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

Bookends 13.2.5 - Reference management a...
Bookends is a full-featured bibliography/reference and information-management system for students and professionals. Bookends uses the cloud to sync reference libraries on all the Macs you use.... Read more
Quicken 2019 5.11.2 - Complete personal...
Quicken makes managing your money easier than ever. Whether paying bills, upgrading from Windows, enjoying more reliable downloads, or getting expert product help, Quicken's new and improved features... Read more
Dashlane 6.1927.0 - Password manager and...
Dashlane is an award-winning service that revolutionizes the online experience by replacing the drudgery of everyday transactional processes with convenient, automated simplicity - in other words,... Read more
Capo 3.7.4 - Slow down and learn to play...
Capo lets you slow down your favorite songs so you can hear the notes and learn how they are played. With Capo, you can quickly tab out your songs atop a highly-detailed OpenCL-powered spectrogram... Read more
BetterTouchTool 3.153 - Customize multi-...
BetterTouchTool adds many new, fully customizable gestures to the Magic Mouse, Multi-Touch MacBook trackpad, and Magic Trackpad. These gestures are customizable: Magic Mouse: Pinch in / out (zoom)... Read more
calibre 3.46.0 - Complete e-book library...
Calibre is a complete e-book library manager. Organize your collection, convert your books to multiple formats, and sync with all of your devices. Let Calibre be your multi-tasking digital librarian... Read more
Firefox 68.0.1 - Fast, safe Web browser.
Firefox offers a fast, safe Web browsing experience. Browse quickly, securely, and effortlessly. With its industry-leading features, Firefox is the choice of Web development professionals and casual... Read more
Vivaldi 2.6.1566.49 - An advanced browse...
Vivaldi is a browser for our friends. We live in our browsers. Choose one that has the features you need, a style that fits and values you can stand by. From the look and feel, to how you interact... Read more
Daylite 6.7.3.1 - Dynamic business organ...
Daylite helps businesses organize themselves with tools such as shared calendars, contacts, tasks, projects, notes, and more. Enable easy collaboration with features such as task and project... Read more
Vivaldi 2.6.1566.49 - An advanced browse...
Vivaldi is a browser for our friends. We live in our browsers. Choose one that has the features you need, a style that fits and values you can stand by. From the look and feel, to how you interact... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Void Tyrant guide - Tips and tricks for...
Void Tyrant continues to get a lot of play in these parts. Probably because the game is just so deep and varied. The next stop on our guide series for Void Tyrant is class-specific guides. First up is the Knight, as it’s the first class anyone has... | Read more »
Summon beasts and battle evil in epic re...
Imagine a tale of conlict between factions of good and evil, where rogueish heroes summon beasts to aid them in them in warfare and courageously battle dragons over fields of scorched earth and brimstone - that's exactly the essence of epic fantasy... | Read more »
Upcoming visual novel Arranged shines a...
If you’re in the market for a new type of visual novel designed to inform and make you think deeply about its subject matter, then Arranged by Kabuk Games could be exactly what you’re looking for. It’s a wholly unique take on marital traditions in... | Read more »
TEPPEN guide - The three best decks in T...
TEPPEN’s unique take on the collectible card game genre is exciting. It’s just over a week old, but that isn’t stopping lots of folks from speculating about the long-term viability of the game, as well as changes and additions that will happen over... | Read more »
Intergalactic puzzler Silly Memory serve...
Recently released matching puzzler Silly Memory is helping its fans with their intergalactic journeys this month with some very special offers on in-app purchases. In case you missed it, Silly Memory is the debut title of French based indie... | Read more »
TEPPEN guide - Tips and tricks for new p...
TEPPEN is a wild game that nobody asked for, but I’m sure glad it exists. Who would’ve thought that a CCG featuring Capcom characters could be so cool and weird? In case you’re not completely sure what TEPPEN is, make sure to check out our review... | Read more »
Dr. Mario World guide - Other games that...
We now live in a post-Dr. Mario World world, and I gotta say, things don’t feel too different. Nintendo continues to squirt out bad games on phones, causing all but the most stalwart fans of mobile games to question why they even bother... | Read more »
