The sagas continue with yet more information on Tune-Up and notes on the latest virus and the latest Macs. For some ecological variety, read about CE Software’s new look and Don Rittner’s new book, and cheap upgrades to Norton Utilities 2.0 are Symantec’s new hook. Finally, for those of you with more thoughts than you know what to do with, check out our review of Inspiration from Ceres Software.
Due to a strange quirk, I lost mailfiles sent to me via the Internet on April 20th and 21st. So, if you sent me something and haven’t heard back, that’s probably why. I know someone sent me information about FAA regulations concerning electronic devices on planes, but I can’t recall who it was. Please resend anything important.
Virex users may wish to use another virus-checker until Microcom fixes a problem with the User Definable Virus (UDV) feature. It appears that it incorrectly identifies some files as being infected with the CODE 252 virus. Microcom plans to correct the problem in Virex 3.8.
According to Microcom, in the cases where Virex reported false positives, there have been multiple UDVs entered. To avoid the problem, you can remove all other UDVs. Although Microcom claims that this method should work, false positives may still occur. Do note that this affects the UDV feature only and does not compromise Virex’s normal detection and repair abilities.
Eric Conger, Microcom — [email protected]
Well, the details about the System 7 Tune-Up keep dribbling in. If you don’t have difficulties, don’t worry, just keep this information in mind in case you need it.
Important!! — Greg Marriott of Apple set us straight on our speculation about how Tune-Up works. We implied that after you install Tune-Up 1.1.1, you are protected from the disappearing files bug even if you boot without the Tune-Up 1.1.1 extension present. This was based on observations that the Tune-Up installer adds code to the System file when it installs the Tuner extension, and that Apple said that users are protected even if they boot with the Shift key held down in order to disable extensions.
This speculation turns out to be wrong, because the code installed in the System file by the Tune-Up installer merely knows to load the actual bug fix code from the Tuner extension. The code in the System file does NOT fix the bug itself, so if you throw out the Tuner extension the bug fix code WILL NOT LOAD. So do not throw out or move that Tuner extension, or you may fall victim to the disappearing files bug.
Greg Marriott — Apple Computer
Extra INIT ID 11 — The Tune-Up 1.1 installer puts INIT ID 11 in your System file, and when you install Tune-Up 1.1.1, INIT ID 11 remains in your System file and INIT ID 13 is added.
Last issue we suggested that if you have problems after installing Tune-Up 1.1.1 that you remove INIT ID 11 from your System file. Since then, several knowledgable people told us that the duplication should not be responsible for any crashes and is in fact identical to the INIT ID 13, but Ron Southerland wrote to tell us that after he removed INIT ID 11, his Mac stopped crashing with a Finder bus error at shutdown. So we don’t recommend that you blithely remove INIT ID 11, but if you have crashing problems and don’t want to reinstall the System file and then reinstall Tune-Up 1.1.1, it might be worth a try. Again, work on a backup and at your own risk.
Ron Southerland — [email protected]
Laser Prep 7.1.1 — If you use AppleShare 2.0.1’s printer sharing services, and you need to upgrade to the new LaserWriter 7.1.1 driver that comes on the System 7 Tune-Up disks, it’s important to realize that you’ll also need Laser Prep 7.1.1 for the server.
Laser Prep 7.1.1 is not included with the System 7 Tune-Up disk or with any of the currently-shipping versions of System 7, but it is available on the disk that comes with the Personal LaserWriter NTR. It will also soon be available on AppleLink.
Mark Hansen – Apple Computer
StyleWriter 7.2.2 — Matt Neuburg writes:
It is now clear that Apple made a little error in the StyleWriter driver 7.2.2, the one included with all versions of the Tune-Up software. Although a StyleWriter is a 360 dpi device, the driver "informs" applications that it is a 72 dpi device (this detail comes from the engineers at Adobe, who explained it on the nets recently). Apparently this information is picked up either at print time or at application startup time; in any case the application is told even if you do not run Page Setup. As a result, graphics programs such as Adobe Illustrator, which print beautiful grayscale and splendidly smooth curves at 360 dpi under StyleWriter 7.1, now print only jagged, gross 72 dpi images. Even SuperPaint does worse than before: it prints the wrong patterns, and gradients, which used to print a rather ugly 72 dpi version and now do not print at all.
