New Macs! We bring you news of Apple’s first Macs based on the PowerPC 603 chip, plus information on Radius’s first high-end Mac clone. The issue continues with a potential problem with RAM Doubler, CD-ROMs, and System 7.5.1 on Power Macs, Claris’s announcement that it will market Guy Kawasaki’s Emailer, and commentary on Apple’s QuickTime lawsuit. Adam finishes up with a handy plug-in that lets Eudora users receive TidBITS as a single mail message.
New Mac LC Based on PowerPC 603 — Today Apple made a series of announcements re-affirming its commitment to the education market, centering around the introduction of the Power Macintosh 5200/75 LC, the first Macintosh based on the PowerPC 603 processor. The Power Mac 5200/75 LC is a new all-in-one design, featuring a tilt-and-swivel base, a 15-inch multisync monitor, and a standard configuration of 8 MB of RAM, a 500 MB hard disk, and a double-speed CD-ROM drive. An AV model is available as well, featuring standard video in/out AV capabilities and a TV tuner. The 5200/75 LC is priced at $1,699, making it the most affordable Power Mac in the education market, with the AV version priced at $2,099. Apple said in its announcements that it expects the unit to become the leading Mac sold to the education market. No mention was made when (or if) these models would be introduced to the consumer channel, although I expect that Performa versions of these machines can’t be far off.
Apple also introduced the Macintosh LC 630 DOS Compatible – a standard LC 630 with an integrated 66 MHz 486 DX2 processor to run DOS and Windows software – and the Macintosh LC 580, an all-in-one unit built around a 33 MHz 68LC040 processor. [GD]
Adapter Woes — Having trouble getting your model M5140 PowerBook AC adapter replaced? We’ve received several reports since last week’s article (see TidBITS-269) that some representatives at Apple’s technical assistance center at 800/SOS-APPL have not been sufficiently informed about the program. A couple of readers also reported confusion at their local dealers’ service shops. As I said in last week’s article, I always recommend working with your local service provider unless for some reason you can’t. To avoid confusion, be prepared to tell the technician or other representative that they can find details about the PowerBook 100 Series AC Adapter Customer Satisfaction Program on the March edition of the Service Source CD, in the 17-Mar dealer bulletin, or using customer satisfaction code PA995X. A helpful support manager at Apple’s technical assistance center assures us that he’s making sure his people are properly informed of the program. Remember that only M5140 AC adapters are involved. [MHA]
Emailer Licensed by Claris — Guy Kawasaki’s Fog City Software has announced that Emailer, its email client program, will be marketed by Claris when it comes out sometime in the northern hemisphere’s summer. Emailer has already generated considerable attention for its promise of sending and receiving email from the Internet, America Online, CompuServe, eWorld, and RadioMail, mixing and matching addresses as desired. Fog City Software will continue to develop Emailer, and Guy will become the official Emailer spokesperson. The licensing agreement makes sense, since Claris hasn’t had a splashy new program for some time, and Fog City Software would have had difficulty getting Emailer into all the channels that Claris can reach, Guy’s marketing skills notwithstanding. In addition, speaking as someone who’s seen the program, it feels like a Claris program, although as Geoff pointed out, it doesn’t have those small, indecipherable "mountain" icons for zooming in and out. Good thing, too. [ACE]
Radius System 100 "Debuts" — Last week, Radius announced limited strategic channel shipments of its System 100, a high-end Macintosh clone intended primarily for media-intensive electronic publishing. Although initial units are built on an 80 MHz PowerPC 601 processor, final units will include a 110 MHz 601, 72 MB of RAM, CD-ROM, a 2 GB hard disk, accelerated 24-bit video out to 1600 x 1200 pixels, four on-board DSPs for Photoshop acceleration and (of course) Photoshop pre-installed. Suggested retail price: $12,495. Hmm… I’ll take two. [GD]
