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TidBITS#146/12-Oct-92

This week we clarify the DeskWriter 550C's print mechanism and talk briefly about the possibility of a portable version of the DeskWriter. Mark Anbinder reports on the MBDF virus authors' sentences, Mark Nutter contributes a review of a package of 100 fonts, and we venture into the political arena with an editorial on how the presidential campaign looks from the high tech perspective.

Topics:

Copyright 1992 TidBITS Electronic Publishing. All rights reserved.
Information: <info@tidbits.com> Comments: <editors@tidbits.com>


MailBITS/12-Oct-92

The jargon-speak of the week comes in the postscript of a mass mailing from Kate Mitchell, Vice President of Oracle Corporation, about an Oracle seminar. "Implementing an enterprise-wide rightsizing strategy is on the top of everyone's IS agenda - so please register for this seminar today." I'd better run out and get an IS agenda so I can put an enterprise-wide rightsizing strategy on it to keep it from blowing away. I wonder if anyone uses personal-size wrongsizing strategies instead? I'll bet that's what happens if you use FileMaker Pro 2.0 on a Mac 512K.


APDA Moves

APDA, which distributes Apple's development tools like ResEdit, moved earlier this fall, and now has some new phone numbers and a snail mail address in Buffalo, NY. APDA says that it notified all current customers and that its next catalog, due on 20-Oct-92, will contain the new contact information as well.

APDA
P.O. Box 319
Buffalo, New York 14207-0319
800/282-2732 (US toll free, same as before)
800/637-0029 (Canada toll free, same as before)
716/871-6555 (International, new number)
716/871-6511 (fax, new number)
APDA@applelink.apple.com
Hours: Monday through Friday, 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM Pacific Time.

Information from:
Mark H. Anbinder, Contributing Editor


DeskWriter Comments

Several people wrote to tell me more about the new HP DeskWriter 550C and how it works. The DeskWriter ink cartridge contains the print head in the cartridge itself, which simplifies the double-cartridge design used by the DeskWriter 550C.

The two cartridges, one black, one color, are mounted next to each other on the same carriage mechanism, which allows you to print all four process colors (cyan, magenta, yellow, and black - commonly abbreviated CMYK) to on any given row of dots. As we said before, this mechanism improves print quality significantly by printing "true black" rather than the three-color composite that always bordered on brown.

Both cartridges shuttle at the same time, but only one can fire at a time, so the DeskWriter 550C makes two passes over a line if it has to print both color and true black on that same line. The only caveat to this is that HP wanted to prevent the ink from bleeding, so you can't print true black right next to color (with no intervening white space). If you have a black word in a colored box, that black word will be the composite black to prevent bleeding.

Portable DeskWriter? -- Last week we didn't mention Hewlett Packard's announcement of the DeskJet Portable printer for PC-clones. It's a 4.4 pound, 300 dpi inkjet printer that, unlike the GCC WriteMove II, offers an optional $99 50-page sheet feeder. Strangely enough, HP made no mention of a DeskWriter Portable, so I called them and asked if they had any plans for one. The HP rep said that he really didn't know what was might happen, but he'd been getting a ton of calls asking the same question. So there's no telling if we'll see a DeskWriter Portable soon, but I can't imagine that it will be too long given the estimated 425,000 PowerBooks Apple now claims to have sold. If you want to help increase the demand, give HP a call and ask about this printer too.

Hewlett Packard -- 800/752-0900

Information from:
Mike Kobb -- mjkobb@MEDIA-LAB.MEDIA.MIT.EDU
Ed J. Gurney -- egurney@hpvcleg.vcd.hp.com


MBDF Culprits Sentenced

by Mark H. Anbinder, Contributing Editor

The three Cornell University students who pleaded guilty last month to charges stemming from the creation and release of the MBDF virus were sentenced last week in Ithaca. Tompkins County Court Judge Betty Friedlander sentenced the three to a combination of community service and monetary restitution requirements.

David Blumenthal and Mark Pilgrim, the authors of the virus, were sentenced to one year each of community service, with a ten-hour-per-week requirement. They will also be required to pay over $2400 in restitution to Cornell University and to a metropolitan New York company to cover damages and lost time. Blumenthal and Pilgrim each pleaded guilty last month to reduced charges of second-degree computer tampering, a misdemeanor.

Randall Swanson, who admitted to having helped the authors distribute the virus, was sentenced to forty-five weeks of community service (again ten hours per week) and will be required to make a lesser restitution payment. We have received conflicting details as to Swanson's sentence; unfortunately, Swanson's attorney failed to respond to our telephone calls requesting clarification. Swanson had pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of disorderly conduct.

