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Troubleshooting Mac OS X 10.3.2: PowerBook fans; slow startup; ATI drivers; printing

Troubleshooting Mac OS X 10.3.2: PowerBook fans; slow startup; ATI drivers; printing

PowerBook G4 12" (867MHz) fan speeds Over the past few days we've covered an issue where users of the PowerBook G4 12" (867Hz) have found that installing the 10.3.2 Update causes the PowerBook's fan to come on much more frequently. Speculation around the Web is that this was an intentional change made due to heat issues with this particular PowerBook model. (As we mentioned on Monday, we had previously covered heat-related issues with this model, so such concerns have been around for quite a while.)

That being said, some users are not happy with the increased fan noise, despite the lowered operating temperatures, and would rather risk the heat to have a quieter computer. The third-party utility Silent Night replaces the two updated kernel extensions responsible for the newer fan behavior with previous versions, in effect reverting the fans on these PowerBooks to their OS X 10.3.1 behavior. Reports indicate that the utility does indeed reduce fan noise.

Note that we do not necessarily endorse, nor recommend, this utility or the changes it implements. It is not clear if Apple implemented these changes in fan behavior because of user feedback that the PowerBook G4 12" (867MHz) was too hot, or if they determined that it was operating too hot for the long-term health of the computer. Using this utility means that your PowerBook will be operating at a higher temperature. Use it at your own risk.

Slow startup times We've received a number of reports of slow startup times after installing the 10.3.2 Update. MacFixIt reader Paul MacLeod reports that opening the Directory Access application and disabling Rendezvous cured his startup problems. Note that disabling Rendezvous in Directory Access may also disable the use of Rendezvous for many useful services and applications, so this isn't an ideal "fix." However, if you're experiencing slow startups since installing the 10.3.2 Update, it's worth trying -- at least temporarily -- just to see if it helps. We would appreciate hearing from readers who have tried this fix. If it works, at the very least it would help us identify a possible cause of these issues.

We've also received a report from reader Chris Wright, who noticed that his system.log file contains the following entry, over and over, at approximately the same time that startup stalls:

    localhost /usr/sbin/AppleFileServer: Error with bootstrap_look_up on server port after 10 tries: APIFramework/CClientEndPoint.cpp at: 247: Msg (1102) = unknown error code

According to Chris, the message above also occasionally occurs for the httpd and loginwindow processes.

ATI driver issues? On Friday we covered a few reports of problems using DVD Player after installing the update; these issues seemed to be isolated to Macs/PowerBooks/iBooks with ATI video cards, and were fixed by deleting the ATI Monitor.plist and ATIMonitor.plist files in the current user's Preferences folder.

We've since received reports of video problems on PowerBook 17" (1.33GHz) models (which use ATI video cards). Reader Alan Cook writes, "After updating to 10.3.2 yesterday, the 2 PB17s we have that are 1.33 are noticeably jumpy and glitchy when trying to play graphic intensive games." Alan also notes that their older PowerBook 17" models, which use NVidia video cards, have not had this problem, leading to speculation that the issue only affects ATI video cards. We've asked Alan to delete the files implicated in the DVD Player problem covered on Friday to see if this helps.

Audio issues with the Power Mac G5 On Monday we covered reader reports that since installing the 10.3.2 Update on their Power Mac G5 computers, they can no longer mute audio being sent to the optical audio output jack (either by pressing the mute key on the keyboard, or by checking the mute box in Sound preferences). At the time we had only received such reports from users with Logitech speaker systems. We've since received reports of the same issue by users with other brands of speaker systems that proved optical inputs. This points to an OS issue rather than a third-party speaker issue.

That being said, we do wonder if this is not actually a "bug," but in fact a "fix." Traditionally, optical audio outputs aren't affected by volume controls or muting on the source component (in this case, the G5); rather, the device receiving the optical output generally controls volume, etc.

Lending support to this theory (that this is a fix) are reports that a problem we previously covered -- where the optical output was not sending a steady stream of data, and so had to be "resynced" every time a sound was played, resulting in short sounds not being heard -- has been fixed by the 10.3.2 Update. So Apple clearly spent some time "fixing" optical audio output issues. Perhaps the inability to mute the optical audio output is considered a fix to make the G5's optical out consistent with most other optical audio outputs.

USB-parallel adapter issues We've been covering an issue reported by a number of readers where the 10.3.2 update appears to "break" USB-to-parallel adapters, which many people use to print to printers with parallel ports. Reader Matt Ruben, who has been using an HP LaserJet IIIp via such an adapter, has found that since installing 10.3.2, his printer will only print one job and then "hang" on that job, preventing subsequent jobs from printing. However, he found that simply unplugging the USB cable and then plugging it back in again allows

A different approach to solving this problem with USB-to-parallel adapters was recommended by a number of different MacFixIt readers: an Ethernet/network print server. These have become relatively inexpensive over the past few years, and they allow you to place a printer with a parallel port on your local network so that all computers can print to them directly over the network.

Xerox Phaser 3450 issue MacFixIt reader Russ Tolman reports that Xerox tech support verified an issue between 10.3.2 and the Xerox Phaser 3450 (via USB) where documents print fine, but the printer and the Mac never communicate that the print job has completed. If you look at the print queue for the printer, OS X thinks that the document is still printing, and subsequent print jobs never get to print. You need to delete each print job from the queue, manually, before the next print job can start. This appears to be the same issue described in the previous item with Matt Ruben's HP LaserJet IIIp; Russ confirmed that unplugging the printer and then plugging it back in again also works for him as a temporary workaround.

HP printer no longer visible Reader Robin Willcourt reports that an HP 2500n printer, connected via Ethernet, is no longer visible to any computer running OS X 10.3.2: "HP acknowledges this problem and says Apple 'broke' it." (Interestingly, the HP tech support representative Robin spoke with stated that the problem was "fixed in 10.3.3.") According to posts in Apple's Discussions forums, a workaround (for now) is to connect the 2500n via USB instead.

Problems with, or solutions for, the 10.3.2 Update? Drop us an email at

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