Charles Moore's Mailbag

SuperMacs, Fan Noise, Presentation Software, and iBook Issues

Charles Moore - 2002.01.24 - Tip Jar

Umax S900 advice

Joel A. Quiaoit


I just discovered your articles and have found them interesting. I have a Umax S900 604e, and I am planning to buy another internal SCSI hard drive to complement the 2 GB IBM drive that came with the system. The problem I have found is I can't find larger capacity drives (36 GB) with the existing 50 pin configuration. Where can one get advice on adding drive capacity? Any references on reputable place to by another drive?

Joel Q.

Hi Joel,

I don't know if 36 GB SCSI drives are available or not, but if they are, they're gonna be astronomically expensive.

My advice would be to get an ATI/IDE controller (Sonnet makes a good one), stick it in a PCI slot, and then install your choice of big IDE drives, which are a lot cheaper and more easily available than SCSI drives. You can still keep your 2 GB IBM drive as well.



From S. Pedersen

I empathize with your desire for quiet (fanless) PC cooling.

There are several noise sources: processor fan, drives, power supply. The latter is most of the problem. A fanless power supply alone would practically solve the problem.

I think power supply fans are oversized by design - and their high noise is the price of a cheap yet profitable PC. No $$ incentive to offer anything else.

Heat pipes using phase-change fluid would be a practical, more expensive alternative - I think people would be willing to pay more, but the noise factor is one of those things no one thinks about during specification.

Except for Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive. Unfortunately the heat of the G4 is (at least Mac Plustemporarily) defeating them.

I used to love using my old (fanless) Mac Plus running from a floppy. Only an occasional grunt from the drive and the clicking of the keyboard.

Older PowerBooks running booted from a RAM disk with the hard drive spun down were even better.


Presentation software?

From Josh Rodefer

Hi Charles,

I've enjoyed your columns (on all the sites), and I've been particularly interested in your recent discussion of alternative word processors (i.e., not MS Word). Do you know of any similar alternative presentation packages as an alternative to PowerPoint. I've used Claris/AppleWorks for many office-type projects, but inevitably I come back to PowerPoint for making presentations. Any hope that Apple will add this to future versions of AppleWorks?

Many thanks,

Hi Joshua,

UPresent sounds like what you're looking for.

Thanks for reading!


UPresent 2.6.2/UPresent X 2.6.2 Multimedia Presentation Software

UPresent is a multimedia presentation application that has been used to give presentations to tens of thousands of students at the University of Minnesota and around the world. It has been designed for flexible, interactive control of presentations, and a short learning curve. Learning how to use the application takes only minutes, even for the novice. Developed over the past eight years with input from faculty, staff and students, UPresent makes the ideal presentation tool for the classroom. UPresent allows you to incorporate graphics, video, audio, 3D models, text, videodisc sequences, or links to URLs and even launch other software applications. A scripting feature allows you to assemble menu items in any sequence for a presentation. You can construct multiple presentations (scripts) within a UPresent data file, and move seamlessly between them during a presentation. The application also allows you to embed presentations within presentations. You can even set up scripts to run as automated slide shows, not only with graphics but with movies and transitions. A videodisc editor provides the opportunity to repurpose videodisc for inclusion in digital presentations. Text tools allow you to quickly add text to your presentations. Live video can be viewed from any video input hardware.

The new publish to web features allow your content to be automatically optimized for the Internet or you can grab full control over the exported size of movies and images, the file type of images exported, and also, a fully customizable web navigation interface for your published site. Using a template approach to web navigation, you can choose from the built in navigation schemes for your published content or design your own!

UPresent 2.6 has these new features aimed at making the application easier to use:

  • Publish to web. Your content will be automatically optimized for the Internet or you can grab full control over the exported size of movies and images, the file type of images exported, and also, a fully customizable web navigation interface for your published site. Using a template approach to web navigation, you can choose from the built in navigation schemes for your published content or design your own! UPresent will take care of the rest. Furthermore, CodeBlazer Technologies will be periodically providing new templates for UPresent as a FREE download to version 2.6 users.
  • Includes the new UPresent Helper AppleScript droplet that automates creating a presentation from a set of multimedia files on your hard drive.
  • We changed some of the terminology to make it easier for new users to understand. The old "Scripts" are now "Presentations", "Define Menus" has become "Define Content Menus", and "Edit Items" has become "Edit Content Items". Everything has the same functionality as before, just with new names.
  • The User Manual has been revised and updated with new information.
  • New HTML based help.
  • Text cards are now stored in a cross platform format. The new text cards can not be read by older versions of UPresent and UGather. Text cards can be exported as SVG files now (suitable for web page use).
  • You can fit text cards to still image backgrounds via the "Fit to Background Image" command in the Style menu. No more guessing how large the background image is supposed to be.
  • Removed the "Anti-alias" command from the Style menu of text cards. All text UPresent displays is always anti-aliased.
  • Better Mac OS X support (UPresent X)

The supported file formats are (With QuickTime 4.X Installed):

  • 3DMF
  • AIFF
  • AU
  • Audio CD Data (Macintosh)
  • AVI
  • BMP
  • DV
  • FlashPix
  • QuickTime Image File
  • QuickTime Movie
  • SGI
  • SMIL
  • Sound
  • Targa
  • Text
  • TIFF

With QuickTime 5.0, Macromedia Flash Animation and MPEG-2 will also be supported by UPresent!

  • GIF
  • Karaoke
  • MacPaint
  • Macromedia Flash
  • MIDI
  • MPEG 1(Macintosh)
  • MPEG 1, Layer 3(MP3, M3U)
  • Photoshop
  • PICS
  • PICT
  • Pictures
  • PNG
  • TIFF-fax
  • Virtual Reality (VR)
  • Wave

System requirements:

  • PowerPC based Macintosh
  • Mac OS 8.1-9.x (including Mac OS X Classic Environment)
  • QuickTime v4.0 or higher
  • 15 MB free RAM
  • 10 MB free disk space
  • For Mac OS 8.6-9.x: CarbonLib v1.1 or higher

UPresent X

  • Mac OS 8.6 or higher with CarbonLib or Mac OS X 10.0 or higher
  • QuickTime 4.0 or higher

UPresent is $115 demoware.

iBook (Dual USB) issues

From Ian Campbell


I got the machine back from Apple, and the fix worked out fairly well. Trouble is that the problem is coming back. It's not as bad as it was, but it's there. I'll be contacting Apple again, and hoping that they can get it so the problem does not come back. Though, other than this, the machine has been perfect. I made the full migration to OS X and have been nothing short of amazed by how responsive and stable it is. Though, with the case problems I've had, and seem to be having again, my Umax S900 will always be there as my backup machine.

~ ian

Hi Ian,

Sounds like you have a defective case. I wonder what they did at the repair center? Gave it a shot of WD-40?

Keep bugging them till you get it right.


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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at and a columnist at If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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