Strategy RPG Brown Dust introduces its b...
Epic turn-based RPG Brown Dust is set to turn 500 days old next week, and to celebrate, Neowiz has just unveiled its biggest and most exciting update yet, offering a host of new rewards, increased gacha rates, and a brand new feature that will... | Read more »
Dr. Mario World is yet another disappoin...
As soon as I booted up Dr. Mario World, I knew I wasn’t going to have fun with it. Nintendo’s record on phones thus far has been pretty spotty, with things trending downward as of late. [Read more] | Read more »
Retro Space Shooter P.3 is now available...
Shoot-em-ups tend to be a dime a dozen on the App Store, but every so often you come across one gem that aims to shake up the genre in a unique way. Developer Devjgame’s P.3 is the latest game seeking to do so this, working as a love letter to the... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Flash sale! New 11″ 1TB WiFi iPad Pros for th...
Amazon has the 11″ 1TB WiFi iPad Pro on sale today for only $1199.99 including free shipping. Their price is $350 off Apple’s MSRP for this model, and it’s the lowest price ever for a 1TB 11″ iPad... Read more
Weekend Deal: 2018 13″ MacBook Airs starting...
B&H Photo has clearance 2018 13″ MacBook Airs available starting at only $999 with all models now available for $200 off Apple’s original MSRP. Overnight shipping, or expedited shipping, is free... Read more
Apple has clearance 10.5″ iPad Pros available...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 10.5″ iPad Pros available starting at $469. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each iPad, outer shells are new, and shipping is free: – 64GB 10″ iPad Pro... Read more
Apple restocks refurbished iPad mini 4 models...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished 32GB iPad mini 4 WiFi models for $229 shipped. That’s $70 off original MSRP for the iPad mini 4. Space Gray, Silver, and Gold colors are available. Read more
Apple, Yet Again, Is Missing An Ultraportable...
EDITORIAL: 07.19.19 Prior to the decision made by Apple earlier this month to retire the thin and light MacBook model with a 12-inch retina display, the Cupertino, California-based company offered,... Read more
Verizon is offering a 50% discount on iPhone...
Verizon is offering 50% discounts on Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus models though July 24th, plus save 50% on activation fees. New line required. The fine print: “New device payment & new... Read more
Get a new 21″ iMac for under $1000 today at t...
B&H Photo has new 21″ Apple iMacs on sale for up to $100 off MSRP with models available starting at $999. These are the same iMacs offered by Apple in their retail and online stores. Shipping is... Read more
Clearance 2017 15″ 2.8GHz Touch Bar MacBook P...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2017 15″ 2.8GHz Space Gray Touch Bar MacBook Pros available for $1809. Apple’s refurbished price is currently the lowest available for a 15″ MacBook Pro. An standard... Read more
Clearance 12″ 1.2GHz MacBook on sale for $899...
Focus Camera has clearance 12″ 1.2GHz Space Gray MacBooks available for $899.99 shipped. That’s $400 off Apple’s original MSRP. Focus charges sales tax for NY & NJ residents only. Read more
Get a new 2019 13″ 2.4GHz 4-Core MacBook Pro...
B&H Photo has new 2019 13″ 2.4GHz MacBook Pros on sale for up to $150 off Apple’s MSRP. Overnight shipping is free to many addresses in the US: – 2019 13″ 2.4GHz/256GB 6-Core MacBook Pro Silver... Read more

Jobs Board

Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**707083BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Location Number:** 000045-Rockford-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Read more
Geek Squad *Apple* Master Consultation Agen...
**702908BR** **Job Title:** Geek Squad Apple Master Consultation Agent **Job Category:** Services/Installation/Repair **Location Number:** 000360-Williston-Store Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**711023BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Sales **Location Number:** 000012-St Cloud-Store **Job Description:** **What does a Read more
*Apple* Systems Architect/Engineer, Vice Pre...
…its vision to be the world's most trusted financial group. **Summary:** Apple Systems Architect/Engineer with strong knowledge of products and services related to Read more
Best Buy *Apple* Computing Master - Best Bu...
**696259BR** **Job Title:** Best Buy Apple Computing Master **Job Category:** Store Associates **Location Number:** 001076-Temecula-Store **Job Description:** The Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.