Starting Line – My Mac Magazine #47, March

I’m happy to say my iMac saga gets better and better. The AOL crashes have almost disappeared–prior to my purchase of Norton Utilities or Tech Tool Pro. I rebuilt my desktop (that old standby in Mac maintenance) after I noticed some weird things happening and the system has been running smoothly since.

I also received my copy of Retrospect and backed up the hard drive. The funny thing is I ran out of Super Disks–I was one short! Even so, the peace of mind that comes with having my hard drive backed up is great. I’ll just have to back up a little smarter the next time, at least until I buy more Super Disks.

Using Retrospect was incredibly easy. While it’s annoying to sit there and swap out disks, there’s simply no way around that–for now, anyway. Bottom line, I like the program very much. My only suggestion for improvement is really minor, but I believe helpful. As I said earlier, I ran out of Super Disks. Well, whenever a regular floppy disk is used, your Mac tells you if there is enough room to hold the file being copied onto the floppy. I would like to see something similar with Retrospect. When setting up the parameters of the specific backup job, it would be nice if Retrospect determined the media you were backing up on to and then told you how many of that media you need. For example, I was backing up my entire hard drive to IMATION Super Disks, which hold 120MB each. The program could have determined how full/empty my hard drive was and determined how many Super Disks would be needed for the back up. That would have told me immediately that I did not have enough disks. Then I would have been able to make the decision to either cancel or revise the backup.

As I said, it’s a minor improvement that could be made, but I believe it would increase the functionality of the program.

I was going through MacMall earlier this month and drooling over the ever-expanding iMac peripherals! And, of course, drooling over the bright orange iMac, too! It’s great to see this little computer has become so popular, so quickly. I can get a scanner, trackball, digital camera… all with USB connections for the nifty little iMac or new G3. Speaking of which, the new G3 is a fabulous looking machine. And powerful! I can see it making great inroads into the graphics community, especially if they expand the color offering as Apple did with the iMac.

Helpful Hints

  • Virtual PC and the IMATION Super Disk: I have Virtual PC on my iMac. And, since the Super Disk is a peripheral, Virtual PC does not recognize floppies in that drive. To make it the situation even more interesting, IMATION does not make DOS/Windows driver software for the Super Disk drive. So, how to install fun little Windows files onto Virtual PC? Not to fear, there is a work around, which I printed off the IMATION website (article 4095). First, download Apple Disk Copy 6.3; it’s free and on the Apple website. Using this application, copy your Windows disk, first making sure your preferences in Disk Copy are set to Read/Write or Read Only.You’ll get an icon that looks like a page, with .img after the disk name. You’ll also get a PC floppy image, but ignore it. Now, open Virtual PC. Most people have it set to open Windows right after Virtual PC is launched. Once up, at the bottom of the Windows screen is an “Eject Floppy” button. Drag the .img icon to the “Eject Floppy” button (make sure your Windows screen does not take up your entire desktop!)

    Okay, the “Eject Floppy” button will become dark, indicating it can be used. Open “My Computer,” which is an icon on your Window’s desktop, usually in the upper left hand corner. Then, open your “A” drive. The contents of your floppy should be right there, in living color!

    Granted, this procedure has a lot of steps. Trust me, I’ve done it and it’s easy. If you have to use Windows, this allows you to transfer files back and forth. (Personally, I’m scaring myself now that I can find my way around Windows!!!!)

  • Folder Tabs: In O.S. 8, you can make folder tabs at the bottom of your screen. It’s an alternative to the WindowShade option. Folder tabs are easy to make: simply use your “As-Pop-Up Window” option under your “View” option in Finder. It creates a tab at the bottom of your screen. As you add more folders, you end up with a neat row of tabs. However, if you want to close them all, you don’t have to convert each one back to normal manually. Simply press Command, Option, Shift, W. This converts, then closes them all.
  • Contextual Pop-Up Menus: Well, now you don’t have to click and hold that mouse button anymore! O.S. 8 makes rummaging through menus easy! Just click (don’t hold!) and scroll across several menu options and see their drop down menus pop up! This is such a great time saver when you’re searching for a rarely used command. I sometimes forget about it, but when I rediscover this function, it always makes my day easier.MacBug Report

    Robby Knox of Georgia Southern University sent this in:

    Dear Barbara,

    I have found a serious bug with the latest version for Dr. Solomon’s Anti-Virus. If you attempt to copy any file across a network larger than 256k, it will lock up any Mac using O.S. 8.5.1. I am the Computer Services Technical Analyst for Macintosh at Georgia Southern University. For the past eighteen months, we have used Dr. Solomon Anti-Virus on all of our Macs and PCs. The PCs have not experienced this problem, only the Macs. After several upgraded G3 boxes reported the problem, I narrowed the problem to Dr. Solomon. Under our site contract with Network Associates, we have unlimited support for Dr. Solomon. They were unable to eliminate the conflict, so Network Associates resolved the problem by sending us Virex. My staff and I spent a week deleting Dr. Solomon and installing Virex. We have had no report of problems copying files after installing Virex.

    Robby, thank you for this information. I am quite sure there are several readers who can use the report to keep from pulling their hair out in frustration! It’s also good to see Network Associates responded appropriately to the situation by replacing the defective software. And we thought all the good software companies were gone!

    Website of the Month:
    This is a very political site and was created by The Guerrilla Girls, an artist/activist group. They point out sexual and racial discrimination using art as the medium. They also wear guerrilla masks, partially to hide their identities but more to take the emphasis off of themselves and onto the issues. Great site and well worth visiting and supporting.

    Well, that’s it for this month! Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

    Barbara Bell

    Websites mentioned:

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