News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
Mail Starting 2/18/97
Enjoyed the Woz insight. BTW I think "the rest of us" use INFO MAC Archives as a very accessible and comprehensive server for shareware and freeware. Am I missing something? Why set up a second universal source?
Sent at 2/19/97; 7:46:55 AM;
ACCESS TO SHAREWARE/FREEWARE
Dave, since Halsey Minor is probably biased, I'll say that the c|net software services (download.com and shareware.com; no experience with buydirect.com) are terrific resources. The greatest thing is that they make use of the net by being virtual archives, much like the LTODBS, by indexing everything and sending you to the source to actually download. Further, they include a couple lines of the abstract that is quite helpful as well as some other valued-added snippets.
From: Patrick.Breitenbach@aexp.com (Patrick Breitenbach);
Sent at 2/18/97; 5:31:09 PM;
Of all the places to find shareware, utilities, and so forth, there's only one that I use on a regular basis, as it typically has everything I've ever been looking for. It's a web interface to the Info-Mac archives which used to be located at sumex-aim.stanford.edu. It appears to be a very well-kept secret. Anyway, you can check it out at:
From: email@example.com (Steve Lemke);
Sent at 2/18/97; 12:57:54 PM;
Re:Lunch With Woz
Isn't this what Kagi Software is?
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joshua D. Baer);
Sent at 2/18/97; 2:00:21 PM;
Re:Lunch With Woz
Does shareware.com do that? I don't know; I don't use it.
From: email@example.com (Scott S. Lawton);
Sent at 2/18/97; 2:05:29 PM;
Re:"Lunch With Woz ... how about a reviews site?"
Here's what I'd like in order to help me buy software (and thus support individuals and companies making innovative products): a site that let *users* add reviews. I'm in the market for an HTML Editor but I don't have time to download every package and put it thru the paces, I've got work to do! I'd like a low-end alternative to Photoshop -- but I've been sorely disappointed before, so trying everything (even if there is a demo version) is not a viable option.
But if I could read what others say -- not just one or two major publications but dozens of real users -- that would really help me make a buy decision. I want to know the negatives as well as the positives; tell me what it can't do, not just what it can do. I want a range of voices coming from people with a range of needs. Some comments will be wrong, others out of line -- but let each reader decide what is signal and what is noise.
It could be totally driven by scripts, and searchable. Type your comments into a form, give it an overall 1 thru 5 rating and click submit.
When I find a reviewer who makes sense, I can search for other products they have reviewed. (Or, if I want to know if I trust a reviewer I've never encountered, I can see if they've reviewed products that I know well.)
Allegiant Technologies puts out a scriptable TCP app called Marionet. You might get some ideas by looking at what they have done. You can even script a telnet session.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Jeff Willden);
Sent at 2/18/97; 10:45:04 AM;
> I had lunch on Sunday with Steve Wozniak, one of the founders of Apple
From: email@example.com (Stephen Bove);
Sent at 2/18/97; 10:22:34 AM;
Re:Lunch With Woz
> Computer. I had never met him.
Wow. I always thought you two would be old friends who had shared many beers and war stories! I don't "know" either of you, except in the virtual sense, but it makes me happy that you finally met each other and had fun. Good energy!
>If you're producing excellent Mac
> shareware stuff, send me email. Let's see if there's an interest.
CNET has a really amazing site called http://www.shareware.com/ where there are literally thousands of Mac shareware apps. If you have not seen it, check it out. If you have seen it and still want to create a separate shareware archive for the Mac community, you could go there and suck down all the mac stuff in about 3 days with a T-1. - sb
PS: I came to your last "DaveNet Live" here in SF and had a wonderful time. I had to leave early and didn't get a chance to introduce myself, but I just wanted to say thanks for a great evening!
PPS: Who was the guy who you said was a "founder of Sun microsystems" who was in the back of the room wearing a brown floppy rimmed hat? He had long, thin blonde hair and a beard, and made unbelievably funny and insightful comments!
