Gaining Speed With TurboCharger
by James Bierman and Eli Hollander
TurboCharger is a new $95 "disk cache" program for speeding up the 512K Mac, from Nevins Microsystems Inc., 210 5th Ave., New York, NY 10010, (212) 563-1910. TurboCharger assists the Macintosh by holding the contents of the most recently and frequently used disk sectors in RAM, thus eliminating the time it would take to re-read the sectors from disk. TurboCharger installs on a startup disk with great ease, and functions invisibly once it's put into action.
TurboCharger avoids many of the pitfalls that characterize its two leading competitors, RAM disk and Switcher. It effectively speeds up programs by as much as three to ten times, particularly applications that use large files, like data base programs and spelling checkers, since they frequently refer to disk.
There are two ways to install TurboCharger on your startup disk, both of them a breeze. The first is simply to insert the TurboCharger master disk, and the program goes into action, ejecting the disk, and prompting you to insert the disk you wish to "turbocharge".
The second almost equally simple method is to copy the TurboCharger icon onto a startup disk. Open that icon, and you will be given a dialogue box of options for choosing the size of the disk cache buffer (32K, 64K, 128K, 192K, 256K, "maximum", or OFF), an auto startup option, and a "buffer writes" option that controls whether or not TurboCharger temporarily holds certain disk information in RAM. There is also a short help menu built into the program. Using the first installation procedure, the program is preset to auto startup and sets the buffer size at 256K.
Installing TurboCharger with the auto start mode adds two resources to the System file. One resource loads TurboCharger while you're looking at "Welcome to Macintosh", before the Finder is loaded. The booting speed of the Mac is not affected by the addition of the two resources, which are removed from the System file when TurboCharger is turned off.
Under normal use, the preset choices function very well. For applications that run in less than 128K, it's possible to set the buffer size to the "maximum", which is designed to leave you with the equivalent of a 128K Mac after disk cache buffering. For larger applications, such as ThinkTank 512, a smaller buffer (192K) must be chosen. Unfortunately, a little experimentation is necessary to determine what buffer size works best with each application. The larger the buffer, the more effective TurboCharger is in speeding up the Mac, but too large a buffer will cripple certain programs designed to take advantage of the 512K Mac. For example, MacPaint 1.5 loses its fast scrolling capability when the buffer is set to the maximum. With a 256K buffer, MacPaint functions as on a "normal" 512K Macintosh, but with an overall increase in speed. The vendor should provide a list of commonly used software and the buffer size best suited to each program.
The "buffer writes" option in the installation dialogue box displays an alert and is accompanied by appropriately stern warnings in the manual. If this option is on when a program bombs, or when your Mac is reset or accidentally turned off (as in the case of a power failure), you could possibly destroy your entire disk, because information normally recorded in the Desktop file and essential to the Finder would be lost. It is our feeling that the slight speed gained by this option is a temptation not justified in light of this enormous risk, and we recommend that the vendor not make this option available. It's too chancy!
The attractive thing about TurboCharger is that once you have all your settings correct, you can forget about it. Its functioning is entirely invisible. To save 14K of disk space, you can even remove the TurboCharger control application by trashing its icon, and your disk will remain TurboCharged. (If you want to remove the TurboCharger function altogether, all you have to do is re-insert the master disk, which will ask you if you want to do the removal.) Except for increased speed, there is no easy way to tell if a disk is TurboCharged or not once the icon is removed. The manufacturer claims that giving away a TurboCharged disk, even without the icon, is an infringement of copyright.
On a disk-intensive system like the Macintosh, TurboCharger can make a considerable difference. The increase in performance appears inconsistent, but has an overall effect of greatly speeding things up. When you first load a program, there is little improvement because the Mac is reading sectors that haven't previously been used. Subsequent reads (including the frequent references to the System file the Mac seems to love) can be three to five times faster. With the 4.1 miniFinder, opening MacPaint 1.5 took 13 seconds without TurboCharger, but only 9.8 seconds with TurboCharger and only 2.8 seconds the second time MacPaint was opened. Quiting MacPaint took 4.2 seconds without TurboCharger, but only 1.5 seconds with TurboCharger.
Without TurboCharger, MacWrite 4.5 took 17.6 seconds to open and 6.5 seconds to quit. With TurboCharger, MacWrite took 15 seconds to open the first time, 6.5 seconds to open the second time, 3.6 seconds to quit the first time, and 4.2 seconds to quit the second time.