There is a workaround, which is to go back to the 7.1 driver. You can keep a copy of this in the Extensions folder along with the 7.2.2 version [which is still useful for its much faster printing speed -Adam], provided it has another name: say, Old StyleWriter. The Chooser allows you to switch between the two.
[Any word on fixes from a printing person at Apple? -Adam]
Matt Neuburg — [email protected]
Just in time for Earth Day, though that seems to be a coincidence, CE Software has been making strides towards maximizing their use of recycled and recyclable materials. Along with a new logo and new package designs, CE is now using recycled/recyclable materials for their boxes, manuals, and even corporate stationery. In addition, at the last Macworld in San Francisco, CE even eschewed the standard plastic giveaway in favor of a specially labeled package of wildflower seeds.
CE’s current QuickMail manuals are not recycled/recyclable, but as soon as the current supply is exhausted, the next batch will be. In addition, all of CE’s manuals are now being printed with soy-based inks, and CE products will no longer be shrink-wrapped. Following in the footsteps of some other forward-thinking companies, CE is also reducing the size of its boxes by eliminating unneeded "dead space," limiting waste in both packaging materials and storage space.
The company of course promotes careful use of natural resources simply by virtue of its electronic communications product line. Software like QuickMail, In/Out, and Alarming Events all tend to reduce paper waste by allowing people to communicate electronically. As a purely electronic operation ourselves, generating virtually no waste and using virtually no natural resources, we at TidBITS applaud CE’s efforts to minimize their contribution to our society’s wasteful practices.
Michele Eddie, CE Software — 515/224-1995
If Mark’s going to provide us with an article on CE’s environmentally-responsible practices, the least I can do is talk about a new book written by Don Rittner and published by Peachpit Press. Many of you may know Don as the coordinator of the MUG News Service, the free service that provides gobs of information (including TidBITS) to Macintosh user groups around the world. He’s also an author and has brought his interests in the electronic world and the environment together in his book, "EcoLinking: Everyone’s guide to online environmental information."
EcoLinking has two basic parts. First, a treasure trove of valuable reference information on the electronic world, and second comes the specific environmental information. I order the parts of the book in this way because I am not currently looking for environmental information, although I may start if the water shortage in the Pacific Northwest gets worse. Poor fish… 🙁
I am interested in and knowledgeable about the electronic world, though, and was curious to see what Don wrote about the various networks, especially since I’d sent him a bunch of the standard postings about Usenet when he began this book. I’m pleased to say that his book that will be of immense use to anyone looking for concise, clearly presented information and references to electronic services. Part I of the book quickly covers the hardware and software aspects of getting online, and Part II, III, and IV discuss the global networks (Internet, BITNET, Usenet, Fidonet), bulletin board systems, and commercial services. The final section talks more generally about huge databases of useful information, some of it online, some it accessible via CD-ROM.
Of course, the main thrust of the book is to provide pointers to environmentally-oriented information. Not being an environmental expert, I can’t say how complete Don’s information is, but he’s assembled an impressive list. My feeling from looking through the numerous listings is that if you can’t find something you need directly from a source mentioned in the book, one of the people mentioned will be able to guide you to the correct data. Interspersed among the information listings of environmental sources and network references are a number of fascinating case studies on how people use online environmental information, from teaching geology to thwarting international recycling fraud.
Anyone interested in figuring out how to use the Internet or wondering what the WELL is will find many of their questions answered. As Don says early on in EcoLinking, "Throughout the book, the focus is on how to get online and on what types of information and people you can find online." Of course, much of this information is in a state of constant flux, so contact numbers and addresses may change, although Peachpit has been good about updating their books when the information is no longer applicable. EcoLinking retails for $18.95, but I feel that it’s a must read for those trying to learn about the networks. Highly recommended.
Peachpit Press — 800/283-9444 — 510/548-4393
We’ve been wondering when this would happen, and it finally has. Jonathan Feinstein of Shrink2Fit Software let us know that Symantec Corporation, makers of the popular SUM II (Symantec Utilities for Macintosh) and Norton Utilities packages, has rolled the two into a single improved package, Norton Utilities 2.0, or NUM 2.0. The new version is now shipping, and should be available from dealers by the end of this month.
