Communications dominates this issue with articles from Mark Anbinder about the new Global Village PowerPort/Mercury modem for the Duo and the Global Village OneWorld ARA and fax server. We also muse about what might have caused Apple to cancel the tablet-sized Newton and lay off many of the Newton hardware engineers, and discuss the problem of information piracy on the Internet.
If you regularly visit our FTP site at <ftp.tidbits.com> for Macintosh Internet software, be aware that we’re moving files and directories around. Things may be rather difficult to find for the next week or so. I’ll write more about the reorganization once it’s complete. [ACE]
eWorld Rate Correction — OK, so I blew the eWorld rates last issue. Here’s the scoop, straight from the horse’s press release. "The basic monthly subscription to the service is $8.95, which includes two free hours of evening or weekend usage. Each subsequent hour of usage is $4.95. In the U.S. and Canada only, there is an hourly surcharge of $2.95 during business hours (6 a.m. to 6 p.m. local time). Access from outside the U.S. carries a $7.95 per hour surcharge (24 hours per day), but no business hour surcharge. There is no extra charge for the use of the Internet mail gateway or for 9,600 bps access." [ACE]
I have had some experience with Utilities Unlimited and their product Emplant, a Mac emulator for the Amiga. Emplant has been in "developmental release" for quite a while. Utilities Unlimited (mainly in the person of Jim Drew, the chief programmer/engineer/president) does support its product strongly via the Internet and the various appropriate newsgroups.
Despite starting from behind in the Mac emulation game (behind Redisoft’s Amax Mac emulator) Emplant is clearly the better product, having come out with a Mac-II class machine when Amax was really a souped-up Mac Plus-class machine. Emplant works, in colour, with System 7. It allows active switching between the Amiga and the Mac environments and supports various Amiga screen resolutions as well as standard Mac resolutions. It follows fairly well the CPU power of the particular Amiga that it is on (so a 33 MHz 68040 Amiga performs almost as fast as a 33 MHz 68040 Mac), while maintaining the multitasking of the Amiga.
However, Emplant was not supposed to be just a Mac emulator. It was supposed to be a multi-operating system emulator providing for easy addition of various modules for emulating other operating systems, including DOS/Windows.
I would not be at all surprised if the PC emulator for the Power Mac would be a very good product, be very cheap, and require less of your Power Mac than SoftWindows. I would be surprised if the first release was bug-free, but, like the Mac emulator for the PC (Executor by ARDI) would probably settle down after a while.
Ric Ford <[email protected]> writes:
It seemed odd to mention MacUser in TidBITS-231 and ignore MacWEEK, when MacWEEK has had Internet email addresses for a long time. You can send email to MacWEEK via the Internet for letters at <[email protected]>, for Mac the Knife at <[email protected]> and for individual staff members at <[email protected]>, such as my address,
<[email protected]>, and <[email protected]>.
[No slight to MacWEEK was intended of course – we were simply responding to the announcement of the MacUser address. To be fair, then, if other Macintosh or Internet publications (since those are our main topics) wish to send us Internet addresses where readers can reach them, we’ll be happy to compose a list for a future issue. -Adam]
Aldus ChartMaker may not print, but that doesn’t make it an applet. Jason Stephenson <[email protected]> wrote in response to the TidBITS-230 mention of ChartMaker: "How can anyone call a program that requires 8 MB of hard disk space and wants 4 MB of RAM an ‘applet?’ Everyone complains about Word’s disk requirements but it is less bloated than this thing from Aldus. ChartMaker may provide plenty of functionality in making charts but is not what I consider an applet."
I had assumed that the full 8 MB disk requirement included a small application and various extras (online help, templates, fonts, clip art, and so on). Word requires more hard disk space to install than it actually takes up, and I had assumed that ChartMaker installs similarly. I called Aldus to find out if ChartMaker consumes 8 MB of disk space for the typical user, and found that if you tweak it a bit you can knock it down to 5 MB. I also found that unless you have an installation problem, you must pay $2 per minute for ChartMaker support. Ouch. Overall, I’m not impressed. If we are going to have small, integrated applications, they’d better start out smaller than ChartMaker, and such a goal isn’t unrealistic. [TJE]
Perhaps I overstate the Newton’s status in the title of this article, but it appears that the Newton is being, shall we say, "de-emphasized" at Apple. Rumor has it that the Bic Newton, the tablet-sized Newton device, has been cancelled, and Apple has laid off a number of the Newton folks, mostly the hardware designers. It seems clear that there won’t be much in the way of new Newton devices from Apple in the near future, at least until the market is ready for them again, at which point Apple will no doubt have Microsoft to compete with in some form or fashion.
