Q. My iMac wouldn’t turn on this morning. I checked all the connections, and they were good. I then unplugged it from the back and plugged it back in. After that it started up. Is this a normal thing? Is it a potential problem?
A. I wouldn’t call that situation “normal” but I have seen it before. By unplugging your iMacâ€™s power cord, you have reset the SMC chip which controls power settings. All Macs these days have an System Management Controller (SMC) which manages all of the power functions of your computer. These include power and thermal monitoring, sleeping and the battery. It also controls the fans, the Sudden Motion Sensor in laptops and the power switch.
Weâ€™ve also heard from MacBook users who have trouble waking their Macs from sleep. (Closing the lid, waiting until the LED pulses and then re-opening the lid often works.) The method for resetting the SMC on laptops vary â€“ you can check out how to reset your Mac model at http://www.apple.com/support/. The fact that Apple put in an SMC chip means that it is “normal” and that it could lead to potential issues.
Whether itâ€™s a potential problem is also good question… power is always a potential problem especially in older homes. The best advice I can give is that all of your desktop computers should be on a “smart” UPS – which is an uninterruptible power supply with a line conditioner. It is basically like a car battery with a line conditioner to absorb spikes in voltage/amps. They range in price from $100 to $2000 depending on the protection you need.
An inexpensive model for the iMac (BackUPS 350VA) would be around $70. One that could cover three Macs (BackUPS 1200VA) would be around $200. I have the latter in my office for my Mac and Internet modem, router and Time Capsule. That would give you between 10 to 15 minutes of runtime if the power went out and generally provide “clean” power to the equipment. Models for larger Macs and servers which would give about an hour of running time would cost about $1500 and up.
Q. We continue to get complaints from PC users that we send email to using Appleâ€™s Mail application. They get the message as an attachment and donâ€™t see that the attached files. Often they end up running the wrong file in our ad because they miss the instructions in our e-mail. How can we avoid this?
A. E-mail messages are encoded so they can survive transport over the Internet. The messages are also segmented automatically, so that the servers and mail clients that handle them can determine what makes up the message. Generally email consists of “plain text” and/or “html text” as well as attached files. As a rule file attachments should also always have a “file extension” in the filename.
Some email clients such as Outlook and Outlook Express have trouble deciphering the elements of a mail message â€“ especially if they originate from Appleâ€™s Mail. So some receivers may get a partial message or a blank message with the content for the message as attachments. The safest way to send email is in â€œplain textâ€ with files properly encoded and attached.
In Apple Mail choose â€œAttachmentsâ€ from the â€œEditâ€ menu, before you create a message and make sure the following are checked:
â€œAlways Send Windows-Friendly Attachmentsâ€
â€œAlways Insert Attachments at the End of the Message.â€
Otherwise the parts of the message may get misinterpreted but receiver’s email client application.
Also get in the habit of pressing the “Attachment” icon. If you Drag and Drop the attachment goes in the mail message – inline – with the text. If you use the set up mentioned above â€“ attachments should drop to the end of the email and appear as attached by receiver.
When sending files to a publication you should always use a “zip” archive. Like a Stuffit “.sit” archive, it should contain the required ad elements. You can create a ZIP in the Finder by selecting files or folders and choosing Compress “Folder-name” from the contextual menu (Right-click or Control-Click on the item). The Finder will create an “Archive.zip” file â€“ which you can rename.