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Curious about QuickDraw GX? Tune in for the first part of Tonya’s look at what it is and why you might want it. We also look at a great new Apple Web server, report on a significant problem with Speed Disk 3.0, pass on the announcement of the annual Loebner Prize competition to determine how smart computers have become, and attempt to set down all the different ways in which you can buy System 7.5. Finally, Connectix provides some welcome news – MODE32 7.5.

Adam Engst No comments


Well, it’s finally happened. Our 56K Frame Relay connection to the Internet went in last Friday along with our hand-strung Ethernet, and we’ve been enjoying not having to dial out all weekend. We don’t have much running, and our domain names haven’t propagated yet, but we hope to do some cool stuff with this connection, and I’ll write more about it as it happens. For the moment, though, the speed is oh-so-nice for using the Web and Cornell’s CU-SeeMe, and I even found out that Eudora, which continues to surprise me with its flexibility, can receive email via UUCP (I haven’t configured UUCP/Connect (uAccess) to work over the 56K line yet, so I’m still dialing in for email) and send it out via SMTP. [ACE]

Adam Engst No comments

Yet another Apple Web server

Yet another Apple Web server has appeared, and this one feels like the best yet. <> contains information about Apple, including new product releases (a good way to find answers to questions such as how to upgrade to System 7.5, also see Tonya’s article below), and links to FTP sites for software updates.

My favorites are the Apple Tech Info Library, complete with a decent searching mechanism, and, under Apple Related Web Pages, sections from each of the Tech Support teams at Apple. These sections all contain answers to the top ten questions received by the Apple support folks, the latest software updates appropriate to each area, and various tips and useful bits of information. This is good stuff, and Apple should be commended for finally putting up a server that might reduce the support load. Finally, in a nice change for Apple, there’s a way to submit bugs – I don’t have one handy to test with, but even if it’s a one-way process, I see a bug reporting mechanism as a positive and welcome move. [ACE] bugreport.html

Tonya Engst No comments

BBEdit T-Shirts

BBEdit T-Shirts — Like many vendors, Bare Bones Software had a T-shirt done for the Macworld Expo, and their BBEdit "It Doesn’t Suck" T-shirts experienced such popularity that Bare Bones Software has announced that the T-shirts are officially for sale. The white, pre-shrunk, 100 percent cotton shirt has the BBEdit logo on the front and the "It Doesn’t Suck" slogan on the back, along with a 1993 Eddy Finalist logo and a 1994 Accelerated for Power Mac seal. A shirt costs $15 plus charges for tax, shipping, and handling (charges depend on where in the world you live). To find out more, send email to <[email protected]> or call 508/651-3561. [TJE]

Mark H. Anbinder No comments

Don’t Use Speed Disk 3.0

Director of Technical Services, Baka Industries Inc.

Symantec announced last week that it has discovered a problem with the Speed Disk module of its recent Norton Utilities 3.0 release for Macintosh, and said that customers should not use that version of Speed Disk. The company says that this problem, which has been reported in less than a fraction of a percent of all units shipped, can cause data loss.

Symantec, which acquired Norton Utilities when it purchased the Peter Norton Computing company a few years ago, introduced Norton Utilities for Macintosh 3.0 in August. The company temporarily suspended shipments of version 3.0 and plans to replace all copies already in stores with version 3.1, which is shipping now. Symantec will automatically ship updates to registered users and upgrade subscribers within the next three weeks, and will post updates on various online services.

The problem with Speed Disk does not affect users of Norton Utilities for DOS computers, earlier versions of Norton Utilities for Macintosh, or any other Norton product.

Information from:
Symantec Corporation

Adam Engst No comments

MODE32 for 7.5 Announced

One of the great diversions every time Apple releases a new version of the system software is figuring out what old programs will and will not work. Even more serious are the concerns about which machines may no longer be able to keep up. Sometimes there’s simply no way to bring the older machines up to snuff – a 1 MB Mac Plus can’t run System 7. However, machines that still have a fair amount of power and can hold plenty of RAM are harder to leave behind.

