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More details about Apple’s new technologies this week, followed by problems with the Newton OS 1.05 upgrade, a new stylus for the Newton, a new internal CD drive style, and some pointers to repetitive stress injury resources on the Internet. Finally we review Anarchie, a fabulous piece of shareware from Peter Lewis that simplifies searching for and retrieving files on the Internet.

Adam Engst No comments


We’d like to congratulate John Norstad, author of Disinfectant and NewsWatcher among others, for his John J. Anderson Distinguished Achievement Award from MacUser. Check out pages 84 and 85 of the Mar-94 MacUser for the picture and blurb. We hope others will make equally high-quality software available to the Macintosh community. And of course, we’re waiting with bated breath for the next version of NewsWatcher. Thanks, John! If you want to check out a nicely-formatted collection of John’s software on the World-Wide Web via NCSA Mosaic, here’s the URL.

Adam Engst No comments

La Cie Recalls Drives

La Cie Recalls Drives — While perusing my Navigator session on CompuServe, I noticed this warning in the Macintosh Hardware forum. I’m currently unable to confirm this due to the timing, but it appears that La Cie has recalled 1,900 of their new 340 MB Tsunami hard drives. The recall applies to drives that La Cie shipped before 21-Jan-94, which apparently had a problem in their ROMs that can result in corrupted files and memory problems. If your drive shipped after 21-Jan-94 and has a sticker "E" under the number "340," it’s OK.

La Cie — 800/288-9919 — 503/520-1266

Adam Engst No comments

PowerTalk to Internet Gateway

PowerTalk to Internet Gateway — Jim Gaynor <[email protected]> tells us that StarNine has released an evaluation version of their PowerTalk to Internet gateway. I’ve played briefly with the shipping version, which works, although it currently isn’t ideal for use with SLIP or PPP since it tries to dial out a bit too frequently. In addition, auto connects with InterSLIP often fail, so it can take a bit of work to get the gateway working via SLIP. Version 2.0, due out in the second quarter of 1994, will officially support SLIP connections.

You can try the unlimited-user, time-limited evaluation version all you want until 10-Mar-94, when it expires. Note that the gateway is over 1 MB in size. Also, with the order form available in the same directory as the evaluation version of the gateway, you can purchase the real version for $29 until 31-Mar-94. To use either gateway, you must have System 7 Pro.

StarNine — 510/649-4949 — 510/649-4949 (fax) — [email protected]*Link _PT_INET.sea.hqx

Adam Engst No comments

RSI News

Andy Williams <[email protected]> passed on the news that the American Physical Therapy Association is sponsoring two free days of phone help to help those affected by the "Information Revolution." Sounds like a good time to call to chat about your carpal tunnel or tendonitis. The dates are 02-Feb-94 and 03-Feb-94 and the phone number is 800/995-7848.

RSI Newsletter — Another resource for those suffering from RSI problems is the RSI Newsletter, published by Caroline Rose and distributed electronically in setext form (suitable for framing, or viewing with Easy View) by Craig O’Donnell <[email protected]>. The RSI Newsletter has been around for 14 months, which qualifies it as a geezer resource on the fast moving nets. Maybe its longevity can help convince businesses and organizations that repetitive stress injuries are real.

To subscribe, send Craig email at the above address and put "RSI Newsletter" (without the quotes) in the Subject: line. Craig’s mailer will add you to the list automatically, but he can’t answer personally (he has RSI problems too). To check out the information that has appeared in the RSI Newsletter in the past via both FTP and Gopher, explore the URLs below, which also should point you to other RSI resources.

gopher:// network

SOREHAND List — Although the RSI Newsletter publishes letters from readers, for true discussion, check out the SOREHAND list. To subscribe, send email to:

[email protected]

with this line in the body of the message (no Subject necessary):


Robert Hess No comments

New Technology Comments

Some comments on things you’ve said recently about upcoming Apple technologies. In regard to QuickDraw GX, you left out the coolest thing about QuickDraw GX. Its replacement for the PrintMonitor is the coolest, most mind-blowingly wonderful thing I’ve seen in a long time (oh, yeah, even cooler than ultraSHIELD or RAM Doubler).