Without TurboCharger, Microsoft Word took 18.8 seconds to open and 17.0 seconds to quit. With TurboCharger, Word took 13.8 seconds to open the first time, 4.3 seconds to open the second time, 9.6 seconds to quit the first time, and 7.3 seconds to quit the second time.
Moving from one application to another provides a more dramatic example of the kind of improvements one can expect with TurboCharger. To go from Microsoft Word to the Rolodex and back using the 4.1 Finder took 69.3 seconds without TurboCharger, but only 27 seconds the first time and 21 seconds the second time with TurboCharger.
Improvements of two or three hundred percent typify TurboCharger's performance. Even the first time an application is started from the desktop, the loading of that program is still speeded up because portions of the System file and Finder are already cached in RAM and don't need to be read from the disk repeatedly. Applications themselves work faster with TurboCharger because, once they are loaded, frequently used portions of the program's code or data remain in TurboCharger's RAM buffer instead of being re-read from disk. For example, Hayden:Speller takes considerably less time to check the spelling of a document once its dictionaries are already in memory.
Currently, RAM disk and Switcher are probably the most commonly used programs for speeding up the Mac. They each have uses for which they are particularly suited, but TurboCharger surpasses them both in general use. TurboCharger can be installed and forgotten, and from then on it always assists the Mac's operation, although not as dramatically as RAM disk or Switcher in certain cases. (Another disk cache program called MacBooster has been announced by Mainstay, but had not started shipping when we last checked.)
Compared to RAM disk, TurboCharger does not cause a Mac to take any extra time in starting up (it even takes a little less), nor does it load seldom used resources such as dialog boxes, alerts, and program overlays. A RAM disk loads a program into memory twice (once into the RAM disk and once into RAM when in use), holds only a single average size application along with the System folder, and will not function with copy protected software, which TurboCharger does.
Switcher can be of enormous benefit if you are working exclusively with two or three applications for a long period of time. It shifts between loaded applications almost instantly, but doesn't routinely speed them up as TurboCharger does. Loading Switcher is neither quick nor easy, and its use increases the risks of a bomb, especially with several open files. TurboCharger has the advantage over both Switcher and RAM disk of loading only needed disk sectors into memory, rather than an entire application or file.
There are some limitations. First, TurboCharger cannot be installed on the Macintosh XL or a system using a hard disk. The vendor promises to fix that soon in an update.
Second, TurboCharger doesn't work with a 128K Mac, because it's designed to always leave 128K free from buffer control.
Third, the buffer size is determined by the setting on the startup disk. If a second disk is inserted with a different selected buffer size, it is forced to conform to the first size. TurboCharger presently has no way of associating different buffer sizes with different applications. In practice, that means that buffers have to be set at the lowest common denominator if you want to avoid resetting your Mac or TurboCharger's controls when you move to a second application disk.
Fourth, since TurboCharger automatically uses up a certain amount of RAM, some functions such as copying files or disks on a single drive Mac necessitate excessive disk swapping. For such tasks, it's best (and relatively easy) to turn off TurboCharger.
The great advantage of TurboCharger is that it works in a vast variety of circumstances, appreciably speeding up the Macintosh. Its algorithm enables it to determine what to keep in memory to adapt to your patterns of use. It has most of the advantages of the RAM disk without its shortcomings. It is invisible, and once installed, you can forget about it. After a couple weeks of intensive use, we have gotten used to our Mac's vastly improved performance, and would hate to give up TurboCharger.
Subscriber Interests And Activities
Mike Zwilling, Diamond, OH: I teach college math and use my Mac to make up tests and homework, and write committee reports and other word processing chores, including my dissertation in biostatistics. I'm on the lookout for a statistics package, and I'm still waiting for Apple's BASIC.
Albert Chang, Patchogue, NY: I purchased a Lisa 2/10 last year for Macintosh software development. I am still in the learning process and finding the Macintosh tools very powerful but slower to learn than other computers I've developed for in the past. I am using the Manx Aztec C compiler.
Cosmo Castellano, New Hartford, NY: I am interested in software development for the Macintosh. I work at General Electric and do digital logic design and microcode in addition to other electrical engineering tasks. I use a 300 baud modem to access a VAX computer at work.
