MacDirectory Magazine

Summer-Fall 2009 (#42)

MacDirectory magazine is the premiere creative lifestyle magazine for Apple enthusiasts featuring interviews, in-depth tech reviews, Apple news, insights, latest Apple patents, apps, market analysis, entertainment and more.

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28 MacDirectory DEPARTMENT Q > I have a laptop with a stuck DVD drive. The disk spins like normal, but it does not mount and the eject key has no effect. - P. Esslemont, SC A > There are a number of options. First, launch Disk Utility (look in Applications / Utilities) and check to see if the disk appears in the left column (look for the CD icon). If so, either press command-E or select "eject" from the file menu. If not, try restarting your machine while holding down the mouse button or trackpad button. This should automatically eject the disk. It this fails, look for a tiny hole to the right of the disk slot (rare on Mac laptops, by the way), insert a straightened paper clip and use it as an ersatz eject button. If this is not an option on your machine, try restarting it, but this time hold down the key combination command-option-o-f. This boots the machine into firmware (a command-line interface) and entirely bypasses the operating system. At the prompt type eject cd. Press return and wait for the disk to pop out. If successful, you will see an "OK" message on screen. If not, you will see a message saying that the disk could not be ejected. In either case, you should follow this by typing mac-boot, which will start up your machine as normal. If, after all this you still cannot eject the disk, chances are that your drive is not communicating with the motherboard, and you may need a new drive. Depending on your model of laptop, this could be very expensive (I once replaced an optical drive in a white iBook. It involved 70 steps (no exaggeration) and had to be done entirely without caffeine. Q > I have a small network storage drive that I bought for running TimeMachine backups but when trying to set it up I got a dialogue box stating that the device was not compatible with TimeMachine. Why is this? - B. Worfeld, NY A > A NAS drive (short for network attached storage) is fundamentally different from a standard external hard drive because it is connected via a network, which requires network firmware. Such drives have their own internal operating system, which, in most cases, means Linux, although a form of Windows may also be used. These devices do not use Apple's extended file format, which is the bottom line requirement for TimeMachine compatibility. If you want to use TimeMachine on an external drive, you could either buy a Firewire/USB drive or one of Apple's wireless (and twice as expensive) Time Capsule NAS drives. By the way, non-Apple NAS drives do not support the Mac's extended character set for filenames (such as %, /, #, etc), so you have to watch your language. Q > I am outgrowing my Mac's built-in audio ports and am thinking about adding MIDI to my system. Any recommendations? - M. Stefano, DE A > First you should think about what your needs might be a year or two from now. If you just want to add a couple of ports to your tower Mac, you can pop in an audio/MIDI card and then sell it when you upgrade to a new machine. If you are a serious user, I would recommend buying a good quality USB or FireWire rack style unit from Mark of the Unicorn, Tascam, or others. This will provide hardware controls, meters and inputs right up front and will make it easy to patch in your ins and outs without having to revert to rug rat status. Whichever way you go, keep the future in mind regarding both the life of the unit and the number and types of inputs and outputs. My MOTU 828 Mark II has now done duty on three of my desktop machines and on my laptop for live gigs and is still cranking along. The next consideration is speakers. If you are mixing to a set of headphones or cheap speakers, the recoding will sound very different when someone plays back the result on a high quality system. I suggest that you go for powered speakers starting in the range of $300 a pair. If you could go for something better, please do. BEEBE > MACDIRECTORY'S TECH GODDESS TIMEMACHINE

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