At the danger of being flamed by Apple Macintosh fans everywhere (please don’t) – I thought Macs were supposed to be simple.
To be honest, that’s one of the reasons I didn’t get on with my iMac in the late 90s – it was too big a shift for me as a long-time Windows user (even though I had used Macs at uni’ many years before), but that was with OS 8 or 9 (I can’t remember) and I guess, being UNIX based, that OS X will also give me a command prompt?
Anyway, a couple of nights back, my neighbour, who is very proud of his new purchase – an iMac G5 – dropped by to ask if I could help him get his Mac connected to the Internet. His Windows PC connects fine, using a BT Voyager 100 ADSL modem and AOL but when he called AOL, they said they don’t provide Macintosh support. We spent a few hours looking at this and the best advice I could find was to obtain the Mac drivers for the modem and some configuration information (as well as a phone number for AOL Mac support!) from the Mac User’s forum. Unfortunately the last post at the time of writing is just a few days old and is from someone who had a working connection that has just stopped and we couldn’t get it working either.
Fast forward a couple of days and my neighbour dropped by to say that he phoned AOL and they only support dial-up connections for Macintosh users. He also found the same anecdotal evidence I had found of people who have their Macs working with AOL broadband (but not consistently). Once glimmer of hope is that net4nowt and MacUser talk about AOL Services for Macintosh, which it seems was released on 6 May 2005 as AOL Service Assistant, allowing Macintosh users to access AOL services, although the net4nowt advice seems to be to use this on a routed connection (not direct via ADSL modem).
My neighbour is now off to buy a broadband router (probably the best solution for him anyway given that he has multiple computers now) – fingers crossed that gets him on line with the Mac.
The irony of all this is that he upgraded from Windows ME to XP and couldn’t get his broadband connection working – until I downloaded the BT voyager 100 drivers for Windows XP for him a couple of weeks back! Now his Windows PC works, but the Mac he bought in frustration doesn’t… just goes to show that it doesn’t matter what platform you use, there will usually be some complications in getting the various elements of a solution to pull together (and it seems that for broadband AOL on a Mac it just won’t work at all).