Judge Friedlander ordered that the three fulfill the community service portion of their sentences by teaching computer literacy classes for the underprivileged. Although we believe that community service is an appropriate sentence, it concerns us that three people who have demonstrated a lack of computer ethics will be teaching computer literacy to underprivileged youth. These young men are poor role models, and they may well impart inappropriate attitudes to their students. In addition, community service is meant as punishment, and this seems to be one of the least painful forms of community service available. We vote for making them staff a soup kitchen.


MacUser Oops

Normally we magazine types prefer to avoid talking about one another in print, because we know better than anybody how to write nasty letters to the editor. In this instance, though, I must set that unwritten rule aside and hope that my friends at MacUser don't take offense. We merely want to set the record straight so PowerBook 140 users don't have unrealistic expectations.

When MacUser wrote about the PowerBook 145 in the Oct-92 issue, they stated incorrectly that "any 140 that comes in for servicing will be repaired as a 145. So if the CPU daughterboard in your 140 fails, the resulting repair will give you a PowerBook 145."

It sounds like a great policy, but it is one that Apple unfortunately does not share. If you send in a 140 for Apple to fix, it will come back a 140, sorry. MacUser will print a correction in the December issue, which, given the fact that it's almost the middle of October, should be out any day now.

Information from:
Mark H. Anbinder, Contributing Editor


100 Fonts for $49

by Mark Nutter -- manutter@grove.iup.edu

One hundred of the best-selling professional-quality Macintosh laser fonts for only $49! Sound too good to be true? Well, maybe, but then again, maybe not.

When I saw the ad for KeyFonts in the MacWarehouse catalog, my first reaction was font envy. Most "bargain-bundle" font packages consist entirely of display or headline fonts - fancy, but not useful for everyday use. (Ever try to read a document written entirely in a display font like Cottonwood?) With the KeyFonts offer, however, about half of the fonts are real body-text fonts, based on such popular standards as Goudy and Garamond. Thus, for only $49, you get not only a good selection of popular display fonts, but also an equally good selection of readable text fonts.

Naturally, when the packaging says you are buying 100 fonts, it doesn't mean 100 font ~families~, it means 100 ~fonts~. In other words, you get Americo, Americo Bold, and Americo Italic, and that counts as three of your 100. If you look at the full-page ad in the MacWarehouse catalog, or on the back of the box, you can see all the fonts listed, so this shouldn't surprise anyone.

Not surprisingly, the fonts aren't the genuine fonts from the original designer. Rather, each font is a clone of the original. KeyFonts comes with a manual that lists each font family, and tells you which fonts are cloned from which originals. (I'll include a table of fonts and clones at the end of this review.) Curiously, some fonts are listed as clones of more than one original, which leads one to wonder how faithful the clone is to its model(s).

Print quality? Generally good, I'd say, although the KeyFonts seem to lack any kind of hinting that would preserve readability at the smaller point sizes. This is especially noticeable in screen displays with thin-stroked fonts, like Americo. For general-purpose laser output, the font quality should be adequate for most jobs.

The KeyFonts package includes both TrueType and PostScript versions of all fonts, as well as bitmapped screen fonts for use on non-TrueType systems. The PostScript fonts are Type 1 fonts, compatible with Adobe Type Manager, so you may not need the TrueType versions. In fact, if your experiences are like mine, you may not want the TrueType versions.

Installing all 100 KeyFonts on my Mac proved to be an exercise in disk space management. First I copied the bitmap and printer font files from the six PostScript disks onto my hard disk. Total size: 3.9 MB for 149 files. The TrueType fonts came in slightly smaller: 3.5 MB for 51 files, copied from five floppy disks. Once I had the files copied from floppy to my hard disk, I tried to drag all the TrueType fonts into the System file. Surprise! Apparently System 7 needs free disk space equal to the total size of the fonts you are installing, and I just didn't have it.

In the interest of speedy installation, I simply deleted the bitmap fonts, leaving me with enough space to install the TrueType fonts and print out sample sheets for each font. I used Jim Lewis's freeware theTypeBook application to print out sample sheets for each font (which took HOURS, by the way, to print all 100 fonts). Just so I could write a comprehensive review, I tried sample sheets based on using TrueType alone, then another set using TrueType with the PostScript printer files in the System Folder, and then another (partial) set after removing the TrueType fonts and replacing them with 10- and 12-point bitmapped screen fonts (re-loaded from the floppies).

