Date: 1993-08-26
From: John
Subject: Alex - credits, bugs, etc.

My Dear Mr. Duk:

Your latest version took me a few seconds longer to break on the Centris. Some of the bugs I found were fairly obscure. Some were downright flamboyant. To wit:

  1. The numbering holds up fairly well, though it is rather hard to read. However, if I open a new window, scroll to a random part of the still gray screen, and THEN summon a new world, the scroll thumbs reset to the upper left hand corner and the numbering at the top of the screen becomes garbled. It looks as if you redrew the top numbers over the top of the pre-existing sequence.
  2. If I resize the window with a world in place it seems to do quite well. However, if I then resize the window AGAIN, chaos ensues. If I make the window bigger I get two sets of scrollbars - the actual scrollbars and a painting of the original scrollbars with excess gray making up the difference. Scrolling at this point makes things MUCH worse.
  3. If I start with the initial blank window, move the horizontal scroll somewhere in the middle, close the window, and open a new one, the new blank window is drawn with the vertical coordinates down the middle of the screen.
  4. As long as the scroll thumbs are in the starting uppper left position the screen does a fine job of refreshing itself whenever I summon and put away the settings dialog or the about box. However, if I scroll to any other part of the window, with or without a map, and then summon and dismiss either dialog box, I am left with a big white rectangle where the box used to be.
I hope you are not too discouraged by this bug report. I think you are making definite progress and I'm now forced to go to greater lengths to break things. While waiting for your next revision I'll give Alex a spin on the Classic and Powerbook. Stay Tuned!

Now then, about that attached file...

As you can see by my other upload, the Archipelago Comemorative Painting, I have been playing with Photoshop and KAI power tools, etc. Your latest Alexander shipment inspired me to come up with a color PICT to replace the rather drab About Alexander dialog box. It only took me about a half hour to whip up the attached picture and I think it turned out rather well.

The most interesting part is the 3D rendered globe. In case you were wondering: YES, that is an actual Alexander generated world! It turns out that Photoshop not only does a spiffy job of smoothing out the coastline, it can also turn any flat map into a rendered globe! I use your Alex the Third program to generate a ones-and-zeros file, process it with my OracleCard color mapper, cut and paste the map to Photoshop, do a little slicing and dicing and VIOLA! Instant globe!

By doing a lot of tedious fiddling and time-consuming rendering I could even use Morph to produce a spinning globe quicktime movie! It's far from easy but it IS possible.

So my final question for you is: how hard would it be to display this PICT instead of the current About Alex dialog. I'm sending this as a pict FILE, but I can easily produce a pict RESOURCE if you like. Is 16 bits enough resolution? I can go to 32 if need be. I can also shrink it a bit. Adding this to Alex would significantly increase its girth (and our AOL bills) but would also increase its COOLNESS!

Yours in haste,


P.S. Do you have a JPEG decompressor, or a program like Photoshop that can read JPEG files, or Photoshop itself for that matter? If so I can radically reduce the file size of future artistic transmissions.