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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...

Ethernet Printing, Netscape Prefs, Home Networks, and CrashGuard
April 15th, 1999

Well, Tax day is upon us once again, and in the spirit of making my Mac here at home an official tax deduction, I bring you this week's column! :) We're also trying a new layout this week (without italicized questions), so please let me know what you think.

Deborah writes, "I have a 6100 and an iMac. I have a crossover (I think that is correct) cable, and no hub. I have a HP 870 connected to the 6100. Is there a way to print on the HP from the iMac?"

Deborah -- the answer to your first question is yes -- you can connect your ethernet-based printer to both computers, but you'll need to invest in a hub. To understand all this requires a quick description of 10-BaseT Ethernet Cabling. In the cable there are 4 wires used, two for sending data, and 2 for receiving. What a hub does is it takes the "receiving" pair from one computer and maps them to the "sending" pair of the all the others. Your "crossover" cable essentially swaps these two pairs within it, creating a link between two devices that doesn't require a hub. As soon as you add a third device, though, you'll need a hub and REGULAR, not crossover, cables. Then you just set the "AppleTalk" Control Panel to use "Ethernet" as it's mode of transport, and select your printer in the Chooser as you normally would.


Karen writes: "I have a Power Mac 6500/275. I use Netscape Communicator as my browser. Recently I downloaded QuickTime 3 in the quest to see the new Star Wars trailer. The trailer came up okay, though quite grainy and tended to stop and start as it ran. A couple of weeks later, I attempted a download of another movie. When I persisted in attempting to access the trailer, I got a broken icon instead. I have searched my drive and located the QuickTime 3. It is there, I can open it and run the samples. Why is it not being accessed when it I attempt to download a movie trailer?"

Karen -- I actually just finished dealing with this problem on my OWN machine (there's that tax deduction!), and many other people have written in about this as well. The problem here is actually in the Netscape preferences. Netscape uses MIME-types to map different file types to different applications. Even though QuickTime registers itself as being able to support the "video/quicktime" MIME-type, Netscape's PREFERENCES also have an option to map the MIME-type, and it's often set to something else, which causes this problem. To change it, first make sure you have the latest version of QuickTime and the QuickTime Plug-in from Apple's web site. Then, go to the Netscape preferences (available in the "Edit" menu) and go the "Applications" section under "Navigator." Here you'll see a big long list of helper "apps" that Netscape uses to handle different types of files. Scroll through until you find "QuickTime Movie" or "video/quicktime." Click once on it, and hit the "Edit" button. Under "Handled By:" choose the "Plug-In" radio button and select the QuickTime Plug-In from the drop down menu. Now try viewing that Star Wars trailer, 'cause it's pretty darn cool!


Babe writes, "I work for a very small school district in Alaska and am faced with trying to develop a plan to "wire" one building to make use of grant dollars.  We have several Power Macs (about 12 ) including a couple PowerBooks and about 5 networkable Windows machines. I have worked with both systems over the years -- many parents express desire to have their kids work on Windows cuz it's a "Windows World" and all that...however with a VERY limited staff and declines in both budget and staffing, my recommendation would be for an Apple Server/Network.  I fear that a Windows NT system would be too complicated to maintain and troubleshoot. Is there no way to include Windows machines on an Apple network if the intent is solely to access/share a 56k circuit to the internet?"

    ...and in the same category...

Andy says, "I just signed up with a cable modem net provider and would like to have all my Macs (on my home ethernet, 10BT) have access. The cable provider wants another $5 per month per additional computer. As I have 5 Macs on my net I would rather set one up as a proxy and let the others see the net through it. What would it take to make a Mac serve as a net proxy?"

For this I wholeheartedly recommend Sustainable Softworks' IPNetRouter. This piece of software will allow you to do exactly as you both have requested and use your Mac as a "router" to access the internet. IPNetRouter does NOT act as a "proxy" server, but instead it uses "IP Masquerading" as it's method of connecting you to the Internet. IP Masquerading is essentially transparent to the client machines, and therefore makes configuration MUCH easier on the administrator. You can see details at IPNetRouter 's web site. The FAQ that they have there is quite extensive and details configuration settings for many different scenarios.


Brenda writes, "I am a graphic artist in Arizona and a novice at my computer. I don't really understand what happens on it, but I do try. I have been having a recurrent problem on my MAC7500 that's just started happening. When I'm in in QuarkXPress and printing a document, by the time the document spools to the printer, I'll get an error message that comes up via Norton saying that the computer cannot process the command because of unmapped memory. Then it asks if I want to Fix, force-quit or restart, and anything I press goes directly into a Finder application conflict bearing the same message. I've tried going through the OS 8.5 manual, and Quark manuals, Mac and Quark Help etc, and even called the place where I bought the memory, but can't find a reason for the problem. Have you ever hear of this? And how can I solve it so I can get back to work?"

I hate to add yet another piece of technology to the "software that Dave loathes" category, but Norton's CrashGuard is unfortunately a long-standing member. I've seen MANY clients (both Macintosh and Windows) that have lots of problems with their machines that CrashGuard happily offers to "fix" for them. They complain of similar situations where the fix doesn't work, and they finally call me for help. In many instances, we've found that disabling CrashGuard entirely reduces the number of crashes they have to begin with. This software attempts to do something quite admirable -- providing "protection" for applications in an operating system that's not entirely protected from the start. That means that CrashGuard needs to "get in between" each program and the operating system, constantly monitoring for any strange behavior and the like. With that, there are BOUND to be some problems, as applications are not written to talk to CrashGuard, they're written to talk to the operating system without any interruption.

That said, I would recommend disabling CrashGuard and seeing how things go. If you are still having problems with Quark, I would recommend increasing it's memory partition by going to the Quark icon in the Finder, going to the File Menu and choosing "Get Info" and choosing the "Memory" sub menu. Increase the "preferred" memory allocation by 2500k or so and see how that goes. You can also choose "Get Info" for your Desktop Printer icon and increase it's memory allocation as well. Quark LOVES more memory, so this should (hopefully) solve any residual problems you may have.


William rants, "The little pointed heads at Apple placed non standard sockets on all the new iMacs. In order to move digital photographs or other very large files quickly, from an older Mac to the iMac a special cabling is required. Most local dealers are unable to provide such cabling, and the one that does wants over a hundred dollars to provide some sort of a solution. Don't you feel that since Apple created the problem they should be willing to provides the necessary cable at a reasonable price?"

Well, in defense of Apple, the sockets here aren't exactly "non-standard", it's just that these are the first Macs to support the "new" standards available to computer users. That said, your problem still remains. The easiest solution to this problem is to connect the two Mac's with something they DO have in common: Ethernet. Most Mac's have built-in Ethernet connectors and, if they don't, you can get one for less than that hundred dollars. If you just need to connect two machines, then you can use a crossover cable. If you want more of them connected, then you'll need a hub (as explained in answer to Deborah's question above). A crossover cable should cost you about $10 at your local computer store and, in most cases, this is all you'll need! Good luck!


Welp, that's it for this column. I guess it's back to that creative financing the IRS calls "tax preparation." If you have tax problems, consult an accountant, but if you need a Mac question answered, Ask Dave!

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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