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Archive for the ‘Hardware’ Category

How can I charge my G4 Laptop battery from my automobile?

Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

Is it possible to charge my G4 Laptop battery from my automobile? Where do I find such a device?
The best way to charge your laptop battery is inside of your laptop, so what you really need is an outlet in your car. To get a house-style 115-120V AC plug into your 12V DC car, you’ll need a DC to AC inverter.

This 375 Watt Tripp Lite PowerVerter would be a great choice to charge your laptop and other devices.

As a used of G4 apple laptops“>Apple laptops you could also make due with this smaller Tripp Lite PowerVerter 150-Watt Ultra-Compact as well.

Does the 1.8 vs. 2.0 GHz make a huge difference?

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

Does the 1.8 vs. 2.0 GHz make a huge difference? I strictly want to run an audio program and not much else.
The 0.2 GHz difference between the 1.8 and 2.0 GHz Mac computer Intel processors is not overly significant for Audio tools. The more important consideration is with regards to whether it is a Core Duo or Core 2 Duo processor. The newer Core 2 processors support 64-bit processing and have better efficiencies.

If you are thinking about a used Apple G5 system, then either the 1.8 or 2.0 GHz processor would be good choices. The main thing to do is make sure that Pro Tools supports the hardware on the Operating System you are looking at.

Can you horizontally rack mount a Mac Pro?

Hardware, Media Center / 0 Comments

Is there a way to rack mount a Mac Pro horizontally? I have seen them vertically, but horizontally would work better for me.
The problem with side mounting a Mac Pro is that it is a little too tall to fit in a 19″ rack on it s side. The feet make it over 20″ tall. Most racks have more than enough room horizontally for the Mac Pro once you are past the mounting rails, so it is possible. In order to sideways-mount the system you will have to have side access to the rack. Then you just need a 19″ wide shelf.

It is not as convenient as having front removal/installation access to the Mac Pro but it will fit in just 6Us of rack space.

G4 With Dead Firewire Ports

Hardware / 0 Comments

I have a G4 and all the Firewire ports seem to have gone dead. Tried everything suggested in Mac forums: reset the power control (the one by the battery), reset the vram and pram, turned it off overnight, unplugged, removed the battery, etc. I’ve heard this is a fairly common issue on G4s and G5s. Any insights?
I would certainly not call the loss of FireWire a common issue, but I have seen it before. The B&W G3 had many FireWire issues because it used an add-on card that suffered power surges. Throughout the years I have seen FireWire fail on the logic board, and there is little that can be done to revive it. Before you write off the FireWire ports, check Apple’s Support pages and see if there is a Firmware update for your system. This is the software on the logic board and it can often resolve these issues. You should also test whether it is a software issue by trying to use some of the FireWire features that do not rely on the operating system on your hard drive. If you have another Mac computer, boot up your problem Mac holding down the [ T ] key. This will boot it into Target Disk mode – which makes your Mac into a FireWire hard drive. Connect the two Mac computers with a FireWire cable and see if it shows up on the other computers Desktop. If it does not work, then it is probably dead FireWire, but if it does, then you may need to reinstall your OS on the problem Mac.

If your FireWire ports are in fact dead, then you can buy a LaCie 107355 FireWire 400 PCI Card to replace the internal ports.

Memory & Graphics Card Requirements for Final Cut Pro

Hardware, Software / 0 Comments

I am purchasing a new 2.8 GHz Mac Pro which will be used ‘primarily’ for FinalCut Studio / HD video editing. I have two questions:

  1. 1) If I upgrade Ram to 2 x 2GB, will that benefit Final Cut Studio (or is it better to use a 4 x 1GB setup)?
  2. 2) Do I need to upgrade to the Nvidia 8800GT graphics card (we will use Motion), or is the standard-issue ATI Radeon adequate?
Both are great questions. It is my recommendation to spread your RAM configuration out to fill as many slots as possible without restricting your future upgrade needs. Filling the first four RAM slots evenly is a good idea. If your budget is geared to 4GB of total RAM, then four 1GB sticks is the way to go. Later you can put four 2GB sticks in the system and move the 1GB sticks to the higher slots. Here is a link to Apple’s Mac Pro RAM compatibility chart.

A Mac computers RAM setup is a lesser issue than the Graphics card. You need that bigger card for Motion. In some tests of the 2600 XT vs. the 8800 GT card, the 8800 GT card is nearly twice as fast. It will be the best $150.00 upgrade you could buy and a necessity for your graphics work.

Do I need an external backup hard drive?

Backups, Hardware / 0 Comments

I have a one-year-old Mac Mini, maxed out with RAM, plus a 20-inch Flatron pivot screen. I am planning to use these tools to write a 300-page book, using QuarkXpress. I have been told I should get a separate plug-in hard drive to back the pages and pictures up to. Is that necessary?
Practically any FireWire or USB drive would work for you. You could go with a stackable drive and hub combo that looks like it is part of your Mini, like this NewerTech 160 GB MiniStack Hub. Or you could get a slickly styled one (I own this one) like this LaCie 500GB Hi Speed USB 2.0 Drive.

I would also recommend that you upgrade to Leopard, if you have not done so already. Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard’s Time Machine feature is the perfect background backup utility for you. Every hour your Book will be backed up and you could go back to a previous version to recover deleted chapters.

Is the 24″ iMac display better than the 20″?

Displays, Hardware / 2 Comments

I’ve heard that the 20″ iMac display is not as good as the 24″. Is there any truth to that?

Yep, we think the screen on the 24 iMac is better than the 20″ iMac, and not just four inches better. The display is brighter, by close to a third the brightness of the 20″ iMac. This is important with glossy screens because it can counteract glare from overhead lights or a window, while still providing sharp color. Also the display has a greater viewing angle, 178° verses 160°. What this means is that you will have better color representation across the screen as your eye moves around. The lower the viewing angle the more washed-out images look from the corners of your eyes.

On a much more anecdotal note, I have yet to hear anyone complain about their 20″ iMac. Whatever you’ve heard could just be the number of 20″ iMacs sold compared to the 24″ iMac, but still, of the rare complaints I hear regarding iMac screens, all are about 20″ iMacs.

Upgrading Mac Pro Video Capabilities

Hardware / 0 Comments

I am looking at getting a new 8 core Mac Pro for CG graphics production. We could really use a Quadro graphics solution but are a bit put off by the price point. Is it possible to get a system now with the relatively inexpensive 8800 and upgrade the video card to a Quadro FX4500 or FX5600 a couple months down the line? Can the Mac versions of the cards be found separately from a system?

One of the wonderful advantages of the new Mac Pro is the ability to reconfigure the system over time. Drives can be easily added, optical drives can be added, and video cards can be upgraded or added. The NVIDIA GeForce 8800 GT video card can be moved to PCIe slot #2 down the road to make room for the NVIDIA Quadro FX 5600. The only concern with adding extra video cards in a Mac Pro is that the PCIe bus supports 300 Watts. The 8800 draws 110 watts, combine that with the 175 wattdraw of the FX5600, and your video cards will eat up most of the PCIe bus’s power.

Currently the aftermarket FX4500 or FX5600 cards are not Mac compatible. There is much discussion about flashing a PC Nvidia card with Mac compatible EFI ROM but that is a little risky. You can also get the service part version of the card (PN 661-4461) but at an inflated price, apposed to buying it in a Mac Pro. If you don’t think you will need the better graphics card for six months, then waiting for a Mac FX5600 upgrade card to be produced may work for you. There are no guarantees that such a card will ever be produced but it may be worth the risk to wait and see. If you know that you must have this card in a few months, then you should just “bite the bullet” and order it in a Mac Pro now.

G4 Quicksilver Disc Tray Access

Hardware / 0 Comments

I acquired a G4 733 Quicksilver-OS 9.2 no disc. model M8705LL/A. I would like to install OS X Tiger, for which I have the disc (from another of my Macs that has been upgraded to 10.5. The machine has a cd-rw drive, but the drive door won’t open. Can I fix that some way?

Will the machine accept a DVD drive and can I get it (from you?) or is there another method of installing the new OS?

With the introduction of the Quicksilver G4 Apple stopped including a CD/DVD eject button on the face of the computer. Apple had switched to using a keyboard base eject button and with the proper extension in OS 9, that button would eject the CD tray. IF you do not have an Apple keyboard with the Eject button, then pressing [F12] will work in its place, but only under OS X. In OS 9 you had to use a script that is hard to find these days.

Apple included an eject script in the Eject Extras folder on original Quicksilver OS 9 install. This script would eject the CD/DVD tray when clicked on. There is also an eject button in the OS 9 version of iTunes that can be used. If all else fails, you can restart the computer holding down the mouse button and that will force the CD/DVD drive to eject. Here are Apple’s instructions on how to mechanically eject a disk from the DVD drive on a Power Mac G4.

If the drive has failed or is a CD-RW only drive, then you should upgrade it with an MCE internal 20X Power Mac upgrade.

Please also consider that if your copy of Tiger is gray in color, it may be hard coded to the computer it shipped with. Black-labeled OS X install discs work on most Macs, but gray-labeled Apple media is intended to restore computers to original factory condition.

iMac Firewire Ports On Separate Busses?

Hardware / 0 Comments

I’m looking for tech info about the FireWire ports on the Aluminum iMac 2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo.

I am wondering if the FireWire 400 & FireWire 800 ports are on separate busses. We use these machines for editing and are trying to facilitate ease of use.

We’ve had some issues with the current machines we have. All of which are iMac G5 iSights.

The addition of Firewire 800 was a significant upgrade to the Aluminum iMac line. FW 800 opened up a large number of pro peripherals for use with the iMac, making it an alternative to the Mac Pro for some. Although there is one FireWire 400 and one FireWire 800 port, they do share the same bus. In most cases this is not an issue but it could be if your device requires the entire bus to function properly. That is a situation that would call for a Mac Pro with an extra FireWire card dedicated to your bus-hungry device.

PowerBook G3 Screen Going Dark After Startup

Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

The PowerBook G3 Series I bought from PowerMax a while ago developed dark screen on startup when the desktop starts. You can light it back up by pressing the screen brightness button after a minute or two. If it goes to sleep it will not awake without a restart.

It had hinges replaced and that seemed to be the start of issue. I checked all the preferences and cannot find any problem.

The machine works OK otherwise. I have all the modules for it and would hate to give it up – but maybe It’s time to find a G4?

It is difficult to be certain, but what you describe sounds like a Backup / PRAM Battery issue. The same issue would also manifest in your clock being reset after you remove all power sources from your computer. Newer Technology makes a replacement battery for your system, part number NWTBATPG3WS. Consider replacing this battery as part of the troubleshooting process.

The other possibility is the sleep reed switch magnet, that indicates that the lid is closed, was not installed properly after the hinges were replaced. This is less likely but it is possible. Damage to the sleep reed switch, or misalignment, could cause a variety of sleeping issues.

Is there a fix for Apply display flicker?

Displays, Hardware / 0 Comments

A friend of mine has a 17″ Apple display, apparently the one around 2001-2002 that had screen flashing or flicker. She said it has one half of the screen is light and the other side is dark. She heard there is a class action suit out there, but more importantly – do you know if they will fix it or is it chalked up as a loss.

Displays, in general, often are not worth the cost to repair. This is true for not only Apple displays, but for any brand of monitor. Three years is the longest that Apple will cover a display’s repair costs and that requires the purchase of AppleCare for the display. Without AppleCare, it is covered for the Apple standard of 1 year. Sometimes Apple identifies higher than average rates of failure in certain products. When that happens they will extend the repair warranty on a product. Those products and conditions are listed on Apple’s exchange repair page.

Of course class action law suites are not listed on that page. This is the link to the Apple 17″ Display Lawsuit you mentioned, which has already ended. The settlement covered a yearly decreasing dollar amount for the repair covering to that three-year mark. As it stands the display can still be fixed if it is just an inverter board, like what is described in the lawsuit. That part (when you can find it) costs about $70 and Labor could run another $45.00 to install the part. The product is marked as “vintage” and that designation could make it difficult for you to find the parts in stock.

It may be better to invest that money in a newer Acer 19″ display.

Macbook Pro Wireless Connections

Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks, Networking, Wireless / 0 Comments

I recently purchased an upgraded wireless card from PowerMax for my MacBook Pro. The new card only has two antenna connections with no identifying marks correlating with the three connections in the laptop, while the old airport card had three that are clearly labeled. The spacing between the two connections on the new card would suggest use of the middle connection is not required, but this is an assumption. We all know what “assumption” stands for. Can you shed any light on this?

I assume (ha!) you are using the Mac Pro wireless upgrade kit to add 802.11n to your pre-N MacBook Pro. In that case there is sometimes an “extra” antenna cable. There are two things to remember when dropping one antenna from a three-cable wire harness. The first is that you want to cap the metal end of the unused antenna cable. The second is that you want to use the black and blue cables with the new card, and cap the grey cable. If the cables are not color coded, the middle cable is the right one to cap.

Are there shorter iMac pedestals available?

Hardware / 0 Comments

I’m about to venture into Mac territory for the first time. The problem is that my rolltop desk opening is the same height as the iMac 20” that I am about to buy. If the pedestal was just an inch shorter, it would be a perfect fit. Are there shorter pedestals available for these iMacs?

Glad to hear you are joining the Mac community! Unfortunately the current 20″ iMac can’t have its base removed easily. The process would require the complete dismantling of the iMac, and there would be no way to stand the Mac up once the base was removed. The 24″ iMac is able to have its stand removed and it can be mounted to a VESA compliant mount kit.

If the new 24″ iMac is short enough without its stand, this may be a good option for you. You could buy a VESA wall mounting plate and attach it to the back of the roll-top desk. The iMac would connect to the plate with the adapter above.

It is not exactly what you hoped for, but perhaps it is just the excuse you need to buy that bigger iMac.

Getting a G3 tower on a wireless network

Hardware, Networking, Wireless / 0 Comments

My wife is a graphic designer who wants to move her old Mac G3/400 Blue & White tower from her office so she can do some basic stuff from home. The only trouble is connecting to the Internet. We live in a small place and it would be ideal if we could go wireless with the G3.

We have DSL at home with a Model 5590 Zoom X6 ADSL 2/2+ Modem w/Wireless router for either 802.11g or 802.11b. The G3 is running OSX 10.3.9, and I know just enough basics to be pretty sure we can make the G3 wireless, but I don’t know enough to know what our best options for internal cards or USB or whatever will work best.

I have been a fan of the Addlogix USB Wi-Fi adapter. It will work with Mac OS X 10.3 or higher, on an open USB 2.0 port. The USB 2.0 port is there requirement and I have heard mixed reports of it working on some USB 1.1 ports. Your best bet would be to get a USB 2.0 PCI card to add wireless to the G3 tower.

TV Tuner For A Macbook Pro

Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks, Media Center / 0 Comments

Do you have a recommendation for a TV tuner (digital) for my Macbook Pro? Would you recommend a TV tuner for my computer over just a portable digital TV?

