Peripheral Concerns: On the Net

Reports are coming in fast and furious about experiences with NeXTSTEP 3.1 for Intel nearly all of them complaints about drivers. Net readers want to know why NeXT can't support Gateway 2000's IDE CD-ROM drive, which the company all but gives away with its high-end systems. They also want support for the Sound Blaster Pro, which is far more common than the ProAudio Spectrum 16 that NEXTSTEP supports and comes with its own low-cost built-in CD-ROM interface. The serial driver has also been a source of concern: Several potential customers wrote that they tabled plans to evaluate NEXTSTEP when they discovered 3.1 can't do serial I/O. A posting directly from NeXT said that a new serial driver was being tested and would likely be released before 3.2 ships in October.

Meanwhile, posters have been amusing themselves with bugs in Digital Webster. (For a good time, try looking up the words "neil" and "spaz.") These bugs have been reported to NeXT time and again since Release 1.0, but fixing them doesn't seem to be a high priority.

Action in the programmer's forum seems to be equally divided between those who know NEXTSTEP inside out and those who are just starting out. Comp.sys.next.programmer is also the place to catch job postings from Pencom and Systemhouse, both of whom seem to be hiring a dozen new programmers every two or three weeks.

Lastly, consultants who bill by the hour should check out Stopwatch, a time-tracking and invoice-generating application that Rich Plevin has made available for anonymous FTP from cs.orst.edu. The app, which comes with source, keeps track of how much time you spend hacking and then prints a bill for your time.

by Simson L. Garfinkel