Luckily, Apple is doing the right thing for one group of Mac owners that may want to upgrade to System 7.5. Those of us who own a Mac II, IIx, IIcx, or SE/30 were pretty much out in the cold until Connectix and Apple announced last week that Connectix plans to update MODE32, the system extension that enables the above-mentioned Macs to use 32-bit mode and address more than 8 MB of RAM. In September of 1991, Apple licensed MODE32 for unlimited, free distribution, and that license agreement remains in force. Apple also announced that it would cease development of its the ill-fated 32-bit Enabler – apparently neither the 32-bit Enabler nor the current MODE32 work at all under System 7.5.

Connectix plans to ship MODE32 7.5 on 16-Sep-94, and it will be available on Connectix’s AppleLink, America Online, and CompuServe forums, as well as through dealers, user groups, and directly for a handling fee of $9.95 or $14.95 for international users. MODE32 7.5 may be freely copied and distributed, so I expect it to appear on the Internet quickly.

As an interesting side note for those of you who like to gaze deeply into crystal balls, Connectix said in the press release that although they will work to maintain compatibility in future versions of System 7 and will revise MODE32’s version number to correspond with the highest version of System 7 supported, there’s a brief nod to System 8, whatever that may turn out to be. The press release says, "If a version can be developed for Macintosh Systems subsequent to System 7.x, users may be asked to pay an upgrade fee or purchase a new product." I read this to mean that Apple’s MODE32 license only applies to System 7, and if it’s even possible (or necessary) for Connectix to develop a version for System 8, it may be a different product or return to being commercial.

We’re pleased to see Apple once again enabling these four older Macs to use System 7.5, and for making support issues less confusing by dropping the 32-bit Enabler. Perhaps the most important reason for this continued support is that Macs aren’t consigned to the scrap heap after they’ve aged for a few years. Millions of older Macs may have moved on from their original owners, but people still use these machines for productive work. It may not always be possible to upgrade them to the latest and greatest version of the system software, but when then hardware can handle the load, as in the case of the II, IIx, IIcx, and SE/30, it’s nice to have the option.

Information from:
Connectix and Apple propaganda

Mark H. Anbinder No comments

Think You’re Smart?

If you’re a smart computer, this is your chance to prove it. Continuing the quest for artificial intelligence, a California organization has announced its fourth annual competition for the Dr. Hugh G. Loebner prize. Competitors at the event, to be held on 16-Dec-94 at the new San Marcos campus of California State University, will need to pass a limited version of the classic Turing Test.

The competition was inspired by computer pioneer Alan Turing, who in 1950 proposed a test to determine whether computers can think. If a human interacting with a computer can’t tell whether it’s a computer or another human, the computer has passed the test. Dr. Loebner has put up monetary prizes to spur the development of computers that can successfully simulate independent thought.

This year’s limited test allows software developers to specify a single area of conversation in which their entries may be tested. The author of this year’s winning software will receive a $2,000 prize and a bronze medal. In 1995, the first open-ended contest, with no topic restrictions, will be conducted. When a computer can pass an unrestricted test, the grand prize of $100,000 will be awarded, and the contest will be discontinued.

According to Dr. Robert Epstein, a research professor at National University, director emeritus of the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, and the organizer of the Loebner Prize competition, some of the entries in earlier competitions "fooled some of the judges into thinking they were people."

You can obtain the official rules and an application by contacting the contest director.

Dr. Robert Epstein
933 Woodlake Drive
Cardiff by the Sea CA 92007-1009 USA
619/436-4490 (fax)
<[email protected]>

Tonya Engst No comments

Where to Buy System 7.5

Someday Apple will set up an affordable software subscription service. In exchange for a nominal fee, Apple will automatically send users new software on a biannual basis. The upgrades will arrive with detailed explanations as to what they do, what files land where on the hard disk, and what bugs were fixed. Until Apple figures that out, we’ll all have to go to the extra effort not only to purchase our system software, but also to find the best deal.

Apple’s suggested retail price of $134.99 is pretty much from the moon, especially since their upgrade policy is not generous in terms of taking care of customers who recently purchased System 7.1 or System 7 Pro. Fortunately, even a small amount of resourcefulness on your part can drop that price substantially, though people outside the U.S. may find that mail order is the only way to go. (I could not find non-800 numbers to match the 800 numbers listed, and I suspect that the Apple upgrade deals are good in the U.S. only.) In all cases, the prices are for either the disk or the CD-ROM version, and I recommend the CD-ROM version because it comes with more software, including two Peirce Print Tools extensions for use with QuickDraw GX and various telecommunications utilities.