I am a big proponent of using your Mac for TV watching and recording. Most times I recommend the EyeTV 250 Plus because it has a hardware encoder for recording analog video. In your case you want to watch TV on the road, (figuratively; not when driving I hope), and for that I would recommend using the ultra portable EyeTV Hybrid. It has many of the same features as the 250 Plus but is about the size of a pack of gum. You will not have the internal hardware encoder but the EyeTV Hybrid is USB powered and would work in many remote places.

Both units ship with the EyeTV software, which makes all the EyeTV products shine in the Mac TV market. Both units will need a cable connection or an external antenna. Most TV antenna will work for Digital TV over the Air signals with the EyeTV system but you should look for one that will travel well.

Is there no disk drive in the Macbook Air?

Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

I just got a Mac Air, and am I right to believe that there is no disk drive?

If so, I have another question: How are you supposed to import CDs with no disk drive? I understand that you can “share” things by using you other computer, but does it stay on your computer afterwards?

There is no internal disk drive for the MacBook Air but you can get a Macbook Air SuperDrive.The other option is to use the disc-sharing feature to “borrow” the optical drive of a computer on your network. The data does not stay on the computer with the optical drive but instead gets relayed over the network to the MacBook Air. It is a cool feature and works well. Macs that are going to share their drive have to enable “DVD or CD Sharing” in the Sharing section of System Preferences. After that, the MacBook Air can request to use that computer’s optical drive.

How do I get my Mac to recognize my Canon DC330?

Hardware / 0 Comments

How do I get my Mac to recognize my Canon DC330? I have a older model 550 MHz PowerPc G4 Titanium PowerBook running 10.4.11. Will it work if I upgrade to iMovie 8? Will I have to upgrade to a newer PowerBook in order to use new tapeless camcorders? Is the 3″ disc compatible with a Mac or can I only import from the camera via the USB port? Unable to find any info on Canon website and noticed that you sell this camera so thought you might know if it can be made compatible with Macs.

Unfortunately these direct to DVD video cameras are not Mac-compatible, nor do I consider them good cameras. I lost a full wedding's-worth of footage on one of those cameras and swore never to use one again. Years prior, someone filmed my wedding on another direct to DVD camera, I had to make an analog version of the video and then re-digitize it to edit my wedding.

No upgrade to your iMovie will help resolve this connectivity issue. The claim-to-fame for these cameras is that you do not need a computer to edit the footage and trying to put a Mac into the process is a near impossible.

iMac Audio Only Works With Headphones

Hardware / 0 Comments

I purchased a used iMac, but I can only get the audio to work when I’m using headphones.

When my headphones aren’t plugged in, my only choice for sound is Digital Out, which lists the Type as Built-in Output. The settings say that this device has no output controls. When I turn on the computer, I get the tone/chord just fine, so I know some speaker is working.

There is a type of failure, on the combo analog/optical audio ports, that causes it the unit to think there is always an item plugged in. This happens because the port senses that a non-metallic item has been inserted. This is supposed to indicate that an Optical audio jack is in use.

You can try blowing compressed air into the port – but I have seen few reports where that solves the problem. In most cases, replacing the affected ports is the solution.

Mac Pro Printer Serial Port?

Hardware / 0 Comments

Can you configure the new Mac Pro to accept a card to allow a serial port to be established to connect a printer?

I cannot seem to get a direct answer. Some say “yes”, some “no”.

The best way to get Mac Serial connectivity from a New Mac is to use a Keyspan USB Twin Serial Adapter. There is also this option for PC style serial connections.

It is important to know if the printer you are using has modern print drivers for Mac OS X. The connection is just 50% of the printing equation.

G5 Power Mac or 20″ iMac

Hardware / 0 Comments

I have always liked the tower Power Macs and thought that the G4 Power Macs were the best looking machines out there. However: feeling that that they may be a bit slower as an upgrade option I was looking at a G5 Power Mac 2.0 mhz/dual or a new or almost new 2.66mhz , 20′ iMac. I’m still using OS 10.4 and can’t see any benefit to myself with going to OS 10.5. Would you share an opinion on which machine would be the fastest and give the most service. I do very little video, a lot of Powerpoint presentations, and the rest is internet browsing, emails and downloads.

I have always held the opinion that any Intel iMac is the sweet spot for most Mac users. It uses a modern and fast processor, so the next system upgrade is years off. It has more than enough power for basic computer but that allows users to expand and do more, which is why we have Macs.

Will a Sonnet controller work with a LaCie drive?

Hardware / 0 Comments

I have two LaCie d2 Quadra 1TB drive running RAID-1 on Firewire in a Mac Pro 2008. I got a LaCie eSata PCI card and the LaCie drives I installed have problems.
I am considering the Sonnet TSATAII-E4P TEMPO SATA E4P Serial ATA Host Adapter for PCI Express, but in checking the Sonnet site there are cautions about drives using the Oxford chip set and recommendation using a jmicron chipset.I can’t find out what chipset LaCie uses…

My question is will the Sonnet controller work with the LaCie drives?

Have you considered using the Mac Pro’s internal SATA ports via this eSATA extender cable adapter from Newer Tech?

This product works on all Mac Pros and allows you to use the internal SATA ports sitting dormant in your Mac Pro as two eSATA ports. I think this will get you the stability you want without the chipset worries.

Any plans for a matte iMac screen?

Displays, Hardware / 0 Comments

I have an iMac G5 and would like to upgrade to the new 24″ Intel Mac. However, I absolutely refuse to buy ANY Mac with one of those ridiculous high gloss screens! Any idea if or when Apple will give us the option of a matte screen or at least a way to change the hi-gloss one to a matte one? Most professionals will then seriously begin thinking about a new Mac.

A lot of time has gone by and Apple does not seem to have any intention of dumping the glossy “iPhone like” iMac screen. I have heard many complaints about this and I only have two practical solutions. The first would be to buy one of our Pre-Owned Intel iMacs, pre-Aluminum. The other option would be to get a smaller-screened 20 inch iMac and a 23″ Apple Cinema HD Display and run them together. I do this at home and extended desktop works perfectly on iMacs. Make the 23″ display the primary and the iMac with its screen can be the pallet monitor.

Mull it over I think it may be the right solution for you. Remember that you will need an Apple Mini-DVI to DVI adapter cable to connect the two together.

How can I get my G5 tower to shut up?

Hardware / 0 Comments

How can I get this tower to shut up? It's ridiculously loud. The fans are on like high speed or something…I can’t concentrate. Any ideas?

I have a G5 1.8 Dual Processor running OS X 4.11 on 5 GB of RAM.

Sometimes this can be caused by faulty hardware so you should run the Apple Hardware test that came with your computer on the gray labeled discs. You may also want to make sure you have run all the fan-related firmware updates. Search the Apple support site for “G5 fan” and then sort by downloads. It is also just as possible that the thermal sensors are mis-calibrated. The loud fans of some G5 units can be reduced by re-calibration so they do not run constantly. Unfortunately this is something that has to be done at an Apple Authorized Service center. It should be just the cheapest possible charge for labor only.

My Powerbook G4 display went black, what now?

Displays, Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

I keep records for the church on a Mac Powerbook G4 and I recently encountered a problem where the display window is black. I did not inherit an operating manual, and I am sure it’s something simple. How do I get the display on?

Well the display blacking out could be a few things. The system could have gone to sleep; you can wake it by pressing the space bar. The battery could have run out of charge. Press the button on the bottom of the battery to check the charge indication lights. If only one light flashes than it is not charged up. You could have also turned the display brightness down. Turn the brightness back up via the larger of the two “Sun” keys. The big and small suns will be printed on two of the function keys.

It could also be a failed backlight in the display, which is a big problem. You can test that by shining a flashlight on the display and seeing if you can see items on the display but darkened.

iMac As A Music Server?

Hardware, Software / 0 Comments

I am glad to see you are taking questions again. I thank you for the tip on using “CMD-F” at startup to use my 2nd Mac as a FW HD. I did not know that was possible.

I have 2 questions for you:
I am thinking of using my iMac as a music server. I want to connect it via Toslink to a DAC. I was told that both the audio input and output (headphone) ports on iMacs double as a mini Toslink connections. Is that true? Looking at my ports I’d say no, but others insist it is true.

I inherited a G4 iMac and connected it to my G4 533 and activated the Networking Preferences. I got it working but I could never get the G4 533′s HD to show up on the iMac. All I ever would see would be the User folders. Yet, the G4533 allowed me to see the iMac HD. The G4 533 is running 10.4.1 and the iMac is using 10.4.11. I made changes to the “Sharing” pref’s on both but no go. That is when I went to the FW at startup you mentioned. I tried everything but could not ever get complete access of the G4 533′s HD via a network connection.

What am I missing?

It is true that many new Macs have an optical audio in/out port. This is activated by the use of a special cable that has a plastic headphone jack on one end and a Toslink connector on the other end. It's called a Mini to Optical Toslink cable.

You can tell if you have this feature by looking in your System Profiler utility. In the audio section look for a S/P-DIF in and out notation. If you have that, then you can use the above cable.

As for file sharing to the whole hard drive, you need to make sure that you are logging in as an Administrator on the box you are connecting to or you can use a utility to give full access to any user account on the system. The application is called SharePoints.

How To Connect Apple TV To Your Television

Hardware, Media Center / 0 Comments

Is “Apple TV” an actual TV brand name of Apple? Or is it just an Apple receiver type component that turns and brand name or generic name TV into an able broadcasting unit?

I am trying to figure the easiest way to use my late model TV (Sony) as a monitor from my MacBook Pro wireless computer. Is it as easy as getting the Apple avi to s-cable and mini stereo jack to RCA?

The Apple TV is a special device that connects to HD TVs allowing you to view your iTunes and iPhoto content from your TV. The correct way to connect your MacBook to the analog ports on your TV is with the Apple Mini-DVI to Video Adapter and the S-Video cable and mini stereo jack to RCA cables you mentioned. You may also use an Apple Mini-DVI to DVI Adapter with a DVI to HDMI cable to connect to the HDMI port on your HDTV, if you have one.

Memory Upgrade For A G4 iMac

Hardware / 0 Comments

I recently came by an original iMac 15″ Flat Panel (“iLamp” G4 – 700MHz, CD-RW), a decent “little” machine that I’m about to upgrade the memory and install a SuperDrive; but while I was getting the parts together decided to see if there was a reasonable CPU upgrade path for this machine.

After searching the web for a while I saw that Daystar Digital once had a product to do just that but it appears they no longer sell it. I’ve looked for other solutions but have struck out so far. Any help?

I have looked around and did not found any residual support for upgrading the G4 iMac's processor. I remember when this process came about and it involved you sending back your old logic board to be upgraded or exchanged. I was never that fond of this because, unlike other processor upgrades, this required the old processor to be unsoldered and a new processor soldered on; risky business in my book. If it is not a socketed processor, it is not upgradable by my standards.

Even without a processor upgrade that is a good computer for the basics.

Best Age To Get A Child A Computer?

Hardware, New To Macs / 0 Comments

My nephew, Ryan, will be four at the end of January. His parents have had Vaios and have always stated that Macs are too complicated and expensive. However, I am working on them, as I have passed them my 60GB iPod, and they have been hinting at me for my 1G iPhone.

My question is, would it be totally stupid for me to get my nephew a used Mac for his birthday? He is very much a boy, and I am prepared for the fact that it will likely break, sooner or later. However, I want him to be far more computer literate than either of his parents, and I do not want him to learn poor PC habits with a Microsoft box. The other issue is that that are in North Florida (Georgia) and I am in the Northeast, so I would not have regular influence.

Do you think it would totally be a waste of my money and a $5-600 computer (iBook?) if I were to get one for him?He has expressed and interest and always wants me to take him to the Apple store to play with the games on the iMacs set up for kids.

I am being totally unrealistic here, aren’t I? I should just put that $5-600 to a new MacBook Pro, shouldn’t I?Do you have a recommendation for what age, in your technical opinion, is a good age to get a child a computer?

This is a wonderful question, one I wish more people would ask. I have found that many parents put little thought into their children’s computer usage. Often the result of this structureless approach is one of two extremes. Some parents choose to keep their kids completely away from computers altogether. Which causes the child to be unskilled with, what has become, a basic tool of our American lives. When the child is final introduced to computing they make judgment mistakes that their more computer savvy peers have already learned to avoid. For instance giving out personal information to stranger online.

The other extreme is the parents that choose to give full access to a computer to a child with absolutely no oversight or support. The best-case scenario for this child is if they destroy the computer before getting into massive amounts of trouble online.

The reason that Parents have these problems is due to the absence of computers from their own childhood. For better or worse we parents tend to draw from our own childhood to guide us in our parenting. Most parents today did not have computers until much later in life and possibly have yet to develop a functional understanding of computers. This is not an option for children living in the industrialized world. So parents need help with the digital side of raising their children. If you are willing to be that person for your nephew’s sake then I would say you are not stupid at all for wanting to get him a computer.

Getting a computer is only the first step. You need to be willing to be the administrator of the computer, or teach the parents. I would recommend sending a computer with Leopard on it so that you can screen share over iChat and make changes from across state lines. Also I would have you make one Administrator account that you use for his parents and your remote administration. Your nephew will have his own user account that you will put the Apple built-in parental controls on. Start with very few privileges. As the child to demonstrate proficiency with the Mac, you can slowly start to open the privileges up on his user account.

It would be best if you could configure the computer completely before sending down south. Test it out logged in as your nephew and make sure that it looks simple and secure. Remember to set the auto login account as his account and make sure his parents do not give him the Administrator user account password.

When it comes to finding a proper computer for him I would discourage you from choosing a laptop. Cheap Mac laptops are great for older children that are allowed to have computers in their rooms. This is because you have to confiscate the computer from time-to-time and this is easy with a laptop. My teenage daughter has a G4 iBook and I have to take it away when she breaks the rules. Younger children need computers with replaceable mice and keyboards. They will get trashed and smaller hands need smaller mice and keys. There are many small input devices available that work well for young children. Any computer given to a young child needs to be kept in a public space, so there can always be adult supervision. An iMac or Mac Mini would be a good choice. A used G5 iMac is close to your price range and the G4 iMac 1GHz would also work for you on the lower end of your budget.

There is much more to think about in regards to rules and instruction for your nephew but this should get you started.

I’ve got MacBook with a broken screen, what are my options?

Displays, Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

Currently I am in Iraq so my resources are very limited, I have a 2.4 GHz MacBook with the 160GB hard drive. I dropped the laptop and the screen broke. I want to get a MacBook Pro but I want to get all my pics and iTunes music off the old hard drive. I know it works, I put it in a friends computer. My question is, do they make an external hard drive case I could put the drive in? Or do you know any other way to do this? Also, do you know if I can get back all the music I purchased from iTunes?