Forget the desktop printers… that’s old hat, available in PrintJuggler and Leonard Rosenthol’s DTPrinter. Here’s a scenario any businessperson would love:

You print a 100-page document from Word, which goes to the new QuickDraw GX spooler instead of PrintMonitor. You quit out of Word. There, in the Finder, are icons representing your favorite printers. One icon shows that it is busy printing your 100-pager. You double-click on the icon and it shows (within the Finder) an informative window telling you what’s going on, where in the job it is, and so on. Content, warm, and fuzzy, you go to lunch.

When you return, pages 1 through 50 are sitting in the printer bin. You look under the printer and see someone has kicked the LocalTalk box out of the wall. The box is damaged and will take a few hours to repair. If you had been using PrintMonitor, you staple all 50 pages to the body of the person who did this since you would have to reprint the entire job AND wait for the printer to be fixed.

Instead, you keep those 50 pages. You go to your Mac, open the printer info window (which tells you there was a weird problem with your job), and double-click on the document you halfway printed. SimpleText (the cool replacement for TeachText) opens and shows an image of your document. You scroll to page 50 and compare it to the last page that actually printed. They’re not the same; it seems you have some extra pages numbered "i, ii, iii, etc." at the start of your document, so what says "50" at the bottom isn’t really the 50th page. The last page that physically printed was page 57 of the spooled document.

You quit SimpleText, click on your spooled document, drag it to another printer in the building and tell it to start printing not from page 1, but from page 58.

Life is good.

As far as Apple Interactive Help goes, Apple should have shown you the demo they showed developers at WWDC (Word-Wide Developers Conference).

Essentially, Apple Help can use an application’s intelligence along with Apple events to lead the user step-by-step through a complex task. Apple Help can even confirm that the user has completed a step correctly and can automatically go on to the next step.

A developer can build functionality into Apple Help. One example Apple uses: in response to the question, "How do I change the level of my Mac’s volume?" Apple Help can either tell you how to do it, show you how to do it or provide you with a "louder" and a "softer" button to do it without even leaving Apple Help.

If a developer is willing to invest the time, Apple Help can do almost anything you can imagine. [I have a very good imagination – but I’m willing to give Apple Help the benefit of the doubt for the moment. -Adam]

Finally, OpenDoc. Apple’s most touted hope for OpenDoc isn’t that it lets you work on many components within a single document; OLE gives you that. Apple’s hope is that developers can quit being forced by the competition of other developers to spend time and energy working on features which aren’t in the immediate realm of the programmer’s skills, and instead can work on the specific tool they wish to develop.

The best example of the need for this can be seen in any mainstream word processor or integrated package. Some people might say Word is the best text processor on the planet, but I’ll bet you would have a hard time finding anyone outside Microsoft who thought Word was also best at tables, page layout, indexing, and formulas.

OpenDoc will let a user pick the best text processor, the best table editor, the best page layout application, the best indexer, and the best formula editor from a wide variety of vendors, and make them all work together despite the fact their programmers have never met, never spoken, and probably don’t get along. And the developer of each of those components can focus on developing the one component they can write better than anyone else, and that’s all.

Developers don’t have to start from the ground and work their way up in developing OpenDoc components. They can retrofit existing code (especially if it’s written in C++) fairly easily. If anything, the dramatically reduced size of "applications" should reduce development and testing times.

Adam Engst No comments

Caveat Emptor, or What’s Weak This Week

You want to complain, complain here. In some discussions on Usenet, I was falsely accused of being continually upbeat because I live in California. That’s not true – I live in Seattle, where it rains all the time (or so we’re supposed to tell people from California). I explained that TidBITS is generally positive because I write about what interests me, and garbage doesn’t interest me. I have limited space, and never have trouble filling it, so why rely on bad news and negativity? The Macintosh world and the Internet world are, in my opinion, inherently good, so that’s what I like to emphasize in this day and age of news stories that consider grisly murders halfway across the world to be news. Tragedy, yes; news, no.

