Report From The Castle

San Mateo's Dunfey Hotel, which might be described as a kind of English Tudor castle, was the site of Apple's week-long Independent Developers' Conference, and Signal was there on "Lisa Day", August 11th, to observe the activities.

Looking back now, three aspects of that gathering seem most interesting: (1) the pervasive feeling that a relatively small group of individuals, and not a large corporation, created the software that makes Lisa so special, (2) the confused state many developers surprisingly seemed to be in as they tried to decide which of the available environments (standalone or windowed or Toolkit) would best support their software, and (3) the nice speed improvements already evident in the unreleased software running in the demo machines that happened to be there.

Award for best anecdote told by a speaker goes to QuickDraw author Bill Atkinson for his story of how Apple co-founder Steve Jobs convinced him to include warm and friendly RoundRects (instead of supporting only cold and computerized rectangles) among Lisa's graphics routines.

Credit Where Credit Is Due

While the Developers' Conference made it clear that individuals and small groups are responsible for much (if not all) of Lisa's software, it is interesting to note that out of the six applications binders that come with each machine, only LisaProject includes a cover page declaring it is a "Program by Debra J. Willrett".

Quote Of The Month

"It's like Lisa, only separate machines are better". Those are the words of a New York City investment banking vice-president (see page 16 in the ICP Interface Administrative & Accounting August issue) as he explains how using a Compaq portable, an IBM PC, and an Apple III all at once provides him with truly multiple windows and literally split screens. We're afraid to ask if cutting and pasting between the systems is accomplished with floppies and scissors. Perhaps the 200 people-years spent on Lisa was all for nothing?

Fooling LisaWrite

Developers who need to move large amounts of text from the Workshop editor into a LisaWrite document in the Office System might like to try this risky shortcut:

1. In the Workshop, place the text to be moved into a file with a name such as {D999T1}, which is the format of the "private" LisaWrite filenames that appear in directory listings once the F command is given to the System Manager in the Workshop.

2. Go to the Office System environment. There won't be any sign of the file, yet.

3. Repair the disk! The system will find the file and display it on the desktop with a name like Document 999.

4. The new document may now be edited with LisaWrite.

Read Protects & Backspaces

Jeff Bradford of Apple gave us a call to mention that a write protect [see Signal #1, The Topology Of Lisa Disks] is also a read protect, and Lisa can't really do much with a write protected disk. Also, a shifted backspace [same issue, A Lisa Bug (Or Feature?)] restores the character erased by any immediately preceding backspace. This seems to work everywhere on the system, although we could find no mention of this feature anywhere in the documentation. We still would like a shifted backspace to act like a normal backspace if there is no previously erased character to be restored.

Peanuts, Popcorn...

The industry is already abuzz with rumors about IBM's "Peanut" machine, due to be unveiled in September. Now the August Datamation reports that IBM is also working on "Popcorn", a 68000-based $10K Unix machine for challenging Lisa in the Spring of 1984. That same issue claims Apple has sold out its 1983 production of 20,000 Lisas, and that Lisa floppies are hard to find. Until recently, we did notice a floppy shortage, but now dealers seem to have plenty in stock. Prices are high, but shopping around helps: one dealer quoted us $70 for a box of five disks, while another asked $120 for ten.