TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Aug 92 Letters
Volume Number:8
Issue Number:4
Column Tag:Letters

Letters

By Neil Ticktin, Editor

Higher quality, larger Magazine for less money

May I first say that I love your magazine (I love anything about the Mac!). I’m a professional programmer for Xerox Corporation, but I do Mac programming for fun. I have some criticisms that I think could improve your magazine.

1) Remove the beginner section - there are a bunch of books out there that treat this subject - the reason that I came to your magazine is because it “pushed the envelope” and had complex, advanced algorithms in it.

2) Change the glossy paper to recycled paper, triple the size of the magazine, and then charge $5.00!

3) How about an article about the “ins” and “outs” of writing Printer Drivers?... or ...”Why It Takes Three Man-Years to Write a Mac Printer Driver” ???

...remember, I think your program should out teach basic programming skills, but should assume the audience is made up of average-to-advanced programmers... the personal attitude which should lead people to your magazine is motivation, not a general “how does one start programming the Mac?”

- Andy Ritz, El Segundo, CA

[Andy, in regards to the “beginner” section, most of our readers tell us that even though they thought they knew a topic, they found something new and interesting in Dave Mark’s articles. I understand that books are out there, in fact I urge people to buy them. I also understand that this column will not only help the new programmers, but also those who want to clean up their style.

Regarding the changing of the stock, increasing the size, and charging less. Please call me with the name of the printer that you know can do this. As far as we know, this isn’t possible without a drastic increase in price.

Finally, I would encourage someone to write an article on printer drivers. Right now, we don’t have such an article scheduled, but if you know of someone, let me know. MacTutor’s editorial goal is to provide information to all levels of programmer, from beginners to advanced. We’ll continue to make all efforts to reach this goal. - Ed.]

Less Is Better!

Thank you for the new-look MacTutor. Like many other subscribers, I was beginning to wonder what had happened to MacTutor - having assumed that my subscription had lapsed. Never mind! The replacement of the old with the new is often a good thing.

I was particularly pleased with your policy decision not to print vast amounts of code. In the future, articles which focus on particular coding tricks or secrets or useful but not well-known techniques would be most welcome. Such articles should be succinct and to the point and present only the code snippets necessary to explain the idea.

Many of the past MacTutor articles have hidden gems of knowledge inside very specialized solutions or inside programming frameworks which are not used by the everyday reader. For example I am using the THINK Class Library these days and any other “framework” is of no direct relevance to me. However, particular techniques of, say, using the toolbox, are. If these could be presented in a more generic way so that they could be easily adapted to different frameworks and programming environments, then this would be very useful. Wishing you every success with the new MacTutor.

- Paul Howson, Queensland, Australia

[Part of the purpose of Dave Mark’s article is to address how to properly access parts of the toolbox. Even if you are not a novice programmer, skim his articles and compare it with your own style. We’ll try to continue doing things in a general fashion. - Ed.]

MacApp and A/UX

I agree with you about the Tools. I need some. I understand what you're saying about POSITIVE and NEGATIVE requests. I hear and understand.

I would like some beginner's code on using MacApp. I know, you've beaten this one to a pulp. But version 3 is out, and I wasn't listening before.

I would like some coverage on programming stuff to specific A/UX and MacOS integration problems.

What a thrill to get mail from someone I just saw on a magazine editor's spot. This InterNET keeps on giving me chills (I had many conversations with Frank Da Cruz & Yoshi...WOW).

- Steven Woolgar, CHUS-FAMUS

[Steven, we’ll work to get some good quality starter articles on MacApp as well as advanced ones. As far as A/UX. I’ve heard this request a couple times. Who else is interested? More specifically, what would you like to see? - Ed.]

Glad to see you back

First of all I'm glad MacTutor is back in business! I like the renewed lay-out, the editor's intentions seem OK. I’m just wondering when you will release version 2.0.1 or the Tune-Up.

