This week we bring you good news – Apple is gaining in market share, Adobe’s PageMill has shipped, DOOM I and a Marathon 2 demo are available online, and those using a POP server for email can now use NotifyMail to find out when email has arrived. The issue also has information about Tonya and Adam’s latest book, Create Your Own Home Page, a look at the PowerBook Army, and a follow-up to Adam’s article about moving.
Dataquest Says Apple Gained Market Share — According to preliminary figures from Dataquest, Apple’s market share rose from 7.4 percent in the second calendar quarter of 1995 to 9.0 percent for the third calendar quarter of 1995. Dataquest cited healthy sales to consumer and education markets, noting that sales of Macintosh Performas have doubled in the last year – and we aren’t even into the holiday buying season yet. Unit shipments during the third calendar quarter of 1995 were up more than 26 percent. All in all, this is good news for Apple, combined with earnings of $3 billion during its fourth fiscal quarter, shipments of 1.25 million machines, a study from QED Research showing Apple’s share of the U.S. K-12 education market rose to 63 percent, and an IDC study showing Apple still has the largest installed base in U.S. homes. You’d almost forget it was the same quarter Microsoft released its "Mac killer" Windows 95. [GD]
Apple Reorgs Marketing; Eilers to Leave — Apple announced last week the company plans to move responsibility for sales, marketing, and customer solutions strategies from the Worldwide Marketing and Customer Solutions division down to three existing geographically-based groups handling Europe, Japan and Asia, and the Americas. Apple bills this change as the latest step in their market segmentation strategy, to which they credit recent reports of increased market share. As a result of these changes, Dan Eilers – former CEO of Claris and long-time Apple executive – has announced he will be leaving the company after a transition period. It’s interesting to note that these changes fall only seven months after Apple made sweeping organizational shifts to form Eilers’ Worldwide Marketing and Customer Solutions division in the first place. [GD]
Novell to Sell WordPerfect — Sixteen months after spending over a billion dollars to get into the desktop applications market with WordPerfect and Quattro Pro, Novell Inc. announced last week that its word-processing and spreadsheet product lines are for sale. The move got a positive reaction from Wall Street and investors – who’d much rather see Novell concentrate on networking products than diverting effort to competing with Microsoft’s Office application suite – but drew sharp criticism from users, since the future of these applications is now foggier than ever. Though Novell declined to give names, it said that there are at least two serious bidders for the products, one of which is rumored to be Ray Noorda (former CEO of Novell and the architect of Novell’s original purchase of the applications), who now controls commercial rights to Linux, a popular shareware version of Unix. [GD]
Got a Twitch You Just Can’t Scratch? Do you ever feel paranoid, like there might be aliens and monsters lurking around every corner? Or are you just looking for some target practice? Either way, you’re in luck: a shareware version of the unbearably popular DOOM I has been released for the Macintosh by id Software, Inc. Though you need a 68040-based Mac or better to play it, this version comes fully-featured, handles multi-player games, and is generally guaranteed to aggravate any hand or wrist problems you might have.
"But wait," you’re saying, "why play a game that started on the PC when there’s Marathon, an appropriately blood-soaked, shoot-em-up game born on the Macintosh?" Well, you’re in luck too: a demo of Marathon 2 is available online as well. These games are massive – DOOM I is about 3 MB, and the demo of Marathon 2 is a whopping 15 MB – so be prepared to spend some time downloading them. Also check the ReadMe files for system requirements and instructions. Before you ask, no, DOOM II is only available commercially. [GD]
Peter Glaskowsky <[email protected]> writes:
One day at the recent Microprocessor Forum, I sat next to Rick Doherty, who is Steve Wozniak’s business partner at Envisioneering. I didn’t know who he was at first, but I was struck by the remarkable variety of consumer electronic devices he was carting around. One item particularly attracted my attention, and I asked him about it. It was a Ricoh digital camera, currently only on sale in Japan, and I didn’t catch the model name/number. It’s about the size of one of an old Instamatic camera for 110 film, and is used in that orientation. It takes 720 x 512 images, and records them to a small internal Flash-memory card (like a PC Card, but smaller).
Now, get this – it can also capture motion video. It has an internal motion JPEG hardware codec, and can record up to six seconds of video per 8 MB of Flash. It has a detachable video interface with RCA plugs for connection to a VCR (I didn’t catch whether it has a video input, but it definitely has a video output). I don’t know if it supports NTSC.
The downside is that the unit is about $1,300 in Japan. Doherty said he’s been told that Ricoh is thinking about making it available in the USA, but that they believe they could sell them for even more money, up to $2,500 or so. Apart from the price, it looked like an extremely neat product.
