Proving that one can't know everything about the Macintosh, I begin this month's column by asking a group of benevolent strangers for assistance with a little AirPort-related problem of my own. And to demonstrate that I'm not wholly bereft of solutions, I offer answers to questions regarding pasting graphics into Microsoft Word tables, segmenting large files, and conserving an ink-jet printer's ink.
Recently I posted a question on the Mac 911 Troubleshooting forum. I asked its visitors to provide information on using an AirPort-less Mac to access the Internet over an AirPort network-but my problem wasn't so much getting on to the Web (Macs on an Ethernet network can access the Web via an AirPort Base Station). Rather, I wanted to know how to easily terminate my connection from that AirPort-less Mac.
For those of you who've read the previous paragraph six times and still have no idea what I'm talking about, here's a little insight. To connect an Ethernet-networked Mac through an AirPort Base Station to the Web, you wire your network this way: Using standard Cat 5 Ethernet cable, connect an AirPort Base Station and the non-AirPort-equipped Mac to an Ethernet hub. Run a phone line from the Base Station's modem port to a phone jack. In the Network window of the AirPort Admin Utility application, configure AirPort to share a single IP address using DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol), and select both of these bridging options: Enable DHCP Server On Ethernet, and Enable AirPort To Ethernet Bridging (see "AirPort Connection"). With this setup, any time you check your e-mail or fire up a browser on your Mac, you'll initiate a dial-up connection through the Base Station.
That's all well and good, but there's a catch: you can't easily break the dial-up connection from the Mac. That's because you can't run the AirPort software, which supplies a disconnect button, if your Mac doesn't have an AirPort card. (I know someone's going to suggest it, but no, I don't care to wait for a period of inactivity to terminate the connection.)
Happily, the solution is easier to explain than the problem. Damien Barrett, a visitor to the Troubleshooting forum, recommended Larry Rosenstein's free AirPort Modem Utility, which allows you to initiate or terminate a dial-up connection simply by clicking on the utility's Connect or Disconnect button. And its small window displays the Base Station's IP address and connection status.
An e-mail message from reader Chong Chee Nian incidentally points up yet another way in which Microsoft Word 2001 is superior to Word 98. Mr. Chong attempted to paste pictures into table cells in a Word 98 document and discovered that the graphics appeared outside the table, rather than within the cell.
The simple, though costly, answer to this problem is to upgrade to Word 2001, which pastes graphics into a cell as you'd expect. Performing this trick in Word 98 takes a bit more effort:
With a picture ready to paste, click inside a cell and choose Paste Special from Word 98's Edit menu. In the dialog box that appears, select Picture and deselect the Float Over Text option. Click on OK, and the picture appears within the cell.
A user known to me only as MacManiac asks how to segment a very large file across several Zip disks on-the-cheap. Although Aladdin Systems' StuffIt Deluxe ($80; 800/732-8881, www.aladdinsys.com )-and its accompanying drag-and-drop application, DropSegment-is my segmenting software of choice, as a die-hard penny-pincher, I respect this maniac's desire to use something less expensive.
That something is also available from Aladdin Systems-StuffIt Lite. This $30 application allows you to chunk your files into any size you like by choosing Segmenting from the Translate menu. You can try it yourself after downloading the demo version from Aladdin's Web site.
But if you're a real cheapskate, you'll opt for Apple's free Disk Copy Scripts ( http://asu.info.apple.com/ ). This collection of add-on AppleScripts contains the Segment Image script that lets you divide image files into bite-size bits. To use it, simply place the Segment Image script into the Scripts folder inside the folder on your Mac containing Disk Copy (by default, Disk Copy is in the Utilities folder). Now drag the file you want to segment into a new folder. Launch Disk Copy, and then create an image file for the new folder that contains your original file by selecting Create Image From Folder in the Image menu.
Next, choose Segment Image from the Scripts menu and indicate whether you'd like to segment by size or number of parts. In the resulting Open dialog box, select the image file you just created, click on OK, and choose a location for the segmented files in the Save dialog box that appears. Now stand back while Disk Copy verifies and segments your file.
Finally, my loving wife happened to mention that it is awfully wasteful to replace an entire color ink-jet cartridge simply because one has consumed a single hue. She tolerated my explanation that this is a plot by the printer manufacturers to sell costly supplies (after all, the profit lies in the consumables, not the printers). But she felt it necessary to nudge me with "And how exactly does that address my problem, Mr. Mac 911?"
After some hemming, hawing, and throat clearing I suggested that she contact InkSite (877/465-7483, www.inksite.com ) to inquire about its refillable ink cartridges. Designed to work with today's most popular ink-jet printers, these cartridges cost a fraction of the price of those sold by printer manufacturers. They can be refilled with ink available from InkSite, and despite implied threats to the contrary, using them shouldn't void your printer's warranty.
Contributing Editor CHRISTOPHER BREEN is a coauthor of the brand-spanking-new My iMac , second edition (2001, IDG Books Worldwide). Share tips and discuss Mac problems with other Mac users in the Mac 911 Forum ( www.macworld.com/subject/mac911 ). Also send tips by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. We pay $50 for tips selected for publication in Macworld . All published submissions become the sole property of Macworld .
Shareware and freeware mentioned in Mac 911 are available from ZDNet's Macdownload.com ( www.macdownload.com ).