Previous Issue | Search TidBITS | TidBITS Home Page | Next Issue
This week we bring you news of Apple's acquisition of the popular Internet mail server program MailShare, along with Apple's re-acquisition of Guy Kawasaki, this time in the prestigious role of an Apple Fellow. Also, Adam steps onto the soapbox for a moment to comment on the direction of TidBITS, we bring you an overview of StarNine's Mac Web server WebSTAR, and Tonya begins a two-part review of the FullWrite 2.0 word processor from Akimbo Systems.
Copyright 1995 TidBITS Electronic Publishing. All rights reserved.
Information: <email@example.com> Comments: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
This issue of TidBITS sponsored in part by:
I never scoff at the occasional bit of serendipity, but I may laugh heartily at it. After Cary Lu's article, "Computing's Holy War," in TidBITS-283, the online version of Dilbert began to cover much the same topic. "What's Dilbert?" you ask. Check out the URL below, and then look at the cartoons in the two-week archive starting with the 950622 file. [ACE]
Just an Apple Fellow Kind of Guy -- The rumors were true: Apple announced last week that Guy Kawasaki has been appointed an Apple Fellow. Always an outspoken and often controversial advocate of the Macintosh, Guy led Apple's developer relations and product management efforts on the Macintosh from 1983 to 1987 - where he coined the term "software evangelist" - before leaving to found ACI US and pursue other enterprises, most recently serving as the president of Fog City Software, the creators of Claris's forthcoming Emailer program. Guy is the author of several books, including The Macintosh Way and How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, and has frequented the pages of MacUser and Macworld as a columnist. As an Apple Fellow, Guy will "represent developer issues and perspective to Apple" as well as work with various developers and "serve as a resource" for Apple projects. Sounds suspicious, doesn't it? Developer reaction to the announcement has been positive - if nothing else, Guy's return to Apple should make life a lot more interesting. Apple needs someone like Guy to yell loudly about various inanities every now and then. [GD]
QuickTime 2.0 is now available for Mac and Windows directly over the Internet. Until now, QuickTime 2.0 has been available only with the purchase of System 7.5, or a Mac with 7.5 pre-installed, or Mac or Windows multimedia software that includes a copy. Apple's new QuickTime-oriented Web server offers Mac or Windows versions for $9.95 using First Virtual's Internet payment system for secure credit card transactions. The software is sent directly to the purchaser's computer via FTP. According to Apple Software Licensing, QuickTime 2.0 may also now be purchased via CompuServe, and other online services might get into the game. [MHA]
Apple Acquires MailShare -- Apple announced last week that it has acquired both Glenn Anderson and his excellent program MailShare, an SMTP and POP Internet mail server for the Mac. Apple will rename the program "Apple Internet Mail Server" and plans to continue making the current version of the software available as freeware on the Internet, although future versions will be commercial products. Glenn will be moving to Cupertino from New Zealand to work for Apple as a software engineer. It's nice to see additional recognition of Internet talent from Apple - particularly if Apple pays Glenn's moving expenses. [GD]
Dan Kogai <email@example.com> writes:
Since making HTML documents is one of my tasks, I was excited to see in TidBITS-283 that ClarisWorks 4.0 was shipping. I immediately purchased the upgrade online from Cyberian Outpost and it came in a few days. Here's what I found: HTML? Yes! WorldScript support? Nah. ClarisWorks 4.0 does have WorldScript preferences, and it did show Japanese text, with trouble. ClarisWorks 4.0 did not calculate the width of 2-byte character codes correctly, so the text didn't select or wrap correctly. This is hardly satisfactory. I expected true WorldScript support like Nisus Writer. We have the "kurarisuwaakusu" (Japanese) version of ClarisWorks, which is a best-seller in Japan, but it's only version 2.0 and the HTML translator doesn't work with it! The HTML translator of ClarisWorks 4.0 is great, but I have to write HTML both in English and Japanese. It's a good thing I have Nisus Writer handy, which can also handle HTML. [With an excellent set of HTML macros from Sandra Silcot - see the second URL below. -Adam]
Get a Grip -- PowerBook owners who plan to spend any time where its hot enough that sitting quietly at your keyboard can make you sweat, or who carry their PowerBooks around a lot, might want to check out a product called Grip~it Strips, which make the surface of your PowerBook (or any portable computer or device) less slippery. Grip~it Strips work much like stickers, only their non-stick sides are rough and rubbery. Grip~it Strips come in several shapes, including long, thin, lightning-bolt zig zags, dots, and diamonds. You can put them on in regular patterns, or you can combine them to make flowers or avant garde designs.
