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Contents Copyright 2001 by Christopher Plummer

OCCASIONALLY themes just originate ALL BY THEMSELVES. You've probably
noticed this in albums or books or magazines. Did the COUNTING CROWS
deliberately and consciously plan to keep mentioning 'the blue light' (of
the television) or carnival scenes in 'This Desert Life?' Or did Adam
Duritz's brain just somehow get on that wavelength? As the writer of THIS
UNPREDICTABLE newsletter, I vote for the Wavelength theory. Just barely
in time for the remaining holiday season of 2001, this issue, enhanced
with fascinating Mac trivia, insightful comments, and personal commentary
of questionable merit, flirts with FREEDOM. :-)

UPDATES - TRULY FREE OS 9.2.2 (but do you want it?)
Tips - Startup Disk 9.2
Know The Difference - X Pollution
OCCASIONAL Favorite WEB SITE - Don't Free Captive Tortoises
Special Bonus Keyboard Commands - M is different in X and 9
Good News Press Releases - Final Cut Pro 3

GEEK SPEAK ALERT: MP3, MB, Hypercard, stack

MacOS 9.2.2 - UNPREDICTABLY NOT RECOMMENDED - I know I usually suggest
that you GET CURRENT, BUT READ THE LINK BELOW about problems people have
had with it!! And I concur. It broke some of my em@iler scripts and iView
Media Pro features. OUR FRIENDS AT APPLE need to fix this ONE! I'VE GONE
BACK TO 9.2.1.


Authoring Support - 1.1.5 Fixes things and adds more burner support for
iTunes and DiskBurner. You can use Software Update Control Panel for this


iTunes 2.0.3 - "iTunes 2.0.2 adds support for French and German
languages, and also improves display of ID3 tags for two-byte languages,
i.e. Japanese, Korean and Chinese." Go to the 2.0.2 update and get 2.0.3.
At least that's how it worked TODAY. Different downloads for 9 and X.


Virtual PC 5.0 - Is available now and runs on 9 and TEN.


ACTION Menus WAS TRULY FREE - In a special Holiday Promotion PowerOn was
giving this away, download version only. When I checked the URL today, it
appears the promotion is OVER. But, you could try. Maybe they'll change
their minds. You had to give them PERSONAL INFORMATION, but hey! Normally
you'd pay $30 for this nifty utility! FOR 9 NOT X.


AppleWorks 6.2.2 - This update is only for users of Oh Ess Ten. What does
it do? I don't know, and Apple wasn't much help in explaining.


I Make a Mistake -
Readers of the last issue may have thought that I was doing a poor
imitation of Ebonics when I wrote: 'You actually writing on and see the
effects of your actions ON THE TABLET!!' No folks. I'm afraid my
proofreading slipped - I also mentioned the non-existent DECTECTORs. I
told you things were moving fast in ChrisWorld!!

Pat writes: "Thanks for the recent newsletter...speaking of MP3s, what do
you use for downloading? I've been using LimeWire (Gnutella Network)
which is

Sorry Pat - I LOVE MP3s, but I'm embarrassed to say I've never actually
downloaded music! I just RIP all my LEGALLY PURCHASED CDs. I tried to
download from Excite, because they lead you to believe you can download
TRULY FREE 'sampler' songs from CDs. But every time I've tried, I end up
on a page asking me for MONEY. EXCITE music is UNPREDICTABLY NOT
RECOMMENDED. Anyone have any suggestions for Pat?


Have you noticed that when Mac models come out they ALWAYS seem to have
drives that are JUST BARELY big enough?

Part of this has to do with MARGINS, the other part has to do with the
ever increasing storage demands of NEW TECHNOLOGY. For example, in the
Early PaleoMac Era, APPLE PROGRAMMING LEGEND Bill Atkinson gave us
'HyperCard'. What was it? Actually, it's still around, but in today's
world of iTunes and Flash and Web Browsers, it just doesn't seem all that
special. But when Hypercard first came out, it was MB (Mind Blowing)! It
had data in 'stacks' and it used scripts with buttons and actions and
links. You could include media such as sounds and (monochrome) graphics
and simple animation, and you could link one stack to another stack and
even open other applications!! And it was EASY! Everybody built all kinds
of cool stacks and put them up on CompuServe to share!

You're thinking, "Yea? So? Big deal. Sounds like the web!"

WAKE UP KIDS!! You see how SPOILED you are!? THERE WAS NO WEB!! Hypercard
was the closest thing, and it was NEW! You wonder why some MacHeads act
like they OWN the web? Because we were there! While PC users were trying
to figure out how to get around the built-in 640k RAM limit of their
so-called computers, we were ALL ABOUT the web concept before it even

And my point was?