You do not have to be in a war zone to have lost a laptop screen to an accidental drop. Most often, I hear about this happening with systems used in schools, but this scenario can bite anyone. There are several positives in regards to Macs with broken screens. In most cases your computer can still be turned on into what is known as Target Disk mode. Hold down the “T” key when you start up the computer. After 30 seconds or so you can let go of the key. After that, you just need to connect your damaged Mac to a working Mac via a FireWire cable. In a way, the Target disk mode turns every modern Mac into an external hard drive.The good news is that when you start a new Mac, you are given instructions on putting your old Mac into Target Disk mode. Once the computers are hooked together, it will automatically move all your old data over and setup the new system just like your old one. Even if your computer can’t boot into Target Disk mode, you can put the drive into an external drive enclosure, or another similar Mac, and move the data over as if it were on your used Mac. I have done this many times and it makes switching Macs as easy as changing a shirt.The other nice feature of your MacBook is that even with a broken screen you can use it with an external keyboard, mouse, and display. This will turn your laptop into a desktop, which is still better than tossing it away. Your MacBook will need an adapter cable to work with a display, and the cable you use depends on the connection on the display. Typically DVI displays are better and they use a Mini DVI cable adapter. Another option is a VGA display adapter.You can use any USB keyboard and mouse you like. I personal like the new Apple Aluminum keyboard and a Logitech wheel mouse.

Optimal RAM For Running Virtual PC

Hardware / 0 Comments

How much RAM is optimal for running Microsoft Virtual PC (7.03) on a DP 2 GHz Power PC G5?

Even though the Intel switch has changed the efficiency of virtualizing a PC on the Mac, virtualization's RAM needs have remained the same. Just like using Parallels or VMware, Virtual PC needs a ton of RAM. The truth is that you can never have too much RAM for increasing the performance of a virtual machine. However, a general guideline would be double the RAM you would want in any one of the operating systems you are running. If your Power Mac runs well by itself with 2GB of RAM, look at taking it up to 4GB to comfortably run the Windows OS next to the Mac OS.

You can use less, but in general that will get you to the optimal position. Use no less than 1GB of RAM to run a Virtualized system on your Mac.

External Hard Drive Compatibility

Hardware / 0 Comments

We have an approximately 4 year old eMac. We have recently been getting messages that our start-up disc is nearly full, etc., etc. Have dumped things we really didn’t want to lose in order to keep this computer alive. We tried to purchase an external hard drive, but ended up with one that was compatible with Mac OS X 10.4.8+. Our Mac is 10.3.9.

We haven’t taken it out of the package, and wonder if you think it might work anyway, and if not, does PowerMax carry an external hard drive that would be more compatible with our computer?

Most external hard drives will work with older versions of the Mac OS, as long as it can connect to the computer. Some drives are only USB 2.0 drives and about half the used eMacs are equipped with USB 1.1 ports. You often can use an external USB 2.0 drive with a 1.1 port but it is slower than what you probably want. Firewire 400 based external hard drives are best for PowerPC Macs like yours. You may have a drive with both. Any time you get a new external drive, you should erase it with the OS X Disk Utility on the computer you intend to use it with. This will make it compatible with whatever version of the Mac OS you are using.If it the drive has FireWire (AKA IEEE 1394) ports or your eMac has USB 2.0, then open that drive and erase it. After that you should be able to start moving your archived files to the drive.

iBook hard drive is maxed out, can I updgrade?

Hardware, Software / 0 Comments

I have an iBook OS 10.3.0 500 MHz Power PC G3 with 128 MB built in RAM and 512 MB added. I searched online and found out that I reached the limit – 640 MB. There are no more slots :( The hard drive has a 9.36 GB capacity and 8.69 are being used – there are 683 MB left.

I have a LaCie external hard drive attached by firewire – 112 GB with 93 GB still available. When I had my iBook updated to Panther I had the operating system and everything on it copied on the LaCie drive in the store just to calm me down for the procedure. I have since added to the computer Adobe Creative Suite and I think I also added a new Microsoft Office and probably downloaded a lot of freeware and stuff. (I already had the previous Adobe software so now I have for example Pagemaker and InDesign both, I also have Pagemill and Adobe Golive. I will never use Pagemaker, Pagemill or Golive again) I added a lot of fonts too. Also, the computer still runs Classic whenever I make the mistake of opening something in an old program.

Anyway – I can’t use Photoshop anymore because it’s too slow. And it CONSTANTLY says the Startup disk is full. Every tiny thing I try to do in Photoshop says that.

I really want to solve this problem. I tried recently to direct Photoshop to use the LaCie drive for memory – I forget where I found that area. But that made no difference.

I am using large files because I’m in school taking Photoshop – the files are too big for my computer I think.

I try as much as possible to store files only on the LaCie drive. One thing I just thought of is I could actually not drag them onto the desktop before opening them in Photoshop and instead put them on the LaCie drive – open them in Photoshop from there and work on them. I hadn’t thought of that – maybe it will help.

Even so, the Mac is completely filled up memory-wise. And most of it is stuff I never use.

So here are my questions for you –1.Do you have any recommendations for clearing out my iBook and having almost everything on my external hard drive?
2. Is it possible to run some of the software from the external hard drive?
3. Are there things that I could get rid of altogether? Like why are there 393 MB of applications in iPod Software Updater from looks like 2005 and 2006 – I don’t update with the Mac I use iTunes on my PC for that and also those are old and outdated aps.
4. Is there an area in the Mac or freeware program that shows you how the Hard Drive is being used – like shows which applications are taking up what amount – like a pie graph or something? Then you can just delete whatever you don’t want anymore?
5. Do people get rid of the Classic OS – or is that impossible?
6. Why does it say the startup disk is full? What is a startup disk? Why is Photoshop using the startup disk? Can I allocate more memory to the startup disk? Can Photoshop stop using it and use the external hard drive?
7. Is there always going to be a slowness issue just because of the “500 MHz” – I just made note of the fact that my PC says Processor Speed is 1.56 GHz. Is that 3x the speed of the Mac?

If I can’t solve this issue should I –
1. Buy a new Mac?
2. Just use my PC and buy Adobe Creative Suite for it and not bother with Macs anymore?

The slowness you are experiencing is the product of your computer's limited processor and RAM, as well as your internal hard drive being full.
The hard drive is the only thing left to upgrade, and it is something you will have to take into an Apple Authorized Service center. A 120GB PowerBook hard drive can be installed into your iBook to replace your current internal drive. You may have to pay extra to the service department to move the data over, but you could also clone your drive using Carbon Copy Cloner and your external drive.

Almost all your problems stem from your internal hard drive (aka Startup drive) being full. In general, you need to have twice the available hard drive space as RAM installed in the system. For you, that would mean having 640 MB X 2 empty space on your hard drive at all times. You can delete the old “System Folder” used by classic and the “Applications (OS 9)” folder if you do not use Classic applications. That may be a good starting point.

Your PC seems newer, and by processor power it probably is over twice the speed of your Mac, but the Windows OS does slow down a system if it's not well maintained, so your actual benefit from switching to the PC could be lost.

Will an Apple Cinema Display work with my Pismo Powerbook G3?

Displays, Hardware / 0 Comments

Will your Aluminum 20-inch Apple Cinema Display work with my Pismo Powerbook G3?It has 1GB of Ram and OS 10.4.11. If no to the G3 Pismo, would the display work with the same Pismo with the G4 upgrade?

Sadly, no, the Aluminum 20-inch Apple Cinema Display will not work with your Pismo G3. It is a shame because the Aluminum 20-inch Apple Cinema Display is a beautiful display, I am working on one as I type this.

The problem is not just your video card and processor, but the type of external video connection the Pismo came with. You have a VGA connection on your Laptop and you need a DVI connection to run an aluminum 20-inch Apple Cinema Display. You would also need a better video card with extra VRAM. It is probably not the best choice for older Macs. There are many LCD displays that will work with your VGA connection.

Resoving A Sleep Issue Through PMU Reset

Hardware, Software, System Settings / 0 Comments

I am having trouble with the sleep feature. Recently I am not able to sleep the computer by any command means then if it sleeps from time, under system prefs. It will not wake, have to restart. Can the PMU be reset on this model? If so where is it located?

Resetting the PMU is a good first step in trying to resolve a system sleep issue. Here is the link to the Apple’s support site PMU reset procedure for most of the PowerPC Mac towers.

If resetting the PMU fails to resolve your problems you should then remove any added PCI cards you have installed. Some USB/Firewire cards will prevent a computer from sleeping properly. If you still have issues with your system sleeping, try removing all non-Apple RAM and peripherals, as this may interfere with the system’s ability to go into the low power mode of sleep.

G3 Mac Hardware or Software Failure?

Hardware, Software / 0 Comments

I have a beige G3 (sidecar) Mac that used a SCSI bus for the internal hard drives. The system will currently not boot, although the raster comes up on the display but no icons. I would like to access data on the hard drives. Do I need to try to get a replacement motherboard, or is there a way to connect the internal SCSI drives to my newer Macs, via USB or Firewire.

It’s not certain that you have a hardware failure that would require a new logic board. You could just as easily have a operating system issue that can be fixed. If you have a Mac OS install CD, then you can boot up off of that and see if the Disk First-aid can fix your boot drive. Also a reinstall of the OS could help resolve your issue. It is a safe bet that if you computer will not startup from a Mac OS X CD that it is a hardware failure. At that point you will need to find a new system that supports PCI cards so that you can move your drive over to the new system. You will need to determine what kind of interface your SCSI drive uses.This Adaptec SCSI card has both types of connectors but it may be more than what you need.I have never used this Startech SCSI card before but it could be an economical solution.Unfortunately I do not know of a good USB/FireWire SCSI drive adapter. Internal is probably your best option.

Troubleshooting Display Issues On a 17″ Apple Cinema Display

Displays, Hardware / 0 Comments

I have a 17″ studio cinema display and it seems to have an “off and on” power problem, USB ports work sometimes. Could it be a bad cord or what?

The Apple Cinema Displays have many cables combined into one connector. Each has DVI, USB, and power wrapped together in a single cable and plug. Although it is a wonderful reduction of clutter, this can create problems.

The first place to check for problems is with the pins in the connector. Look and see if any pin is bent or missing… with that many pins it is possible for one to get misaligned. Provided that the pins look intact, you should next reseat your video card by removing it and then reinserting it. Every feature that runs through the ADC connection also goes through your video card and its connection to the logic board.

If the problem persists, then it could be a short in that ADC cable. See if you can cause and then fix the problem by manipulating the monitor’s cable. If moving the cable has no effect, it is most likely a faulty USB hub in the display. I have seen this before but not too often. In the case of a bad USB hub, it is best to use an available USB port on the computer or get a desktop USB hub

iBook Wireless On The Cheap

Hardware, Networking, Wireless / 0 Comments

I have a iBook (circa 2002) and I would like to get it wireless capable. Is there anything I can do short of paying $1,000?

All iBooks, and most PowerBooks can go Wireless with a simple upgrade card. What you need is an Apple Airport card. There are two versions of airport card for the iBook – you’ll need a G4 iBook Airport Extreme card, or a regular G3 iBook FastMac Airport card.With iBooks, you just flip open the keyboard and plug in the card. Inside your iBook there is a built-in Airport antenna that attaches to the back of the Airport card. After the battery, Airport is the most user-accessible installation on the iBook.

Is there signal booster available for a wireless iMac?

Hardware, Networking, Software, Wireless / 0 Comments

Is there a range extender (or signal booster) available for the iMac wireless computer? I have the Time Capsule connected to a PC in an adjacent room and occasionally lose the internet connection. I have a Westell 2200 modem.I see two on your site but would like to know which one, if any, would help with my iMac connections.

As I understand your network, you have a Westell 2200 DSL modem plugged in through Ethernet to your Time Capsule router/Drive’s WAN port. Your PC is connected by Ethernet to the Time Capsule’s LAN port and your iMac connects wirelessly to the Time Capsule.

The problem you have is that the iMac is too far away from the Time Capsule to get a good signal. The best option for you would be an added Airport Express. You can wirelessly link your Time Capsule to the new Airport Express Via the WDS feature of Airport. This will let you place your new Airport Express halfway between your Time Capsule and iMac to create that boosted network range you wanted.

Protecting Your Investment With The Best RAID Solution

Backups, Hardware / 0 Comments

Glad to see there’s a well-informed person out there who’s willing to help people out with suggestions. I don’t know much about what I’m asking – I was assigned to research and find out the best way to store the images, so I found out about RAID, then immediately started looking for the best kind, and skipped all the steps in between there. So I apologize if I seem way out of my league.

I work for a successful photographer based in Seattle, WA, and we’re having a bit of a storage dilemma. Right now, we’ve got about 1TB of images, worth well over $1 million total, sitting on two cheap drives, and our trust in them is starting to falter. We’ve decided that a RAID system is probably the best way to go. With that, we’re looking for a large level of redundancy in order to store the images, something along the lines of what the ProStudio RAIDs by EZQuest do. At this point for us, cost is no object, we’re just looking for the absolute best, most reliable way to store (and mirror) the images many times over. What do you suggest?

Working with RAID storage systems is a complex subject. The way you interface with the storage is just as important as what RAID type you are using for redundancy. It is essential to note that RAID 0 (zero), also know as a Striped RAID, offers no data protection and should not be considered as a viable backup / long-term storage solution. You are looking for a guarantee that the files your studio makes its income from will survive a drive failure. For that you need to look at a RAID 1 or other complex RAID system.Many RAIDs are selected for Speed, Capacity, and Redundancy. The first two concerns are less of an issue for your needs, this is more important for a video editor or database server. What you really are interested in is the redundancy to protect your files, which makes the available selection much wider. In your situation you have to limit the large list of options down, so connectivity is a great way to do this. The ProStudio RAID by EZQuest is a fine RAID solution for the Video editing crowd but it requires being tethered to a Mac Pro. Depending on how you process images in your studio it may make more sense to have a variety of connections that all systems can connect to when depositing files or retrieving them.

If what I am suggesting is appealing to you, then try looking at one of the LaCie Biggest Quadra 4TB. You would want to run it in a RAID 5 or RAID 0+1. With this setup, practically any computer you use will be able to connect to the drive, freeing you up from system downtime affecting your ability to access your files.

The one thing missing in this setup is concurrent access to the files. This setup is aimed at one computer at a time connecting to the drive. If you have many computers needing to access these files, you will want to look at a file server instead. A custom ordered Mac Pro with an internal RAID and OSX Server installed would work well for that purpose.

I hope this gets you started, as you can see it is much more than a simple “this is the best RAID” conversation. It may be worth talking about your options with one of our sales consultants. Anyway, I hope this helps!

Is The G4 Suitable For Home Audio Recording?

Hardware, Software / 0 Comments

I want to do some home studio recording. Would a G4 be suitable for this? I’m not sure how fast the processor would need to be, but I would definitely upgrade the RAM.

A G4 will work fine for most audio editing projects, as long as you keep the number of tracks reasonable, and budget for some extra wait time while working on the Pro Tools / Logic projects. A dual processor MDD G4 would be a good choice with its full 2GB limit of RAM. Also consider two extra drives in a RAID 1 configuration to store your project files on. If this is work for a paying client, you”re going to want to make sure it”s backed up.

Restoring from Time Machine

Backups, Hardware, Software / 0 Comments

I want to upgrade the HDD in my MBP. Once I’ve replaced the HDD and have formatted it, can I use Leopard Time Machine from the external HDD to just port over all of my information from my Old HDD that was being backed up by Leopard? Or is there another program that I can use to migrate my information over?

