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graphite ABS can be used


I found on the net a way around the problem that a first
generation graphite airport basestation is not compatible with a
third generation extreme ABS. The article is called Extending AirPort’s range with multiple base
stations
and addresses precisely my problem (a problem that others
still think is not there judging from the replies to the article). I
checked it out and it works. So, here is the setup that I will use this
summer to get some iBooks in the garden connecting happily to the
internet at the expense of an in-house extra computer running… The
extreme ABS (woonkamer) is configured to run our usual in-house
network. The graphite ABS (terras) will be connected via a
crossed-ethernet cable to an iMac in the dinner room near the garden
window (this iMac is still well within the range of the
woonkamer-network). Here are the System-preferences for the iMac :


Network : Airport : TCP/IP configure using
DHCP ; all others empty
Network : Build-in Ethernet : TCP/IP
configure using DHCP ; all others empty
Sharing : Internet :
Click ‘Start’ for sharing your Airport connection

Here are the configuration parameters of the terras-ABS
:

Internet tab
Connect using:
Ethernet
Configure: Using DHCP
IP address: leave
empty
Subnet mask: leave empty
Router address: leave
empty
DNS servers: leave empty
Domain name: leave
empty
DHCP client ID: leave empty

Network tab
Distribute IP address: CHECKED
Share a single IP address (using DHCP and NAT): CHECKED
DHCP lease: 60 min (default)
Enable AirPort to Ethernet
bridging: CHECKED
all others: leave empty / unchecked

Now any iBook in the garden connecting via Airport to
the terras-network will be able to get on the net.

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the best LaTeX system

If you are
a mathematician, you’d better have a functioning TeX on your computer
which I do not have at the moment as I completely erased my HD yesterday
and started brand new. Some time ago this would make me slightly nervous
but as I did install TeX on a number of computers recently I hope to get
it up and running in no time. However, as the install process changes
slighly each time I’ll log here my actions for future reference.
Further this log may convince you to buy a Macintosh because I really do
not know of a better TeX system around.

A good source
for TeX material is the PennState Mac-TeX page. The
first thing to do is to get a good editor such as the freeware BBedit
Lite
but the present link directs to the commercial version so has this
Lite version been taken off the net? Fortunately not, a quick
Google tells me that BareBones still maintain a BBedit Lite page from which you can get the 6.1.2
version (it contains a version for OS X and one running under System 9),
so copy the BBedit Folder to the ApplicationFolder and the OSX program
to the Dock.

Next, we will need a spelling checker
like Excalibur which you can find under the
Tools/Utilities of the PennState-site. So download from the links
: Excalibur 4.0 (782k), the Mathematical Lexicon (29k) and the Dutch
dictionary (791k), put these two Folders (or any other Dictionaries you
like to download) in the ExcaliburFolder and copy this to the
ApplicationsFolder and Excalibur itself to the Dock. These matters
settled, it is now time for the big gun : TeX itself.

You can get there from the Engines subsection of the
PennSate site but it’s better to go directly to the excellent TeX on Mac OS X page and follow the instructions (which as I mentioned before tend
to change slightly). I used to get the iInstaller first and
install then the required packages but this time I’ll go for the quick
and dirty route : I’ll get myself the TeX-fat.dmg disk image
(77Mb) which contains TeX and Ghostscript 8 and the i-Installer!
What you obtain is a Volume with the i-Installer, a i-Packages
Folder, some files to read and the TeX-fat.iid. Take the
i-Installer to the Applications/Utilities Folder and to the Dock.
Drag the TeX-fat.iid file on the mounted volume on the i-Installer
application icon. You will be presented with an i-Directory with two
packages on the volume. Install all of them. It is best to install
ghostscript after you have installed TeX as it may contain configuration
material that can take advantage of TeX. I got a warning message but
choose to ignore it, seems to install as expected. Along the way you are
asked a few simple questions (such as paper size, formats you want to
have etc.) when in doubt go for the default! Okay : Task finished! But I
still have to install the ghostscript 8 package but this goes a lot
faster. So we should now have a working TeX installation but are still
missing a front-end. These you can download fllowing the links at
the beginning of the TeX on Mac OS X page. I usually go for TeXShop which is a 3.1Mb disk-image download. Drag
TeXShop into the ApplicationsFolder and the Dock. Find the file named
“pdfsync.sty” in the distribution directory. Drag a copy of this file
to ~/Library/texmf/tex/latex. Here ~/Library is the Library folder in
your home directory. You may need to create the folders texmf, tex, and
latex if they do not already exist. Alternatively, you can gp for iTeXMac (I never figured out what went wrong
between these two developers, but surely it was something
big).

At a later stage I am sure I want to add
new style files from CTAN. So here is the drill : copy them in the
diectory

/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf.local/tex/latex/…

and do a texhash from the command line (as root).
I noticed that lately one do no longer need to adjust parameters to get
a heavy xy-pic file being compiled but if one does not to change any of
the values : be root and go to

/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf/web2c/texmf.cnf

increase values and do a texhash. Finally, if you want to
print chess or go-diagrams or other fancy pictures requiring
metafont files here is the drill : be root and copy the .mf files
in an apropriate directory under

/usr/local/teTeX/share/texmf/fonts/source/public/

(if necessary change the owner of the directory) and
then do a texhash.