According to a mailing Jonathan received from Symantec, the new Norton Utilities 2.0 will include all the functionality of Norton Utilities 1.1, plus some of the best features of SUM II, such as drive parameter files to allow recovery from badly-damaged volumes. In addition, 2.0 will include a fast backup utility, an improved SpeedDisk optimizer, better file recovery (due largely, no doubt, to some of SUM II’s capabilities) and a new version of the Directory Assistance extension (similar to Now’s Super Boomerang) that works with System 7, unlike previous versions.
Users who purchased either Norton Utilities or SUM II since 20-Jan-92 are entitled to a free upgrade to Norton Utilities 2.0, in exchange for a dated sales receipt and $8 for shipping and handling. Owners of any previous version of Norton or SUM who purchased the software before 20-Jan-92 may upgrade to this new package for the reasonable price of $39, plus the same $8 shipping and handling charge.
Registered users may give Symantec a call at 800/343-4714 to arrange the upgrade with a credit card. Of course, users who need the free upgrade will need to send in their proof of purchase. All mail upgrade orders should go to:
Symantec Fulfillment Center
Attn: NUM 2.0
P. O. Box 5224
Englewood, CO 80155-5224
I was originally pleased that Symantec chose to keep both SUM II and Norton Utilities in their product lineup after acquiring Peter Norton Computing a while back. Each product had its advantages, such as Norton’s ability to repair directory damage and SUM’s more-powerful file recovery, but it seems that Symantec has assembled the best features of both packages into a single package that should perform most of the disk utility tasks anyone would need.
The only disadvantage from this move that comes to mind is the fact that Symantec, which previously held two high spots in the disk utility software market, will now only hold one. No doubt the company will retain most of the combined market share from both programs, but it’s likely that they will lose a little ground to competitors like Central Point Software in the process (although owners of Central Point’s MacTools can sidegrade to NUM 2.0 for $59). Symantec seems to have decided, though, that the advantages of bringing a single, stronger product to market outweigh the disadvantages of giving up one of those spots.
Apple recently addressed some of the biggest complaints about their PowerBook line of notebook computers by introducing several new configurations of the existing computers and by reducing prices on the existing items. The new configurations include PowerBooks with 80 MB internal hard drives and high-end PowerBooks without an internal modem or extra memory.
Few people complained too loudly about PowerBook prices, which have been quite reasonable compared to comparable DOS notebook offerings. However, they were a little pricey when compared with comparable desktop Macs, and Apple’s goal was theoretically to shoehorn its way into new markets with these units. As a result, Apple has reduced the prices on most of the existing PowerBook configurations.
The theoretically-discontinued PowerBook 100 2/20 is back on the price lists at a dramatically reduced price: its retail price is $1499, down from $1999. The same unit with an external floppy drive included is now $1599, down from $2199. Each of the PowerBook 100 4/40 configurations (with and without floppy drive) was reduced in price by $200 to $2199 and $2399 respectively, and the PowerBook 140 2/40 and 4/40 configurations were each reduced in price $500, to $2699 and $2999 respectively. At the same time, Apple has made price adjustments within its reseller channels for the entire Quadra line, so while the Quadras’ retail prices won’t change, they should become less expensive to purchase.
The new configurations of PowerBook include three new versions of the PowerBook 170, all with no internal modem. Many PowerBook customers complained that Apple was saddling their top-of-the-line notebook with an underpowered modem, and Apple has responded by unbundling the modem from most of the 170 configurations. As a result, 170 buyers will be able to purchase more-powerful third-party modems for their PowerBooks, such as the snazzy PowerPort V.32 internal send/receive/fax/data modem from Global Village Communications. The new modem-less 170 configurations are a 4/40 (to match the existing 4/40 with internal modem, which stays in the lineup), a 2/80, and a 4/80, with retail prices of $4299, $4299, and $4599 respectively.
Those 80 MB internal hard drives will cause many a Mac user to breathe a sigh of relief. Since the PowerBook’s introduction in October, users have been hoping for larger internal hard drive larger than Apple’s original 20 MB or 40 MB options. Now that drive manufacturers have finally ramped up production on 80 MB 2.5" hard drive mechanisms, Apple and third-party vendors can offer the 80 MB drives to end users. In addition to the two 80 MB configurations of PowerBook 170 mentioned above, Apple is introducing two PowerBook 140 configurations, a 2/80 and 4/80, with retail prices of $2999 and $3299.