Buy a Mac — If you purchase any Macintosh (Performa, PowerBook, Power Mac, Quadra, whatever) between 02-Aug-94 and 31-Dec-94, you get 7.5 free, but you must pay sales tax and a $10 shipping and handling fee. To sign up for System 7.5, you use an upgrade coupon, which you can acquire in many ways, including through a dealer or by calling Apple at 800/871-6634.

Apple has started shipping System 7.5 with most new machines (all but the Workgroup Servers), but resellers must clear out inventories of machines bundled with System 7.1. According to the information on the Apple World-Wide Web site, after 12-Sep-94, all Macs purchased through a Higher Education Campus Reseller should come with a copy of System 7.5. aplprod.html

Upgrade through Apple from System 7 Pro — If you bought System 7 Pro on or after 02-Jun-94, you can upgrade for $19.99 plus sales tax and $10 for shipping and handling, although, if you bought System 7 Pro in a ten-pack, you can upgrade for free, plus sales tax and a shipping and handling fee. To upgrade through Apple you must use an upgrade coupon. Ask your dealer or call 800/769-2775, extension 5919.

Upgrade through Apple from System 7.1 — If you purchased System 7.1 between 02-Jun-94 and 02-Oct-94 you can upgrade for $39.99 plus sales tax and $10 shipping and handling. To upgrade, you must use an upgrade coupon, which you can get from a dealer or by calling 800/769-2775, extension 5919.

Join a Macintosh User Group — If you don’t belong to a user group, you probably should, and if you do belong, you can purchase System 7.5 for $49.95 plus sales tax and $10 shipping and handling. This offer is good regardless of what version of the system you currently own, but it is only valid in the U.S.

I can’t speak for how every user group will handle the upgrade, but in the case of dBUG (Seattle’s Downtown Business User Group), Apple mailed upgrade order forms to the group, and the president of the group gave me one last weekend. The forms cannot be photocopied, so you must get your own personal form; look for them at user group meetings, or ask someone official in the group.

Try Mail Order — I polled four popular mail order vendors today, and found that any one of them would be happy to sell me System 7.5 for within pennies of $99, regardless of when I purchased my previous System version. Upgrades from System 7 Pro cost around $20 and upgrades from System 7.1 come in around $40. Each vendor had slightly different rules for how you qualify for an upgrade, but by and large you must fax a receipt dated on or after 02-Jun-94. I’ve heard stories about people who obtained the upgrade via mail order without sending in a receipt, but the representatives I spoke with were quite clear about the dating policy and requiring a receipt.

Shipping Policy — Mail order vendors have their own shipping costs, usually no more than three dollars. In comparison, Apple’s $10 seems excessive, especially in light of the small print on the back of the User Group upgrade form. The small print states that for $10 you can expect System 7.5 in four to six weeks. If you pay $15, Apple will use Federal Express to send you System 7.5 and you can expect it in three weeks. Perhaps Apple plans to beat these estimates; I certainly hope so, or we may have to start talking about overfortnighting something rather than overnighting it.

Rising Costs — Given that system software came free to Macintosh users not all that long ago, the pricing and upgrade strategy took some by surprise. TidBITS reader Larry Staples said, "I have issued my first protest to Apple over their System 7.5 Upgrade policy. I, like many others, bought a new PowerBook 520c in June, shortly after the 500 series was announced. I’m a happy customer. Love the machine. My Mac is not included in [any special upgrade offer]! I don’t think this is fair, I paid good money for my Mac and System 7.1.1."

I’m not surprised at the cost of the upgrade (I’ve become increasingly cynical over the past few years), but I hope Apple puts the money to good use in developing stable, amazing products over the next few years and not in feeding the coffers of the bean counters and stockholders. While we wait to find out whether Apple puts the money to good use, this strikes me as an excellent time to support your local Macintosh user group.

Tonya Engst No comments

Preliminary Practical Primer to QuickDraw GX, Part I

QuickDraw GX had a great deal of advance press, which isn’t surprising given that it was originally supposed to ship with the first release of System 7 three years ago. Apple promised it would improve the Chooser and Print Monitor, word processing companies swore it would easily enable landscape and portrait page orientations in the same document, font makers noted that GX-style fonts can offer much more than ever before, Adobe, Farallon, and other digital document software creators surely noticed the Portable Digital Document Maker feature, and we users tried to sort out the features from the babble and the hype. This multi-part article explains what to expect from QuickDraw GX and the basics of how to use it.

