Charles Moore's Mailbag

Surfing with a Mac SE, Power Mac 8100 Hard Drive Woes, iCab vs. Camino, Windows Media Player, and More

Charles Moore - 2004.11.15 - Tip Jar

Older Mac on the Web

From Bcpnyc

Thanks for your helpful, step by step way to hook an older Mac up to the Internet. I was hoping you could answer a couple of follow up questions for me:

  1. Is there a 56k modem you would recommend to hook up an old Mac SE/HD?
  2. Is is possible to connect using DSL?
  3. What is the latest OS that I could upgrade to?

Thanks for your help.

I'm new to the Mac world. I have a PowerBook G4 17" and love it. I have converted 5 friends so far to Macs. I just bought the Mac SE/HD off eBay.

Hi B.

Modem: These days whatever you can find with a Mac DIN-8 connector. I am partial to the old Global Village modems but have had good success with US Robotics as well. Both work fine with my old Mac Plus (even older than your SE)

DSL? I don't think the SE supports an ethernet card* (the SE/30 does), so that would be out.

The latest OS version your Mac supports is System 7.5.5. I have System 7.0 installed on my Plus for Internet support.

That said, while the Plus works great for email (Eudora Light), these old compact Macs with their 1-bit displays are not really satisfactory for Web surfing, and there are no decent browsers available.

For the best source in information on getting ancient Macs online, visit Jag's House.

Charles

* Editor's note: The SE does support an ethernet card, but because the expansion slot was unique to the SE, they're not easy to find. You'll also want to make sure any card you find has software drivers and used the same kind of ethernet port (usually 10Base-T) as the rest of your network. dk

Question about Power Mac 8100

From Philip Mayor

Hi. I really hope you can help me.

I have a Power Mac 8100/80av (original owner) with a G3 accelerator installed in it.

I recently had an additional internal hard drive installed which is about a 38 gig drive.

It appears on the desktop and everything seems fine, but I get a desktop message window (when the computer is finished booting up) saying the drive is too large to use with this system and I should either partition it or upgrade my system (I'm running 9.0.1).

All the techs I've talked to tell me I should be able to use a large drive (like 38 gig) without any problem.

Is it possible it was installed incorrectly? Or will upgrading to system 9.1 fix the problem?

Even though it appears on the desktop and seems to be okay, if I copy large files to it the computer crashes about halfway through the copying process.

I've also tried reformatting the drive, making sure to select "Mac OS Enhanced." I even tried partitioning it into two equal parts, and I still get the error message.

Any suggestions?

Philip Mayor

Hi Philip,

OS 9 should be able to address a G8 MB hard drive with no problem. However, I would encourage you to upgrade to OS 9.1 anyway, because it's a better, more stable version - and it's free, so why not?

While you're at it, I would suggest doing a clean system reinstall (i.e.: install a fresh copy of OS 9 and then run the OS 9.1 updater).

That might solve the hard drive issue. If not, perhaps there's some oddball hardware glitch or defect/incompatibility with the drive, although I haven't a clue what it might be.

If the OS 9.1 update installs an updated version of the Drive Setup utility (I don't recall), you might also try reformatting the drive with it.

Charles

Charles:

Thanks for the advice. I think I have to pay for the upgrade to 9.1 - I haven't been able to find it for free anywhere. Maybe you know some other way. I have 9.0.4, and from that there is no "update" to system 9.1, so I have to purchase 9.1.

I currently have my computer with a tech to see if there is some hardware problem, because what you've told me is what others have - it should be able to recognize a large drive. I was going to do a clean install when I somehow get the 9.1 software.

Thanks. Philip

Hi Philip,

If you have any version of OS 9, from 9.0 on up, you can update right up to OS 9.2.2 for free, although 9.1 is the latest build supported for your 8100.

You can download the updaters here: http://docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=75288

Charles

Re: iBook Tote and Tilt?

From Sam

To see a product I really like disappear like that really breaks my heart. I guess those of us that love the handle will just have to do without. :(

Thanks for looking into it. I really appreciate it. :)

-sam

Hi Sam,

I can't say categorically that it is no longer being made, but I couldn't find any evidence that it is.

Charles

Re: Optical Drive Friction

From Eric Fauss

Hi Charles,

I found out what the problem was. The U-shaped metal plate guarding the internal components of the optical drive (the lens is situated in between the arms of the U) was causing the friction. After some careful pressure, the metal no longer interferes with the disc. I don't know what caused the problem, but whatever it was it seems to be fixed for now. It still makes some noise when spinning, but it doesn't sound like friction at least.

Thanks for your suggestion, luckily I didn't need to go through the ordeal of opening my computer!

