TechTails Archives

Subject: Tech Tails #272: iTunes Dial-up Connection Work Around, Stay Out of ComputerTrouble, eMac Not Responding, Specials
Date: July 5th, 2005

In this issue: Art's introduction Preview tunes in iTunes using dial-up
Ten steps to stay out of trouble Dead eMac? Check with your son.
AppleCare is Apple's #1 value Specials!

Hello, Tech Tails subscribers!

Art Hendrickson reporting from a hot Small Dog warehouse here in sunny
Waitsfield, VT.

We hope everyone has had an enjoyable 4th of July weekend. The weather
in New England was quite pleasant and I was able to enjoy some hiking
along the Long Trail south of Lincoln Gap, swimming at Lake Sunapee in
New Hampshire, and some cycling in Warren as I try to imagine what the
Tour de France must be like. All in an effort to stay in shape for the
coming ski season.

July promises to be an active month for the Small Dog warehouse crew as
well. While the repair technicians have been busy working on all the
computers affected by the electrical storms of late June, the rest of
the staff has been busy receiving mass quantities of Mac computers in
new, refurbished and used condition. We have managed to fit it all into
the building at this point, but it is beginning to bulge!!

Thanks to all for your patience while we catch up with the heavy
workload after this long holiday weekend.


How to preview iTunes music using dial-up connection

If you have a dial up modem and you want to preview a song in iTunes
before you purchase, there is a way to do this. You need to be sure to
load the complete preview before it starts to play.

1. Open iTunes and then go to the iTunes Preferences 2. Click the Store
tab at the top of the window. 3. Check the "Load complete preview
before playing" checkbox. 4. Click OK.

Try previewing the song again.


Stay Out of Computer Trouble

Here is a compilation of our technicians best recommendations to keep a
small glitch with your computer from turning into a major nightmare.

1. Back up and back up often. We all know that we should do this but
how many of us really back up on a regular and systematic basis? Just
about everyone who comes into the Small Dog showroom, with a look of
terror on their face are the folks who haven't backed up. Backing up
can be as simple as burning your most important documents, libraries
and folders to a CD or you can use a number of different software
titles to back up such as the Backup from Apple (included in a .Mac

2. Save often. (automatically if possible) The most common shrieks that
are heard around the office are when people haven't saved their data,
especially when they haven't saved in over an hour. The simple
question, "when did you save last?" can bring grown people to tears.
(This document was just saved to keep good kharma!) Don't forget you
are backing up and saving not only to protect yourself from a
mechanical failure but also to protect you from your own mistakes. How
often have you closed a file quickly without saving when you really
wanted to save?

3. Stay out of where you don't belong. Willy-nilly throwing out of
files and moving them around can cause problems that are unexpected,
especially if you are in the System Folder or Library. Technicians
often hear stories like, "I didn't recognize the file name so I trashed
it" and now I can't ..." (fill in the blank). It's always good to
remember what you did most recently before the problem occurred.

4. Don't rush into installing updates It often can work to your
advantage to wait a few days before installing updates to see if anyone
else has problems with the updates before you have crossed the point of
no return. It doesn't happen too often but there are instances where
updates were immediately updated to fix problems that the early
adopters found the hard way. That said, you should install updates as
these often correct problems, you may just want to wait a few days
before clicking the Update button.

5. Don't download too many updates at once. It's easy with automatic
checking for updates to try to update too many different things at
once. Instead, update in smaller steps, checking after each upgrade or
two that all continues to work well. This is especially true if it has
been sometime since you updated your software. Don't be tempted to
download too much.

6. Be careful when using your email address on line. Always be careful
when submitting your email address on web sites especially to web sites
that you may not know much about. This is a good time to use email
aliases that .Mac provides (or create your own).

7. Always beware of email scams. If you didn't ask for the email to be
sent to you, do not reply or ask more questions or follow links.
Obviously there's some level of self awareness that you have to have. I
receive plenty of email from customers that I didn't ask for but these
are pretty easy to tell which is legitimate.

