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11th Sept. 2004


Ken Ross

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I discovered the following whilst going through a checklist of things in the course of upgrading my Mac's OS from 8.6 to 9.1, (via 9.04).

If you've got 9.04 you can download the upgrades, (with some big lumps), for free from Apple. This gets you up to 9.2.2 if your Mac is a G3 beastie and up to 9.1 if you have a PPC.

It was in the course of test formatting floppys I noticed a couple of minor differences between the end results.

MAC  ~ OS USED  DD disk
PC format 
DD disk 
Mac format
HD disk
PC format 
HD disk 
Mac format
PB 160     ~ OS7.5 713 K  784.5 K 1423.5 K 1414.5 K
PPC 7300 ~ OS8.6 710 K 785 K 1422 K 1417 K
PPC 7300 ~ OS9.1 706 K 785 K 1420 K 1414.5 K
 Disk Capacity 720 K 800 K 1440 K 1440K

This information is extremely unlikely to change anybodys life!


Having two partitions on my hard disk I installed 9.1 onto the second, leaving 8.6 on the first. I could then switch between them whilst checking things. All went according to plan until I went back to 8.6 before returning to 9.1 again.

RAM Doubler displayed its usual expected notice when there's been activity in the system folder of only running after another restart.
Fair enough ~ Restart biz.
The notice comes up again!
Checking that nothing has gone adrift gave no clues.
In the end, I find out that the shift between 8.6 and 9.1 is fatal to the RAM doubler installed in 9.1.

Deleting the failed (RAM Doubler) control panel and redoing the install process, with an added twist, is the only way around it.

Normally after install, a restart is the order of the day before applying RAM Doubler upgrades. This time you quit the installer and, instead of restarting, repeat with how ever many upgrades are to hand. Then when finished, restart at last.

RAM Doubler is a control panel that, by using virtual memory techniques, effectively doubles the amount of RAM installed. The expanded memory is still allocated in the usual fashion, using the "Preferred" program size, allowing programs to use up big lumps of doubled space. This means any program can still run out of memory, (in its own fixed partition), even though you can see there should be lots of free RAM available.

RAM Doubler, under low-memory circumstances, may briefly use the hard drive to store memory, a bit like Virtual Memory from System 7, (only considerably swifter about things).

An alternative option to RAM Doubler is to go and buy some real RAM, but that requires real money sadly!


This week, I tried to attach a zip file to an e-mail to a contact. Try as hard as I might, every time the chap got the e-mail he unzipped the attachment to get an empty file, whereas the JPG attachment with the same e-mail survived intact.

Having my suspicions, I put the file on a web site and emailed a URL. This time the file worked.
Good old M$ mail programs - what would the problem pages writers do for a living otherwise!

Ed: I think, maybe, as in any good Agatha Christie novel, the usual suspect had nothing to do with it! Poor(?) old M$ gets blamed for everything these days. Ken later e-mailed me to say that his contact suggested Mac incompatibility, or the virgin.net mail server as culprits. I have had trouble with attachments lately, although nothing as extreme as this. With many ISPS now implementing filters to try and weed out potential viruses and worms from e-mails, you may find you cannot attach what you think you can. .exe files are usually impossible to send, but recently I sent a .eml file, (Microsoft Outlook Express e-mail), as an attachment and that got refused. Normally, a message comes back saying send it as a .zip if you really meant to send it. If ISPs start removing the contents of .zip files then Houston, we have a problem. Mind you, now that viruses can be hidden in .zip files and automatically unzipped and executed I see the difficulty. In the long term, Ken's approach of uploading attachments to the web and sending a URL may be the only answer to stop virus's being sent by e-mail. Properly encrypted attachments is another possibility. All e-mail should be sent as .txt of course.


Someone else besides me is scanning ICPUG journals,

http://www.landley.net/history/scan s/ is where they live .


A recent addition to my hard drive has been a program that seemed to install its own flavour of Java, or add to what was there already. The program in question, when it works, is good, but when it don't - Oh Dear says Ken - yet another forced quit!!

When I do that now, the next time the computer starts up Disk First Aid checks the system and hard drive. This is normal. However during the startup Disk First Aid check, the following error appears

 Sorry, a system error occurred. International Utilities not present. 
To turn off extensions, restart and hold down the Shift key.



When restarting with extensions disabled, the computer starts correctly and Disk First Aid can be run. However, upon the next restart, the same error appeared.

Apple says the Shutdown Check file may be corrupt and it should be replaced by following these steps:

1/ Make a Stickies note called "Shutdown Check" and save to the hard disk.
2/  Click "OK" in the dialog box to replace the existing Shutdown Check file.
3/  Open the Macintosh hard disk.
4/  Delete the Stickie note named "Shutdown Check"
5/  Restart the computer

This may, or may not, work on your machine - if, like me, it hasn't, the only realistic option is to boot from another device to run Disk First Aid, along with a desktop rebuild.

My own suspicions lead me to believe that the Java installed is the reason for this problem as searching through earlier backup copies of my system folder produces not a trace of the 'not present' item - as does the curent system folder.