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MacFixIt Answers

MacFixIt Answers is a feature where we answer questions e-mailed to us by readers. This week, we have questions on high magic mouse zoom sensitivity, black displays when waking a Macbook from sleep, and adding additional audio output ports to a Mac.

MacFixIt Answers is a feature where we answer questions e-mailed to us by readers. This week, we have questions troubleshooting flash that is not working on a single account, a PowerMac G5 starting up on its own during the night, and a feedback suggestion for managing playlists in iTunes.

Question: High magic mouse zoom sensitivity

MacFixIt reader "Little Tom" asks:

I use a Magic Mouse with my MacBook Pro (late 2009, OS X 10.6.3) and am very annoyed by the constant extreme zooming caused by the mouse. The least touch causes maps in google and yahoo to zoom wildly in or out, making it almost impossible to use the maps without resorting to the (awkward for clumsy people) pad. Any suggestions?


This is a problem with the driver settings, and unfortunately Apple's drivers do not allow for much customization. You can try another driver such as jitouch, "A better touch tool", steermouse, or MagicPrefs which are built to highly customize both gestures as well as the sensitivity among other features of the new Magic mice. In some of the drivers you can create profiles for specific applications, so sensitivity can be customized on a per-application basis to correct these problems. Keep in mind that while these drivers are built to take the most advantage of the Magic Mouse features, there may be some incompatibilities; however, they can be easily removed if a problem occurs.

Question: black display when waking a Macbook from sleep

MacFixIt reader "Bruce" asks:

I have a MacBook Pro 13" running 10.6.3. I bought it about 2 months ago.

About once a week, I open the lid, and it won't awake from sleep, no matter what buttons I push. This problem seems to occur when the machine was plugged in and asleep, I unplugged it, moved it, and plugged it in again.

I discovered an easy solution: all I have to do is unplug the power cord, then plug it back in. The screen comes to life either with the removing of the plug, or putting it back in.

So far, regardless of what the situation was BEFORE the problem, the act of unplugging and replugging has solved it every time now!


This sounds very much like a faulty system management controller, so in addition to unplugging the power you might try resetting the SMC. On more modern MacBooks that do not have an easily serviceable battery you can do this with the following procedure:

  1. Shut down and plug in the computer
  2. Press and hold the shift-command-option keys on the LEFT side
  3. Press and hold the power button for 5-10 seconds in addition to the other keys
  4. Release the keys and press the power once to turn on the system

For MacBooks with removable batteries you will just need to disconnect the battery and power, then press and hold the power button for 5-10 seconds. This procedure should clear firmware settings for the SMC that could be contributing to the problem and causing it in the future.

Question: Adding additional audio output ports

MacFixIt reader "Jonathan" asks:

I have a question concerning audio output from my iMac. I use an external speaker that has only a mini plug RCA input connector. I now have this external speaker hooked up using the microphone output jack on the rear of my i Mac.

What I would prefer to do is to hook up audio output using a USB port. Is there a connector cord with a USB connector on one end and a miniplug RCA type plug on the other end? If so would this hookup work? Would this improve the sound quality?


What you are looking for is an external audio interface, and there are many of them. Musicians use them to add additional audio inputs to their systems. Try looking at M-Audio for some options, though M-Audio is more geared for musicians and is a bit pricy. You can also just do a Web search for "USB Audio Interface" to see what pops up. Here are some options that will work:

Beringer U-Control UCA202

Griffin iMic USB Audio Interface

As far as quality goes, these are all built to transfer audio signals at better than CD-quality, so you should not see quality issues. The main problems might be with latency in how the products interface with drivers and other software, but even that should be a relatively minimal occurrence.

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