Macintosh Babble
My Mac Magazine #23, March ’97

As Mac users, we hardly go a single day without using our Macs. We use them, we know them, we love them, we hold them close to our hearts. When they disobey us, we chastise them. When they act irrationally, we get mad and, in some sad cases, physically abuse our precious machines.

The fact is, we go day after day using our sweet machines without ever sitting back and thinking about them. . . and I mean deep thought. Of course we don’t, that’s a waste of time. So, let’s all sit back for a moment and waste some time as we reflect on some various Macintosh certainties…

“Where’s that darn button?!”

It’s a known fact that the little”Standby Power” button is among the most impossible objects to find on your Mac. So small and delicate, you would swear it was jumping around to evade your fingers. There are even cases where people have pulled the plug simply because they thought their button was broken. No, they were just pressing a screw.

The button itself is odd, but what is even stranger is the fact that if you press the button while the Mac is off it will start up. Impress your friends!

So, have a little more respect for the little guy the next time you angrily bend in awkward positions to shut down your frozen Mac.

“Type 11 — Obstacle which steers you into an objectionable predicament.”

Although not quite as ferocious as the average PC user on a bad day, the bomb message tends to provoke naughty words from the mouths of Mac users. Words that your mother would not like you saying.

What’s even worse is the fact that the strange error messages seem to have no meaning. I have a theory that no human alive really knows what those codes mean. Sure, there are a few guides printed up just to explain the codes, but even those do not really explain them. Instead, they go into some technical gobbledygook that makes no sense to anyone on the planet and has no real meaning but to make you look foolish. Plus, the codes can have multiple meanings.

A common theory is that the infamous “Type 11” deals with RAM memory. Of course, there are other causes to a “Type 11.” See what I mean? Why don’t the darn programmers stick with a one code-one meaning scheme? It would make our lives simpler. Even with all the theories of getting rid of the horrid “Type 11,” it is still the number one error in bomb messages. Let’s not even get into the “Unimplemented Trap” errors.

It’s amazing, though. These errors cause your Mac to freeze up, quit, or do other undesirable things. Almost instantly. The thing is, the error actually happens before the message comes up on your screen. Of course, that’s common sense. So, an error happens and the Mac still has the time and stability to put up a friendly error message? Not only that, but it gives you a reason for the freeze? Smart machine. Yet it usually gives you no way out but to restart. Why can’t it kick into high gear and get itself out of the predicament which it knows it has? Ooooo, that cold-blooded circuitry!

“Yeah! Three more and I can finish the shower wall!”

Whatever people are doing with them these days, there seems to be a surplus of America Online disks. Even with their “get on if you’re lucky” service, there seems to be just as many disks as there were a few months ago. They fall out of every magazine, they lay in the streets, they fall from the sky, and homeless men hand them out freely on street corners.

What do you do with them all? Last time I counted, I had over 7,123,574 AOL disks just laying around. Sure, you could take the easy way out and simply reuse the darn things, but that’s cheating.

Here are some ideas:

* Create a new currency and buy groceries with them. “Okay, sir, that will be 2 AOL disks.” No stinking coins, everything would be rounded up to complete disks.

* Frisbee toys for a rainy day!

* Replacement plating for the bottom of the space shuttle.

* Tile the bathroom walls and floor.

* Collect them for grandma and have her make a nice quilt.

* Disassemble them all use the little circular cloths inside to make blankets for the homeless of America.

* How many can you fit in your mouth? (Note: For medical purposes, we recommend you refrain from attempting this.)

* Tape one to your office buddy’s back and get big laughs!

As you can see, there are many creative uses for your thousands of spare AOL disks.

“Apple’s horrid demise is right around the corner.”

It’s the lie of the century, and we cannot get away from it. We get it at work, at school, and at home. Your office pals try to convince you the Mac is dead. You go to school and your teachers tell you the same. Then you come home, put up your feet, turn on the TV, and hear a news story about the bloody demise that Apple will surely have.

How pathetic! Don’t make me gag! The egotistical PC users are stuck with their Windows, so they take out their anger by trashing the “other” operating system. Ah, don’t feel sorry for them, they had their chance to start out with Mac back in 1984.