Results -- The TrueType-only setup produced by far the most problems. A number of fonts exhibited character-width problems, with words from one column of text spreading out to overlap text in the adjacent column. Also, a few fonts had problems with certain letters disappearing, so that, for example, the line "This page was generated by theTypeBook" turned into "This pag was gnratd by thTypBook." Missing characters included "t", "e", and "l" in various fonts.

Adding the PostScript printer fonts to the TrueType fonts in the System Folder resolved all of the above problems, but introduced a new and mysterious problem: the curly quotes would not print. They weren't totally absent, as were the missing characters in the TrueType-only scenario, but they left a blank space where the quote mark ought to go. Fortunately, this "invisible quote" problem goes away if you remove the TrueType fonts entirely and just use the PostScript fonts. Since this also saves about 3.5 MB of disk space, this is definitely the way to go, provided of course that you have ATM.

The best results came from eliminating the TrueType fonts and using only the PostScript versions with the corresponding bitmapped screen fonts. Though by now my toner cartridge was running low, I did manage to print out enough samples to verify that all characters printed correctly, and that there weren't any obvious spacing problems, as had been the case with the TrueType versions installed.

Once I had all my sample sheets printed out, I next turned to theTypeBook's "Character Set" and "Keyboard Map" printing capabilities. Another surprise: most of the option-characters, and all but two or three of the shift-option-characters, were missing! The manual mentions that KeyFonts comes in a DOS and a Windows version as well as a Mac version, so presumably they eliminated missing characters for the sake of compatibility. Unfortunately, the missing characters include all the accented characters (vowels with aigu, grave, circumflex, umlaut, etc.), so you will find KeyFonts virtually useless for any kind of international application. Also missing are the fancy "f" (option-f), the math-type symbols like greater-than-or-equal-to, and all the ligatures (fi, fl, etc.). The Keyboard font, for some strange reason, has an Enter key but no Return key (probably reflecting the lack of a Return key on DOS keyboards), but the Dingbats font, at least, has managed to keep all its characters (mainly because it has been split into two Dingbats fonts).

The value of KeyFonts is further diminished by the fact that a number of the fonts are clones of the standard Macintosh LaserWriter Plus fonts, so in effect you waste disk space on redundant fonts. Presumably, DOS KeyFonts buyers benefit from finally being able to duplicate (to some extent) Mac-based laser printer output.

So, is the KeyFonts package worth the $49? I suspect the answer would be something like "80% of users will be satisfied using KeyFonts for 80% of their work." Though seriously limited by the missing characters, KeyFonts should suffice for most text-processing tasks intended for the average American consumer. The cloned fonts look pretty much the same as the originals, and for $49, you're getting clones of a lot of good fonts. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for.

Bottom line -- I'll keep my KeyFonts, and I'll use them, and if I get into a situation where I know I have to use a specific a font, with a certain option-character, then I'll spring the bucks and buy the genuine font (at $65 and up, mail order). Meanwhile, I can get away with using my bargain fonts for a lot of real-life work, and most of my readers will never be the wiser.

 Fonts included in KeyFonts
     B = Bold
     BI = Bold-Italic
     Bk = Black
     BkI = Black-Italic
     C = Condensed
     EB = Extra Bold
     EBI = Extra Bold Italic
     H = Heavy
     I = Italic
     L = Light
     M = Medium
     O = Outline
     (items in parenthesis indicate additional styles included)
     [names in brackets indicate original font this font imitates]
 
     Americo (B, I, O) [Americana]
     Arena (C, B, I, BI, O) [Arial, Helvetica, Swiss]
     Avian (B, I, BI) [Avant Garde]
     Basset (B, I, BI) [Baskerville]
     Bordeaux (L, M, H, Bk) [Bauhaus]
     Boston (B, I, BI, Bk, BkI) [Bodoni]
     Brush Hand
     Brush Script [Brush Script]
     Casque Open Face [Caslon Open Face]
     Chancery Cursive
     Chancery Bold
     Cookie (I) [Cooper Black]
     Cornet Script [Coronet]
     Dingbats 1 & 2 [Zapf Dingbats]
     Formal Script [Spenser Script]
     Fritz (B) [Friz Quadrata]
     Futurist (B, I, BI, Bk) [Futura] NOTE: Futurist Black looks
                                      more like Stencil than it
                                      does the other Futurist fonts.
     Garnet (B, I, BI) [Garamond]
     Gilde (B, I, BI) [Goudy]
     Grail Light [Graphic Light]
     Hammer Thin [Harry]
     Hammer Fat [Harry]
     Hobby Headline [Hobo]
     Keycaps
     Koffee (B) [Kaufmann]
     Krone (B, I, BI, EB) [Korinna]
     Letter Gothic (B, I, BI)
     Marquee [Broadway]
     Marquee Engraved [Broadway]
     Minstrel Script [Mistral]
     Old English Gothic
     OCR-A
     Optim (B, I, BI, EB, EBI) [Humanist, Optima]
     Oracle (I)
     Palamino (B, I, BI) [Palatino]
     Park Place [Park Avenue]
     Schoolbook (B, I, BI) [Century Schoolbook]
     Soutane (B, I, BI) [Souvenir]
     Stencil
     Technical (I) [Tekton]
     Ultra [Umbra]
     Vagabond (B) [Vag Rounded]

