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Go backBook infoDesktop Manager

The twelfth chapter of the book “The complete book of Lisa,” pp. 287-308.

Every computer system, from the largest mainframe computer to the smallest portable, has a control program that enables you to operate the printer, load other programs, look at the names of files stored on disk, and perform myriad other useful tasks. This program, called the “operating system,” is the hub around which all other software revolves. Some operating systems have become so well known that their names are part of the standard jargon of computer users and programmers – names such as UNIX (developed at Bell Laboratories), VM (for large IBM machines), CP/M (used with many home computers), and MS-DOS (for the IBM PC and compatibles).

On most systems, the manner in which you use the operating system commands and, in fact, even the structure of the commands themselves, differs significantly from the way you use the various application programs (the word processing package, the spreadsheet tool, and data base management system, for example). The reasons for this lamentable situation are partly historical (it’s always been that way) and partly cultural (the programmers who traditionally design operating systems have not been the same programmers who design application software). Regardless of the reason, you, the user, bear the brunt of this inconsistency. Consequently, using operating systems often is one of the more frustrating tasks the typical computer user must tackle. Or it was, until Lisa.

Lisa’s operating system, the Desktop Manager, is a program that closely resembles the other Lisa programs in ease of use and user interface. In fact, many Lisa users who have never before used a computer aren’t even aware that they’re using an operating system because it is so transparent and so much like the rest of Lisa’s operation.

Lisa’s Desktop Manager performs many functions that you don’t really think about – or even have to know about. Consider, for example, the job of finding a particular LisaWrite document on Lisa’s internal hard disk. That disk holds about 10 million characters. Even assuming that you’re looking for a 200-page document, it would take up less than 1 percent of the disk’s capacity. Why isn’t lost in all that space?

When you open a LisaCalc spreadsheet, the LisaCalc menu titles – not the LisaProject or LisaGraph titles – automatically appear in the menu title bar. What keeps the right ones in place? How does Lisa know how to store information on a micro diskette? Surely it must be different from writing on the hard disk or on the Profile?

The Desktop Manager performs all of these tasks. You needn’t worry about any of them.

In addition to these invisible tasks, the Desktop Manager performs many actions you need to know about in order to operate Lisa smoothly, to back up your files, and to use the utilities provided by the Desktop Manager.

Conventions and components

There aren’t very many new conventions to learn about when using the Desktop Manager because its user interface is so well integrated with the other Lisa programs. It has some new components, however, not used by any of the other programs, though many of these already have been mentioned in previous chapters. To use the Desktop Manager effectively, you need only learn about an icon’s properties, then explore the functional icons present on the desktop.

Icon properties

The icons you control on the desktop – folder icons and the various kinds of document icons (LisaWrite documents, LisaList documents, etc.) – have several properties you must understand to simplify operation of the Desktop Manager. This isn’t difficult, because most of these properties are things you probably already associate with a document, whether it’s an electronic document or an ordinary paper one. Beginning with the properties easiest to understand and progressing to the more complex ones, these properties are:

Name. All icons have a name. This name is centered immediately below the icon when the icon is on the screen. In many cases, the name is actually wider than the icon itself. This poses no problem; the name still is centered under the icon. This name can consist of any sequence of characters available on Lisa as long as the sequence is less than sixty-three characters in length, and doesn’t contain any special formatting characters, such as tabs or carriage returns. So, if you want to name an icon “£ Quotations” or “β results from experiment,” you can do so.

How do you name an icon? Simply select the icon and start typing. The letters you type become the name. (Actually, this is, in a way, completely consistent with the manner in which any text is entered into any Lisa program. When an icon is selected, its name is highlighted. As in any other program, if you type when text is currently selected, the typed text completely replaces the selected text.) The name of an icon can be edited just like any piece of text. Note that when the mouse-controlled cursor passes over the name of a selected icon, it automatically changes from the standard pointing arrow cursor to the text cursor. With this text cursor, you can edit the icon’s name as if it were any text string, cutting and pasting as much as desired, with only the two restrictions noted above regarding length and formatting characters.

