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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...




Add-On CDRW Drives, Network Rebooting, & Monitor Problems
May 26th, 2000

Greetings, everyone, and welcome to yet another edition of Ask Dave! This week we talk about issues with playing audio CD's from add-on CD drives, rebooting a machine and logging into a server after a crash, and some strange monitor problems. As always, you can e-mail your questions to me directly, or ask everyone in the Ask Dave Forums. For now, read on and enjoy!

Musgrove writes, "Last month I bought an internal IDE CDRW from Yamaha, model CRW8424E. Since buying this drive I have had nothing but problems with it. I cannot get it to boot as master (I replaced my old drive with this one), the only way it will work is if I set it up as slave. I don't know why it works this way, it just does. I also cannot get it to read any audio CD's which I load into it. When I put an audio CD into it, the CD icon appears on my desktop, but it has a funny looking musical note on top of it. If I try and play any of the tracks on the CD, my music playing application will act like the song is playing, the time counter scrolls and everything, however I will get no sound at all."

Musgrove -- Let's attack this one at a time. I'll take the latter first, since it's a clearer solution. When you play an Audio CD on your computer, the CD-ROM drive actually takes the Audio signal and sends it directly to your sound circuitry via a special "audio cable" inside the computer (this is the mysterious "3rd cable" that is connected to your CD-ROM drive in addition to power and IDE). The signal sent across the audio cable is similar to the signal sent out the headphone jack -- it's just normal, stereo audio. So, your CDRW is most likely playing the CD just fine, it's just that you don't have anything plugged into it that will allow you to listen to the audio signal that it's sending. You can either connect the audio cable to this drive, or you can plug headphones into the front of it (assuming that's an option with your particular drive).

As far as your master/slave problem goes, I'm not sure. If you're setting it up as master, is there another drive on the chain? Many drives have 3 different settings -- master, slave, and single. If a drive has no slave, then it often needs to be configured as a "single" to work properly. This is usually done with the same jumpers that are used to set master and slave. If that's not it, I would recommend checking the cable to be sure that you're not using a "cable select" cable, which can confuse the whole issue!

David Rogers writes, "My question is in relation to the question Monte Thompson had in your last column (see "Internal Speakers, Claris Organizer, & AOL Images"). I have several Macs on a render farm for 3D animation and things work fine, unless one of the render slaves crashes. Then I have to re-boot them, log them back onto the network and set them up to render again. The problem arises when I want to leave the network unattended to render for a day or so, I come back to find all my slaves have hard crashed and I have lost precious rendering time. So my question is this: is there any way to get them to re-boot themselves automagically and then mount the network drives?"

Yes, sir, there is. You may need a few extra little bits of software to make it work, but you can! The first utility you need is AutoBoot. This little gem will reboot your Mac automagically after a crash or freeze. That solves the first half of this equation. Assuming you're connecting to these network drives via the Chooser, you can set it to open the volumes at startup (by checking the little box in the Chooser next to the appropriate drives) and then by choosing the option below that allows you to save both your username and password. If you're using a version of the Mac OS prior to 9.0, then you're fine. However, if you're using Mac OS 9 (or later, but not Mac OS X), then all these usernames and passwords will be stored in the Keychain. You'll need to make sure that Keychain gets unlocked, and to do that "automagically" you'll need to use something like KeyChain AutoUnlock. This will both unlock the Keychain and then mount any servers you have specified, which should solve your problems! Enjoy!

Peter H. Gilmore writes, "I've been using an Apple 1710AV with my Power Macintosh 7600/132 since 1997, but it finally died yet another death (it had been repaired twice previously), so I decided not to try for a third repair but purchased a new monitor. I started with a Mitsubishi Diamond Pro 710s, and connected it with a Viewsonic VGA to Mac adaptor. I immediately noticed that the horizontal lines are curved, not straight, and that no adjustment of screen geometry affects this. Thinking it was the monitor, I had the mailorder company ship me a second one, which also had the distortion (plus some additional at the upper left part of the screen). Finally, I had them send me a different one, a Sony CPD-E210, and it too has this distortion.

I'm using Mac OS 9.04, and all of the monitors have been 17" and my resolution of preference has been 832 x 624, 75Hz. Changing the resolution via the dip switches (the only means the Control Panel offers) has not made a difference in this curvature."

Peter -- after reading your e-mail, I'm lead to think that your Viewsonic adapter is the source of your problem. Just by nature of the fact that it doesn't have a way to set it to let the computer "autosense" resolutions makes me think that it's probably not an entirely "modern" device. With that, I point you to Griffin Technology. These folks have been making "non-Mac" monitors work with Macs for years, and they know what they're doing. They have a few different adapters available on their site, but my guess is that the Mac PnP Adapter is probably going to do the trick for you.

Another thing to watch out for is any switchboxes, extension cables, or other devices you might put between the monitor and the computer. Each one of these ads some resistance to the connection, and they can often be the source of strange image problems like "bending" or "ghosting." Always make sure to test the monitor by plugging it directly into the computer (or, in your case, into the adapter and then into the computer since it won't fit directly on!). This should help to resolve any confusion as to where the problem lies.

That's it for this week, folks. Tune in next time for more juicy tidbits! If you want to see your question answered here, send it to me at askdave@macobserver.com. If you'd rather discuss your problems with others, you can do so in the Ask Dave Forums!

P.S. Have a Nice Day.

is President and CEO of The Mac Observer, Inc. He has worked in the computer industry as a consultant, trainer, network engineer, webmaster, and a programmer for most of the last 10 years. During that time he has worked on the Mac, all the various Windows flavors, Be, a few brands of Unix, and it is rumored he once saw an OS/2 machine in action. Before that he ran some of the earliest Bulletin Board systems, but most of the charges have since been dropped, and not even the FBI requests that he check in more than twice a year.

Ask Dave is here to answer all the Mac questions you have. Networking, system conflicts, hardware, you ask it, he can answer it. He is the person from whom all Mac knowledge flows....


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