Today is: Unpredictable Mac

Chris's Unpredictable and Occasional Newsletter

About Unpredictable

BackIssues 2006- 2008
BackIssues 2005
Back Issues 2004
Back Issues 2003
Back Issues 2002
Back Issues 2001


Geek Speak Review





Art Prints



Apple iTunes







< PreviousNext >

Chris's UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for MAC USERS #64, 10/29/03
Contents Copyright 2003 by Christopher Plummer

OBLIGATORY ADVERTISEMENT... Ready to get rid of the mess and make your little network 'wireless'? Want to share your Internet connection? Convert your LPs and cassettes to CDs, set up an MP3 jukebox with an old Mac, or pick out a new one? I can do this for you, or show you how. Read the details in the SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION section at the bottom. Or email me now: < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com> Enjoy the newsletter! :-)

This Issue
SPECIAL PANTHER COVERAGE and Ch-Ch-Changes: Buy Panther at Amazon using our special link (in UPDATES), get a discount, and support UNPREDICTABLE. This is a MAC publication, but OCCASIONALLY you may see in addition to (9) for OS Nine and (X) for Oh Ess Ten, a (W) for Windows!! DON'T PANIC I'm not going over to the Dark Side. I'm just going to be fair to our Windows friends. We have a lot to offer Windows users. Such as LEADERSHIP. You can count on it, every issue will continue to be enhanced with fascinating Mac trivia, insightful comments, and personal commentary of questionable merit. :-)

SPECIAL PANTHER ALERT - (X) If you're not riding Panther already, read this first!
UPDATES - (X, W) Important Panther updates and iTunes for Windows!! (Gasp!)
NEWS - iBooks join G4 Cult, New New Jersey Apple Store
UNPREDICTABLE READER FEEDBACK - Answers to Last Issue's Apple Service Puzzlers
Trouble Shooting - Hard Time for Hard Drives (part 4) - HELD FOR NEXT ISSUE!!
OCCASIONAL Favorite WEB SITE - (9,X,W) PowersOfTen - Must be seen to be believed.
If you GET CURRENT with Java and Safari, this web page will work for you.
Special Bonus Keyboard Commands - Sticky Keys UNSTUCK at Last!!
Tips - Sticky Keys Tip Off

Special Panther Alert
Me, I'll wait a few days and let the BRAVE YOUNG PEOPLE of the world take the leap and post their successes and woes. I'll probably be riding the Black Cat before the NEXT issue with my own and any reader comments I've collected.

This is not a thorough guide, but a few quick tips that might save you some trouble before you install:

1) GET CURRENT with all your software (read UPDATES below).
2) PLEASE at the very least, backup your 'Home' folder, if not your entire drive, before upgrading. 3) Go to the "Login Items" System Preference, write down all the Applications that you have starting automatically, and then [Remove] all of them. This will allow Panther to start up "clean" after you install it. Then, once you are sure the install is successful, you can test the items for compatibility by adding them back gradually (or all at once if you think you're lucky). [You could accomplish more-or-less the same thing by creating another user account, but then you will have to deal with all sorts of permissions issues when software and Documents are tied to your current user account.]
4) Gather your software disks and serial numbers in case you need to re-install any software.
5) Use "Archive and Install", formerly known as, "Clean Install". This should preserve your user and Network settings, "archive" your Previous System, and create a Clean New clean System.

If you need help from your trusty consultant, I'm available. If you're already using Panther, send me an email and give me your impressions!!

StuffIt - Panther installs the Stuffit Expander 7.0.3 even if you have a more recent version of StuffIt. Plan to re-install your newer 8.x version of StuffIt after you finish your Panther install.

iDVD - Panther does not come with iDVD, and a clean install of Panther may wipe out iDVD. Be prepared to re-install iDVD after you install Panther.

Firewire External Drives - There are numerous (but inconsistent) reports of Panther trashing Firewire external drives. Before you install Panther, disconnect all external drives. Run the install. After you are satisfied with the install, re-connect one of your external drives and then start up your Pantherized Mac. Hopefully, it will work fine. If the drive appears to be lost or damaged, DO NOT re-format the drive. Try attaching it to another Mac which is running an earlier version of TEN, or one with OS9. Then run a Disk Utility on it. If the drive appears okay. Don't re-attach it to your Panther machine until Apple clears up this issue with a system update.

Now Up-To-Date and Contact - There are inconsistent reports of Panther "breaking" the Now programs. For some they work fine, for others they don't. Now Software plans a December release of newly enhanced and Panther-compatible tested versions.

(X) Panther!! 10.3 - The newest release is available.
** Buy Panther from Amazon using this link for $119.99 - Save $10, get free shipping, and support UNPREDICTABLE!

If you have more than one Mac at home, buy the $199.99 Family Pack (for up to 5 Macs):
(This is a dollar more than Apple's price, but the shipping is free!)

