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Monday, December 24, 2001

Think Merry

Happy Holidays from MACBOY.COM!

Tuesday, December 18, 2001


Mac OS X started as Mac OS X 10.0, followed by a free update to Mac OS 10.1. Soon after, Apple released updates 10.1.1 and 10.1.2. A few more microrevisions and the version number will sound more like a discount long distance phone service! But when we reach version 10.4, it's over and out.

Monday, December 10, 2001


Anyone who owns a Mac has experienced The Bomb. This imposing error message pops up on the screen to present you with only one choice: RESTART. But sometimes your Mac can be so screwed up that the bomb and text will not even appear, and only a blank box appears where the message would be. And if things are super screwy, the bordered box will be flashing .  When this happens, you'd best unplug your computer and run.

Monday, December 3, 2001

Pro create.

A shockingly phallic Quicksilver G4 with the tag line Pro create was all Apple needed for their ad campaign, displayed on huge building-sized posters and billboards during the NYC Macworld Expo 2001.  Whoever conceived this idea certainly had a fertile imagination.

Monday, November 26, 2001


From the AppleCare Knowledge Base Article ID 60726:"Package First Aid is a utility that resets folders that have been incorrectly configured as application packages. If you have a package or folder that cannot be opened, drag it on this utility to reset it as a folder. Do not drag application packages on this utility."  Personally, my Package has never needed First Aid, but if it has happened to you, join in the discussion below! 

Thanks again for the idea, Chris Argiropoulos!

Monday, November 19, 2001

Back Zap

PRAM , or Parameter RAM, is a portion of RAM that stores information about your Mac required boot up and keep track of settings, such as the Date & Time, AppleTalk, Monitors, and Starup Disk Control Panels.  When you "zap", or reset the PRAM—which is accomplished by simutaneously pressing the Apple, Option, 'P', and 'R' keys at startup—your Mac will revert to its factory settings.  One side effect of the zapping is that sometimes the Memory Manager will reset to its default date, 1904 .  Other computers bring you back in time, too—like every time you turn on a Wintel PC

Why 1904?  If you know, please post below!

Monday, November 12, 2001

The Fury of Apple

In 1994, with CEO Michael Spindler at the helm, Apple finally gave up its lifelong tradition of  hoarding the Mac OS and denying third parties the license to clone the Macintosh.   Soon after, Power Computing—with its pugnacious Sluggo-like mascot issuing the slogan "Let's Kick Intel's Ass!" and "We're Fighting Back for Mac!"—introduced their PowerBase, PowerCenter, PowerTower.  Other clones like the Motorola StarmaxUmax SuperMac, and Radius System entered the ring, offering lower cost Mac-compatible alternatives to the world.  These clones helped expand the Macintosh market, but not enough.  In 1997, with iCEO Steve Jobs in command, Apple issued a real Technical Knockout when it bought out Power Computing's remaining Mac OS licenses and engineering staff, sending the ailing clone factory down for the count.  Steve Jobs could be heard boasting, "I am the greatest!"

Monday, November 5, 2001

iTunes 2.Ow

iTunes 2.0 for Mac OS X was only online for a moment before it was taken down and replaced with iTunes 2.01, yet hundreds of users managed to download and install it. Some audiophiles with multiple partitions and hard drives were suprised to find that, after installation, they had much more space to store their mp3s. That's because every partition except for the iTunes volume was erased! Fortunately I tuned into web sites articles like and Mac Night Owl, and avoided such a catastrophic undocumented feature.

Monday, October 29, 2001

More Than Ever

Want to show your patriotism for the United States? Open your Keyboard Control Panel and select both the U.S. keyboard layout and any other layout. Selecting two choices for keyboard layouts will make the American flag pop up in the right side of your menu bar! Clicking on the flag allows you to quickly toggle between multiple keyboard layouts.

