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Apple iMac DV (400 MHz) User's Log

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This page last updated on or about 11-15-06
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AUTHOR'S NOTE: Certain embedded web links and documented costs/prices for certain wares discussed may be out-of-date. This is Real World usage rather than a syrupy evangelistic exercise, so you'll find both good and bad things about iMacs here. END NOTE.

Apple iMac DV User's Log Table of Contents

11-15-06: Long overdue update on the iMacDV

My niece (who's now eighteen) seems to have gotten by pretty well with the iMac DV since she took possession of it almost exactly four years ago. I believe she told me it did exhibit some problems for a while, but she updated it to OS X, and I haven't heard much about any problems with it since.

Of course, she's done everything she can to keep her iMacDV off the internet. And no one other than she and her mom use it, I believe. And only relatively recently may she have connected a printer to the machine (I'm unsure if her printer is connected to the iMacDV, or a Mac laptop she also possesses now).

Her family maintains a Windows XP PC for their sole internet machine, on dial up. Only very recently did they install an anti-virus application on it, and still have no anti-spyware, I think. All that might not be so big a deal but for the fact my niece's younger brother/my teenage nephew has a penchant for downloading lots of terribly risky files, thereby apparently causing the family to have to restore their PC from scratch over and over again.

Luckily the family has learned how to do all this on their own, so I haven't had to make a repair visit myself in years (they live a thirty minutes drive from me). However, I have several times suggested to them that maybe I should rearrange their computers for more reliable net and game access.

The family has several games like the Sims and others they like on the PC, that get blitzed everytime a new virus or spyware app gets hold of it. So I've suggested we take the PC off-line entirely to use just for the games, and put the iMacDV online as the internet terminal-- since there's far fewer online threats for Macs compared to PCs. Yes, that would leave them with a net machine a bit less compatible with some web sites than their PC-- but it'd still likely offer them 90-95% of the PC's functionality online.

That would still leave my niece with her Mac laptop solely for her own offline use. But I could also set up the laptop as a backup net terminal, in case something happened to the iMacDV. To give the family some redundancy in their net connection (it can often be helpful to have net access on a second machine, in order to resolve problems with the first machine).

My niece however will not hear of it. She's afraid to hook her Macs to the internet. I've tried to explain to her they'd face a smaller threat than the PC, but she doesn't care. Plus, she and her mom already use the two Macs for other things off-line (though I personally would feel like an off-line computer was awful limited).

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

11-12-02: The iMacDV has left the building

Yay! Well, sort of. While I'm happy the trouble-prone iMacDV is no longer at WebFLUX Central, it may still cause me problems down the road, as its new home is still within my possible maintenance domain (darn it).

On the brighter side, since the DV may now be situated where it's not connected to the internet or a printer, and the owner is unlikely to be buying and installing new wares on it, maybe it'll work better than it did before.

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

2-17-02: No repairs for the HP DeskJet 1220c

Well, it appears we'll just have to buy a new printer to replace the HP DeskJet 1220c. We went to the HP web site and found the nearest appropriate service center, telephoned them, and found it'd likely cost at least around $200 to maybe repair the printer-- they didn't guarantee it'd work even after $200 being spent on it. Plus we're talking a 50 mile round trip to unfamiliar territory here, to deliver the printer, several days to wait, then another 50 mile round trip to pick it up again.

I believe this $600 (at full retail) printer may have been bought on sale for around $400, plus that was some years back-- with some judicious shopping you might get the same functionality for far less than $400 today. And be at least a bit more certain it'd work when you got it, too (compared to the repair job description). Plus, the HP DeskJet 1220c wasn't much of a prize anyway, in how well it worked with Macs, as can be seen in previous log entries. And I was really disappointed that HP didn't put a protective fuse in it to protect it from problems like ours. That's a pretty severe quality problem for a $400-$600 printer, in my opinion.

Oh yeah, we did locate the user manual, but it didn't help matters.

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

1-24-02: Folks, I'm giving up on logging lots of the problems of the DV; there's just too many

It's just gotten far too hard and time-consuming to try to document the DV's problems. From here on out I will avoid going into detail on DV fixes unless they involve some all new or unusual problem.

If you want to see the DV experiences that made me surrender on this point (many problems I never posted at all, simply because I didn't have time), then see the entries below.

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

12-27-01: The HP DeskJet 1220c printer has died

The printer actually died some months back. I tried pretty much everything to revive it, but it's dead as a doornail. Won't even turn on.

Roger suggests we take it to a regular TV repair-type fellow, since it may just have a bad power switch or some other bad generic electronic part in it. I agree.

As far as I can tell what killed the printer was its power cord being barely plugged into the back of the printer, creating an intermittant connection that eventually fried something. We checked for an internal fuse of some kind to replace, but found none. The owner couldn't tell us where the manual was, either. The manual might have given us a few other leads to check out.

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

Approximately 1-14-2001: I struggle with the Mac OS and Apple Airport to get the DV to share files with a PowerBook and Performa 6400 over Ethernet

Before changing anything on it I made sure to make notes about its present Earthlink configuration (don't completely burn bridges when you don't have to-- Old Computer Geezer survival tip). I noted the present settings in the control panels for TCP/IP, Remote Access, and AppleTalk. I also made sure to duplicate the current configurations, rename them, and then make them active before doing any modifications. In theory this would allow me to return to the previous configs more easily if necessary (In practice this doesn't always work on the Mac, due to bugs in the OS apparently).

I set up the TCP/IP much the same as on the 6400. Here though was a box for "DHCP client ID". I wasn't sure if I needed anything there, since many other settings would be determined automatically by the router. I also didn't put the router's IP address in.

I restarted, then opened Microsoft Internet Explorer 5. I couldn't web surf at all. I quit. Re-opened the TCP/IP control panel, inserted a name for the iMacDV in the box marked "DHCP client ID". I quit TCP/IP, told it to save when prompted. Restarted. Opened Internet Explorer. I could web surf, but only very slowly. I checked the router in the basement. Lights for port one and four were lit for the HP PC and iMacDV. The router lights didn't indicate any problem, according the manual. I looked for web-based answers using Google on the HP PC.

Apparently the problem was Airport on the iMacDV, which is typically a DHCP server itself. You can't have two on the same net, and the router was trying to be a DHCP server too. The info indicated that you might be able to reconfigure the router away from being a DHCP server and let Airport have its way, but you'd also then have to do considerably more manual configuration of the router itself and possibly all your PCs and Macs too. And after all that, there was still no guarantee that Airport would play well with the rest of the LAN. But there you'd be with your router and clients all reconfigured into a much less convenient and maybe less flexible arrangement. I didn't like the sound of that.