One possibility is that Apple is cutting back on its own hardware efforts to bolster the efforts of third-party developers who have licensed the Newton technologies. Sharp’s ExpertPad was such a close Newton clone that there wasn’t much of a reason to buy it over Apple’s MessagePad, but if Sharp suddenly released a tablet-sized Newton, it would be alone in the market and would help legitimize the market. Apple hopes that strategy will work for the Mac, since software developers are more likely to bet on a platform if the health of the platform isn’t tied to a single company. Toward that end, Apple has licensed System 7 to Acer, a Taiwanese PC-clone maker, and Acer is reportedly slated to release the first official Macintosh clone by the end of the year.
All but two of the Newton software people remain and are apparently hard at work on version 2.0 of the Newton operating system which will be both a step forward and a step back. Apparently, the Newton OS 2.0 adds a hierarchical filing structure to replace the data soup that existed previously. This both makes it easier for users to find their data (since files can be stored in specific hierarchical folders, just as on the Mac) and more difficult since every time you want a file you must navigate to find it.
All is not entirely downbeat though, and Apple France just released the Newton in France with a French operating system for FF5,490. Apple France claims that the delay was due to problem in translating the operating system into French, but by the end of 1994, there should be 50 French applications for the French Newton.
Despite the problems that the Newton faces, postings in the comp.sys.newton.misc newsgroup seem enthusiastic and upbeat about the Newton. That’s good because if the current Newton users and developers can continue to support the product sufficiently, perhaps it will only go into a dormancy at Apple, rather than being completely killed.
It’s possible that the Newton has some serious problems, or it may be languishing in the "chasm," a marketing term I learned about in The High-Tech Marketing Companion (ISBN #0-201-62666-7, Addison-Wesley), an excellent book developed and edited by Dee Kiamy. In a chapter entitled "Breaking into the Mainstream," Geoff Moore outlines a more realistic technology adoption curve than the one you might expect. Normally, you’d think that a product would start slow with the innovators and the early adopters, then pick up steam as the majority of the audience started buying it. The curve drops back down toward the end as the laggards finally buy in. However, Moore’s revised curve puts technical enthusiasts and visionaries at the early part of the curve since these are the people who will buy anything new or who recognize greatness. But before moving on to the next large part of the curve, which he fills with pragmatists and conservatives, Moore chops a section out of the curve entirely and calls this the chasm. During the chasm phase of the curve, basically no one buys the product. All the folks who buy things early already have one, and the people who wait until the product can do something specific for them haven’t yet started to buy.
Getting through the chasm is the tough part, since there’s no money coming in, and the future looks bleak. Moore recommends going vertical – that is, concentrating all resources on a very specific market segment, and once success comes in that segment, moving on to another. It strikes me that the Newton is deep in this chasm phase right now, since everyone who wants one, has one, and Apple wasn’t able to prove that a $500+ pen-based PDA is necessary for everyone. Thus, Apple’s regrouping moves make a certain amount of sense – they must sit tight on the Newton until they can bring the price down and push it into specific markets where it makes sense, such as for doctors or delivery people. Only then can the Newton pull itself back out of the chasm.
I do feel that it’s important for the Newton to hang on, not so much for the sake of the Newton itself, but for the sake of the technology embodied in it. I can do without handwriting recognition, but some of the intelligent assistance capabilities would be incredibly useful in the Macintosh environment as well. If the Newton dies, I fear that those technologies would die with it, and that would be a bad thing for us all.
Director of Technical Services, Baka Industries Inc.