Leopard will import from a Time Machine backup. After you install Leopard on the drive, you will be asked if you want to import the data from an old Mac or a Time Machine backup. It is nice and clean way of moving your data to a new drive or computer.

CD Burning Question

Hardware / 0 Comments

I have a mirror G4 with a PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-104. At first, I had trouble trying to figure out how to burn a cd. MacHelp lead me to the DiskUtility, but I still couldn’t burn. I might have erased something I shouldn’t have, because now the drive won’t mount any cd’s. How do I get them to mount again?? Please help!

Burring a CD or DVD requires some software. Apple is good at building in this software, but it does depend on what version of the Mac OS you are using.

In Mac OS X there is burning support built into the Finder, often it is called “Desktop Burning.” This allows you to insert a blank disc and it will appear as a writable volume on the Desktop. You Drag files to it until it is full and then drag it to the Trash to burn the disc. Rewritable CD-RW/DVD-RW disks have to be erased in Disk Utility first, but then they act the same as the plain CD-R/DVD-R discs. It is also possible for other applications to burn discs. A common application that people burn CDs with is iTunes. Because there are a few burning options, most times the Mac OS will ask you what application you intend to use. You can also set a default burning application, and never be asked the question again. Perhaps this is what has happened to you. You could have set a default action of “ignore” for the inserting of blank discs.

To fix this, go to System Preferences under the Blue Apple menu. Click on the CDs & DVDs icon. Change the popup menu for “When you insert a blank CD:” to show Ask what to Do. Then Change the popup menu for “When you insert a blank DVD:” to show Ask what to Do. Close the window and then insert a blank CD-R. Set the Action popup menu to “Open In Finder” and click the OK button. It should now be on your desktop ready to have you add files to it. When you are ready to burn it, just drag the disc over to the Trash. The Trash icon will change to a burn icon and you will be asked to confirm the burn.

In OS 9 Desktop Burning was not available. A non-Apple program was needed called Toast, but the OS 9 version is discontinued. The OS 9 version of iTunes will burn music CDs, but for modern disc burning, OS X should be used.

Setting up Skype on a G5

Hardware, Software / 1 Comment

I have what I’m sure qualifies as a dumb question. I bought a G5 Power PC 1.8 GHz from PowerMax three years ago.

I would like to install Skype on my Mac, so I can make overseas phone calls. A friend who has Skype says you just need to yell at your computer once you connect Skype, and the computer acts as a phone transmitter and receiver.

My dumb question: do I have a microphone built in? Or will I have to buy one and hook it up to a USB port?

Or do I do something else.

Rest assured, a person can’t know what they don’t know, so your question is as fair as they get.

Unfortunately for your Skype ambitions, no Mac computer tower, including the Mac mini, comes with a built-in microphone. You will need a USB headset or desktop microphone for your G5, of which we sell a wide variety. Only the iMacs and Mac laptops come with the built-in microphones. The good news is that practically any USB microphone will work on your Mac without extra software. You just have to select it in the System Preferences upon install.

Need Help Buying My First Mac

Hardware, Intel Macs, New To Macs / 0 Comments

I’m a student that’s looking into my first Mac computer. I’ve always owned PCs and get frustrated because within a year or two they’re slower, less reliable, and for whatever reason act up and it costs a fortune to secure them against viruses and every other technological threat. So I’ve heard that a Mac can avoid these problems…is this true?

Also… as I said I am a student, and if I can I’d like a refurbished Mac laptop (to help save a little money) and I have a few other questions. Why is it these Macs are refurbished? Was something wrong in the first place? Also, what sort of computer would be appropriate for me? I like music and my iTunes so music storage would be important, and other than that just normal document storage and fast Internet browsing would be the only other things I’d need. So what type of computer would fit me? Do I need a dual processor and how much memory…all that. I don’t know much about it so anything you can tell me would help.

It’s true that Mac computers are far less prone to viruses and other junk that makes for a frustrating experience on Windows machines. This is not to say that Macs are impervious to attack, but it rarely happens. Macintosh computers are great for any user who has no interest in becoming a computer security expert or continuing to invest in repairing and reconfiguring a computer.

Macs are refurbished for a legion of reasons, many of which have nothing to do with anything having gone wrong with the machine. A computer could have been refurbished simply because it was returned by a customer who found it not the right fit. Maybe it was a display machine or a loaner system. Those are often refurbished too.

It is also just as likely, however, that a refurbished Mac had some problem, real or perceived, and was returned. Those systems are repaired and re-boxed as refurbished by Apple. Be aware that computers are really modular, so if a component goes bad, simply replacing that component will restore the machine to factory-level conditions. However, it is always a good idea to include AppleCare with a Mac purchase, which gives you three years of hardware protection and worldwide service coverage (you know, for that trip to Spain you always wanted). If a computer has any lingering issues they’ll become evident within those three years and you should be able to get it fixed at no cost.

For your specific needs, if you’re looking for mobility, I think a MacBook laptop with 2GB of RAM will work perfectly and is a quality starting point – and they’re stunning little notebooks. If you want a bigger screen and don’t plan to take your computer out of the house, then the iMac is my favorite choice.

Lost Photos After Importing To An External Drive

Hardware, Mac OS X, Software / 0 Comments

About a month ago, I imported images from my Sandisk Extreme III CF Card to my G-tech external hard drive.

Now that I have time to look through the photos, I went back into the folder on my drive and only 10 of 200 images are available. The other 190 show up as files (“cmd-i” even shows some metadata, but Zero KB size.) but I cannot open the files to view the image. When clicking the image file, I get a Mac warning that the file cannot be opened.

What happened here? Is it the CF card, the drive, the card reader…I am a photographer and my stomach is turning just thinking if this was to happen to images for a client.

Is there any hope for me Jacob, or should I close shop now and form a new relationship with disposable cameras?

This problem has all the tell-tale signs of an interrupted copy.

Sometimes in the process moving files, the device connection is broken or interfered with, and only filenames are imported as empty placeholders. Whenever you move files from one source to another, double-check that all the files are accessible at the new location.

Using photo management software, and not the Finder, to move the files is probably your safest method for this kind of work. That is the value of Apple’s Aperture and even iPhoto. The simple act of organizing the photos gives you validation that the pictures are intact.

It sounds like investing in some photo management software might keep you from jeopardizing your client projects.

Lost Firmware Password

Hardware, Mac OS X, Software / 0 Comments

I own a MacBook 2.16 Duo Core. My problem is that I have forgotten my Admin Password. I also have Firmware protection activated. I have tried everything that I know to gain access, only find disappointment. Is there anything that I can do which would allow me to regain access? Or would I have to send it to Apple for repair? Thanks you thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated.

When is comes to misplaced Admin Passwords, there are some steps outlined on Apple’s support site:

Lost Firmware Password

If the Firmware password is lost, follow these steps. This procedure works on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macintosh computers.

Important: ESD Precautions – To avoid damaging components, be sure to follow Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)-safe repair practices.

  • Shut down the computer.
  • Gain access to the computer’s RAM slots.
    (Detailed instructions by product are available from the CIP page)
  • Add or remove a RAM DIMM to change the total amount of installed RAM.
    For example: If the computer has two RAM DIMMs (128 MB DIMM and 64 MB DIMM) for a total of 192 MB of memory, remove the 64 MB DIMM. This changes the total memory of the computer to 128 MB RAM. If the computer has a single RAM DIMM, you can change the total memory by adding a DIMM of any compatible size.
    Note: Removing a computer’s only DIMM is not an option and will prevent the computer from starting up.
  • Turn on the computer and immediately reset PRAM by holding the Command-Option-P-R key combination. Press the keys until you’ve heard two successive startup sounds.
  • Open Firmware password protection is now disabled. Shut down the computer and return it to its original RAM configuration.

Then use the Password reset utility when booted from the OS X install DVD and reset your admin password.

Are Glossy Screens Frustrating?

Displays, Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

Recent reviews of newest generation Apple iMacs make mention of one of it’s “cons”: that the screen’s glossy appearance (and angle?) is “frustrating”…

What do you make of this assessment? Is the screen angle fixed? And what is frustrating about a glossy screen?

This is personal taste at its purest.

I like a matte screen and my wife loves glossy. We have had many an argument about it when buying a monitor. In the case of the iMac, it is not a big issue, and I have not been disappointed with the glossy iMac. A nice option with the iMac is that you can have both matte and glossy. The iMac supports two screens, one internal (glossy) and one external. If you bought a 20″ iMac and a 20″ Apple display together, you could use both displays side-by-side. One would be matte and the other one glossy, but it’s really mostly a matter of personal taste (and probably just getting used to one or the other as well).

Malfunctioning OS9 iBook

Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks, Mac OS 9 / Classic / 0 Comments

I recently bought an iBook G4 from the web. I needed a computer that works in Classic 9, that runs software and hardware used in a middle school classroom. It worked for about an hour (long enough for me to do a migration from one computer to another). Since that time, however, it stalls and the message you need to restart your computer keeps appearing. I’ve been told that the logic board is shot. Unfortunately, I missed the 30-day return period. Is this something that can be fixed without spending an arm and a leg? Is there something I can do to get the machine up and running?

Unfortunately, if the diagnosis is correct and your logic-board is no longer working correctly, then it is an extremely expensive repair.

Sometimes even faulty equipment can still work under light loads. I have my father’s old iMac on life support just for his writing and emailing. He uses his much newer MacBook for all his big projects.

It may be a good idea to get your iBook reinstalled from the factory-restore DVDs. Then use the iBook for only classroom work. If you do not migrate data, it may continue to work. You may also want to get a second opinion about the logic board. Just like with medicine, fails-positives happen.

And, um, next time… buy a used Mac from PowerMax… we provide a 90-day warranty and more (including answers to questions). But I’m guessing you’ve kinda figured that out by now.

Apple RAM vs. Non-Apple RAM

Hardware / 0 Comments

It appears that some RAM has an Apple Logo, but others I’ve seen, are Hynix and Samsung, among others. Which brands do come installed in Macs.

Recently, a dear friend, who happens to be impulsive, decided he needed a MBP (sorry he went to Santa Monica, CA Apple store) so, then he shipped me his virtually new iMac Aluminum previous generation 2.0GHz, 20″. I decided to put in another 1GB to make total of 2GB. I had this one, 1GB Samsung, from an identical iMac 2.0GHz, which does not have the Apple Logo, which my Apple refurbed, white iMac, 2.0GHz does have.

I installed this and it did not work!

Not all Apple-installed RAM has an Apple logo on it. In fact, most do not because Apple buys RAM from many different vendors and does not make any RAM on its own. The RAM you have should work, as long as it is still in good working order. If it was stored outside of an anti-static bag, the RAM could have been damaged. Also, you need to be certain that the RAM was fully seated in the slot. To test the RAM chip, a good idea is to remove the original chip and put this extra chip in its place. If the iMac boots up with your chip in it, then add the original chip back in the 2nd slot.

Normal Mac Pro Operating Temperature

Hardware, Intel Macs, Mac OS X / 0 Comments

I recently installed the iStat widget on my Intel Mac Pro (2×2.66GHz dual core Intel Xeon with 3 GB RAM, running 10.4.11. It has the NVIDIA GeForce 7300 GT graphics card). I was surprised to find that the “Northbridge temp” normally is at 150°F which seems hot to me. The CPUs are at 80°F or so. This is when the ambient is about 65°F. Do you know what the optimal operating temp ranges should be for these?

The Northbridge chip is under the black heatsink in your PCI-e compartment of the Mac Pro. It is common for that chip to have readings up to 83°C or 182°F. Some people have taken to replacing the Northbridge heatsink in their Mac Pros to get things cooler, but I would not advise it unless you start to see temperatures above 170°F.

Opening the CD Door on Startup

Hardware, Mac OS X / 0 Comments

I have been needing an interior hard drive for some time. This one was almost full, and I have been deleting images and files constantly to keep the drive less than full. A friend was going to help me install a larger one, but I am still waiting. So, today, I received a software update and when the computer restarted, that fan came on and the apple came up but then all froze. So, what do I do now? I can’t install the hardware test DVD as it will not open the DVD door. Can you help me? Or suggest what I should do?

You can access the eject function two ways in this situation; boot up holding down the Option key and then use the eject key to eject the drive when you get the boot loader screen. Also, you can hold down the mouse button on startup, that will force the CD to eject. After that, you will have to use Disk Utility to repair the drive or do an Archive and install of the Mac OS.

Upgrading a G5 Tower’s video card

Hardware, Software / 0 Comments

I want to upgrade my video card for my Power PC G5 Dual 2 GHZ model. I bought this model 2 years ago and it came with the GeForce FX 5200 with VRAM 64MB. I am doing a lot of editing in Aperture and it is really slow. Please help, let me know what is my best option.

This is a common problem for Aperture users. Almost every aspect of this program depends on a good graphics card. Unfortunately because of the shift to Intel-based systems, with their PCI-e Graphics, the PowerMac G5 owners are being shorted on upgrade options. Video card Makers are just not focusing on AGP video cards. You still have an option though. The ATI 9600 Pro 256MB is on the Aperture recommendation list and is still available for your AGP based computer.

http://www.powermax.com/parts/show/h79810

http://www.apple.com/aperture/specs/

You might also think about upgrading to Aperture 2.0— a much snappier program. A worthwhile upgrade.

Western Digital Drive problems

Hardware / 0 Comments

‘ll give you a basic run down of what I’ve done in setting up these drives. The main question is why does one of my new 120 GB drives show only 1.6 GB free as assigned to its icon on the desk top?

I added one new WD120 HD into the rack above the original (dying) hard drive. Using Carbon Copy Cloner transfered old hard drive to new HD. Removed both drives, put new drive

in position of original drive, then added additional new drive in rack directly above the new master drive. Initialized both drives. A third drive is an external Lacie 250GB.

After copying the hard drive and installing the 2nd drive I ran Disk Warrior on all three drives. The cloned drive was 25% out of order which I repaired.

I went to Western Digital’s web site and read about master/slave protocol and also cable select protocol, and something about a jumper block inseted into the pins on the hard drive.

My only though has to do with how Western Digital pins their drives. When a WD drive is set as a Master drive with no slave drive present, there are no jumpers. When you add a Slave drive to the ribbon cable, you need to change the Master drive’s settings by placing a jumper on the center row of pins. For the Slave drive, the jumper setting is placed on the next row over. One step closer to the power plug. Refer to Figure four in the PDF at this link:

http://www.wdc..com/en/library/eide/2579-001037.pdf

Also note that the drive on the bottom of the Hard Drive stack, in a Quicksilver, is the Master drive.

Making the best of older Macs

Hardware, Intel Macs, Mac OS X, Software / 0 Comments

Someone recently gave me a G3 desktop and a Power PC desktop.

These machines are old but still working.

I don`t want to toss them out if something can be done with them… the 7300/2000 seems to be running the best (faster) it has 385 mb of memory installed; how much could I max the RAM out to? And will the RAM from the G3 fit ?

