Apple unleashes a host of new products, including the first PowerPC 604-based Macintosh and a bevy of new printers. We also bring you news on the much-dreaded Communications Decency Act passing the U.S. Senate, an in-depth review of the Power Macintosh 6100/66 DOS Compatible, and finally the second part of Luciano Floridi’s paper on the Internet and how we think about knowledge.
"Decency" Act Passes Senate — On 14-Jun-95, the Exon/Gorton/Coats Communications Decency Act (see TidBITS-263 and TidBITS-279) was attached to the Telecommunications Reform bill and will soon go before the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill seeks to criminalize many forms of online communications and place culpability in the hands of service providers. If passed, the legislation could have a repressive impact on American business interests on the Internet, as providers and companies take their businesses and services (and money!) overseas where such content-based restrictions don’t exist. In addition, costs of insurance and litigation may well drive providers out of the country or out of business, and U.S. taxpayers could be made to support a potentially enormous government bureaucracy with regulation and enforcement responsibilities. [GD]
Apple Releases Bevy of New Printers — Apple today announced not one, not two, but three new printers. At the high end, the Color LaserWriter 12/600 PS is a 600 dpi, PostScript color laser printer with an Apple Price of $6,989, designed to produce high-quality photographic output in mixed-platform environments. In the middle, the LaserWriter 4/600 PS delivers 600 dpi, PostScript printing for less than $1,000. Finally, for the executive who must have everything, there’s the Color StyleWriter 2200, a portable color inkjet printer weighing in at just over three pounds, capable of printing a color page in about three minutes, and with an Apple Price of $419. [GD]
WebSTAR Demo — We’re working on a complete article discussing StarNine’s new WebSTAR software (a vastly upgraded commercial release of MacHTTP), but didn’t want to delay telling everyone that StarNine is offering a free demo copy that will run through the end of June. [MHA]
Retrospect 2.1 Updater — Thinking of buying a new PCI Macintosh? Be sure to grab the Retrospect 2.1 Updater, which works on the new PCI Macs. It updates any language version of Retrospect 2.1 or 2.1A and also fixes a problem with launching Retrospect on a volume with more than 2 GB of free space. [GD]
Apple has introduced the Power Macintosh 9500, the first Macintosh based around the PowerPC 604 processor, and also the first to include the PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) bus, a standard in the Intel world that will replace NuBus expansion slots. Codenamed Tsunami, this six-slot tower Macintosh runs at 120 or 132 MHz, is rated as much as twice as fast as previous Macs, and is aimed at high-end publishers, engineers, and computing-intensive users. The Power Mac 9500 also introduces new architectural elements that will become standards as Apple evolves the Power Mac line; however, starting at an Apple Price of $4,999, these new machines aren’t for the faint of wallet.
New PCI Bus — The Power Macintosh 9500 will either leave you drooling for its power or moaning about the expensive toys you can’t bring over to it. First gone is NuBus: the Power Mac 9500 is the first Macintosh to incorporate the high-performance PCI bus. In theory, PCI should make it simpler for manufacturers to produce expansion hardware for Macs, since different driver software should be all that’s required for a Mac or a PC to use the same card. If you must take NuBus cards over to PCI, Second Wave offers a few pricey solutions that let you use up to eight NuBus cards with a PCI Mac.
New RAM — Next gone are your SIMMs. The Power Mac 9500 is the first Mac to use 168-pin DIMMs (Dual Inline Memory Modules). DIMMs provide a 64-bit bus, which eliminates the hassle of installing Power Mac SIMMs in pairs. However, the 9500 supposedly takes advantage of identical paired DIMMs, treating them as a 128-bit memory bank and gaining another 10 percent or so performance improvement. For the memory-hungry, the 9500 is a dream machine, with twelve DIMM slots and a capacity of 768 MB of RAM with 64 MB DIMMs. Newer Technology is reportedly developing a conversion unit to allow 72-pin SIMMs to be used in a 9500. The 9500 has no RAM soldered onto the motherboard (except for a 512K cache), so the DIMMs provide all of the memory. The hassle? Rumor has it that the entire motherboard must be removed to add or remove RAM.
