The Low End Mac Mailbag

OS X Networking, AirPort Extreme USB Printer Sharing, Danger of Haxies, Reporting Spam, and More

Dan Knight - 2003.02.24 - Tip Jar

OS X Networking for Dummies

Replying to my response to his email in Mac OS X Ruins Simple Networking, Rick Barham writes:

Thanks for the reply, Dan. Apropos a "dummy" book for switchers, I bought both the "Inside Mac OS X" and "The Missing Manual" and found neither terribly helpful with networking ("refer to your system administrator..."), or at least the suggestions often didn't seem to work. (And both books delve quite deeply into the Unix command line, all too reminiscent of my days dealing with DOS-based CAD systems - not something I miss in the least.) Well, we shall see with Rendezvous, eh?

I'm hoping to start a series soon to help Mac users make the adjustment from the classic Mac OS to OS X. Apple has made things so different sometimes that we don't even know where to begin looking.

More on AirPort Extreme Printer Sharing

In response to AirPort Extreme USB Printer Sharing, Jeff Preischel writes:

Since I'm the one who pointed out that one needs to have 10.2.3 or greater installed on their computer in order to be able to use the AirPort Extreme Base Station shared printer, I can only assume that you are referring to me when you say "I guess I should have gone to Apple instead of assuming that someone who told me I was wrong had experience with the product and knew what he was talking about."

AirPort Extreme USB Printer Sharing

After reading our clarification of printing via the AirPort Extreme hub in Using a USB Printer with Older PowerBooks, Mark Mayer notes:

I think you are misinformed about the USB print sharing capabilities of the AirPort Extreme Base Station.

Nope.

While it is true that you need both Jaguar on your 'puter and a Rendezvous capable printer to use Rendezvous, you don't need it for plain and simple USB print sharing. The automagical thing about rendezvous technology is that it enables devices to recognize each other on a network. No changing setting, no muss, no fuss.

The AEBS does not use USB Print Sharing (or AppleTalk or TCP/IP/LDP). It uses Rendezvous and therefore needs a Rendezvous capable computer to print through it. The printer does not have to have rendezvous built in.

In the realm of speculation I would guess that someone will come up with a hack to use Rendezvous with OS X.1.x and maybe even with OS 9, since rendezvous is open source.

That would be speculation and have no bearing on the current reality that you need to have 10.2.3 or greater installed for the AEBS printer to work.

Anyway, just thought you should know the truth. You put a scare into a lot of people over at dealMac and this is how those crazy apple rumors get started. Question your source and then give 'em a good whack for feeding you a bunch of horsepuckey. =)

I think someone else needs to do their homework before doling out the whacks.

I stand by my original statement. Per Apple's own documentation, Apple's discussion boards and my own experience you need to have 10.2.3 or greater installed on your computer in order to be able to use a USB printer connected to the AirPort Extreme Base Station. While there may be workarounds (such as creating a spool file on one computer), it still needs a rendezvous enabled Mac able to see the printer attached to the AEBS to create the spool file on.

Standard USB printer sharing, in OS 9 or 10 will not work (let me add the catchall of "at this time", but I doubt it ever will).

I don't have the time to question my sources, which is why I print this material in a mailbag format. I have no way of knowing who is correct when it comes to technologies I have not yet worked with - AirPort Extreme Print Sharing definitely being one item on that list.

I assume those who write are knowledgeable, but this is a part-time operation without the budge for a technology fact checker. I hope those who write actually have hands on experience and aren't simply writing off the cuff, which happens way too often with new technologies like this.

I wouldn't put it past Apple to create a technology solution that requires a fairly current version of the Mac OS. They've done it with Safari and iTunes 3 and other software; why not extend it to hardware as well.

Of course, it would be wisest if they very clearly spelled out on their website whether sharing an ethernet or USB printer requires Rendezvous or not. Although the page on the AirPort Extreme Base Station says it supports Rendezvous, nowhere does it state that this is required for USB printer sharing. The clear omission of this bit of information on the AirPort Extreme page and the page listing compatible printers would lead anyone to believe that it doesn't require a specific version of the Mac OS or a specific feature of recent versions of the Mac OS.

