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  • Mac autostart function???

    What I'm curious about is if it's possible on a Mac using Toast to autostart a file within a subfolder or if there's a way to hide a file from one operating system from the other (PC/Mac). As far as I know, on a Mac you can only autostart from the root directory then use subfolders for that file's resources.

    Here's the scoop:

    I am trying to make a Mac version of an AMS project, but the only way I can do this outside of Flash or Director is html. In this case, I have built a mock-up of the AMS ROM within a webpage (and it does look terrible). I used a great freeware program called "Rename" (thank you to whomever posted that little nugget of a link [img]/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif[/img] ) and renamed all of the html files except 1 from .html to .xyz. Doing so, the typical user is thrown from the track when they see a list of .xyz files. The cool thing is that even though they can be opened as normal from a starter html page, if they double-click the files alone, the Mac won't know what to do with them.

    The not-so-cool part is that you have to define for the Mac which program is to open these files. Here's where the autostart question comes in.

    I don't want to have an html file sitting on the root directory that then opens up all of the .xyz files in the subdirectory. It would be better if the autostart opened the first html page from a sub-menu. This way when somebody opens up the ROM on a PC, they don't see the html file intended for the Mac user and use that instead of the nifty AMS version.

    Using CD-Everywhere, you can "Hide" files from each other operating system, but the program doesn't support audio, which this project has.

    So...(three weeks later - sorry for this book)any ideas? Is there a way to:

    1) Hide files on one OS from the other OS
    2) Autostart from a sub-folder on a Mac like you can on a PC using the Autorun=folder/subfolder/file.exe

    Is there a better way?

    Please let me know ASAP if you have any suggestions...thanks in advance!





    Protocol


    "White-colla-AMS-gangsta."

  • #2
    Re: Mac autostart function???

    OK...

    Experimenting...I have made the following work:

    Using Swish, I made a swf file whose sole function is to open a renamed html file (blah.xyz) 2 folders down from the root directory then shut down the swf player (it does this in less than 1/2 second). I called this file "MacUser.swf" (note the use of 11 character places because Mac only recognizes 11 spots).

    The file that "MacUser.swf" opens is an html file named "blah.xyz". Because the swf file did an "open URL" function, it doesn't ask which program you'd like to open all ".xyz" files with. It simply opens the .xyz file in your standard browser. As mentioned above, this means that it opens normally only when clicked by the swf file on the top level and not by clicking random files in the subfolders alone (great way to keep prying eyes out of the kitchen).

    Here's the cool part:

    <SCRIPT LANGUAGE=JavaScript>
    if (navigator.platform &amp;&amp; navigator.platform != "win32")
    {location.replace('MacUser.htm');}else{location.re place('0.Ill');}
    </SCRIPT>

    Using the above javascript code (most people have javascript enabled by default) as the only text within the html document named "blah.xyz", when called upon by the "MacUser.swf file, this html document will detect if the user is using a Mac or any other OS. If the user is using a Mac, then this instantly redirects to the real html file of your choice for mac users only to see. If they are using any other OS (such as Windows), then that user only sees a fake message in the form of an html file supposedly intended for Mac users. This "fake" html document is named "MacUser.html" and is located in the Data folder.

    So...how is this cool? Well, here's how I used it:

    Windows PC user inserts the CD.
    The autorun.ini file triggers the AMS .exe file and they're off!
    If they explor the CD, they will see the AMS files, an autorun.ini file and a .swf file named "MacUser"
    If they're smart, they'll realize that this .swf file is for Mac Users and not waste any time clicking on it.
    If they're bored, they will click on it to see what happens.
    When they click on it an html file opens in their browser that says: "Thank you for buying this CD. For best results, please insert this CD into a Windows compatible computer."
    And that's all.
    They're left to believe that the message was intended for Mac Users then close the browser and go back to the AMS version of the ROM.
    But this was actually only intended for anyone OTHER than Mac users (Windows PC users).
    If they're reeeeally nosey, like most developers are, then they will go into the Data folder and see that there are a ton of files they've never heard of before (half of which are the standard AMS build files and the rest being all of your renamed html files).
    Then...there's this one single html file named "MacUser.html"
    Seeing this and having executed the .swf file to see this earlier, most developers will assume that you've simply placed a .swf file on the root directory and that it simply fires this html document.
    In reality, if a Mac user clicked on the "MacUser.swf" file in the root directory they would never have seen this "message," but would have instead been redirected to the html document you only wanted them to see.

