News and commentary from the cross-platform scripting community.
Mail Starting 3/5/97
I have a half-dozen Infocom games (all licensed copies, courtesy of the Activision Masterpieces of Infocom CD) running on my Palm Pilot, curtesy of Richard Bram's player for Infocom games on the Pilot.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Barry A. Dobyns);
Sent at 3/5/97; 5:19:19 PM;
Re:Being Kind to the Mac
Even more amazing, there's a whole community of people writing new games in the Infocom game format (and they all run on my Pilot too).
See ftp://ftp.gmd.de/if-archive/games for a sample.
Three essentials in my life that are missing from your list:
From: email@example.com (David M. Cole);
Sent at 3/7/97; 11:55:06 AM;
*Nisus Writer -- Though I suppose you can script some other word processor with Frontier to achieve the results I get with Nisus, the reality is I know Nisus' macro language and I don't know Frontier. Actually, it's the GREP search-and-replace that I've a lways liked about Nisus and I have written dozens of these strings that provide automation not only to my print-based publications, but my web stuff as well. We do a weekly newswire that takes less than 30 seconds to HTMLize with a Nisus macro for archivi ng on the web site.
*HyperCard -- I don't know if you'll find this amusing, but after a day-long struggle with AppleScript and another day-long struggle with Frontier, I've decided I'm too old to learn another scripting language and continue to do all sorts of unnatural acts with HyperCard and HyperTalk. I have all my major databases in HyperCard and wrote a commerce CGI in HyperTalk last year. Works like a charm and am now using it to, ahem, interact with ...
*Interaction -- Almost 18 months ago I needed a chat area to resettle some AOL refugees and Interaction (http://www.ifi.uio.no/~terjen/interaction/) was about all there was. I bought the software because we thought this would become a commercial venture ( turns out AOL refugees, while willing to pay AOL megabucks, had an aversion to paying me anything). We've scaled back the chat area (http://www.colegroup.com/nethaven/) because of a lack of interest by the people who cajoled me into setting it up (hey, th ey didn't get paid either), but the software still runs and runs and runs. Am hosting a non-profit site here as well and will be giving them chat and forum (BBS) via Interaction soon.
General kudos to you for DaveNet; we see eye-to-eye more often than not.
David M. Cole
While I wish you luck in your endeavor, Apple is appearing more and more dense to me. When news comes out that the Mac platform has grown in market share (someone finally decided to count the clones - I was wondering when that would happen), there is talk in Apple about raising the licensing fees. If that isn't a clear indication that they would snatch defeat from the jaws of certain victory, I don't know what would be.
From: InterMark_Consulting_Group@compuserve.com (Erik Sherman);
Sent at 3/7/97; 1:18:08 PM;
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bill Hole);
Sent at 3/7/97; 10:57:13 AM;
I've passed the "F" puzzle around to a number of people here in our high-tech company. The results indicate that something besides intelligence is being measured by the puzzle. It seems like the strongest correlating factor is not intelligence but sex! All but one of the women who have taken the test found all six F's. Only two men found all six, and one of those had seen the puzzle some time in the past. The other man (yours truly), although a programmer, has a degree in English, so maybe that is relevant.
I'll leave the cognitive theorizing to someone more qualified than I, but it was certainly an interesting exercise.
From: email@example.com (Sam Reynolds);
Sent at 3/6/97; 8:19:40 AM;
With respect to Wired's comments on the quality of Web content: The story goes that in the late 40's or early 50's someone asked Theodore Sturgeon why 90% of science was trash. Mr. Sturgeon replied, "Why, 90% of EVERYTHING is trash!"
It's still true. It's part of life. People who learn to enjoy life learn to select. It's true on the Web. It's true of newspapers. It's true of television. It's true of popular fiction. It's true of unpopular fiction.
What matters are the good things you find wherever you find them.
You may remember my name from the Web* list, or the MIDAS list, or from the one or two email's I've sent you in the past. I don't know. I'm in a panic and a rage right now, not because of anything you've done, but because of some of the things going on at Apple. You're the only "developer with influence" that I feel comfortable writing this kind of an email to, so I'm writing this to you. I honestly don't know who else to send it to. I've written three letters to the Exec's at Apple, Amelio, Hancock, Tevanian, and Tesler, I never expect to see a reply. Maybe You will reply, maybe not. Over the past year and a half as Apple has metamorphosized more and more into a chronic suicide, I've become accustomed to screaming into a vacuum. Feels just like politics.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Joshua Whalen);
Sent at 3/5/97; 6:54:07 AM;
They're going to kill my dog!!!!
