Lip Service

Gone but not forgotten

The sidebar "Goodbye Optical Disk" (in "Goodbye OD, Hello CD-ROM," NeXTWORLD Spring 1992) fails to mention one very big item: If you upgrade to a Turbo model on the Cube, you will not be able to use your optical drive anymore. No path for allowing use of the optical drive has been announced, which comes as a major blow.

Doug McClure

West Layfayette, Indiana

Although the optical drive is not a cost-effective means of distributing software, it is a very effective storage medium. The articles I read in NeXTWORLD Spring 1992 about the new CD-ROM drive discuss discontinuing the optical. This is ridiculous. When you've got a good thing, make it work for you.

The engineers at NeXT should re-engineer the optical drive so that it can read CD-ROMs. The CD-ROM could be placed inside of an empty optical cartridge and then into the optical drive for reading.

Peter J. Rucki

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

While the optical drive seemed a promising technology several years ago, it was plagued with reliability problems, and the cost of the cartridges never came down to less than $140. It is not technically possible to re-engineer the optical drive so that it can read CD-ROM discs. NW

CAD Vision

NeXT's concept of interpersonal computing and ease-of-information sharing misses an opportunity to return engineering to the teamwork approach that was prevalent before engineering workstations no one person could work in isolation and the project's success depended on close communication.

As an electronics engineer, I wistfully imagine a multitalented team of engineers and designers working on a complex project involving electronics, microprocessors, embedded software, mechanical fabrication, documentation, and aesthetic design; accomplishing their tasks at their own workstations; sending and receiving information that would let them dovetail their work with that of their colleagues.

Then I look at the engineering software for the NeXT, and I return to my PC running AutoCAD, OrCad, and WordPerfect, and I contemplate a change of careers. Why should stockbrokers, spooks, and talent agents get all the fun?

Louis Bertrand

Lynden, Ontario

Clarifying ScanTastic

In the review of ScanTastic ("Universal Scanner Software," NeXTWORLD Spring 1992), there were several errors and omissions that need to be clarified.

It is possible to select only a portion of an image for scanning by using the selection tool to choose a specific scan area from the preview. The price listed in the summary box for ScanTastic with the Epson ES-300C should have read $1795. The manufacturer of the 600ZS scanner is Microtek Laboratories, not Microtech. The list of scanners that are supported has increased to include the Epson ES-300C, Nikon LS-3510AF, Microtek 600ZS, the XRS family, and the Hewlett-Packard ScanJet IIC. And since the review was written, the price for ScanTastic has been adjusted. Versions for the above-mentioned flatbed scanners (not including the Nikon) are $495 each.

Lance Gilbert

President, Second Glance Software

Laguna Hills, California

Man and market, Part II

I thought the two letters in the Spring 1992 issue regarding NeXT and Steve Jobs were valid. It is important to understand the design philosophy at NeXT and, judging by the machine it created, it could serve as a solid example to others in this industry and other industries. Let's not make the mistake of focusing too much on the technology without focusing on why it was produced and what it was designed to accomplish.

Chris Cuilla

President, The Cuilla Company

Grayslake, Illinois

Canon and NeXT

Before saying anything encouraging about Canon, as you did in your piece "NeXT Goes Global" (NeXTWORLD Winter 1991), it is instructive to take a look at how its deal with Apple has paid off. As it is, Canon essentially has a lock on authorized Mac distribution, but it has done little to actually promote the machine. Canon makes its own computers and therefore has less incentive to sell other manufacturers' products.

Even though Canon owns a piece of NeXT, it still will have only one-sixth the financial motivation to sell a NeXT as one of its own machines.

Adam Rice

Austin, Texas

Vanilla review

I was pleased to see Bruce Berkoff's letter ("I didn't write that!" NeXTWORLD Spring 1991) about his review of Mathematica 2.0 ("Math for the Masses," NeXTWORLD Winter 1991). In your review you simply described Mathematica's features most of which are common to versions on other platforms.

Why no mention that NeXT is the only workstation that supports the Notebook front end? Why not tell how easy it is to cut and paste Mathematica graphics to any other NeXTstep application? Why not describe how much easier it is for programmers to write custom front ends to Mathematica in NeXTstep than in any other development environment?

Your review fell woefully short by not describing how the NeXTstep environment allows Mathematica to run better than on any of the other platforms.

O. David Spitzler

Manager, Higher Ed. Marketing, NeXT Computer

Redwood City, California

For the Record

In "Simson Goes to Camp" (NeXTWORLD Spring 1992), we gave the wrong location for Stepstone Corporation, owner of Objective-C. The correct address is at 75 Glen Road, Sandy Hook, CT 06482.

NeXTWORLD welcomes your comments. Please send them to Letters at NeXTWORLD, 501 Second St., San Francisco, CA 94107, or e-mail letters@nextworld.com.