Editor’s Note: Because of scheduling conflicts in early January, Ask Dr. Mac #59 wasn’t posted in sequence.
Last column, reader Wayne Schwartz wanted to know how to put custom icons on CDs he burns with Toast. Unfortunately, I couldn’t try it here as I’m between CD-R burners — I sold my SCSI burner and am currently looking for a FireWire CD-RW to replace it. So I asked you, gentle reader, for help. And help is what I received, in abundance. I must have gotten at least 40 e-mails explaining several equally useful ways do it. Here are a few of the best.
Brian MacManus suggests using a 649MB hard disk partition exclusively for burning CDs, not a bad idea in any event:
About how to add custom icons to a CD you are going to burn. Most folks who are using burners partition their hard drive so that one of the partitions is 649 megabytes in size, then copy the source material to burn to this volume, name it the way you want, and then get info on the volume ( command I ) and paste the icon you want in the icon square. Voila! You will now get the Icon on the burned CD. Then select the 649 megabyte volume and select erase disk from the special menu, and you're ready for your next mastering session.
Ed Waltz suggests using Toast’s Temporary Partition feature:
1) Use Toast's "Create Temporary Partition" option to create a "copy-from" volume large enough to hold the files.
2) Copy the files to that volume.
3) Toast supplies a very ugly drive icon for that volume. Simply Copy/ Paste in the Get Info windows -- or use a tool like Icon Tools -- to replace the volume's icon with any icon you choose.
4) Create the CD using the 'Volume Copy' option. When the CD is created, it will have the volume's new icon.
Finally, Craig Nelson proposes what may be the easiest way of all:
Put everything you want to burn into a folder; make that folder's icon what you want through the get info window; drag the folder onto toast.
So there you go — three ways to burn a CD with a custom icon, all equally useful and well-explained. Thanks to everyone who wrote; I’m sure Wayne appreciates it.
I also mentioned a strange problem I was having. My monitor refused to wake up from sleep so I asked if any of you had ideas. Again, I received many replies but one in particular did the trick for me; one from Michael J Johnson, who wrote:
I've had this happen on a client's G3 B & W with a 17" Apple Studio Display. Believe it or not, after trying all of the usual things, such as those you mentioned, I was able to trace the problem to the power cord's connection to the G3. After fiddling with it, unplugging, re-plugging, etc. I was able to finally seat it in there just right and the monitor would respond properly again. Over the past year, this has happened 2-3 times and every time, this was the only thing that would fix it. The machine doesn't get moved a lot, but it seems that a little jiggling over the course of several months causes the plug to move just enough to display this symptom. Other than not waking from sleep, the monitor seems normal when this happens, and as you mentioned turning it off and back on would wake it right up. I don't know if this could be the cause on your G4, but it sounds like identical symptoms to me.
That did the trick. If I plug the monitor into any power source
my G4, I don’t have a sleep issue. So far it works perfectly every time. And so, if you’re having a monitor/sleep issue, my advice is to try plugging the monitor into something other than your computer.
In our last piece of old business, Dennis A Olearchik had some questions about upgrading his G3 with a Sonnet Tempo card last column.
David A. Bohte has apparently performed a similar surgery successfully. Here are his suggestions:
I also have a Rev 1 blue G3, which is a bag of snakes to work on, because Apple used an IDE controller that can only handle one drive, and worse, the controller won't handle some of the newer, faster drives without an anomaly called "data contamination" occurring. (See XLR8yourmac web site for extensive info on this.) Further, the Rev 1 doesn't come with the existing drive mounted in an inverted "U-bracket", which would have allowed the stacking of a second drive above the provided one.
Dennis said he wants to move his existing drive to the center position, but on a Rev 1 he's going to have to remove the whole CPU "bed" (the whole lower plate) in order to stick screws in it from underneath, as there's no mounting bracket in the center position. Further, I doubt that the provided cable will reach that far.
I have the same system and wanted to accomplish the same end as Dennis. Here's what I did: Leave the old drive where it is in the back bay. Put your Sonnet Tempo PCI card in the nearest PCI slot so the cables will reach. Put your new drive in the front bay (or the left-most when you have the side open). If the Sonnet card is in the nearest PCI slot, the cable will reach it. I put in a 7200rpm IBM Deskstar, and it works just fine with the Sonnet Tempo controller. This way you don't have to connect your old drive to the Sonnet Tempo at all, and by leaving it undisturbed, you have a better chance of the whole setup working with Mac OS X.
By the way, Sonnet has a note in their manual that comes with the Tempo card, that says that when Mac OS X gets finalized, they will issue a downloadable firmware flash so the Tempo can "play nice" with Mac OS X. We hope so.
These problems with the Rev 1 Blue G3 were all fixed with the Rev 2 models, but those of us stuck with Rev 1 CPUs have to waste a PCI slot in order to have an IDE controller (i.e. the Tempo) that can handle more than one drive, and also, faster drives. But at least we have that solution. Good luck, Dennis. It CAN be made to work!
Whew. I didn’t realize all of that was necessary. Makes me thankful I have a G4 now. 🙂
And last, but certainly not least, Neal McAuley, a Sonnet Customer Service dude, had some additional advice about Dennis’s upgrade:
You might want to mention that the Tempo card won't work under OS X or LinuxPPC 2000 so Dennis would want to put those partitions on the drive not attached to the Tempo card. Acard -- the guys who actually manufacture the Tempo card for us -- is working on this compatibility but I don't know where they stand on it.