I have fond memories of both beige systems. In theory, the G3 Desktop should be faster than the 7300/200 Power Mac. It’s possible that the 7300 had a processor upgrade over the years. That could easily make it faster than an un-upgraded G3 Desktop. Look at the System Profiler under the Apple menu to see what processor speed you have.

The 7300 could support 1GB of RAM via 8 128MB chips. It is probably OK to aim instead for 512MB via 8 64MB chips.
http://www.powermax.com/parts/show/r-d-64

This RAM for the 7300 is different than the RAM in the G3 Desktop. The beige G3 Power Macs used PC66 SDRAM and would only support 768MB total RAM via 3 256MB chips.
http://www.powermax.com/parts/show/r-g3-256

Changing a G4′s case

Hardware / 0 Comments

Can a Power Mac G4 MDD or Power Mac G4 AGP/500 be fitted with a new computer case mod, as with PC’s? I would like to purchase the a Mac from Power Jacob, but I really don’t like their looks. I’m tired of Windows-based computers.

Macs can be modded and many people are passionate about redesigning their Mac. We have a few of those people on staff here. The nice thing about the B&W G3 towers and the PowerMac G4 towers is that the plastic shells come off. Underneath is a metal case, in a mostly rectangle form. That metal can be died, painted or polished to meet your tastes. For many years my work computer had no plastics on it. That was not a style issue though, I took them off because we needed the plastic pieces to fix a customer’s computer.

The MDD G4s do not look as smooth on the outside if you remove the plastic, but they do have some cool metal structures that protrude. Also, you can remove all the internals and place them in a different case altogether. Unfortunately, you will have to move standoffs and cut new port openings to get a Mac Logic board to fit in a PC case. It is better to start with the bare Mac case and add to it.

Macbook Pro burning problems

Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

My Macbook Pro Failed to calibrate laser power level for cd media. What do I do ?

That MacBook Pro disk burning error message can cover a few problems. The “Failed to calibrate laser power level” message was meant to indicate that your CD/DVD burner was unable to find the right settings for the blank media you are using. So the first thing to try is different blank media. Do not test with other disks from the same group or spindle, but instead try different brands of CD-R banks. Borrow or trade some blank discs with friends for a good crosscheck of media. See if your blank discs work in your friends’ computers and see if theirs work in your MacBook Pro. If you fail to burn any CDs in your MacBook Pro, regardless of how many different brand discs you use, it is probably is a drive or driver issue.

Some people who upgraded to Leopard have reported burning issues like yours. Also, some people just upgrading to 10.4.11 from another version of Tiger have had an unsolved problem where they get the error message “Failed to calibrate laser power level.” It is not a common occurrence so I would not jump to the conclusion that this is an Apple update problem. Just consider it as a possibility. To see if this your problem, you should try an Archive and Install from your original gray OS X install discs. If it is a driver issue, then Archive and Install should fix it.

The last possibility is that the hardware has failed and the optical drive may need to be replaced. If you determine that the two possible culprits above are not to blame, take your MacBook Pro to a local Apple Authorized Service Center.

Home media network

Hardware, Media Center, Networking / 0 Comments

I would like to update some computers in the home network. What I would like to do is set up an iMac or a Mac mini as the main computer in the home office. Then set up a 2nd Mac mini as a home theater PC in the main living room. I would like to set up an Apple TV in a bedroom. As for the old G4 450 AGP, I would like to store all my media files like music, movies and home videos on this box, it has two hard drives in it now, with all my media on it. What do I need to do so any file can be accessed by any user anytime?There will also be a laptop or 2 or 3 used as well.

I have a similar setup to what you want at my home. I use an Intel iMac as my main system in the office. It houses all the family pictures and music. I also use an Elgato EyeTV system to record TV and share it via iTunes. As long as you have a modern version of iTunes running on every computer, you should be able to share it via a single source iTunes library. I would recommend using an Airport Extreme base station as your router.

http://www.powermax.com/parts/show/a-mb053ll__a

Also, you will want to have Leopard installed on all the computers that can handle it. This will allow you to use Front Row on all your Macs, not just the ones that came with an Apple Remote Control.

http://www.powermax.com/parts/show/s-mb022z__a

Also, having Leopard will enable you use the AGP G4 as a headless computer (ie no display) . An AGP 450 G4 will not run Leopard well, so Tiger is the best OS you will want on it. Don’t worry, Tiger is fine for what you are doing. You will have to use a monitor at first to set up the Media server computer. As soon as it’s running Tiger, go to the Sharing section of System Preferences. Under the Services tab, enable the “Apple Remote Desktop” service and set the Access Privileges to allow the main user to do everything. Leave the Guest and VNC sections uncheck-marked.

You can now remove the display from the AGP G4 and connect the computer to the Airport base station via an ethernet cable. Also connect your Office computer via ethernet to the base station. With Leopard running on the Office computer, you can see the AGP G4 as available for screen sharing. Click on the Screen Sharing button and enter the Username and Password for the Administrator account on the AGP G4. You will have full control over the AGP G4 from your office Mac. You then can turn on File Sharing and setup the iTunes on the AGP G4 to be the master library for your home.

On the AGP G4, make sure that you have Sharing turned on in the iTunes preferences. All the other Macs just need to have the preference enabled to “look for shared music.” When you set up your Apple TV, you will have to pair it with the iTunes running on the AGP G4. You will also need to enable photo sharing in iPhoto if you want to share pictures.

Once the server has all the files sharing that you plan on serving, you can then test the connection on your other Macs. Using the new Front Row application that comes with Leopard, just change the source to the AGP G4. You should be able to browse the Apple TV-like menu system to find the media you want. You can also use iTunes and iPhoto to browse the remote media. I think you will find it very responsive on a home network.

Boot Camp clock time switch

Hardware, Software, System Settings / 0 Comments

If you installed windows via Boot Camp on any PowerBook, the time changes as you switch from Windows to Mac OS the time changes.We installed one software upgrade for time & date preference, it fixed Mac timing but not Windows timing.
Any help about it is welcomed.

This is a common problem between switching from one OS to another. The problem stems from how Windows XP uses the computer’s internal clock. OS X always stores the time as the Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in the Mac’s internal clock. Adjustments to the time displayed in the Mac OS are made based on location and Daylight Savings Time settings. With the Windows OS, time is stored as local time. People who live in the GMT zone are the only ones unaffected by this difference in time storage.

Really the best way to compensate for the time difference, is for each OS to manage its time over internet. Both the Mac OS and the Windows OS can manage time based on network time servers. There will be occasional delays between clock updates, because the OS only checks the time server a few times a day. If you can stand to have the Windows OS displaying GMT, then I would disable network time synchronization in Windows and let the Mac OS have the correct time.

What Wattage UPS to buy

Hardware / 0 Comments

It is so confusing to understand the wattage that is required for computer systems. I can’t seem to find out what Wattage my computer puts out and what is required for a UPS.

I have an 867 dual Macintosh G4 with 2 internal hard drives, an Apple 23″ cinema display and a 500 GIG external drive that needs a UPS. what is the wattage I should look for in one?

It seems like the model names of the UPS’s show a higher number than actual wattage of that particular model UPS.

Any help would be appreciated. Also, is there a way to dispose of older UPS’s?

When calculating Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) wattage, I often drop by the APC website to use their calculators. APC is a Mac-friendly, quality company.

http://www.apc.com/tools/ups_selector/index.cfm

Assuming that you don’t need too much runtime during a power outage, just enough to shutdown, then this unit would work for you:
http://www.powermax.com/parts/show/f18782

When your old UPS needs to be recycled, you need to contact the county or city hazardous waste department to find out where you can dispose of batteries. A UPS often uses a battery comparable to the one found in some motorcycles, so you might want to find out where those batteries end up.

What PCI USB 2.0 card should I use?

Hardware, Intel Macs, iPod / iTunes / 0 Comments

I am contemplating an upgrade card for USB 2.0. My computer only shippedwith 1.1, I think. It is an Power Mac G4 (FW 800). I have heard that PCIUSB cards can cause problems. I am trying to do this in order to buy aniPod. Any suggestions?

When Apple started selling USB-only iPods they compiled a short list of USB 2.0 card makers that they liked. It was aimed at PC owners because Apple would prefer you buy a new USB 2.0 equipped Mac, but the list is a good Mac resource too. Here is the link. On that list is IOgear, who I like because of their Mac/Linux support. The card has 3 USB 2.0 ports and 2 FireWire 400 ports. I know you already have FireWire, but I have always found having extra FireWire ports to be of great benefit.

Recovering music files from an iPod

Hardware, iPod / iTunes, Laptops & Notebooks, Networking, Software / 0 Comments

How can I transfer tunes from my iPod (30 gb) back to my G4 computer? I have erased them from my computer by accident… but have them all still on my iPod … I am afraid if I try to sync the iPod it will remove them.

We have two staff picks that will do the job and recover your lost tunes.

First there is iPod Access:
www.findleydesigns.com/ipodaccess/

and then we have iPodRip:
www.thelittleappfactory.com/application.php?app=iPodRip

Both should help you out but give them each a try and see which one you want to keep around… for the next time you need it.

Connecting to a Bluetooth remote control

Hardware, Intel Macs, Networking / 0 Comments

I have a friend’s bluetooth remote control that I want to use with my iMac (mine was smashed -long story- I’m actually testing his out to see if it works, and if it does, I’m going to try to buy a new one. How can I synchronize the new remote so that my iMac will work with it? Is there a way to make it “discoverable?”

If there is a way to make this work, where can I purchase a replacement remote control?

Most bluetooth devices will have a Pair, Connect, or Link button somewhere on the remote control that will make it discoverable for a period of time. It is often in the battery compartment or on the bottom of a remote or mouse. Once you make a device discoverable, you then can use the Apple Bluetooth Setup Assistant to add the device. Some devices are only discoverable for 30-90 seconds, so you may have to hit the button a few times. Also if you are asked to enter a pass code, it is often four zeros, but refer to the devices manual.

Now if you just want to replace the Apple IR remote, that is available and much easer to use. It should work with your iMac right out of the box.

www.PowerMax.com/parts/show/l51929

Preparing for the Leopard upgrade

Hardware, Intel Macs, Mac OS 9 / Classic, Mac OS X, Software / 0 Comments

What do I need to do to be ready for my new operating system? Should everything be backed up? Will my dual G5 need any tweaking?

The Leopard upgrade is often smooth, having done it on a dozen or so systems myself I can attest to that. I would, however, recommend that you buy an external drive and clone your system onto it. Use carbon Copy Cloner to make your clone.

www.bombich.com/software/ccc.html

After you have a good clone of your computer’s hard drive, you can then upgrade your system to Leopard. If you encounter any problems, format the internal hard drive and install Leopard on the empty drive. Then use the Migration Assistant -which runs when you first start up Leopard- to pull the data from the cloned system you made on the external drive. Once you have everything running smoothly, you can format that external drive and turn it into your Time Machine drive.

Hope that helps… and you are going to love Leopard.

Printer driver won’t install

Hardware, Printing, Software / 0 Comments

I’m trying to connect to an Epson Stylus Photo RX620 all-in-one (not my favorite piece of hardware, but it’s what I’ve got). I’ve downloaded software from Epson’s site, which supposedly will install drivers for Intel-based Macs under OSX 4.xxx. The installer seems to run fine, but when I go to Systems Preferences > Print & Fax > Add Printer > Print Using, the only drivers that are listed under “Epson” are the Gimp-Print beta drivers.

A whole bunch of likely-looking stuff exists in Macintosh HD > Library > Printers > Epson, but I don’t have any idea what to do with that information.

Any suggestions?

(By the way, I did run Epson’s “Uninstall” program before installing their “Install.” I did disconnect the USB cable before installing, and I did restart the iMac after installing. In fact, I’ve all this several times.)

Something for you to try is resetting your printing system. You do this by opening the Printer Setup Utility: it’s in the Utilities folder in the Applications folder. Then under the Printer Setup Utility Menu, select “Reset Printing System.” That will take your system back to square one, in terms of printers, but then all you’ll need to do is add the printer again. You should not need to reinstall the Epson software. You may want to restart the computer in between resetting the printing system and adding your printer.

Time Machine on Network Drives

Backups, Hardware, Networking, Software / 0 Comments

I purchased a 17″ PowerBook from PowerMax a couple of years back and have recently installed Leopard. For sometime I’ve been exploring Network-based hard drives to back up my Apple and Window machines from my network (looking at Buffalo Tech and Lacie). Time Machine seems to have thrown me a curve. My questions are:

Can Time Machine back up to a network drive or do you need a direct USB connection?
Second, I’ve read that Time Machine requires its own space and that it cannot be shared with another machine (i.e. my Windows XP box). Is this true? And, last question if you can use network drives, do you have any suggestions (there doesn’t seem to be a clear winner from the reviews I’ve read)?

The types of drives suitable for Time Machine use have varied over the Leopard development process. Figuring out what may work in the future is tricky. If you have multiple internal drives, you can designate one of them as a Time Machine drive. Any FireWire or USB 2.0 drive can also work as a Time Machine drive. The one prerequisite for stable performance is that a Time Machine drive should be formatted as a Mac OS Extended volume, with a compatible partition table. The type of partition scheme you need to use changes based on the processor type. If it is an Intel-based Mac, then the drive should be a GUID partitioned drive. If you have an older PowerPC Mac, those drives should use the Apple Partition Map. The partition scheme is selected from the Options button in the Partition Tab of Disk Utility.

Because of the partitioning of those drives, it can be difficult to get them to work with other computer platforms (i.e. Windows). In most cases it’s best to keep a Time Machine drive dedicated to backup work. You can, however, have many computers use the same Time Machine drive. You can also do that sharing over a network, wired or wireless. The first step is to designate one Mac to connect to the Time Machine drive. This can be FireWire, USB 2.0, or an internal drive.

Set up the drive as a Time Machine drive via the Time Machine section of the System Preferences. Then go to the Sharing System preference and enable File Sharing. In the File Sharing’ details section, click on the “+” button under the Shared Folders section. Select your Time Machine drive and you will then see it on the list of shared items. From your other computers on the network you can connect to the shared Time Machine drive; the same as you would any other network drive. Make sure you save the user name and password in the keychain when you connect. Then you can use the System Preferences on that computer to designate the shared drive as a Time Machine drive.

This is a great solution for people with desktop and laptop Macs or a household of Macs. It may not be the solution that you need, because it will require at least two Macs running Leopard, but I hope it helps.

Cleaning the outside of a laptop

Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

What is the best way to clean a laptop screen and the laptop itself?

Cleaning a Mac laptop’s screen, or any LCD screen, requires some special care. You do not want to use a harsh chemical as the screen can spot with the wrong chemicals. Water is often the best liquid for light cleaning. It is important to use a soft cotton or micro fiber cloth, and not a paper product. Then you should soak the towel and wring it drip dry. Wipe in one direction with soft pressure. If water does not cut it, you can use a special cleaner like this one.

www.powermax.com/parts/show/m16266

Cleaning the outer case of any Mac can be safely done with your favorite household cleaner. We use Formula 409 for many of those jobs. The cleaner should be applied to a rag or paper towel and not directly to a case. Liquid of any type in the wrong place can ruin your Mac. When the cleaner is on a cloth, you have the ability to place it where you want.

