Signal 15, August 1984

User Groups: Great Source Of Software

We recently attended a local user group get-together. Fortunately, we took along a box of blank disks, because at the end of the meeting everyone took a couple of hours to make copies of all the various public domain software that was floating around. By the time our floppies cooled off, we found we had three disks full of new software to bring back to the office and play with, including: the MacTalk demo, where Mac introduces itself by actually speaking; a full-screen digital clock; three contributions from Apple's Bill Atkinson (the game of Life, a Rolodex program for storing names and addresses, and the Screen Maker utility for letting any MacPaint image replace the default "Welcome to Macintosh" message displayed when the Mac is started up); a reverse polish calculator desk accessory; a towers of Hanoi demo; a desktop version of the Amazing maze game from the Guided Tour disk; the Disk Peek utility for reading and writing arbitrary bytes on any diskette; and a calendar desk accessory written by Mary Boetcher of Corvus, who was attending the meeting along with David Ramsey in order to show off their company's new hard disk for the Mac.

By copying the Corvus disk that was on display, we managed to get copies of nine new fonts Corvus had picked up from Apple: Babylon-9, which is actually much smaller than most 9-point type, since each character is only three pixels square; Cupertino-12 and -24, the font Apple has used for their corporate lettering; Hollywood-12 and -18, a kind of Chicago with racing stripes; Lothlórien-12, useful for Tolkien book reports; Manhattan-12, which must have been derived from New York; Moria-12, a Runic alphabet perfect for your next letter to a fifth century Germanic tribe; Mos Eisley -12 and -24, like the OCR characters in your checkbook; PaintIcons-12, all the various graphics from the MacPaint display; and Stuttgart-12 and -24, a wide style often used in drafting.

AccessoryMover was our most interesting find. It's a program that lets you add, delete or rename the desk accessories that are stored in the System file and displayed in the Apple menu. Most users will probably want to delete some of their unused accessories to gain disk space, although AccessoryMover didn't seem to free up as much space as the desk accessories reportedly take. For example, we created a disk containing only AccessoryMover, System, Finder, and all the standard desk accessories, leaving 194K of available space. We then deleted all accessories except for the alarm clock, which resulted in increasing the free space to 208K, nowhere near as much of an increase as we were hoping for. Unfortunately, when we then deleted the alarm clock in order to leave no accessories at all, the Macintosh crashed as we tried to leave AccessoryMover.

AccessoryMover is from CE Software, 801 73rd Street, Des Moines, IA 50312. You can phone them at 515-224-1995. They don't sell the product directly, but instead distribute it on an honor system. You are expected to acquire a copy from friends or user groups, and if you decide to keep it, CE Software asks that you send them $15.

We also acquired a number of new desk accessories that can be installed with AccessoryMover, including an Executive Decision Maker, which must be the world's most complicated form of dice; The Bug, a persistent little insect that likes to wander up your CRT; and a Lisa-style clock.

The moral of this story should be obvious. Attend your next local user group meeting so that you too can get copies of all this free (or near-free) Macintosh software!

Hardware Received: Tecmar's Drive

We began phoning disk manufacturers last month to set up an evaluation of one of the newly available hard disks for the Macintosh. When we reached Tecmar (6225 Cochran Road, Solon, OH 44139-3377, phone 216-349-0600), the operator listened to our request and decided we should talk to someone in customer service. Unfortunately, no one was immediately available, so she took our name and number. We hung up thinking we hadn't made much progress with this particular vendor, but within a few hours someone from customer service indeed called back, listened to our request, and immediately connected us with a pleasant and helpful lady named Kate. With a cheerful, no-questions-asked approach, Kate set up a shipment, and within a few days Tecmar's "Mac Drive" arrived for our evaluation. Our attempts to arrange the acquisition of an evaluation unit from a vendor have never before gone so smoothly and effortlessly.

The Tecmar disks for the Macintosh can be ten megabytes fixed or five megabytes removable. Another removable five megabyte drive can be added to either model. Our unit is a ten megabyte fixed drive (apparently the most easily obtained model), serial number 241. Suggested retail is $1,995.

The unit's footprint is slightly larger than the Mac's, and so it serves well as a Macintosh pedestal. It includes a 115V outlet, so the Macintosh can plug into the back of the disk, with the power to both units then controlled with just the power switch on the disk.

