To borrow from John’s Nemo Memo, I wanted to tackle my own “Selected Short Subjects” this month to hit upon a few different topics I have covered in the last few months. Well, the ones that have generated the most email, at any rate!
Who would have thought? I was pressed for time, and had yet to write my own column. For the last few months, I had planned to write something about my purchasing the 128k (the original Macintosh, for those not in the know) but had yet to do so. I figured a “review” type of column would work best. So for the June 1998 issue, pressed for time, that’s what I did. And who would have thought that it would be that column which would generate almost more email than I have ever received concerning any of my monthly topics?
I received more mail about my mention of the noise the fan makes than anything else. “There is no fan in the 128k!” was sent in not a few times. And even though I did address it in the letter page of the July issue, it seems the word had not gotten out. Yes, I know the original Macintosh did not come with a fan. What I have, however, is a Fanny Mac power source that sits atop the Mac. It acts as a power switch for both the Mac and the extra Disk drive I also have. And yes, it is noisy.
Aside from all the letters about the fan noise, many other people wrote in to tell me how much they also enjoyed that very first Macintosh.
“I wrote my first thesis on a 128k with a laser printer, and have not seen one since. Your picture and article really made me want to go out and find one” wrote Jan Sullivan. Matt Mathews wrote “I have two Fat Macs, and wouldn’t trade them for the world. Wish I had your 128k!” Well, Matt, sorry, but mine has found a permanent home!
One of the really great parts of being the publisher of My Mac is that I get to read all the monthly columns as soon as they are written. For instance, in this month’s “The Mac Factor,” Mick O’Neil writes about the lack of editorial content in the print Mac magazines. He brings up some very good points, ones I have to agree with. I myself am a very opinionated person, and very passionate about the Macintosh. It used to be that when I read Macworld, the first thing I would do is flip to the back and read Guy Kawasaki’s column. With MacUser, it was flipping to the back to read John Dvorak’s. Those days are long gone, and all we are really left with is fluff print magazines that, as Mick wrote, only seem to print Apple press releases.
When passing this drivel off as content became acceptable is beyond me. Did I miss something? Or is it simply that all the good writers have been scared off? Are all the publishing houses out there so scared of losing revenue from advertisers that they have ‘sold out’? As a publisher of a free, non-print medium magazine, do I even have a right to shoot off my mouth like this? Yes, I do. In fact, I feel it is not only my right, but my responsibility to do so. But more importantly, what do the readers think? They are, after all, the ones expected to buy the magazines. It’s their hard earned money being spent. So, tell us. Do you think you’re getting your money’s worth these days?
Last month I wrote about how I could run a DOS-only program on my Mac that most PC users could not get to work correctly on their PCs. It would appear many of you enjoyed the column, but I received several letters from readers asking many questions such as “Just how fast can you run Windows on your Mac?” and “What configuration do you use?” I also received many questions about the more current versions of both Virtual PC and SoftWindows. So I will elaborate on a few of those questions.
First, I do use SoftWindows 1.0. Yes, I know it is an older version of the program. I have heard, and I would hope it’s true, that both the newer version of SoftWindows and Virtual PC are much faster than the version I use. Let us hope all those updates are doing something!
I have dedicated 75MB of memory to Softwindows. As I said last month, I figured the more memory it has, the more stable and faster it will run. When I run the program on a 100MHz Mac with a total of 32Mb, dedicating 16Mb to Softwindows, the program would run, but at such a slow pace it was almost painful. With my newer Mac, a 6500 running at 250MHz and 128MB of memory, the program is much zippier.
Many people asked me which emulator is better, Softwindows 95 (and remember, there is a Softwindows 98 due sometime this year) or Virtual PC. These two emulators may seem similar at first glance, but they are really very different. Softwindows is a Windows 95 emulator, while Virtual PC is a Pentium emulator. That means that with Softwindows, you can only run Windows 95. That’s all it is. With Virtual PC, you can run any operating system that works on a Pentium computer. Of course, most people will only want to run Windows 95/98, so the point is moot for the most part.
Which is better? From my real world tests in the past year or so, I found both products work fairly well, although sound output appears to be problematic in both. On a fast Mac, both performed decently. Is it up to a true Pentium computer’s speed? No way. Let’s face it, it’s an emulator. If you want really good Pentium speeds, and you don’t want to buy software emulation products, your only choice is a Orange Micro card or the like. (Though I confess to not having much practice using one, so I will claim ignorance to their use and capability.) With luck, one of the companies that created these cards will deign to send My Mac one for review.
That’s about it for this month. With all my reviews this month, all I wrote on the email and “A Few Words”, I think I have taken up my allotted space for this issue.
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to express my fondest thoughts to Carolyn Curtis, one of My Mac’s first contributing writers, who has been much in my thoughts lately. Carolyn last graced the pages of My Mac back in the March 1996 issue (#11), but she remains one of my favorite writers. She’s a wonderful person with a great way with words, and I wish her all of the best.
Good luck to you, Carolyn, from all of us here at My Mac. We hope to hear from you again very soon!