Rumor Monger

II Alive Volume 1 Number 1
March / April 1993

Keeping our ear to the ground (and a good supply of cotton swabs on hand), we print only the freshest gossip. And if there’s not enough gossip, we make some up! As always, the Rumormonger reserves the right to be dead wrong. Like those 900 astrology numbers, this column is for entertainment purposes only. If you take it seriously, you deserve whatever fate befalls you!


Apple Computer once said, “We will continue to support the Apple II for as long as people use it.” Imagine our surprise when we find out that it’s true. Although the Apple IIGS is no longer on the dealer price list, two Seven Hills Software programmers have joined the Apple II Continuing Engineering group. Apple has also hired two well-known GEnie A2 gurus. These four new people will help complete System 6.01, to be released later this year.


You’ve probably heard of Newton, the first in a supposedly “new breed” of computer product called the Personal Digital Assistant. (Never mind that there’s no such thing as a “Digital Assistant”-the product should be described instead as a Digital Personal Assistant.) The first Newton will be a device about the size of a pack of 5″ x 7″ index cards. Newton will recognize hand-printing (not handwriting) and “pen gestures” instead of having a keyboard-in fact, if you draw a round object, Newton will figure out you are trying to draw a circle and smooth out your drawing. Similarly, deleting words from the Newton’s display will be as simple as crossing them out. You’ll be able to connect it to an AppleTalk network, possibly wireless . Newton will be “fax · aware,” which means that you’ll be able to send a fax right from your pocket. This is not just another Sharp Wizard-though, not coincidentally, Sharp is Apple’s partner in the Newton venture. However, due to Newton’s size and its price (“under $1000”), deep pockets may be required. Incidentally, Apple had to reach an agreement with Nabisco, manufacturer of the popular Fig and Apple Newton cookies, about the product’s name.


In a brief conversation the Rumormonger had with Bill Heineman at the Apple Expo East, I asked about the progress of Avatar, Heineman’s IIGS compatible computer with many features that outperform the GS. Since the Avatar is still in development, Bill told me that he really couldn’t talk about what features will be in the final version, or when a prototype would be shown. Keep going, Bill!


Vitesse, Inc. will release a new version of Salvation-Supreme, its hard drive management utility, in the near future. Some compatibility problems with System 6 and the Apple SuperDrive controller were found in the current version. While patches were made to the current version of Wings (the package’s prograRDm launcher) to make it work with Finder 6.0, it still doesn’t support HFS partitions. I can only guess that this will be in the next version. Will there be any other new features? Bakkup will probably get file compression, and Renaissance (the defragmenter) will lose some of its bugs.


For the past year, former Beagle Bros programmer Alan Bird has been working on MultiLaunch, a control panel that would allow you to run more than one lias programs at a time, for Westcode software. Alan was unable to solve several technical problems and compatibility difficulties and recently abandoned the project. According to Westcode’s Rob Renstrom, AppleWorks GS was the biggest headache. Alan, the man behind TimeOut, the Beagle Compiler, InWards, and Pointless, is one of the sharpest Apple II hackers around, so if he couldn’t do it, we have to wonder how Procyon (authors of Switchlt) and Brainstorm (authors of Seven Hills’ The Manager) pulled it off. Bird has released the program in its unfinished state as freeware in the hopes that someone can figure out how to get it to work.


Speaking of Westcode, they certainly were busy last year, releasing two versions of Pointless, their TrueType font scaler for the IIGS, and Type West, a collection of TrueType fonts for use with Pointless. However, their first product, In Words, an Optical Character Recognition utility for use with hand-held scanners, has not been updated for nearly two years, despite some well-known bugs that caused the program to choke on large fonts, graphics, and underlined text. Westcode is finally about to remedy that. The next release of In Words is in the hands of the company’s beta testers and may be released by the time you read this. The upgrade to In Words 1.1 will be free, and automatic to registered users.


Sun Remarketing had a good Christmas in 1992- they sold their entire stock of Apple IIGS computers last holiday season. They should have more in stock very soon. By the way, despite all the marketing funds spent on the Mac PowerBook last year (and the lack of such funds for the Apple IIGS), the Apple IIGS outsold the PowerBook 100 in 1992.

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About the Author

Jerry Kindall

Jerry Kindall was Quality Computers' technical writer and served as II Alive's Editor in Chief from its inception through mid-1995. He is currently a contract programmer writer at a certain Large Software Company in the Seattle area. He and his wife breed and show Glen of Imaal Terriers.