eMail page My Mac #16, Aug. 1996

Ron Brown

Hi Tim……

Just finished reading your “Mousing Around” column, and now that I’m done
laughing I had to respond. (Great artwork by Mike Gorman, by the way. And yes, I’ll drop him a line and tell him so personally.)

Don’t know if I agree with you on the usefulness of a 2- or 3-button mouse. Yes, it would be nice to have those functions so close at hand, but I found (while using a multi-button mouse on a PC in my former life) that my fingers would tend to rest on the extra buttons and cause all sorts of interesting (or terrifying) things to happen. I’ll stick with the one button squeaker, thanks.

You’re right on the money with your comments about PC mice being a bit friskier, but there are a lot of software control panels available to customize them to the user’s liking. I do find that the Mac mouse is capable of much finer control, though. Not sure why that is, but it is.

In addition to occasionally cleaning the fuzzies out of your mouse’s insides, you really should wash the ball as well. I’ve tried a number of different approaches to this, and found that a good cleaning with soap and water (be sure to dry it on a lint-free towel or wipe), followed by an alcohol bath to remove all traces of H20, will do wonders to keep your mouse frisky, alert and laser accurate.

How often should this be done, you ask? That depends entirely on your working environment. If you work in a Class 1 Clean Room, you might never have to clean the mouse. If you have several cats and dogs – or if you live alongside the railroad tracks where they’re still running coal-fired steam engines, then once a day might not be enough!

I also saw the ad for the Super Hi-Zoot Turbo Cursor Positioning Device Enhanced Tracking Surface – with Micro-structured Technology. Wow! Gotta have one of those! (now you know the truth, Tim – I’m an incorrigible gadget freak)

So I called all my favorite Mac gadget sources. Never heard of it, they say. So I called 3M. Yes, they’ll sell me one……but they’d rather sell me a whole case of them. And the price for a single pad proves that point!

Back to my thick, nylon-surfaced, oversized pad. Hmmmm……doesn’t seem so bad after all.

Mouse Cord Tangle? Ha! If you haven’t used a Windoze Wunder Machine, you don’t know the meaning of cord tangle! Those guys never figured out that it would be a great idea to plug the mouse into the keyboard. Or plug the keyboard into the display. Cords and cables everywhere! And if you have a tower CPU, it’s worse. Nothing quite reaches, so you buy extensions. Then you have a huge pile of excess cord and cable trying to wrap itself around your feet when you stick them under the desk.

I’ve seen some ads for cordless mice and keyboards. Infra-red technology, apparently. Sounds like a great idea to me……except that my desk is usually so piled up with ZIP disks, papers and other stuff that the infra-red beam would probably not make it to the receiver. Could be worth looking into, though. I’ll volunteer to review one for you under battle conditions if a manufacturer is willing to send a review sample.

Finally (aren’t you relieved?), I agree with you 100% about the trackballs, joysticks, trackpads and all the other mouse-replacement devices. They just don’t cut it. I tried the new Logitech Marble, which seemed like a great idea. (No need to clean the ball – ever!) But all I got was a thumb the size of Popeye’s forearms, and it slowed me down something awful.

Okay…….I promised to quit, didn’t I? Hope the foregoing was interesting, enlightening and (most of all) entertaining. You’re doing just fine by me, Tim, and if Macuser, Macworld, et al won’t print your stuff, then they deserve to be swallowed up by My Mac as it continues to grow into a Monster Mac publication.

By the way…. I have trouble understanding your devotion to AOL. My experience with them wasn’t all that great. My “free” month cost me $128.00 because they encouraged me to use their 800 number, but didn’t bother telling me that it wasn’t toll-free.

I spend a lot of time on line and it doesn’t take long to rack up a large bill at the prices AOL was/is charging. Now I pay a flat fee of $25 per month and have full access to e-mail service and the internet for as many hours per day as I want.

The only things I *don’t* get with the ISP that were available on AOL are things that I don’t miss anyway. Like Chat Rooms filled to overflowing with rude, immature, illiterate jerks. Nope, don’t miss that one iota.

And then there were the interminable waits while “artwork” was downloaded. Yes, I read your comments about an improvement to that little nightmare being in the works. But it’s too little, and too late for me. I’m happy as a clam with my ISP — and with unlimited access that never costs me more than $25 per month, even if I were to choose to stay online 24 hours per day.

Nice job on issue #15. I’ve only scratched the surface, but am already well pleased with what I’ve seen. I trust that you keep Peter Miner safely under lock and key…I’d be *very* concerned about the safety of any normal human who might come in contact with him!

