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Ask Jacob

Jacob, our Mac Guru, and his team of Mac experts answer your questions about all things Macintosh. Go ahead, ask them anything! If it is a valuable question, it will be posted on the site here! Feel free to browse all of the previous questions.

Can you mount a 21.5″ iMac on a Vesa mount without the stand?

Accessories, iMac, Media Center / 0 Comments

I read on the site that you guys sell a VESA compliant 21.5″ iMac. Can you tell me what that looks like? Ideally I would like to mount a 21.5″ iMac on a VESA mount without the supplied stand. Is this possible?

Many thanks,
- Graham

iMac Vesa Mount AdapterIf you must do this with the smaller screen iMacs, then you have to use a similar Vesa adapter but the stand will remain attached to the iMac. Pictures are available at the Vesa website with addition product information. They appear to have a pretty broad array of iMac mounts, so there is more than likely something that will fit your need.

Hope this helps

What is a decent G5 iMac hard drive replacement, and how do I swap it out?

G5, Hardware, How To, iMac, PowerMac / 0 Comments


The hard drive for my 17″ G5 iMac recently failed. Though I’d like to upgrade, at the moment I don’t think I can afford to do that. Can you recommend an internal hard drive to have installed in the G5 iMac?



Internal Desktop Hard DriveAny SATA 3.5″ internal desktop hard drive will work fine. There is often a thermal sensor on the side of the old drive that will need to be pealed off and moved to the new drive.

You may also want to consider just getting an external FireWire base drive and use that to boot your Mac until you decide to upgrade. The Mac OS will run well off of an external drive, like this LaCie d2 Quadra.

If you’d like to replace that G5 iMac hard drive yourself, I’ve included Apple’s instructions below:

Hard Drive,17-inch Replacement Instructions

Tools Required
Use the screwdriver provided, or a Phillips #2 screwdriver, preferably with a magnetized tip Flat-blade screwdriver Screw tray or something equivalent to hold the screws.

Important Things to Know

  1. All customer removable screws are brass colored. Do not remove screws unless they are brass colored, or you will void your warranty.
  2. A magnetized “L”-shaped Phillips screwdriver is included with the replacement part.
  3. Ground yourself when working on the computer. The procedure will show you how to ground yourself.
  4. Do not pull on individual wires when disconnecting a part; pull on the connector.
  5. Keep drinks and other liquids away from the area you are working on the iMac.
  6. A screw chart is attached at the end of this document. Use the chart to identify screw type and screw locations.

Opening the Computer

  1. Note: These instructions cover the iMac G5 (17-inch) models. The models may look slightly different from one shown in the illustration; however, the following procedure applies to both models.
  2. Turn your computer off by choosing Shut down from the Apple (K) menu. Disconnect all cables, and unplug the power cord from your computer.
  3. Place a soft, clean towel or cloth on the desk or surface. Hold the sides of the computer and slowly lay the computer face down as shown.
  4. Locate the three silver case screws circled below. You may have to lift the stand to locate the middle case screw. Note: These screws are captive; they are part of the display/bezel assembly and cannot be removed.
  5. Using the tool provided, or a Phillips #2 screwdriver, loosen the three captive screws. Turn the screws to the left until they stop turning. Don’t force the screws once they stop turning.
  6. Holding the back cover by the metal stand, tilt the cover up and lift it off the computer. Set the back cover aside.

Removing the Hard Drive

  1. To access the hard drive you must first remove other service modules. This procedure will show you how to remove and replace these modules. Note: As you remove each module, set it aside, along with the screws for that module.
  2. Ground yourself. Touch the metal surface (as shown below) on the inside of the computer to discharge any static electricity.
  3. Warning: Always discharge static electricity before you touch any parts or install any components inside the computer. To avoid generating static electricity, do not walk around the room until you have finished installing the part and closed the computer.

  4. Locate the fan cover near the top of the computer.
  5. Using the tool provided, or a Phillips #2 screwdriver, remove the two fan cover screws. Lift the fan cover off the computer and set the fan cover aside.
  6. Move the black video cable (located to the left of the hard drive) out of the way to access a hard drive screw.
  7. Remove the three hard drive screws. Set the screws aside.
  8. Carefully lift the hard drive up, about one inch. Disconnect the three cables from the hard drive. Note: Leave the cables attached to the logic board.
  9. Lift the hard drive out of the computer. Important: Return the hard drive to Apple in the packaging provided.

Installing the Replacement Hard Drive

  1. Remove the replacement hard drive from its packaging. Connect the three cables (circled) to the hard drive.
  2. Lower the hard drive into place and replace the three screws.
  3. Tuck the black video cable into the area indicated by the arrows.
  4. Press the video cable into the notch on the midplane chassis.
  5. Replace the two fan cover screws. The larger screw attaches on the left. Note: Make sure the pull tab is sticking up as shown.

Closing the Computer

  1. Replace the cover so that the slots on the top edge of the back cover mate with the tabs on the display housing.
  2. Lower and press the cover into place until it fits snugly on the computer.
  3. Tighten the three captive case screws by turning them to the right. Don’t overtighten the screws.
  4. Reconnect the power cord while the computer is face down and then position the computer in the upright position. Proceed to the next topic, “Installing Software That Came With Your Computer.”

Reinstalling the Software That Came with Your Computer
Use the software install discs that came with your computer to install Mac OS X, the applications that came with your computer, and to install Mac OS 9.

Installing Mac OS X and Applications
To install Mac OS X and the applications that came with your computer, follow these steps:

  1. Back up your essential files, if possible.
  2. Insert the Mac OS X Install Disc 1 that came with your computer.
  3. Double-click “Install Mac OS X and Bundled Software.”
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions.
  5. After selecting the destination disk for installation, continue following the onscreen instructions.Your computer may restart and ask you to insert the next Mac OS X Install disc 2.
    Note: If you want to restore Mac OS X on your computer to the original factory settings, click Options in the “Select a Destination” pane of the Installer, and then select “Erase and Install”.

Installing Applications
To install just the applications that came with your computer, follow the steps below. Your computer must have Mac OS X already installed.

  1. Back up your essential files, if possible
  2. Insert the Mac OS X Install disc 1 that came with your computer.
  3. Double-click “Install Bundled Software Only.”
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions.
  5. After selecting the destination disk for installation, continue following the onscreen instructions.Your computer may restart and ask you to insert the next Mac OS X Install disc 2.
    Note: To install iCal, iChat AV, iMovie, iPhoto, iSync, iTunes, and Safari, follow the “Installing Mac OS X and Applications” instructions above.

Installing Mac OS 9
If you want to use Mac OS 9 applications with your computer, use the “Additional Software & Apple Hardware Test” disc to install Mac OS 9.
Follow these steps to install Mac OS 9:

  1. Back up your essential files, if possible.
  2. Insert the “Additional Software & Apple Hardware Test” disc.
  3. Double-click “Install Additional Software.”
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions.
  5. After selecting the destination disk for installation, continue following the onscreen instructions.

Hope that helps!
- Jacob

Do I need to replace my G4 optical drive?

G4, Hardware, How To, PowerMac / 0 Comments

I recently bought a G4 MDD 1GHz dual processor Power Mac. The problem I’m having is with the optical drive. The Apple CD burner that it came with didn’t show up on the desktop when I inserted a disk. I thought I got a bad CD burner, so I replaced it with my old Pioneer 110D DVD burner, one I knew worked perfectly. It also does not seem to be able to read disks.

When I start up DVD player it says that there was no DVD player found. An audio disk inserted does not show up on iTunes, nor the desktop. Data CD’s don’t show up. Yet, when I check through system profiler, it says that the burner is there. When a disk is in the drive, it shows in system profiler how many MBs are used on the disk. But when I go to disk burning on the system profiler, they report I have no burners on the computer.

Any ideas what’s going on? I suppose I could buy an external drive, but I’m vexed and really want to understand what’s happening. Thanks.


Do I need to Replace G4 Optical DriveWhat version of the Mac OS are you running on this system? Perhaps you need to run an update to support those drives. Also, If your System is a Mirrored Drive Door G4 tower, your optical drives have to be set with the Jumper pin to Cable Select. In the MDD G4 you also need to have the Super Drive on the topmost drive slot and Combo drives (or lesser optical drive) bellow the Super drive.

If that does not help, could you send me the serial number and OS version so I can dig deeper into the issue.

Also, if you want to replace that G4 optical drive, I’ve included Apple’s guidelines on how to do accomplish that:

Replacing G4 optical drive involves five simple steps:

- Turn off the G4 computer.
- Open the computer.
- Remove the installed CD/DVD drive.
- Install the replacement CD/DVD drive.
- Close the computer.

All you’ll need to replace the G4 optical drive is a #2 Phillips screwdriver.

A Note About Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)

Static electricity can build up on your body as you walk around – you’ve probably experienced the shocking sensation after dragging your feet along the carpet in your home. An electrostatic discharge occurs when you touch an object generate a small electrical spark. ESD can damage to the internal components of your computer, so avoid walking around while replacing the optical drive in your G4.

Opening the G4 Computer

Warning: Always turn off your computer before opening it to avoid damaging internal components.

  1. Place your computer on a clean, flat surface.
  2. If your G4 has not shut down, but is in sleep mode, press the power button on the front of the computer to wake it.
  3. Shut down your computer by opening the Special menu and choosing Shut Down. Then wait five minutes for the computer’s internal components to cool down.
  4. Remove any security cables you may have installed in the G4′s lockable cover latch.
  5. Except the power cord, remove all other cables from the computer.
  6. On the back of the computer, touch the metal PCI access covers . Important: To avoid electrostatic discharge, before you touch any parts or install any components inside the computer – always ground yourself by touching the port access covers. From this point forward – to avoid static electricity building back up in your body – do not walk around the room until you have completed your installation and closed the computer. No dragging your feet around the house!
  7. Unplug the power cord.
  8. Carefully lift the latch on the right side access panel (these can break off)
  9. Gently lower the access panel onto a clean towel or cloth until it lies flat.

Warning: Close the side access panel and shut down the computer if you see any lights glowing on the main logic board. Lights indicate the computer has not been shut down.

Removing the Installed CD/DVD Drive

  1. Press the clips behind the drive faceplate assembly, rotate the assembly forward until the clips are free of the front panel, and carefully continue rotating the assembly forward to remove the faceplate.
  2. Remove the two screws that hold the drive carrier in place and push the carrier forward far enough that you can reach the cables behind it. Note: You will feel some resistance as you push on the carrier.
  3. Disconnect the power and ribbon cables from the back of the CD/DVD drive.
  4. If a Zip drive is installed, disconnect the ribbon and power cables from the back of the Zip drive.
  5. Slide the drive carrier assembly the rest of the way out of the computer.
  6. Remove the shield from the back of the CD/DVD drive.
  7. Remove the four screws that mount the CD/DVD drive to the carrier and remove the drive from the carrier.

Installing the Replacement CD/DVD Drive

  1. Position the drive in the upper bay of the drive carrier, lifting the back of the drive slightly so that it is flush against the carrier. Insert the screws from the old drive through the holes in the carrier and tighten to secure the drive to the carrier.
  2. Replace the shield on the back of the replacement CD/DVD drive.
  3. Partially insert the drive carrier into the computer. Leave room behind the assembly so you can reach the connectors.
  4. Connect the cables to the Zip drive and CD/DVD drive:
    1. Connect the middle connector on the power cord bundle to the Zip drive.
    2. Connect the middle connector on the ribbon cable to the Zip drive.
    3. Connect the end of the power cord bundle to the CD/DVD drive.
    4. Connect the end of the ribbon cable to the CD/DVD drive.
  5. Push the drive carrier the rest of the way into the computer.
  6. Reinsert the two carrier mounting screws you removed earlier.
  7. Replace the faceplate assembly by aligning its left edge on the computer case, reinserting the clips into their slots on the right side, and pressing the plate until it snaps into place.

Closing the Computer

  1. Raise the side access panel, lift the latch, and press the panel against the case until it snaps securely into place.
  2. Reconnect all cables and restart your computer. Warning: Never turn on your computer unless all of its internal and external parts are in place and it is closed. Operating the computer when it is open or missing parts can damage your computer or cause injury.

- Jacob

Laptop vs Desktop – What are the drawback of only using a laptop?

Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

I’m a graphic designer and am still happy with my G5 tower (yes, G5). I don’t upgrade often because I like to underconsume as much as possible and upgrade
only when necessary.

However, I’m facing an upgrade soon and would like to have a laptop for some uses but don’t want to spend the money on both a new desktop as well as a laptop.

Are there drawbacks to having a laptop vs desktop as your sole computer? What are some laptop vs desktop pros and cons? What things would I need to consider if I were to go that route? I would keep my 21″ monitor for my main display.

Thank you,

Desktop vs Laptop? Go with the 15" MacBook Pro.I think if you look at the 15″ or 17″ MacBook Pro you can safely replace a desktop system with an Apple laptop. The dedicated video RAM and bigger GPU in those models makes it a viable desktop replacement. I personally use the 15″ MacBook Pro with an external display for my work machine and have never looked back.

- Jacob

Problems with reinstalling Microsoft Office for Mac

Microsoft Office, Software / 0 Comments

Here is the latest update on what I have done. I have corrected a database problem – so I get no more pop up messages at all. But now I had a problem installing Microsoft office 2008 for Mac. Everything installed – but when I add my serial number it just blinks and does not move further to install everything – I’ve tried everything and have tried with all the applications. I do NOT get a message saying that the serial number is invalid, the continue button is blue, indicating that everything is cool, but I cannot move forward. What is happening? This is insane. It happened when I did all the updates to MS Office 2008 – 3 updates I think – after that was completed and I needed to re-enter my serial number, it does not move forward. It just keeps blinking blue.

Jacob, I really need help with this. I have a deadline project due and I have to have all the Office products to do it. I certainly cannot afford to go purchase it again – please help me. I have seen on the Internet many people have had this problem, but I have seen no solutions.