Grip~it Strips have been available for some time now; for the past year, Adam has used them on his PowerBook 100, and they do make handling easier. I didn't put them on my Duo, because I feared they might prevent it from fitting into a dock in a possible future life. I recently found out that I shouldn't have worried - apparently Duos can dock with Grip~it Strips attached, and if a future problem came up, the strips can be peeled off and their stickiness removed with a little rubbing alcohol. A Grip~it Strip package sells for around $9. [TJE]
by Adam C. Engst <firstname.lastname@example.org>
As I'm sure most of you have noticed, and a couple of you have commented upon, we've been publishing more articles about the Internet in TidBITS over the last few months. These articles, for the most part, do concentrate on the relationship of the Macintosh and the Internet, or look at Macintosh software that one uses to connect to the Internet.
Some people feel that this is a change in our focus, and that feeling is both correct and incorrect. In the first three years of TidBITS, we focused much more on specific Macintosh programs, utilities, tips, and so on. Although there was a certain amount of Internet-related news, I included it not so much because it was guaranteed to interest readers, but because the Internet was (and remains) by far the main way TidBITS is distributed. Then, after I wrote the first edition of Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh, an increasing amount of Macintosh-related Internet information started appearing.
There are a few reasons for this. First, the "mission statement" of TidBITS (not that I'm really the sort to record such a thing) is to report on news, events, and products that interest me (or Tonya, Geoff, or Mark, especially as they have taken over more of the work). Egotistical and opinionated as that may be, that has been the overriding force behind TidBITS for its entire life. As I've done more in the industry, learned more about the Mac, written more articles, met more people, and so on, it's only reasonable that my interests would evolve over time, and in this case, they've evolved toward the Internet. Second, one of the reasons my interests have moved ever toward the Internet is that I'm a bit of a populist, at least in the sense that I'm increasingly uninterested in niches or in fields that exclude people. When TidBITS started, programs were less powerful but had less of a learning curve, and of course, there were fewer of them. They were more inclusive - more people would use something like PageMaker even if they weren't serious desktop publishers, perhaps because it was really good at making signs or something like that.
Programs like that still exist, certainly, but the examples tend to stick out more these days. RAM Doubler is the big one, and things like Conflict Catcher, or the Now Utilities, or Retrospect - all of these are programs that any Macintosh user could want and could use. I'm not saying that everyone does, or should, but you don't have to be in a certain industry, or have a certain skill set to use these programs. They include users.
I've been an Internet user for many years, but in writing the book, I learned a lot more about what software was available for Mac users to access the Internet as Mac users should - via clean graphical interfaces. I also started to meet some of the programmers and become involved in a Mac Internet culture I hadn't previously known. In the process I realized several things. I realized that the Internet is not exclusionary - anyone can, if they want to, find something of interest, no matter what they do or who they are. I also saw what could happen when talented programmers working on their own communicate with one another. I saw programs like NewsWatcher build in a commonly agreed-upon Apple event to support programs like Anarchie and Fetch, and then later TurboGopher and MacWeb. I saw Peter Lewis and Quinn write Internet Config and release it to the public domain, merely because it was the right thing to do.
While all of this happened, I was watching much of the rest of the Macintosh industry stagnate. Everything was a "me-too" program, yet another contact database, or version X.0 of a program that had been around for years. I saw few new ways of thinking about how we use computers, and how programs and programmers can make that process both easier and more enjoyable. Sure, there were brief moments of light, a feature here or there that was just done right, but it's been a time of bloatware and refinement. Nothing inherently wrong with that, but it doesn't flip my pancakes.
It's not easy putting out a newsletter every week, and the things that keep you going are the excitement of what's changing, the feeling of having done a really solid article on something, and the kind comments from readers. And, for me personally, a lot of it is the satisfaction of having done something different, of having broken the rules (most of which I never knew to begin with anyway).
