II Something Issue # 7

II Something Magazine

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Issue # 6
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a weekly journal devoted to the Apple II family of computers
Sunday, December 10, 1995 – issue 7 – II.Smthg.951210
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Contents
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  • About…
  • Editor’s Greeting
  • Letters To II Something
  • Desktop BASIC – a “progress” report
  • Does The Editor Have A Life? – a wayway off Broadway play
  • Do It In Hardware – EZ Drive concluded (for now)
  • The Wire Service – websites, Talk Is Cheap, and d/l
  • Multimedia – GEM (Great Efforts of Many) etcetera
  • Wish List – alias SF get, Genesys, LogoMaker

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About…
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As you know, Apple Computer, Inc. owns all of the Apple II computer copyrights and trademarks, including their names.

II Something is offered as freeware – copyright by Clark Hugh Stiles. Intact distribution of the entire file is acceptable using online services, including BBSes, or via user group DOMs provided there are no commercial sales. Individual articles may be reprinted in user group publications only, provided the following paragraph (except for the opening and closing quotes) is included at the beginning or end of the reprint:

“This article originally appeared in II Something, a weekly journal devoted to the Apple II family of computers, copyright by Clark Hugh Stiles. It has been reprinted by permission. All trademarked names and phrases mentioned belong to their respective owners. Send email to CHStiles@Delphi.Com or C.Stiles3@Genie.Com via the Internet, or newsletters, disks, products for review, gifts, or bribes to Clark Hugh Stiles, Box 46, Comstock Park, MI 49321-0046.”

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Editor’s Greeting
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Welcome to II Something. It’s December 1995 and I’m still using an Apple IIgs.

The best way to pad out any published weekly is to quote a lot. Some things can’t really be quoted at length because they are copyrighted (and not “copywrited” as some would have us believe). I thought it might be fun to track the steady progress I’ve made as a publisher and editor, so I did a search to check out download accesses and the like. What follows is what I found on GEnie. Delphi only has the first issue online as of 12/3/95!

String: info
Uploader: C.STILES3
Days Back: ALL

Library: 53 – /REVIEWS, PRESS RELEASES, ETC

No. File Name Type Address YYMMDD Bytes Access Lib


25910 IIS.951029.BXY X C.STILES3 951022 12160 140 53
Desc: II Something Issue 1 10-29-95…
25997 IIS.951105.BXY X C.STILES3 951104 16000 137 53
Desc: II Something Issue 2 11-05-95…
26029 IIS.951112.BXY X C.STILES3 951113 37120 85 53
Desc: II Something 11/12/95 issue 3…
26059 IIS.951119.BXY X C.STILES3 951119 21504 71 53
Desc: II Something #4 11/19/95 issue…
26098 IIS.951126.BXY X C.STILES3 951127 91136 74 53
Desc: II Something Nov 26 1995 Issue 5…
26108 IIS.951203.BXY X C.STILES3 951203 15232 34 53
Desc: Issue 6 – December 3 1995 – plus…
26099 IIS.YNOPSIS.BXY X C.STILES3 951127 3712 41 53
Desc: II Something – Contents Issues 1-5

I really like the way I used to do the short description. I’ll be using that from now on. I need to assign a TIC macro to automate the process and to avoid typing in the filenames all the time. As you can see, the readership is 140, 137, 85, 71, 74, 34, and still growing…

I’d like some help from you. It won’t take a minute. Go through all those About… buttons in the applications, NDAs, CDAs, and other extensions you use to look for the publisher information, and copy it down somehow (a pencil and paper will work). Send it to me, along with the program name, and any other information (like whether it’s freeware, shareware, or commercial). Look in the manual if you have to (I know that’s asking a lot).

Do the same for any hardware you have. Check out Steve Cavanaugh’s A2 Vendor list in an earlier issue of II Something and proofread it a little. If you happen to keep a database of your own containing A2 software and hardware operations (even single person operations), print it to a text file and send it to me email. And thank you. With the demise of GS+, we all need to have as much information as possible. Shareware Solutions II is the last place such things are regularly published, and it is only every other month. In a two month period a lot of these could go bankrupt.

