“A 3-D Experience
(Denny, Donna, and David)”
Part One: Denny
I run into Denny Morton, a professional photographer, once a month in the locker room. I’m usually wiggling into my Speedo, and he’s changing into his machine-workout sweats. The conversation normally goes:
Denny: Hiya, John. Wow, you sure are thin. Doesn’t all that swimming ever put any muscle on you?
John: Nope, and it doesn’t seem to help my hair line either. How you doing?
Denny: Okay. Real busy. On assignment most of the time. I’m still having lots of problems with my computer and printer, but I’m never home long enough to get them fixed.
John: Let me know how I can help.
Denny: Sure enough, John. Have a great swim.
Last month we went through the same script, but with a new last line:
Denny: Hey, I’ll be home all next week. Do you think you can come over to see if we can bring my computer and printer back to life?
Upgrading and Deep-Sixing
I loaded my car with software and troubleshooting books, and took a scenic drive down the bumpy desert trail to Denny’s house bordering Saguaro National Park West, in the Tucson Mountains.
I encountered a still-breathing but non-functional PowerMac 7600/132 with a handsome NEC 17″ monitor and a very dead Epson Color Stylus Pro printer. With Denny watching (he is clueless regarding computers) I upgraded all his system and application software, then downloaded the appropriate printer drivers from the Epson web site.
Unable to get his printer to function, I asked Denny how much more effort and money he wanted to put into this outdated Epson. He agreed it was time to cut his losses, after spending years going nowhere. He and his new office assistant are prepared to learn Macintosh from the ground up, with working equipment and a capable tutor.
There is a long “back story” on how and why Denny purchased but never used his computer/monitor/printer. This part of the tale is not very interesting, so let’s consider it ancient history. His goal from the start has been to have pro-level imaging and proofing capability for his photography. Technology has advanced rapidly since his original purchases, but his motives are still the same.
Back home, I asked my talented colleagues here at My Mac Magazine for advice on the best printer for someone in Denny’s situation. Both Epson and HP make fine printers. The consensus leans toward Epson for imaging and HP for text.
Quite a bit of email was generated in our printer preference email thread. Perhaps I’ll edit and reprint it, as appropriate. Is anybody interested?
I made an executive decision. Denny was very discouraged prior to receiving my assistance, so during this short-term learning curve and confidence-building period, CHEAP + FAST are the answers. Denny has purchased a new Epson 740 at the local Costco, and ordered a DIN-8 printer cable from Outpost.com. I made arrangements to donate the old printer to a worthy member of our Tucson Mac Users Group (TMUG).
A few days ago we got the Epson 740 working on our first try. The hardware-software combo is well integrated, and exceptionally affordable. I gave Denny a crash course on the Mac OS, America Online, and the WWW, leaving him with loaner copies of Macs for Dummies and comparable beginner books.
It has been a positive experience for both of us, but especially for Denny. I’ll enjoy helping him progress, and I will provide reports to the Nemo Memo when we get going on his advanced imaging work. I offered to tutor him every week here at Nemo headquarters. In spite of the gorgeous views out his office window of a hundred thousand giant cacti, it’s an easier commute for me to my home office!
Part Two: Donna
In last month’s Nemo Memo (March, 2000, issue #59) I described a frustrating scenario with Donna and her 6500’s internal modem. This week I received the following email message from a loyal reader:
I’ve just been reading My Mac #59 and found your article on Apple 6500 modem problems very interesting.
I have a 6500/300 with an internal 33.6k modem, and had various problems when running OS 8.0. I found that Remote Access couldn’t detect my modem and I kept getting error messages of that type.
Then I installed Apple Telecom (on the OS 8.0 CD in the CD Extras folder), which I used for Faxing, and the problems all went away. Whatever was installed when Telecom was added made the right connections and I never had any more trouble until I installed OS 8.5 on a partition of my hard disk.
The problem resurfaced and I could find no way around it other than adding Telecom again, which immediately provided the cure.
I’m not a techie, as you might have guessed by now, so you’ll probably have more ideas than me about the details and what was happening. I have yet to install OS 8.6 so I have no idea what will happen when I get around to it. I’ll let you know.
Well, Steve, you are smarter than you think. From my research and personal experience, the OS upgrade path ignores internal modems such as you and Donna have. Users are supposed to know (by intuition, I guess) to reinstall the Apple Telecom software from the OS 8.x CD or a download from the Apple website.
Donna’s 6500 internal modem is working perfectly after I did what Steve did, and her only complaint was not being able to locate the spell checker for her new Outlook Express email client. Her “defective” keyboard now works flawlessly, which I can’t explain, but I’m not going to investigate further. I consider the case closed, after a lot of frustration and a ridiculously easy solution.
Part Three: David
In my February, 2000, issue #58 column, I left readers hanging on the edge of their mouse pads pending the solution of my missing terminator woes. I subsequently ordered and received an active terminator from RAM Electronics, and it worked perfectly with my good friend David’s old IBM 4.2 GB internal hard disk and Adaptec SCSI card.
Two days later I was unable to get any juice into the recycled APS power supply David gave me, which left the new terminator, connectors, cables, and functional hard drive useless. The old APS case went into the dumpster, David offered to try to sell the terminator to his brother (who had been having problems comparable to mine), and SWS Electronics here in Tucson generously agreed to give me full credit for my other purchases.
What to do with the large internal disk? Think think think. With David’s help, we pulled out my second internal disk (a 2 GB Western Digital drive; as described in January, 2000, issue #57 Nemo Memo) and put the bigger one in its place. So far so good. I’m still using the original Apple equipment 1 GB disk as primary volume in my blazing fast 7200/120/64, and I plan to make the speedier IBM drive the startup disk.
If this is getting to be too confusing, I understand. For now everything works well, and I expect that lonesome 2 GB internal drive will inspire me to more monkey business and raw material for a future column.
Before I blast this column to our esteemed editorial team I want to add three quickies:
1. No more Jaz?
I called Outpost.com to order a Jaz drive for a friend, and was told that Iomega’s Jaz units have stopped shipping. What happened? Did the ubiquitous Zip gravy train derail the larger capacity Jaz? I hoped Jaz hardware and media would come down in price into the very affordable range, but the new 250 MB capacity Zip drives and disks are better value, if less convenient for archiving larger quantities of data. Oh, well. Some great ideas will fizzle.
2. Reinstall that app!
Yesterday my clever pal David was assisting me over the phone troubleshooting some problems I was having using VistaScan software in the Advanced mode. Unable to do an “Easy” reinstall, we both became frustrated, and David offered to help me in person.
The problem had two aspects: 1) when he selected the mission-critical components from VistaScan’s “Custom Install” option, the ensuing reinstallation was a breeze; and 2) once the application was freshly installed, all problems disappeared.
LESSON: just like doing a “clean install” or a full “initialize + install” of system software when OS problems persist, you will save a lot of time and anguish by reinstalling your application software when things get exceptionally buggy.
3. Do you know the way to Timbuktu?
While David was here yesterday he loaded an application called Timbuktu Pro on my computer, and within seconds we were using TCP/IP to view and access his computer, miles away! I had heard of this astonishing technology before, but had never seen it in action. There are several flavors of this software, so power users, gurus, tutors, and their clients/students/family/neighbors/friends/mooches should investigate Timbuktu from a company called Netopia.
Thanks for reading, friends. Bye until the next time, when we will have something very different from Nemoland.