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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...




AVI and More Networking Questions Answered
September 23rd, 1999

Boy howdy this is fun! This week we've got all sorts of scrumptious tips and answers for your eager palates. We talk about viewing AVI movies, printing on foreign networks, iMac freezes, memory allocation, and the best way to cook up your favorite technician! Should that leave you with anything UNanswered, you can e-mail me at askdave@macobserver.com. Then sit back, read on, and enjoy!

Travis Coffman writes, "I would very much like to view avi movies compressed with the Indeo i263 codec on my PowerBook. As far as I can tell, there is no way to do it short of PC emulation. Do you have any other suggestions? Is there anyone out there with a i263 to Quicktime converter?

We ALL would like to view i263 AVI's on our Mac's... all those "business graphics movies" available on usenet, right?

Oh.. ahem, excuse me. Anyway, the Intel Indeo i263 codec (compression/decompression software is what that means, by the way) was written specifically for instructions built into the Pentium II processor chip. And, because of that, there's no way to decode these natively on the Mac. I haven't seen anyone even mention that they're trying to do this, although it's certainly possible to create a converter.

Christopher A. Sears writes, "I have had a PowerBook 1400c/133 for about two years, and have been frustrated by my inability to share printing resources on campus. I use MacOS 8.6, have 32MB of physical RAM, and a 1.3GB HD. The current method I use is to convert the files to a Win-PC equivalent file format, transfer them to a Win-PC disk, and then print them from a Win-PC somewhere on campus. There must be an easier way. Can I emulate (for printing purposes) Win-PC qualities so that I can print to any of the printers on campus? What about other Mac-WinPC network connection capabilities? This would make my graduate work much easier."

Well, depending on the specifics of the individual printers, there are a couple of ways to go here. Infowave Software's PowerPrint for Networks [Link Updated 11/08/2000] will probably do everything you need to do. It allows you to print to almost ANY printer over the network, assuming you have implicit access to it. If you need to log into an NT server, however, then you'll need to use something like Thursby Software's DAVE to accomplish this. It may actually take a combination of BOTH pieces of software working in concert to allow this to happen, but it should certainly be doable!

Patrick Carrington writes, "Do you know why the iMacs would 'hesitate' or temporarily 'freeze' for 10-30 seconds when on a network in an office with TCP/IP set as 'Configure via DHCP Server.' Mine did and I changed the configuration of TCP/IP to 'Manual' and entered static IP addresses and voila! -- no more 'hesitations.' Any ideas AND any other tips?"

Well, lets first examine how DHCP works. The whole idea behind DHCP is that the computer obtains its TCP/IP settings from a central server, eliminating the need for manual configuration (and reconfiguration) of each machine. When a computer first starts up, it checks with the DHCP server, obtains a "lease" for an address, and gets all the relevant information to go with it (usually including the subnet mask, router address, and DNS servers). That lease, as most leases do, expires after a set period of time. That way if a machine disappears off the network, the IP address assigned to that machine gets returned to the general pool and someone else can have it. Typically, to ensure that the lease doesn't "run out," computers will renew their leases TWICE as often as they would expire. For example, if your lease is set to expire 2 hours after you get it, then your computer will typically renew its lease after 1 hour.

Now that we've got that straight, lets examine what could be happening with your situation. Very clearly, something is happening when it tries to renew its lease. Either the DHCP server is responding slowly, or it's not understanding the commands that the Mac is sending to it. There are known issues with Windows NT's DHCP server implementation. Specifically, it does NOT follow the standard protocols for lease negotiation. MacOS 8.5.x tends to have some trouble with this at times (since it DOES conform to the standard), but MacOS 8.6 has been engineered to work with it. Try updating to MacOS 8.6 and see if that changes things.

Rick Nishijima writes, "I just added more dram to my power mac 7200/120. It had 48 MB installed and I bumped it up to 72 MB by removing one of the 8 MB and replaced with a 32 MB. I still get a low memory warning when I am running RealPlayerG2 and the custom @Home Netscape Browser. With those applications open, I switch to finder and checked under the 'About This Macintosh' menu and the memory being used by RealplayerG2 and the browser are running at levels over what is allocated to the program. For example, RealplayerG2 is allocated about 6 MB, but listed under the About This Mac menu, it says 16 MB."

This can happen with some programs. They will go and "grab" additional resources from the System and add them into their own application space as needed. However, only SOME code from the programs can be loaded into this additional space. The rest of it has to work within the parameters set in the "Get Info->Memory" dialogue box available in the Finder. So even though the program seems to "grow," you can still run into a situation where it doesn't have enough allocated RAM to work properly. With that, I suggest you increase the memory settings for those programs and try again. Netscape typically needs more RAM than it is assigned by default, so that wouldn't surprise me that you're having that problem.

Donald Keigh writes, "I'm using an Apple 14" monitor (Sony Trinitron Tube) with a PowerMac 6100, now the screen rotated for about 10 degrees, any idea how to correct this problem?"

Well, Don, believe it or not, alignment (or misalignment) with the magnetic poles of the earth can cause this rotation, so there's typically a setting on most monitors to correct for this. The problem is that sometimes this setting can be inside the case, and other times it's actually not accessible by the user AT ALL. Of course, there are times (most monitors, in fact) when these controls are accessible on the outside and you can adjust them to suit your fancy. My advice is, assuming the controls are inside, that you hire a seasoned monitor professional to come to your house and tune it up for you. If you do it yourself, you run the risk of MAJOR electrocution. That, of course, is why I say you should have a "seasoned" monitor technician -- if he or she winds up cooking themselves, at least it'll taste good. :-)

The end.

Send your questions to askdave@macobserver.com, and we'll serve up right up here next week!

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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