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Brian Pankuch

Note: This article was scanned using OCR from the Spring 1992 CCCE Newsletter. Please contact us if you identify any OCR errors.
The Quadra 700 is one of Apple's latest systems. It comes with a Motorola 68040 processor. Mine has 20 Meg of ram memory, a 520 Meg Fujitsu hard disk and a RasterOps 21 inch monochrome monitor. The operating system is updated 7 .01. Since 1 used four suppliers for the different items my, first surprise, a rather pleasant one, was that all the hardware worked when I assembled it.
After hearing so much about System 7, Apple's latest operating system, I was eager to try it. My first impression on bringing it up was where is it? My usual manipulations looked and felt the same. After hunting I did notice a few improvements. Balloon Help is one. To give you an example of how this works, I'm writing this column using Microsoft's Word 5. 1 can check spelling and grammar within this program. After checking I get a table of statistics giving me information about the column. The different indexes shown are not familiar so I click on Balloon Help, move the mouse pointer to each entry and a balloon similar to those used in the newspaper comics comes up with information about what I'm pointing to. This is much easier than looking it up in over a thousand pages of manuals.
Now imagine a large number of students unfamiliar with. either the Mac or the program you want them to use. Balloon Help is a potential time saver. A student can move the mouse to what they want to know about and have the information balloon right up! System 7 gives help on the major features of the Mac interface up on the screen. Not being magic, help for a specific program has to be programmed in by the programs author and many have done this. For instance Word 5 and PageMaker 4.2 have Balloon Help, Hypercard 2.1 does not.
The Quadra comes with a microphone which attaches anyplace convenient and with a simple click of the mouse I can record up to a minute of sound and include it with this column. I could send it to you, and you could read and hear. Neat but I don't personally see much. use for it unless I want to practice a few German phrases. 
QuickTime is an extension for System 7. The examples I have allow  me to open a window and play a 'movie' with sound. One example is a wind surfer bouncing along in rough water during a thunderstorm. You can see the lightning and hear the thunder. This becomes interesting when you realize you could be watching a chemical reaction occurring in color on the screen. You stop, step go backwards as often as you want. About 10 seconds of the wind surfer requires about 500 K of storage. Not bad, but we won't be showing movies this way for a while. The ability to have moving picture included in an interactive chemistry program is very intriguing.
Apple supplies a utility with System 7 that checks all the programs on your hard disk and estimates compatibility with System 7. I was happy to find that the estimated compatibility was usually conservative and almost every program I had still worked despite warnings. If you don't need maximum speed from the system, it is wise to shut off the cache switch and 32 bit addressing. With them off everything I've looked at worked, except Mathematica. When both are on older programs such as Microsoft Works and Word 4 would crash, when both are off Works and Word 4 are OK.
One surprise I got was with Symantec's Think Pascal. I use this program about 30 hours a week and called Symantec technical support to check the compatibility before I got the new Pascal. They assured me that Think Pascal worked fine. It didn't, so back to tech support, who at first claimed yes it did. A few exasperating days later they admitted a patch was needed. It seems that Apple made a few 'improvements' in the newest Quadra's and neglected to tell Symantec.
Symantec was kind enough to Express mail the patch to me. I still couldn't get it to work. Back to tech support, yes it should work, no one else is having problems, did I try ... , etc. After a couple of hours of going through every permutation I could think of, tech support admitted something must be wrong plus I had noticed the dates on all the programs were 1988. Odd for a 1992 update. They sent a second patch that had the same problems.
On my final try the head of tech support personally copied the patch on to a diskette and mailed it to me. It worked! It seems that Symantec was recycling diskettes of old unsold programs and someone was putting a new label on but was forgetting to put the new programs on. Some days ....
In general I seem to find it easier to customize and make changes under System 7. Adding new fonts or sounds, Changing the appearance of folders or the screen are easier. I'm lucky it works because the Quadra won't allow you to use any older system like 6.07. Overall once things are working it's a fun adventure exploring the innovations that are available and experimenting with new tools.
Several new programs I've tried have been from diskettes in compressed form. They had automated installers but this seemed quite time consuming. The only real problem I had was getting the laser printer to work after automated installation of System 7. The system installed the wrong software. Luckily I had several sources available, and found one that worked on a CD from Apple.


02/01/92 to 02/05/92