Can you help me? Will you help me?

Sincerely, and in desperation (I know that sounds dramatic, but it’s true),

- Dean

I assume that you have removed the old key already per the regular instructions from Microsoft:

• In the Finder, select /Applications/Microsoft Office 2008/Office/OfficePID.plist, and then on the File menu, click Move to Trash.
• Select /Users/username/Library/Preferences/Microsoft/Office 2008/Microsoft Office 2008 settings.plist, and then on the File menu, click Move to Trash.
• On the Apple menu, click Restart.
• After your computer restarts, open any Office 2008 application. The Office Setup Assistant opens.
• Accept the software license agreement, and then enter your valid product key.

If this does not resolve it you probably will need to contact Microsoft to resolve this Product Registration issue.

If email is your primary use of Office, you can use the Apple Mail application that came with the Mac OS to Receive and Send email. I use Mail instead of Entourage and have had better luck. You may also want to look at the free Google Doc Apps to do some of the Office work that you had done with the Microsoft Products, until you get them back to a working condition.

Good luck – hope that helps,
- Jacob

How can I revert OS X to a previous version?

Mac OS X, Mac Pro / 0 Comments

I recently updated my 2009 Mac Pro quad-core to 10.6.3 and now my second monitor is not visible. It is not even being detected in displays in System Preferences or in More Info in About this Mac. Googling the issue seems to suggest that this is a known issue with 10.6.3.

How can I go back to 10.6.2?


Best Price Mac ProsThe easiest way to get your Mac Pro back to an older version of the OS is to do an Archive and Install of the Mac OS. Mac OS 10.6 introduced a simplified way of doing this. Now when you chose a basic install of 10.6 on a newer version of the same OS, it will simply downgrade you without asking to to chose Archive and Install.

Before you go that route, you may want to Zap your PRAM by holding down [command] + [option] + [P] and [R] keys on start up. Let the System chime three times before letting go of those keys. You may also want to shutdown the System and then hold in the Power Button until you hear a long tone sound. The computer will restart. If all that fails, Downgrade to 10.6 from your install DVD and then use the 10.6.2 combo updater.

- Jacob

My Mac iPhoto Help files are nowhere to be found! Help!

iLife, iPhoto / 0 Comments

I just installed iPhoto (the CD is iLife ’09) on my Mac Mini, 1.66 GHz Intel Core Duo, running OS X 10.6.3. I updated from iPhoto 6. The iPhoto program itself seems to be running just fine, but I am unable to access Mac iPhoto Help.

When I click on the Mac iPhoto Help in the pulldown menu, the basic help page appears. If I click on any of the items on that page I get the message “Help viewer cannot open this content”.

Next, if I enter a subject to search for I will get the list of questions and answers available in Help, but if I click on any item (whether it is an item in the Help material on my hard drive or try to access items that are supposed to get me to Apple’s website for articles, I get no response at all.

I tried reinstalling iLife, but that accomplished nothing.

Can you offer me any Mac iPhoto help?

Thank you,


There are a few things that may help.

Try going to your Mac mini Home folder and then to Library. In Library is a folder called Caches. Move the Folder called “” to the Trash. Now go to the Help viewer and see if that fixes your problem.

If the problem continues, and is only occurring on iPhoto help files, then you may need to access those file another way. Go into your Applications folder and find the iPhoto application. Right-click or [control]-click on the iPhoto and select “Show Package Contents.”

Then navigate to the help files via this path: /Contents/Resources/English.lproj/iPhoto Help/iPhoto Help.html

Or click/copy this link:


Hope this helps,


How can I update my Power PC Macs from 10.4 to 10.5.6?

Mac OS X, Upgrades / 0 Comments

Hey there,
I recently bought a couple of trade-ins from you that are running 10.4 and am trying to install OX 10.5.6. When I put the disc in, it does not open the window for the software install. I go to the hard drive and see the disc, try to click there to open the window and nothing.

I then single click the icon on the desktop, then go to “file” and open from there and still nothing. This happens on both the computers. I reinserted the disk into my iMac 24″ and the window pops up just fine as soon as the disc is inserted. Any thoughts on why the other 2 computers won’t open the update disc?

- Brian

G5 Power MacYou can install from that disk by starting up holding down the [C] key with the disc in the drive.

That will get your Power Macs booted from the installer and allow you to install the OS. Choose the Option to do an Archive and Install, or Erase and Install if you don’t need the data on the drive, and that will insure that you have a clean OS install.

- Jacob

How can I use a Toslink connection for surround sound on an Intel Mac mini?

Intel Macs, Media Center, Networking / 0 Comments


Can I get a used Mac mini that has the Intel processor and has a Toslink (light cable) in and out. I need the Intel processor to stream from Netflix and I need the light cable to go to surround sound stereo. I guess the question is, was there a Mac mini made with both of those features, and if you do you have it – and when can I get it!

- Trey

Intel Mac miniAll Intel Mac Minis have combo analog / optical audio jacks so any used Intel Mac mini will work.

You will, of course, also need to pick up a Mini to Optical Toslink cable.

- Jacob

Should I use one larger display or 2 separate displays?

Displays, Hardware, Media Center / 1 Comment

I’m getting ready to upgrade my Pro Tools studio. I will probably buy one of your used G5 models – looking at 2.3 to 2.7 dual or quad – and I’m wondering about monitors.

I presently have two p810 Viewsonics but want to change those . I do audio post work and am wondering if a larger, like 32″, TV/monitor would work for my 2 Pro Tools windows and video playback – or do you think I should use separate displays? Could one of those be an LCD/HDTV? Lastly, is there a card that will allow 3 displays?

- Michael

Apple 24" LED DisplayA LCD TV could work as a digital display, but I would make it only one, of at least two displays. A 1080p TV will display a resolution of 1920 × 1080. Where an Apple 24″ LED displays 1920 x 1200. The difference is that the 24″ display basically displays the same info in 24 inches that the HDTV will display in 32 inches.

The TV will have to be set further back for you so that the image the image does not look pixelated. That may work in your studio, but having a high-density display close to you can be better for long term detail work.

This Acer 24″ display could be an interesting mix of a TV and display for you. It has a HDMI and DVI input, to support a video device and computer.

There is not any 3 display video cards for a G5, but you can get a PCI video card to support another display, after you fill up the first two ports that you get with the Apple supplied card.

- Jacob

Is there a good book on how to switch to a Mac?

Books / Reference, Mac OS X, New To Macs / 0 Comments

I am trying to decide whether or not if I want to purchase a MacBook but reading up on it makes me change my mind. How do you operate one of these things and is there a book to read upon it?

- Mary

Switching to the Mac BookThe MacBook is a fine choice for a entry level Mac laptop, and in general it can do almost all that you would do with desktop Apple computers. If you are new to the Mac OS, and have been using Windows, consider this book – “Switching to the Mac” – as a reference guide.

Apple has also put together some helpful information and videos about Getting a Mac.

- Jacob

How can I connect a USB monitor to my new G4 PowerMac?

Displays, G4, Hardware, PowerMac / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,
I was wondering if you could help with a few questions.

I replaced my old Power Mac G4/400 with a G4/800 and have a Dell 24″ monitor that I use to connect DVi to DVi to the old CPU, but this model does not have a DVi connection. (bummed about that…why not?)

I am using the D-sub connection and I would like the digital image quality I had before to work on my Photoshop projects, so how can I connect to the DVi to get better image quality on my monitor?

Do you sell an adapter that will work? If so how much does it run? Will I still be able to get digital image quality from an analog connector using an adapter? Also I am getting a buzzing noise that is coming from the computer. (This machine is louder than my last one) It is not constant. Maybe more of a vibrating noise? Perhaps the fan or something is loose. It seems to get worse (louder) after the computer has been on for a while. If I press on both sides of the CPU it seems to make it less. Sometimes if I just give it a good bang it quiets back down, but probably not the best way to correct it, eh?

Any suggestions on how to fix this? It is starting to drive me crazy. I currently have my yoga strap tightened around it. Works most of the time.

Also one last note. This computer was advertised as having 3 FireWire ports but it only has 2. Am I missing one somewhere? Really bummed about that. I needed 3 for my printer, scanner and back-up drive, so I constantly don’t have to unplug the printer to use the scanner and exchange it back again. Any reason for the incorrect information listed?

Thanks for your help,

- Toni

Apple's ADC to DVI adapter.The ADC video port on your Quicksilver G4 Mac is actually DVI with power and USB connections bundled in with it. So a simple adapter should let you hook up your Dell display via DVI. This Apple ADC to DVI video adapter should do the trick.

As for the buzzing noise, open up you computer and make sure that there are no cables resting on the various fans in the computer. You can have a G4 running when the case is open, just make sure not to touch any of the circuitry. Look to see if there is a fan on the video card. Those little fans can make extra noise as they age. There could also be some loose drive sleds on the bottom of the case making a metal on metal noise.

The G4 PowerMac only came with 2 USB and 2 FireWire ports.I was not able to see where we listed the ports on this G4 PowerMac, but these Macs have two USB ports and two FireWire ports on the back of the units. I think you might have confused USB and FireWire, as most printers and scanners use USB and not FireWire. Apple often lists the computers as having additional USB ports because the Apple keyboard comes with two USB ports built in. So the one USB port that the keyboard uses, is replaced by two extra on the keyboard. That would give you a listing of three USB ports. Perhaps that was the discrepancy you saw in the description.

A good option to get extra USB connections at a higher speed than the internal USB 1.1 ports, is with a Sonnet USB 2.0 PCI card.

- Jacob

How long does Apple support older versions of its operating systems?

G5, Mac OS X / 0 Comments

If I buy a used PowerPC computer that runs 10.5, how many years can I expect Apple to continue OS support for 10.5 Leopard?

- Richard

Well Apple makes no promises about support ranges, but if you look at the support of the previous versions of the Mac OS, you should have an idea. Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger was released April 29, 2005. That was over four years ago and Apple still offers support for Tiger, in the way of security updates and some software compatibility.

If you are concerned about third party software support on your Mac, it may be a good idea to get a used Intel-based Mac. Just because an OS supports a processor type, doesn’t mean all software created for that OS will also support that processor.

In general you should have a few years more of support from Apple on that OS, and it will probably be a little longer, due to Leopard being the last OS that will run on PowerPC Macs.

- Jacob

My G5 iMac is having power issues.

G5, Hardware, iMac, Power Supply / 0 Comments


I purchased an iMac G5 1.8 ghz, 20″ LCD in September 2005.

Today I went to start it up, and it won’t start.

It was having issues in the last 2 days, in that the screen would suddenly go black, and then the fan would turn on high. It was running fine otherwise, but now, dead. I can’t even get it to start up.

Were there any extensions of the “iMac G5 Repair Extension Program for Video and Power Issues”? I note that this was to extend from 3 years of the original purchase date; I know that has passed.

Please advise.



The G5 iMac having power issues looks like this.
In general Repair Extensions from Apple only last three years from the date of purchase.

It is possible that that it is just a failed power supply and those can be replaced. It would be best to have an Apple Authorized repair center look over the G5 iMac before swapping out parts though.

- Jacob

My new Airport card won’t see or connect to our wireless network.

Networking, Wireless / 0 Comments

We received the “new” airport card and when trying to connect to our wireless router, the error message came up saying “unable to connect to network with our name.”
So it won’t allow connection to any network from what I understand.

Any suggestions now? Because we are at a total loss! Lesson learned…do not buy on ebay!!!

- Angie & Kelly

A replacement Airport card, the FastMac.

I am fairly sure it is a network password issue. Turn off your wireless network password on the router and see if you can connect your iBook to it.

You could also try to find another Wi-Fi location without a password to test the card. Some Coffee shops offer free internet for their customers, and that would at least tell you if the card works. If the card is the issue, consider this FastMac AirPort Card as well.

- Jacob

Can I upgrade my iMac DDR2 RAM to the faster DDR3 RAM?

iMac, RAM, Upgrades / 0 Comments


I have a new 24 inch iMac that has the 1066 front bus. However, the computer came with ddr2 memory running 800 hz, Can I switch these memory chip to ddr3 running 1066 Hz? I just wanted to make sure before I did it!

Thanks for a quick answer.
- Barney

Despite the speed of you systems frontside bus, the RAM you can use is limited to what type of RAM slots you have. DDR2 RAM and DDR3 RAM are not interchangeable and unfortunately there in no way to use the faster RAM in your system.

RAM speed should not be too much of a concern though. Your RAM is not the slowest part of your system, the hard drive is. Look at upgrading to a Solid State Drive (SSD) to see noticeable performance increases.

- Jacob

How can I sync the calendars of two Macs running different OS versions?

iCal, Mac OS X / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,

I have a question about iCal.

I have two Mac systems:

1) desktop G5 2.3 GHz PCIe running Tiger 10.4.9
2) MBP 2.53GHz 15.4” (Oct 2008) alumibody running Leopard 10.5.6

How can I sync the calendars between these two system, which are running different versions of OS? I consider the calendar on the desktop G5 under Tiger as the master. Periodically (daily or weekly), I need to update the MBP’s calendar to mirror the G5’s. Is this possible?

I checked the iCal system files on both systems, and the iCal files are located in different places under Leopard and may even be named differently.

Any thoughts?

Is there a way to manually drag-and-drop various iCal system files from one system to the other? Currently, that is how I backup iCal under Tiger.

Thanks for your time.

- William

Although they look similar, the versions of iCal in 10.5 is very different from the one included with Mac OS X 10.4. If you want to keep them in sync without too much fuss, or annual cost like a MobileMe account, consider upgrading the G5 to Leopard. When you have both computers on 10.5, you can use Google Calendar syncing and constantly keep both your systems updated.

