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Accelerate Your Mac! News Archive for: 11/12/2001 Monday's NewsReturn to Accelerate Your Mac!

Top stories of Nov. 12th, 2001:

Review of Atek's Super Mini Optical Mouse:
I've posted an article with photos and comments on using Atek's Super Mini Optical Mouse. (Probably the world's smallest optical mouse.)
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Bad Experience w/Crucial CL2 256MB PC133 SODIMMs in PowerBook G4/667:
(*Update* - see the 12/6/2001 news page for results of my tests with OWC's 512MB SODIMMs in a PG G4/667.)
I've had an almost scary experience with two Crucial (Micron) CL2 256MB PC133 sodimms ran in a PowerBook G4/667. The original dimms were two Micron CL3 256MB's, but the CL2 Micron dimms had problems in the system. These 256MB CL2 modules had 16 (smaller) chips, vs. 8 chips per dimm on the original 256MB CL3 modules. (Which again were also Micron marked.) The CL2 modules were marked as PC133, were recognized as 256MB, CL2 by Apple system profiler and reported no memory test errors but clearly were not compatible with the PB G4/667 from what I have seen today. I would not install them again and wanted to caution readers about this experience. (Crucial's web site did list these dimms as compatible with the PB G4/677 - verifyied today using their online guide.)

At first they seemed ok, and booted fine from a cold start. However the system would not restart from the Finder (10+ attempts), even after zapping the pram, pressing the reset button, etc. - disconnecting the battery and AC adapter then cold starting was the only way to get the system to boot normally after trying to restart from the Finder. Cold starts always booted fine. Performance was oddly _lower_ than the original CL3 dimms in very limited tests I ran before removing them. (I had run about a dozen apps/games with the original dimms for comparison, but after the problems I saw I removed the dimms ASAP.)

After one startup the entire PB G4 screen was "shaking" up and down (the entire desktop image was moving up and down several inches - and wavering, etc.). Shutting down and cold booting didn't show that effect again, and it was only seen once, but unnerving. I didn't see any evidence the dimms were contacting the PB motherboard or each other. During the last failed attempt to restart from the Finder, I went downstairs to get a cup of coffee. On returning I saw no video on the powerbook but the fan was running. (it was not in sleep mode - I had set it to never sleep on AC power.) I removed the AC adapter (power button didn't work) and removed the battery. The dimms more than a little hot - hotter than I have ever seen a ram module in my life. I reinstalled the original modules and the system seems fine. Restarts fine and passes the hardware test CD extended tests with no errors.

And as a FYI - after finally being able to get someone on the phone, I was told there's a 20% restocking fee for returned dimms that do not test "bad" at Crucial/Micron. (This is noted at their web site in their terms/conditions they said.) I asked if they had a PowerBook G4/667 to test these modules with, but no definitive answer. I highly suggest Crucial/Micron test these dimm types in a PB G4/667. [Update - checking Apple's developer docs notes power limits of 1.2A (active), with 8 chips @150mA each. Perhaps these 16 chip dimms were drawing too much power.]

Bad dimms/bad luck? I've never seen a "bad" Micron dimm personally, but I'm very leery of these modules for use in a PB G4/667 after what I have seen today. Since they passed the startup ram test, ran some apps without errors, I don't think the dimms were defective per se - but clearly had some compatiblty issues with this machine. Unless these modules were a fluke - I'd not suggest anyone try them in a PB G4/667 at least. (I'd want to verify any others were 8 chip dimms before buying.) CL3 vs CL2 isn't a major factor in performance (2% gain in my last PShop tests) and after this experience, I'm leaving well enough alone...

(While on the subject, as noted here previously one PB G4/550 owner noted his two 512MB SODIMMs were only recognized as 256MB even though they worked fine in his PB G4/500 and both run a 100MHz bus. (these may have been 'stacked' chip dimms, I'm not sure, so this issue may not apply to all 512MB PC100 sodimms.) Apple's developer docs notes even the PB G4/550 requires PC133 sodimms ("RAM expansion SO-DIMMs for both models must be PC133 compliant. PC133 SO-DIMMs in the 550-MHz model operate at the speed of PC100 modules"), despite the fact the 550 runs a 100mhz bus. The 667 model runs a 133mhz bus of course.)