I hope that explains a bit of why our subject matter has slowly evolved to include more Internet-related topics. We are by no means going Internet-only, and only time will tell toward what we end up evolving in the future.
by Mark H. Anbinder, News Editor <email@example.com>
StarNine Technologies has made waves with the recent release of the new WebSTAR World Wide Web server software for Macintosh and Power Macintosh. The software is a new version of Chuck Shotton's MacHTTP server utility, with quite a bit of additional functionality and performance, a cleaner user interface, and StarNine's marketing muscle behind it. Apple has taken WebSTAR to heart, including it at the core of the company's ready-out-of-the-box Internet server machines.
Naturally, WebSTAR is a Macintosh application first and foremost. It brings configuration and control directly to the user in very Mac-like ways, combining intuitive dialog boxes and informative displays with a remote administration tool that network administrators will fall in love with. The WebSTAR Admin application uses Apple's Program Linking feature (which debuted along with File Sharing in System 7, but has gotten far less attention) to monitor and control the Web server's activities and features from any Macintosh on the same AppleTalk network. The only flaw in this arrangement is that administrators ought to be able to perform the same tasks via TCP/IP over the Internet, where AppleTalk connectivity isn't always feasible. Since Timbuktu Pro works via TCP/IP and is a common tool in net managers' arsenals, this shouldn't pose too much of a problem.
Like any good Macintosh application, WebSTAR runs on just about any member of the Mac family. Sites with simple needs could use a low-end Mac as their Web server (WebSTAR requires a Mac with 4 MB of RAM and System 7, as well as a full-fledged connection to the Internet), though of course a faster Macintosh will offer better responsiveness and much smoother multi-user performance. The software is available in both 68000 and PowerPC versions. Our tests show that WebSTAR performs without apparent slowness while handling multiple requests on a Mac IIsi and a Centris 610, two computers from Apple's past that were never considered particularly speedy. Reliable sources say that WebSTAR "really cooks" on a Power Macintosh 9500/132, but that's no surprise.
One frequent comment we've heard is that "serious" or high-traffic Web sites should stick with traditional Unix computers running NCSA's httpd or Netscape's server software. Judging on a cost basis alone, we disagree; it would be less expensive to set up a rotating pool of Mac-based Web servers than a single high-horsepower Unix server. According to MacHTTP author Chuck Shotton, "If you compare $10,000 worth of Macs versus a single $10,000 Unix workstation, you can buy or re-use several Macs and, with mirrored copies of WebSTAR installed on each, create a powerful array of computers that behave like a single Web site to browsers on the Net and easily outpaces the performance of a single Unix workstation."
Some sites on the Web already use multiple Unix workstations to handle heavy loads, so this approach isn't too non-traditional. Shotton also stresses that there's a large expense inherent in hiring or training the Unix expert(s) needed to run a Web server, making WebSTAR even more affordable. As an example, downloading the 2 MB WebSTAR compressed archive from StarNine's Web site via modem took longer, by far, than installing it on a Mac and getting it running, ready to serve Web pages.
A comparison less likely to draw comment from Unix aficionados relates to security concerns. Some Unix-based Web server software in the past has allowed browsers access to directories and files that were never meant to be published. WebSTAR carefully avoids this scenario by allowing only files and directories contained within its folder to be accessed. As with MacHTTP, the administrator may configure the WebSTAR server to require username and password authentication for access to some or all material, and can limit access to certain domains and IP address ranges.
WebSTAR works in conjunction with a variety of other programs, both commercial and not, to make your Mac Internet server act in many ways like a fully-functional (dare we say it?) Unix machine. A good example is StarNine's own ListSTAR, their new mailing list software available in SMTP and LAN-based mail flavors. The fully scriptable ListSTAR can work well with WebSTAR to generate mailing lists with a forms-based subscription front end on the Web. Naturally, WebSTAR also works well in conjunction with other IP server utilities such as MailShare and FTPd.
