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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...

Dave's FAQ: Viruses, X On Clones, & Old Printers
March 16th, 2001

Welcome to a special edition of Ask Dave. Today I figured we should dive into some very commonly (some may even say "frequently") asked questions. All of the following are from you, the reader, and were sent in over the past week. However, questions like these come into me many, many times over and I figured it would be good to take the time to answer some of these common concerns. We talk about virus protection and whether or not you should have it, discuss the possibilities of using Mac OS X on older, upgraded, or 3rd party machines, we have a reader looking for a printer for an older Mac, and finally we try to help some poor lost soul find his way. If you have a question of your own, you can e-mail me, or ask in the comments below. Alternatively, the Ask Dave/Tech Support forums are there for everyone to take a crack at answering your question, so feel free to post it there, too! For now, read on!

Malcolm Jarvis writes, "I just bought my first computer for my wife and myself. We got new iMac and some of my friends who have iMacs have told me to buy an anti-virus program and some have told me that as long as I don't open e-mails sent anonymously or from people/businesses I don't know that I would not need an anti-virus program. I thought I should ask an expert. What do you say. If yes, which program(s) do you recommend?"

Malcolm, I *always* recommend virus software. If I didn't, and then someone got a virus, they'd try to sue me. ;-) But seriously, if you're running a computer these days, virus software should be considered a staple of life. While viruses are certainly more common on Windows-based machines than they are on Macs, there are plenty of viruses written for the Mac that can cause lots of grief. For the record, your friends are wrong. There are MANY viruses out there that distribute themselves via e-mail without the sender's knowledge. Thus you could receive an e-mail from a known, trusted friend, and it could easily contain a virus without your friend's knowledge. Buy virus software. You'll be thankful.

As far as which software you should buy, well, there are plenty out there to choose from. My loyalties tend to float to any package that claims to catch lots of viruses, doesn't interrupt me unless it DOES catch a virus, offers an idiot-proof (and Internet-based) way of updating itself, and doesn't crash my machine in the process. Right now, Symantec's Norton AntiVirus is that package for me. I'm not saying there aren't others out there that might fit all those criteria, what I'm saying is that NAV fit that criteria just fine and I stopped looking elsewhere.

Steve Coop writes, "I have a Umax Pulsar with a MACh Carrier G3 Card installed. Will I be able to run the new Mac OS X."

Well, Steve (and others with similar questions), the official answer from our fruity friends in Cupertino (that's Apple, by the way) is no. Officially you can't run Mac OS X on any non-Apple machines, and there's even pretty strict limits on which Apple machines it will be officially support, too (see Apple's Mac OS X requirements page for details). There are, however, diligent efforts being put forth by some non-Apple folks trying to get Apple's next generation OS to work on unsupported machines. has a report comprised of reader feedback listing varying levels of success getting OS X to work on just such machines. If you know of another resource, mention it below in the comments and everyone can benefit!

Marguerite Holloway writes, "Hi Dave - I have a very old Mac (running System 7.5.5!) and I am trying to find, without any luck, a color printer to go with it. Any suggestions on locations and types on the web or elsewhere?"

You know, I've been asked this question about 4 times in the last week, and I haven't got a CLUE as to where to send people. HP used to make some great printers that would work with older, serial port-based Macs, as did Epson, I believe. However, my research hasn't dug up any sources that still sell these products. Short of trying your luck on eBay, I'm not sure what to say here. However, I'm hoping that some of YOU might be able to help. Please, if you have any advice, please jot it down in the comments below and share the love!

Robert Wagman writes, "Hi, Just came across your site. I have an internet appliance -- the I-opener -- hooked up a Canon BJC-2100 inkjet printer. This setup has been working fine for 3 weeks and now, all of a sudden, it no longer responds to the printer prompts on the I-opener keyboard or screen. I unplugged the printer for 12 hours, plugged it back in, the printer worked fine. Then when I left it plugged in for 11 hours and tried it again, it wouldn't respond! Additionally, the network that I-opener is on, Netpliance, is going out of business (thank god), and is being replaced by Earthlink on 3/12/2001. Could this changeover be causing the problem?"

Robert -- let's dig right in here. First you should check the setting for the... oh... wait. I know what your problem is and I know just how to solve it: Get a Mac.

That's it for this week, folks! Feel free to send your questions to me at [email protected], or ask in the comments below. I'll see you in a few weeks!

PS. 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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