TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Sep 99 Online

Volume Number: 15 (1999)
Issue Number: 9
Column Tag: MacTech Online

MacTech Online

by Jeff Clites, online@mactech.com

If you're anything like me, you have to face two persistent problems: old equipment and new equipment. Specifically, where to put the new and what to do with the old. The "where" you'll have to handle yourself, but part of the "what" is sure to be "network them". After all, it's hard to watch a good Mac go to waste. As someone who works on the technical end of computing, people tend to assume that I know a lot about the nuts and bolts of networking. The truth be told, I've always worked either on a lone machine, or on a network which was already set up-I've never even had to buy an Ethernet cable. But recently I decided to take up the challenge and put some of my "last generation" equipment to good use, and in the process discovered that it can take a little bit of work to get your printers to play nicely with others. In the end it turned out to be a fun little challenge, and I saved a bunch of money by teaching old dog new tricks, rather than getting new dogs. So this month, we'll tour around some places on the web which tell us what to do and where to get the right tools to get our printers taking to multiple computers. And even if you can't admit to yourself that it's fun, at least you'll learn some things that your friends and family think you already know.

Networking the Un-networkable

To rework an old cliché, there are two kinds of printers in this world-those you can network, and those you can't. But this isn't quite true; it's really just that some are built to be network-aware and others are not. Unfortunately, those low-cost-but-high-quality inkjet printers tend to fall into the latter category, so you are usually stuck with only being able to print to them from one computer, or using a switch box or some such kludge. But, if you happen to have a fairly recent Epson printer, you are in luck. There is a neat little shareware package called EpsonShare which lets you print to your inkjet from multiple computers across a network. It takes care of all of the details for you, but what happens, in essence, is that your client machine prints to a spool file, which just happens to be saved into a folder which is file shared from the server machine (i.e., the machine to which the printer is actually connected). Then, the server machine prints this spool file. So as far as the printer is concerned all printing is still local, but EpsonShare automates the process of getting the spool file to the right machine and telling this machine to print it. It's pretty clever, actually, and it makes you wonder why the Mac OS doesn't do tricks like this on its own. Maybe Tioga, Apple's forthcoming next-generation printing system, will.

As a side note, if you have a new Blue and White G3 then you don't have a serial port to hook up a serial-only printer, but by using an older Mac with EpsonShare you can save yourself from having to buy a USB-to-serial adapter, or any of the other hardware add-ons which provide a serial port.

EpsonShare US

<http://www.ses.fr/epsonshare/softUS.htm>

LocalTalk and Ethernet: The Twain Shall Meet

Now that we've seen that you can finesse some serial printers into working over a network, you would think that the hard part is over. After all, if your printer is network-aware, there should be no problem, right? Well, not always. Most Macintosh network printers are LocalTalk printers, which means that they use the AppleTalk protocol running over LocalTalk hardware (essentially a serial port with the right electronics). But today, you'd probably prefer to use Ethernet to connect the computers on your network. Now, there's no problem with using AppleTalk (or some other protocol you printer might understand) over Ethernet, it's just that many of the popular mid-range laser printers, for example, don't come with Ethernet connectivity; to get this, you either need a high-end printer or you need to purchase an add-on attachment for your printer. And again, if you have a Blue and White G3 then you don't have a LocalTalk port anyway.

The solution to this dilemma is a LocalTalk-to-Ethernet transceiver, which lets you connect a LocalTalk device to an Ethernet network. The two leading hardware solutions are by Farallon and Asanté-you basically just plug things in and go. But if you have an older Mac sitting around ready to work, then you can get the job done without spending a dime. Apple has a free (but unsupported) piece of software called the LocalTalk Bridge which, as the name implies, serves as a bridge between a LocalTalk network and an Ethernet network. So, you connect your LocalTalk printer to a LocalTalk port on your Mac which is running the LocalTalk Bridge, and suddenly your printer is visible to the rest of your AppleTalk network. As I mentioned above, this software if unsupported, and it is believed to not be fully compatible with Mac OS 8.5, but nothing says that legacy Mac has to be running the latest and greatest-mine is quite content running Mac OS 8.1. It's certainly worth trying out.

