestingly, there was some discussion on the nets about a new FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) rule that bans the use of laptop computers with mouses (and the accompanying cords) because the cords radiate interfering radio waves. Needless to say, this is a serious problem on newer planes that do not use mechanical controls. This cropped up as an issue because some dealer advertised that the PowerBook was the only (an exaggeration, of course) legal airborne computer. Although the problem and the ban are real, laptops without mouses or laptops that use an internal pointing device like the Outbound Portable are fine.
If you're concerned about this (as I am - I'm leery enough of airplanes and don't need any more cause for concern such as someone with a DOS laptop and mouse interfering with the plane), you can check on FCC Class B certification before purchasing a piece of hardware. It's a simple question and one which the companies ought to at least know the answer to since it is a big deal in certain situations. You can also check your existing devices by calling an FCC BBS, the Public Access Link (PAL). The phone number is 301/725-1072 and is available all the time, though only at 300 and 1200 baud. The other settings are eight bits, no parity, and one stop bit (8N1). Just hit return a couple of times after the modem connects, and then enter the FCC ID number in question when PAL requests the "CODE." You get five minutes per call between 8 AM and 8 PM Eastern time and fifteen minutes the rest of the day. If you have other questions or want to check on the status of a pending certification you can call the FCC directly at the number below between 2 PM and 4 PM Eastern time.
Of course, as serious as RFI problems can be today, can you imagine the utter chaos and confusion that will result if and when we start using wireless networks for real? I can imagine the conversations: "Hang on a minute, I'm getting a lot of errors on that file transfer, let me move the Mac to the other table..."
FCC PAL -- 301/725-1072
FCC Questions -- 301/725-1585
Cory Kempf -- firstname.lastname@example.org
James Kroger -- email@example.com
Jim Bailey -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Christina O'Connell, Microtech -- email@example.com
MacWEEK -- 06-Apr-92, Vol. 6, #14, pg. 38
We've been muttering about a version of FileMaker Pro for Windows for quite some time now, and we've finally gotten some confirmation of that project. Claris reportedly showed an early version of FileMaker Pro running under Windows in a private suite at Comdex last week. Reportedly the Windows version will be very similar to FileMaker Pro 2.0 on the Macintosh, so there were some added features like improved speed, improved scripting, and QuickTime support. Not only will the Windows version have all that, but it will look like a Claris product, rather than using one of the strange interfaces that are still popping up in Windows programs.
Claris is working on ways of making other ports of its Macintosh products to Windows easier, but that does not mean that you'll see the full Claris suite ported to Windows any time soon. We've heard that MacDraw Pro code is unlikely to ever show up in a Windows product, although Claris might use some of the code from Hollywood in a Windows MacDraw. Resolve and MacWrite II, not to mention ClarisCAD and SmartForms, just aren't likely to make enough money to be worth the effort of porting them.
The big surprise, perhaps, is ClarisWorks. It's a great product written by a team of programmers with vision, and rumor has it that it will be the next Claris application to make the jump to Windows. I'd love to see it (and if I had a PC clone, I'd love to use it), but the one thing that worries me a little bit is that Claris may have to scale back its efforts aimed at the Mac and future Macintosh systems to get this Windows software out the door. Of course, no need to turn down all the money that Windows users will want to give Claris for FileMaker Pro for Windows and ClarisWorks for Windows.
MacWEEK -- 13-Apr-92, Vol. 6, #15, pg. 1
When I was growing up, my family took our garbage to the town dump every week. The best part was tossing it over the cliff, and much of the excitement went out of the weekly expedition when the dump was full and the town bought a trash compactor truck (which could be fun on occasion if it actually compacted the trash while you were there). As a result of these town policies, I never experienced the joys of listening to garbage trucks rumbling by early in the morning until I went to college. The noise was bothersome, but the benefit was obvious - I carried the garbage a short way and the garbagemen (excuse me, sanitation engineers) did the rest.
The Mac under System 7 is a lot the same way except you have to do both jobs, take the trash out and empty it. No one can do the first task for you because only you can decide what's trash and what's not, but why should you be bothered by the humdrum task of emptying the trash? Well, now you don't have to with the System 7-specific utility TrashMan 4.0.1, a $10 shareware trash management utility from Dan Walkowski.
TrashMan has three parts, TrashMan Controls, which is a Control Panel for TrashMan's settings, TrashMan Engine, a special application that scans the trash and deletes files, and TrashMan Emptier, on which you drop disks to delete the trashed files from those disks.