- Eric

Hi Eric,

Glad you found a solution.

Charles

Apple Download Problems

From Ptolemy

I have many bad attempts to access the Macintosh Apple software site for info and software on such as IIe, gs, plus some for older Macs on apple.com.

To be blunt, it is the worst place to go for downloads unless the underpaid toilers who work for hours perhaps days to find downloads and put in specific URL's on the Internet. An example: ftp://ftp.apple.com/dts/aii/lc.iiecard/ie-installer-disk-image.hqx....

Be nice if worked or the Apple search engine identified it and rerouted it, but alas that is a wish. The reason I am sending this email is to suggest that if many people could embarrass Apple, they might think about a better search engine than they have now. I propose we make a game of Apple Downloads. Post it on Slashdot make and Apple's search engine a source of derision. What would any company do if their site became a resource for gamers trying to break an impossibly crummy search engine???

Hi P.

I agree; the Apple search engine is lame, and the organization of their support site leaves much to be desired.

Charles

iCab to Camino

From Anonymous by request

I know you use (or used to use) iCab a lot. I'm beginning to believe Camino could be a worthy successor. I've just played around with its tabbed browsing, bookmarking tab groups, converting a folders of bookmarks into a tab group, etc. As one who also used iCab "98% of the time," I'm moving into Camino wholesale. I'll be keeping iCab for its archived files and its download Web page options only.

Compared to Camino 0.8.1, Firefox 1.0 is less finished and feels rushed. It doesn't deserve a version number of 1.0.

Shiira could also become a good browser in time. Every time I use it, I get a hankering for a tuna sandwich. Its sidebar solution (like BBEdit's) is the way some of the bloatier browsers should go.

As for Safari, it's a good looking browser with wicked live scrolling that has cured me from wheel-mouse envy - but iCab users are control freaks and Safari feels a tad simplified. Which brings me to Exploder. I haven't used it since I closed my Citi account (because I disliked its preferred browser). Since I switched to OS X via a G5, I opened it once by mistake and then immediately hit command-Q and felt immense relief when it disappeared.

Sincerely,
Anonymous by request

Hi A.

I still use iCab as my main browser in OS 9, and also for certain workaday tasks where its manual control precision is unmatched by any other browser.

Camino is nice, but doesn't fully support drag & drop into text fields (iCab, Firefox, Mozilla, and Netscape do), which rules it out for my purposes.

I also keep one of the Safari-based browsers running.

Charles

Yes, Camino is still a work in progress. Click to download (instead of option-click) on a download link, and you might get a page full of gibberish, like I did. I thought I'd use Camino for 90% of my surfing, but I realized late yesterday that I still need my iCab - even if it's impossibly slow on eBay, can't figure my passwords, can't change the Toolbar background on OS X, and renders many pages in an odd manner.

Sigh. I take half of what I said about Camino back. I prefer it to Firefox, though.

Cheers,

Anonymous by request

CD-RW Drives

From Tyler

Hi. I was wondering if you could tell me what drives or companies are Mac compliant. 'Cause I was told that some work even though they say they don't. I would like to get an internal one for my B&W Power Mac.

Any help would be of great appreciation!

~Tyler

Hi Tyler,

I'm not an expert on this topic, but I think most CD-RW drives can be made to work with Macs.

Christian Moeller's PatchBurn hack can help enable unsupported drives in Macs

PatchBurn is a freeware tool to patch existing CD/DVD-drivers (under Mac OS X 10.2.x) or to generate and install new device profiles (under Mac OS X 10.3.x and later). It allows many otherwise unsupported burners to be used directly with Mac OS X, iTunes, and Disc Burner.

System requirements: Mac OS X 10.2 or later

Charles

Windows Media Player Won't Open

From Dave Steele

Hi Charles,

I've got a brand new iBook. I installed Windows Media Player, and it worked for a few days. Now it won't even open. The icon just bounces incessantly in the Dock. I tried dumping the player and reinstalling and correcting permissions. I even redownloaded the installer and tried again. All to no avail. Any ideas?

Hi Dave,

I try to shun Microsoft software as much as it's practical to do so, and I have zero experience with Windows Media Player.

Did you try trashing the WMP preferences?

Perhaps our readers will be able to help.

Charles

Thanks Charles,

Actually, I did manage to fix it by trashing the preferences.

I admire your ability to avoid Microsoft software. I very much enjoy your writings and advice, as well.

Dave Steele

Thanks!

I find that deleting the preferences often works with misbehaving Microsoft (and other) applications.

Charles

Letters sent may be published at our discretion. Email addresses will not be published unless requested. If you prefer that your message not be published, mark it "not for publication." Letters may be edited for length, context, and to match house style.

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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 Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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