Daylight Savings — I’ve never internalized the concept behind Daylight Savings Time since there’s the same amount of daylight no matter how you set the clock, but Macintosh users in most parts of the U.S. (but not all, as if Daylight Savings Time wasn’t irritating enough on its own) should have set their Macintosh clocks ahead one hour last Saturday night. Thankfully, Apple simplified the entire process in recent System upgrades by including a checkbox for Daylight Savings Time in the Date & Time control panel. I also strongly recommend that users with MacTCP-based Internet connections check out Pete Resnick’s excellent shareware Network Time control panel, which works with Unix time servers to keep even the most wayward of Macintosh clocks from straying by setting the time every time MacTCP is opened. [ACE]
Global Price Drop — Global Village Communication recently reduced the access charges for its $2,000 OneWorld Internet 28800 product see TidBITS-258). The original hourly charge of $8.95 has dropped to $3.95, thanks to the addition in July of a nationwide access network like SprintNet or the CompuServe Packet Network (until July, the lower rates apply to the current 800 number access method). The per-user charge remains in place, starting at $49 for 10 users and increasing with additional users. In addition, the company now offers a $249 per month flat rate option to benefit high-volume users of the plug-and-play network Internet connection device. Customers may opt to switch plans any time during a month, although the switch then applies for six months before the customer can switch back. Although the price drop is welcome for new users and may make an Internet connection via the OneWorld Internet more reasonable for some small offices, we suspect the $249 per month flat rate option will be popular, given that "high-volume" equals out to only slightly less than four hours per day, which is nothing when you consider the amount of time necessary to download something like the 5.2 MB System 7.5 Update over a relatively slow 28,000 bps connection, even if you ignore the time spent trying to connect to overloaded servers. [ACE]
Several TidBITS readers recently wrote in to let us know that after installing the 7.5.1 update on their Power Macs, they could no longer use or play CDs properly with RAM Doubler enabled (typical problems included not being able to play music and not being able to see files and folders on the CDs). I couldn’t duplicate the problems on my Power Mac, but enough people reported them that clearly something was up. Brian Grove <[email protected]>, RAM Doubler Product Manager, helpfully sent along this explanation:
"There is a known RAM Doubler 1.5.1 conflict on some Power Mac configurations between file sharing and CD-ROMs. Here are the details: You may not see all the directory contents of a CD-ROM if you have file sharing turned on or are file sharing the CD-ROM. This problem occurs only on some Power Macs. To work around the problem, disable file sharing when using a CD-ROM or disable RAM Doubler if you need to use file sharing and a CD-ROM.
"We are currently investigating the correlation between 7.5 Update 1.0 and reports of the CD-ROM problem. The CD-ROM problem will happen on certain Power Macs with any version of System software (including 7.5 and 7.5.1); on others, the problem is only triggered by the updated File Sharing software in System 7.5 Update 1.0. We have a fix for this CD-ROM problem that will be included in the next update version of RAM Doubler; when the version is completed later next month, we will make an updater available for online distribution."
A posting on Ric Ford’s MacInTouch Tips Web page suggested that the conflict is actually a three-way problem involving Apple’s CD-ROM 5.x software. Ric suggests that you can leave RAM Doubler and file sharing on if you switch to a non-Apple CD driver.
Connectix — 800/950-5880 — 415/571-5100 — 415/571-5195 (fax)
A few owners of the Duo 270c, 280, and 280c have encountered a perplexing problem: every so often a Duo becomes "addicted" to its dock, refusing to boot unless the dock is attached. The problem is infrequent (estimated to impact less than one percent of all Duo owners using docks), but when it happens, it can hit hard: the Duos often must be returned to Apple for repair. The Duo 210, 230, and 250 do not appear to be susceptible.
The problem is caused by transient charges moving from the dock to the Duo. These charges can damage an FET transistor in the Duo’s PDS connector circuitry: if the FET is damaged, the Duo fails to correctly detect the presence of a docking device, and when the Duo is booted without a dock, it thinks a defective dock is connected. The Duo then does exactly what it was designed to do in that situation: it refuses boot at all – no sad Mac codes, no sounds, no display – in an effort to prevent damage to the machine. However, when the Duo is booted with a dock attached, the Duo correctly detects its presence and boots normally.