Moving right along, Ed Bunyan has questions about UNIX and OS X:
I have a UNIX for Dummies book from back when I thought I might explore UNIX. Are the commands used in UNIX the same I would use in the OS X command line or do I need to get another text (no problem). While I'm at it, is the language the same as Linux uses?
Also will you be coming out with a OS X for Dummies? If so I can't wait to get my copy.
As best I can tell so far, most of the “generic” UNIX books work quite well with Mac OS X’s Terminal program. So while not everything in your UNIX For Dummies book is likely to work, much of it will.
As to your second question, most “flavors” of UNIX use the same set of commands at the command line. So, on almost any UNIX system, typing “ls” will list files in the current directory, typing “cd” will change the current directory, typing “vi” will start the vi editor, and so on. But each “flavor” (i.e. Linux, BSD, SCO, Solaris, etc.) may also have other commands exclusive to it.
So far I’ve found most of the stuff in the book
bought (UNIX Visual QuickStart Guide by Deborah and Eric Ray from Peachpit Press) works with OS X. And, I suspect it won’t be long before you see UNIX books specifically for Mac OS X users.
Finally, I’m hard at work on OS X For Dummies (with my fearless co-author Shelly Brisbin, of MacUser fame). It should be out not long after OS X ships. (Don’t ask when that will be. I honestly haven’t a clue.) Alas, as it’s a Dummies book, there’s very little UNIX in it.
And now for something completely different from Greg Pollari:
I have no qualms about dishing out praises for your Dr. Mac column: it's fun and informative!
Can you shed some light on why RAM prices vary so much? For 128 MB PC100 RAM, I've seen prices from $52.39 to $62.50 to $82.95. Everybody says lifetime warranty. How come there's so much variation?
Thanks a ton, and keep the advice coming!
Thanks for the kind words. I appreciate them.
RAM has become a commodity like gasoline, flour, and so many other things. Its price each week is dependant on supply and demand.
Some vendors lock in RAM prices by contract months (or years) in advance. When prices are rising, this allows them to sell their RAM cheaper than other vendors. But when prices are falling, it works the other way — they may be stuck with RAM that cost them more than what they could buy it for on the spot market today.
Which is why some vendors buy their RAM weekly on the spot market. If prices are falling rapidly, these guys will probably have the cheapest RAM.
The best advice I can give you is to buy from a reputable dealer and use a credit card in case there’s a problem.
By the way, if a RAM chip works when you install it, chances are it’ll never give you a minute of trouble. Which is probably why so many vendors are willing to offer “lifetime warranties” on RAM.
Last but not least (at least for this column), George Simpson wants to know about tape vs. DVD-RAM vs. CD-R for backups:
I was reading
your line on DVD-RAM drives
and using them as back up.
I didn't see what you thought about tape backups. What do you think? I am looking for a unattended back up.
I have a CD burner now but having to reboot with the extensions off can be a hassle.
I have also heard about some CD's not working after a while. I thought they were good until I was gone from this earth. Have you heard anything like that?
The answer is: I’m not sure there is one. My experience has been that almost any media can “go bad” after years of storage. I’ve had several DAT tapes deteriorate to the point where they weren’t usable, even though they’d been stored properly for several years. And it’s a well-documented fact that some brands of CD-R don’t last more than a year or two before they start to deteriorate. DVD-RAM is too new to tell, which is why I recommend multiple backups regardless of what media you use.
Anyway, I am satisfied with my DVD-RAM as a backup device, at least so far (I’ve had it a few months). DVD-RAM disks hold up to 2.6GB per-side, so most of my incremental backups can take place unattended. Backup speed using Retrospect is roughly the same as DAT tape (maybe a bit slower depending on file size), but restoring files is faster.
For what it’s worth, in addition to two DVD-RAM backups (one kept off site and rotated once a week), I also use Retrospect to back up my entire drive to a VST pocket drive (an external FireWire hard drive the size of a deck of cards) once or twice a week. I go to dinner; when I’m done, so is Retrospect. This backup is the fastest way to restore a file or files unless the file is so new it’s not in the FireWire backup set yet. And the drive is so tiny I can take it anywhere and it’s no bother.
Anyway, I had a DAT tape backup system before DVD-RAM. Other than a couple of tapes failing (out a hundred or more I used over the past five years), and having to replace my tape drive twice, I had no problem with tape.
The advantage of tape is inexpensive media — 10 or 20GB for around $10. Its disadvantage is that you can’t mount a tape on the desktop, and restoring a bunch of small files can take a long time.
With DVD-RAM the media is somewhat more expensive but I don’t really use that many disks (a total of 6 discs for backups, rotated regularly). Plus, you can mount a DVD-RAM disk on the desktop and use it like an extra 2.6GB hard drive. Finally, restoring a file or bunch of files from DVD is much quicker than restoring them from tape.
One final word: My understanding is that the next generation of DVD-RAM drives will be capable of burning several formats in addition to DVD-RAM. In other words, the same device will also be able to burn CD-R, CD-RW, and possibly audio CDs. I can’t wait — that’s exactly the device I want! Next. For now I’m quite happy with the Apple DVD-RAM drive.
Darn. We’ve run out of electrons, but never fear — I’ll be back in two weeks with more titillating Q & A fun, tips, hints, and advice. In the meantime, please keep those e-mails coming to
Bob LeVitus is a leading authority on the Mac OS and the author of 36 books including “Mac OS 9 For Dummies,” “Macworld Microsoft Office 2001 Bible,” and “Mac Answers: Second Edition.” E-mail questions or comments to email@example.com.
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