Washington Apple Pi

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January 1998 General Meeting Report

by Don Essick, Vice President, Macintosh

The January General Meeting of the Washington Apple Pi was held as usual in the Ernst Community and Cultural Center of the Northern Virginia Community College on January 24, 1998. Over 250 were in attendance to see the latest and greatest products from Claris Corporation.

The meeting started as usual with the Question and Answer session, moderated by Lawrence Charters. A hot topic of today's session was, of course, Mac OS 8.1. From the number of questions, it seems that there were a lot of us ready to move up. The WAP was selling "Pi Fillings" CD ROMs at the meeting featuring the MacOS 8.1 updater. I think we sold about 60 or so at the meeting.

Our featured presenter, as mentioned above, was Claris Corporation. Robert Dudley, our local Claris Representative brought Systems Engineer Karl Pittinger to show FileMaker Pro 4.0, Home Page 3.0 and ClarisWorks 5.0. Robert gave us a brief introduction about Claris's products and organization before Karl launched into the demonstrations.

Karl was certainly one of the liveliest and best presenters we've had recently. He grabbed our interest right away and punctuated his presentation with wit and humor. Just when we thought we'd stumped him, he found the elusive ClarisWorks "slide up, slide left" options during the door prize drawings.

Karl's first product demonstration was of FileMaker Pro 4.0. FileMaker Pro 4.0 is a powerful product, available for both the Mac and Windows which features relational database capabilities, instant Web publishing, easy importing of data from spreadsheets or other external sources and lots of templates to get you started on your own application. Best of all, it requires no programming or knowledge of how a database works.

Karl created a database from an Excel spreadsheet and published it on the web in about 8 mouse clicks. It is really that easy. There are assistants to lead you through the process. Best of all, FileMaker Pro 4.0 is integrated with Claris Home Page 3.0 to enable you to customize your FileMaker Pro 4.0 presence on the web. To top it all off, the files are cross-platform compatible with no translations necessary. You can write scripts to perform functions and there is even a spelling checker. You can password protect your data and it is drag and drop aware. You can store pictures, movies and sounds in container fields as well as text data.

Claris Home Page 3.0 was shown mostly in passing, but the 3.0 upgrade fixes many of the things that were annoying or missing in the 2.0 version. Of course integration with FileMaker Pro 4.0 was the main upgrade, but lots of assistance and templates were added to the product as well.

ClarisWorks 5.0 was next. Once you get into ClarisWorks, you'll notice the differences immediately. There is a whole new look to ClarisWorks, with button bars and contextual help. A slide show capability has been added so that you can do presentations without a dedicated presentations package. Of course, internet support as been integrated into the product and more translators have been added to allow you to exchange documents with other software packages. A bunch of assistants and templates have also been added. There is now a table assistant to create a table in the word processor formatted to your exact specifications. There are also extensive clip art libraries and assistants for creating mailing labels.

A question from the audience regarding the "stealth marketing campaign" for ClarisWorks for Kids led to an unscheduled demonstration of that product. My daughter loves this product and does most of her homework on it. It has music and sound and an interface designed for the K-12 market which speaks all dialogs and simplifies the Mac's interface. It literally leads you by the hand through each step.

The meeting ended with some questions and answers followed by the door prize drawings. Claris was especially generous with software to give away, plus other marketing goodies and there was a varied assortment from Beth's prize drawer as well. Here's the list:

Door Prize Drawing Winners


Robert Klothe


Etelka Horvath

Apple Internet Connection Kit

Jean Koike

Apple Network Administrator's Toolkit

Daniel Klothe

ClarisWorks 5.0

Edwin C. Jordan

Claris Impact 2.0

John L. Trevey

Claris HomePage 2.0

Judy Edelson


Charlie Stancil

Aladdin Flashback

Henry Yee, Esta Gladstone


Eric Gutsche

Claris Windshield Sun Visor

Jason Morenz, Charles Rice, Douglas McNeill, Paul Schlosser, Susan Reilly

ClarisWorks Shortcuts Poster

John P. Grant

Apple Canvas Bag

Pat Goddard

Apple T-Shirt

Vicky Essick

Pop-Up Folder

Lionel Lipschultz

Book: Jargon

Jim Ritz

Now Utilities

Kevin Nealon

Book: Java Script

George Quist

Medium is the Message T-shirt

Barbara Reilly

Thanks, as always, to Lawrence, David, Beth, Lorin, Henry, and to my special assistant, Dana for their help today. Special thanks to Robert and Karl for the presentation and door prizes. Thanks also to the volunteers who transport the equipment and also to the crew at NOVA for their friendly and cheerful help. Next time: I don't know yet. Alps and UMAX have a tentative reservation on the date, but no confirmation as I type this. March 28, Microsoft visits to show off Office 98. See you there.

Send meeting comments to: don.essick@tcs.wap.org.

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February 9, 1998 lic