Monday, October 22, 2001

Previous Life

Place your palm on the mouse, and let me read your past ... Ah, it is clear that you have had to reinstall the System Software on your Mac! When you want to reinstall the System Software, you have your choice of installing the software in place, or doing a clean install . When you chose to do a clean install, the installer will create a brand new System Folder, and rename your old System Folder "Previous System Folder" . The Previous System Folder will lose its blessed System Folder icon, and look just like any other folder on the hard drive. Although this folder has a glorious past life, its future is bleak. After salvaging important preference files and extensions, it is best to trash the Previous System Folder.

Monday, October 15, 2001


Like a bat out of hell, the new 667MHz Titanium Powerbooks clock in one megahertz faster than the Number of the Beast. That makes me want to KICK IT!

Monday, October 8, 2001

Grand Opening

Wouldn't it be grand if owners of Mac OS X could stop by their friendly local Apple Retail Store and pick up a FREE copy of the OS X 10.1 upgrade? That's exactly what happened on September 29, 2001, when Apple made available its free "Instant Up-to-Date" packages for Mac OS X 10.1. Dedicated Mac enthusiasts waited in lines longer than those for the premier of Phantom Menace, eager to get their hands on the revolutionary OS upgrade. And everyone knows that queue comes before X.

Monday, October 1, 2001

Seedy Audio

As destructive as it sounds, drag a disk to the trash and everything will be fine. Contrarily, Eject a disk in an older OS and you're left with an annoying ghost image on your desktop. Then when you try to do something that requires the ejected disk, you're stuck until you find that specific disk again. This can be a real pain if you have thousands of disks to chose from. Thank goodness for mp3

Thanks, Tova!

Monday, September 24, 2001

Mac Breaks

We've all had applications unexpectedly quit, so it only seems logical that "supplemental" applications would unexpectedly launch in their places. 

Thanks, Ben Grossmann, for the inspiration!

Monday, September 10, 2001

In the Process

If you are as impatient as me, you certainly have attempted to shut down the computer while it is already in the process of shutting down. The Mac responds politely by stating, "The command could not be completed because you have already chosen Shut Down or Restart. Wait until the computer finishes shutting down or restarting, quit all applications, and choose Shut Down or Restart again." I'm sure Steve Jobs reassures his stockholders using the same logic.

Monday, August 27, 2001

Premature Release

As embarrassing as it is, we have all experienced premature release at some point in our lives.  That cursor can be so sensitive some times, one could easily let go at the wrong moment and make a mess of their work.  And, like the cartoon, life can be frustrating when you have to wait a long time to try again.

Monday, August 20, 2001


Apple's HyperCard was a great little program that let regular people like you and me create interactive presentations for the Mac. As applications like PowerPoint and the Internet have become more popular, HyperCard has all but vanished, and is now rolled into QuickTime in some obscure way. Ritalin is that medicine for hyper kids with Attention Deficit Disorder, which makes this cartoon funny.

Monday, August 13, 2001

Easy Install

Easy Install can sometimes be anything but easy. Sometimes a third-party software developer will chose to include helpful Apple Extensions like ColorSync and AppleScript in their installer. While they may be current versions at the time the software was created, these Extensions will surely be outdated by the time you decide to reinstall your application a few years later. I always chose a Custom Install, but if you've accidentally installed outdated duplicate Apple Extensions, here's a hint—remove the one with the earlier creation date, (it will usually have a ™symbol).

Monday, August 6, 2001

Special Menu

How do you categorize such computer tasks as Empty Trash, Sleep, Restart, and Shut Down? These are no ordinary commands! Special menu items need a Special Menu, and that's just what Apple has included in their Mac OS. But this Special offer won't last—Apple has removed the Special Menu from it's latest Mac OS X.

Monday, July 30, 2001

Silver Button

I love the new Quicksilver G4s!—despite their apparent lack of an emergency CD-ROM pinhole, and an exposed, recessed speaker cone that is just BEGGING to be pushed! The new speaker design allows for better sound, unobstructed by any protective grille. But when unsuspecting Macworld attendees pushed that shiny silver "button", they ended up breaking the speaker. Unsound design, don't you think?

Monday, July 23, 2001

Between Jobs

Steve Jobs was notorious for his browbeating tactics, or so claim a handful of programmers who survived their boss's vigorous assault. Physical cruelty may seem like an unconventional method for encouraging employees to work overtime, but it certainly helped Apple pull ahead, full throttle.