After waiting more than a year and a half, PowerBook Duo owners now have a third-party modem option, the PowerPort/Mercury for the PowerBook Duo from Global Village Communication. The new modem fills in the top of Global Village’s product lineup, offering 19,200 bps data communications and 14,400 bps send and receive fax capabilities.
At a suggested retail price of $399, the PowerPort/Mercury for the Duo will probably be a bit more expensive than Apple’s Express Modem, the only competing product available at this time. Early reliability problems with the Duo Express Modem (most of which have reportedly been fixed through software updates) and Apple’s less-functional fax software make the extra expense worthwhile for serious telecommunicators.
Even though Apple’s 1991 introduction of the original PowerBook model was followed by a string of third-party modem offerings, none of these developers stepped forward with a model for the Duo 210 and 230 when they arrived about a year later. Manufacturers cited difficulties in getting hardware and software specifications from Apple. Since the Duo design incorporated more circuitry in less space, Apple was not able to use the same modem design they’d created for the 100-series PowerBooks. Apple claimed delays in producing appropriate developer documentation as the reason third parties were not able to develop their own modems for the Duos.
In the meantime, Global Village offered a special version of its GlobalFax software for use with the Duo Express Modem. This served to tide over impatient Duo owners who really wanted a Global Village modem. The company reportedly plans a special reduced-price offer for owners of GlobalFax who wish to purchase a PowerPort/Mercury for their Duo, but details were not available at press time.
One important advance in Global Village’s modem design is of course the faster data throughput. The "v.32terbo" modem’s 19,200 bps performance is one third faster in raw data speeds, and the fact that many data transfer protocols have a finite overhead means that for most users, the perceived increase in speed will be even larger.
Like the other Mercury models in Global Village’s TelePort and PowerPort families, the new PowerPort/Mercury for the PowerBook Duo includes the powerful and flexible GlobalFax software for sending and receiving faxes, as well as GlobalFax OCR for converting received faxes into editable text or word processor files. The package also includes Dave Alverson’s popular ZTerm terminal emulation shareware program, which Global Village buyers need not purchase separately.
Global Village says that industry estimates place the installed base of modem-less PowerBook Duos at over 50,000 in the U.S. alone, and thousands more Duos are sold each month. If this is accurate, the first batch of new modems may vanish quickly, but Global Village hopes production will catch up with demand before too long.
Is there anything to talk to at 19,200 bps? You bet – starting with Global Village’s OneWorld Remote Access servers, which incorporate internal PowerPort/Mercury modems to provide performance that feels considerably faster than 14,400 bps ARA service. No commercial online services like America Online and eWorld have 19,200 bps access lines yet, but many local bulletin boards do. SLIP and PPP protocols, providing dialup Internet access, also feel much smoother at 19,200 bps than at 14,400.
Certainly Global Village’s new modem makes the Duo itself a more viable alternative to the all-in-one PowerBook 100 and 500 families. The much lighter Duo models are attractive to users who want the lightest possible notebook computer, and who don’t need a floppy drive available at all times. (Many PowerBook owners find the floppy drive less critical than they expected it to be.) Of course, the new 500 series PowerBooks have their own advantages, such as the Trackpad pointing device with no moving parts, and the dual battery compartments.
Global Village — 800/736-4821 — 415/390-8200
415/390-8282 (fax) — <[email protected]>
— Information from:
Global Village propaganda
If you’ve grown accustomed to reading Dave Barry’s humor columns in ClariNet, the fee-based news service that appears in the clari.* Usenet hierarchy, you may have noticed that Dave Barry’s columns are no longer posted (apparently the same is true of Mike Royko’s columns).
Brad Templeton, who started both rec.humor.funny and ClariNet, posted a message 17-Jun-94 saying, "We regret to announce that on the orders of Knight-Ridder Tribune and its Tribune Media Services Division, we will cease publishing the Dave Barry column and the Mike Royko column effective June 23, 1994."
It appears that Knight-Ridder became concerned about the level of information piracy on the Internet. Although the details remain unknown, reportedly a subscriber to Dave Barry’s columns over ClariNet sent a copy of a column to a mailing list of people who weren’t ClariNet subscribers, thus breaking ClariNet’s distribution rules and basic copyright law. From that mailing list, the pirated column made its way to a Knight-Ridder employee, who reported it on up the line to the executives who made the decision to remove the columns from ClariNet.
