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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...

Printing On PC Networks, DSL On Macs, & Upgrade Advice
June 30th, 2000

Uh oh! Today's the last day of June, 2000! Do you know what that means? Well do you??? I'll leave you to ponder that question in the backs of your minds while we delve into today's column. We've got information on integrating Macs into Windows-based networks, sharing Macs and PCs on a DSL connection, and a few quick questions about recent product announcements. Feel free to drop me a line or visit the forums when you're finished reading!

Edgar Sigal writes, "Ok I took a look through your archives, but I still have a question... I have an NT-based PC network (10 BaseT Ethernet), I have an iMac running DAVE (Thursby, using DHCP for IP's). I would like the iMac to be able to print. I have a couple of printers which are postscript compatible but are not connected to the network directly (they are connected to PC's through their Parallel ports). I also have a lot of old Mac stuff (although I have given up on trying to network my Mac 128k!). Seriously, I have a MAC IIsi and a StyleWriter printer, neither have any network capability, but is there any way to connect the printer to the iMac?"

Greetings, Edgar. I think we can get your problems solved. Regarding printing to your PostScript printers, the first step would be to share those printers on their respective PC's (by enabling File and Printer Sharing for Microsoft Networks and then going to the printer's properties and sharing it). Once it is shared, DAVE should give you access to this printer. If it DOESN'T, however, there's another option to try. With the printer being shared from the PC, your Windows NT server can then manage the printer (the steps required to do so are long and complex, and I will leave them up to your network administrator). Once the printer is being shared via Windows NT, you can then access it either via DAVE or, if the NT server has "Services for Macintosh" installed, directly via the LaserWriter icon in the Chooser.

As far as your iMac and StyleWriter, any one of the many USB to serial adapters will support this just fine. My personal favorite is Keyspan's USB Twin Serial Adapter, and it is tested for exactly the scenario you describe. Just hook the adapter up to your iMac and then plug the printer into your adapter. With that, you're good to go!

Azriel Wasserman writes, "I am a Mac technician at a newspaper company on the east coast. My dilemma is that I am about to subscribe to Bell Atlantic's ADSL service, but they are only giving me a PC Ethernet card. Therefore I am entertaining the use of using my PC tower as a proxy server to allow the simultaneous use of my other computers (NT and Mac OS 8.6, Palm OS and Win98). I imagine it would be a lot simpler to use AirPort technology. And if I would use that AirPort technology - how would I implement the dual use of a PC proxy server and both Mac's PC's and a Palm 3x connecting to it?"

Well, Azriel, first off, don't let Bell Atlantic fool you. Your Mac should have an Ethernet port on it and will let you connect to the DSL box (which has been confirmed by Bell Atlantic). Once this is done, you can use the Mac to share the cable modem connection via Ethernet with something like Sustainable Softworks' IPNetRouter. Detailed instructions for setting this up are available on their web page.

If, as you said, you would like to do this via AirPort, well, that could get tricky (and expensive). For Mac's with built-in support, AirPort is relatively cheap, but for those that require add-on cards (like PC's and older Macs), you're looking at about US$250 per computer to get AirPort installed. The base station can cost you anywhere from US$300 (from Apple) to US$1000 (from the various PC vendors), or you can use Apple's "Software Base Station" as well.

Either way you decide to go here, one proxy server/router is enough for your network, no matter WHAT type of device you want to connect to it. As long as the device can connect to your network (via Ethernet or AirPort) and can "speak" TCP/IP, it will work. The routers, be they software-based or hardware-based, do not care what type of computers are sending and receiving the data they're routing (heck, they don't even KNOW what type of computers they're routing!). One exception is the AirPort Base Station (hardware) -- It will definitely work with ANY type of computer (yes, Windows included), but it requires a Mac to configure it. The configuration software is just not available (yet?) for Windows.

Leonard Dalag writes, "Do you have the slightest clue when Mac OS X is going to be released? I asked everybody… including [email protected]"

Well, the last I heard was Steve Jobs' keynote speech at the WWDC. It was there that he said a beta version of Mac OS X would be released this summer (Dave's speculation: MACWORLD NY 2000 in July), and the final version would be released at the beginning of 2001 (Dave's speculation: MACWORLD SF 2000). Other than that, I have no information.

David Crown writes, "After spending 40 minutes downloading 15 pictures from my new camera into my G3-sans-USB, I realize I need to step up to the G4. But I'm afraid that the day after I lay out $1500 to do so, Apple will either drop the price or introduce an improved machine for the same price. Dave, do you know when either a price drop or the introduction of the next generation of G4s will take place???"

David -- You can always add USB to your G3 -- again I refer you to Keyspan and their PCI USB Card. However, if you want to upgrade your machine, my advice to you will be the same advice I have given everyone who has asked a similar question of me in the last 10 years: If you need a computer today, buy it today; worry about the price today and worry about availability today. If you worry about tomorrow, you'll never buy a computer because you'll always be waiting for the next best thing that's "right around the corner." That said, if you DON'T need a computer today, wait to buy until you DO need one.

In regards to your question, I will just say that the last piece of information I saw on this was when Apple teased developers with a prototype of a multiprocessor-based G4 machine at this year's aforementioned WWDC conference. On this one, I'll leave the speculation up to you. :-)

That's it for this week, folks. Feel free to e-mail me your questions to [email protected], or discuss them with the Ask-Dave-reading-public in the 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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