|Sullivan bound for San Jose despite Agency cuts|
Precision measurements are more a way of life at the Agency than on Chesapeake Drive, but lately Lt. Sullivan has been brewing coffee the NeXT way, measuring precisely 2.5 scoops of French Roast into the industrial machine at the office coffee station. He listened to the usual morning gossip from the crowd of sleepy office workers and then shuffled back to his cubicle to start his daily on-line ritual.
At the familiar CompuServe prompt, he entered "GO NEXT" to gratify his latest obsession Ð the fast-developing NeXT Forum. This is especially good for gathering information from the international community, as much of the world seems to have access. Another active watering hole is America Online, but since SoftPC can't handle DTR handshaking on the NeXT, it is not able to help out the growing number of NeXT users interested in logging onto AOL.
Thinking of SoftPC, Sullivan checked his file on the upgrade that agents say will run Windows better than any Windows machine. That will come in handy in the DOS-infected districts of the building, he thought, but users won't get their hands on it until early next year.
Meanwhile, MicroPhone II has experienced more delays than Lotus experienced bringing 1-2-3 to the Macintosh. It still isn't shipping, Sullivan noted ruefully. If the same malady doesn't strike Thoughtful Software, HyperCube could be ready by the end of the calendar year. Another development cycle nearing the finish line is the long-announced CD-ROM: Sex, Lies, & CD-ROM from Bay Area NeXT Group. It is the first exclusively NeXT CD to be made generally available.
Reviewing his calendar, Sullivan considered canceling his swing to San Jose for the Seybold show. With the Agency's travel budget soaring since late August, expenses are under heavy scrutiny these days. Why blow a trip when NeXT has shelved hopes of making a big splash with its Canon color printer? The holdup seems to be PostScript Level 2 implementation, which is now delayed until the release of System 3.0. On the plus side, NeXT's publishing advocates seem to have won their arguments with some favored developers to go public with early looks at page layout, image processing, and animation software. Many of them were leery of getting tagged as vapor products. Tipping the scales was the appearance the magazine was expecting him to make, so Sullivan reconciled himself to October in San Jose.
Meanwhile, back in Redwood City, attention has turned to the question of bundled software. Besides publishing WriteNow, the contract with NeXT gives Randy Adams's new company non-exclusive rights to one or more piece of NeXT's formerly bundled software. Speculation is centering around demo applications such as Icon and Draw. The code for Icon is, of course, a mess, but Keith Ohlfs's totally rewritten version, Pixelist, would make a nice commercial photo retouching product.
Then there is NeXTstep 3.0. One of the new features quickening pulses in Redwood City is a possible license of the Pantone Color Matching System for inclusion in the color picker. With a general license, individual developers would be freed from the need to individually license PMS for their application, lowering their software manufacturing costs significantly.
After intense lobbying from third-party developers and graphic artists, it looks like NeXT is finally scheduled to update the digitizing-tablet drivers in 3.0 to support the pressure-sensitivity features of the Wacom tablets.
On the already announced AppleTalk networking support, there is some question whether it will include printer-access protocols (PAP) for easy printing from NeXT workstations to high-end PostScript imagesetters like the Linotype Linotronic L330, Agfa SelectSet 5000, and Scitex PS Dolev.
Can you say "conflict of interest"? The parent company that publishes this magazine has just moved its Sun journal, SunWorld, into the same division, Integrated Media, that houses sister publications Publish and NeXTWORLD. In a new twist, the two rival platforms' publications will be sharing one set of offices in San Francisco, to the chagrin of both sides.
[Editor's Note: Okay, Sully, I guess that's the reward I get for giving you carte blanche. Our agreement is that I don't cut your items, but who says I have to sit here and be quiet? Yes, SunWorld is moving into our building, which also includes prominent publications covering the PC and Macintosh. No, we won't share information or pursue common strategies.]
With world vodka supplies in question, we must learn new ways to entertain ourselves. Interesting information makes the world more fun. NeXTWORLD T-shirts make your wardrobe much nicer as well. E-mail Lt. Sullivan@nextworld.com or call his voice mail at 415/978-3374. But don't call the Agency. They might start examining his expense reports.