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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...




Word Problems, Power Strips, Swapping Motherboards, and Disk Errors
April 29th, 1999

Hello there! Welcome to the land of "Ask Dave" once again. As it is each week, I'm here answering your questions about all things Macintosh. This week's no different, and there's some juicy info below for you. One thing I have added is another "Observer Call" about upgrading a Performa 6200. But read on! All will be made much clearer in the end! Of course, if you have a question that you'd like to see answered, please e-mail me and I'll do everything I can to get you a solution!

Brian writes, "I have Office 98 installed on a G3 (beige) with 96 mb ram (virtual memory turned on). If I try to open a (Word) document, Word fails to launch and instead shows a message about shared libraries having been moved out of the Office folder or lack of memory. To open a document, I have to launch Word then go File to Open ...

I see no location issue with the Office libraries. (By the way, I also have no problem opening an Excel 98 spreadsheet directly.)

Can you suggest anything for this problem?"

Hmm.. This certainly is a strange one, but there are a few things that I would try in this situation. The first, of course, would be reinstalling Word (or, as it is with Office 98, re-copying the Office 98 folder to your hard disk). Also make sure that you then run the latest updater for Office available from Microsoft's web site. If the problem still persists, then I'd recommend rebuilding the desktop (using a utility like TechTool from Micromat). If it *still* happens, it could be a memory issue. The error message you're getting seems to indicate that, for whatever reason, Word can't load the libraries it needs. Those libraries are NOT loaded into Word's memory partition, rather they are loaded into the System heap. If Word is given enough memory such that there isn't enough left for the System heap, then it won't be able to load it's libraries. Click once on the Word application, then go to File and choose Get Info (and choose Memory if you're running OS 8.5 or later). Check to make sure that the "Preferred" memory partition for Word isn't so large that it would get in the way like this.

Fred writes, "My 9600/200 "died" two days ago. When I turned it on, or rather tried to--no lights, no bong, no nothin. I suspected a bad power supply and that indeed was the diagnosis. The power supply was replaced and my Mac is humming along just fine again.

My question: The repair guy suggested that I stop running my monitor's power cable to the computer but to an outlet. I asked him why and he stated that this puts extra stress on the power supply and is probably why mine bit the dust. I asked him if this was so, why the machines were designed to accept a power cable from the monitor. He said it was because people like to shut everything off with just one button. I am one of those people too.

My son feels that connecting the monitor to the computer should put no additional stress on the power supply.

Your opinion please, Dave."

The tech. may have a valid point here. While most of these power supplies don't actually SUPPLY the power to the monitor, they do (obviously) offer a pass through relay. This relay trips the circuit open when the power to your computer goes on and trips it closed when the power goes off. This can cause a few problems. If your monitor is drawing more power than the relay is built to handle, then it could damage things, but I'd be more concerned about this damaging your monitor. It's not good for ANY electrical appliance to have it's power yanked out from underneath it, which is exactly what this is doing. Thankfully for those of us who like to have "one switch," monitor manufacturer's have come up with the Energy Star standard. With this, most newer monitors can be left plugged in and switched on, and will automagically turn themselves on or off based on whether or not they're getting a signal from the computer. This is the way I do it with all my computers and is what I recommend to anyone who's brave enough to ask (three cheers for Fred!). This way, the monitor is left plugged in (and grounded) at all times, and you still get the luxury of the "one switch" approach.

David writes, "I have tried contacting apple, i have tried contacting power computing, i have even tried contacting sonnet but no one seems to know or is willing to answer. here goes:

i have 2 computers, a PowerComputing PowerCenter Pro 180 and a PowerMac 7500/100. It turns out that after a repair job on the PowerCenter, the tech left the old motherboard and daughtercard and gave us PowerComputing account to ship them back. Well, here it is, 1.5 years later, and i never quite got around to shipping them back. Now i notice that these new G3 upgrade cards are cross compatible between the 7500 and the powercenter pro, so it got me to thinking. The pins are obviously the same between
the two motherboards so the PowerCenter Pro daughtercard can physically fit in the 7500, but what will happen when it gets there? I imagine that the only problem would be the system bus, but then i am not the expert, you are. So the question is: Can I upgrade my 7500/100 using a Powercenter Pro 180 MHz 604e daughtercard?

Thanks for all your help. Other people at the Apple Tech exchange have expressed interest in doing the same or something similar, so I am not the only person out there that your answer might help. Additionally, Apple Support stated that they didn't know the specs on the PowerComputing daughtercard to know if it would be compatible. And PowerComputing didn't know the specs on the Mac daughtercard to know if it would be compatible. And Sonnet just hasn't answered my email."

While I really want to dive right in and answer this question, my constant proximity to lawyers makes me preface this by saying, "I've never personally tried this, so you do so at your own risk."

That said, my gut feeling and reports I've heard from others tell me that this should work without a hitch. I've swapped many daughtercards back and forth between PowerMac's and they've all worked fine. So, if it were my machine, I'd have tried this situation a long time ago. My advice would be to do the same. Of course, you could always wait to see if I get any emergency reader feedback on this issue before you do. If anything comes in, I'll be sure to share...

Bob writes, "How can I get rid of that message "Please insert the disk: AOL Downloads" which appears every time I shut down my computer?"

This sounds like you have America Online's download location set to an external disk (Zip, Floppy, Jaz, Hard disk, etc.) as it's default. The "AOL Scheduler" application is most likely the culprit here as it's scanning things before it shuts down your computer. With that, there are two things you can do. If you don't care about the AOL Scheduler application, you can disable it by removing it from the "Startup Items" folder in your System Folder. Doing so will disable any scheduled "Flash Sessions" from happening, so if you rely on those, I don't recommend doing this. The other solution would be to go into AOL and set your default download location to be somewhere on your hard disk, so the Scheduler application won't look for it every time. To do this, go to the "Download Manager" section of AOL 3.0, or the "Downloads" section of AOL 4.0's preferences, and set the "Default Folder" to something on your local hard disk.

and Bob's also writes, "Is it possible to add one more ATA hard drive in my PowerMac G3 (beige) desktop?"

Depending on what you have in there, yes. Each IDE bus in the G3's (there are two, I believe) will support a maximum of two (2) devices, one set as "master" and the other as "slave." This setting is done with jumpers and pins on the drives themselves, so make sure you're comfortable adjusting these types of things before you head down this path. As long as you have at least one free "spot" on one of your IDE bus's , then you're going to be fine adding another drive.

That's it with the answers this week, folks, but I do have another question I'd like to pose to the group. I've gotten quite a few e-mails asking about upgrade paths for the Performa 6200-series computer. In the research I've done (and my experiences with these machines), I don't believe that this is possible. However, based on the number of e-mail requests I've received for this information, I'm led to think that if it *is* possible, someone has probably done it due to the great demand for such a solution. With that, I'm asking all of you to write in if you have heard of and/or seen such a beast. Again, we're looking for an upgrade solution for a Performa 6200-series machine.

That's it... Thanks!

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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