Fortran

Fortran for Mac

Java may be the hot computer language of the nineties, but you wouldn’t know it to look at business and government sites; in the real world, older languages like COBOL and FORTRAN (Gfortran) are still doing much of the day-to-day work at banks, government labs, and NASA. In big-project scientific and numeric calculation, for example, the ancient FORTRAN language in one of its newer forms–FORTRAN 77 or FORTRAN 90–is still grinding away on optimized legacy code.

Source code originally written for Cray and Fujitsu supercomputers can now run without serious modification on a Mac using latest Gfortran package. This formidable suite includes compilers for FORTRAN 77, the more modern FORTRAN 90, and the thoroughly modern C/C++ (optimized for use in the MPW Shell); IMSL’s FORTRAN numeric and statistics libraries, the best available for any language, are available as an option. All this magnificence takes a little more programming background to put into action than the new CodeWarrior-adapted LS FORTRAN from Fortner Research, but compiled code runs two to three times faster with Gfortran –and for most FORTRAN users, speed of executables is the number one consideration.

Fortran Mac

The Gfortran program makes itself practically invisible: you simply install it, set a few options, and watch the Pro FORTRAN compiler devour your source code. On four benchmarks–two of my own and two industry-standard SPECmark routines–the compiled code running on a 604e-based Mac executed roughly twice as fast as the same programs compiled in LS FORTRAN. The Absoft product also breezed through a grueling test pastiche of combined C and FORTRAN code.

As a language that started life when RAM was measured in 4KB chunks, Gfortran has a huge bag of optimization tricks and is the topic of many reference books–and the new FORTRAN-based teaching language F suggests that FORTRAN will have some big-computer tasks all to itself for at least another decade.

PROS: Superior performance of compiled code; few Mac porting modifications.
CONS: Some popular editor features missing.

Category: Tools
Version: 9.2
Download Size: 80 MB
License: Free to try
Release Date: October 1, 2019
Last Updated: December 6, 2019
System requirements: Mac OS X 10.14 or later

Download Gfortran

Adobe Reader for Mac

What Do You Want to Read Today?

Adobe’s Portable Document Format is just about everywhere you look nowadays: software manuals, store catalogs, and even IRS tax forms are all available as PDF files. What makes these files so popular is that they’re self-contained documents that retain their original formatting and can be read on a Mac or a PC with the aid of a small, free program called Acrobat Reader.

Adobe Reader Mac

If PDF files seem to be coming at you from every direction, it’s time to get up to speed on how to open, navigate, and extract data from them as quickly and easily as possible–and that means tapping into some of the surprisingly powerful but easy-to-miss features lurking in Acrobat Reader.

Speed Reading

Reader is designed for fast, easy document viewing. To really speed through documents with a minimum of clicking and scrolling, however, bypass the Reader tool bar and use some shortcuts.

  • Move from page to page by using the page up and page down keys or the arrow keys (right and down move you forward; left and up move you backward). To jump to a specific page, press command-5, type in the page number, and press return.
  • To scroll vertically within a page, hold down the shift key while using the arrow keys; to scroll horizontally, press shift-left arrow and shift-right arrow.
  • To see more of your document at once, press command-shift-B to hide the Reader tool bar and command-shift-M to hide the menu bar. The same keystrokes make those items reappear.

One-Shot Text Grabbing

Often you’ll want to convert the content of a PDF file into plain text that you can paste into another document. To grab a specific chunk of text, you use the Select Text tool (press command-option-4) and then drag over the text. But if you want to grab all the text in a document, you can bypass the Select Text tool–just press command-A to select all the text in one shot and then command-C to grab every word in the document.
To confirm that you have indeed copied everything you intended before switching to another application to paste it, use Reader’s Show Clipboard command in the Window menu to get a preview of the selected text or graphics.

Turn Pages into Pictures

You can also turn an entire page of a PDF file–including all the text and graphics–into a single image that can be copied and pasted into another document. Press command-option-5, to switch to the Select Graphics tool; command-A, to select the entire page as one giant graphic; and command-C, to copy it–and then switch to another application to paste the page.

Reader as PowerPoint

If you think Reader is nothing more than a bare-bones document viewer for reading online manuals, you obviously haven’t tried the mind-blowing presentation features that essentially turn it into a tiny, free version of Microsoft PowerPoint. Yes, Reader is the world’s least-expensive slide-presentation program.

When you open a PDF file with Reader and press command-shift-L, the page instantly fills every inch of your screen–no windows, no menu bar–just like a slide-presentation program. Amazingly, even in this full-screen mode, you can still move from page to page (by using the up and down arrow keys or by pressing command-5 to jump to a specific page) and zoom in and out (press command-L and then choose a level of magnification). To jump back into normal-screen mode, just press the escape key.

