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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...

Mega Networking, OS 8.5 On Umax Clones, Recording, and Roadrunner
May 20th, 1999

Greetings, folks! As usual, we have a slew of new questions to be answered this week, and we get to do some digging that turns up interesting results for both SuperMac and iMac owners. In addition to that, we discuss the nuances of networking a mixed-operating system environment and connecting it to the Internet. We've also got an update to l ast week's piece about OS 8.6 and the RoadRunner cable modem service. If you have a question of your own, feel free to e-mail it to me and we'll get you fixed up quick... but for now... read on...

Ian writes in with a few questions in regards to his network:

"I have some Macs (iMac, PM G3 and an old P6300) and a couple of Wintel boxes (P166MMX and P133), all of which I want to "network." The Wintel are presently networked via coax, but they have those RJ-45 (?) plugs. The P6300 has nothing. What to do?"

    Dave Says: Farallon has a 10Base- T card (with an RJ-45 jack) that will plug into the Communications Slot on your Performa 6300. With that, all three machines will be on the same network. Please see previous columns for information on using Miramar System's PC MacLan Connect or Thursby Software's DAVE to actually get them to talk to one another.

"I am planning to have at least 3 machines (iMac, PM G3 and P166MMX) connect to the Internet via ADSL. The package includes the DSL modem. Do I need 3 IP addresses and/or a router?"

Dave Says: Well, you'll need 3 IP addresses OR a router, that's for sure, and you'll definitely need a hub -- a device that connects all your 10Base-T networked computers together. If you get 3 IP addresses, chances are that your ADSL "modem" will plug into your hub and you'll be all set. However, if you want to just buy ONE IP address and let all the computers "share" it, you'll need a product that supports a protocol called IP Masquerading -- essentially letting you use one IP address for a multitude of computers. Check out IPNetRouter from Sustainable Softworks for information.

"I've been FORCED to use AutoCAD R14 on win95 and have been thinking about running it on a far more superior platform. And, who knows, maybe I'll start replacing the crash-prone Wintel at the office with iMacs running AutoCAD on emulation! What a wonderful world that would be! How do you think I should start this 'revolution?'"

Dave Says: Well, I hate to be the one to say this, especially being a Mac-fanatic and all, but I just don't think AutoCAD is quite the right application to use to start your revolution. You see, the emulation software is all fine and good for occasional usage. However, if you need to work on a PC application ALL day long, then you need to run it on a PC. It's that simple. I know I'll probably get some hate mail over this, but it's true. SoftWindows and VirtualP C-- as much as we owe credit to their accomplishments -- just aren't up to the task of making your Mac act like a PC 95% of the time. It's just not practical. Sorry!

Steven writes, "My parents have my 'old' UMAX SuperMac C600/240 and it frightens me every time I think about them wanting to upgrade to a newer system software. I bought the computer as a long-time Macintosh faithful person and it is the first time I've ever experienced being 'left out in the cold' by Apple. There is very little support left on the official UMAX site, and I'm wondering if my folks could experience the joy of System 8.5 (or 8.6) on that machine. I know Apple would prefer that we just buy another iMac, and no system higher than 8.0 (which is running now) is supported by anyone, but is it possible to load a newer operating system on there without the world collapsing?"

Dave Says: I did a little digging on the UMAX web site, and turned up a section devoted to running MacOS 8.5.x on the "old" SuperMac Machines. Their recommendations, of course, are that you NOT do it, since it's officially supported by no one (not even me!), but after their big legal disclaimer, they pretty much say it'll work no problem. They do recommend that you have at least 24MB of RAM before you consider it, and I'd bump that number up to 64, actually, based on my experiences with OS 8.5 (and 8.6). That said, rock on, brother!

Wayne writes, "This is sort of particular, but the solution is important to me. I am currently running a small Mac network, including a Rev. A iMac. We recently purchased a USB CDRW (Sony Supressa) to use mostly for backup purposes, as well as digital audio recording. I am involved with a group that records new material (musical and speeches) in analog format (standard audio cassettes made from live performances as recorded on a mid-level cassette deck with a 12 channel audio sound board). I would like to be able to record in analog on site (away from my Macs) and take that analog cassette and "translate" the data to digital format in order to burn CD's which can then be used in any standard CD Audio player. Obviously, I need some device to perform this translation. How do I import the analog versions onto my iMac and then convert to digital. Is there some input device for transferring analog audio to a Mac (either USB or SCSI)? What software do I need?"

Dave Says: Hey there, Wayne. At first, I thought I would be answering your question via e-mail, since I, too, didn't think it applied to everyone. However, of ALL the people I asked, "Does the iMac have a sound input port?", ALL of them said, "Oh no." One of them even had an iMac sitting RIGHT next to him at the time (but we won't name any names). In any event, I checked Apple's TIL and came up with an article that talks about the iMac's built-in Microphone and also it's Sound-In port. So, you can, with the right adapter from Radio Shack, plug your cassette deck into the iMac's Sound-In port and record. The port is a stereo, mini headphone-type jack, so if you are coming from a monophonic source, make sure that your adapter will support this.

As far as software goes, it depends on what you want to do with it. Peak, from Bias, Inc., will allow you to record, edit, master, and burn your audio out to CD. There are other, shareware programs out there that will let you record as well, but Peak is probably what you want to use to maximize your quality.

DHCP and MacOS 8.6 Update

Last week I reported that you needed to use the TCP/IP options Control Panel to set DHCP for proper operation with Time Warner's RoadRunner Cable Modem Service. With a lot more digging (but no reader feedback, surprisingly), it turns out that this is NOT what you want to do. According to some discussion on the internal RoadRunner newsgroups, the TCP/IP Options Control Panel allows you to set TCP/IP BACK to the way it was in OS 8.5 (which means that it DOESN'T work with RoadRunner). So, if you're running the TCP/IP Options Control Panel, (found in the Open Transport Extras), you want to make sure that "Don't retain DHCP Lease on shutdown" is NOT checked. Again, that will cause it to revert back to the way it was in OS 85, which, according to RoadRunner, is "broken."

That's it for now, folks. If you're weary, feeling small, and have tears are in your eyes, I'll dry them all. Just e-mail your questions to me, and I'll answer them... after all, I'm on your side. :-)

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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