What’s Under the Hood
Tips—Getting More Out of Your Mac
Well, it’s hard to believe that I’m not doing a fourth part on LPs to CDs. The way it was going, I thought I was never going to complete that beast. Now that it is over, I want to thank our readers for all the kind words I received with the completion of part three. Yet, if it were not for the patience of my editor, Michael Tsai, part three may not have gone to press till this issue. Way past our normal deadline, burning the midnight oil, Michael and I hashed out and smoothed over parts of the article that still needed work. So thanks, Michael.
Instead of doing my usual utility roundup, I thought I would do a few cool tips for your Mac.
System Preferences Toolbar
We all know that you can modify the Finder window toolbar by selecting Customize Toolbar… from the View menu. You can also customize the System Preferences toolbar as well. All you have to do is drag a given preference (i.e. Sound, Screen Effects, Login Items, etc.) to the toolbar and let go. If you decide that you want to remove one, simple drag it off the toolbar. You can also apply this same technique to any Finder window.
Multiple Finder Windows
When I made the switch from OS 9 to OS X, the one thing that drove me crazy was the single Finder window mode. Every time I tried to navigate backwards in a window’s history, I would hit the Close button instead of the Back arrow. After working on Macs since 1984, I was used to opening a new window when I double-clicked on a folder. As I was exploring OS X, I opened the Preferences… under the Finder menu. To my surprise, a selection said “Always open folders in a new window.” Once selected, I felt right at home as I navigated from one folder to the next. After making the change, I then chose Customize Toolbar… under the View menu and removed the forward and back buttons permanently.
SuperDrive for Old Macs
If you bought a G4 tower any time from 1999 to 2002, odds are that you do not have a SuperDrive in it. If you were to call Apple about it, they would say that they could not promise that your Mac would support adding one. This is because there is a chance that the Apple digital hub software may not work with the drive.
The only thing is that you must replace your old drive with a Pioneer (model 105 or 104). All SuperDrives built into current Macs are built by Pioneer. Only these drives will be recognized when placed in older Macs. I have a friend who has an old Power Mac G4 (AGP Graphics) from 1999. He placed a Pioneer 104 SuperDrive in his Mac, and his machine had no trouble recognizing it. I bought a Pioneer 105 (the drive that shipped with the latest Mirrored Drive Door models) for $202 and installed it myself, as a technician friend of mine guided me. Although I do not own iDVD, I did find that Disk Copy and Roxio Toast recognize the drive and operate perfectly.
In reality, installing one of these drives turned out to be rather simple. All you need is a Phillips screwdriver to do it with. First, you unscrew the three screws that hold your old drive in place. (Note: this may vary from Mac to Mac. These directions are based on my QuickSilver model). Carefully pull the cables from the back of the drive. Then remove the drive and unscrew the screws holding the drive to the sled. Push the drive from the back to the front and completely remove it from the sled. Slide the new drive into the sled and screw the screws back into place. Attach the cables to the back of the drive. Bear in mind that if you do this you will be violating your warranty. If any of this makes you nervous, then I strongly recommend that you let a computer technician do the work for you.
A newsletter called dealmac puts out a list of the best bargains for the Mac each day. I found my Pioneer 105 for $202 in the daily dealmac newsletter. Since then, I have seen it as low as $180. This is for what is called a bare bones unit. That means all you get is the drive. Since you already have all the other parts, there is no reason to buy the full retail package for about $400. There are other things you can do to give your old Mac new life, but that’s a whole separate article. End of line.
Also in This Series
- Tips—Getting More Out of Your Mac · June 2003
- Got Vinyl? LPs to CDs Part 3: The Playlist and Burning to CD · May 2003
- Got Vinyl? LPs to CDs Part 2: Recording and Editing · April 2003
- Got Vinyl? Converting LPs to CDs Part 1: Terminology & Hardware · March 2003
- Eye Candy for the Mac · February 2003
- New Year, More Utilities · January 2003
- ’Tis the Season · December 2002
- What’s Under the Hood · November 2002
- What’s Under the Hood · September 2002
- Complete Archive