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Mac Clone Owners Report iPod Working with OS 9.1 in Legacy Macs:
" I received my iPod today. I have a clone running OS 9.1. The specifications for the iPod itself require OS 9.2.1 or OS X 10.1 none of which are supported on my machine. iTunes 2 however runs on OS 9.1 so I was hopeful that the iPod would work anyway. Fortunately it works flawlessly in OS 9.1.
-Martin Bauza
[I asked for details on his mac model and Firewire card and he wrote]

The computer is a Power Tower Pro 250 upgraded with a MaxPower G4 400MHz. The firewire card is an evergreen firewire/USB combo hooked up so draws it's power from the power supply and not the PCI bus. "

Another reader with a older Mac clone also noted an iPod working:

" Just thought I would let you know that I was able to get the iPod to work with 9.1(in fact, now that I think about it, I think its 9.04) on a PowerComputing PTP. However I was unable to get it to work with OS X. I have 10.1 5G27 installed, so I am hoping when I go to the actual shipping version it will fix it. Under X, iTunes does open up when the iPod is plugged in, but iTunes never shows the iPod in the source table.
Jonathan Hayes,
Hardware Engineer, XLR8"

Another reader noted Apple's latest iPod specs note OS 9.04 is compatible, with OS 9.2.1 recommended. (I have not had time to check that yet however.)

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Comments on FM Transmitter Device for MP3 Players:
Since I suspect it might be considered as an accessory for iPod owners, I wanted to comment on my experience with an FM transmitter used with my Nomad II MP3 player. The idea sounds great - being able to have your MP3 audio play through your FM radio. However at least in my car, the results were very disappointing. The model I used was Radio Shack's $29.95 (on sale now) "Wireless CD Adapter" (Catalog# 12-2051). The same adapter I suspect is sold under other names. It offers 4 possible frequences and runs on two AAA batteries. You connect the device to the headphone jack on your MP3 player, then set the transmit frequency (station) on the device and your radio.

The problem I saw was that 3 of the 4 channels had local stations that were stronger than the device's signal - therefore only one of the 4 settings was usable. And sadly, the RFI from the car's engine (spark plug wires) resulted in very loud pops and cracks - making it practically useless with the engine running. Perhaps suppressor plug wires (or new plug wires) might have helped, but I'm returning the device for a refund. Using the device with the engine off, or in a home environment would have produced better results I suspect, but I'm not sure this is really worth the money, as the volume was also much lower than I expected. My main reason for buying it was to be able to play MP3 audio while driving - for that purpose it failed miserably.
Your results may vary, but I just wanted to post this as a FYI for others of possible problems with these devices.

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Reader Comments on Lexmark X83 All-In-One with OS X 10.1:
" Saw about a week ago a request for experiences with the Lexmark X83 with the last posted driver which is rated as compatible with 10.0.4 but not 10.1. The CPU is a DT beige with a 466 Mhz xlr8 G4, a noname PCI USB card [the 'amedia simply connect', and a Macally 4-port hub running 10.1 build 5L21. The setup was easy as pie. Everything works. Printing is very nice and the docked software [x83 Scan & Copy] works fine. Copy speeds are about 4-6 ppm in b&w and scans are quite impressive.

I would like to report on the ability to scan to fax but the unit doesn't do that relying on third party fax software which at this time in OSX simply doesn't exist. The only very slight glitch is that after you are done, x83 Scan & Copy doesn't quit until you do a command-quit an extra time. No big deal.

For $200 this is a first rate printer, scanner and copier which raises the question "Why is it taking all these other people so *&^$( long to ship printer and scanning software?" Very nicely done. Thanks Lexmark.
drjoe
[he later wrote

But as always there is a catch. While the connection is USB, because it is more than that it doesn't connect as a USB printer. It has it's own connection software and installs as a operate 'framework. So in the print center it is not listed as a USB printer but shows up as a separate item. What's wrong with that? What's wrong is that when, after an hour, the 'energy saver' times out and the device shuts down, it drops off the USB bus and that is it. To resume using it you have to reboot the computer - Very Bad.

This lack of bus scanning is a real problem with OSX. It holds with scsi devices. If you have a cdr on a scsi bus under X and you shut it off, when you turn it back on the device is useless until you reboot the machine. The only way to use the x83 is to enable it a boot-time. This is way too bad 'cause when it's connected to the OS/cpu it works flawlessly - printing/scanning/copying. I don't know if it was a problem under 10.0.4. Come tuesday I'll see ifI can get any info from Lexmark. Bummer but perhaps all is not lost. When I first set it up I tested and tested and tested and it wasn't until I went to sleep and woke up and found it was no longer connected that I discovered the problem. There is another 'issue' [thats what I guess they call bugs now] that deserves some looking into but I am rambling and time to go to bed.
drjoe"

Note even Epson's USB printers are selected via the "Epson USB" instead of the standard USB interface selection in OS X.
I've added Joe's comments to the previous page with Lexmark X83 OS X user feedback.