Check out Google’s instructions on enabling Google Calendar with iCal

From the link:

To set up CalDAV support for Google Calendar in Apple’s iCal, follow these steps:
• Open Apple iCal, go to Preferences and then the Accounts tab.
• Click on the + button to add an account.
• Under Account Information, enter your Google Account username and password.
• Under Server Options, add the following URL:

Replace ‘’ with your Google Account username.
• Click Add.
• Under the Delegation tab, select the calendars you’d like to add to iCal by checking the boxes next to them. You may need to hit refresh to get the latest list of calendars.
• Add your email address to your Address Book card by selecting Add Email. You’ll be prompted to add your email address only if your address is not already in your Address Book.

- Jacob

Are there any printers that will work with a Performa 6200?

Mac OS 9 / Classic, Printing / 0 Comments

Are there any printers that will work with a Performa 6200?

- Frison

There are no compatible printers in production today that will work with that generation Mac. You probably could find a used Apple Laser Writer on eBay that would still work. Those things were tanks.

Otherwise the next best bet would be to upgrade your Mac to one with OS 9 support. Then migrate your applications and data over to the newer Mac. Many older Apps work well in the OS 9 Classic environment running on top of OS X.

- Jacob

Will my old Asante USB 1.1 hub work with a new iMac at USB 2.0 speeds?

Hardware, iMac / 0 Comments

I have an Asante powered USB hub that I have used for years with my old G3 iMac. Will it work on my newer Intel iMac with USB 2.0 at 2.0 speeds? I know it works with the Intel but not sure it works at the faster USB speeds

- Alan

It, almost certainly, wont work at USB 2.0 speeds. You will need to buy a new USB 2.0 compliant hub. Consider this D-Link USB hub. You can still use the old USB hub for USB 1.1 devices like your mouse and keyboard.

- Jacob

Is my 1.8GHz G5 Power Mac PCI card compatible with 5 volt PCI cards?

G5, PCI Cards / 0 Comments


I have a June 2004 model dual 1.8GHz G5 that I have gotten a trade in quote for because I have been unable to get it to work with an PCI interfaced A/D converter. After two years and several hundred dollars I discovered that this may be because I have 3.3 V PCI slots that are “designed to PCI-X 2.1 specifications”, according to Apple. Which seems to mean that I have slots shaped like PCI-X slots but they only work with PCI cards (33Mhz 3.3 V,32 bit or 64 bit).

The company that manufactures the converter offers a PCI, PCI-X, and PCI-E version, but the PCI version does not fit and the PCI-X fits, and is recognized by the computer, but does not work. Instead of trading in my entire computer is there anything that can be done to my current Mac to remedy this problem?

The other option I am looking into is building a new PCI card with a pin configuration that will work in my current slot, but if you guys have a more attractive I would love to hear it because I am not terribly thrilled with how much of a headache this would be, granted it would be a smaller one than the past two years that I’ve spent trying to figure out what the problem was.

Thank you,

The G5 Power Mac series did have restrictions on the PCI voltage that it supported as described in this Apple article on G5 PCI Cards.

Another limitation of the PCI slots in the entry level G5s, like your dual 1.8GHz model, is that it does not have PCI-X, just the 3.3 Volt PCI support. I bet that the PCI version of the card needs 5 Volts to operate and the PCI-X version will not dumb down to PCI.

Even if you hacked your 5 V PCI card into the 3.3 V slot, it probably will not get the proper power to operate. Your best option would be to trade in that G5 for the next model up that supports PCI-X and use the PCI-X version of the card in your new system.

- Jacob

How can I boot my G4 from an external drive?

G4, Hardware, Storage / 0 Comments

I’d very much appreciated if I could find out how to boot from an external 500 GB Firewire disk on an aged G4 1.2 MHz. All these years it has been running 9.2, and has a now dead, non-replaceable DVD drive with just one partition in the HD – meaning, no alternative start drive options…

Right now my external drive, with a fresh installation of 9.2, is being recognized as a boot disk on an [option] start – but the process stops with a blackout. After that the machine boots with its native system. Is there anything that can it be done?

Many thanks in advance.

The problem you are having probably has to do with how the FireWire drive was formatted. Often new external Firewire hard drives come formatted in a universal format but that is not compatible for booting the drive. Any time you get a new drive, it is best to Erase it and reformat the drive from the OS you plan to use it with.

In OS 9 you use Drive Setup (inside the Utilities folder on your hard disk) to initialize a hard disk. You will loose all information on the drive but you will then be able to boot off of it. You need the drive to be an Mac OS Extended (HFS+) format.

After that you can clone your boot drive over to the external drive and it should work as your boot volume. You can use the Startup Disk control panel or hold down the [option] key on startup and select the external drive.

- Jacob

Is there much of a speed difference between dual 2.66 and the dual 2.93 GHz Nehalem Mac Pros?

Comparisons, Mac Pro / 0 Comments

I’m interested in a Mac Pro for heavy Photoshop graphics use. Is there a noticeable speed difference between the dual 2.66 and the dual 2.93 GHz units?

- Bob

With the 2009 Mac Pro, I do not think it is going to be too noticeable of a difference in the single processor (4 Core) systems. In the Dual Processor (8 Core) Systems, there is a considerable difference between the 2.93 and 2.26 models. Look at these charts from Bare Feats’ Nehalem Mac Pro performance tests.

This should give you some idea of the differences but there is no surefire way to determine how your workflow will ultimately perform. Get as much as your budget will allow, but make sure you have tons of RAM as part of the config. Always bet on RAM :)

- Jacob

Firefox is acting up in Snow Leopard 10.6.1, any suggestions?

Browsers, Mac OS X, Snow Leopard / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,
I have an early 2008 MacBook Pro and a Mac Pro desktop. I upgraded the MacBook Pro to Snow Leopard as soon as it was available last month and then upgraded the desktop to Snow Leopard just a few days ago.

Firefox (3.5.3) is not playing in the sandbox well with either machine. At first it was only the laptop. But the same problem started appearing on the desktop as soon as it was upgraded. The problem is that I’m getting very frequent “Can’t Find Server” messages with Firefox after the upgrade. Both Macs are now running OS X 10.6.1. It is extremely annoying – as you can guess. And I’m too stubborn to change to Safari.

If I open Terminal and use the “dscacheutil –flushcache” command, the problem almost always goes away and the next click connects fine. I have a satellite ISP whose modem is connected to a Time Capsule base set via ethernet. The laptop connection is wireless, and the desktop is connected via ethernet (and Airport is turned on).

Would appreciate any suggestions.

Many thanks,

- Stan

I have not seen that issue on any other Firefox/Snow Leopard computers. It could be an issue with your ISPs DNS server not working well with your Mac OS internal Caching. I would recommend that you change the DNS setting on your Apple router to be a different Domain Name Server (DNS). I sometimes use these servers and for reliable alternative to what I get from my ISP.

Input those two IP addresses in your Bass Station’s DNS field and then save them . Renew your DHCP address on your Macs to get the updated DNS info. Also turn off Airport on your desktop system so it is only looking at one network interface.

- Jacob

My daughter ran her MacBook Pro under water – can this thing be salvaged?

Hardware / 0 Comments

Hi, I have an issue and am not sure how to proceed. I bought my daughter a MacBook Pro for college (from Apple) and she apparently sleep walks now and took the MBP to the kitchen and ran the kitchen faucet over the keyboard in hopes of removing all the crumbs in it….Grrr. The MBP is only ONE month old and is NOT covered under any warranty since it’s user error water damage!

I took it to the Apple Store and they said there was a little corrosion on the inside, but the hard drive was good. So, I’m looking to fix this one, sell the parts, trade in a PC or two to replace this thing. Do you have any suggestions???

Thanks for your help.

- Toni

Water damage is one of those “total loss” situations. We would never use a part from that kind of damaged computer for a repair because they will fail prematurely, if they have not failed already. You could try selling it on eBay for parts. Perhaps the LCD would fetch you something, as the display on those are more often the part damage in a drop.

- Jacob

My G5 Power Mac screen just froze – any ideas?

G5, Hardware / 0 Comments

I have a G5 (C-U65874) that I bought used from PowerMax in April 09. Yesterday the screen froze, no response with mouse or any key. I used the power button on the front of computer to turn it off. When I turn it back on now it does not make usual start up sounds, but quickly power light reverts to flashing three times with a pause in between. Fan comes but no hard drive clicking.

At time of failure I was using a flat panel Apple screen. After failure I hooked up to my old Viewsonic CRT, which had worked previously. The CRT just said “no signal”.

Any ideas?

- Gale

The “flashing three times with a pause in between” is indication that the RAM may have failed. You can try reseating the RMA but if that fails, you can try to replace your existing G5 Power Mac RAM with two new sticks.

- Jacob

Do 15″ PowerBooks have one or two top latches?

G4, Hardware / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob -

I am trying to find out if the Powerbook G4 15″ has two latches on the top – I’ve heard that when they first came out there was only one latch – But in the next generation they may have had two? Can you confirm this?



The interesting thing is that all G4 PowerBooks had just a single screen latch in the 15″ models. 17″ PowerBooks had two latches and later the 15″ MacBook Pros had two latches in both the 15″ and 17″ models. The 15″ MacBook Pros have an iSight camera placed where the single PowerBook latch was located. That is why they switched to using a 2 screen latches on the MacBook Pros. Now they have no latches at all.

- Jacob

How can I import files from my JVC camera into my Titanium G4 using USB?

G4, Hardware / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,
My 15″ Titanium G4 does not recognize or find a USB hook-up to a Everio JVC. Is there a program that will allow my G4 to import through USB since the JVC only is capable of exporting through USB?


Many of the Everio JVC camcorders had 4 Pin FireWire, sometimes called iLink, on them in addition to USB. Make sure that you really only have USB. FireWire is the best method for you to use and often you just need a firewire cable for your Mac.

If you need to connect via USB, you will need to have a USB 2.0 port, which the Titanium G4 did not have. You can add USB 2.0 via this IOGEAR USB 2.0 card. With a USB 2.0 connection you can install the software that came with the camera and import your video files via iMovie or Final Cut.

- Jacob

I reset my iMac’s permissions and iPhoto is now throwing errors – help!

iMac, Software, System Settings / 0 Comments


I was setting permissions on all files in my Intel-based iMac 20″. After completing the OS quit; I could not even force quit or relaunch the finder.

And after restarting the gray Apple logo and the spinning gear were visible; but the iMac restarted on its own. It would continue repeating this restart cycle.

So I got out my OS A 10.5 DVD and noticed that i could restore from my TimeMachine backup. Cool! So I did it. It was successful HOWEVER, my TimeMachine backup excluded the Applications folder. Very stupid on my part.

So after restoring all my files I had to reload OSX 10.5 to get various Apple applications such as Main and Safari. But iPhoto was NOT included. I do have a copy of iLife ’08 so I loaded that. And I did a software update for iPhoto. BUT when running iPhoto, I get a number of errors. My newer iMac here is running version 7.1.5, which is the version I used to have in this iMac.

How do I get version 7.1.5 into this iMac.

Thanks for your continued help,
- Bill

As you probably know now, it can cause many serious issues when you adjust Mac file permissions in bulk. Many files in your 20″ iMac needs special permissions to function properly in the operating system. Only adjust file permissions if you have a specific need to do so, and only on one file at a time.

As for restoring your applications to their original state. Often the OS discs that come with new Macs have the ability to install the included applications. On the Mac OS X Install Disc 1, sometimes contained in a “Optional Installs” folder, that is the installer you need. Double-click “Install Mac OS X and Bundled Software” and follow the onscreen instructions.

That should get you back to the version of iLife that shipped with your system.

- Jacob

What’s a good cheap printer that plays well with Macs?

Printing / 0 Comments

I am trying to find an inexpensive (under $150.00) printer that prints direct to printable cd/dvd. I purchased an HP Photosmart c5580 but we could not get it to work. I had to take it back. The store manager said he had heard no one else with a problem. HP says it’s Mac compatible. Can you please help me? I have a MacBook Pro Intel, OS 10.5.6.

Thank You,
- Jody

Epson printers are very good at supporting the Mac OS and they have a nice printer that can print directly to a CD or DVD; the Stylus Photo R280 will print beautiful photos and directly to printable discs.

- Jacob

Can I reinstall OS X 10.3.9 Panther without erasing my OS 9.2.2 install?

G4, Mac OS 9 / Classic, Mac OS X, Software / 0 Comments

Dear Jacob,

I recently purchased a pre-owned Titanium Powerbook from you guys with Mac OS 9.2.2 & OSX 10.3.9 Panther. Somehow while setting up the administrator and password things got a little out of whack.

To make a long story short your help desk informed me that you can only set up a new administrator, namely myself, if you have the original Panther start up disc. I have an original Panther retail start up disc that I purchased for my iMac G4. Can I use this disc to re-install Panther again without erasing OS9.2.2 which I don’t have a disc to re-install? Also, will I have the same amount of free disc space as I did prior to the re-install? I don’t want to have two versions of OSX formatted on the already small 40 G.B. hard drive.

The main purpose for buying this computer was to have a dual-boot machine, so I don’t want to lose my OS9 capabilities.

Thank You in advance,


You should have no problem reinstalling OS X 10.3 over the old 10.3 via an Archive and Install, but you will have to Trash the Previous System folder after you have finished the install. After the folder is removed, you should have about the same amount of free space on your hard drive. OS 9′s System Folder should not be affected by this process.

You may even be able to skip the install and just reset the Admin users password via the Reset Password Utility on the Mac OS Install disc. Jump to the last part of this article to get info on the process:

After you have Admin access to the computer, just make a new Admin user account with the name you want to use and login to it. After you login, delete the old admin account.

What is the best way to add an eSata connection to my Mac Pro?

Hardware / 0 Comments

I recently purchased a LaCie external drive with an eSATA, FW800, FW400 and USB connections. I’d like to take advantage of the eSATA connection to my Mac Pro. I’ll have to add a PCI express card to allow me to connect via the eSATA connection – are there any particular cards or brands I should look for?