    Now for what the Mac user sees:

    Mac user inserts the CD
    The autostart function was programed on the CD to execute the .swf file named "MacUser" and it does so.
    That in-turn opens an html document in a sub-directory (Data) called "blah.xyz".
    "blah.xyz" sees that the user is indeed a Mac user and redirects them instantly to the html file you wanted them to see.
    If autostart is disabled on their Mac (which is only the case in rare occasions) then when they open the CD-ROM on their desktop (as is standard when opening a ROM on the Mac OS), they will see the same 4 files: AMS.exe, AMS.apm, autorun.ini and "MacUser.swf".
    Assuming that their cranium isn't completely stuffed with chedder, they will likely open the one file that says "MacUser".
    No matter what, if you're not using CD-Everywhere to make your CD's ISO, then just about any Hybrid disc you make (even with Toast) When the Mac user clicks on the "MacUser.swf" file, it triggerswill have other OS "ghost" files on it such as .exe's for Mac users and Db and Desktop files for Windows PC users.
    Anyway...
    When they click on the file it opens an html document in a sub-directory (Data) called "blah.xyz".
    "blah.xyz" sees that the user is indeed a Mac user and redirects them instantly to the html file you wanted them to see.

    Everyone's happy and your files are hidden from prying eyes. Note that if they really want to know, they will figure it out. This is intended to dissuade would-be hackers from picking out elements of your project such as videos and mp3's.

    AMS is great because the files are renamed and that holds back a good majority of the theft. But when you try and make a Mac version, you're stuck with trying to figure out a method as to how to keep files away from their obvious extensions. Since most mp3 traders are Windows users, the simple fact of hiding your files from them alone can keep your files from ending up on Napster or whatever 75% more of the time.

    Then, by renaming the files and calling on them through hidden doorways like that mentioned above, most Mac users will just assume that the files are encoded and can't be manipulated.

    To put this in perspective:

    If you release a CD that has a folder on it called "Data"
    and in this folder were two files: "x1G47l.h2e" and "GreatSong.mp3"
    Which one do you think will end up on Napster quicker? [img]/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

    I used this method to hide a bonus track on the CD while still having it accessible through standard html files.

    If you have any questions about the project just let me know and I'll forward the how-to's or CD info.


    Hope this helped. It did for me.




    Protocol



    "White-colla-AMS-gangsta."

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Mac autostart function???

      Wow.... You are an exhaustive developer. I wish I had that kind of tenacity!

      Just for argument's sake: I come from a hybrid computing background, having been involved in Mac desktop video editing with high-end hardware since the mid-90s. (Avid, Media 100, FCP) Users of Macs are much more likely than you may guess to have their auto start feature turned off. It was, and still is, one of the best ways to invite a virus into your Macintosh. Therefore, most users just disable it in the QuickTime control panel. What's funny is that it's QuickTime, not the system software, that handles this task on a Mac. I would say this case is especially true for developers, who often know better than to welcome viruses into their authoring machine.

      However, I want to say thanks for sharing - it's great information that I'm sure will come in handy for me one of these days... Especially if more of my graphic designer friends keep haunting me about not developing software they can use.

      IR, are you listening? Mac OS X runtimes, please! [img]/ubbthreads/images/icons/wink.gif[/img]
      Eric Darling
      eThree Media
      http://www.ethreemedia.com

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Mac autostart function???

        Suggestion is well received, that isn't my dept. but:

        1. That's a lot harder to do than you guys think.
        2. Mac sales amounts would be crappy and certainly not sufficient to justify the conversion process.
        3. Despite their public announced numbers Mac usage has been waning for years and is almost nil now amongst business clients. The current crop of PCs annhilate MAcs in terms of performance on ALL fronts. There are many benchmarks online which back this up. Video, 3D, Audio, etc. PCs do it all better than Mac now.

        Anyhow I wouldn't hold your breath Eric, I don't foresee any Mac software forthcoming from IR. And rightfully so, the market simply doesn't support the vast costs which accompany developing these applications.

        One final point. In %95+ of cases you are distributing to PC users. In our case that number is so heavily out of skew that it would be virtually unjustifiable to ignore it. Not to mention that almost all Mac users own a PC too but not the reverse. There just isn't enough interest or support to try and offer that remaining 1% of Mac users who don't own a PC their own verison...

        Corey Milner
        Creative Director, Indigo Rose Software

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Mac autostart function???

          I didn't intend for anyone affiliated with IR to interpret my short-stated (or historically stated) argument to cross-grade the authoring environment at all. That's simply unnecessary. I was only referring to generating RUNTIMES that were compatible with Mac OS X.