Scott G. Hess, Chico, CA: I'm a senior at Chico State majoring in electrical engineering. I've been using my Mac mainly with Microsoft BASIC to plot and analyze experimental lab data. Also, MacWrite/Paint/Draw are excellent for writing up engineering reports.
James L. Bruun, Minnetonka, MN: I have a Lisa 2/5 running MacWorks. I have the Lisa 7/7 software, but have stopped using it in favor of various Microsoft programs on the 5MB hard disk. I am a software developer and have recently purchased Consulair C. I think it's the best software development environment I've discovered for the Mac.
Amy Veranth, Portland, OR: I am an attorney and use my Mac for drafting briefs and pleadings for court. Although my secretary still types the final document on our office word processor, being able to draft and edit on the Mac enables me to write more precisely in less time.
David Cusimano, Willowdale, Canada: I bought my Lisa when it first came out on the market. I use it for telecommunications, MacWorks, keeping club records, formal reports and correspondence.
Robert J. Whitney, Wyandotte, MI: I'm using DB Master on the Mac to maintain a data base of local cable production volunteers. It specifies their interests and abilities, classes in TV production they've taken, their availability to do productions at various times during the week, and, of course, the ever present mailing and phone number lists. I have also been using the Mac to prepare program schedules for our two locally programmed cable channels. The schedules are processed for use as listings for the local weekly newspaper and as actual program logs for operating the two channels.
ClickArt Effects Useful But Unstable
If you regularly use MacPaint, you'll probably want (and maybe even need) a $49.95 diskette called ClickArt Effects, from T/Maker Co., 2115 Landings Dr., Mountain View, CA 94043, (415) 962-0195. ClickArt Effects extends MacPaint by providing tools for rotating, slanting, distorting, or adding perspective to screen images.
ClickArt Effects installs in seconds. You just copy the supplied icon to a disk containing MacPaint, and then open the icon to get an installation dialog box that allows you to Install, Remove, or Cancel. Once installed, MacPaint's accessory menu will reveal a new selection called ClickArt Effects. (The icon for doing the installation can then be trashed.) Selecting the new menu option causes the MacPaint tools to temporarily disappear and be replaced with four new Effects tools: a wheel for rotating, the Leaning Tower of Pisa for slanting, a road for perspective, and hands twisting paper for distortion.
Dragging the pointer across the painting creates a selection rectangle similar to MacPaint's standard selection marquee. The corners of the selected rectangle can then be dragged to cause the image to rotate or distort, depending on the last Effects tool selected. If the wheel is the current tool, the selection rectangle rotates when a corner is dragged. (The rotated contents are painted once the mouse button is released at the end of the move.) Holding down the Shift key constrains the rotation to five degree steps. With the tower tool, only horizontal moves of a pair of corners are allowed, and the slanted selection rectangle always keeps the shape of a parallelogram. The road tool allows one rectangle corner to move horizontally to create a trapezoid for perspective, and the distort tool allows any corner to be moved independently in any direction. Undo is available to correct bad moves, and MacPaint can be re-entered at any time by again selecting ClickArt Effects in the accessory menu. The translated images created by ClickArt Effects are always a little rough looking at first, but usually it's fairly easy to clean up the distortions by spending just a few moments in FatBits.
ClickArt Effects is a terrific extension to MacPaint, and we expect to be using it quite often. Unfortunately, a copy of MacPaint that had never crashed in a year of use crashed twice during our only session with Effects (first with a "bad version of MacPaint" message, then later with the infamous restart bomb), so we'll have to withhold the Thumbs Up we expected to award until we determine what's going wrong.
Publications Received For The First Time
Mini'app'les, Minnesota Apple Computer Users' Group Inc. (includes Macintosh Special Interest Group), $17/first year, Box 796, Hopkins, MN 55343, (612) 866-3441.
Spring 1985 Newsletter, Berkeley Macintosh User Group, $15/semester, 1442A Walnut St. #153, Berkeley, CA 94709, (415) 849-9114.
Known Users, Sequoia Macintosh Users' Group, $20/year, Box 4623, Arcata, CA 95521, (707) 822-3578.
Penn Printout, University of Pennsylvania Microcomputer Services (for all Penn user groups), 1202 Blockley Hall/S1, Philadelphia, PA 19104, (215) 898-1780.
Membership Newsletter, Austin Area Certified Developers Association, Box 50447, Austin, TX 78763, (512) 441-4583.