New Emulator — Next gone? The old emulator that allows Power Macs to run 68K applications. The Power Mac 9500 incorporates the long-rumored 68K emulator that’s supposed to be 15 to 30 percent faster than the emulator shipping in current Power Macs. Though floating point operations in 68K code are still reportedly relatively slow, Macworld’s tests indicated that the emulator outperformed high-end 68040 Macs.
CPU on Daughterboard — The Power Mac 9500 has its CPU on a small daughterboard that can be easily replaced. Thus, when 150 MHz 604 chips become available, upgrading a Power Mac 9500 should be straightforward and relatively inexpensive. Also, upgrading the daughterboard may improve the video, SCSI, memory performance, and increase internal bus speed up to as much as 50 MHz.
Networking & SCSI — The Power Mac 9500 comes with both an AAUI Ethernet port and a 10Base-T connector, so there’s no need to buy a transceiver to hook up to a 10Base-T net. Also, the 9500 ships with Open Transport, providing a more robust implementation of AppleTalk and TCP/IP (and probably breaking programs that do impolite things with MacTCP, like SurfWatch). Apple says the Power Mac 9500 also supports SCSI-2 Fast and has sustained transfer rates over 6 MB per second.
System 7.5.2 — The Power Mac 9500 also ships with System 7.5.2, which is significant for some people. First, System 7.5.2 includes new PowerPC native system software components, including the SCSI Manager, the Resource Manager, the Ethernet driver, and Open Transport. In addition, System 7.5.2 blows away the four GB volume size restriction present in System 7.5 – the new maximum volume size is a Copland-like two terabytes. Also Copland-like is the Driver Services Library, which allows PowerPC native device drivers and a standardized technique for graphics acceleration. There’s no word on when or if System 7.5.2 – or portions of it – will be available separately, and the new 68K emulator is unlikely to make it to existing Power Macs.
What’s Missing? — With all this, what doesn’t the Power Mac 9500 have? For starters, there’s no built-in video – you need a PCI video card. Apple’s base configurations will ship with a 24-bit accelerated mach64 PCI video card from ATI Technologies. People familiar with the Windows world might wince at that, because though ATI is generally well-regarded for its hardware, their video drivers have been hounded by compatibility problems.
There’s also no AV option for the Power Mac 9500. Though its audio support is good – 16-bit, 44 MHz stereo playback and recording – the only way to do digital video or voice recognition will be through a PCI card. At this time there’s no information on whether Apple will make an AV card for PCI Macs. However, the PCI market for video digitizers and similar products should prove robust – especially if there’s real compatibility with hardware from the PC world – and companies like TrueVision and Avid have announced plans to support PCI Power Macs.
In A Nutshell — No one in their right mind can call the Power Mac 9500 a consumer product: basically, if you aren’t certain that you need this machine, you don’t. However, the 9500 is the first "second generation" Power Macintosh, and for people in high end, computing-intensive environments, the 9500’s performance might well be worth the price.
[This article originally appeared in CLiCKS, the newsletter of the Macintosh User Group in Ithaca, New York. In this article, Steven shares his experiences with Apple’s Power Macintosh 6100/66 DOS Compatible system, which TidBITS reported on briefly back in TidBITS-257.]
My family had been strictly Macintosh since we entered the computing age six years ago with a Mac Plus. The time came when we needed a DOS machine, and to continue the Mac tradition and utilize our existing hardware (such as a printer and external hard disk), we opted for a Power Macintosh 6100/66 DOS Compatible. The computer has a PowerPC 601 processor running at 66 MHz on the Macintosh motherboard, and a 486DX/2 running at 66 MHz on the DOS card, which occupies the only expansion slot. My configuration came with 16 MB of RAM, a 500 MB hard disk, and a CD-ROM drive.
