The State of Carbon: CarbonLib for Mac

Compatibility. There is currently a disparity in the number of APIs in the Carbon specification that have actually been implemented between Mac OS 9 and OS X. The CarbonLib SDK, a free download from Apple, includes both the CarbonLib stub library and a library called LiteCarbonLib, which contains only those calls that currently work on both Mac OS X and OS 9. These libraries are 204 and 124 k respectively, which is a very crude measure of the difference between the two.

Having a carbonized app work in Mac OS 9 is no guarantee that it will work in DP4, even if you do use “safe” Carbon calls. For example, while writing my app to benchmark CopyBits, I discovered that it worked fine in OS 9 or even the Classic environment but did not work in OS X as native app. Here you can see it in OS 9 and in OS X.

The CarbonLib SDK comes with several sample apps. Not even all of these work correctly in both OS 9 and OS X. Moofwars, a program that ran but didn’t display sensible graphics in OS 9, would quit without explanation in OS X. I noticed it was missing a carb resource, which is needed for all Carbon apps, and after adding that with ResEdit, it would run but display nothing more than a blank window.

Appearance Sample is an impressive but utterly useless app meant to demonstrate some human interface guidelines. Here it is in OS 9 and in OS X. As you can see, there are some problems with the names not fitting in the buttons under OS X. (This is probably because Apple shrunk the size of the buttons and some other interface elements between DP3 and DP4 so that they would be the same size in OS 9 and OS X to appease developers.) Also, “Dessert Topping” is cut off.

Internet Explorer

OS X DP 4 comes with Internet Explorer 5.1b1, a carbonized version of IE 5. This program was obviously designed with the old Aqua layout guidelines; here is a screenshot of the about box. It will open in Classic, but it will quit shortly after asking you if you want to make it your default browser. I did manage to open it in OS 9; here’s what it looks like there.

SpeedI wrote a pair of benchmarking apps. The first tests the speed of CopyBits, a vital graphics command for displaying graphics on the screen. The second tests the speed of NewHandle and DisposeHandle, which are important commands for allocating memory. Here are the results, in ticks. Lower is faster.

 CopyBitsNew/Dispose Handle
OS 93526
OS X40149
OS X in Classic5468

Want to know more about how the benchmarks were done?

Stability. Wrote an evil little app (source) that starts at the first address and works its way up, garbling all the memory as it goes. When run in classic, it immediately crashed and also brought down the entire classic environment and all the apps in it, not surprisingly. But when run natively in OS X, it only brought down itself. Looks like the memory protection is doing its job.


AppleScript is there and mostly working. I could not open the dictionary of any application; it would always give me a miscallaneous error. Furthermore, the Finder is not yet scriptable. However, simple scripts did work, and seemed to go faster than in OS 9.


Starting apps is still quite slow. Opening the Quicktime Player took 11 seconds, compared to 3 seconds in OS 9.

ProcessViewer, the Console, and are still available. There is also a Setup Assistant which is very similar to the program of the same name under OS 9. Here’s a screenshot of all four of them, starting in the upper right and proceeding counterclockwise. The Console has some ominous messages in it!

When you open an application in OS X DP 4 and then shif to something else, when the application finishes opening you are automatically sent there. This is reminiscent of Windows, and you may consider it either a feature or a bug. I find it bothersome, since if I’m typing the application will interrupt that.

OS X now integrates the OS X Finder with the Classic Finder. For example, choosing Control Panels from the Apple menu of any Classic app brings up the control panels folder in the OS X Finder.

All in All

Apple seems to know what they did well in the Mac OS and appears to be trying to reproduce those benefits in OS X. The command keys are still equivalent across apps, and now the Preferences menu item has a standard place (IE 5.1b1, in classic Microsoft style, eschews the proper place, leaves the Preferences item dimmed under the Application menu, and implements its own under the Edit menu. To be fair, it is unlikely that they will keep this in the final release.) The Finder preserves and strenghtens the incredible and unmatched file manipulation tools of the Mac OS. AppleScript, while somewhat broken in DP4, is obviously slated to be a feature. The open and save dialogs now implement a “mini-Finder,” which is excellent from a consistency point of view (a unified method of choosing files means a smaller learning curve).

