Washington Apple Pi

A Community of Apple iPad, iPhone and Mac Users

November General Meeting

by Lawrence I. Charters, Vice President, Macintosh

My mother has a friend, a Texan, who has little tolerance for people who complain when they get what they request. He sums it up with dark East Texas humor: "They'd complain if they was hung with a new rope."
In November, we provided lots of new rope for a hanging, and got complaints, anyway. A long-anticipated Internet demonstration, by Internet Information Services, Inc. (IIS), didn't meet with expectations. Some people wanted a "how to connect" session, some people wanted to buy a connection package, some people wanted to learn how to log on to public access Internet channels.
On the bright side, we also had a demonstration of some inexpensive Casady & Greene software, by C&G president Terry Kunysz. Aside from some grumblings that he talks too fast, everyone seem to like his presentation. And yet -- there were complaints that we gave away too many drawing prizes at the end of the meeting!
Fun and Conflicts
Terry's chief goodie was Conflict Catcher II, a comprehensive utility for isolating and managing extension conflicts, with a few extras thrown in. Conflict Catcher uses a clever scheme to systematically disable extensions until it isolates likely suspects. While it still requires restarting, the process is considerably faster than the old manual "pull things out until the problem goes away" or "add extensions until the problem crops up." Conflict Catcher can also create links between known incompatible extensions, such as Adobe Type Reunion and Now's WYSIWYG Menus.
Conflict Catcher has a couple other neat tricks, too. Of most use is the ability to "turn off" fonts in System 7.1 and up, handy if you have software (meaning Microsoft Office) which objects to "too many fonts," or if you want to maintain separate sets of TrueType and PostScript fonts, or everyday fonts and a more expansive desktop publishing set.
Mac programmers will appreciate another neat trick: Conflict Catcher can tell you what programming calls are "trapped" by a program. This is particularly useful when you are trying to speed up a program to make it Power Macintosh compatible, or when you are trying to avoid using programming calls that are already in use. (Jon Thomason has an extensive review of Conflict Catcher II in the December 1994 Journal, "Trapped by Natives!" pp. 12-15.)
Terry briefly mentioned Snap Mail, C&G's clever and inexpensive peer to peer E-mail package, and did a mad dash through several games. He also distributed several hundred special offers, in several flavors, for virtually the entire line of Casady & Greene products, and gave away dozens of demo disks plus a large box full of complete packages.
Crisis of Differing Expectations
Chris Clark, of Internet Information Services (IIS), was not as polished in his presentation. In fact, the first 15 minutes of his demonstration was spent reading his notes out loud. One not terribly charitable wag said it looked like a "high school book report."
When he did get to his presentation, he did exactly as I asked: he demonstrated Mosaic and the World Wide Web using a fast modem and an ordinary voice phone line. Unfortunately, he used a seven year old Mac II rather than a more modern, faster Macintosh, and his configuration of the connection made it slower than it could have been. On the other hand, he was factual, he was accurate, and he knew what he was talking about -- all of which are big pluses when you are discussing something as over-hyped as the Internet.
But some people didn't want to see Mosaic, they wanted to see how to connect to a command line interface (something I have no intention of ever doing at a General Meeting). Others didn't want to see a demo, they wanted to buy something, like a subscription to an Internet service provider. Chris was selling something -- custom-designed World Wide Web servers, company "Internet presence" and similar services -- but what he was offering was either more, or less, than what most people wanted.
By far the vast majority in the audience seemed to want a tutorial. In fact, so many people wanted a tutorial that Washington Apple Pi is planning on offering Internet classes, though obviously not at General Meetings. One of the more interesting complaints about the meeting was that so many questions were being asked that "I really wasn't certain what the presentation was about."
