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CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for MAC USERS #18,
05/14/01
Contents Copyright 2001 by Christopher Plummer
===============================================

THIS ISSUE:
-----------
CHRIS AUCTIONS CONSULTING!! (SUMMER RE-RUN)
UPDATES: OS X 10.0.3 (YES, THIS IS NEW.), SOUNDJAM MP A GONER
UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK
COMMENTARY
GEEK SPEAK REVIEW
GOOD NEWS FROM THE LAND OF TIMAC
OCCASIONAL Favorite WEB SITE
Special Bonus Keyboard Commands



ANNOUNCEMENT: PREDICTABLY, CHRIS AUCTIONS CONSULTING!!
------------------------------------------------------
(This is a rerun of a self-promotional announcement.)
It's THAT TIME. This year (as last) I'm donating consulting hours to the
Delaware Township Community Education Foundation at their annual fund
raising Auction. The auction is a GALA SOCIAL EVENT with lots of fine
food and drink, held under the stars at the quaint and historic
PRALLSVILLE MILL on the Delaware Canal on the outskirts of beautiful
Stockton, New Jersey. Come and have a great time! [You might find me
tending bar.] This year I'm offering TWO hours of Macintosh
consulting. You have to attend to bid. Come, have a great evening, and
maybe pick-up some help at a GREAT PRICE. I know last year someone did,
DIDN'T YOU? Please remember, I DON'T DO WINDOWS. The Auction will be
held on May 25th. Call Jane Roosa for information and tickets,
609-397-0848. Subscribers from other parts of the world, this is your
chance to see Beautiful Western Central New Jersey at it's best!! I'll
honor the consulting time, but if you want me to come to Australia
(PLEASE!), you'll have to cover my travel expenses! Is there a Marriott
in Sydney? I'll bet there is.


GEEK SPEAK ALERT: Resetting the PRAM (defined in this issue!)


UPDATES:
--------
[OS X - That would be 'TEN'. Or AQUA for the rest of us.]
Another bug fix release - 10.0.3

<http://asu.info.apple.com/swupdates.nsf/artnum/n12181>


SOUNDJAM MP A GONER -
It was only back in U&O #16 that I predicted the demise of my favorite
MP3 player, SoundJam, at the hands of Apple's favorite (free) MP3 player,
iTunes. What I didn't mention is that I wrote the CEO of Casady and
Greene, suggesting that he COME CLEAN and tell the Mac community what was
going on with SoundJam. I even wrote a press release for him. Did he
listen to me? Who knows. But today C&G announced the end of SoundJam MP
as of June 1, 'at the request of the developers', who all work for Apple
now. I only hope Apple will add the missing SoundJam features to iTunes,
such as the ability to use it as an Alarm Clock. AND we should appreciate
that Casady & Greene like any GOOD MAC COMPANY, DID THE RIGHT THING and
told us the truth.

<http://www.soundjam.com/>
<http://www.casadyg.com/>


UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK:
------------------------------
Just the usual accolades. (Thanks!)



COMMENTARY:
----------
TEN, TEN, TEN!! It just doesn't work guys! Expecting our brains to look
at three characters and pronounce one as the letter 'OH', and the next as
the letter 'ESS', and then the third as the letter 'EX' NO! NO! NO! (See
what I mean?) The third as the ROMAN NUMERAL 'TEN'!

Only a stubborn genius like Steve Jobs could have insisted on OH ESS TEN.
Even the most simple minded Marketing person at Apple must have foreseen
what a royal pain this name was going to be. Did any of them have the
cajones to tell Steve? Probably not. Even if they did, he'd say, "Hey, I
was right about disk drives, wasn't I?" And they'd say, "Let's call it
'AQUA' Steve, people will like that!" And Steve'd say, "No. Don't you get
it? Generation 'X', uniX. It's gotta have an EX. It's a marketing thing!"
And they'd say, "Leave the marketing to Marketing Steve, that's what you
pay us for!" And Steve says, "I pay you? Everyone says the worst thing
about Apple is its marketing. They've said that for twenty years! Have I
been paying you for twenty years? I wonder what our market share would be
if you were working on commission!" "Steve, you want them to think EX but
say TEN. It's too complicated." And Steve would say, "You bozo, I killed
Newton, tell me that was a mistake! We're profitable!" And they'd think,
"Palm and Handspring..." but they'd say, "How about we just SPELL it OS
10?" And Steve would reply, "Are you still working here? OS/2 is IBM's
Operating System. Do you think I want ANYONE to have the slightest
perception that OH ESS EX - damn it! - OH ESS TEN is in any way related
to some antique rubbish code from IBM??"

