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

WiFiSpoof 3.5.4 - Change your WiFi MAC a...
WiFiSpoof quickly and easily allows you to change your WiFi MAC address via hot-key or the system menu bar. Version 3.5.4: Dutch localization Download Now]]> Read more
Sparkle Pro 3.0.7 - Visual website creat...
Sparkle Pro will change your mind if you thought building websites wasn't for you. Sparkle is the intuitive site builder that lets you create sites for your online portfolio, team or band pages, or... Read more
MySQL 8.0.23 - Industry-leading open-sou...
MySQL, the industry-leading open-source SQL database, is an accessible, easy-to-use relational database management system (RDBMS). As an alternative to Oracle and SQL server, MySQL offers features... Read more
OmniGraffle 7.18.2 - Create diagrams, fl...
OmniGraffle helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use Graffle to... Read more
OmniGraffle Pro 7.18.2 - Create diagrams...
OmniGraffle Pro helps you draw beautiful diagrams, family trees, flow charts, org charts, layouts, and (mathematically speaking) any other directed or non-directed graphs. We've had people use... Read more
Malwarebytes 4.7.9.3978 - Adware removal...
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
OmniFocus 3.11.2 - GTD task manager with...
OmniFocus is an organizer app. It uses projects to organize tasks naturally, and then add tags to organize across projects. Easily enter tasks when you’re on the go, and process them when you have... Read more
Dropbox 113.4.507 - Cloud backup and syn...
Dropbox for Mac is a file hosting service that provides cloud storage, file synchronization, personal cloud, and client software. It is a modern workspace that allows you to get to all of your files... Read more
Duet 2.3.3.0 - 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 2.3.3.0:... Read more
f.lux 41.1 - Adjusts the color of your d...
f.lux makes the color of your computer's display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. Ever notice how people texting at night have that eerie blue glow? Or wake... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Cookie Run: Kingdom is a base-building R...
Today, developer Devsisters has launched the latest title in their Cookie Run series. It's called Cookie Run: Kingdom and is a base-building RPG where you'll do battle against other players once you've created your delicious realms. [Read more] | Read more »
Here's what SpongeBob SquarePants:...
SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated came out this week on iOS, and it seems like a pretty solid platformer with a Banjo-Kazooie-style collection-based progression system. You play as SpongeBob, obviously, as he tries to... | Read more »
Pokemon Go will celebrate the arrival of...
Niantic has recently announced that Mega Ampharos, the more fabulous looking version of the Light Pokemon, is now available in the game. To commemorate the occasion, an Incense Day event featuring a host of different Electric and Dragon-Type... | Read more »
Nuts is a squirrel adventure game coming...
Noodlecake’s Nuts is a lo-fi photography game about surveying and documenting the secret lives of squirrels. It’s coming to Apple Arcade this Friday, 22nd January, with a further release coming later on PC and Nintendo Switch. [Read more] | Read more »
Super JetPak DX’s physical preorders sti...
The physical cartridge edition of Pocket Pixel Design’s Super JetPak DX is still available to preorder and will be until 31st January, with the game launching later this year on the Nintendo Game Boy. [Read more] | Read more »
Honkai Impact 3rd has revealed more deta...
Honkai Impact 3rd has now announced more details about its upcoming crossover with Neon Genesis Evangelion. This is set to arrive next week on January 22nd and will introduce an exclusive story, battlesuit and weapon to the popular action-RPG. [... | Read more »
Space Frog Intern, James Bolton's a...
James Bolton's arcade shooter Space Frog Intern is now available for Android devices following its release on iOS last year. It sees players taking control of the titular amphibian and blasting their way through various space beasties. [Read more... | Read more »
The 5 Best Mobile Ports
Ports or coversions of games from one platform to another can be quite tricky. This is especially true when porting games to phones and tablets, as these titles have to be designed with workable touch controls and account for smaller screen sizes... | Read more »
Erica, the PS4-exclusive FMV thriller, c...
London-based studio Flavourworks is bringing its FMV game Erica to iOS on Friday as a free trial, with a full release presumably following later. This is the second platform the game has launched on after its original release on PlayStation 4 two... | Read more »
Cute simulation game Dinosaur Park: Prim...
Dinosaur Park: Primeval Zoo is a cute zoo simulation game from upjers, and it sounds perfect for anyone who’s a dinosaur fan. It’s coming to Android in February, and is available right now for pre-registration. [Read more] | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