Installation and operation is actually quick and simple, but the documentation provided is far from being complete and clear. For example, the manual says the Mac can be plugged into either a standard outlet or into the outlet provided on the back of the disk, but from then on assumes the latter, so that the powering on instructions don't read correctly for someone who chooses the former. Instructions on how to power off the equipment aren't easy to find, either. The manual also fails to fully describe the connectors on the back of the disk. The interface cable goes from the modem port on the Macintosh to the disk connector marked "Serial 1". An additional connector on the back of the disk is marked "Serial 2", apparently duplicating the Mac's modem port, but the manual doesn't mention it at all.

We were surprised to find that the cable wouldn't plug into our Macintosh. The Mac's metal connectors are in slightly recessed wells cut into the plastic housing. The metal hoods on the ends of the disk cable are so thick, they couldn't fit between the housing and the connector. We had to remove one hood in order to complete the connection; a simple operation, but a potential roadblock for someone unfamiliar with computer cabling.

Once we powered up the disk, we found it quickly reached speed and ran at an acceptably quiet level with a not-too-loud fan. Unfortunately, the Macintosh is not capable of automatically starting up from an attached hard disk. Any time the Macintosh is powered on, it must first be started up with a 3.5" diskette (included in our shipment from Tecmar) containing a modified version of the operating system that recognizes and attaches any hard disk and displays its icon on the desktop. The startup diskette can then be immediately ejected, but its desktop shadow won't disappear until an application is run from the hard disk, at which point the hard disk becomes the "startup" disk. (Making a hard disk become the startup disk would be a bit easier if the Finder supplied some kind of Change Startup Disk menu option.) In order to execute an application, the hard disk also must contain a copy of the modified operating system. Our Tecmar unit arrived already loaded with special System and Finder files (duplicates of the files on their 3.5" boot disk) installed at the factory.

Note that once a peripheral that requires special system software is acquired, the user then becomes dependent on the peripheral vendor for updates and distribution of that special software. For example, the Tecmar System folder contains a modified 1.1g Finder. What happens when Apple releases a future version? Will the new release from Apple work on Tecmar's disk, or will another modified copy have to come from Tecmar?

Once we began actually using the Tecmar drive, we quickly discovered how much fun it is to have a Macintosh with a hard disk. It's great to open the disk icon and find nearly 10,000 available disk blocks. Our first test was to see how many files we could create. Depending on whom you ask, a Macintosh can track 100 plus or minus about 20 files per disk. We began duplicating files and folders (a task that's not as quick and easy as on a Lisa, where icons can have duplicate names) and got up to somewhere over 120 icons when the system suddenly crashed. Where the fault lies for that bug is not clear.

Because of limitations in the design of the Macintosh operating system, the Mac can keep track of only a limited number of blocks of disk space. If blocks are fairly small, say around 1K each like on the floppies, then disk space is used more efficiently, but the total disk size cannot be very large. If larger blocks are used, the total disk capacity can be large, but much of the minimum increment of one block gets wasted if files are small. Some vendors are working on software that lets their hard disks be partitioned into multiple volumes that logically appear as separate disks to the Macintosh, thereby allowing the user to control the tradeoff between block size and block count. Our Tecmar appears to the Macintosh as one large disk; there is no utility to partition the disk into separate volumes. Disk space is allocated in blocks of 20K, so a Macpaint document of only one black pixel still occupies 20K of space once it's filed on disk.

It's easy to fall in love with the increase in speed over floppies that the Tecmar provides. Opening applications and especially copying files is quick and convenient. Although some operations may seem ten times faster than when using a floppy, actual timings show the Tecmar is not really that fast. For example, a 22K MacPaint document of ours takes 30 seconds to open from the floppy, but only improves to 15 seconds when opened from the Tecmar (as a 40K document).

As icons accumulate on the desktop, Finder operations begin to slow down noticeably. For example, once we had created about 120 different files and folders, duplicating one folder that contained nothing but 28 empty folders took about nineteen seconds.

Another problem we ran into and couldn't get around was the Font Mover's refusal to move font files into the System file. We kept getting "insufficient memory" messages. Could this be because of the 20K block size?

Another current inconvenience of a hard disk on the Macintosh is that the hard disk's icon must be "ejected" before the Macintosh is powered off. This can be easy to forget for a device that doesn't actually physically eject anything.

