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Accelerate Your Mac! News Archive for: 2/7/2001 Wednesday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

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Top stories of Feb. 7th, 2001:

Reader Fix/Tips for PowerBook G4 DVD Drive Problem:
In yesterday's news I noted a reader reported a DVD drive problem with his new PB G4. He just wrote with a fix and tip for other owners that might see the same thing.

" Hi Mike:
Here's an update on the DVD Rom drive failure. (it's now fixed)

It's an alignment problem with the drive itself in the case. Because it is slot-loading, it's critical that the slot line up exactly with the opening in the case. My drive had moved up slightly, about the thickness of a business card, which was enough to prevent the CD from ejecting.

There are several different fixes recommended by the Apple Service techs, depending on whether the CD or DVD is mounted. The first is try powerkey and hold down the trackpad clicker to force eject; if that doesn't work, the next step is (while pushing F12 - eject disk) to slide a stiff business card into the slot at a slight up angle so it rests on top of the stuck disk. That should be enough to move the disk down and then out.

The last resort, before you send it into Apple, is to physically move the drive itself up slightly. This was accomplished by taking the bottom of the case off and prying the left side of the drive case up a little. There seems to be about 1/16 inch wiggle room for the drive. This is what I had to do. After placing the bottom case back on, flipping it over, plugging in AC, then hitting the power key, the disk immediately ejected. I will be sending it in to Apple so that they can precisely align the drive, but for now it is usable.

Since the movement is so small, I would expect other new TiBook owners might experience a stuck disk too.

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BlueChip PowerBook CPU Upgrade Stability Tip:
Since I posted my review of the BlueChip G3/500 upgrade, several BlueChip G3/500 owners wrote to say that reducing the cache speed also helped stability but that another tip that helped was disabling "Speculative Access" using the Powerlogix Cache Profiler (which I used to reduce cache speed). Frank Bernier was the last owner to write and noted it also helped with his BlueChip G3/466 upgrade. One reader noted that in apps tests that disabling Speculative Access had slightly less impact on performance than reducing cache speed, although both have a minor effect usually on real world applications.

Bob Friede also just wrote that disabling Speculative Access fixed a problem with his VST Expansion bay ZIP drive, where it would freeze on insertion with Speculative Access enabled.

I had assumed the cache speed issues with the review loaner were due to the chips on that particular sample, but now I'm not so sure after the recent reports. I have already added the cache speed and Speculative Access tip to the FAQ's PowerBook and CPU upgrades section for future reference.

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PowerBook G4 Owner Reports Waking from Sleep Display Problem:
A PowerBook G4 owner reported:

" Hi Mike-
Had a strange problem with my G4 pb - received it on Wednesday and didn't get to play till Saturday. When waking it from sleep, the screen went nuts - horizontal lines that migrated and made the screen completely unreadable.

After messing around awhile, I was convinced it was a hardware problem (remember broken ribbon cables?) so I called Apple. The very friendly support person walked me through the startup manager, (didn't know about that) and finally had me run the software restore which wasn't a problem since I had yet to install anything. Worked great. Kind of scary, something on the hard drive corrupted - could be the rom-in-ram. Anyway, working great now, hope it was an anomaly.
Hugh "

I welcome other PB G4 owner feedback.

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More Comments on Starband 2-Way Satellite Modem Ethernet Hack for Macs:
A reader replied to Yesterday's news post on the Ethernet hack to allow Mac support.

"Starband Satmodem
As an installer of this sat modem, and former Echostar employee, Starband insists that the ethernet port is temporary and will only appear on early models of the Satmodem. That would the model 180. The model (last I heard it was called 360) will not have an ethernet port, but will only have USB. Starband claims that USB is the lowest common denominator on computers capable of taking advantage of this high speed transfer.

And yes, as your others have noted it is possible to decipher the ROM on the Satmodem via the serial connection and turn on the ethernet port, it will only work until they make that model obsolete.
yours truly,
Garr Baker"

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Toast Tip for Users with Internal and External CDRW Drives:
I've not used Toast with a system that had both internal and external CDRW drives, but a reader sent a tip for those that do and how to use the external drive:

" Mike,
Just a follow up.
Removing the internal CD from the IDE bus does work but there is an easier way. I had to wend my way up the tech support chain at Roxio to a Mac support specialist, but eventually I found what I needed.

When Toast starts up the first time it scans the bus and finds the first CDRW drive in the system. In this case it is on the internal bus. If you tell it to 'search' a second time it rescans the bus and identifies all the drives available...but it still only presents the first drive as a recording option. You have to tell Toast to search once more and it will then switch to the second drive in line. If you have a third drive you 'search' 4 times and so on.

