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CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for MAC USERS #19,
05/17/01
Contents Copyright 2001 by Christopher Plummer
===============================================

THIS ISSUE:
-----------
Another big issue. Sip. Skip. Savor. Nibble. I don't KNOW when I'll get
to the next issue. I've nearly written a Mac Geek Speak dictionary, so
that item should go away soon. There's a HELPFUL lot here, OCCASIONALLY
enhanced with fascinating Mac trivia, insightful comments, and personal
commentary of questionable merit. Back by popular demand, I DON'T leave
Microsoft alone. (If you think *I'm* funny, read the Bush Energy Plan!!)
Also, please forward this to your MAC FRIENDS. I want more subscribers. I
NEED APPROVAL. :-)

UPDATES
NEWS
UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK
HANGING AND CRASHING - Change the Allotted RAM
GEEK SPEAK REVIEW
OCCASIONAL Favorite WEB SITE
Tips
Know The Difference
Special Bonus Keyboard Commands




UPDATES:
--------
(Roxio, formerly Adaptec) Toast 4.1.3, CD burning software -
Provides a fix for a problem in the 'Internet track-naming' feature
according to VersionTracker. There are separate updates for both the
commercial and OEM versions. Make sure you get the right update.

<http://VersionTracker.com/moreinfo.fcgi?id=86>


[For OS 9.1 ONLY] Open Transport 2.7.6 -
Here's a MYSTERIOUS DESCRIPTION from Apple's site:
"Update resolves a minor issue that prevented some applications from
behaving as expected. It is recommended for all customers, especially in
education. OT 2.7.6 Update is for Mac OS 9.1 only. It will not install on
earlier versions." Download it here (below), or use the Software Update
Control Panel.

<http://asu.info.apple.com/swupdates.nsf/artnum/n12217>



NEWS:
-----
DOUGLAS ADAMS HITCHES A RIDE OFF THE PLANET

"So Long, and Thanks For All the Laughs -- Don't panic! Noted
British humorist and Macintosh proponent Douglas Adams died
unexpectedly from a heart attack at a gym near his California home
last Friday. He was 49 years old. Among his many proclivities (he
had built barns, worked as a bodyguard, and played guitar with the
rock band Pink Floyd), Adams wrote the classic Hitchhiker's Guide
to the Galaxy series, which began as a BBC radio serial and also
spawned graphic novels, record albums, a play, a computer game,
and a television series. Adams had been recently working on a
feature film adaptation of Hitchhiker's for Disney. Although Adams
didn't try to write predictive science fiction, his works
engendered a surprising collection of Internet and pop culture
terminology (such as the name of AltaVista's BabelFish
translation service), and his fictional Guide - envisioned
long before the Web - could be described as a galaxy-wide
online collaboration system. Tributes from friends and fans
are being collected at Adams' Web site. [GD]

<http://www.douglasadams.com/>"

[My title. The above from TidBits #580, 14-May-01]


You might wonder, 'Like I should know who this guy was? Why the fuss
about Douglas Adams?' He was a Mac early adopter and technology advocate
who spoke publicly about his appreciation of the Macintosh platform.
Besides that, his fiction was a riot! If you've never read any of the
'Hitchhiker' books, try one. The first book starts it all, as Earth is
destroyed to make way for a Hyperspace Bypass (true fans can correct me
on the terms here, I'm running on memory). Just don't become too
enamoured with the whole adventure, because it all goes away in 'Mostly
Harmless', described as, 'The fifth, in the increasingly inaccuratley
named Hitchhiker trilogy.' Adams also wrote two Dirk Gentley, Holistic
Detective books which contain some fun time paradoxes and his usual DRY
wit.

'Hitchhiker' was one of the first PC-based 'adventure' games, completely
character based (NO GRAPHICS), and in the JurMassic it was available on
the Mac, DOS PC, and Apple ][. HERE'S what it was like in those DARK
AGES: Text would appear on screen, describing a situation. You had to
TYPE in commands, such as 'Walk straight ahead.' And the game would
respond with comments like, 'I don't understand straight ahead'.
Eventually you'd type in, 'Walk forward.' And the charming game would
finally accept your statement and tell you, 'You just fell to your
death.' If you hadn't read the book, it was EVEN MORE FRUSTRATING because
you didn't know how important it was to bring your towel. The next time
you play NANOSAUR or see LARA CROFT, or watch your SIMS, be grateful that
WE HAVE COME SO FAR. ;-)


