Exploring The Macintosh Upgrade

If you've been staying in touch with your Mac dealer, by now you should have acquired the free software upgrade that recently became available. We popped over to a nearby ComputerLand outlet with some blank disks to get our copy, and within minutes we were back at the office exploring the changes that Apple has made. The upgrade's new disk copy utility is fantastic. Many users waiting for an external disk will probably decide they can live without it, once they find how easy it now is to copy disks on a one-drive Mac.

We were happy to find more new fonts and text sizes, and noticed the system no longer requires 12 point New York (it uses Geneva instead). Unfortunately, MacPaint and MacWrite don't always seem to want to include every possible point size in their size menus. Is there some kind of undocumented limit? The new Cairo font is fun, and shows the kind of creativity that can be expected once the font editor is generally available.

Many users have independently discovered the Cairo Option-Shift-A character, but how many found Option-U followed by Shift-A?


To Shift Or Not To Shift: It's An Option

We found the special Cairo Option characters by trying all 28 of the so-called "dead key diacritical" combinations (in other words, all of the accented characters that can be generated by using the Option key to overstrike certain letters). Unfortunately, the only good description of the available combinations of accents and characters seems to be buried in the Lisa Workshop manuals, so many Mac and Lisa owners must use trial and error to find the legal overstrikes: â, ê, î, ô, û, à, è, ì, ò, ù, á, é, É, í, ó, ú, ä, Ä, ë, ï, ö, Ö, ü, Ü, ã, õ, ñ, Ñ. For example, an umlaut generated with an Option-U can be used for an accent if immediately before a Shifted-A, -O or -U, but not -E or -I.


Where To Go To See Or Read More

All kinds of interesting catalogs, newsletters, magazines and articles either by or about the Lisa and Mac keep arriving here every day.

Tom Day sent us a copy of his Lisa/Mac Developer's List, a comprehensive directory of all known hardware and software products being sold or announced. It's a 32-page LisaWrite document that includes company addresses, phone numbers, contact names, product prices or scheduled delivery dates, and (as a nice touch) the source of the information, such as an issue and page number from Macworld. Copies are $2 each from Century Next Computers, 2120 Missouri Blvd., Jefferson City, MO 65101. The List says subsequent updates for buyers are free upon request, but we imagine that at least a stamped, self-addressed envelope will have to be supplied to take advantage of that offer.

We've received two more examples of computer store newsletters generated with the help of a Lisa. One is a very slick looking twelve page issue from Computer Plus (1328 S. Mary, Sunnyvale, CA 94087) that has a nice style with lots of graphics.

The second newsletter is The Castle Caller from Castle Computers (720 New Loudon Rd., Latham, NY 12110), which features a front-page trumpet blaring musical notes. Readers who decipher each issue's changing tune are entitled to prizes or discounts. Publishers armed with Lisas may want to contact these two stores to get samples of their work.

The folks at dilithium Press sent us a copy of their 40-page fall catalog. We waded through it and, besides three other Mac books, found one with software called PC To Mac and Back: A File Transfer Utility for the IBM PC and Macintosh. It includes disks for each machine and costs $49.95.

Starting last month, A+ magazine began featuring a special section devoted to Lisa and Mac. It was twenty pages in May. USA subscriptions are $24.97 at Box 2965, Boulder, CO 80321.

Speaking of May issues, a letter from Mac and Lisa user (and architect) William Adelman at Trauth Associates in Chicago mentioned that the May issue of Progressive Architecture has an interesting article on Lisa computer aided design in architects' offices, including a LisaDrawn cover.

If you would like to help determine the contents of future Mac books, Kay Nelson at VisiCorp's VisiPress wants to hear from you. VisiPress has a detailed questionnaire to let you describe just what kind of Mac book you want them to publish. Also, you can submit tips or shortcuts. If used, you'll get "credit in the book" along with a free copy. For more information, call 408-942-6291 or write to 2895 Zanker Rd., San Jose, CA 95134.


