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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...




Network Game Hosting, PC Modems, & Old Hard Drives
June 15th, 2001

Greetings, everyone. This week we talk about connecting PC modems to Macs, serving games from behind a routed and shared connection, and discuss what to do with the old hard drive you just upgraded in your laptop! If you have a question of your own, you can e-mail me, or ask in the comments below. Alternatively, you can visit the new and improved Tech Support forums and let everyone take a stab at answering your questions! For now, read on and enjoy!

Mark Rudnycky writes, "I was wondering if it is possible to Connect an external PC modem to an Apple Macintosh Computer? Your help and instructions would be greatly appreciated"

Yes, Mark, it should work fine, assuming the Mac has a serial port. Typically external PC modems will have an RS-232, 25-pin, port on them. Just get a cable from a mini-din-8 port to RS-232 and you should be fine. Of course, if you don't have a serial port (most new Macs don't), then you'll need a USB to serial adapter like the Keyspan USB Twin Serial Adapter to make this work.

Oh my! The iBrotha himself, Rodney O. Lain, says, "I tried to host an Unreal Tourney the other day and found out I couldn't. I'm sure it has something to do with my cable modem routing through my AirPort Bast Station. Any suggestions? I'm having the same problem with web sharing in OS X (and OS 9, I imagine)."

Yeah, it's your base station. When you host a game, people need to be able to generate "unsolicited" connections to the computer you're hosting on. If that computer is behind a router, the router needs to be told what to do. We use the "Port Mapping" features of the router to accomplish this. I did some reading and, according to PracticallyNetworked.com, Unreal Tournament uses the following ports:

Unreal  Tournament server
IN    UDP 7777 (default gameplay port)
IN    UDP 7778 (server query port
IN    UDP 7779+ (UDP 7779+ are allocated dynamically for each
                        helper UdpLink objects, including UdpServerUplin
                        objects. Try starting with 7779-7781 and add
                        ports if needed.))
IN    UDP 27900 (server query, if master server uplink is enabled.
                         Some master servers use other ports, like 27500)
IN    TCP 8080 (Port 8080 is for UT Server Admin.

So, in theory, all you'd need to do to make an Unreal Tournament server work would be to tell your Airport router to map UDP ports 7777 through 7781 to your server machine, and you're good to go. However, Apple's Airport Base Station only lets you map TCP ports at this time, so what you want to do is impossible. :-(

Web sharing, on the other hand, is most definitely possible. The default port for http traffic is TCP port 80. That can easily be mapped using the Airport Admin utility and you should be good to go.

Harvey Waxman writes, "I'm about to replace my 4GB drive in my Wallstreet PowerBook with a 20GB IBM Travelstar. Is there some reasonable way I can make use of the 4GB as a backup device?"

In a nutshell, you'll need to buy an external case for the drive and find a way to connect it to your machine. That drive is an IDE drive, and your computer has USB and SCSI ports. Since getting an IDE drive to work on a SCSI port is darn near impossible, we should focus on USB. There are a few USB-only kits out there, but I would recommend buying one that has some future potential and includes FireWire as well. To do this, you can get a kit like the 2.5" Spark II Enclosure Kit that Firewire Direct sells (currently US$119), and that's all you need. It has both USB and FireWire interfaces on it, and should let you use that drive without any headache (you could also pop one of those 20GB Travelstars in there for a real treat down the road!).

One thing, be sure to check this page at XLR8YourMac.com -- it has some very important information regarding the process you're about to perform.

That's it for today, folks! Feel free to send your questions to me at askdave@macobserver.com, or ask in the new Tech Support forums. I'll see you in a few weeks!

PS. 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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