Well we know who won the argument. So now WE THE CONSUMERS have to do
what we did with 'Mac OS' when Apple kept calling it 'System 4.5.7' and
mindless names like that. We've got to NAME IT OURSELVES!! Although I
still think the best thing is to just call it AQUA, I've had another
thought. We could abbreviate it and call it 'OX'. Two easy letters. Lots
of room for revision numbers. At least it's a name that calls an image to
mind. A strong, trusty, no nonsense animal that gets the job done. What
do you think? :-)



GEEK SPEAK REVIEW:
------------------

Volume
A word we use to describe an icon on your desktop where a bunch of files
are kept on a storage device such as a floppy disk or CD-Rom. Why don't
we just call it a "disk" or a "disk volume"? Because a volume can be a
RAM DISK (which is really only present in RAM), or a DISK IMAGE and
because some media, such as hard drives and CD-ROMs can have MULTIPLE
volumes. If you've ever put an "enhanced CD" in your Mac, you'll see
this. The CD contains regular CD-Audio data which comes up as one icon.
The Multi-media content comes up as another Volume.
[Let me take this opportunity to recommend "The Ultimate Blue Train"
enhanced CD, by John Coltrane on Blue Note.]

It can get confusing. Don't worry about it. Just think of a Volume as an
icon on the desktop that can have stuff like folders and files inside it.

Disk Image
A *file* that when double-clicked "launches" and appears as a Volume in
your Finder. A Disk Image can actually consist of multiple files, that
when launched, combine to appear as a single large volume. You've seen
this neat trick if you downloaded the 15 4Mb Image files of the OS 9.1
update.

System Folder
The big folder on your Startup Volume that contains all the guts of your
Mac's operating system and A WHOLE LOT MORE. Lots of things to change,
lots of things to mess up. Best left to people who have read at least one
book about their Mac or who happily pay a competent consultant (that
would be me) to muck around in there - or not.

Applescript
Apple's REALLY COOL built-in programming language that can automate
activities in the Finder, applications, and across the LAN on somebody
else's Mac. Worth learning about. One of the things that helps keep the
Mac dominant in several forms of media. I mean, you can have scripts that
will size your JPEGs, drop them in a layout program such as Quark, suck
the captions out of your AppleWorks word processing, and print out the
whole thing as a magazine. To even come close to doing this in Windows,
you'd have to buy a thousand dollar's worth of Microsoft development
tools and hire a Visual Basic programmer to try to come up with a way to
do it. With Voice Recognition, you can have scripts that tell your X-10
Home Automation system to turn on the lights in your Kitchen when you
say, "Macintosh. Kitchen Lights On!" This deserves a whole separate
OVERLOOKED AND UNDERUSED article, which may appear UNPREDICTABLY in a
future issue.

USB, USB HUB, POWERED USB HUB
Universal Serial Bus. At its most basic, a jack on your Mac and a special
cable that attaches to another jack on another device, such as a
keyboard, mouse, scanner, digital camera, joystick, etc. USB had A LOT OF
PROBLEMS when it first came out a couple years ago on the original iMacs.
But most of the hardware and software drivers I've used lately seem to
have cleaned that up. Downloading the latest USB drivers from Apple, or
direct from your peripheral vendor, might fix flakey problems with USB.
It oughta work the way it is supposed to. That is, hot-swappable - you
should be able to plug devices in and unplug them without having to
restart your Mac. Daisy chainable - plug one device into another device,
into another device, into your Mac. You shouldn't have to plug every
device into one of the USB ports on your Mac. Sometimes you need a USB
HUB, which adds additional ports. It's a good idea to get a POWERED HUB,
which provides additional power to the USB devices, instead of trying to
suck it all out of your Mac. The original iMacs and some of the G4 Macs
were rumored to have notoriously WIMPY USB power.



GOOD NEWS FROM THE LAND OF TIMAC
--------------------------------
How I made out with Epson Drivers and MY UNRULY TRACKPAD (cont. from U&O
#17
)

The Unruly TrackPad
UNPREDICTABLY DEDICATED READERS wonder how I could possibly get out this
issue with all the AWFUL TrackPad problems I was having with my otherwise
AWESOME PowerBook G4 'TiMac'. Well, I visited ALL THE USUAL SUPPORT
SITES, where I found a great deal of commentary about the problem.
Finally I went to Apple's Tech Support Discussion forum where the problem
was discussed under the heading 'Crazy Mouse Disease' or somesuch.

<http://www.apple.com/support/>

Someone there suggested ZAPPING the PRAM. That's what we Mac old timers
call what is referred to in the Mac Help Center as 'resetting the PRAM'.
(Make the Finder active, select 'Help Center' from the Help menu. Then
search for PRAM.) This is an old fix that goes back as far as I can
remember (and I can remember when Macs came in little tan boxes and had
nine inch MONOCHROME screens with a SUPERFAST 4.7 Mhz chip and a HUGE
400k floppy. I'm a little fuzzy on this, but I think IN THOSE DAYS we
zapped the PRAM by removing this weird battery from the Mac's back.)
Nowadays, you have to restart, hold down [Command]+[Option]+[P]+[R] until
you hear a startup chime, and then keep holding it down until you hear
the chime again, then let go and let Mac.

