Miramar PC MACLAN (PC)

Miramar PC MACLAN (PC)

ratings (1 Epinions review)
Share This!
  Ask friends for feedback

PC MacLAN and DAVE - connecting Mac and Windows...

Apr 13, 2000 (Updated Aug 2, 2000)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:easy setup for 2-way networking between Mac and Windows

Cons:file name & type headache is possible

Miramar Systems "PC MacLAN for Windows" and Thursby "DAVE for Mac" or "TSStalk for Win9x/NT" are the only Win-Mac file sharing programs for home users or small companies that I know and are perhaps, the only available full-featured home cross-platform solutions in the market today (that are not too expensive). Very little effort are being done by anyone to come up with better solutions or to improve any of the programs mentioned simply because most people would just settle for Unix/Linux-based file sharing/serving solutions for better stability and performance (and least expensive too!)

Another solution is available from Apple Computers - AppleShare IP. This is an expensive commercial software (retails for $400-999), ideal for large organization or business. From http://www.macwindows.com/Network.html, 'Supports native Microsoft networking (SMB) support of Windows clients. For Mac clients, AppleShare-compatible file sharing over TCP/IP and AppleTalk. FTP capabilities, a POP3/SMTP mail server, an HTTP web server and an AppleTalk print server. Email, remote management, proxy services, Windows connectivity, and website usage analysis. The server runs on a Macintosh workstation or Apple Workgroup Server.'

If you use Windows NT Server (not Workstation), your Mac can also access your WinNT machine via TCP/IP (needs MacOS 9 or OpenDoor Networks's Shareware IP Gateway - http://www2.opendoor.com/shareway/). 'Windows NT Server comes with built-in file and print sharing support for Macintosh clients over AppleTalk.' More info and elaborate tips available at http://www.macwindows.com/tutwinnt.html.

So far, I've only used MacLAN 6-7 and DAVE 2.5 ... In general, MacLAN is used to serve Windows files and postscript printer(s) for access using MacOS Chooser (AppleTalk or TCP/IP) and to access AppleShare files/printers (served by "MacOS File Sharing") or other PC MacLAN servers and; DAVE is used to serve Mac files to be accessible from Windows computers using "Network Neighborhood" (Microsoft Network) and to access files and printer(s) being shared by "Microsoft Network" on Windows machines. Both are great, but, are still far from being perfect - I'm forced to use both concurrently for the best combined performance and integrity. Below are pros-cons/general comments on DAVE/ MacLAN that I've found after using both programs for the past four years or so.


ACCURACY
--------

- Using DAVE connection either on Mac or Win, copied files/folders will be undesirably named with ALL CAPITALS to preserve original DOS style names. Long names (longer than 31 characters - limit for MacOS), will be truncated to 8.3 DOS format with the "~" symbol. PC Maclan flags an error if you attempt to copy any item with excessive name length from Windows to Mac. It's a good idea to avoid naming Windows files/folder (ie. MP3 files) with names longer than 31 character is you plan to frequently transfer files between Mac & Windows.

- PC MacLAN will identify shared folders when mounted on MacOS, as a 2GB disk although for drives that's actually bigger than 2GB.

- Files/Folders shared by PC MacLAN, previously accessed using MacOS if necessary, should be deleted only using Mac. Deleting those files using Windows may cause problems like "file not found", "file cannot be deleted" etc.


STABILITY
---------

- MacOS tends to be less stable when running excessive concurrent applications. Crashing one program can bring the whole machine down. Running MacOS File Sharing or DAVE Sharing can crash the machine, at times. Losing access to Windows mounted servers (ie. when Windows crash) either using DAVE Client or AppleShare (to MacLAN), can also stall Macintosh. Can't wait for MacOS X... (coming this Fall 2000)

- PC MacLAN can also crash at times, but unlikely to bring the whole Windows down (although it is possible if a "blue screen" pop up, most likely when disk access error occurs). Windows is unlikely to be affected to crashed Mac except during copying or reading files between the two platforms, which can also crash Windows Explorer or the whole Windows.