As with Apple’s internal modems, many PowerBook users have complained about the 2 MB memory expansion card that’s installed in all of the 4 MB PowerBook configurations. This card takes up the one memory slot in the PowerBooks, so users wanting to upgrade have to remove the card and either set it aside or try to sell it. As shown by the configurations described above, Apple is now offering 2 MB configurations of each PowerBook. No one is likely to want to leave their PowerBook thusly crippled; the intention is to allow users to add third-party memory expansion cards to the one memory expansion slot. Most will want to put in a 6 MB card, to go up to the maximum 8 MB that the PowerBooks support.
These new configurations are good news on more than one level. In addition to the obvious enhancements to customer satisfaction with the PowerBooks, Apple’s quick introduction of several new PowerBook models means that they really are listening to what the users ask for.
Global Village — 800/736-4821 — 415/329-0700
I recently tried Ceres Software’s thought processor (as they call it), Inspiration (about $160 discounted). I’m not especially fond of using an outline as a method of organizing my thoughts due to being forced to do outlines in junior high English classes.
Like all writers, I occasionally have trouble starting a piece. It can be hard to start, especially if you aren’t thrilled about the concept of writing about the subject, say Aristotle’s view of Plato’s Theory of Forms as expressed in the later dialogues (I once wrote about that, a process akin to receiving a frontal lobotomy without anesthesia). Some call it writer’s block – I prefer to think of it as writer’s piano, because I usually feel as though someone dropped a piano on my brain. I occasionally use Eastgate’s excellent hypertext editor, Storyspace, to pull my brain out from between the piano wires, and although Storyspace is a joy for linking chunks of text and creating hypertext documents, its outlining mode isn’t great.
Inspiration has a few of the same sort of graphical features as Storyspace, which makes it nice for entering and arranging ideas, but Inspiration also has a good outliner and can handle large blocks of text within outline items.
I generally whip off a couple of quick ideas in Inspiration’s rapid-fire mode, which creates outline headings as fast as I type, although the program won’t arrange them in the graphical layout until I pause and it has some CPU breathing room. Once I’ve got the basic ideas, I enter the main text that will go under each item. Once I’ve done that, I switch to the outline mode and make sure the structure of the overall document meets my stringent illogical requirements. Finally, I export to a format Nisus can read, like MacWrite or Plain Text. A little cleaning up and the piece is done.
Two modes — Inspiration has two basic modes, Diagram and Outline. Diagram mode is a fairly basic "shapes linked with arrows" mode in which you create ideas and link them to other ideas, essentially positioning them in an outline. Of course it’s easiest to let the program create the new ideas and links by using the rapid-fire mode (in which you type an idea, hit the Enter key, and type another idea, which will then be subordinate to the original one). There are multiple methods of creating ideas and linking them (or leaving them unlinked if you prefer) to other ideas, so I’m sure everyone can find a good method of creating and linking ideas. Interestingly enough, you can create links between objects that are not directly hierarchically related, which would be useful for graphical presentations, if not for the structure of the outline. Hypertext capabilities would require Storyspace’s skills, and Eastgate and Ceres might do well to get together and share strengths.
Inspiration’s outline mode is the more traditional, well, outline mode, with items indented below their superiors and everything numbered and lettered correctly (in numerous different styles for different fields). I hated getting the numbering and lettering correct in grade school. It’s a matter of click and drag to move items around in the outline, and its easy to hide or show different levels of the outline depending on what you want to look at at any one time.
Added goodies — Inspiration sports a couple of features which increase its utility as a writing tool. You naturally have control over font and style and all that boring stuff, but Ceres also included a Find/Replace function and a spelling checker. Unfortunately (for me anyway, your mileage may vary) both are modeled after Microsoft Word 4.0’s thoroughly mediocre Find/Replace and spell checking utilities, which makes them familiar, but limited. The Find/Replace function cannot search the note text within objects in the Diagram mode, which is a small pain, and although the spelling checker can check an entire diagram, like Word, it won’t make suggestions without prompting from the user. Still, these utilities are helpful and ease the writing process.
