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Disclaimer: The entries you find in these pages are based on my individual opinions and thoughts. Some of the entries may be just plain wrong, and others harmful. Should you choose to act on, or try, anything you find on this site, you assume any and all risks associated with your actions. So there.


Black iMac Screen

May 4, 2004

If you've got an iMac "DV" and your screen dies, you can use the (hidden) built-in video-out to use the iMac to get your data back. To tell if you have one of the ones with a video port out of the back, just look for an oval-shaped removable plastic grill on the bottom rear of the iMac— if you don't have this removable grill, you don't have one. Under this grill you will find a standard VGA port.

My client's iMac (running Mac OS 9) was working great when I had to shut it down to plug and move some external hard drives. When I turned it back on, it made all of the right noises, but the screen stayed black. It even showed up on the network. Zapping the PRAM didn't work. So I grabbed a VGA monitor and plugged it in to the rear video-port. Bingo, there was the iMac screen patiently waiting to be seen.

The iMac is pretty much worthless as a workstation now, but as a small fileserver it's fine. So we installed Timbuktu on it and can use that to do minor updates and maintenance as needed.

Hub Schmub

May 4, 2004

A client called me out to help migrate his data from his old PowerMac G3 to his brand new PowerMac G5. As I reached down to grab an ethernet cable, he said he didn't have two cables that would reach to the hub; "that's ok," I said, as I plugged one end of the cable into the G3 and the other in to the G5. The G5 has a built-in crossover switch (I think the G3 does too, but you only need one and I'm not so sure about the G3).

Next I took a trip to the Network Preferences Panel on the G5 and made sure it was still set to "Automatic." (Actually, I made sure that TCP/IP was configured to use a DHCP Server). This insured that the G5 would create a "Self Assigned" IP address, which I noted from the TCP/IP settings screen. I did the same thing in the TCP/IP Control Panel on the G3 (which will also self-assign an address). Then I made sure that Personal File Sharing was turned on on the G5.

Next I took a trip to the old Chooser on the G3, typed in the IP address of the G5, plugged in his login name and password and up popped the G5 hard disk and his user folder. I'll leave the copy of the data to your imagination.

You might be asking "Why not use Firewire Target Disk Mode?" Well, the G5 and the G3 both support this mode (hold down the T key when you turn on the computer, you'll get a huge Firewire icon on the screen, and you can then plug it in to another computer as if it were an external Firewire hard drive). However, 100-Base-T Ethernet using AFP over TCP/IP is actually much faster.

"Faster than Firewire, no Way" you might respond. Well, maybe when the computer(s) are accessing a real external Firewire HD it's faster, but my experience is that Firewire Target Disk Mode is quite slow, much slower in fact than AFP over Ethernet either with or without a hub. I don't know why, but my guess is that in Target Disk Mode the data travels a different path than otherwise. This has been my experience with quite a few PowerMac G4s and PowerMac G3s.