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ATPM 3.06
June 1997




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MacMan to the Rescue

by Mike Shields,

My problem is that when I started this column, I wanted to be the Dave Barry of cyberspace. Then, I discovered that he’s already here.

There’s a lot of stuff going on this month, both at Huge and elsewhere, and most of it isn’t Mac related. So, you can get off here, and I won’t mind, or you can read on.

The Evil Empire

I received a CD-ROM in the mail today, asking me to sign up for the Microsoft Network, or MSN for those that know. Now, there are a couple of problems with this. 1) It’s not available for the Mac, and 2) I don’t like Bill Gates.

For those of you new to this column, I’ll review: this is not a hatred that I carry lightly. I believe it began when he appeared on the cover of Wired over three years ago. You see, Our Good Buddy Bill, has a theory, based on his company’s Mission Statement: ‘A computer on every desktop.’ What he really means is, ‘A computer on every desktop, running only Microsoft software.’

As a result, others have formed the newsgroup It’s always a good read, and I suggest you go there. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Back already? Well, here are some Macintosh statistics for you, as this is a Mac eZine. One outta every four pieces of software that comes from Redmond is built for the Mac. Our Good Buddy Bill publicly supports the Mac, as it is 25% of his business. Ok so far, right? Then why doesn’t he write Mac software from the ground up? I’ll tell you why. He hasn’t written any software in years! You see, he never met a piece of software he didn’t steal. To avoid possible lawsuits from our good friend to the north, I’ll rephrase. Do you know why we have Windows? Windows 95? Ok, he borrowed the concepts. And supposedly expanded on them. In case that doesn’t do enough, you can e-mail Bill Gates at and beg him not to sue me. Thanks. I’ll startup the legal defense fund next issue.

His next step, which he started approximately last year, was the takeover of the Internet. He came out and said it. The last time I checked, the Mac had a 40% presence on the ‘net. Someone should tell Bill. NetGuide published an issue with the blurb ‘Microsoft Declares War’ on the cover when Microsoft Explorer was released. There are some Mac people that would tell you that Explorer is better than Netscape. I’m not one of them, for the simple reason that Netscape isn’t developed by Microsoft. My new motto for this year is ‘100% Microsoft Free!’ I’ll be selling bumper stickers, to help raise money for my legal defense fund. Today I find out that Bill and Netscape are getting together to create common encryption algorithms for the ‘Net. I’m scared; are you?


No, I’m not talking about Nikes. I was informed in my weekly 4 o’clock bore ‘em to death meeting that I have until the end of July to get up to speed on PC’s. I get to learn either Windows NT or Windows 95, depending on what Huge decides is going to become the standard PC OS. Maybe both, from what my manager says. The site manager wants everyone cross-trained or replaced with people that know both platforms. Personally, I believe it’s better to know one thing really well, than to dilute my knowledge base with information I’m never going to use. Maybe it’ll help to win a game of the Redmond version of Trivial Pursuit, but you can’t count on these things. The bright side is that the PC techs have to learn the Mac. Hopefully, once they go Mac, they’ll never go back. I’ll be looking for a new job at the end of July, so please put in a good word for me at your nearest personnel office. So, in addition to being sued, I’ll be outta work. It sucks to be me right now, don’tchya think?

When it absolutely positively needs
to be there in an hour

Bill did one thing right. He sold MS Mail to Quarterdeck. The bad news is that Huge doesn’t realize this. I still have to support the thing, which boils down to pointing people at their proper post office and installing desk accessories.

Until yesterday, when I discovered a problem in the daily morning bore ‘em to death meeting. It seemed that when you sent an attachment to someone within the company who was using ccMail, the gateway in Long Beach decided to scramble the bits. The Husers believe this is our problem. We’ve told them for months now that MS Mail is going away, but they insist. The solution would be to get Quarterdeck to fix it, but the problem with that is that Huge doesn’t wanna spend the money. I guess it could be worse. I could be management and spend 42% of my work week in meetings. Then I’d probably be asked to fix this.

You Will Be Assimilated

Project Houston is being rolled out. Again, for the newcomers, if you’ve even made it this far, Houston provides server based apps, freeing up space on your hard drive, and creating a uniform work environment. This works, in theory, at a small site such as Tuscon. In practice, at the large El Segundo North site, things will get sticky. Like waiting six minutes for Excel to fire up. I feel this is just going to be used as another excuse for Huge to get rid of the Mac platform, as if they didn’t have enough of those already...

Attach This!

The fine folks at Attachmate have done something incredibly short sighted. I quote, from their press release dated May 30, 1997:

To satisfy the changing needs of our customers and to align our offerings with market reality, we periodically review the suitability of our products... As of December 31, 1997 Attachmate will no longer offer Macintosh specific host connectivity products.

Why is this important, you ask? You didn’t? Well, I tell you anyway. This is the company that provides our dispatchers and admins with the software necessary to talk to the mainframe that generates our trouble tickets. There are currently seven Macs in the war room, as we like to call it, using this software almost exclusively. I say almost, because when it gets dull, the admins take to arbitrary net surfing and game playing. But you didn’t here that here. Anyway, without this software, we can’t go to the Husers that need us. Of course, we could switch to PC’s in the war room, but you know how much I already don’t like that idea. Furthermore, CSC wouldn’t pay for it. This software is used throughout Huge as well, for seemingly trivial things, like, filling out your time card. Get real, Attachmate. As part of the press release, they even encourage changing platforms (?!) so that the fine folks here at Huge can have the opportunity to get rid of my favorite computer, the Mac.

MacMan to the Rescue!

Well, I had only one question this month, and it wasn’t immediately answerable, however, I believe that the user and I have found a solution. Don’t be afraid to send me your questions. I can be reached at . Until of course, the end of July. Letters of support, and job leads also will be graciously accepted. Southern California area only, please, my wife doesn’t wanna hafta move.

[apple graphic] Disclaimer: Mike’s views are entirely his own, and don’t really reflect those of this eZine, or anyone he knows, for that matter. He will always be reachable at, until the ‘Net police track him down.

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