TweetFollow Us on Twitter

MacHack '92
Volume Number:8
Issue Number:4
Column Tag:From the Field

MacHack Conference Report

What happened at the techiest of all conferences

By Neil Ticktin, MacTutor Editor-in-Chief

MacHack ‘92, the Seventh Annual Macintosh Technical Conference, lived up to it’s reputation - especially, the “Best Hax” contest and of course, the lightning. This year, the conference was held June 17-19 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

What is MacHack?

For those of you that don’t know, MacHack is the annual conference that is put on by Expotech, Inc.. Originally, this conference came about because the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor wanted it so. To date, the University has a part in this conference.

I had never been to MacHack, and frankly did not know what to expect. What I found was a mixture of professionals, Apple employees, and of course, classic hackers. I haven’t seen such a group since my days in the computer room at UCLA.

There are a number of different things going on at MacHack. First, individuals give presentations of papers on a variety of topics. Next, there are panel discussions that take place each day of the conference. In addition, there are business sessions, roundtables, code clinics, and of course, the machine room.

The machine room holds the heart of the conference. Here you will find Macintoshes and other toys to play with. It is open 24 hours a day for the entire conference. This room has some of the most serious hacking ever to be seen.

The KeyNote

This year, MacHack was fortunate enough to have Steve Weyl, the Director of Apple’s Developer Tools organization as the keynote speaker. Steve said a lot of things, the most important of which were his comments on the future of MacApp. In a nutshell, Steve said that if you develop using MacApp, you will have code that you will be able to port to Windows. MacApp will be available for Windows next year. [See the Editor’s page regarding the joint efforts of Apple and Symantec in regards to this topic. - Ed.] What Steve said was that MacApp is not yet available for Windows, but that it will be. The idea is that any efforts that you make using MacApp will be portable to Windows next year.

In addition to his MacApp comments, Steve acknowledged that it is too difficult and too time consuming to develop using existing programming tools on the Macintosh. He promised that we would see better tools, reference materials and even support in the future. Given what we now know about Bedrock (see Editor’s page) and about the new Inside Macintosh about to come out, it looks like Steve (and Apple) will be delivering on at least two out of three promises.

The Tornado

At every show, techie or fuzzy, there is always something buzzing in the air. This year was no different except that the buzz had nothing to do with the conference. At one point, attendees were asked to move to one side of the hotel while waiting for the tornado to pass by. During this time, lightning struck a nearby tree. Several times throughout the conference, sessions were interrupted and equipment had to be turned off because of electrical storm warnings. Something this California boy was not accustomed to.

Microsoft and OLE

Microsoft was the company making the biggest splash. They have now announced Microsoft’s Object Linking and Embedding protocol, OLE Version 2.0. This protocol will give users the ability to access the full capabilities of one program from within another program. This new version of the protocol will be integrated into future Microsoft products. Microsoft also said that they would make the protocol available to other developers.

To the user, this protocol provides a way to deal with embedded documents and objects. For example, if you had an OLE 2.0 compatible drawing program, and then embedded an object from that program into a Microsoft Word document, you could double click on the object to edit it. This would bring up the drawing program’s menus (and floating window palettes if it had them). When this happens, the word processing menus disappear. The user can then edit the image within the word processor as if they were in the drawing program to begin with.

According to Ben Waldman, Manager of Macintosh Technology at Microsoft, the new OLE is supposed to offer new conveniences to Macintosh users. In addition, it is/will be designed to reduce the amount of effort that programmer’s make adding code to every program to support new technologies. Microsoft declined to say when their applications which integrate OLE 2.0 would be released.

Apple Showing Off

Apple took advantage of the situation at MacHack to show off and talk about some its new technologies under development. Included in this list were QuickDraw GX, and upcoming system software. QuickDraw GX is evidently seen not as a replacement for QuickDraw, but an extension of it. The essential idea behind the package is to bring QuickDraw into the nineties. This includes making QuickDraw do all the things that Apple promised years ago would be in System 7, but to date have not made it. For example, with QuickDraw GX, developers will be able to easily write printer drivers instead of taking 47 man years. In addition, QuickDraw GX will become substantially more competitive with Display PostScript™. Most important is that GX will not be a problem for everything you’ve already coded to date.

