In Favor of FreeHand
I enjoyed Deke McClelland’s article ”
Illustration’s Golden Age
” (February 1999) thoroughly, since one of the things I do is teach PostScript illustration using the applications he covers. What puzzles me?and has for years?is why the best parts of Macromedia FreeHand are not emphasized enough. For example, the ability to drag color off the color palette to apply it directly to a shape or palette is an amazing time-saver. Also, FreeHand’s color list clearly shows exactly which colors are spot, RGB, and CMYK. I can’t tell you how much trouble my students have figuring out what colors they are using in Adobe Illustrator.
The list goes on. Illustrator is an also-ran when compared with FreeHand.
No Respect for Retrospect
Adam C. Engst’s article on backing up files (”
Be Safe, Not Sorry,” February 1999) was helpful, but I wish it had told more about using Retrospect. This program is an incredible pain to use. I’d gladly switch to anything else.
Save and restore functions are so strange to set up that I have no confidence in them, and confidence is what a backup is all about. Retrospect’s strange naming convention uses the word
, and in other ways seems different from the Mac environment. The main menus look easy to use, but once you get to any submenu you quickly get lost in nonsense. Ultimately, I find myself going to the wrong menus all the time.
Do I have to read the 200-page manual to do something as simple as back up files? Other backup packages I’ve used had the same functionality with almost no learning curve. A Mac is supposed to be easy to use. Retrospect is not.
I found Galen Gruman’s review of QuarkImmedia 1.5 (
, February 1999) to be pretty accurate, but he forgot one important fact. QuarkImmedia is cross-platform compatible right out of the box, exporting projects for Macintosh (PowerPC and 680X0) or Windows. To create a cross-platform project with Macromedia Director, you need to buy both the Mac and Windows versions of the software. That brings the total cost of Director up to $1,990, a lot more than QuarkImmedia.
As usual, David Blatner’s Quark-XPress tips are smart and enlightening (”
Unleash the Power of QuarkXPress 4,”
, February 1999). One of the tricks, though, sounded too good to be true. In fact, when I select Text To Box, even holding the option key, the outlined box does not replace the text but moves to the top of the containing box. You can easily verify this by typing lowercase letters without ascenders and then applying the trick.
Whenever Quark decides to give us a tool comparable to the one FreeHand and Illustrator delivered more than ten years ago (converting text to an outline without moving it somewhere else), it will be too late.
While the Text To Box feature is not buggy, its design is certainly flawed. Converting text to a box sometimes results in outlines that are positioned differently from the original text (even with my tip of holding down the option key). Hopefully this limitation will be addressed in upcoming versions of QuarkXPress.?David Blatner
I also feel your description of XLR8’s daughtercards as “based on PowerLogix’s designs” is inaccurate. These boards were reengineered and only tangentially owe a debt to the original PowerLogix design. XLR8 has done some hard work on their new boards, and it deserves to be acknowledged.
Additionally, unlike the XLR8 Mach Speed G3 400, the Newer G3 400 was not shipping at the time your review was published. While you did not formally endorse the Newer G3 400 in your conclusion, the benchmark identifies it as the fastest card. Your dismissal of the XLR8 400 is curious, considering that XLR8 was the first to ship a 400MHz G3 daughtercard. The bias expressed toward Newer may prove misleading to buyers of these high-end boards, particularly to owners of Mach 5 9600’s.
We didn’t recommend any 400MHz cards?including the Newer Technology and XLR8 cards?because in our opinion those cards simply aren’t worth the high price for all but the most hard-core users who are unable to upgrade to a new Mac. Sheer speed is not the only factor in choosing an upgrade card.?Ed.
Game Cheers and Jeers
FutureCop: LAPD is one of the best games I have played on the Mac, and I have played 75 percent of the games listed in ”
Name Your Game
” (February 1999). This game rocks?and for only $19.95. It is really two games in one: the basic game of good guy versus bad guy and Precinct Assault, where you play against the computer or head-to-head with another player on the same machine.
The graphics are great?especially with a 3-D card. The transforming mech/hovercraft is fantastic. The game itself is easy to play and control. The help screen is informative and humorous. Electronic Arts has done a great thing porting this to the Mac platform. I will buy every EA title from now on to show my support.
We agree with your assessment of FutureCop: LAPD?it’s a lot of fun at a low price. But what makes this game even cooler in our book is that it is not a Mac port. Electronic Arts developed this game from the ground up on the Mac and then ported it to the PC. Kudos to EA and all the other prodigal game manufacturers who are once again embracing the Mac market.?Ed.
The review of Graphic Simulations’ (GSC) F/A-18 Korea was right on: 4-1/2 mice and “the ace of Mac flying sims.” It’s outstanding in many aspects.
But the best part of a fighter sim is going up against human counterparts. This is where GSC lost that half a mouse. The networking code has been very poor. It runs well only if you go head-to-head with a single person. GSC states that up to four players can fly together, but this is not true under the current circumstances. Playing with four people has never been stable.
During Apple’s hard times, GSC was forced to expand into the PC world. Hornet 3.0 and Korea are now available for PC?with TCP/IP protocol for better multiplayer action! GSC has been promising a release for a TCP/IP patch upgrade over the last year but has failed to come through. I, and others like me, feel that GSC has let down the Mac community, and many have chosen to boycott them. What a shame.
Nothing to RAVE About
While I applaud everything Steve Jobs has done for Apple since his return, I am confused why he continues to install less-than-the-best 3-D technology in new machines.
In several recent issues, Macworld has highlighted developments in 3-D technology. Each article describes the superiority of the chips produced by 3Dfx. I am confused why Apple continues to install technology produced by ATI that lacks both the developer support and quality of the 3Dfx products.
Hopefully, your continued coverage of the gaming arena will encourage Apple to switch over to the better technology of 3Dfx. This would truly make Apple the premier gaming platform in the world.
Look Back, See Forward
I found Andrew Gore’s time machine metaphor particularly enlightening, even thrilling (
The Vision Thing, February 1999). High-tech speculation has become everyone’s other career lately, and I suspect that very few of us are truly qualified to invest our hard-earned money in the current crop of offerings at the most propitious moment. “Wow, I could have had a V8” is a sentiment every computer user has expressed at least once. What to buy, when to buy it, how much to spend . . . it’s a crap shoot. But while looking forward involves risk, looking backward can provide data that supports an informed decision.
My journey from a Mac Plus to a Quadra 630 to a G3/233 in five years was not perilous, largely because I subscribe to Macworld and I rely upon your veracity. Thank you for helping me make shrewd decisions. The future looks insanely great.
And Finally . . .
Don’t throw away those old Mac magazines and mail-order catalogs! Instead, strategically leave them where people will find them: airplane seats, waiting rooms, bus stations, cafeteria tables. The world needs to know: the Mac is back!
Letters should be sent to Letters, Macworld, 301 Howard St., 16th Fl., San Francisco, CA 94105; via fax, 415/442-0766; or electronically, to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Include a return address and daytime phone number. Due to the high volume of mail received, we can’t respond personally to each letter. We reserve the right to edit all letters. All published letters become the property of Macworld.