Do You Need Microsoft Word?
by Geoff Puterbaugh

Several months after being announced, Microsoft Word is finally in the stores (Microsoft Corp., Box 97200, Bellevue, WA 98009, 206-828-8088). Microsoft Word certainly bears comparison with MacWrite, its only current competition. Can you continue to get along with just MacWrite? Or is Microsoft's new $195 word processor a product you'll prefer to have instead?

The state of MacWrite is a little puzzling. While more and more people are buying or upgrading to 512K systems, Apple has been "pre-releasing" disk-based versions of MacWrite which create files incompatible with the old memory-based MacWrite. A problem with that original MacWrite is its relatively tiny capacity of about ten pages on a 128K Mac. However, once you upgrade to a Fat Mac, MacWrite can hold as many as 70 pages, which is probably enough for most users.

If you still have a 128K Mac, the disk-based MacWrite gives you the larger capacity, but it is buggy and has not been "officially" released yet. Many users are eager to get the new MacWrite in order to use the Mac Spell Right integrated spelling checker from Assimilation Process, which requires a 3.5 or later version of MacWrite. But now Microsoft Word is another choice for those who have been waiting for a thoroughly debugged version of a large capacity word processor. Microsoft Word is loaded with features, many of which are not present in MacWrite.

For example, Word allows easy selection of characters, words, lines, sentences, and paragraphs. MacWrite lacks the final three. To select a sentence, you simply place the cursor in the sentence and Command-Click. To select a line, you move to an invisible left-hand control bar to make the cursor become a right-pointing arrow. One click then selects the line, and a double-click selects the paragraph. Another time-saver is Shift-Command-Click, which selects the end of a sentence from the current insertion point to the period. Option-Backspace, which seems to be undocumented, deletes the previous word, while Shift-Backspace selects the previous word and goes on selecting one word at a time backwards as long as you repeat.

Playing with the special keystrokes reveals Word's slightly different concept of "undo". If you use Option-Backspace to remove several words, Undo will restore them all. You can even do a Change All command and a subsequent Undo will reverse every change! (MacWrite just warns that isn't possible.)

Another great feature is multiple windows and having up to four simultaneously open files. That makes it easy to copy text from one document to another, or to refer to an earlier memo while writing a new one, and so on. Windows can also be split horizontally, allowing you to look at two parts of one document simultaneously, like on a Lisa. Microsoft has also included their handy BASIC 2.0 feature for window resizing. If you double-click on a title bar, the window will "zoom out" to fill the entire screen. Another double-click zooms it back to where it was. That's a real time-saver which other developers would do well to imitate. It's so handy it ought to be part of the standard Mac user interface.

When one paragraph needs to be formatted like another, you can click in the paragraph to be changed, go to the paragraph with the format to be copied, and Command-Option-Click in the left-hand control bar. A similar feature exists for setting character formats such as font, size, and style. Just select the text that needs to be altered, move the cursor on top of the text which has the format to be copied, and Command-Option-Click.

Similar convenience exists in the Find/Replace process, where a command to replace "thi" by "the" will show consideration for case. If Word finds "Thi", it will replace it with "The", not "the", as both MacWrite and Mac Spell Right currently do.

A particularly difficult feature to provide is footnotes, and here Word excels. You can ask for footnotes to be automatically numbered, or use your own footnote indicators. Footnotes can be displayed at the bottom of the page, or at the end of chapters. Copying text will also copy any associated notes, with automatic renumbering. Word also allows printing two to six columns per page. Unfortunately, only one long column is displayed on the screen. Page composition is performed during printing, so you cannot tell where the actual column breaks will occur until you print the document.

After discovering those features, I was tempted to ask Word to print some pages in two columns, along with footnotes at the bottom. (The manual doesn't really say whether that combination is possible or not.) Word performed perfectly, setting the footnotes just as a typesetter would have. In an attempt to make it fail, I added little graphic images less than a column wide, and Word handled them without a hitch. By then, I was impressed. (However, note that Word is not a substitute for a program like MacPublisher. While you can have many columns on one page, with graphics in any column, it is impossible for Word to include a banner headline across the same page.)