It gets better. Choose Full Screen from the Preferences submenu in Reader File menu, and you’re given a whole array of presentation options. You can have Reader advance from page to page automatically at any interval between 1 and 60 seconds or have it wait until you click the mouse. You can make a presentation loop. You can choose to make the cursor visible during a slide show or keep it hidden. You can select virtually any background color and pick from among 18 transitional effects, so you can have one slide dissolve, wipe, glitter, or split into the next. And let’s not forget about anti-aliased text; not even PowerPoint can make text look as good on a slide. (To have Reader antialiasing the text, turn on the Smooth Text And Monochrome Images option in the General Preferences dialog box.)

Yes, Reader lacks builds, background templates, and animation. But think about what it does offer: if you have Acrobat, you can build a presentation in virtually any program; distill it into a PDF file; and head out on the road, knowing that you’ll be able to present it on any Mac or PC you encounter, using a free program that just about everyone on earth has installed.

Category: Office
Version: DC 2019.021.20047
Download Size: 201 MB
License: Free to try
Release Date: October 24, 2019
Last Updated: November 3, 2019
System requirements: Mac OS X 10.14 or later

Download Adobe Reader

Replacement Keyboards

Replacement Keyboards for Mac

Despite all the publicity surrounding the potential health risks of computing, most people don’t give more than a passing thought to choosing a new or replacement keyboard for their Macintosh. That’s a shame, because keyboards are probably responsible for the lion’s share of computer-related injuries.

Although they’re not meant to directly compete with each other, two new keyboards from Mac-peripheral veterans Matias and Macally’s illustrate the range of choices available.

Generic Input

True to its name, Matias Keyboard-in-a-Box offers a no-frills option for people on a budget who need a full-size keyboard. The keyboard sports a row of 15 function keys across the top, a numeric keypad at the far right, and a standard complement of cursor-control and page-navigation keys in between. The supplied six-foot cable connects the Mac to an ADB jack on either side of the keyboard. Like other input devices, the solidly built Keyboard-in-a-Box carries a five-year warranty.

The Keyboard-in-a-Box’s nearly silent keys feel a trifle spongy when pressed. As with other conventional keyboards, the Keyboard-in-a-Box’s keys are laid out in neat rows that tend to make your palms angle upward as you type, which puts stress on your wrists. Plastic feet at the back of the keyboard let you tilt it upward slightly; unfortunately, this position only accentuates the bend in your wrists, adding to the strain. (To be fair, these drawbacks are shared by all conventional keyboards. And to Matias credit, the brief manual includes a helpful section on workspace ergonomics and proper typing technique.)

Split Layout

Macally’s SmartBoard is designed to overcome the deficiencies of conventional designs like that of the Keyboard-in-a-Box, although there’s no guarantee that ergonomic keyboards can prevent or lessen injury.
The most obvious difference is the setup of the keys: instead of being arranged in horizontal rows, they’re split into two groups that are angled away from each other. This odd-looking layout, popularized by Microsoft’s Natural Keyboard, helps you keep your hands and forearms in a straight line when you’re typing, which minimizes the strain on your wrists. The two groups of keys are also angled slightly upward at the center, which allows your arms to assume a more natural position.
Unlike those of most keyboards, the SmartBoard’s fold-down feet–Macally’s calls them Wrist Levelers–are located at the front, so they tilt the keyboard backward slightly when they’re deployed. Negative tilt minimizes bending at the wrist, which may help prevent some computer-related injuries.

Unique Keypad

The SmartBoard sports another unusual feature that is claimed to provide additional ergonomic benefits. Instead of being uniform, like the key caps on most other keyboards, the SmartBoard’s keys vary in size, with the largest keys located farthest from the center. According to Matias, this makes it easier to type on the SmartBoard than on conventional or other split keyboards. Although I wasn’t able to verify this specific claim, the SmartBoard was easier on my hands and wrists than other keyboards I’ve used.

Alas, the SmartBoard also differs from standard keyboards in a few annoying respects. For example, there are only 12 function keys, so you’ll need to find a workaround if any of your applications require F13 through F15. The power key is located at the bottom left of the keyboard: it’s easy to hit it accidentally, bringing up the Mac OS shutdown dialog box.

It also took me a while to find the +/= key at the top right of the keyboard, instead of in its customary place next to the delete key. (According to Matias, the SmartBoard’s unusual key placements were necessary to keep the keyboard’s footprint small enough for the keyboard to fit on standard keyboard trays. The SmartBoard is actually an inch narrower than the Keyboard-in-a-Box.)

Like most other unorthodox keyboards, the SmartBoard has a definite learning curve–it took me more than a week to work back up to my usual typing speed. If you use a SmartBoard at home and a standard keyboard at the office–or the other way around–you may find it hard to switch back and forth every day.