Posts tagged “USB”.

Success: docking the eMate with the PowerMac G3

October 18th, 2010

Now that the iMac G3′s hard drive was installed into the PowerMac G3, it was time to see if my Newtons would get along with the new setup. My hope was that, since the OS 9 drive and OS 8 drive seemed to share a common Desktop, maybe the OS 9 drive would share some of its Entrega serial-to-USB adapter driver love. But no such luck:

USB not recognized!

As before, the PowerMac wouldn’t recognize it or the Keyspan adapter I plugged in. The Keyspan adapter drive I downloaded (USA-28XG) didn’t even recognize the adapter I plugged in. But then I remembered: back when Keyspan was gobbled up, I saved a backup copy of the USA-28X adapter installer. Maybe the one I saved would work.

After transferring the file over to the PowerMac, the installation process went smoothly. In the Control Panels, there sat both Keyspan 28-X controls:

Keyspan control panels

The 28-XG hadn’t worked. Would the 28-X?

Keyspan found

Sure enough it did. It recognized the Keyspan adapter and allowed me to mess with the advanced settings:

Keypan prefs

I had no idea what half of this stuff meant. The real question was, would it work with the eMate? And it did. Finally – although not before I had to remember to set up Newton Connection Utility to recognize the port:

NCU prefs

Now we’re getting somewhere.

Before, in the run-up to the System 7 experiment, the lack of a Newton driver was all that was keeping me from going through with the plunge into obsolescence.

With the ability to sync the Newton, I can work more on the whole Claris Organizer project, and keep backup files of all the eMate’s packages on the PowerMac’s HD. If I need it, I can use the iMac’s HD as a backup system. It’s beautiful.

This whole deal taught me two lessons: how easily I forget, and how important it is to keep backups of files. Especially ones you can’t get on the Internet any more.

The main reason I couldn’t go through with my Seven Day of System 7 experiment was because I couldn’t get the eMate (or the MP110) to connect with the PowerMac. Shuffling between the iMac and the PowerMac seemed like a hassle in an already full-of-hassle experiment. Now I only lose the bulk of the iMac, not the brains.

Really, I was waiting to find that stupid Entrega driver CD. Since it never surfaced (notice I’m blaming the disc), the experiment never happened.

But now? Man, it’s on. I have everything I need: my iMac’s games, files, and configurations; the ability to connect and sync my Newtons; a faster, more expandable machine in the PowerMac.

My plans still include buying a flat-screen monitor to save space – probably some refurbished Dell el-cheapo LCD. In the meantime, the Studio Display will be an workable stand in.

You know what I really like? The hum of the PowerMac. More delicate and softer than the PowerMac G4′s fans, the Blue and White provides a nice, steady white noise that I find relaxing. It’s something you never hear on modern Macs; the noisiest thing on my desk now is a pair of external hard drives. You can hear and feel those things kick on, especially during Time Machine backups.

A room full of PowerMacs might be a bit much, but the one I’m keeping produces a soothing whir that’s not obnoxious or distracting.

So by transplanting my iMac’s brain and finding a Keyspan adapter driver, I’ve turned the PowerMac G3 into an all-I-need Macintosh – the best of all worlds in one complete package.

System 7 update

June 21st, 2010

Funny how one little driver can set your plans back.

Here I was, all ready to begin the week-long experiment using nothing but classic Macs and Newtons, when I discover that I lost my Entrega serial-to-USB dongle’s driver disc. The CD came in a little white envelope and was next to a bunch of other RAM sticks, adapters, Firewire cords, and software CDs. Now it’s gone.

A search through the Internet yielding absolutely squat, and the Newtontalk list didn’t offer any suggestions. The closest I came was one of those sleazy driver sites that makes you wade through stupid ads to get to what you need. When the driver download came up, it still wasn’t what I needed.

Apparently, Entrega was bought out by Xircom, who was in turn bought out by Intel. Intel posts a bunch of downloads for the old Entrega/Xircom adapters, but only an old manual for the one I needed (model U1-D8). The driver is nowhere to be found.

The Entrega adapter was a marvelous piece of technology, helping me to connect to my iMac G3 and becoming my go-to gadget for all things Newton. Even though it’s a USB adapter, it needs a driver to operate correctly. And the usual Keyspan adapters don’t work on my pre-OS X Macs.

My hope in this system 7 experiment was to have my PowerMac G3 run as the hub of the whole operation, syncing my Newton, doing most of the heavy lifting, and connecting with the outside world. It’s true that I could simply connect my Newtons with my iMac G3, but I’d rather have just two Macs running during the experiment: the PowerMac, and the LC 520.

So everything’s on hold for now, until either that Entrega disc shows up (after a fifth or sixth sweep of my apartment) or I give up and go with the iMac for everyday tasks.