Mac Orange Journal, Mac Orange County Users Group, free, Box 2178, Huntington Beach, CA 92647, (714) 842-0518.
Mouse Droppings, Macintosh Users Group of Corvallis, Box 1912, Albany, OR 97321, (503) 563-2501.
MAGISkaBLADET (magic leaf), Macintosh Använder Grupp I Sverige, Dianavägen 30, 11543 Stockholm, Sweden, (08) 673-568.
New Clubs Forming
Montana Macademics, c/o Michael Sexson, Montana State University, Department of English, Bozeman, MT 59717, (406) 994-3768.
Minot Mac Users, 620 10th Ave. SE, Minot, ND 58701.
Tri-State Mac Users Group, c/o David Hoefer, Box 241, Townshend, VT 05353, (802) 365-7778.
Australian Lisa Users Group, c/o Julian Ehrlich, GPO Box 2943, Sydney, NSW 2001, Australia, (02) 260-1270.
Old Friends Keeping In Touch
FatBits, Conejo Valley Macintosh Users Group, $21/year, Box 7118, Thousand Oaks, CA 91359, (805) 499-2824, and Ventura County Macintosh Club, $21/year, Box 7754, Oxnard, CA 93031.
Mac News, Eugene Macintosh Group, $15/year, Box 10988, Eugene, OR 97440, (503) 683-5565.
MacCountry, North Coast Mac User's Group, $10/year, 503 Marylyn Cir., Petaluma, CA 94952, (707) 763-1124.
San Diego Mac News, San Diego Macintosh User Group, $15/year, Box 12561, La Jolla, CA 92037.
Mac'n'Talk, Victoria's Macintosh Users Group, $1/issue (Canadian), Box 7075-D, Victoria, BC V9B 4Z2, Canada.
MacNuggets, Carnegie-Mellon Macintosh Users' Group, $24/year, 5115 Margaret Morrison St., Pittsburgh, PA 15213.
BETA Macs, Beautiful East Texas Area Mac Users, $15/year, 1601 Cindy Lou, Henderson, TX 75652.
GD Infonet Newsletter, General Dynamics, Box 85808 MZ VP-5250, San Diego, CA 92138.
Mac Digest, Los Angeles Macintosh Group, $1.50/issue, 12021 Wilshire Blvd. #349, Los Angeles, CA 90025, (213) 392-5697.
Adding To Word's Font List
In Signal #22, you state that Microsoft Word lets you select fonts from a scrolling dialog box that allows 32 fonts. My question is how? How do I get more fonts into the Word program?
--- David A. Newton, Upland, CA
Like MacWrite, Word displays whatever fonts are installed in the System file. You can use the standard Apple utility called Font Mover (it should be on one of the disks that came with your Mac) to move fonts in and out of the System file. -Editors
Paying A Pre-Released Program Penalty
I was editing a 3.8 MacWrite file when a bomb appeared. Now the 14K file won't open, and a bomb keeps appearing with the message that I have a system error and need to restart. Can you suggest a way to recover the file?
--- Martin Fass, Rochester, NY
Probably your best bet is to use a utility like Mac Zap, which is the only disk poker we've seen so far that includes instructions for recovering "lost" or damaged files. Write to Micro Analyst Inc., Box 15003, Austin, TX 78761 or call (512) 926-4527. -Editors
Moving From Lisa To Mac
I have a Lisa 2/10 which I use with a LisaCalc template I designed for daily accounts receivable in my office. I also have a 512K Macintosh. I am ultimately planning to switch to the Jazz program since I understand it allows up to 8,000 rows. That would greatly simplify my data entry and the number of individual files on disk.
Rather than retype every entry, I wonder if there is a way to send the information over to my Macintosh and then capture it and place it in Jazz? I read Apple is developing tools to allow conversion of Lisa files to Macintosh files. Do you have any information about this? Do you have information on using the serial interface between the two computers?
--- Michael B. Rumelt, St. Louis, MO
An April 29th press release from Apple promises that "owners using Lisa 7/7 software will be able to convert most of their data files so they can be used with Macintosh applications from other companies". We know a couple of users who have requested and received a preliminary (0.5) version of the "Macintosh Migration" package from their dealers, but we haven't heard how well it works. For a long time, we've done serial transfers of text files between the machines by simply plugging Mac's printer cable into Lisa's serial port A or B and then using MacTerminal and LisaTerminal to send text to one another. -Editors
MacPublisher vs. ReadySetGo
As editor of Mouse Droppings, the Mac Users Group of Corvallis newsletter, I was anxious to try out MacPublisher and ReadySetGo. Early editions of Mouse Droppings were composed exclusively in MacPaint. That's flexible, but also time consuming.