You may be correct that it does indeed require Rendezvous, but if there's any "Apple's own documentation" on this, it's not on the AirPort Extreme page or linked to it. I'm not saying you're wrong, only that Apple has not made it clear to consumers that AirPort Extreme USB Printer Share might not work with older versions of the Mac OS.

Beware Haxies

In Safari Update, Mac OS X 10.2.4, a Neat Haxie, and How Mail Can Better Fight Spam, I commented that I really liked Cee Pee You from Unsanity. Ken Arroyo writes to warn me:

I recommend you not to use Unsanity's haxies, they can slow down your computer and make it freeze until the Finder is relaunched.

Now there's a blanket condemnation for you! All of them? Some of them? Are you painting all Unsanity haxies with the same brush, or are some programs troublesome and others not?

I've been using Silk since version 1.0 came out and added Cee Pee You a bit over a week ago. Mac OS X doesn't seem any more sluggish than usual since adding Cee Pee You.

That does lead to another issue, however. Silk shows up in System Preferences, but Cee Pee You doesn't show up there or in the Applications folder or in the dock. One of the strengths of OS X was supposed to be the disappearance of Control Panels and Extensions, but now it seems that we need some sort of Haxie Manager so we can enable and disable system hacks, "menu extras," and who knows what else without having to figure out where the heck the installer put the hack.

Unsanity, here's a great program suggestion.

Reporting Spam

After reading Safari Update, Mac OS X 10.2.4, a Neat Haxie, and How Mail Can Better Fight Spam, Gregory S. DeLozier comments:

Your recent 10 Forward article says you're in favor of automatically reporting to people that they're sending spam.

I happen to have an email address I've had for about a decade. I am at the moment pretty much having to abandon it because of the spammers - not the spam I'm getting, which gets discarded, but because of spammers deceptively using me as the return address on spam they're sending to all sorts of people. Both spammers and viruses do this; viruses get my email address from other people's address lists and use the address as a return address.

What this means is that my email box is full of people telling me I just sent them a virus or complaining that I sent them spam, which is pretty unlikely since I stopped sending with that address about 6 months ago.

In other words, automated "bounce" emails that complain are probably not going to the people responsible; they're just adding another layer of irritation and chaos to the problem.

Perhaps sending emailers to relay servers is an answer, but it sounds to me like more problem; you'll just get added to their junk mail list, and the chaos will continue.

I don't have a good answer for this problem. Any thoughts?

The bounce notices I send don't go to the sender - they go to the postmaster of each mail server the spam was relayed through and let the email administrators know that their servers are being used to relay spam. Sending a note telling someone that they have sent spam (or a virus in most cases) is counterproductive. Either they know they've sent it and will add you to their confirmed list, or their email address has been used fraudulently, something most of us have experienced by now. (I especially hate the virus notices. My Mac doesn't do viruses, let alone send them.)

I can't say this is a particularly effective system, but if it shuts down a few open relays each year, it's worth letting email managers know what's happening on their systems.

I think the ultimate solution will be close to what Apple does with Mail. It lets you train the software what you consider spam. And it even gives you the option of leaving the spam on the mac.com mail server rather than download it. Apple should market this to others.

Macintosh MHz Speed Chart

After seeing the Macintosh MHz Speed Chart, Douglas Aalseth raves:

This is the chart I have wanted to do for several years, "as soon as I get a few days free to put it together." Thanks so much for doing the hard part, that is combing the files on LEM and elsewhere to find all the data. Would it be possible to have a link to the raw data? Like a table in Excel format that would download when you clicked on it. I have several statistical things I would like to play with based on this data.

Thanks for the kind words. It was tedious work. There is no raw data file - the chart was built by hand while referencing the computer profiles.

DVD Authoring for G3 Macs

Brian McLaughlin writes:

LaCie of Hillsboro Oregon has agreed to market Capty DVD software from Pixela Corporation of Japan.

Capty DVD allows G3 Macintosh users to edit MPEG-1 and MPEG-2 files and build animated menus for their DVDs.

According to LaCie's US site, the software will be available as a stand-alone application.

(I don't know why we didn't know about it sooner. My contact at Pixela told me Monday. A brief search of Alta Vista showed Japanese sites as having known about the deal since Dec. 20).

