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Adam Engst No comments


Adam and Tonya are taking a well-deserved break this week, so as to properly celebrate their wedding. They were married on Saturday 15 June, and the wedding reception was a remarkable mix of friends, food, and… basketball. After a relaxing (I hope!) honeymoon, Adam and Tonya will be back.

I’ll leave the details for another time, though. For now, suffice it to say that TidBITS goes on, assembled by Mark H. Anbinder of Memory Alpha BBS. Correspondence, wedding congratulations, and information for TidBITS should, as usual, be sent to the addresses on the About TidBITS page of this issue or your archive. Correspondence to this issue’s guest editor may be sent to the address below.

Information from:
Mark H. Anbinder — [email protected]

Adam Engst No comments


For those of you who use System 7 and mount AppleShare servers, make an alias of the server icon when it’s mounted. Then, if you ever want to mount the server manually, just double-click on the icon. AppleShare will ask for your password and mount the disk. Similarly, you can create an alias of any file or folder that’s on a server, and double-clicking on its icon will bring up the username-and-password dialog to mount the server.

A related trick, but one that’s more fun, involves aliasing your own hard disk. If you have File Sharing turned on, and put an alias of your hard disk on a floppy, you can double-click on that alias on any computer on your network, and after you provide a username and password that match the Owner Name and Owner Password in the Sharing Setup control panel, your hard disk will be mounted remotely, just as a file server would be. Imagine carrying the entire contents of your hard disk in your pocket!

A user recently discovered that a lot of ordinary files had been turned into aliases (or at least what looked like aliases with italic names and all) on her hard drive. The Finder could correct the problem when the user double-clicked on the icon, but it was a pain. Specifically, the Finder tries to resolve the alias by looking for an original file, then, embarassed, states, "That isn’t an alias! I’ve fixed the problem." Doug Larrick posted to the System 7 LISTSERV discussion saying that he thought that Apple had recycled the old Bozo bit (which was an incredibly weak form of copy protection (Finder: You can’t copy that file. User: What if I hold down the option key while doing it? Finder: Well, in that case, go ahead…") as the Alias flag. Makes sense, so if you run into this problem you can use ResEdit to flip the Alias flag. Programs like CE’s DiskTop may also be able to do this, although you may have to work on the Bozo bit if they haven’t been upgraded to support System 7 terminology.

Information from:
Doug Larrick — [email protected]
Tonya Byard — TidBITS Editor
Mark H. Anbinder — [email protected]

Adam Engst No comments

DOS 5.0

Sounds like a license to print money to me. Microsoft has finally finished and is shipping DOS 5.0, which may be the first version of DOS that people actually upgrade to. In the past, you bought a version of DOS with a PC-clone and stuck with it unless some other program required a new version of DOS. I’ve actually never known anyone to purchase a new version of DOS, which you have to do because DOS, unlike any Macintosh System Software, costs money.

DOS 5.0 sounds pretty cool if you’re into that sort of thing, since it frees up more memory (of the primary 640K) for program usage, especially on 286 machines and up. It accomplishes this feat by loading parts of itself into high memory along with device drivers and programs. This will make life on the low-end much easier, because it’s all too easy to run out of memory with only 640K. One of my clients had to give up automated backups with a tape drive system because PC File (which one would think would be quite small) gobbled as much memory as it could and complained when it couldn’t get the memory that the backup TSR (same idea as an INIT) wanted. Truly frustrating.

Lots of other features will make DOS 5.0 more popular than previous versions. It includes programs called MIRROR, UNDELETE, and UNFORMAT, which sound suspiciously like the utilities included in Central Point Software’s excellent PC Tools Deluxe package. Lo and behold, Central Point admitted on Jun-13 that Microsoft had licensed those utilities in return for licensing the "look and feel" of DOS 5.0 to Central Point. Personally, I think Microsoft came out ahead, but Central Point is doing pretty well anyway. MIRROR, UNDELETE, and UNFORMAT help to recover data, files, or accidently formatted hard disks, and work quite well in my experience. The entire PC Tools package is well done and even includes a good backup program in the deal. Recommended if you have to muck with PC-clones as I do on occasion.

Of course there’s always a possibility that certain programs will fail to work with DOS 5.0, but Microsoft has provided for that eventuality with a clever command called SETVER, which allows you to force DOS 5.0 to pretend that it’s really DOS 2.1 or something like that. Of course, this immediately prompts the joke about setting the version to 5.1 as soon as you get it to avoid the bugs. No telling yet how ironic that joke may be from the beta testers and early users.

Other nice features in DOS 5.0 include a completely rewritten shell, DOSSHELL, that figures out the appropriate mode (character-only or various graphic modes depending on your hardware) to run in. Once up and running, it works with either the keyboard or the mouse and looks a bit like Windows. The shell can launch files and programs, but like all DOS shells, can only open files into the proper application if the extensions are preset. Unlike previous versions of DOS, 5.0 can perform task switching, which is much like running under MultiFinder on the Mac, although it’s clumsier in a character-based environment. The final two features that users will greatly appreciate are a full screen editor (for mucking around with the AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS files, which is a favorite pastime of most serious PC users) and a new and slightly better version of Basic. Fun fun fun.

