Posts tagged “airport”.

Update: iMac G4 still humming (quietly) along

October 1st, 2008

Ah, the G4 iMac

Since grabbing a like-new condition 15″ iMac G4 off eBay a few weeks ago, it’s become my main web browsing, e-mailing, and iChatting Mac. It’s held up like a champ.

My wandering eye, however, has been shopping for a 1.25 Ghz 20″ model – the last of its kind, the ultimate incarnation of the G4 iMac. A 20″ would fall just below the power of my lowly 1.42 Ghz iBook G4, which is just now starting to show its age.

I have updated the iMac with the latest install of OS X 10.4 Tiger, the newest Firefox, iLife ’06, and iTunes 8 (networking my iBook’s music collection over a shared library). I can access my iPhoto library through an external hard drive, and my Airport shared disk works just fine – even without an Airport card installed.

The iMac handles everything I throw at it. My only wish is that it had a USB 2.0 card installed so I could sync my iPod and iPhone 3G. It would become my primary machine, in fact, if it weren’t for the lack of high-speed USB ports and an Airport Extreme card. This won’t stop me from synching my Newton, however, once I get my hands on an eMate or an affordable 2×00 model.

As I mentioned before: owning an iMac G4 has been a dream of mine, and this one doesn’t disappoint. The G4 series will go down as my favorite of all the Macs (although the G5 PowerMac looks like a badass), and the iMac helped kick-start my fascination with Apple. That, and everyone who pays me a visit asks about it.

This iMac has taught me that a desktop Macintosh is the way to go. My iBook G4 has done a fantastic job since I bought it in 2005, but to be able to sit down at the same spot everyday, with a full-size keyboard and mouse, and an adjustable screen – the iMac has spoiled me. When it was released, it was called the “digital hub.” If only that were still true. But I may look in to doing some of my own upgrades in the future.

I still haven’t made a firm decision on what to do with it. It’s either sell it and surely get all the money back I paid, hang on to it until I find a bigger, better version, or just be content with my good fortune and enjoy it. Maybe all of the above.

Until then, here are a few fun iMac G4-based links:

Blinking Airport Base Station says ‘give me new firmware’

August 23rd, 2008

And I tell it to go screw itself.

My Airport Extreme Base Station has been blinking amber for three days now. It’s blinking because, as you can see above, it’s wanting me to download the updated firmware and Airport Utility software.

You know what? Tough luck.

After all the trouble this base station’s firmware has given me, and now that it’s finally working right, I’m not going to let a little blinking yellow light stop me.

Airport Base Station fix: revert your firmware

August 18th, 2008

Our Airport Extreme Base Station connectivity issues are over. Life can begin again.

This, friends, is a new day. Thanks to one lost, but helpful, Apple support site, the issues I had with connecting to my Airport Base Station’s wifi signal and USB hard drive have been solved.

The trick, like anything else, is knowing where to look.

If you’re having issues like I was (Mac wouldn’t connect to base station’s wifi signal, air disk support was totally lost, etc.), first open up your Airport Utility app. I’m using version 5.1 after finding 5.2 to be too problematic (many others found this too – browse the support discussions at Apple.com sometime). Double-click on your base station (above), which will bring up the more detailed manual window.

Then, select the Base Station menu at the top, and click on “Upload firmware…”

You’ll see the options above, thanks to a drop-down menu. I selected firmware version 7.3.1, which was the previous firmware download. In essence, you’re overwriting the firmware – version 7.3.2 – already on your base station with the previous version. Out with the new, in with the old.

After you select your version and hit “Okay,” Airport Utility will download the firmware and automatically replace the 7.3.2 firmware.

I reset my base station a few times, with Airport Utility, just to make sure everything was a-okay. But when Airport Utility recognized the fresh old firmwared-version of my base station, I saw that it worked:

Hoo-ha. Version 7.3.1. We’re now running on the old software in both Airport Utility and on the base station itself. And see that little button with the 7.3.2 update on it. Don’t dare touch it. We know better now.

Hey, if Apple can’t came out with great new stuff, we’ll just use the old stuff that works, right?

But now came the test. Would my iBook find the base station’s Airport signal? Could I connect to the USB drive and actually save some files and open my iPhoto library?

You bet. Everything now works as normal. I can connect to wifi, and my USB drive’s wackiness comes to an end.

So lesson learned: wait longer than normal on things like firmware updates. And when you can’t find a solution, revert back to the old way of doing things. This is a problem, though, when security issues are addressed in new software updates. If you revert to the old version, do you risk leaving yourself open to attack?

Shame on Apple for not fixing the Airport Extreme Base Station firmware and Utility. We just have to do it ourselves in a roundabout way.