8. Read dialog boxes before responding. How many times have you clicked
a response on a dialog box without really thinking about what you were
doing? Though most often this won't cause problems, if you forge ahead
without reading you may be directing your computer to proceed in a
direction that you don't want to go. Once you click "erase" or "don't
save", you can't go back!

9. Don't pirate software. It's tempting but it isn't legal and if you
have problems with documents that you created using software that you
didn't pay for, you really don't have any way to solve the problems. If
you are using pirated software, don't call tech support asking for

10. Stay organized Keep receipts, original software and manuals in a
place where you can find them if you need them. If you need to boot
from the Install CD and can't find your Install CD, you aren't going to
be able to get much help over the phone.


No Power from a G4 eMac by

We recently had a customer bring to us their 700Mhz eMac complaining
that it would not turn on. I asked when the problem had started and
they said that they had left for a long weekend and when they came
back, the computer would not turn on. My first thought was that there
was a power surge and that all that was needed was to reset the power
manager unit called the PMU.  This is a small button located on the
logic board of all Macintosh computers, and when corrupted from a power
surge or a sudden loss of power can cause a computer not to turn on.

With the customer waiting and the computer unplugged from AC power, I
opened the RAM access cover of the eMac and located the PMU button by
the battery and pushed it once for less than a second. I waited for
about a minute and tried booting up the computer one more time. It was
still dead. I than went back into the eMac and removed the 3.6 volt
back-up battery and tested to make sure that the battery was still
good. A battery that is very low will create the same dead issue on a
computer. I took the battery out and tested it with my voltmeter, I saw
that the battery read 3.5 volts which should be good enough to boot up
the computer.

My next thought was to a knowledge base article about eMacs with a
display problem. The original eMac had a small run of bad luck with
some of the  components failing.

Thinking this was probably the issue I had the customer drop off their
computer for us to repair. It took a day or two for us to get it on the
bench but when we did the problem of the dead eMac was a easy
discovery.  In taking off the outer plastic shell, I discovered that
the eMac's power cord was not attached. This was extremely odd.  When I
tried to to reconnect the power cable, the port was broken.

I called the customer for more info and when I spoke to them , it
appears that when they left for the long weekend, they had left their
teenage son home to house sit. When pressed, the son admitted that he
was extremely interested in computers and was taking apart their
computer to look inside just for the fun of it. ( A potential future
Small Dog employee was my immediate thought )

I was able to tell the customer not to be to hard on their  son, and
that the total repair would probably be only @ $40 to replace the power
cable and for our time to diagnose the computer. I reminded them that
an education was never a waste and that this was an inexpensive lesson
in life.  When the customer came in to pick up their repair, I made
sure that we got their contact information for their son, just in case
he needed a summer job down the road.


AppleCare Protection Plan is Don's #1 Apple Value

Don Mayer wrote in the most recent Kibbles & Bytes that he believes
AppleCare is Apple's best value.

AppleCare is an extended warranty and more. Is it a good deal? Should
you buy AppleCare with your new or refurbished Macintosh computer?

We are asked these questions all the time. Let me state from the start
that I generally have a negative impression of extended warranty plans
and get annoyed when I am buying something at a retailer and am
pressured to buy some extended service plan. I think that in most cases
they are just a waste of money.

I want to make the case, though, that AppleCare is very different and
is an excellent value that you should consider for your Mac.

There are two basic benefits of AppleCare:

Hardware Warranty

The hardware portion of the AppleCare Protection Plan extends the one-
year warranty on your new or Apple Certified Reconditioned Mac from one
year to three years. It adds two additional years of coverage. (iPod
AppleCare adds one year.)

This ensures that you will have access to genuine Apple repair parts
and qualified Apple service technicians, should your Mac require
service. You will be able to take your Mac to any Apple-authorized
service center or send your Mac to Apple directly for depot service.
Both parts and labor are covered for the three years.