So I turned off Airport. Restarted. Fired up Internet Explorer. Couldn't web surf at all now! I checked the TCP/IP control panel, and found that merely opening the Airport control panel to switch it off seemed to change my TCP/IP configuration. I put the configuration back like it was. Checked the router address (it was correct).

I opened the Remote Access control panel and erased the username and password and unclicked 'save password'. Hopefully this would help prevent Remote Access from trying to dial up Earthlink. I quit MSIE. Restarted.

On boot up the DV reported that "File sharing could not be enabled".

I tried Internet Explorer. The web was there, and it was blazing fast. Faster than on the HP PC.

Now for file sharing between the iMacDV and 6400. I made sure AppleTalk was active. I needed the DV owner name and password to enable file sharing. In the Remote Access control panel I used the menus to access the AppleTalk control panel, and changed it to use Ethernet built-in rather than Airport. I quit these control panels.

I went to the Chooser, clicked Appleshare. In the other window the 6400's network name showed up (the 6400 was up and running at this time).

I clicked 'connect to file server as registered user'. Whoops! It demanded a password from me.

OK folks, things get a bit confusing here. Keep in mind that I'm trying to document my experiences based on memory and what written notes I made at the time, something like weeks after the actual events. So this is an imperfect record at best.

I was really getting stuck for passwords here in file sharing. I did some research. The owner names and passwords I found in my notebooks for the 6400 worked, while those for the DV didn't seem to. More research info from the web indicated some things to try (in increasing order of severity) to get around the problem.

I soon found this: On the 6400 I went to the Users and Groups control panel, double-clicked 'guest', and told the 6400 to allow guests to connect. This seemed to work about letting other Mac users into the 6400 over the LAN, but the same process didn't work about opening up the iMacDV to file sharing over the net (File Sharing, Users and Groups). It kept demanding an owner name and password, and wouldn't accept anything I gave it.

The File Sharing control panel was actually erasing the user name and passwords I entered without even considering them-- but it took me a while to realize this. It was like an invisible man was standing next to me deleting my entries everytime just before I typed or clicked something else. I'd type a username, then press tab or click the mouse button to go to the next entry box for entering a password, and the username would disappear in the previous box. And something similar would happen if I tried inputting the password first instead. And the Mac would keep giving me a dialog box that a username was required, despite the fact the Mac itself was erasing the name as fast as I could enter it! (^%$##@!)

At this point the DV got extremely slow about opening up the File Sharing control panel. To try to get around the problems I removed the File Sharing prefs folder from the System folder. The folder turned out to be full of a lot of strange files, as if the DV user had accidentally been saving a bunch of unrelated stuff in there that they shouldn't have been.

I then tried to restart from the Special menu. Nothing happened. I tried again. Got an error dialog saying something like "This command cannot be carried out because you already selected restart or shut down and the computer hasn't finished preparing for it. Please try again". But subsequent tries only got the error dialog again.

I used the reset button on the side of the DV. On boot up I got the message again that file sharing could not be enabled.

I restarted the 6400 too, just to be on the safe side. It seemed unaffected over the net by the stuff happening on the DV. Again, the DV would not shut down or restart by the Special menu. I consulted the web again. I was not comfortable proceeding with the LAN tests while the DV couldn't restart or shut down normally.

I got a long laundry list of possible culprits for this problem, which pretty much included every hardware and software component which made up the DV. Little good that did me. I myself believed it was mainly an ongoing problem with the File Sharing control panel and related items.

But never-the-less I did try a few solutions related to the laundry list. For instance, USB problems made up one item, and lord knows we've had plenty of those on the DV. Especially with our HP printer. I decided this would be a good time to check for an updated printer driver from HP. It was a waste of time. From our particular printer's driver update pages on HP's web site you couldn't even tell that they had any printers for Macs at all. So much for that.

So I tried something else from the near infinite possibilities of the laundry list. I disabled an extension called SharewayIP in the Extensions Manager, and did a button restart.

The message 'file sharing could not be enabled' appeared again on bootup.

A menu restart worked this time.

The message 'file sharing could not be enabled' appeared again on bootup.

Well, since disabling SharewayIP didn't fix both the file sharing and restart/shut down problems, I re-enabled the extension and restarted.

The message 'file sharing could not be enabled' appeared again on bootup. Again, I could no longer restart or shut down from the menus.

I moved the Finder preferences from the System folder to elsewhere on disk and pressed the restart button. I've seen this manuever fix weird problems on Macs in the past, and like everything else, practically including demonic exorcism, it was on the laundry list of things to try for this situation.

The message 'file sharing could not be enabled' appeared again on bootup. I still couldn't restart or shut down from the menus.

OK, time for another USB-related maneuver. I switched everything off. Powered down the iMac and all the USB peripherals, and left them off for a minute or so to clear out memory. I've seen this trick solve some bad problems too on newer Mac systems like this one.

Whoops! This is when I noticed I had the cable modem power going through the same switch as everything else with the DV. That wasn't wise, as it can take the cable modem several minutes to 'warm up' and get its internet connection when switched on. So you definitely don't want it being switched off everytime you have to clear the USB bus on one Mac. That would take down the broadband connection for everybody in the building. So I took this opportunity to move the cable modem's power plug to a different outlet, much less subject to such disruptions.

I then powered up all the USB peripherals, and switched on the HP printer (one of our worst USB offenders). Lastly, I booted the iMacDV.

The message 'file sharing could not be enabled' appeared again on bootup. I still couldn't restart or shut down from the menus.

By this time I was racking my brain and log books trying to determine what the proper username and password were for the iMacDV, since it didn't seem to be accepting what my log books showed to be the terms. The File Sharing control panel was taking forever to pop up on screen when called too, which didn't seem right at all.

I UN-clicked the item 'enable file sharing client to connect over TCP/IP', and quit the panel. I waited several minutes. Now I was able to shut down from the menus.

I still didn't have the file sharing working on the DV. During the next session I started trying to crack the File Sharing control panel by just guessing at usernames and passwords. I hate doing this in general, since there's so many possibilities. But in this case I knew I'd set the things myself, and they surely weren't much different from what I recorded in my logs. But there's another reason to avoid this method if you can. Modern OS systems tend to detect such cracking attempts and throw obstacles in your way. For instance, they might only allow you one to three incorrect attempts at a time, period. There's lots of things the OS can do to hamper a would-be cracker. So experts don't waste time with stuff like this except in very special cases.