Even micro diskette icons can be named. These names are recorded on the diskette itself and can help you keep track of which disk is inserted in Lisa’s diskette drive. This icon name is conceptually different from the name you write on the plastic case of the diskette, although most people will use the same name in each place.

Size. A document or folder icon, regardless of type, represents a file on a disk (either a diskette or one of Lisa’s hard disks). That file and icon have a certain size. You can find out an icon’s current size in several ways, each of which will be discussed later in this chapter. Regardless of which method you use, the icon’s size is given as the number of blocks it occupies. (A “block” represents about 500 characters, whether on a hard disk or floppy disk.) You should pay attention to the size of an icon because icons of more than about 700 blocks won’t fit conveniently on one diskette. The amount of free space you must have on your hard disk also depends on the size of your icons. (Realistically, this will not be a problem for single-document icons, but it is very easy for a folder icon – whose size is the sum of the sizes of the icons it contains, to reach these limits.)

Password. Lisa has no notion of “logging on” or of the identification of the person using it. It does, however, provide password protection for individual documents in case more than one person uses a single Lisa. When a password is required for access to a document (how to do this is explained later), you must type the correct password in a special Dialog Box before the document will open. A word of caution, however, to those who want to password-protect every document: If you forget the password to a file, the only way to recover the file is to send it to Apple headquarters in California, where special password-breaking programs exist – assuming that they have the time and inclination to help you, that is. Don’t overuse the password-protection scheme to the extent that you risk forgetting passwords. In fact, it probably is better to use passwords only when they’re absolutely required.

Home. Every icon has a “home” – in a folder, on a diskette, or on a hard disk. When you activate the Save and Put Away command, the icon will be put away in its home. Locating it again can be somewhat tricky, especially if you store something in a folder named “Useful Stuff,” which is inside a folder named “Miscellaneous,” which is inside a folder named “Save This Folder,” which is on the second of three Profiles you have. An icon’s first home depends on the manner in which it is created, and each of the several cases will be outlined in this chapter when they occur. The most important thing to remember is that merely positioning the icon on the desktop will not change its home. An icon whose home is on a diskette will still have its home on diskette after you move it to the desktop. You can change an icon’s home only by moving it to a new home – another disk or folder. You can become quite confused by certain actions on the desktop, if you don’t understand the notion of an icon’s home.

Reference. On Lisa’s desktop you can arrange the icons you’ll be working with spatially. This may help you remember that one icon is different from another icon because they are in different places, even if they have the same name. The Desktop Manager, however, must have a set of unique names for all icons. This name is called the icon’s “reference.” You may need to manipulate this reference to use some non-Apple software. How to do this is explained later in this chapter.

Function icons

Figure 12-1: The Desktop Manager function icons representing stationery pads, trash can, “Preferences,” clock, clipboard, calculator, and hard-disk.
This image can be zoomedFigure 12-1: The Desktop Manager function icons representing stationery pads, trash can, “Preferences,” clock, clipboard, calculator, and hard-disk.
Many icons graphically represent certain Desktop Manager tasks. These include stationery pads, the trash can, preferences (the Lisa icon), the clock/calendar, the clipboard, and the calculator (Figure 12-1).

Stationery pads. Stationery pads, which exist for folders as well as for every type of Lisa paper, represent the command to create a new file. On Lisa, however, this command is reduced to the notion of tearing off a piece of paper from a pad. When activated (in one of two manners, to be discussed shortly), a stationery pad will generate a new document or folder and place this new desktop citizen slightly to the left and slightly above the pad from which it was torn. If the name of the pad is “LisaWrite Paper” for example, the name of the generated document will be the name of the pad with the current date appended – “LisaWrite Paper 11/21.”

You should not be restricted to thinking that stationery pads and the documents they generate must be blank documents. Nothing could be further from the truth. As you will soon see, any document can be made into a stationery pad. If you design an invoice for your company using LisaDraw, for example, you can make that document into a stationery pad and tear off a “sheet” when you need to generate an invoice.