I question whether Knight-Ridder’s move was in fact the correct one to make if they wish to avoid pirated columns from flying around the nets. When Dave Barry’s columns were available via ClariNet, at least there was a legitimate source for them for some people (anyone actually, since you could subscribe via email as well). I wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprised to see columns being typed in and sent around in informal mailing lists, or even posted, perhaps via an anonymous posting service, in groups like alt.fan.dave_barry (where even Dave himself is rumored to hang out)
The feel of the entire fiasco is one of grade school, when someone breaks a rule and the teacher punishes the entire class. Knight-Ridder presumably knew who had pirated the column and sent it to the mailing list; why didn’t they simply sue that person for copyright violation? Or even easier, why didn’t they let ClariNet do it for them? Brad Templeton has set up a mailbox at <[email protected]> where ClariNet copyright violations may be reported, although I’ve never heard if ClariNet has actually gone after anyone legally. ClariNet has always pushed hard to encourage people to respect copyright online, and it’s a shame to see their efforts wasted like this.
I wonder why Knight-Ridder hasn’t removed Dave Barry’s column from all of the commercial online services as well. After all, it’s no more difficult to copy a column from an AOL text window and send it to a mailing list on the Internet as it is to copy it from a Usenet newsreader and send it to a mailing list. The conspiracy theorist here would say that Knight-Ridder wasn’t earning enough from the ClariNet distribution of those columns and wanted an out so that it could provide them over the Internet again later, presumably in such a fashion as to make more money.
In any event, it’s a shame that one person’s disregard of copyright law has led Knight-Ridder to ruin it for the thousands of other people who played by the rules and paid ClariNet for the Dave Barry columns in some form or fashion. I guess I’ll have to go back to getting my Dave Barry fix from clippings from my mother, although I’ve started to wonder after reading in alt.fan.dave_barry that some newspapers cut Dave Barry’s columns, presumably to make them fit, both in terms of space and occasionally, subject matter. Humph.
The global village grows closer every day, and one of the companies making it happen is Global Village Communications. The company’s new OneWorld server products, introduced earlier this year, are perfectly suited to providing communications services on small, medium, and large networks. Different versions offer remote-access network dial-in, or outgoing network fax capabilities, and prices vary based on hardware configurations and number of network users.
The hardware — Each OneWorld box is a small, stackable unit with a design reminiscent of the company’s angular TelePort modems, but a bit bigger (the size of a hardcover novel) and curved in front. A OneWorld box has room inside for up to two PowerPort modems, the same ones used in 100-series PowerBooks. The hardware supports any PowerPort model – past, present, or future – to provide an easy upgrade path.
Different OneWorld versions offer either a lone LocalTalk port, or both LocalTalk and 10baseT EtherTalk ports. You can’t attach a OneWorld server to both networks at once, so if the server has both ports, it determines on power-up which network types to use. If the server is on an Ethernet segment, you can also tell it which AppleTalk zone to consider home. (LocalTalk doesn’t currently support zone selection.)
Remote Access server — The internal modems are PowerPort/Mercury modems, providing AppleTalk Remote Access (ARA) users with connections to the network at up to 19,200 bps. The server fully supports ARA client software versions 1.0 and 2.0; there’s no need to set the ARA 2.0 client in its less-functional 1.0-compatible mode.
Beyond that, there’s not much to say. The OneWorld Remote Access server acts just like ARA server software running on a Mac, as far as the user can tell.
Fax server — Have you ever used Global Village’s GlobalFax software on a TelePort or PowerPort modem? If so, you already know how to send a fax using the OneWorld. An updated version of the software lets you send faxes from either a OneWorld or your own modem, a feature imperative for those roving PowerBook users.
Carried over from the previous GlobalFax versions are such features as multiple address books (collections of recipients’ names and fax numbers), easily modifiable cover sheets, importing and exporting of phone numbers, detailed activity logs, delayed transmission, and fax recipient grouping.