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More comments on Epson 900N drivers for OS X 10.1
This is the most positive report on Epson's OS X 10.1 drivers for the 900N printer I've received so far:

" Regarding Epson's OS X printer driver for the Stylus 900, I had a much better experience than either Todd Buchanan or Malcolm Duncan reported [on the Epson OS X 10.1 printer drivers feedback page.-Mike]

I have the Epson Stylus 900N which is the network version of the printer. I was surprised to read about this because I just looked for a driver the other day on Epson's site. The confusion is that Epson has the driver listed on the Stylus 900 page, but not on the Stylus 900N page.

Happily I can report that this 900 driver is working fine with my 900N on my G4 867Mhz and OS X 10.1. I am connecting to my Stylus 900N over a 100mb ethernet hub using AppleTalk. (As reported, there seems to be no TCP/IP) The interesting thing is that Epson adds their printer to the list of protocols (AppleTalk, LPR, USB, etc.) instead of to the Printer Model list. And because there was no Read Me, figuring all of this out was a bit tricky.

My printing speed is fast and that both my OS X and OS 9 drivers work. I can print both from OS X and Classic. I have no issues printing from OS X while Classic is running.

I conducted my test prints of a PDF. I used Preview under OS X and Acrobat 4.0 under Classic.
Tom Baker"

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More info on PowerBook Problems Running Classic after 10.1 Security Update
(See the updated comments below this original post - mentions a revised security update download that may address the problem for those that saw it.)

[Original email on the problem from last week]
" ...I wanted to send you a quick email about a major Mac OS X 10.1 bug that is (so far) not getting a lot of attention. Anyone who owns a PowerBook and has not yet done the recent Security Update may want to know about this... If you look at this Apple Support Discussion page you'll see descriptions of the Classic environment *not starting at all* after doing the update, on several PowerBook models. The only way to fix this is to erase the disk and re-install 10.1! Which is a pretty bad situation. So far, Apple's not acknowledged or fixed this, and I'd really like to see more coverage of this issue...

(I asked David what PB model he had and he replied)

" Thanks for the response! It's a Lombard G3, but the problem happened on G4s as well. I think Apple's probably buried this one already- the discussion forum thread on it has the solution listed as just downloading and running the downloadable version of the Security Update Installer (as opposed to the Software Update System Preferences method). I think Apple has reworked the Software Update version by now as well. Basically, someone at Apple changed the Security Update file last week, without changing the version number, but it did change the build # for people who ran it. Early Software Update runs of the Security Update resulted in build # 5L14, while those who ran it halfway through last week got 5L17... to make things even more confusing, the following Installer Update took people to 5L21, with ether the 5L14 or 5L17 underpinnings remaining. So, once you download the standalone Security Installer and re-run it, you're good to go, and can re-run the standalone Installer Update again to get to a non-poisonous 5L21.

Confusing, eh?
Here's the gory details on the Apple discussions thread-
discussions.info.apple.com/webx?50@57.evouaabdjSh^2@.efbe0b5/128
Thanks again for the attention... probably just pointing those few unfortunates with this problem to the Apple Discussions thread will be all the help anyone might need.
Have fun-
David Cucuzza "

I don't see the problem on a PB G4/667, but it has a beta version of OS 9 installed. I posted a thread in the forums here asking if any other PowerBook owners had seen this issue. A PB G4/667 owner said he also had the problem (running OS X 10.1 w/security update - only a gray screen after trying to launch Classic). However PB G4/400, PB G4/500 and PB G3/500 (firewire) owners reported they did not have the problem.

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CDRW/CD/DVD/Hard Drive Compatibility Database Updates:
The Drive Compatibility searchable database had 26 new reports added this morning. The database includes reports on Combo DVD-CDRW, CDROMs, DVD-ROM, DVD-RAM, DVD-R, CDRW, Hard Drives and Removables (tape drive, ORB, ZIP, MO drives, etc.) in all interface types (IDE, IDE RAID cards, Firewire, SCSI, adapters). Current total 5,384 reports. Here's a list of the reports added this morning. [Next updates are added the following newsday morning. Incomplete entries (no mac model, OS version, etc.) are deleted.]