Maybe all the users of all sorts of orphaned machines could band together and start a pulp journal of some sort, like Computer Shopper used to be. We could call it the Discontinued but Usable Machines are Beautiful User Group for people Like You Times-Helvetica…

As always, please send me anything you know or any kind of feedback about anything you read here. I may or may not print it, but regardless, submissions become my property to use as I see fit, subject to my own editing.

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Letters To II Something
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Queue# Item From Length Sent Subject
1 7270722 INET# 40 95/12/01 Newsletter
2 3140044 A2.TONY 33 95/12/01 Jaz specs
3 8309746 A2.TONY 14 95/12/02 LOL

INET# Document Id: UX019.BUX0160714

Item 7270722 95/12/01 19:22

From: W.WATERS1@GENIE.GEIS.COM@INET# Internet Gateway

To: C.STILES3 Clark Hugh Stiles

Sub: Newsletter

From w.waters1@genie.geis.com Sat Dec 2 00:35:22 1995
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Date: Sat, 2 Dec 95 00:22:00 UTC 0000
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Subject: Newsletter

Dear Clark,

I enjoy reading your weekly newsletter on the Apple II world. Keep up the good work because interest seems to be waning in this perennial workhorse. However I was a little disturbed to read that you had received unkind comments about Dr. Turley. I have known Charles for some time and give him high marks for his contributions to the Apple II community. If it is possible, I would appreciate the E-mail addresses of the people who wrote you about the good Dr. so that I could correspond with them to see what the issues are. Thanks.

                                              Apple II Forever,

                                              Bill

=END=

Item 3140044 95/12/01 21:13

From: A2.TONY Tony Ward, A2 File Librarian

To: C.STILES3 Clark Hugh Stiles

Sub: Jaz specs

Iomega Jaz 1.0GB Drive

  Average seek time: 12 ms

Sustained Transfer rate: 6.73 MB/sec maximum
5.51 MB/sec average
3.53 MB/sec minimum
Seek time: 12 ms
Access time: 17 ms
Burst transfer rate: 10 MB/sec
Rotational speed: 5400 RPM
Average start/stop time: 10/5 sec
Long format time: 30 minutes (w/surface verify)
Short format time: 10 seconds
Buffer size: 256K read/write
Reliability: MTBF: 250,000 hours
Service life: 5 years
Bit error rate: 1 in 10^12
Disk drop height: 3 feet
Disk est. shelf life: 10 years
Disk storage capacity: 1GB and 540MB Jaz disks
Interface: Fast SCSI-II
Connections: Two 50-pin high density SCSI-II (HD-50)
Power requirements: Auto-switching 100-240 VAC 50/60 Hz
SCSI termination: Automatic and/or switchable
Dimensions: 8″ x 1.5″ x 5.33″ (L x W x H)
Weight: 2 lbs
Warranty: Drive/media: 1 year/limited lifetime
Approx. street price: Drive: $600
1GB disk: $120 (quantity discounts available)
540MB disk: $70 ” ” “

=END=

Item 8309746 95/12/02 22:15

From: A2.TONY Tony Ward, A2 File Librarian

To: C.STILES3 Clark Hugh Stiles

Sub: LOL

I forgot to tell you what LOL means: Laughing out loud. There are lots of variations:

ROFL: Rolling on the floor laughing
ROTFL: same
LMAO: Laughing my a** off

And the big combo…

ROTFLMAO – Rolling on the floor laughing my a** off.

Let me know if you have any others.

  • Tony

=END=

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Desktop BASIC – a “progress” report
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I’m glad no one has written in about Desktop BASIC. The more I look at the BASIC interpreter source code I’ve obtained, the more I believe that there’s just no way I can port this. So, instead of porting it, I’m going to try to write it from scratch. In the end my contribution to this may be minor and limited to an outline of the solution, almost like writing the documentation. I’ll begin this week, and continue to expand the outline on a fairly regular basis until someone shoots me or begins to discuss coding.

The concept of Desktop BASIC is a programming environment that is itself a desktop program. It uses existing AppleSoft programs (as is, or after conversion to text files) as source code, and processes the source code. The object code is a standalone S16 program file, with or without resources (depending on the program). All AppleSoft functions of the source code file are realized in the object code in a way that is functionally and operationally appropriate for a desktop program.