I know someone who has installed so many fonts in his system that he has run over MacWrite's menu capacity of 20 fonts. In Word, you select fonts from a scrolling dialog box that allows 32 fonts. You may also select any character size by simply typing in the point size desired. The results may look ragged on the screen, but it should be handy for working with the LaserWriter, which can support any size for any font. Word also supplies a unique option for display called Small Caps, which displays text using two sizes of capital letters, just as some people habitually print.

Word supports the same keyboard commands for type styles as MacWrite, except that a shift key must be added. In MacWrite, you type Command-B for boldface. In Word, it becomes Shift-Command-B. The shift key is necessary because the unshifted combinations are used up by Word's vast repertoire of commands. For example, Command-B is the Clear operation. Oddly enough, these commands are not toggles in Word like they are in MacWrite, and you must type Shift-Command-Space to return to plain text. Microsoft should change that.

Word also provides heaps of key sequences for those who do not like using the mouse. Wordstar users will probably love Command-P for Print, Command-O for Open, Command-D for font selection, and so on.

Naturally, mail merge and its ability to generate form letters is available. There's also support for daisy-wheel printers, page numbering in Roman or Arabic numerals, and numbering odd or even pages. Another feature lacking in MacWrite is the "soft hyphen". With a Command-Hyphen, you can tell Word it may insert a hyphen in that place if necessary.

By just clicking in a paragraph and using a menu, you can perform left, center, right and full justification without hauling out rulers. The repertoire of left, right, decimal and center tabs is also greater than what's in MacWrite.

The memory management in Word seems a lot smarter than the scheme employed by the disk-based versions of MacWrite, although the recent 3.911 MacWrite shows some substantial improvement. It seems to be roughly true that Word will hold the file in memory if possible. That is not what the early versions of disk-based MacWrite do, as anyone who has tried a font or margin change on a 35-page document can tell you. If you want to change the whole document from Geneva to New York, you might as well go brew coffee while MacWrite works on it. Word does it instantly, though the performance is somewhat worse on a 128K Mac. When the file overflows RAM (which is really big on a Fat Mac), some sort of intelligent paging algorithm seems to be used, since you can still scroll from beginning to end very quickly.

When you quit Word after significant clipboard work, you get a dialog box which asks the simple question, "Save large clipboard?" What brains! I wish every application would give us this choice. In fact, the Finder should have an Empty The Clipboard command on the Special menu to help prevent a lot of disk swapping.

So far I have not found a bug in Word, so I'll just provide a couple of gripes, besides the lack of style toggles mentioned earlier. First, the default font in Word is New York, not Geneva. MacWrite wisely changed it to Geneva long ago. In a heavily formatted paragraph, Word cannot keep up with a fast typist doing a large insert, and it's possible to get fifteen or more characters ahead of the software. There is no built-in spelling checker, though Microsoft seems to recommend using the one from Hayden, since they include a promotional flyer with Word. There is no facility for generating an automatic table of contents or index. There is no provision for automatic section numbering.

In general peformance, Word seems to match or even surpass the original MacWrite. On a 128K Mac, Word runs a little slower, but not nearly as bad as some pre-release versions of Word I saw which were running through a P-code interpreter. The program itself is about 126K of object code, so you can expect disk swapping on the smaller Mac, and you can be sure that high-quality printing will be slower. The 128K Mac settles into a definite print rhythm of four passes of the print head, a disk access of a few seconds, four more passes of the print head, and so on. On the 512K Mac, the long disk access pause is replaced by a short computation of less than half a second. You can hear the same printer rhythm, but it is a lot faster. Overall, the performance on the larger Mac is highly satisfactory. For an 85K file of 38 single-spaced pages with 225 footnotes, an Open took just 10 seconds, a Save took almost two minutes, and Repaginate, which does a lot of computation and disk I/O, took a bit over four minutes.

Word deserves your serious attention if you use your Mac for word processing to any significant extent. Microsoft deserves congratulations for having the patience to wait until a first-rate product was ready. They probably learned from their experience with Multiplan. Good for them! I give Microsoft Word a hearty Thumbs Up.


New Clubs Forming

Mac users in Sweden, contact Keith Elkin, Dianavägen 30, 115 43 Stockholm.

Tulsa Users of Macintosh Society, Box 470564, Tulsa, OK 74147.

Lisa users in New Haven area, contact Robbie Keefer, 8 Griffing Pond Rd., Branford, CT 06405, (203) 481-6220.