Cloning from PowerPC to Intel Macs

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

I’m hoping you don’t mind more questions. I just picked up some gear from PowerMax yesterday. Most importantly I bought a new Mac Pro desktop to replace my older G4 tower. Now I was hoping to use Carbon Copy Cloner to just clone my old drive and move it over to the new machine to so I don’t have to install all my apps one by one. I’ve had luck using CCC on similar machines but do you think it will work going from a G4 to an Intel Mac or am I just asking for trouble trying that?

Also I have a few PCI cards that I’m hoping to swap out. A Radeon ATI (not sure the #) which is probably 6 years old as well as a 4 port Firewire card and an AudioWerk 2 sound card. Do you anticipate me having problems with these? I should have thought about this before I purchased the tower.

Oh one more quick one. Is it possible to hook my old G4 to my television set? It’s not a flat screen HD but I believe it has an s-video connection.

Although I love Carbon Copy Cloner, it is not always appropriate. This is particularly true for moving from a PowerPC Mac to an Intel Mac. The PowerPC and Intel Macs use completely different versions of Mac OS X. Both work the same but they are not interchangeable. In your case the best thing to do is use the Migration Assistant that runs when you first start up your new Mac. You can also launch the Migration Assistant after the first run; it’s a program in the Utilities folder. In addition to the personal files moved over, the Migration Assistant will also move over your application. The end result will be something similar to what you would of had if you used Carbon Copy Cloner.

The PCI cards you have will not work with the Mac Pro. Apple has started using a newer standard called PCI Express for expansion cards. PCIe is not compatible with older PCI cards. Although your cards will not work, I think the Mac Pro will do more than what those cards offered.

You can use that computer with the TV in a few ways. Which way you can connect to a TV will depend on what kind of video card you have. Some ATI cards have S-Video connections and that will connect directly to your TV. Then you just need to connect the audio. Apple also makes a DVI to Video Adapter if your video card has a DVI-I port.

Upgrading a Mac Mini Video Card

Hardware / 0 Comments

I just bought a new Mac Mini with the dual core processor, 2 GB RAM, 2 GHz (I think). Yet the new Harry Potter game refuses to play on it because the computer has a GMA 950 video card, and the game wants Nvidia card. What’s the deal? Can the cards be swapped or anything? That darn game is so fussy in its demands and you can’t even tell from the box.

Please tell me you can install a different video card in my new computer….

The use of an integrated video chip-set, like the GMA 950, has caused many compatibility problems throughout the computer world. Although Apple is not the only computer maker to use this type of “video card,” it does seem strange for Apple to use such a low-end component in their Mac Mini. The problem with integrated graphics is that it does not have RAM dedicated to the video card, it instead it shares the system RAM. Because RAM has to be shared, the performance of those cards is slower than cards with dedicated fast video RAM. Its use will often causes a computer with integrated graphics to fall short on most games system requirements. This is true in the PC world as well. Integrated graphics are not completely useless; it will work well for most work you will do on a Mac. It just is not fast enough to play games at their peak performance and many game makers would rather not let it work at all, if it is going to work poorly.

So the next part of your question is whether you can change out the weak GMA 950 card for a more capable video card. Unfortunately you can not. The term “integrated graphics” is a suitable description of what you have. It is a hardwired part of your logic board, and not replaceable. It is possible that an update exists for that Harry Potter game. That update may let you run it on the GMA 950. You should check on the game maker’s website. If they do not have an update that will let you run the game on a GMA 950 Mac, then it will not work on a MacBook or Mac mini with integrated graphics.

Sorry I did not have better news for you, but I hope the information helped some.

A replacement suggestion for the Apple plastic keyboard

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

Love the beast (2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo/ 3 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM/260gig HD), hate the keyboard.

I have gone through four of them (wired, not wireless) trying to find one that doesn’t repeat keys and spaces–yyou knnow; liike this.

I have adjusted the preferences for the keyboard stroke and repeat rate ad nauseam, zapped the PRAM, changed USB ports, lit sage smudge sticks (OK, I drew the line on that one), and even bought the Macally iKeySlim which, while the repeating key phenomenon disappeared with it, introduced it’s own “qualities” I couldn’t tolerate (like my constantly hitting the ALL CAPS KEY AND ENDING UP SHOU….excuse me: …shouting at everybody.

So I ignominiously returned to my trusty keyboard that came with the G4 tower the iMac replaced. You know; the black one with the years of worn down, buffed from overuse keys.

Problem solved, though certainly not gracefully. All in all, a very unApple-like experience.

So it appears we bought a damn nice computer whose keyboard isn’t worth the membrane it types upon. Isn’t that a bit like buying a car without wheels?

Apple won’t acknowledge there was a problem, but rather just kept sending me new ones after ascertaining I did all the required rituals (see above).

Head over to the Apple discussion board. You will find I am in good (though miserable) company, although I am sure we would all rather not have this in common.

Touch typists, hunt-and-peckers–it didn’t matter. The defective keyboards didn’t pick favorites. No, there were far too many “Hey, that’s happening to me too! I heard the iKeySlim is the only workaround!” for me to labor under the assumption that I was some lonely soul who forgot how to type. Go ahead; check it out!

So I made my case on the boards, and to Apple. To date, still no acknowledgement from Apple TS that there ever is a problem, that there ever WAS a problem. Apparently, hundreds of iMac users just simply lost the ability to type.

So oh wise one: What gives?

Well I would join in with you with complaints about the plastic iMac keyboard, that is if I hadn’t left mine in the box. Although I have not had the functional problems that you have, I don’t like the way the older Apple keyboards work. I used the Macally iKeySlim from my previous Mac from day one with my 2.16GHz iMac. Recently I replaced my Macally keyboard with Apple’s new Aluminum keyboard.

http://www.powermax.com/parts/show/n40067

I love this new Apple keyboard and think it is worth every penny I paid for it. Apple is never going to admit that they did not get perfection on the last model keyboard but at least they have replaced it with a truly outstanding evolved version.

I also dislike the caps lock feature of any keyboard. Despite the occasional angry email, it serves no purpose. Well luckily you can turn it off in OS X 10.4. Go to System Preferences and select the “Keyboard & Mouse” section. Under the Keyboard tab click on the “Modifier Keys” button. Change the Caps Lock popup menu to “No Action” and click on the OK button. Now you will no longer write half a sentence in all Caps.

Are Leopard Processor requirements firm

Hardware, Mac OS X / 0 Comments

The system requirements for processor speed for Leopard are stated by Apple to be 867 MHz or faster G4 or better.Will Leopard not load on my 450 MHz G4, or will Leopard simply run at less that optimum speeds?I am currently operating very comfortably with OS 10.4.10, 1.75 GB RAM, and 440 GB total internal hard drive storage.I can’t find anything on the Mac OSX website to answer this.

The short answer is “no,” you have to have a G4 867 GHz processor or higher Mac to install Leopard. However, I don’t like the “short answers,” so I’ve been playing the Mac OS Limbo: “How low can you go?”The result of my Caribbean Mac dance was that anything with a G3 chip in it fell flat on its back; you will have to have a G4 chip. I have tested it on most generations of G4 PowerBooks and Power Macs. In nearly all the attempts, a Leopard drive will boot up G4 Macs, 400MHz or higher.So you may be asking why the short answer was “no.” Just because the Leopard OS works on all G4s, it does not mean that it will work well on all G4 Macs. Apple didn’t want to give anyone the possibility of having a bad Leopard experience. So Apple blocked the install DVD from running the installer on a computer under the 867 MHz cut-off. The solution is to run the installer from a PowerPC G4 that does meet the basic requirements of the Leopard installer, but set the destination to be the hard drive of your unsupported Mac. Boot your destination (sub 867MHz) Mac in Target disk mode by holding down the “T” key on startup. Now connect the destination computer to your installer Mac (PowerPC G4 867MHZ or higher) with a FireWire cable. Now boot up your installer Mac off the Leopard DVD and start moving through the install screens. When you get to the point of selecting a place to install onto, select the destination Mac’s hard drive. It will look like a FireWire hard drive.After the install is done, you can power down everything and remove the FireWire cable. Turn both computers on again and you should have a sub-867MHz G4 Leopard computer. This process only works if you have access to a second PowerPC Mac that Leopard will install onto. Intel Macs will not work for this kind of install. Also your performance will not be great. The best low-end install of Leopard I had was on 533MHz and higher G4 Macs. Be prepared to reinstall Tiger if you hate the performance of Leopard on your sub-867MHz G4 Mac.

Playing HD DVDs on Your Mac

Hardware, Intel Macs, Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

I might be getting a http://www.powermax.com/parts/code/macbook for Christmas this year and am not real concerned about this subject, but was just wondering if the MacBook will play HD DVDs?

It’s wonderful that you might get a MacBook for Christmas. Unfortunately, the Blu-ray/HD-DVD playback on computers is still in turmoil. The problem is that most movie studios believe that putting their movies on a computer-readable format will open the door for massive piracy. So although there are HD-DVD and Blu-ray drives for computers, those are restricted to data discs only. You can’t get store-bought High Definition movies to play on your Mac.

Apple has yet to include a Blu-ray or HD-DVD drive in any of their standard Macs. These drives are obtainable however. PowerMax can install them in the Mac Pro and some drive makers sell Blu-ray upgrades for Macs. Apple may have skipped the High Definition disc issue because computer companies are only allowed to support the data formats of these new discs. If it becomes possible for movie studios to be comfortable with Mac playback of HD movies, then perhaps Apple will start to include those drives.

Running a Mac on a power inverter

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

I’m putting together a large UPS so I can continue working during blackouts. I’m going to connect a 120 AC power inverter to a deep cycle 12 volt DC battery. I’ve done the research know what I want, I just need to know what type of Power Inverter my Power Mac G4 should run on. my choices are:

- A modified sine wave inverter which is very common.

- Or, a pure sine wave inverter which is very expensive.

Most indications are that the modified will be fine, but I’m supposed to check with the manufacturer (Apple) to be sure. I can’t find or get an answer from them.

Any insights?

Yes Apple is going to be a little hard to pin down on an answer to this one. A modified sine wave inverter will work in most short-term uses. UPS units that have just enough battery power to let you save your work and shut down, these are modified sine wave. The chance of a modified sine wave inverter causing damage to your computers is slight, but the longer you run off of it, the greater your chance of causing minor damage to your computers.

For longer run times off of battery power, or generator power, sine wave inverters are recommended. This is definitely a recommendation and not a requirement. The modified sine wave inverter will do the job well, and the damage you could suffer will be minor. It is more likely to take months of the life of the computer as opposed to killing it outright.

Overlapped extent allocations

Hardware, Intel Macs, Software / 0 Comments

I’ve had my new MacBook for about 3 months now, and for the 2nd time, I’ve been unable to boot it up due to overlapped extent allocations. I know this because I can boot into single-user mode and run FSCK, which returns the list of culprits as it repairs them. I’ve seen lots of info online about how to fix this, but nothing about what causes it. Any insight?

Do you think I should reformat the entire drive, or just do an archive and install? I’m afraid that if I keep going without doing either, I will eventually overlap a critical system file, and I won’t be as lucky as I have been the first two times the problem occurred.

Risking it all in PA….

The cause of the problem may be hard to pin down but here is something to try. You can take the identifier number that is reported by FSCK and track down the affected files. When you run fsck, it should report both the inode number of the file, and its name. If the inode number is nnnnn, follow these steps to get the pathname to the file:

Open Terminal, located in /Applications/Utilities.

Type:

sudo -s

Press Return and you will be prompted for your administrative password, the one you chose when you installed Mac OS X.

Type:

find / -inum nnnnn -print

Replacing “nnnnn” with the inode number and if the reported inode number has a letter at the end, only use the numbers.

This should give you the path to the affected files. If all the files are associated with the same function of your Mac (i.e. all Safari Cache files), then you can assume that it is related to a bug in that application. If you find that they are all random files, then I would have you completely erase your drive.

If you have an external drive that will fit the full contents of your drive, I would recommend using Carbon Copy Cloner to backup your entire drive.

After you have an exact copy of your drive, insert the grey restore DVD that came with your Mac. Restart your computer and hold down the “C” key to boot up from that disc. Once booted from the Disc, go to the Utilities menu and select Disk Utility. Now select your internal hard drive and go to the Erase tab. Click on the Security Options button and then select the option to write zeros over the drive. One pass will do, because you are just trying to make sure that the drive is in good condition. This could take many hours so don’t be in a rush when you start this process.

After it is done writing zeros you should do one more step. Click on the Partition tab. You must have the internal hard drive, and not the volume, selected in the left column for the Partition tab to be visible. Change the Volume Scheme popup menu from “Current” to “1 Partition.” Next click on the Partition button. With all this drive formatting work done you can quit Disk Utility and install a clean copy of OS X 10.4 on your Mac. Once the installation is done, start moving through the setup screens. When you are asked if you want to move files over from another Mac, answer yes and connect the external drive you cloned your old System onto. It will treat that like an old Mac and move over all your important files and applications.

That should fix your drive problems if it was a formatting error. If you still have problems after doing all of the above, then it may be a hardware problem. An Apple Authorized service center can help you if it is hardware related.

Powerbook G4 rechargeable battery loosing charge.

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

I bought my PowerBook G4 about a year and a half ago, and shortly after, Apple recalled the battery. The replacement has never been quite as good as the original (it only holds a charge for a couple hours). I’ve done some research and have read a few posts recommending the Oncore battery as an alternative to the Apple replacement (longer life, lighter weight). What’s your opinion?

Unlike all the other components of a laptop, batteries perform with uncertain results. Whether because they are a chemical-based system, or because of the variance in manufacturing, batteries’ performance is difficult to predict. Two batteries bought at the same time from the same company could age differently. This is this nature of the battery and its nature makes me suspicious of claimed better performance. I think third party batteries are fine to use and I have no personal horror stories. For older laptops I would recommend a third party battery because the battery cells often are of a newer design, but for Macs only a few years old it is not likely to make that much of a difference. If the price is better for you on the Oncore battery then it would be a fine choice, but do not expect it to be noticeably superior to the Apple replacement battery.

Best Mac for BootCamp

Hardware, Intel Macs, Software / 0 Comments

Our Brewing business was traditionally a Mac business, but due to software necessities we switched to PC about 6 years ago. I’ve heard the buzz about Intel based Macs, but am unsure where the change occurred. Which models will best handle the demands of running XP Pro & Leopard? Will Boot Camp work on slightly older models, like the G3 iBooks?

I apologize for not keeping up. I just found your website, and would like to eventually move the entire business in the Mac direction.

The Mac world has changed considerably over the years, but the switch to Intel processors has probably had the most impact. Intel-based Macs can run Windows, Linux, and OS X in a variety of ways.

Boot Camp lets you decide what OS you want to run when you start up your computer. When you choose to run Windows via Boot Camp, your Mac is just like any other PC. You also have most of the problems of Windows, but it lets you run heavy-duty Windows applications at incredible speeds. You can then restart the computer into the Mac OS to do everything else, in a safe and productive environment. This solution works well for people who do only a few tasks in Windows for a set amount of time.