For database searches, StarNine says its WebSTAR server isn't limited to interacting just with scriptable database applications such as FileMaker Pro. EveryWare Development Corporation's new ButlerLink/Web is designed to serve as intermediary between WebSTAR and SQL compliant database engines like its own Butler SQL package. This toolkit is included with Apple's new Internet servers, and is available from EveryWare and its resellers. (EveryWare is also working on OpenDoc-compliant database tools, which were on display at last month's PC Expo.)
WebSTAR also now supports pre-processing and post-processing of URLs received from Web browsers, so that the URLs may be redirected to any application via AppleScript, and allows custom actions based on the filename extensions of requested URLs.
If you've been meaning to try WebSTAR but had given up thanks to last Friday's expiration date on StarNine's demo version (see TidBITS-282), take another look. The company has extended its free demonstration version, available from their Web site, to work until 01-Aug-95. Coincidentally, that's the same day WebSTAR's prices go up, so you'll want to move fast.
Speaking of prices, WebSTAR bears a $349 introductory price through 31-Jul-95. After July ends, the price goes to the published list price of $795 for new users. (MacHTTP users who registered before 02-May-95 may purchase the software now for $99, or after 31-Jul-95 for $495.) Discounts are available for educational institutions.
EveryWare Development -- 905/819-1173 -- <firstname.lastname@example.org>
StarNine Technologies, Inc. -- 800/525-2580 -- 510/649-4949
by Tonya Engst <email@example.com>
Although FullWrite is only at version 2.0, the word processing program has been around for years. It began life in 1988 as Ashton-Tate's FullWrite Professional, but after Borland acquired Ashton-Tate, not much happened with FullWrite until Akimbo Systems purchased the program in 1993 and released version 1.7.
Akimbo released FullWrite 2.0 in October of 1994. My enthusiastic plans to use FullWrite as my primary word processor for a month or so before reviewing it were set back substantially by my car accident last fall, and it's becoming clear that I should write the review already, and not try to base it on a month's experience. The review came out a little on the long side, so it will finish in next week's issue.
Currently at version 2.0.3, FullWrite runs on a Macintosh Plus or newer, with System 6.0.4 and newer. Although the PowerPC-native version is not yet available, FullWrite runs fine on a Power Macintosh in emulation. FullWrite takes up slightly less than 4 MB of disk space for a complete install, and asks for a preferred RAM allocation of 2 MB, though its suggested size is 1.5 MB and minimum size is 1 MB. Akimbo suggests that Power Macintosh users set a preferred allocation of 3 MB. You'll need to increase the memory allocation for complex documents or documents over 100 pages; the "FullWrite 2 Read Me" file explains this nicely.
Running on my Duo 230 (33 MHz 68030) and running in emulation (approximately Mac IIfx speeds) on my Power Mac 7100, FullWrite is fast enough that I don't notice its speed - it just works. Dialog boxes appear promptly, text formats apply quickly, and scrolling with the scroll bar or the Page Up and Page Down keys goes fast.
FullWrite has no toolbars, and it keeps its number of clickable doodads to a minimum. Its rulers (which show optionally) offer an intelligent and manageable number of options. The bottom edge of its document window displays a small status box and five small buttons which let you switch among FullWrite's five views: Icon Bar, Outline, Change Bar, One Page, and Two Page (you can also press Command-Comma to switch views). The first three views include visual elements that help in creating a document; the latter two remove the visual elements and give one- and two-page views of the document.
FullWrite's keyboard shortcuts are weird - it offers a few on the menus, but not many. You can issue any command on any menu by pressing a logical sequence of keys, but I'd prefer to have more shortcuts pre-assigned. I've seen FullWrite criticized online and in Connie Gugliemo's "War of the Words" (MacUser, Apr-95) for having most of its options stuffed in dialog boxes that require you to access them through the menus; this is only partly true - FullWrite has a number of subtle tricks for working efficiently, but you must read the manual to learn them.
That said, let's see how FullWrite would work in a few different situations, starting with my fourteen-year-old sister, Rebecca. Rebecca needs to write reports for school and wouldn't mind dabbling with graphics.