Tool calls needed to implement the desktop functionality are determined by the compiler based on the old AppleSoft functions of the source code file. Tool startup is therefore the responsibility of the programmer, but is included in the object by the compiler.

Desktop programs produced by the compiler use windows and dialogs to display text and graphics. Which is used to display text is used is determined at compile time by either the compiler or the programmer (in certain circumstances). 8-bit graphics modes (gr, lores, double lores, hires, double hires) are depicted in SHR in resizable windows on the desktop. The close box is used to terminate a graphic or text display being generated by the object program. Paint routines using mouse and paint tools, or draw routines, are standard in object programs using graphic windows, but dialogs in which users can input plot points, are possible to choose by the programmer at compile time.

Optional resources in the object programs can include various existing types such as fonts, sounds, and desktop necessities, as well as the source code. 8-bit binary routines used by the original AppleSoft programs (BLOADed or POKEd, then CALLed or &ed;) are analyzed for entry points (the CALLs, & vector, or POKE addresses) and disassembled piece by piece. Routines (for example, CHKCOM) may or may not have any use in the object program, which runs in native mode and is not interpreted. Array sorting and other methods of speeding up the AppleSoft execution are gleaned from the dissassembly and converted into AppleSoft lines, which are then processed just like the original AppleSoft lines.

The compiler uses its own resource fork to store the individual binary routines used to implement each AppleSoft token, simulate the old CALLs, and store new routines added by the programmer. This extensibility is optional, but otherwise roughly analogous to FORTH, and extensions should be given easily recognized names. Such routines can result from the processing of 8-bit binary routines used by the original AppleSoft program. The length of each routine is used to control the sizes of the OMF modules in the object programs during their compilation.

Optimizing compilers are said to produce optimized bugs. Desktop BASIC uses a multiple pass processing of source code to optimize the source code in easy stages. This results in one or more steps of processed source files, and finds points in the source that the compiler is not equipped to handle. The programmer is shown the original source program lines to try to make sense of it, edit it, and feed it back into the compiler pass.

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Does The Editor Have A Life? – soon 2B a wayway off Broadway play
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Remember the touch sensitive adapter connected to the bedlamps? It’s a good idea not to plug your computer system into one of those. It is easy to do by accident, and it just doesn’t work very well. The adapter provides the equivalent of three way luminosity using regular bulbs, and extends bulb life. The same can’t be said for electrical appliances that are not light bulbs. If you do try this it is a good idea to have more than one computer before you begin.

I love to wander through plant sections of retail stores to see what new and interesting plants I can find. Usually I end up thinking “hey, I used to have one of those. Hey, I used to have one of THOSE. Hey…” and then begin to contemplate the significance of buying more plants. For one thing, I’ve killed dozens of house plants. I’m good with plants, but some plants are just cranky.

I keep about half of my collection at work, and sometimes I loan them to coworkers. They retire, quit, transfer, or get fired, and either take the plant, or let me know that it has died several months or years earlier. A Hawaiian shefflera that I have used to be in some arrangement I inherited. I loaned it to a break mate, who loaned it to someone else, who later left for the Department of Corrections Tether Unit and gave it back to my break mate, who eventually transferred to another county and left word that I was to get it back.

I have no idea what happened to some of them. I had a pretty okay Norfolk Island pine, which I left behind in my old unit. Before a year had gone by the plant and the pot had gone missing, and no one had any recollection of it. Several Norfolk Island pines were in the vicinity, but none of them seemed to be mine. I guess one of these others put the hit on him.

Over the past few years I’ve tried to grow vegetables. It hasn’t worked. One year I spent most of the summer disposing of a catalpa tree that fell over from my neighbor’s yard, and ended up neglecting the garden that I’d put in somewhere under the branches before the branches had arrived. Fallen trees cover up a lot more ground that you’d imagine. I try to be an organic gardener, but this is only partially successful. I subscribe to OG, but find it to be a better magazine to buy once in a while.

