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Mar 85 Letters
Volume Number:1
Issue Number:4
Column Tag:Letters, reviews

Letters, reviews


While timorously awaiting my bill for your worthy journal, I would like to compliment you on your efforts to date. I have recieved the first two issues and eagerly await more.

The BASIC column is of primary interest to me at present, so I was happy to see a perpetual calendar arrive in time for the new year. In trying to run the program, however, I encountered a problem. Until I changed the constant in the calculation of “y” (about 3/5ths of the way down column two on page 18 (where are line numbers when you need them?!)), 1985 would not work! (1984 & ’86 did.) I am running the Steiner/Kelly calendar under MSBASIC 2.0, BINARY version. I found that the number 1.2499999 allowed the above error, as did 1.3. 1.2 seems to work, as does 1.22499999.

Any chance of seeing a print-spooler we all could access (regardless of language)? How about a way of printing the screen on a full sheet of paper (rotated 90 degrees) ?

John P. Sikorski

Dayton, Ohio


The Perpetual Calendar was written with a pre-release decimal version of MSBASIC 2.0. The binary version of MSBASIC runs faster than the decimal version, however, the decimal version introduces no round-off error when doing calculations. Try again with the decimal version. To do this you can load the program with the binary version, then choose SAVE AS... from the File menu and save it as a text file. (Choose TEXT from the save dialog box). Now quit and load the decimal version of MSBASIC. Choose OPEN from the file menu and open the text file. That’s it!! Remember that data stored with one version must be converted. See pages 23 & 24 of the MBASIC 2.0 manual for more information on this. There is no data stored in the calendar program so no data conversion is necessary.

Dave Kelly

BASIC Editor


I have just received my first issue of MacTech (now MacTutor). It contains the most useful information I have seen on the Mac since I bought the Mac. Until I saw this issue, I was beginning to despair about ever writing useful programs on the Mac for the Mac, given that I am only beginning to write programs on a micro. With this issue, I have learned more about MS BASIC 2.0 and MacPascal than I did reading the documentation that came with them and which is exceptionally good. I am looking forward to future issues and share the hope of one of your readers that you will also have a column on Modula 2. Thank you and keep up the good work.

William Dellal

New York, NY

Chris and Dave thank you! Is Modula 2 released yet? -D.S.

Mac Snobol4 Coming?

Please enter my subscription to MacTech. There is a need for a serious journal about programming the Macintosh. I am interested in porting some non-numeric languages to the Mac, such as SNBOL4 and ICON.

Tony Panos, M.D.

Toronto, Ontario


If one issue can provide: (1) a calendar program; (2) reasons why my icons sometimes would appear and sometimes wouldn’t; and (3) details that explain why the DOER/MAKER pair that Brodie suggests in Thinking Forth don’t work exactly as advertised, then I have no doubts that this subscription will be extremely worthwhile.

Anybody there tried MacAsm yet? Outside of minor details (such as a complete lack of documentation), it is quite reasonable. In any event, it is much faster than Apple’s MDS. MacAsm simply assumes that you are an experienced 68000 programmer with a complete knowledge of the toolbox. If you are, then it is great.

Two things that I would like to see: using resources under MacForth and some relatively clean method of getting to those toolbox routines that MacForth does not support.

James G. Haberly

Mission Hills, CA.

If we had a complete knowledge of the toolbox, this Journal would no longer be necessary! Your nice Forth comments are being passed on to our lonely editor in Germany! - D.S.


I would like to subscribe to your publication. I am looking forward to a good technically oriented journal on the Mac. While Apple, Inc. has provided a “Macintosh College” for developers, there is a great need out here for a Mac “High School”.

James E. Haley

Stockbridge, MA.


According to Semaphore Signal #19, you folks are publishing a journal dedicated to programming on and for the Apple Macintosh. What a great idea. I have had some trouble in the past with publication vaporware and my tendency now is to wait a couple of months before subscribing to anything new. A sample issue would go a long way to dispel any lingering doubts.

Currently the only programming language I own for my Mac is Modula 2, which has some problems, but is filled to the brim with potential. I am very hopeful that your publication will prove useful in helping me master my Mac.

John R. Bogan

Burlingame, CA.

We’re the no-fluff, no-nonsense guys! Only hard-core programming stuff here.