After a few weeks of using the Tecmar, we've decided the Macintosh has obviously been designed without enough consideration given to hard disks. Not being able to boot from a hard disk, awkward limitations on file counts and logical block sizes, slow Finder operations when many files are present, support and availability of special System folders supplied by the disk manufacturer, all of these considerations must be taken into account before you decide whether or not to buy a hard disk. Despite these limitations (which are imposed on the disk because of Apple's software, not because of any inherent design errors in the disk hardware itself, and which will probably disappear with future releases from Apple), we give the Tecmar Mac Drive a definite Thumbs Up recommendation. A hard disk is just so darn convenient. But before you buy a disk, be sure to find a unit that will meet your capacity and speed expectations and requirements. Watch out for the problems we've described here. But also remember to carefully consider the time (and possibly the money) you'll waste and the frustration you'll undoubtedly encounter while putting up with the limited speed and capacity of floppies. If you then decide you can afford a disk, buy it. With a hard disk on your Macintosh, you'll not only be happier, but you'll be more productive as well.

Put it this way: every Macintosh user we've seen so far who uses our Tecmar, walks away wanting one.

ClickArt Fails To Impress Us

T/Maker Graphics has sent us their ClickArt product. It's an almost completely full floppy (only 4K left unused, but 26K is wasted on a scrapbook file which only contains duplicates of some of the other documents, and 3K is wasted on a MacWrite copyright notice) holding 28 MacPaint documents containing over 100 separate drawings: a gorilla, two cats, an egret, Rodin's Thinker (a head-on view!), Michelangelo's David (one small, one large), four cars, the space shuttle, an astronaut, two postcard skylines, three blank "billboards", eight border designs (a number of other borders also decorate a variety of the documents), a camera, dice, light bulb, phone, push pin, key, watch, candle, plant, frog, elephant, panda, another plant, wood screw, two singers, three George Washingtons, Lincoln, the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, twenty-six styles of arrows, a beer mug, wine bottle and two glasses, a corkscrew, farm house, pig, horse, cows, bird, Albert Einstein, James Cagney, Boy George, Dustin Hoffman, two John Kennedys, Teddy Roosevelt, Mona Lisa, Beethoven, Sherlock Holmes, a tennis player, jogger, skier, football player, a man in the rain, a chef, six cartoon people, Reagan, Hart, Mondale and Jackson.

We've decided to give this collection a Thumbs Down and not recommend it for a number of reasons. The subjects are too arbitrary and topical. The organization and naming is poor. For example, the Stuff folder contains the documents named Little Guys, Bigger Guys and More Little Guys. Bigger Guys are the key, watch, candle, and plant. The quality of the drawings varies too much, with the portraits of people, especially Cagney, Reagan, Kennedy, Hart and Jackson being particularly poor. Mondale's drawing is positively ghastly.

Although ClickArt comes in a nice plastic case suitable for storing five diskettes, there is no way to know what the images look like until you actually display the product on a Macintosh. Hard copy showing what the drawings are and what folders they're in isn't anywhere on the outside or inside of the storage case. Once someone has the chance to actually examine the images, we think they would hesitate to spend the $49.95 suggested retail price.

For a short while, we expect clip art disks (and also font files) to be such a novelty that they'll sell well in the Mac market, but we think the real future for this kind of data will be through mail order. Some company will eventually develop a catalog of, say, a few thousand images and fonts. The reader will pick and choose the files he or she needs, fill out and send in an order form along with a dollar or so per image, and by return mail receive an automatically configured diskette containing only the pictures and fonts of interest to the owner.

T/Maker is at 2115 Landings Drive, Mountain View, CA 94043. Phone 415-962-0195.

Mac-Jack Earns A Thumbs Up

Yes, a 3.5" disk can withstand the rigors of our Postal Service, because one recently arrived here completely unprotected inside a #10 envelope from DataPak Software, Inc. An enclosed flyer explained we had just received Mac-Jack, a Macintosh blackjack game.

The first thing we do with any submitted disk is to make a copy, if possible, just in case we clobber the original. We couldn't do that with Mac-Jack, though. It's copy protected, and wouldn't pass through the disk copy utility or allow its files to be copied with the Finder. Our version is apparently a "demo copy" that starts the game automatically once the Macintosh is booted from the disk. A purchased version hopefully provides Mac-Jack in the form of a desktop icon, but we couldn't tell from the printed instructions we received.

The documentation is a bare minimum, and to a large degree duplicates the explanations available in the Rules and Help pull-down menus that are displayed once the game is started. DataPak should have put more of the printed documentation right in the menus. Anything left over could then simply be printed on the disk label.

Once you start playing by entering your name, the program is completely mouse-controlled, easy to understand, and simple to operate. Only one player is allowed. Shuffling and dealing is animated, and doubling and splitting bets are supported. The game is fun and very entertaining. We've won as much as $4K, but have also lost as much as $20K.

