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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...

Back From The Dead With Networking, Virtual PC, & Cable Modem Answers
September 19th, 2003

Yes, it's been a while. A LONG while. But hey, I'm here now, aren't I? That oughtta count for something (well, it should!). In any event, if time has gone by, nothing here has changed -- we'll still be doing this (on a more regular basis than recent history would show, even if not as regular as it once was), and still answering questions from you (yes, you!) about your daily woes with your favorite computer of choice (OK, yeah, you people with Windows questions can ask, too, but I can't promise our editor will let me publish the answers!). With that, read on, and enjoy!

Carla writes, "Hi Dave, I run Virtual PC on my Mac G-4. The memory allocation for the PC is 64mb and my Mac has 256. Doesn't Virtual PC run from the Mac's memory? I keep getting the message the memory is low (on VPC). I have created a new disk image and tried allocating more memory to the PC, but that just makes it worse. I just want to have more memory on my PC so I can run my Microsoft Office Professional. Any suggestions!? (Damn PCs anyway!!)"

Carla -- it sounds like your Mac itself is running out of memory. You're right in that Virtual PC runs from the Mac's built-in memory, but don't forget that the Mac needs to run from this built-in memory, too. 256MB, frankly, isn't even enough to run Mac OS X properly, let alone a memory hungry app like VPC, and that's exactly what you're experiencing. VPC aside, I've found that "breaking through" the 512MB barrier makes just about any Mac run OS X smoother. With RAM being as cheap as it is, it's well worth your while (and sanity!) to go ahead and update the machine. Then you can dump 128 MB at your VPC and happily run Office Pro.

Stan writes, "I have been really looking for someone to help me out on networking my two computers. I have a Power Mac 5500, and recently installed a new ASANTE Ethernet card. All I simply want to do is share files with my new 17" iMac running Mac OS X. I have purchased a crossover cable, connected end to each computer and I now want to send files from the iMac to the Power Mac and Power Mac to iMac.... I just don't know how to set it all up.........Please Please help me I am pulling my hair out"

Hi Stan -- Bravo! It looks like you're definitely heading in the right direction. I'm going to assume you're running Mac OS 9 on the old PowerMac, so that adds a bit of confusion here, but not too much.

First, go to the TCP/IP control panel on Mac OS 9, choose "Ethernet" and make sure it's set to "DHCP." Now go to the Network pane of System Preferences on your Mac OS X machine, select built-in Ethernet, and also configure it for DHCP. Yes, I realize you don't have a DHCP server. That's OK. DHCP clients are set to auto assign to a 169.254.x.x range when they can't find a DHCP server and, as such, will automagically create their own ad hoc network without troubling you through managing individual IPs and subnet masks (nasty stuff, I tell ya!).

Also, in the Network pane be sure to choose the "AppleTalk" tab and check the "Make AppleTalk Active" checkbox -- very important! Once that's done, stay in Mac OS X for a moment and pop over to the Sharing pane of System Preferences. Make sure "Personal File Sharing" is turned on. You're almost there. Back to Mac OS 9, go to the Apple menu, select the Chooser, and highlight "AppleShare." Your G4 should appear in the list. Select it, and when asked for a username and password, type in your main username and password (i.e. that of someone who's a machine admin). From there you will be able to mount only your home directory OR the entire drive, whichever you like (that is, assuming you're an admin user). Copy back and forth from there, and you should be good to go!

Heather writes, "I know nothing about the internal workings of computers, and I just need to know in simple terms if my Mac Performa 6200CD will be able to run high speed internet off of cable? Someone gave me the computer so I don't know much about it. I just know he did some upgrades. It is able to run Quark Xpress and Photoshop. I know he had run dial-up off it before, but I want to go with high speed. What do you think?"

Hi Heather -- First of all the answer is Yes -- your old 6200CD will work fine with most cable modems, regardless of what your cable company technicians or salespeople tell you. They may not want to help you do it, but it will work in all but the most arcane systems. The first thing you'll need to do, though, is get yourself an Ethernet card if you don't already have one (according to the lovely reference at, the 6200CD didn't usually come with Ethernet built-in). They can still be gotten cheap, and you can install it pretty easily. A quick search over at reveals one from Asante for about US$37, which is a reasonable price. Once you've got that installed, you simply connect a standard Ethernet cable between your cable modem and your Mac, configure your Mac for DHCP (see above for steps!), and you should be good to go.

That's it folks! Send me your questions, and I'll do my best to answer 'em in the next installment of Ask Dave!

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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