MacNetTools Info, Plans, Bugs & Future Additions
MacNetTools Version 1.2.5 is now released - 4/29/03
The version 1.2.5 update of MNT is now complete and may be downloaded by clicking on the link below. Only one archive is being provided due to the overload condition which resulted on this free website in the past from too many people trying to download all at one time. The good folks at Tripod don't like that and automatically put the site on hold until enough time has passed to alleviate the situation. This is a Stuffit 4.0 archive which can be used with any version of Stuffit (ver 5 and later will automatically convert it to a version 5 archive for you). The archive contains both the PPC and Carbon (OS X) versions of MacNetTools.
This update corrects two small but significant problems pointed out by by users.
- The filetype autotyper was changed to provide support for properly typing Stuffit file segments rather than typing them as Stuffit archives as was previously happening.
- A second UU decoder was also added (user selectable) to allow proper decoding of multipart encodings in which the last line of uu data in one segment is not separated from the header data of the next article. A blank line may be required there under message handling RFCs (I have not yet checked) and in any case is customary. The new decoder works even without that blank line present, but loses the ability to detect bad uu character data as a result (which the old decoder does well). Other popular decoders use the second method only while ignoring errors as can be seen by CRC checks of the resultant data. MNT now allows you to have a choice between the two methods.
- Error reporting options for Par file handling were also expanded on a test basis (see comments in documentation).
You may also be able to find a copy of MNT posted from time to time in the following and other newsgroups.
Screenshots are not really applicable to MNT since it is essentially faceless other than its many preference panels. However some distribution mirrors require a screenshot of some nature so the following example serves that purpose as well as the curiosity of any visitors.
So, what is MacNetTools?
MacNetTools is an internet utility program for Macintosh which provides all of the following features in one versatile, yet easy to use package:
- Joins Segmented Files (what most of you use it for)
- Splits Files into Segments
- Decodes Encoded Binary Files - Auto Detect Format, UUEncoded, Mime (including AppleSingle and AppleDouble), Binhex, Macbinary, yEnc
- Encodes Binary Files - UUEncoding, Mime, Mime AppleSingle, Mime AppleDouble, Scripted Mime (Future addition), Binhex, Macbinary, yEnc
- List Files - All Files, Uncommented Files, Missing SIT Segments, Missing MPG Segments, Missing Pattern Segments, Pattern, Duplicate Files (based on content, not name), Set Match, List Match, List Invisibles, Wide variety of output formats and targets
- Set Filetype - Sets the Finder filetype of all files dropped on it
- Adjust All Filetype - Sets the Finder filetype of all files dropped on it based on each file's extension
- Concatenate - A very generalized version of the Join command, Input as:, Files, Text Clippings, Combined Output as: File, Text Clipping, To Clipboard
- CRC and Checksums - Sum32, Adler32, XOR8, MacBinary, BinHex, CRC16, CCITT16A, CCITT16B, CRC32, CCITT32, POSIX.2, ZIP 32, MD5, SHA, Custom CRCs, Custom CRC Table Generation, Several output formats and targets
- File Tools - Fix HL Files, Strip Resource Fork, Encrypt-Decrypt, Move Matching Files, Move Non Matching Files, Trash Matching Files, Delete Matching Files, Label Matching Files, Rename Matching Files, Rename By Subject, Move Duplicates (based on content, not name), Move Dupl Names (name based), DTList To DBF, Alias To File, Dup.nn To Dupa.ext, Fix BinHex
- Folder Tools - Combine Fldr, Group Fldr A, Group Fldr B, Group Fldr C, Step Fndr Fldrs, Delete Empty Fldrs, Open Fldrs, Close Fldrs, Calc Fldr Size (not yet functional)
- Par Tools - Check Pars, Generate Pars, Recover Files
- Miscellaneous Utilities - Get/Set File Info, Wildcard Match Check, Step Fndr Fldrs, Open Fldrs In Trash, Close Fldrs In Trash, SlideShow (Possible Future addition)
- Choice of 3 Matchers for commands which use them: wildcard, regexp and regexs
- With many, many additional features to come
Other programs already exist to do this. How is MacNetTools any better?