We thought of a few changes we would make to Mac-Jack. The worst feature of the game is that it uses only one deck, which makes it tough to practice for the real thing at a multiple-deck casino. One deck also runs out often, and while seeing the little hands reshuffle the cards is cute the first few times, it gets a bit boring after a while. The game would be better with multiple decks. A few of the flashing messages like "Dealer Plays" and "Player Paid" tend to cause unnecessary pauses that might make the game too slow for an impatient gambler. Also, there is no "click-ahead" with the mouse. For example, you must click on your cards for a hit, but to make sure the click is detected, you have to wait until the dealer is finished dealing the last card to itself. Having to wait can become boring for a quick player. Fewer messages and click-ahead might improve the game's pace.

We noticed the card totals are shown in a scaled font size and so do not appear as crisp and clean as they could. One last improvement could go in the target box labeled "Your Bet", where chips are placed to start a hand. If the box were instead labeled "Place Your Bet Here", the display would be more self-explanatory.

The game seems priced a little high at $39.95 suggested retail. If we were selling, $19.95 would be the price we'd try. Even so, if you like blackjack and don't mind the one deck limitation, we can give Mac-Jack our Thumbs Up recommendation (though we still suggest you see it in action before you buy). DataPak is at 14744 Ventura Blvd #1-774, Sherman Oaks, CA 91403. You can phone in your order to 818-905-6419.

Subscriber Interests And Activities

Raymond Solomon, Fairbanks, AK: My interests are photography and computers. I am an instrument/communications/SCADA technician and I have a lot of ideas for the Macintosh for use in my work.

Diana Cox, Purdue University, IN: We are in the process of developing CAI software for the Mac. Next year we will require students in our Executive Master's program to have a Mac.

Robert Purvis, Baltimore, MD: Dr. Marc Riddell and I use our Lisas extensively in our work (clinical psychology and law, respectively). Our Lisas have also assumed a major role in the planning, execution, and documentation of a model residential program for substance abuse recovery, upon which we have been working for the past three years.

Christi Blauwkamp, Mesa, AZ: I am using my Mac for writing a book and for inventory of my business.

Ed Coxey, Nashville, TN: My company is currently using a Lisa/Macintosh for a dial up clip art system.

Carl Kruhm, Gaithersburg, MD: My wife is a public school administrator and I am a teacher of learning disabled students as well as a realtor associate. We are interested in programs for tutoring and teaching reading, writing and study skills, and real estate appraising and sales.

John Kohlenberger, Sunnymead, CA: I am a Lisa/Macintosh end user and certified developer. I use Lisa for my own businesses (Automotive Pen Ups and Computer Art & Design), for my job at TRW, and for local community organizations. You may also have noticed my "Knightrider" MacPainting on the cover of the most recent Icon.

Tim Matheny, Nashville, TN: I am a minister, and my personal interests in Mac software and hardware include word processing (we are currently using MacWrite and MacPaint to publish our church bulletin), games, and telecommunications. One thing I am anxiously awaiting is publication of some version of the Bible on Mac disks, along with an application to move a specified scripture text into a word processing document via the clipboard. Similar ideas have been popping up lately for other systems, so I am hoping it won't be long before we see MacScripture. If you hear about such an application, could you please let us know?

The Secret Lisa Service Mode

Scott Seligsohn of Narberth, PA happened to tell us about his discovery of a special service mode built into the Lisa. To invoke this feature, hit the space bar during the power up memory test to make the Lisa eventually stop and display the Startup From menu. Click on an invalid device in the menu to deliberately cause an error display (a dialog box with choices of restarting or going back to the Startup From menu). Now hold down the Apple key and hit the S key. The Lisa will go into a special service mode and display a list of available self-test diagnostics.

WARNING: DO NOT TRY LISA'S SERVICE MODE UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO TRASH YOUR DISK AND DISABLE YOUR MACHINE. Be prepared to create more damage than you can repair. If you decide to experiment with the service mode, leave your disk off, if possible, to prevent clobbering any of your files. Some of the available diagnostics will clear Lisa's parameter memory, thereby destroying possibly vital information such as the date and time, your preferences, and other configuration data.

Once we chose the Power Cycle test, our Lisa would no longer boot properly, and we had to use the Startup From menu to be able to start from disk, after which we had to use the Environments window to reset the Office System as our default environment. As a result of trying other self-tests, our preferences got totally garbaged, and only the Workshop preferences command seemed to be able to reconstruct our choices. A number of times we had to rely on the reset switch in the back of the Lisa to force a restart. Be careful! Exploring Lisa's hidden service mode can be hazardous to you and your machine's health.

