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Ask Dave
by Dave Hamilton

He from whom all Mac knowledge flows...

Modem Scripts, Proxy Servers, Power Losses,and an AutoCAD Update
May 27th, 1999

Good day, and welcome! This week we have all sorts of juicy stuff for you ranging from modem scripts to proxy servers, a bit about restarting your Mac after a power loss, and an update to our AutoCAD discussion from last week. Read on and enjoy! Of course, if you have a question of your own, feel free to ask away, and I'll do what I can to get it solved!

Andy writes, "Every time I connect to the Internet via my 56K modem and ISP, I get the message "Communicating at an unknown speed", where I would expect to see "communicating at 48.8 Kbps" or something like that. I'm using a beige G3 300 minitower, OS 8.6 (happened with 8.5.x too), and a Zoom 56Kx external modem. As far as I remember, this has always happened. Does it have something to do with the protocol, i.e., 56kFlex vs. V.90? My ISP supports both, but I haven't gotten around to upgrading the modem from 56kFlex to V.90 (I actually tried, but Zoom's upgrader is not very easy to use, and I gave up)."

What's happening here is that your dialer (presumably Open Transport PPP, now called "Remote Access" in MacOS 8.6), doesn't have a script that matches your modem. The computer reads the responses it gets from the modem, parses them against this "script," or modem definition file, and then uses that information to report speeds back to you. If the speeds aren't listed in the script, then the dialer just ignores the response and moves on. So the question becomes, "How do I get and install the right Script?"

For your particular modem, you need to go to Zoom's web site and download the "Universal CCL's" file to get the right script. For other modems, has a page on their site that lists resources for obtaining modem scripts, or you can make one with Apple's Modem Script Generator. Once you've obtained or created the proper script, you need to drop it into the "Modem Scripts" folder, which is inside your "Extensions" folder. Then you need to open the "Modem" control panel and choose your script in the drop down menu. With that done, everything should work as planned!

Siraaj writes, "As an IT pro normally I have resources that can answer most questions; however, MacWindows and Microsoft's resources haven't helped me access the World Wide Web from a Mac client through a Windows NT Proxy Server 2.0. Any suggestions would be appreciated."

Siraaj - You're in luck. I happen to have a situation here with a Windows NT Proxy Server 2.0, and was able to test it with both Netscape and Internet Explorer. The trick is that, as far as this proxy server is setup, you can't use SOCKS, you have to use http proxies. To illustrate, I've included screen shots from both Netscape and Internet Explorer here.

This is Netscape's proxy configuration that works with MS Proxy 2.0. Note the lack of anything in the SOCKS host (and, of course, replace "proxy-server" with the address of your proxy server).

The same with Internet Explorer here, just make sure that you replace "proxy-server" with the address of your proxy server.



Arielwrites, "On older Macs (Quadra 900, 950 and WGS 9150) you hav e that funny keylock switch that disables all ADB activity and powers on the computer when left in the secure position. I have a 9600/300 Mac and would like to have it in power on mode so that it will always restarts if there's a power failure. Any ideas?"

Actually, yes. Some digging turned up three products that will let you do this with most Mac's.

Lazarus, from Kernel Productions, and PowerKey Pro, from Sophisticated Circuits will both restart a Mac after a power failure. Both products are a combination of software and a device that connects to your computer's ADB port. In addition to restarting after a power loss, they both offer crash protection that keeps your Mac running (or, if need be, reboots it) in the event of an application or operating system crash. Very handy for servers and the like.

There is another product, MacCoach, available for sale in the U.S. from STF Technologies, but no one over there could give me a firm answer as to whether or not their product would restart the machine after a power loss.


AutoCAD R14 and Mac Update

L ast week I answered a reader's question about AutoCAD and Macintosh compatibility. Being that AutoCAD R14 is only available for Windows, I suggested that the user not use an emulation program, and instead just run AutoCAD on the PC. This elicited many responses, but the two included here stood out as excellent alternatives to my solution.

Arthur writes, "For the gentleman forced to use AutoCAD R14 on win95, instead of running it on a Mac using an emulation package, he would be miles ahead using one of the more powerful CAD applications available in native form on the macintosh platform. Two that we use in our office for CAD work are Ashlar's Vellum 3D, and another package called ArchiCAD. Both of these package dance circles around AutoCAD in terms of flexibility, efficiency, and power, and can convert files back and forth in dxf or dwg formats for the poor souls that are stuck using AutoCAD."

This solution may work well for many people. Being able to use the DXF or DWG formats will allow Mac users to exchange documents with AutoCAD users and yet still work on their Mac's at full speed. The problems here are that it requires the company invest in yet another CAD package and it introduces support problems if the Mac users aren't fully "self-sufficient."

Woody writes, "As a Mac User I was faced with the same problems that your reader had sent you about Autocad14. I tried the emulators and they are sluggish and crashes no matter how much ram ( 500+ ) you assigned to the program. You also do not get the advantages of the hardware designed for CAD. I also had tried pc cards on my mac and found that cad just did not work out on them either.

I found a nice work around for the 4-5 programs I have to use on the the Zeon-1meg based NT 4.0 SP4 with a Intergraph 4000 video card and 512. I installed netopia Timbuktu Pro 32 on the NT Machine along with a copy on the Mac. Each are connected to an Intel 100 switch via 100 adapters. I have a Mactell and Radius video cards in my NewerTech Accelerated 9600 Mac 8.6. I switch to the HD 15 switch on the Sony Monitor and fire up the NT station log-on and the Switch to the BNC connected to the Radius Card. Once the mac is up and running, I now have dual monitors( Side by Side) set up and I take control of the NT workstation via Timbuktu TCP/IP. I have just a little lag in the mouse, but I have learned to live with that. Autocad runs smoothly and at normal speeds for anything I am drawing.

The only problem I was having was switching back and forth between the TCP/IP settings for remote access. I fixed the problem by using the PC to do any Web surfing or Emailing since NT can log into my TCP/IP network and the internet without having to change any settings. My Mac hits our NT server via Dave Client so I do not use Timbuktu for file transfer.

Yes I know this system is more expensive than an emulator, but if you are running programs of this nature in a networked environment, the only real things that you need to buy are the software packages for this setup. Hope this may help your reader who wants to run Autocad on his MAC, tell him he now has the power of both worlds from 2 monitors and 1 keyboard and trackball."

This solution, albeit a bit complex to configure, sounds like a very viable option. Not only does it keep consistency with the rest of the company (since AutoCAD is still the running application), but it also allows you to stay on the Mac. One thing to keep in mind is that this solution will work for more than just AutoCAD users. The ability to be able to take control of a PC with Timbuktu is a fantastic alternative to putting one on your desk!

That's it for this week folks. E-mail me your questions, and I'll answer 'em right here next time!

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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