Apple restocks $599 4-Core Mac minis, Certifi...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished Intel-based 4-Core Mac minis for only $599 or $200 off original MSRP. Each mini comes with a new outer case plus a standard Apple one-year warranty. Shipping... Read more
Apple Magic Keyboard for 11″ iPad Pro/10.9″ i...
Amazon has the Apple Magic Keyboard for 11″ iPad Pro (2nd gen)/10.9″ iPad Air (4th gen) on sale today for only $199 including free shipping. Their price is $100 off Apple’s MSRP for this Magic... Read more
Verizon offers $400 off on iPhone 11 Pro mode...
Verizon is offering $400 off on iPhone 11 Pro models through January 24, 2021 when purchased with a new line of Unlimited service. Price start at $999.99 before the discount. Price is prorated... Read more
Flash sale! Apple’s 21″ 2.3GHz Dual-Core iMac...
Adorama has the 21″ 2.3GHz Dual-Core iMac on sale for a very limited time — today and early tomorrow — for $988 shipped. That’s $111 off Apple’s MSRP, and it’s the cheapest price available for a new... Read more
Boost Mobile continues to offer no contract A...
Boost Mobile is offering 2020 Apple iPhone SE models for $150 off MSRP with service. Their discount reduces the cost of an iPhone SE/64GB to $249.99. 128GB models are offered at a $50 discount: $399.... Read more
B&H launches Apple iMac sale with 21″ and...
B&H Photo has Apple 21″ and 27″ iMacs on sale today for up to $150 off MSRP with prices starting at $1049. Shipping is free. These are the same iMacs sold by Apple in their retail and online... Read more
Select 11″ WiFi iPad Pros on sale today for $...
B&H Photo has select 2020 Apple 11″ WiFi iPad Pros on sale today for $50 off Apple’s MSRP, each including free expedited shipping to most addresses in the US: – 11″ 256GB WiFi iPad Pro: $849 $50... Read more
Clearance 8-core iMac Pro available again for...
Apple has Certified Refurbished, clearance, 27″ 3.2GHz 8-Core iMac Pros available $3819 including free shipping. Their price is $1180 off the original MSRP of new models. A standard Apple one-year... Read more
B&H launches 16″ MacBook Pro sale with mo...
B&H has Apple’s 16″ MacBook Pros on sale for $200-$250 off Apple’s MSRP with prices starting at $2199. Expedited shipping is free to many addresses in the US. Their prices are among the lowest... Read more
At only $809, these are the cheapest MacBooks...
Apple has restocked at full line of Certified Refurbished 2020 13″ Intel-based MacBook Airs available starting at only $809 and up to $280 off original MSRP. Each MacBook features a new outer case,... Read more

Jobs Board

Technical Support - VIVA USA Inc (United Stat...
…when necessary to other client personnel. Knowledge: Systems administration knowledge of Microsoft, Apple , and Linux OS to include but not limited to Windows 7, 8, Read more
Store Associate - Shortage Control - Burlingt...
**LOCATION** 19131 Bear Valley Road Apple Valley CA US 92308 **Overview** If you want an exciting job with one of the largest off-price retail stores in the nation, Read more
Lead Software Engineer - 72673BR - CVS Health...
…by Aetna app, a first-of-its-kind health experience designed in collaboration with Apple . It helps drive healthy behavior by combining your health history with Read more
IOS Developer - Deloitte (United States)
…applications, including knowledge of Swift, Xcode, UIKit, AppleWatch and other core Apple frameworks. + Knowledge of Apple 's HealthKit, ResearchKit, and CareKit Read more
OBGYN Nurse Practitioner - Provider Solutions...
…clinicians in serving a medically diverse, high-acuity, underserved patient population in Apple Valley, California. You will have the opportunity to grow your Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.