Sounds a fair bit like iDVD, but without the requirement of Power Mac G4 and internal SuperDrive DVD burner. LaCie doesn't specify how much memory, drive space, or CPU speed the program requires, not what DVD burners are supported, although I would guess at the very least that they'll make sure their own drives are supported.

Sounds like a nice low-end solution, especially since it doesn't require OS X - Mac OS 9 is fully supported.

What About Page Mill?

After reading my mixed feelings about Claris Home Page, Vincent Bejarano wonders:

I have the Page Mill software that came with my iMac. Is Claris Home Page easier and better than that, or should I just go ahead and use the software that came with the computer? I'm not much of an "expert," so I don't think I will be creating an insanely great web page, just one that has links and pics and maybe a small [QuickTime] movie. What is your opinion?

I've never used Page Mill, but those who made the comparison tended to pick Home Page for ease of use. Home Page is like a word processor for page design - nothing really gets between you and writing, and very little gets between you and designing.

If you can locate a copy, I think you'll be very happy with Home Page. It's a shame that FileMaker has stopped distributing the program.

I Love Claris Home Page

Jack Campbell writes:

I have been aggressively beating this same drum since OS X first appeared. I love Claris HomePage, for precisely the same reasons you state. I have bought Dreamweaver as well as GoLive and feel as though I wasted that $700 to $800. They are engineered to be the complete master mechanic's toolkit for everything from fixing skateboards to adjusting the thrusters on an ion-engined rocket. I am incredibly, totally impressed with both of those applications. And, being a smart fellow, I actually now know how to use them.

That said, I still intuitively lunch HomePage every time I want to build or fix a web page. I hate, hate, hate the over-complex personalities of those two big name web apps. And I love, love, love the "just right" feature set and dirt-simple interface of Home Page. Plus, the created pages "just work."

Here are three sites built in HomePage 2.0:

What's wrong with 'em????

I've begged Andrew Stone at Stone Software to build a comparably simple app in Cocoa . . . even hit him with the idea again at MWSF. No dice. He's fully engaged on his existing suite of apps. I've written more letters to Apple, posts on message boards, and blog posts on this than I can remember... *sigh*

Claris HomePage 2.0 (not the newer 3.0 version you use) is the one and only reason all of my Macs still have Classic installed . . . the only reason. Every other little task I do on these machines has been moved to an OS X native app. I even upgraded recently from Adobe ImageStyler 1.0 to their current LiveMotion version, as the old ImageStyler feature set is still buried within all of the newer dreck I never use, but its' all there, nonetheless.

Isn't it cool the way Home Page leaps open when launched? Pow! There's a blank gray web page waiting for a few simple instructions to turn it into something cool and useful. Edit>Document Option> a few entries there, and frankly the palette for a whole new web page is set. 15-seconds after having an idea, I'm building the guts of the new page.

Dan, it seems like if a handful of known industry guys like you and me could put our signatures under a simple proposal and start hunting down capable Cocoa programmers, we might just be able to entice one to tackle this as a shareware project. I ask you to carefully sift through the supportive replies you get and see if you spot any other higher-profile Mac community guys agreeing with you (us), and let's see if we can pull together a few people whose opinion might carry some weight. Then we can get very aggressive about recruiting the coder(s) needed to do the job.

All I want is to move the Home Page feature set over to a Cocoa app. Period. When that's done, I want the program's reformatting property for opened pages to be given an on-off switch. That's it. File>Open> Select an existing page. A simple slither-down window appears that asks, "Convert to Home Page format?" would fix my only substantive gripe.

If it displays inserted .PNGs, that's okay. The DocType header can be inserted manually as needed with the "Don't screw with the format" option protecting it after that. If the tendency to splatter multiple, repetitive FONT tags throughout the page could be fixed, that, too, would be nice. Everything else stays the same, but with an Aqua interface, and using Cocoa Services for font and color menus.

This, I know, is a wildly popular piece of $40 shareware waiting to happen. Are you interested in getting more active than publishing an editorial insofar as trying to get it written?

Thanks for keeping this issue in the public mind.

If I had the time, I'd tackle it myself. I think REALbasic could probably be used, and there are already some excellent REALbasic programs out there (Z-Write for instance) that already get a good part of the job done.

