The Low End Mac Mailbag

PowerBook Duo and DuoDock Problems, No TPM on Most Intel Macs, iTunes for Linux, and More

Dan Knight - 2008.07.17 - Tip Jar

Mac mini Displaying Some Web Images in Grayscale, not Color

From Joe Williams:

Dear Dan Knight,

Hello again!

I have an Intel 1.66 GHZ Mac mini that I bought new in 2006. I splurged and got 2 GB of RAM, and all seemed well. The mini was a little powerhouse, and, except for some initial Adobe CS2 on an Intel box issues, I was able to do graphic design work perfectly well. All was right with the world until I saw a 21.6" LCD monitor for sale at a price I couldn't pass up. I ordered it and quickly swapped out the massive 19" CRT "hotbox" for the sleek, cool, flat-panel goodness of my new toy. The 1650 x 1180 image looked terrific, and I was happy until I checked out Photoshop CS3 and iPhoto. The display was displaying my RGB images as gray. I noticed as I was surfing around the Internet, some images on web pages would also appear in gray while others would show up in color. Is this a problem with the vampire video card? Have I bitten off more monitor than the mini can chew?

Both the old and new monitor have analog VGA connectors. The old CRT displayed my colors in color.

If this is a mini issue, I'm thinking of upgrading the video card on my G4 Gigabit Ethernet machine. It runs the Adobe CS2 suite perfectly well, and, with the 1.6 GHz processor upgrade I put in it, it's a rock solid machine. What do you think?

Low End Mac is the first site I look at every day! Keep up the good work!

Thank you!

- Joe Williams from Philly

Joe,

I've never heard of such a thing, nor am I able to find such a problem using Google. I'll post this in the mailbag in hopes a reader will have an answer.

Dan

Dear Dan,

Thanks for getting back to me.

I may have narrowed down what the problem is since I wrote you yesterday. I hooked the new monitor up to my G4, and, despite some slight jerkiness, it worked fine. I had it hooked into a VGA port on an old PCI video card I had scavenged from an older computer. I booted the G4 into 10.4.11, and it displayed at normal (even at 1650 x 1050). I think the culprit may be the VGA/DVI adapter on the Mac mini. I had caught some vague mentions of the adapter on some posts, and it seems to make sense. I'm going to try a different adapter when I get home from work. I'll let you know how I make out. You might want to hold off running this on LEM until I give it a whirl. That way you can get the whole story.

Thanks.

-Joe

PowerBook Duo 230 Won't Boot

From Reuel Baptista:

Hi Dan,

I picked up a Powerbook 230 from a friend the other day.

When the laptop is connected to the power pack, there is a clicking noise coming from the speaker until the on button is pressed. Also, the positive terminal of the battery was filled with gunk, however, I cleaned it out. Also, the positive terminal inside the battery bay is very fragile.

The battery is charging. I left it for 1 hour, and voltage increased from 0.8 to 5V, but no boot up. No hard drive sounds or anything.

You have any suggestions/thoughts etc.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,
Reuel

PS. I look on your site for help (which is really good), however, I had no luck :-(

Reuel,

Thanks for writing, although I may not be much help. I have no hands-on experience with any PowerBook Duo model.

After a little Google research, it looks like the most likely cause of your problem is the power manager. To reset it on your PowerBook Duo, hold the power button in for 30-45 seconds. This should reset the power manager and the system clock, which will now think it's 1904. If that doesn't work, Apple suggests "removing all power sources and letting the computer sit for 10 minutes. (Disconnect the AC adapter, remove the battery and the internal backup battery.) This forces the PowerBook Duo to reload the Power Manager code from the system software."

Your computer is over 15 years old, so the battery is probably worn out even if it does report 5V of power. Still, I would expect the 230 to run with the power adapter even with a dead battery or no battery. If you do get it running with the battery, I suggest you use Battery Amnesia to help restore some life to that old battery.

My final guess is that the PRAM battery is dead; on some Macs, a dead PRAM battery means the computer will not boot. The PRAM battery can usually be recharged - just leave the power adapter plugged in for a day or so. If you have to replace the PRAM battery, the best deals I can find are US$14 from Wholesale Batteries US and US$15.20 from BestLaptopBattery.com.

For the best support, I suggest you join DuoList, an email list run by the Macintosh Guy of Portland for those using PowerBook Duo models and the PowerBook 2400.