APPLE STORES
See the press release at the bottom of this issue. I think these stores
could be a REAL GOOD THING. If the 'Mac Genius' position payed close to
six figures, I'd consider applying! The TiMac, the iBook, OH ESS TEN,
wireless networking, Apple Stores, and Apple moving strategically away
from traditional 'video tube' displays and going to FLAT PANEL
technology: ANYONE WITH A BRAIN CAN SEE THAT APPLE IS A TECHNOLOGY
LEADER, BIGTIME FOLKS. There's some real innovation taking place here.
IT'S A REVOLUTION; and the rest of the world is so blurry-eyed from
watching the dotcoms, that they haven't noticed yet. I don't see this
kind of creative trailblazing coming from any of the SHEEP in silicon
valley, the CATTLE in TEXAS, nor the SHADOWS in Redmond. RA! RA! GO
APPLE! NOW GET THOSE EDUCATION FOLKS BACK ONBOARD!!


APPLE iSERVICES FOR EDUCATION
They're trying. See the press release at the bottom. Apple appears to be
addressing one of the BIGGEST COMPLAINTS I've heard from my SUBSCRIBERS
in EDUCATION, which is, it's hard to get decent, qualified, affordable,
consistent support for MACS in schools. I hope OUR FRIENDS AT APPLE will
DO THE RIGHT THING and price all these great services (including support
for the LESSER platforms) at a competitive price.




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



HANGING AND CRASHING - Change the Allotted RAM
----------------------------------------------
Are you still getting 'Application So-and-So Has Unexpectedly Quit' or
'Type 2' Errors? And you GOT CURRENT with all your System Software and
Applications and USB Drivers? And you made sure that you didn't change
(or returned to it's original condition) those special System files I
told you about that can wreak havoc on an otherwise stable system? Okay.
Well, sometimes there's no excuse for crappy programming or poor quality
control and some programs are JUST GOING TO CRASH.

But you can still try at least ONE MORE THING. Adjust the memory the
application uses. Have we covered this before? I hope not. This is
something that is covered in every Mac book on the planet and a few
you'll even find in the outer rim of the Crab Nebula. In fact I'LL BET
YOU LUNCH that Apple's great Help System right on your Mac explains how
to do it.

[Buy me lunch another time! I'm in a HELPFUL mood. I opened the HELP
Center from the HELP menu. I typed in 'memory' in the search bar. I
jumped to 'Adjusting your memory usage'. And guess what? On that screen
there's a GUIDE button, 'HELP Me Change the Memory a Program Uses.' Click
that button and you will experience the wonders of GUIDE. Even if you
know how to adjust your memory, you should do this JUST FOR FUN!! - CHRIS]

Your application has a 'suggested' memory allocation which you can't
change, a 'minimum' amount and a 'preferred' amount of memory. If the
thing keeps crashing, MAYBE THE PROGRAMMERS THAT PUT THAT INFORMATION IN
WERE WRONG!! So bump them both up. Be generous. It's only RAM, and if you
need to buy more, YOU SHOULD! RAM is so cheap now, and it's one of the
best ways to enhance your computer. So add at least 2 - 3 Megabytes to
each allocation of the troublesome program. I've seen this work wonders
in Microsoft Excel and Netscape Communicator. You've got nothing to lose
but time, which you're losing anyway with annoying crashes and restarts,
and (if you haven't been saving frequently) lost data.

So go forth and multiply your RAM!



GEEK SPEAK REVIEW:
------------------
in
Using, immersed in, currently using, i.e. 'I was in the Finder, but as I
write this, I'm in Emailer.' No doubt this originates from the sixties,
"I'm not into that bag!"

ug
User Group! Usually preceded by some other letters, as in PMUG -
Princeton Macintosh User's Group, or NJMUG - New Jersey Macintosh User's
Group. Back in the Jurmassic Era, I was a member of AHUG (Apple Hypercard
User's Group). MUGs are Macintosh User's Groups, and you should be a
member of AT LEAST ONE.


Virtual PC
The safest, most stable way to run Microsoft Windows. May the TAO give
you all it's blessings if you have never had to deal with Mac/PC
compatibility issues. Many of us (especially if we work in BIG DUMB
CORPORATIONS) need to PROVE our Macs can DO ANYTHING and FIT IN ANYWHERE
no matter what absurd obstacles the Dark Riders put in our paths. One
tool for doing this is Virtual PC, which actually puts a Windows (or
Linux if you prefer) PC on your Macintosh in Emulation. That is, it is a
software Program (from a company called Connectix), that runs just like
an Intel PC, in a Window on your Mac. Can't get your accountant to use
M.Y.O.B.? He insists on QuickBooks under Windows?? If you must, you can
get Virtual PC and run Quickbooks on your Mac. Current versions of
Virtual PC are Applescriptable to the keystroke level, so you can
actually automate Windows programs that are too dumb to do it themselves.
The most recent version allocates disk space to your PCs DYNAMICALLY,
meaning that you don't have to set aside disk space for those darn
Windows apps until you really need to. It also allows you to run MULTIPLE
virtual PCs at the same time. Of course for this you need to have a FAST
MAC and TONS OF RAM.

