The Low End Mac Mailbag

More on the Print Center, HyperCard Alternatives, Value of the Core Crib, and Still More

Dan Knight - 2003.05.19 - Tip Jar

Print Center Problems

After reading about my "doubled" Epson printer in the Print Center, Zach Tuckwiller writes:

I hope all is well. While browsing Version Tracker looking for a couple of utilities, I stumbled across a little application that may help out with the duplicate Epson printer in your Print Center on your TiBook (if you haven't already resolved it. I'm referring to the ESP 870 that had me stumped). This shareware app is called Print Center Repair (v 2.0.5) and it is a utility that will let you do several things in regard to printing, notably in your case, getting rid of the driver for your printer that is preinstalled with OS X. Hopefully, this can get you back to one copy of the Epson in Print Center.

Thanks for the tip. I downloaded the program. It looks very useful if you're having printer problems. Print Center RepairI was able to remove both Epson entries from the Print Center before I ran it - go figure - and clicking the button (gray in the screen shot) deleted all of my Epson drivers. Good thing I was simply able to copy them from my other driver.

At this point I'm down to a single driver for my Epson printer, but I still find it frustrating that there's no easy way to know once you've created the entry which one is the newer driver from Epson and which is the one that came with OS X. At least with only one now - and one I made sure to create with the more recent drivers - I don't have that worry any longer.

HyperCard Alternatives

After reading my summary in HyperCard Alternatives (quoted below), David Cramer writes:

HyperCard and AppleScript are two Apple technologies I've played with a bit but never found the time to master. From the sound of things, the project in question seems to involve a database, so I don't think a scripting language would do the job.

We ran an article about Runtime Revolution last summer, and I'd completely forgotten about it until you wrote. I'm guessing that SuperCard is probably going to provide the easiest transition from HyperCard to a native OS X program, but some of the other programs you suggest may produce better tools.

I think that's about the best analysis I can imagine ;-) At least we still have choices! I've downloaded the updated MacPython as well, because there's a FrameMaker scripting/programming interface being worked on that's based on Python. If I ever have any spare time (!) I might look at that, too.

FrameMaker - now you've got my interest! I worked for a publishing house, and the default design program was Quark XPress. Problem was, Quark couldn't handle footnotes, so we had FrameMaker for "academic" and other titles that used footnotes. That became my specialty, and I got to the point where I hated going back to Quark. FrameMaker is a wonderful, if not well known or appreciated, program.

Good luck with your HyperCard alternatives.

Flashing a Radeon 7000 AGP

Responding to comments about "flashing" a PC video card in Performa 6200 Unlisted Upgrade, Lennart Araskoug writes;

I just bought a secondhand PM/G4 400 MHz (Sawtooth) to upgrade from my iMac G3/600.

I just read your The Low End Mac Mailbag column from 2003.05.14. There was a brief comment about the value of flashing a PC ATI Radeon 7000 to be used on a Mac instead. Since I don't play games or anything, I found that the R7000/AGP would be a perfect replacement for the now a bit old ATI Rage AGP card to get full Quartz Extreme acceleration.

Buying a $60 R7000 and flashing it for Mac beats buying a Mac edition GeForce 4 MX for $180. But how do I do it?

Where can I find the files I need? Should I flash it from a PC or a Mac?

Please advise!

First, you need access to a PC - at least that's my understanding of it. I've never done it, but to the best of my knowledge it can only be done in a Windows PC.

Then you need the Mac files that will be written to the flash memory (hence the term flashing) on the card.

I'm sure there's info out there on doing this, but a quick Google search hasn't turned up anything helpful. Maybe a reader will supply the necessary information or links.

Slave Drives on a Rev. A Beige G3

M. R. Schaferkotter writes:

In your article Power Mac G3 (beige): A Good Buy on 20030515 you write:

We should note here that the beige G3 with the Rev. A ROM does not support slave drives. It cannot boot from them in any version of the Mac OS, cannot see them when running the classic Mac OS, and can only access them when booted in OS X. Because of this significant limitation, although the beige G3 is generally considered a very good buy, the Rev. A model is considered a Road Apple.

I purchased 4 of these machines (Rev. A) to create an OS X cluster and maxed the memory (768 MB), added IDE 40 GB hard drive, and 400 [MHz] ZIF processor upgrade.

The only thing that I still wanted to do was to add a second drive. It was my understanding that one couldn't add the second drive on these machines.

"...and can only access them when booted in OS X."

You seem to be saying here that one can add the drives and actually use them. I wouldn't care about booting from them; I would only want the 2nd drive for additional "scratch" storage.

Is that possible? Please forgive if I've totally misunderstood what you are saying, as I might have misinterpreted the info about the beige machine. In fact, I didn't realized the Rev. A slave drive issue until after purchasing the machines. People are selling the Rev. C ROMs on eBay for "way too much" to warrant replacing the ROMs.

I would really like to sort this out. I'm not an admin or hardware guy, just scientific programming.

Thanx for your time.

I love to read the Low End site articles. I have 14 (yes, 14) Macs, including Mac IIx, Mac IIci, 660AV, 5300cs, 6112, 6500, 7100, 7200, 4 beige, iMac 266, and titanium PowerBook (and I'm not a hardware guy!).

Yes, the beige G3 with Rev. A ROMs can see and use slave drives, but it cannot boot from them. The biggest reason I consider this a serious enough limitation to mention on the site is that until now there have been no powerful third-party disk utilities that ran natively under OS X, so you'd have to boot in OS 9 to use Disk Warrior, TechTool, etc.

Now that OS X disk utilities are starting to ship, there's less reason to avoid the Rev. A machines for use with OS X - but we still want to be sure users know that they won't be able to see slave drives unless they're using X.

CoreCrib or B&W G3?

Rick Hansen writes:

Thanks for the Mac Musing about CoreCrib.

I've got a B&W G3 with all the memory, hard drives, and PCI cards I need. Is there an advantage to the CoreCrib over a simple processor upgrade?

The G4 processor supports a higher speed memory access mode that only works on a motherboard that supports it. Because of this, we consider the "Yikes!" Power Mac G4 a Road Apple - it's essentially a B&W G3 with a G4 processor in the ZIF socket. It's not a bad system, but it was unnecessarily compromised, since Power Macs with the new motherboard that supported faster memory access were announced at the same time as the Yikes!

The CoreCrib uses a motherboard specifically designed for a G4, so you'd gain the improved memory access speed. You'll also benefit from an AGP video card, which has a much faster bus than the PCI video on your B&W G3. If you're running OS X - or plan to - this will give you access to Quartz Extreme graphics acceleration.

You should be able to move everything over to the CoreCrib, although you'll probably want to invest in an AGP video card. You should be able to get in for under $500 plus whatever CPU speed you choose - and probably get $150-200 for your stripped G3 with the old G3 CPU and original video card.

If you do this, let us know what you think of the CoreCrib. And let me know if you decide to sell the stripped B&W G3 (unless it's a Rev. 1 motherboard). It would make a great replacement for some of our older servers that are unsupported under OS X.

No Combo Drive G3 iMac

David Sindt writes:

Thanks for your recent article concerning upgrade-options for slot-loading iMacs. There was a significant error, however, that I noticed in this particular article and others in the past. The slot-loading iMacs were never available with a Combo drive option. CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, and CD-RW drives were the only options.

Hard to believe that any Mac that was so recently in the product line wasn't available with a Combo drive, but you're right. I've updated the article to correct the error.

Claris Home Page

Adam Bewsey writes:

I read your page daily and recently added LEM to my "toolbar favorites." (I know you need support), I use a 333 Lombard, and your site keeps me focused on what I have and it's greatness vs that lust for all Apples weekly new releases. I can't keep up anymore.

That said, I saw the post re: availability of Claris Home Page, and I wondered did you say you still use to create some of your LEM site. I'm looking for an entry level Web page design program, and I used HomePage once in a Adult Ed class. Is it still viable?

I know you said it lacked some of the more up-to-date technology. I know you're extremely busy, but I was just curious.

Thanks so much for your hard work and great site. You really help me out.

I've been using Claris Home Page 3.0 since 1997, and I used 1.0 and 2.0 before it. It's easy and efficient. It's far from up-to-date in terms of supporting current HTML standards, but it does create HTML code that seems to display correctly in every browser out there. Unless you want to do hand coding or are prepared to spend several hundred dollars, there's not a better deal for the Mac webmaster. It's not perfect, but it's good enough.

CoreCrib Not a Low-End Solution

Continuing our discussion from last week, Peter da Silva writes:

The CoreCrib allows Mac users to do something Apple hasn't let us do since the era of the Mac IIci - buy a bare bones computer and build it the way we want it. Believe me, when I worked at ComputerLand of Grand Rapids, we sold a lot of SEs, SE/30s, IIcxs, IIcis, and other Macs that we ordered in the minimum floppy-only configuration and upgraded with RAM and third-party hard drives for our customers.

But you were starting with a working system supported by Apple, with the OS and processor included.

The CoreCrib isn't competing with the essentially unexpandable eMac, iMac, or iBook. It's intended for the Mac user who wants expansion options, and depending on how much can be moved older from an existing Mac, the cost of a CoreCrib can range from under US$400 to over US$1,200. It's not for everyone, but I believe there is a market for this box.

There's a market for anything, but you were describing it as something for the bargain hunter. And you're still using unreasonable prices.

You can't put together a system for $400, unless you're just getting rid of your old case; you need everything else from the old system to get that price. That's $400 for a new case.

And building it up yourself if you don't already have the parts just doesn't make sense. Your collection of used parts ended up costing as much as CoreCrib's basic 800 MHz system. Buying new parts at retail would push it up even higher - into the range where a new faster Mac that'll take even faster processors would be more cost-effective.

Where it makes more sense is at the other end of the market, where you're looking at a loaded box with more room for expansion than Apple's machines allow.

It's a high end, not a Low End Mac.

Rick Hansen might disagree with you. He's got a B&W G3 and is considering moving to the next level. He could get by with just a CoreCrib and a G4 CPU. And someone with a Sawtooth G4 who found the limited number of drive bays limiting could migrate for just the cost of the CoreCrib itself.

You're right that having Core build a system is competitive with building your own if you don't already have some of the parts, but I don't recall the ready built systems being listed on the site when I wrote the article. For someone who doesn't want to spend $1,500 for a new single processor 1 GHz G4, being able to build exactly the system they want or need starting with the CoreCrib is a viable option.

The CoreCrib isn't competing at the very bottom end, which is where the eMac live. It's definitely a hobbyist machine intended for someone who might want several CD burners, doesn't need the latest CPU speed, etc. It's an affordable way to acquire a very expandable computer, especially for someone who already has a Mac, hard drive, media drive, and copy of the Mac OS.

Screen Captures from DVD

Scott Brown

I read your article on HyperCard and your possible future eMac purchase.

My two cents re: Hypercard and OS X. It does indeed run in Classic, and frankly, I will always have at least one machine that can run it, either in OS 7/8/9x or in the Classic mode. Why? Because there is no other product that combines ease of use, power, and speed of development like HC.

Yes, there are far more powerful programs (such as Metacard, etc.), but they have the large learning curve that HC does not. I just have no desire to invest a few hours in learning them if HC does everything I need. Besides, I have built quite a few stacks that handle personal chores quite well, and I don't want to deal with the conversion/re-writes at this point.

A sort of super-QuickTime was supposed to be the next iteration of HC, but that project died. I think it would be smart of Apple to bring the product back, make it OS X native, etc., but I don't expect that to happen any time soon.

On to the DVD screen capture issue. Ambrosia SW has a product that does that pretty well: Snapz Pro X. I haven't tried it myself, but I've heard good things about it, and the Ambrosia site states that you can capture stills or movies from a DVD as long as you have an Nvidia or Quartz Extreme capable ATI card.

Oh, you can also record your own QT flicks, plus do the usual screen captures of various needs. Free demo for download.

As long as HyperCard works for you, I'm not going to suggest you switch. I still use Claris Emailer and Home Page, two wonderful applications that will never be available for OS X. Ditto for Mizer, a practically ancient HTML compression program, and BBEdit Lite 4.6, which does exactly what I want for free - unlike the current X-native version. Photoshop 5.5 does everything I need, so I don't anticipate spending the money for 7.0. And I use FileMaker Pro 3.0 rarely enough that I can't see spending money to upgrade it, either. (Ditto for MS Word 5.1a.)

Three cheers for the classic environment, which lets us keep using our old Mac apps as long as it makes sense to keep using them!

Next time I want to try a screen capture from a DVD, I'll download the demo version of Snapz Pro X and try it out. Some day I'd like to have the time to write some more reviews for, but the site is essentially in stasis at present.

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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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