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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...




Inkjet Printers, iMovie Formats, & Network Problems
July 28th, 2000

Greetings, everyone! Today we delve into some strange printer problems, answer a few questions regarding iMovie and other applications involving desktop video programs, and a strange problem a reader is having while using file sharing on two Macs. If you have a question of your own, please feel free to either ask me directly, or visit the forums for everyone's advice. Enjoy!

Ronnie writes, "I have an iMac and an Epson stylus printer 440. I attempted to stop the printing of a document while in process by turning the printer off. When I turned it back on, it would not work. I have tried to print, but my printer tells me that I'm not online. Also, the light on my printer that shows a single tear drop is on. Do you have any suggestions? Prior to this, I have had no problems."

Ronnie -- the teardrop light typically indicates that the printer is out of ink. When the printer thinks it is out of ink, it won't print. Replacing the ink cartridge should do the trick. However, since this happened as you canceled a print job, it's also entirely possible that the printer itself is "confused." It may just *think* that it is out of ink. Removing and reinserting the current ink cartridge might solve this problem for you as well.

Laurel Sutton writes, "I am learning how to use the iMovie software and I am wondering how to convert/export the files in formats other than QuickTime. It seems that iMovie does not have built-in converters. I've tried a number of different freeware products but none seem to do the trick. What is the most common media format (.avi?) and how can I convert my video clips without spending big bucks for video editing software?"

Well, we've all gotten spoiled with the free copy of iMovie that Apple has made available for us, eh? There is, unfortunately, nothing freely available that will let you convert your iMovies to AVI format. The only application I would recommend for that is Media Cleaner Pro, which lists for US$499.00 (and they have a demo available). However, you mentioned that you wanted to export to the most common format, and being a "dual-platform" user myself, I would say that QuickTime is probably the best way to go. The player is stable on both platforms, the playback quality is top notch, and support is widely available. If you export to AVI, you'll wind up opening a whole can of worms involving playback codecs and the like, potentially rendering your iMovie unviewable on many machines.

Bunny writes, "I have two Macs - a Performa 6300 CD, and an iMac DV. I'm attempting to network them so that I can download my 6300 files to the newer Mac. (I have previously done this successfully - I networked the 6300 with my even older Performa 630 CD). I have the iMac all ready - it 'sees' the 6300, and recognizes its hard drive. The problem, however, is that the 6300 will not open AppleShare or AppleTalk. These are the messages I get:

  • When I activate AppleTalk in the Chooser, the button reverts back to 'Inactive', and I get the message: 'AppleTalk cannot be opened'.
  • Upon startup (during loading): 'An AppleShare system error occurred. The server is not responding'.
  • And once (only once): 'The File Sharing Monitor cannot be used with the currently installed AppleShare server.'

I have tried restarting with extensions off, rebuilding the desktop, zapping the PRAM, reinstalling the system software, and updating to AppleShare 3.6.1. Rev. B, and I'm out of ideas!! Can you help?"

Well, this is certainly a strange one. I'm a bit confused here, since you say that the iMac sees the 6300's hard drive. If it sees it in the Chooser, then you should be able to mount it and copy your data over. However, assuming that's not actually working, my first suggestion would be to do a CLEAN install of the system software (i.e. don't reinstall over your existing copy, rather install a completely fresh copy by using the "Options" button in the Installer window). It's entirely possible that you have an errant Extension, Control Panel, or preference file that's causing problems with your machine. You can also try using TechTool to truly reset your PRAM as well.

That's it for this week! Feel free to e-mail askdave@macobserver.com if you have a question of your own. As always, until next time...

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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