Apple cart. (Software for the Macintosh) Steve Arrants.
Welcome to another Cart. There are a few significant dates this month. DEC announced the Rainbow back in 1982, and Xerox released the Star microcomputer system in 1981. (Many of today's newest computers, such as the Lisa and Macintosh, Use concepts pioneered by the Star.) And Apple introduced the Apple III on May 19, 1980.
This month we'll take a look at software for the Macintosh and answer some questions.
When Apple released Lisa, people were impressed with the technology. Technology itself doesn't sell machines, however. There was so little software available, and Apple was so slow to release technical information that most software authors concentrated on other machines--notably the IBM PC. It looks as if Apple has learned from that experience. A solid software base is rapidly building. You would expect to find the usual business software, but games for the Macintosh? Well, even an executive has to relax. Below are descriptions of just some of the software for Macintosh.
Personal Tax Planner
Aardvark/McGraw-Hill has released Personal Tax Planner, a federal income tax planning program for the Macintosh. It features a menu-driven, easy to understand format that enables users to examine up to five alternatives for a single tax year or projections for up to five successive years. Personal Tax Planner calculates tax liability, capital losses and gains, and taxable social security benefits. In addition, it automatically performs income averaging and alternative minumum tax calculations.
The program runs inside Macintosh windows, enabling the user to take advantage of the Macintosh icons and graphics. The Macintosh Cut/Paste utility may be used to take information from the program and merge it into a Mac Write file. Personal Tax Planner sells for $99.
CRTplus is a decision support tool designed to help financial institutions cope with the new competitive environment caused by deregulation. About half of all U.S. banks use microcomputers to some extent, but fewer than one in ten use them to explain and sell their products. With CRTplus, a bank can deliver information in a clearer manner to customers.
CRTplus performs a variety of financial calculations including IRA and Keogh analysis, loan alternatives and amortization, and taxable vs. nontaxable investment strategies. Using Macintosh graphics and windows, a customer can quickly see what difference a percentage point can make on a long term loan. CRTplus will be available for the Lisa and Macintosh in the second quarter of 1984 from Aurora Systems, Inc.
NPL Information Management System
Desk Top Software of Princeton, NJ, has adapted its NPL Information Management System for use on the Macintosh. NPL is a database system that develops complete data management applications without conventional programming. The user simply tells the Macintosh what he wants, and Macintosh figures out how to do it. NPL has a large vocabulary, so the programs look like English.
A typical NPL program might look like this:
PRINT NAME AND SALARY BY DEPARTMENT,
IF SALARY EXCEEDS 15000 AND IF DEGREE IS BA.
The resulting printout would include all data meeting the criteria set forth in the program.
Because the sentences can include phrases for sorting, computation, totaling, etc., the NPL system is suitable for a wide variety of file management areas such as personnel records, customer in formation, payroll, inventory, receivables, invoices, mailing labels, and form letters. Data entry formats can be user generated. Automatic validation is available for testing values, ranges, and data types. Information can be cut and pasted to MacWrite files.
Business Strategy Programs
Human Edge Software Corporation will make its popular business strategy software available for the Macintosh.
Soon to be available will be The Sales Edge, The Management Edge, and The Negotiation Edge. These interactive programs ask the user for information about himself and his situation and then provide a strategy that describes how he can best achieve his goals.
The Sales Edge offers the user information on how he can best present, conduct, and close a sale. The Management Edge gives the user advice on how to increase productivity and motivation, resolve conflicts and effectively discipline or reward an employee. The Negotiation Edge helps the user develop strategies for conducting negotiations in situations from buying a car to reaching a union agreement.
All three packages combine advanced theory on human interaction with sophisticated software design. They will be available in the second and their quarters of 1984.
Lotus 1-2-3, one of the most popular integrated software packages, is now available for the Macintosh.
Lotus 1-2-3 combines spreadsheet analysis, graphing, and information management functions in one fast, powerful, and easy to use program. The program includes a built-in language capability that lets users custom tailor applications and store them to run with Lotus 1-2-3. The Macintosh version is designed to take advantage of the unique features of the Macintosh such as icons and the cut/paste utility, which permits data interchange among programs.
"We are making a major corporate commitment to Macintosh, which is natural, intuitive, and in line with how people think and work,' Lotus president Mitch Kapor said. "This is going to change the way people think about personal computers. Macintosh sets a whole new standard, and we want out products to take advantage of this.'
Lotus 1-2-3 for the Macintosh will be released this summer, following its introduction at the Spring '84 Comdex.
Microsoft has released a full line of application software for Macintosh and is actively working with Apple to develop software that uses Macintosh capabilities fully.
Multiplan, an advanced spreadsheet program, provides all the features of other versions of Multiplan plus additional enhancements. An UNDO command allows the reversal of the last change to the spreadsheet. Recalculation is faster on the Macintosh, and it will pause so the user experiences no delay while working. Enhancements to printing reports include headers and footers, and automatic page numbering.
Word uses the graphics capabilities of the Macintosh to show visual representation of text and graphics on the screen, including proportional spacing and support for all Macintosh fonts.
Chart is a powerful business graphics program that enables graphics data to be entered, edited, and formated directly in windows on the screen. Chart presents the user with a gallery of different charts--bar, line, pie, and scatter--that he can choose to visualize the chosen data.
File is a productivity tool for the storage and retrieval of data and offers form-based data entry and retrieval. File formats which are user-modifiable are selected from a system library.
All Microsoft products incorporate the features of the Macintosh interface such as pull-down menus and the mouse. The user can cut and paste between Microsoft and Apple programs.