Unfortunately, Apple is picking up some new interface stupidities and inconsistencies. The inability to click on the bottom of icons in the dock is a small but important example that combines the worst of multiple menu bars with the worst of a single menubar. The fact that the root folder is not a folder is also reminiscent of the ugly parts of Windows. The “single window mode” button never seems to be useful and takes up window real estate. While the three window widgets are far enough apart to minimize mistaken clicks, choosing the wrong button could be prevented almost entirely by moving the close box to the other corner of the window, like the classic Mac OS. Windows cannot be resized or moved by their borders, which is a feature sorely missed when the resize handle is obscured by the dock.

Apple, to its credit, has learned from both its own successes and its mistakes, and is also willing to experiment to push the frontiers of user interface design ahead. But it does not appear to have learned from the mistakes of other companies, like Microsoft, and will doom its users to suffer if it does not fix them before the first full version ships.

Entourage Mac

Office 2001 GM Sneak-preview! (Featuring Entourage)

office mainscreenThe startup screen isn’t much-that’s for sure. I thought I’d begin with that one little grievance, not only because it’s the first thing that I saw, but because it’s the converse of everything else in the new Office 2001 suite of products. Microsoft has really done an excellent job at streamlining the four programs: Entourage (e-mail and PIM), PowerPoint (presentations), Word (word processing), and Excel (spreadsheets). Each one is easy to use, and captures the new Mac “look-and-feel”-that being the striped pillow embossed lines seen in Aqua and Internet Explorer 5.

Unlike older versions of Office, which struggled to keep up with the PC version, Office 2001 sports many new features that are, as Kevin Browne (general manager of Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit) said during the Macworld Keynote “available only on the Mac.”

I’ll only dive into the details of Entourage (pronounced: on-too-rahj) today. It’s a relatively small piece of the application suite (consisting of over 4,000 files and 300 MB in all) but packs a powerful punch. Many sites are quoting Entourage as a brand new “addition” to the lineup, but it’s not. Not really. Take Outlook Express and combine it with Outlook and you’ve got Entourage-plain and simple.

“Start me up, I’ll never stop”

import file in wordOn first run, it poked around my hard drive, installed some Office extensions and helpers that do who knows what, and managed to grab my Outlook Express mail database as well as contact, task, and calendar information from Palm Desktop. Entourage is capable of handling most mail formats, including FileMaker databases, and the Unix mbox format (used by Mailsmith). It will also copy account settings, mail filtering rules, signatures, and addresses from Now Contact, Eudora, Claris Emailer, Now Contact, and Netscape Messenger.

Be prepared to start using the PIM features. Entourage throws you right into it after you enter all your contact information, birthday, and phone numbers. One of the things about integration is how you can’t easily disassemble things. So I gave into it, and happily started “linking” e-mails and contact information together, color-coordinating categories, and matching up anniversary dates with the new calendar.

And, yes, Microsoft Bob has indeed infiltrated your e-mail program. Remember those distracting assistants from the other Office programs? Like Max, the Mac Classic, that always jumps out at you for misspelling something? Well…they’re all back.

Custom Views

You can display information in a number of ways by creating custom views. After you create a custom view, you can save it and then return to it at any time. For example, you can create a custom view that displays a list of items in the “Family” category that were received within three days and contain “reunion” in the body. When you perform a search, you can also save your search criteria as a custom view so that you can easily perform the same search again. One thing that I noticed was how the search function was re-done. It matches the Rules layout and looks a bit like Sherlock in the way that it has the choice for more options and criterion. I’ve only been using Office a couple of days, but so far, Entourage seems more responsive than the two Outlook programs. It certainly searches faster.