• Don't forget us Pascal programmers out here, we're still alive and kicking!

• I always enjoyed the MouseHole Report. It adresses real problems. Why not start a "Talk show" on AppleLink?

• I agree on the reduction of printed code, there's indeed no need to print yet another "DoNothing" shell.

• You could pay more attention to the international side of programming. There are still programmers abound who think that the world is flat and lies between Boston and L.A.

• If possible I'd like to receive my subscription copy before the issue appears in the local window display.

Oh and yes I will renew my subscription Can this be done through AppleLink?

So keep it going, we really need you. I learned and still learn more from MacTutor than from any other source available.

- Luc Roels, Diegem, Belgium

[Luc, as far as the talk show, AppleLink is very expensive to do this and doesn’t make sense for us. We are looking into other solutions so stay tuned. I hear you on the localization topic. I’ll look for articles.

As far as delivery. It will almost always show up in the stores a bit before your mailbox. The reason is that shippers are faster than the postal service in any country. The only way to avoid this would be to delay shipment to the dealers. But, we’ll continue to look for faster delivery methods.

Can you subscribe via AppleLink? Yes, see the front of the magazine for info on communication with us. - Ed.]

Correctly Efficient

I just got the second issue of the new MacTutor. I haven’t quite finished reading it all yet, but from my initial skim through it it looks like every article has something of interest to me-which is great!

I’ve just finished Mike Scanlin’s article on “Efficient 68000 Programming”. It’s got lots of useful tips that I will endeavour to keep in mind. However, one of his code samples annoys me, because it repeats a mistake that a lot of Mac assembly-language hackers seem to make.

On page 40 he gives the following replacement for a _BlockMove call:

Subq #1,Dx
@1 Move.B (A0)+,(A1)+
Dbra Dx,@1

Now, it’s a well-known feature of the DBcc group of instructions on the 68000 processor family that they terminate the loop when the count reaches -1, rather than zero. What’s not so well-known is that this is no accidental quirk, but a carefully-thought-out design feature. It allows you to automatically handle the case where the loop count is initially zero, without having to put in a separate test before entering the loop.

Here is an example of the right way to use a DBRA to move a block of bytes:

 move.w count, d0
 bra.s  @9
@1 move.b (a0)+, (a1)+
@9 dbra d0, @1

Notice how the loop is entered by branching to its end? That causes an extra initial execution of the DBRA instruction. This subtracts 1 from the loop count (adjusting for the termination on -1 instead of zero), and it will fall through without actually entering the loop if the count was initially zero. Elegant, huh?

It is also possible to use DBRA with a 32-bit loop count. Here is an example skeleton loop:

 move.l count, d0
 bra.s  @9
@1 swap d0
@2
; .. body of loop ..
@9 dbra d0, @2
 swap d0
 dbra d0, @1

Basically this is a DBRA loop within a DBRA loop: the outer loop counts down the high word of the 32-bit count, while the inner one handles the low word. Since the SWAPs and the outer DBRA are only executed once every 64K iterations of the inner loop, you’re still effectively getting the full speed of a simple DBRA loop.

There-now I’ve got that off my chest, I must finish the rest of the magazine.

- Lawrence D’Oliveiro, New Zealand

More Pascal!

For your information, the journal is quite interesting. I believe it could be a bit more technical, and would also like to see more Pascal programs. (I know, few times Pascal and “Technical” appear in the same sentence; however, I believe that Symantec’s Pascal has become powerful enough to write full fledge applications.) Overall, the magazine is quite useful, as well as helpful. Try to keep it oriented towards programmers.

- Edward Wolpert, Knoxville, TX

[Edward, great suggestion. I too would like to see more Pascal articles. They are getting harder and harder to find because of the incredible success of C and C++. I will keep vigilant in my search for more Pascal articles! - Ed.]