I understand that MacTech (now MacTutor) is oriented toward computer experts, who already know everything about assembling, C and Forth. I am not an expert myself, and I find therefore your Journal quite difficult to read, although I already found in it enough useful information to justify the subscription. I believe, however that more tutorials (e.g. in the C language) will be very useful for a lot of non-experts like me, and could perhaps expand the readership of your excellent journal.

Valento G. Pedrocchi

Austin, Tx.

Right now our emphasis has been on Mac Technology tutorials rather than on language tutorials. -D.S.


The mousehole is a private Mac BBS, home to most of MacTutor’s editorial board. Membership may be obtained by invitation of the Sys Op. Address membership requests to The Mousehole care of this publication. Include name, address and phone and the handle you wish to use. At present, there is no charge for membership.

Helix looks good

A note about Helix. Everyday I work with it, it gets better and better, expecially the ability to change reports and how the data fields are oriented on paper. Supports a wide range of forms from labels to an 15" imagewriter printer paper.

-The Terminator

$600 Upgrades?

Yesterday, the New York Times reported the price of 512K Macs has dropped $400. Also I called Apple and they said upgrades to a 512K Mac are now $600. At the Apple Stock Holder’s meeting yesterday, Andy Herzfeld demonstrated a program he wrote called “Switcher” . It allows you to run up to 4 programs on a 512K Mac at the same time, switching contexts between them like slides on a projector. WOW!


Apple Irvine Ripped Off

Apple Irvine had about 100 machines heisted last week (IIc, IIe, 128K’s, 512K’s). An Apple dealer can give you the serial numbers if someone wants to check out a deal too good to be true.


$700 Upgrade?

Yup. It’s official. 512K RAM - $700.00!


MacWrite 3.95 Bug

I’ve just discovered a VERY annoying problem with MacWrite 3.95. In case you haven’t heard, MacWrite has a new upper limit on the number of paragraphs that it will allow within a document. Well, paragraphs are nothing more than carriage returns, and most downloaded ASCII text files contain carriage returns at the end of each line. Tonight I downloaded all the new messages from the mousehole and got a 23K ASCII file. When I tried to open it with Write, it wouldn’t load it! I didn’t even get a dialog box. It took me a minute even to figure out the problem. Yet the file opened fine into Edit from the ASM/EDIT system disk. What gives?

-Gary Voth


The limitation on the number of paragraphs stems from the fact that MacWrite uses a piece of software called Core Edit. This is a front end to Text Edit (in the ROM) that allows nice things like multiple fonts and styles within words and handles justified text.

However, Core Edit is ‘paragraph based’. By this I mean that Core Edit keeps a seperate record for each paragraph that determines the formatting within the paragraph. Why they didn’t just embed the font/style changes right in the text, I’ll never know. Their way takes more space because each font/style chnage has to be coupled with a character position value. Oh well.

It is interesting to note that Apple stopped supporting Core Edit very soon after it was put in use. About the only thing in the world that uses Core Edit is MacWrite!

-Chief Wizard


Saw the note from Macowaco about how his Mac went south with a puff of smoke, a squeal and a dead analog board. Out east (DC), the Washington Apple Pi has temporarily put a hold on further group buys of the 512K upgrade kit because about 10% of the upgraded Macs have died in a similar manner. Seems as if the power supply is close to it’s limits. Most of the problems are power supply, some have been video. They’re trying to gather statistics...Apple claims not to have any data that suggests a higher failure rate for Fat Macs. Mine’s been working fine since upgrade in october, though I do notice a lot more heat out of the top left vent.

-Paul Heller

Lisp Coming in April

For all you guys interested in Lisp, ExperIntelligence will be coming out with ExperList for the Mac in April. ExperLisp is out at beta sites for evaluation right now. It is a fully implemented version of lisp.

-The Terminator

512K Upgrade Do-it-Yourself

If anyone is interested in upgrades ala Dr. Dobbs, the BIT9 cards are available from Ken Wilhelm here in Seattle at (206) 322-2128. A lot of people over at the U of W are converting to 512K’s.

-Tim Celeski

LaserWriter Gossip

It seems that product availability on the LaserWriter and AppleTalk (network) will be sometime in March. The file servers (20 and 40 megabyte versions) will be due out sometime in the summer.