I don't know if I really can call myslef a developer yet. I'm in school again, for the first time in about 15 years, (i'm 34, I dropped out of school at age twelve, and I write and hack and do Video and multimedia for a living) because something called Mosaic moved me to buy a Mac three or four years ago.Then something called netscape made me buy more ram, and learn HTML. Then something called MacHTTP made me learn a little bit about apple events, and TCP/IP and applescript. Then something caled frontier made me start to learn to program a little, and something called OpenDoc promised to make it all portable, and so did something called Java. It was all going to pull together in something called Copland. We all know what happened to that.
I'm still very much a C newbie. I doubt I'll have anything in distribution for at least another year. But there is a product called microbrew that caught my eye, and that offered a short cut. It's a visual development environment like Visual C or Visual basic, and it cranks out OpenDoc parts. Suddenly, the idea of cranking out a game without the hassles and limitations of Macromedia seemed do able. It seemed like I could have access to the whole quicktime suite, not just the pieces Macromedia let's me have. I could make my own runtme!
I had a great concept, a gaming environment that was also a web client and let the user modify it's pieces to make a world that shared with other players. Frontier would handle the synchronization of players worlds. It would all use QD3D and quicktime, and it the client would run in cyberdog. Anyone with a Web* server could host a game on their machine, and link to other server's frontier-based databases of users worlds. One of my other great concepts is currently in serious enough consideration at a major multimedia development group in LA that I've been asked to fly out at their expense and pitch the details. Mostly, I'm a screenwriter and ex-audio engineer and session musician, currently learning video and film along with programming. I have great expectations. Details of this must remain secret, sad to say. I'm under an NDA. I wish I could tell everyone. Instead, I'll have to show them.
Now it's all going die. Not the concept being pitched in LA, but the one I was going to do myself. To work, the system needed a browser that could make windows in any shape, and be programmed to a degree that neither netscape or MSIE could be. I agree that Cyberdog is hideosly limited, but Dave, it's the only one you can mess with like this. I've hassled with it through all the beta's, and now it's finally housebroken, it's more stable than netscape, uses less ram, and it supports embedding of opendoc and java, an d runs NSAPI plug-in's and therefor can support my user interface. And now Amelio and company are going to kill it.
I've read with head-nodding agreement your many articles wishing for a browser with more capabilities than Netscape and MSIE. I guess that's why I chose your ear (eyes?) to bend with this sad story. I know you chose not to support OpenDoc, and given Apple's penchant for killing technologies almost as fast it foists them upon us, and just as they begin to show promise.
It begins to look more and more like Microsoft will own the net as completely as it owns the desktop. With MS proprietizing Java, what will be left? I know you are disappointed with the direction apple has taken with OD and CD, but consider this for a moment if you will. Suppose that apple had killed applescript in 1993, or 1994, because no one was using it. Would there be a Web*? or an Anarchie? Soem high end publishing firms might be using frontier, but many of us would never have heard of it, because big developers would never have made their app's scriptable because the then-unbeatable apple hadn't asked them too. Where would we be? Exactly where we will be when Netscape is forced from the market place by MSIE in a year or less. Who will use the standard Java virtual machine instead of the proprietary Microsoft VM if MSIE is the only game in town? Who will dare to try and develop the new browser we both wish for if the unbeatable Microsoft dominates the Market?
I know you don't control what apple does. I know you don't even particularly like CyberDog. But the new beta (2.0) is sweet. It's stable. It's fast. I had 50(!!!) different windows going at once, seven DL's in progress, Four FTP's, and TEN newsgroup windows. It was FAST!!! and STABLE!!! This is NICE!!! it's not exactly what I'd wish for. It's complex, and still has some bugs, but it's all we have!!!!
Dave, I'm not asking you to do something to change their minds, I'm begging you. I've had such high hopes for this suite since the first beta, I've listend to you bash it and thought "he'll change his mind when it's matured more." It's great david, it empowers people. It makes it possible for non-coders to make tools to share with everyone else.
Please chack it out. Give it another look, and if you can find it in your heart to see the promise in it that I see, write a leeter, or make a phone call. It's such a sweet puppy. Sure, it wet the rug and messed on the couch when it was a baby, but it's house broken now. Do they really have to put it to sleep?
I remember Amelio declaring last year that they were going to put OpenDoc "everywhere". Where? The only place there's any support for it at all is among the cyberdog fans, like me. Who'll dare to be such a fool as to trust an apple API after this? Where's AOCE? Where's Copland? We were all so excited. The NeXT deal made me hope for a comeback. I suppose I should have known better.
Wired has been a great magazine in so many ways, but its relentless trashing of whatever happened more than five minutes ago (print, TV, the text-based internet) is tiresome. Up to this point, Push has been nothing more than a few software updates and Pointcast's canned animated news running across the screen. Sixty years ago ticker tape was doing essentially the same thing. That is not a revolution.
From: email@example.com (Phil Hood);
Sent at 3/4/97; 11:52:39 PM;