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

TotalFinder 1.12.2 - Adds tabs, hotkeys,...
TotalFinder is a universally acclaimed navigational companion for your Mac. Enhance your Mac's Finder with features so smart and convenient, you won't believe you ever lived without them. Features... Read more
Duet 2.3.0.3 - Use your iPad as an exter...
Duet is the first app that allows you to use your iDevice as an extra display for your Mac using the Lightning or 30-pin cable. Note: This app requires a $9.99 iOS companion app. Version 2.3.0.3:... Read more
FileMaker Pro Advanced 18.0.3 - Powerful...
FileMaker Pro Advanced is the tool you use to create a custom app. You also use FileMaker Pro Advanced to access your app on a computer. Start by importing data from a spreadsheet or using a built-in... Read more
OsiriX Lite 10.0.6 - 3D medical image pr...
OsiriX Lite is an image processing software dedicated to DICOM images (".dcm" / ".DCM" extension) produced by medical equipment (MRI, CT, PET, PET-CT, ...) and confocal microscopy (LSM and BioRAD-PIC... Read more
Ableton Live 10.1.5 - Record music using...
Ableton Live lets you create and record music on your Mac. Use digital instruments, pre-recorded sounds, and sampled loops to arrange, produce, and perform your music like never before. Ableton Live... Read more
Burn 2.7.8 - Easily burn data, audio, vi...
Burn... There are a lot of ways to approach burning discs. Burn keeps it simple, but still offers a lot of advanced options. Create data discs with advanced data settings like, file permissions, the... Read more
Malwarebytes 4.0.30.3073 - Adware remova...
Malwarebytes (was AdwareMedic) helps you get your Mac experience back. Malwarebytes scans for and removes code that degrades system performance or attacks your system. Making your Mac once again your... Read more
Acorn 6.5.3 - Bitmap image editor.
Acorn is a new image editor built with one goal in mind - simplicity. Fast, easy, and fluid, Acorn provides the options you'll need without any overhead. Acorn feels right, and won't drain your bank... Read more
Fantastical 2.5.13 - Create calendar eve...
Fantastical is the Mac calendar you'll actually enjoy using. Creating an event with Fantastical is quick, easy, and fun: Open Fantastical with a single click or keystroke Type in your event... Read more
A Better Finder Rename 11.05 - File, pho...
A Better Finder Rename is the most complete renaming solution available on the market today. That's why, since 1996, tens of thousands of hobbyists, professionals and businesses depend on A Better... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Eternal Warfare is a new idle clicker fo...
Idle games are a popular genre on mobile, they might not be to everyone's taste but they're made with such regularity and receive a lot of downloads, so it's hard to argue it's not big business. Eternal Warfare is set to join the sea of idle games... | Read more »
New heroes and balance updates set to ar...
It feels like Hearthstone: Battlegrounds only launched yesterday, and already the auto batter addition to Blizzard's megahit card game is set to receive new heroes and balance updates. [Read more] | Read more »
Pre-register for Hello Kitty AR: Kawaii...
Hello Kitty — the cute cat that launched a multi-billion-pound franchise — has been brought to life… sort of. Sanrio has teamed up with the Bublar Group to create a new mobile game that uses AR tech to turn the real world into Hello Kitty’s... | Read more »
Gorgeous and tranquil puzzler Spring Fal...
One-man indie studio SPARSE//GameDev has now launched its tranquil puzzler, Spring Falls. It's described as "a peaceful puzzle game about water, erosion, and watching things grow". [Read more] | Read more »
Black Desert Mobile gets an official rel...
Pearl Abyss has just announced that its highly-anticipated MMO, Black Desert Mobile, will launch globally for iOS and Android on December 11th. [Read more] | Read more »
Another Eden receives new a episode, cha...
Another Eden, WFS' popular RPG, has received another update that brings new story content to the game alongside a few new heroes to discover. [Read more] | Read more »
Overdox guide - Tips and tricks for begi...
Overdox is a clever battle royale that changes things up by adding MOBA mechanics and melee combat to the mix. This new hybrid game can be quite a bit to take in at first, so we’ve put together a list of tips to help you get a leg up on the... | Read more »
Roterra Extreme - Great Escape is a pers...
Roterra Extreme – Great Escape has been described by developers Dig-It Games as a mini-sequel to their acclaimed title Roterra: Flip the Fairytale. It continues that game's tradition of messing with which way is up, tasking you with solving... | Read more »
Hearthstone: Battlegrounds open beta lau...
Remember earlier this year when auto battlers were the latest hotness? We had Auto Chess, DOTA Underlords, Chess Rush, and more all gunning for our attention. They all had their own reasons to play, but, at least from where I'm standing, most... | Read more »
The House of Da Vinci 2 gets a new gamep...
The House of Da Vinci launched all the way back in 2017. Now, developer Blue Brain Games is gearing up to deliver a second dose of The Room-inspired puzzling. Some fresh details have now emerged, alongside the game's first official trailer. [Read... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