QuickDraw GX comes with Apple’s recently released System 7.5, but third-party developers can license it for a small fee and include it with their products (it comes on four high-density floppy disks). I acquired my copy through Peirce Software’s Peirce Print Tools, a set of QuickDraw GX extensions that add assorted printing capabilities to the basic GX lineup. (You can find out more about GX extensions in Part II of this article, and I plan to review Peirce Print Tools in an upcoming TidBITS issue.)

Hardware Headaches and Software Minimums — QuickDraw GX isn’t for everyone and requires more RAM than many Macs have to spare. Here’s the low down – to run QuickDraw GX, you need:

  • System 7.1 or later
  • 68020-based Macintosh or newer (including the Power Macs)
  • Approximately 1.7 MB of RAM that you can dedicate to QuickDraw GX
  • 400K RAM that you can dedicate to Adobe Type Manager GX (only if you use ATM GX)
  • A GX printer driver for your printer. QuickDraw GX comes with drivers for: StyleWriters (no Color StyleWriter), ImageWriters, various LaserWriters (a few of the QuickDraw LaserWriters appear to be missing, but you may be able to substitute an existing driver for a missing one). Note that many (if not all) PostScript printers do work with the LaserWriter driver, but if you need to (or wish to) use a third-party driver, you must ask the third-party about the driver (in general, third-parties are releasing GX drivers).

If your hardware can handle GX and you like to play around with funky printing projects, GX offers you hours of amusement. If you work in an environment where a bank of printers hang out near every water fountain and you can never remember whose office has the color DeskWriter this month, then you need GX to help you avoid extra trips to the Chooser. If you work in a corporate environment where the Help Desk staff is more NT-oriented than Mac-savvy and (as a result) you know the location of every Mac printer within a twenty minute walk, GX will save you more trips to the Chooser than you can make in a month of Sundays.

What Supports QuickDraw GX? — Remember System 7-savvy? Depending on who you asked, System 7-savvy meant different things, although after a while people came to agree that you might expect a System 7-savvy application to support virtual memory, Publish & Subscribe, offer at least a few Apple events, and so on. Similarly, GX-savvy means different things to different people, but on a basic level, a GX-savvy application must support the "GX printing architecture" by recognizing GX printer drivers and offering GX-style Print and Page Setup dialog boxes. On a more sophisticated level, a program might support GX fonts by recognizing their extended character set (up to 65,000 characters per font) and by handling their "line layout capabilities" (Part II of this article will have more on GX fonts.)

To find out to what extent a program supports QuickDraw GX, you’d have to ask the company that makes the program, though it’s a reasonable assumption that software released before this summer does not support GX. In much the same way that native Power Mac programs have dribbled out over the past seven months, I expect that GX-savvy software will slowly arrive, though I expect more programs will support the printing architecture than the fonts.

Of the new crop of word processors coming out this fall, only WordPerfect 3.1 and Word 6 can claim GX support (WordPerfect 3.0 also has GX support.) These three programs support the GX printing architecture, but none support the fonts. The soon-to-be released FullWrite 2.0 and NisusWriter 4.0 will not support GX, though both companies plan to add GX support in future releases. Adobe (the name "Aldus" has disappeared into the dust stirred up by the Adobe-Aldus merger) is still hedging over GX support for PageMaker, and Quark has said QuarkXPress won’t support GX, though they also said they wouldn’t ship a PowerPC native versions and later changed their minds.

Of the three programs currently planned to ship with full GX support, the one I’ll be keeping an eye out for is Manhattan Graphics’s Ready,Set,Go! GX version 7, but it will also be interesting to check out the full GX support in the more specialized Typestry 2 (from Pixar) and FontChameleon (from Ares Software Corporation). The folks working on Ready,Set,Go! GX hope to ship version 7 by the end of 1994 – I know I’ll be checking out their booth at January Macworld Expo.

Desktop Printer Icon — Installing GX works much like installing any other program, but once you install it, you cannot print until you set up a desktop printer (tech support people, pay attention here!). If you don’t set up a desktop printer, attempts to print result in error messages, such as "Select Chooser from the Apple menu to create a desktop printer."