I’ve had an interest in carnivorous plants since I was a child. I remember when my dad brought home a Venus Flytrap and how fascinating it was. It must have died in short order. Since about 1982 I’ve bought four or five flytraps and until recently had no success with keeping them alive. I’ve also killed a couple of pitcher plants, a few sundew, and some proto-carnivores with sticky leaves (no digestion, no automatic movement). The last flytrap I bought is at work, and I water it from the bottom using filtered water from my Brita pitcher (one here, one at work, of course). It gets 24 hours of filtered light from a mercury vapor bulb.

A couple of weeks ago I bought another pitcher plant and another sundew. I got plastic gizmos to make it easy to bottom water them. These get 24 hours of full spectrum light out in the living room and nothing but filtered water. They are still living. At the same store and time I got a tiny Norfolk island pine. I may decorate it for Christmas (that should take about five seconds). Another recent buy is a cleome which seems to be adjusting to its new home in this desert-dry house. It looks GREAT in this room. Home Depot ran these midsized ones on sale a while back (prior to the very cold weather).

Speaking subjectively, I think that plants don’t have as much of a life as the editor of II Something.

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Do It In Hardware – EZ Drive concluded (for now)
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Before I conclude my EZ Drive adventures, I’d just like to take exception to the EZ Drive review on page 44 in the January 1996 issue of MacUser. I’ve begun to subscribe again because I’ve missed reading John Dvorak. I have been reading his stuff since he used to do the back page of InfoWorld when IW was a standard magazine format. If you don’t subscribe to MacUser, be sure to read his column this month, found on the back page.

Anyway, the MacUser reviewer preferred the Zip drive, and the only reason for this preference seems to have been his penchant for carrying high density media in his shirt pocket. Doing that with floppies or any other kind of removable magnetic media is a very careless thing to do because of static electricity. And hasn’t he heard of networks?

The main complaint which stems from his penchant is the crash testing of the drive. The Zip media is a floppy diskette and is much, much more durable, but the reviewer pointed out that the case included with the EZ Drive cartridges makes it “nearly impossible” to damage the media. I don’t see his problem. The moral is: store and transport the cartridges in their included cases, whether they’re EZ Drive or Zip.

The elegance of the Zip drive eject process seems to impress Mac users, including the MacUser reviewer. On the Mac, the user has to unmount the media by pushing the eject servo button. On the GS, the EZ Drive parks heads and begins the eject process. The Zip eject doesn’t work right on the Apple High Speed SCSI. Should I get a Zip for backup purposes, I’ll spring the $30 or whatever for Sequential’s SCSI-2 driver for the High Speed SCSI card.

I’d like to point out that I’ve also compared the two kinds drives in earlier issues and in summary would like to go on record as saying that the EZ Drive is much, much better for use as a primary drive, and the removability gives it an edge over fixed hard drives. The ejection process is not something that has much effect on my work throughput, while the access and transfer times I’ve experienced with both drives (and the MacUser reviewer cites with more precision) does.

This morning (Saturday, November 9) I finished the backup of the Scrog’ to an EZ Drive cartridge and moved it back to the Woz machine in the back bedroom. One excuse I’ll probably give for the purchase of another EZ Drive is that I’ve got to consolidate the contents of the old Scrog’, since some partitions of it went on one cartridge, some on another. My main rationalization for getting another will be to have two platters online and ease of backup.

The backup process took a long time because it was file by file. The reason for the file by file nature of the backup was that the Scrog’ WASN’T set up with nice, maximum, 32MB ProDOS partitions. Dave partitioned it in some way meant to suggest symmetry I suppose, but useless in all other ways. Two of the partitions were HFS, and that slowed disk access (those are the ones I backed up this morning).

Here’s a great hard drive tip from the editorial staff of II Something: when setting up a new hard drive, ALWAYS partition the boot volume and any subsequent ProDOS volumes (except the last one, assigned the “leftovers”) to the maximum size (Chinook Utilities really works well in this regard). This will speed and simplify the backup procedures if you use any kind of high density removable media drive, because it’s a matter of disk to disk (fast block copy) rather than files to disk (slow!).

The boot volume should always, always, always be the maximum size available. Drives under 33MB in raw capacity should always, always, always be set up as a single ProDOS volume. The boot volume for any Apple II, but especially the GS, will need lots of space because you WILL add much more. Fonts, Sounds, DAs, Inits, and FExts all consume space (listed in probable order of consumption).