So again, using an old Mac can save us from having to buy new hardware. Even more importantly for some, this setup will let you print to your LocalTalk PostScript printer from Mac OS X Server on a Blue and White G3, and is one of the few setups which will let you do this. Even if you don't need to network your printer it can be difficult to access it from this OS; although Mac OS X Server does support printing over AppleTalk, it only has minimal USB support (only enough to access Apple's keyboard and mouse), so a USB printer is out of the question, and you can't even use a USB-to-serial adapter to connect a local printer. Things will probably get easier after the release of the consumer version of Mac OS X, but until then our old Macs will have to help us out.

Farallon EtherMac iPrint Adapter

<http://www.farallon.com/products/ether/adapters/iprintadapter.html>

AsanteTalk

<http://www.asante.com/products/p_ad5.html>

Apple - LocalTalk Bridge 2.1

<http://asu.info.apple.com/swupdates.nsf/artnum/n11358>
 
AAPL
$98.38
Apple Inc.
-0.64
MSFT
$43.89
Microsoft Corpora
-0.09
GOOG
$585.61
Google Inc.
-4.99

MacTech Search:
Community Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Drive Genius 3.2.4 - Powerful system uti...
Drive Genius is an OS X utility designed to provide unsurpassed storage management. Featuring an easy-to-use interface, Drive Genius is packed with powerful tools such as a drive optimizer, a... Read more
Vitamin-R 2.15 - Personal productivity t...
Vitamin-R creates the optimal conditions for your brain to work at its best by structuring your work into short bursts of distraction-free, highly focused activity alternating with opportunities for... Read more
Toast Titanium 12.0 - The ultimate media...
Toast Titanium goes way beyond the very basic burning in the Mac OS and iLife software, and sets the standard for burning CDs, DVDs, and now Blu-ray discs on the Mac. Create superior sounding audio... Read more
OS X Yosemite Wallpaper 1.0 - Desktop im...
OS X Yosemite Wallpaper is the gorgeous new background image for Apple's upcoming OS X 10.10 Yosemite. This wallpaper is available for all screen resolutions with a source file that measures 5,418... Read more
Acorn 4.4 - Bitmap image editor. (Demo)
Acorn is a new image editor built with one goal in mind - simplicity. Fast, easy, and fluid, Acorn provides the options you'll need without any overhead. Acorn feels right, and won't drain your bank... Read more
Bartender 1.2.20 - Organize your menu ba...
Bartender lets you organize your menu bar apps. Features: Lets you tidy your menu bar apps how you want. See your menu bar apps when you want. Hide the apps you need to run, but do not need to... Read more
TotalFinder 1.6.2 - Adds tabs, hotkeys,...
TotalFinder is a universally acclaimed navigational companion for your Mac. Enhance your Mac's Finder with features so smart and convenient, you won't believe you ever lived without them. Tab-based... Read more
Vienna 3.0.0 RC 2 :be5265e: - RSS and At...
Vienna is a freeware and Open-Source RSS/Atom newsreader with article storage and management via a SQLite database, written in Objective-C and Cocoa, for the OS X operating system. It provides... Read more
VLC Media Player 2.1.5 - Popular multime...
VLC Media Player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, MP3, OGG, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It... Read more
Default Folder X 4.6.7 - Enhances Open a...
Default Folder X attaches a toolbar to the right side of the Open and Save dialogs in any OS X-native application. The toolbar gives you fast access to various folders and commands. You just click... Read more