Monday, July 16, 2001


iMacs sure have come a long way since the original Bondi Blue model introduced in 1998. First there were the fruitsstrawberry, tangerine, grape, lime, and blueberry. Then came Graphite , followed by the classier Sage, Indigo, Ruby, and Snow . Running out of color options, Apple fumbled with Blue Dalmation and Flower Power. I'm holding out for the Beige iMac.

Monday, July 9, 2001

Wild Eep

Ah, remember the simple days when our only choices for System alert sounds were Droplet, Indigo, Quack, Simple Beep, Sosumi, and Wild Eep? Today we can annoy our neighbors with a plethora of additional sounds, including ChuToy, Glass, Laugh, Logjam, Pong2003, Purr, Single Click, Submarine, Temple, Uh oh, Voltage, and Whit. And with SimpleSound you can even record your own alerts. Go wild!

Monday, July 2, 2001

Latest Buzz

In 1997, Apple celebrated their 20th anniversary with the release the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh. With it's innovative design, fancy Bose sound system, integrated audio tuner, and $10,000 price tag, you can imagine how upset some people were when the speakers started buzzing, making it impossible to enjoy their music. Alas, poor audiophiles with buzzing audio files.

Monday, June 25, 2001

Y2K Patch

Microsoft's Excel Y2K Updater for Office 98 fixed some problems with displaying four-digit centuries. Ironically, the software suite's title Office 98 remained non-Y2K compliant.

Monday, June 18, 2001

Standard with Every Mac

Steve Jobs always has a surprise up his sleeve. "One more thing ...", he'll announce, just when you thought his Macworld Expo keynote speech was done. Last year at Macworld Expo NYC 2000 it was a Pro Keyboard and optical mouse shipping standard with every Mac. What will it be this year? Your guess is as good as mine.

Monday, June 11, 2001

Flashing Question Mark

If you own a Mac, you've seen the Flashing Question Mark. That little blinking floppy disk and question mark appear when the startup disk is damaged or missing, which often means you've lost all your data. In which case, instead of a flashing '?', I think Apple should have utilized the flashing '!@&*#%#'

Monday, June 4, 2001


I remember my first time calling a 1-800 Mac shop. With my parents' credit card clutched in sweaty palms, I nervously waited for Jennifer, the sexy operator on the cover of the magazine, to answer the phone. 

"Tell me what you'd like," she purred, sending shivers down my spine. 

Overwhelmed with excitement, my breathing became increasingly heavy. I deepened my voice in a vain attempt to disguise my pubescence and spoke, "This is my first time." 

Jennifer replied, "That's okay, I can do all the talking. How would you like a nice new iMac? Would you like that? Yeah, I bet you'd like that." 

It felt awkward at first, but as time went by I was able to relax. I lost myself to Jennifer's reassuring voice, and in the end I was able to fulfill my order. That phone call ended up costing me $1,200, but it was worth every cent!

Monday, May 28, 2001


On September 14, 1995, Apple stopped shipping the new PowerBook 5300 when at least two lithium-ion battery packs failed catastrophically at Apple's main campus while recharging. According to reports, at least one battery pack actually caught fire! This was enough for Apple to switch from lithium-ion batteries to nickel-metal-hydride, and keep the fire limited to FireWire PowerBooks.

Monday, May 21, 2001


Microsoft is so confident with the ease-of-use of their next generation operating system, Windows XP, that they are retiring Clippy, the world's most annoying Help Menu sprite! Where will he go? What will he do? He could always help restart crashed iMacs. Or maybe Apple has work for him in the Floppy Ejection Department

Thank you, Christopher Argiropoulos, for the Clippy gag!

And the old Easter egg bonus "clip":

Monday, May 14, 2001

Shut Down

The Shut Down desk accessory was a System 7.5 Apple Menu Item that could instantly shut down your Macintosh. It came in handy when you were too lazy to switch over to the Finder to access the Shut Down command under the Special menu; or when you wanted to drive your roommate crazy by placing an alias to the Shut Down utility in his Startup Folder. There's nothing worse than a Mac that starts up and instantly shuts down ... except for a Mac that doesn't start up at all. Incidentally, there's a new utility that can do that, too. It's called Mac OS X beta.