MacPublisher, by being first off the blocks, got the first try. It was frustrating from the start. Some early versions of MacPublisher refused to print out anything at all. The manual contained a lot of surprises. Dialog boxes showed up that the manual didn't cover. Others were difficult to understand.
To make a page pleasing to look at, I like to slip in boldface subheads to break up long pieces of text. In MacPublisher, that means every subhead has to be a separate "article" (their term for a block of copy with the same attributes) since you can't imbed an italicized or boldface word within a line, which must be in one font, size, and style. You also can't create a vertical rule for separating columns.
The manual doesn't help you find out how to clip an article which extends deeper than a single screenful. I finally found that I could clip after using the scissors to drag the scroll box. Simple, but something that should be in the manual for us "literal minded" users.
With a lot of trepidation, I next tried ReadySetGo. The minute I looked at the manual, I sighed in relief. It looked great. Few words and lots of screen dumps. I booted ReadySetGo and waded into the tutorial. Everything worked just as the manual said it would. Every screen dump looked like what I saw on my screen. In less than 2,500 words, ReadySetGo's manual lets you make the program hum.
After completing the tutorial, I attempted a reproduction of a Mouse Droppings first page, complete with full width MacPaint logo, vertical column rules, headlines, stories, subheads, and imbedded boldface words in the middle of lines. Although no first time job with a brand new application is simple, I finished in a couple of hours! And it printed out on the Laserwriter, looking like a downtown print job!
The construction and positioning of text, pictures, frames and solid boxes is simple. It can be done by eyeball or with a dialog box that measures down to thousandths of an inch. Carryovers (material too long to fit in the column where you started it) are easily handled. Cut and Paste within ReadySetGo or from other applications is easy, although when I attempted to delete selected words or phrases with a backspace command, ReadySetGo only removed a letter at a time. The Cut or Clear command must be used instead. Sometimes when I selected a word or phrase for removal, ReadySetGo created highlighted selection boxes in other locations, and placed the cursor other than where I positioned it when I started backspacing letters out of the text.
I already have a wish list for ReadySetGo. Why not include an "advanced" tutorial which shows you how to lay out several pages, typical of users' needs? How about an on-screen transparent ruler or some other aid to help decide what measurements to use before entering them in the dialog box? How about having the dialog boxes automatically use default measurements?
One limitation is that ReadySetGo requires a 512K Macintosh. If you have a 128K Mac, you may want to try MacPublisher instead.
--- Philip C. Russell, Waldport, OR
We're Such A Flighty Publication
It is rather disheartening to see that you are so quickly dropping support of your Lisa readers, to concentrate on just Macintosh.
--- Max Dommartin, Los Angeles, CA
Quickly? We think it's been a very long two years since we first started writing about Lisa, a machine we originally expected would take the industry by storm. It was rather lonely, being what seemed like Lisa's only fan during all that time.
Thanks for including the membership list of your Los Angeles Lisa/XL club. We'll definitely send them samples of Signal so they can subscribe, but why did you wait so long to tell us about them? You haven't forgotten to tell them about us also, have you? (Out of your list of over twenty members, our records show that only eight have ever contacted Signal to ask for a free subscription!) User group organizers take note: tell your members about us. They'll appreciate the freebie, we'll appreciate the circulation, and our issues will get to you faster (because if enough Signals are headed for one destination, like to all those club members who have been joining us from Honolulu, the Post Office allows us to bundle the issues in their very own mailbag for direct routing). -Editors
Rolodex Help Needed, MusicWorks Help Given
Has anyone found a bug-free version of Bill Atkinson's (or any other public domain) Rolodex program?
There's a jukebox program on Compuserve that allows MusicWorks users to load up over 30 or so music files and play them back automatically.
--- David Hoefer, Townshend, VT
How To Learn About Computers
I am relatively new to computers, and would like to learn a great deal more about them. Can you suggest any courses or other ways of doing so?
--- Stanley M. Herman, Escondido, CA
To jump in and really learn to swim (as opposed to just learning "operations", like defining spreadsheets or data bases) we always recommend a three step course for learning about computers: 1) Write programs. 2) Write more programs. 3) Write even more programs. Follow that simple plan, and you'll be up to your eyeballs in no time.
