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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...

Missing Finder Menus & Networking Help
March 24th, 2000

Greetings, folks! Welcome to this week's edition of Ask Dave! Today we explore missing and Finder menus, strange Appearance problems, and Internet connection sharing amongst Macs AND PC's. If you have a question of your own, feel free to e-mail me directly or head over to the Ask Dave Forums and let everyone have a crack at it! Enjoy!

Karen Butterfield writes, "One of our Mac users, when trying to increase memory for an application, does not get the usual menu choice of 'Get Info.' It simply does not appear. She is on a G3 with Mac OS 8.6. Also, I cannot add fonts to her System Folder. It just rejects anything we try to put in there, no error message or anything. Finally, when copying a file, shortcuts do not show up in the menu for cut, copy and paste. Other shortcuts are missing too -- like new folder, duplicate, etc. Any idea about what is going on? I have looked this one up in all my reference books, in help, on Apple's web site and everywhere else I can think of on the Internet with no luck."

An interesting problem, to be sure. Honestly, this one stumped me the first time I saw it, too, but your "missing menus" is actually a feature, not a problem. When your friend set up his or her computer (or, perhaps, sometime thereafter), he or she chose to use the "Simple Finder" instead of the regular Finder. This essentially limits your menu options (including contextual menus), and "simplifies" the whole interface. However, as you've seen, simplification does not come without its price. To "buy back" these features, just go to the Finder's Edit menu, choose Preferences, go to the General tab, and uncheck "Simple Finder".

As far as your Fonts problem, it's possible that the System Folder is protected with the "Protect System Folder" option in the General Controls Control Panel. Uncheck that and you should be in business.

Martin O'Donnell writes, "I have a small if irritating problem with Mac OS 8.6. Even though I choose different colors for the menu bar in the variation pulldown menu of the appearance control panel, I sometimes get a horrible black highlighting on a white background on some of the menus of certain programs. Is there any fix for this?"

Unfortunately, Martin, the only fix is within the Applications themselves. Many older programs don't support the Appearance Manager (the module present in later versions of Mac OS that lets you change this stuff). This will cause some scroll bars to look funny, menu options to appear malformed, and loss of some functionality at times. The only solution is to look for updates to your problematic applications and ask for Appearance Manager support. Most modern applications support it now, and many older applications have been updated to include this support.

Dylan Nash writes, "I have a Mac and a PC. The PC has an ADSL internet connection. I am going to connect the Mac and the PC via ethernet. Is there any way to connect to the Internet on the Mac through the PC?"

Yes, Dylan, there is a way to do this. You can run "Internet Sharing" software on the PC. The latest version of Winroute uses NAT-routing to share an Internet connection, and this method works with ANY type of client machine -- Mac, PC, Unix, you name it!

Harvey V. Brown wrote, "Can two Macs share the same phone line connection to the Internet? If so, how?"

Yes, Harvey, they can. VicomSoft's Internet Gateway allows you to do this and much more (see Review: "Internet Gateway Allows Easy Routing And Network Management"). For the technically inclined, there is also a program called IPNetRouter from Sustainable Softworks that will allow you to do this as well. It is a bit more flexible than Internet Gateway, but is also a bit more oriented towards the "techies" out there in terms of setup. Both software packages have demonstration versions available for download and, for the record, will work with ANY type of client machine as well (Mac, PC, Unix, you name it!).

That's it for this week, folks! If you have a question of your own, feel free to ask me directly at [email protected], or head on over to the Ask Dave Forums where everyone pitches in to help!

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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