High School Student -- Rebecca may have trouble finding the Spelling Checker by looking at the menus, and if she looks up Spelling in the online help, the help incorrectly directs her to choose an unspecified command from the Edit menu. The manual, suggests that she use the Edit Word submenu. Eventually, Rebecca will discover the Check Document command in a hierarchical menu off the Words command, which is in the Tools menu. Once you find the Spelling Checker, it works fine. Suggested replacement words appear with Command-key shortcuts.
FullWrite employs a main dictionary, which comes with the program; a user dictionary, which you add words to in order to supplement the main dictionary; and a document dictionary, which holds words that are considered correct in a specific document. You can purchase FullWrite with any main dictionary, and there are many choices (though no Arabic or Asian options), including two varieties of English, two of French, two of Portuguese, and two of German. Additional dictionaries cost $40.
FullWrite comes with many extensions, add-ons that enhance the program. Some extensions provide standard features (such as spelling and balloon help); others are more esoteric. Learn Selection, an extension that began shipping with more recent versions of FullWrite 2.0.x, enables you to add batches of words to the user dictionary. If you bought FullWrite before Learn Selection came out, you can download the extension from the Internet.
The footnote and endnote features should carry Rebecca through high school and her undergraduate years at college. Endnotes can go at the end of each "chapter" or at the end of a document. FullWrite does not work with Niles and Associates' EndNote referencing software, but it does offer a Bibliography feature to help in referencing situations where you place the author's name and date in the document text and list the complete reference at the end of the chapter or document. To get the most out of referencing and other features, Rebecca will need to become comfortable with Icon Bar View and note panels.
When you type the text for a document element such as a footnote, header, or annotation, you type in a separate window-like area called a "note panel." The note panel looks much like a window, although pressing Command-W to close it does not work - you must use the mouse or press Command-` (that's the single quote on the Tilde key). After you insert an element, FullWrite shows an icon just left of the line where you inserted it. (The icon only shows in Icon Bar View.) You can double-click an icon to open its associated notes window. The icons make sense, but their tiny size may make them cryptic for some, and FullWrite does not offer a zooming feature. Footnotes, headers, and so on show on the page in the correct location in most views, though to edit them you must work in a note panel.
Rebecca likes to create cards and letters that have creative, colorful touches, so she'll appreciate the capability of formatting text in any of 32,768 colors. FullWrite also offers a competent picture editor for creating graphics; unfortunately, you cannot import graphics except through the clipboard. Rebecca will enjoy adding borders by paragraph. Borders can be colored or in shades of gray and you get six or so options including single and double lines, and hairlines.
If Rebecca becomes concerned with formatting, she'll encounter a gentle introduction to styles through the Base Styles dialog box, where she can format common document elements such as document text, footnotes, and headers. By using the Base Styles dialog box you are setting styles, though you don't have to think of it that way.
Graduate Student -- My other sister, Rachel, is currently about to spend two years working for the Peace Corps in The Gambia, West Africa, but she recently completed her masters degree at Yale, and I'm pretending she's still there for the sake of this review. Rachel has a PowerBook 145, writes long papers, and works with scientific data.
FullWrite uses EGO (Edit Graphic Object - EGO works much like OLE from the user's standpoint, and it does work) to integrate an Equation extension, which is a "junior version" of Design Science's Math Type. Any EGO-savvy application can hook into FullWrite, and Rachel might be keen on trying Cambridge Scientific Computing's line of chemistry-related products.
Rachel will also use the Classify feature, which flexibly lets you number figures and other items. Classified items can be cross-referenced, though I found the steps, terminology, and interface for cross-referencing awkward. You can create multiple references to a single footnote, endnote, or bibliography entry. Although FullWrite has no features for numbering or referencing across multiple documents, you can create hypertext links within a document.
Because Rachel writes longer documents, she will use the Chapter Ruler feature. FullWrite documents can be broken into chapters, and to start a new chapter, you insert a Chapter Ruler. (Chapter Rulers function much like section breaks in Microsoft Word.) The Ruler sits in your text and you use it or double-click it to fiddle with the columns in the new chapter, the header and footer height, or the page numbering. I like this method of dividing a document and formatting the resulting "chapters" - it's the most elegant approach I've seen yet.
Next week -- Next week I'll continue this review with a look at how my Mom and myself might use FullWrite, along with some concluding thoughts.
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