Trash Can. On many systems, the command to delete files is a slightly scary command. Incorrectly typing a letter or two can result in the destruction of one or more files you had no intention of deleting. This can never happen on Lisa, for two reasons. The first reason has to do with the way you indicate to the Desktop Manager that a file should be deleted. You don’t designate a file indirectly by typing its name. Rather, you (in effect) pick up that file directly and deposit it into the Trash Can icon. There is no typing of file names – with resulting errors that inadvertently delete a file. The second reason is that even if you put the wrong icon into the Trash Can (an extremely rare occurrence), you can always reach into the Trash Can and pull it back out.

Now, you needn’t move every file separately to the Trash Can. You can move whole folders of icons at once. Or, you can make an extended selection of icons in essentially the same manner you do an extended selection in LisaDraw, and move the extended selection to the Trash Can. You can select several icons at once by holding down the Shift key while selecting the icons with the mouse, or by drawing a selection rectangle on the screen. (To do this, hold the mouse button in an area of the desktop that is empty. If you now move the mouse while continuing to press the button, you can draw a selection box on the screen. All icons that are completely inside this box when you release the mouse button will be selected.) Once a set of icons is selected, to discard them, you need only depress the mouse button on any part of the set and, keeping the mouse button pressed, move the cursor to the Trash Can. As you move the cursor, outlines of all the selected icons will follow.

One really great feature about the Trash Can deserves special mention. You can open the Trash Can (by double-clicking the mouse on the Trash Can icon – the same way you open any icon) and pull out any document contained in there. What will reside in the Trash Can is the last set of icons you dumped in there. Whenever you dump something else in the Trash Can, whether it is a single icon or a set of icons, whatever was already in the Trash Can is deleted. You can retrieve anything from the very last set of icons you dumped into the Trash Can, but nothing from any previous set.

Figure 12-2: The Convenience Settings... Dialog Box. This lets you customize many of Lisa’s characteristics to suit your personal tastes.
This image can be zoomedFigure 12-2: The Convenience Settings... Dialog Box. This lets you customize many of Lisa’s characteristics to suit your personal tastes.
Preferences. Many things about your Lisa are different from anyone else’s Lisa. You may want Lisa’s “beep” (or “joyful noise”) to be very loud. You may have both an internal 10MB disk and an external Profile. You may want the repeating keys on the keyboard to react really fast. These and many other things describe your preferences for configuring your Lisa. On many computers, setting these individual preferences involves a rather detailed knowledge of the operating system and sometimes even the need to take the machine apart to modify its internals. Not on Lisa.

Lisa’s Desktop Manager provides these sorts of functions through the icon that looks like Lisa itself, the icon labeled “Preferences.” Opening this icon presents you with a Dialog Box with five choices: Set Conveniences, Select Defaults, Connect Device Software, Install Device Software, and Remove Device Software. Checking any of these results in the display of several more choices.

The choices in Figure 12-2 are the convenience settings. These allow you to set various display and typing parameters to your personal preferences (hence the name).

The Select Defaults option on the Preferences window allows you to pick which of the several disks on Lisa is to be used when Lisa is first turned on. Any disks on the system will be presented to you as choices, including the micro diskette and however many hard disks are on the system. This option also enables you to choose between a thorough memory test that lasts about 60 seconds whenever Lisa is turned on, or a brief memory test that lasts about 30 seconds.

Figure 12-3: The Connect Device... Dialog Box. This provides you with the means to install new hardware on Lisa. To install a modem from one of two serial ports, for example, you would check the box corresponding to the serial port you will use and check the “Modem A” option.
This image can be zoomedFigure 12-3: The Connect Device... Dialog Box. This provides you with the means to install new hardware on Lisa. To install a modem from one of two serial ports, for example, you would check the box corresponding to the serial port you will use and check the “Modem A” option.
The Connect Device Software Dialog Box (Figure 12-3) provides you with an unbelievably easy-to-use method for installing new hardware and for establishing which software is used to connect a new device with Lisa. You would use this Dialog Box, for example, to tell Lisa that your recently purchased laser printer is installed in one of the serial ports. You would use the next option, Install Device Software, to install the software that would enable Lisa to communicate correctly with this new device. This is one of the truly sophisticated portions of the Desktop Manager. It is designed so that when new devices are manufactured they can be packaged together with a micro diskette containing the software that enables Lisa to use them. This means that major revisions of the Desktop Manager need not occur just because a new product is announced, making it easy for other hardware manufacturers to produce products that work with Lisa – an excellent idea for everyone, especially you, the Lisa user.

