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Copyright 1991 TidBITS Electronic Publishing. All rights reserved.
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This is embarrassing. After I wrote a nice article about the Help! application from Teknosys, I discovered that I misspelled the company's name consistently throughout the article. Sorry! The company in question is indeed Teknosys, not Technosys. I can't imagine how I got Technosys out of it, but hey, we all make mistakes. Brian from Teknosys kindly listed the 800 number, so if you want to call them for more information about Help!, you can call 800/873-3494.
I've run across a couple of deals that people might want to look into. First, and this is definitely a good one, if you've been thinking about buying Timbuktu but want to see how fast it runs and how well it works with your setup, Farallon has created a fully-functional demo version that self-destructs after seven days. It's available on America Online, AppleLink, CompuServe, and directly from Farallon. I don't know if anyone has posted it to the Internet yet. Second, if you're looking for a powerful multiuser relational database, you might want to consider Double Helix 3.5 in this special deal. It expires soon (I don't know when offhand) but you can get Double Helix for $129 if you call Odesta and mention the reservation number 100307. Nowhere in the blurb did it state any limitations, but I can't be sure they'll take everyone. Still, it's worth a try since $129 is less than half what Double Helix normally costs mail order. Third, DeltaPoint is offering an upgrade to DeltaGraph 1.5 from any other competing program. Until July 31st you can get DeltaGraph 1.5 for $69.95 simply by calling DeltaPoint and giving them the name of the program you currently use along with sufficient bits of plastic money. Sounds like a good deal to me.
Farallon -- 800/642-2026 -- 415/596-9100
Odesta -- 800/323-5423 ext. 351
DeltaPoint -- 800/367-4334
Brian of Teknosys
DiskDoubler 3.7 is now shipping to registered users. This version provides System 7 compatibility (including balloon help) and a few additional new features that should increase its popularity. Lloyd Chambers of Salient, DiskDoubler's main programmer, increased DiskDoubler's speed significantly in what Salient calls Method A and provided tighter compression in Method B (it was actually Method C for a while, but the old Method B disappeared, so Lloyd renamed it). DiskDoubler now has the best compression ratios available. Other useful features include the ability to create a self-extracting archive that includes as little expansion code as possible, the ability to copy files faster than the Finder using DiskDoubler's normal interface, and, finally, the ability to work in the background. I helped test DiskDoubler, and believe me, it is solid. I use it constantly and have encountered no problems, which is a lot more than I can say for some of the software I test. Alysis, makers of DiskDoubler's competitor SuperDisk!, have yet to send Ken Hancock a copy for testing, but once they do, we will release another TidBITS special issue comparing DiskDoubler and SuperDisk!. My quick tests indicate that DiskDoubler can compress files much more tightly than SuperDisk!, but SuperDisk! is significantly faster. One thing to watch out for is that SuperDisk! does not appear to be verifying what it does, and if the SuperDisk! extension isn't loaded, the compressed files are inaccessible.
System 7 isn't terribly snappy on a slower Mac even if it has plenty of memory, but here's a little trick to use to make it seem slightly faster. Whenever you open or close a window or a launch a file, the Mac shows you the icon opening or closing, providing what are called Zoomrects to simulate motion. Drawing those Zoomrects takes time, so people have come up with a way to eliminate the Zoomrects, which should speed up working in the Finder. Note that we haven't tested these fully yet, but other people have reported no problems with them.
Open a copy of the Finder with ResEdit 2.1
Open the Code resource
Open Code ID 4 (yup, you need to decompress it)
Select Find Offset and look for 0078. This should take you to a line reading 48E7 1F38 594F 2F0F.
Select 4 bytes (i.e., 48E7 1F38)
Replace with the following: 6000 00E6. This represents a BRA instruction around the code that does Zoomrects.
Save the copy of the Finder and close ResEdit.
Put the real Finder in another folder and replace it with your hacked up copy. Reboot. Open a window. Nirvana.