System 7.1 will be the next major release of Macintosh system software. The idea behind 7.1 is to (a) clean up a bunch of things in System 7 and (b) have the first “World-Ready” Macintosh system software. This version of the operating system will accommodate all users in all languages around the world. To customize an installation with a particular language, extensions will be available to drop in the System Folder. This will give each Macintosh the language the user wants. Unfortunately, during the Apple Bashing section of the conference, we heard a lot of this is “not a priority” responses to suggestions on the System Software. To be fair, we also heard a lot of “it will be done in 7.1” responses as well. Actually, to be completely fair, it did sound like Apple was doing a good deal of user testing and refinements to their system software. We did hear a lot of answers that included such phrases as “we tried that, but users couldn’t figure that out”. This gave me the unusual feeling that Apple was actually listening hmmm well maybe it’s just a phase they're going through.

6th Annual Hack Contest

Each year at MacHack, The MacHax™ Group is the proud sponsor of the Hack Contest. This is the heart and soul of MacHack, embodying all that hackers are about. Hackers from around the country come to MacHack to show off their best hack. The deadline for submissions was Thursday at midnight. Hackers started presenting their hacks at 1:00 a.m. on Friday morning and continued until 5:30 a.m. The next day, attendees voted on the “Best Hack” and awards were given out.

Tips for winning (as published by the infamous Scott and Greg) were as follows: “Looking and/or sounding good is the best, but it doesn’t hurt to actually have it running at the Hack Show. Useful software also helps to get votes Suck up to everybody in sight because they all get a vote. Show it off, talk it up, offer to hand out source if you win, give away lots of money It won’t necessarily help you win, but remember that big prizes await the winners. For example, several past winners are now Blue Meanies, and many are also proud owners of the Victor A-Trap plaque Remember, Scott and Greg make all the rules [so bribing them is a great way to increase votes]. Most important, have fun!”

Some of the hacks were quite incredible. The winner was an amazing hack from Mike Neil. His “IR Man” hack blew me away (and not because his name was Neil either). In essence, this combination of hardware and software allowed one to control his/her Macintosh with a SONY VCR remote. So, for example, you could move windows with the left, down, up and right arrows; you could press eject on the remote and the disk would eject; you could press the power key and the application would quit; and my favorite, the remote’s video speed “flyweel” would control the speed of a QuickTime movie. I‘ve asked Mike Neil to write us an article about how to do this, if you are interested in such an article, let us know (or bug Mike [nicely] to do it).

Brian Gaeke wrote some great PowerBook utilities that did such things as sensing whether an AppleTalk network was connected and automatically turning on and off the PowerBook’s AppleTalk connection as appropriate. Since AppleTalk helps to eat my battery for lunch (especially by keeping the PowerBook on when it should be asleep), I found this to be a godsend.

Marshall Clow wrote a hack called Procedure Call Log which through the debugger made a list of calls as they were made. In other words, if you crashed into MacsBug you would get a history of procedure calls made in MacsBug. Unfortunately, this hack only works under MPW. Eric Shapiro has said that he would work on a THINK version and write an article for MacTutor. For those of you interested in this, let us or Eric know.

There were large numbers of other hacks including QuickTime Movies in Balloon Help by Cameron Esfahani, SloppyCopy 1.0d0, by Steve Falkenburg, which makes the Finder do a background file copy so you can continue to use the Finder; HyperInitMaker by Tom Pittman which evidently allows for debugging at startup time (the Apple people were really worried here); PowerBook Pixels™ by Jon Watte which made your PowerBook display the minimum number of white pixels to qualify for a warranty replacement of the screen and many, many more.

We’ve asked a number of these hackers to write articles for MacTutor. If you are interested in any of these or know of other hacks, encourage them to write an article on the hack. If you would like to write to one of the hackers above, you can send it c/o Xplain.