The last option in the Preferences window enables you to remove software that is no longer needed.

Figure 12-4: The clock/calendar window.
This image can be zoomedFigure 12-4: The clock/calendar window.
Clock/Calendar. The Desktop Manager keeps the time and date using the Clock/Calendar icon. This icon enables the Desktop Manager to label documents with their date and time of creation as well as date and time of the last modification. This is extremely useful in keeping track of different versions of large, multipart documents. Figure 12-4 shows the clock window. To set the clock (if Lisa has been unplugged for more than 10 hours or so, or you need to switch to or from daylight savings time), type the correct time and/or date on top of the time or date shown in the clock window.

Other than that, there isn’t too much you can do with the clock icon. I typically put it away (in the “Tools” folder with LisaWrite, LisaProject, and other programs). It seems to take up more space on the desktop than it is worth.

Clipboard. The clipboard is a temporary storage location for any of the types of information that can be manipulated on Lisa. When you use the Cut, Copy, or Paste commands on any Edit menus, you really are using the clipboard. Material that is cut or copied is placed on the clipboard; pasted material is copied from the clipboard.

If you are ever unsure what is currently on the clipboard, you can open it to double-check. However, once it’s opened, you can do nothing else with the clipboard contents. You cannot edit the material stored there in any way.

If it were up to me, I would put my clipboard in the “Tools” folder along with the clock/calendar. On those rare occasions when I need to open it, I would go and get it. Unfortunately, it isn’t up to me, or to you, for that matter. The Clipboard icon is one of several permanent desktop residents. The Clipboard, Preferences, Trash Can, and hard-disk icons (the internal 10-megabyte hard disk and the Profile) cannot be removed from the desktop.

Figure 12-5: The calculator window. This shows the four-function calculator, one of three calculator styles available.
This image can be zoomedFigure 12-5: The calculator window. This shows the four-function calculator, one of three calculator styles available.
Calculator. One of the nicest utilities the Desktop Manager provides is a calculator. Figure 12-5 shows one of the three types of calculators provided on Lisa, the four-function calculator. In addition to this calculator, there also is a “reverse-Polish” calculator and an “adding machine.” You use any of these by “pressing” the keys with the mouse-controlled cursor. The results show on both the calculator’s display and the optional “tape” to the right of the calculator. A special set of menus associated with the calculator enables you to select which type of calculator you want to use, show or hide the tape, set the format for the numbers to be displayed, and cut and paste information from the calculator to the clipboard, and vice versa. In Figure 12-6, the calculator window has the tape showing, in the middle of a long calculation.

One interesting characteristic of the calculator is that it “remembers” the calculations after you close the window. You may be in the middle of a calculation, have to stop for some reason that requires that you close the window, then open it later and continue the calculation as if nothing had interrupted you; you need not write down intermediate results on a scrap of paper if you are interrupted. In addition, with the cutting and pasting that is possible, you can attach “adding machine tapes” to a report showing your calculations, backing up the results in the report. If you don’t need to save the intermediate results, you can erase the calculator and tape.

Figure 12-6: The four-function calculator with the “tape” showing. Note the entries on the tape and the lines for totals.
This image can be zoomedFigure 12-6: The four-function calculator with the “tape” showing. Note the entries on the tape and the lines for totals.
Hard disk. Two hard-disk icons correspond, respectively, to the internal 10-megabyte hard disk and the external 5-megabyte Profile. These icons look different, but act exactly the same. When one is opened, you are presented with a list (in one of three formats, explained below) of the contents of that hard disk. Note that you can have at most one 10-megabyte icon because you can have at most one 10-megabyte disk drive, but you can have multiple Profile icons. All of these icons reside permanently on the desktop.