If you like to experiment, explore, and tinker, then buy Microsoft BASIC 2.0, grab as many public domain BASIC programs as you can find at your local user group, sit down with your Mac and Microsoft's manual, and try to figure out what each program does and how it works, line by line. Start with the small programs first, and work your way up. Think of ways you'd like to make existing programs work differently, then change them, and observe the effect of your modifications.
If instead you prefer a more classic, textbook approach to programming, buy Macintosh Pascal along with a good tutorial, like A Primer on Pascal by Conway, Gries and Zimmerman, and learn to program step by step, from scratch. See if you can find and audit a nearby college course that uses Macs. Choosing Pascal first will help you avoid some of the bad programming habits that are easy to pick up when exposed to an older, less elegant language like BASIC, but until new Mac-oriented books are published, old Pascal textbooks won't even hint at Mac's unique Quickdraw graphics, which are much easier to control from Microsoft's BASIC than from Apple's Pascal. -Editors
Atari About To Axe Apple?
I don't own a Mac or Lisa, though I did work in the same building as an Apple sales office in New Jersey. I program 8086-based systems and own an early IBM PC, now 41 months old. I think the Mac is a failed product, and that Atari stands a good chance at blotting out Apple's sun. With color and half to third the price on the "Jackintosh", Apple is squeezed by Atari at the low end and IBM at the high.
I liked Layered's ad in Signal #21, showing a root canal for Steve Jobs.
--- Patrick Banchy, New York, NY
Improving Reviews And Bypassing Protection
I liked your stories on Profit Projections and Microsoft Word in Signal #22, but it would be nice if you could cut down the size of your reviews by not telling how to use each program, but instead explaining what the program actually does. You would then have more room to run reviews on more programs, and that would be more help to me in deciding which programs will be best to use in my photography business.
I have seen ads for software that can copy protected disks. Does this mean I can copy Multiplan and then not have to re-insert the master when I use the copy?
--- John Grisham, Memphis, TN
If word processing programs A and B both offer paragraph selection, you might decide to buy either. But if you read that program A lets you select a paragraph only by clicking on the first word and dragging the cursor to the last word, while program B lets you select a paragraph by simply clicking anywhere in it, you might prefer B. How a program is used, not just what it does, is often an important measure of its usefulness.
As for the copying packages, yes, they're intended to be able to copy (or modify) a disk so that a copy thinks it's a master and works just like one, without bothering you about re-inserting the real master disk. However, you should check with the copy program vendor before assuming you'll be able to successfully duplicate any given disk, since new protection schemes seem to be hatched every day. -Editors
The Pricing Controversy Continues
Signal #23 stumbled in here two nights ago, the one in which the professor of musicology takes you to task about the true value of (his) books for "programming humans". I enjoyed his comment. There is some truth to all sides I have read thus far. Had I realized I was in a skirmish, I would have fired both barrels at first encounter in Signal #22. So, here is another shot:
No argument, software publishers have every right to charge the last penny the traffic will bear, but is it wise? For specialized software with a small market, there is no alternative, but that doesn't account for the data base program sellers. They claim that every Mac user has need of data base software, yet prices of those unspecialized applications are exorbitant.
The smart software houses know that the safest way to weather the coming shakeout is via a loyal customer base, one that perceives quality and has reason to believe it is not being ripped off. Take Borland International for example. Their new and unprotected (!) TurboPascal (not for Mac) is $69.95, while their big-name competitor offers a similar program for $295. Borland's is a sophisticated and powerful package. Which company's customers will be content and loyal after getting the product home, only to discover what the competition is selling theirs for?
What we are talking about is not entirely economics. It is ethics and image.
--- Ned Raub, Waterford, CT
New Imagewriter Driver Available
If you haven't already done so, stop by an Apple dealer with a Laserwriter. The Laserwriter diskettes contain an enhanced Imagewriter driver that supports the 15" wide carriage Imagewriter, and also includes a 50% reduction feature.
--- Ted Johansen, Jacksonville, IL
Some Favorites Not So Appealing After All
At your suggestion, I contacted Brownbag Software in preparation for the review I was hoping to send you, and was told that there is a new version for 2.0 Microsoft BASIC of their "31 All-Time Favorite Programs". The person I talked to didn't have any specific details on the differences between the old and new versions. They did say the new version would run under both 1.0 and 2.0 BASIC.
