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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...

Token Rings, Open Transport Errors, & CD-ROM Drives
June 9th, 2000

Hello there, weary traveler. I see you seek advice. Well, I hope I can help. Pull up a footstool and sit a while. This week we have some great stuff for you. We discuss options for connecting a Mac to a Token Ring network, errors with Open Transport and Mac OS 9, and problems seeing CD-ROM drives in certain situations. If you have a question of your own, feel free to e-mail me or ask everyone in the forums. For now, relax, read on, and enjoy!

Matt Kapurita writes, "I work where we have a Token Ring-only network. We just ordered a new G4, and we need to be able to connect it to our network for file sharing and Internet access. I can't seem to find any PCI-based Token Ring adapters with drivers for the Mac, and am at a loss as to what to do. Have you any ideas?"

Well, Matt, I did quite a bit of research here, and I was only able to find one PCI-based Token Ring card for you. It is from Madge and is their Smart PCI 100/16/4 Ringnode Adapter (which MacWarehouse has for US$155.45). However, since the G4 (and most other Macs, at least nowadays) has 10/100 Ethernet built in, I thought I'd check for the availability of a router to connect the two networks. Ethernet has a smaller packet size than Token Ring, so it requires a router to connect the two incompatible network protocols. I found one such router from IBM, their 8229 Bridge. This router lets you plug in different modules based on the type of networks you want to connect. There are, as you might guess, modules for both Ethernet and Token Ring. However, this tends to fall into a price range of US$1500.00, so unless you're connecting more than 10 machines this way, it's probably not worth it. Another interesting solution that I saw mentioned was to put an Ethernet card in one of your Windows machines, and use something like Winroute or Wingate to connect the two networks -- in effect making your Windows machine a router in and of itself. Since routing is such a low-overhead task, you probably won't even notice that your machine is doing anything extra. Hopefully one of these options will help!

Lincoln Felder writes, "I'm having a problem with networking lately, and I think it's more than just an application problem. It started in Eudora where I would get the message 'An error occurred while establishing the connection. -3295; {37:1187}' when I check or send mail. I have to try multiple times in order to get it to function properly. I'm on a static, Ethernet-based connection here, and all my other TCP/IP apps were working fine, so I didn't think it was a system issue. However, I started having a problem recently when I installed an Airport card. The connection works fine, but I'm having problems running the Airport application itself. It tells me that I need to make sure TCP/IP is enabled and set to Airport, Ethernet, or PPP. I think something strange is going on. Help!"

You're right, Lincoln -- it IS a system issue. I'm assuming you're using Mac OS 9, which uses the Network Setup Library (NSL) as the interface for applications to find out what type of connection you're using. It provides information like whether you're on an Ethernet (dedicated) connection, or a dial-up connection, and in the case of the latter, whether or not you're connected. You'll notice now that Eudora can be set to "not check mail when off-line" -- it uses the NSL to find that information out. Unfortunately, the NSL is inconsistent in its current stages, and can get confused, causing exactly the problems you're describing. However, the solution is a simple one. Delete the "Open Transport Preferences" folder, which is located inside the Preferences folder in your System Folder. Restart the machine for good measure, and you should be back in business!

Matt Sorensen writes, "I have a 9500 / 200 at home and I have come across some strange problems. When I boot the machine up, the system won't see a CD unless it is an OS disk. If I boot without the OS disk (I have used the OS 8, and OS 7.6 CDs) the system sees a CD. You can then eject it and put in another CD and it works fine. But if you boot with any other CD or no CD in the drive, it does not see the drive and you have to reboot. Even if you boot with no CD and then put one in the drive, the system will not see the CD. I have initialized the hard drive and have reinstalled OS 8 but it is doing the same thing. What on earth is going on?"

Well, Matt -- I think your problem is that your CD-ROM drive isn't recognized by the drivers built-in to the Mac OS. Perhaps you have installed a third party CD-ROM in your machine as a replacement for the original unit (or perhaps you have the Apple CD-ROM extension disabled)? If you have a non-Apple CD-ROM drive, the only time Apple's drivers will work is if it detects them at startup by means of having a System CD in the drive (which is just as you indicated). However, the extension-based drivers will NOT see a non-Apple drive. My recommendation would be to try something like CD-ROM Toolkit from FWB or CD/DVD SpeedTools as both of these programs will recognize and load drivers for many CD-ROM drives for which Apple's drivers won't work.

That's it for this one, folks. E-mail me at [email protected] if you like, or ask everyone's opinion in the Ask Dave Forums. Catch you next time!

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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