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Apple OS X laptop user's log

(Macbooks, Powerbooks, iBooks, etc.)

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This page last updated on or about 10-21-08

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AUTHOR'S NOTE: Certain embedded web links and documented costs/prices for certain wares discussed may be out-of-date by the time you access this page. END NOTE.

Apple OS X laptop user's log table of contents


10-21-08: Itís raining dead Macs: another dead Powerbook is delivered to WebFLUX Central

Several year old Apple 17 inch Powerbook G4 aluminum abruptly goes dead due to internal Airport hardware failure

Apple OS X laptop user's log contents


9-25-08: Quickie Mac fixes shortcuts

Mac OS X troubleshooting, repair, and recovery cheat sheet

Apple OS X laptop user's log contents


9-24-08: OS X laptop problems get their own user log

I was once one of the most enthusiastic Apple Mac supporters you could ever run across. But when Steve Jobs returned to Apple Computer and killed HyperCard, the lower cost Mac clones, and the original Macintosh graphical user interface, I was pissed.

But still, I was already heavily invested in Mac hardware and software, and knew absolutely nothing about Microsoft Windows and PCs. And could ill afford to switch platforms due to a shortage of money and the time required to learn how to use a different operating system.

Plus, I still held out hope that maybe if Jobs' UNIX-based Next OS came to the Mac, its interface might be as good or better than the original, and the platform more reliable to use, as well.

Well, OS X proved to be THE buggiest operating system ever. Crashing left and right on every Mac we deployed it on here-- as well as every new Mac which came along with X as its supposed 'native' OS. For years and years.

The interface was quite different from the original Mac's, too. Too different. Different to the point of being asinine.

For instance, that damn dock is always in the way, wasting screen space, plus loses app and file icons regularly for unknown reasons, tripping you up with frustrating delays to relocate stuff at random. Doh!

And Jobs made sure Macs once again became holy sh*t expensive. Which was downright amazing, considering all their freshly added flaws.

I honestly don't see how the company stayed in business the first five years after Jobs' makeover-for-the-worse (note I was no longer buying Macs myself-- but my family was).

Thankfully, I managed to personally escape the new time and money pit Jobs was digging, by switching to Windows PCs, around 2000-2001.

Wow, was it ever a relief to escape all that constant crashing and rebooting! And to gain back again an interface very much like that of the original Macintosh (since Microsoft Windows had copied heavily from the platform).

Heck: the lower prices alone were fantastic! PCs offered tons of FREE software capabilities which cost big money on Macs by that point.

So I made my escape. Unfortunately, my extended family did not. And since I've never wanted to leave loved ones stranded in such hell, I do my best to help them when their Macs inevitably let them down much, much, MUCH more often than PCs do to their users.

And so I've continued to have to troubleshoot Macs on a regular basis all along, despite not being a Mac user myself now for many years. Agh!

All that and other things have left me with ever less available time to document such chores online, where the text might hopefully help others in similar predicaments. Leaving me able to only provide a smattering of the true record. But as the Mac track record appears to be only getting ever worse these days, I have more and more Mac problems to report-- and so even if I can only document 5% of them, that 5% is growing bigger by the day.

Hence, the creation of this new user log, to pertain only to OS X laptops. I hope it helps!

Apple OS X laptop user's log contents


6-29-08: I rescue a Mac hard drive from a dead laptop by installing it in an enclosure

Salvaging the hard drive from a dead Apple Powerbook G4; installation into an enclosure; conversion of an internal hard drive to an external

Apple OS X laptop user's log contents


10-4-05: Connecting an OS X iBook to Bellsouth DSL

I had nowhere else to post this iBook info, so I'm putting it here. It should also be relevant to G4 owners with OS X who connect to Bellsouth DSL.

I've dealt with Bellsouth before on a dialup account for a PC. Had to go to the phone for tech support there. You can read about it in the Sony VAIO PCV-RX540 user's log. That was one really long day.

This was my first time dealing with a DSL setup on any computer.

The iBook owner did everything she could to make sure Bellsouth sent her an install kit for Mac OS X. And they did.

But the kit didn't work.

Oh sure, the iBook read the CD fine, and little how-to videos and Flash animations played. But doing everything the kit instructed resulted in an iBook that was still off-line for reasons even I, a fairly experienced OS X and internet configuration troubleshooter (who actually created the kit used by one dial up ISP across 13 Tennessee counties for several years) could not understand.

Of course it didn't help matters that for some hardware info the kit manual offered foreign language versions but no English version(!)