Newsletters New To Signal

MacCountry News, North Coast Mac User's Group, 503 Marylyn Cir., Petaluma, CA 94952, (707) 763-1124.

The DeskTop Journal, Yale Mac Users' Group, $20/first year, Box 220 Yale Station, New Haven, CT 06520, (203) 436-5112.

BETA Macs News, Beautiful East Texas Area Mac Users, $15/year, 1601 Cindy Lou, Henderson, TX 75652.

Scrumpy Newsletter (Mac supplement), Orange Apple Computer Club, $20/year, 25422 Trabuco Rd. Bldg. 105 #251, El Toro, CA 92630, (714) 840-0048.

SMUG Newsletter, Stanford Macintosh Users Group, Box 6805, Stanford, CA 94305.

MacNuggets, Carnegie-Mellon Macintosh Users Group, $24/year, 5115 Margaret Morrison St., Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

MacVisions, Hawaii Macintosh Users Group, $12/year, Box 75537, Honolulu, HI 96836, (808) 235-4609.


Old Friends Keeping In Touch

Mac News, Eugene Macintosh/Lisa User's Group, $15/year, Box 10988, Eugene, OR 97440, (503) 345-2393.

FatBits, Conejo Valley Mac Users Group, Box 7118, Thousand Oaks, CA 91359, (805) 499-2824.

Mac'n'Talk, Victoria's Mac User's Group, Canadian $40/year, Box 7075-D, Victoria, BC V9B 4Z2, Canada.

Icon, Association of Apple 32 Users, $40/first year, Box 634, Santa Clara, CA 95052, (408) 988-5594.

San Diego Mac News, San Diego Mac User Group, $15/year, Box 12561, La Jolla, CA 92037.

VMAC News, Ventura County Macintosh Club, $21/year, Box 7754, Oxnard, CA 93031, (805) 499-2824.

Mac Digest, Los Angeles Macintosh Group, $1.50/issue, 12021 Wilshire Blvd. #349, Los Angeles, CA 90025, (213) 392-5697.


Subscriber Interests And Activities

James A. Tolbert, Albany, OR: I teach printing technology courses at Linn-Benton Community College, and our typesetting course has a Compugraphic system that uses imbedded commands for formatting text. You should see the students' eyes light up when the Mac screen immediately shows them what they have formatted, rather than a screen full of command codes.

Ed Tucker, Cairns, Australia: I have been using Brock Keystroke for the Lisa desktop for my dental practice.

DeAnna Blair, Sac City, IA: Our family owns and operates a small fifteen-unit motel. I use my Mac for professional looking room and office signs, telephone information, daily occupancy sheets and routine correspondence.

Mark Woodworth, Aiea, HI: We use the Macintosh in our church. We made a really nice cookbook for a fundraiser, and use the larger font sizes to make large-print editions of publications, like our bulletin and song book for the visually impaired.

Thomas F. Booze, Manhattan, KS: I am using my Macintosh to type my Ph.D. dissertation for my degree in toxicology.

Jim Banks, Alcoa Center, PA: We have on the order of 50 Lisas and at least 200 Macs here at the Alcoa Technical Center. Both machines are used as personal computers and as VT100 or Tektronix terminals for our various DEC computers. I use them both, but Lisa is by far my favorite.

Paul A. Thomas, Lafayette, IN: I am a graduate student in business, and I use my Macintosh to write essays for my thesis. Since I use a lot of math and tables in this work, I'm interested in exploiting the Mac's ability to do technical word processing. I've used Apple's Resource Mover and public domain fonts to format a disk-based version of MacWrite for technical text editing. I find the Princeton font and the Princeton version of Geneva especially useful, although they sometimes severely violate Mac's "what you see is what you get" standard. I'm always on the lookout for more public domain fonts, and I would have a definite use for Princeton in 9 and 10 points and a smoother version of Princeton Geneva in 24 points. I also see a need for a technical superset of Monaco in ThinkTank.

Jeffrey Groteboer, APO San Francisco, CA: I am in the U.S. Navy stationed in Korea, and I use the Mac for word processing and keeping administrative records. Is there anyone else in Korea who owns a Mac?

