This month's gang includes Paul Curthoys (PC), Simson L. Garfinkel (SLG), Lee Sherman (LS), and myself, Dan Lavin (DL).
Text by Markos Kounalakis
Beyond Words Publishing, 13950 N.W. Pumpkin Ridge Rd., Hillsboro, OR
97124. 503/647-5109, 800/284-9673, 503/647-5114 fax.
OK, we have an ulterior motive in reviewing this book. This excellent photo documentary is the extraordinary result of special access granted to respected photographer Doug Menuez to document the behind-the-scenes process of producing Apple's Newton. Menuez was also granted the same special access to NeXT Computer in the early days and produced, according to those who have seen it, an outstanding body of work for publication in Life. But at the last minute, an unnamed photo critic/ CEO at NeXT quashed the project. Seeing the Newton book only serves to remind us of the similar work that is missing from our NeXT bookshelf. DL
Mouthing Flowers, 152 20th Ave. #1, Seattle, WA 98122.
206/325-7870; timebugs@ mouthers.wa.com.
The true test of a good alarm clock is this: Does it stay out of your way when you don't need it yet remain persistent enough that you don't ignore it when the time comes to remind you of something? TimeFlies passes both tests with insistent, programmable reminders. Alarms are automatically saved between sessions, giving you no excuse to miss a regularly scheduled meeting. TimeFlies even goes one better than an alarm clock by letting you use any sound on your computer and record your own from within the program. The alarm clock is the standout, but TimeFlies also features a clock (it tells you the time in a pleasant female voice at each quarter hour) and a built-in stopwatch. LS
Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1 Jacob Way, Reading, MA 01867.
You won't find a single mention of NeXT or NEXTSTEP in this new book on Mach, but you will find a lot of detail on writing multithreaded applications, communicating between tasks with the Mach messaging system, virtual memory, and Mach exception handling. You'll also learn how Mach got its name. Some parts of this book are largely advertisements for OSF/1, which is not surprising, considering that the authors are affiliated with the Open Systems Foundation. Although the lack of NeXT orientation is a liability for this book in the NeXT community, it nevertheless is a thorough discussion of Mach operating-system fundamentals, something which the NEXTSTEP community sorely needs. SLG
FreemanSoft, 4604 Thendara Way, Raleigh, NC 27612.
FSPreferences provides a set of additions to the standard Preferences application that allows you to set alarms, automatically launch applications, associate sounds with system operations, and edit the defaults database. Although you get several modules, the limited functionality and awkwardness of their design make this package less valuable than it first appears. FSSoundPanel works with only a limited number of system events, fewer than those available with Microsoft Windows or a utility such as click change for the Macintosh. A standard analog alarm clock has more functionality than FSAlarmClock, and using the FSCurrentDefaults panel to edit the defaults database is actually less effi- cient than using Edit or a UNIX shell. FSAutoLaunch is reminiscent of the utility LaunchPad but has even less functionality. LS
Cypress Computer, 26120 Eden Landing Rd. #6, Hayward, CA 94545.
510/786-9106, 510/786-9553 fax.
This nifty little piece of hardware provides a useful alternative to screen-saver software. When plugged in between the keyboard, the monitor, and the power outlet, the Monitor Saver actually turns the monitor off after a set period of inactivity at the keyboard and the mouse. Typing or mouse action turns the monitor back on. Monitor Saver can significantly reduce the energy consumption of your monitor, but when you try to resume work, you have to wait a moment while the monitor warms up and flickers to life. PC