Docking devices used for Ethernet connectivity appear to be the most susceptible to this problem due to wide variations in network architecture and hardware. Though most networks don’t cause problems, some may transfer a transient charge to a Duo when an Ethernet cable (10BASE-T) is plugged in.
Newer Technology – the largest third-party supplier of docking bars – noticed the "addiction" problems associated with the Duo 270c, 280, and 280c, and, working with Apple, determined that a protection circuit present in the earliest three Duo models was left out of the most recent three Duo models. Newer Technology now builds the missing motherboard charge protection circuitry into their docking devices to prevent transient-related problems from occurring.
Users whose Duos have been damaged should contact their Apple dealer about the problem (or contact Apple directly via 800/SOS-APPL) and let them know you are simultaneously contacting your dock vendor for an updated dock. Newer Technology offers a free exchange for affected customers. Remember that simply getting your Duo repaired by Apple doesn’t give you the missing charge protection circuitry; you’ll need to obtain a dock with the protection circuitry built-in to make sure the problem won’t recur.
It’s important to note that this problem impacts only a very small portion of Duo owners: paranoia is not justified. If you haven’t yet experienced the problem, the odds are very good you never will.
Newer Technology –800/678-3726 — 316/685-4904
316/685-9368 (fax) — <[email protected]>
John Vaudin <[email protected]>
Director of Technical Services, Baka Industries Inc.
After months of speculation, Global Village Communication has shipped its 28,800 bps modem series, the TelePort Platinum and PowerPort Platinum modems. The new v.34 modems, selling for $279 and $399 respectively, should be available now.
The TelePort Platinum comes with software for both 680×0 and PowerPC based desktop Macintosh computers, and offers a special feature that takes advantage of the higher-speed serial port capabilities of Power Macintosh and AV Macintosh computers. The PowerPort Platinum supports only 100-series PowerBooks, but also works in Global Village’s OneWorld communication servers. Global Village does plan Platinum modem models for other PowerBook series computers, but has not yet announced a specific availability date.
Both modems include the popular GlobalFax 2.5 send/receive fax software and GlobalFax OCR for optical character recognition. In addition, the new TelePort and PowerPort models offer a new fax/ARA discrimination feature that has been on Global Village user wish lists for ages. The TelePort model has a fax/voice discrimination feature; TelePort users can use this feature or the fax/ARA discrimination, but not both. The fax/voice discrimination capability was available on the TelePort Bronze, one of the company’s Apple Desktop Bus modems, but has not been available from Global Village since the TelePort Bronze was replaced with the TelePort Bronze II, which lacks the feature. Some other modem manufacturers, including Supra, have offered such capabilities, which depend on the manufacturers’ choice of modem chipset.
Global Village has also announced, but is not yet ready to ship, a software enhancement for TelePort Platinum owners with 68040-based Quadra and Centris computers that the company says will dramatically improve serial port performance on these machines. The software, which Global Village plans to distribute electronically at no cost in May, will use software-based data compression techniques within the Macintosh to allow transmission speeds higher than 57,600 bps.
Global Village Communication — 800/736-4821 — 408/523-1000
408/523-2423 (fax) — <[email protected]>
Global Village Communication propaganda
My main complaint about Steve Dorner’s excellent email program Eudora is that it suffers from the 32K text limit so common to Macintosh programs. This isn’t inherently Eudora’s fault – after all, Steve currently uses TextEdit (a component of the Mac operating system essentially designed to handle minimal text editing in dialog boxes, scrolling lists, and so on) to provide text services, and TextEdit causes the 32K text limit. (Rumor has it that the next version of Eudora, at least the commercial version, will eliminate the 32K limit entirely). Eudora handles this limitation as gracefully as possible, by splitting large messages into multiple chunks, and joining them together seamlessly if you select all of the chunked messages and use Save As from the File menu. Unchecking the Include Headers and Guess Paragraphs checkboxes in the Save dialog ensures that nothing but the original text ends up in the resulting file.