Funny thing about AOL… was kind of like being a part of a close-knit clique. Biggest darned clique I ever saw, but the feeling was definitely there. I read a very positive user’s guide book (by Peter McWilliams? Can’t recall now….), and it really promoted that sort of connection. More like a family than a clique, now that I think about it.

The real fly in the soup for me was the hidden charges. I can’t deal with people (or firms, organizations, etc.) who are less than totally honest and above board in their dealings.

Best wishes,

Ron Brown

P.S. You mentioned “OEM Macintosh mouse” several times in your article, but it didn’t seem to fit. OEM is an acronym for “Other Equipment Manufacturer”, and is generally used in reference to vendor items or aftermarket add-ons. I think the Mac mouse is manufactured by Apple, isn’t it? Or were your references to an aftermarket mouse, rather than the stock Apple critter?

First, OEM (in the automotive world) is “Original Equipment Manufacturer. I sold auto parts for three years, and that was always my understanding. Could be different in the computer field, though….

As for my devotion to AOL, I make no excuse. I like it. I have no plans on leaving anytime soon. I also like my ISP, TDSNET, and plan to keep both.

I suppose you can say that, because Ron’s letter is so long here, he is actually in this issue twice. Twice? Yes, Ron also reviews a ScanCo Computer Desk in this very issue.
Funny, but almost everyone who writes for My Mac started out as a letter writer first? Humm…..


Hello everyone,

I am an American contractor in Saudi Arabia looking for an Arabic Version of Microsoft Word for the Macintosh. We have a MSWord 6.0 (Arabic) for Windows 3.1 and I need to have a copy for Macs so my life can be a little easier when working with my Saudi Customer. Does anyone have any ideas on where I could get it, or point me in the right direction (like the correct email address for MS Customer Service)?

Thanks in advance.. “shokran, maa al salama”.

Best Regards,
Bertie M. Hall
Tabuk, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

PC Mouse

>Have you ever used a PC mouse? For some reason, they just don’t seem as
>responsive. Or perhaps they are simply too touchy. I barely move my hand,
>and I lose the darn cursor! It’s clear on the other side of the monitor!


There’s a good reason for this, which doesn’t have to do with the mouse itself.

I don’t know exactly what is missing from Windows, but it has to do with Windows not having an algorithm in its mouse drivers to slow cursor movement when the mouse is moved slowly.

The Macintosh OS senses how fast the mouse is being moved. If the mouse is moved slowly, the cursor on screen moves a very short distance. When you make large movements with the mouse, the cursor speeds up dramatically.

This is one of many reasons why I prefer the Mac. Every time I use a PC I feel like my nerves are going to short out from having to control the jerky cursor.

>So why DOESN’T the standard Mac mouse have more than one button? We sure
>could use a two button mouse, or even better, THREE buttons!

When Apple designed the Mac, it determined through research that a one-button mouse resulted in the fewest errors when operating a computer. You may not agree, but if you’ve watched a beginning to intermediate computer user, you may have noticed that they make clicking errors even with a one-button mouse. Adding more buttons would not improve their productivity.

I am in a minority, but I would prefer the Mac remain oriented to a 1-button mouse, but include more context-sensitive features using either the keyboard or holding the mouse button down, like you may have seen in Netscape.

Mike Poplawski

Enjoyed, but….

More years ago than I care to remember, my father and I both bought computers. I bought a Radio Shack TRS 80 Model II and Dad bought an Apple II. I scraped up enough money about a year later and bought a Model 4P. Dad got a job managing a Main Street Computer store and upgraded to a IIe. About 9 years later, my Model 4P died. Dad’s IIe had died several years earlier and he had replaced it with a MacIntosh. When my Trash 80 finally lived up to its name, I needed a computer but could not afford anything new. I found a used 286 PC for a good price.

I was disappointed. MSDOS 5.0 was reliable, but had less capability than TRS DOS. However, having worked from a command line from the mid-70’s, the PC and I got along. I eventually upgraded to Windows because I started consulting and most of my clients used Windows. I used Windows for Workgroups 3.11. It is far more reliable than any of the other Windows 3.x versions. It also provided some 32 bit characteristics. However, I still used DOS frequently the GUI protects you. (Read as: Keeps you from getting the most out of the computer.)

About the time that I bought my 286, Dad needed a notebook. I have never asked, but for some arcane reason, he purchased a PC notebook. He was immediately disappointed. Like many people, he had swallowed the Mac tripe that PCs were hard to use. He found DOS to be as easy to use as the Mac. He even Doublespaced his disk using MSDOS 6.0 (the version that was full of bugs) successfully.