In some future issue of II Something I’ll tell you more about the EZ Drive, but probably not until I get a second drive of some sort.

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The Wire Service – websites, Talk Is Cheap, and d/l
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Steve Cavanaugh (s.cavanaugh1@genie.com) publishes a quarterly online newsletter called The Apple Blossom. He writes, “It is also available in GraphicWriter III and text formats on GEnie, America Online and the Internet. You are invited to copy this freely, in whole or in part, and to share this with other Apple II users… Send subscription requests, article submissions, and suggestions to Steve Cavanaugh, 1117 Maple St., Wilmington, DE 19805, or email them to me”. Steve also maintains a web page at http://users.aol.com/newblossom/ which sounds like a good place to visit. If I can access it you’ll read more about it in future weeks. Here are each issue’s various uploaded versions on GEnie:


No. File Name Type Address YYMMDD Bytes Access Lib
23937 BLOSSOM.NO1.BXY X S.CAVANAUGH1 950118 143744 119 53
Desc: Apple II Newsletter
23943 BLOSSOM1.BXY X S.CAVANAUGH1 950121 29696 53 53
Desc: Apple Blossom #1 (std. fonts)
24057 BLOSSOM1.TX.BXY X S.CAVANAUGH1 950202 7040 48 53
Desc: Text version of Apple Blossom no. 1
24756 BLOSSOM2.GW.BXY X S.CAVANAUGH1 950415 92288 39 53
Desc: The Apple Blossom, no 2 in GW III
24758 BLOSSOM2TCH.BXY X S.CAVANAUGH1 950415 17536 49 53
Desc: Teach version of Apple Blossom no. 2
24757 BLOSSOM2TXT.BXY X S.CAVANAUGH1 950415 17152 73 53
Desc: Text version of Apple Blossom no. 2
25339 BLOSSOM3.BXY X S.CAVANAUGH1 950723 97536 41 53
Desc: Vol 1 No 3 of Apple Blossom
25342 TAB3TXT.BXY X S.CAVANAUGH1 950724 20096 77 53
Desc: Text version of Blossom no. 3
26040 TAB4.GWDJ.BXY X S.CAVANAUGH1 951115 102784 36 53
Desc: GW III, DeskJet vers. of Blossom 4
26041 TAB4.GWLW.BXY X S.CAVANAUGH1 951115 103680 14 53
Desc: Blossom 4, in GW III for PS Lasers
26039 TAB4.PS.BXY X S.CAVANAUGH1 951115 83712 15 53
Desc: PostScript version of 4th Blossom
26064 TAB4.TXT.BXY X S.CAVANAUGH1 951119 32524 76 53
Desc: Text edition of Blossom no. 4

I’ve had trouble downloading from Internet sites using Talk Is Cheap and the Delphi version of Lynx. I’ve discovered that using Ymodem receive works great every time, and is much, much faster. On GEnie (any of the standard d/l areas, not the Internet Lynx) TIC’s Ymodem will receive the file correctly, but doesn’t terminate the download at all. I don’t know why that is. For regular uploads and downloads on both GEnie and Delphi I use regular Xmodem, or 1K or 4K for downloads on GEnie (can’t remember which).

I found and read most of the documentation for X,Y, and Zmodem on the GEM CD (see “Multimedia”). I got a laugh from one of the problems cited for Xmodem, which is that it supports only single file transfers. In this day and age, even the Apple II uses packed archives (mostly SHK files) to upload and download, but even ten or so years ago we were using Binary II to save file information and include more than one file in any given u/l and d/l. In fact, civilized Apple II users still use Binary II wrappers on SHK files. Protocols similar to Binary II have existed on other platforms for a long time in order to make it easy to include more than one file in an Xmodem transfer.

Xmodem is much slower than most of the newer, public domain protocols. Kermit, an even older, 7-bit protocol, is much slower than Xmodem, but both are still in use. So is Binscii encoding and decoding for Internet file transfer, because the protocols used for information transfer of all kinds on the Internet, including file transfers, are designed to be backwards compatible. In a relatively few years the 7-bit servers will be replaced, but 7-bit encoding will be around for a while after that.