Dan

Hi Dan,

Thanks for your e-mail. I tried leaving the machine to charge overnight. When I woke up, I was greeting with a lovely burning smell. On further inspection of the logic board, I found that a part of it near the battery bay was blackened and the chips nearby were very hot. I think it is safe to say it is well and truly fried.

Regards,
Reuel

Reuel,

I am sorry for your loss. :-(

Dan

The Ticking DuoDock

From Steffen Barabasch:

Hi there,

Re: Vintage Macs Everywhere and Fletch's DuoDock:

The tick is not the motor but the PSU, and it's called the Click of Death (not to be confused with the Zip-drive one...) since it means the PSU won't fire up. Chances are that you only need to replace one particular capacitor, but I tried that in the past and it didn't work back then. I have another DuoDock II that has become non-functional after a while due to the problem (first rule seems to be: never unplug a DuoDock, it went kaput after I plugged it off during a holiday), so it seems I get another chance at trying to revive a DuoDock PSU...

In short: The Duo and its Dock is a cute machine, but terribly flawed in way too many aspects.

Just found this page with details:

http://www.sci.ccny.cuny.edu/~cleary/computers/duo.html

Take care,
Steffen

Steffen,

Thanks for the information and the link. I wasn't familiar with this problem.

I've forwarded your email.

Dan

TPM and Intel Macs

From William R. Walsh:

Hi Dan!

I know it seems like I write into Low End Mac quite often. I hope you don't mind that.

I saw an article on the LEM RSS feed today about the TPM (trusted platform module) and Snow Leopard, and it brought to mind an article I'd recently read on the very subject of the TPM device that is present present in some Intel Macs. The article, written by Amit Singh, is here:

http://www.osxbook.com/book/bonus/chapter10/tpm/

I would suggest that anyone interested in the subject read the article, as it offers a reasonable explanation of what is going on. There's also some "how" with example programs and code.

But that's not the primary point of my letter. In the link above, Mr. Singh clearly states that most if not all of the current Intel Macintosh lineup (at the time the article was written, October 2006) do not have TPM in place. Nor is the firmware "aware" of the TPM device. Apple seemingly does not include a driver for the OS to make use of it, either.

The lack of TPM hardware in some Intel-based Macs means that those systems would have no way to work with the kind of method that Ed Booher suggested Apple might use with the Snow Leopard release to block those who want to run Mac OS X on conventional PC hardware.

I don't think that Apple would do that to their customers. And the OSx86 community (which has some very capable behind it) probably won't be out of luck just yet.

William

William,

Thanks for the information. Apple has managed to avoid heavy-handed protectionist tactics on the Mac platform, outside of protecting its ROM code and things like that. I don't anticipate Apple implementing the kind of paranoid authorization and authentication schemes Microsoft is known for, and it's nice to know that many Intel Macs don't even include TPM.

Dan

Snow Leopard and Trusted Computing

From Jack Beckman:

Hi Dan,

One big flaw in Ed B's reasoning about TPM and Snow Leopard - few Macs have a TPM installed. Yes, I'm talking about Intel Macs. I have the latest MacBook Pro - no TPM. My Mac Pro - no TPM. Apple seemed to drop the chip almost immediately. My first generation MacBook Pro has the chip, but I think that's the only Intel Mac I have that does.

You can read all about it - and find the command to see if you have a TPM installed at Trusted Computing for Mac OS X.

Jack

Vintage Mac Desktop Patterns

From Dan Gayhart:

Hi Dan,

The other day I had an urge to switch my desktop wallpaper - and take a walk down memory lane. I wanted to use the original Mac OS 7 Desktop Patterns, but after throughly scouring the Internet - I came up empty-handed. It was shocking to think that no one had ever uploaded these vintage desktop patterns!

I knew it would be a bit time-consuming (well, a couple of hours really), but I was determined get these patterns. I downloaded Mac OS 7.5.3 free at Apple, installed Classic on my PowerBook G4. Using Tomeviewer, I extracted the Desktop Patterns Control Panel, and copied each Desktop Pattern, one-by-one, into jpeg files.

I know I'm probably not the only one who will want to re-live this bit of Mac OS history - I've created a page here with all of these desktop patterns for everyone to enjoy! I thought it might be of interest to the lowendmac.com community!

Regards,
Dan Gayhart

Dan,

What a blast from the past! I especially like the one with the colored rubber bands.

Dan

Where to Sell an Old Mac

From Trevor Howard:

LEM Mailbag,

The time has come and space/financial reasons have dictated I need to sell my beloved old Power Mac G5 Dual 2 GHz (Late 2005), she has been a faithful friend, but I just don't have a use for her or the space for her anymore I'm afraid :( So I made the painful decision: I should give her to a new home where a Mac enthusiast can give her the attention and purpose she needs!

