Starting Line – My Mac Magazine #48, April ’99

Happy Spring!

I received some interesting comments regarding my ravings (or was it rantings?) on my nifty iMac. I thought this month I would describe some of the problems other folks have run into. This is an all points bulletin for help so if you have a solution to the problem, feel free to email them with the information! (And please copy me while you are at it so I can share it with everyone!)

Ann ( just bought a cool Blueberry iMac (yes, I’m jealous!). As I did, she was having problems with the AOL 4.0 preview that was preloaded onto her Mac, but has since worked it out. Her issue was:

“My biggest problem is with AppleWorks, as everytime I go to use it, it freezes and I get error 1 so I restart and go in again then I get error 11.” She has rebuilt her desktop and taken it back to the reseller for tech support, but to no avail.

If anyone has a an idea, please drop Ann a line.

Rusty ( wrote about specific iMac freezes. They are:

“Often, when my Rev B iMac [the version with the graphics upgrade, but before the new 6 gig drive ones] has been sitting idle for some time (asleep or not, doesn’t seem to matter), the mouse and/or keyboard become inoperative.”

“Usually unplugging the USB connection at the iMac (for keyboard) or unplugging the mouse from the keyboard (for the mouse) will bring them back to life. I have installed both the 1.1 update [Apple iMac Update 1.1 from Dec 17] and the firmware update from Apple. Neither seem to have had any impact.”

I suggested my old standby of rebuilding the desktop since he hadn’t tried that yet. Again, if anyone has suggestions, send Rusty a note.

Now a quick follow up to my backing up saga… I finally purchased more SuperDisks. I went through the whole backup thing using Retrospect and I forgot to turn off my extensions! (For those of you who don’t remember, I had major extension conflicts when I originally tried backing up. ) So, the system crashed. When it was running again, I finished the backup using 9 of the SuperDisks! The only snag was my extensions and that was my own fault. So far, I’m real happy with Retrospect as a backup software package and SuperDisk for the medium. And, I have peace of mind knowing my system is backed up. Of course, I need more SuperDisks for the future, but I’ll worry about that later…

Helpful Hints

Copy File Versus Alias: I recently wrote about a System 8.x alias shortcut, holding Command, Option, and dragging the item to where you want the alias to be. This is not to be confused with a shortcut a reader told me about, only holding Option and then dragging your item. This creates a copy of the entire file, not an alias. An alias is a shortcut to the original file. Any changes made when you open the alias is to the original file. A copy is just that, a copy. You now have two versions of the file on your computer. Not only does this take up more hard drive space, but any changes made to one of the files will not be reflected in the other, as these are two separate documents.

User generated tips: Brian ( had several helpful hints for Mac folks:

“Add additional physical RAM–I believe Macs really love mucho RAM (I agree!); TechTool Pro is an excellent preventive maintenance tool for checking most components and for completely rebuilding the desktop… I have found that running a quick check of FINDER INFO in the expert interface mode, followed by a rebuild of the desktop enhances stability after you download and/or install a new program or app… keeping the directories and files clean seems to pretty much minimize crashes for me; Consider leaving AOL–I run into lots of users who have multiple problems with AOL… ISPs seem to work very well with Macs, especially if you deal with email attachments in various formats; upgrading to MacOS 8.5.1 is a good move… I can honestly tell you that my OS has not crashed in about three months, which leads me to believe that Apple’s latest OS version is quite stable.”

These are great tips to help you keep your Mac, whatever version, running smooth. Thanx, Brian!

AOL : Mark ( wrote in about AOL and his suggestions for improvement. As with any software, he recommends allocating “loads of RAM.” He runs AOL 3.0 with 9.8 MB allocated and 11.9 for Netscape. His experience with AOL 4.0 is less than perfect, which is why he sticks with 3.0. (But remember, folks, AOL only recently formally released AOL 4.0. Up until now, those of us with it were working with beta versions and by their very nature, problems pop up. The newly released version, hopefully, will correct those little crashing bugs!) Bottom line: More RAM equals less crashing. How much less depends on your system, software, etc., etc., but it never hurts.

Internet Site of the Month:

This leads you to a site that explains about the ancient art of ikenaba flower arrangements. (There’s actually much more to ikenaba than just flowers, however, my focus of the moment is the beautiful and artistic arrangements.)

From here, you can go to Yahoo and search the web for the nearest Ikenaba classes. It’s a great way to bring out the artist in you (especially if, like me, you can’t draw or paint!)

One final note… I was browsing through my latest copy of Century 21 House and Home (March/April issue). Guess what I saw! Yep, a cute iMac ad! What a surprise! Since the text came out a little difficult to read, I’ve retyped it for you below:

“At last, a computer that you won’t want to lock up when you’re not using it. The Apple iMac is changing the shape of home computing, figuratively and literally, and your friendly desktop may never look the same. Since it was introduced last fall in the translucent blue shown here, the iMac has been selling like hotcakes. And for good reason. This sweet and smooth-looking little machine delivers power and speed while it adds glamour to your home office. Featuring a built-in high-resolution 15-inch monitor and a 56k modem, it zips through online downloads. It is also cable-modem ready, so when your cable company hooks you up it will tear even faster through the web.
It’s also available in Tangerine, Lime, Strawberry, and Grape.”

Pretty cool, huh?

Thank you, everyone, for sharing your thoughts with me this month. I enjoy hearing from readers as their experiences, good and bad, help make all of us better Mac users.

Happy Easter!

Barbara Bell

Websites mentioned:

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