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ATPM 2.12
December 1996





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MacMan to the Rescue

by Mike Shields,

First, things first. My wife provided the lovely cover for this month's issue.

I was hoping to have a year end survey for you fine folks out there, just in time for Christmas. However, the only question I could come up with was:

Would you rather have

a) A job where you're paid the industry standard, and are being overworked, or
b) A job where you're underpaid, but have all sorts of free time to write for international e-zines?

Well, you know my answer, since I'm able to write this fine tome and am not unemployed.

We were told that December is traditionally a slow month. After all, it was last year. As of this writing, I've gone on an average of four calls a day in December. The yearly average is two per day, so I'm "doin' good" overall.

Truthfully, alot is going on here at Huge, but extremely little of it has to do with the Macintosh per se. Lately, all the fixes have been, "Install 7.5.5, and LaserWriter Driver 8.4.1." Which raises the question, "Why does optimizing Mac OS for speed take so long?"

There's a "whole bunch o' fuzzy thinkin' goin' on." Enough apostrophes? Good. Movin' on — Project Houston, of which I spoke briefly last month, is commencing. For the uninformed, this project entails removing all your applications from your local desktop and making your PC or Mac a server-based terminal. In my opinion, Project Houston will create alot of overhead and further problems. It also seems to contradict the reasons why Huge moved to a distributed desktop environment in the first place.

The moral of the story is, "Beware of middle management bearing gifts." I've also been told that I will travel to Tucson for Houston training at the end of January. I'll get at least a column (or two) out of that. I would prefer to be writing a MacWorld column, but unless one of you kind souls out there would care to contribute to the "Send an ATPM Columnist to MacWorld Foundation," it's not goin' to happen.

A friend of mine (we'll call him "Bob") from the Space And Communications Division, relates the following story:

A satellite was built successfully last year. Huge wins another bid for a similar, yet different craft. Since they believe that all they need is to manufacture the same components and port them to the new satellite, no time was budgeted for testing. They figured it would just magically work, because the previous satellite did.

Those of you who read Dilbert have already deduced that management, being what it is, did not see the error of their ways until three days ago — a scant two weeks before the shipping deadline. Now, Huge doesn't get any extra points for simply delivering the satellite on time. It actually has to work. Bob has a meeting today in which he has to say, "The product is not "ready" yet, but you can have it anyway."

Speaking of Dilbert, I approached its author, Scott Adams, about providing an exclusive monthly strip to ATPM readers. He said we couldn't afford him. However, he did tell us we could post his URL as much as we wanted. Find Dilbert at:

The contracting company that hires me out to Huge had their Christmas party on Friday the 13th, which is appropriate for the way our Christmas bonus is given out. We spin a "Wheel of Fortune" with a hit to miss ratio of 5/12. I came out with $300. Today, I found out that if I worked for Kingston Technology, I might've walked away with a bonus check for $75,000.

Huge came up with an interesting way to play games with my mind this last month. They have a program called Lookup, which contains the company employee database. Various and sundry information is found there, including the pointer to my e-mail address. Apparently, the contractor for which I work is supposed to renew this information every six months. They have failed to do this twice now — once about six months ago and again on my recent one year anniversary here at Huge. As a result, no one from outside Huge could reach me by e-mail for about a week. The timing of this incident unfortunately coincided with the ATPM 2.11 release. So, if you sent me a question, I may not have received it. Another unfortunate side effect, which I discovered after being "restored," was losing all the mailing lists to which I subscribe.

Someone showed interest in financing my film project! The trouble is they asked for a business plan, which I don't have. Thinking quickly, I searched the Web. BizPlan Builder Pro was recommended as the best software, but unfortunately, it's not available for the Mac. Other fine folks have put together samples and templates, which I did download.

Christmas is coming and my wife and I have decided to treat ourselves. We purchased an HP 680C printer and an Iomega Zip Drive. Those of you out there who are on our Christmas list will receive a nicely printed color picture of our two kids along with a letter detailing our successes during 1996.

MacMan to the Rescue!!!

Huge, being what it is, managed to do a number on my e-mail as I related above. So....

To the reader that said they were having problems with cut and paste, I recommend a clean install of your current system. When you run the Installer, before it asks you to install, type Shift-Command-K. This will create a new system folder, and this should fix your problem.

If you'd care to resend your question, I'll try to do better next month.

Well, that does it for this month. As always, if you have a question, or financing for my film project, or, a tentative business plan for a small budget film, I can be reached at:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, everyone.

P.S. Don't forget - my birthday is the 4th of January.

[apple graphic] Mike Shields is a perspiring Screen Writer who needs $600,000 to produce his recently finished screenplay. He can be reached at or Or, if you just have a Mac question, that's ok, too.

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