> There's a lot of freeware or shareware for the Macintosh. Wouldn't it
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Halsey Minor);
Sent at 2/18/97; 10:12:27 AM;
Re:Lunch With Woz
> be great to concentrate that stuff around a server with a high
> bandwidth net connection and a consistent look for the pages, with
> searchable archives, and a recognizable face endorsing the
There are two ways this can happen. Apple could try to do it all themselves...a tune repeated so many times I can sing it by heart. Or Apple could support people who are already doing this in a major way. Check out www.shareware.com and www.download.com and www.buydirect.com.
Across these services we have over 10,000 Mac files and do 300,000 Mac downloads a month -- which sounds like a lot. Until you consider we have probably 4 times as many Windows files and do probably 5,000,000 Windows downloads a month. Microsoft promotes our services heavily on their web sites.
Given the problems Apple has in getting shelf space for developers I have always been *very* suprised they have never put more focus on helping companies like ours help their users and developers.
It seems to me that the rich get richer becuase they know how. If net software delivery doesn't become a *major* priority for Apple, at least equivalent to Microsoft's initiatives for their users, I think its going to be real tough sledding -- not that it already isn't.
Just thought I would put in my two cents worth.
I remember, a long time ago, when I had an Apple ][+. The Woz was my hero. And then I got a IIGS, with its Integrated Woz Machine (IWM, the predecessor to the Mac's SWIM) chip that fit 800K on a 720K disk. In an age of bloatware, multiple laters of emulation, and Java Java Java, I admire good hacks like these even more.
From: email@example.com (Wesley Felter);
Sent at 2/18/97; 12:07:46 PM;
Re:Lunch With Woz
If Steve's got Macs coming out of his ears, maybe he (or Apple) should revive the Cool Tools awards. My Macs are stretched to their limits! I'd love to be able to run Be OS and Mac OS at the same time, instead of having to dual-boot.
Check out ZDNet's Mac shareware collection, over 6,000 files::
From: Dan_Farber@zd.com (Dan Farber);
Sent at 2/18/97; 10:43:13 AM;
Re:Lunch With Woz
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Christoph Jaggi);
Sent at 2/18/97; 5:19:51 PM;
Was not sure, if you already stumbled across that one...
Yet another reason for never buying a '.0' release of anything!
Last year a friend of mine upgraded GirlFriend 12.4 to Wife 1.0 and found that it's a memory hog leaving very little system resources for other applications.
He also noticed that Wife 1.0 is spawning Child-Processes which further consume valuable resources. No mention of this particular phenomena was included in the product brochure or the documentation, though other users have informed him that this is to be expected due to the nature of the application.
Not only that, Wife 1.0 installs itself such that it is always launched at system initialization where it can monitor all other system activity. He's finding that some applications such as PokerNight 10.3, BeerBash 2.5, and PubNight 7.2 are no longer able to run in the system at all, crashing the system when selected (even though they always worked fine before).
At installation, Wife 1.0 provides no option as to the installation of undesired Plug-Ins such as MotherInLaw 55.8 and BrotherInLaw Beta release. Also, system performance seems to diminish with each passing day. Some features he'd like to see in the upcoming wife 1.1.
- A "Don't remind me again" button.
- Minimize button.
- An install shield feature that allows Wife 1.1 to be installed with the option to uninstall at anytime without the loss of cache and other system resources.
- An option to run the network driver in promiscuous mode which would allow the system hardware probe feature to be much more useful.
I myself decided to avoid all of the headaches associated with Wife 1.0 by sticking with Girlfriend 2.7. Even here, however, I found many problems.
Apparently you cannot install Girlfriend 2.7 on top of Girlfriend 1.5. You must uninstall Girlfriend 1.5 first. Other users say this is a long standing bug which I should have been aware of. Apparently different versions of Girlfriend have conflicts over shared use of the I/O port. Simultaneous use almost never works. To make matters worse, the uninstall program for Girlfriend 1.5 doesn't work very well, leaving undesirable traces of the application in the system.