For the people who have to use a Windows application many times a day, restarting the computer is going to be a time waster. For that reason the best way of running Windows on an Intel Mac is with a program like Parallels. Parallels lets you run the Windows OS and the Mac OS at the same time, side-by-side. You can even set it up so that the few Windows programs you use will appear to be part of your Mac OS. Both Booth Camp and Parallels require you to by a copy of Windows to install on your Mac. If you have a copy of Windows XP SP 2 already, you can reuse that on your Mac.

With regards to hardware, you are locked into Intel-based Macs if you want to run Windows in the above ways. PowerPC Macs will not work, meaning that any Mac with a G3, G4, or G5 processor is not going to do what you want. You will have to buy a MacBook, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro, Intel Mac mini or Intel iMac. The good news is that all the Intel Macs will also run the new Mac OS, Leopard, perfectly.

I hope this helps and as a side note: I’m an Evergreen graduate and drank many a night in your Fish Tail Brew Pub. I do miss the seasonal cider. Keep up your good work!

Upgrading older AGP video cards

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

I have a G4 tower (Gigabyte Ethernet) with the original rage 128 pro video card installed in the 2x AGP slot. The CPU and memory have already been upgradedI want to upgrade the card, thinking of NVIDIA GeForce4 Titanium or the Radeon 9000 Pro Mac because of the ADC connector. Will this card be compatible with my studio display 17″ ADC CRT monitor that was sold with the G4? I am confused about whether the ADC port is compatible with my monitor or just the Apple flat panels.

Any video card with a built-in ADC port will work to power the Apple 17″ ADC CRT display. However, DVI to ADC adapters will not provide enough power for the CRT display. Those adapters only work with LCD-based ADC displays. Your bigger problem is finding an Apple original video card with an ADC port. There are some private sales that sell those cards but increasingly it is difficult to 2XAGP cards with an ADC port. Most video upgrade cards we sell for older G4 towers are the PCI version, like the ATI 9200 card.

www.powermax.com/parts/show/h79812

This card only has a DVI and VGA display connector and would not work with your CRT display. The 9200 card is a great choice for running a newer Apple LCD display, if you want to upgrade your display as well.

Benefit if switch from FAT32 to Apple Journaled?

Hardware, Mac OS X, Software / 0 Comments

I have a new backup drive. It came with FAT32.What are the pros and cons of switching it to Apple Journaled?

Most external hard drives will come formatted as a FAT32 drive. They do this because it is a drive format that will be readable by Macs, Windows PCs, and Linux PCs. If you share the drive between any two of those operating systems, I would suggest that you keep it formatted as a FAT32 drive. However, if you are only using that drive with a Mac OS computer, then reformatting it as a HFS+ Journaled (AKA Mac OS Extended Journaled) is the best thing to do. FAT32 is an old drive format with size limits and other issues that will make it less usable in OS X. HFS+ Journaled drives support large sizes and more efficient use of storage space. Also it has features that protect against data loss due to accidental drive removal, or any write failure. That feature alone makes it a useful format for a removable drive.

I think a reformat is a good idea, I hope that helps.

Powerbook G4 Hard Drive size limit

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

I was talking with one of your salespeople this morning and here’s my question:I have 6 PowerBook G4 400mhz Titanium Laptops. What is the largest size hard drive that I can put in? They have 10GB hard drives in them right now. I was told 40GB was the max by another vendor.

There are always a few concerns with putting a larger hard drive in an older portable Mac. Laptops are designed with only their original configuration in mind and newer drives have the potential of drawing excessive power or generating more heat than the PowerBook was designed to dissipate. All that being said, I know many people who have happily upgraded their Mac Laptop’s hard drive, without any problem. I personally have cracked open my fair share of personal Mac Laptops to get a little more storage space.

Most drives that are 120GB or smaller are a safe bet when upgrading older Macs, of any flavor. I think though that an 80GB 2.5″ drive is the best value for gigabytes vs. dollars. Look at this MCE drive upgrade kit, it has the drive and all the tools needed to swap out that 10 GB drive.

www.powermax.com/parts/show/a-mce-ms80gx

What are the differences between the three Epson 3800 Stylus Pro

Hardware, Printing / 0 Comments

There are three editions of the Epson 3800 Stylus printer: “professional”, “portrait” and “regular.” What are the differences? Are they worth the $200 price difference?

The difference between those three versions of printer has much more to do with software than hardware. The Portrait series of printers from Epson includes ExpressDigital’s Darkroom Core Edition, but that software is only compatible with Windows XP Pro. Mac users should not consider the Portrait models from Epson. Now the Professional version will be a good option for Mac-based pro print houses that need RIP (raster image processing) software. The Standard version is compatible with most RIP software, but you have to bring your own or use a program that does not need third party RIP software.The price difference is mostly based on additional software licensing and not hardware acceleration.

Flower Power iMac accessories also Flowery?

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

You have a Flower Power iMac for sale “c-u61492″, and my question is this: Does the keyboard and mouse have the same matching pattern as the CRT? Did Apple make matching keyboards for Flower Power and Blue Dalmation as they did for the grape and blueberry iMacs?

Apple never made matching keyboards for the Flower Power and Blue Dalmatian iMac G3. They instead used the standard black-keyed and clear plastic cased Apple Pro Keyboard. This was the same for all the slot-loading iMacs after Apple ditched the fruit names for the colors. Up to that point the keyboards matched the iMac color. It is important to note though, that PowerMax can’t always match the keyboards and mice that originally shipped with the computer. You just have to imagine some of the filthiest keyboards you have ever seen and then smile at the notion that if we can’t sanitize it, we toss it into the recycle dumpster.

Audio stutters when played on a Super drive

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

Jacob, My Super Drive on my G4/933 desktop is acting flaky. It “flutters” when playing a recorded disk, The disk sounds fine when played on my “Boom Box” but when played on the desk top I get a stutter. I took the same file and uploaded it on a flash drive and it sounds great on the desktop. Do I need a replacement drive? Would you recommend going to a dual layer at this time?

Stuttering audio playback can certainly indicate a failing optical drive. Sometimes you can bypass an intermittent problem through software. In iTunes, you have the option of using error correction when encoding from a CD. In the current version of iTunes, that option is in the preferences under Advanced. Mark the checkbox for “use error correction when reading Audio CDs” that you find under the “Importing” tab. Now try encoding that audio CD and see if the playback is OK. If everything plays back fine, you could keep that drive going as-is for some time. But if it fails or you want to replace it with a fully functioning drive, then a MCE super drive is the way to go.

www.powermax.com/product/MCE_Internal_18x_DVD-_+R_RW_Upgrade_for_Power_Mac_G4_G5/a-mce-dvdr18xdt-d.html

MCE drives have all the features of a modern Super Drive, and the compatibility for older versions of the Mac OS.

Laptop Hard Drive Sizes

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

What is the highest capacity drive for a Mac Pro Laptop?

The max gigabyte capacity of a MacBook Pro or MacBook hard drive is constantly changing. Apple, of course, uses standard computer components wherever possible and the hard drives in a Mac are going to be the same as what you find in any PC store. That means that through the year speed and compactly will increase for all computers. Mac Laptops use 2.5″ SATA drives that spin 4200 RPM, 5400 RPM, or 7200 RPM. In many instances, the larger the drive is in terms of gigabytes, the slower it will spin. A slower spinning drive can affect the rate you read and write data to the drive, affecting system performance. At the moment, the largest hard drive you can get in a Mac laptop is 250GB, but it will spin at the slower 4200 RPM speed. So if you are looking for the most storage space, and you work with less system-taxing programs, 250GB is a fine choice. However if you work with video or need the most from your Mac Laptop, then look at the 160GB 7200 RPM drives.

Booting an Intel Mac from an External Drive

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

I have purchased several computers from you guys and now I have a question. Can I boot if a system is loaded on an external hard drive to my MacBook Pro Intel?

PS what 800 firewire drive would you suggest?

You can boot an Intel Mac from an external drive, but due to a partition scheme change on the new Intel Macs, you have to format the drive with a GUID Partition Table. This is an option under the Partition tab in Disk Utility. Click on the Options button to see your partitioning options and select GUID. Once formatted, you can clone over an OS. Not all install discs let you install on an external drive, so be prepared to clone if necessary. Carbon Copy Cloner is my choice for cloning.

As for external boot drive recommendations, LaCie drives are a great option. The LaCie 500GB Hard Disk eSATA is great for having a versatile boot drive that will work on any Intel Mac system.

USB PCMCIA Card adapter has no power

Hardware, Intel Macs, Networking / 0 Comments

I own a Macintosh PowerBook G3 Wallstreet and it has no USB port. I bought a Comp USA USB 2.0 Cardbus PC card adaptor so I could plug in my Scandisk flash drive into my laptop to save files. For some reason, though, it does not seem to be recognizing the USB adapter. Did I buy the wrong one?

I don’t believe that you made a bad purchase, but it may not do what you need. Most USB 2.0 cards will not work in OS 9, so you must have OS X 10.2 or higher on your PowerBook. Also, USB PC Cards (AKA PCMCIA cards) will not provide bus power to any device. So a USB printer or USB hard drive with its own power supply will work on your card, but a bus-powered device that doesn’t have its own power cord, like your flash drive, will not work reliably. Sometimes adding a powered USB 2.0 hub in between the card and flash drive will let the two work together.

Function Keys on a MacBook not working

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

I have a MacBook whose function keys do not do their labeled functions (adjust brightness, volume, etc), b/c I imaged it from an image made on a iMac Flat Panel. From what I can tell, you cannot set these functions in the Keyboard Shortcuts control panel. I was hoping to copy the preferences file from another working MacBook whose function keys are working properly over to the one whose aren’t, but I can’t find any documentation on where the function key preferences are stored. Do you know where I would find these preferences so I can copy them, reset them, or change them?

testIt should not matter what computer you copied over the OS from, as all versions of OS X can boot any version of Mac, as long as it is a point version higher then what the computer came with from Apple. This is true with the exception of PowerPC Vs. Intel versions of the Mac OS. If it is a software problem you should be able to restore that functionality by downloading the latest Combo update for the Mac OS. Provided you are not already running 10.4.10. If you are then you will have to download the 10.4.11 update when it becomes available.

http://www.apple.com/support/downloads/macosx10410comboupdatev11intel.html

Now if this does not fix your problem, you may just be having a problem with an unintentionally changed preference. Go to System Preferences and select the “Keyboards & Mice” section. Now click on the Keyboard tab and make sure that there is no check mark next to “Use the F1-F12 keys to control software features.” Uncheck it and close the window. Now try to use those special keys.

Adding Books on cassette Tape to iTunes

Hardware, iPod / iTunes, Software / 0 Comments

I have dozens of books on tape cassettes and would like to get them on my iPod, this is easy to do with my books on CD’s any way that it can be done with cassettes. I have a 6 month old iMac. Would really appreciate any help on this

There certainly is a way to import the audio from your tapes onto the Mac. If you have a stereo tape deck you can use a cable like this one to connect its output to your iMac’s line-in plug.

Click Here

It is then just a matter of recording the audio coming into your Mac. You can do this with Garageband, but that’s sometimes a little more application than you need. There is a free, open-source, program called Audacity that should do the trick.

http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

Just set your audio input source as the Line-In from the Sound section in System Preferences. Then open Audacity, start the tape playing, and hit the record button in Audacity. You will have to manually start and stop the recordings and tape, but that should get the tapes digitized. Then just export them from Audacity into ..aiff files. Drag those files into iTunes and you are done.I hope that works for you.

What DVI connector do you need for the Mac

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

I recently purchased a Power Mac G5 duo core (from Powermax, of course). I was looking for a non-Apple display monitor as even the pre-owned Apples are prohibitively expensive, their quality notwithstanding. On the specs for the Power Mac, it lists 2 ‘DVI’ inputs on the back of the tower. Here’s where it gets confusing for me: I researched www.apple.com/guide for a list of non-Apple displays that might work. However, when I read the specs for those displays, I find connections listed as ‘DVI-D’, or ‘DVI-I’, but none listed as simply ‘DVI’. What is the difference between these three types and which ones would be compatible for my computer? In my limited research, it seems that the ‘D’ stands for digital signal, and the ‘I’ is something relating to an analog kind of signal. Whatever kind of useful feedback you can provide would be extremely helpful. Thanks in advance for your help.

DVI cable connections have been a source of confusion for many Mac users. It is not too hard to understand the difference behind them, but the industry has made it a mess of acronyms that could confuse anyone. I will try to give you some basic info on the DVI options out there.The foundation of all the connections is the plug form. DVI is really just a reference to the shape of a plug. Everything after the “DVI” is describing the number of active pins in that DVI connection. DVI-D is the most practical and basic DVI connection. It is just a simple connection that only works with the digital video signals. Most “DVI Monitors” will have a DVI-D connection. The DVI-I connection as all the same pins as DVI-D but has a few extra pins that carry an additional analog signal. The analog plugs are mostly unused when attached to a digital display. Because of the analog pins present, DVI-I connections can be downgraded from DVI to VGA via an adapter cable, as opposed to DVI-D connections that are digital only. If you are connecting a DVI LCD to a computer DVI-D is what you want, but DVI-I will also work too.The third option for Mac Users is DVI-Dual Link. This is similar to a DVI-I connection, but it has even more active pins that can carry the huge amount of data that 30″ Apple displays need. A DVI-Dual Link plug can run any of the above connections, right down to VGA.I hope that helps. It only sounds confusing but it is not that bad.

iTunes and MP3 players that are not an iPod

Hardware, iPod / iTunes / 0 Comments

This may be a little out of your area of expertise. I’m wondering if the iPod is the ONLY MP3 player which will work with Macs. Is that right? Other types of MP3 players state Windows is needed, but I’m wondering if that’s true. If it connects by USB, wouldn’t it be possible to move MP3s from the Mac to the player? I’d like to have a player just to play podcasts. I’m not a fan of iTunes.

Although Apple acts as if the iPod was the only MP3 player you could ever want, it is still possible to use other MP3 players with your Mac. Like everything Apple makes, the iPod is integrated into the Apple software, and adding songs to it is a one step process that doesn’t work with any other player. If you are willing to use a multi-step process, then you can use most of the MP3 players on the market. The main thing to do is get your songs in MP3 format. You can encode songs as MP3 in iTunes or any other Jukebox program. In iTunes’ preferences, select the advanced section and then click on the “Importing” tab. Change the Import Using pop-out menu to “MP3 Encoder” and then click OK. This will set iTunes to encode newly imported songs as MP3 format.If you already have songs encoded in another format, then you will have to do one more step to convert your song files in iTunes. After you have done the above step to fix your importing method, you then have to go to the Advanced menu in iTunes and select “Convert Selection to MP3.” You will have to do this with every song file that is not in MP3 format in order to play them on the widest variety of MP3 players. Songs bought from the iTunes store will need to be burned to an Audio CD format first, then imported as a MP3. This is because most iTunes audio is copy protected, but when you burn in the standard Audio CD format the copy protection is removed.Now that your songs are converted, it is just a matter of getting them onto the MP3 player. In nearly every instance, you can connect a MP3 player to your Mac and it will show up as a removable drive. You then just need to copy MP3 files to that drive and the player will find them and play them. To copy the files from iTunes you just have to drag the song file from your library over the MP3 player’s drive icon on the desktop. When you get a green “+” symbol next to the mouse pointer, you can release it and a copy will be made on the player.Thats it: not too hard! hope it works for you.

