Starting Line
My Mac Magazine #38, June ’98

Dear Readers:

June is here! Finally, warm summer months! All the hard work in the fall, planting bulbs, fertilizing the lawn, and the never-ending weeding is paying off… give me a couple of years gardening and some time to grow the plants, and I will have a little showplace, if I do say so myself!

I just hope all of you are enjoying your late spring/early summer as much as me.

I have to thank the following folks for keeping me on the straight and narrow: Jose Coba, Jeff Kalmes, and Buzz Buzzell.

Jose brought to my attention a goof I made. A couple of months ago I advised checking out Data Advisor at ONTRACK Data International, Well, when I visited the site, I saw some interesting stuff and I swear, I saw Macintosh compatibility there. Jose went there to download information and only found PC stuff. I went back and… well, I humbly hang my head in shame… no Mac stuff (unless it is buried very, very deep!). Jose, thank you and if I make more goofs, please let me know! It keeps me humble.

By the way, I did email ONTRACK to see what they say. I mean, my memory isn’t that bad! (At least I hope not!) I’ll keep you posted.

Jeff and Buzz both wrote with suggestions for our column (and I do mean “our.” Dear readers, without your suggestions and the occasional nudges, this column would be meaningless. Your input keeps it interesting and fresh–Thank you!).

Their suggestions will be incorporated over the next several months. And, remember, if you have something you’d like to share with the world or see a need that is not being met (just look at my great corporate lingo!) just send me an email. I’m more than happy to oblige.

Helpful Hints

HH#48: Diskettes & CDs— Disks are funny little things. They are so necessary for holding all our information, yet are rarely big enough. They have a limited life, yet we use them forever. They hold our histories in their little hardcase bodies yet how often do we really pay attention to them? They get dropped on the carpet, thrown in envelopes, and stepped on when we’re too busy to pick anything off the floor.

CDs are their distant cousins. They hold much more information and yet are more fragile. Their cases separate from their bodies and if you’re not careful, they will never find their mate again! They have to be held carefully and once scratched, are useless. Unlike their smaller cousins, they can only be written on once. So make sure what you are putting on them is what you want there for eternity!

But enough rambling… let’s get to the point. Disks can be handled pretty much any way you want. The hardcase shell protects the disk inside from damage. The little door that you can snap open really shouldn’t be played with (I’ve seen some folks with nervous habits open and close the shutter door constantly!). If you play with the shutter enough, it will break and leave your disk open to damage.

You can lock your disk to prevent information from being written onto it. On the back of the disk, in the upper left hand corner, is a little switch. Push it up, and you keep your disk save from being overwritten.

Push the disk into the drive shutter first, facing up. How do you know it is facing up? A couple of ways. The manufacturing information is usually stamped on the front of the disk, on the shutter door. Also, the little round metal disk on one side of the disk tells you it is the back.

Labels always go on the front of the disk. Sometimes they fold over the top–it just depends on the manufacturer. I’ve seen folks place labels so they can be read when being inserted into the floppy disk drive. I place them the opposite. Why, you ask? Well, when I use a disk storage tray, my shutter door is down, inside the tray, rather than sticking up. For a klutz like me, that keeps my disks safe. No way I can snag the shutters when I’m rifling through the tray.

CDs, as I mentioned above, are more fragile. I always hold them buy their edges, not letting my fingers touch the disk. I’ve seen people put their fingers all over them and not have any problems, but I prefer taking the safer route; after all, I’ve spent a lot of money on the darn thing, I don’t need to scratch it the first day I have it.

When possible, use hard, clear plastic cases to hold your CDs. You know, the same ones that come with your music CDs, called ‘jewel’ cases. They take up more room than the plastic books you can pick up, but they are more sturdy. If the information is important, you want to keep it protected.

To eject either, close or quit what you are doing. (If using disk, close the document. If using a CD, it depends. If the CD has the application you are using on it, you have to quit the application.) Drag the icon to your trash. Out it goes! (Or, highlight the icon and press Command Y.)

Credit to Buzz Buzzell–Thanx, Buzz!

HH#49: Practice, practice, practice!— Yeah, like you have that kind of time! But really, typing is an important skill when working on a computer. There is voice command technology, but it’s not “there” yet. If it were, we would all have it.

So, if your typing really leaves something to be desired, take a community college course. Work on that skill! In the long run, you’ll create better email at work (yes, it is important!), better presentations, better everything and it won’t take you as long. Trust me on this. My typing has gotten to the point that is actually difficult for me to write in longhand. It’s just not fast enough and I lose my train of thought. However, I can type almost as fast as I think and it makes for a much more coherent document.

Credit to Buzz Buzzell–Thanx, Buzz!

HH#50: A TechTool quirk— Jeff wrote of a little quirk he ran into when using TechTool. He has a Performa 6400/200 (OS 8) with a Hewlett Packard DeskWriter 540 printer. The printer must be disabled prior to using TechTool. He ran into same problem with his older Performa 575 with System 7.5, using the same printer. It was such a hassle for him he understandably removed TechTool from his system.

Thanx for the tip, Jeff! I’m quite sure you’re not the only person to run into this problem and it’s tips like these that really help.

Credit to Jeff Kalmes–Thanx, Jeff!

Internet Site of the Month:

NetLine, a great job hunting resource. It can be found at As NetLine puts it: “NetLine Corporation offers an array of information services for the Internet Professional in a convenient on-line format.” One of its better features are the links to different job banks on the Web, including the famous Monster Board. If you’re looking, or like to keep your bases covered, check it out!

Looking forward to hearing from you! 😉


Barbara Bell

Websites mentioned:

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