However, it’s still a pain to read long messages by opening two windows, and TidBITS has always fallen into the category of messages that Eudora splits. I asked Steve why TidBITS ends up split, since almost all of our issues are under 32K of text. It turns out that for safety, Steve has Eudora set to chunk files at 24K rather than 32K, but as an example of Eudora’s flexibility, he also provided a simple method of upping that number to the limit. So, if you read TidBITS in Eudora, and would like to receive it in a single message each week, fire up ResEdit and follow along with me.
Eudora uses two settings to determine where to split files, SPLIT_THRESH and FRAGMENT_SIZE. The rule that governs them is that FRAGMENT_SIZE must be smaller than SPLIT_THRESH, which in turn must be smaller than 32000. In my instructions below, I set the variables 100 bytes apart. This will work fine in most cases, but a problem may crop up if you forward or redirect a long message. Since there will be additional header information in the forwarded message, the recipient’s copy of Eudora may split the message, even though it was small enough for a single piece when sent. With really long messages, such as Info-Mac Digests, forwarding may result in odd splitting on the receiving end, since each sent chunk may be split into two pieces when received, doubling the number of chunks received. Thus, it’s probably safer, if you plan to forward large messages such as TidBITS issues, to set the difference between SPLIT_THRESH and FRAGMENT_SIZE to 1,000 bytes, or even 2,000. Of course, if you get too close on the low end to the 30,000 character size that most issues come in at, you’re likely to have them break into one 30,000 character chunk and one 12 character chunk, or some such nonsense. So, I recommend that you try it my way, and if it doesn’t work for some reason, fiddle with the two settings until it works acceptably.
Once you’re in ResEdit, choose New from the File menu to create a new resource file. Name it "TidBITS plug-in" and save it somewhere – it will eventually go in your Eudora Folder.
Then, from the Resource menu, choose Create New Resource, choose "STR " (not STR# – Eudora uses "STR " resources to override the STR# resources in it or its settings file) from the scrolling list, and click the OK button. ResEdit promptly creates a new STR resource, ID 128, and opens the window for editing. The window contains an entry with two text fields, titled "The String" and "Data." In the "The String" field, enter 31800 for the FRAGMENT_SIZE setting, and leave the Data field blank. Once you’ve entered the FRAGMENT_SIZE setting, close the STR ID 128 window. Make sure that resource is selected, and from the Resource menu, choose Get Resource Info. In the Info window, change the ID field from 128 to 6408, and if you wish, enter "FRAGMENT_SIZE" for the name so you’ll know what it is if you ever have to go back.
One down, one to go. With the STR resource window still open, choose Create New Resource from the Resource menu again. ResEdit creates another STR resource ID 128 (since we just renumbered the last one). In the "The String" field, enter the SPLIT_THRESH setting of 31900, and again, leave the Data field blank. Close that window, select STR ID 128, choose Get Resource Info, and change the ID to 7619 and the name, if you wish, to "SPLIT_THRESH". Close that window, close the STR window, and save the file.
Note that if you enter something other than a valid number in the "The String" field, you’ll seriously confuse Eudora and may cause crashes. I know, since that’s what I did the first time I tried this.
One final step. Eudora will only recognize the plug-in if it has the proper creator code, so from the File menu, choose Get Info for TidBITS plug-in (your menu may be slightly different depending on the file name you gave the file). In the window that appears, change the Creator to "CSOm" (without the quotes of course, and that’s a capital O, not a zero). Leave the Type field alone. Close the Info window, saving the changes when prompted, and quit out of ResEdit.
Quit Eudora if it was running, and make sure the TidBITS plug-in is located in the Eudora folder. Launch Eudora again, and from now on, files will be chunked at the new sizes. The next time you receive an issue of TidBITS, it should arrive in one piece, and larger files, like the Info-Mac Digest, will arrive in fewer, larger chunks.
If you’re a ResEdit weenie, or are feeling lazy, you can simply email away for a copy of this plug-in. Just send email to <[email protected]> and my machine will send you a copy. When you get it, debinhex it (if Eudora hasn’t already done that for you for some reason), and pop it in the Eudora folder. Quit and relaunch Eudora and you’re on your way to getting issues of TidBITS intact. Do keep in mind that if for some reason mail to your site has a lot of header information attached to it, issues may grow too large and will still be split.