If compatible, I would recommend you look at this eSATA extender cable. It will take SATA connections available on the Mac Pro logic board and let you convert them into eSATA connections.

- Jacob

Can you insert one of those small 3″ DVDs in a slot-loading iMac drive?

Hardware, iMac / 0 Comments

As an owner of two iMacs purchased through PowerMax, I hope you don’t mind a really simple question: can I insert and play a small (3″ diameter) DVD–assuming it’s formatted for Macs–into the right side slot, or will it lodge inside?


I am happy you asked before trying it. Mini sized CDs or DVD s should never be used in any slot-loading drive. This is true for Apple computers and car stereos. Really they are a terrible idea and should have never been produced. Currently only tray based drives will accept them, and the tray has to have a special indent to keep the small disc centered.

This idea came out of the initial high cost of creating a full sized CD. Now that cost is pennies so making it smaller does not reduce the cost appreciably. The best way to get data off those disc, is to find a tray loading drive and transfer the data to a USB thumb drive or full sized CD-R.

Many service techs has had to extract those little discs from a drive, at great expense.

- Jacob

Is there a replacment DVD/CD R/RW drive available for my G5 iMac?

G5, Hardware, iMac / 0 Comments

Dear Jacob,

My PPC G5 iMac DVD and CD reader/writer has just died. Is there somewhere else I can still buy this or an alternative to it? I have seen that there are some issues with bezel edges and exact fit of some possible models. Can you recommend one that is fast and fits perfectly? Thank you.


I mostly recommend the MCE drives for do-it-yourself drive upgrades. If you have a none-Sony branded drive in there now, you will just need this G5 MCE internal drive upgrade.

But if you have a Sony drive, the drive standoffs will not fit the new MCE drive and you will need to buy replacement standoffs. Part number 922-6305, Screw M3x3, Hex, Pkg. of 4, will need to be ordered for the drive. Call into the sales line if you have a Sony Super Drive and need the new standoffs.

- Jacob

Where are hidden or temp files stored on my Mac?

Email / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob –

I’m not sure if this is in your arena, but I’ll try.

Is there a place on a Mac (like the hidden /tmp area) where temp files are created as you’re typing an email in a web-based email program (like Yahoo)?
I was typing along, and somehow, Yahoo’s advertisements bar (normally located to the right of the body of my email) jumped into the main frame where one writes the actual email text.

The ads pane is no longer on the right side of my screen, and my message has been replaced with the advertisement. I can’t undo, I can’t get rid of it, and my drafts folder now shows a draft of an email that contains none other than the advertisement.

I’m pulling out my hair to find a way to recover the text that I was typing, and thanks to no help from yahoo thus far, I’m getting nowhere. I’m thinking that this data has got to be saved somewhere, on some server, but I’m hoping that there also exists a temp file of the text somewhere on my machine. Any ideas?


There are a few things you can try. If you have the page open still, you can try saving a Web Archive of the page. Select “Save As…” from the File menu and save a Web Archive of the page. Then open the Web Archive with the TextEdit application. It will look awful, but scroll down through the page and see if the text is in there someplace. I did a test and found it down at the bottom of the page.

Before you close the Yahoo Mail page you can look through the Safari Cache file found here: Macintosh HD/Users/(YourUserName)/Library/Caches/ Search through it for words that you know you used in the email text, that should lead you to the data, if it is there.

If that fails, you could also try changing the “To:” address of the draft and send it to yourself instead. Perhaps the sent version of the email will exclude the advertisement.

- Jacob

Which kind of SCSI card do I need to network my G4 tower?

G4, Media Center, Networking, Printing / 0 Comments

I need a little help and guidance here. I’m helping a friend of mine set up a computer he bought off of you guys a little while back (Peter West, Washington, PA). I’m by no means any sort of computer expert but I’m a little better at fumbling through this than he is.

This is the scenario. He has one older system running a Roland large format printer and an Agfa scanner both serial driven (no USB no Firewire). He bought the tower off of you to build a backup clone should his current original tower bite the dust.

We need two 25 pin SCSI cards for a G4 tower and I have no idea where to start on which type. The less expensive the better (only if it’s still a reliable choice). Can you give me some help on what to get here?

- Toby

Sure thing, you probably want an Adaptec 2916 card.

When I was a install tech I used this card 99% of the time and never had a bad one. There are better cards for hard drive control but this is fine for external devices. SCSI also can be run in daisy chains, so you may be able to get by with just one card, if one of the devices supports pass through.

- Jacob

How can I best manage contacts with my Mac?

G5, Software / 0 Comments


We were trying to use AddressBookServer to sync our address books and were having multiple problems that the writers of the program couldn’t seem to help with so after spending hours trying to get this to work, we have now deleted the program from our system.

Do you have any way (besides through gmail) for us to be able to sync information on the Address Book or is there any software available that you know of for, basically, contact management?

Please advise. Thank you.

- Jan

Well there are plenty of options for you. We have a business sales team that uses a product called Daylite to manage contacts and it works well for the mobile sales force.

Take a look at the product and try the Demo. It could be more than what you are looking for but it would solve the problem you are having and help you in other areas.

Other than that, consider a MobileMe account. That will let you keep many things in sync without needing to rely on none-Apple software.

- Jacob

How can I use OS X Automator to duplicate my application files?

Mac OS X, Software / 0 Comments

I have just started working on my first Mac (a MacBook Pro). I will be using the Mac as a beta test bed for some software we are developing. This software will eventually live on a USB flash drive…maybe 1000 of them…duplicated. So that is my task. I can write a batch file on the PC to copy my PC files to the USB. Simply doubleclick the icon I make and it will run the batch file over and over and over…Copying the files to the USB drive. I need to replicate this “batch file copy” on the new Mac. I have poked around the “AutoMator” but it seems to only pick up mouse movement and clicks, not keystrokes. Plus, I am not sure it will do what I want any way.

So that is my question. How can I automate the copy and paste of the same files to the same location. I will be in charge of creating the initial test batch of flash drives, populated with our program. I will need to do this for possibly up to 1000 flash drives.

Thanks for any insight you can provide,

- Andrew

Automator is a good program for creating workflows but it has its limits. For more advanced work, look at the Applescript program or even bash shell scripts. However I am sure that Automator can do what you want, and I emailed you a test workflow you can save as a mini application. All you need to do is change the “Myapplication” to whatever you will be copying over and change the destination “USB-STICK” to whatever your usb drives will call themselves. Then select Save as from the Automator’s File menu and save it as an application.

This sample is just two elements from the “Actions” list: “Find Finder Items” and “Copy Finder Items.” You can keep stacking different functions as you need them. Keep playing with Automator, it will save you tons of time.

- Jacob

My Mac’s screen is locked – help!

System Settings / 0 Comments


I was attempting to get back to my Mac set up and perhaps I screwed up permissions because the screen became locked.
I shut it down – only thing I could do. Have tried everything to reboot – reset pram, safe reboot, option command reboot, etc etc.
Nothing is working.

I should still be under warranty. Shall I send for replacement? Need something sooner than later. From reading other people have had to have HD replace – ?


- Mary Grace

I hear that you have already spoken to our people in sales to get some assistance. It is likely that you only have a software problem, and not a hardware problem. Your best option is to boot up off your OS X Leopard install disc that came with your Mac and do an “Archive and Install” of the Mac OS. It will not overwrite your personal data, just the broken System files.

Apple also has a great informational resource on the Archive and Install process.

I hope this helps

What’s the best dual hard drive option for a Macbook Pro?

Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

My late-2008 vintage Macbook pro, 2.4 GHz core duo w/2 GB ddr3 ram with a 7200 RPM Hitachi 250GB hard drive is so much better than my “main” home 2004 vintage G5 1.8 Ghz, 2 GB Ram, but it DOES have 2 internal hard drives – I use one for system/software, one for data…

I do lots of audio and video editing using final cut and logic. Projects often are 16 channel audio mixing, or 2-3 camera video compositing, DVD authoring

Firewire drives for external backup/storage are fine, but I wonder what’s the best/fastest dual hard drive option (express card slot??), or should I stop spinning my wheels because the performance improvement over using the single 7200 internal drive would be insignificant. Thanks in advance!

- Live Sound Reinforcement
- Live Recording on Location
- Lighting


The best two drive option is to replace your optical drive with a 2nd hard drive. MCE Tech makes an optical drive replacement bay, called an OptiBay that can house a second hard drive. You would need to use a external optical drive but USB is a fine connection for an optical drive.

We can order and install any MCE parts but this is a special order item so call in to talk to a sales person if you are interested. Otherwise a this Caldigit eSATA card combined with a good eSATA drive is the next best thing.

Hope that helps
- Jacob

Is there any way to upgrade from Tiger to Leopard?

Software / 0 Comments

I have an almost-3-year-old MacBook that came with Tiger (10.2), but with the software upgrades, is now running OS 10.4.11

I would now like to upgrade it to Leopard (10.5), using disks that came with my new iMac. The MacBook has 2.0 GHz Intel core duo; 1 GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM and currently has 44.59 GB of memory available. However, when I try to use the install disks, I end up with a message that Leopard “cannot be installed on this computer.”

Why? Is there any way to upgrade from Tiger to Leopard?

Apple prevents the installation of System Restore software on any hardware except the models that those DVDs shipped with. It is the only protection Apple uses on their operating system to prevent piracy. A retail copy of Leopard can be be installed on an endless amount of compatible Macs, without any errors. Apple just trusts that you will buy a copy for each system.

You can bypass the Apple block on restore DVDs by putting your MacBook into Target Disk mode. Boot up your MacBook holding down the [T] key will place it in Target Disk mode. Then connect the Macbook to the iMac via a FireWire cable. Now put the Restore DVD into the iMacs optical drive and double click on the OS X installer. After the iMac boots up off the OS X restore DVD go through the install process but select the MacBook’s hard drive as the install destination, instead of the iMacs internal hard drive.

After the install process has finished, you can restart both computers and they both will have Leopard.

How can I share my neighbors T3 connection among my devices wirelessly?

Networking, Wireless / 0 Comments

Jacob, Maya referred me to you so here goes :)

I’m trying to get rid of my slow satellite internet and pick up my neighbors T3 connection wirelessly. I have an iMac, Macbook Pro and an iPhone that I want to be networked in my house and I can’t seem to make it work. I ordered a Hawkins HWUN1 high gain antenna, hooked it up to my iMac and it works great. The problem is to use it I have to turn off my airport and the iMac is the only one that gets internet. I need to find a way to pick up the signal (about 120 yards away through trees) and still network my computers in home.

I tried enabling sharing and plugging my airport extreme into my imac but that messed stuff up and I still can’t use my imac’s airport. I’m not really sure how the routers / repeaters / signal boosters / etc. work and I need some help!

Is there a router out there that I can plug my HWUNI into and redistribute the signal? Or do I need to go a completely different route?

So to clarify…

I want to:
Pick up my neighbor’s signal
Network my home computes

I have:
1 iMac
1 Macbook Pro
1 iPhone
1 Airport Extreme Base Station
1 Hawkins HWUN1 (which has enough amplification to get the signal)

Let me know what your recommendations would be.


Because the HWUN1 is a USB network device you can not share it through an Airport Extreme base station. What you can do is connect to the neighbor’s network via the Hawkins USB adapter, and then share that connection with your other wireless devices through your iMac’s wireless card. You do this in the Sharing section of System Preferences.

Apple also has documentation on sharing your internet connection: OS X 10.4 Internet sharing directions and OS X 10.5 Internet sharing instructions.

In both cases your iMac will always need to be on, and not sleeping. You can set the system Sleep to “never” in the Energy Saver section of System Preferences. It is OK to let the hard drive and Display sleep, just set the System slider bare to “Never”.

- Jacob

Can I use an alternate Airport Card in my iMac?

iMac, Wireless / 0 Comments

I have a problem with my Airport Card and want to change it out. Can I use the card MB363Z/A without any problems? My Mac is an iMac 24″ 2.16 Intel Core 2 Duo and the Airport Card I use is bcm 94321 mc.

Best wishes,

Although I have not tried it myself, it should work. When ordering Apple service parts for your system it notes the compatible machines as:

iMac (17-inch Late 2006), iMac (24-inch), Mac Pro, iMac (20-inch Late 2006)

You should be fine, just note that it is a very extensive repair that requires the removal of the front casing and shielding. Also the antenna connectors are fragile so work lightly.

Good luck!
- Jacob

Do I need an external mic for my iMac?

iMac, Networking / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,

I just bought my mother a used iMac desktop 20″ Power Mac, with an iSight camera built in. When we tried using Skype, we could see each other, but I could not hear her. I’ve been reading on some forums and it looks like I may need an external USB mic. Do you know anything about this problem? And does the MacMice MicFlex USB Microphone System have drivers and such or is it basically plug and play?

Do you guys carry the Snowflake mic as well, better? Thanks.

- Jon

There should be a built in Mic in the iMac computer you bought. If you go to the Sound section of System Preferences, you should see an Input tab. Select “Internal microphone” from the input options list and check the levels. Skype should pick up from the Mac’s internal sound system, but you may need to adjust the Skype sound preferences as well.

If after that you still need an external Mic, most USB options will be plug and play. The Cyber Acoustic Desktop Mic is a good choice.

- Jacob

Word is crashing every print job we submit, any suggestions?

G5, Printing / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,
We have 2 Mac Minis and a G5 networked through a Netgear ethernet box to a Xerox 8500 Phaser wax printer. All computers are running on OSX.4. We use mostly Microsoft Word, the most recent Mac version. Nearly every time we submit a print job, Word crashes. If we haven’t saved just prior, all changes are lost. When we restart Word, we can usually print but if we make any additional changes in the document, Word crashes again.

What we have tried – reinstalling Word from the CD, the printer software, new cables. We’ve tried connecting one computer directly to the printer via USB. None of this seems to make any difference in the crashing effect.

