'Stupid Mac Tricks': computer silliness

November 07, 1990|By Peter H. Lewis | Peter H. Lewis,New York Times News Service

Completely unscientific research has determined that the Apple Macintosh is more fun to use than a standard PC, and it is going to get a lot more amusing with "Stupid Mac Tricks," a new book and disk combination from Bob (Dr. Macintosh) Levitus.

"Stupid Mac Tricks" ($19.95 from Addison-Wesley Publishing Co. of Reading, Mass.) is a compendium of 14 silly, non-productive, sophomoric and, in some cases, essential programs that can be loaded into a Mac -- yours or your designated victim's.

But wait! Humor is in the eye of the mouse-holder, and some people might not be amused when their Macs suddenly start making a retching noise every time they eject a floppy diskette.

Several of these Stupid Mac Tricks are the digital equivalent of whoopee cushions, and some Mac users may find them truly stupid.

On the other hand, some of the programs are classics. In the latter category is Talking Moose, a program that causes a wisecracking Bullwinkle-type cartoon moose to appear in the corner of the Mac screen at predetermined intervals.

The moose is droll, popping up to offer commentary on various Mac commands and on life in general. When the user quits an application, the moose -- whose voice is generated through the Mac's built-in speakers by a speech synthesis program -- pops up to say, "Good, that was boring," or "Don't be a stranger."

The moose alone is worth the price of "Stupid Mac Tricks." Even so, the moose included in Stupid Mac Tricks is a stripped-down version of a "real" Talking Moose program that, as the moose in "Stupid Mac Tricks" frequently reminds us, is available for $39.95, plus $4.50 shipping and handling, from Baseline Publishing at (901) 682-9676.

Some people may not appreciate the moose. They are exactly the kind of people who will be the targets of other Stupid Mac Trick attacks, which can be installed surreptitiously on someone else's machine.

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