A few OS X questions

Discussion in 'Mac Help/Tips' started by alex_ant, Mar 28, 2002.

  1. alex_ant macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    #1
    I've been using OS X on a PBG4/550 for a few months and I've come across a few minor problems with it that I wonder if anyone here with more experience can help me solve. This is 10.1.3, by the way.

    1) Whenever I unplug and then plug in a USB mouse, its acceleration resets back to the default. Is this a known bug? This problem does not occur in OS 9; I'm guessing OS X doesn't use the PRAM to store the mouse speed variable since it's multi-user?

    2) About 5% of the time I close the lid to put the machine to sleep, the sleep light does not come on, the CPU enters a loop causing the fan to eventually come on high, and the machine won't wake up - I have to hold the power button down to reset it. Is this a known bug?

    3) I usually use the 3-pane Finder window as my file manager. I've set Audion as my default MP3 player. Most MP3s I click on in the Finder can be played using that miniature player embedded in the Finder; however, some only display an icon and must be played in a separate player. Why is this, and how can I fix it?

    4) File types - how to change them? I have two HTML files side-by-side; one of them the Finder insists is "HTML," which is correct, and the other the Finder insists is a "Document," so it is given a different icon, even though I've set both files to open with the same application. (In a related question, is there a way to turn this behavior off? I am a Unix person with no need for all this metadata / resource fork crap. :) )

    Aside from all that, I love this computer, and my Linux --> OS X conversion has gone smoother than I ever thought it would. Even though this computer is dog-slow in OS X, I've always liked dogs, at least small ones that don't want to bite me. So thanks in advance for any help, but I'll probably thank ya again later.

    Alex
     
  2. AlphaTech macrumors 601

    AlphaTech

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2001
    Location:
    Natick, MA
    #2
    alex,

    I have a few answers for ya.

    One, you can change the extension that the file uses by selecting it, then getting info on the file. Use the pull down menu within the info box and change the .xxx to whatever you want. You can even set it to hide the extension if you really want. I haven't checked to see if there is an easy way to disable this behavior, but resource forks are a rather critical part of Mac files. Without them, the system will not know what to use to open the file, and it will cause you much more pain later.

    What kind of mouse are you using?? Are you unpluging and plugging back in the mouse while powered up?? I unplug my Macally iOptiNet mouse after I power down my TiBook (rev. a 500MHz) and then plug it back in before powering up (just used to that routine). OS X does use PRAM to store some settings, it just does a more effecient job of it then OS 9 did. The only time I have needed to change the tracking speed is after zapping the pram, or using the PMU reset (small button on the back of the system). If you can, or haven't already, try a different mouse and see if the problem continues. If it doesn't then I would say you have a funky mouse.

    I have never used Audion. I used to have soundjam, but when they went away, and iTunes matured some, I just grabbed that. It's hard to beat a free MP3 player that you know works with the OS. I would suspect that what you are experiencing is a bug with Audion. I suggest contacting their support people with the issues you have with their software.

    As for the sleep issue, I only close the lid on my TiBook when I am shutting it off. I also only have a screen saver on it, and I don't let any of it go to sleep. I have had too many other systems not wake up correctly to use the sleep. I would suggest turning the hard drive to never spin down, if you want to have the screen saver kick in. That should take care of the non-waking issue. I just checked my settings, under energy saver, I have everything set to 'never'. I do have the screen saver (it's own preference) set to kick in after 10 minutes of no activity.

    If you really MUST close the lid and use the sleep feature that way, call Apple to see if there is a known bug.

    For the dog slowness of the system, how much RAM do you have installed?? When was the last time you optimized the hard drive?? Eyelikeart will testify that doing this periodically WILL bring back speed to your system. Granted OS X doesn't need it nearly as often as OS 9.x does, but you still should do it. If you don't have a utility cd (do NOT install ANY but virus protection on the system) that you can boot your computer with, get one. If nothing else, get Norton Utilities (either version 6.x or 7) and run the doctor and speed disk on the system. I use those along with two other utilities and they fix about 99% of all software issues. They can also give you a good idea if you also have some hardware issues that need checking on. The other two that I use are Diskwarrior 2, and TechTool Pro 3. I will be getting Drive 10 in a few weeks, and will see how that performs.
     
