When a group of, say, lawyers work together on a legal brief, it is often hard for them to keep track of one another's changes and suggestions. New software for networks of Apple Macintoshes claims the ability to make sure everyone in a work group instantly knows what changes their co-workers have made. Called Instant Update, the program comes from ON Technology Inc., the Cambridge (Mass.) company founded by software pioneer Mitchell D. Kapor.
Instant Update stores a master copy of any document in the network's central computer, or server. On command, the program distributes copies of the document to a list of co-workers, soliciting their feedback. Changes can be made to any one of those copies without affecting the others. When group leaders are ready to see everyone else's changes, they can press a button and Instant Update will incorporate those changes into their copy. As a leader scans the document, each change will be flagged--telling who made the change, as well as why and when. The program can even instruct the Mac to make a noise--perhaps a cry of "cool, dude!"--whenever a new change gets filed.