Speeding up iPhoto on a Mac Mini

Hardware, Software / 0 Comments

I have over 2000 photos in my IPhoto and growing every week (grandchildren). The mini is slowing down. I can add up to 2 gigs of RAM, I have the basic 512 (I think). Rather than add extra RAM, I am wondering about just getting an external drive to run IPhoto, as I don’t want to remove my pictures. Will this work?

Upgrading RAM will help your mini run faster with all those pictures. An external drive will only really help you if you are running low on hard drive space. RAM is only short-term storage space, and internal hard drives or external hard drives are for long term storage of files. When you open an application, it is temporarily taken from the hard drive and sent to RAM. RAM is were you actively work with things on a computer. Then the changes are written back to the hard drive. The bigger the files you are working with, the more RAM you will need to keep the same functional speed.

The RAM can be difficult to install into the Mac mini. You may want to have an authorized service center install the RAM for you.

Sharing Printers with Macs and PCs

Hardware, Intel Macs, Networking, Printing / 0 Comments

Currently I have 3 printers (HP 1600 laser jet, HP 1200 Laser jet and Canon MP500). How can I network these printers between an Apple desktop, a MacBook, and an HP laptop and desktop? Do I need some kind of device to connect them?

Although there are several devices that will share printers on a network, my current favorite is the New AirPort Extreme base station. Not only will it share printers and hard drives, it will also act as a gigabit router.

Apple Airport Extreme Station

You can connect many printers to the base station’s USB port via a USB hub and have them all simultaneously shared. The complication will come from the HP Color LaserJet 1600 printer. It is not Mac compatible and probably won’t work on the base station. That printer may need to be connected to your HP desktop and shared from the Windows printer-sharing feature. It may turn out that the LJ1600 will one day be supported–you might even find that it does work when connected to the base station now, but there is no guarantee.

Here is a link to printers that have been tested to work with Apple’s wireless printer sharing equipment:
Click Here for details.

It is not an official list, but can be helpful. If you already have an investment in good networking equipment then the base station may not be the best solution because of the expense added to your network. In that case, you can always use the OS X printer-sharing feature to share the other two printers. The option is in the System Preferences in the Sharing section. It is limited, but would work as a low cost option.

Wi-Fi issues when traveling in Italy

Hardware, Intel Macs, Networking, Software, Wireless / 0 Comments

I bought a MacBook Pro from PowerMax in March. Everything has been great until a few weeks ago when I began to have problems getting Wi-Fi connections. I’ve always just been able to turn on the computer, wait a few seconds, and then if there’s Wi-Fi near I get a little pop-up that says: “none of your trusted wireless networks are available, do you want to join blah-network?” I tell it yes, see the scrolling “location” next to my Airport connection thingy at the top of the screen, and then it shows me the connection power. That’s worked at friends’ houses, at truck stops on a cross-country drive, airports, libraries, etc. However, a few weeks ago I began to get another pop-up that says: “there was an error connecting to blah-network, try again? Or quit?” Sometimes the Network Setup Assistant helps (but only once), and sometimes it just says I’m unable to connect to the network. In each instance it’s been a place where there is no password, where the computer finds the network with no problem, and where I see other people online.

I’m running OSX 10.4.9, I have a 2.16 GHZ Intel Core 2 Duo and 1 GB 667 MHzRAM (whatever all that means, I asked the Mac to tell me about itself).

Another bit of info, I’m online now at a place I used in April, so it’s a “trusted network.” Not to jinx myself, but so far I haven’t had any problems here, since the computer recognizes this place. When I come here, open my computer, turn it on, I’m already connected. It doesn’t ask me anything, because I think I told it somewhere in the preferences that if I have a trusted network to just join. Does that make sense?

Oh, and to make this even more difficult, I live in Italy now. That was one of the main reasons for getting the laptop, I knew I’d be traveling. That was the April trip, and we moved here in July. So, all over Europe in April I had no problems getting Wi-Fi, and after the final move I started to have these crazy connection problems.

Seeing as you are having connectivity issues, I will try to give you a few different things to try so you do not have to wait around for the next set of instructions. The first is centered around the Mac remembering trusted wireless networks. You can tell your Mac to connect to “any” network, without adding it to the Preferred Network list. That network list could be your problem. To make these changes, select System Preferences from the blue Apple menu. Now click on the Network section and double click on AirPort from the Network Status window. Under the Airport tab, change the “By default, join” popup menu from Preferred Networks to Automatic. Click on the big Apply Now button in the lower right corner and test it on the network. If that fails to work for you, can completely remove the default Airport settings and see if that change helps. The preference file is located here: /Library/Preferences/SystemConfiguration/com.apple.airport.preferences.plistDrag it to your desktop first and it will make a copy of itself for safekeeping. Now drag it again, but this time, place it in the Trash. You will have to enter your password. Now go back to the Airport System Preference section and change it back to Preferred networks. There should be no entries there now. Try joining a network and see if it works. If it still does not work, and networks you could join before don’t work, then you can copy the file on your desktop back to its original place.

The other possibility is that your Keychain is remembering the wrong passwords for some of the networks, or thinks it knows the network’s password, when it doesn’t actually have a password for the network. The Keychain is where OS X stores your passwords when you ask your Mac to remember them for you. You can look at your passwords through a utility called Keychain Access. It is in the Utilities folder inside the Applications folder. In the application, click on “All Items” in the left section of the window and then sort the list by kind. You can sort by any header category by clicking on the header (Name, Date, etc.). Delete anything that is an “Airport Network Password.” Try connecting now.

The only other possibility I can think of has little to do with your computer and more to do with the router being used. Most times we do not think about it, but Airport and Wi-Fi networks have channels just like TV. Wi-Fi is standard and around the world you can use channels 1 through 11 any place. Europe however, uses two additional channels in their Wi-Fi. These two channels, 12 and 13, are commonly used outside the US–but US-built equipment cannot communicate on those channels. It could be that you are trying to connect to a base station using channel 13 and your Airport card does not go that high. If you are able to ask someone in the know the locations where you’re having problems, check to see what channel they’re using. The only solution to this European router issue is to get a European-made Wi-Fi card.

G4 PowerBook won’t start up.

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

My old G4 PowerBook laptop has not been used for over a year, I plugged it in but it won’t start, no sounds, no picture on screen, no lights. Will a dead battery cause this problem?

Most Mac laptops have two batteries. One is the big removable battery but there is a second, smaller battery inside. Both batteries are rechargeable and replaceable. If both are completely drained, then you will experience boot-up problems. The best fix is to reset the power management unit (PMU), turn it on, and let it charge for 24 hours, uninterrupted. Below is a link to the PMU reset procedures for most G4 PowerBooks.

PMU Reset procedures

Upgrading a PowerBook’s Memory and hard drive

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

I have a 1.5 GHz G4 17″ PowerBook. It has 512 SD RAM and an 80GB hard drive.

I know I could upgrade the RAM, but can I upgrade the hard drive? I see that the newer ones have a 120GB hard drive or even a 250 GB hard drive. If I can, what would you recommend and how much are they?

You can upgrade the hard drive in a Mac laptop. The drives used in a G3 or G4 PowerBook are standard 2.5″ PATA (AKA EIDE or ATA) drives. Currently the largest PATA laptop drive is 160GB. The larger laptop drives are SATA based 2.5″ drives and will only work in Intel-based Mac laptops. MCE makes an upgrade kit that will come with tools and instructions. It’s cheaper to buy the naked drive and use your own tools, but this is the best way for the casual tech to upgrade their drive.

MCE upgrade kit

I would also recommend getting an external drive enclosure to place your old drive into. That will let you copy info over to the new drive. Also, this way you’ll have an extra backup drive at the end.

Click for detailed spec

Burning DVD with a Combo drive

Hardware / 0 Comments

I try to burn my first DVD with my new PM MDD G4/1.25Ghz (pre-owed) I justgot from Powermax … It seems the DVD drive is not working correctly. When a disc is inserted, I hear the disc spinning non stop while the entire systemwaits but nothing happen (I still have the mouse… the system is notcrashed).

The disc I use is a DVD-R brand new. If I am not wrong, the combo drive inthis machine should be able to burn this type of DVD.

So, what do you think?

Which bring a second question: Is this drive the model “stock” with thisPower G4?

The problem you are having is related to Apple’s naming convention for optical drives. The term Combo Drive refers to a drive that reads and writes CDs, but can only read DVDs. A Combo Drive cannot burn any format of DVD. The Super Drive term is used for a drive that can read and write both CDs and DVDs.You can of course add super drive to that computer. The MDD G4s let you have two optical drives. Just move the Combo down to the lower space and install a MCE Super Drive in its place.

a MCE Super Drive

This is actually a much better drive then the Apple stock Super Drive for the G4 generation Power Macs.

How to get the most battery life from a Laptop

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

Love the MacBook Pro, however I’m surprised it’s a bit slower than my iMac.But, that’s not why I’m emailing.

My question regards leaving the MacBook plugged into AC power. I use theMacBook all day for work – does it hurt the battery life if it’s pluggedinto the AC power all the time? Should I remove it overnight? I just wantto get the best life possible from the battery and computer.

These days battery charging has become something of a black art. The best data today suggest that heat is the biggest killer of rechargeable batteries. Fully charging a battery creates the most heat and that is why batteries gradually lose charge with each cycle. The best thing you can do to preserve the life of a battery is to remove it from a computer and keep it in a cool place. You don’t need to put your battery in the refrigerator, but keeping it out of direct sunlight is a good idea. Also, watch the overall heat of your system because you could be cooking the life out of your battery. In the end we have to remember that batteries are designed to be used and Apple has done a great job at making a laptop battery that lasts. If it is convenient to pop out the battery when you are at a desk then do that, but if that causes problems don’t worry about leaving the battery in the computer.

Lost all audio from an eMac

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

I have lost all audio on my G4 eMac and all I have in the system pref. sound file is headphone output. Any ideas on how to get my sound back?Tom Venney

I suspect that the problem is not with the speakers but the headphone jack. When Macs detect power traveling through the headphone jack, they automatically mute the internal speakers and change the output source to the headphones. What you are describing sounds like there is a short circuit in your headphone jack that is tricking your Mac into thinking headphones are plugged in. Look in the headphone port to see if there is any debris or a broken headphone jack. If it looks clear, you should next try cleaning it with a Q-Tip-like tool dipped in rubbing alcohol. If that fails, then it could just be a failing audio jack. The problem is that the jack is part of the logic board. A service center could possibly repair the problem but the likely repair would be to replace the logic board. Admittedly, that is not a cost effective option. You can always us PC speakers connected to the headphone port replace the internal speakers.

PATA PCI hard drive controller

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

I just bought a 250 GB disk drive at Circuit City, to update my venerable PowerMac G4-450/AGP system with its now-puny 27 GB drive. Well, it turns out that the native controller in the system only recognizes 128 GB of the new drive. Not like that’s a big problem, but is there a cheap PCI disk controller that I can add to this system that will allow it to address the whole drive, perhaps with some partitions?

Drive size limits on older Macs used to be a simple problem to fix with a PCI ATA controller card. However, most Mac-friendly products are no longer being made. Every manufacturer is moving from PATA hard drives connectivity to SATA hard drive models. In your case the best option is to use an external drive case, which will see your full drive size.

Click here for more details.

Memory problems when upgrading to Tiger

Hardware, Mac OS X, Software / 0 Comments

I have a dilemma. I am running an ancient OS X of 10.1.5. (please try to hold back your laughter). I need to upgrade. My problem is that I don’t have enough RAM. Well, should I say enough original Apple RAM to suffice. I need additional RAM to upgrade. I am trying to put Tiger on my CPU, but I get a ‘kernel panic-no platform’ error. I have never upgraded because it never seemed like I needed to, or I just couldn’t afford it. It still runs like a charm, so I may even consider the trade in program. Please let me know where I can get good RAM. My unit description is as follows:

G4 (Digital Audio version) Charcoal
533 Mhz (I believe)
128 MB RAM (upgraded to 640MB)
Internal CD-RW
Built-in Firewire

Well that is an interesting error to get when installing. It seems strange that RAM that shows up in Mac OS X 10.1 would not work with OS X 10.4. In my experience, if it works in one version of OS X then it is almost certainly going to work in another version of OS X. I am curious, did you get an OS X Tiger CD pack from Apple? If you only have a CD-RW drive, it would not read the Tiger install DVD. Perhaps you have a non-retail version of OS X. If it is a retail version then it will have a black label. If it is grey-labeled, then the installer is locked to a particular Mac model that came with 10.4 pre-installed.

Why is my battery life dying?

Hardware, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

I got a refurbished Aluminum PowerBook in June from PowerMax, but in the last couple of days the battery life has dramatically reduced to lasting only 15 minutes or so. What is happening?

When a laptops battery stops charging there can a few things at the root of the problem. Interestingly, the most common culprit is an under-powered power adapter. Apple has a habit of using cosmetically similar power adapters with different wattage ratings. Most iBooks will only need a 45 Watt power adapter, but many PowerBooks need a 65 Watt power adapter. Both the 45 and 65 watt Apple adapters are identical, and to further complicate the matter, a 45 watt adapter will look like it’s functioning perfectly on a PowerBook. The problem is that despite appearances, a 45 watt adapter only runs the computer and barely charges the battery. This causes a short battery runtime like you are experiencing. The only way to see what adapter you have is to look on the edge of the adapter. It will have a 45W or 65W marking. You would think with the confusion from the old adapters, that Apple’s new MagSafe adapters would all be the same wattage. Sadly Apple does the same thing with MacBook/Macbook Pro adapters as they did with iBook/PowerBook adapters. The MacBooks use 60 Watt adapters and the MacBook Pros use 85W adapters.

Even though most power adapters are linked to the right computer from the factory, sometimes refurbished or pre-owned computers end up with mixed-up adapters during the re-box process. If you find that you have the wrong adapter, it is just a matter of contacting your salesperson for exchange information.

The other possibility is that the battery has aged to a point of losing life. Rechargeable batteries can only be recharged a set amount of times before they start lose life. After that point, the battery will have an increasingly shorter run time on a full charge. Batteries are tested before resale, but in some rare instances they are closer to end of life then indicated in the testing process. This would again be covered for a period of time and you can contact your sales person for your options.

The last possible cause is faulty power management. This is the least likely possibility and there are two parts to it. There is a PMU reset that will clear bad settings. Here is are some links to reset instructions for a variety of Macs:

docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=86760
docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=303319
docs.info.apple.com/article.html?artnum=14449

If that fails then it could be power management hardware, and that needs to be worked on by an authorized service center.

 
 
 

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