All versions of Girlfriend continually popup little annoying messages about the advantages of upgrading to Wife 1.0
If you try to install Mistress 1.1 before uninstalling Wife 1.0, Wife 1.0 deletes all MSMoney files and performs an uninstall herself. Reports have been filed regarding this auto-uninstall feature, but at this time there is no known solution. After Wife 1.0 performs an uninstall, Mistress 1.1 may now refuse to install, claiming insufficient system resources.
To avoid the above bug, try installing Mistress 1.1 at a different location and never run any file transfer applications such as Laplink 6.0. Mistress 1.1 should be treated as shareware. Shareware applications have been known to carry viruses that may also infect you and Wife 1.0. Care should be taken when using shareware.
Another solution would be to run Mistress 1.1 via a UseNet provider under an anonymous name. Here again, beware of the viruses which can accidentally be downloaded from the UseNet-- use a virus shield available at pharmacies everywhere.
>>One thing I learned is that he doesn't trust the press. He says that
From: InterMark_Consulting_Group@compuserve.com (Erik Sherman);
Sent at 2/18/97; 10:39:01 AM;
Lunch With Woz
>>the major pubs are just out to sell papers. I don't disagree. Tis a shame, I
>>think, because Woz would make a great spokesperson for the Mac now.
>>There's a lot of truth to be told, and he isn't scared of the truth. We
>>had, as they say, a frank discussion.
From my experience on the press side, I have to agree, in large part. I once wrote an article for a magazine that shall remain nameless. The topic, at their request, was "everything about dial up communications." Too much, really, for 3000 words, but I gave it a shot. They started getting really twitchy when they saw that, for most folks, I suggested that ISDN just plain didn't make sense. Seems that they wanted to run ISDN modem reviews around the piece (and sell ads, I'm sure). The result was that they totally rewrote the piece without speaking to me and tuned it into a "go out and get ISDN now" rant - totally different from the outline they had given me. You can bet I don't write for them any more. I got into this to avoid corporate bullshit, and I have no intention of going back.
Another point about the press, however, is that there are other factors at work. One is that many reporters don't understand the technology and why it might actually be important (or not). The biggest problem, though, is that too many of the editors and reporters only talk with the vendors. Hardly anyone *really* speaks with end users - like all too many high tech firms themselves, for that matter. They fall in love with the technology and forget that unless you are doing something for the customers, you are nowhere.
Re education: For 1997, it's likely already too late. E.g.: My daughters' private elementary school (an all Mac shop) has made its decision. They're buying lots of new Wintel hardware. No more Macs will be bought. They expect that the current Mac hardware will serve for another couple of years, perhaps with some new software (as long as that software has a Wintel compatible growth path).
From: email@example.com (David P. Reed);
Sent at 2/18/97; 10:26:38 AM;
Re:Lunch With Woz
I'm sad about this - Macs and the Mac developers have served the school well. They're moving to the next phase, serious networking - getting into the Web, integrating home/school collaboration, etc. Apple hasn't shown any leadership in those areas, and it hasn't shown much loyalty to its traditional customers in the education market (for example, price performance is still off by 30-50% in this price sensitive market).
But events of recent months have put the nails into the coffin. They have no stomach for what they hear out of Apple. They remember the Apple II forever...
Only this time, what Apple has to offer is a scary transition, to UNIX for heaven's sake, and a 'System 7.5 forever' strategy for those with stranded assets.
What's Woz's school doing? He must have the down and dirty details of this sorted out.
-- [ From: Amy Wohl * EMC.Ver #3.0 ] --
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Amy Wohl);
Sent at 2/18/97; 10:21:04 AM;
Lunch with Woz
I'm jealous. Sounds great.
What sounds best is the idea of the freeware/shareware server. Let's get it up right away and then let's figure out how to tell everyone about it.
It should have a special section for education-oriented software (there's lots) since one of their biggest problems is buying hardware without allocating budget money for software.
Only a few weeks on board and Woz is already making a real contribution, thanks to you. I love it!