Washington Apple Pi

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July 1997 General Meeting Report

by Don Essick, Vice President, Macintosh

This month we are pleased to welcome back the (in)famous Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus. You may remember last year Bob was here representing Power Computing, the first licensed Macintosh clone maker. Well, he's jumped ship and now represents Motorola's StarMax line of MacOS compatible computers. Bob gave a compelling presentation as to why he made the move, and why he thinks Motorola's product and especially support are superior.

The StarMax line has over a dozen different models, starting with the StarMax 3000/180 progressing to the StarMax 5000/300, reviewed in MacWorld last month as the fastest shipping MacOS computer and they gave it a four and a half mice. Not an easy score to get from MacWorld.

Depending on which system you choose, you can get a desktop or mini-tower configuration, built-in Zip drive, 16X CD-ROM and gobs of memory. All systems come with a 5-year limited warranty, which is unmatched by any company in the industry. The first year is love it or leave it in-home or in-office service. The next two years are depot service and the last two are factory service.

Dave Dewey of Motorola was also in attendance with a StarMax machine in the lobby to show off. Unfortunately, Federal Express apparently dropped it on it's head and gave it a concussion. He was unable to get it to work despite heroic efforts during the meeting. The good news is that he felt so bad, he took the modem out of the box and donated it as a door prize so that we had two Motorola modems to give away at the end of the meeting.

Not announced at the meeting officially, but the press release is on the street as I write this a week later, is the StarMax 6000 series of CHRP machines. According to the press release, the combination of a faster CPU, larger back-end cache and new 66 MHz bus speed make this machine up to 4 times faster than Apple's fastest box. You remember CHRP (Common Hardware Reference Platform) or PPCP (PowerPC Compatibility Platform) was the standard which was to enable multi-boot systems which could run MacOS, Unix, BeOS, Mach, Windows or OS/2. Well, IBM and Microsoft got cold feet, but Be and Apple made it to the finish line. We'll see if this is the magic pill which will make MacOS a credible player in the world of the suits. One of the main whines used to keep Macs out of the corporate world is that they required too many unique parts. The CHRP standard is designed to use standard cases and form factors and other standard components.

Our other presenter was Erik Keihle of Connectix, makers of QuickCam, RAMDoubler and SpeedDoubler. Today however they were here to demonstrate their newest product, Virtual PC. It is software that emulates a Wintel machine and lets you run Windows 95, Windows 3.x or MS-DOS on your Mac. As distasteful as this sounds to most of us, there probably are reasons why one would want to do this. Windows runs in an application window, just like any other application and you can press Apple-m to switch to full screen mode. This could really wig out somebody if they were looking over your shoulder. Since the Windows machine is being emulated by software, Connectix recommends lots of RAM and a fast 603e or 604e CPU but then again, we all want that anyway.

Sure enough, Windows 95 booted up flawlessly on Erik's Powerbook 3400 to a loud chorus of hisses from the assembled multitude. The most interesting thing is that the Windows disk is not a partition on your hard drive but a folder. If you open it, the stuff inside is recognized and shows up with MS-DOS disk icons! Pretty nifty. I had a chance to play with it quite a bit on Sunday and was very impressed. The software was running on a Power Macintosh 6500/180 at the Apple Road Show just fine.

That concluded the formal part of the presentation and Erik went out on a limb to show us some new software for the QuickCam called VirtualRadar or whatever my unreadable note says. Anyway, it monitors the QuickCam port for activity and starts recording a QuickTime movie whenever it senses a change. This would certainly be handy to find out who entered your office and ate the last mint out of your candy dish while you were at a meeting. Well, it didn't work until everyone left, but that was because the camera wasn't plugged in.

Anyway a spectacular meeting, well attended by almost 400 of the faithful, or was it because we announced in advance that Bob LeVitus was giving away a 33.6 Motorola modem after the meeting? Following the meeting many of us, including both presenters escaped to Tyson's Galleria to check out the Apple Road Show. Most of Apple's new toys including the new Macs, a 20th Anniversary Edition, e-Mates, QuickTake 200 cameras, the new Apple color inkjet printers, etc. The marketing group hired to do the show, Market Source, and the User Group Connection are recruiting user groups in every city where the road show stops to help with setup, staffing and demos. We were chosen as one of the two inaugural cities for the tour. I'd like to think it was because the Pi is one of the largest Apple User Groups and has an excellent reputation. Maybe it was just random luck. Whatever, lots of volunteers showed up for the three days and the show seemed well attended. There were some rough edges, like no SCSI cables for the scanners, but hey, a Pi member pulled out their Jaz drive cable and all was just fine!

Next month: Wingz and Apple Computer with the Mac OS 8 update. See you there.

Thanks to the generosity of Motorola and Connectix we had a wealth of riches to give away this month. This months winners are:

R.B. Birdsong - Motorola Modem
Mary Keene - SpeedDoubler 2
Paul Simon - StarMax T-shirt
Don Fortnum - StarMax T-shirt
Lewis Norman - Connectix T-shirt
James M. Ryan - StarMax T-shirt
Dave Weikert - StarMax T-shirt
Edward Miller - StarMax T-shirt
Charlie Stancil - RAMDoubler 2
Mike Briggs - Connectix VideoPhone
Chris Benz - Power Computing Mouse Pad
Brian Mason - StarMax T-shirt
Wilmer Whetzel - Apple Transparent Backpack
Lois Beck - Connectix T-shirt
Don Riley - How To Build Your Own World Wide Web Server (Book)
Bill Geiger - Mac OS 7.6 for Dummies by Bob LeVitus (Book)
Clark Snead - SpeedDoubler 2
Milton Goldsamt - Connectix Photo Badge
Allen Kent - Connectix Photo Mate
Andy Werthman - RAMDoubler 2
Henry Ware - Motorola Backpack
Robert Sheehan - Motorola Backpack
John DiBella - Motorola Backpack
Barbara Reilly - Virtual PC by Connectix

Congratulations to all of our winners and thanks to Bob LeVitus, Dave Dewey and Erik Kiehle for joining us this month. Thanks also to David, Dave, Lawrence, Beth, Lorin and all the others who help make this meeting happen.

Send meeting comments to: don.essick@tcs.wap.org.

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