To create a desktop printer, open the Chooser, select a driver icon, select a specific port or printer, and then click the Create button. The desktop printer icon sits on the desktop, and you cannot place it elsewhere, though you can place an alias elsewhere. If you select a desktop printer icon, a Printing menu appears right of the Special menu. Once you create a desktop printer icon, you can print using traditional techniques or by dragging a document icon to a desktop printer icon.

Desktop printers add new printing features and replace Print Monitor, affectionately known to those of us who hate it as Print Monster. To see documents queued to a printer, double-click the corresponding desktop printer. The new printing features enable you to put a print job on hold, see a "print preview" of any queued job (just double-click the job), remove a print job, start printing again on any page, drag a print job to the Finder for storage, drag a job to a different desktop printer so it can print to the corresponding real life printer, and more.

Using a desktop printer, you can "share" a real printer, much as you would share a hard disk (select the icon and choose Sharing from the File menu). You can also password protect printers, though this works best on networks where everyone runs GX.

If you set up more than one desktop printer, one printer becomes the default in the Page Setup and Print dialog boxes. The default printer has a heavy outline, and you can make any printer the default by selecting its icon and choosing Set Default Printer from the Printing menu.

If you only have one or two printers, the desktop printer interface works well, but if you have access to many printers, you won’t want a million printer icons cluttering your desktop. Since you can’t store the icons anywhere else, I expect a number of utilities will show up to assist people in managing desktop printers. One possible (but inelegant) strategy for coping with too many desktop printers is to pile the icons one on top of the other in a corner somewhere and then organize the aliases neatly in the Apple menu.

New Page Setup and Print Dialog Boxes — The basic Page Setup dialog box offers a More Choices button and four basic options – orientation, scale (formerly called reduction), desktop printer (or any installed driver, and paper size (including any custom size that you set up in the PaperType Editor – more on that in Part II).

If you click the More Choices button, the button turns into a Fewer Choices button and the dialog box offers an interface reminiscent of the System 6 Control Panel. You might see additional page setup choices, either from the active program or from a GX extension.

A number of familiar Page Setup options have retired, and I say good riddance to Larger Print Area, Font Substitution, and Unlimited Downloadable Fonts (GX fonts download much more efficiently to the printer, so there should never be a problem with the printer not having enough RAM to accommodate them).

The new Print dialog box also has a System 6 Control Panel interface. "Fewer Choices" mode is straightforward, and should take care of the options that most people want most of the time. But after you click the More Choices button, you can set a wide array of options, which can come from the current application or from a GX extension. Perhaps the most intriguing option controls how a large image prints if it doesn’t fit on one page – you can crop the bottom and right so the image fits on one page, tile the image so it prints on more than one page, or scale it to fit. Other interesting features include setting the print time for a document and indicating that a document is urgent and should print before other queued documents.

Before I began playing with QuickDraw GX, I figured it would take me a half hour or so to write up an article for TidBITS; instead, after many hours, I’m still learning more and I’ve written enough information to fill an entire issue. So, instead of running one monster-sized article, I’m breaking this article into one (or more) additional articles. Tune in next week for a look at QuickDraw GX fonts – the coolest part of QuickDraw GX – and for a peek at the various utilities that come with QuickDraw GX (a digital document maker, a utility for turning GX off, a new LaserWriter Utility, and so on).

If you have experience with QuickDraw GX and have run into a quirk, snafu, or problem, I’d like to hear from you. Or, if you bravely installed the beta on seventy Macs printing to ten different printers and miraculously had no problems (or none you couldn’t solve easily), I’d like to know about that as well. Be warned, I probably won’t offer any solutions, but I’d like to get a better feel for GX’s overall stability.

Ares Software Corporation — 415/578-9090
Manhattan Graphics — 914/725-2048
Pixar — 510/236-4000
Peirce Software — 800/828-6554 — 408/244-6554
408/244- 6882 (fax) — <[email protected]>

Information from:
Pierce Guide to GX Printing, a free paper from Peirce Software.
Contact Peirce Software (see above) to request a copy.
Getting Started with QuickDraw GX (an installation guide in the
Peirce Print Tools software package)
"Inside QuickDraw GX Fonts," by Erfert Fenton, Macworld (Oct-94,
pg. 122). (An excellent article!)
Apple propaganda