Inspiration also has some utilities for its graphical side as well, including a configurable grid that objects can optionally snap to for that squeaky clean look. If you don’t like working in clean mode, just turn off the "snap to" option and use one of the several hierarchical tree styles that Inspiration includes. It’s just a matter of selecting Arrange… from the Draw menu and selecting the appropriate graphical tree style.
Embellishments — I haven’t particularly used the neat graphics capabilities present in the Diagram mode. You can arrange any of the ideas in any graphical order you wish, but more interestingly, you can apply a number of different shapes. Ceres includes a load of them for normal stuff, basic business use, flow charts, one set supposedly for designers, though I’m not sure why, and two open slots for you to add your own shapes and graphics. You can also set colors, patterns, line thicknesses, line patterns, and so on. If you’re truly picky you can even modify the arrowhead direction used by the links, select different style arrowheads, constrain the links to 90 degrees, bend a link around an object, or even add descriptive text to a link.
You might want to use Inspiration for a presentation in the Diagram mode by selectively hiding and then showing selected subtopics as you cover each point in turn. I’ve never used this for real because I haven’t done a presentation in some time.
Families — One of the more interesting features of Inspiration is the ability to manage large and complex documents by creating a family, or a main document with embedded sub-documents, called children. These children are not separate documents (although you can turn them into separate documents by disowning them), but you can hide and show them easily to simplify the process of working with a huge outline. Another use of children is that they do not use memory until opened, so if you’ve got a huge document and not much RAM for Inspiration, you can get away with only working with certain children at a time.
Uses — Perhaps the hardest thing to decide about Inspiration is what to do with it. I personally use it, as I said, to break writer’s piano, and Ceres talks about that use in a little Idea Book that comes with the documentation. One fact that their marketing people don’t play up quite enough is that Douglas Adams of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fame is apparently an ardent fan of Inspiration and uses it when writing his books. There are numerous other uses for Inspiration, though, mostly due to its graphical capabilities when merged with its outlining skills. Ceres mentions that you can do organization charts, flow charts, and production storyboards. In essence, anything that you can best display graphically, but which also requires a significant quantity of text, is a task well-suited to Inspiration. Thinking of other tasks for Inspiration is left as an exercise for the reader.
Problems — As usual with software these days, Inspiration is not perfect. I can’t really compare it to the other major outliners like MORE and Acta for the simple reason that I haven’t used them. Sorry, but you should check out additional reviews in the major magazines if you’re interested in how they all compare. Inspiration intrigued me more than the rest because of its superficial resemblance to Storyspace, and although no one would buy Inspiration instead of Storyspace because it has no hypertext linking features, Inspiration is instead a good outliner and graphical thought processor, tasks which Storyspace can do, but not always as fluidly.
Perhaps the quirk which irritated me the most was the slow screen redraw times, especially when using TrueType fonts at strange sizes on a large screen. I understand that it’s hard to avoid those sort of slowdowns, but it would still be nice if you didn’t have to wait for them. On the other hand, I wrote this entire review in Inspiration on a Classic, and though certainly not speedy, Inspiration was usable on a small document.
My other complaint isn’t terribly serious either. When you create ideas in rapid-fire mode, Inspiration chooses where to put them when you pause for a moment. Much of the time, I found that it placed my new objects in thoroughly strange places, requiring me to move them into place afterwards.
I mentioned my dislike of the Word-like Find/Replace and spell checking utilities above, and even combined with the slow screen redraw and strange auto-layout quirks, these don’t add up to anything serious. I see one of two equally likely possibilities here. Perhaps I’m missing some major problems because I don’t use Inspiration or outliners constantly (as such, caveat lector – which should translate to something like "Reader beware."). Alternately, Inspiration may not have any serious flaws and may do everything it promises quite well. It certainly isn’t a great word processor, but that’s not its goal.
Overall, I like Inspiration, and although I don’t use it every day, or even every week, I’ve found it handy on occasion to help me start writing. As I’ve said, there are a number of uses, and you’ll have to decide for yourself if your tasks require its special skills or if you would be better suited by one of the other outlining and organizational programs. Recommended.
P.O. Box 1629
Portland, OR 97207