The rest of the networking and computers are working fine, this is our one issue, but it is SUCH a pain.

Do you have any suggestions?

- Mary-Howell

There was a bug in Office 2004 that cased it to crash when printing which was fixed in an Office update. Please make sure that you are running the most recent version of MS Office for the Mac. You do that via the Microsoft Autoupdate program in your Applications folder. If the problem continues after fully updating your Office programs, then you may need to reset your Printer system. Apple has iInfo on the Reset Printing System feature as well.

After you reset the Printing System, you will need to re-add your Phaser 8500. Take the opportunity to see if Xerox has an updated driver before your add the printer again.

Hope that helps,
- Jacob

Which iPods will work with OS X 10.4 and earlier?

G4, iPod / iTunes / 0 Comments


I have an iBookG4 with OSX 10.3.9. Leopard. Processor is 1.33GHz PowerPC G4 and with 1.25 GB DDR SDRAM. I went to an Apple store to buy an iPod and they only stock ones that run on OSX 10.4. All I want is an iPod that will store a reasonable amount of tracks to listen to while I am jogging.

Can you recommend a model that will suit my needs and my system?

Thank you,
- Max

If you want to stick with OS X 10.3.9, then you should look at some of our used Fifth generation iPods or used iPods. They are also called an iPod Video in the descriptions. My wife owns one and loves it for video and music. This model is the most advanced iPod that will still work with a Mac OS before 10.4 Tiger. For running though, you may just want to get a used original iPod Nano. They do not weigh much and have no hard drive to get damaged by bouncing around. I had one, but I loved it to death and just have an iPhone now.

If you are interested in upgrading your iBook, it will run Leopard just fine. My teenage daughter has that exact same model iBook running Leopard and she will not let me replace it.

- Jacob

What are my options for upgrading my eMac?

G4, Hardware / 0 Comments

I have an older module eMac-G4 that was shipped to me in the early 2000′s. Now would like to upgrade it but first I need to know if it can be upgraded. The machine has never been upgraded and no changes have been made. Can you please tell me the technical specifications and if I can upgrade it.

Thank you very much for your time.

Well you only have a few upgrade options with an eMac. You can easily upgrade the RAM to 1GB or 2BG, depending on the model. With a little technical help you can also upgrade the hard drive, but it may be beyond the average users skill level to open up that computer. Consider taking the eMac into an Apple Authorized service center.

Your best upgrade option would be to trade-in that eMac and look at getting a new or used Intel iMac. The performance boost to dollar ratio will be much more favorable to you by trading it in.

Hope that helps,
- Jacob

Can I use multiple iPods with one iTunes library?

iPod / iTunes / 0 Comments

Can I use two iPods from the iTunes program I have on my computer? My older 4GB iPod was not large enough to hold the data. I purchased through PowerMax, a new 120GB iPod. Can I still load partial data from iTunes on the older 4GB unit?

Absolutely, my wife and I share a central computer and pool our music and TV shows together in one iTunes library. She has one iPod just for music in her car and another one with her favorite music and her recorded TV shows. I just have an iPhone but they all coexist in one iTunes library. We even have a 1st generation iPod Shuffle to help the person who draws the short straw and has to vacuum.

iTunes uses the serial number of the iPod to keep track of witch iPod has what settings for synchronization. So plug them both in without any worries.

- Jacob

I’ve got 5 devices – which router is best for my home network?

G5, Networking / 0 Comments

I want a router that is big enough to handle 2 iMacG5′s 24″, 1 iMacG5 20″, 1 HP Pavilion a1430n, 1 Samsung ML2251N Laserjet printer.

I’m not real sharp on this stuff, but I’m assuming the router would be the first thing to hook to the Modem from Comcast, then all the others would hook to the router?

Right now I have a small router Linksys Ethernet/DSL router and Farallon Starlet 14 hooked to that.  Something has stopped working. When I hook one computer directly to the Modem it works with cable and email.  When it is the only computer on, and hooked to the Farallon it won’t hook to the internet.

I have gone through the turn this one off, wait a minute, turn that off, wait a minute, etc turn the modem off, wait a minute, turn the electrical outlet off, wait a minute, turn the outlet back on and each  item in turn starting with the modem, then the Linksys router, then the Farralon waiting a minute for each, no computers work with internet although they do function.

I do not want wireless, I am even more lost then. I purchased the last iMacG5 from you just a short time ago.

- Harry

When it comes to ease of use, I would recommend the Apple Airport base station over any other router. All the tools needed to set it up are already on all your Macs and you can mix wireless and wired computers.

I would have your Pavilion and Samsung printer connect to it via ethernet, and have all your AirPort enable Macs connect via Wireless connections. I think you will be happy with speed at getting it setup and added ability to share a hard drive on the network will make your computers interact better.

- Jacob

How can I retrieve data from my old 3 1/4 inch floppies?

Backups / 2 Comments

Hi Jacob,
In the late 1980s/early 1990s I was teaching space technology in England. The school used ONLY Macintosh computers. When I came back to the states I had to buy a PC/IBM and gave away my Mac. Now I have 100+ 3 1/4 floppies that I’m desperate to retrieve my engineering drawings and other documents from.

How do I solve this problem? The iMac computers today don’t even have a 3 1/4 drive port. Can you give me some advice?

- Tom

After you copy those over to your hard drive, keep a copy on your hard drive and burn an archive copy to CD or DVD. Make sure to keep the archive copy someplace safe. The floppy disks will fail over time. The bigger issue will be in reading those drawing files if they are in a proprietary format. I was a big Claris CAD user in my school days and have many of my house blueprints saved in that CAD file format. I keep a copy of Claris Cad running on Mini VMac so that I can read them and create new drawings. It will seem strange, but I have yet to find a modern CAD program to replace Claris CAD.

Check it out and let me know if it works for your files.

- Jacob

My iMac has the famous blue screen since I upgraded to 10.5.6…

iMac, System Settings / 0 Comments


I just installed OS X 10.5 in an iMac (Intel powered 17″) I then did the on-line upgrade to 10.5.6. All went well until the iMac restarted. I get the chime and the gray Apple Logo and below the I see the spinning indicator.

Next I see a blue screen. And that’s it. The screen remains solid blue. I booted up using the OS X 10.5 install disk and was able to run Disk Utilities, which found the hard disk to have no problems. I have turned off power using the switch in the rear then restarting via the power switch. Same scenario with a blue screen as a final result. This iMac has only 512K or RAM. Could this small amount of RAM be causing this problem.

What do you suggest I do next?

Thank you,

You best option is to boot up off your OS X Leopard install disc and do an Archive and Install of the Mac OS. It will not overwrite your personal data, just the broken System files. Apple provides more information on Archive and Install as well.

Although 512MB is the minimum for 10.5, you should add another 1GB stick of RAM. I find that 2GB of RAM is perfect size for the Mac OS X 10.5 system.

- Jacob

My Mac won’t start up, I just get a grey screen with a restart prompt…

System Settings / 0 Comments

Last week I was running an install of the automatic software updates and was required to do a reset. The reset was taking forever so I shut the computer down and when I went to reboot I could not. The machine turns on, does the start up noise, gets to the grey screen with the apple but after 30 seconds a darker grey screen filters down with an error message, “you need to restart your computer. Hold down the power button for several seconds or press the restart button.”

This does not work, I have tried holding shift to get to safe mode, this does not work either, any advice?


Your best option is to boot up off your OS X install disc and do an Archive and Install of the Mac OS. It will not overwrite your personal data, just the broken System files. Apple provides more information on Archive and Install as well.

- Jacob

Does my Powerbook need a new battery?

G4, Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

I haven’t been using my Powerbook G4 1.5 ghz 15-inch for a while since buying a new iMac. I powered it up recently (with adapter) and noticed that the battery isn’t charging. Date and Time required updating. I opened up Date and Time and fixed that. I launched G4 Updater and the program keeps quitting. I then reset the PRAM and PMU as mentioned in a recent letter to no effect. When the computer is plugged into the adapter it works fine.

Do I just need a new battery? The notebook is roughly four years old with a second battery. The original was recalled a year later after purchasing.

Thank you.
- Joel

A new battery would probably be the next step after resetting the PMU without success. But before you plop down some big cash, does the PowerBook retain date and time if you remove the battery and power supply from the laptop? If it still looses the time, you could have a faulty backup battery that should be replaced. In rare cases, a dead
backup battery will block a main battery from charging. This battery is internal and takes some technical skill to replace.

You can buy the part from We Love Macs if you want to attempt the repair yourself.

Another consideration should be your Power Adapter. Make sure you are using the proper Wattage power supply for your PowerBook. You need a 65W adapter for your PowerBook but some earlier models used 45 Watt and some replacement adapters don’t provide a full 65 Watts. An underpowered adapter will not charge your battery.

Otherwise you can get a replacement PowerBook battery and that should fix your issue.
- Jacob

Why isn’t one of our networked computers syning its calendar?

Networking / 0 Comments

We use BusySync for syncing all of our calendars. This morning 3 out of the 4 computers are synced up to date but the 4th computer is not communicating with the other calendars. What the other 3 are entering on their computers is not going on the 4th calendar nor what is entered on the 4th computer going on the other 3 computers. I tried shutting down and re-starting but that didn’t seem to solve the problem.

I thought that maybe it was because the 4th computer is wireless but our other wireless computer is okay. Any suggestions?

If you using the Sync with Google Calendars feature of BusySync Google limits the number of concurrent connections to a standard account. To test you could shutdown the working computers and then restart the one that is not updating. See if it starts syncing. If it does maybe you can limit the number of Google Calendar Synced clients and have everyone else just use the LAN sync feature of BusySync to get the data from the Google Calendar Synced systems.

Let me know if that helps,
- Jacob

How can I max my white iMac’s RAM?

Hardware, iMac / 0 Comments

What are my options for increasing my white iMac RAM to 2GB or more? Can I replace one of the 512MB modules with a 2GB module and end up with 2.5GB? What is the maximum RAM I can install in this iMac?

- Bill

The white plastic Intel iMacs can accept 3GBs of RAM via one 1GB chip and one 2GB RAM chip.
And in case you just want to max out the RAM, here is the link to a 1 GB chip.

- Jacob

Why has iTunes stopped accessing all the songs I have received from friends?

iPod / iTunes / 0 Comments

iTunes suddenly stopped accessing all the songs I have gotten from friends’ computers. Why is this? Every time I click on one of the songs, a window comes up that says the file cannot be located. This seemingly happened for no reason.

- Krysta

That message typically indicates that the files have been moved form the library or their original source. That source can be an external hard drive, iPod in disc mode, CD/DVD, or even a network mounted drive. To make sure your files are actually in the iTunes Library, you need to change a iTunes preference setting. Go to the “iTunes” menu and down to Preferences. In Preferences, click on the “Advanced” tab. Now mark the Checkbox for both “Keep iTunes folder organized” and “Copy files to iTunes Music folder when adding to library.”

Those changes will make sure that your music shown in iTunes is actually on your computer. If you received the music files via a CD/DVD, you will need to re-add them to your iTunes library by reinserting the disk and using the “Add to Library…” item from the File menu. Then just select the disc and add all the files.

- Jacob

Can I put the drives from a G4 466 Power Mac into a Quicksilver and run OS 10.4.9?

G4, Hardware / 0 Comments

I currently have a G4 quicksilver Dual 800 (purchased from PowerMax refurb). It is exhibiting what I suspect to be a failing motherboard. I may have access to a working G4 466
chassis which simply doesn’t have a startup drive. The question: Can I install the 2 internal drives that I have in the Quicksilver and put them in the 466 and have a running OS 10.4.9 machine? Using specs from, it appears that they share the same type of memory. And it seems that the type of drive is the same, except the 466
shipped with a 5200 rpm drive, whereas the QS shipped with a 7200 rpm drive.

Any thoughts? I am simultaneously thinking about buying a refurb G5 from you guys.

- Harry

The 466MHz Power Mac G4 (Digital Audio) was technically very close to the 1st generation of Quicksilver G4, so you should have no issues moving your older drives over. The RAM and hard drive bus are the same between the two models.

Jumping computers should work well for you, except for the drop in processor speed and the reduction of overall processors.

- Jacob

What are my options for an external G3 iMac CD/DVD drive?

Hardware / 0 Comments

Hey Jacob!
I just bought my first machine used for 10 bucks and guess what?! Its super cool and super old. Its an iMac G3 in the original bondi blue running on OS 9.1. Is there a chance that this tech-savvy-less, Mac pea brain hairstylist can burn cds and dvds from this beautiful piece of history? Word on the net is that you’re the one who’d know. Can I purchase an external/internal cd/dvd burner that’ll work for this beautiful dinosaur?

Please tell me what me has to do. My utter respect and adoration. Peace, love, and a lifetime of great hair days to ya. Cheers!

- Patrice

The original Bondi Blue G3 iMac was a revolutionary computer and set Apple back on the proper track. Unfortunately this computer is limited in how expandable it is. The later iMacs with FireWire ports make them much more expandable via external hard drives and external DVD burners. This is not to say that your iMac will not do more, it just means that you are limited to USB 1.1 compatible devices for your upgrades or replacing internal parts.

CD burning will be your limit to optical drive upgrades because an average DVD is larger than your 4 GB hard drive. You could not even store enough data on your drive to burn a DVD. You can easily burn CD-R discs by replacing your internal drive. MCE Tech used to make a replacement G3 iMac CD drive and they may still have them in stock.

Here is the installation guide for that G3 CD drive, not tough but make sure you are OK with the process.

Beyond that the people over at Low End Mac can be a great resource on learning about you beloved “piece of history.” Of course any time you have a upgrade question just give us a call, we would love to help.

- Jacob

What is the best way to connect both a MacBook & MacBook Air to my receiver?

