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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...

RAM, USB Gaming Options, & Mac/PC Networking
December 24th, 1999

Good day, folks! Today we're here to discuss RAM options in our current sea of fluctuating RAM prices, USB gaming options on older Mac's, and once again we investigate the nuances of sharing a network between Mac's and PC's. If you have a question of your own, you can visit the Ask Dave Forums, or you can e-mail me directly. And now, on to your questions!

David Fetterman writes, "Hi Dave! Pardon me if this is a silly question, but it's something that's been on my mind as RAM prices have fluctuated recently. I've got a beige G3 233 DT with 96 MB of RAM installed. Now, I know that my G3 has three slots for RAM, two of which are being used by a 32 MB (factory installed) and a 64 MB DIMM. I know that interleaving has no effect on this computer, so I'm wondering if there's any reasons for getting another 64 MB DIMM, as opposed to shelling out more money for a 128 MB one. I can justify spending the $80 or so for a smaller RAM increase rather than the $160 for a big jump."

David -- yes, you certainly can upgrade either way as you mentioned. With RAM prices coming down, though, I would recommend looking toward a 128MB chip. Think about it -- if you want to upgrade after you put this chip in, you'll HAVE to remove a chip to do so (probably your 32). Bang for your buck, the 128 will take you further, and in this day and age, you certainly won't mind having the extra RAM!! You'll use it, for sure!

Andrea Nicoli, italian student writes, "How can I set up a local Ethernet network between a Mac and a PC running Windows95? Are there any programs that I need? Are they downloadable from the net?"

I *finally* understand how FAQ lists came about! This question gets asked almost every week, and I keep answering it every now and again because it's obvious people want to know how this works!

As I've said in the past, you have two ways to go with your network here -- You can make the Mac "talk" the PC's networking protocols, or you can make the PC "talk" the Mac's networking protocols. If you've only got one of each machine, it doesn't really make a difference which you choose. However, if you've got many Mac's and just one PC, then it's easier to change the PC rather than changing many Mac's.

That said, for our first solution, you can get PC MacLan Connect from Miramar Systems. It is software that you install on your Windows-based PC that lets it talk on a network as though it were a Mac. You can connect to and use files shared on other Macs (including dedicated AppleShare IP servers), and you can share files of your own with Mac users. Setup is a little quirky at times, but once it's up and running, things work pretty smoothly.

If you want to make your Mac talk Windows' protocols, however, you can go with DAVE from Thursby Systems. This software is a combination of a small application and Chooser extension that effectively give your Mac the ability to talk "Client for Microsoft Networks" over TCP/IP. Just as with PC MacLan Connect, this lets you both act as a server sharing your files and a client accessing files that other Mac (and PC MacLan) users have shared. It's fast, it supports OS 9's Keychain, and there's a demo available online.

Ryan Lundin writes, "Recently I bought an Entrega 4-port USB PCI card, along with a Gravis Gamepad Pro USB to go with it. In the games I've tried (Bugdom, Tomb Raider 2 demo, Future Cop: L.A.P.D., the controller hasn't worked. I've downloaded the latest USB card drivers (1.3.5.), and still no luck. When I look in the Apple System Profiler, the computer (G3 Beige 300) is definitely recognizing the USB card AND the gamepad connected to it. There are no native drivers available for the card itself on the Entrega home page, and nothing came with the card... so i'm assuming it doesn't need native drivers, just the Apple ones."

Ah.. There is an important distinction to make here. You've got it half right -- you're using the Apple USB card drivers for your card, but you need drivers for the Gamepad Pro USB, too. Once you have them, you should be good to go. One thing, however, the "ReadMe" for those drivers mentions that it only works with Input Sprockets, so games will need to support Input Sprockets (and you'll need them installed as well) to make it all work properly. If you're playing a game without Sprocket support, it won't be able to use your Gamepad at all.

That's it for this week folks. Tune in next time for more juicy tidbits, and e-mail your questions to [email protected]

P.S. Have a Nice Day and Merry Christmas!

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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