- MacNetTools gives you "one stop shopping" by combining all of these features into one convenient to use package.
- MacNetTools is extremely fast. Most similar programs run as much as 3 to 4 times slower than MNT and one even runs 10-20 times slower. Do you really want to have to wait 5 more minutes to see that movie file you are joining or do you want to see it NOW? I have put a lot of effort into devising a method to rapidly handle really large quantities of data without imposing undue burdens on the system (either software or hardware). You benefit from this in the speed with which MNT runs.
- MacNetTools is very efficient. The program itself is relatively small (556K) for what it does and requires only 2-4 MB of memory to run (it would run on even less memory with smaller buffers allotted). Another highly touted similar program has a memory footprint of 900K and requires 15 MB to run!!! (Not very efficient at all). MNT also allows the user to customize its impact on the rest of the system via its customizable multitasking cooperation feature.
- MacNetTools does not utilize exotic system features which would limit its use only to recent system versions. Use of gestalt, Appleevents and multitasking is about as complex as it gets and these calls have been around since late in System 6 if I remember right. The addition of Appearance manager features to version 1.2 now limits the earliest usable system to OS 8.1 but the rest of the program is inherently simple. This all means that you can throw MNT onto a machine with System 8.1 and it will work as well as with OS X. The old adage of KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) applies very well here. These are very simple tasks which are implemented in an equally simple manner.
- MacNetTools is very customizable. Most of the program parameters and buffer sizes which affect the way in which MNT performs are user customizable. MNT even allows the user to customize its impact on the rest of the system via its customizable multitasking cooperation feature. The user who does not wish to bother with customizations can simply take the default settings and run reasonably well.
- MacNetTools is totally free. Your appreciation is one of the main reasons why it is currently freeware, or shall we call it appreciation-ware. Several users of MNT have asked me to let them pay me for the program so I plan to set up a kagi account to accomodate any voluntary contributions, however I fully intend to keep MacNetTools as a free program. I happen to strongly believe in the spirit of free internet software to facilitate access to a free internet and I happen to feel very grateful to those Mac software authors of the past such as Peter Lewis and JL Norstad who have so generously contributed their own work for free in the same spirit. On the flip side, few things earn my total disrespect more than those petty, greedy authors who are determined to make nickel and dime profits on those Mac users who are attempting to access a free internet. Shareware fees do have their place, but the internet should not be one of them. For Pete's sake, even Netscape is free and take a look at all that it does.
What bugs are known to exist in MacNetTools?
As with any program, there are bound to be a few bugs. Anyone who tells you that their program is perfect, just doesn't have their eyes open.
General Program Bugs
- Mime decoder still needs more work... but that will always be the case. :-)
- Some parts of movable dialog windows do not get updated when another window is selected while dialog is active. This is now only true with the Move To folder boxes. These can be changed to controls but may not get done for ver 1.2.1.
- Set FType Prefs dialog - Add, Delete, Chng buttons do not work properly. For now, use Edit FType command on Edit menu instead.
- Filetype Editor dialog - when any filetype in the list is selected, the icon for that item disappears. This is a cosmetic issue only and will be fixed at some time in the future. Problem now seems to have vanished.
OS X Specific Bugs
- When running under OS X, file/folder drops onto MNT with MNT already running result in Finder window reactivate following dialog display, thus covering up the dialog. This cause may be that some MNT events may be getting higher priority than Finder events. In any case, the fix is not something that should be addressed at the last minute before release and will have to wait for later releases. Meanwhile, the workaround is to simply click on the Status window to bring MNT back to the front if this should happen.
- System version is displayed improperly in About Box. This is new with OS X 10.2 and may be due to a change in the version word format. It is cosmetic only.
Other Rare But Possible Bugs To Watch For
- File Tools dialog used to cause machine to intermittently do a hard crash (MacsBug could not recover). I subsequently did some work in this area and fixed one type casting discrepancy. Since then there have been no additional crashes. Will keep this one on the list for a while longer until even I am convinced that this bug is gone.