However, I learned something here. For this is where I realized the Mac was throwing away my entries without even checking them for correctness. Aha! Maybe my logs were giving me the proper codes after all-- and the problem was a Mac OS 9 bug! Or corrupt preferences of some kind!

Somewhere around this time I'd checked the restore and software install CDs that had accompanied the DV from Apple for a utility that might aid my troubleshooting. I'd found nothing useful there of course. But I did run across a Nanosaur installer I'd been unaware we had. We have frequent 2 and 4 year old visitors as well as older kids who'd been requesting Nanosaur on the DV for quite some time, so I went ahead and installed it now.

I removed File Sharing preferences from the Preferences folder inside the System folder. Restarted. Opening the File Sharing control panel still took forever. It still wouldn't accept a username.

I began combing the Mac Help available on the iMacDV. Maybe I should have done this first off. But Mac Help has a very spotty track record from my experience. Over 80% of the time it seems easier and faster and more effective to get help from MacFixit or elsewhere rather than the onboard Mac Help. But last year Mac Help did prove to offer just about the only useful info I found on getting Airport to run (it turned out the installation instructions for Airport software bought with an Airport card were nowhere to be found except in an Airport troubleshooting section in the onboard Mac Help).

Mac Help offered a list of things to try in my situation, ranging from trivial all the way to re-installing the OS(!). There were some things here I hadn't yet thrown at the problem.

I dragged the File Sharing folder from the Preferences folder in the System folder. My notes indicate I tried this at least once before at some point.

I reset the PRAM. I dragged Users and Groups data file from the Preferences folder.

Now I couldn't restart from the menus again. I used the button.

After reboot the File Sharing control panel still opened agonizingly slowly. But a username matching that in my logbook appeared on its own in the users and groups list. I was able to enter the password. A computer name for the iMacDV was also present at this point, but my notes fail to indicate if it came up itself or I entered one at this time. Clicked to start up file sharing and got indications it was working. File sharing can take a couple minutes to crank up.

I quit. Waited a few minutes to let the Mac OS get all its ducks in a row behind the scenes (it seems easy to do things too fast for a 400 MHz Mac OS 9 G3, which can make it crash or have other problems; often when it seems to be frozen if you'll just wait 5-10 minutes you'll find it's back to normal again without requiring a restart).

Now I clicked the icon of the iMacDV's hard disk once to select it, and chose 'Get Info...Sharing' from the File menu. I put a checkmark in a box saying 'share this item and its contents'.

My notes are a bit vague on the next point. There's something about a user/group pop up menu, and double-clicking on 'guest'. There's also something about 'show sharing' and checking a box to allow guests to connect.

I next closed one window and then another. Now I got the opportunity to assign iMac hard disk access privileges of varying levels to LAN users. Read privileges were indicated by an icon of eyeglasses, and writing privileges by an icon of a pen or pencil. I gave the iMac owner both reading and writing privileges, and everyone else only reading-- being aware I might have to change this later on.

I did NOT exercise the option to copy these same privileges to all enclosed folders. Again, being aware I might have to change this setting later. Primarily I was unsure what to do about these settings and just figured we'd have to experiment to see what we wanted them to do.

I closed the window. For some reason at this time I also turned off the Mac's tendency to read aloud the text of error dialogs, I guess in the speech control panel. I shut down from the menu.

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

Sometime after 12-31-2000: We expand the iMacDV's RAM in the hopes that'll reduce its problem-prone tendencies

We got a 128 MB upgrade for around $68.00. It was a bit tougher to seat in the iMac than I expected, though the DV did offer a more straightforward way to access the memory slot than the older iMac did.

The upgrade boosted us up to 192 MB total.

I like to test new RAM as thoroughly as possible, so I pulled up an old RAM test program to do so. This may have been a mistake, as Mac software compatibility has really suffered with the last half dozen Mac OS 'upgrades'.

RAMometer 1.3.4 was the utility. Seems like it had worked great for me in the past. The program said to turn off virtual memory, so I did, and restarted.

The DV hung up on booting. I hit the restart button. I then ran RAMometer through 100+ memory tests. Then I allowed it to run continuously for a while. Everything looked fine. I quit RAMometer. Turned virtual memory back on, at 256 MB. Restarted.

I got a bomb system error-- an address error. I did a button restart. Same crash again. I restarted with extensions off (held down the shift key).

Crash. I unplugged all the USB stuff but the keyboard and mouse. Now the DV is booting.

But it freezes up.

I plugged in the HP printer. Hit the restart button. Disk first aid ran, said the hard disk was ok. I clicked return. The DV froze up again.

I pressed the restart button. I reset the PRAM several times. I noticed the HP printer cover cocked slightly open, and closed it. Disk first aid says the disk is ok, I mouse click the Done button.

Hey! The DV doesn't freeze up! There's brief hard disk activity, and then it does freeze up again.

I plugged in the USB hub and hit the restart button again. First Aid says all OK. I click the Done button. I get a crash, and the message 'system error, address error'.

Hit the restart button, reset the PRAM, First Aid says OK, I press 'Done'. Get 'system error, address error'.

This time when I get the chance I slide in the DiskWarrior CD, and boot from it by restarting while holding down the "C" key.

Mac OS 9.0.4 boots OK, so the RAM doesn't seem to be the problem. About this computer says 192 MB RAM

There's NONE of the DV's usual USB drivers loaded in this configuration. And DiskWarrior finds NO errors. I quit, turn off the printer, and shut down.

I wait at least 10 seconds, switch on, see First Aid run again, saying all is OK, I click 'Done', and get 'system error, address error' again. I turn on the printer.

I push the restart button, and go through the First Aid/Done/'system error, address error routine again.

I restart, holding down the shift key to turn off all extensions. I get 'system error, address error' again.

I turn off all power to everything and wait a minute or so.

I turn everything back on again, in this order: The printer, the USB hub/devices, and lastly the iMac. It boots! I shut it down, and wait a moment.

I switch the iMac back on-- it freezes right after the MS Office Puzzle icon appears in the menu bar. I push the restart button. I reset the PRAM. After boot up I check to make sure the virtual memory is still on. I choose the HP printer in the Chooser.

I put an original Mac OS CD that came with the DV inside it [in case I need to re-install the OS, if I recall correctly; my notes don't necessarily include my intentions at the time]. Curses. It's the wrong one. I replace it with the other. I believe I read a READ ME file here about booting off the original DV CD which tells me all anti-virus software needs switched off, as well as file sharing switched off. And the Extensions Manager needs to be set to 'Mac OS all. I also told it to 'never' sleep. I examine the extensions, such as Iomega quicksync. I don't see anything obviously amiss there. I close out of the Extensions manager and menu restarted the DV.

