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Recent News and Tips

The Planiverse, a book review.

Bruce Toback of OPT Products Technology Inc. reports that A.K. Dewdney's The Planiverse has been reprinted by Copernicus Books. Originally written in 1984, The Planiverse is an account of computer contact with a 2-dimensional universe, a college term project in 2D simulation gone awry. Dewdney, who wrote Scientific American's "Computer Recreations" column for a while, weaves a delightful story around the mathematics and science of a two-dimensional Universe. Although this sounds superficially similar to Edwin Abbot's Flatland, the latter is intended more as political commentary, while Dewdney's book is more science and fun (with a little allegory and metaphysical speculation thrown in). The science ranges from astronomy to zoology, and is illustrated with the author's own somewhat whimsical drawings.

Unfortunately, this "millenium edition" contains a pre-preface which assures readers that what follows is a work of fiction. Dewdney's account is so completely matter-of-fact -- he is, after all, a college professor writing about students working on a class project -- that it's much more fun to pretend to read it as a documentary.

This is one book I've never been willing to lend out. I recommend it most highly. Amazon link. - Bruce Toback


Read Your Email on the Road.

If you use a standard POP server for your email, you only need a browser to read and reply to your email. When you are travelling, you can read your mail on someone else's computer or at an Internet Cafe. Currently, the best service to do this is mail2web.com and it is free.


Test Suprtool Jobs Through QWIN

How do you test revisions to large jobstreams that perform many Suprtool tasks? You could run the entire job with the revision, but that isn't very polite during the day time if other people are using the system. Instead, Robyn Rennie now uses the Host command facility of Qedit for Windows to easily execute and check small segments of the jobs. The key is that you can highlight some lines in a host file and execute them on the host with a right-click function. Read her entire article.


Robelle Expert Saved By Hotelier

While Robelle President Bob Green was in Italy. he kept in touch via his laptop and a bag of phone and power converters, plus an international ATT account However, in several hotels his modem refused to recognize the switchboard dial tone, forcing him into an Internet Cafe. Finally, after complaining at the Il Moresco hotel on the island of Ischia in the Gulf of Napoli, the Hotel Director, Allessando Leonessa, showed Bob the error of his ways:
Do you have Windows? Just click the modem option to bring up a terminal window before dialing, then type atx3 and Enter. This tells the modem to dial anyway, even if there is no dial tone. I had the same problem when I connected the hotel's computer to the Internet.
And of course that solved the problem!


MACS/Ecometry Users!

Robelle has created a new special part of our web site just for SG users. Read about Suprtool and Qedit, find links to useful resources, and more: Visit our Smith-Gardner page.


Monitor Your e3000

With the scripting language in Qedit for Windows, you can now monitor your host servers from a PC and take action. Click the link above to read our latest newsletter where we show how we do a :SHOWJOB at regular intervals and email it to the system manager.


Software Quality Tip

Consider Cisco, whose phenomenal growth was partly made possible by a revolutionary new self-service support system that used the Internet. Did they design and deploy their entire on-line customer service system at once? No! They rolled out self-service "agents" one at a time, starting with the one that customers wanted the most.
One of the rules for implementation in e-business is to start small and move quickly refining the application as you go. Over 60% of mega projects fail according to industry stats, so the odds don't favor that approach. Also, most user's don't know what they want because they have never seen it. Giving them something to try gets them thinking about what they really need. Constant updating and refinement is the key to success these days. Arthur S. Mackin, Cisco Systems.
From Building Better Software: User-centric Techniques That Endure, a Robelle paper. Read the entire paper.


Qedit 5.0 now available

This release has new functionality and improved performance that continues to enhance productivity for both Qedit and Qedit for Windows users. For example, you can now restart your Qedit session exactly where you left off the night before, because the Redo stack can now be saved across editing sessions. Click the link above to read the announcement of the version 5.0.


New Robelle Director

We are proud to announce the addition of Dave Thomas of Bedarra Corp. to the Robelle Board of Directors:
Dave is the founder and past CEO and president of Object Technology International Inc. OTI is a unique software company. When many companies focused on centralized development, OTI adopted what is now called the virtual company model. The company located its labs where it could hire the best people and join them with its customers. OTI has labs in Ottawa and Victoria, Canada; Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Raleigh, USA; London, UK; Sydney, Australia; Zurich, Switzerland; and Nantes, France. OTI is now a wholly owned affiliate of IBM. OTI has been described by OTI as one of IBMís "most precious and effective business units". OTIís Just In Time Software process has delivered numerous product lines on time and budget.

Dave Thomas has been the principal visionary and architect for IBM VisualAge Java/Smalltalk tools and virtual machines as well as IBM's over all object/component strategy. He has an unusually wide spectrum of experience in the computer industry, which spans engineering, business, and computer science. Unlike many that only conceive new ideas in the lab, Dave has repeatedly transferred them into successful products and services.


3000 Newswire Review of Qedit for Windows

"...Qedit for Windows is an extremely powerful but easy-to-learn tool for anyone who routinely edits host-based files on MPE/iX or HP-UX systems..."


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