Unlike many manufacturers of consumer electronics products, Apple
maintains a comprehensive network of service organizations in virtually
every corner of the USA. Just about all of the Apple resellers are also
service authorized and can repair or facilitate repair of your

Technical Support

New and Apple Certified Reconditioned Apple products come standard with
90 days of free technical support via telephone (Apple has changed iPod
tech support to a single incident in the first 90 days). AppleCare
Protection Plans extend that to three years as well (two years in the 
case of the iPod). This is the real hidden value of the AppleCare 
Protection Plan.

You get direct telephone access to Apple's own technical support group.
AppleCare representatives can help troubleshoot Apple hardware, the Mac
OS, including Mac OS X, and many Apple-branded consumer applications,
including iLife, iWork,  iPhoto, iMovie, iTunes, iDVD, Garage Band,
QuickTime, and AppleWorks.

Technical support is available seven days a week from 8:00 AM to 8:00
PM central time.

The plan is comprehensive and includes the whole system: mouse,
keyboard, AirPort Card and Base Station, and up to two Apple displays
with your Power Mac G5.

To qualify for AppleCare, you have to still be within the one-year
Apple warranty period on your new or Apple Certified Reconditioned Mac.
Kailey Roy here at Small Dog Electronics sends an AppleCare reminder
letter to each of our customers just before their warranties expire.

The Apple display is covered only if it is purchased at the same time
and same location as the Mac that you are using.

The AppleCare Protection plan is valid in both the USA and Canada.

We cannot sell AppleCare to "consumers" in Florida. There is a quirk in
Florida law that makes these plans an insurance policy or something. If
you have purchased an AppleCare Plan and registered it at an address
outside of Florida, however, you WILL be able to get service in Florida
from any Apple-authorized service provider in the state.

With the cost of the most common repairs on any Mac far in excess of
the cost of AppleCare Protection, it takes only one failure of a
component to justify the protection and peace of mind that AppleCare
Protection provides.

To make your consideration of the value of AppleCare just a little
easier, here are some specials on AppleCare Protection Plans for this

AppleCare Protection Plan for iMac and eMac - $135

To order:

AppleCare Protection Plan for iBook - $189

To order:

AppleCare Protection Plan for Power Mac G4/G5 - $189

To order:

AppleCare Protection Plan for PowerBook - $269

To order:

AppleCare  Protection Plan for iPod - $49

To order:



Here are the specials this week, valid through the July 11th or while
on hand supplies last. Be sure to use the wag URL to get this special

NEW 20-inch 1.8GHz G5 iMac w/ extra 512MB RAM & iSight - $1749

To order:


Apple Certified Reconditioned iPod 20gb - $217.50

To order:


NEW PowerBook 15in G4/1.5GHz 512/80/Superdrive/AP with SDE 512MB Flash
Drive - $2049

To order:


iBook with AirPort network and 256MB Flash Drive - $929 iBook 12in
G4/1GHz 256/40/CD/AP with Express Base Station and Small Dog 256MB
Flash Drive

To order:


Pair of PC3200 DIMM 1gb DDR 400 for Power Mac G5 - $229

To order:


Epson Powerlite S3 - $799

An affordable projector that can be the cornerstone of your home video
center, classroom, or office!

To order:


Epson Stylus CX4600 Printer/Scanner/Copier - $99

To order:


LaCie 200gb Extreme with Triple Interface - $189

To order:


Next week is the Macworld Expo in Boston which a few of us will be
heading down to meet up with some vendors and to keep an eye on the
show. It's impossible to anticipate what will happen to the show since
Apple doesn't have a booth but it is doubtful that there will be any
announcements during the show as it pertains to Apple. We'll let you
know if we see anything that's really cool!

Be sure to keep in touch and let us know if there are any topics that
you'd like to see in an upcoming Tech Tails!

Thank you for supporting this newsletter through your purchases at
Small Dog Electronics!

Art and Troy

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