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Accelerate Your Mac!
Bring in the Noise
Mac Audio Column
by Thad Brown

(Sung in the voice of Chet Baker) "It could happen to you . . ."

Hey folks, you like me, could experience the little catastrophic disk crash bug. It starts with a crash, then a little instability, then the old blinking question mark when you boot. That drive is gone like flip flops at the office. I was lucky, I had heard the symptoms, so when things started getting flaky, I dragged all of the important data over to an audio drive. The crash didn't kill anything critical, but all of the diagnostics and pathology work took a couple of days in which I could have ben doing useful work. Well, that's the downside of working with computers and not tape, when things go wrong, they tend to go seriuosly and irreversably wrong. In lieu of a full blown article here are a few pointers.

OS 8.5 Audio Problems:

-People have been having all kinds of trouble with 8.5 and audio playback. My understanding from developers and programmers is that fairly large changes were made in the way that Sound Manager and the OS interact with the audio hardware on the motherboard. This is way over my head, and I don't claim to understand specifics, but that's what people I trust are telling me. Like all such changes, it looks like not every possible config was accounted for, and things are not yet perfect. In addition, the version of Quicktime can also be updated when you move to 8.5, from 2.5 to 3.0. If you are having problems with audio, try a few things, unselect and reselect your audio hardware, quit the app and restart it, and of course, disable the Iomega driver. Also, in cases where the problem seems to be related to MPEG plaback, try removing the Quicktime extensions and reinstalling Quicktime 2.5, or alternatively seeing if there is a newer version of the MPEG playback app. Often, your MPEG playback is using Quicktime whether you realize it or not.

A reader suggested an audio forum or at least a page about audio issues with 8.5. As soon as Mike and I have 10 free minutes on the same day I'm going to try to talk with him about that. [This will be done soon - I'm setting up 10 new forums on a new dedicated server hopefully within the next few weeks. -Mike]

Syquest Closing Operations:

Audio people should be very sad to see Syquest go the way of the Edsel. Thet made the only drives that were really reliable and fast enough for audio. Digidesign even certified the SyJet for 16 tracks of audio playback with Pro Tools.

BeOS Audio Player:

Audio types may want to drop by the BeOS website which right now features a link to a super hip looking audio player. Be is perhaps the only OS that when it mentions A/V remembers what the A stands for. In the future, many of us believe that OS X might make the MacOS could become the greatest X Window manager ever, but right now Be offers many full on Linux/UNIX features with a very nice GUI and genuine interest in audio. I doubt it will last on the PPC platform, but if it doesn't, it's our loss.

Next Issue:

Crash recovery is completed. I'll catch up on email next and send in the review soon.

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