Monday, May 7, 2001


Just because it's free, that doesn't mean you should use it. Macintosh retail distributers like ClubMacMacWarehouse, and MacZone often bundle software with their computers. This sounds like a good deal, but these seemingly innocuous packages, like Conflict Catcher and RAM Doubler, can cause more harm than good. MacCaveat Emptor!

Monday, April 30, 2001


OpenDoc was a good idea, but it never quite got off the ground. Apple's goal with OpenDoc was to make the computer "document-centric" instead of "application-centric" . Instead of opening a document with an application, you could access applications as plug-ins, and edit any OpenDoc document with any OpenDoc-compliant software. Unfortunately, Apple quietly stopped developing for OpenDoc a few years ago. The only proof that it ever existed is a vestigial Extension that was required by previous versions of AppleShare IP. In the distance, a novice Mac technician cries, "What's OpenDoc?!?"

Monday, April 23, 2001

1 Infinite Loop

Before DVD-ROM and CD-ROM, the only way to install software was with floppy disks. But what if the software was too big to fit on one 1.4MB floppy? The installer application would piece together a sequence of small "tomes" of data from multiple disks, a process which required the user to insert the next disk when the previous one was ejected. This was easy enough, but sometimes a funny thing would happen. A disk would eject, and the Mac would prompt for the next disk. Once that disk had been accessed, it would eject, and the Mac would ask for the first disk. Then the next disk, then the first disk, then the next disk, then the first disk. This would go on ad infinitum, or until a frustrated user decided to pull the plug on his installation. Maybe this is how Apple got the idea for their address, 1 Infinite Loop?

Monday, April 16, 2001

No Floppy

"We don't need no stinking floppies!" That's what Apple said when they decided to exclude the popular removable media drives from their entire Macintosh line. It really is a step in the right direction. Floppy disks are an unreliable method for backing up a computer, as they degrade and lose magnetic integrity over time. Besides, these days most files are too big to fit on a floppy, and small files can easily be e-mailed to another computer. But what about all the poor souls who bought a new computer and need to read their old floppy disks? They can either buy an external floppy drive, ... or cram their floppy disks into the built-in Zip drive and see what happens.

Monday, April 9, 2001


There is firmware, and then there's FIRMware!  Perhaps "Strictware" or "Draconianware" would better describe Apple's latest firmware update, which prepares G4s, PowerBooks, and Cubes for a Mac OS X install. Sure, Firmware Update 4.1.8 "includes improvements to FireWire target disk mode, network booting and system stability." But what Apple forgot to mention is that Firmware Update 4.1.8 will also disable your third-party RAM that used to work fine with previous Systems, but doesn't quite meet the new, stricter RAM specifications for Mac OS X. Of course, this could be Apple's way of weeding out the sissies who are unable to get OS X to work with only 64MB RAM.

Monday, April 2, 2001

HFS minus

The Mac OS Extended Format (HFS+) was supposed to make more files fit on large volumes than the Mac OS Standard Format (HFS) allowed. When Mac OS 8.1 was released, all you had to do was reformat your hard drive and install Mac OS 8.1 to benefit from the improved hard disk format. But what happened if you tried starting up your newly updated computer with the older System Startup disk that originally came with your computer, like System 7.5? You would find a single file with the ominous title, "Where have all my files gone?" For those Mac owners who refused to read the manual, this riddle of a message probably caused a few panic attacks. But those who read the manual—or had the moxie to double-click on the document—would know that their files were inaccessible while starting from an old System Software, and they need only start up with a Mac OS 8.1 disk or higher to view their precious data.

Monday, March 26, 2001

This Side Up

Apple was really Thinking Different when they decided on the orientation of their logo on the new G3 PowerBooks and iBooks . The Apple looks fine when you look at the closed laptop from the front. But once you flip the lid open to start working, that Apple logo is upside down to the world. Maybe that's why they ship white Apple stickers with every Mac ... a sort of "Fix It Yourself" patch? Apple has since flip-flopped on their poor design decision, and the logo is now displayed right side up on the new Titanium PowerBooks. But in case you prefer the upside down Apple, PowerBooks still ship with the stickers.