If you tune into HTML-oriented chatter on the nets, you almost certainly have heard some of the excitement over Adobe shipping PageMill 1.0, the much-anticipated, graphically-oriented, Web page creation tool. Originally developed by the now-acquired Ceneca Communications, PageMill enables Web authors to create pages without working directly with HTML tags. The $99 PageMill lends itself to slick demos, and it nearly blew my socks off when I saw it last August at Boston Macworld. Although PageMill will work on some less well-endowed Macintoshes and with any version of System 7, Adobe recommends using the software on a 68040- or PowerPC-based Mac, with 6 MB of free application RAM, 3.5 MB of hard disk space, and a color monitor.
TidBITS will review PageMill soon; in the meantime, the PageMill mailing list (monitored by people at Adobe) has had some discussions of good and bad features, with much of the concern focusing on PageMill’s lack of table support and its use of <br> tags when <p> tags would be more appropriate. People on the list have reported successfully purchasing the electronic version of PageMill from Adobe, though when you purchase the electronic version, you must have a fax number so Adobe can fax you a special URL, which you then use to download the program.
Others on the list reported ordering and receiving more traditional shrink-wrapped copies of PageMill from MacMall, and my contact at Adobe says that many popular mail order vendors have PageMill available. Information about the PageMill mailing list is available at the URL below.
Adobe — 800-411-8657 — 206-628-2749
Although a client/server approach to email has several advantages, it’s not without drawbacks. One disadvantage that wastes lots of time is the inability of a POP server to tell you there’s mail waiting. Scott Gruby’s NotifyMail utility, to put it simply, eliminates this problem.
Many users of Eudora, Claris Emailer, StarNine’s PT/Internet POP utility, and other software for accessing POP3 (Post Office Protocol) mail servers have their software configured to check the server periodically to see if new messages have arrived, and if so, to download them. This method of working is inefficient, because new mail doesn’t reach the recipient immediately, and because extra network traffic is created even when there’s no new mail.
With NotifyMail, users of Glenn Anderson’s Mac-based Apple Internet Mail Server (previously MailShare) can receive immediate notification when a new message has arrives. The mail administrator needs only activate the server’s NotifyMail feature (in the Account Information settings for each user) while the user installs and configures NotifyMail on his or her system.
NotifyMail also supports users with shell accounts (with or without POP service) on Unix and VMS systems, and the author provides instructions for using NotifyMail with Unix or VMS.
The software works by waiting for the server to send a standard Finger query to the user’s Mac, to which NotifyMail reacts. NotifyMail can be configured to display a dialog box, make a sound, open Eudora or Emailer, tell the mail client to check for the new message if it’s already open, simply display a mailbox icon, or any combination of the above. The software is most effective for users who have a permanent IP address, but works fairly well even for users whose IP addresses vary each time they connect.
As a side benefit, NotifyMail can act as a Finger server on the user’s Mac, returning custom messages that can include information about the local time and how long the computer has been running or sitting idle. The software isn’t compatible with Peter Lewis’s Daemon (or his older Fingerd server) because both utilities can’t accept Finger connections simultaneously.
NotifyMail 3.0, released this month, runs native on both 680×0 and PowerPC processors, and supports Open Transport on Apple’s latest Power Macs. It adds support for Claris Emailer, TCP/Connect II, and StarNine’s PT/Internet utility; previous versions only supported Eudora. (Eudora 1.4 or later is required in order to take advantage of all of NotifyMail’s abilities.) The software also now supports SLIP and PPP connections.
NotifyMail is shareware ($18) and Scott accepts credit card payments electronically or checks by mail. Site licences are available, as are academic and quantity discounts. We feel anyone using POP mail service who wants automatic notification of new mail should take this software for a test drive.
Scott Gruby <[email protected]>
Six months ago, bookstores had few Macintosh-specific books about creating Web pages. The books I found tried to help all users on all platforms, and although most of them mentioned the Mac, none of them thoroughly explained exactly how a Macintosh user would complete a home page. By "thoroughly explained," I mean that none of them anticipated the problems Mac users might encounter, assisted with the mechanics of finding shareware and freeware authoring tools, offered substantial help in using Macintosh software to do HTML or set up pictures and media, or anticipated problems and confusions that might arise transferring HTML documents from a Macintosh to a Web server.
Since then, several authors have completed Mac-based Web authoring books, but the book I want to talk about is Create Your Own Home Page, which Adam and I coauthored (ISBN 1-56830-245-21, Hayden Books, $25). The book is loosely based on the HTML chapter that I wrote for the third edition of Adam’s Internet Starter Kit for Macintosh, and we decided to turn the chapter into a longer book because we figured the people who most needed the information would never find it buried in the Starter Kit, not to mention the fact that we had no room on the disk to include any HTML tools. Create Your Own Home Page is specifically for Mac users who want to make home pages, but don’t have a lot of time to invest in learning how.