How To Display Priam Whamos

What do you mean, you haven't seen Lisa's calculator font? Just run the following program in the Pascal Workshop, and you'll get a fascinating series of displays that include Lisa logos, scissors and printer icons, calculator keys and a Priam Whamo or two. Hit any key to display the next font, or hit the mouse button to quit.

program chars; {show Lisa's fonts}
uses {$U qd/quickdraw} quickdraw,
     {$U qd/qdsupport} qdsupport,
     {$U qd/hardware}  hardware;
const heaplim = 10000;
var heapbuf: array[0..heaplim] of integer;
    myport:  grafptr;
    event:   keyevent;
    c,fontn: integer;
    info:    fontinfo;
    penpos:  point;
begin
qdinit(@heapbuf,@heapbuf[heaplim],nil);
openport(@myport); fontn:= 0;
repeat
 fillrect(theport^.portrect,white);
 textfont(fontn); getfontinfo(info);
 moveto(5,info.ascent+5);
 for c := 0 to 255 do
  begin
  drawchar(chr(c));
  if fontn = 3 then move(15,0);
  getpen(penpos);
  if penpos.h > (720-info.widmax) then
   moveto(5,penpos.v+info.ascent+info.descent+5);
  end;
 if keybdevent(true,true,event) then
  if event.key = $06 then halt;
 fontn := fontn+1;
until false;
end.

Habadex Received

In Signal #12, we guessed that the Habadex product for the Mac might be able to handle a reader's need to maintain a list of 3,000 mailing labels. As a result, Tony Jordan of Haba Systems called early this month and let us know the capacity of Habadex was more on the order of "500 to 600" names. Haba has since sent us a copy of their product, which we're now evaluating. Watch for our review in a future issue. (Just as this issue was being completed, Haba's public relations firm called and, among other things, mentioned 10,000 Habadices have been shipped, and another 19,000 are on order.)


MacWrite Can Send ASCII

If you have a MacWrite file and you need to transmit the text as an ASCII character stream to some remote device, such as some other computer, you may be able to do it directly from MacWrite using Draft mode printing.

To do the transfer, plug the Imagewriter cable coming out of the Mac into the input port of the target machine, which should be configured to receive data just as the Imagewriter would (consult the printer documentation to determine baud rates, handshaking, pin assignments, and so on). Then have MacWrite "print" the document in Draft mode.

The target machine will receive the text as a stream of ASCII characters. A few imbedded escape codes intended to control certain printer functions will be included. If a sufficiently powerful text editor is not available to delete the escape sequences, the target machine will have to be programmed to explicitly delete or ignore Imagewriter control codes.


Our Current Wish List

1. There are many times we need to lasso a large, rectangular object in MacPaint, but find it awkward to draw the necessary enclosure. Wouldn't it be nice if holding down the Shift key would cause the lasso to form a nice, rectangular enclosure, just like the selection rectangle does, but which would shrink to fit as usual when the mouse button is released?

2. Lisa won't allow a folder to be moved to a diskette if the folder is larger than the disk. This makes backing up a single, large folder very difficult. Wouldn't it be nice if any size folder could be copied to a diskette, and the system would automatically prompt for additional diskettes, just like during full or incremental backups of the system disk?

3. We've heard more than one Mac user wish there was a way to select more than one size of eraser in MacPaint, but there already is a way to do that: just select the desired brush size and use white paint! Actually, wouldn't it be nice if the size and shape of erasers and brushes could be interactively designed with a "mini-FatBits" editor like the one used to edit patterns? An elliptical brush or a hexagonal eraser could be created in seconds.


Incremental Backups Miss Workshop Files

We have noticed that although a full backup on the Lisa will save both Office System and Workshop files, subsequent incremental backups of files that have changed will only include Office System files. Workshop files that have changed since the last full backup must be backed up manually from the Workshop.


Clear Your Desktop In Three Clicks

Imagine a desktop with a pile of open, nested folders and windows. To put everything away, a Lisa user will often individually save and put away each window and icon, neatly selecting and filing each folder until the screen is clear. This can involve a lot of mouse movement and clicks, especially if a large number of windows are open or if the printer is running (which often causes sluggish response and missed double clicks on a window's close box).

A simple and often overlooked method for quickly clearing a crowded Lisa screen and then filing everything away is to: Set Aside Everything from the File menu, Select All Icons from the Edit menu (or use the Apple-A keys), then Save & Put Away Icons from the File menu. One last click on the blank desktop then deselects any remaining icons.