Networking / 0 Comments

Years of buying Macs from Powermax and Maiya Kennedy. Great help, great service. I bought a MacBook air in November or so, and my wife bought a MacBook several months ago, I ordered a “mini-dvi to hdmi” connector only to find out that the Apple Website has the mini divi connector shown in the Macbook Air specs when in fact it is a “micro DVI”.

So, I will need to return the connector “mini” for a micro, but nobody makes a micro dvi to hdmi I want to connect either of the Macs to our receiver which has HDMI inputs as well as S video
and separate audio rather than connecting directly to the TV (download movies via iTunes and play them on the home video set-up.) I’d rather go via hdmi, but if not, then which micro dvi to connector is the best choice?

Nowhere is it written what the dvi output is- what type of output it is- analog, digital or dvi-i. I would like to use the micro-dvi to dvi connector (as in Apples) and then use a female to female dvi gender connector so that I can then plug it into my male dvi to hdmi cable and then to the receiver. Way too many connectors, but I hate to keep buying cables. The dvi to HDMI cable is left over from my MacBook Pro trade of November.

Can I do this? Apple’s website is useless on this issue and they can’t even get their mini or micro labels correct.

A. Scott

You are on the right track, you only need the Apple Micro-DVI to DVI Adapter to connect to the other end of male dvi to hdmi. Then it will connect to the cable you already own, like this HDMI/DVI cable and connect to your home theater.

All these adapters can drive you crazy, but at least Apple as standardized on a single Mini Display Port for all new Macs, even the 2008 MacBook Air model uses it. If you ever get one of those you will need this Apple Mini DisplayPort to DVI adapter.

Both adapters have female ports so the mail DVI connector will hookup.

- Jacob

Do the new MacBooks have an accelerometer to protect the hard drive?

Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

Hey Jacob,
I am planning to buy a MacBook, and I was wondering does it have one of those hard drive motion sensors which keeps your hard drive safe in case of sudden movements.

- Abdel

Yes all Intel Mac Laptops have accelerometers in them that can “Park” the hard drive heads, in the event of a drop. For the best shock protection, consider a Solid State Drive (SSD). They do not have any moving parts in them to get damaged in an impact accident, and a SSD will operate your Apple computer at lightning fast speeds.

- Jacob

How can I delete the music on my iPod and add new music?

iPod / iTunes / 0 Comments

Dear Jacob,

I’ve got a question for you and hope it doesn’t sound stupid but this is new to me. I’ve got an iPod and the music on it, and I want to know how I can delete the old music and put on new music. I have no idea how I can go about it.

- Mary

It is not a stupid question as it is not always obvious how your music is place on an iPod. The iPod can only be managed by the iTunes application on your computer. Once you have iTunes stocked with encoded music from your CDs and purchased music, you connect your iPod to the computer.

The iPod will show up as a device in the left had section of the iTunes window. You can then select the iPod and set the way you want music to be synced to the iPod. Depending on the size of your iTunes library and the capacity of your iPod, you may be able to have all your music on the iPod, or just some Play Lists if your library will not fit on the iPod.

Make sure you have the latest version of iTunes. And watch these videos showing you how to manage your iPod.

What are your opinions on the best camcorder for a Mac user?

Hardware / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,
I’m writing to you for ask an opinion, look I wanna buy a HD camcorder and have 3 options, could you please tell me your opinion about:
- Sony HDR-XR520V
- Canon VIXIA HF S10
- Panasonic HDC-HS300

I’m confused because I really don’t know about lens, CMOS sensors, etc. I hope you can help me.

With best regards,
- Nicolás

The Canon camera is probably the most Apple computer friendly camera of the three you are looking at. This could be because Canon does not make any competing computers with the Mac. Check out this Canon VIXHA.

Like many of these HD camcorders, the VIXIA has a decent still camera included in it, and comes with Mac specific software tools to get good images off the camera. It is also a full HD camera with the trusted optics from Canon. I own an Canon Digital SLR camera and am fairly impressed with the optical performance of their lenses. Most user reviews are positive on this camera and it seems to be built off some solid standards. It is often a good idea to avoid cutting edge sensors or recording formats. Otherwise you end up acting as a beta tester for the new technology.

This should be a solid HD camera for you ad your Mac computer.
- Jacob

Can you charge a standard MacBook with a MacBook Air charger?

Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,
Hope you can clarify whether it is possible to charge the MacBook using the 45w power adapter (for Macbook Air)? I want to share my mate’s 45w power adapter. Any downside in using the lower wattage adapter?

Please advise.

Thanks and regards,

The lower wattage of the MacBook Air power adapter will let your Unibody MacBookrun. It will not recharge the battery with the MacBook running though.

Your MacBook has a 45-watt battery and that 45 watt MacBook Air adapter will just provide enough power replace the power that would have come from the battery, but that is it. To charge the battery you will need to have the proper 60 watt adapter or, completely shut down the system so all power can be used to charge the battery.

- Jacob

Can you put a fully configured hard drive from a MacBook into a MacBook Pro?

Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks / 1 Comment

I just replaced a MacBook with a MacBook Pro. Is it possible to swap the fully configured hard drive from the MacBook and put it into the Pro? I ask this because it is faster than the one that comes in the Pro (7200 vs 5400 rpm), it is the same size, and it already has a Bootcamp partition that I’d hate to have to start over with. I know I can use Winclone, but I thought this might be a convenient solution. What do you think?

- Michael

You should be able to swap that SATA hard drive between MacBooks. Make sure that you have the latest OS installed on the MacBook’s hard drive before you install it on the MacBook Pro, and be prepared to use the OS X install disk that came with the MBP. You probably will not need them but you can always do an Archive and Install if you experience any issues. Both the MacBooks, and the Unibody MacBook Pros, make it a trivial job to swap out hard drives.

Do not be too surprised if Windows needs some driver updates after the swap though. The Mac OS is portable but Windows often chokes on a hardware transplant. Have the Mac Boot Camp drivers handy.

- Jacob

My G5 Power Mac is having trouble detecting a display through my KVM box

Displays, G5 / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,

The Quad Core G5 that I purchased from PowerMax is a gem – only problem is that I cannot connect it to a 28″ I-INC HDMI digital display to share with my Mac mini.

The Mac Mini with its built-in GFA graphics connects fine through the USB DVI KVM box. It seems that the GEForce 6600 card in my Quad Core seems to be having problems detecting the display through the KVM box. Works just fine via direct connect – bypassing the KVM box. The Box did work OK with my old G4 with a ATI Radeon 9800 Mac Edition via DVI.

I suspect that the KVM box (LINKSKEY 212ASK) is the culprit. I found a refurb. ATI XT1900 cards for Mac on ebay as an alternative graphics card which I am hoping will work with my present KVM box. I use the Mac mini to run wintel apps, but I have a ton of PPC and Classic apps (Including PPC Photoshop). The G5/MAC MINI combo is an ideal solution for my needs. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks for your time,
- John

I do not have personal experience with that brand of KVM but I know some KVMs will have problems passing along settings data to a Mac. When you power on the G5 Power Mac, you have the KVM switched to its port right? In many cases that is essential for the video card to find the proper resolution.

Aside from that, it should work. Please let me know if the other video card makes a difference.

- Jacob

Any ideas on how I can repartition my WD MyBook for my Mac?

Backups, G4, Hardware / 0 Comments

Hello Jacob,

I have a G4/800 256/40/CD-RW/Radon upgraded with OS 10.4.11 Tiger plus 512 MB RAM, and superdrive. I want to hook up a WD My passport Essential 320GB to it to back up my hard drive. It shows up in the utility list but I cannot partition it and get an error message This new WD Ext HD works with my friend’s PC and up at the nearby college on their much newer Macs.
Any ideas why I cannot get it to work with my Mac?

Thank you,


You may need to repartition it through the Partition tab in Disk Utility.

To repatriation a drive, select the drive (not the indented Volume) that you want to erase and click on the Partition tab. Change the Volume Scheme popup menu from “Current” to “1 Partition.” Click the [Options...] button and set it to use the “Apple Partition Map.” Then give it a name and click on the [Apply] button. One more click to say that you understand all data will be lost on that drive and then it should work fine for your Mac computer.

It will not work on PCs after that though, it will be a Mac drive.

- Jacob

My daughter’s iPod went though the washer – can it be saved?

iPod / iTunes / 0 Comments

My daughter has a 3rd generation iPod nano silver 4 GB and it got put through the washing machine by accident. Is there any hope of repair or do we need to just get a whole new one for her?

The earbuds work just fine but so far nothing is working with the iPod. I didn’t know if we had a shot of it working if it dried out completely or if the water would ruin the internal components. Please help me out! I’m feeling horrible about it.

- Timon

Even the mighty iPod nano is no match for a washing machine...

Even the mighty iPod nano is no match for a washing machine...

It is unlikely your daughter’s iPod nano will come back from the dead. The wash is a thorough killer of the iPod family, particularly the batteries. The best bet is to dry it in the windowsill, on a sunny day. That should get it warm enough to cook out the moisture without further damaging the electronics. After a day of drying try connecting it to a computer through the docking cable. Then see if it will power on. Even if the battery is dead it should still work off the USB power. If you see nothing it will probably mean you need a new iPod.

If it does turn on then try to charge the battery. If it does not charge, there are battery replacement options. Some sites offer repair, but those could cost as much as just replacing the unit.

- Jacob

My Bluetooth keyboard and mouse suddenly stopped working…

Hardware / 0 Comments


I purchased an open-box MacBook from PowerMax about two weeks ago. Until today, I was using and Apple Bluetooth keyboard and mouse. Today, I find no Bluetooth preference and get this error message:

“The Bluetooth tab of Keyboard & Mouse preferences is hidden because you don’t have a Bluetooth module installed or attached to your computer.”

When I search About this Mac for Bluetooth, I get, “No information found.”

- Frank

There is the chance that it is a Software related issue. If you boot up off the Mac OS Install DVD, you can reinstall the OS via an Archive and Install. Then run Software update to get your MacBook to the most recent version. Also make sure that your MacBook does not need a Firmware or SMC update.

If after that, you still have trouble, it may bee that the Bluetooth module needs to be replaced. If that is the case, any Apple Authorized service center can do that for you as part of the Apple warranty on your product. Use Apple’s Service Location Tool to find your nearest provider.

- Jacob

What’s the best way to transfer Mail files from an old Mac to my new one?

Email, G4, G5 / 0 Comments

I am going to trade in a G5 Power Mac running 10.4.11 for new Mac Pro 2.66ghz Quad this week. I have read mixed things about migration assistant especially when it comes to applications. I believe this is how my iPhoto library was corrupted when I upgraded from a G4 to a G5 and I would like to avoid these same issues.
How do I transfer my emails in Apple’s mail program, both inbox items and archived/saved emails, from the old machine to the new one when it arrives without using migration assistant?


The good news is that you can move the mail file over fairly easily. There is are two folders and a file you need to copy from your home folder. The home folder is in your hard drive in the “Users” folder and then in a folder with your unique user name. The home folder is indicated with a ” ~ ” symbol and I will use the symbol in describing the files locations.

First copy the preference file: ~/Library/Preferences/
Then grab the main mail folder ~/Library/Mail/
And lastly the Mail Downloads folder ~/Library/Mail Downloads/

On the fresh system copy these back to your new Users account, in there respective places. Then when you launch the new mail app it will look just like the old one.

- Jacob

G5, Networking / 1 Comment

We want to sync the address book between all computers on our network (4) – is there a way to do this? What do you suggest. Thank you.

- Frederick

There are a few ways to do this but here are the two ways I would recommend. The standard “Apple” method is that you would want to use the MobileMe service to do this. You can sync calendars Address Books and even BookMarks. It was designed with the idea of keeping your Home and Work Macs in sync but will work in a small office too. It is integrated into the OS so you really just have to enter the account info into the System Preferences and enable the services you want to keep synchronized on that computer. There is a annual cost for this service and although there are many more features than what I have mentioned, you may not find the value in the service.

So next look at the Gmail solution. With a free Gmail account you can sync your Apple Address Book with a single account from many computers. In Leopard, go to the Address Book preferences and click on the General tab. Then mark the checkbox for “Synchronize with Google.” Click the [Google] button and enter your email address and account password. Set up all you computer with the same info and soon they all will be in sync.

- Jacob

Should you insert those small, 3-inch DVDs into an iMac slot drive?

Hardware, iMac / 1 Comment


As an owner of two iMacs purchased through PowerMax, I hope you don’t mind a really simple question: can I insert and play a small (3″ diameter) DVD–assuming it’s formatted for Macs–into the right side slot, or will it lodge inside?


I am happy you asked before trying it. Mini sized CDs or DVDs should never be used in any slot-loading drive. This is true for Apple computers and car stereos. Really they are a terrible idea and should have never been produced. Currently only tray-based drives will accept them, and the tray has to have a special indent to keep the small disc centered.

This idea came out of the initial high cost of creating a full sized CD. Now that cost is pennies so making it smaller does not reduce the cost appreciably. The best way to get data off those disc, is to find a tray loading drive and transfer the data to a USB thumb drive or full sized CD-R.

Many service techs has had to extract those little discs from a drive, at great expense.

- Jacob

My G4 Powerbook processor is failing, I think…

G4, Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,
I have a 4 yr old Powerbook G4 1.5ghz. It seems like the processor might be going. It’s stalling frequently. Big spinning beach ball. It’ll eventually catch up but it’s pretty annoying to pause a song in iTunes and it takes 30-120 seconds for it to actually pause. I have 1.25g of ram. I think that’s the max I can have in it. I’ve done a ton of maintenance as recommended by I can’t even find a replacement processor anywhere.

Any suggestions (besides a new mac)?
- Ruston

In general Apple laptops can not get replacement processors or even upgrade processors. In a portable PC or Mac, the processor is often soldered to the logic board.