Michael L. Johnson, Trenton, OH: I use my Macintosh for making neat forms, tables, and data entry sheets at the Environmental Protection Agency. I'm thinking about a Filevision presentation for our agency's annual report. I use the Mac at home for word processing, memos and notices for church, doodling with MacPaint, and ruining my sleep with 3:00 AM sessions with MacForth and Assembler.


A Mac Product For Simple Profit Tests
by L. Mawby

Profit Projections/Breakeven Analysis (or simply "Profit Projections" for the rest of this story) is a $65 program for the Macintosh from Harris Technical Systems Inc. (Box 80837, Lincoln, NE 68501, 800-228-4091), a company best known for their agricultural software. Profit Projections is a software worksheet divided into sections for Income Sources, Variable Expenses and Fixed Expenses. Profit Projections calculates profit or loss (income minus the sum of variable and fixed expenses), and can generate three types of graphs to show the results. A pie chart shows profit and the five largest expense items as a percentage of income, a breakeven graph shows the breakeven point in several ways, and the profit comparison graph shows the relative profitability of several enterprises.

Profit Projections is easy to use. The short manual is nothing special, but you probably don't need it anyway, since a Help menu nearly makes the manual superfluous. Several levels of help are selectable, from automatic prompting at each entry field, through selectable field prompting, to a general help screen that outlines what Profit Projections expects in each field. Completed example worksheets are provided for manufacturers, sales agents, law firms, renters, retailers, and day care centers. Also provided for product service, sales agent, retailer, rental and general business projections are "standard" forms, with some typical fields already filled out. If you don't need those levels of help, the basic "scratch" worksheet that's provided is the best place to start.

The scratch worksheet begins with fields for entering a business name, enterprise name and enterprise quantity. Data entry is simple. Enterprise quantity is the interval that the projection covers, such as 5 years or 12 months or 1,000 packages. Income sources are entered on one line for each item, with fields for name, rate per enterprise quantity unit, and price per unit. Variable expenses also occupy one line each, with fields like those for income sources. Fixed expenses also each have one line, with a name field and a field for expense per enterprise quantity unit. After each line is entered, the program totals income, variable expenses, and fixed expenses, and calculates profit. Also calculated is each income and expense item's percent of total income.

The manual does not specify a limit to the number of income or expense items. About 24 items fit on a single printed page. However, the program allows more during input and correctly prints multiple page reports. If the total dollars for any item exceed $9,999,999.99, that field overwrites the one to its left, and the output is hard to read.

To make the best use of Profit Projections, it is necessary to split up the income sources of any but the simplest business into separate enterprises, and generate a projection for each enterprise. Profit Projections will accept several income sources in one projection, but only the first income source line is varied when producing a breakeven graph.

The View menu allows instant viewing of the different graphs, and also permits splitting the projections report window into two separately scrollable windows. This feature is very handy when "what if" income or expense item entries are made. Even more powerful is the split projection report and breakeven graph option. This shortens the projection report window and tucks the breakeven graph below it. Each entry into the projection worksheet instantly updates the breakeven graph.

In one of the examples Harris provides, ABC Manufacturing is the business and Red Widgets is the enterprise. Say we want to look at an enterprise quantity of 100,00 packs of Red Widgets. With the widgets as an income source in packs of twelve priced at $1.50 per widget, we could look at the breakeven graph and ask for the breakeven calculation in one of four ways: number of packs of red widgets, income per pack (price per widget times number in pack), price per widget, or number of widgets in each pack. We can immediately see what effect changing the price per widget, or the number of widgets in each pack, or any other variable, would have on profitability. Fixed expenses remain constant, while variable expenses are proportional to the quantity of widgets sold.

All graphs are printed as window dumps to the Imagewriter. The worksheets may be printed in the standard choice of qualities, but not very quickly. A single page took 7 minutes 48 seconds to print in high quality, and 2 minutes 58 seconds in standard quality. Fortunately, draft quality is readable, and prints at the rated Imagewriter speed.

Profit Projections is to be commended for the simplicity of data entry, fast useful graphing, and restriction of options that makes it easy for beginners to use. However, those same restrictions are one of Profit Projections' faults, in that they make the program useful only to those who don't know how to do this kind of financial analysis with spreadsheet software. Of course, graphing results like Profit Projections can is not easy when using only a spreadsheet. A true defect is the speed of printing. No one will print in anything other than draft quality more than once.