It appears that some our readers feel somewhat differently, and I try to respond to suggestions. The specific suggestion that caught my attention was that I establish a consumer protection column that wouldn’t necessarily rake muck, but which would attempt to point out injustice so that (a) others could learn from the experience, and (b) the company in question might improve its practices.

Since it’s difficult to accurately relate another’s experiences, I invite submissions for this column from disgruntled readers. However, I ask that you do a few things before sending an article. First, make sure that your article will fit the requirements above – that it will inform others in the same spot and that it stands a chance of eliciting a positive response from the company in question. Thus, an article that flames on about how the writer bought a lemon Mac and was stiffed by his dealer is not appropriate since it won’t help others or change any long-standing policy by a company that many people deal with. However, articles like our Quicken "stealth upgrade" article in TidBITS #205 that point out a bad situation (users not being able to get an upgrade without knowing the secret bug, and not being able to easily identify the version number) and have a chance at prompting the company to address it (Eric Tilenius of Intuit sent me an updater application to post to the nets) are more in line with what I’m looking for.

Second, I ask that you contact the company in question to get an official response to your complaint and to ensure that you have an email address to include with the article. It’s always good to get both sides of the story, or at least to attempt to, and email is the best way for others in the same situation to express opinions to the company. Finally, I hope that going through the process will enable you to see both sides and perhaps cool down if you’re being unreasonable. (Me? Unreasonable? It couldn’t happen. Sure.) The process may also provide great material for the story – "When I asked if they had plans to offer a bug fix, the tech support person just about died laughing."

So that’s about the sum of it. I haven’t been jerked around by any companies recently, but send me your ideas and I’ll tell you if I think it’s worth writing them up.

Mark H. Anbinder No comments

Newton 1.05 Upgrade "Sucks"

Technical Support Coordinator, BAKA Computers

Patient MessagePad owners were rewarded in late January with the release of the long-awaited 1.05 system software upgrade. The upgrade reportedly fixes a number of power management problems, improves handwriting recognition, and takes care of a couple of pesky bugs. Unfortunately, it also sucks away up to 32K of memory that’s meant to be reserved for user data.

Apparently, Newton engineers were unable to shoehorn the bug fixes and improvements into the chunk of MessagePad RAM intended to hold system software patches, separate from the 192K of RAM intended for user information and installed software. In an attempt to apologize, Apple is offering a special $99 price for its 1 MB RAM storage card, which typically sells for around $200, to users socked by the memory loss.

The upgrade’s need to repartition the MessagePad’s memory space also means that upgrading can erase all data stored in the unit, so back up to a storage card or via the Connection Kit software before installing the upgrade. (After you’ve downloaded the package, the MessagePad’s upgrade procedure kicks in and WARNS you of this, but you mustn’t ignore it! It’s not just another "You know, you really should back up…" warning.)

Another warning for those who have never needed to restore data they’ve backed up: Restore the "Newton" file instead of the "Newton Backup" file from your Connection Kit. (The file’s full name includes the name of the MessagePad’s owner, such as "Mark H. Anbinder’s Newton.") If you restore the Backup file (as any Woz-fearing user would expect to do) you will restore an OLD backup. I realized this when I noticed the presence of a number of items I’d previously deleted.

If you have less than 32K of available RAM before you begin the upgrade process, you won’t be able to restore the entire backup. So, if you have less than 32K of available RAM, don’t install the upgrade. You can check how much memory you have left by tapping Extras, then Prefs, then Memory.