Monday, March 19, 2001

Hide Finder

I derive great pleasure when I get to use the oblique Hide Finder command, found just under the Application Menu only when the Finder is active and other applications are not hidden. Hide Finder can come in handy, specifically when you want to return to the previously used background application and hide all open Finder windows in one clean sweep. I couldn't live without Hide Finder—it ranks up there with Balloon Help and Scrapbook.

Monday, March 12, 2001

Force Quit

Force Quit is the Macintosh equivalent of Windows' CONTROL-ALT-DELETE, also known as the Three Fingered Salute. When your Macintosh application freezes, you have a slim chance of saving your work in your other open applications. Simply press the Apple (Command) and Option keys, and the Escape key. If the Force Quit fails, never fear. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.

Monday, March 5, 2001

Wild Goose Chassis

Installing RAM in an 8100 can be a difficult task. But the day is not over until you pop that hood back on the computer and screw it shut. Simply slide the cover forward until it locks into place in the front, and tighten the four screws in the back. Sounds easy, until you realize that the cover did not actually lock into its guides, and the front of the chassis is ajar. No problem, just unscrew the back and slide the cover off and on again. Do this fifty times, or until you give up. Starmax and Power Computing folks, you are not alone!

Monday, February 26, 2001


I apologize for incorporating this annoying bit of pop culture in my cartoons, but I wanted to use it before the Budweiser Whassup?! commercials fizzle out of existence. Steve Jobs and Steve "Woz" Wozniak co-founded Apple Computer in 1976. Although they have each gone their separate ways—Jobs back with Apple, and Woz a crusader for education—I'll bet they still call each other on the holidays and reminisce about the good ol' days.

Monday, February 19, 2001

Copy and Paste

First in 1984 with the Classic Macintosh operating system, now with Windows XP, Microsoft is infamous for their ability to Copy and Paste Apple's look and feel right into their own OS. The only thing the Evil Twin Operating System is missing is a moustache and goatee, like all our famous alternate universe doppelgängers.

Monday, February 12, 2001


The Apple Computer Assistance Center can be a lifesaver during a Macintosh emergency. Call 1-800-SOS-APPL, and highly trained support staff will comfort you as they recite passages from the Technical Information Library , and recommend that you reformat your hard drive and reinstall the system software. But if your Macintosh computer is out of warranty, you're Sh*t Outta' Luck.

Monday, February 5, 2001

G3 Ethernet

Apple meant well when they started producing Power Macintoshes with built-in Ethernet, but they didn't realize the havoc they would create with their original beige Desktop G3. The standard RJ-45 10BaseT Ethernet port is located on the back of the G3, very close to the the edge of the deep lipped chassis. An Ethernet patch cable can easily be inserted into the port, with its plastic anchor facing down. But just try disconnecting that patch cable, especially if it has a protective boot! That sucker takes forever to remove. The stubborn G3 owner who refuses to rotate the computer for a better rear view will have a hard time finding the Sweet Spot. And once the pressure point is located, good luck sticking your thumb between the chassis and the plastic anchor. A pencil sometimes helps, but you may have to summon nimble-fingered assistance.

Monday, January 29, 2001

Installation Unsuccessful

Not many people encounter an error when they upgrade their Macintosh System Software, since the installer ensures that certain criteria are met before the actual installation begins. Hard drive space, CPU support, disk driver version, and firmware are examined in the extensive check list. But occasionally problems do happen, which will automatically terminate the installation. (Did you know that if you created a folder called Drive Setup, and place the Drive Setup utility in that folder within the Utilities folder, a MacOS upgrade will fail!? ) You'll receive the warning, "The installation of the software was unsuccessful, leaving your hard disk untouched."* This cartoon features a young Mr. Jobs after his prom date, having experienced installus interuptus.

*I haven't encountered an installation error for quite some time, so if anyone has the exact text from the error message, please post it on the message board!

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