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My Mac Magazine #23, March ‘9

Dear Readers:

Let me share a recent horror story with you…

I returned from my extremely restful vacation and decided to do a little work on my Performa 630CD. I turn it on. I hear beeps, but no image on the monitor. I fiddle with the brightness and contrast knobs, nothing. I try rebuilding my desktop, no image. I swap out the monitor and still no image on the monitor! By now, I am truly frantic. My Christmas mailing list is in there, my resume (which I love to update) is in there, my checkbook is in there! What happened?!

I did notice a puddle on the floor about four feet away. We discovered the filter on the fish tank had clogged and backed up while we were away, draining about a third of the tank onto the basement floor, but that was several feet away from the desk. No connection, or so I thought. So, immediately on my first day back at work I call my local ComputerTown technician. He said that it might be the port where the monitor plugs in to. If that were the case, it would be extremely expensive to replace as the port is connected to the logic board. Fabulous. Now I’m thinking my vacation money would have better spent repairing my system. Had I only known!

In desperation, I then email My Mac’s own Jeramey Valley. I explain the situation to him. He emailed me back and reassured me that it is probably not that bad. Logic boards rarely (!) go on the fritz. His expertise leads him to suggest the problem might be the battery or maybe something as simple as hitting a reset button inside the CPU. Praise be to the creators of the Mac for such a well – made machine! Now I have hope I can get it repaired quickly and fairly inexpensively. And, special thanks to Jeramey for taking time out of his busy to answer my questions.

Now, for the true horror… as James was lifting the CPU and monitor off the desk, we find a puddle underneath! We look up at the ceiling and see a heating pipe directly overhead. In this pipe there is a vent knob directly over the system. We follow the pipe and find it opens directly underneath the fish tank. We realize that, while most of the water flowed down the wall, some it drained through the pipe, then through vent knob, landing directly on top of the computer. As I write this article, I am waiting anxiously for the call from ComputerTown with a diagnosis. Can it be repaired? Stay tuned to My Mac and find out…

Helpful Hints

HH #8: Do Not Locate Your System Near Heating Pipes. (Please see above. 🙁 )

HH #9: ResEdit is for the very brave-ResEdit is a heavy duty programming tool that lets you get into and fiddle with your system software. It’s very cool for customizing your system exactly the way you want it. As an added plus, you will give yourself illusions of grandeur when using ResEdit. And, if you are successful with it, you deserve the illusion! To help with your excursions into programming, there are lots of books on using ResEdit and they usually include specific program recipes. And remember, always save the original file and keep the ResEdit work somewhere else.

HH #10: Command Keys-The key on your keyboard which contains both a cloverleaf and an apple is your Command Key. It helps streamline your work when used in combination with other keys. Command Keys are pretty much universal from program to program (yet another great feature of the Mac is its consistency). So, how do you find out what Command Keys are available and what they do? Well, use any one of your pulldown menus. For example, you are in Microsoft Word (5.1 because we all know 6.0 is nothing but a Windows program on a Mac). Go under File, the first item in the menu bar. Click and hold and look at the options. Your first option is New, indicating a new file. Next to it you see command-N. Release the menu and, using your new knowledge, press the Command Key and N at the same time and you now have a new file! Much quicker than using the menu.

There are several Command Keys you can use. (I have included a partial list below to help get you started.) Once you memorize the commands you use the most, you will become much more efficient and will notice how much easier it is to do some repetitious tasks.

Command Keys

command-N = New
command-O = Open
command-W = Close
command-S = Save
command-P = Print
command-Q = Quit
command-Z = Undo
command-C = Copy
command-X = Cut
command-V = Paste


Barbara Bell (

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