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Find lost file in MacsBug

5,083 bytes added, 15 August
Created page with ""So what's the best software in the world?" That's the kind of question people like me (overweight, fond of Jerry Lewis LPs) get hit with all the time, and after swallowing..."
"So what's the best software in the world?" That's the kind of
question people like me (overweight, fond of Jerry Lewis LPs) get
hit with all the time, and after swallowing my mouthful of dinner, I don't
need to fumble for an answer. "Oh, Apple's MacsBug debugger, definitely."

After all, in the American office, you have but one goal: to look like a Big
Shot at your coworkers' expense. That's why you bought a computer in the
first place. But unfortunately, thanks to the Mac, there are now many
best-selling word processors that can be (and are) operated by specially
bred terriers. Getting a friendly and accessible computer to do what you
expect is about as impressive as landing a 757 safely. No, to score real Mac
Jedi fear-and-loathing points against your competition, you gotta show you
can land that monster with three engines on fire and eight women giving
birth simultaneously. And that's where MacsBug -- free for the downloading
from any of Apple's online tendrils -- shines. It is indeed The Best
Software in the World:

It makes even the slightest system error look like Offgassing Day at Three
Mile Island. One of the few drawbacks of the Mac OS is the way it can put a
happy face on anything . . . even a fatal system error. After all, what sort
of Mac Jedi are you if you just happily click on the Restart button as
directed? No, with the low-level debugger installed, your entire screen
blanks at the first sign of trouble and fills with inscrutable hexadecimal
digits and mnemonics. The faces of your coworkers will ashen audibly at the
sight, particularly if one of your apps decides to quit seconds before
deadline. Oh, sure, the project's just as dead as it would have been without
MacsBug installed, but nothing screams, "Honest, sir . . . it wasn't my
fault," like a screen full of OA DF DF DF OA FF FF FF OA EA EA EA MOV #A and
the like.

It features an inscrutable text-based user interface, but some of its
cryptic commands are nonetheless easy to master. Topping all of this off is
the fact that there is nothing to tip the observer off about how the program
works. When one of your competitors clucks that your watch-cursor hasn't
moved for 20 minutes, your mouse is frozen, and -- oh, dear -- it looks like
you're going to have to do a manual reset and lose alllll of your data in
alllll of your open applications, you can merely bark in a scornful fashion.
Hit the programmers' switch, and give MacsBug the handy, straightforward
command ES, which signifies, "Drop whatever you're doing, and return to the
Finder." Your craven competitors will then see you calmly saving all of your
work, quitting your apps, and restarting manually, and they will be left
with balloonlike question marks hovering overhead, just like in the

Sometimes, just sometimes, it helps you pull off an utter miracle. You want
to become feared and respected as a total Mac Jedi? Some sort of god?
Picture this: There is a scream from next door, and Ed begs you over to his
cubicle. "DiscoWriter up and quit on me before I had the chance to save the
two-page finale of my quarterly report," he sputters, "and I don't have time
to rewrite it!"

With the facial expression of a James Bond who knows that the gun-wielding
henchman guarding him has finally strolled into the range of his A-9
Tactical Field Cummerbund, you pull Ed's keyboard closer. "Aw, it's probably
still floating around in memory somewhere. Give me a few tics." And assuming
that you had secretly installed MacsBug on his machine a while back, you
would hit the programmers' switch. Type log EddiesText so that MacsBug will
copy all of your efforts to a text file as you go along. "You were writing
about LambadaWare's market share, right?" you ask, as you type F 0
FFFFFFFF\"LambadaWare\". If the text is still in memory, MacsBug will
respond with an eight-digit memory address followed by a dump of its
contents. Type DM [address], and the text will come spooling out in a narrow

The grin of catatonic delight upon Ed's face is rapid-ly going to be
replaced by a look of utter penitence. "[readername], as you know, our
office has no volcano and precious few virgins," he'll stammer, plucking a
brightly colored object off a nearby shelf. "But I hope you'll accept this
Batman PEZ dispenser and the big document shredder on the third floor as a
proper demonstration of my cowering fealty to you, my new and powerful god."
Which brings us to my last reason why MacsBug has won such a special place
in my heart:

Its complexity is multilayered. Because if Ed proceeds to read this column
and decides he can become every bit the Big Shot you are, you'll still have
your trump card. "Very nice," you allow, after Ed finishes his little
MacsBug demo. "Hey, take a screen shot of that for me, will you? I'd like a
hard copy." And as you stroll off, watch the airspace above his cubicle for
wisps of yellow smoke coming out of his ears. Being a Mac Jedi is like being
a member of a popular fraternity: Half of the work and the fun is in keeping
other people from joining.


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