Hypercard 'stacks,' which proliferated like Tribbles, were BIG files.
Several hundred K, sometimes even a whole Megabyte!! That was a lot back
then, and they ATE drive space. So we all got bigger drives. But we
couldn't relax for long, because along came Quicktime!! Actual software
VIDEO. [I know, you take that for granted too. :-) ] And early
Quicktime, even with postage stamp size movies, often meant
multi-megabyte files!! So we all got bigger drives. Then came digital
photos, and bigger hard drives. NOW, in the iAge, the NEW TRIBBLES on the
space station are MP3 files, and digital video. Once again, you've gotta
have a bigger drive!

So when you reach that point when you start to get THAT FEELING - the
feeling you get when you must actually consider every new file or
application you want to put on your hard drive. When you have to trash
the MP3s you never listen to. When you dump the Star Wars and Harry
Potter Quicktime movie trailers that you like to show your friends. You
know the FEELING. You're CRAMPED. You're RESTRAINED. You're LIMITED. On
your Mac, the platform that is the ultimate expression of FREEDOM in the
computing world, you're NOT FREE! What FUN is that??

Time to get a bigger hard drive.

We covered external drive recommendations for desktop users back in U&O
#31. This article addresses PowerBook drives (and I consider iBooks to be
a subset of PowerBooks). You don't want a drive that's physically the
wrong size or won't function in your PowerBook. Before you buy, check
carefully with the vendor. Talk to someone who KNOWS. OR find an ad that
CLEARLY states that a drive will work on your PowerBook model.

You'll be getting close if you look at "2.5 inch, IDE, Laptop" drives.
They might also be listed as '9.5mm' or '12.5mm', which refers to the
physical height of the drive. They will probably list the 'platter
rotation' speed, measured in rpm's. Speeds are usually 4200, 5400, or
7200 rpm. And unless you buy a REALLY new or gigantic 48 Gig drive, for a
PowerBook you're going to get a 4200 rpm drive. RPM is a reflection of
performance (faster is better).

There are plenty of resources for getting more info, prices and advice:

If you're confident that you know what you want and you can handle the
installation, you might as well just shop for the lowest price. I bought
a 30 Gig Toshiba drive from 'MegaHaus', which I discovered the old
fashioned way, by READING the advertisements in the back of MacWorld. It
came with MINIMAL installation instructions, but the (paper) G4 Titanium
manual provided enough information to complete the installation.


Or shop for lowest prices at

There are at least two excellent websites that specialize in selling and
upgrading PowerBook peripherals and other goodies. The people I spoke
with at both these businesses were knowledgeable and helpful. Their
prices may be a bit higher, but this reflects the fact that they are
small businesses, not just giant clearing houses, and they have a
commitment to quality customer service. If you buy a drive from them, you
can count on having the right tools, good instructions, and a number
where you can reach a real person if you have questions.

MCE Powerbook Products

The PowerBook Guy

So if you actually REPLACE the drive in your PowerBook with a BIGGER one,
how do you get everything onto that NEW, EMPTY drive? I'm not going to
write THAT article! But you either make a backup FIRST and restore it, or
find a way to copy everything over from the OLD DRIVE. You could turn
your OLD drive into an external drive... This second method is risky,
whatever you do, it's ALWAYS better to have a backup.

And what about that OLD drive??

interface! Everybody seems to be selling these now. You can pick one up
for around $100. You pop the old drive in, play with a few screws, and
plug the Firewire cable into the drive housing. This is really a nifty
solution! If you're DARING, you could use this as a solution for an
EXTERNAL DRIVE for your Desktop Mac. Pick up a 30 Gig 'laptop' drive for
$200, a housing for $100, and you've got a small external drive for a
great price!! And if you'd like to be DARING, but you'd rather PAY FOR
ASSISTANCE from a trusty consultant, I know someone who can help. Just
send me an email. ;-)


right, go to TidBITS and check out 'Digital Photo Goodies' in issue #608,
then go to the MOTHERLOAD, the whole Mac Gift Ideas issue, #609.



Startup Disk Control Panel 9.2.x
Oh Ess Ten (starting with 10.1?) comes with a new Control Panel, version
9.2.x. In the past the Startup Disk Control panel was used to let you
choose which DISK containing a valid System Folder to 'boot' from. The
new Startup Disk CP is especially made for Oh Ess Ten and Mac OS 9.2.x so
that you can pick which OS to boot from - even if you have multiple
System Folders and OS's on THE SAME Volume.