Like most things relating to Eudora, the plug-in should work equally well on both Eudora 1.5.1, the free version, and Eudora 2.1.1, the latest commercial version.
Eudora Q&A stack
When the Supreme Court of the United States recently rejected without comment Apple’s long-running copyright infringement suit against Microsoft Corporation and others over the "look and feel" of the Macintosh interface, some people in the Mac community got worried. What would Apple’s lawyers do without that suit? Like loggers – er, "timber harvesting professionals" – in the Pacific Northwest, there no longer seemed to be enough natural resources to sustain them. These lawyers have families and children to feed! You can’t take away their livelihood!
Well, we should have had more faith.
First Frames — As noted in TidBITS-263, in early February Apple filed suit against Microsoft and Intel, alleging both companies knowingly used and distributed low-level driver code originally developed by the San Francisco Canyon Company for Apple’s QuickTime for Windows. The code involves DCI, a method which allows improved video performance on a video chipset not directly supported by earlier versions of Video For Windows (VFW). Microsoft disputed the claim, saying it had repeatedly asked Apple to detail its allegations but that Apple had refused. Apple, in turn, said Microsoft had been belittling, refused to talk with Apple about the situation, and had threatened to discontinue Macintosh development if Apple didn’t drop OpenDoc. Most industry observers seemed to feel the issue was exaggerated and, frankly, most expected the whole thing to blow over.
Big mistake. Let’s just highlight a few details: as soon as Apple filed the suit, Apple and Microsoft immediately engaged in a public relations shoving match, releasing video tapes, open letters, and online propaganda to "clarify" their stances. Apple offered an amnesty program to let Video For Windows developers "continue using the pirated VFW code" for 90 days. Microsoft countered with releases of its own, saying "if Apple sues any developer over use and distribution of Microsoft Video For Windows 1.1d Microsoft will defend any such lawsuit." Apple released videotapes and QuickTime movies allegedly showing that "Apple technology" improved overall performance of Video For Windows. Microsoft countered that Apple’s demonstrations were misleading and immediately released a videotape of its own tests, showing no significant performance difference between VFW 1.1d and earlier versions of Video For Windows. In a letter to Apple CEO Michael Spindler, Bill Gates denied threatening to cease Macintosh development and claimed Spindler had repeatedly refused to talk about Canyon matter until additional beta copies of Windows 95 were sent to Apple. Apple countered with more releases and open letters, making some of the materials available via its Web site.
Marching Along — It gets better. In early March, a federal judge issued a temporary restraining order prohibiting distribution of VFW 1.1d. Microsoft immediately announced Video For Windows 1.1e – a version that doesn’t contain the disputed code – in order to get around the restraining order and keep its developers happy. (VFW 1.1e has now been released to developers.) Apple – for once – shows some restraint and things were almost quiet for a few weeks.
Then, on 24-Mar-95, Microsoft filed a counter-suit, alleging Apple is conducting an "orchestrated campaign of false and deceptive information" and seeking unspecified damages. Microsoft said the code was commonly used and even owned by someone else before Apple used it in the Windows version of QuickTime. Then, according to Inter@ctive Week, the same day Microsoft filed the counter-suit, Apple discovered that both Intel and Microsoft were continuing to distribute VFW 1.1d via America Online in violation of the temporary restraining order. Microsoft and Intel both removed the software from their forums, but Apple wanted the restraining order made permanent. To add fuel to the fire, Microsoft alleged an Apple employee had been using a pseudonym online to discuss issues surrounding the suit..
So Where Are We? — On 31-Mar-95, U.S. District Judge Robert Aguilar convinced Intel, Microsoft, and Apple to briefly set their flamethrowers aside regarding the permanent restraining order, hopefully sparing a lengthy formal hearing on the motion. However, the motion for a permanent restraining order is only one small facet of this disagreement which has snowballed in the tradition of the finest flamewars ever witnessed online. Judge Aguilar perhaps summed it up best: "There’s no reason," he said, looking out over a courtroom of nearly 20 lawyers, "that counsel of your experience can’t work something out."
Just wait. I’ll bet there is.