Toolkit Selling At Cost

You might want to inform your readers of two offerings from Apple which have not yet been widely publicized. The first is the pre-release version of the Lisa Toolkit. I got my copy for FREE from Apple. This package contains over 700 pages of documentation and eleven diskettes of software. An incredible bargain for the price! Just today, I received an order blank from the same department for the released version.

For Macintosh owners, Inside Macintosh is also available from Apple. This is an 800-page manual with lots of good information. The price is a bit steep at $150. The version I have is a bit sparse and definitely gap-toothed. Purchase of the Macintosh Software Supplement includes diskettes, more documentation, and a future copy of the released version of Inside Macintosh. This seems a better deal at only $100!
--- Tom Elerding, Montecito, CA

The Toolkit was originally intended to be the primary development tool for Lisa desktop programmers. It remains the only available method for creating a true desktop application, but Apple won't be releasing the Toolkit as a supported product. In the past, Apple gave away the pre-release Toolkit to anyone who showed an interest, and about 350 people have done that to date. But now that a released version is ready, Apple is selling the Toolkit at cost: $30 for the software (six diskettes), $20 for the source code (four diskettes), $35 for listings, and $90 for the documentation. To actually use the Toolkit, you need the 3.0 Workshop, which hasn't been released yet. Workshop order forms will automatically be sent to dealers and developers, who will be able to upgrade from 2.0 by sending in their original Pascal I disk and $125, probably around the end of September. Anyone can order the Toolkit and Workshop directly from Apple. Using a P.O. box, not including California sales tax, or some other such error will only delay your order, so first get Toolkit and Workshop order forms by writing to the Software Resource Center, Apple Computer Inc., 20525 Mariani, Mail Stop 2-P, Cupertino, CA 95014.

The 350 people who were already sent order forms also received a questionnaire asking what they would like to see done with the Toolkit. Dave Redhed is compiling the results, and he recently told us that of the 51 responses he has received so far, his preliminary tallies indicate that almost everyone wants to develop Office System software, about half have never used the Toolkit, and about one third would like to see the product taken over by someone and become a commercial venture. Apple says the Software Supplement only entitles you to the released Inside Macintosh (available in the first quarter of 1985) if you purchased the preliminary version. Inside Macintosh and the Supplement are available from Apple at 467 Saratoga Ave. #621, San Jose, CA 95129, but we only recommend them to users with Lisas who plan on doing serious Macintosh cross-development. -Editors

One Billion Served?

I would very much like to receive your newsletter. My Lisa serial number is thirteen characters long. Why such a long number? Is Apple planning to sell a billion?
--- Robert Wilson, Ridgefield, CT

Two Mac Deficiencies

Two comments about problems with the Mac. First, there is no easy way to print out the names of all the files stored on the disk, like the DIR command in CP/M or MS-DOS. The only work-around seems to be to display one level of files at a time and screen dump it to the printer with Shift-Command-4. Second, the filing system does not always remember the hierarchy of folders within folders. Let's say I open a folder named BUSINESS FORMS, then open a file inside called FORM #1. If I then save FORM #1 under a different name, like REVISED FORM #1, this new file should return to the BUSINESS FORMS folder from which it sprang. But instead, REVISED FORM #1 ends up in the top window, placed at a level higher than where it started.

When are you going to start charging for Signal?
--- Michael Arenson, Santa Cruz, CA

As long as our readers respond to ads and convince our advertisers to continue selling their wares on our pages, we should never have to charge for a subscription. At least, not in the U.S. (See next letter.) -Editors

A Foreign Exchange

Byte recently mentioned Signal and your subscription rates. With regard to women's lib or the integration of races, America is reputed to be one of the most avant-garde, liberal states. What about transferring liberality to domains other than women's lib or race integration? As a European resident, I feel discriminated against for not being a U.S. resident. I see that free postage or air mail delivery fees to Europe aren't justified, but I cannot see any reason for having to pay for more than these fees if your distribution policy is fair. As a European resident, I have to pay nearly triple subscription rates for any computer magazine. Not to mention the waiting times until they arrive. Is it possible to get Signal for nothing more than the delivery fees? Getting access to special Lisa-related information would be more than valuable to me. I am looking for PROLOG or LISP implementations for the Lisa, serious non-gimmick statistical packages running on a Lisa, and some review or recommendation of Unix V implementations for the Lisa, items of which scarce, if any, mention is made in the usual wide-scope magazines.
--- Peter Michael Fisher, Tübingen, West Germany

We use airmail outside of the U.S. because surface mail is too slow and unreliable. We've sent you issue #14 by airmail so you can decide if a subscription is worth it. Notice the required postage totals almost nine times what it costs to send the same issue to anyone in our own country. Because of these high postage costs and the special handling required for foreign issues, we think $2.00 per issue is a fair and accurate delivery fee.