The MAGICAL Secret is you don't need Oh Ess Ten to use this Control
Panel. Replace your existing Startup Control Panel with this one, and
choose among multiple System Folders on ANY volume. [Barring specific Mac
hardware startup issues*.] Keep multiple OS 9 System Folders (with
System Versions, for example) on a single volume! This is getting PRETTY
GEEKY, and can lead to a number of ODD BEHAVIOURS - mainly having to do
with Preference files and Aliases - but if you have the NEED, here's the

* Remember that some Macs can't boot from an external Firewire drive, and
earlier iMacs can't boot if the 'boot volume' is larger than 8 Gig. Your
results may vary.


Know The Difference
X Pollution

Patrick Stewart in a wheelchair, no longer pointing at some giant flat
panel display with his trademark "Make it so!", but instead functioning
as the brainy leader of THE X-MEN. That's what comes to MY mind every
time I see an Oh Ess TEN package with that big 'X'. Perhaps the Marketing
half of Microsoft is also enamoured with those mighty mutants from Marvel
comics, because clearly Microsoft is EX CRAZED!!

Think about it: You've got your Office v.X with eXcel X, Word X, and
Powerpoint X, you've got your Windows XP - with a big X through JAVA,
there's Active X, eXpedia travel. You've got
your Windows eXplorer, your Internet eXplorer, not to mention your
Outlook eXpress which works as a mail client for MS eXchange! How did
this WEIRDNESS happen? Is it X-Men? Is it an obvious ploy to enlist
Generation X? Does Steve Ballmer have a thing for Agent Sculley? Who had
X FIRST anyway??

As is often the case with new developments at Microsoft, it pays to look
to Cupertino. For years Steve Jobs has been stinging from the way
Microsoft managed to TRADEMARK the word 'Windows'. (After all, if anyone
OWNS the word, shouldn't it be Andersen?) Always with an eye on the Dark
Forces to the North, Steve early recognized the incipient X trend at
Microsoft. "Ha!" He beamed, "They're going after the wrong letter!!" He
countered quickly with the iMac, and has been locking up the 'i' market
ever since. (Steve still has some good i's up his sleeve. There's "iPlan"
- Project Management, "i Me mine" - litigation software, and the Oh Ess
Ten 'killer app' creative thinking tool, "iDea".)

But owning the right letter was only PART of Steve's strategy. He wasn't
going to yield the X without a fight. And so the effort to usurp the X
with Oh Ess Ten! This was no Generation X thing!!

And what a coup it's been! Microsoft had been subtly seeding their
software and business lines with Ex's, but hadn't yet made the ULTIMATE
claim on 'X' by using it in their GRAND product, WINDOWS. They were
saving X for THE NEXT BIG RELEASE. EX PEE. After that, they could change
the company name to MicrosoX, trademark the letter 'X', and keep the
MicrosoX Lawyer Division busy collecting ROYALTIES from anyone who DARED
to use a word with X in it!! They could even build good will, not to
mention market share, by donating the FREE USE of the letter 'X' to
educational institutions!

You thought you had nothing to thank Steve Jobs for but the iPod? By
naming OH ESS TEN with an X, he has done the ENTIRE FREE WORLD a favor by
restoring the use of Roman Numerals while saving the letter 'X' from
monopolistic domination by MicrosoX!!

This brilliant move took the wind (and there was A LOT) out of the whole
EX PEE roll out! Microsoft has been thrashing around for months, trying
to get even by burying Apple in Macintosh 'x' software products. Oh sure,
this Xmas they inundate us with bizarre X commercials to introduce the 'X
Box,' but IT'S TOO LATE, Billy Boy!! Even your average youth on the
street will tell you that Microsoft copies Apple in EVERYTHING, and CAN'T
EVEN come up with a name for the latest version of Windows without
copying Apple!

ANYONE can see who has won THIS battle over the alphabet. :-)

And That's The Difference.

Tortoise Group
Don't FREE captive tortoises, and don't capture FREE tortoises! Got that?
Here's a page from Clark County, Nevada (to most of you, that means 'Las
Vegas'). We'll see more about 'desert themes' and U&O in future issues.


Special Bonus Keyboard Commands
[Command] + M in OS 9 'makes' an alias of a the selected file.

BUT in OH ESS TEN the same key combo will 'Minimize' a window.


** 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

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Subscribe - email with "Start Unpredictable" in the Subject.
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Back Issues available to subscribers upon request.
My accountant has advised me to come clean in every issue. Yes, I am a
consultant and am available to HELP YOU on a one to one basis. Macintosh
Networking, Internet Connectivity, Desktop Support, Training.
Satisfaction Guaranteed. Oh, and Lotus Notes and Domino Adminstration,
Development, and Support. Interested in help from a long term MAC
Professional? Don't hire some Windows kid who tells you to get rid of
your Mac because HE doesn't GET IT! Send me an email:
< chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>

TFSB :-)


Apple Logo Contact Me: AIM
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 :-)