Product Information

KeyFonts
SoftKey Software Products, Inc.
4800 North Federal Highway
3rd Floor, Building D
Boca Raton, FL 33431
407/367-0005 (sales)
407/367-1611 (fax)

MacPolitik

I write this the day after the first US presidential debate in which Ross Perot had a grand old time being unpolished and quick on his feet, in which George Bush gained coherency throughout the evening from a thoroughly confusing start, and in which Bill Clinton showed cautious poise during a rhetorically solid performance. "Oh no," you say, "he's going to talk about politics. Why doesn't he stick to what he knows?"

Yes, that's right, I am going to write about politics and the US presidential campaign, a move that I know is risky in a computer trade publication. NeXTWORLD magazine endorsed ex-NeXT board member Ross Perot before his temporary retreat from the campaign trail, and an irate reader quickly censured them for that act in the next issue. However, I feel that the presidential race deserves some coverage from the high tech point of view, and I also feel that I can contribute in a positive manner. But first, let me defend myself from the inevitable questions and attacks.

First, for the many of you who are not US citizens, I realize that this presidential race does not directly concern you. However, a large percentage of the high tech world hails from the US, and since Apple is a US company, things Macintosh must perforce carry a US tint. Any large political change that affects high tech businesses in the US will be felt worldwide. In addition, in many ways the global Internet owes its start to the Defense Department, and although the Defense Department no longer has a controlling hand, the US government still provides a great deal of funding to the Internet. More on the Internet in a bit.

Second, I should address my qualifications for writing this article. I have none, other than my interests, curiosity, and analytical bent. I have no political contacts, have never run for elected office (other than an abortive attempt in high school to establish a Roman consul system), and in general do not approve of politics. Nonetheless, the US political system will not disappear any time soon, so we should make the best of what we've got. Everyone should have an opinion (otherwise you're a vegetable), because that opinion and your vote entitle you to complain when things don't go as you like.

Third, what will I write about if I'm not an expert? If I were more of a journalist I might contact the various campaign offices and interview them about what hardware and software they use and what their plans are should they win the election. Perhaps I could talk about the tremendous volume of political discussions on the networks. Or I could try to solicit statements from each candidate on various high tech issues, but let's be real. The art of politicking involves telling everyone what they want to hear, and each candidate would no doubt do just that. No, call me an editorial columnist, call me an essayist, call me an academic, or even call me Ishmael, but I will only say here what I think and what I think I can back up with something that masquerades as fact or truth, when we all know that hen's teeth, unicorns, and objective fact sit down each night at the same table.

So what do I think? We'll start with the candidate about whom I know the least in some respects, George Bush. Bush looks to be very much a member of the old guard, and in an attempt to convey the fact that he's "jes' folks" has made some vaguely offensive statements about his inability to learn how to use computers. He has expressed amazement at the ubiquitous bar code scanners in supermarket checkout lines, and if he shares anything with my grandfather other than age and participating in World War II as a young man, I suspect that George Bush basically doesn't understand computers. Based on a report in a computer magazine, Bush now does use a DOS-based 286 for memos and the like, but he apparently never took John Sculley up on the personal Macintosh lessons that Sculley offered months ago at the launch of Bush's America 2000 education proposal [See TidBITS-060/06-May-91 for the full text of Sculley's letter to Bush].

Ross Perot intrigues me because of his high tech background as founder of EDS and as a major investor and board member of Steve Jobs's NeXT. He seems generally popular among computer users in part because of these facts, although I think it's fair to say that given a choice, Perot runs organizations more like a cross between IBM and the military, as opposed to the more relaxed management style enjoyed by many who work for more liberal companies like Apple and Microsoft, where dress code and rigid hours are unheard of. That, along with Perot's acknowledged position as a political Lone Ranger worry me because of the difficulty of dealing with entrenched interests as an outsider. Politics is a large and bloody game, and you can't win without playing, as I learned back in high school while attempting to run for consul.