Profit Projections/Breakeven Analysis is a useful piece of software for the small business person without experience in financial analysis who wants a simple and fast profit projection. It is by no means a sophisticated financial analyzer.


All I Want Is A Blank Staff

I've been aghast at the prices of Mac software. Sure, it takes a year to write a program, but how long does it take to write a good technical book? The markets for both are limited. Why shouldn't programs sell for similar prices? If they did, there wouldn't be the pirating of software I read about. I respect the education and work which goes into a useful program, but I also have the feeling I am being ripped off and resent it. With this lack of respect for the merchandiser, I can see where pirating becomes attractive. I have turned out a lot of work with just MacWrite and MacPaint in the past year. It may be a long time before I look into over-priced software for other purposes. There must be other users of similar thought.

Your MusicWorks review in Signal #20 was interesting. I borrowed the MusicWorks disk from an office friend for a couple of nights to see if it was something I should buy. While my training and strong inclinations are those of an engineer, I studied piano and xylophone/marimba for eleven years and had advanced courses in harmony and counterpoint.

I wanted to transcribe two original piano pieces which had been worked out in my head for several years. One has the baroque style of the pieces which you mentioned, and it went onto disk quickly and accurately. The second is a lyrical piece which is a bit inhibited by only four voices, but in one-voice form was good enough to be enjoyable.

I found myself immersed in great frustration while transcribing original music, as it does not come out of one's head one voice at a time. It comes out as chords. When I ran through the melody in Voice B, fighting unwanted rests and ties, I did manage to get pretty much what I wanted into video form. However, in going back and adding accompaniment and Voice A embellishments, I was met with continual arguments from the software. Syncopation offset things so that the addition of a rest would shuttle all the remainder of that voice off to the east somewhere, and break every chord in the rest of the piece. Recovering from this continual and unwanted "help" finally become too great a chore.

It strikes me that the program was written by computer people, not musicians, as we must expect. I have absolutely no use for the wraparound music scheme, analogous to the snakelike continuity of word processing. All I want is a blank staff and clef and meter and the opportunity to plant notes one at a time. I can figure out the notation and timing. I don't need a Big Brother trying to keep me out of pitfalls and, in the process, pushing me into so many that the program destroys what I am trying to do. As a practical matter, I found the disk unusable. I enjoyed the try but was disappointed with the result.
--- Ned Raub, Waterford, CT

The similarity in the packaging and marketing of books and software attract a lot of comparisons, but we think there's really very few important similarities between books and their creation and software and its creation. One of the most glaring differences is that a book is really just a frozen display of data, while software is a tool for creating and manipulating data. Now which sounds harder to invent?

We doubt that price is ever going to help handle piracy. One reason is that copying software is quick, cheap and (most important) creates a perfect, functional copy. That's just too tempting for any dishonest consumer to pass up. After they invent an inexpensive Xerox machine for the home that can accept a book and spit out a perfect copy a few seconds later, including the book's all-important, functional binding, then you'll also see rampant book piracy. In the meantime, only software piracy enjoys such convenience, and only honesty seems to be an effective deterrent.

Your frustration with MusicWorks reminds us of the original crude text editors, which have evolved into fairly sophisticated and easy to use tools. We expect to see popular music editors do the same over the next few years. -Editors


From A Future Publisher

Have you tried MacPublisher? I've fiddled with it several times and it seems to work well. (So many programs, so little time.) I'm planning to do a newsletter for my growing base of customers. MacPublisher and the new LaserWriter, if anyone can afford it, should be a knockout combination.
--- Scott Peters, Wheaton, MD

We're considering offering a LaserWriter output service for users who can't afford their own printer. How about it, readers, would you like us to print your files with LaserWriter quality?