Commands and menus

To be as consistent as possible with other Lisa programs, the Desktop Manager has a customized set of pull-down menus. The titles of these menus are displayed along the menu title bar whenever there is no active window on the screen. These titles are:

The Desk menu

Figure 12-7: A sample Desktop Manager Desk menu. Because the Desk menu varies from Lisa to Lisa, yours won’t necessarily look like this.
This image can be zoomedFigure 12-7: A sample Desktop Manager Desk menu. Because the Desk menu varies from Lisa to Lisa, yours won’t necessarily look like this.
The Desk menu lets you open any icon on the desktop or tear off any piece of stationery without having to touch the icon directly with the cursor. Every icon on the desktop is listed in the Desk menu when it is pulled down, so the exact menu will vary from Lisa to Lisa, and even from time to time on the same Lisa. An example of one Desk menu (mine) is shown in Figure 12-7. The most important use of the Desk menu is to provide you with a means of opening up an icon while your screen is covered with some other work. Otherwise, you’d have to resize or move many windows to find specific icons.

The File/Print menu

The Desktop Manager File/Print menu (Figure 12-8) differs significantly from the standard File/Print menu discussed in Chapter Three, because you perform types of filing and printing from the Desktop Manager different from those of the other programs.

Of the first command set – Set Aside Everything and Set Aside (Document) – only the former usually is active. As discussed in Chapter Three, this command closes all open windows and places the icons of those windows on the desktop. It does not, however, cause the editing changes made since the last time you saved the document to be recorded on disk. So, if there were a power failure or if a software problem required you to turn off Lisa without the normal shutdown procedure, these changes would be lost. The principal use of Set Aside Everything is to clear off the screen quickly.

Figure 12-8: The Desktop Manager File/Print menu.
This image can be zoomedFigure 12-8: The Desktop Manager File/Print menu.
The second set of commands, the largest on the File/Print menu, deals with a variety of tasks concerning the copying and storing of Lisa documents. As in the general File/Print menu, Save and Put Away saves the recent changes made to the selected icon and then returns that icon to its home. Open, of course, opens a window to that document.

Duplicate is one of the more powerful commands in the Desktop Manager. It is used to make a duplicate copy of a document, back up the Profile or internal 10-megabyte hard disk, or back up one micro diskette to another. Basically, to use Duplicate, you select the icon you wish to duplicate (document, folder, diskette, or hard disk), then activate Duplicate. A blinking duplicate icon of the one you selected appears slightly lower and to the right of the original. You must then move that blinking icon to its new home to complete the duplication process. If you move the blinking icon to a blank spot on the desktop, the duplicate will have the same home as the original.

Figure 12-9: Attributes... Dialog Boxes. These provide you with useful information about documents, folders, and disks. Of particular importance is the ability to set document passwords and sizes.
This image can be zoomedFigure 12-9: Attributes... Dialog Boxes. These provide you with useful information about documents, folders, and disks. Of particular importance is the ability to set document passwords and sizes.
The Attributes of... command enables you to find out an icon’s home, determine the number of blocks it currently occupies, and password-protect the icon (or change the current password). As with any command ending in “...,” its activation results in the display of a Dialog Box (Figure 12-9). The password protection of a document is the most important purpose of this Dialog Box for documents, and the size reading is the most important for disks, both micro diskettes and hard disks. Once protected by a password, a document cannot be opened, duplicated, or deleted unless the password is entered correctly. Recall that if you forget the password that protects a file, you can do almost nothing to recover the information.

Tear Off Stationery is active whenever the current selection is a stationery pad. It has exactly the same effect as the other two methods of tearing off stationery: double-clicking on a stationery pad and activating the name of a stationery pad in the Desk menu. Make Stationery Pad is active any time a document is selected. When activated, this command turns the selected document into a pad. This document can be of any length or size. Once a document is made into a stationery pad, there is no direct way to change it back into a regular document. The effect of changing it change back can be accomplished easily, however, by tearing of a piece of stationery and then throwing away the pad.