It seemed to reboot far faster than usual with the iMac CD inserted.

The DV seemed to be working OK now. I shut down.

I waited. I switched it back on. It booted. I opened AppleWorks. Looked at 'About this computer'. Everything seems OK. I restart from the menu (note I'm trying both 'warm' boots (restarts) and 'cold' boots (shut downs, waits, start ups) here, looking for any sign of trouble at this critical events.

Still seems OK. I eject the Mac OS CD. Shut down. Wait. Boot up. Open AppleWorks and About this computer. All seems OK. Restart via menu. Seems OK. I adjusted up the memory in 'Get Info' on several applications and upped the port speed on a Sanyo camera utility to 56k from 19k. I boost the virtual memory setting to 512 MB.

I restarted again via menu. All seems OK. I let it run to burn in the new RAM.

Note that I apparently did NOT have to re-install the OS here-- but I came darn close.

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

Approximately late 2000: We buy and successfully use Alsoft DiskWarrior to repair the DV hard disk

We badly needed a Mac disk utility, due to ongoing problems with all our newer Macs, including the iMacDV. I checked out the options online at places like MacFixIt.com and others. Alsoft DiskWarrior seemed the most popular, and at least as good and capable as the runner up. As I'm writing this log entry long, long after the event, I can't locate the receipt to give you a precise cost, date, and vendor for the purchase. But if I recall DiskWarrior cost us around $70 or $80, from one of the main Mac mail order vendors.

DiskWarrior is almost ridiculously easy to use. And it seems to do its job well. My impression is that DiskWarrior basically just performs a more robust version of the desktop rebuild you can do for free on your Mac. DiskWarrior's rebuilds will sometimes fix problems the free rebuild can't (but not always).

For those times when DiskWarrior can't fix the problem, you might want to keep the runner up handy, too (Norton Utilities, I believe it was, at the time).

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

Approximately late 2000: Fanless iMacs might be OK heat-wise

Well, apparently being fanless isn't hurting the DV's cooling after all-- the strange display waviness I noted before seems to occur sometimes as a result of an energy saver software glitch. It's sometimes but not always visible on several different iMacs when their display awakes from sleep.

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

11-25-2000: The iMac DV can't shut down via the Special Menu, and has developed a corrupt file that Disk First Aid says it can't repair; zapping the PRAM and a doing a few other things fixes one of the problems

Our iMac DV continues to plague us with problems. Today it would no longer shut down or restart from the menubar. This meant switching off a surge protector to turn off the thing (hmmm, I forgot to try the DV's built-in power switch; but as for the restart key combo on this model, I don't think I've ever been able to get that to work before-- so I no longer try it).

Apple First Aid has been complaining for weeks that there's a corrupt file on the DV's disk it can't repair. The DV has been freezing up more and more often when running Bugdom too, in past weeks. Kid Pix Studio has been exhibiting sound problems. Attempting to print a web page from Internet Explorer 5.x freezes up the machine. There's a slew of other problems too, but as the DV isn't my personal machine it's more difficult to list glitches off the top of my head.

We don't at present have anything like Norton Utilities to try on the disk.

Here's the condensed version of what I did to the DV (not necessarily in order performed):

I went into the Extensions Manager for an inspection. It appeared someone had been re-installing things again, or else the kids had been fooling around in there. There were several enabled extensions that appeared unnecessary, such as extensions for a old printer which isn't attached to the DV, and hasn't been for months. I expect the DV owner had wanted some application off the old printer installation CD and accidentally installed more stuff than they were after. There was also an extension or two I didn't recognize, and couldn't ascertain a source for, like a slideshow extension.

These days I'm always suspicious of strange extensions, since there's lots of ways a bad or evil extension could be slipped into your system folder from new software installs or downloads off the net. So if I can't determine a good and reasonable source or reason for an extension, I often disable it. I also go by the date of an extension. Some buggy software installs might actually damage your operating system by inserting a really old piece of software into your System folder. If you're running OS 9 and there's an extension in your Extensions folder that's copyright 1988 through 1995 or so, there's a good chance that old extension is not compatible with your machine, and could be causing all sorts of problems-- even if the creator is Apple itself. Lots of third party applications might install woefully out-of-date Apple extensions. Today maybe the most frequent problem is some app installations replacing your OS 9 modern Quicktime extensions with some much older version. Sure, you can try downloading the newer QT from Apple and upgrading again, but waiting hours for the download is annoying. You can also try restoring your OS from your machine's restore CD-- but you need to be careful how you do it or you might end up formatting your hard drive and having to re-install all your apps from scratch again-- as well as losing your data files.

For reasons like the above it can be handy to have a copy of your System folder somewhere else so you can just re-copy some items that get misplaced-- like on a burned CD for instance. You can also do it on ZIP disks, but trying to fit a modern Mac OS System folder onto half a dozen ZIP disks can take hours.

Keep in mind that fiddling with the Mac Extensions Manager or mucking around inside the Extensions folder directly is not well suited to novices. The Manager has actually gotten harder to use in recent OS updates, and will dynamically fight some modifications you try making to it, much like a dog resisting taking the medicine the vet recommends. By resistance, I mean the Manager will move files around on its own, behind your back. It also doesn't always display the full contents of the Extensions folder, and often doesn't provide you with any useful info regarding certain extensions, even when it does show them.

Schenanigans like these force you to bypass the Manager in many cases, and edit the Extensions folder directly-- then later have to fight with the Manager again, when it complains about it.

In most cases if you make a mistake in regards to disabling a certain extension, leaving your Mac unable to boot, or crashing even more frequently than before, or some app no longer will open, you can restart while holding down the Shift key to disable all extensions, and then try to rectify your error.

In many cases you should take notes about what you do, in case you have to reverse your actions later. You also should avoid trashing an extension, since you might have to put it back again. Rather than trashing it, just move it to a different folder, somewhere outside of the System folder. If I must move lots of files from the System folder I usually keep track of where they came from, for personal reference. For example, I might create an "Out-of-the-loop" folder to hold all the extensions, control panels, preferences, or fonts I'm moving out of the System folder. Inside the "Out-of-the-loop" folder I create separate "extensions", "control panels", "preferences", and "fonts" folders for each class of item, so that I'll know where they came from and thus where to return them if necessary.

Of course, if all else fails, hopefully you're fully backed up data-wise, and can restore your disk and start re-installing apps, peripherals, and data. But avoiding the agony of doing all that is why we try all this other stuff first.