Hope this will help your readers with similar problems since this solution is no where in any FAQ, manual, or on the website for Adaptec or Roxio.
Lee Vining"

I've added this tip to the FAQ's CDR section for future reference.

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More Reader Comments on OS X Support for Wired4DVD Card:
The latest reader comments on the Wired4DVD/OS X support issues noted in the last 2 days news.

" I wanted to comment on the letter from Heliodoro T.about IOKit.

He is technically correct, one can write a PCI driver for anything want currently. He has missed the point though. One of the chief strengths of IOKit is it concepts of Families, and standardized interfaces. There is not currently a (publicly available) IOVideoCaptureFamily. While they could write a driver that knew how directly write to the Framebuffer, that would be difficult and not advisable. They would also need to write all of the User utilities (viewers, etc) or custom interfaces into quicktime, instead of leveraging the standard interfaces. If they know that Apple intends to introduce such a class (and I imagine they do) it would be a disservice both to their engineers and their customers to waste time on an implementation that would be incompatible with what is occuring in the near future.
Louis Gerbarg "

BTW: Heliodoro had sent a screen capture showing TV/Video overlay working in OS X beta using a cheap Windows compatible TV card.

Another reader wrote with an interesting observation:

" MacOS X drivers for the Wired4DVD card may not be entirely in Wired's hands.

If you take a look at the DVD Station application you'll note it bears a striking resemblence to Sigma Designs DVD player. Also note that the Mac player contains Sigma RealMagic logos in its graphics resources (PICT 197 and 198).

It appears that this may be a situation similar to the Voodoo 2 card situation, where Sigma is actualy writing the application for Wired. In that case it could be a very long wait indeed.
Tom Fisher "

I've asked for more info from Wired on OS X support and a better explanation of the problem they noted previously. I will post any comments they have when they are received.

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CDRW/CD/DVD/HD Compatibility Database Updates:
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 14 new entries including IDE DVD ROMs, Hard drives and removables.(Current total 2,799 reports).
Entries from after midnight are added the following day. [BTW - the drive database is not a place to post questions, it's for reports on drives you've used. For guides to drive installs, see the IDE, SCI or Firewire articles here and/or the FAQ. Thanks.]

    CDRW Drives:
  • IDE Iomega 8x4x32 in G4/AGP
  • IDE Sony CRX140 in Beige G3
    (noted making CDRW slave and ZIP master allowed booting from CDRW drive)
  • IDE Sony CRX140 in G4/AGP
    (noted drive would not mount CDs with multiple sessions)
  • IDE Sony CRX160 in B&W G3
  • Firewire APS 16/10/40 w/Beige G3
  • Firewire Que 8/4/32 w/Beige G3
    (updates added to his 1/17/2001 entry)

    Hard Drives:
  • IDE Fujitsu 30GB in iMac
  • IDE IBM 13GB in Beige G3
  • IDE IBM 75GXP 45GB in iMac
  • IDE Maxtor 40GB in Beige G3
  • IDE Maxtor 30GB in Beige G3
  • IDE Quantum 40GB in G4 Cube

You can find full owner reports by searching the database by drive/brand/interface/mac models (the latest reports are shown first in searches).
If you've added a IDE, SCSI, Firewire or USB hard drive, CDRW, tape drive, etc. make sure you add a report to the database.

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CPU Upgrades Owner Ratings Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 9 new reports (total to date: 5,200). [Entries from after midnight EST will be added the following day.]

  • Metabox G3/400 in 8500/180 (rated 6)
  • Newer Tech G4/400 in Beige G3 (rated 10)
  • Newer Tech G3/300 in 7600 (rated 9)
  • Sonnet G3/500 in 8600/300 (rated 10)
  • Sonnet G3/333 in PowerBook 1400 (rated 10)
  • Sonnet G3/400 in 9500 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 G4 450MHz in PowerTower Pro 225 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 CarrierZIF w/G3 350 ZIF in 7500 (rated 10)

  • iMac G3/350 OC report

You can find these full reports by searching the database selecting the indicated Mac model and upgrade card brand/type. If you've upgraded the CPU on your Mac, please post an entry in the database. Search the database for entries from most every upgradable Mac model *before* you buy. (Searchable by mac model/upgrade brand)

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Video Card/System Benchmark Performance Database Updated:
Updates to the Mac Game/Video Card Performance database included:

  • Quake3 retail (1024x768) from 2001/G4 466 with Rage128 Pro
  • CineBench 2000 (1024x768) from PowerCurve (w G3/400 upgrade) and Voodoo5

Total entries in the database to date: 2,409. If you haven't already, enter your results with any of the game titles or benchmarks listed on the entry page (details on how to test are there). If you're curious how a CPU upgrade or new Video card would help game performance, the search page options can help you find similar system/configurations to get an idea before you buy.
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