I bought an Iomega ZipCD-RW and it was miserable at writing audio CDs. 95% of the time there would be glitches on the CD, or the writing process would pause at an arbitrary point without the benefit of a specific error message. I could force quit the Toast application, but other problems that arose after the “writing incident” would force me to reboot. While Iomega customer support was first class, the problem was never solved. Too many coasters later, I took the Iomega back to the store for a refund. I would caution everyone against buying this specific product from Iomega, and to make sure the store from which you buy any other Iomega CD writer has a fabulous return policy…just in case.
Good overview of iTunes—since I’m also a user of SoundJam (full version), I can also add these comparison tips.
While the second tier menus and features are exactly the same, SoundJam does give you more sorting choices. For people who just rip to MP3s and aren’t sorting fanatics, SoundJam wouldn’t be worth paying for, but there are two differences that are important to me.
I rip my audio files to AIFF so I have a “clean” full base or work with—while MP3s are the rage now, who knows what’s next and I don’t really want to re-rip my 3,000 CDs.
In SoundJam, after you run it through CDDB/ Gracenote, in ripping AIFFs, only the track title gets transferred—the artist and album title are lost—(sent them a note—they said they’d consider putting it in the next version) but strangely enough, in iTunes, all the info is retained.
For people who rip MP3s directly, SoundJam works fine (as well as iTunes) in retaining track, artist and album name info.
Saving Music CDs in AIFF Format
I enjoyed your recent comments about playing compressed AIFF files on a home stereo. I am interested in quality myself and agree that quality should not be sacrificed to quantity.
My desire is to have my music CDs copied to a very large hard drive without compression of any sort and then use my computer as the playback system, feeding directly into my home stereo in place of a CD player. Is this possible? If yes how would it be done. It would be really cool to do it with a portable and be able to plug into my car stereo as well. Any and all comments and suggestions you have would be appreciated.
—Paul W. Martin
There are many ways you can do this actually. The easiest way is probably to configure iTunes to convert every inserted CD to AIFF format.
QuickTime can also do this for you. Stick your audio CD in your CD/DVD drive, open up Quicktime Player, and then open one of the Track files on the audio CD. QuickTime will let you digitally extract the data and save it as an AIFF file.
CD audio takes up an enormous amount of space. Extracting more than a few CDs to your hard drive will add up fast. If you really plan to use your computer to play back music I suggest you either compress with MP3 at very high quality settings or look into a codec like QDesign. Even at the highest quality settings you will save considerable amounts of space, though with the latter of these two compression technologies you will have to allocate a fair bit of time to compressing the data. Because you are using your computer rather than a consumer CD deck, to run your hi-fi, you can use any compression algorithm you choose. —Evan Trent
Martians in the Manholes
This column is insightful, heartfelt, and instructive. While I do not necessarily share the author’s political views, I can very readily resonate with his affective experience. His perspectives are sensitive and creative. This and past columns have been an unexpected delight as well as a resource that I can share with others. I look forward to being able to access his work in the future.
—l. M. Hernandez
Microsoft Office 2001
I’m using Office 2001 with my G3 PowerBook and, even though I’ve upped the program’s memory to 64 MB, I crash.
I find that text around what I’m typing “disappears”—and only reappears after I save. I find that tables act very strangely with lines of data appearing and disappearing in alarming ways. Also, no matter how often I save a document, if the program crashes, it doesn’t recognize that I’ve recently been using the document.
Microsoft’s site is useless—any ideas?
I can think of a number of possibilities. Did you remove all previous versions of Office applications and extensions before installing 2001? If not, you may want to start over by removing all versions of Microsoft Office (including preferences and extensions), then reinstalling Office 2001. If that wasn’t the cause, then the most likely causes of crashing are corrupted Office files (the applications, extensions, or preferences), extension conflicts, or problems with virtual memory. Here’s what I would try (in order):
- Remove all your Microsoft Office preference files. If you have any for older versions of Office, then trash them. If you have spent a lot of time tweaking Office 2001 preferences, then move them to a folder outside the System Folder. Otherwise, trash the preferences.
- Remove all Microsoft Office extensions (Microsoft Clipboard Library, Component Library, OLE Automation, OLE Library, and Structured Storage).
- Restart your Mac with just standard Mac OS extensions and control panels (by using Extension Manager or Conflict Catcher).
- Look at the size of the “largest free block” of RAM by opening “About this Mac” in the Apple menu while in the Finder.
- Navigate to Microsoft Word, select it, run the Get Info command, choose Memory from the pop-up menu, and set the memory to an amount less than the largest free block (but bigger than the minimum).
- Launch Word and test for crashes, stability, funky disappearing text, etc.
If all is well, then you can try again with your full extension set. If everything works OK, then you have eliminated extension conflicts as the cause. You then can try replacing the default preferences with your custom ones (if you saved them). If things get funky, then the problem is due to corrupted preference files. Trash them and start over.
If none of these suggestions work, then you may have corrupt System files. Try a clean OS installation, then relaunch Word and see if it runs OK. If not, try removing and reinstalling Office 2001 with your clean system. If you still have problems, then you may have hardware woes.
I hope this helps. —Gregory Tetrault
Getting Rid of a RAM Disk
An icon has appeared on my Macintosh desktop unexpectedly and from where I do not know. When I open it, there is nothing in it. It is labeled RAM Disk. It will not stay in the trash, nor will it stay on the Mac OS 9 drive. I don’t need it. How can I get it off my desktop? Can you please advise me?
—Gifford W. Miller
In order to get rid of your RAM Disk what you need to do is open it up, drag all the files in it into the trash, and empty the trash. Then drag the RAM Disk itself into the trash. Then go to the Control Panels folder, and double-click the Memory control panel. Where it says “RAM Disk” click the “Off” radio button. Then quit the Memory control panel and reboot. You should be all set. —Evan Trent