Finally, we have Bill Clinton and Senator Albert Gore. As I said above, the art of politicking is to promise everything to everyone, and Bill Clinton is the consummate politician. Nonetheless, Clinton has energy and many ideas, and as far as high tech issues go, the Clinton/Gore ticket shows more promise than any other, if only because of Gore's constant support for high tech issues. Gore is currently chairman of the subcommittee on Science Technology and Space of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and he authored the High Performance Computing Act of 1990, which proposed the creation and funding of high-speed fiber-optic networks. Gore is obviously technologically-minded, and if you wish to learn more about his opinions about technology and computer networks, I recommend that you read his "Infrastructure for the Global Village" article in the Sep-91 issue of Scientific American. Perhaps the most telling paragraph reads in part:

Typically, software development follows hardware development, and policy lags behind both. Yet it is policy that can determine whether we reap the benefits of this new technology. In too many cases, we have mastered the technology but failed to muster the political commitment and the appropriate policies.

In June of this year, Gore also introduced a bill that would establish an electronic gateway in the US Government Printing Office "to provide public access to a wide range of Federal databases containing public information stored electronically." I do not know if Gore's bill passed during this session of the Congress, but the bill very much fits with our philosophy of freedom of information, particularly when that information belongs to the public in the first place. One interesting aspect of the bill was its specific requirement that the Government Printing Office will "provide for access to the GPO Gateway through a wide range of electronic networks, including the Internet and the National Research and Education Network (NREN), to allow broad, reasonable access to the data."

From a technology viewpoint, we need this sort of understanding. Judging from his article in Scientific American, Gore also understands that in many ways the most important problem facing the world today is lack of communication, and facilitating communication will go a long way to solving many of the world's other problems. On the common ground of the network, we cannot discern if someone is old or young, male or female, black, white or Asian, a company president or a 15 year-old high school student, fat or thin, or Swedish, French, Turkish, Israeli, or Japanese. We know so little about our correspondents that we generally treat them all with equal respect and courtesy. That is the networks' gift to humanity.

In a fascinating move, lifelong Republican and Apple CEO John Sculley and 28 other Silicon Valley industry luminaries recently endorsed the Clinton/Gore ticket. Presumably these people feel that a Clinton presidency would bode well for the high tech industry, and although what benefits the industry may not always benefit us lowly consumers, it often does in the end. We share little in common with these millionaires and yet in some strange way we care what they think, since thoughts in those same brains shape the industry in which we live.

Why do we attempt to ferret out the candidates' true opinions on matters such as high technology? You may disagree with my thoughts about the importance of increasing communication and my feeling that we should pay attention to and learn from an industry that has not suffered to the same level as others during this global economic slowdown. On a more visceral level, though, we want to know that these people are in fact human, that they have some of the same wants, needs, and desires that we do. We want to assure ourselves that they are not significantly different from us, or from our friends. That's why Bush tries to come across as "jes' folks" despite his family money, Yale education, fighter pilot experience and long political career, including a stint as CIA director. If you grew up with money, went to Yale around the same time he did, or flew a fighter plane in wartime, you probably have a feeling for what George Bush thinks and feels. (I doubt many of you experienced anything like being CIA director.)

The fact that Perot started and ran a successful high tech company endears him to many in our field, but I personally feel the most affinity for the Clinton/Gore ticket, in part because of Clinton's youthful musings and, depending on your viewpoint, indiscretions, and in part because of Gore's obvious feeling for the importance of high-speed networks and high technology in general.

Riza Nur Pacalioglu, an Internet friend in Turkey, recently gave a presentation on user groups to the President of Turkey, and discovered in the process that the President is a Macintosh aficionado with a Quadra 700 with 16" monitor and a PowerBook 170. Riza reported that the President likes WriteNow and Excel, although only on his Quadra's 16" monitor, and shares my opinion of Microsoft Word. I know essentially nothing about Turkish politics, but in some ways I feel that I know and understand Turkey's president better than our own, simply because of his opinions on subjects with which I'm familiar and the fact that he apparently uses CompuServe and reads TidBITS at least occasionally. I want to feel the same affinity for our next president so I will perhaps understand better why he acts as he does.

By now you're probably wondering if I'm going to give the Clinton/Gore ticket the official TidBITS endorsement. I don't think I've got one of those lying around, and frankly, I think a publication's endorsement is pointless because that publication will automatically support that candidate in its choice and presentation of the news. Instead, I hope this article makes clear some of my hopefully-logical thought processes in a way that will help you, should you be a US citizen, decide for yourself. Whatever you decide, please vote. Don't forfeit your right to complain for four more years.


Reviews/12-Oct-92


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