Software Carousel

Brian Smithson (brian@king.ca41.csd.mot.com)
Wed, 17 Jul 1991 10:03:58 -0700

I picked up a copy of Software Carousel as part of my quest for a product
which I can use to swap applications in and out of the UltraLite's 640K memory.
Unfortunately, I ended up with a 5-1/4" distribution, and the product really
needs to be installed from the distribution disks. I tried making a 3-1/2"
copy using LapLink, but it didn't work. :-(

Nonetheless, I was able to browse the manual. Here's a mini-review. Bear
in mind that I didn't actually *run* the product...

Software Carousel lets you run up to 12 applications (normal or TSR).
You switch between them using hot keys. When you switch, the current
application gets pushed onto disk. If you happened to have extended or
expanded memory, you could configure Software Carousel to push all or part
of the application into that memory -- the remainder would go onto disk.
Software Carousel also has a cut-and-paste utility for moving data between
applications, and a print buffer mechanism which lets you print from an
application and then either continue using the application or swap it out.

I didn't see any reason why one couldn't run Software Carousel on an UltraLite.
The Software Carousel programs themselves are not unreasonably large. There
are many special purpose programs and files for various things, like fixing
interaction problems between Software Carousel and particular application
programs, and these programs and files could be left off of the UltraLite
disk if they weren't being used.

Of course, it's unlikely that you could really run 12 applications on an
UltraLite, because it would take soooo much disk space to swap out 11 of them
that you'd have no disk left for the applications themselves! I think that
you could run two or three, though. I have a feeling that Software Carousel
is most useful if your use of the UltraLite tends to be fairly fixed -- that is,
you nearly always run the same set of applications. My reasoning on this is
that you can configure Software Carousel's "work areas" (where you run the
applications) and "resource area" (the swap area), and you'd probably want
to configure them fairly tightly so that you can run your applications with
minimal wasted resource area.

Even though it looks like it would work OK, I'm taking Software Carousel back
and not exchanging it for the 3-1/2" distribution. I may end up coming back to
it if I can't find another product which does what I want. What I want is
a product which does more or less what Software Carousel does, but I want to
also be able to suspend applications and power down, then power back up and
resume them. This feature is available on newer laptops and notebooks. I'd
really like to be able to somehow hook into the UltraLite's power fail warning
and have all of that happen automagically!

My other complaints about Software Carousel have to do with the swap area. It
wasn't clear from what I saw in the manual that Software Carousel does any
compression on the swapped data. That seems like an important feature on an
UltraLite, especially if you're not running Stacker or something like that.
Also, you have to pre-allocate swap area by creating a big file. You can
configure the file size from 0K to 9984K (yeah, right...), with a default of
1008K (?), but I'd rather have a product which used disk space as it needed it.
I'd rather run the risk of having it complain that there wasn't enough disk
space to do a swap than to chew up a meg of disk whether I'm using it or not.

I'm going to go ahead and try another product called StayAround. One of the
newer versions of StayAround has a suspend/resume feature. I'm not sure if
swap area needs to be pre-allocated. I'll post a review on it.

By the way, Software Carousel cost me about $50 -- not too bad -- and
StayAround lists for $60 - $90 depending on the version.

One last thing: I played around with a shareware program called Swap a while
back. There are several products in the Swap family. Some are for swapping
out particular applications, and one is supposedly for swapping out an
application when you do an escape-to-DOS operation from the application.
I tried the Swap product for swapping Lotus Metro, and it seemed to work,
but it hosed itself a couple of times. I think that I may not have had it
configured properly, and I think the documentation sucks, so I gave up on it.
Has anyone else tried any of these products on an UltraLite?

-- 
-Brian Smithson
 Motorola Inc., Computer Group, Commercial Systems Division
 10700 N. De Anza Boulevard, Cupertino, CA 95014 USA, (408)366-4104
 brian@csd.mot.com, {apple | pyramid}!motcsd!brian