Backing up the hard disk. It is very important to back up the contents of Lisa’s hard disks periodically in case some catastrophic event makes a disk unusable. (Although such events are rare, they can be very expensive because of the cost of redoing all the work stored on the disk. The back-up procedure is easy, making it very cheap insurance.) To back up a Profile or the 10-megabyte internal disk, you need a number of micro diskettes (usually between four and twenty, depending on which hard disk you have and how full it is). To start the process, insert the first diskette, then Duplicate the hard-disk icon and move the blinking duplicate to the diskette icon. The Desktop Manager automatically prompts you when the diskette is full, at which point you insert the next diskette. This continues until the entire disk is backed up.

The first time you back up the hard disk, its entire contents will be copied to the diskettes. Thereafter, you will be given a choice of a full or incremental back-up. A full back-up copies the entire contents of the disk; an incremental back-up copies only those documents modified since the last full or incremental back-up. So, you may need many diskettes for a full back-up, but only a few for an incremental one.

The back-up procedure has one problem: It clears off the desktop. If y ou have carefully designed the placement of certain icons around the desktop, the back-up procedure will return each icon to its respective home. Because I see no reason why this must occur, I consider it to be a bug. Even if there is some reason why it must occur during the back-up process, it is a nuisance.

How often should you back up a hard disk? It depends on a number of variables. If your Lisa is used by several people and if important information is kept on hard disk, back-up should be done at least weekly and maybe more frequently. If you are the only person using your Lisa, you may choose to manage your own back-up process, rather than let the Desktop Manager do it for you. To manage your own back-up, periodically Duplicate the files you have been working with to diskettes. This provides you with an extra copy of your important files. When I use Lisa heavily (more than 5 hours a day), I back up daily and manage my own back-up. This takes less than 10 minutes, and the peace of mind it gives is well worth the time it takes.

Regardless of which back-up procedure you use and at what frequency, you should back up all files. There is an ancient (more than 3 years old) saying in computer science: “If you don’t have at least two copies of a document, you don’t really care about losing it.” This expresses the cumulative wisdom of all those who have accidentally erased files, had disks become unreadable, or mistakenly modified important files.

Backing up programs. It is a good idea to back up the Lisa programs. Although you always have the diskettes on which the programs were delivered, diskettes do wear out or otherwise “go bad.” I have experienced the problem of reinstalling a program from the original diskette, only to have that reinstallation procedure fail because the original diskette had become unreadable. To back up the programs, Duplicate the program, its stationery pad, and its example folder to a blank diskette. This procedure provides you with a back-up of the program that can be reinstalled on your Lisa, but on no other Lisa, because the back-up contains the serial number of your Lisa and the software is designed not to work on a machine with any other serial number.

Passwords are case-sensitive. The passwords you assign to documents using Attributes of... are case-sensitive. This means that the word you choose must be used in exactly the same way each time, including upper- and lower-case letters. For example, each of the following passwords is considered to be completely different: “kittypie,” “Kittypie,” “KittyPie,” and “KITTYPIE.” You must either remember the exact case of each letter, or always use the same case for all passwords.

The Edit menu

Figure 12-10: The Desktop Manager Edit menu.
This image can be zoomedFigure 12-10: The Desktop Manager Edit menu.
The Edit menu (Figure 12-10) provides you with the ability to cut and paste text when you use the Desktop Manager. Thanks to Lisa’s extensive use of menus, that is not a very frequent occurrence, but when it happens, it is handled just like the text editing in any Lisa program. (If this seems so natural and reasonable to you that it hardly deserves mention, you probably haven’t used conventional computers much. Typically, you must learn two or three different ways to edit text – one way when using the operating system, another when using the text editor, yet another when using the spreadsheet, etc. After using Lisa you will wonder why so many people have put up with such difficult conditions for so long.) The commands Cut, Copy, and Paste work exactly as you would expect when dealing with icon names and passwords, the two basic text-editing tasks in the Desktop Manager.

