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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...

Remote Control Another Mac for FREE & Help with Disk Images
January 7th, 2000

Greetings, folks -- I know you're busy reading up on MACWORLD Expo, so we'll get right to it today. We talk more about remote controlling Macs, have some interesting discussion about IDE drives in clones, and try and help someone who has problems with disk images! If you have a question of your own, e-mail it to me or visit the Ask Dave Forums and we'll get you fixed up!

After my column last week where I mentioned Timbuktu, I received MANY reader reports about a free product called VNC.

Adam (no last name given) wrote, " I noticed the Q/A about Controlling Someone Else's Mac and took a peep at the program you suggested, Timbuktu Pro from Netopia. I have used VNC and it works extremely well. It's also free.

VNC (Virtual Network Computing) is a research project of AT&T, and in my opinion is quite reliable and useful. It's saved me from having to make *many* trips to work on weekends and evenings.""

I had heard about this free program, but had always dismissed it as "another one of those things the open-source community has developed but doesn't REALLY have Mac support." However, since so many of YOU recommended it, I figured I'd better take another look. Indeed Adam is right -- it does work, it is cross-platform, and it's free! I wouldn't say that it's a replacement for Timbuktu, but it certainly does serve it's purpose. Timbuktu offers file transfer, chat, and various levels of access control. VNC offers a single password option for authorization, and ONLY allows remote control. That said, it does perform this task remarkably well, and I do suggest you test it out. Setup, albeit straightforward and easy, had an "experimental" feel to it, but all seems to work and I haven't had any trouble with crashing or the like.

VNC is freely available from AT&T (there are both client and server applications included), but there is another client which I've had better luck with (and allows full-screen mode) available from Dair Grant. Note that you'll need to download the AT&T distribution even if you plan on using Dair's client, as the only SERVER that's made is from AT&T.

Sandy Fletcher wrote, "I have a UMAX C600 with 1.2GB hard drive which seems to be damaged. Is there an IDE drive I can install as a replacement?"

Yes indeed there is, Sandy. As I've mentioned in the past, almost any IDE hard drive will work in IDE-equipped Macs (and compatibles!). Just make sure you're using the latest version of FWB's Hard Disk Toolkit and you should be all set!

Michael Lyons writes, "Do you (or any of your readers) have any idea why I constantly get an, "Unable to execute 'insert file name here' The file is invalid and should be replaced (-8819)", when I try to mount a ".smi" file? No matter what I try, I can't get it to mount. I've downloaded files from Microsoft (OE 5) and from Apple (OS 8.6) using Netscape, IE and Fetch, and still can't use the files. I did a search on the TIL, but didn't come up with anything.

Please help, I want to upgrade to OS 8.6, I just can't sleep well at night being two system software releases behind.

I'm operating a Performa 6300CD running Mac OS 8.5 inside 64MB RAM."

Michael -- SMI files are mounted using Apple's Disk Copy. You probably need to upgrade the version you have and then it will work just fine. You can get the latest version directly from Apple's Web Site.

That's it for this week folks. I hope you're enjoying the Expo and all the ensuing product announcements and coverage. If you have questions about anything... anything at all, just e-mail me at [email protected] or go visit 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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