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Troubleshooting Mac OS X 10.3.x (#19): FireWire drive firmware udpates; Calculator bug; font issue; localization bug; more

Troubleshooting Mac OS X 10.3.x (#19): FireWire drive firmware udpates; Calculator bug; font issue; localization bug; more

MacAlly releases FireWire 400 firmware update In addition to the publicly-acknowledged bug between OS X 10.3 and FireWire 800 drives using the Oxford 922 chipset with firmware version 1.0.2, we've also covered a number of reports of problems between Panther and FireWire 400 drives. Although there has been no official announcement or confirmation of such problems, it appears as though Apple and drive vendors are still testing to see if a reproducible issue can be isolated.

MacAlly has stated that their FireWire 800 drives are not affected by the "official" bug, because their drives either have shipped with Oxford firmware version 1.0.5, or do not use the Oxford chipset at all. However, MacAlly has released a firmware update for their FireWire 400/Oxford 911 drives, and have provided a statement that notes, in part:

"Neither Apple nor Oxford has indicated OXFW911 based drives are affected by data loss in Panther OS. Up to now, we have not received from users any report of data loss due to using our plastic FireWire400 enclosures(OXFW911 based), 5.25? CA-805FWH1, 3.5? CA-405FWH1 and 2.5? CA-268F2. Our extensive tests in Panther OS did not show sign of data loss or disk corruption problem. "However, we are fully aware of several reported data loss incidents involving other vendors OXFW911 based drives in Mac OS, would rather believe its existence. We recommend our plastic OXFW911 based enclosure users to back up data frequently."

Calculator bug MacFixIt reader Ernie Moye pointed out a bug with Panther's Calculator application that we've noticed for quite a while, but evidently haven't yet covered here. Basically, you can't perform an operation on a number that ends with a decimal. For example, 25 5 works but 25 5. does not. The result, regardless of whether you're adding, subtracting, multiplying, or dividing, will always be simply the number ending in a decimal (for example, 24 / 6 = 4, but 24 / 6. = 6).

Odd font issue Blake McCormick reports a strange issue with fonts in Panther when an external hard drive containing fonts is connected:

"I am running 10.3.1 on my G4 15" iMac, 768MB RAM, Maxtor 80GB Firewire HD connected. I have placed all fonts on my computer in my top level /Library/Fonts, with no fonts in my /User/Library/Fonts folder. My OS 9 System Folder only has minimal system fonts. I have disabled certain non-system fonts in Font Book and things work well as long as my Firewire HD is not connected). "On an external firewire HD, I have three partitions. One is a clone/backup of my current internal HD (I call it "10.3 Clone"). One is a clone of my previous 10.2.8 partition. The third partition is just iMovie and iDVD files. When I startup my computer without the Firewire HD attached, fonts behave as you would expect. When I startup my computer with the Firewire HD attached, the fonts available to me are greatly circumscribed and a number of fonts that Ihat I had disabled are enabled and a number of fonts that I had enabled are disabled."

Localization issues inherited from Jaguar Reader Gabriele Caniglia, who uses OS X with the main system language set to Italian, reports an issue with non-English localization that was present in Jaguar and still exists in Panther:

"Since Mac OS X v10.2 almost every system folder and application have their own localized names; so, for example, the folder 'Library' displays as 'Libreria' in Italian, 'Music' as 'Musica', 'Desktop' as 'Scrivania', 'Print Center' as 'Centro Stampa', 'Audio MIDI Setup' as 'Configurazione Audio MIDI', etc. "Here is the bug: If 'Mostra tutte le estensioni dei documenti' is checked in the Finder Preferences window (the option to always show file extensions), OS folder and application names revert to their English localization (although they are correctly localized when listed through open/save dialogs). Very annoying!"

Unmounting network shares/volumes Yesterday, in our coverage of inconsistencies when mounting remote shares and volumes, we suggested a few methods for unmounting (disconnecting from) those shares. Reader Leitha Long suggested another method we didn't mention: using the Finder's "Customize Toolbar" command, you can add the Eject item to Finder toolbars. You can then select a volume, even one accessed through the Network icon that doesn't show up in the sidebar, by simply selecting it and clicking the Eject item.

Entourage compression options missing? We've received a few reports from Entourage users that since upgrading to Panther they can no longer compress attachments from within Entourage because Entourage can't find the StuffIt engine.

SanDisk SDDR-55 incompatible Jim Phelps, who has been unable to get his SanDisk SDDR-55 media reader to function properly under Panther, received an email from SanDisk Technical Support informing him that he's out of luck:

"Unfortunately, the SDDR-55 was discontinued before the OS 10.3 operating system was introduced. Therefore, Sandisk will not be producing any drivers for that reader on the OS 10.3 platform. We do have newer readers that are supported, and you can review them at"

EverQuest Yesterday we covered a report from a MacFixIt reader who received the game EverQuest for renewing his .Mac membership, but found that it didn't work under Panther. We've received a few responses from other .Mac members who also received EverQuest. Some have had no problems at all, although others have reported that although EverQuest does work under Panther, it has a few issues. One reader referred us to the official forums, where there is at least one thread discussing Panther compatibility, and to the unofficial forums.

Panther problems? Drop us an email at

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