Three other commands are on the Edit menu: Undo Last Change, Select All Icons, and Copy Reference. As you’d expect, Undo Last Change lets you back out of any text editing action on the desktop. You cannot, however, undo most other desktop actions, such as putting an icon in a folder, changing the folder organization (see Housekeeping menu below), or tearing off stationery. Select All Icons selects all icons on the desktop, if there is no open folder or active window. If a folder or disk (either diskette or hard disk) is open and its window is active, Select All Icons selects only those icons inside the active window. (Note: It is impossible even to view, let alone activate, the command Select All Icons if the active window is an open document. When the active window is a document, only that document’s program menus are available and none of the programs’ Edit menus displays Select All Icons.)

Copy Reference is the most unusual of all commands on the Desktop Manager. If the programs we discussed so far are the only software you have on your Lisa, this command will be of no use. If, however, you have additional software that runs on the Lisa desktop, Copy Reference communicates to that software the name of an icon. Suppose, for example, you had a program that analyzed LisaWrite documents for grammar mistakes, clarity of style, verbosity, and so on. When you used this program, you’d need a way to tell it to analyze a particular document. Merely typing in the name of the document is not sufficient, because you may have two documents of the same name on the desktop.

Although unseen by you, there are document names Lisa uses to distinguish the various documents you have generated. Copy Reference lets you copy this name to the Clipboard, so that you can then paste it in place in the special-purpose software. To do this, select the document, then activate Copy Reference. The Clipboard will then contain this special name. After you use Copy Reference, however, you can’t open the clipboard to see this hidden name. What you will see there is a mini-icon representing the icon, followed by your name for this document, not the special name used internally by Lisa.

Duplicating a micro diskette onto hard disk. To transfer the entire contents of a diskette to a hard disk, you cannot simply select the diskette icon and Duplicate it to the hard disk, because this action would back up the diskette to the hard disk, erasing the hard disk. To copy all of a diskette’s contents to a hard disk, open the diskette, activate Select All Icons to select every document on the diskette, then Duplicate to the hard disk.

The Housekeeping menu

Figure 12-11: The Desktop Manager Housekeeping menu.
This image can be zoomedFigure 12-11: The Desktop Manager Housekeeping menu.
The Housekeeping menu (Figure 12-11) is used to control the diskette and the trash can, as well as the display format for folders.

You do not have direct access to the diskette once it is inserted in Lisa’s disk drive. At most, you can “suggest” to Lisa that it should be released. This is done with the Eject Micro Diskette command, the first command of the Housekeeping menu. When you activate this, the Desktop Manager will ensure that all the documents whose homes are on the diskette currently in the disk drive will be returned to the diskette, along with any changes you made to those documents. It is impossible for you to eject the diskette and forget to update the documents with the changes you made. Knowing this, it is easy to understand the only case in which Lisa will not follow your suggestion that the diskette be ejected: when the changes you made exceed the disk’s storage capacity (approximately 700 blocks, or about 400,000 characters). Luckily, with diskettes of this capacity, this problem is not encountered often.

The next three commands of the Housekeeping menu enable you to pick the display format for folders or diskettes. These formats are:
A pictorial view, where icons appear in approximately the same form as on the desktop.
An alphabetical list of document names.
A reverse chronological list.

Figure 12-12: A comparison between the various folder and disk window formats, showing the differences among the three possible views of the same folder. “A” represents the pictorial view, “B” the alphabetical view, and “C” the reverse chronological view.
This image can be zoomedFigure 12-12: A comparison between the various folder and disk window formats, showing the differences among the three possible views of the same folder. “A” represents the pictorial view, “B” the alphabetical view, and “C” the reverse chronological view.
Figure 12-12 shows these three arrangements for the same folder, obtained with the Pictorial View, Alphabetical View, and Chronological View commands, respectively. Once set, this format choice is retained by the folder or diskette until you change it. If you use the pictorial view and want the icons lined up straight in the folder or diskette, the last command in this set, Straighten Up Icons, will accomplish this. Unfortunately, this command doesn’t take into account the length of the name of an icon in this straightening process. In documents with long names, the names may overlap in this straightened view.

