Master Controller?

Voice Card  -  Volume 15  -  John Card Number 9  -  Mon, Jul 23, 1990 8:09 PM

This is ONE OF 2 responses to Vol 15 Drury 2 ("These darn computers!")...


I am ENTIRELY in favor of pompous and absurd titles, but Master Controller is a bit much even for me. Lately I've been feeling more like a Master Controllee. But as it happens, I am able to answer some of your questions. I trust that other controllers in the group will feel free to append additional wisdom...

Question one: "How full can I get my hard disk before something bad happens?"

Answer: pretty darn full. You can probably fill it up right to the brim without spilling anything. However, various programs are in the habit of creating temporary files as they do their work; they usually don't ask for much (say 15 or 20K), but they may get cranky if they don't find room. Also, when things get too tightly packed, efficiency may suffer, that is, your machine may slow down a bit.

I would recommend leaving a full megabyte free (1000K) if you possibly can. This leaves you room to transfer an entire diskette in an emergency without any hassles. Failing that, at least try to keep 100K free. Transfer everything you can to diskettes and save your pennies for another hard drive.

Question two: "I received a great game called "Sim City" and promptly put in on my hard disk. Now I can't get it off and my disk is very, very full. What do I do?"

Answer: This one puzzles me, my child. It's usually no problem destroying data; getting it back is the tricky part. What happens when you drag Sim City into the trash? Do you get a message about the file being locked or busy?

One possibility is that the Sim City file is LOCKED. The Macintosh allows you to lock certain files so as to reduce the chance of accidentally deleting them.

To find out of this is the case, click once (not twice) on the Sim City icon to select it. Then choose "Get Info" from the file menu. A little box should appear with interesting facts about Sim City. In the upper right corner is the word "Locked" and a checkbox. If there is an X in the checkbox, click on it to make the X go away, then close the Info window and drag Sim City into the trash. Your problem is solved.

If the file is not locked, your situation may be a bit more sticky. Keep me posted!

Question three: "Occassionally when I change files and have ejected the disk I was working on, before I can get into another file, the computer asks for the previous disk to be reinserted. What happened?"

Answer: This is a phenomenon which has puzzled Mac owners from the beginning of time. There is nothing to be concerned about.

The inner workings of the Macintosh operating system are intricate in ways beyond human comprehension. The Mac is keeping track of thousands of little details, and as diskettes come and go, it sometimes needs to remind itself of something it has forgotten, or it may need to make a note of some kind on the disk itself. For example, the Mac keeps track of the exact time every file on your disk was last modified, and it remembers exactly where you tossed a file on the disk's desktop. That sort of thing. It often needs to glance at a disk before removing the disk's icon from the main desktop (the Mac is obsessively tidy). Sometimes, even the Master Controller is mystified by these compulsive requests!

Question four: "I can't get Flowfazer to work. What am I doing wrong?"

Answer: I couldn't get the damn thing to work either. Probably another toy too powerful for those of us without color monitors and IIci's. Paul?

Question five: "What is an INIT?"

Answer: An INIT is a little file that makes it possible to modify your operating system and make it EVEN NIFTIER! When you turn on your machine, the Mac looks inside the system folder on your hard disk and looks for any INIT files. If it finds one, it loads the INIT right into the operating system. In this way, you can give your machine capabilities it would not otherwise be able to offer.

A close relative of the INIT is the CDEV, or Control Panel Device. CDEVs work exactly the same way, but as an added bonus, they augment your Control Panel desk accessory so that you can control or adjust the new feature after the feature is already in place. The Moire CDEV, for example, lets you alter the pattern that appears whenever the machine is idle for a certain period of time.

In order to make use of a CDEV or INIT, simply drag them into your system folder and restart your machine. Sometimes, if you get too many of these little gems, they can start to quarrel amongst themselves or drink up too much memory. So if your system starts bombing alot you might try taking some of them back out of the system folder (they are ignored unless they're inside it).

I hope I have been of some service. Keep those questions rolling in!