It Knows What You’re Thinking, NOT!

dictionaryA new feature in Office 2001 is the dictionary. A dictionary! Can you believe it? Luckily, Microsoft opted not to write definitions for some of the more prominent proper nouns. IBM is defined as “Abbr of intercontinental ballistic missile.” Thank goodness. You can access this from the Tools menu in every program. As with Outlook, Entourage uses Word’s spell-checking, auto-correction, and grammar libraries. For example, type, “MicroSloth ripped off teh Mac” and you’ll end up with “Microsoft procured the mace.” So if you don’t like Microsoft to make up your mind for you, just uncheck the option in the preferences.

Address Book

office calendarThe address book is a container for contacts, actual people you know. By defining standard fields like “Phone Number” you can build a database of all your acquaintances. These, in turn, are linked to each e-mail you send and every note and task you enter. Entourage also allows you to enter up to ten custom definable fields. You don’t have to enter in every detail about a person but doing so will enable actions like having birthdays show up on the calendar, getting driving directions to and from a contact’s location, and niceties such as magnifying a phone number so that you can see it across the room if the telephone is not by the computer and being able to conveniently send “vCards” to people you know so that they can automatically enter your personal data (including a picture) into their own address books. The address book is a shared feature with Word. If you change something in one of the other Office Programs it is updated in Entourage.

Office 2001 for mac

Office 2001 (Entourage) FAQ

Office for Mac 2001: Frequently Asked Questions

I. Entourage

  1. Does Entourage 2001 support encrypted e-mail? (This is one of the few things that Netscape does, which OE 5 doesn’t.)
  2. Does the calendar synchronize with a Palm?
  3. Does the calendar have pop-up reminders?
  4. What is the Office QuickView app?
  5. Does the new Office 2001 support Microsoft Exchange Server? I hope so–just got a Mac at our office, which is totally Windows NT based, and I would like to access my mail via the server.
  6. I heard that Microsoft did away with sound sets in this new Office mail client. True?
  7. What are the system requirements?
  8. Is it carbonized?
  9. Is there a way to access my address book from the Desktop (through a CSM or menu bar extension)?

1. I’m curious, does Entourage 2001 support encrypted e-mail?(This is one of the few things that Netscape does, which OE 5 doesn’t.)

No, however you can setup a secure connection to a mail or news server. The bestoption if you want to send and receive encrypted mail is to download PGP 6.5.8 (thestandard for encryption). PGP integrates very easily with Entourage and is widelyused.

2. Does the calendar synchronize with a Palm?

Yes. Entourage will copy tasks,appointments, calender events, and notes to a Palm.You must have Palm Desktop installed with the Entourage conduit to use this feature.

3. Does the calendar have pop-up reminders?

Yes. Both the calendar and the to-do list will remind you (assuming Entourageis open) about an upcoming task of event. If Entourage is not the active application,it will beep and flash in the menu bar to try to get your attention.

4. Did your copy of the Office 2001 GM include the Office QuickView application?

When it is officially released (or sometime around then) you should be able to download Office QuickView which will give you a CSM that will allow you to open your address book without Entourage running (you can also open your address book from within Word). It will not, unfortunately allow you to add a few key phone numbers to a list like Instant Desktop.

5. Does the new Office 2001 support Microsoft Exchange Server? I hope so–just got a Mac at our office, which is totally Windows NT based, and Iwould like to access my mail via the server.

No. Several people sent in related questions but so far it seems that any Exhange server will not work directly through Entourage. You’ll either have the stick with plain Outlook(not Express) or setup Entourage to use POP or IMAP protocols in conjuction with the Exhange server. In this way you can receive and send e-mail through internet standards and access the Global Address List if the server supports the LDAP protocol. Likewise, the iCalender standard is supported through both applications so scheduling events will work.

