Starting Line – My Mac Magazine #57, Jan. ’00

Happy New Year!

Well, my cable modem is up and running perfectly. A smidge of a rocky start, but I am so glad I’ve made the investment! Considering I don’t like MediaOne (my cable company), that’s saying a lot.

Let me tell you how it progressed… When I ordered it, I was fortunate in that the cable company just made the transition to multiple user email addresses. While they currently only support four per account, it’s a start and four is a good number for my family.

I had to provide the email names right away. I tried to change one later, but the tech support rep didn’t do the job, or didn’t do it right, so when hook-up day came the change just wasn’t there. A minor inconvenience, but it doesn’t speak well of the company.

They sent a cable guy to hook me up. This was not a computer tech person. This was a cable running type of guy. However, they gave him good instructions, he followed them, and hey! this is a Mac, ya know? It went well. My only complaint is I have to use Microsoft Internet Explorer MediaOne does not support Netscape Navigator

We did run into a glitch: my email worked perfectly but no one else’s did. So, cable dude left and I called tech support. It didn’t take me too long to get through, fortunately, and we found that he entered some text incorrectly. No big deal.

Later, I found my Imation SuperDisk wouldn’t work Trying to be self-sufficient, I hit the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and Troubleshooting sections on both MediaOne and Microsoft. It made sense it was the software I just received. I did a backup the night before, in case something went funky during the cable modem install. The SuperDisk worked beautifully during the backup. I found nothing about a conflict between Imation SuperDisk and MS IE. I wrote Microsoft, who replied and tried steering me towards the pay for tech support option. I wrote Imation, but I haven’t heard back from them yet.

And I tried tech support. This is where it gets a bit ugly. Now mind you, when I have spoken with people, they have been friendly, patient, and helpful. It’s just getting through that can be a nightmare. Well, my nightmare began. I tried calling three times within one hour. I was disconnected twice. Each time, sales picked up the call and then tried transferring me to tech support. The third time, I demanded to get the name of the president of MediaOne. No one would give it to me. I eventually wound up with the Sales Manager in charge and he said he could not release that information. Apparently, the President cannot handle correspondence from customers. There’s just too many of us! However, I did get the name of the Tech Support Manager. I wrote her.

I was leaving town for a week and expected an answer when I returned. Not too unreasonable. A whole week to reply! I get back, no email. Well, now I’m a bit upset. So, I do a little detective work, get the name of the MediaOne CEO, and email her. Well, I have a phone call at 3 p.m. that day! Amazing! Tech support called me!

By that time, I had been able to reinstall my SuperDisk software and that corrected the problem. Yes, I could have done that to begin with. But I thought if it were a known bug, there might be another way. There was no guarantee reinstalling the software would take care of the problem. And my biggest gripe is simply not being able to get through. I find that completely unacceptable‹from any company. Customers keep you in business. Treat them right!

And if I ever treat you wrong, faithful reader, please let me know! I do NOT want to come close to the MediaOne fiasco.

Helpful Hints

Copy to Disk Problems: Occasionally, when copying a file to disk, you can get an error message. This error message is usually the result of a problem on the disk itself. It’s preferable if you have a second disk around. If not, attempt to Duplicate the file to the disk. Highlight the file, then go to Duplicate under File at the Finder level. If this works, it is because the Duplicate command, for some reason, avoided a bad block on the disk. If it doesn’t work, you’re no worse for the wear.

Mouse Doesn’t Work: This is actually embarrassing, but it brought home a good point: keep that mouse clean! Let me tell you my story. One morning I woke up, turned on my Bondi Blue iMac, and got nowhere. The mouse would not work. Key commands and tabs were fine, but extremely limiting. I was in a bit of a panic; this is a new computer! So, I call ComputerTown where I bought my little Mac. It’s still under warranty, so if it were a system problem, I could get my Mac replaced. But what drastic measures! I bring the mouse up first. The salesman twists open the bottom and finds a dirty trackball inside. Was my face red!! But, more than anything, I was relieved. He easily and quickly cleaned the trackball, put the mouse back together, and I was on my way. It’s always the little things!

Command Key Refresher: One of the best things about the Mac is key commands. Compared to Winbloze, the two key, and occasionally three, combinations are usually intuitive and the same from program to program. However, before I provide a list, let me give you a little hint: when you see those odd looking symbols next to items in the drop down menus, well, those are the keyboard equivalents, and you use them in conjunction with your Command key located next to the space bar. Okay, here goes. But remember, this list is not all-inclusive. It’s meant as a jumping point for the most common functions:

(Command) O = Open File, Folder, etc.
(Command) W = Close File, Folder, etc.
(Command) P = Print
(Command) S = Save
(Command) A = Select All
(Command) X = Cut
(Command) C = Copy
(Command) V = Paste
(Command) Z = Undo

Practice these. If you like using key commands, start paying attention to the combinations next to the items in drop down menus. Then, practice those, too. Or, invest in a neat little program like QuicKeys by CE Software QuicKeys allows you to design your own key combinations

Printer Drivers: Printer drivers are little pieces of code that allow your Mac to speak with its printer. When you buy your Mac, it comes with dozens of factory-installed drivers. Why? To try and make your life easier. Chances are good that your Mac will work with your printer without you having to install any software. But, these drivers take up room. And, even in these days of multiple gig hard drives, space is always at a premium. So, remove to disk the ones you don’t need. How do you know? They’re labeled by printer name. And, by putting them on disk, if you accidentally remove something you need, you can easily reinstall.

So, how to find this pesky things? Go into your System Folder, Extension, Printer Descriptions (System 8.x)

Internet Sites of the Month: You have to see this to believe it. It’s a QuickTime movie of Bill Gates telling folks how wonderful the Macintosh computer is. It’s short and doesn’t take up too much memory. Many, many thanks to Milo ( who found this treasure and put it up on the web for us all to enjoy. What a way to start the Millennium!

Have a Joyous Thousand Years!

Barbara Bell

Websites mentioned:

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