    Combo DVD + CDRW Drive Reports:
  • IDE LG GCC-4120B (12x 8x 32x + 8x DVD) in B&W G3 (OS X)
    (LG listed under "other brands)
  • Expansion bay Matshita UJDA710 (8x4 + DVD) in PB G3 2000 (OS 9.2)
  • IDE Toshiba SD-R1002 (4x4 + DVD) in G4/AGP (OS X)
  • Toshiba SD-R1002 (4x4 + DVD) in FW case used/B&W G3 (OS X)
    (problems noted)

    IDE CDRW Drive Reports:
  • Matshita CW-7586B 8x/4x/32x in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)
  • NEC NR-7700A (12x/10x/32x) in B&W G3 (OS 9.2)
    (NEC listed under "other brands)
  • Sony CRX1611 16x10x40 in B&W G3 (OS X)
  • Sony CRX1611 16x10x40 in B&W G3 (OS 9.2)
  • Sony CRX 160E (12x8x) in Beige G3 (OS 9.1)
  • Sony CRX1611 16x/10x/40x in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)

    Firewire CDRW Drive Reports:
  • Lacie U&I 16x10x40 used w/PB G3 2000 (OS X)
    (some problems noted)
  • Lacie 12x10x32x used w/Beige G3 (OS 9.1)

    SCSI CDRW Drive Reports:
  • Plextor PX1232TS (external) used w/G4/AGP 2001 (OS 9.2)
    (notes system will not boot if drive connected to SCSI card)
  • Yamaha CRW 8424 (8x4x24x) in PowerCenter Pro (OS 8.6)

    SCSI CDROM Drive Reports:
  • Plextor 32x in UMax (OS X)
    (didn't note Umax mac model)
  • Teac CD532S in UMax (OS X)
    (didn't note drive speed or Umax mac model)

    DVD ROM Drive Reports:
  • IDE Toshiba SD-M1222 (6X/32X) in Beige G3 (OS X)
    (problems noted in OS X, but not in OS 9.)

    IDE Hard Drive Reports:
  • Fujitsu MHN2300AT 30GB in PB G3 2000 (OS X)
  • IBM Travelstar 20GB in PB G3 wallstreet1 (OS9.2)
  • IBM Travelstar 20GB in PB G3 wallstreet2 (OS X)
    (used install guide here)
  • IBM 60GXP 60GB (x2) in G4/AGP w/IDE PCI RAID Card (OS 9.2)
  • Quantum [no model noted] 20GB in Beige G3 (OS X)
  • Seagate ST340016A 40GB in Beige G3 (OS 9.2)

    Firewire Hard Drive Reports:
  • Maxtor 5T040H 40GB in Beige G3 (OS 9.1)
    (used Granite bridge board and PCI card with the drive internally)
  • Toshiba 30GB in FW case used w/iBook 2001 (OS X)
    (problems noted)

You can find full owner reports by searching the database by drive/brand/interface/mac models (the latest reports are shown first in searches).
For guides to installing CD/CDRW/DVD drives or Hard drives in many mac models, see the IDE Articles page. The Firewire articles page also has guides on case kits, installing drives, etc.
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. [If you post an updated entry - make sure you use the same name, etc. as you did before so I can find your past entry. Thanks.]

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CPU Upgrades Owner Reports Database Updated:
The Rate Your CPU Upgrade database has been updated with 9 new reports this morning. (total to date: 6,391). [Entires after midnight are posted the next newsday morning..]

  • Other World Computing G4/500 in B&W G3 (rated 10)
  • Powerlogix G3/375 in 8500/132 (rated 10)
  • PowerLogix BlueChip G3/466 in PowerBook G3 Wallstreet1 (rated 10)
  • Sonnet G3/500 in 6100/66 (rated 1)
    (major problems noted)
  • XLR8 CarrierZIF MPe w/G4/450 ZIF in 9600/300 (rated 9)
  • XLR8 G4/500 ZIF in Beige G3 (rated 10)
  • XLR8 G3/400 ZIF in Beige G3 (rated 9)
  • B&W G3/350 OC report (@400mhz)
  • G4/AGP 466 OC report (@533Mhz)

(Warning - Overclocking may not be reliable and could lead to hardware failure or corrupted data.) You can find the 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). For detailed reviews with performance tests and install tips, see the CPU Upgrades page.)

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News pages from 1, 2 and 3 years ago:
(Sometimes these old pages are a bit embarrassing - and in many cases the offsite links may not work and comments there were accurate only on the date posted regarding upgrade availability, etc.)

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Apple TIL Docs, Software Updates and Other Net News Links
(Includes several TILs on the iPod and a news of Nvidia's new NV17M mobile graphics chip unveiled at Comdex.)

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