TrashMan Controls allows you to set the amount of time that a file will spend in the trash purgatory before being deleted. You can set the days, hours, and minutes a file can last in the trash - I personally have it set to three days. I'll explain why later. There's also a checkbox to set whether or not TrashMan deletes locked files, which can stick around for a long time if you don't set it to delete them. You can increase or decrease the Engine Speed, which controls how often the Engine will scan. I see no reason not to leave it on the lowest setting so TrashMan uses the least possible CPU time. You can also stop (or start) the Engine if you wish. The final checkbox controls whether disks are automatically ejected after you drag them on the TrashMan Emptier. Holding down the option key will produce the opposite result, so you can decide whether you generally want disks ejected or not. I don't. One added bonus to TrashMan Controls is that Dan has added some unobtrusive yet effective sounds to the controls. I approve of that sort of thing when it's done well.
TrashMan Engine is a strange new type of application that appeared with System 7. You drop the TrashMan Engine into the Extensions folder, and it runs automatically on startup, but does not appear in any application lists (such as the MultiFinder menu or About This Macintosh...). There's not much else to say about the TrashMan Engine, except that it is completely unnoticeable when it's scanning. Previous versions would pause the Mac temporarily while scanning, but this version is really smooth.
The final piece of the TrashMan puzzle is the TrashMan Emptier, a tiny application that acts as a front end on which you can drop disks. It's really nice that you don't have all the files in the trash emptied all the time under System 7, but that feature suddenly disappears the first time you throw out some files on a floppy and want to copy more on. The Finder will happily empty the trash for you if you wish, but it will delete all the files in the trash, not just the files that were originally on that floppy. With TrashMan Emptier, you can just drop the floppy on TrashMan Emptier and only the trashed files from that floppy will be deleted, and all others will stay put.
When all is said and done, though, why is TrashMan neat? It allows you turn a mindless task over to an automated program so you don't have to keep deciding if you want to empty the trash or not. In addition, TrashMan allows the trash to live up to its potential as promised by System 7. You not only get a second chance, as you did in System 6, or even a third or fourth chance, as in System 7, but as many chances you want when using TrashMan. An added feature is that TrashMan works well on AppleShare servers to ensure that users don't waste disk space by leaving files in the trash (and Dan says that AppleShare servers have separate Trash folders for each user, so there's no need to worry about it emptying everyone's trash).
I said earlier that I have TrashMan empty the trash after three days. I often will drag one of my partitions to the TrashMan Emptier to clean it off manually, but I prefer to leave files in the trash when I can. That's because there's a neat trick you can do with Nisus have it save its secondary backup files into the trash. That's secondary backup files, and I almost never need them, and I never need them after three days. With the amount I use Nisus and the number of files I use, though, I could easily use up several megabytes of space on my hard disk with just those secondary backups. Now TrashMan makes sure that I have access to the secondary backups I've made in the last three days, and also makes sure that I'm not wasting large portions of my ever-shrinking hard disk on lots of backup files that just aren't necessary.
Now of course you're going to want to know the trick with Nisus (and this may work with WordPerfect or other programs that can save a secondary backup file in addition to the primary file). It's pretty easy, and there are two methods.
Method A -- Boot with System 6 (if possible), run Nisus, and select the Trash folder in the secondary backup Saving Preferences. Then reboot under System 7. Neat, eh?
Method B -- If you feel like a macho hacker and want to use ResEdit, or you can't run System 6 on your machine because it's too new, first run Nisus and set your secondary backup folder to a five-letter folder at the top level of your hard disk. I used "Perseus:Games". Then, after quitting Nisus, open the Nisus Preferences 3.0 file in ResEdit and open the DFLT resource. There should only be one entry (mine was ID 301), so open that. Scroll down until you see the name of your secondary backup folder in the ASCII on the right hand side of the window. Then select the five letters of the folder name and replace them with "Trash". So I changed my setting from "Perseus:Games" to "Perseus:Trash". (You may see some additional letters there if you at one time selected a folder with a longer name, but as long as there is a colon after the "h" in "Trash" you'll be fine.) Then save the file, quit ResEdit, and create and save a new file in Nisus. Then look in the trash to make sure the secondary backup is in there.
Whether or not you use Nisus and find this trick useful, I highly recommend TrashMan 4.0.1. It's a mere $10 shareware and Dan Walkowski has done an excellent job making it safe, stable, and unobtrusive. It should be available at your local purveyor of shareware software. There are a few commercial utilities that offer the same functionality and even more features, but I feel that TrashMan is a clean (and cheap) compromise between ease of use and power. The one additional capability Dan will be adding in a future version of TrashMan is a TrashMan Burner that will immediately delete a file, so if you create a massive temporary file you can get rid of it immediately without having to disturb the other files resting quietly in your trash. Highly recommended.
Dan Walkowski -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Non-profit, non-commercial publications and Web sites may reprint or link to articles if full credit is given. Others please contact us. We do not guarantee accuracy of articles. Caveat lector. Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. TidBITS ISSN 1090-7017.
Previous Issue | Search TidBITS | TidBITS Home Page | Next Issue