The computer comes with MS-DOS 6.22 and Windows 3.1 (and does not "support" versions of DOS before 6.0). It offers SoundBlaster compatibility, 512K of video RAM for an optional PC monitor, a PC game port, and the ability to share monitor, keyboard, mouse, floppy, hard disk, CD-ROM, printers, and so on between the Macintosh and the DOS card. The computer also supports a Macintosh ODI driver for NetWare IPX and TCP/IP protocols. [Though you cannot have active TCP/IP connections from the DOS Compatibility Card and from the Macintosh at the same time. -Tonya]
I chose not to purchase additional RAM for the DOS card, so I share the 16 MB between the Macintosh and the RAM-less DOS card. Since I only expect casual use on the DOS side, I can get by with 16 MB and a little help from virtual memory. If you need to run Mac and PC applications at the same time, you’ll definitely need more RAM, and putting a SIMM (up to 32 MB) in the DOS card’s single slot can improve performance. Although the DOS card can share RAM with the Mac, the Mac can’t use RAM on the DOS card.
The Power Mac’s DRAM-based internal video supports 16-bit display (thousands of colors) at 640 x 480 resolution or 8-bit (256 colors) at 832 x 624 with impressive speed. Although the DOS card uses the only expansion slot, sound input, sound output, and Ethernet are built into the Mac, so most users in general computing situations won’t need to further expand the computer.
All software, including the programs driving the DOS card, is pre-installed on the hard disk. After plugging in the peripherals, the computer worked fine right out of the box. However, I like to partition my hard disk, so I reformatted the disk and started from scratch. The C: drive for the DOS card is pre-configured at 80 MB, which is hardly sufficient. Installing Microsoft Word 6.0 and Excel 5.0 for Windows (along with all that OLE stuff) took more than 70 MB of hard disk space! [A source in Microsoft technical support suggested that this could be decreased to 40-50 MB for typical use. -Tonya] If you don’t re-partition the hard disk, at least increase the size of the C: drive in the PC Setup control panel to something more usable. I set mine to 250 MB.
The main software for configuring the DOS card in the Macintosh environment is the PC Setup control panel. The C: and (optional) D: drives are huge Macintosh files which the software tricks the DOS card into believing are DOS disks. I allotted 8 MB of RAM to the DOS card, and that 8 MB appeared to be used by the System software in the About This Macintosh window. The PC and Macintosh share the keyboard and mouse. There is a video port on the back of the DOS card, and you can use a dedicated monitor for DOS computing, or you can opt for the cheaper option of sharing one monitor between the Mac and the DOS card. A hot-key combination (Command-Return by default) toggles the display between the Mac and the PC. The DOS card can also print to Mac printers via PC Print Monitor whose interface, as its name implies, resembles the familiar Print Monitor. I have printed several Word for Windows documents to my six-year-old ImageWriter II with acceptable quality. Also, you can map the PC serial ports (COM1 and COM2) to the printer and modem ports on the Macintosh so you can attach PC peripherals.
Average DOS users should have no problem setting up the DOS card. Apple did a good job writing the software interfacing the DOS card with the Macintosh hardware. The only problem I encountered was the lack of DOS mouse driver (on real PCs, mouse drivers normally come with the mouse). Fortunately, the DOS mouse driver for any Microsoft or PS/2 mouse should work just fine. [Apple’s Tech Info Library suggests, "The MS-DOS 6.2 software, which comes with the DOS Compatibility Card, does not have drivers for any mouse pointing devices. Window 3.1, also included with the DOS Compatibility Card, does provide a driver that you can use. The driver is located on Windows Disk 4." -Tonya]
I am quite satisfied with the performance of the DOS card. Because I use shared memory, my DOS card runs like a mid-range 486, instead of a high-end one equipped with a comparable processor. This speed is more than adequate for home and business use. I have tried Microsoft Word 6.0 and Excel 5.0 for Windows, the two monolithic programs whose Mac equivalents run like molasses in an Ithaca January on anything less than a Power Mac. Both programs are fast and responsive running on the DOS card.
The DOS card is not without limitations. Apple named it the DOS Compatibility Card, not PC Compatibility Card, because DOS is the only operating system it supports. If you need to run other operating systems such as Windows NT, OS/2, or Linux, the DOS card is not for you. People on the Internet have reported successes with beta versions of Windows 95 on the DOS card. However, if you want to run other operating systems, a real PC is still the only choice for now.
Unfortunately Apple has discontinued both the Extended Keyboard II and the Adjustable Keyboard. The only keyboard Apple offers now is the AppleDesign keyboard. The AppleDesign keyboard has all the keys of the Extended Keyboard II (at half the price), but it’s not nearly as responsive. If you are replacing a computer that has an Extended Keyboard II, you might want to keep your old keyboard.
