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ATPM 2.11
November 1996






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MacMan to the Rescue

by Mike Shields,

One year of writing for ATPM and life has intervened again. So, if any of this makes sense along the way, forgive me.

Scott's doing fine, thanks for asking. On what would have been his birthday had he gone to term, he weighed 8 pounds, 4 ounces. He's almost up to my original weight of 8 pounds, 13 ounces, which I'm still trying to get back to.

"Huge life" has taken a considerably ugly turn. All at once, I was informed that I must be "certified," that Huge is launching a new project that will guarantee I won't be here much longer, and my badge expired. Coincidence or psychic phenomenon? You be the judge!

My badge expired a week ago Thursday. This means I'm no longer "legal" here at Huge. I haven't been lounging around or anything, because what passes for security here has no clue, or they know me. I just walk right by as if I own the place, and everything's fine as long as they don't look too closely at my badge, which broadcasts to the free world "11-07-96". Of course, my start date wasn't until the 13th, but whose counting. That's right, one year at Huge. I found out today from someone who knows someone at Dreamworks SKG that they've decided the Playa Del Rey site has become too costly. So they're going to purchase CBS Studio Center near my old stomping grounds in Studio City, which proves that maybe, you can go home again.

So, my late lamented badge lies in a mountain of paperwork. The badge request was made properly. I turned the form in on time. Then, some "higher up" decided that contract workers shouldn't have off-hours access. What this means is that if you need me to come out and make sure your Network Control Panel is set to Ethernet at 3am, I can't get into the facility to do it. So, my supervisor's supervisor signed the appropriate paperwork. Unfortunately, the fine people at Badge & ID think the paperwork has been processed, and I already have my badge. Problem is, it hasn't, and I don't. So, the off hours request has gone unheeded, because the people that need to ok it are either out of the country, or making our city safe by serving jury duty. Therefore, their supervisor needs to ok it, but for some reason, hasn't gotten around to it. So, this gives me time to sit here and hack out my column — late.

Yet another thing to ensure my life is a living hell — Project Houston. Now, to learn about Houston, certain people were sent to Tuscon for training. As opposed to the people that were sent to Houston for Project Tuscon training. But I digress. Some free thinking individual at CSC sold Huge the Brooklyn Bridge. The concept is simple. Instead of the currently distributed desktop architecture, create an additional level of servers that hold all the applications. This will free up space on your hard drive, presumably to hold more data. Personally, I feel it's going to create an outbreak of local versions of MYST, but.... Anyway, this was probably done to justify the above-mentioned person's job. We won't see the end result for awhile, so I'll let you know. Probably around February. Which will mark my one year writing for ATPM.

Which brings up the certification issue. I don't know if I mentioned this before, but we've been undergoing a certification process here for about four months. It all started when Huge decided that CSC wasn't doing a good enough job. Nevermind that we're consistently turning in record metrics, marred only occasionally by the good folks at the Help Center in San Diego (who can't get us a ticket on time if their life depended on it). So, in response, CSC came up with the Training Accreditation Program, or TAP (I'm sure I've already told you of our company's love affair with acronyms). As a CSC Desktop Support Technician, I've suddenly been asked to be an expert about DOS and Windows in addition to my demonstrated expertise with the Mac Platform.

I've always contended that you can't spell DOS without, 'Duh', but there I was, dutifully seated in the conference room to attempt a 20 question DOS test. Which I failed. Miserably. Same with the Windows test two weeks later. I didn't expect to pass, but I did expect to be able to answer relevant questions. Instead, what I got were questions like, "What are the 17 switches you can use with the QMM command?" So, when it came to the Mac test, I was feeling pretty good. After all, I am a Mac Tech at Huge Aircrash. So, like the dutiful son, I sat down, prepared. It wasn't pretty — trick question after trick question. Furthermore, the acceptable margin of error was not good. You could only miss one question. It makes it doubly hard when the correct answer isn't even part of the multiple choice.

Did I mention that the company I'm contracted to commissioned these tests? I didn't? Well, it's almost irrelevant because a couple of months go by and, lo and behold, I find out not only didn't I pass, but that CSC is scrapping the test in favor of their own. Of course, I was given this tidbit a mere hour before the next test. This one was a little better. We were given 50 questions and told 75% and above is a passing grade. Personally, I thought I had taken my last test when I graduated USC. The result was just announced in front of God and everybody — I'm now TAP Certified. I get a certificate signed by people I don't even know, and a little cloissonne pin to put on my badge. I can use it to hide the expiration date.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone.

You've Got Questions!!!