We doubt if anyone is ever going to implement PROLOG on the Lisa, but we have seen a Lawrence Livermore Lab report titled "A Portable LISP Interpreter" (order report UCRL-52417 from the National Technical Information Service, U.S. Department of Commerce, 5285 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22161). The report is 17 pages long and consists mainly of a listing of the interpreter, which is coded in 1,056 lines of Pascal, is well commented, and includes a cross-reference table. Maybe you could make it run in Lisa's Workshop? -Editors

An Author Needs Help

I'm writing a book on art and the Mac. I would like to speak with people who are using the graphics arts capabilities of the Mac in their trade or business. This would include artists, planners, architects, designers, printers, illustrators, technicians, publishers, art directors, etc. Please call (619) 942-3838 or write to me at 2139 Newcastle Avenue.
--- Vahe Guzelimian, Cardiff by the Sea, CA

Don't overlook the Lisa. Because of the capabilities of LisaDraw, a lot of "video desktop" users are doing their graphics work on the Lisa, not just the Mac.-Editors

Some Signal #14 Feedback

Your article on 7/7 was very informative, much more so than paging through the quarter-inch thick dealer information booklet published by Apple. In fooling with the 7/7 version of LisaDraw at my local dealer, I found that another minor flaw in earlier versions has been fixed: you can now construct much smaller circles (and some other shapes, too). I use them for dots on schematic diagrams to denote electrical connections, etc.

It would have been great if Apple could have seen fit to create a menu selection to allow text to actually become part of a drawing. It would allow text to be shaped, stretched, expanded, contracted or even curved to follow the contour of another object. Oh well, maybe version 4.0?

George T. Elerding sounded interested in a database program more powerful than LisaList. Brock Software (Crystal Lake, IL) markets one called Keystroke. I have not had any hands-on experience with it yet, but it looks quite flexible.

Like Mr. Elerding, I have experienced some hardware problems. During high resolution printing, the printout is occasionally compressed vertically, just enough to be quite noticeable. My dealer has replaced the Imagewriter control board to no avail. The Lisa I/O board failed the self-test programs; we are currently waiting for a replacement from Apple. It has been a three-week wait so far, and my warranty died on August 5th. I have even entertained the thought that it may be a software problem that might be cured by 7/7. Wish me luck.

In the August 20th issue of InfoWorld ("Mac's success Rubs Off On Lisa"), Ken Lim of Dataquest in San Jose was quoted as follows: "Despite the common conception among buyers that only a handful of Lisa software products have yet been developed, Lim estimates there are about 150 different programs available solely for the Lisa". How can we software-starved Lisa users lay our hands on even a partial list of the programs?
--- Bob Ziller, Brea, CA

As far as we can tell from the sales brochure, Keystroke (like all other third party software currently available for the Lisa) runs as a stand-alone program, and is not an integrated, Lisa-like, desktop application. A lot of users would like to see a database manager that lives on the desktop and that interfaces with the other existing Lisa applications.

Think your printer problem might be software? First try arranging a temporary swap with a properly working printer to find out if the problem is in your printer or in your computer.

As for all that Lisa software, you'll have to ask Mr. Lim. It should be interesting to hear how he arrived at his estimate. -Editors

Habadex Back Again

We were about half way through testing the original version of Habadex that we received as reported in Signal #13, when we got a call from Morrisa Zimmeth at Pollare Fischer, Haba System's public relations firm. Morrisa explained that a new release would soon be available, so we decided to put our Habadex evaluation on hold. Sure enough, a new kit arrived early this month, this time with an adapter to allow Habadex and Macintosh to plug into the phone lines (our original kit only included the software), along with a new disk with a small sticker identifying it as version 1.1, and a 21-page addendum explaining various changes and enhancements. No word on what the upgrade policy for existing users will be. We've started our evaluation over. Morrisa is trying to find us some large demo files so we can exercise the software at its limits without having to spend forever typing in a lot of dummy data. Stay tuned for further developments.