More trouble started the first night. The left Shift key suddenly stopped working in the DOS environment. I checked the cables and software settings in both Macintosh and DOS environment, but still couldn’t locate the source of the problem. After I "broke" two more replacement keyboards and spoke with three technicians at CIT Sales (Cornell University’s computer store), someone there called Apple. The Apple technician hadn’t heard of the problem, but was eventually able to confirm that there was a defective batch of AppleDesign keyboards which don’t work with the DOS card. The replacement that Apple sent arrived two days later, and so far has worked fine.
The Power Mac 6100/66 DOS Compatible provides a good integrated Macintosh and DOS environment on one machine. If you have a Mac-oriented setup and need a DOS machine at minimum cost, I highly recommend the machine. If you already have a Power Macintosh 6100 and nothing in the expansion slot, you can add the DOS card. Although Apple doesn’t officially support this approach, you can also add a DOS card to a Power Mac 8100, Quadra or Centris 610, or Quadra 800. Apple also recently introduced a DOS card with similar capabilities for the 630-series Macs.
[Similar (if not identical) cards for a number of Macintosh types are also available from Reply Corporation. Also, if this article has piqued your interest in a DOS Compatible system (or raised some questions), read the "Pwr Mac DOS Compatibility Card: Read Me File" in Apple’s Tech Info Library.
The document addresses a number of issues regarding networking, attaching modems and printers, and more. To find that document (and others, including information on TCP/IP connections), search on "DOS Compatible" in the Apple Tech Info Library. -Tonya]
Reply Corporation — 800/801-6898 — 408/942-4804
408/956-2793 (fax) — <[email protected]>
[Note: we thank Professor Floridi for kind permission to reprint this material, which is a shortened version of a paper he gave at a UNESCO Conference in Paris, March 14-17, 1995.]
Part Two: Ideometry – A New Way of Knowing
In the previous part of this article, I argued that the Internet can be understood as a stage in the life cycle of the Human Encyclopedia. As such, the Internet has already given rise to unprecedented innovations and to new fundamental problems, some of which are especially relevant to the future of scholarship and organized knowledge. In this part, we begin to examine these by developing the concept of ideometry.
The New Nature of Scholarship — When considering the innovations that the Internet has brought to the field of the production and management of organized knowledge, one might think of the reduction of the time-lag between the production and the utilization of knowledge, the promotion of international cooperation and sharing of information among researchers and scholars, or the possibility of remote teaching online. Yet most such novelties are actually less radical than they seem, since they mainly make easier and quicker what we used to do anyway.
There are other possibilities, however, which do represent a more radical break with the past. For example, the global network is weakening the concept of specialization. The book era, providing a rigidly structured context, invited specialization. Especially the humanities became topic-oriented. The electronic Encyclopedia, on the other hand, promotes inter-disciplinary work, i.e. diatopic approaches. In fact, it’s difficult to restrict oneself always to the same limited space when one can navigate so easily to and fro across the disciplinary boundaries.
Now, the most substantial of the radical innovations concerns our ability to acquire ever-more-easily further knowledge about the Encyclopedia itself. Consider once again the intellectual space of organized knowledge. We can distinguish between three different dimensions:
- Primary data. This is what we usually perceive as the Encyclopedia per se, the principal information we can acquire when we have access to the encyclopedia, and it is also the information the encyclopedia is generally designed to convey to the user in the first place.
- Metadata. These are the secondary indications about the nature of the data sets constituting the first dimension. Here we can find information, for example, about copyright restrictions, about the collocation of our data sets in a physical library or in a virtual domain, about the subject covered by the data sets, about the quality of the information conveyed, and so forth. You can think of metadata as library records.
- Derivative data. These are data that can be extracted from primary data sets, when the latter are used as a source for comparative and quantitative analysis. This requires a lengthier explanation.
What Derivative Data Is — In the book age, primary data sets were collected and organized in structures which were necessarily rigid and unalterable. The ordering principles behind this organization actually limited the range of primary questions which could meaningfully be asked. For example, if the ordering principle stated that the primary data should be all the poetic texts of any time written in English, the final edition in several volumes of all English poems provided the means to answer properly and easily only a limited range of primary questions, like "who wrote what when."