Latest Forum Discussions

See All

Note Review
Note Review By Jennifer Allen on July 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: TOO SIMPLEiPhone App - Designed for the iPhone, compatible with the iPad Note is a note taking app that’s a little too short on features to be worth its asking price... | Read more »
Chainsaw Warrior Goes on Sale & Ther...
Chainsaw Warrior Goes on Sale & There’s a Chance to Win a Copy of the Original Board Game Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 29th, 2014 [ permalink | Read more »
It Came From Canada: Tiny Tower Vegas
If you go to a casino, you might make a lot of money. If you run a casino, you’re guaranteed to make a lot of money. The choice seems pretty obvious. So while waiting for your shady real estate deals to move forward, get prepared with Tiny Tower... | Read more »
Z Hunter Review
Z Hunter Review By Lee Hamlet on July 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: RIGHT ON TARGETUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad While it might not necessarily break new ground, Z Hunter has enough tricks up its sleeve to ensure that... | Read more »
Huge Update Comes To Duet, Adding 48 New...
Huge Update Comes To Duet, Adding 48 New Stages Posted by Jennifer Allen on July 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Sharknado: The Video Game Available Now....
Sharknado: The Video Game Available Now. Seriously. Posted by Rob Rich on July 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad | Read more »
Frog Orbs 2 Review
Frog Orbs 2 Review By Nadia Oxford on July 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: THIS MAGIC IS A TAD MONOTONOUS Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad Frog Orbs 2 is repetitive, but younger players should enjoy it nonetheless.   | Read more »
Puzzix Review
Puzzix Review By Jennifer Allen on July 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: NICE IDEAUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad A little like Tetris, Puzzix is all about piecing together blocks and watching them vanish. It could do with... | Read more »
Cannonball eMail is Now Live – Works Wit...
Cannonball eMail is Now Live – Works With Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, Hotmail, and AOL Posted by Jessica Fisher on July 29th, 2014 [ permalink ] | Read more »
To The End Review
To The End Review By Lee Hamlet on July 29th, 2014 Our Rating: :: A VICIOUS CYCLEUniversal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad To The End will test players’ patience, timing, and dedication as they try to navigate all 13 levels in... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

WaterField Unveils 15″ Outback Solo & 13″...
Hard on the heels of Apple’s refreshed MacBook Pro Retina laptops announcement, WaterField Designs has unveiled a 15-inch version of the waxed-canvas and leather Outback Solo and a 13-inch version of... Read more
New Roxio Toast 12 Delivers Digital Media Pow...
Roxio Toast 12 is a hub for sharing digital media to virtually any platform or device. has introduced two new additions to its Roxio Toast product family – Roxio Toast 12 Titanium and Roxio Toast 12... Read more
The lowest prices on leftover Retina MacBook...
Best Buy has dropped prices on leftover 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros by up to $300 off original MSRP on their online store for a limited time. Choose free local store pickup (if available) or free... Read more
Apple Updates MacBook Pro with Retina Display...
Apple today updated its MacBook Pro with Retina display with faster processors and double the amount of memory in both entry-level configurations. MacBook Pro with Retina display features a Retina... Read more
Up to $250 price drop on leftover 15-inch Mac...
B&H Photo has dropped prices on 2013 15″ Retina MacBook Pros by as much as $250 off original MSRP. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only: - 15″ 2.3GHz Retina MacBook Pro: $2349... Read more
Updated MacBook Pro Price Trackers
We’ve updated our MacBook Pro Price Trackers with the latest information on prices, bundles, and availability on the new 2014 models from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers as well as... Read more
Apple updates MacBook Pros with slightly fast...
Apple updated 13″ and 15″ Retina MacBook Pros today with slightly faster Haswell processors. 13″ models now ship with 8GB of RAM standard, while 15″ MacBook Pros ship with 16GB across the board. Most... Read more
Apple drops price on 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro b...
The Apple Store has dropped their price for the 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pro by $100 to $1099 including free shipping. Read more
Apple drops prices on refurbished 2013 MacBoo...
The Apple Store has dropped prices on Apple Certified Refurbished 13″ and 15″ 2013 MacBook Pros, with model now available starting at $929. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free... Read more
iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 To Support DuckDuckGo As...
Writing for Quartz, Dan Frommer reports that Apple’s forthcoming iOS 8 and OS X 10.10 operating systems version updates will allow users to select DuckDuckGo as their default search engine. He notes... Read more

Jobs Board

Sr Software Lead Engineer, *Apple* Online S...
Sr Software Lead Engineer, Apple Online Store Publishing Systems Keywords: Company: Apple Job Code: E3PCAK8MgYYkw Location (City or ZIP): Santa Clara Status: Full Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
Sr. Product Leader, *Apple* Store Apps - Ap...
**Job Summary** Imagine what you could do here. At Apple , great ideas have a way of becoming great products, services, and customer experiences very quickly. Bring Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
*Apple* Solutions Consultant (ASC) - Apple (...
**Job Summary** The ASC is an Apple employee who serves as an Apple brand ambassador and influencer in a Reseller's store. The ASC's role is to grow Apple Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.