MUCH TO MY SURPRISE, zapping the PRAM cleared up darn near all the whacky
behaviour of my TrackPad. It could well be that going SIX days without
restarting caused the alignment and sensitivity of the TrackPad to go
berserk and gradually corrupt some settings file. I don't know. I still
think the pad is TOO BIG and there should be a non-conductive space
between the TOO STIFF button and the pad itself. But I am happy that it
is USEABLE.

Epson Drivers
UNPREDICTABLY DEDICATED READERS will remember that my first attempt at
installing Epson drivers for my Epson 800 Color Inkjet on my OS 9.1 TiMac
caused a MAJOR DISASTER. To be honest, I didn't follow the NUMBER TWO
RULE OF INSTALLING NEW SOFTWARE, which is, 'Startup with Extensions off
BEFORE running the installer'.

Why not, you ask? After all, I am the experienced TRUSTY CONSULTANT
right? Call it impatience, call it a cavalier attitude sometimes
masquerading as CONFIDENCE, call it anything, just don't call it OH ESS
EX. ;-)

FYI, the NUMBER ONE RULE OF INSTALLING NEW SOFTWARE (you were wondering
if I would tell you, weren't you?) is also the NUMBER ONE RULE of
everything on a computer. And you know this. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A RECENT
BACKUP!

So here's how I installed my Epson Drivers and ACHIEVED PRINTING SUCCESS
with OS 9.1.
First, I made sure to GET CURRENT by downloading my printer drivers.

<http://support.epson.com/filelibrary.html>

Then:

1) Startup without Extensions (Hold the [shift] key down during startup.)
2) Run the Epson Installer from the 'Stylus Color 800' Folder.
Instead of 'Easy Install' I selected 'Custom Install' and only installed
the 'Network Driver Package', because my Epson is on my network. Most
people would probably select the 'Serial Driver Package' instead. The
advantage of this Custom Install is that I AVOIDED installing ColorSync
2.0, which is DEFINITELY NOT THE CURRENT VERSION of ColorSync. Often
these installers are smart enough not to install an old version over a
newer version, but since I had already suffered one install disaster, I
wasn't going to take any chances. I was forced to Restart then.
3) I started without Extensions (again).
4) Ran the Epson 'Stylus Driver Updater'. (No choices necessary).
5) Restart.

And the ol' TiMac came up without a hitch! I wonder sometimes how much
harder (or easier) this would be if I weren't such a 'Mac Expert'. What
if I just started up without Extensions and did the 'Easy Install'? Would
it work? I like to think that 'Jane Average User' would have been able to
do this without a lot of pain, as long as she read the READ ME files.
Email me if you have some feedback on this!

At some point I had to use the Chooser. My printer appeared in the
Chooser window. (This is a GOOD THING.) I selected it, and I printed a
test page.


PRINTING TROUBLESHOOTING TIP: One of the best ways to test printing is to
print FROM THE FINDER. That way you eliminate the possibility that your
APPLICATION is causing a problem.

1) Make the Finder active: click once on the Desktop (or if you don't
know what that is - god forbid - the Trash icon).
2) Select the VERY LAST item on the File menu. This should be 'Print
Desktop'.
3) When the print dialog appears, save time and paper by filling in the
'From' and 'To' fields with the number 1. (This way you only print a
single page. Printing a whole Desktop nearly always takes several pages.)
4) Click [Print].
And see what happens!

It worked for me. ALL IS WELL IN THE LAND OF TIMAC!! :-)



OCCASIONAL Favorite WEB SITE
----------------------------
Here's where David Pogue publishes teasers of some of his books in hopes
that you will buy one. There's lots of good stuff, including an article
on how to do a 'clean system install'. Good for our OCCASIONAL 'Hanging &
Crashing' theme!

<http://macreviewzone.com/art/hang/index2.shtml>



Special Bonus Keyboard Commands (sort of)
-------------------------------
HOT TIP for 9.1 - 'ABOUT THIS COMPUTER' CAN BE USED TO 'SWITCH' APPS:
FINALLY you can use the "About this Computer" window as an application
switcher! From the Finder, select "About this Computer". The Window
appears that lists all your currently running applications and how much
memory they are allocated and using. Double-Click an application icon to
switch to it.

[Option] + Double-click to switch to the application and close the 'About
this Computer' window.

You can also select an application icon and use [Command]+I to bring up a
'Get Info' window for that application! [Discovered UNPREDICTABLY by
YOURS TRULY. If you come up with any other key/click combinations that
work with 'ABOUT THIS COMPUTER', let me know!!]


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.
Unsubscribe - email with "Stop Unpredictable" in the Subject.

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 :-)