  3. alex_ant thread starter macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    #3
    I have the Finder set to always show file extensions. I know Windows determines in which app to open a file just by its extension. Not very flexible, but at least it's consistent, and that's the behavior I want. (I think this is the first and last time I have ever / will ever say "I want this to be like Windows." :) ) As I understand it, using cp from the terminal doesn't even preserve files' resource forks, so I probably already have tons of files in my home directory with no resource forks to them. And then some with. And that inconsistency is a bit annoying. An example of this inconsistency is at http://www.tc.umn.edu/~dols0011/finderfileproblem/.

    It's an MS Intellimouse Explorer (which I bought for the sheer irony - although it is a good mouse). I frequently plug/unplug it while the machine is running. I don't have any other USB mice to try, though. The mouse speed also gets reset whenever I log out or reboot (which also entails logging out), even if I don't unplug the mouse. Shall I try the PMU reset or the PRAM zap? I am leaning toward the PMU reset just because "reset" makes me feel a lot more comfortable than "zap." :)

    Well, I don't think it has to do with Audion, because the behavior I was talking about is in the Finder. It's just that I have Audion set to be my default player. I posted small screen grabs of what I'm talking about at http://www.tc.umn.edu/~dols0011/findermp3problem/.


    I have my TiBook set to never sleep in the energy saver control panel as well, but I just have it set to blank the screen instead of running a screensaver in order to avoid the CPU usage, and thus the fan noise, that a screensaver would cause. I'm guessing that this quirky sleep is just an OS X bug... probably not one worth bothering Apple phone support over.

    I have 256MB, but I do push my computer a lot harder than the average person probably would. I don't think I have ever optimized the hard drive. I do have the utility CD that came with the machine ("Apple Hardware Test") but I've never used it. I've never used Norton Utilities, but I've never had any problems with my software or my filesystem that I know of. I really don't know if I can afford to buy a bunch of software just to keep my fs optimized. Do you know if there are there any free tools, or included command-line tools, with which to do this? In Linux I could just boot into single user mode and run fsck. And fsck is free. And I never needed to defrag because Linux had XFS and ReiserFS which unlike HFS+ did not suck! :)

    Thanks for your very prompt and thorough reply.

    Alex
     
  4. Falleron macrumors 68000

    Falleron

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2001
    Location:
    UK
    #4
    Alex, I suggest that you bump up your RAM a little. OSX will really benefit from it. Also, Virtual memory wont be used --> less HD useage. I suggest you add a 512Mb Stick to that, or at least a 256Mb.
     
  5. AlphaTech macrumors 601

    AlphaTech

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Natick, MA
    #5
    Alex,

    Utilities is another case of you get what you pay for. Free utilities are free for a reason, they do very little. The Apple Hardware test cd that you are referring to is just to test for faulty hardware, it doesn't have any optimization tools on it. Splurge and get at least NUM if you can't afford to get any additional utilities.

    I wouldn't use a m$ mouse if someone gave it to me, let alone pay money for one... There are two brands that I know work without issue, and a third that does most of the time. The two are from Apple and Macally, the third is Logitech.

    cp from the terminal??? please clarify. If you are stripping resource forks off of files, that is why they are not working correctly.

    I have 1GB of RAM in my TiBook and it screams... it probably doesn't hurt that I also recently installed the IBM 60GB TravelStar drive (5400rpm) which is rather nice. I also didn't install ANY parts of OS 9.x onto the system when I installed that drive. I am running OS X (10.1.3) ONLY. That also gave a speed boost to the system. I was always annoyed by the classic mode popping up on me when I opened up a file that should have used an OS X native app. I fixed that... :D

    Remember, OS X is NOT linux... don't expect it to be identical, though it probably shares some features with it since they are both based on Unix.
     
  6. alex_ant thread starter macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    #6
    From what I understand, a USB mouse is a USB mouse. Regardless of brand, they all conform to the same protocol, and mouse speed settings are not stored in the mouse anyway, so it shouldn't matter which mouse I'm using. I realize it's heresy for me to say, but I really like the Intellimouse, and I find it highly funny that the only MS product I like is one that MS didn't even design themselves. :) I need a 3-button mouse (for X11 apps) and a scroll wheel. My brother has the Apple Pro mouse, so I guess I will give that a try in a month when I see him again.


    How do I get the resource forks back? I either want all my files to have resource forks or none of them. It sucks when some have them and some don't. I wish Apple would ditch the resource fork already - they're a waste of space, incompatible with every non-Mac OS, incompatible with both BSD and GNU cp, and completely unnecessary for what they're intended to do, as BeOS' metadata-aware filesystem proved. But that's another rant, I guess. :)



    I would like a gig of RAM too, but whenever I think about buying more RAM, I end up thinking about making payments on the loan I got to buy this thing instead. :) Quake 3 and Age of Empires II are faster in OS 9 than OS X. And I need Classic to use my scanner and to play Sim City 2000 (7 years old and still fun!), and full-blown OS 9 to be able to use Pro Tools. So I unfortunately won't be able to get rid of OS 9 any time soon, as much as I would like to.