And man is there hardware...! A multitude of DSL filters, accompanied with considerable uncertainty as to how you should deploy them throughout your house.

Yep. That's right. When you connect via DSL you got to install DSL filters at every phone jack in the house where you intend to use a voice phone, as well as the jack your computer will be connected to.

In this case I was setting up a Mac in an old house where at least some of the phone lines offered up no wall jacks, but simply appeared out of holes in the wall or the seam between wall and floor.

I first thought I'd have to either round up some butt connectors to match up all the male phone line ends involved, or do some major surgery jack-wise. But thankfully there did turn out to be some wall jacks in the place already.

In some circumstances I would have had to install a new wall jack myself with an embedded DSL filter. It was included with the kit. But thankfully I was able to avoid that (it's a supreme hassle connecting up such gear; much like making your own Ethernet cables).

I admit I'm rusty on internet installs. And not an OS X expert by any means, as I almost exclusively deal with it when it's giving problems to other folks. I personally switched to PCs years ago for the bulk of my work, in order to avoid the extra hassles a Mac poses on its owner these days.

Basically Windows PCs today are crude interface clones of the original Mac platform. Been that way since Windows95. I much preferred the original Mac interface over that of OS X, and so that's why I'm on PCs today.

My first DSL kit problems involved the incessant requests for user IDs and passwords. Often you couldn't tell which set was being asked for: the Bellsouth DSL account's, or the Mac user's for Mac OS X.

So there was trial and error involved there, trying to give the Mac (or Bellsouth servers) the proper info.

Then there's the standard ISP ID problem. In doing set ups sometimes you'll have to enter just your account ID and other times your entire email address. Often it's unclear which is desired by the set up software.

If your ISP email address is johndoe@crappy.net, your account ID is usually just the johndoe part. So if you encounter problems in this area try the other version when one gives an error.

I finally managed to get past the account ID and password maze, only to find Microsoft Explorer couldn't surf anywhere, and Safari wouldn't even open, but just hang up, causing me to have to Force Quit it.

In OS X it often seems the whole machine has crashed and you can't get it to do anything. In those cases try clicking on the Finder icon in the dock, then locating the Force Quit option under the Apple menu. That should give you a selection box where you can choose the frozen program and make it quit.

Not a bit of this is obvious to most new users of OS X.

So I was stuck off-line. I sought out help from the Bellsouth kit and CD, but found none. Next I headed into the Mac's system preferences. Specifically, networking.

I encountered strange new jargon and acronyms and techno-babble there, when I sought to manually fix the problem.

To my credit, I did suspect the problem had something to do with the strange item I found in there called PPPoE. But no matter what I did, I still couldn't get connected, and only got more and more confused.

So I made a strategic retreat to my own PC with a working internet connection to seek out help. I returned the next day to the iBook with fresh ammo.

I'd copied the URLs of Bellsouth's relevant web sites from the kit manual, but found zero help directly there. Heck, there was like only two mentions of OS X on the whole help site I could find, and when you clicked them you got nothing but Windows stuff.

So I went to Google. And soon found a back door route into Bellsouth's site where there was some useful Mac info! I think I found the link in the second or third page of Google results.

The URL of good stuff was http://www.fastaccess.drivers.bellsouth.net/

The URL of the exact page of crucial instructions was http://www.fastaccess.drivers.bellsouth.net/documents/MacOSX_NativeClient.doc

I think the instructions page is in a Microsoft Word file format, which can be readily opened and read by WordPad on PCs, but might be harder to access on Macs bereft of Microsoft Office or Word(?) Yikes!

I have no printer, so I made handwritten notes of the lengthy instructions I found there. The next day I followed the instructions as best I could on the iBook and got it connected!

Sure enough the root of the problem appeared to lie in the PPPoE section. Please refer to the original instructions page for more details. But basically the crux of the matter seemed to be this:

The boxes in PPPoE Options for 'Connect automatically' and 'Send PPP echo pockets' should be checked, and the others NOT.

Always click the 'Apply now' buttons for everything you set.

In the TCP/IP section, set things to 'Connect using PPP'.

Again, always click the 'Apply now' buttons for everything you set. And save changes when prompted.

After backing out of all those control panels, click the desktop, and use the Go menu in the Finder to choose 'Applications'. In that open window double-click on 'Internet Connect'. Next click on the Connect button you find there.

And that's what put the OS X iBook on the net.

Again, please refer to the full instructions page for more details.

Apple OS X laptop user's log contents


Copyright © 2005-2008 by J.R. Mooneyham. All rights reserved. The true source of this page is