Early PowerBooks used daughter cards for the RAM and Processor, consequently that made them upgradable, but the G4 Powerbooks never used that design. The good news is that you processor may be slower than you like but it is not physically failing, at least not by what you describe. You can have a total of 2 GB of RAM in that computer so I would recommend that you buy another 1GB stick and remove the 256 MB stick. Also replacing your hard drive with a faster unit could be a good way to boost speed. You can get a 2.5″ 7200 RPM drive for your laptop and greatly increase your file access speeds. Also if you have not done so in a while, backup your data and erase your hard drive. Then install a clean version of OS X and pull your data back over.

Starting fresh can provide a amazing boost to your overall system performance.

- Jacob

My G5 passes the hardware test but won’t connect to USB devices…

G5, Hardware / 0 Comments


I have a dual 2G G5 which passes the hardware test for the logic board (both long and short versions) and yet had no response from any of the built in USB ports. The internal modem still shows in the system profiler but no devices attached to any of the built in ports show.

Any thoughts? Is there a USB host controller that is not part of the logic board?

- Warren

It is possible for the USB system to not allow devices to connect but still fail to register a problem on the AHT logic-board test. Here are two things to try.

– First turn off your Power Mac G5 and then hold the Power button down until you hear a long tone. Then let go and wait for the computer to reboot and test the USB.

– If that fails to fix the USB operation, then you should insert the OS X install DVD and set it as the startup device. Power down the computer and remove all extra PCI cards from the machine. With only a USB mouse connected, start it up and see if the USB ports now allow the mouse to function. Try all the ports, including the front port. If the mouse works from the Install DVD, then it could be a software issue and an Archive and Install of the Mac OS should work to repair the damaged system files.

- Jacob

Is there a Mac version Quicken?

Software / 0 Comments

I have Quicken 2009 on my desktop PC. Can I buy this program for an apple computer and, can I transfer all my backup files?

Thanks for your help,

Intuit has developed a new version of Quicken for the Mac called “Quicken® Mac 2007“, but that was less than the full Quicken® application. They plan to release a full version of Quicken® in February 2010.

It also does look like the new Mac version will import Windows data into the new software, although this is no true for Quicken® Mac 2007. The Quicken Online product is an option for you.

This has always been my complaint with Intuit, they have historically treated their Mac division as if it were an unrelated company. Features and versions do not match up between operating systems, leaving users confused. It is unfortunate, but let’s hope the new application lives up to the billing.

- Jacob

I can’t open a “.eml” file in Apple Mail…

Email / 1 Comment


Recently, I upgraded from MacOSX 10.4.11 to 10.5.6. About the same time, I began seeing curious behavior of some attachments in

Whenever a correspondent sends something with an attachment with the suffix “.eml”, I can’t open it except as a quick look. As far as I know, this was never a problem with the 10.4.11 (and I certainly don’t want to uninstall 10.5.6 to go back and check…).

Is it something caused by my newer OS, or is it something my correspondent(s) use that might’ve recently changed? They appear to have been sent from Windows Outlook Express. Here’s a sample:

Is there something I can adjust to cause them to open automatically like every other email?


The easiest way to do this would be to first drag the “.eml” attachment to your desktop. Then Right Click or [Control] Click on the attachment and select “Get Info.” Next expand the “Open with:” section and select the application as the assigned program for that file type. Click on the [Change All...] button and click on [Continue]. Close the Info window and from now on you can just double click on any “.eml” attachment and it will open in

- Jacob

What is the most idea backup setup?

Backups / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob, I really enjoy your answers and learn a lot from you in each email. Here is my question:

I just bought an 8-Core MacPro and want to setup a nice little storage system that can work fast and be backed up. So I was thinking about keeping the stock 640gig HD for all my apps, photos and music, and using an external HD that I already have to back that up via TimeMachine.

Then I wanted to buy a 1TB HD that I could dedicate to all my side-work (graphic design, web design and motion design). I then was thinking about buying another 1TB HD to back that up that one via TimeMachine. But now I’m wondering if it would be better to just use Apple’s RAID-software-setup to have the 1TB’s just mirror each other.

What would be the most ideal as far as speed, reliability and efficiency?

Time Machine is great but it does have its limits. You can only backup your boot drive via Time Machine so setting that external drive to protect your main 640 GB boot drive is the right setup. Then using the Apple software RAID 1 (Mirroring) on those two 1TB drives is a smart choice. It is not as fast as having a hardware RAID 5 configuration but it is very reliable. Many of the small servers I setup have been protected by a software RAID 1. I have lost drives but never any data.

The one advantage Time Machine has over RAID 1 is that it will protect you from unintentionally deleting important files, allowing you to go back and retrieve those files. RAID 1 will not let you recover from that kind of mistake. It just protects you from drive failure. So be carful when deleting or overwriting data on the RAID 1 volume.

Other than that it sounds like a solid plan.

- Jacob

What are some input device options for someone with Parkinsons tremors?

Hardware / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob,
I have some issues mechanically with typing and I have been put off by the iMac keyboards; I use an ergonomic Adesso on my G4 but it is not presently as useful as a standard Dell keyboard I have had the occasion to use. I need the least spring-loaded pressure that exists in a keyboard, but also I wanted to know if I should punt up to an iMac and install Dragonspeak using Parallels?

Wouldn’t the iMac’s Intel processor allow just about any keyboard? Is there a best type of mouse for persons with the tremors of Parkinsons? Failing that, can the cursor be voice-activated directionally?


Well you have many input device options with a Mac. Most USB keyboards will work with a Mac, in fact I have yet to find one that does not. So you should buy they keyboard that works well for you. If the Dell functions perfectly, I would recommend getting two of those. I am not kidding about getting two. Over the years I have seen how fast a good keyboard design is replaced. If you find something that works, just as you want it to, get its replacement now. Otherwise you will send your evenings trolling eBay looking for a exact replacement after the first one dies.

If you do not want to hassle with running Parallels, consider MacSpeech. It is built on the Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition engine.

I have yet to see a good mouse solution that is voice activated. Also, most mice or joysticks are difficult to use during hand tremors. Luckily the Mac OS comes with a feature in the Universal Access settings that could help. Under the Mouse & Trackpad tab is the ability to turn on the “Mouse Keys” feature. This turns the numeric ten-key into a mouse controller. There are sensitivity and speed settings that you can set to your specific needs. It works fairly well and gives you more precise movement than what you get from a standard input device.

- Jacob

Is it possible to efficiently edit HD footage on a laptop?

Laptops & Notebooks, Media Center / 1 Comment

Really Jacob… they go together? Is it possible to edit HD video on a laptop… Even if the specs match won’t it be painfully slow.

Thanks, Dee

Really it is true, I know many video professionals who use a MacBook Pro to edit HD video. This is particularly true now that they support 8 GB RAM in the 17″ MacBook Pro models. Where you may feel the difference is in large rendering and capture. In those instances having more cores and faster drives available will be a benefit. Most video pros will own a Mac Pro if they just have one system but the second system is often a MacBook Pro for mobile work and assembly of the footage.

- Jacob

Will a new Mac Pro run an older 30″ Apple display?

Displays / 0 Comments

Hi Jacob!

I have a 30” Apple Cinema HD Display (circa 2005) – will all the new Mac Pro Towers run it? OR do I have to be choosy to get one that will work specifically with it? Thanks for your expertise!


Yes – every new Mac Pro has a Dual-Link DVI port on it to connect your 30″ Cinema Display. There is also a second connection point with a Mini DisplayPort connector. That can run near any display with the proper adapter, even a second 30″ Display.

- Jacob

When I install a USB thumb drive my Mac locks up – help!

Networking / 0 Comments

Hi , When i install my thumb drive my I Mac locks up and will not recognize the drive or function. Help. Thanks.

- Evan

If your Mac suffers a lockup when connecting a USB device, it is often due to a bad USB device. Or it is a USB device drawing more power than what the port is supplying. Make sure you are connecting it to an internal USB port on the computer, not a keyboard or unpowered hub. If that still causes a problem, see if the device is a USB 2.0 device, your Mac may only have a USB 1.1 port. USB 2.0 devices can draw more power than the USB 1.1 port supplies.

- Jacob

What are my office’s options for sharing a 2 TB drive?

Networking / 0 Comments

Jacob, at our office, we’re sharing a 2 TB drive over Ethernet, but it’s too slow. What are our other options for sharing a drive?

Thanks for your time.

- Clint

Most times sharing a drive over the network will be fast, sometimes faster that FireWire 800. You must have a Gigabit switch for that to work and good wiring in the building. Also, all your systems, including the network drive, must support Gigabit Ethernet. That will be the fastest and most cost effective way to share a drive over the network. Everything beyond that will have a large start-up cost.

If the 2TB drive is not a network drive or only has 10/100 Ethernet , just attach it to your fastest Mac and use File Sharing to grant access to the other Apple computers on the network.

- Jacob

How can I connect an XP machine via VPN to FileMaker on an OS X server?

G5, Networking, System Settings / 0 Comments

I have a G5 xServe running Mac OSX Server 10.4.11. I have a VPN set up for connecting and accessing FileMaker Pro 6.0 files. It works very well, with 1 exception, I cannot connect to the VPN with a PC running XP to access the multi-platform Filemaker files. It will not connect. What is the secret?

Thank You,


I could try to reiterate this article but they did good job explaining it. The basic sum of this is you need to use PPTP protocol on your OS X server to allow Windows clients.

The other option would be to use a different Windows VPN client.

- Jacob

How can I convert DVD scenes to something iMovie compatible?

Software / 0 Comments

Hey Jacob,
I hope you can help me. I’ve found the new iMovie annoying. The last version was so simple! Dealing with what it is now… I’m an actor and I try to maintain my own acting reel, adding scenes from things I do on TV or film. I usually get them on DVD and need to convert my scenes into either .mpeg4 or .mov in order to import them into iMovie. Handbrake describes itself as .mpeg4 converter, but every time i convert, it comes out as .m4v, which iMovie won’t take.

And I missing something? Help!

- Kelly

Handbrake is specialized for converting your DVDs to iPod friendly formats but it should ultimately work for you. When it matures, you may want to try Videomonkey to convey your video files to something iMovie will easily accept. Currently it is iPod focused but has plans to convert to other formats.

For general video converting you should have both VLC and Perian installed on your Mac to make extra video formats usable. Even if you don’t need them, both these applications are a must for the modern Mac wanting to work with video.

In Handbrake, make sure the checkbox for “Use iPod/iTunes friendly (.m4v) file extension is for MP4″ is unchecked. Then you should be able to export into a MP4 format and it will use the “.mp4″ extension on the end. After Handbrake is finished, use the Import/Movies… option from the iMovie File menu. It should import without any issues.

- Jacob

How can I transfer images from my Mac clone to my G4?

Networking / 0 Comments

We have a very old Power Computing Mac Clone with SCSI connections. We do not need this computer anymore, however, we have some jpg & tiff images that we want to transfer to our G4.
Any suggestions on how to transfer our images off this older computer to our G4?

Thank you,

Probably the simplest way to get that data over is with a PCI SCSI card. This will enable you to install the SCSI hard drive into your G4 and pull all the data from it that you want. It will also allow you to use some external SCSI hardware. Otherwise, you could try connecting both Macs to the same ethernet network and enabling an Appletalk network for file sharing. However, that could prove to be more complicated than it is worth for you.

- Jacob

Suffering through installing a Windows XP partition on a Macbook…

Software / 0 Comments

Dear Jacob.
I am having a great deal of difficulty Installing Windows Xp. on my Mac Book.This is a late 2007 model and it should install. However, I printed off BOOT CAMP an d have been reading it very carefully. The CD does not complete the cycle It keeps coming up with “Press any key to Boot from CD.Disk Error. Press key to restart” I do all these things and nothing happens. I looked up Boot Camp on Apple Support and they sent a page which I do not understand so I will write it off to you.

RESOLUTION:After selecting a Windows Partition in Boot Camp 2.0 in Mac OS X 10.5,then rebooting from the Windows XP installer CD, be sure that you format the Windows partition before continuing with the rest of the Windows XP setup process.

I just do not know what I am doing wrong. I follow the instructions in BOOT CAMP and it still comes out as above. Can you simplify this for me ,please. I think many have had this problem as I see many questions in the Apple discussion page. However,I did not see any solutions.


When booting up from the Windows install disc, the first thing you need to do is format the partition you created with the boot-camp utility in the Mac OS. What you need to do is format the available
empty space on the windows partition with a NTFS or FAT32 file system. Only after you format the partition, will the Windows installer have a place to put the Windows XP files. Here is some info from the
Microsoft install documentation.
• At the Welcome to Setup page, press ENTER.
• Press F8 to accept the Windows XP Licensing Agreement.
• All existing partitions and non-partitioned spaces are listed for each physical hard disk. Use the ARROW keys to create a new partition by selecting the non-partitioned space. You can also press C to create a new partition using non-partitioned
• To create the partition with the maximum size, press ENTER.
• If you want to create additional partitions, repeat steps g. and h.
• Use the ARROW keys to select the new partition where you want to install Windows XP, and then press ENTER.
• Select the format option that you want to use to format the partition. You can select from the following options:
• Format the partition by using the NTFS file system (Quick)
• Format the partition by using the FAT file system (Quick)
• Format the partition by using the NTFS file system
• Format the partition by using the FAT file system
• Leave the current file system intact (no changes)

• If the selected partition is a new partition, the option to leave the current file system intact is not available.
• If the selected partition is larger than 32 gigabytes (GB), the FAT file system option is not available.
• If the selected partition is larger than 2 GB, the Windows Setup program uses the FAT32 file system (you must press ENTER to confirm).
• If the partition is smaller than 2 GB, the Windows Setup program uses the FAT16 file system.
• If you deleted and created a new System partition, but you are installing Windows XP on a different partition, you are prompted to select a file system for both the System and Startup partitions.
• Press ENTER.
• After the Windows Setup program formats the partition, follow the instructions that appear on the screen to install Windows XP.