I'd love to see someone spearhead and open source project that would be as quick and easy to use as Home Page, not mess up with your formatting unless you let it, fix all your formatting errors if you want it to, and fully understand recent HTML and XML specs.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with Home Page that a few revisions couldn't fix.

All we need is someone with the time to coordinate the project and a few ambitious programmers....

What About Layout Master?

Scott Earleywine suggests:

Have you tried "Layout Master" from http://www.westciv.com/?

I found it somewhat confusing and cumbersome. But you might want to try their demo.

I find Dreamweaver to be superior with respect to Claris Home Page 3.0 (I own both). Certainly, HP 3.0 was easy to use an HTML-newbie, but I found DW 4 to be indispensable now. I (also) didn't like how HP 3.0 doctored the HTML code when it opened/saved files. To me, that is very irritating. I also like Dreamweaver's integration with Fireworks 4.

Just my opinion! :)

Layout Master sounds like a great tool for websites that use CSS for layout, but I can't see that being practical for Low End Mac. The "Low End" part means I have to design pages that are usable on a Mac Plus or SE/30.

That said, the vast majority of visitors to the site are using Power Macs or Windows PCs and modern browsers. I'm brainstorming ways to allow users to choose style sheets, create printer friendly versions of pages on the fly, and provide better support for Palm and WebTV users. Once I figure it out, I'll be sure to publish the info in the Online Tech Journal.

Once we reach that level, it may be possible for us to implement CSS layout as an option while giving those with ancient Macs a way to fall back to a simpler design.

I've got a lot of learning to do.

Andrew Prosnik's Comments

In the ongoing discussion about "dark side" CPUs, Adam Maas notes:

Just a few comments on [Andrew Prosnik's] comments.

First off, CPU compatibility. You will note that the Pentium III line moved from Slot 1 to Socket 370 just before the Athlon moved moved from Slot A to Socket A (and Slot A connectors were reversed from a Slot 1 connector - same part, but you couldn't interchange CPUs). This was when ~700 MHz CPUs were common, so your 1.4 GHz PIII isn't compatible with your old BX motherboard. In fact your 600 MHz Coppermine PIII isn't either. And the PIIIs over 1 GHz aren't compatible with motherboards for <1 GHz PIIIs - and vice versa.

In the PC world right now, the longest lived compatible CPU interface is Socket A, going from 600 MHz Duron/Athlon's to the current Athlon XP, although there is a compatibility speedbump between 200 MHz DDR FSB boards and 266 MHz DDRFSB boards (And, of course, the new 333 MHz boards). The boards are backwards but not forwards compatible at these clock changes. The P6 line has had 3 different CPU interfaces (Socket 8, Slot 1, and Socket 370), one of which is not even forward compatible, in it's 8 year life. All of which lasted maybe 2 years before being superseded.

The P4 has had 2 incompatible interfaces in 2 years, and the second doesn't necessarily support newer processors (due to the bus speed change not being synched to interface changes).

And Intel has patented it's bus protocols, so they are Proprietary (Both GTL+ and the P4 bus, which runs at 100 MHz or 133 MHz QDR vs. Apple's 100-167 MHz SDR bus, not 267 MHz).

And it turns out that Hyperthreading reduces system performance for non-SMP optimised tasks.

Wow, I'm learning a lot. It makes me wish the old Byte magazine hadn't been bought and executed after supporting Apple's "up to twice as fast at the same MHz" claims for the G3 vs. Pentium CPUs. With Byte, it was a joy (at least for this geek) to keep up to date on computing technologies on different platforms, as well as read Jerry Pournelle's monthly wrestlings with Windows computers. (The Byte website just doesn't do justice to what the print magazine once was.)

Today we have ars technica and a few other sites that avoid being platform specific, but it's so hard to wade through Hannibal's excellent technical discussions. I'm grateful to Adam and the others who are helping us better understand the CPU technology on the other side of the fence - and grateful for the "Power Inside" that the G3 and G4 give Mac users.

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Dan Knight has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. Mailbag columns come from email responses to his Mac Musings, Mac Daniel, Online Tech Journal, and other columns on the site.

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