Information from:
Central Point propaganda

Related articles:
PC WEEK — 10-Jun-91, Vol. 8, #23, pg. 1, 18, 19
InfoWorld — 10-Jun-91, Vol. 13, #23, pg. 1

Adam Engst No comments

Donating Old Computers

Now that System 7 is out and you’re fed up with your old 512K or Plus, you’ve probably realized that the market for used old Macs is rather bad. You can’t get much even if you can find someone to buy a used Plus – after all when you can get a Classic for around $750, it’s hard to compete. There is hope though. A couple of charitable organization accept donations of old computer equipment and ship it to needy places. With at least one of these organizations, you can even deduct the fair market value on your income tax (which might even be a little higher than the price you could actually get, but don’t worry, I won’t tell the IRS).

The first of these organizations that I’ve heard of is the Wladyslaw Poniecki Charitable Foundation (and no, I don’t know how to pronounce it, sorry). It is a 501(c)(3) corporation, which I think are the magic numbers meaning that it is a true non-profit organization, and its purpose is to provide educational and technical materials for Eastern European emerging democracies with an emphasis on Poland, as you might expect from the name. They are happy to take any used computer equipment that is in good working condition (no dumping that flaky old hard disk on them if it’s got serious media errors), and will deal with transport and customs and all that adminstrative trivia. If you wish to give them some equipment, it’s probably best to write to them for information, but they’ll need a letter of conveyance that lists the serial numbers of the items and transfers title to them.

Another organization that we know less about is Global Technology. They accept "only functioning computer equipment that comes boxed with manuals and software," so they are a bit pickier than the first people. Their target audience is Native American communities and schools in developing nations. We presume that you need to make out a similar letter of conveyance, but call for details.

The Wladyslaw Poniecki Charitable Foundation
8637 Arbor Drive
El Cerrito, California 94530-2728

Global Technology
Boulder, Colorado

Information from:
Chet Grycz — [email protected]

Adam Engst No comments

MODE32 to the Rescue

If you’ve been reading TidBITS carefully, you’ve noticed the increasing furour over Apple’s unclean (32-bit-unclean, that is) ROMs in the Macintosh II, IIx, IIcx, and SE/30. When it became clear that owners of these computers would be unable to use the 32-bit mode of System 7 to address more than 8Mb of real memory, or 13Mb of virtual memory, lots of people became upset and pointed at the product literature for their computers, which had stated that they could address up to 128Mb of memory. A petition was circulated (see TidBITS-058, 29 April 1991) asking Apple to provide ROM upgrades for these machines, but little news on that front has been forthcoming.

Meanwhile, the geniuses at Connectix Corporation, who brought us such products as Virtual and Maxima, were quietly preparing their own solution to the entire problem. MODE32, which shipped about a week ago, is a software-based ROM patch that allows users of the Mac II, IIx, IIcx, and SE/30 to set their computers in 32 bit mode and thus take full advantage of System 7’s ability to address vast amounts of real or virtual memory space.

MODE32, which retails for $169 and should be available at your favourite dealer or other software supplier by the time you read this, is innovative and remarkable enough that it certainly deserves its own Special Review Issue of TidBITS… but there’s just not that much to say! MODE32 works, and it works seamlessly, and what’s more, it’s easy to install and use.

The software itself comes on a single diskette, which contains an Installer application. This application (which is smart enough not to install the software on a computer that’s already 32-bit-clean, such as a IIci, IIfx, IIsi, or LC) places a single Control Panel file into the Control Panels folder of the computer’s System Folder. The software is fully functional right away, and its control panel, when opened, is very clean and straightforward. All you need to do to turn on MODE32 and make your computer 32 bit clean is click the "Enabled" button in the MODE32 control panel.

That simple action doesn’t turn on the 32 bit mode on your computer, though. All it does is make the computer 32 bit clean. You can then proceed to Apple’s own Memory control panel, in which the "32 bit Addressing" control is suddenly available. You can now turn on the 32 bit mode, and take advantage of up to 128Mb of real memory (DRAM) or a whopping one gigabyte of virtual memory (if you have that much hard disk space!).

The problems aren’t necessarily over, unfortunately. There are still a number of applications, desk accessories, drivers, and other pieces of software that are not 32 bit clean, and won’t work in 32 bit Addressing mode, whether you’re using MODE32 or an already-clean IIci. This isn’t Connectix’s fault, of course, but it is worth mentioning. Most of the developers whose software isn’t yet clean are working on new versions, but in the meantime, some people may not be able to use 32 bit mode while they wait.

The one disadvantage I’ve been able to find with MODE32 itself is that the software is copy protected. This isn’t really going to affect honest users to any great extent, though philosophically, I must say that copy protection is a bit passe. In this case, I can understand Connectix’s desire to protect their investment in this small but valuable piece of software.

On the up side, in addition to the simplicity of the software’s operation, are an exceptional manual and the wonderful technical support that we’ve come to expect from Connectix. The documentation provides not only clear, step by step instructions on installing and using the software, but also a detailed explanation of the evolution of memory on the Macintosh, and of the complexities of the current memory situation. The tech support Connectix provides is great, as well. They are very responsive, even when I had to wait for a call back. This is sometimes necessitated by the odd time shifts that spring up when you’re dealing with people on the opposite coast! Once you reach them, the folks at Connectix are knowledgeable, friendly, and always helpful.

This is certainly one of the cleverest moves Connectix could have made, now that Apple has released its own virtual memory to compete with two-and-a-half-year-old Virtual, the first Connectix product. They are offering a product that will be enormously useful to a huge number of people, especially if Apple is as slow as usual about providing a real ROM upgrade for these unclean computers. Connectix is to be applauded for having the sight to fill this void at just the right time.


9 penguins out of a possible 10.

Connectix — 800/950-5880 — 415/324-0727

Information from:
Connectix propaganda — [email protected]
Mark H. Anbinder — [email protected]