Anyway, I tried some other manuevers on the DV as well, as described below.

I opened Microsoft Internet Explorer, went into preferences, and cleared the disk cache and the history. I hoped this action might fix the corrupt file Apple First Aid keeps harping about, as browser caches and histories have been a potential problem area for corrupt files on Macs ever since they first went online. At least one Quadra 650 in my care in the past had to have its operating system and browser re-installed from scratch because of weird problems in the cache system. I ran into lesser but still significant problems in this regard with a Performa 6300 and 6400.

Unfortunately, the above actions didn't help the disk problem in this instance.

I moved the individual preferences files of both the System and Finder (note these are just two files, not folders) out of their places inside the Preferences folder (which is inside the System folder), and into a separate maintenance folder on the desktop. I rebuilt the DV desktop (boot up holding down the option and Apple keys (the Apple key also has a cloverleaf-like design on it)). I zapped the PRAM three times (boot up holding down the option and Apple keys, PLUS the "p" and "r" keys; repeat until you hear a musical tone three times). After zapping the PRAM you need to check your Date and Time settings and maybe update them. You also need to make sure your printer is still chosen in the Chooser under the Apple Menu. Ours wasn't. I'd click on the proper icon in the left window, but nothing would show up in the right window. There's frequent problems with USB devices in this area. So I powered up the printer, and began a reboot of the DV to see if I could confirm the printer selection in the Chooser.

I got a bomb during bootup, saying there was a problem with a Toast CD burning extension. I clicked the dialog screen's restart button, and was surprised to see the DV actually reboot this time.

After boot, I clicked the printer icon in the left window of the Chooser and the proper icon showed up in the right window. I clicked that too, then quit/closed the Chooser.

The DV shut down now, from the Finder menu, as it should. Being pressed for time, and seeing as how the DV seemed to be acting as least a bit better now, I stopped here to let the DV's own user check out the machine and report back to me later. I've already told them they need to get a Norton Utilities or perhaps other repair package for the DV and other Macs in their care, if they wish to avoid the agony of total disk restores and possible re-installations of everything. I also recommended they read some reviews to see if Norton is truly the best package to get for repairing Macs these days-- I'm aware of some shortcomings and problems that NU displayed in previous years and incarnations.

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

9-18-2000: The Apple Airport is closed

Well, we lost our Airport functionality between the iMac DV and Powerbook. I'm not sure how or why. It may be related to a brief trial of broadband we did via the DV's Ethernet port, and the related changes to TCP settings which were necessary for it. But I did everything I could to save the proper configuration for Airport in TCP/IP and other places in the OS beforehand, to avoid just that problem. Unfortunately, the option to save different TCP/IP settings in Mac OS 9 seems no more reliable than saving system configurations in the Extensions Manager. If the user wants to do much more than basic word processing on modern Macs, they better be ready to rumble with the OS (as in big time wrestling).

The broadband test was a bust. Not because of Mac problems, but because the local cable company to whom we were connected just happened to be down all week that week. I kept the DV connected to them for three days, and tried the system for a while each day. It was like using a 2400 baud modem for all sites but a handful like Yahoo or CNN. Absolutely excrutiating. My cousin Edwin is a longtime user of the same cable outfit, and confirmed the downtime of those dates. A technician friend who works for the company also confirmed the troubles of the time.

Edwin says one to two weeks of such problems occur maybe once every several months. But he keeps the link because when it does run right, it's addictingly fast. He also says though that you don't really notice much difference except when downloading software or video, etc. Merely visiting average web pages isn't much faster than 56k.

The broadband costs more than 56k, and isn't nearly as reliable yet, in our area. The only people here who typically want to do hefty downloads online on a regular basis are visitors; kids mainly, with my brother Scotty also sometimes a culprit. Paying extra every month just so the kids can watch Flash animations and we can muck up our computers with various new system extensions and browser plug-ins doesn't seem very worthwhile to me. Sure, I occasionally need to download a software update, but only maybe once every several months or so. The inconvenience isn't nearly bad enough to justify the broadband cost and lack of reliability. Plus there's the greater vulnerability to crackers/hackers of a broadband connection to worry about, compared to dialup.

So anyway, the broadband stuff's not for us at the moment. Getting the DV switched back to Earthlink dialup, and off the cable modem took some effort. There seems to be numerous bugs and/or user interface problems in the Mac OS networking and Microsoft's browser software. As it's been a while since I struggled with it all, I can't provide the details from memory right now. But somehow I got the DV back onto Earthlink, but couldn't get the Airport to work again, even after hours of fooling with it.

One thing that complicates matters with the Airport is that it requires so many steps to use it, even after you get it running, that the user tends to forget how to access it if they don't religiously follow a NASA-like checklist, or use it every day.

I actually made a checklist for the DV and Powerbook owner to use after I originally got Airport working. So I'm not exaggerating here.

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

August or September(?)-2000: We've switched from America Online to an Earthlink dialup account for our main net access

Partly this had to do with the finicky nature of AirPort which prevented it from working with AOL. Another reason was the growing annoyance with AOL in general-- its increasingly buggy and slow software, and lack of flexibility compared with other ISP accounts.

I've also moved my web site off AOL and onto Tripod. I plan to merely downgrade my AOL account to $10 or $5 a month for an extended maintenance period, whereby redirects can take place between the old and new web addresses, and I can catch AOL addressed email for a while too, until everyone's had a chance to learn about my new digs.

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

8-10-2000: I install AirPort cards in both the iMac DV and a PowerBook

Physically inserting the cards into both went mostly by how Apple's included illustrated instructions indicated. However, there were still a few nits to pick.

The antenna wire could be made more obvious. Sure, the way Apple's got it plugged into its own little holder makes it handy for techs who grab the things fourteen times a day-- but for casual users who might never do this but once in their lives, there's guesswork based on Apple's graphics involved-- and prayers that you're not accidentally yanking on the wrong wire. Because the thing looks like it's already connected to something in there (it is-- a special dummy holder for the connector).

It's also pretty awkward to connect the antenna wire to the AirPort card, as well as manuever the card and attached wire into the card's insertion connection inside the PowerBook afterwards. Note that the connector is actually well underneath the lip of the PowerBook casing. Luckily for me the card's slides lined up pretty well to guide it in-- but I'm sure not everyone's slides will line up so well.

I had to fiddle with replacing the PowerBook's heat shield almost as long as everything else in the operation took, put together. It just did not want to go back into place. No, I discovered no secret to finally get it back together-- I just had to keep fidgeting with it until it did it.