Simple steps to audio perfection

October 26th, 2009

Plugged-in iPod

Sometimes the best finds in life come from sheer accident.

That’s definitely the case with the plug-in USB charger I found in my local Meijer auto section while browsing through the aisles on a whim.

First, let me say I bought a new car – a 2004 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0L. I’ve always wanted one, and I got a real beauty at a great deal.

When I travel, though, I always make sure I have a way to listen to my music and charge my iPod or iPhone. The Jetta does not have an auxilery jack in the Monsoon stereo. What it does have, however, is a universal power outlet in the middle console.

Before, I’ve used products like Griffin’s RoadTrip and similar devices that transmit an iPod’s music through an FM signal to the stereo while charging the device.

I purchased a new RoadTrip last winter to work with my iPhone 3G. Over the summer, however, it was stolen out of my car. The killer is, these devices are not cheap – so it’s not like I can easily replace an FM transmitter. On average, they can run from $50 to $100.

But with my new car, I wanted something that would let me listen to my iPod music while driving. I hoped to find something on sale, or at a reasonable price. Unfortunately, I saw the same products at the same prices, and left the iPod gadget aisle.

Then I stopped in to the automotive section at Meijer and looked at the offerings there. What I saw surprised me: the car stereo section featured many of the same products as the iPod section, but from different manufacturers. And at much cheaper prices.

While browsing, a little gadget caught my eye. It was a simple power jack with two USB ports in the back. All it did was power a USB-controlled device, like a phone, digital camera, or MP3 player. That’s it.

And it was $5.

Where the heck has this little handy gadget been hiding? It was just what I needed: a convenient device that did one thing (charge my iPhone/iPod) through a USB connection. I could bring my Apple-provided USB cable, the same one I sync my iPhone with, along on car trips when I need the extra power.

For music playback, I went old school. My Jetta comes with a cassette tape player (that awful, awful technology), and I still had my cassette-to-CD player adapter from high school. Back then, I would bring my portable CD player and connect it through the adapter to my stereo. The adapter works with a simple 3.5 mm headphone connection, meaning I could plug it into the headphone jack in my iPod or iPhone and be in business.

So for $5 and an old relic, I have everything I need to listen to my music and charge my iPods.

I could even charge my Shuffle if I brought along its unique plug-in dock. Sure, this means a few cables (the USB cable, the cassette adapter cable) running around my middle console, but I sure can’t beat the price.

An added benefit is the audio fidelity. Before, with my FM transmitters, I’d fuss with the stereo and transmitter settings trying to find the right station without a bunch of static. Now, with something as simple as a cassette adapter, I get great sound. It’s not perfect, but it’s good enough.

The lesson I learned is sometimes simpler is better. I was lucky enough to have everything – a cassette player, a conveniently-placed power outlet – at my disposal. But I was also lucky enough to go shopping in my local retailer’s automotive section, too, which is something I didn’t know before.

Often, when you buy a product, you’re just buying the name. Some people claim that about Apple, of course, but in the case of iPod accessories, it really is true.

Keyspan adapters page found

January 29th, 2009

[Update 3.8.09: Reader Ivan found an archived page with the correct links. Also check in the comments section for more links.] Keyspan logo

Thanks to a reader, the almost-original Keyspan drivers page has been found.

Torner left a comment on my post about Tripp-Lite purchasing Keyspan. Keyspan makes (err, made) serial-to-USB adapters that us Newton fans use the heck out of, but after they were purchased their drivers download page disappeared.

The new Keyspan drivers page looks just like the old one, but with a new URL, and is much easier to use than Tripp-Lite’s version.

Good sleuthing, torner!

Keyspan bought by Tripp-Lite, drivers relocated

January 26th, 2009

tripplite

[Update: Ivan, in the comments, found the original Keyspan driver page.]

Last week, Leon pointed out that the pages containing Keyspan serial-to-USB adapters were nowhere to be found.

It’s true. Above is the page I landed on when I tried my own hyperlink. The page where Keyspan kept its USA-28x adapter driver was gone.

It turns out that a company called Tripp-Lite purchased Keyspan in May 2008 and dumped all the drivers somewhere else.

Keyspan USB adapters are considered the best in connecting your Newton MessagePad or eMate to Mac OS X. After a quick driver install, you can plug your Newton’s serial cable in one end of the Keyspan adapter, then plug in the adapter into your OS X Mac, and boom – full connection. If Newton users can’t find the Keyspan drivers, they can’t use the adapter.

And the new company, Tripp-Lite, doesn’t make it easy to locate the drivers. There’s a driver search page, and the USA-28x page, but it all takes some sleuthing.

This means that, after several blog posts on how to connect a Newton with an OS X Mac, I’ll have to update the Keyspan driver link. That’s not a big deal.

The big deal is Newton users struggling to find what they’re looking for.

[A big thanks to the Newtontalk gang for helping me locate the new driver pages.]