In 150 pages, Create Your Own Home Page takes readers from the idea-forming stage through creating HTML 2.0 code. It also covers locating, downloading, and using non-commercial applications for adding sounds, graphics, and movies to the page; finding a Web server to serve the page; using Anarchie to upload and maintain the page; and publicizing the completed page. It also has tips and suggestions for what to include and not include, basic directions for finding, installing, and using some of the best shareware available for authoring Web pages on a Mac (including HTML Web Weaver, Anarchie, HTML+, and rtftohtml), plus pointers that take readers to online sources of more information.
My favorite part of the book is chapter 3, which shows images of three completed Web pages. Callouts surround each image, and the callouts help people look at the images, see features that they like, and then get help with how they work.
We’ve taken some flak for this, but the first edition of the book focuses solidly on HTML 2.0. Why? For one thing, the book strives to help busy people make home pages that work well in the variety of available browsers. For another thing, we learned HTML 2.0 before learning the other tags, and we’ve found that it helps enormously to know what’s HTML 2.0 and what’s not. Also, because the books is intended to give new HTML authors a non-intimidating leg up into the world of basic Web authoring, we decided not to cover forms or image maps.
The book does comes with a disk, and the disk includes licensed versions of HTML Web Weaver and HTML+ (an XTND to HTML converter), as well as StuffIt Expander, Anarchie, useful Anarchie bookmarks, a few templates, and some sounds and graphics for use on Web pages.
Hayden has placed a page about the Create Your Own Home Page on the Web, and from that page you can follow a link to the text of chapter 4, which explains the basics of HTML.
Macmillan Computer Publishing — 800/428-5331 — 317/871-6724
After my recent purchase of a PowerBook 540c, I immediately searched for new software and utilities to load on it. Unfortunately, much of the PowerBook freeware and shareware that I found online (at sites like Info-Mac) was mixed up with desktop software, making PowerBook-specific items somewhat difficult to find. Fortunately, I came across an off-beat Web site, called the PowerBook Army, that had all the PowerBook files I could ever want. The site is ably maintained by Atsushi Iijima <[email protected]>, a self-declared officer in the PowerBook Army and Japan’s PowerBook Guru.
Iijima’s day job is as the Web master for an architecture-related Web site; he’s also a sub-sysop on the MACLIFE forum in NiftyServe, Japan’s largest online service. But he is perhaps best known in Japan for his PowerBook columns in MacJapan and more recently in MACLIFE, making him uniquely qualified to host, in his words, "a stop on the Internet for every PowerBook user."
The original PowerBook Army site is in Tokyo, and it now has an outpost in Hawaii. Along with its amusing PowerBook Army graphics, the site houses dozens of Control Strip modules and useful utilities (with descriptions in both English and Japanese), and is updated frequently. It also features Iijima’s articles and general information about how to connect to the Internet from Japan. So far the PowerBook Army site has seen surprising numbers of visitors, and many have joined Iijima’s mailing list called the PowerBook Army Information Mailing Service. [The PowerBook Army pages have also received attention from the Netscape Hall of Shame – but when only one browser does Kanji, going a little overboard is easy to understand. -Geoff]
Iijima himself uses a Duo 280, mostly on the long train rides to and from his workplace in Tokyo (his home is 70 miles outside the city). His reason for starting the PowerBook Army? "During my travels on bulletin boards and the Internet," he says, "I collected tips on PowerBook usage and developed a collection of utilities, extensions and control panels (especially Control Strip modules). With PowerBook Army, I’m making all of my tips and software available to PowerBook users around the world." The PowerBook Army also shows the appeal, power, and whimsy of the Macintosh and its online community isn’t endemic to California.
My article on moving in TidBITS-301 spawned many responses from readers, including more stories and advice regarding original boxes, explanations of electronic companies, explanations of IKEA, other moving horror stories, and lots of good advice. Without further ado, then, here are a few of those responses.
Naomi Pearce <[email protected]> suggests:
If you save your boxes in a garage, or basement, don’t put them directly on the floor. Throw some boards down and put the boxes on top of the boards, otherwise air won’t circulate underneath the boxes, and they will get wet and mushy quickly. I don’t know how they collect water even when there aren’t leaks, but they somehow do.
Mark Lilienthal <[email protected]stn.ca> writes:
As a member of the Canadian Army, I am moved often, by professional movers. Each time, when shown the stacks of original shipping cartons in my basement or attic, the movers express both appreciation (less work) and relief (less potential for damage). I have the original shipping cartons for all computer and electronic equipment and, once the equipment has been certified (a requirement for insurance purposes), I pack it all myself. Nary a problem yet. In fact, my venerable Mac Plus, ImageWriter II, and a hard disk have been sent back and forth to an oversees posting by mail in their original shipping cartons.
Jack Jansen <[email protected]> writes:
There is actually another very good reason for keeping original boxes for computer hardware, aside from being handy when you move house. If you’re trading your Mac in for a new one, I have found out having the original boxes can give you a much better bargaining position.