Today, I have a Pentium 90 with Windows 95 (it reeks, but is mostly 32 bit and not as odious to look at as Win 3.x) and will probably upgrade to a 133 or a Cyrix 686 within the next 6 months. Dad still has his Mac and his notebook PC. His Mac is dying and he is looking at replacing it — with a Pentium.

My wife is a graphics artist. She was trained on both PCs and Macs. The college she attended realizes that Photoshop comes in two flavors, as does CorelDraw, PageMaker, etc. Until she went to school, she was not a computer user. If you gave her a Mac, she would say, “Thank-you.” If you gave here a PC, she would be your friend for life.

Long and the short of it. If you want to get the most out of a computer, buy a PC. If you want to get the most use for the least knowledge, buy a Mac.

Having said that, I fervently, sincerely hope that Apple can reclaim its lost market share. Intel and Microsoft NEED competition and Apple gave it to them. Unfortunately, Apple seemed to believe that its system was so good that it would sell itself. It wasn’t. It didn’t. Will Apple see the 21st century. I hope so.


David A. Fuller

Okay, I can hear all you Mac users out there wondering why this letter is here. First, it came to me as the publisher of My Mac. Second, David has some very good points. As for me, I have Macintosh in my blood, and I am here for good. That does not mean that I do not respect those who use a PC. I do! A computer, after all, is simply a tool. I believe, however, that the Macintosh is a better machine, one that will be around for years to come. Mac’s are not going anywhere, as much a PC users would like. (Save David, of course!)


Hi Tim

I was delighted to receive quite a few requests for the Oscar extension. I’m curious to know how you got to put Ketan Michael Vakil as my name????

Several people mentioned that they got my name from my mac #15 so I went
there and did a search for my email name. There it was. But not with my

Nah, I don’t mind at all. But for the record, my name is David C King (as
you can see, nowhere near Ketan Vakil, though I suspect the real Ketan is
from my country!).

Keep up the good work with my mac.

David C. King

II have NO idea how that happened! Somewhere in the editing process, I must have crossed a name here or there. I am sorry, Ketan. Oh! Sorry, I mean David:-)

MutipleScan 15″ revisited


I’m half-way through issue #15 (It’s great!) and wanted to let you know what
happened with my new monitor:

My original note: <
MultipleScan 15″ monitor, and two weeks ago, the color faded out. (It can
still show color, but really dark.) I called Apple and they said they have
been having problems with this monitor and have set up a repair program.
Someone would be calling me in a week or so. Well, it’s been two weeks and I’m
still waiting and working in 256 grays here! A little frustrating with a
brand new machine. Have you heard of this problem with this monitor?>>

Your response: <
thanks to Russ for pointing it out to me): Known problem: Sudden or
intermittent change in the video monitor’s hue because of a particular cable.
Apple will contact you either by phone or by mail with information about the
repair program. If for any reason you do not hear from Apple by mail or phone
by June 21, 1996, please call Apple toll-free at 1-800-SOS-APPL or contact
your local service provider. So, it does indeed sound as if this is a common
problem, though you are the first person to bring it to my attention:-) I
would contact Apple once again ASAP.>>

Update: I called Apple a fourth time and they had a new monitor sent to me overnight. I plugged it in, made sure it worked, packed up my old one, and called Fed Ex for pick up. That’s it. So while it did take a few weeks, Apple *was* responsive and the problem was solved. (And I’m once again able to enjoy all of your great new graphics in full color!)

Thanks for the research and response. Hope it doesn’t happen to any other readers!

And yet MORE on Oscar

Dear Tim,

More about Oscar the Grouch… For all those little kiddies who like to hear Oscar sing by emptying stuff (they shouldn’t) into the trash, there is also an application that was written for this very reason. It allows the kids to play with Oscar to their hearts content.

The application consists of four garbage cans & each one can be clicked on by choice or by random selection. Oscar does the same thing but the great part of this app is that kids don’t need to throw anything away to hear Oscar sing – they just click on the garbage can(s) and can play it over & over again leaving their parents’ files intact. Little kids especially enjoy the Random Play because they like to guess which can Oscar will pop out of next.

I have the application (as well as the extension). If anyone wants a copy, let me know. I use both on a IIsi using 7.1 with never a single problem but have no idea of what their compatibility would be on one of “those more modern machines”. The only way to find out, is to try it I guess.

Lastly, I want to tell you how much I enjoy receiving My Mac subscription each month & I plan to subscribe to My Mac Deluxe very shortly.

I can be reached at:

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