Our Coverage Expands
Not only is this issue twice as long as each of our previous offerings, but Signal now also covers news and information for users and developers of the newly announced Macintosh. Expanding to cover Macintosh is only natural, since the Mac and Lisa are so closely related and really form the start of a family of products using the technology introduced on the Lisa. (If this is a trend, expect Apple's third machine in January, 1985!)
Rotation By Reflection
We recently had to use LisaDraw to draft a set of large, stylized digits from zero to nine. Instead of creating the digit "9" piece by piece in the same way the previous eight digits were drawn, we simply used LisaDraw to rotate the digit "6" that was already on file. While the Macintosh MacPaint program offers a Rotate command for 90 degree turns, objects in LisaDraw can only be rotated by reflection. This is accomplished by grabbing a handle and moving it across the object to the opposite side of the drawing in order to "flip" the object over. Flipping across both axes results in a 180 degree turn. For example, if the upper right corner of a large, hand-drawn "6" is selected and moved to the far lower left, the object flips over into a "9".
Other Mac Publications
Macworld is published by the same people who do PC World for IBM PC users. The 144-page first issue became available at the same time the Mac was announced. Subsequent monthly issues begin in May. Charter subscriptions are $24 for one year. Send your order to Box 20300, Bergenfield, NJ 07621. The premiere issue included reviews of MacPaint, MacWrite, Microsoft's version of Multiplan for the Macintosh, and even an art gallery department featuring MacPaint graphics.
Although we haven't seen an issue yet, another Macintosh publication is ST. Mac, produced by Softalk at Box 60, North Hollywood, CA 91603. One year subscriptions are also $24.
Workshop Editor Trick
Say you have a long Workshop text file of a thousand lines and you only want to keep ten lines that happen to be right in the middle of the file. The Workshop editor doesn't support split windows like LisaWrite, so the two ends of the document are nearly impossible to select for deletion because they're larger than the editor's window. If the ten lines to be saved are cut to the clipboard, the remaining text lines still can't be deleted with a cut because they would then overwrite the clipboard. How can all but the ten lines be deleted?
The trick is to cut (or copy) the ten lines to the clipboard, select all of the document, then paste! (Some users hit the backspace key to cause a delete before pasting.)
This technique of pasting over selected text is easy to forget. It is interesting to note that selected text in LisaDraw can be replaced by pasting text from the clipboard, but selected objects such as rectangles cannot be replaced by another rectangle with a paste command.
LisaCalc Margin Waste
Printed spreadsheets that fit all on one page are a lot easier to work with compared to those that spill over onto multiple pages. LisaCalc users often select 15 Pitch Gothic in order to keep as much text as possible on one page, but even at the resulting seven or so lines per vertical inch, only 60 rows can be printed before a page jump is forced. LisaCalc should print at about 8 lines per inch when 15 Pitch is selected, and then allow at least 85 rows per page. Supporting 20 Pitch Gothic like the Workshop editor would allow even more rows and columns per page.
Mac vs. Lisa Design Details
Any experienced Lisa user taking their first look at the Macintosh will immediately notice a small number of differences in the way the desktop is designed and displayed.
For example, folder icons have rounded corners, the wastebasket is called trash and has a closed lid, the menu bar often contains the Apple symbol, windows include a bar for icon counts and available space messages, the name of the active window in the title bar is highlighted with full length stripes instead of a small segment of black, the command key in pull down menus is a kind of cloverleaf symbol instead of the Apple trademark, the size box in the lower right corner of a window contains a symbol slightly different than the one on the Lisa, and so on.
One easily noticed difference in scroll bar design is the absence of any view buttons for scrolling one screen full at a time. Dropping view buttons is probably a good idea, since they seem to frustrate users more than help them. (Instead of simply holding down the mouse switch on a view button until the screen scrolls to the desired point, users often click on the view button repeatedly while the screen tries to catch up. Usually the user incorrectly guesses the number of clicks that are necessary, and the screen contents end up positioned someplace other than where the user intended. LisaWrite users seem to run into this problem the most.)
Cleaning Up Endpoints
When a thick line in LisaDraw is drawn right up to the edge of some shaded object that has thin border lines, the thick line will noticeably overlap the thin line. To correct the overlap, simply select the thin line object and "bring to front" using the first option on the Arrangement pull down menu, or select the the thick line and "send to back". Either way, the overlapping endpoint ends up hidden behind the thin line object, resulting in a much cleaner and more professional looking drawing.
More Kudos For Lisa
A January issue of InfoWorld bestowed one of that magazine's three Product of the Year awards upon the Lisa software. Our congratulations to Apple.
How To Lose Preferences
Reader Bill Starbuck told us he discovered that the Preferences window fails to work if the Profile is fully restored from floppies. The Hotline verfied that, because of a bug, Preferences will sometimes fail after a restore.
BPI Systems in Austin, Texas has sent us a copy of their "General Accounting" package for the Lisa. The package supports basic payables, receivables, general ledger and payroll functions. BPI is well known for its accounting software on Apple and IBM micros, and the software and documentation they sent us certainly has the look of a tested, proven, and well supported product.
Unfortunately, the Lisa version runs as a stand-alone system, not as part of the Office System, so there are no windows or icons or other desktop-style features like those that make the Lisa easy to use. Instead, the programs take full control of the machine and generate simple screen displays typical of many other products. BPI has announced that a version of the package that is integrated with the desktop will be available later this year.