          I don't argue your points about PC performance over Mac computing power. And in any case, I consider myself platform agnostic in the holy war that is the platform debate. Such battles are merely destined for stalemate anyhow, and that's a waste of all of our time.

          I make the argument in my interest, certainly, but also in the true business interest of Indigo Rose as a corporation. 5% SEEMS pointlessly small, and you are correct about the fact that most people (and software developers) seem to overlook the fact that 5% of an incredibly large market is still A LOT of users.

          And consider what market AMS, which I would say is IR's flagship product, is addressing: multimedia developers. Your current and potential customers are likely to carry an even bigger percentage of Mac needs. Multimedia is the cornerstone of the Mac sales pitch, and Macs still do a decent job in that area - enough that sales are still going strong despite popular discontent to the contrary.

          Will developing a "Build for OS X" feature make or break AMS? Certainly not. I can't say it's that vital for IR. Will it help you address a deceptively small fraction of your potential audience? You bet.

          I'm not trying to tell anyone how to run their business. I just observe, report and make suggestions that I think would benefit the greater good of all. After all, I'm a business man myself, and I understand the value of my customers - they are my real boss.

          I don't think this argument is really about what machines are more powerful vis-à-vis another. It's about stepping up to the plate of "what if?" and considering the real impact of producing a product that can address virtually the ENTIRE computing universe. From any project's perspective, having it run cross-platform would add to the value of AMS as an authoring tool.

          Nothing that's worth doing is ever very easy. I never intended to sound so presumptious, and I think you did misread my request (Again, not a Mac-based authoring environment, just RUNTIMES).

          Perhaps I am misreading AMS' intended audience, and that it's just dumb luck that the software addesses so many multimedia authoring needs. Is that what you are saying?
          Eric Darling
          eThree Media
          http://www.ethreemedia.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Mac autostart function???

            Well like I say it isn't my dept. But I think actually 5% is high, I actually believe the real market is smaller. Maybe I'm wrong. Like I say, it's not my call nor am I privy to official long term IR strategy vis-a-vis Mac. But I wouldn't hold my breath.

            In general, typical textbook modern marketing practice is to ignore the minority if they are in the single digits and focus strictly on catering to the other 95%. I'm not saying that has anything to do with IR but it's a safe bet in terms of long term prosperity in our market.

            Also we have about a dozen major projects coming down the pipe. I cannot tell you a single thing but HUGE things which will blow your mind are on the midterm horizon. Do you know how expensive it is to hire even a single competent programmer to work on something like this? It's a lot.

            Considering that perhaps only 2-3 people such as yourself have ever even addressed this issue or made this request in the past year I have to conclude that there is no significant interest nor market.

            Also don't forget 99% of Mac users also own or have access to a PC in the course of their regular design duties. The reverse is not true. I believe that means that we have already sold our product to the Mac users such as yourself...

            In terms of the target market my understanding is that AMS is aimed squarely at "multimedia and software developers". Your experience may tell you one thing Eric, but mine tells me that this target audience almost ALL own PCs and frequently use PC-only software in the course of their day. Even those who also own Macs.

            In my entire life I have never actually met any person nor company who have ONLY Macs on site. Based upon that I have to conclude that there is no good justification for a Mac
            version.

            That being said it would also be unfeasible for us to provide any support to Mac users since we are all Windows users. But like I say I have no say in the matter other than the fact that my opinion is often listened to at IR. I can tell you though that no Mac versions are currently in the pipe, and I cannot imagine it appearing on the docket anytime soon. But I maybe 100% wrong...

            Corey Milner
            Creative Director, Indigo Rose Software

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Mac autostart function???

              Fair enough. IR is entitled to a unique company vision, despite any customer requests.
              Eric Darling
              eThree Media
              http://www.ethreemedia.com

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Mac autostart function???

                2-3 requests is not enough to justify thousands of dollars in costs and delays in the development of our other products... That number would have to grow by hundreds to even be worth looking at. Would you produce a full scale video production which only 2-3 viewers in the world said they'd watch? [img]/ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

                BTW I couldn't find any stats more current than 2002 but:

                http://maccentral.macworld.com/news/...arketshare.php

                I think they hit the nail on the head when they said it may be best for people in certain areas to drop suuport for Mac. In the year since these stats Mac usage has been on the decline where I live. And indeed throughout North America (our core market) this seems to be so. Institutionally you might be able to find some small growth stats for Mac usage in very specific areas, but in terms of what multimedia developers have on their desks at home, I would wager that around 98% of them possess PCs. (including those who also own Macs) That's overwhelming evidence that we should focus only on the PC market. Add it to the mountain of supporting facts and it's crystal clear.

