DataViz’s MacLinkPlus: a disappointing lack of updates

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
April 23rd, 2003 • 4:19 pm

MacLinkPlus Deluxe is a pretty much indispensable tool for any Mac user who has to exchange files with PC users. PC users, being the overwhelming majority, tend to forget that their computing platform is not the only one, and to send attachments in formats that many Mac users cannot read. MacLinkPlus Deluxe comes to rescue by “translating” such file formats INTO Mac-friendly formats.

I reviewed the latest version of MacLinkPlus Deluxe, which is version 13 and is the first Mac OS X native version, a full 20 months ago.

Rather unbelievably, the application has not been updated once since then. DataViz has quietly updated the application internally to version 13.002 (don’t ask), but you can only obtain this more recent version if you purchase the MacLinkPlus Deluxe CD. If you own version 13.000, there is no downloadable updater on their web site. (As of this writing, the web site appears to be down. Another bad sign.)

This, of course, would be OK if the application were perfect and didn’t need any updates. Unfortunately, my experience indicates that this is simply not the case.

Today, for the umpteenth time, I tried to translate a WordPerfect for Windows file using MacLinkPlus Deluxe 13 which caused the application to crash. No matter how many times I tried with various settings, the application would just crash.

Having some experience with this, I knew that I should try translating the same file with an older, Mac OS 9-only version of MacLinkPlus Deluxe. This had worked before.

The trouble is that, as I recently mentioned, I have erased my whole partition and reinstalled everything from scratch. So I had to reinstall MacLinkPlus Deluxe 11 in Classic.

I fired up Classic, and launched the installer. The installer asked me for a location, and then told me that it would have to quit all open applications. Fine, I thought, you are the only application open in Classic anyway, so you won’t have to quit anything.

Uh oh. The trouble, see, is that, by some twisted reasoning, Apple has implemented things in such a way that, when a Classic application says that it needs to quit all other open applications, Mac OS X understands it as all applications, not all other Classic applications (as it should). So it quits everything, including all the Mac OS X-native applications that you might have open.

This is rather irritating, since these Mac OS X applications are completely unaffected by an installation process in Classic, and conversely they have absolutely no impact on such an installation process.

So I watched as Mac OS X quit all applications, including Safari and the gazillion web pages that I had left open for later reading. Grrr…

Then, once the installation process was over, the MacLinkPlus Deluxe installer told me that the installation required a restart of my machine.

At this stage, you’d expect a complete restart of Mac OS X, right? Think again. While the Classic installer required that Mac OS X quit all Mac OS X applications, on the contrary, it only required a restart of Classic itself, not of the whole Mac OS X environment. This makes perfect sense, of course.

What does not make sense is that the installer would require that you quit all Mac OS X-native applications before starting the installation process.

Anyway, I finally was able to restart all my Mac OS X applications and to launch MacLinkPlus Deluxe 11 in Classic. And, of course, the translation of the problematic WordPerfect file worked just fine with MacLinkPlus Deluxe 11.

So obviously there is a bug in MacLinkPlus Deluxe 13 that didn’t affect earlier versions of the product. And it’s a pretty major one if it prevents you from translating certain straightforward WordPerfect files.

The trouble is that I have already reported this problem to DataViz’s tech support. In fact, I first experienced it while I was testing MacLinkPlus Deluxe 13 for review, a full 20 months ago. They got back to me, I sent them a problem file, and then… nothing.

Twenty months later, they still haven’t released an updater that fixes the problem!

What’s going on, DataViz?

2 Responses to “DataViz’s MacLinkPlus: a disappointing lack of updates”

  1. Alec says:

    I have an iMAC OS 8.6 and need to open and read a PC file

    from the latest version of MS Office Works. I am stumped.

    What to do ??

  2. Pierre Igot says:

    There’s no such thing as “MS Office Works” AFAIK. If you are referring to MS Works, MacLinkPlus Deluxe supports the following formats:

    MS Works Mac 3
    MS Works Mac 4
    MS Works Win 2
    MS Works Win 3
    MS Works Win 4.5
    MS Works Win 95

    which means that you can use it to convert any file in one of those formats into a file format that your Mac can read. (Depends on what Mac software you want to use to read them.)


Leave a Reply

Comments are closed.