If their new release runs on both versions of Microsoft BASIC, then the programs won't be of much interest to Macintosh users, since 1.0 has no provisions for menus, buttons, or edits fields, like 2.0 does. Those are the things that make Macintosh programs unique.
I tried running one of the 1.0 programs (Slot Machine) on 2.0 and found the graphics did not work properly because the standard output window on 2.0 is different than 1.0.
The programs I tried on 1.0 didn't make full use of the mouse, but instead required frequent use of the keyboard. Also, most of the input routines weren't written to accept both upper and lowercase letters. Finally, the programs were not well documented, which makes revision or additions a chore.
--- Scott Hess, Chico, CA
How To Rewind Files
How do you start reading again from the beginning of a sequential Microsoft BASIC file once it has been read through initially?
--- Pat Borschowa, Hubbard, OR
First CLOSE the file, then re-OPEN it to start over, as implied on pages 303 and 305 in Microsoft's 2.0 manual. -Editors
LisaVision Address Revealed
In Signal #23, you described a $79 pixel switch circuit board from LisaVision. Since I cannot phone the toll-free number you mentioned, would you give me their complete address?
--- P. M. Fischer, Tuebingen, West Germany
Our apologies to you and the other overseas subscribers who had to write us for the address and normal phone number: 10410 San Fernando Ave., Cupertino, CA 95014, (408) 446-3614. -Editors
Price Of A Disk Buys Fonts
Wayne State University has developed foreign language Macintosh fonts and is distributing them for a $5 handling charge to cover the cost of a diskette. Currently available fonts include classical Greek, Polish, Armenian, Ukrainian, and Russian. Write to the Documentation Library, Computing Services Center, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202 or call (313) 577-2144.
Received, But Not Yet Reviewed
This list is not compiled from press releases, but only from real products that have actually arrived at our office.
MacTalk: Telecomputing on the Macintosh, a book by Sheldon Leemon and Arlan Levitan. $14.95, ISBN 0-942386-85-X, Compute! Publications Inc., 324 W. Wendover Ave. #200, Greensboro, NC 27408, (919) 275-9809.
ClickOn Worksheet, a desk accessory spreadsheet and chart display program for the Macintosh. $79.95, T/Maker Co., 2115 Landings Dr., Mountain View, CA 94043, (415) 962-0195.
FastFinder, an alternative desktop environment for the Macintosh. $100, Tardis Software, 2817 Sloat Rd., Pebble Beach, CA 93953, (408) 372-1722.
Scripture Bits/Electro Bits demo disk (English version), selected MacWrite and MacPaint collections of Bible references and electronic elements and computer symbols. $10, Medina Software, 2008 Las Palmas Cir., Orlando, FL 32822, (305) 281-1557.
Airborne!, an arcade game for the Mac. $34.95, Silicon Beach Software Inc., 11212 Dalby Pl. #201, San Diego, CA 92126, (619) 695-6956.
TexSys, a text file control system for the Lisa Workshop. $49.95, ToolMasters Ltd., 1810 Michael Faraday Dr. #205, Reston, VA 22090, (703) 478-0220.
Helix User News, a monthly newsletter for users of Odesta's Helix. $19/year, Helix User Service, 3511 Sheridan, Des Moines, IA 50310, (515) 279-4212.
Logo, a programming environment for the Mac. $124.99, Microsoft Corp., 10700 Northup Way, Bellevue, WA 98004, (206) 828-8080.
Helix 1.13, an update for the Helix data-based information management and decision support system. Free to registered Helix owners, Odesta Corp., 3186 Doolittle Dr., Northbrook, IL 60062, (800) 323-5423.
Personal Computer Usage Record, a log for recording computer use time for tax purposes. $2.50, Richard C. Foley, 1440 Japaul Ln., San Jose, CA 95132, (408) 926-6993.
CP/MAC, a Macintosh interpreter for CP/M applications. $135, Logique, 30100 Town Center Dr. "O" #198, Laguna Niguel, CA 92677, (714) 953-8985.
MailManager 1.1, an upgrade to the list, label and form letter generator for the Macintosh. Free to registered MailManager owners, SofTech Microsystems Inc., 16875 W. Bernardo Dr., San Diego, CA 92127, (619) 451-1230.