-Gary Voth


More Mac Boards:

NY Mac 718-643-1965

Mac Line 401-521-2626

MasterLink 703-476-9459

Terry Monks 301-471-1378

Microcom 617-769-9358

-Paul Heller


For those of you still having trouble making copies with COPY II MAC, try this. Set both of the defaults for the internal drive. Yes it does mean some disk swapping, but for those nasty little gems that just don’t want to copy in the bit copy mode, it works miracles. Probably because there isn’t any problem with drive speeds.

-Jim Kimmel

Mac Draw loves Mac Paint

How come nobody has mentioned MacDraw .9997B? (or something like that!) You can transfer from paint to draw and vice-versa via the scrapbook!


Window Tricks in Basic 2.0

The following applies to ALL windows that have title bars and resize buttons: If you double click on either the title bar or the size button, you will toggle the size of the window. The default sizes are the initial size (and position) that the window has at its first appearance and a full screen window. If you manually resize a window, BASIC remembers the size when you toggle it off and on. This applies to, as implied earlier, both list windows, the command window, and the output window (actually all output windows that have a title bar and size box, even the ones you create with the program). If anyone knows any more window tricks, let me (and the rest of us) know.

-Mike Steiner

New version of MacPaint 1.42

Today I got MacWrite 3.95 (Jan 2, 1985) and it seems to be bug free. I also got MacPaint 1.42. I have no idea what the difference between 1.4 and 1.42 is!!

-Mac Scotty


Even though fortran lacks many programming features that a ‘C’ language has, the cost of the Absoft MacFortran development system ($300) is well worth it. Strong points are it’s compiler and debugger. Bad points are no modern date types and control structures.

The compiler is fast. 825 lines per minute running on my ram disk. 450 lines from a disk based system. The compiler doesn’t create assembly code. Rather, four passes on the object file and walla, your application is there. An $150 option gets you assembly source code output. Code is very compact compared to C.

MacTech: The Macintosh Programming Journal

Published monthly to en- courage programming FOR the Mac, ON the Mac.

Editor - David E. Smith

Sales - Laura F. Smith


Bob Denny

Alisa Systems, Inc.

Pasadena, Ca.

Chris Derossi

Creighton Development, Inc

Newport Beach, Ca.

Dave Kelly

Hughes Aircraft

Newport Beach, Ca.

Jörg Langowski

MHH, OE 8830

D-3000 Hannover 61

Fed. Rep. of Germany



Portable Software has released Porta APL for the Macintosh. This is a full-featured APL interpreter with all primitive functions and system commands except shared variables. Requires 512K Mac. Price is $275. Contact Portable Software at (617) 547-2918 or write 60 Aberdeen Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138.


Manhattan Graphics has released their Interactive page makeup program for the Macintosh called ReadySetGo. Designed for professional graphic arts, ReadySetGo automates page design and pasteup, combining word processing with paint graphics . For the first time, text can now “flow” around paint graphic insertions, and fully justify itself as the graphic size or placement changes. Available for $125 from Manhattan Graphics, 163 Varick St., New York, NY 10013, or call (212) 924-2778.

Megamax C

Megamax has introduced it’s C compiler for the Macintosh. Unlike many C systems, the Megamax C includes a librarian facility and full floating point arithmetic with 64-bit double precison with 80-bit intermediate precison following the SANE IEEE floating point routines. A unique feature allows Megamax C to make use of screen memory during compilation on 128K Macs if necessary to maximize available symbol table space. An in-line assembler allows assembly code to be freely mixed with C code without having to buy an assembler. All toolbox traps supported and documented. This looks like one of the top C products. Includes the Apple editor and RMaker. An Autowin routine mimics I/O under Unix in a text window to save development time.


We have a limited number of back issues left. These are available for $3 each.

HOT AIR from the editor


As you may notice, we have changed our name from MacTech to MacTutor. We are still The Macintosh Programming Journal how- ever. The change was made necessary for legal reasons. It seems there is a small California Corpor- ation already using the name MacTec under a California trade mark. As is usually the case, they are not in the Macintosh business, but an importer of integrated circuits from the far east.

So we picked MacTutor, because it was still available for trade- mark, and because it does point out the educational nature of our Journal. However, we remain a technical publication devoted to advancing programming knowledge of the Macintosh for both hacker and professional alike. The editorial direction will remain as it has been for the past three issues, namely programming FOR the Mac, ON the Mac!

We encourage you to join with us by submitting programming articles on tricks you’ve learned developing software on this machine. We would also like to start columns on Mac APL, Logo and Lisp.


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