Ymodem is an improvement over Xmodem, and several versions exist for each of these protocols. Zmodem is becoming the preferred file transfer protocol because it supports the packeting of multiple files, is speedier, and (in theory if not in practice) allows for picking up where one leaves off in case of a phone line failure or some other problem, like when the user’s house catches fire. Due to the use of archives, however, the packeting available with Zmodem is superfluous for most users of micros.

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Multimedia – GEM (Great Efforts of Many) etcetera
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I bought the Great Efforts of Many CD-ROM at the NAUGC’90 held north of Chicago. I was a little ticked off with the Mac users that were associated with the Mac version of the CD, because they had the gall to ask for donations to pay some programmer to write a driver for the Mac to use those neat little portable NEC units, and just blew off the Apple II users in attendance. I ended up not having the money to buy a the necessary Apple CD-ROM (as I said, read John Dvorak’s column in the January 1996 MacUser), and this lack held me back until my best friend Dave gave me the CDSC for Christmas 1994.

In short, I hadn’t looked at the GEM in a long time. I tried to show the contents to the user group a month or so ago, and had no idea what I was seeing. The programs that I saw back then seemed so great and the whole idea seemed so marvelous. Time has passed by a lot of the contents. This is something that is not the fault of the compilers of GEM, and probably of little concern because I don’t think GEM is still available.

I took a look in every folder and many “read me” files. Whereas I can appreciate the enormous effort it took to assemble the GEM CD five years ago (six, really), and I know that it is not too pointful to give a capsule review of it now, the organization of the files and the folders was too difficult to follow.

The logic of the Fonts folder was apparent – each font family is in a folder named for the letter of a alphabet (e.g., Times is a folder called T), making it much easier to manage. Many of the program files were in folders, while their documentation was elsewhere. There were many demo versions of programs, some of which are no longer available of course, but since I am someone who more or less hates demo versions, I didn’t find these to be of much use.

There is a HyperStudio (runtime) frontend for a number of stacks included on the CD. My complaint about this (and about a lot of early HS efforts) is the hard coded path where it expects to find the linked stacks. Why someone didn’t go through these and straighten all of that out probably has to do with the time that was available, and the ease with which the then-current version of HS could edit such things.

It seems to me that an ISO 9660 CD-ROM disk containing loads and loads of linked stacks would be a great product, especially since there is a Mac version of HyperStudio, and because stacks tend to get large in a hurry. A 500K stack could go onto a CD-ROM over 1,000 times. A CD-ROM would hold pretty much every worthwhile, downloadable stack on GEnie and Delphi, with room left over for HCGS stacks, Nexus stacks, and Tutor-Tech stacks.

If you’ve got a favorite stack, tell me about it in email, but only if you’d be willing to mail it to me on a diskette to the address above. If I like the sound of the stack you’ve described, I will ask you to send it to me if I don’t have it. If you are the author of a stack, you must have the most up to date version to send. I’m not going to say that I can get a CD-ROM made, just that if there is interest I’ll look into it.

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Wish List – alias SF get, Genesys, LogoMaker
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I want an SF Get dialog to open when I double click on my master Alias icon (represents a folder of all other icons). I figured that an icon to launch one of those “open from desktop” NDAs would do it. I drew one. I tried it. It didn’t work. Hopefully it will work soon enough for next week’s issue.

I’m looking for a used, legal, complete Genesys package. I’m willing to pay $20 for the latest (last) version.

Someone help me. A friend is looking for a program he remembers called LogoMaker or something like that. The program is used to develop small graphic logos, and Joe wants to use them in the UG newsletter.

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II Infinitum

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About the Author

Clark Hugh Stiles

Welcome to II Something. It’s October 1995 and I’m still using an Apple IIgs. What am I missing? The newest machines use CRT screens (preferred, even with laptops except when actually used on the lap), keyboards, mice, and sound to implement an interface with the user. Hard drives are used for primary storage and boot volumes, while CD-ROMs are used to hold larger data files, and floppy and tape drives are used for current data and backup for the hard drives. Modems are used for communication with mainframes. These features have not changed in years; most of them have not changed in decade.