RESOURCE USE
------------

- DAVE uses ~500K RAM during access-only mode or ~1.5MB Mac RAM while sharing files (you can disable file sharing using DAVE control panel). On the other hand, MacOS File Sharing uses as little as 200K RAM. If you're scarce of Mac RAM, you might want to disable DAVE file sharing through DAVE, but still use DAVE Client only to access Windows machine.

- I'm not sure how much RAM/CPU MacLAN uses while serving files on Windows, but, system resource use for accessing Mac files using "Miramar network protocol" should be very minimal.

* I prefer using DAVE to access Windows files from Mac and using MacLAN (no need to run the application, just have the "Miramar protocol") to access Mac files from Windows. This will minimize resource (RAM/CPU) use on both Mac and Windows => faster multi-tasking/operation.


INTEGRATION
-----------

- Both MacLAN and DAVE require you to specify particular folders to be shared on Windows and Mac, each accessible using separate password. Similarly, you need to specify password for each folder being shared using Microsoft Network.

- However, since MacLAN is used to access files shared by MacOS File Sharing, a "Master Password" can be used to access the whole Macintosh computer, without the need to specify permission or user access on each shared folders.

- PC MacLAN will clutter shared Windows directories with hidden "icon" and "file type" files that are necessary to preserve integrity of extension-less Mac files. Windows directories modified using DAVE Client will also be cluttered with similar files. Purging these files will make your Mac binary (programs, not documents) files stored on Windows machine unusable.

- DAVE Sharing (or MacOS File Sharing) however, doesn't create similar mess on Mac simply because Windows files depends on internal file information and extension suffices to identify file types.

- DAVE also let user send messages ("talk") between Mac and Windows.


SECURITY
--------

- Windows are more succeptible to attacks by hacker, or virus distribution. Therefore running PC MacLAN to serve Windows files might be harmful unless if your computer is protected by a firewall or not connected to the Internet. There are relatively less virus or hacking attempts on Mac.

- A "Master Password" for MacOS File Sharing should be a tough one to crack or anyone that can guess the password can gain access to the whole machine. The same applies if using "user-level access" option for DAVE or Microsoft Network File Sharing.


SUGGESTIONS
-----------

1. Run DAVE Sharing or PC MacLAN Sharing only when necessary, instead of running them as background processes. You may however keep PC MacLAN Printer Sharing at all time if desired.

2. Use DAVE Client to access Windows files for READ-ONLY access. Use Miramar protocol (via Windows Network Neighborhood) to access Mac files. For copying purposes, PC MacLAN or MacOS File Sharing (accessed using Miramar protocol) works better compared to DAVE -- perhaps, slightly faster, and preserve original file/folder names.

3. If you're accessing Mac documents from Windows frequently, a tool called "AKA for Mac" from Miramar Systems (http://www.miramarsys.com/products/aka.htm) might be useful - it adds proper suffix extension to all documents on Mac.

4. For controlling Mac/Windows/Linux computers remotely or via the Web, try VNC from ATT Lab (http://www.uk.research.att.com/vnc/).

DOWNLOADABLE DEMO SOFTWARE:
---------------------------

* DAVE 2.5 for Mac and TSStalk for Win9x/NT
- http://www.thursby.com/downloads/evaluations.htm

* PC MacLAN 7.2 for Win9x/NT/2000
- http://www.miramarsys.com/products/demos-us.htm


PURCHASE LINKS
--------------

* MacLAN - http://www.beyond.com/AF61579/search.htm?os=ANY&name_desc=MACLAN
* DAVE - http://www.beyond.com/AF61579search.htm?os=ANY&name_desc=THURSBY


ADDITIONAL READING:
-------------------

* Networking 101 - http://www.miramarsys.com/home/net101.htm

* PC to Mac Networking - http://www.homepcnetwork.com/pcmacp1ovr.htm

* Mac Meet NT - http://www.currents.net/magazine/national/1606/crem1606.html

* A site devoted to Mac-Win cross-platform networking, FAQs, Reviews etc.
- http://www.macwindows.com/

* Link Macs to PC Networks
- http://www.zdnet.com/products/stories/reviews/0,4161,408946,00.html





Recommend this product? Yes


Share this product review with your friends   
Share This!