LIP SERVICE

Barlow barbs

John Perry Barlow's latest column is a tempting target ("Homer on the Range," NeXTWORLD, October 1993). "Smoke shoveling" indeed! For one thing, "the idea that the PC might free modern workers from corporate bondage" is patently false. Corporations exist for some very practical reasons, not the least of which is to get workers to work.

As for "tools that embody a sense of mission far more potent than mere productivity solutions," let's get real. A tool, by definition, is "merely" a productivity solution. Furthermore, if Steve Jobs is expedient, it is because he is maturing as an entrepreneur. And if John Sculley is a visionary, it is only because he had the common sense to peel the Macintosh.

So, "What, outside of survival, is the point?" The answer is simple: success.

Burt Kennedy

Los Angeles

For quite some time, people have pontificated on NeXT's ability to survive. Each time, the pontification is replete with statements such as Barlow's "NeXT, if it survives (and I believe it will) . . . ." NeXT has survived to this point. It still exists, and offers the software marketplace an exceedingly viable alternative to substandard software systems on other hardware platforms.

Many American businesses do not have the corporate strength of character to make the difficult decisions required to do business well. I admire the fortitude the people at NeXT exhibit as they challenge the rest of us in American business to get back to the basics, and to do them well.

Tom Winans

Object Technology Center

Boulder, Colorado

Price points

I disagree with Dan Ruby when he says that NEXTSTEP isn't too expensive ("Running the Numbers," NeXTWORLD, August 1993). Back when the Mac used to be my system of choice, I would try to talk people into buying Macs instead of PCs. "Why should I spend $2000 on a Mac when I can get a PC that runs Windows for $1500?" they said. I can already hear the people who are in the market for a 32-bit OS saying, "Why should I spend $800 on NEXTSTEP when I can get NT for $300? And anyway, Cairo will be out in a year and that will have all the features of NEXTSTEP." It won't matter that NEXTSTEP is better because no one will have a frame of reference to know how good it is.

Jerald Dawson

Wauconda, Illinois

In the corporate market addressed by NeXT, the price of the development software is insignificant compared with the costs of the programmers or the benefits of the application. NeXT's pricing may be costing it end-user sales, but that's not the company's target market. Dan Ruby

Reverse psychology

In the September issue of NeXTWORLD Extra, you mention Quix's ROM upgrade to NeXTstations to make them Mac capable. Wouldn't it be more interesting to make Macs NeXT capable by changing the ROMs on the Mac? AlyKhan Jetha

Mississauga, Ontario

Infinitely. But considering the legal obstacles involved, we're not holding our breath. NW

Best of Bug?

We were amazed to read in your August issue that the software package of RightBrain called PasteUp was awarded with the Best of Breed award. The first version of PasteUp was a great disappointment, because it crashed all the time. This problem was even published by your magazine some time ago.

The update of PasteUp did improve, but we realized that the promised features of color separations are very limited.

Who hands out these awards, and who does the testing of these programs? I would like to hear from the person who decided that PasteUp was such a great program, if he or she has really tested all the output possibilities.

T. Thomas Henschke

Frankfurt, Germany

Our judges determined that PasteUp's 2.x version, which is reviewed in this issue, solved enough of the program's earlier problems that it deserved the nod for best Document Creation program against undistinguished competition. Regrettably, except for PasteUp's change of ownership, not much has changed since May. NW

Batting 1.000

I love the format of your Intel Box Scores, particularly the performance graph, which shows at a glance where each machine places compared to a NeXTstation Turbo Color. I hope that when you review the less standard machines (like the NEC Versa laptop) that you will have more discussion of the machine's options and how they work with NEXTSTEP. Issues like power management, on-board screen options, and external monitor support probably aren't as obvious to your readership as desktop machine configurations.

Paul Verket

Manhattan Beach, California

Beginning with this issue, we are supplementing our Box Scores with a short article amplifying on the summary data. NW

Sense out of HyperSense?

As a user of authoring software and a nonprogrammer, I'd like to set the record straight about authoring software for NEXTSTEP. CraftMan may have frills that please programming types, but it is in no way accessible to a nonprogrammer. So I was sorry that Lee Sherman was so dismissive of HyperSense in his review ("HyperClone," NeXTWORLD, August 1993). HyperSense is certainly not just a version of HyperCard for NEXTSTEP. It shares the basic HyperCard philosophy that authoring software should be accessible and flexible enough for anyone (including nonprogrammers) to use. HyperSense, unlike CraftMan, lives up to the promise. It has enabled me to produce sophisticated multimedia courseware for a university music department quickly and painlessly.

"Not everyone has the expertise or need to program with Objective-C and InterfaceBuilder," Mr. Sherman concedes in his commentary for the Best of Breed award. You bet that's why we ordinary nonprogramming mortals choose HyperSense as our preferred authoring software.

Celia Duffy

University of Glasgow, Scotland

For the record

In "News in Brief" (NeXTWORLD Extra, November), the phone number for Epitome was incorrect. Epitome can be reached at 615/675-0910, 615/966-2558 fax.

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