I've got answers? Well, it seems that last month, of few of you were indeed awake, which apparently is more than I can say for myself. Blame it on constantly typing with deadline quickly approaching. I was informed by some of you that Stuffit Expander is actually free, yes free, for the asking. The ones you have to pay for include, but aren't limited to, Stuffit Deluxe, Drop Stuff with Expander Enhancer, and Stuffit Lite.

This reader put it best:

Actually, stuffit expander is a FREE program for the limited capabilities that the normal download comes with (.sit, .hqx, .bin). It's when you want to buy DropStuff with ExpanderEnhancer that you have to pay. This extension includes a drag and drop stuffing program and enhances Expander so it can handle ANY file that you can get from the net. Pretty handy. Nice random thoughts. =)

Todd - Todd Clements Yes Todd, you're correct. [Although Expander Enhancer cannot expand password protected zip files. -Ed] As always, the earliest postmark wins, however, we received this from another fine reader:

The answer supplied in About This Particular Mac is not quite precise, in my opinion.

StuffIt Expander is an essential utility, but it does nothing other than expand compressed archives and is freeware. I insist you grab a copy!

StuffIt Lite is Aladdin's shareware utility for creating and managing StuffIt archives, and does the decompression as well. I've used it for several years, and I suggest you try it out if you want to create StuffIt archives at some point.

StuffIt Deluxe is a complete compression solution and has scads of features which you may need in the future if you need to handle a lot of compressed archives (I am eagerly awaiting my copy from Aladdin).

Mike Poplawski

Thanks for the succinct answer, Mike. Again, I blame the hour of my missives. After all, I did at the time say I was running out, and the time is late. Now, can you get me financing for my film?

When I installed 7.5... it showed me how to make the launcher icons big or small. I do not remember what it was. I can't find the ans. in the Guide. What is the trick?

Max Manshel

OK, there are two ways to resolve this one. One is more right than the other. You be the judge. Go to your Monitors control panel, click on "Options." If you have two resolutions of screen size available, pick the other one. This will not only shrink down your buttons, but your entire screen.

The method you probably read about in your manual was to go to the Launcher, then click and hold on the background. A pop-up menu will appear with three options; Small, Medium, or Large Buttons (which is like a midget psychic escaped from jail — a small medium, at large). Anyway, select the size you like, go forth, and sin no more. Or you can go fifth.

What does it mean when I am unable to drag your APTM enclosure to the desktop to expand and read? It just rubberbands back. Possibly a corrupted download?

I had this same rubberband problem with MacAssistant Newsletter about a month ago. Now using Claris Emailer 1.0v3. These are the only two instances in 100+ hours a month on this 7100/66av, 56/1.2, System 7.5.5, >>using FreePPP2.5v2 and now, OT1.1.1.

Chuck Heath

Well, by the look of things, I'd say that, for whatever reason, your Drag & Drop function has been disabled. Which concerns me, because it should be built into the system you're running. Go to your Extensions Manager, and make sure Drag and Drop is turned on. Also check out the individual apps and see if there's a switch which turns off D&D. This is all I can come up with, Chuck. I'll scan the newsgroups, and see if anyone else is having this problem.

And, don't worry Chuck. I don't feel slighted that you couldn't come to me with this problem. Let's open this one up for the readers. Bueller? Anyone?

Read your issue through Macworld. Hope you can assist as I am at my wits end. I have a Power Mac 7500/100 and it runs perfectly-almost. You see I seem to have a constant problem when I log off from Netscape 3 Gold. After log off, all mouse clicks and computer applications open at a sticky, snails pace. I have tried Norton Disc Docter but it doesn't seem to help. What am I missing here.


Hamish Brown (from Singapore)

It seems to me you've got that sinkin' Memory feelin'. In your TCP/IP control panel, go to "Options." Make sure the "Load Only When Needed" option is clicked OFF.

Also, you can get Open Transport 1.1.1 from all the usual suspects, and that should help alleviate your problem. Other options are to restart or get the Mac OS Purge utility. Again, the latter is available from the usual suspects.

I think this is my first overseas letter, someone correct me if I'm wrong. Now internationally, not too many people know that I'm famous.

Well, that does it for this month. Next month, more user questions, so make sure your Mac breaks down at least once. Also, MacMan's Annual Christmas Survey!!! I can hardly wait!!!

Mike Shields is a perspiring Screen Writer who needs $600,000 to produce his recently finished screenplay. He can be reached at or Or, if you just have a Mac question, that's ok, too. [apple graphic]

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Reader Comments (1)

Parves Masudur Rahaman · February 26, 2005 - 00:17 EST #1
i want to find out any ip address by giving mac address in any software for our network and vice-versa.

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