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ATPM 3.08
August 1997



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MacMan to the Rescue

by Mike Shields,

Well, it seems that the number of monthly columns I’m now responsible for has doubled! Be sure to read On A Clear Day, You Can See The HOLLYWOOD Sign, elsewhere in this issue. From now on, this column will be dedicated to you, the readers that have problems with our favorite machine, the Mac. If you have a question, don’t hesitate to send it to me at, and I’ll try to answer it to the best of my ability, in my borderline divine and humorous way.

Rebuilding the Desktop

I haven’t been able to rebuild my 9500/132/7.5.5 desktop file. I’ve tried:

  1. Turning off all extensions but Easy Open, restart holding Command-Option.
    -It merely restarts.

  2. Turning off all extensions by holding down the Shift key as it restarts, then Command-Option.
    -It merely restarts.

I don’t have At Ease. I do have a Jaz drive, and I have tried rebuilding with that attached/unattached.

Any suggestions?

MacMan responds: Tech Tool! The current freeware version is 1.1.4 and is available at various free Mac software sites. It allows you to rebuild your desktop, and zap the PRAM without restarting your machine! Also, you can order Tech Tool Pro from MicroMat, which allows you to do more stuff, for a reasonable price. Tech Tool allows you to save your current PRAM and desktop configs, but I don’t recommend doing a restore from these, as you may recreate the problem you just fixed.

If you don’t have the time to surf and you have ResEdit, you can use it to delete the files Desktop DB, and Desktop DF, located invisibly in your Hard Drive. I’ve never done it this way, just read about it, so be careful...

[dots graphic]

Cleaning that Keyboard

Sometimes I believe what I read in magazines. I once read that you can clean a Mac keyboard by washing it in the sink and leaving it to dry for a day or two. A couple of years ago I tried this with an extended keyboard (bought second hand and in a very filthy state) and ended up with a keyboard that seems to have the ALT/SPACE/TAB keys permanently locked on. Oops.

Inquiring at my local apple dealer I was informed that the cost of unsoldering each individual key, testing it and replacing it would be more than the cost of a new keyboard. So I purchased a new Apple Design keyboard.

Last winter I had a burst water pipe in my loft directly above my Mac. In the middle of playing Solitaire a torrent of water cascaded down on me.

I dived for the wall socket and ripped out the plugs. Fortunately my LC and monitor were set back in a ‘shelf unit’ so they did not get too wet but my design keyboard was soaked through. Again, once the keyboard had dried out it seemed as if a number of keys were stuck on. Being on a limited income (hence the LC instead of a PowerMac 9600) I bought a MacALLY keyboard which has stood me in good stead (so far).

My 16 year old son phoned me tonight to say that his Performa 6200's design keyboard had the ALT key stuck on and could I help. After further enquiries it seems that he spilled tea on it last week...

Oh well. Estranged father to the rescue again. I can ‘borrow’ a keyboard from the college where I work (and have my e-mail address) for a couple of weeks while I look at his keyboard, but I think a new keyboard will be needed.

The question: Is there any way that a (fairly competent) home user can repair sticking keys on a Mac keyboard? Am I doomed to have to fork out loads of money for a new keyboard for my son (I may not have much money, but I have more than him)?

Robin Whale

MacMan responds: The quick answer is you can do it yourself, but then you’ll end up buying a new keyboard anyway. When I was in sales, the techs behind the counter gave customers the same story you got.

Apple and I do not recommend doing this, however, you can pop off the keys with a screwdriver, and then wash the individual keys. Make sure they are completely dry before putting them back on the keyboard. Also, under no circumstance should you wash anything inside the keyboard itself.

To prevent this in the future, you could get a vinyl cover that allows you to type comfortably, and this should avoid any further ‘Pepsi Syndromes’.

[dots graphic]

Desktop Printing?

The problem centers around desktop printers. I have a PowerMac 7500 with System 7.5.5 and have two printers, an Epson Stylus Color 600 and an Apple Personal LaserWriter LS connected to the printer serial port through PortJuggler. Desktop Printer software version 2.0.1 is installed.

The laser printer appears on the desktop as it should but I’ve not been able to include the Epson printer as a destop printer. I’ve tried all of the suggestions that Apple makes with the Desktop printer software plus putting an alias of the Epson driver in the desktop printer folder, but all to not avail.

Any suggestions?

Clare N. Shumway

Michael Tsai responds: According to an e-mail I received from Epson, the Stylus Color does not support Desktop Printing. I’ve heard that the documentation for writing Desktop Printer drivers isn’t very good, so Apple is just about the only company that supports the architecture. I hope this isn’t a tactic for selling more StyleWriters (which all support Desktop Printing).

[dots graphic]

That’s all for this month. Next month: more answers as long as you supply the questions!

[apple graphic] Disclaimer: MacMan can be found each and every month here, as long as you e-mail him all your Mac questions at: And remember, he doesn’t do Windoze[TM]!

Also in This Series

Reader Comments (3)

Rick Parmeter · April 2, 2001 - 01:01 EST #1
I have a problem with Xs on the desktop. How can I revert to an earlier date when it was okay?
Stephen · April 6, 2002 - 18:30 EST #2
Does anyone know how to clean out the Internet Explorer web sites you have visited? I'm using a friend's computer and one of my friends has been to dodgy sites. Please help me.

Thanks in advance and I hope to hear from you soon.
Mike Shields (ATPM Staff) · April 7, 2002 - 05:09 EST #3
Impressive...this column is only five years old. :) The quick answer is yes, I do know how. Of course, this doesn't help you. Go to Edit:Preferences, then click the Web Browser triangle and highlight Advanced. There'll be a button that says Clear History. Click that, and you're done. Another way would be to click the History tab on the side, and when it slides out, highlight the offending sites and hit Command Delete. Poof! Have fun,

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