Mac 911

As easy as the Mac is to use, there are times when you get so frustrated by seemingly arbitrary limitations—a cable modem that won’t work with your network, Internet Explorer cookies that refuse to be deleted, or a beloved keyboard command changed to satisfy the perverse fancy of an Apple executive—that you’re ready to return to pencil, paper, and slide rule. But don’t give up on your Mac. Read on and relax.

Cable Capers

My home network uses a router with three Macs, a PC, and two laser printers. My cable provider allows multiple connections via networking to the Internet over broadband. This worked well under OS 9. I recently moved to OS X, and my connection to the Web is sporadic when I turn on Internet Sharing. Can you help?

Christopher Smith

Your networking setup is doing double duty. OS X’s Internet Sharing is intended for connections that don’t include a router. In a setup without a router, the host Mac (the one directly connected to your cable modem) handles the routing for you, directing traffic for other Macs on the network.

Because you already have a device for routing network traffic, you don’t need Internet Sharing. Instead, switch it off, and configure your router to accept connections to the Web via its WAN (wide area network) port and to distribute IP addresses across your network through its LAN (local area network) port.

By the way, you may find that your cable modem has glommed on to the unique hardware address (called the Media Access Control, or MAC, address) of a device other than your router. If so, pull the power cable from the modem, to reset it, and then plug it into the router, to grab the router’s MAC address. If that doesn’t work (some modems resist this technique), clone the MAC address from the device the modem used to plug into (your Mac, for example) to the router. You’ll find instructions for doing this in your router’s documentation or on the router maker’s Web site.

Out, Damned Cookies

Since upgrading from Jaguar to Panther, I haven’t been able to delete all Internet Explorer (IE) cookies. When I reopen IE’s Preferences, the cookies are still there. What gives?

Via the Internet

It’s a bug, and an annoying one at that. The obvious solution is to move to a browser that doesn’t have this problem. If, however, you prefer IE above all others, turn to a third-party utility for help. You can configure M. Atmani’s $10 Cookie Dog 2.0 to flush cookies from five browsers—Internet Explorer, Safari, Mozilla/Netscape 7, Camino, and OmniWeb—when you log in. Or try Aladdin Systems’ $30 Internet Cleanup, which includes Cookie Tosser, a utility that will put an end to any browser’s cookies.

Drive Details

I have a 350MHz iMac and want to replace the hard drive with a roomier one. What kind of hard drive is compatible?

Geoffrey Garrett

Your iMac, like all desktop Macs, takes a 3.5-inch ATA/EIDE drive. iMacs with CRTs included 5,400-rpm drives, and, because of heat issues, Apple recommends that you replace the original drive with another 5,400-rpm drive. But I can tell you that lots of people have put 7,200-rpm drives into their iMacs without their computers igniting.

You may find drives that boast Ultra ATA/133 performance. Although your iMac didn’t ship with this kind of drive, Ultra ATA/133 drives work well in it. Just keep an eye on drive size. The CRT iMacs will recognize only 128GB of storage, so there’s no reason to pay for a drive with greater capacity.

And while we’re on the subject of replacing iMac drives, those of you with 333MHz or slower iMacs must partition a new drive so the first partition is no larger than 8GB. Once you’ve partitioned the drive, you must install OS X in that first 8GB-or-smaller partition.

I, QuickTime

I just watched a trailer for the movie I, Robot. The viewer is like a miniature Web site inside a QuickTime movie. Can I make something similar with QuickTime?

Todd Damotte

One of the coolest—yet most underused—features of QuickTime is its ability to display skins. If you have QuickTime Pro ($30), open the I, Robot movie trailer and press Command-J to reveal the Properties window. Click on the first pop-up menu, and you’ll see that the movie contains nine separate tracks: three video tracks, three soundtracks, a sprite track, a skin track, and a Flash-based video track. To better understand what these tracks do, choose Enable Tracks from QuickTime Player’s Edit menu and switch tracks off and on.

For a QuickTime skin tutorial, go to Apple's QuickTime Web site.

From Here to There (and Back)

How do I network a Windows PC with Mac OS X 10.3.3? I have only a regular network cable and a crossover cable.

Greg Rusher

At the risk of sullying these pages with instructions for mucking with a PC, I’ll show you how to connect your Mac to a computer running Windows XP Home Edition.

Use Windows’ Help and Support (found in the Start menu) to learn how to install the proper network protocol (TCP/IP in this case) so your network interface card works with an Ethernet connection. Now string that crossover cable between your Mac and PC.

To share a folder on the PC, right-click on the desktop, select New from the resulting contextual menu, and then select Folder from its submenu. Name the folder, using 12 or fewer characters. Right-click on the folder and select Network And Sharing from the contextual menu. In the window that appears, enable the Share This Folder On The Network option and, if you want to change files in the shared folder, enable the Allow Network Users To Change My Files option.

To view this folder from your Mac, select Connect To Server from the Finder’s Go menu. Click on Browse. In the resulting Network window, double-click on the folder with the name of your Windows workgroup (likely called MSHOME or WORKGROUP). Inside this folder, you’ll see an icon with the name of your PC. Double-click on this icon and an SMB Mount window will appear. Select the name of your shared folder from the window’s pop-up menu, and click on OK. That folder will appear on your Mac’s desktop as a networked volume.

New New Folder

Although I’m happy that Panther includes a way to customize keyboard shortcuts, I haven’t been able to switch existing shortcuts. For example, I’d like to switch the Finder’s commands for New Folder and New Finder Window to Command-N for New Folder and Command-shift-N for New Finder Window. Can I do this?

Max Schwarz

Just download a copy of DJ Gamble Software’s free N Commander. Run the app, and it will reverse the New Folder and New Finder Window keyboard commands (see “The New Switcheroo”).

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