I was surprised by the iMac DV's new method for installing RAM or AirPort cards. When I installed RAM into the iMac Rev D a year or two ago, I pretty much had to strip the whole computer down to the metal. YUCK! This time though, I found the iMac DV now boasts a memory/AirPort upgrade bay in its butt that you can use a coin to open and pretty much just stick the stuff in. Pretty neat. It was considerably easier and faster to do on the iMac DV than the PowerBook.

But the software installations for these things were another matter. I wish software worked today as well as it did ten years ago. Heck, I wish it worked even a THIRD as well today as it did ten years ago! I'm getting far too old and cranky to deal with the messes Microsoft, Apple, and their developers foist upon us today. These days I'm pretty amazed and astonished when something installs easily and quickly and works as promised by the manufacturer-- because it's just so darn rare.

Take the Philips camera the DV owner bought the other day. Its package boldly claimed it was both iMac and PC compatible, and came bundled with lots of software to use its features. Well, maybe it was Mac compatible. It certainly plugged into the USB port. The installation process also didn't crash the iMac as many supposedly iMac-compatible packages do theses days. And an examination of the extensions folder showed a driver installed for the thing afterwards. The camera even shined a little green power light for us when the iMac was booted.

But there was zero application or utility software anywhere on the two CDs for Macs. It was all for Windows. We had no way to access the camera whatsoever. I tried using the iMac DV's already present applications like iMovie, or a QuickTime player of some sort, or other video and digital camer software we happened to have from other sources. But I could get nothing to take input from the Philips. I went the Philips web site thinking maybe we could download an app there to make the camera work-- but apparently the only folks at Philips who had any inkling that the camera was to be used on Macs were the graphic designer for the fancy packaging, and the programmer stuck in the basement who wrote the driver extension.

I next went to C|net's Download.com to look for some sort of shareware utility or something we might get to recognize the video coming via USB. I finally found something that looked like we might be able to try it for 30 days before we had to cough up more dough, and started to download it-- when our net connection failed (it does this usually after an hour or so of continuous net use).

That was it. I gave up on it, and recommended the iMac DV owner take the camera back for a refund. They'd also bought a digital tablet for the iMac, which turned out to have similar problems-- no Mac software in the box, despite claims on the exterior about oodles of the stuff inside. This stuff was from CompUSA.

The iMac user exchanged the stuff for AirPort cards, since they wanted to be free of some of the typical cable and configuration mess required with the use of any portable computer like a PowerBook these days.

We've also installed a new Hewlett-Packard DeskJet 1220c Professional Series printer on the DV over past weeks. This thing is monstrous in size, but also capable of printing poster size output (Turns out its box-advertised booklet printing (which was half of what drew the Mac owner to buy it) wasn't supported for Macs-- so what else is new?).

I was plenty annoyed with the printer's installation problems. Either HP did not do their homework on this, or else Mac OS 9 included some changes for which HP's installer and printer driver were not prepared. We had to fiddle with the thing for hours to finally get it to work satisfactorily. It turned out it wouldn't work with any USB port we had except on the iMac keyboard. We also had to re-install the software at least once, maybe more.

The DV user bought AppleWorks 6 to install on the DV. But AW 6 was so awful and buggy she soon removed it and went back to AW 5. Just one problem out of many with the new AW packages is that Apple is screwing up the interface, making it much harder to do many things than it used to be with older ClarisWorks packages. Or at least they are changing the techniques used so much that previous ClarisWorks experience doesn't count for much in using newer AppleWorks packages.

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

6-23-2000: A roster of iMacDV peripherals and a dialup speedup at WebFLUX Central

The new iMacDV retains the previous iMac Revision D peripherals of scanner, printer, modular tower Belkin BusStation USB hub, and old style-Mac serial and ADB ports in another Belkin USB serial adapter.

We discovered with the new iMac DV that it actually is possible to run near to 56k on the net for an hour or more at a time without disconnects, at WebFLUX Central. But to do it we had to install a new heavy duty phone line straight from the building's basement connection to the phone company to the iMac modem port. Since then we've installed a second direct line to my office too. Since then we've installed a second direct line to my office too. And as of today the old iMac has stayed connected as long as three hours at a time at somewhere between 49k and 50k. It seems that anything around a hour or more means a pretty decent connection. With noisier lines our connection would typically last only 5 minutes, but sometimes as long as 20-30 minutes before spontaneously dis-connecting.

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

6-22-2000: Second tier computer industry player Apple Computer continues its long downward slide in quality with Mac OS 9 and the iMac DV; I hope OS X reverses this trend when/if it ever arrives

Egads! Things just continue to get worse with these machines, and operating system. What follows is based largely on my tortured memory of events-- I was too pressed for time to take notes.

In the month since the user bought the new iMac DV, we've had to use the restore disk nearly a half dozen times to get the machine working again-- many of those just in the past few days. Usually that means also re-installing from scratch all the third party software and peripherals too-- an agonizing process that can require weeks for someone with lots of extras. Of course, after the first time or two you start scaling back on your re-installations, dropping ballast like a ballooner struggling to get back aloft again, with consequently a great waste of money in software and peripherals you either don't want badly enough to go to the trouble for anymore, or are simply afraid to put on the machine again-- since you can't be sure exactly what keeps blowing it up.

Mac OS 9 is the most fragile and hard-to-keep running Mac OS I've seen yet (and I've been using the Mac OS since around 6.0 I believe). And the iMac DV in particular seems a very problem-prone beast. To be fair, quite large changes in three different facets of the system at once (OS, DVD, and FireWire; some would include USB here too, as apparently all the bugs haven't yet been ironed out of it either) is bound to make the resulting product pretty buggy-- but still I'd expect better from a relatively expensive system, marketed as an easy-to-use consumer product, and supposedly from a major brand (Apple).

But the truth is that Apple is at best a 'B' player in the PC market these days. Second-tier. The same group that includes e-machines. Apple has a larger 'cool' factor than e-machines, but the reality of that mostly stems from slick looking cases and higher prices-- not better quality (or quantity) in other areas. They apparently no longer have the resources to sustain 'A' player status. Hopefully once OS X is finally rolled out (if it ever does-- constant delays have plagued it for years now), lower costs to maintain and improve the OS will allow Apple to regain 'A' player status once again. But to reach that point, Apple first needs the user base to continue its robust support today, at what is perhaps Apple's lowest point in overall product quality ever.