One of our reviewers has taken an interest in MacPublisher and is working on a story. We've heard MacPublisher's publisher had the great idea of sending demo copies to lots of user groups so their newsletters could try the product out, show off the results, and generate a little free publicity. -Editors


Backups Are A Big Bother

On the subject of backing up as discussed in Signal #17: I don't! I used to, but my Lisa contact at the dealership made a suggestion when I complained about how time-consuming the process was, and I've followed his method ever since. I keep everything in a folder and simply copy the contents to alternate backup disks every once in awhile and save the time I would have wasted copying and re-copying the operating system and tools. I discovered the hard way that it is faster to re-install the whole Office System and copy the documents I want than it is to restore from a complete backup, or worse still, from incremental backups. Why go through the tedious and time-consuming process of repeatedly backing up system software that you already have masters for?
--- John Bremner, Mississauga, Canada

You should at least have duplicates of Lisa's master diskettes, since if anything happens to the originals, you're stuck. Note that before 7/7, we couldn't backup a folder larger than one diskette. And it's also difficult for users with a lot of documents being changed every day to keep track of what needs to be backed up and what doesn't. -Editors


Where Have You Been All This Time?

I just received my first complimentary issue of Signal, but I've had my Mac over a year!
--- Donna Henseler, Yankton, SD

Gee, we've been publishing almost two years, and this is the first subscription request we've ever received from you! (Seriously, we'll send sample issues to any Mac users we find, but first we have to find them.) -Editors


You Lose The Desktop, But...

I own a Lisa 2/10 running the Xenix operating system. I operate a local information utility, and have found that Xenix is the perfect operating system (well, almost) for such a use.

Signal #19 mentioned rumors of a four-port serial card for the Lisa. It's not a rumor. I have one from Tecmar. With the two existing ports and the four-port card, you can have up to six extra terminals on a Lisa using Xenix. I highly recommend Xenix to anyone needing a multiuser environment. Several good programs are available, such as a complete accounting package by Open Systems, Multiplan, Lyrix (a word processor), Informix (a relational database), and ANSI COBOL.
--- Daris A. Nevil, Abilene, TX


Phone Book Publisher Identified

We are disappointed that you included our Phone Book in the Signal #21 article about "shareware", since our desk accessory is a for sale product available for $49 from Macadam Publishing, 4700 SW Macadam Ave., Portland, OR 97201, 800-547-4000.
--- John Breuer, Portland, OR

We also got a call from a Rhode Island reader who identified your product, says he likes your Calendar too, and uses the Phone Book with a HabaDialer. If your Signal #16 ad had illustrated the Phone Book instead of the Calendar, we probably would have made the connection, but the Scientific Enterprises copyright we saw on the actual display threw us off the track. Sorry. - Editors


Long Live Lisa

I still think the main problem was that the Lisa was too far ahead of its time. Sure, you can run Mac software under MacWorks, but that's a real pain and negates the advantages of the Lisa. If I want hassles, I'll go back to the good old Apple II.

I ordered and received the Videx Desktop Calendar. I am impressed. It may be a bit pricey, but it works well and is well worth the tariff. May other programs follow.

How about a survey of your Lisa readers asking what they would really buy if available? If some of the writers see some numbers, they may just write some programs. For me, a good stock market program would be worth its weight in gold, which would undoubtedly be the price!
--- Willis L. Bennett, Fair Oaks, CA

Speaking of numbers, our guess is that a typical software product would currently have at least 20 times more potential customers if it's sold for the Mac instead of the Lisa. Considering that and Lisa's recent death as an Apple product, which market would you shoot for if you were a software developer? -Editors


Deleting The DeskTop

To delete the invisible DeskTop file mentioned in Signal #21, just hold down the option and command keys while booting up. That destroys folders, icon positions, window sizes and positions, and Get Info comments.
--- Mike Johnson, Trenton, OH

Darn. We knew that and just forgot. Despite Tom Pittman's vote in that issue, MacTools is now back in the "little use for" category. -Editors


So Many Programs, So Little Space

I notice that the number of items listed in the Received, But Not Yet Reviewed column far exceeds the number of reviews in each issue. With the proliferation of software (thank goodness) and other miscellaneous accessories for the Macintosh, I would like to express the need for a limited, independent abstract of these items in addition to your usual in-depth reviews.

The abstracts could include 1) a brief description or objective of the item, 2) the degree of success meeting the objective, 3) a review of the documentation, 4) bugs found, and possibly 5) the writer's subjective opinion.

Maybe some of your readers, myself included, could be voluntary reviewers.
--- J. Daid Theis Jr., Huntington Beach, CA

Unfortunately, you'll always see in-depth coverage of only a small percentage of the total products announced. Magazines are slaves to an interesting phenomenon: for each additonal product written up, five more arrive!