According to the 800/SOS-APPL Newton "hold music" recording, the 1.05 upgrade is available now from CompuServe, America Online, AppleLink, and on the Internet from <> [sic] (most likely <>). [I couldn’t find it on, but it is at the URL below. -Adam] system/update-105.hqx

Users in the U.S. who cannot obtain the software electronically may call 800/242-3374 for a Mac or DOS floppy disk with the upgrade. Users in the U.S. without the Connection Kit may call 800/242-3374 to receive the upgrade on a PCMCIA card. No provisions were mentioned for users outside the U.S. (I would not expect to find them on a recording that only callers in the U.S. could reach), but I expect the upgrade (which for all I know may need to be localized for foreign language MessagePads) should be available from dealers and distributors outside the U.S.

I wouldn’t be QUITE so annoyed at the memory sucking if the Newton product manager from PIE hadn’t answered the upgrade memory question (asked by yours truly) on last fall’s UG-TV broadcast by saying, "There’s plenty of space set aside for system upgrades, and we won’t be taking away any of your user memory." I’ve asked for an explanation via email, and will report any answers as I receive them.

Mark H. Anbinder No comments

Apple Improves CD Drive

Beginning this month, Apple is shipping Macs with an improved internal CD ROM drive, the AppleCD 300i Plus. The new unit offers a tray-loading feature similar to that found in home CD audio decks, eliminating the need for CD caddies. Over the next several weeks, all Quadra models with internal CD ROM drives will be modified to include the new drives. Future models will include the new drives as well.

Meanwhile, existing dealer and warehouse stock of the older units, containing the original caddy-loading AppleCD 300i, are likely to see price reductions aimed at clearing the way for the new models, so buyers who don’t mind using the CD caddies are likely to find good deals. Model numbers for existing computers ending in "/A" include the old drive; the same part number with a "/B" instead indicates the new drive is installed. (This won’t be true of new models.)

Tray-loading CD ROM drives have only recently become common in the personal computer industry, though such mechanisms have been the norm in the audio field since CD players became popular in the mid 1980s. The earlier tray mechanisms took up too much vertical space in drives designed for the tight spaces available in computer cases. Car CD players generally have a simple slide-in mechanism with neither a tray nor a caddy, and I hope to see these units in future CD ROM drives.

Mark H. Anbinder No comments

Stylish Stylus

Apple provides a brushed aluminum replacement stylus to MessagePad purchasers who register, but it’s no more attractive a writing instrument than the original; it’s just a different color. For those accustomed to the look or heft of a classier writing instrument, a new company called WriteWare offers an alternative.

WriteWare’s $8.95 "S.N.A.P." stylus (the acronym stands for "stylus, not a pen") is a low-resistance plastic stylus insert for most cartridge ink pens. The inserts are currently available for Cross, Montblanc, Parker, and Sheaffer pens, and more models are expected later. The stylus-equipped pen can now be used on an Apple MessagePad, a Sharp Expert Pad, a Casio or Tandy Zoomer, or any other pen-based unit that uses touch-sensitive screen technology. (The EO uses an active stylus, not a passive touch-screen, so S.N.A.P. won’t work on EO.)

S.N.A.P.-equipped pens don’t fit into the holder provided on Newton and Zoomer PDAs, but WriteWare points out that their stylus can be kept in a pocket without fear of ink leaks! According to David B. Alford, one of WriteWare’s partners, he decided to create this product after both of the styluses included with his Sharp Expert Pad broke off near the tip. Apparently Japanese writing is generally done at a 90-degree angle to the writing surface, and the styluses were designed with that in mind. American writers, who tend to hold a pen at a 60 to 70 degree angle, put unplanned-for stress on the tip.

WriteWare is working on establishing relationships with dealers, but in the meantime you can purchase S.N.A.P. stylus inserts directly, for $8.95 plus $2.50 shipping and handling, and California state sales tax for customers within California. Send your order, along with a certified check, money order, or personal check to:

1428 Sunshade Lane
San Jose, CA 95122 USA
[email protected]

Personal check orders will be held until the check clears. WriteWare also accepts U.S. currency, but we don’t recommend mailing cash.