Microsoft Basic takes full advantage of the large direct addressing capability of the Macintosh Motorola 68000 microprocessor, including a decimal math pack with 14-digit precision and string variables and expressions of up to 32,767 characters each. It is source code compatible with all standard versions of Microsoft Basic. allowing easy integration of programs written in that language.
Microsoft Basic incorporates the Macintosh interface and presents the user with up to three kinds of windows--one for command entry when in the direct mode or for editing a listing, one for viewing the program listing, and one for the output of the running program. It includes many of the extended graphics capabilities of Microsoft's GW Basic, as well as support for the Macintosh Font manager and call access to the Macintosh Quickdraw routines.
Bill Gates, president of Microsoft, expects big sales of the Macintosh and associated software. Says Gates, "We believe that as much as one-half of our 1984 and 1985 application program revenues could come from sales of Microsoft's Macintosh programs.'
Multiplan, Word, and File for the Macintosh are priced at $195 each. Chart is priced at $125, and Microsoft Basic is available for $150.
Software Publishing Corporation is bringing the popular PFS family of software out on the Macintosh.
PFS: File is an information management program with comprehensive filing, sorting, and searching capabilities. All types of information can be stored in user-designed forms that may resemble familiar paper forms such as invoices or personnel records.
PFS: Report increases the usefulness of information stored with PFS: File by summarizing and performing calculations on the information. The user can then print presentation-quality tabular reports or display them on the screen for review and decision making.
Mac Disk and Mad Link
Davong Systems Inc. manufactures hard disk storage systems ranging from 5 to 32Mb for the Macintosh. Mac, Disk systems will be especially useful in handling accounting, database, and other large data applications. A 28Mb tape back-up system is in development. All Mac Disk products are shipped with necessary cabling and adapters, software utilities, and documentation.
Mac Link is a local area networking system that will allow up to 255 Macintosh computers to share hard disk storage, communicate with each other, and share other resources such as plotters and printers. Mac Link incorporates much of the hardware and software technology Davong developed for MultiLink, Davong's local area network for IBM PCs and XTs.
The full line of Infocom interactive adventure games is available for the Macintosh. The Zork trilogy, Enchanter, Sorcerer, Planetfall, Suspended, Starcross, Witness, Deadline, and Infidel are interactive games involving science fiction, mystery, fantasy, and adventure. With each new release, Infocom sets a new standard for text games. Each game is a realistic excursion into another world. The packaging with each game includes maps, clues, and other objects to get you into the spirit of the adventure.
Blue Chip Simulations
For those who enjoy the worlds of high finance and cut throat competition, Blue Chip Software has three games that should satisfy your appetite.
Millionaire is a stock market simulation game that compresses 77 weeks of trading into a two-hour exercise. You begin with $10,000 and make purchases based on a steady stream of business and news information. As your net worth increases, you enter more complex levels of trading and investment alternatives.
Tycoon is similar, except that the high pressure commodity market is your arena. At the start of the game, the computer creates a market involving 15 different commodities. You start out in week two with access to the preceding year's data. Each game compresses 52 weeks into one hour.
Real estate is the subject of Baron. This simulation explores the various investment opportunities, risks, and rewards in today's real estate market.
These are not just games. Each involves learning the complex rules of business and investment finance. Excellent educational vehicles, they are appropriate for use in the high school and university classroom.
From the product information covering my desk, it looks as though software developers feel comfortable with the Macintosh. Some of the products are adaptations of IBM PC business software which will utilize the special abilities of the Macintosh. A great amount of software for the Apple II is being re-written for Macintosh. Of course, since they use different microprocessors (6502 and 68000), different Basics, and totally different designs, these conversions may take some time. Unlike the conversion from DOS 3.2 to DOS 3.3, there is no MacMuffin program available.
Questions and Answers
Because of space limitations, your responses about DOS errors will be included next month. We do have room for two short questions, however.
Jean Brydon of Center City, PA, writes: "I have an Apple II with Integer Basic on the motherboard and an Applesoft ROM card. I had the autostart ROM installed, and that's when the problems started. After a few hours of use, my Apple decides to call it a day. Rebooting doesn't help. What can I do? Is it my Apple, the new ROM, or something else?'
I can sympathize with you, Jean. There is nothing worse than a computer in coma. Unfortunately, I don't have any easy answers. What happens when you remove the autostart ROM and replace it with your old set-up? If the same problem occurs, it is probably a failure somewhere else in your motherboard and not in the new ROM. How clean is your mother-board? I suggest removing the chips (gently!) and cleaning both the pins and the contacts with a soft, clean pencil eraser. Perhaps some chips have come unseated from the heat. Try pressing each one back into its socket. If you still have problems, have an Apple technician investigate.
From Michael Abels in Moscow, ID: "I brought an Apple from Europe to the U.S. Before shipping, I removed all the chips from the motherboard since I was told that the X-ray equipment in Customs might spoil them. When I replaced the chips, I put two in backwards.
I have put them back in correctly now, buy my Apple still acts funny. What did I do wrong? Will two new chips make the Apple work normally?'
First, are all the pins correctly inserted? It is easy to bend a pin underneath the chip. Examine all the chips for this. Remember, when inserting chips, the notch on the chip should face in the same direction as the notch on the chip seat. Two new chips might help. I would have a technician look at it. Are you sure it is the chips that are at fault and not your power supply? A European Apple won't run in the U.S. without an adapter or the properly rated power supply.
That wraps it up for May. Next month we'll compare two printer cards for the Apple II that aid in printing graphic pages. We'll also look at an undocumented Pascal procedure for PEEKing and POKEing, and examine some uncommon DOS errors.
Photo: Microsoft Multiplan for Apple Macintosh.
Photo: Microsoft Word for Apple Macintosh.