I cleaned up the Microsoft documentation to help you read through it easier. Hope that helps,

- Jacob

Do I need to purchase a new design suite for my used Mac?

Software / 0 Comments


I recently purchased a PowerMac from your group. Now when trying to open my MX apps of Flash, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, etc I am asked for a serial #. I type them in and they are not accepted. Does this mean that I’m going to have to purchase the complete new design suite instead of the upgrade?



Last time I installed the Macromedia Studio MX software, I recall that there were two serial numbers in the set. One was for the PC version, and the other was for the Mac version. It is possible that you have the two serial numbers switched. Now that Macromedia is part of Adobe, you may be able to use whatever serial number you have to upgrade to the Adobe version of the software. If you contact Adobe directly they can help you find the proper upgrade path, even if you only have the Window serial number.

- Jacob

How do I create an external itunes library?

iPod / iTunes / 0 Comments


I am using iTunes and have loaded up my iPod with over 11,000 songs. Do these songs take up space on my Macbook? Can I put them into a separate storage device and what device would be large enough? My iPod holds 147GBs. Thanks

- Thomas

All music and video files on your iPod will also exist in your main iTunes Library (which indeed takes up space on your Macbook hard drive). You can relocate your iTunes Library on an external drive, but the drive will need to be connected to your computer every time you open iTunes.

One drive to look at that can fit your music and survive a drop or two is the Lacie Rugged Hard Drive.

Follow these three steps.

- Copy your iTunes library to an external drive
- Then set it as your new Library
- Delete your old Music Library from the Music folder.

- Jacob

My Comcast modem won’t provide a working IP address to my AirPort Base Station…

Networking / 0 Comments


I just tried to replace and older (dome shaped) Airport wireless system in the house. The older system was working… Don’t ask why I decided to switch to a newer model… Anyway, I have spent much of the weekend on the phone with both AppleCare and Comcast to no avail. It appears the Comcast Modem will not give a working IP address to the airport.

I have researched a number of trouble shooting sites and it appears this is not a unique problem. However, I have gone through MOST if not all of the steps that the sites recommend to fix the issue.

All computers are running the latest OS from MAC. It is an entire MAC system including Apple TV.

Any thoughts?
- Fabian

I am fairly sure it is not an issue with your Apple equipment. This is because I have exactly the same setup in my home and it works reliably. The one exception is that I do not like the equipment Comcast provides. I instead use my own Cable modem. This is the Linksys router I have used for years and like its rock -solid performance.

Before you run our and get a new modem, try these two possible fixes. First off power everything. Let the cable modem sit, without power, for five minutes and then power it on again. After it is fully on and connected to the Comcast network, power on the Airport Base station. Make sure your cable modem is the only Ethernet device connected to the Airport base station and that you have it connected to the WAN port. That is the port off to one side with a dotted circle above it. Now you can connect your devices.

If that fails you may have been given a Cable modem that has its own DHCP / NAT serve and it is in conflict with your Airport’s DHCP / NAT service. Here is the process for disabling DHCP and NAT on the Airport Base Station.

If all my suggestions fail, get the Linksys modem. You may even save money on your monthly bill.

- Jacob

How can I connect my G4 Power Mac to a new Apple 24″ LED display?

Displays, Hardware / 3 Comments


I have a dual G4 tower, and will be buying a new MacBook soon. I would like to buy a new Apple display that works for both. Is that possible? From what I can tell the 24″ monitor only supports input from the mini-dvi port, which will work for the MacBook. I do not see a way of hooking the G4 tower to that. Are there any other options?


Unfortunately Apple has done it again. They jumped into a new connector format without a thought about the Mac user who has older Mac equipment. The 24″ Apple LED display is a truly great companion to the new Mac laptops. Although they work on all new Macs, the 24″ display is a docking station for laptops. They provide power and a host of desktop features to give you two macs from one. A Mac Laptop tied to a 24″ Apple display is a perfect package, and I would like you to have that experience. Sadly that the new display will not work on your G4 tower. It may be better to just get a low end LCD display for the G4 and then use the 24″ LED display as your MacBook’s docking station.

Here is a nice one but there are many good sub $150 displays.

- Jacob

Can I repair a broken iBook Firewire port?

Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

1. What is the best way to repair a broken Firewire 400 jack on my iBook G4 laptop?
2. Without Firewire, is there any way to connect an external disk drive to control my laptop?

- Ken

The FIrewire port is part of your logic-board, so replacing the logic-board would be the standard way to fix that problem. At this point the repair would cost more than your Apple computer is worth. You still have a USB port on your iBook and USB 2.0 is a fine way to connect external drives. Many drives are available with USB 2.0 connections. Lacie USB drives are very popular and would fit the bill.

- Jacob

What’s the best way to erase my Mac hard drive?

System Settings / 3 Comments


Just bought a new iMac and will be trading in my G4 Mirror Door Power Mac. Please recommend the most efficient and trust-worthy way to wipe/erase my
Power Mac hard disk, before sending it up to Powermax.

And…when I do that, does it also erase the operating system at the same time?

- Barry

I use the Apple Disk Utility to securely erase data from my hard drives. You can do this from your OS Install media. Boot up your iMac computer off the disc and open Disk Utility from the Utilities menu. Under the Erase tab will be a Security button. Click on it and set it to write zeros over your data. This will take a good amount of time, and be sure to check out Apple’s article on Disk Utility’s secure erase options.

After you erase the drive, you can install the Mac OS on it, but it is not necessary for our Mac trade-in program. We format the drives when they come in, but please do erase your drive to the security level that you would like.

- Jacob

How can I use my non-wifi printer on my wireless network?

Networking, Printing, Wireless / 0 Comments

I know there are new printers that have Wi-Fi capability, but I would like to use my existing printer on a wireless network. Is there a way to connect the printer directly to a wireless router so the printer is available to all users on the network? Any solution would probably also have to work with WinXP and MacOS X.4 or .5


I use the Apple Airport base stations for this. They share a printer with Macs and PCs, but you need to install Bonjour on the Windows system.

Look at the Airport express if you just have wireless computers in the house. If some computers have to have an Ethernet connection, the AirPort Extreme is the one you want.

- Jacob

I can’t get my Powerbook to accept the reinstall disk, help!

Hardware, Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

I initialized the hard drive on my Powerbook G4 with “Drive Genius” and now I can’t get it to accept the reinstall disc that came with the computer.
Any suggestions? The alert notice that pops up says I can’t install this software on this computer.

- Ray

You may be facing a issue that has more to do with software version you have, verses the limit of the drive format. If you are trying to just reinstall the OS, you will need to do an Archive and Install of the OS.

If you are trying to reformat the drive and remove all data from it, you will need to repartition it with the Disk Utility that is on the OS X install media. You will have to boot up the disc and then open Disk Utility and use the Partition tab to create one new partition on your Apple computer hard drive..

- Jacob

Which browser should I upgrade to?

Software / 0 Comments

I was told my current web browser needs updating and my choices are Internet Explorer 5.0 higher, Netscape 6.2.3 or higher or AOL 5.0 or higher. I have a Mac and use Comcast internet service. I wasn’t sure which to choose?

Also should I be worried about the worm for my MAC or PC or just a bunch of BS?

Thanks again,

Well some sites are focused only on PC systems and do not recognize the Mac browsers. Firefox would be your best option, it is based on what was left of Netscape. Microsoft stopped making a Mac version of Internet Explorer many years ago and so that would not be the best option. Here is a link to FireFox:

For the most part your Mac is safe from the worms and viruses that plague the PC world. Mostly this is due to the incompatibility of the two operating systems. Most evil people do not bother writing two versions of the same virus for each platform. The main thing is, be careful of what you install on your Mac (only software from trusted places) and run the Mac Software Update often.

- Jacob

How can I transmit my iPod audio through an FM frequency?

iPod / iTunes / 0 Comments

I hate Apple. They sell a kid an expensive mp3 player that has a two year life on the battery which can not be changed. So throw it away? I could use it in my work truck if I could find a product that would both charge the iPod and transmit to an open radio frequency.

I travel long distances in the far North where there are no radio stations in range. Usually I pack two dozen cds, but I often tire of the limited choice. I could upload all of my cds into I tunes and use my son’s old nano and buy him a new one. If you know what product I need and where I can get it, I would be happy to hear from you.

- Stewart

What you need is a iPod FM transmitter that plugs into your lighter and the Apple dock connector on the bottom of the nano. I have personally used the Monster Cable iPod FM transmitter.

But you should also look at others like the Belkin TuneCast Auto for iPod, Griffen iPod FM Transmitter or the Griffen RoadTrip FM Transmitter.

Most times I do not recommend these in urban areas because of station interference but you sound like the perfect candidate to use one of these. Also consider downloading free Podcast from iTunes, to break up the music on long drives. Believe me a bunch of podcasts can make a drive seem much shorter. Hope it gives that iPod new life.

- Jacob

Will data backed up on a Power PC system work on an Intel Mac?

Backups, Intel Macs / 0 Comments

I have been backing up a G4 Mac Mini and a G4 iBook on a LaCie NAS HD using Time Machine. I have purchased a MacBook with Gary Mead’s help and intend to do a system “restore” on that machine from the external HD. Will the data/programs from the G4s, stored on that NAS HD, work on the dual-core system?

Unfortunately, the MacBook does not have a FW jack.



When moving from PowerPC based Macs to an Intel Mac, I always recommend using Migration Assistant when you first start up the new Mac. During the initial setup you are given the option to move data over from your old Mac. The new Migration Assistant now allows you to do that over a network connection. Below is a link to Apple article on this process. Most applications should run fine on your system. Universal applications will run at full speed and PowerPC applications can run in an emulation mode of-sorts. It is a good idea to download fresh copies of Universal software, if available online to replace older version moved over during the migration.

Network based data migration using Migration Assistant.

In most cases you should be fine. If your ethernet enabled migration is interrupted, it will pickup where you left off so you do not need to guard it during the process.

- Jacob

What is a good water-resistant neoprene Macbook sleeve?

Laptops & Notebooks / 0 Comments

My college-age daughter had an accident with a leaking nalgene & a Macbook in her backpack. Looks like the Macbook survived (it’s a white one, 13″, I think) this time but we are now in the market for a sleeve which is waterproof/water-resistant. (Along with a new policy of no water bottles inside the backpack…) What is your recommendation in terms of such a sleeve (neoprene perhaps?)?


Well there are many option to protect your child’s Apple laptop. I used to work for the Evergreen State College and have seen first hand the dangers a laptop faces in that environment. Well if a Mac computer can survive on the battlefield, I am sure you can find something fitting to protect your daughter’s computer. On the extreme side of mobile protection there is are hard side laptop cases. They can be water, dust, and crush resistant but often let you use the laptop without removing it from the case.

These may be more than you were looking for but I would consider it top-shelf protection with style. Beyond that many of the neoprene laptops sleeves will protect a MacBook from light spills. The seams will let water in so if it is sitting in a puddle than water will get in. Here are some water repelling options you may be interested in.

Thin and protective solution, the RadTech Sleevz for Macbook. Hope this helps with the process but there is also a “Style” issue with the selection of a case, so your daughter may want to look at some of the colorful neoprene cases.

- Jacob

Is there a HD size limit for new Intel iMacs?

Hardware, New To Macs / 0 Comments

I’m thinking about buying a new iMac 24″ and would like to know Just how big the HD Limit is and if more than one can be installed?


You can have any size 3.5″ SATA hard drive installed in the Intel iMacs. Your only limit it in what size drives are being made. You are limited to just one drive installed inside the iMacs. Apple computers can support many more drives externally via USB 2.0, FireWire 800, and Gigabit ethernet.

- Jacob

When printing a multipage document every other page has only one line of text – help!

Printing / 0 Comments

I have a Lexmark T634 laser printer. When I print a multipage document every other page has only one line of text. What settings will correct this problem?

Thank You,
- Pat

When trouble shooting the Mac printing system it is often best to reset the Printer preferences and install the latest T634 drivers.

If after that your laser printer still waists a page with a single line. It probably has to do with your Page Margins in the word processor you are printing from. You may need to adjust the header/footer spacing options so less text is assigned to each page.
- Jacob

How can I use my monitor and speakers on both a PC and Mac?

Displays, Hardware, Networking / 0 Comments

I am considering migrating to a Mac Pro (the new one). But I’d like to make the transition slowly until I am comfortable doing things on the Mac as I do them on my PC (Vista).

My plan is to use my Viewsonic 22” monitor with DVI-D with the Mac as well as my speakers. I use Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard and Mouse (Can I use these too?). Anyway, is there a (inexpensive) dongle I can use to allow me to use my monitor and speakers without actually unplugging them from my PC to the Mac and back?

Also, I plan to use Outlook on the Mac. How do I convert all of my old email to the Mac?

Thanks in advance for your support.
– Jack

What you need is a KVM switch and there are two you should look at. The IOGear KVM switch is particularly nice for this kind of device switching. Many KVMs do not have audio switching or us DVI, but this IOGear Micro View KVM Switch will do.

Which ever unit you get should help with the monitor an speakers. The wireless keyboard mouse combo should work as long as it is the kind that uses the USB dongle attached to your current Mac computer. Otherwise you will have trouble pairing those devices with two computers. You may need to use the Keyboard and mouse that come with the Mac Pro until you retire the PC. After that a PC bluetooth keyboard/mouse will work well on the Mac.

- Jacob

My iMac HD is nowhere to be found, help!

iMac, System Settings / 1 Comment

The Macintosh HD on my 17 inch iMac is nowhere to be found. Have you ever heard of such a thing? In reality it’s still there, ’cause all my applications are still working and I still have all my photos and stuff. An alias HD shows up on the desktop though. Help!

- Norm

Often this issue is caused by a preference change in your Apple computer. Click once on the Desktop and then select “Preferences” from the Finder menu. Under the General tab mark all the checkboxes in the “Show these items on Desktop” section.

- Jacob


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