(X, W) iTunes 4.1 - Adds compatibility with music sharing for users of the Windows version(!!) And adds a cool new feature to allow the complete archive of your music library onto DVDs or CDs, other stuff too. Use Software Update. For Windows users, for the first time gives them access to the iTunes Music Store!!

(X) QuickTime 6.4 - I don't know.

(X) QuickTime for Java 6.4 - "The QuickTime for Java update includes support for using QuickTime 6.4 with either Java 1.4.1 or Java 1.3.1. This update is recommended for everyone using QuickTime 6.4 in order to maintain application compatibility."

(X) Security Update 2003-10-28 - For Panther. Addresses security vulnerability in Quicktime Java in the OS 10.3 (Panther) release.

(X) iSync 1.3 - "iSync 1.3 includes support for more phones from Nokia and Sony Ericsson, as well as stability improvements."

(X) Application Enhancer 1.4.1 - The freeware "foundation" Haxie from Unsanity that allows other Haxie's such as FruitMenu and Xounds to function (more or less safely) without interfering with the OS. If this sounds like geekspeak, it is! Check the Unsanity site for all the details.

(X) Default Folder 1.9.1 - If you are a Default Folder user, this update is required for compatibility with Panther (OS X 10.3.x). IMPORTANT: If you install Panther and have Default Folder in a pre-1.9.x version, all your applications will crash. So GET CURRENT.

(9, X, W) Marine Aquarium 2.6 - If you missed Marine Aquarium before, check it out now. With the 2.0 release they added screen saver functionality and a version for OS9. The 2.6 update is for Panther compatibility. (There's even a Windows version for your less fortunate friends.) Free Demo, worth the $19.95 US fee.

(9,X) PowerMail 4.2.1 - Panther compatibility, bug fixes, and introducing the new "CTM FoxTrot" search engine.

(X) URL Manager Pro 3.1 - URL Bookmark menu which works with all (?) mac browsers and provides a System level Bookmark menu. Should be compatible with Panther by the time you read this. Will the version number be incremented? I don't know.

(X) Zinio Reader 1.4.2 - Panther-Compatible version of the awesome digital magazine reader.

Check for more updates at <>.

iBook G4 - LAST ISSUE I said, "I love the iBook. But it's only got a G3 processor. Only a G3. Remember that." Well, now you can FORGET WHAT I SAID. The iBook joins the G4 club!! [And, fortunately, it has retained its icey good looks!] That means the PowerBook and iBook lines have been updated just in time for the holiday season. Panther out. iTunes for Windows. iTunes Music Store for everybody. This company is kicking some serious #**! I said this a year or two ago, and I say it again. Apple is about the only company out there that's doing any innovating. You've gotta love it! Allright, enough of that "Ra Ra" stuff; back to the iBook. It still comes with 256mb, and can only hold 640Mb RAM, and it only has FireWire 400, but it does have USB 2.0 and AirPort Extreme and Bluetooth as options. This puppy is great, starting at $1100 US. One thing it doesn't have, the DVD-burning "SuperDrive". Which you can get in the G4 eMac for $1100 US.

New New Jersey Apple Store!! - The Sagemore Store is actually in Marlton. Opening November 1st. As usual, this should be an event with giveaways and activities.

More News: <>

Unpredictable Reader Feedback
Screen Issues with Leon - Whatever happened to Leon, the new Mac user whose brand new PowerBook Titanium 15" had persistent display problems? Remember, he sent it back to Apple an amazing THREE times? Did Apple DO THE RIGHT THING?? You decide. Here is Leon's response: "They are giving me one of the new 15" aluminum powerbooks, so not a bad deal I suppose..." Not a bad deal? Leon, read the specs! We can't ignore the aggravation factor, but you made out like a BANDIT!! In the mystique-within-the-clan spirit of PowerBook owners everywhere, Leon also wanted to pass along the helpful information that he is buying the UNPREDICTABLY recommended Klearscreen cleaning system, and is picking up a carrying "bag called the Endo from a company called Spire." Thanks, Leon!

** Buy KlearScreen with this link and support UNPREDICTABLE!

Kernel Panics with Elisa - And then there was Elisa, whose iBook started having Kernel Panics after months of trouble-free use. When we last left her, she had packed it in and taken the iBook to her local Apple Store for a visit with a "Mac Genius". Did Apple DO THE RIGHT THING? It would seem so. They re-installed the operating system and the Kernel Panics stopped. "BUT I DID THIS!!!!" Elisa complained. She had re-installed the system herself. Why didn't it fix the problem when she did it? I can't answer that - the mysterious powers of a competent Macintosh consultant or Apple Technician are neither to be explained nor taken lightly. [One reason we sometimes get paid for our work.] So far Elisa is free of Kernel Panics, but is now experiencing some unexpected quits from a few programs. In a move that is always a good idea with Oh Ess TEN, she purchased 512MB to upgrade her RAM. The iBook gets maxed out at 640MB. So if you have an iBook, make sure it has that much RAM. Has the RAM helped Elisa return to smooth sailing?? We'll only know if she writes!