However, due to reforms at eBay which basically arent so fair for the seller (especially in the neighborhood of seller protection against buyer fraud), I do not really want to sell it there, which leaves me with a pretty big problem, where do I exactly sell it?

There's a place I used to offload some old PCs, but they'll only give me about $200 for my beloved old G5, and I know its worth a little more than that!

So in my dilemma I thought I'd go to what I feel is the best place to ask. So anyone out there, Help?

-Trevor H

Trevor,

Let me introduce you to the LEM Swap List, which we've been running since Sept. 2000. It's not an auction site; it's a way for buyers and sellers to connect, and it has a pretty good track record. We require sellers to include their real name and location (city and state), and if they have an eBay rating, their eBay ID as well. We ask that buyers provide the same to sellers as they negotiate the purchase, and also that phone number be exchanged.

It's not perfect, but it's pretty good. We also run the Swap Feedback list where users can share their experiences, both good and bad. There are a few warnings there, so you might want to look before dealing with a potential buyer.

BTW, Mac2Sell estimates the value of your dual 2 GHz G5 at about $780, which is ballpart for a private sale. Dealers are typically selling them used with a 90 day warranty for around $1,100.

Dan

Mac Mysteries

From Fletch, continuing the conversation from Vintage Macs Everywhere:

There are many mysteries surrounding the Power Mac G3 models, both the beige variety and the Blue & White. I think we've covered most of them, but we keep learning more even a decade after their release.

It reminds me of the beige G3's Revision A/B/C ROM DIMM issue. Found out the hard way that Sonnet's Tempo Trio would force me to actually downgrade to Rev B. I got a custom-flashed copy of the DIMM from a friend, not an Apple OEM, that's what made that machine experimental.

If I hadn't found the G4 Gigabit, I would've had a real dilemma on my hands, as I would've been trying to figure out if it was worth $40-50 to find out if these machines were indeed Rev. 2. Also I would've been trying to find a way to take the cleanest machine, which was the one without a Zip drive, and put one of the three other machines' Zip drives into it.

I've never had my hands on a PowerBook Duo, but between the Duo list and our readership, someone is bound to have an answer for you.

Before I emailed you I did a couple of casual searches for "powerbook duo" and "won't dock" or some variation and turned up nothing. After a quick scan of the archives for the Duo list at themacintoshguy.com, I figured out what should've been obvious to me: it's called the "tick of death", like Iomega's "click of death". Duyh. Now I'm going to find out if I have any really good friends with soldering skills, I have to replace a capcitor in the power supply.

Thanks again.

Fletch

Fletch,

Some of the best resources for older Macs are email lists, including dozens that we launched and several run by the Macintosh Guy of Portland. Good luck with the repair.

Dan

iTunes for Linux

From Timothy Sipples:

In his recent letter, Dan Finegan criticizes Linux for its lack of iTunes.

Actually, there are at least three ways to run iTunes on Linux for a Mac (or something very much like it):

  1. Run iTunes for Windows in a virtual machine. The free virtualization solutions for Linux include QEMU, VMware Player, and VirtualBox, among others. I can confirm that at least QEMU supports PowerPC Macs and is actively maintained, unlike Microsoft's VirtualPC.
  2. Run iTunes for Windows under Wine or its commercial cousin, Crossover Linux. This is probably exclusively for Intel Macs, but Wine provides enough Windows API compatibility to support iTunes.
  3. Run an alternative to iTunes that supports iPods, notably Banshee. Banshee is currently capable of syncing your music collection with any iPod model except the touch and the iPhone. The only big function missing in Banshee is support for the iTunes Store and its DRM. But you can shop at Amazon's on-line music store (for example) and get the same music without nasty DRM.

Timothy Sipples

Timothy,

Thanks for the information. I can't imagine running an x86 emulator with Windows on a PowerPC Mac too old to run Tiger. As far as Wine goes, it requires a 2006 or newer Mac, and we don't see any reason to abandon the Mac OS for Linux on such modern hardware.

Being able to buy music and videos from the iTunes Store is an important feature in iTunes, as is the ability to deal with software for the iPhone and iPod touch. While Banshee may have the same basic capabilities as iTunes, not working with music we've already purchsed from the iTunes Store doesn't make it an option for many of us.