    Alex
     
  7. alex_ant thread starter macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    #7
    Looking into it - thanks for the suggestion.

    And Alpha, I forgot to ask - what is NUM (Norton Utilities?), and how much does it cost?

    I am tempted to get a Firewire HD and format it UFS, just to laugh a big hearty ha-ha laugh in the faces of both fragmentation and resource forks. :D

    Alex
     
  8. GeeYouEye macrumors 68000

    GeeYouEye

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    #8
    Yes, Apple has fsck, in single user mode. When you start up, press command-S, and when the text stops, type "fsck -y". (without quotes) there ya go. I personally don't know about any others, but remember, OS X is built on FreeBSD so there might be others.
     
  9. AlphaTech macrumors 601

    AlphaTech

    Joined:
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    #9
    Alex,

    It can be a pain to get the forks back once you strip them from a file. They take up very, very little space and are just there to assist the OS in identifying the file type. They are not incompatible with other OS's since I HAVE had a Photoshop file that I created on a Mac usable on a peecee and the other way around too. Same with office files and many others. Why exactly did you decide to strip resource forks from the files???? At work, we had a server that was doing that when a restore from a backup. That made the files useless to Mac users, without jumping through hoops to attempt to get usable again.

    As for mice, even though they use the same connection, not all mice are created equally. Since you are having an issue with you m$ mouse, I would suspect the hardware, not the OS you are using it on. The Macally (three button with the scrolling wheel/button) works just fine under OS X, as well as 9.x. Under OS X, it requires nothing to work and under OS 9.x all it needs is ONE control panel, no extensions or anything else. Blaming the OS X for the mouse not acting correct would be like blaming your cable tv provider for your tv dying or malfunctioning.
     
  10. alex_ant thread starter macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    #10
    Alpha,

    Your example about files restored from a server being useless to Mac users only proves my point as to (one of the many reasons) why resource forks suck. I didn't strip any resource forks on purpose. The way I understand it, a Mac first looks to the resource fork to determine a file's type, and if it can't find it there, or if the file doesn't have a resource fork, it looks at the file's extension. And if the file doesn't have an extension, the Mac won't know what to do with it, and will ask you in which app you wish to open it. The reason a file transferred from a Windows PC to a Mac is usable without a resource fork is because the resource fork is only used to store non-critical information such as MIME type or a quick summary of the file (perhaps including a graphical preview). When the file is transferred off the Mac, the resource fork is lost. No other OS supports resource forks, and for good reason - they're a kludgy way of doing what metadata does so much better, devised in the 1980s before there was such a thing as filesystem metadata. I'm not sure about OS 9, but I know that resource forks are not necessary for OS X to function because OS X can use UFS (which doesn't support resource forks) as its root fs. The only reason Apple chose to make HFS+ the default OS X fs is to preserve compatibility with OS 9 and Classic apps, and damnit, if for no other reason, THIS is why Classic needs to die! And there's my resource fork rant for ya. :rolleyes:

    I will try stripping the resource forks from all my MP3s. All their important information is stored within the ID3 tag anyway. I bet this is my problem...

    Not only do USB mice use the same connection, they also use the same USB HID protocol, and aside from the vendor and product ID strings they send to the host computer, they are physically indistinguishable to the OS. One driver works with all USB mice, and the mouse itself has nothing to do with retaining any settings anyway - that's the OS's job. The reason I'm hypothesizing that my mouse problem has to do with OS X and not MS is, in addition to all this, 1) the mouse's speed settings ARE retained by OS 9 (without the MS mouse control panel installed), 2) I've heard of other people's PRAM needing to be zapped to fix this before, and 3) as buggy as OS X is, I wouldn't be surprised. :) I know it would be a lot more fun to blame this on MS, and I usually do, but I can't here.

    And that's a terrible analogy about the cable TV, but I'll let it slide THIS time. :D

    Alex
     
  11. alex_ant thread starter macrumors 68020

    alex_ant

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    #11
    Thanks GeeYouEye, I tried that, and indeed fsck did fix a couple minor things. Then I ran Disk Utility from the hardware test CD, and it appears that Disk Utility is just a graphical wrapper for fsck.

    Alex
     

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