This Month's Mailbag

In writing about the unfortunate discrepancy between the Lisa and Mac CRT aspect ratios that we last mentioned in Signal #11, William Ackel of San Diego wondered if "Apple could supply special glasses with MacWorks that would cancel out the distortion?"

Manny Abraben is a potential Mac purchaser and architect looking for computer aided design software and plotters for the Mac. Write to Architects Design Consortium, 2691 E. Oakland Pk. Blvd., Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33306 or call 305-564-2314.

Paul Kaplan needs a program to emulate an ADDS Regent terminal on his Lisa. Write to Addem San Diego, 923 Daisy Ave., Carlsbad, CA 92008 or call 714-268-8448.

Our Mac Freezes Lisa story in Signal #11 attracted a letter from Leigh Ann Miller of Universal Computers in Alexandria, VA, who wrote: "Please make sure you have clear information before you send alarming messages to Lisa customers. Future software developments will be focused mainly towards the Macintosh desktop. However, consumers will see an evolution of both the Lisa and Mac operating systems so that they will eventually be one in the same with multitasking, large memory and hard disk storage. Hence, the 32 bit family will have a shared system that is neither operating system as we know them today. As a dealer, this is the understanding we have received from the manufacturer". Well, we still think that the future 3.0 release will be Lisa's last "evolutionary" step, after which owners will only see developments growing from the Mac side of the family tree. Isn't it sad that 18 months after Lisa's introduction, there is still no third-party software for the desktop?

Louis Holly (1642 Big Dipper Way, San Diego, CA 92173) wrote: "I'm having trouble believing that after writing to Apple many times, asking three dealerships in San Diego and joining two Mac users groups, I still can't find anyone even remotely interested in using their machine for drafting and mechanical drawing. Can you help me in any way?"

Our Lisa Upgrade article in Signal #11, which described receiving LisaTerminal for "free", prompted a letter from Thomas Stoner, the service manager at Complete Computer in Ann Arbor, MI: "If you had never purchased LisaTerminal, your upgrade kit did not 'include' LisaTerminal. You did, however, steal a copy of it from your dealer. Apple price lists indicate the upgrade is to include 'new diskettes for each application the customer already owns'. The dealer in your story demanded the return of the LisaTerminal diskette because the dealer is required to return seven master disks to Apple, either 3.5" or 5.25". If we don't, we are billed for them at full retail. I am currently having to prove that we returned the old twiggy drives with one upgrade. Apple has billed me $1,302 for those two drives! The dealer would have to pay $295 if LisaTerminal were missing from an upgrade kit when returned. You said you can't justify buying LisaTerminal, but can you justify ripping it off from your dealer? Around here, the free upgrade isn't always free. If we originally sold the Lisa, the upgrade is free, otherwise we charge a $25 flat fee to do the upgrade on-site. These upgrades take from one hour to much longer to perform, not including travel time. One 'simple' $25 upgrade took six hours to do because their Profile crashed and the machine had to be converted back to reload the hard disk. I billed them $25 for my time. In addition, we will convert for anyone all of their data files to 3.5" disks, erase and reload their Profile. This costs $50 per hour, two-thirds our normal on-site labor rate. I spent 13.5 hours on one site doing this. They had so many diskettes, it took three Profiles to hold them all. We provided the extra hardware without charge for the conversion. You might claim we are ripping off these people on this 'free' upgrade, but if so, it is hard to explain why we have upgraded approximately three times as many Lisas as we have sold. Apparently some people are willing to pay a little extra for good service. I hope you see fit to correct your mis-information in a near future issue."

For some users, handholding can be worth almost any price, and we have no qualms about that. But can a user be expected to know about upgrade agreements between Apple and the dealers? The dealers and Apple should know who bought what software and prevent upgrades for unpurchased software from reaching the user in the first place, otherwise there are bound to be misunderstandings. By the way, we have a couple of old twiggy drives we can let you have real cheap...

Walter Wolaniuk Jr. is looking for a Lisa general ledger package that ties in with DRG and PPS reports as required by recent federal cost containment legislation. Write to Kensington Hospital, 136 W. Diamond St., Philadelphia, PA 19122 or call 215-426-8100.

Last, but not least, a number of readers have written looking for a cheap source of 3.5" disks by mail. Are there any out there?