Dan

VHS to DVD

From Chris Kilner:

Like Jim Haudenshield, my Dazzle had some sound sync issues (due to bad VHS signals) back in the OS 9 days that I solved with a Canopus ADVC-300 with its built-in Time Base Correction. The file-size issue is a non-starter; you can't get away from the fact that DV files are ~12 GB/hour, but to watch a show, it doesn't need to be saved to the hard drive (and B TV can also save it in smaller formats).

More recently, with a good VCR and OS X, the Dazzle works just fine . . . my kids even use it as a pseudo-iSight with an ancient analog Video8 camcorder. In order of quality and ease of use, the Canopus is tops, the MiniDV analog pass-thru is second, and the Dazzle is last . . . mostly due to the so-so quality of the analog-to-DV compared to the others.

While the TV Box can be a solution for those with a separate monitor, it won't work for iMac, eMac, iBook, PowerBook, MacBook, or MacBook Pro users that don't have a VGA-in port (but do have FireWire ports). It also won't work for those with DVI or ADC monitors (without an added converter).

For conversions to DVD, I use VCR > ADVC > Mac for tape I want to edit and VCR > ADVC > Lite-On DVD Recorder for tape I don't want to edit. With a firmware update on the Lite-On, nearly all DVD players can play the recorded DVDs (some older DVD players can't play any recordable disc).

Chris Kilner

Chris,

Thanks for the additional info!

Dan

Dithered Images

From Jay Hilgenberg:

I found your piece on dithering interesting. Back many years (around 1989) when stochastic printing was supposed to be the answer to high resolution printing, I experimented with dithering. I had taken a color image, changed its size to final printed size, changed its resolution to 600 dpi, then dithered each of the CMYK channels in Photoshop. The image was put into Quark and output to film using a Linotronic at the time. Each plate imaged at 2400 dpi; the image appeared as 600 dpi. When printed we had achieved a color image with no halftone dots and very high detail. If I am not mistaken, this is what stochastic was supposed to be. Stochastic printing was used for a short time by National Geographic magazine and some other high end projects, and even some annual reports. This type of printing also eliminated any possibility of morié patterns forming.

The only problem with doing this was that the images had to be at its final size. Manufactures of the RIPS were trying to incorporate the algorythms to do this on the fly so you could just send a color separated file to the imagesetter.

Try this and see what I am talking about. With 4 color images dithered on top of each other.

It is interesting, because you can print high quality color images with small file sizes.

Image size without dithering 12.7 MB

Image size with dithering 9.5 MB

I don't know if anyone still is using this method or not, but back then it was cool.

I tried this using Hyperdither, and of course it works the same. The image does have more detail than Photoshop would offer, but it is a bigger workflow.

Interesting article,
Jay Hilgenberg

Jay,

Thanks for writing. I used to work in publishing, and I remember the buzz about stochastic printing. I guess the big difference between dithering and stochastic is that stochastic places dots randomly while dithering places them specifically. In the end, especially at high resolution, the results should be similar.

Dan

Power Mac G4 with FW800 that Boots OS 9?

From Jim Miller:

Hello.

I want to offer you some better information about the various models of Power Mac G4 with brightly reflective drive doors. Although three models with this appearance were made by Apple, only two were advertised as "Mirror Drive Door" models. Here are the details of the three models listed chronologically as they were sold by Apple:

  • "Power Mac G4 Mirror Drive Door" with 2 FireWire 400 ports, can boot to OS 9
  • "Power Mac G4 FireWire 800" with 2 FireWire 400 ports and 1 FireWire 800 port, cannot boot to OS 9
  • "Power Mac G4 Mirror Drive Door" (reissued) with 2 FireWire 800 ports, can boot to OS 9

This last model, the final Power Mac G4, was produced in response to many pro users who complained about no OS 9 boot in the FireWire 800 model. It was the last Power Mac G4, the only Power Mac G4 with 2 FireWire ports, and the only Mac with FireWire 800 that can boot to OS 9.

Jim Miller (worked for Apple during those years and still own a Power Mac G4 Mirror Drive Door with 2 FireWire 800 ports)

Jim,

Thanks for writing. I've just double-checked with Apple's website and everything else Google could find, and every resource out there says the June 2003 "reissue" of the MDD Power Mac G4 has two FireWire 400 ports. None of them say anything at all about FireWire 800 ports.

Dan

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Dan Knight has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. Mailbag columns come from email responses to his Mac Musings, Mac Daniel, Online Tech Journal, and other columns on the site.

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