John Heckendorn, who originally posted this, says, "This patch was put together by Danny Brewer at Farallon Computing. I can't guarantee it'll work for you, so proceed with caution. I can say that it certainly works for me. I'll bet it makes Timbuktu Remote operate more quickly, as well :-)."
Lloyd Chambers -- firstname.lastname@example.org
John Heckendorn -- email@example.com.EDU
Paul Jacoby -- firstname.lastname@example.org
MacWEEK -- 18-Jun-91, Vol. 5, #23, pg. 5
Color printers are neat but still saddled with major problems. For me at least, the main problems are price, quality, and speed. Two companies, Tektronix and Dataproducts, should be addressing these problems soon with some plain-paper color printers that use solid wax transfer. The printers still aren't cheap - Tektronix's PhaserJet PXi lists for $9995 and the Dataproducts Jolt PS will cost about $7000, but the price of consumables is quite a bit cheaper, 25 cents per page for the PhaserJet and possibly less for the Jolt PS. The fact that these printers don't require special paper is also interesting, because some projects simply cannot use printouts made on the slick, shiny paper used by most color printers.
As far as quality goes, the solid wax should be a bit brighter than ink-jet or thermal transfer inks, and it will certainly be more striking than the ink-jet output, which tends to bleed slightly, muddying the edges. The resolution will be the standard 300 dpi, which is fine for many applications but which means that these printers will not replace traditional methods of printing publication-quality color photographs. We have a color photograph printed on an older Tektronix color printer that is good but certainly nothing impressive. If these solid wax printers can improve on that quality, they will do quite well.
Last, but not least, speed. The color photo I mentioned earlier took four or five minutes to print on the old Tektronix, but the new ones should improve on that, perhaps dropping into the two minutes per page range for a full color PostScript image. Even that speed won't make them useful for high-volume printing, but most people will use the printers primarily for drafts before going to film for the final output.
Tektronix -- 800/835-6100
MacWEEK -- 18-Jun-91, Vol. 5, #23, pg. 6
MacWEEK -- 11-Jun-91, Vol. 5, #22, pg. 1
InfoWorld -- 17-Jun-91, Vol. 13, #24, pg. 26
With the exception of printers, Apple's peripherals usually elicit snickers among those who have an idea of what computer equipment should cost. The best examples of this were the Apple modems (which have been dropped) and the Apple hard drives, which are now being dropped from the price lists The only Apple external drive that will remain is the 80 MB one, and that's probably because A/UX comes on it. Considering that the Apple 40SC external hard drive was $926 at Cornell's educational price, Apple probably won't lost much revenue since mail order companies regularly beat Apple's price by $500 on the exact same mechanism. Almost all the Macs will still come with internal drives, but if you want to add a drive, you'll have to go to a third party.
Despite dropping the hard drives, Apple isn't abandoning the storage peripheral market completely. A new CD-ROM drive (the AppleCD SC Plus) should appear soon, boasting a lower price ($799 list, which could translate to $600 discount) and speedier performance. The new drive has 380 millisecond access time, which is quite good, but more importantly, has real-time layered error correction that supposedly greatly increases real world performance. Other enhancements include a better mechanism for keeping dust out of the drive and a lens cleaning mechanism, both of which should help the drive avoid the dust bunnies that plagued its predecessor. I suspect that the new tower Macs will be able to have an internal version of this drive as well. It's nice to see Apple supporting CD technology with inexpensive hardware if the company plans to push CDs as a major distribution medium.
Although third party hard drive manufacturers must be pleased to see Apple dropping out of their market, the CD-ROM drive companies won't like the competition from Apple's new drive. Similarly, third party monitor makers won't like the new color monitors Apple has in the works, a 16" color monitor for about $1600 and a 21" color monitor for less than $5000. I'll take the 16" monitor personally - $5000 is a bit steep for my tastes. In response, E-Machines, makers of the primary 16" color monitor for the Mac now, announced a new $1600 16" color monitor, the ColorPage E16. Unlike the Apple monitor, which uses a Sony tube, the E16 will use a Toshiba flat panel tube (is that an oxymoron?). Overall, I'm not surprised by Apple's new monitors. If Apple wants to pretend to be a workstation company, then it has to provide the sort of monitors that workstations generally have.