We can understand your desire for a little more information about every product, but isn't the value of a review or abstract somewhat a function of its length? By the way, all of our by-lined articles are freelance efforts by Signal readers.-Editors


Macintosh Pascal Limitations

I couldn't agree more with your comments about Macintosh Pascal in Signal #18. It is truly a unique way to learn Pascal.

There is a limitation as to how much output can be displayed in the text window. For a full size window, the limit is reached at about halfway down the window. The window then starts scrolling, even though the bottom half is still empty. The following trivial program illustrates the problem:

program test;
var textrect: rect; index: integer;
begin
 SetRect(textrect, 3, 40, 507, 350);
 SetTextRect(textrect); ShowText;
 for index  := 1 to 200 do
  writeln('Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs');
end.

The best technique is to use the text window only for data input and minimal output. Use the drawing window to output large volumes of text using WriteDraw. The drawing window is also about ten times faster in execution than the text window, and you can use a variety of fonts as well.

My biggest complaint with Mac Pascal is the Reference Manual's index. Many of the standard procedures such as ShowText, ShowDrawing and GetMouse have no entry.

It would also have been nice to have a cursor mover like the Gotoxy procedure in Apple II Pascal, otherwise text window I/O is very cumbersome. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who knows how to do it in Mac Pascal.

Another problem is the copy protection. When I try to copy a data disk containing only Pascal programs by moving its icon onto the icon of a backup disk, I get an error message. If I use a startup disk other than Pascal, it will let me make the backup copy, but that means I have to restart the system with a non-Pascal disk just to make backups.
--- James M. Katz, Malden, MA

Regardless of to what size you set the text window, Macintosh Pascal is using available memory to hold the actual output. On a 128K Macintosh, your program only outputs about ten lines before available memory is exhausted and the text window has to scroll in order to delete lines off the top so that new lines can be output at the bottom. It's interesting to see that on a Macintosh XL, the vertical scroll bar turns on as soon as the window fills, but there's still plenty of memory to save what scrolls off the top. Once the program stops, the scroll bar can be used to see that about the last 100 lines have been retained by the XL and can be scrolled up and down within the window. -Editors


What's The Catch?

I would like to subscribe to your free publication. What's the catch? How can you publish for free?
--- Shane Roberts, Los Angeles, CA

Just like free television, Signal is brought to you courtesy of our advertisers. If you're in touch with one of those vendors, please remember to thank them for bringing you Signal. And if you're in touch with an advertiser who isn't in Signal, then please tell them they should be. -Editors


Received, But Not Yet Reviewed

Omnis 2, an information management program for the Macintosh. $275, Organizational Software Corp., 2655 Campus Dr. #150, San Mateo, CA 94403, (415) 571-0222.

MacTutor, a journal for Macintosh programmers. $24/year, MacTutor, Box 846, Placentia, CA 92670, (714) 993-9939.

MacPeriodicals, a regularly updated index to Macintosh-related articles that appear in thirteen publications. $3 on paper, $11 on disk, $6 to copy to submitted disks. Philip C. Russell, 430 SW Crest Cir., Waldport, OR 97394, (503) 563-2501.

ChequeBook, checking account management software for the Macintosh. $54.95, Intermatrix, 5543 N. Satsuma Ave., North Hollywood, CA 91601, (818) 509-0474.

Easy Trace, a clear plastic tracing grid and ruler, MacPaint grid files, paper sketch pad, and desk accessory pixel ruler. $39.95, Heizer Software, 5120 Coral Ct., Concord, CA 94521, (415) 827-9013.

MailManager, list, label and form letter generator for the Macintosh. $119, SofTech Microsystems Inc., 16875 W. Bernardo Dr., San Diego, CA 92127, (619) 451-1230.

BEAMAC, Macintosh beam analysis software for engineers. $95 ($10 for demo disk with manual), Erez Anzel, 5700 Arlington Ave. #7L, Riverdale, NY 10471, (212) 884-5798.

UltraFonts Edition Two, 21 Macintosh fonts in a total of 55 sizes. $29.95, 21st Century Software, 2306 Cotner Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90064, (213) 829-4436.

Mac-Mania premier issue, "the information exchange for Macintosh enthusiasts". $20/six issues/year, Smart Mart Press, 4589 70th St., La Mesa, CA 92041.