Update (10/22/00): Microsoft is apparently planning on releasing an full-feature parity of Outlook Exchange Client for Mac by the end of this month. So just hang on for a little while longer!

6. I heard that Microsoft did away with sound sets in this new Office mail client. True?

No. Entourage is very similar to Outlook Express. The sound sets are stillthere with the added option of choosing a random one on start-up.

7. What are the system requirements?

To use Microsoft Entourage 2001, your computer must meet the following minimum requirements:

  • Processor: PowerPC, Mac OS compatible (clock speed of at least 120 MHz recommended)
  • Operating System: Mac OS 8.1 or later (OS 8.5 or later recommended)
  • Memory: 32 MB of RAM with at least 1 MB of Virtual Memory for systems prior to 9.0 48 MB of RAM with at least 1 MB of Virtual Memory for systems 9.0 and later
  • Available Hard Disk Space: 80-160 MB. This figure indicates a default installation of Microsoft Office; your hard-disk usage will vary depending on the amount of data you store in Microsoft Office and the options you choose to install. Choices made during a custom installation may require more or less hard disk space.
  • Approximately 160 MB of hard-disk space to install Microsoft Office.
  • Disk Drives: CD-ROM drive or a connection to a local area network if you are installing Microsoft Entourage from a network.
  • Monitor that can display 256 grays or 256 colors and resolutions of 640×480 or higher (Color monitor that can display thousands or millions of colors and resolutions of 800×600 or higher recommended)

8. Is it carbonized?

Nope, sorry. It does, however, contain the 128 x 128 transparent icons that are seen in Mac OS X. The whole office suite also seems to work pretty seamlessly in Classic.

9. Is there a way to access my address book from the Desktop (through a CSM or menu bar extension)?

See question #4.

circuit city logo

Circuit City – Just SETTLE DOWN NOW!

As a field rep for the new Apple rollout for Circuit City, I have read with increasing disgust the quick-to-judge Mac community pouncing all over the newest member of the iMac/iBook retail family, Circuit City. If you want the short version of this article, here it is: PATIENCE, PEOPLE! Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the task before us is almost as Herculean. Transforming low-paid home-electronics wonks into decent Mac salesmen is no easy task, but if you start condemning CC too early, I can guarantee a repeat of the “Worst Buy” disaster.

There are THREE partners that are crucial to Apple’s success at Circuit City:

  1. Apple, who needs to keep inventory hopping and market the hell out of these machines
  2. Circuit City, who need to train their people and ensure a secure & pleasant buying experience
  3. YOU, the Mac community, who need to be positive and remember the big picture rather than talking trash with no facts to back you up and focusing on tiny bumps rather than big successes.

There are a number of factors these so-called “critics” conveniently forget when jumping the gun on Circuit City. We’ll go over them, and then you (and they) will be able to appreciate the situation far better, and will understand why Apple Power Reps like myself and others sincerely believe that (for the most part) the partnership with Circuit City will be far more fruitful than most of you seem to think.

First off, people have to remember that as I write this, the iMacs and iBooks have been in CC a little over two weeks. The special displays that Apple is creating (which will really showcase both the iMacs and iMovie, complete with digital camcorders) are NOT THERE YET. Thus, the Apple display you are seeing today is “temporary” at best. Certain vocal webmasters (and we know who we are, don’t we Mr. Jump-to-Conclusions in Texas?) have really gone all-out to be unfair, visiting precisely one store and based on that pronouncing the whole program a “disaster” before it even officially launches (official launch: Sept. 10th Demo Day).

We sometimes forget because we use our Macs in ways similar to the ways most people use their PCs (ie word processing, internet stuff etc), but to non-Apple fans the iMacs literally ARE “computers from another planet.” They do not look, act or respond in the ways PC people are used to. They are strange and new, which in America is synonymous with “weird.” Many if not most of CC’s customers — to say nothing of the sales people — have only seen these beasts in pictures. As any Mac fanatic can tell you, the reality is sometimes VERY different. We have GOT to give the Circuit City people time to get used to the concept of the iMacs/iBooks; they represent a VERY different philosophy than they are used to.