So, to review: Chris' company will custom design a World Wide Web (Mosaic/Netscape/whatever) server for your company, organization, or agency, or set up a company E-mail system, or set up a company file transfer presence on the Internet, or -- basically do anything you want for a corporate "presence" on the Internet. Based on what I saw, they are quite knowledgeable and capable and, unlike most such companies, seem to know how Macs work as well as UNIX and Windows machines. For more information contact Chris at (301) 340-1761 or via E-mail at cjc@iis.com. You can also check out their Web page at http://www.iis.com/.
December Non-Meeting
There was no meeting in December; instead, there was the mid-winter edition of the Pi's Computer Garage Sale, featuring hundreds of people shopping for bargains, gossip and information. Held December 10, the Garage Sale saw the triumph and the tragedy of grass-roots capitalism: joyous spouses and loved ones reclaiming their basements, closets and garages from the clutches of discarded technology; and depressed technophiles thwarted in their plans to pick up a Power Mac for $100 or so.
I've been to half a dozen garage sales now, and have always been impressed at the wide range of, ah, stuff? being offered for sale. But this time the contrast was exceptional: while there were dozens of Mac IIs and LCs and PowerBooks and such, there were also computers older than many of the shoppers. Not adolescent shoppers, either: computers older than some of the adult shoppers. And people bought them.
New feature: a "computer checkup" table was inaugurated so that computer users could bring in their machines and see if they were in good working health. This proved more popular than expected; the table was busy from shortly before the official opening until 12:30 p.m., without a break, and a short recess to get something to drink resulted in a new line being formed -- a line that didn't disappear until the Garage Sale closed.
Several people turned away rather than wait, so, next time, we'll try to have more computer gurus on hand to look at machines. There also seemed to be a fairly constant need for just general question and answer support, so we'll plan for that, too.
1995 Meeting Dates
General Meetings for 1995 are scheduled for the following dates (all the fourth Saturday of the month). Mark your electric calendars.
Jan. 28, 1995: Ami (Applied Medical Informatics) will demonstrate Medical House Call: Interactive Home Medical Guide and Symptom Analysis.
After taking care of your physical health, Intuit will take care of your financial health with Quicken 5.0 and MacInTax 1994. [Note: at the time this was scheduled, Intuit was one of the few companies not owned by Microsoft or Symantec.]
Feb. 25, 1995: the incomparable Marc Canter will be showing Meet MediaBand. Marc Canter founded MacroMedia, the original "multimedia" computer company, and this latest venture is an "interactive music video," a term which doesn't do it justice.
In conjunction with the meeting, Pi members are invited to submit QuickTime clips and digital art to be shown at the start of the meeting. We don't want people to think "multimedia" is strictly a West Coast phenomenon.
Mar. 25, 1995: vendor to be named later.
Apr. 22, 1995: vendor to be named later.
May 27, 1995: vendor to be named later, plus three first-round draft picks (barring a strike, of course).
Drawing winners
PC World mouse pad: Jamie Gorman
Microsoft Macintosh Applications ballcap: Reuel Cochrane
NYMUG Mac Fair T-shirt: Robert Pagelsen
MacWorld DC T-shirt: Joe Swick
MacWorld Press T-shirt: Richard Edelson
APS SCSI Sentry T-shirt: Robert Fetterolf
Microsoft Office briefcase: John E. Christensen
BMUG CD-ROM: Clark C. Snead, Robert L. Shaffer, Frank Potter
La Cie SilverLining: Tom Bryan
Casady & Greene T-shirt: Sara Torrence, Prince Williams, Larry Ichter
Crystal Crazy (Casady & Greene): Clinton H. Schemmer, Glenda K. Finey
Glider 4.0 (Casady & Greene): William R. Jensen, Sharron Cochran, William T. Wydro, Walter A. Romanek, David R.P. Gibson
Glider 4.0, Glider Pro for Windows (Casady & Greene): David Waldman
Glider Pro (Casady & Greene): John J. Ruffolo, Joe Morey
Conflict Catcher II (Casady & Greene): Russell H. Strange, John A. Fridinger
Snap Mail 5-pack (Casady & Greene): Washington Apple Pi office
Apple Macintosh IIci: courtesy Falcon Microsystems
Apple Macintosh II: courtesy Internet Information Services, Inc.
Proxima Ovation LCD projector: courtesy Proxima Corporation
Setup and worrying: Chris Clark (IIS), Terry Kunysz (Casady & Greene), Tom Witte, Bill Wydro
Question & Answer Help: Tom Witte

Send meeting comments to: lcharters@tcs.wap.org.

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