It seems that I can never catch up with everything I want to write about, and since we’re moving in a week or so, I just thought I’d mention the items that will be lost in the shuffle. By the time we get to Seattle and are set up, these may no longer even be interesting, so here goes. Maybe this will also provide me with a section to write about this stuff without having to worry if I can’t make a full article out of it.
I’d wanted to say something about Word 5.0 for the Mac, if only to expand on the previous stuff I’ve written about when it should be coming out. It now sounds like it will appear sometime this fall with a host of cleaned up features, but little that will set it apart from the pack. My favorite new feature is that Command-A will finally be set back to Select All instead of Again. Luckily for those of us who are die-hard non-Word users, Paragon should release Nisus XS in August, and that will include better columns (don’t know about tables, but I hope so) and full System 7-studliness. Nisus XS will also implement a modular architecture that will allow users to add new modules easily to enhance Nisus even further (if such a thing could be possible :-)).
I’d planned on writing more about Apple and IBM at some point, but it just got lost in the shuffle. I also went back and looked at my original article, and I was basically on target. I can’t say much about the deal that hadn’t already been said. Suffice it to say that the only thing that has changed much is that IBM has purchased Metaphor Systems, the company with which IBM had formed Patriot Partners. It looks likely that there will be some integration of the Apple/IBM company and Patriot Partners, if only on the technology level. Tune in next week for As the Apple Turns.
I’m not a Unix hacker by trade or temperament, but I like interconnectivity, which Unix has down cold. Now Tenon Intersystems has a new version of Unix for the Mac, called MachTen. Unlike A/UX, MachTen just runs on the Mac normally without requiring partitioning or special drivers or anything like that. At some point I’d like to take a look at it, but for the moment, you’ll have to ferret out more information on your own.
The FTC doesn’t comment on current investigations, so little news has come from the Microsoft investigation. The FTC has said now that it is investigating Intel for anti-competitive measures. There’s no telling what will happen with that case, although you may notice that Intel is absent from both ACE and the Apple/IBM agreement. The ACE specs call for their OS to run on Intel hardware as well, and IBM is unlikely to drop the PS/2 line, but it’s still an interesting game to watch. Basically, it looks like no one likes Intel and the way they work, but at this point there’s nothing anyone can do about it.
I completely ignored the announcement of 1-2-3/Mac from Lotus, not because I think it’s unimpressive (a number of people have said that it’s actually quite good) but because I couldn’t think of much to say about it. I’ll wait until it comes out and then see if any of you spreadsheet users out there want to review it.
Apple Events are a strange and mysterious subject right now, and Jon Pugh has promised to write an article about them when he has more to say (he does something with them at Apple, so if anyone will know, he will). The one interesting application (short of QuicKeys 2.1, of course) that works with Apple Events is something called Control Tower, which, as far as I can tell, translates similar events between applications. Control Tower comes from Simple Software (though I expect it’s quite complex) and should be a useful method of integrating and automating programs via Apple Events when the commercial release ships.
The article I’ve had on tap for the longest time is one about XLink from Cel Software. It’s a simple idea that might, or might not, be incredibly useful to you. When you install XLink, you can suddenly use many HyperCard XCMDs and XFCNs in certain applications and macro programs. Supported products include QuicKeys 2, Tempo II Plus, Excel, 4D, Wingz, and Ragtime 3. Again, I haven’t been able to decide if it will be useful to the end user, but it very well might be to a developer. Call them and see.
Possibly the most useful article I’ve read in MacUser for some time came in the August issue. Owen Linzmayer wrote about how to get online support, and while the article is good, the table listing electronic addresses for many Macintosh developers is wonderful. If you live in the electronic world, I highly recommend getting this issue, if only for the table. If you know of email addresses for companies that aren’t listed, send them to me (in a bit, when I’m connected again) and I’ll mention them in an upcoming issue.
A videotex provider called Baseline has started a unit that provides videotex services to magazines and the like. That’s not interesting. What is interesting is that Baseline’s first client is the porn magazine Penthouse, which has a videotex service called Petline. Petline provides chat services, shopping (adult products included) and lets users download pictures and illustrations from the magazine. Remember what I said a while ago about how VCRs became popular when X-rated movies started to come out on videotape? I wonder if the same rule will apply to this sort of online service? Only time will tell.
And no, I don’t have the number for Petline, sorry. 🙂
Tenon Intersystems — 805/963-6983
Simple Software — 415/381-2650
Cel Software — 800/463-9100 — 403/429-1903