Friday, July 08, 2005

New BLOG Feature: JackLooks

I'm starting a new feature at Jackwhispers called JackLooks. This will be a rather infrequent post of searches that I make on the internet that relate to Macs. I often make interesting searches. Sometimes, the results are hard to sort through.

The first search I'm going to include is actually a plug for my own commerce website. For months, I searched for a solution to network All In One Macs that had the ethernet port burned out. Since there is no inexpensive way to replace the ethernet port on an iMac, iBook, MacMini, eMac, etc - I tried to find a solution. I found one - a USB to ethernet adapter.

Macs that don't have PCI slots can cost up to $500 or more to fix - if your ethernet port has been zapped. the reason is because - usually the whole motherboard has to be replaced. The ethernet port and controller chip are soldered to the logic board (motherboard) of the Mac.

There actually two types of adapters:

I found one ethernet adapter that works only in OS 9.2.2 - while the documentation for the adapter says the requirements are just USB and Mac OS 8.6 and higher, I have yet to get it working on any Mac that has below 9.2.1 installed. However, once the adapter is installed; it works flawlessly. The adapter does not work in Classic mode.

Now, after lightening storms (which most commonly hit ethernet ports and 56k modems) - I have a solution for my customers.

I was a little upset at first because of what happened when I first found this solution. A customer bought one from me then posted the brand name and drivers on the XLR8yourMac website. I don't think this has cut in to many sales, but none the less ... it did give me the sense of being backstabbed.

The OS 9 adapter is more of a hardware abstraction than software - this is why there are relatively no ethernet adapters like this available.

There are actually several adapters that can be used for OS 10. These adapters require OS 10.3 or 10.4 (Panther or Tiger). I have settled on one adapter because of it's consistency in chip components. A Belkin USB to ethernet adapter that is commonly recommended around the web for the USB Pegasus Driver doesn't always work due to the variance in the adapter's components. The USB Pegasus driver was developed by SourceForge - an open source software website. These are the drivers I use to allow the adapter I sell to work.

The adapter that I have for sale on my website has no variance in components and works great.

For those that have OS X 10.2 (Jaguar) - you are out of luck! TCP/IP Networking changed dramatically from 10.1/10.2 to 10.3/10.4. It is best to upgrade to Panther or Tiger on any Mac that can accept the upgrade because there are an enormous amount of new features in the newer OS releases. I have also benchmarked a machine before each upgrade.

Using a common Mac OS X benchmarking utility:

A G4 550/1GB RAM/40GB 7200RPM HD/8MB VRAM running Jaguar received a benchmark score of 132

This same configuration running Panther received a benchmark score of 151 - a 15% increase in realized speed.

This same configuration running Tiger received a benchmark score of 165 - a 25% increase in realized speed over the original 10.2. This is almost a 15% increase in speed over Panther.

Notes: Panther will install on any G3, G4, or G5 Mac while Tiger will only install on G3, G4, G5 Mac with built in firewire.

I have found drivers for the OSX adapter I sell that work in OS 9, but it is very hit or miss. I recommend upgrading to Panther if you can or checking my stock of the OS 9 adapter described above.

So, when considering this adapter, consider upgrading to Panther or Tiger - there will more benefit than just regaining ethernet/networking capability.

Are there any useful searches you have made that you would like to pass along?

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