B&H offers $100 discounts on 4-Core and 6...
B&H Photo has new 4-Core and 6-Core Mac minis in stock and on sale today for $100 off Apple’s MSRP. Prices start at $699. Overnight shipping is free to many addresses in the US: – 3.6GHz Quad-... Read more
Save $200 today on a 2019 13″ MacBook Air wit...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2019 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at only $929 and up to $200 off the cost of new Airs. Each MacBook features a new outer case, comes with a... Read more
New Verizon Pre-Black Friday 2019 deal: Buy o...
Buy one new Apple iPhone 11 model or 2018 iPhone XS model at Verizon and get a second one for free. One new line of service required. Offer is valid from November 21, 2019 to November 27, 2019. Here... Read more
AirPods with Wireless Charging Case on sale t...
Abt Electronics has 2019 AirPods with the Wireless Charging Case on sale today for $163 shipped. Their price is $36 off Apple’s MSRP, and it’s currently the cheapest price for these AirPods from any... Read more
Apple continues to offer 2017 13″ Dual-Core n...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 13″ 2.3GHz Dual-Core non-Touch Bar MacBook Pros still available starting at $1019. An standard Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, outer cases... Read more
Save up to $120 on the new 16″ MacBook Pro at...
Apple’s resellers are starting to receive stock of new 16″ MacBook Pros, and the first set of sales & deals are now available: (1) Amazon 16″ MacBook Pros start on sale for $100-$116 off Apple’s... Read more
Apple Watch Series 3 models on sale at Amazon...
Amazon has Apple Watch Series 3 GPS models on sale for $30 off MSRP, starting at only $169. There prices are the lowest we’ve ever seen for these models from any Apple reseller. Choose Amazon as the... Read more
The ‘Mac Potpourri’ Mailbag: Edition #1- Info...
COMMENTARY: 11.20.19- Welcome to the inaugural edition of the “Mac Potpourri” Mailbag where we take a look at correspondence received from readers of this column from all over the world who write in... Read more
13″ 2.4GHz MacBook Pros available for up to $...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2019 13″ 2.4GHz 4-Core Touch Bar MacBook Pros available starting at $1529 and up to $300 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, shipping is... Read more
New at T-Mobile: Switch to T-Mobile, and get...
T-Mobile is offering a free 64GB iPhone 8 for new customers who switch to T-Mobile and open a new line of service. Eligible trade-in required, and discount applied over a 24 month period. The fine... Read more

Jobs Board

Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**747303BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Store NUmber or Department:** 001413-Cypress-Store **Job Description:** **What Read more
*Apple* Mobility Pro - Best Buy (United Stat...
**743221BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobility Pro **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 000230-Greenwood-Store **Job Description:** At Best Read more
*Apple* Mobility Pro - Best Buy (United Stat...
**747338BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobility Pro **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 000254-Superstition Springs-Store **Job Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**745516BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 001101-Manhattan-Store **Job Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**746655BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Store NUmber or Department:** 002518-Atlantic Center-Store **Job Description:** Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.