- Folder Tools - drop with MNT already running does nothing - problem disappeared.
- Wildcard Match Check has at rare times caused machine to crash - MacsBug recovers OK.
What are are your future plans for MacNetTools?
Listed in no particular order.
- The yEnc decoder is now vastly improved but there is still some "fat" remaining in the inner loops of the code which can be removed with a possible speed increase. Some work was done in this area but further "hand tuning" could still be done.
- Further Appearance manager support, specifically the use of smaller fonts in all dialogs as opposed to the old Chicago/Charcoal 12 font. This is not so much an addition of choice as it is of necessity. MNT has so many options now that the available dialog "real estate" is becoming very crowded. Each additional feature brings with it the challenge of finding some way to fit the applicable controls into the dialogs and the obvious solution is to simply use smaller controls and associated fonts. In addition to being more practical, I think it would simply look better too.
- Further expansion of mime support. Considering that there are some individuals who make a life's work of working on nothing but mime, this might be looked upon as an ongoing project.
- Change multitasking yields to a time based system rather than work based as at present. This should improve the consistency of cooperation with other tasks while maximizing the usage of the time that is available to MNT.
- Notification that a task is complete if it completes while program is in background. Should have added this to this version but I never got around to it (although I DO have a round TUIT... really).
- Additional Command Period abort support. Command Period is currently honored on each pass through the file scanner (it is built in) or once per file processed, but if an operation gets stuck inside the code that handles the processing of each individual item, the user is out of luck and must use Cmd Option Escape.
- After working for 18 years in the field of radar measuring satellite position and trajectories, it is not surprising that one of my interests is geodetics and mapping. There is a lot of raw mapping data out there available for free from the USGS and of special interest is the high resolution DEM data which provides elevation and contour data for the entire US (and the world is coming in time). There is a neat (although crash prone) freeware Mac program which processes this data into a form that is usable by any 3D program but with a change in the USGS data format that came about with the higher resolution data, this program is no longer usable with the USGS data. When I find the time, I would like to add a set of tools to MNT to process such data into something that is usable on the Mac. These data files are typically rather large and the buffered data system that is built in to MNT would be ideal for handling such data with ease.
- Plus a varied list of other similar utility functions which continue to pop into my mind and/or are suggested by others.
User Wishlist Items
- Long Filename support under OS X (already planned)
- CSV list support - catalog and verify functions, build csv lists and verify existing files hierarchies plus a rename function for OS X only and perhaps also flatten and restore hierarchy functions to convert the file structure to all files in a single folder and vice versa if that would be of any use
- Make It Scriptable
- No frills file stuffing function like Stuffit 4
- Stuffit Segment Joiner / Segment Renamer
- Learn from your input and automatically find the next series of segs - segment resync
- More List Files Options and List Compare Feature
- Perhaps an automatic checksum verification much the way a par index file does now
- Winrar3 support
- Par processing comprehensive completion report (not one per file but a page of "everything I have done this time round")
What are are your excuses? Why isn't it already done?
To begin with, lets face it... I'm slower than Christmas and not about to get any faster with the passage of time. It isn't often that a turtle can be made to move in high gear, but eventually he always gets where he is going. The same applies to me.
- Right now I have one main project which has been sidetracked for about a year for 1) some of the following subprojects, 2) the original creation of MNT itself and 3) several other tasks that turn up demanding immediate attention. My main project (and its subprojects) gets first attention, but it is quite possible that I might end up giving some occasional time to MNT even prior to that time. The truth is that I could really use 48 hours in each day.
- With OS X coming into common use, I absolutely must finish updating the remainder of my code to make it Carbon compatible. With MNT now done, the score is currently one project down and three more to go. Given that, I might get back to MNT once again sometime in the year 2004, but the fact remains that MNT is rather fun to play with so more often than not, if I can find an excuse to do some work on MNT, I will do so.
- Meanwhile I hope that you the users of MNT will find as many good uses for it as I have.
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Since Feb 25, 2001
This page last updated Oct 18, 2006