How To: connect a Newton eMate with OS X using Escale

December 1st, 2008

eMate and Escale - we're connected

As I hinted at Friday, I had success connecting my Newton eMate 300 with my iBook G4, running OS X 10.4, using a Keyspan serial-to-USB dongle I recently grabbed off eBay. This has been a long time coming. I first wrote about how to connect your Newton with OS X back in March, and there are tons of resources a Google search away, but here – for the first time – I got to see first-hand how the whole process works.

And it’s such a snap.

More… »

On order: Keyspan serial-to-USB dongle

November 19th, 2008

keyspanus28x

After an eBay auction went sour and I was awarded a refund, I reminded myself that, from time to time, Newton Poetry covers subjects like…oh, I don’t know…the Newton?

So I took my $30 and lucked out on an affordable Keyspan serial-to-USB adapter – model USA-28x (above). Now we can have some fun with that eMate I picked up, do some connecting with OS X, and play around with NCX, NewtSync, and the rest of the “new” Newton connection utilities.

If you’ve ever wanted to know what those eight little pins in the serial connection do, check out this handy site that lists each pin’s job and function in the Mac system. Pretty cool.

As soon as my Keyspan adapter arrives, I’ll post some project notes on how to connect a Newton with OS X. That is, assuming the entire thing doesn’t explode in my face. But that’s part of the fun, right?

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:

NewtMail: Newton MP130 connects to OS X

September 2nd, 2008

Hello!

I did a search about Newton and I ended up on your great article. I have just bought an old Newton 130 (above) and I was wondering how you have it sync/connect with Mac OS X 10.5.4? I want mine to work with my MacBook and I think I need a USB serial adapter and the serial cable. None of that came with my Newton. Do you have any recommendations? How do you do it? Would be great to hear from you.

Thanks for your time.

Best,
Marcus

Hi Marcus,

Sad to say, I haven’t actually connected my Newton with OS X – I can’t because it’s a MP110, and runs Newton OS 1.3. You need at least OS 2.x to connect.

I found my USB serial adapter (for hooking up with OS 9) on eBay, so that’s the first place to try. A serial cable might be harder to come by, however. Luckily mine came with my Newton, but you could try some online sellers like J&K Sales or, again, eBay. I’m working on getting an updated Newton so I can actually try it out.

…Marcus, who lives in Brazil, wrote back several times to keep me up-to-date on his progress:

Hello Dave,

Thank you for answering! I went ahead and I got 2 serial cables and a Belking USB to serial adapter for Mac (for OS X). I found on Sourceforge that someone wrote a OS X version for this series of adapters, so I HOPE it might work. I don’t intent do get a classic Mac just to sync my 130.

I also found out my backlighting wasn’t working. I saw on eBay someone selling 2 screens for it, new, for $19.95. Already have taken my Newton apart multiple times, but it is scary!

Thanks again for your reply and I liked your blog.

best,
Marcus

Later, Marcus wrote me with more to say on his project:

Hello Dave,

I don’t think I got it to work. I spent all afternoon looking for drivers and trying to hack the existing one. Problem is I did not even find the sourcecode of it on the Sourceforge project page, it’s gone. The F5U003 refuses to run with the Sourceforge driver under 10.5. I think it only works up to 10.3.

I know someone did make it work with Intel and Mac os x 10.3.4 using the driver for the F5U103 (really identical inside), but the hack he did to the kext can not be found anywhere. And since I have Intel and Leopard that solution is out of the question. I just have the instructions, but they are useless without sourcecode.

So now I went ahead and got a Prolific chipset USB to serial adapter, I know they have Mac OS X drivers for Leopard actually that are current on their website. I should have it by end of the week and will give it a new try. Wish me luck! This just might work. If I get it working I will put up something on my own blog. By the way, this is my site and blog. In the meantime my 130 is sitting on my table waiting to talk to my new world MacBook, I still have hopes.

Thank you,

Best,
Marcus

He’s quite the DIYer, isn’t he? Marcus then sent along a final, successful e-mail – with pictures!

Hello Dave,

I have managed to connect my Newton 130 to my MacBook Core 2 Duo via USB! I have attached a few pics of my wiring setup. Works like a charm.

I will probably do a blog entry with nicer photos about this when I have some time. The USB to Serial 232 adapter has a Prolific chip inside, and that driver they are providing for Mac OS X works like a charm. There is a Sourceforge generic driver for all kinds of other adapter brands, but OS X wanted me to remove the generic one and the prolific driver does the job very well. The first software I tried and that works just like the old Apple OS 9 Connection Kit is NCX 1.2. I will try Escale and the others ones as well.

Just thought you liked to know how it is going.

My next venture will be to try and get a WiFi card working in this Newton. :-)

Best,
Marcus

Nice job, Marcus! Here’s a picture of his serial-to-USB setup:

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.