                One should also factor in the future of Mac as well. I'm no Nostradamus but if current trends continue... Also it has become more than obvious that the board at Apple are inept and furthermore that the intrisic philosophy and infrastructure behind Apple which regulates the flow of these director positions is similarly flawed and self-obsessed. Since 1978 Apple has been using the patented Steve Job's superiority complex as a marketing tool and the market has responded with a resounding response by giving over 96% of global market share to PC. That being said I have absolutely no faith whatsoever in the future of Apple. Whereas I am 100% secure in the current mid-term future of the PC platform. So for me personally the decision has always been a no-brainer.

                I have yet to see a Mac do anything a PC couldn't. I have yet to see a Mac which was worth the money it cost, was easy to fix (I built my PC), or was easy to expand.


                Corey Milner
                Creative Director, Indigo Rose Software

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Mac autostart function???


                  Would you produce a full scale video production which only 2-3 viewers in the world said they'd watch?
                  Actually, just about every video I produce comes without a single promise of anyone saying they'd watch. I produce them anyway because I have faith in the material stirring interest enough to capture a worthwhile audience. But I see your point. [img]/ubbthreads/images/icons/laugh.gif[/img]
                  Eric Darling
                  eThree Media
                  http://www.ethreemedia.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Mac autostart function???

                    OK fair enough but that being said if we were being asked to gamble on the future of your talent my position would be different. [img]/ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

                    Corey Milner
                    Creative Director, Indigo Rose Software

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Mac autostart function???

                      HYBRID CD AUTHORING....

                      You can definately hide the MAC files from the PC users and the PC files from the MAC users.

                      You must have the full version of toast and not the lite version to create this type of CD.

                      Essentially you author two different CD's. First create the MAC CD and save it as a mac Disk Image. Then you create a hybrid CD using the Mac Disk Image and the the PC files.

                      You can even specify files that are common between the Mac and PC volumes and they will appear on both.

                      What you end up with is a CD that you throw into the MAC and all you see is the MAC files. You throw it into the PC and all you see is the PC volume.

                      I've done this hundreds of times so I know it works.

                      On a side note I read somewhere that the MAC autostart feature does not work in OS X. I haven't verified it though.

                      Count me in for MAC AMS runtime files [img]/ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif[/img] But I completely agree with IR. Not much in it for them other than making their product really supplant Director and Flash.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Mac autostart function???

                        Even with Director and Flash you need to physically be using a Mac to export Mac projectors... Not sure what the signifigance of that is but I thought it would look good in print. [img]/ubbthreads/images/icons/tongue.gif[/img]

                        Corey Milner
                        Creative Director, Indigo Rose Software

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Hiding files...

                          Thanks for the responses.

                          The whole reason this all comes up is that people are using Macs. Despite any statistics and even my own personal opinions towards Macs, I very often find myself getting involved in projects with other developers who (in some cases) only use Macs.

                          Do I think IR needs to spend thousands of dollars and countless man-hours developing something to make their product compatible with a good portion of the remaining world? No.

                          Do I think it would have hurt to come up with a section of this site (albeit unsupported) which covers such bandaids as this? Why not.

                          IR puts out excellent products and I support them fully. But the interesting thing is that I don't write them directly when I have questions, ideas or solutions. I come to you all for that. Why? Because you all do the same. IR and Brett came up with a great product in the development of AMS. Particularly in version 4. What makes it so powerfull or even useful for us as developers? It's open-endedness.

                          There are only a few areas that would make this the end-all product. Others and I have mentioned a few in the past. I've come to the conclusion that IR will develop what they will and maybe even surprise us now and then. But it's up to this development community to offer solutions to make our products compatible to the widest audience. Be that for driver issues, software issues, or even hardware issues. But no matter what, I don't "blame" or even critisize IR for this. It's just not what they went into business to do. Not at this point anyway.

                          I do commend you Eric for speaking your mind. I always do when it comes to this forum, mainly because I respect its role in the development process. We have to at very least share with IR whats on our minds. I think everyone knows that 2-3 people is not all that we're talking about, even though that is all that have posted here in this discussion.