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the fink project

The Fink project
ports open source Unix applications to Mac OS X which you can download
either in binary format or with the full source to compile them locally
on your computer. As I made a clear start with my iMac yesterday and as
I am likely to need quite a few open source packages, I’ll reinstall
fink and log my actions here for future reference. First we need the Fink 0.6.2 binary installer which we unpack in the usual way (at the end
of which a Terminal window pops up to ask you whether it’s good create
a .profile, just say Yes). After this the install process goes
ahead for a while (processing Fink and optimizing the HD and system
performance) and we are done!

Usually one controls
Fink via the command line : sudo fink install package-name will
install the package and if you want to remove it at a later stage just
type sudo fink remove package-name. One can also browse through a
list of packages via sudo dselect but as I skrewed up earlier I
am now going for a graphical user-interface approach called FinkCommander.

I choose for the binary disk image download which
presents no problem and copy the resulting FinkCommander both to
my Application Folder and to my Dock. More help on the
FinkCommander is available here
and there is also a Fink
documentation
page which should contain all the info I need when
I’m going to install some packages (soon).

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what to do with those mac classics?

We
have two old Macintosh Classics in perfect condition : one is the
first Mac-computer I bought back then and the other is one i adopted
when the mathematics department moved from UIA to our present place and
the secretary wanted to throw it away. But what can we do with them???
Well there seems to be a lot of potential : for instance you can turn
them into a linux-box of sorts, or you can get them to access the internet, some even claim they can be
turned into a webserver. And I think I once saw a page telling
how one could run OS X on a MacClassic (in fact really using it as an
external terminal to a working iMac) but I can\’t find the URL right
now. To me all this seems to be a bit pathetic, why use these nice
little boxes for something they can hardly handle and for which we do
have better equipmet around? So, what shall we do with those two
boxes?

Why not just do the things we used to do with
them back then : playing games (who did not play lemmings on a Classic?
or gnuChess), HyperCard applications, I even wrote a fair number of
TeX-files on a Classic. But as they have a harddisk of only 80Mb we have
to make choices, or dont we? Well, not really as I still have an old
SCSI 2Gig harddrive laying around (at the time 2 gigabytes seemed to be
an enormous amount of space and admit it, compared to 80Mb it is
enormous). So here is the plan : connect these two Classics via a
SCSI-cable to the externed 2 GB harddisk and load the disk with all
interesting stuff one can still find for 68k Macs.

Luckily there is a marvelous place for all these programs on the
web : the UMICH Archive! I will download whatever I find
interesting via normal means (that is an ordinary iMac) and dump it onto
the external HD so we can use the two Classic-boxes mainly to play games
(and there is a huge number of them on the archive). If you have better
uses for them, please let me know…

Some interesting URLs for low-end Macs :
– The
pure-mac Olden section
– Jag\’s house where older macs still
rock

– The Kids domain Black and White Mac Shareware page
and
all links contained in them.

(Added january 6th) I
found the URL for turning a MacClassic into an extra terminal Controlling Mac OS X With A Mac Plus (or other Classic
Mac)

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iHome – a long way to go

Our
situation at home is not that atypical : 2 adults and 2 children, each
having their own (Mac) computer but living in a relatively old house
(end ’50ties) with all electricity recently redone but without any
ethernet-cables. Fortunately for Macintosh users there is for years the
wireless Airport network and that is how we can connect to the net all
at the same time : a first generation Airport basestation
(graphite) connected via a router to the cablemodem together with
Airport cards in most computers. But surely we should be able to get
more out of this network than that, (or can’t we?) and that will be one
of my main projects this year, to see just how far one can stretch it
with minimal investments and using OS 10.3 (Panther) and open
source software.

Surely, a major reason for our poor
use of possibilities is ignorance. Up till recently this was the way one
would go about to get a file printed (we only have one USB-printer
connected to the eMac in the living room) : take a Sony-memory stick
(called the lipstick here) and get the file on it, go to the
living room, start-up the eMac, tansfer the file via the stick to your
homedirectory and print it… Only recently I found the obvious bypass
to select ‘printer-sharing’ (in System Preferences/Sharing) on
the eMac so that one can print directly from any computer provided the
eMac and the printer are both turned on.

Can one do better? Yes, one can provided one is willing to buy a
new Airport Extreme basestation which has a USB-port. Connecting
the USB-printer directly to the basestation, the printer becomes a
network-printer of sorts. As the eMac and a recent G4iBook needed
already an Airport extreme-card I bought a new station hoping to recycle
the old graphite-basestation as a wireless bridge which can be used to
extend the range of the basestation (again in the living room) so that
the full garden gets covered (which may come in handy this summer) and
Apple-documentation certainly gave the impression that this might be
possible. However, Airport-extreme stations (third generation) and
graphite Airport stations (first generation) seem not to be that
compatible. In fact, it is impossible to connect them either wireless
(which should be the only choice given our house) or via roaming.
So whereas I upgraded the network substantially (at least in principle
for as long as there are still (normal)Airport-card computers using it
one cannot make use of the increased dataspeed nor of the increased
security) at the cost of a perfectly working basestation for which I
have no immediate use (maybe I found a way out but I’ll check it out
first).

So, there is a lot of work to be done this
year and much to my surprise there doesnt seem to be a good book about
this type of problem (so what do other people do with their networks
???) so maybe there is a point in blogging my (slow) progress
here.

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