The next two Housekeeping commands enable you to correct an error in a micro diskette or erase a diskette completely. From time to time, the internal structure of a diskette may be damaged. This happens from a variety of causes, including improper storage and handling, defects in the disk itself, and normal wear and tear. When damage is detected, Lisa informs you that there is a problem and suggests that the diskette surface be repaired. This usually can be accomplished by the Repair Disk command. When you wish to erase a diskette completely, it is better to do so by using the Erase Disk command than by removing all the disk’s files, because the erase operation also effects the same type of internal check of the disk’s structure performed with Repair Disk.

The last command of the Housekeeping menu allows you to control the actions of the trash can. Recall that the contents of the trash can are really erased from disk only when you deposit the next set of icons into the trash can. This has two consequences: The disk storage space of the icons you threw into the trash can is not immediately recovered when the documents are thrown away; and the amount of time it takes to throw away a document depends on what you last threw away, since that older document must be deleted first. In this situation, you may feel Lisa, not you, is in control. The Erase Wastebasket command gives control back to you. Activating this command deletes everything currently in the trash can.

When to use the various folder and disk formats. The folder and disk formats each have their special strengths and weaknesses. I have found the formats to be best in the following situations:
Pictorial View. Best used when small sets of icons are logically arranged in groups and you don’t want to use folders for groups. You may use this view when you want complete control over the order and placement of icons in the view, because the pictorial view can be manipulated spatially, much like the desktop itself.
Alphabetical View. Best used for high-capacity disks (the internal 10-megabyte disk or the Profile), because the sheer volume of these disks lets you store many documents. Finding a particular document is much easier and faster if the list is alphabetized.
Chronological View. Best used for diskettes on which you manage your own back-up process. With this disk organization, you can easily determine the most recent version of a document that may occur many times on the diskette. This view also can be used temporarily with the hard disks when you need to see the documents most recently modified – again, to assist you in managing your own back-up.

More on the trash can. The explanations of the trash can functions presented up to now have been correct but incomplete. In determining when the trash can is really emptied, an additional factor is taken into account: the icon’s home. An icon (or set of icons) whose home is on Disk A will be erased when the next icon (or set of icons) whose home is also on Disk A is dumped into the trash can. This holds true whether Disk A is a Profile, the 10-megabyte internal disk, or a micro diskette. So, if you dump into the trash can icons whose home is on a particular diskette to make room on that diskette for other material, you haven’t really made room on that diskette, even if you then throw away something else on the hard disk. You can observe this by checking the attributes of the diskette. The amount of free space will be unchanged until you throw away someting else on that diskette or until you activate Erase Wastebasket.

Operating speed

The Desktop Manager determines the speed of many operations on Lisa. Such operations include tearing off a piece of stationery, opening a LisaWrite document, opening the Profile icon, initializing a diskette, or duplicating, saving, and putting away a document. Some operations whose speeds are not determined by the Desktop Manager include printing a document (this is usually determined by the speed of the printer), moving from the beginning to the end of a large LisaWrite document, sorting a LisaList list, and recalculating a LisaCalc spreadsheet.

Some speeds determined by the Desktop Manager include:
Tearing off a piece of blank stationery: 4 seconds.
Initializing a diskette: 68 seconds.
Duplicating a document (for documents smaller than 2,500 characters): 8 seconds.

These times don’t include the most common operation performed with the Desktop Manager, opening up a window, because those speeds depend on two other factors: whether a program has been used since the last time Lisa was turned on, and whether a document has been saved and put away or simply set aside on the desktop. The following table illustrates these speeds:

Opening Various Windows (average time in seconds)

or Document
First Use*A Document
That Was Saved
and Put Away
A Document
That Was
Set Aside

* First use of program after Lisa is turned on.
** These desktop items cannot be “Saved and Put Away.”

Page added on 22nd January 2005.

Copyright © 2002-2006 Marcin Wichary, unless stated otherwise.