Jan 26, 2009

Jan - 15 2009 | By

Manufacturers of hard drives for the Macs are the same as those for the PC, i.e. Western Digital or Maxtor and are expected to go bad at the same rates for both systems. Make periodic backups if you value your data.

In the past, when installing a hard drive, one would have to set the value for heads, cylinders and sectors.

24th of Jan was the 25th anniversary of the Mac computer. The first Mac had only 128k of RAM and was price at almost $2500.

Paul notes that the Space Shuttle is still using a 286 or 386 CPU, which are very reliable.

Alan Stahler called in to say that when communications in space are at a low power, data speed has to be kept slow or the noise can compromise reliability.
The Mars rover Opportunity had a flash memory problem (first found on Spirit) early in its mission. The RAM would keep filling up after each reformatting.

Alan's question involves his parents who got a new computer with Vista. The default for shutting the computer down is to make it go into sleep mode rather than a true shut down.
– One suggestion is to push the power button once and briefly, but close any running programs first. Don't hold the power button for a longer time as it will force a "power off" which is undesirable.

Alan also asks for a way to change the resolution on the Vista machine to get everything to fit on the screen (to avoid scrolling left/right) but without reducing the font size.
– Use Google to search for "vista font size".
– Also, using Internet Explorer (and some other applications), holding the control key while turning the scroll wheel will zoom a window in and out (on the Mac this key combination will zoom the entire screen).

Alan's show Soundings will discuss antibiotics and germs, and germs producing antibiotics. What's that all about? Tune in 12pm Tuesday on KVMR to find out.

A caller needs to recover data from his hard drive's D: & E: partitions, which he can't access anymore.
– Determine if it's a hardware problem or a "file error". If it's a hardware problem, you can be losing data the more you try to use the drive because the head may be scraping the surface.
– Data recovery shops can charge $500 just to look at it & determine if anything can be recovered. The actual recovery can cost $2500 to $5000.
– Try using chkdsk from the console mode (command prompt).
– Try using an autoboot Ubuntu CD, If Ubuntu can't read an NTFS partition, nothing will.
– Using OpenBSD you can try the cp -a command (copy with archiving).
Speedfan can do SMART diagnostics, which checks the condition of the hard drive controller.
Again, backup your data.

Caller Eric Tomb of Booktown can't use Audacity on his Mac because the Lame plugin won't work, so he's not able to produce MP3 files. Instead, he has to use Amadeus, which has a tendency to crash.
– The Audacity/Lame issue is to be resolved off air.
Booktown shares the same time slot with Zentech but on alternate weeks.

Listeners can send questions (to zen at kvmr dot org) if they don't mind waiting up to a week for a reply.

Eric also asks about FTP programs for the Mac. CuteFTP for the PC is mentioned. As a side note, Windows has come with an FTP program since Win95, I think.
FireFTP is an addon for Firefox to do FTP transfers directly from the browser instead of using a separate program. It will work on a Mac running Firefox.

Eric also wants to find a program to edit MP3 tags.
– Use iTunes to edit MP3 tags

Feb 2 thru 8 is the KVMR pledge drive.

A caller says his Vista PC won't update using Defender (an anti-spyware product). The error code leads him to believe he has a trojan.
It might be a rootkit which is worse than a virus. Fsecure Blacklight Rootkit Elimination Technology is free software that will only detect if you have a rootkit installed. If a rootkit is detected, call back for further instructions; rootkits can be difficult to get rid of.

The same caller got AVG anti-virus and was prompted to get rid of other anti-virus programs and he wonders if that's necessary.
– It's a good idea, but Defender can remain.
Spybot is recommended as an anti-spyware program, but not for rootkits.

Mark (Top Ramen) called in. has a Mac with OSX 10.3.9 and wonders if his 1gHz 512meg laptop can run a new OSX version.
– Yes. Leopard should install fine. An upgrade to 1gig RAM is recommended.

He also asks where to get the newer OSX version.
– Go to an Apple store or ask another Mac user for a copy. There's no activation required as with Windows.
– Try Ebay, but be careful of pirated copies.

And he asks where to get a laptop cheaply.
– Search for "off lease laptop" on Ebay, but check the seller's feedback score to see if they're trustworthy.
– Check with Apple for refurbished units.

The best free backup software is Syncback The best-purchased backup software is Syncback SE.
More about backup software from a previous show here:

A caller wants to know how to synch a new TV with a Mac.
– There may be a converter to take DVI from a Mac to an analog TV.
– On Ebay you can buy a DVI to VGA converter for a few dollars; also get a VGA to composite converter. This, again, is for an analog TV.
– DVI and HDMI are voltage compatible, so there is a DVI to HDMI adaptor for under $10. Check if your TV has an HDMI input.
– And some TV's have a DVI input, so you can connect the computer's DVI directly.