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CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for MAC USERS #13,
04/02/01
Contents Copyright 2001 by Christopher Plummer
===============================================

THIS ISSUE:
-----------
LONG AWAITED! In this HUGE ISSUE, More help with CRASHING AND HANGING!! I
know that not everyone wants to wade through a LONG newsletter.
OCCASIONALLY you might want to skip my fascinating Mac trivia, insightful
observation, and personal commentary of questionable merit. THAT'S OKAY.
Note the new 'Bullet' format for 'THIS ISSUE'! I want you to GET WHAT YOU
NEED! :-)

NEW!! UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK
UPDATES: Important OS 9 Update Info
THE JOYS AND DANGERS of MUCKING AROUND IN THE SYSTEM FOLDER
OVERLOOKED AND UNDERUSED: Files Find Their Way Home
Know The Difference: By Popular Demand, I DON'T LEAVE MICROSOFT ALONE!
Special Bonus Keyboard Commands



UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK:
------------------------------
ONE READER complained that I SHOUT too much. But C'mon DAD, it's MY
NEWSLETTER!

'Spinner' asked for advice on where to get a new hard drive installed
because his NINE GIGS OF MP3s need a new home! The still unfortunate
enigma of Mac service. Maybe the new Apple Stores will help? Spinner,
just order a hard drive, bring it to the cafe, and I'll help you install
it - you can buy me a Chai, or if things go wrong, a Kava. Or try a real
Apple Authorized Reseller:

'G2 Computers' in Newtown, PA. 215-321-6542,
'The Computer Forum' in Doylestown, PA 215-345-4411.

TELL THEM 'UNPREDICTABLE' SENT YOU. (Maybe I'll find a sponsor!)



GEEK SPEAK ALERT: QTVR, Clean System, Extension Manager, Conflict Catcher
-----------------



UPDATES:
--------
[WE'RE TALKING OS9 HERE]
Software Update Control Panel version 1.2.

Taking my own advice to GET CURRENT (UNPREDICTABLE #9), I tried to use
the Software Update Control Panel (covered way back in UNPREDICTABLE #3)
and it didn't work right. It told me there was a new Software Update
Control Panel version 1.2. In other words, it had to update itself! And
it didn't seem to be capable of that. You have to do it the OLD FASHIONED
WAY.

[Check yours. Go to the Apple Menu, then Control Panels. Open the
Software Update Control Panel. With it open, go to the Apple menu and
select, "About Software Update". This will give you the version number.
If it's 1.2, you're current as of this writing.]

To update it, I went to Apple's software update site.

<http://asu.info.apple.com/swupdates.nsf/Search?OpenForm>

Let me SAVE YOU SOME TIME. When you get to this page, search for
'Software Update Control Panel'. When you get the results, you want
'Automatic Update Software 1.2'. (I guess they didn't want to call it,
'Software Update Control Panel Update'?.) Download it. Reminisce about
the good ol' days as you run the Installer and RESTART. When your Mac has
come back from La La Land, open the Software Update Control Panel. Run it
again. Don't be surprised if it finds some new stuff. Mine found these
items, which I also updated:

CarbonLib 1.2.5
AppleShare Client 3.8.8



THE JOYS AND DANGERS of MUCKING AROUND IN THE SYSTEM FOLDER
-----------------------------------------------------------
"Whan that aprill with his shoures soote" - Well, it was ALMOST back in
Chaucer's time when you could freely go into the System Folder and easily
figure out what you didn't need, and just trash it. This was a way to use
less memory, make your Mac work faster, and get all kinds of unneeded
junk files off your hard drive. You might even fix a problem with HANGING
AND CRASHING in this way. Let's face it, if I don't have a video capture
card in my Mac, why should I have some TV Tuner extension in my System
Folder? And THESE DAYS you might say, if I don't have a USB port in my
trusty old PowerBook, why do I need all these freakin' USB extensions
that iTunes dumped in there?? Heck, Apple even gives us this COOL
Overlooked and Underused tool called the EXTENSION MANAGER that lets us
create SETS that turn extensions on and off without actually throwing
them in the trash.

This worked fine up until a few years ago. We were using System
8.something. My friend with a Performa installed everything from the
Install Disk and just left it. I installed everything from the Install
Disk, and being a bigger Mac Dog than him, I immediately 'cleaned up' all
the extra junk - I mean, Iomega drivers when I had no Jaz or Zip disk,
WEIRD 'Communications Tool Box' extensions, FAX drivers when I never
faxed anything, fifteen bizillion Chooser printer drivers for every
printer Apple ever made, and on and on. Within days my system was having
intermittent crashes and hangs. "Mine's workin' great," he told me,
"Never crashes". Now, according to my beliefs, HIS should have been
unstable, NOT MINE! Eventually I caved in and REINSTALLED a CLEAN SYSTEM,
except for re-installing my own software. And LO my Mac was tres stable!
Thus began the germination of the concept that MOST OF THE TIME it's
better to LEAVE YOUR SYSTEM ALONE. And isn't that what you want? To see
how this FERRARI handles? Instead of spending our time TUNING IT UP?

I could (and probably will) go on about this in more detail in other
articles, but TODAY I want you to have something USEFUL. And this is it.
I TRACKED DOWN some very annoying and mysterious HANGING AND CRASHING
issues that had to do with NOT HAVING certain items in the System Folder.
THINGS that anyone might have innocently removed (or 'shut off' with
Extension Manager or Conflict Catcher) - even at the mistaken, published
recommendation of one of the more respected Mac authors. I could drag
these out into at least three more issues, but YOU NEED HELP NOW!!

1) SYMPTOM: Does your Mac HANG when you put it in 'Sleep' mode, or does
not 'wake' from Sleep without requiring a Restart?

This could be due to removing the "Multi-Processing" folder (or it's
contents, "Apple CPU Plugins" ) inside the Extensions Folder, inside your
System Folder. Even though you may only have ONE processor in your
Macintosh, SOME programs for some reason that I can't FATHOM including
the System's ability to Sleep and Wake properly require it. If you don't
believe me, you can read:

"Do Not Remove the Multi-Processing Folder" Apple Tech Info Library
Article TIL 25048

I know of THREE people (one of them being me) that fixed this problem by
reinstating their Multi-Processing folder to full rank and pay. EVEN if
you're not experiencing these exact symptoms MAKE SURE THIS STUFF IS IN
YOUR SYSTEM FOLDER. There's a similar problem that ONLY PowerBook users
might have with the SLEEP extension, or the wrong version thereof. I
don't recall the details on this, except that it has been resolved.

BTW: On MacInTouch, one person stated that REMOVING the USB Support files
for MP3 Players (Rio, etc.) that are installed by SoundJam, eliminated
the same problem.


2) SYMPTOM: Finder freezes when expanding a file. (If you don't know what
'expanding a file' is, and don't know what STUFFIT is, I will cover them
someday when I write about FUN STUFF on Macs, until then READ this whole
section ANYWAY.) Attempts to quit the Finder cause a System-wide freeze.

True Finder Integration (Aladdin Stuffit), REQUIRES these OS9 items.
[There are other programs that do too, including Applescript dialogs in
System 9.1, but I couldn't find all my notes on this. - Chris] NOTICE
PLEASE that you may not be using MULTIPLE USERS. You may not have any use
for all the SECURITY stuff. You may not be connected to an APPLESHARE
network. BUT FORGET ALL THAT. JUST MAKE SURE THIS STUFF IS IN YOUR SYSTEM
FOLDER.

Control Panels:
Multiple Users

Extensions:
Appleshare
Multi-User Startup
Security Cert Module
Security Library
Security Manager
Security Policy Module
Security Storage Module

Machine DOES NOT need to be configured for Multiple Users, and you do not
need to be sharing files.

[From the MacFixit Aladdin Support forum - I couldn't find the original
post. - Chris]

<http://www.macfixit.com/cgi-bin/ultimate/Ultimate.cgi?action=intro>


If you turned these things 'off' with Extensions Manager or Conflict
Catcher, TURN THEM BACK ON. If you pulled them out of your System Folder,
PUT THEM BACK IN. Don't know where they go? Jump ahead to the O&U article
(below).

Okay. What if you DON'T have some of this stuff, and you CAN'T find it on
your hard drive with Sherlock? Well if you know how, you can do a PARTIAL
install from your System CD. Or you could do a complete RE-Install of
your system or disk from the install/restore CDs that came with your Mac.
But be careful please - make sure you have your data backed up. There are
books and websites that can help you with this. (Some of which I've
referred to in this and previous issues.) Or you could always call your
TRUSTY Mac Consultant. ;-)



** OVERLOOKED AND UNDERUSED ***
-- Terrible tales of misunderstood and unknown features. --
------------------------------------------------------------

MOST FILES HAVE SOME IDEA OF WHERE THEY BELONG!
You have a file on the Mac Desktop that you've been working on, you KNOW
you have a specific folder where it belongs, but can't remember where the
folder is buried? Well, in the Finder, click on the File Menu, and select
'Put Away'. If the file wasn't CREATED on the Desktop, or hasn't spent
time recently in the Trash, it will be Transported back to its folder!
ENERGIZE.

SYSTEM FILES CAN FIND THEIR OWN WAY HOME!!
You can drag Extensions and Control Panels and most other System Files
and drop them on your CLOSED System Folder in the Finder. You can even
grab a whole bunch of them at once. You'll get at least one dialog asking
if it's okay to put them in their respective folders. This almost always
works. There are some things that have amnesia, like Preferences Files.
If you want to be Extra Careful, you can drop items ONE AT A TIME. If
anything just disappears without a word, it fell into the System Folder
without a map, where you can pick it up and give it a ride home.



Know The Difference
-------------------
WINDOWS System files are Windows files. If Windows needs 'em, they better
be where they belong. Windows will make an effort to look for DLLs in all
kinds of places, but that's a nightmare I'd rather not go into. Don't go
around draggin' and droppin' Windows files onto the Windows System folder
and expect anything special to happen. The Windows Desktop isn't really a
Desktop like Mac users are used to. There are NO FINDER MENUS. At least
not in NT 4.0 or Win 95, which I sometimes use. I can't keep up with the
product churn and do Win 98, 2000, ME, or whatever the NEXT 'BEST
VERSION' is. Macs ARE different.

And That's The Difference.



Special Bonus Keyboard Commands
-------------------------------
[Command] + Y

When you have a file selected on the Desktop, this command is the same as
selecting "Put Away" from the File Menu. (See the O&U Article above, if
you skipped it.)

When you have a floppy disk (remember those?) or a CD, and probably even
some other removable media like a ZIP disk selected on the Desktop, this
command will EJECT the media.

When you have a Shared Volume mounted on your Mac desktop, this command
will UNMOUNT the Volume.

IT ALL MAKES SENSE, DOESN'T IT? But then, that's why you bought a Mac!

TFSB :-)




=========================================================================
** CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for Mac Users **
Oriented towards, but not exclusively for, Mac Users in Beautiful Western
Central New Jersey. Published Whenever - About Whatever!
=========================================================================

Non-profit, non-commercial publications may reprint articles if full
credit is given. Others please contact the editor. Accuracy of articles
is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Caveat lector. Publication,
product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their
companies.

Sample Issue - email with "Sample Unpredictable" in the Subject.
Subscribe - email with "Start Unpredictable" in the Subject.
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Back Issues available to subscribers upon request.
**


 

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All contents copyright 2000-2008 by Christopher Plummer, ZebraTale LLC, except where noted. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Unpredictable was published from 2001 to 2008. Although updated occasionally, this is a historical archive - expect dead links. Caveat lector.
Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. TFSB :-)