Adam Engst No comments

Anarchie Rules

The more I use Universal Resource Locators (URLs) to identify Internet resources, the more I like them. For one thing, URLs help with composing TidBITS because they offer a standard way to refer to FTP sites and directory paths. More importantly, URLs are great because of Anarchie, a new $10 MacTCP-based tool from Peter Lewis <[email protected]>, a prolific Macintosh shareware programmer.

Anarchie does something that I’ve wanted for quite some time. It searches Archie servers for files stored on anonymous FTP sites and once it’s found those files, it retrieves them via FTP. It’s a thoroughly simple and powerful idea, but Anarchie is the first Macintosh program to fully implement it (and yes, I know TurboGopher can do the same thing, but it’s not as slick as Anarchie for file retrieval). You could also copy the file listings from the Archie results if you wished, and option-copying them copies them in URL format. Needless to say, I use this feature heavily when checking resources I mention in TidBITS.

That search and retrieve function would be cool enough in its own right, and that’s what Anarchie 1.0.0 did, along with the nice capability to retrieve a file if you entered its URL (copied from TidBITS, for instance). But many URLs are directories, and don’t point at a specific file. Anarchie 1.0.0 couldn’t handle that situation, but the just-released Anarchie 1.1.0 can. It displays the contents of the directory and you can browse down the hierarchy from that point. Archie doesn’t yet know where Anarchie 1.1.0 is located, but you can find it on my FTP site. ftp/anarchie-110.hqx

In addition to the basic features of the previous version (Archie searching and retrieval), 1.1.0 adds bookmarks that point directly at an FTP site or specific FTP site directory. Fetch from Jim Matthews uses a similar idea, and, like Fetch, Anarchie includes a few pre-installed bookmarks. However, Peter did a good thing for the Internet community by compiling a comprehensive list of the main FTP sites of interest to Macintosh users, including a large set of Info-Mac and Umich mirror sites. If you’ve found FTP frustrating recently, since the main Info-Mac and Umich sites at <> and <> have been overloaded, use a mirror site instead. Since not everyone has a System 7 Mac with a MacTCP connection to the Internet, I’m appending the full list of bookmarks to this article. Similarly, Anarchie includes a full set of Archie servers so you can use one closest to you and easily switch among them without remembering cryptic Internet addresses.

Anarchie 1.1.0 is scriptable and recordable, so this should open up Internet file retrieval to some extremely necessary automation. I’m looking forward to the day when you can select a URL in TidBITS, hit a hot key or select an item from a menu, and have Anarchie snag the file for you instantly. Or perhaps the script could add the URL to a list of files to retrieve at a later time. Anarchie supports Frontier’s Menu Sharing and includes some Frontier stuff from Leonard Rosenthol to get you started.

Clever touches abound. You can sort any list in Anarchie by name, date, size, host, and so on. Anarchie automatically decodes MacBinary files, enables you to create Finder icons for bookmarks, uses a new window for each directory to make browsing back easy, and can view a file (although you must set up a suffix map in Fetch for this to work, at which point Anarchie downloads the file and asks the application you chose to display the file). Finally, Anarchie’s About box displays the number of searches you’ve made, the number of files you’ve transferred, and the number of kilobytes you’ve transferred. Anarchie translates this into a rating, but I don’t know when you move up from Beginner, or how many levels there are. Do read the documentation because there are a number of tips and small notes that you won’t otherwise discover.

Perhaps my only complaint is that Anarchie doesn’t appear to show .message files that are supposed to display when you access certain FTP servers, such as <>. Actually, I also wish that Archie servers were updated more frequently, but that’s not Peter’s fault.

Overall, Anarchie is a must have for your Internet tool kit. Despite the slowness of Archie servers and the continual problems with finding new files via Archie, Anarchie has proved itself time and time again for me in the short time I’ve used it. I’m writing my shareware check to Peter right now, and I strongly urge you to check out Anarchie, and if you think it’s as good as I do and use it, to send Peter a check as well. Highly recommended.

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