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First iMac glitches surfacing

New Apple computer gets its own technical support site as users report problems.

Apple Computer's new iMac is getting its own site for technical support and information just as word of the first few minor glitches are surfacing.

The site will offer "how to" information on a variety of issues, as well as discussion boards for iMac customers.

It is not uncommon for new computers to have problems, and the iMac is no exception.

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Apple's gambit But more to the point, the iMac design is a departure from the traditional Macintosh in many respects and therefore is prone to some quirks. The iMac, for instance, only comes with Universal Serial Bus (USB) ports limiting the number of peripheral devices, such as printers and scanners, that can directly connect to it, though adapters are available.

Also, since the iMac was an instant hit and is selling briskly, it has correspondingly generated a number of user issues, albeit minor, right off the bat.

Some customers are talking about some minor glitches they've encountered with Epson printers and finicky modem connections. Some users who have an Epson Stylus 600 hooked up to a USB port have reported printing problems such as blank gaps and random characters on a page.

One user noted that people can avoid the problem altogether by purchasing a printer with a network connector and hook it to the iMac's built-in ethernet network port instead of the USB port. Neither Apple nor Epson were available for comment on the matter.

Another common issue concerns the 56-kbps modem included with the iMac. Users posting messages in Apple's discussion boards are reporting troubles connecting to their ISPs. In some cases, users are getting prematurely disconnected or aren't connecting above 33.6 kbps. Ironically enough, Apple only included the 56-kbps modem after a wave of concern was raised about the use of a slower 33.6-kbps modem.

An Apple spokesperson said that Apple's technical support center had not received many calls on either issue but that it was investigating the matter.

Some users are speculating that the issue lies less with the iMac's modem than in the modems used by the ISPs. Some ISPs may not be able to connect to modems that use the freshly minted v.90 standard method for communication. Even those with v.90 modems may talk differently enough from the iMac's modems to create problems because the technology is still relatively new.

Apple's site isn't the only resource available for troubleshooting an iMac. MacFixIt has a site devoted to iMac information, as do sites such as TheiMac.com. Another support site is at http://macsupport.miningco.com/blcenter.htm.