                          I also have to commend Corey on this. He has the job of replying to very tough requests. Often, very strange requests. [img]/ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif[/img] I sometimes wonder if IR has a list somewhere of the top 100 odd suggestions for version 5 of AMS. Corey, I think you're doing a great job with your fast replys all over, not just in the AMS boards. And your influence IS one of our most powerful tools on this board. Not to mention your own personal contributions. I hope you always keep a non-biased opinion and never take anything anyone says too personally as it could be for anyone to in your position. (And, of course, I'm not implying that you have).

                          When it comes to the Mac/PC issue, I know that I'm running PC only software (PC reffering to the Windows platform as is common lingo). I think we all know that the Mac issue is always there, even if we choose not to recognize it. Personally, I think the Mac is more stable and depending on the hardware, it can be more powerfull too. I also deal with it a lot and have to put my personal feelings about its platfrom aside and get the job done as a professional.

                          I HAVE told clients in the past that I could not offer a Mac ROM without Flash or Director (and you all know how good at those I am [img]/ubbthreads/images/icons/smile.gif[/img] ). So when I found AMS, it still only solved part of the problem. It seems to make ROMs for 1 platform better, but doesn't address the other.

                          In this case, the solution mentioned above (1 of many possible solutions) still uses Flash (.swf). It just uses it in a small way that doesn't require any AMS developer to spend a long time in Flash. In fact, I forgot last night to include the .swf file to the post. So I'll do that tonight.

                          The fact is, however small, there are Mac users out there. And I don't want to handle even 2-5% of any phone calls dealing with returns of the product because I wasn't willing to at very least try and work in a small fix.

                          I should also mention that the solution mentioned above was a culmination of many posts offered by people. The reason I am able to get so much fixed (even if it is held together with gum) is because I spend a great deal of time surfing everyone's posts. I am NOT a learned developer. I am just a very curious producer who doesn't accept "It can't be done."

                          I think everyone here is that way, and that's why I always come back. That being said, if anyone can come up with some better methods, please post em. If any Flash wizzards out there are bored, post some small "work-around files" such as:

                          1) A small Flash .exe that turns a bitmap into a screen saver (one that isn't branded). I have finally bought some software for my projects, but there are many out there who haven't.
                          2) A small Flash file that Macs can recognize that will fire a generic html file (such as "index.html" in the Data folder (then another that fires it in the root directory), 3) A small Flash file that Macs can recognize that will fire a generic image file (such as "picture.jpg" in the Data folder (then another that fires it in the root directory).

                          Etc..

                          Making such small little files (all unbranded) will give all of us the tools we need to get the job done accross platforms. Also (and this is very important to AMS), it will make this site come up in the searches made by future developers. They will do a search for "making hybrid ROMs without flash" and land on this very post. They will see your software and all of the developer support and likely buy the software. I found AMS because of a Google search for "creating CD menus."

                          That's all folks..I'm going to post those files...
                          "White-colla-AMS-gangsta."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Hiding files...

                            Naw I never take any of this personally, I like people who argue with facts and experience. In this case you happen to be in one of those areas such as Sweden and Japan where Mac usage is up around 5-6% so that makes your request perfectly valid...

                            If it were an easy thing to do it would have been done already. I've never actually encountered any PC software which has a "build for Mac" option... I know that it's probably out there somewhere but the way IR builds software makes for very good, extremely stable, high performance Windows software but isn't conducive to quick conversion from what I hear.

                            I remember when I used to muck around with Borland C++ Builder there was some sort of VCL library where you could built to Mac or PC but then you are limited to the components within that library, it seems to me that might limit the level of success in implementing new technologies such as the Flash Object, the Media Player Object (No Mac equivalent), and the web browser object. But I may be 100% wrong on that. Regardless AMS was not built using that library so it's irrelevant.

                            I guess my core perception of it is that the issue is much more complicated than one would think given the complexity of the AMS application... (It's not exactly Notepad or Minesweeper)

                            I'm glad to hear you value our support, etc. It's only going to get better as time goes on and we get a chance to get the new exchanges up, etc. I can guarantee you that AMS will have more new cool stuff happening around it over the next few years than any of it's competitors... We're just getting started on this one, the future of AMS is HUGE.

                            Corey Milner
                            Creative Director, Indigo Rose Software

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Hiding files...

                              OK...

                              Here's the zip with the generic .swf files fo anyone interested. I made a few more just for you all. It has all of the instructions on it in the form of a .txt document. Do me a favor and download it, then post it on your site for a while for future developers. I may end up taking it down after a month or two.

                              Good Luck!

                              http://www.keokitrask.com/SWFLauncher.zip

                              "White-colla-AMS-gangsta."

                              Comment

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