Information Technology has transformed all this. It is now possible to query the digital domain and shape it according to principles which are completely different from those whereby the primary data were initially collected and organized. The structure of our particular set of digital data can be modified to fit an infinite number of requirements, and hence provide answers to secondary questions which were not meant to be answered by the original structure. The new patterns that emerge from the application of quantitative and comparative queries may turn out to be meaningful and interesting for reasons that are completely extraneous to the initial ordering principle.
What Ideometry Is — Ideometry is the study of the significant patterns resulting from a comparative and quantitative analysis of the field of knowledge – that is, of the clusters of primary data like data banks, textual corpora, or multimedia archives. Derivative data, the third dimension of the Encyclopedia, are the outcome of an ideometric analysis of whatever sector of organized knowledge has been subject to investigation.
An example will clarify the notions of ideometry and derivative data together. In 1994 Chadwick-Healey published a database of English Poetry on CD-ROMs. The structure of this digital collection is thoroughly flexible, and we can reorganize it at will. As a simple example, we might wish to study the presence or absence of the two popular figures – Heraclitus, the weeping philosopher, and Democritus, the laughing philosopher – through the entire set of documents.
A quick computer survey shows that the joint motif of compassion for human misfortune and derision of human ambitions was very popular between the second half of the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth century, as it is in this period that we find most of the poets using the philosophical couple as a literary device. This pattern becomes even more interesting once we notice that during the seventeenth century the two Greek philosophers were portrayed in many Dutch paintings. Through a quantitative and comparative analysis (an ideometric analysis) we have made the encyclopedia speak about itself (supply us with derivative data).
Ideometry and The Internet — Now, to some extent this too is nothing so very new. Ideometry has been popular in many disciplines since the 1960’s. Lexicography, stylometry, prosopography, citation analysis, bibliometric studies, econometrics, and quantitative history have all used forms of ideometric analysis for investigation. But scholars could perform ideometric analysis only on a limited scale and with enormous efforts. The trouble was, quite simply, that Information Technology was not yet up to scholarly expectations and needs. It wasn’t that the Humanities were not sufficiently "scientific" to allow the application of Information Technology tools, but rather that Information Technology was too primitive to be of any real service for the highly sophisticated tasks required by scholarly research.
The radical change brought about by the present age of Information Technology and the Internet is that an ideometric approach is becoming an increasingly easy option for any researcher. It is obvious that primary data need metadata in order to be manageable, so the second dimension of the encyclopedia can never be really separate from the first. Derivative data, however, are not so directly available, and the third dimension emerges only when large amounts of primary data are collected in digital form, are made easily accessible to the user, and can be rapidly queried and thus re-structured via electronic tools. Today all these conditions are being more and more adequately fulfilled by Internet.
An Electronic Book Is Not A Book! Ideometry shows that digital texts, though they maintain some of the basic features of printed books and can therefore be used as surrogates, should not be understood as if they were meant to fulfil the same task. We do not convert printed texts into electronic databases in order to read them better or more comfortably. For this task the book is and will remain unsurpassed.
But we do not spend so much money only to create big electronic indexes either. Rather, we collect and digitize large corpora of texts in order to subject them to comparative and quantitative analysis and extract knowledge they contain only on a macroscopic level. What is revolutionary in an electronic bibliography, for example, is not that I can find a certain book in a few seconds, which is trivial, but that I can ask new questions: I can check when books on the history of Analytic Philosophy started to be written, for example, and discover how their number increased while the movement became more and more scholastic.
Thus, corpora of electronic texts and multimedia sources are the laboratory for ideometric analysis. And (this is where the Internet comes in) the larger and more accessible the domain, the better it will be, for the ideometric value of an extensive corpus is given by the product rather than by the simple arithmetical sum of the ideometric value of each single document. Once simple and economical tools for studying visual and acoustic patterns also become available, ideometric analyses will be extended to the entire domain of the enlarged Encyclopedia.
Thus, electronic collections of data and the Internet have raised the level on which we can deal with our data. But the Internet has also raised severe problems for scholarship; I shall talk about these in the third part of this article.