Apple’s PR company Marketsource, along with CC themselves, have produced some frankly FABULOUS training materials for the Sales Counselors. There’s a video for each store, a full-colour illustrated booklet for each employee detailing what each model can and cannot do, and a toll-free phone number for them to call. In addition, people like myself will stop by stores each and every week, checking to make sure the demos are running, to answer questions that the salespeople have run across and don’t know the answers to, and to teach them (in small increments, over many weeks — this stuff takes time!) things about the MacOS and Apple that they never knew, like the fact that the G3 more than holds its own against even top-rated PIIIs; that games can and do run great on the Mac; that the Windows operating system is largely “ripped off” from the MacOS; that iMovie is hands-down the greatest basic video editing application ever; that iMacs represent great value for money compared to similarly-priced PCs, and that the iMac and iBook represent not only superior technology (no fan, smaller chip), but a whole new way of working with computers that is actually FUN.

Another thing to remember is that some CC employees, particularly managers and other old-timers, remember the “bad old days” of the Performas (the last models CC sold). It’s not that these were bad machines, but they were overpriced compared to PC models, and underperformed in many ways. The model numbers and spec differences were confusing, and they were sold almost entirely to Mac people who knew more about the machines than the salespeople could ever hope to, so there was little incentive for them to learn about the machines they sold. CC was glad to see the back of Apple back then, and it is up to US — the Mac community — to make sure that CC understands that this is not the “old” Apple, but an Apple that can kick butt in the PC community and will practically sell themselves with a little help from the community.

What are The Benefits for Mac Users

Here’s what we Mac fans can do to make sure that Circuit City sells a lot more Macs, and makes the experience a pleasant one for everybody:

  1. Quit yer bellyachin’!
  2. Make a point of stopping by the CC store nearest you for five minutes every week or so. Relaunch the demo if it’s not on. Repair the hard drive name and aliases if they are broken.
  3. If you know some Cool Mac Tricks, stand around for a while and perform some for either the sales guys or the customers. Show the sales guys how to do it themselves.
  4. Don’t give CC sales people some sort of third-degree Mac quiz. I’m sure they’ll fail, just as the average non-geek Mac user would. Instead, when a sales guy approaches you, tell him you are an Apple fan who absolutely loves his machine and would like to know if there is anything you could tell him/her that would help THEM sell iMacs/iBooks. These guys are NEVER going to know more than the basics of the Mac unless they are Mac fans themselves, but that’s more than enough to close a sale. If you are a member of a MUG, for pete’s sake leave him a biz card with your contact number and tell them to call you when problems come up.
  5. If you see real problems, ask the manager of the department for the business card of the Apple Rep (who should have left one). Call the Apple Rep up and report what you’ve seen. If your store doesn’t have an Apple Rep, visit and sign up, or refer someone you think would be good for the job.

The Apple Reps can do a lot to help train and get the CC people into the spirit of Macintosh, but we can’t be there every day. If the Mac community makes it their responsibility to “keep an eye on” the Sears/Circuit City/CompUSA stores that sell Apple stuff, make it their task to POLITELY correct misinformation and myths from salespeople, and make it their job to actively HELP the salespeople do their jobs instead of berating them when they goof, Apple will continue this phenomenal 35% annual growth rate they’ve achieved of late, will make more money, make Macs more commonplace, and ultimately accomplish what EVERY Mac fan desires: a significant increase in the marketshare!!