MacWEEK -- 18-Jun-91, Vol. 5, #23, pg. 1, 6
Or maybe that title should be "Apple Sees Blue." Either way, the result is the same. Apple and IBM have been sneaking off into the broom closet to make deals recently. A while ago there was a brief comment about a networking technology deal, and then Apple started using IBM hard disks in some IIci's, and now there's talk about a sweeping agreement that would send AppleTalk, QuickTime, Publish & Subscribe, and a player to be named later (but probably Apple's PinkOS (well, it's a nice acronym, anyway :-)) object-oriented next-generation operating system) to IBM in return for IBM's networking protocols, its RISC RS/6000 chip, and some code from OS/2. Lest this seem too incredible to have any base in reality, Bob Cringely says that he's talked to people at IBM who have seen System 7 running on a PS/2.
Do keep in mind that this would be a technology transfer, and neither company would have to implement anything. IBM likes licensing technology just to have it on hand for later use, such as with NeXTstep, for which IBM paid ten million and then stuffed behind the mops in the closet. There's no telling what could happen with this agreement, but here's my bets (which have no money riding on them, luckily).
Apple and IBM will use Pink and OS/2 to come up with a new operating system that is platform-independent and is completely free of Microsoft's clutches. A new OS will enable IBM to move away from the technological disaster of DOS and the marketing disaster of OS/2 and will allow Apple to greatly increase the appeal of its next operating system. Networking from both companies will become more complete in supporting each other, which helps all users. Lots of my PC clients would kill for the ease of inexpensive LocalTalk built into their systems. I don't know enough about RISC to say much about whether Apple will use IBM's RS/6000 chip in favor of the Motorola 88110 (which NeXT is also considering for a future NeXT workstation), but apparently Motorola has had trouble shipping the chip in quantity. The RS/6000 license might put some pressure on Motorola to get its act together, but I've also heard that if Apple did go with the RS/6000, Motorola would manufacture it in compensation for Apple's rejection of the 88110. A final option is the so-called MISC (Minimal Instruction Set Computing) chip, which only has a few instruction but runs blazingly fast and can emulate any RISC or CISC architecture due to its simplicity. No word if Apple is considering MISC at all. Overall, I think there's about as much posturing as reality in this deal.
The reason for the deal seems pretty clear, though. Both Apple and IBM are worried about Microsoft and the ACE Consortium. In addition, Apple wants to break into the mainstream and who is more mainstream than IBM? Interestingly enough, if you think about previous Apple alliances, most notably the one with DEC, they have produced little. Now look where DEC is, ensconced in ACE at the side of Microsoft and Compaq.
In addition to all this, remember our April Fools article on IBM buying Lotus? Well, that still hasn't happened, but IBM and Lotus are expected to announce an agreement today that will enable IBM to use technology from Lotus's Notes program. Who knows what Lotus gets in return, other than cash. The final free agents are Quarterdeck and GeoWorks, two companies whose combined products compete extremely well with Windows. They've been talking about possibly getting together to create a version of PC/GEOS that will multitask DOS applications and still not become as large a hardware hog as Windows. Pay attention to all of this, because you can't tell the players without a scorecard in this game of Microsoft bashing.
TNG TaiHou -- ISSTTH%NUSVM.BITNET@forsythe.stanford.edu
John A. Starta -- email@example.com
Steve Witten -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Eric Behr -- email@example.com
Vladimir G. Ivanovic -- vladimir@Eng.Sun.COM
MacWEEK -- 18-Jun-91, Vol. 5, #23, pg. 1
PC WEEK -- 10-Jun-91, Vol. 8, #23, pg. 33
InfoWorld -- 17-Jun-91, Vol. 13, #24, pg. 1
InfoWorld -- 10-Jun-91, Vol. 13, #23, pg. 1
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