My aunt also bought an iMac DV recently. She soon returned it and bought a DVD player instead. She suffered far fewer problems with her iMac DV than the primary user I'm writing about here-- but as she already had both a late model PC and a reasonably modern beige Mac, she simply couldn't discern much additional benefit stemming from the iMac DV.

The iMac DV/OS 9 sport many annoyances for the user. Just one is the two separate and distinct hesitations in boot up; I'm talking hesitations so lengthy new users can't help but think the computer has frozen up, and often hit the reset button unnecessarily. Maybe part of these hesitations involves the slower-than-a-CD DVD drive, or scanning of a USB bus to which quite a few devices are attached-- I don't know. In an install of OS 9 on our Performa 6400 however, which has no DVD or USB, similar hesitations are also present, though perhaps not quite so pronounced.

These hesitations produce lots of extra agony when you're having problems with your iMac DV, or trying to recover from disaster with lots of re-installations, as you're having to reboot over and over and over (...and over and over and over...) again.

Oh yeah-- at least Apple has finally recognized that iMac users need to use the reset button nearly as often as the mouse button-- and so made it a real button on the side of the computer rather than a %#@!#&!@! pin hole for sticking a paper clip into.

Apple also finally acknowledged that new Macs won't operate acceptably with less than 64 MB of RAM too. The installation of 64 MB RAM as standard equipment across the board is perhaps several years overdue; similar oversights in the past were perhaps a big reason Apple Macs lost such marketshare around the debut of MS Windows95-- for at the time Apple's PowerPC Macs were fairly new, and Apple was shipping the vast majority of them with what Apple had to know was insufficient RAM for the time. I'd guess lots of early PPC users returned the machines to the sellers when they discovered they could barely function out of the box. As PCs had not yet begun switching to RISC-like architectures, they enjoyed lower RAM requirements, and so were blowing PowerMacs out of the water at the time, based on the functionality of both out of the box, and the comparative costs of each).

The previous OS 8.6 iMac Revision D came with only 32 MB, and after only a few third party software installs could no longer open the browser inside America Online-- at least for Mac novices who likely would not know how to remedy the situation. But even for experts who could get past that obstacle, web browsing quickly became unbearably slow with just 32 MB of physical RAM, and we were forced to upgrade the machine to get acceptable performance from it.

On the other hand, the new iMac DV came equipped with 64 MB RAM out of the box, and the combination of that and OS 9 seems to do a much better job of memory management on the machine, than OS 8.6 and 32 MB ever could. Although we've had plenty of problems with the DV, none so far seem related to memory shortages (Keep in mind one of the first things I do on new Macs these days is make sure virtual memory is switched on, and set to 256 MB minimum).

Apple is also fiddling around the OS again in various ways, such as throwing out the automated process of adding aliases to the Apple Menu, in favor of creating a "Favorites" folder process instead. It takes a while for long time users to catch on to this. For a solid month I was very annoyed at the loss of the automated alias addition to the Menu, plus the way Apple has put a severe limit on how many items you place into the Apple menu-- if you put in too many, older ones start getting 'bumped' off the menu as more are added. And the maximum number is pretty small. But eventually I caught on to the new scheme which puts user-made aliases into a Favorites folder in the Apple Menu. I guess I will grudgingly admit that in the long run this is a better arrangement than the previous method-- but learning this tidbit took me a long time, since I had no personal new Mac OS machine, and only used the newer OS during times I had to configure or troubleshoot a host machine. I was well accustommed to using the old alias method to set up a machine for novices with handy shortcuts in the Apple menu. Suddenly I couldn't use that anymore, and its replacement was not immediately obvious to a harried user like me.

Sometime back Apple corrected a previous problem on models like OS 7.5.3 Performas where there were a multitude of different sound control panels in the OS, plus a physical sound control button on the case, which made for confusion and frustration for users when they couldn't locate the proper panel to set volume (and the physical switch only worked intermittently), as well as sometimes crashed the Mac too. Now, Apple has decided to put users through all that again. OS 9 possesses at least two different sound control panels, and one of those may boast several sub-panels. As a result, once again it can be difficult to locate the proper panel to control the racket on a Mac-- and this is very necessary as Apple sets things by default so that the Mac is popping and cracking and wheezing at you everytime you do anything onscreen, after a system restore, and perhaps new out of the box too (my memory is fuzzy on just how many times I've had to go searching for those things to TURN THEM OFF).

The Extensions Manager too continues to get worse and worse (or maybe it's the Apple Restore program-- it's hard to tell since we've had to use both repeatedly for a month now). The latest incarnation is actually smart(-alec) enough to fight back when you're trying to repair your machine, by moving Mac files on its own (!)(I'm talking beyond the traditional moves to the enabled/disabled extension folders), as well as actually making files you've manually moved to another folder for safekeeping invisible, so that you can't do anything else with them afterwards(!)

Granted, I know how to use ResEdit to go in and make such files visible again-- but why the $#!@! should I have to do that? (Using ResEdit is just about the geekiest and riskiest thing you can do on a Mac).

Fortunately, it turns out that Sherlock can still see them if you search for them-- and from there you can drag and drop new copies into another folder to continue working with them-- but this really bites.

You say I'm not using the Extensions Manager properly, and that's why it's acting this way? Well, I guess I'm just not qualified to do so. After all, I've read everything I could find online and off to use the thing, over the past several years, and used, maintained, and performed trouble-shooting of Macs of every stripe since around 1988. I've personally run Mac networks and maintained corporate Macs for engineers, as well as created installation kits and comprehensive user manuals for connecting Macs to the internet in the early days. I also provided telephone support for Mac internet connections over more than a dozen Tennessee counties for a couple years, often making house calls too, as many problems weren't net-related at all, but local machine OS troubles. I've also done my share of installing/troubleshooting hardware too, but you get the idea (refer to my various Mac user logs for documented proof of a tiny portion of my Mac experience).

In my opinion the Extensions Manager is a mess. It doesn't work, period. This has apparently been true since around OS 7.6. But as of OS 9 the chaos and confusion has gotten even worse. Considering how critical extensions management is to modern Macs, this is appalling.

Of course, much of this crap would probably be fixed if Steve Jobs himself were forced to rely exclusively on the latest Mac OS for ALL of his own computing, email, and web use. Unfortunately, last I heard he used a PC laptop instead.

You still have to buy a mouse to replace Apple's worldwide derision-winning hocky puck. The inadequacy of this device is breathtaking. Stunning even. So remarkable that I'm surprised late night comics haven't made it a long running butt of jokes on their shows, similar to what's been done with Bill Clinton, Monica Lewinsky, and Dan Quayle.