Connectix
One of the most respected Mac Software companies. These guys came out
with some impressive smaller utilities first. You may have heard of RAM
Doubler. They went on to write Virtual PC, a great (though not the first)
PC emulator on the Mac.

early adopter
A term that technology analysts like. Early Adopters are the people who
go for new technology before it becomes widespread and/or inexpensive.
Apple was an early adopter of the concept of the palm device (Newton),
which they abandoned to the consternation and dismay of AT LEAST ONE
UNPREDICTABLE READER. Many Mac users were early adopters of the Internet.
Early adopters usually gain the advantages and suffer the pain of new
technology.

Software Update (Control Panel)
Covered as an O&U Item in UNPREDICTABLE #4. The Control Panel that
updates your Mac software via the Internet.

Quicktime
You've GOTTA know what this is, right? Apple's multi-platform media
creation/playing technology. Started out as a digital movie technology
way backin 1986 (or thereabouts) and continues to engulf any media that
stands in its path. Quicktime can play MP3s, and Flash animations, and
movies in PC formats, and Quicktime VRs.



OCCASIONAL Favorite WEB SITE
----------------------------
More HELPFUL troubleshooting David Pogue articles:

"Where to get Troubleshooting Help"

"Labeling Mac OS9 Components"




Tips
----
In the Old Mackey days, you could count on some things always working the
same way. For example, 'constrain' keys. These were keys that you would
hold down while doing something else, and they would usually have the
same type of effect whether you were in a word processor, a spreadsheet,
a graphics program, or the Finder. [Option] is a good example, which
usually translates to, 'MAKE A COPY'. For example, in drawing and paint
programs, press [Option] while clicking and dragging, and the thing
selected would be duplicated. Press [Command]+[Option] while clicking and
dragging in a paint program, and the thing would be duplicated as fast as
you could move the mouse! Similarly, the [Shift] key usually
'constrained' your work to something regular, or linear, or symmetrical.
An Oval tool with the [Shift] key down would only draw circles, a
rectangle tool would only draw squares, a line tool would only draw lines
at 45 or 90 degrees. These concepts STILL WORK in MANY PLACES, IN MANY
MAC PROGRAMS!! DON'T BE AFRAID!! EXPERIMENT!! MAKE MISTAKES!!



Know The Difference
-------------------
In those days, there was NO CONSISTENCY in DOS or Windows programs. You'd
use the [slash] key to do one thing one way in one program and the
[Control] key to do a similar thing a TOTALLY DIFFERENT way in another
kind of program, and some other screwball Function Key a still ABSOLUTELY
DIFFERENT way in the operating system. I KNOW it's a lot better now. I
mean, Microsoft and the few remaining Windows software companies that
haven't been devoured or driven out of business have had about TWENTY
YEARS to FIGURE IT OUT.

And That's The Difference.



Special Bonus Keyboard Commands
-------------------------------
A few Finder Tricks:

Select something, then [Shift] + Click adds to the selection. 'Shift
clicking' as this is called, is a concept so basic to Mac Whacking that
I'm embarassed to even write it. But maybe you missed it somewhere?

[Command] + A - Selects ALL , i.e. EVERYTHING, this works almost
anywhere, not just in the Finder.

[Tab] - On the Desktop, cycles alphabetically, selecting each item on
your Desktop one at a time.

[Shift] + [Tab] - Does the same, only in the reverse order.
(This also works in Finder windows.)

click + [Option] + Drag - Creates a COPY of the File or Folder you
clicked on. Keyboard only equivalent is [Command] + D (for DUPLICATE).

click + [Option] + [Command] + Drag - Makes an alias of the item
selected. Keyboard only equivalent is [Command] + M (for MAKE Alias).
(You don't know what an 'alias' is? Yeow! Another OVERLOOKED & UNDERUSED
article I'll have to write...)

[Command] + [delete] - BE CAREFUL OF THIS ONE. Puts the selected item(s)
in the Trash. It sure beats manually clicking and dragging a bunch of
stuff to the trash, and it's even better than using Contextual Menus to
trash things. (You don't know what those are??? Oh boy. Maybe I can cover
those in a FUN article about FinderPop.)


That's enough to absorb for now!! If you like those, I'll put some more
UNPREDICTABLY in a future issue.


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.
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**


 

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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 :-)