Special Bonus Keyboard Commands
(X) Sticky Keys Stuck Solution - Here is the complete UNSOLVED MYSTERY posted in U&O #63. Sad to say, not one of my THOUSANDS of devoted subscribers attempted to respond with even a GUESS. That's okay. I know it was hard. First review the problem:

>(X) Stump the Stars!! Sticky Keys Stay Stuck!
>Lately, every time I use [Caps Lock], my keyboard stays in UPPERCASE.
>Pressing [Caps Lock] doesn't toggle me out of UPPER. I have to press the
>[Shift] key, to get back to Lowercase. Weird. This was the way MANUAL
>TYPEWRITERS worked - or so I've heard. Is it my [Shift] key that is
>stuck? It happens on BOTH my external keyboards and the internal
>PowerBook keyboard, so it can't be a hardware problem, can it? Has one of
>my little utilities gone berserk? What is your guess? This will remain an
>unsolved mystery until the next UNPREDICTABLE issue.

The answer lies in the System Preferences. NOT in the "Keyboard & Mouse" System Preference as you might have thought, but in "Universal Access". Go there. Click on the [Keyboard] Tab. My symptoms are those you would experience if you were using the feature called "Sticky Keys". Sticky Keys are designed for people with limited access to the keyboard - people who can only type with one hand or one digit, for example. Notice that the "Universal Access Shortcut" is to PRESS the [Shift] key five times. I can't tell you, how, or under what circumstances I was doing that - and maybe there is a hardware issue that caused it - but clearly using Sticky Keys by accident was my problem! The simple answer was, "Turn Off Sticky Keys!!" :-) [Be sure to check out the TIPs below for more on Sticky Keys.]

(X) Sticky Keys Tip-Off - One cool thing you can do with Sticky Keys is have the constraining keys that are used, appear on your screen as they are pressed. Try it. It's easier for you to see than for me to explain! This only works if "Sticky Keys" are "On". It doesn't show EVERY key, just keys like [Option] and [Command]. Coincidentally, selecting "Show pressed keys on screen," gives you a clear visual indication when Sticky Keys are sticking!!! (Which was my problem, above!)

[Interface mavens will note that the "Show Pressed Keys" option should be inaccessible ("greyed out") when Sticky Keys are "Off". But you can change the option any time. C'mon Apple, let's fix this one!]

Explore the rest of Universal Access, including [Seeing], [Hearing], and [Mouse] tabs. There are plenty of options here that might be useful to ANY user!!

Occasional Favorite Web Site
(9,X,W) You've got to see this. (Thanks for sending me this link Susanna!!)



** CHRIS'S UNPREDICTABLE and OCCASIONAL Newsletter for Mac Users **

Oriented towards, but not exclusively for, Mac Users in Beautiful Western Central New Jersey. Published Whenever - About Whatever!

Non-profit, non-commercial publications may reprint articles if full
credit is given. (Please provide UNPREDICTABLE with a copy.) Others
please contact the editor. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and
not guaranteed. Caveat lector. Publication, product, and company names
may be registered trademarks of their companies.

SEND requests and feedback to < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>.

Sample Issue - email with "Sample Unpredictable" in the Subject.
Subscribe - email with "Start Unpredictable" in the Subject.
Unsubscribe - email with "Stop Unpredictable" in the Subject.

Back Issues available at the Unpredictable Archive:
Shameless Self-Promotion
Ready to get rid of the mess and make your little network 'wireless'? Want to share your Internet connection? Convert your LPs and cassettes to CDs, set up an MP3 jukebox with an old Mac, help you pick out a new one. I can do this for you, or show you how to do all kinds of cool things with iApps. Big projects or little jobs. Maybe you'd just like to know that you have someone knowledgeable to call for support and encouragement when you finally go to OH ESS TEN? I've worked with computer novices, small businesses, and large corporations. I'd prefer not to do WINDOWS, but I've got more experience with MS operating systems than many PC consultants! I'm IBM Certified in Domino Development and Administration. I can teach you how to share files with PC users, use common fonts and printers, connect to their networks, and send them email with attachments that they can read. And I can write and edit. Reasonable rates, 20 years experience, satisfaction guaranteed.
Email: < chris AT Unpredictablemac dot com>.

Thanks for Stopping By!



Apple Logo Contact Me: AIM
All contents copyright 2000-2008 by Christopher Plummer, ZebraTale LLC, except where noted. Accuracy of articles is UNPREDICTABLE and not guaranteed. Unpredictable was published from 2001 to 2008. Although updated occasionally, this is a historical archive - expect dead links. Caveat lector.
Publication, product, and company names may be registered trademarks of their companies. TFSB :-)