The Mac fans are a special people. Ask a PC user what computer they use, and they never can answer completely. It’s just “some Pentium,” or “some Packard Bell”. Ask the same question to a Mac user and they immediately know the exact make, model, configuration, peripherals, name of the “Extension Manager” set they are currently running on, and can even draw you a quick map of their mother board.

In fact, 99.95% of all PC users only use their computer to play Solitaire while they wait for the next “Green Acres” rerun to come on. Meanwhile, Mac users are busy getting the most out of their machines.

Although we may not ever see the demise of the PC, I guarantee you the Mac will always be around. And will always be the ultimate machine!

ThisWillLikelyCrashYourMac.Lib 5.2.3

Your “Extensions” folder is likely crawling with small devils that have names like the above. Although these files are usually essential for the use of your Mac, they can cause terror to many users. With the names they have, how can you not be a little afraid to drop them into the most sensitive part of your hard disk?

Who on earth comes up with these names, anyway? The most infamous of all is likely the mysterious “ObjectSupportLib”. On a recent in-depth poll of mine (I asked two buddies), 50% of the people polled said they have had paranormal experiences that they traced back to “ObjectSupportLib”. The other half were canine in origin, so I had to throw out the results, but you get the picture.

Of course, there are others. Extensions like “BillGatesIsKing 1.5,” “MeltThyHardDrive 6.7,” and “SelfDestruct 1.0” tend to get users worried.

Bill Gates is…

You fill in the blank. Some claim that he is a god-like being, while others state he is the anti-Christ. These individuals obviously need to get out more often.

Some say that if you convert Billy’s full name to ASCII characters, you will get 666. Of course, the way this happens is extraordinary pathetic in and of itself. If you use other techniques, you can come to the conclusion that 99% of the population of the world is indeed the anti-Christ.

“I paid $100 for two stinkin’ floppy disks?!”

Being over $200 in debt is bad enough for me. The fact that I owe that $200 to my parents is even worse. Mac users love to get new hardware and software. Even if they don’t own the proper amount of currency at the time. Of course, the lack of said currency does not stop us. If it looks good, get it. Hey, everyone else is getting it!

It’s not until after we purchase the product that we realize we have a financial problem. Problems like, you don’t have the money to pay for it. Or much worse: You didn’t really want it in the first place. Oops!

The problem is, the software we love so dearly always happens to be the software that is $500. Take Photoshop for instance, the miracle software we would all like to have. Sure, we would like to have Photoshop, but to shell out nearly $500 for a product is hard to do. Admit it, if your buddy were to tell you he just “obtained” Photoshop, you would wonder if he got it in a legal way.

“What’s the ‘Finder’? I can’t ever quit the ‘Finder.'”

It’s true. Someone asked me that once. I eventually got over my intense laughter and got off the floor. It did make me think though. . . Why is it called the “Finder” anyway?

Of course, it is the prime application that runs your Mac, and it is the program that you “find” everything in. Admit it, it’s a funny name for the primal part of an operating system. Say it with me. . . “Finder.”

Personally, I think they should change the name to something like “Oat Boy” just for kicks. Somehow, I doubt they will take my opinion to heart as they produce the next operating system.

“Why do a few of the songs by ‘Huey Lewis and the News’ sound so similar?”

I don’t know, but they have some kickin’ tunes!

The family atmosphere

It’s true, Mac users are generally more friendly than PC users. You can tell by the way they speak, the way they act, the way they present their Web pages, etc. Technical support is known to be friendlier and easier on the Mac side, and Mac users help each other out more often, even if they’re strangers. You never have that “family atmosphere” feel on the PC side of anything. Mac’s are not only user friendly, but friendly user!

So, we reach the end of my little voyage through some frequently overlooked points of the Macintosh. Sure, we have only covered a fraction of the ground, but I was not planning on writing a book here! We could go on and on, digging deeper into Mac FOPs (Frequently Overlooked Points). Eventually, however, we would be left with nothing to discuss but the contours of the Apple logo… And I doubt you are really that bored.


Shay Fulton (radarmen99@aol.com)

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