Dennis Whiteman <[email protected]> writes about boxes and cables:
I’m as bad as you are about saving boxes, but I had a unique experience with this right after I moved. I had stored all my boxes (and old tax records) in a closet underneath a staircase in my new two story house. Two days after I moved in, the ground floor of my house was flooded and all my boxes were soaked. It took a week for everything to dry out. Needless to say, I moved all my computer boxes upstairs where they would stay dry.
My next move will definitely involve sorting out the cable that hooks my router to my ISDN line and the ones that connect my computers to my 10Base-T hub. Plugging the wrong cable into the wrong place on my Ascend Pipeline 25, I’m told, will fry it. Good advice! Plus, that snake nest behind my desk can get really scary.
[To add to that advice, be especially careful to label power adapters for things like modem, bridges, and Ethernet adapters. They often have the same size plugs, but don’t always output the same voltage. Pushing 12 volts through something that expects 5 volts can do serious damage. I know, I just accidentally toasted our Sonic Systems microBridge/TCP by incorrectly using the power adapter from Tonya’s Duo’s SCSI Ethernet adapter, and I’m rather displeased. -Adam]
Rick Holzgrafe <[email protected]> writes:
After the Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989, I had to rake up the remains of my office, box it, and move it all to a new building. I put all the cables and mice and such in a single box.
Out of 29 boxes, that was the one box that the movers lost.
When I arrived at my new location, I couldn’t boot a single machine. I spent hours running around the building, cadging a power cord here, a mouse there, just to get one Mac up and running. After some days I liberated enough cables, mice, network connectors, etc. ad nauseam to get my entire office back online, but I never found the missing box.
Good advice: Don’t carry all your eggs in one basket. Don’t put all your company execs or project engineers on the same flight. Don’t keep all your backups at a single location. And don’t move all your cables in one box!
Edward Reid <[email protected]> corrects my retelling of how the electric company cycles power after an outage:
The electric company does not cycle power unnecessarily. If they wanted to burn something off a line, they’d keep the power on. However, the concentrated current would damage or weaken the lines. In any case, it’s much easier for them to just reach up and pull (or saw) the branch away – they have the equipment and skills to do so safely.
Here’s how it actually happens. When a branch (or anything) touches two wires, it creates a fault (short circuit) and trips (opens) a breaker. Usually the branch continues falling, or is blown off the wires by the shock of the current that goes through it before the breaker trips. These faults are common occurrences. Suppose the breaker just stayed off (like the circuit breakers in your house do). The time the power is out at any given location would go up dramatically and the electric company would spend a lot of money (your money, as a customer, to be precise) sending linemen out to reset breakers when the faults had cleared themselves within a couple of seconds anyway. So the protectors on the power lines are designed to re-close several times after opening, typically at about one-second intervals. If the fault hasn’t cleared, you see the phenomenon of the power going on and off several times. Usually it stays on after one or two tries; occasionally the fault does not clear and you have a true outage. If it weren’t for this retry logic, you’d have a long outage every time you had a major flicker.
That said, I can’t agree more with your recommendation of UPSs, except that I recommend a UPS for almost everyone, and certainly for everyone who uses a computer for several hours a day. They’re not even as expensive as you imply. An APC Back-UPS 200 provides 200 VA (volt-amps), enough to handle a basic new Macintosh, and costs exactly $100 from Lyben, including shipping. A 280 VA unit costs $110, a 400 VA costs $153. This is a far cry from "several hundred dollars." If more people knew how cheaply they could get a decent UPS and were encouraged to do so, a lot more Macs (and PCs too) would be properly protected. [People, consider yourself encouraged! -Adam]
Anders Stegen <[email protected]> writes to provide some background on IKEA, the furniture and housewares store we mentioned last week. Somehow we had a feeling we’d hear from a number of our Swedish readers on this one.
I’m pleased that you found what you needed at the IKEA store. IKEA in Sweden was started by a money-cautious, self-made man called Ingvar Kamprad. He’s world famous (well, within Sweden anyway) for supplying good quality, cheap furniture which you take home and put together yourself. (He’s also famous for always using tourist class and inexpensive hotels when travelling, despite his now substantial fortune.)
Oh, and if you were wondering where the name comes from, IKEA takes the first initials from: Ingvar Kamprad Emmaboda (the name of the family farm where Ingvar started his first mail-order company at the age of 15) and Augunnaryd (the name of the small village where it was located).
Rolf Adlercreutz <[email protected]> writes:
IKEA likes to name their product lines, mostly with first names. Most Swedish homes have, for example, at least one bookcase named either Billy or Sten. So your computer desk is not trying to jerk you around, it is just named that way. Jerker is a Swedish male first name. It’s not too common, but not unusual either.