Oh wait-- I get it now. They can't use that theme because so few folks use Macs the vast majority of viewers wouldn't get the jokes. PC users get mice that work, after all.

The iMac's USB bus is turning out to be quite a bit less of an improvement over older serial buses than users were promised. Sure, you can connect and disconnect devices without powering down or frying your electronics-- but often this crashes your iMac. Plus, it turns out at least some USB devices are very particular as to which USB ports they are plugged into. They won't work in just any port, as they are supposed to. So during installs you often have to do trial and error to see which port in a hub a device will work with. Shades of SCSI IDs and PC parallel ports and interrupts! This also of course increases the risks of crashes during installation attempts, which means full disk formats and restores might not be far behind...

The instructions with many USB devices even demand that they be plugged directly into an iMac port rather than a hub (this is usually a scanner or printer). Hmmm. Where's all the extra flexibility promised for USB in that? And some USB devices (like Imation's SuperDisk) force you to often unplug and replug the USB connector just to get a disk icon to show up on OS 9's desktop when you insert a disk.

Then there's miscellaneous quality control problems plaguing the iMac these days, as can be followed on places like MacFixIt. One I happened upon recently was the power button sticking on new iMacs (mostly the $999 models I believe, but there was a mention of some DV models too). Apparently the hole in the case is a bit too tight for the button in some cases, making the button get stuck permanently in either the on or off position. The postings made it sound like drastic measures were sometimes required to fix this-- as drastic as you can get, including motherboard exchanges and/or complete disassembly of the machine so you could ream out the button hole with a pocket knife(!?).

Anybody game for whittlin' on their new iMac?

Of course, keep in mind that Windows PCs have many similar problems. We used the CD-RW on the Compaq the other day and afterwards found the drive letters between the internal CD and the external CD-RW had become switched on the machine, causing various not insignificant problems there (come to think of it, Scotty had re-connected the PC's scanner to the parallel port shared with the printer and CD-RW-- a scanner I had previously left unconnected by the CD-RW's own instructions that not doing so could cause unpredictable problems).

Unfortunately, although both Macs and PCs offer similar levels of problems and troubleshooting difficulties these days, you typically get lots more hardware capacities for the same money on a PC than a Mac: RAM, hard drive space, DVDs, etc., etc. And then when you want to add new software or peripherals or access some new web service, there you will typically find a far greater variety of items to choose from, as opposed to the selection available for Macs.

So why do I personally still use Macs? I'm embaressed to say that I can barely justify it. It's still easier for me personally to manage my files on a Mac than PC, and the Mac allows me longer file names (Scotty tried to show me PCs would give longer file names (255 characters or so?) than Macs, but when he tried it Windows98 had a fit of some sort). Macs allow around 31 character file names, a limit which I painfully bump into nearly every day. But on PCs the name limit seems even more severe. Plus, since I manually back up individual files a lot, and create lots of incremental filenames (i.e., "file.1html, file.2html"), the ease by which I can do this and trash old files on the Mac keeps me here. Oh yeah, The Mac desktop is prettier than Windows. Less clunky looking. Anything else? Well...so far in computing you gotta kiss somebody's butt or not compute at all, it seems. On a Mac these days you have to kiss Steve Jobs' butt. But maybe that's somehow better than kissing Bill Gates' butt(?). Jobs' is pretty awful, but he doesn't seem to want to take over the world, like Gates.

Like I said before, I can barely justify my continued use of Macs over PCs. Hmmm. Wouldn't it be nice if Linux got a real GUI and consumer level apps, drivers, and ease of use? And Cindy Crawford (or some other major babe) turned out to be a better geek than Linus Torvalds, so that she became the high priestess of Linux? Yep, all the required butt-kissing would be much less objectionable in that case...

Hopefully as net protocols and programming languages become more standardized across the board, the Mac will catch up in available web service selection, if not the more platform specific software and peripherals. So far as new software is concerned, a broadband net connection and suitable web compatibility could theoretically make platform-specific software a non-issue by some point for everyone (Of course, who knows when most of us will enjoy the broadband connections necessary to enable this?). And even in peripherals it should help the Mac in the long run to have switched over to industry standard USB and Ethernet, even if FireWire doesn't pan out.

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

5-11-2000: WebFLUX Central struggles with a couple new iMac DVs

The previous owner of the 333 MHz iMac Revision D bought a new iMac DV (from Sears I think), then made me a deal I couldn't refuse for the old iMac plus a few peripherals. More details on the deal are available in the iMac user's log.

They tried to save a little money by purchasing a returned iMac DV first, brought back to the store by a customer a few days before because of the mouse freezing up on it. The salesman though said he re-installed the OS to make it like new again, and that the mouse freeze had simply been a mistake on the user's part in the energy saving settings. The iMac was boxless but had all its accessories and full warranty, etc., So he was offering it for around $200 cheaper than normal.

But upon bootup later the new owner found there was no registration process, plus no registration cards in the bundle. Being an Old Computer Geezer, these clues that this unit had already been registered to another buyer concerned me.

Further experiences seemed to indicate the restore disk had not been used, or else the fellow used Disk First Aid (or something else) instead and thought he did a restore.

To make a short story short, this thing proved to be a minefield of frustration.

I spent hours trying to repair various problems on the computer, to no avail. I also consulted the MacFixIt site for help. It appeared to be a true lemon.

It seemed like the mouse froze up more often and easily the longer the iMac was powered up-- and we thought we smelled a slight burnt odor too at the time-- but as we'd also turned on the central heat it's hard to tell the real source, since sometimes the heater does that too here. But there was a REAL difference in how hot the top of the iMac case got after being on for an hour or so, and it's a fact that the mouse freeze problem got to be nearly continuous after the iMac had been on for three hours...

This is one of those famous Jobs-decreed FANLESS iMacs, remember....all the engineers who disagreed about losing the fans got rewarded with immediate firings I guess...

I finally recommended they return the iMac and get a true new one in a box, which they did (it would have done no good to tell them just to get their money back; this is a truly rabid Mac fan). As this was a generally bad day all around (one of those very rare days when I suffer both a headache and upset stomach for hours-- and my face was sore from the strain of three hours yesterday upside down in a dentist's chair getting a new crown), I basically just unpacked and turned on the second iMac DV for the user, rather than try configuring it right then (i.e., since Apple no longer bundles AOL-- in the hopes of forcing you onto EarthLink-- it's extra work getting this iMac online compared to the previous iMac Revision D).

The good news is, so far the mouse doesn't seem to be freezing up on it, at least.

Apple iMac DV User's Log Contents

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