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

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
SpamSieve 2.9.38 - Robust spam filter fo...
SpamSieve is a robust spam filter for major email clients that uses powerful Bayesian spam filtering. SpamSieve understands what your spam looks like in order to block it all, but also learns what... Read more
TeamViewer 15.0.8397 - Establish remote...
TeamViewer gives you remote control of any computer or Mac over the Internet within seconds or can be used for online meetings. Find out why more than 200 million users trust TeamViewer! Free for non... Read more
SteerMouse 5.4.3 - Powerful third-party...
SteerMouse is an advanced driver for USB and Bluetooth mice. SteerMouse can assign various functions to buttons that Apple's software does not allow, including double-clicks, modifier clicks,... Read more
Toast Titanium 18.2.1 - The ultimate med...
Roxio Toast Titanium, the leading DVD burner for Mac, makes burning even better, adding Roxio Secure Burn to protect your files on disc and USB in Mac- or Windows-compatible formats. Get more style... Read more
HoudahSpot 5.0.11 - Advanced file-search...
HoudahSpot is a versatile desktop search tool. Use HoudahSpot to locate hard-to-find files and keep frequently used files within reach. HoudahSpot will immediately feel familiar. It works just the... Read more
ClipGrab 3.8.6 - Download videos from Yo...
ClipGrab is a free downloader and converter for YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook and many other online video sites. It converts downloaded videos to MPEG4, MP3 or other formats in just one easy step Version... Read more
ExpanDrive 7.4.0 - Access cloud storage...
ExpanDrive builds cloud storage in every application, acts just like a USB drive plugged into your Mac. With ExpanDrive, you can securely access any remote file server directly from the Finder or... Read more
Adobe Dreamweaver CC 2020 20.0 - Build w...
Dreamweaver CC 2020 is available as part of Adobe Creative Cloud for as little as $20.99/month (or $9.99/month if you're a previous Dreamweaver customer). Adobe Dreamweaver CC 2020 allows you to... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

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 »
Shoot 'em up action awaits in Battl...
BattleBrew Productions has just introduced another entry into its award winning, barrelpunk inspired, BattleSky Brigade series. Whilst its previous title BattleSky Brigade TapTap provided fans with idle town building gameplay, this time the... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

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
Xfinity Mobile’s Black Friday Apple savings:...
Take $250 off the purchase of any iPhone at Xfinity Mobile with a new line activation, and transfer of phone number to Xfinity Mobile, through December 8, 2019. This includes Apple’s new iPhone 11... Read more
2019 13″ 1.4GHz MacBook Pros available starti...
Apple has a full line of Certified Refurbished 2019 13″ 1.4GHz 4-Core Touch Bar MacBook Pros available starting at $1099 and up to $230 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included, shipping is... Read more
Save up to $350 on a 21″ or 27″ iMac with the...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2019 21″ & 27″ iMacs available starting at $929 and up to $350 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, shipping is free, and each iMac... Read more
Early Holiday 2019 Sale: B&H again offers...
B&H Photo has 10.2″ iPads on sale again for $30 off Apple’s MSRP, starting at $299, as part of their early Holiday 2019 sale. Overnight shipping is free to many addresses in the US: – 10.2″ 32GB... Read more

Jobs Board

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
*Apple* Mobility Pro - Best Buy (United Stat...
**747089BR** **Job Title:** Apple Mobility Pro **Job Category:** Store Associates **Store NUmber or Department:** 000377-Prescott AZ-Store **Job Description:** At Read more
*Apple* Health Benefit Specialist - Call Cen...
Description ** Apple Health Benefit Specialist - Call Center (MAS 3/MACSC)** **Olympia, WA Multiple Positions** *The ideal candidate for this position will have Read more
Hair Stylist - *Apple* Blossom Mall - JCPen...
Hair Stylist - Apple Blossom Mall Location:Winchester, VA, United States- Apple Blossom Mall 1850 Apple Blossom Dr Job ID:1065040Salon Professionals Job Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.