After iPocalypse: Apple needs to clean up its PR mess

July 14th, 2008

The above shot was taken on Sunday’s Macsurfer homepage. Just look at those headlines. If that isn’t a PR nightmare for Apple, I don’t know what is. This after they did such a super job before the iPhone 3G was announced.

Fortune talked about the perils of “event marketing” – how, yeah, a big huge event like this is fun and draws attention, it’s catastrophic when something breaks down. As it did on Friday. Apple is an expert at drawing press attention. That only makes the scrutiny laser beam that much hotter.

Despite everything that happened, it could’ve been worse. But I’m starting to wonder how. Just from personal experience, this week has been a bummer with my Apple gear. First, I updated my Airport Express base station’s firmware. Afterward, the thing crashed, and now I can’t use my external USB hard drive.

The update must have damaged my USB drive somehow, because I had to repair the thing in Disk Utility and now iPhoto crashes every time it tries to load my library from the disk. Even worse: my iBook and Airport Utility won’t even recognize the base station:

So much for a helpful “update.”

Then, after I thought MobileMe was actually giving me a chance to try it out (I set up my account, and could log in online), I find out that OS X 10.4 has issues connecting with MobileMe. In fact, the .Mac icons won’t even change over:

Just when it looks like MobileMe (or .Mac, or .Whatever) is going to sync my contacts and calendars and whatnot, I get this:

At least this is just the 60 day trial. If I were paying for this, I would not be a happy Apple customer.

And that’s just it. Even amidst Friday’s hellbroth during the iPhone 3G launch, I still played the dedicated Apple soldier. Most of the folks in line with me understood, too, that these things happen, and we were still a part of Something Special. But when the nuts of bolts of Apple’s operation start to come undone, that’s when you get people angry. People will stand in line for hours for the iPhone, no matter what activation issues are taking place, with a gritted smile on their face. That smile soon disappears, however, when basic things like Airport and “Exchange for the rest of us” (more like, “for the most patient of us”) start breaking down.

Apple has got a mess on its hands, it seems, and I wouldn’t want to be their PR department for the next week or so. The least they should do is offer some sort of apology, admit their mistakes, and fix their damn software. Those are the basics.

Do that, and we might forget our USB drive crashing through Airport Disk Utility. Might.

NewtMail: Taking a clamshell iBook to China

April 15th, 2008

The twins.

Hi,

I was just reading your Sunday project to install a wireless card in your iBook. It seems relatively easy to do and was exactly what I wanted to know about.

I just wanted your opinion. I’m in grad school and am going to China for 2 weeks in May on a school/business trip. I want to bring a computer but I’m too nervous to bring my MacBook Pro. I found a clamshell laptop on ebay for a really good price. Do you think if I buy a new battery for it and install the wireless card it would be a good laptop to take with me? I haven’t bought it yet. I just wanted someone else’s opinion first. I pretty much just need it for internet and word processing. I figure it would be a rugged computer to take on such a long trip.

Any tips, advice, opinions would be great.

Thanks!
Amy

Hi there, Amy,

Good question! In fact, that’s exactly what I bought my G3 iBook for – I drove Route 66 a few summer ago, and felt too nervous to take my then-new iBook G4. So I did what you did: shopped on eBay and got a cheap clamshell. I stored all my photos, sent all my e-mails, and kept my travel journal on the G3, and it was perfect. I just wish I had my Airport card then, because just about everywhere I went there was wifi.

I think it would suite your needs perfectly. They’re rugged as heck, and the wireless standard Airport uses is pretty universal. You should be able to hookup just about anywhere.

The battery part may be a bit trickier, but I know there are some online retailers that sell them. You could find one on eBay, too.

Good luck on your trip, and good luck clamshell shopping!

Dave

[Have a question or comment? Leave it in the comments, or e-mail newtonpoetry AT gmail DOT com.]

Sunday project: AirPort on a G3 iBook clamshell

March 2nd, 2008

The subject.

[NOTE: I forgot to add this, but I'm running OS X 10.2.8 - just in case the network stuff doesn't look familiar.]

I love my G3 iBook. I bought it right before my Route 66 trip because (a) I was nervous about taking my then-new G4 and (b) the thing is built for road-warriors and students. It’s the toughest laptop I’ve ever seen, and I knew if I took it all the way across the country, it would survive in a pinch.

And it did, both on the Route trip and the Seattle trip. But one drawback was its lack of wireless connectivity. I underestimated the number of hotels – even run-down ones – that have wireless internet these days. One night, in Needles, California, I drove to three different hotels looking for an ethernet connection, never finding one (which is one reason why the Route updates didn’t come as often as I wanted).

Now that’s all over with. I grabbed an AirPort card off eBay for a reasonable price, and took today to actually install the thing. More… »