The import/export feature allows easy transfer of names and fax numbers to and from Address Book Plus, Dynodex, and TouchBase file formats, as well as text files.
Security — Global Village’s OneWorld security features are based on "passports," or privilege definitions for individual users or groups of users. A group passport defined for multiple users can mean a single change updates each user’s access capabilities. The passports apply to both fax and remote access features, which means the security levels can be installed on both types of devices today – and can apply to both features of a hypothetical upcoming device that handles both fax and remote access services. Users can have different levels of access to your network with the remote access servers, and different faxing capabilities with the fax servers.
Some corporate network administrators will be pleased that the OneWorld Remote Access servers offer the hardware-based callback capability their security policies demand. ARA’s own callback feature, which enables the server to call back a user only at a pre-determined telephone number to make password theft meaningless, is software-based and therefore not acceptable at some companies where network security is a critical manner. (We haven’t heard of cases in which ARA’s callback security was compromised, but the software configuration might seem less bulletproof.) Naturally, the OneWorld callback feature works precisely the same way, but is based in hardware rather than software.
Management — A product family with such flexibility and convenience at the user end must be a nightmare to administer, right? No. Global Village’s new OneWorld Manager software draws interface elements from the Finder and the Chooser, and quite cleanly enables the administrator to change the configuration of any OneWorld device on the network.
If you already have an ARA server running, or even a Shiva LanRover (another hardware ARA server device), you’ll be thrilled to hear the OneWorld Manager application will happily import your existing user information either from AppleShare-style Users & Groups files or from user lists exported from Shiva’s Net Manager.
Missing in action — Some features that would seem obvious aren’t here, at least not yet. For example, the OneWorld Remote Access box doesn’t double as a shared outgoing network modem, as the competing LanRover from Shiva does. Shiva has virtually cornered this market for years, but Global Village certainly has the communications expertise to develop the necessary workstation software that should be the biggest hurdle. Using the Communications Toolbox (CTB) would be the easiest approach; the software could register the network device as a CTB port, so it would be unnecessary to fool the Mac into thinking it was talking to the modem port or printer port. The drawback? Plenty of software still lacks CTB-awareness, even the easy-to-implement CTB port handling.
Also, the OneWorld Fax products won’t be able to replace the standard office fax machine until they can receive faxes as well as send them. According to Nick Chinn, senior customer satisfaction representative at Global Village, Global Village must work out several technical and interface issues that before a stand-alone network device could receive faxes. For example: Where does it put them? Whom does it notify? There are solutions, of course, but the company’s engineers want to make sure the solutions are palatable and intuitive before they ship a product that incorporates them.
I’d also like to see the GlobalFax software better handle long distance access numbers and credit card numbers. It’s possible to add these items, either to the prefix field that’s dialed before every call (usually used to dial a "9" to get an outside line), or to each destination phone number, up to a total of 64 digits, but this gets cumbersome. What’s worse than cumbersome is that credit card digits added at the end of the phone number show up on fax cover sheets. You can avoid this by keeping the phone number field on the cover page too small to show the extra digits, but we’re still not talking about a clean solution.
OneWorld Future — The hypothetical future "combo" OneWorld mentioned above, offering both Remote Access and Fax features (both send and receive, naturally), is one product we’re likely to see. Even if the first version must have specific modems in the device each dedicated to a specific task, it’ll be a start, but we expect somewhere down the line to see a OneWorld whose internal modems can perform any or all OneWorld tasks when called upon. That will provide the most network flexibility without wasting hardware.
What else? I wouldn’t be surprised to see a multi-protocol OneWorld Remote Access at some point, offering not just ARA protocols, but SLIP and PPP capability to provide TCP/IP connectivity. (In fact, I’d be extremely pleased to see such a product.)
Some first-generation products, such as the original Newton MessagePad and the Macintosh Portable, and even the original Macintosh, are more exciting for the promise they evidence for the future than for what they provide right now. Global Village avoids this trap by offering a suite of products that make us drool over future possibilities while making us drool over the here-and-now as well.
Global Village — 800/736-4821 — 415/390-8200
415/390-8282 (fax) — <[email protected]>
— Information from:
Global Village propaganda
Global Village tech support