We can do this. Apple CFO Fred Anderson recently told the papers that Apple expects to DOUBLE it’s global marketshare in just two years. That is a HUGE job, far beyond the capabilities of all the Power Reps and advertising agencies and free publicity

Monsoon MM 700

Monsoon MM-700 Neodymium Speakers Review

Computers have shrunk from giant mainframes into gumdrop iMacs, processors and chips have shrunk into millimeters, and prices have dropped to almost nothing. The exact same is true for speakers.And as we close in on the Millenium, one thing has become increasingly clear this decade. Space is valuable. For any consumer, space is very important. That’s why it’s really nice to stumble upon a pair of quality speakers that actually sound great and take up only a small space on a desk. I’m referring to Sonigistix’s Monsoon flat panel speakers.Monsoon has come up with a very small handsome flat panel speaker system that is one of the few that finally does justice to my MP3 and CD collection. They are very small, slim, and low profile. And in a tinted grey they really go great with anything you put them up against.

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GrooveMaker 2

GrooveMaker 2 Review

IK Multimedia’s Groovemaker 2.0 is the perfect program for amateur and professional mixers and DJs alike. No matter what kind of mixing you would like to do: techno, dance, ambient, house, Brazilian percussion, or even hiphop (soon to come); Groovemaker offers CDs for mixing these types of music. And for users who like to hear random mixes without having to mix themselves, Groovemaker includes many automated tasks that its closest competitor, Mixman, fails to provide.

Installation was a snap, and now it was time to make some grooves. Groovemaker first prompts you to select a song (or template) you wish to groove with. The Song dialogue box tells you a concise description of the song, the Beats Per Minute (BPM) at which the song was originally recorded, and plays a sample groove that can be made from the song (since literally millions of different grooves can be made from each individual song). Once you have selected a song to groove with, you have to copy it to your hard disk. Now you are ready to make some mixes.

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The Sims

The Sims: Playing God

It all started innocently enough, a lanky 22-year-old recent college graduate hiding from his job hunt at MacWorld Expo, armed with nothing but a Bachelor’s in English and $45 to buy a cool new game. The $45 actually had some value, and he traded it for a copy of Maxis’ recent hit, the people-simulation game known as The Sims.

Players can choose the gender, race, weight, age and appearance for each Sim or choose from an offering of pre-created characters offered by the game. The player then places their Sims in a house of their own design after outfitting the home with the basics of modern survival (lights, phones, toilets, showers, beds, chairs, tables, cooking appliances and a fridge). The game is now underway and chaos is the norm.

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Internet Explorer on mac

OS X DP4 In-depth Look With Screenshots!

Installation was similiar to previous versions. You insert the CD, double click on the installation app, and it reboots from the CD into Mac OS X. It erases a partition on your hard drive and installs itself. The installation took somewhat more time than the current Mac OS; I timed it at 17 minutes.

During the application, you are IN Aqua. You can drag the installation window around, access menus, etc. I tried clicking on the Services cascading menu, but since OS X wasn’t installed, there was no services, so the menu disappeared, but when I brought it up again, it was more transparent. I repeated this process until it no longer came up at all, and though the installation appeared to finish, I had to do a cold restart, and the machine never finished booting into Mac OS X. I had to reboot from the OS 9 CD and then repeat the OS X installation process.

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linux os

Can I Run Linux/Unix on My Mac?

You can’t run any old linux distro on a PowerPC mac. This is because of three fundamental reasons

  • The PowerPC CPU uses a totally different instruction set from x86. You simply can’t run an x86 binary on PowerPC, and nor can you run a PowerPC binary on x86.
  • Byte order. PowerPC uses what is known as ‘little endian’ byte order, while x86 uses ‘big-endian’. In English, this means that, in a byte, binary 1 is stored on PowerPC as: 10000000 and on x86 as: 00000001
  • Hardware interfaces – Apple Macs use different busses, ports and other hardware (sound & graphics architecture) than x86 PCs.

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icg vs aim

AIM vs. ICQ Review

The battle has long been fought between the two AOL-dominated rivals: AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) and ICQ. Both have very attractive and useful interfaces and features.Today, the battle ends; a winner will emerge.

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