Your Mac doesn't need to be alone anymore

by Alan Zisman (c) 1994. First published in Our Computer Player, October 1994


by Ken Maki
John WIley & Sons, Publishers
ISBN 0-471-30505-7

price: ???

So you've got a Mac. It's a great machine, and you're
pretty happy using it.

But 90% of the personal computers in the world are PC
compatible, and your company wants you tied into the
comapny's network.

That's where Ken Maki's new book comes in. While Ken's a
Mac user, he's written this book for network managers
who are used to working with PCs. He assumes that they
know how to use menus and dialogue boxes, but that they'
re probably more familiar with Novell or other networks
than with the features built into the Mac.

So the book starts by looking at the basic Mac
features such as the Finder and Chooser, and how to use
the networking features built into every Mac-- features that are just now
starting to appear in PC operating systems such as
Windows for Workgroups. Even the low price Macs have
AppleTalk networking buit in, while higher end Macs--
Quadras and PowerMacs are now coming with Ethertalk.

And while AppleTalk is too slow for all but the most
basic networking, the Mac operating system now contains
features making every Mac network ready.

Unfortunately, this doesn't mean that they can be simply
integrated into a PC-oriented network. But now, most PC
network software is prepared (often with the purchase of
additional software) to recognize these Macs. Maki
continues by looking at several common Pc networks--
Lantastic, Novell Netware, Banyan Vines, and Microsoft
LAN Manager and NT. He examines the specifics of working
with each network, and points out common problems, and
what can be done about them.

Of course, you can't expect a 40 page chapter in a book
to make you into a Certified Netware Engineer, or
equivalent for other networking systems, but these
chapters gives a PC network manager a sense of what is
involved in integrating Macs into the system.

The book continues by looking at other techniques, such
as hardware and software ways to emulate a PC on a Mac.
While the book was written (just) prior to the release
of the PowerMac, with its newer, faster version of
SoftPC emulation software, his discussion of the
problems of emulation on the 680x0 generation of Macs is
still valid with the newest machines.

Finally, the book assumes that you have managed to get
your Macs and PCs to begin to cooperate. At that point,
it discusses application issues-- what software is
available that uses common file formats for both
platforms, and how to translate between file formats,
when that becomes necessary.

It has become obvious that both the Mac and PC platforms
will be with us for the foreseeable future. As well, there
is a growing desire for users of both platforms to share
data and work on common projects. This book provides a
solid beginning at helping organizations tie machines
from both platforms together in a common network.

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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan