Posts categorized “macs”.

Where Apple and I Differ

November 2nd, 2016

Apple’s release of the new Touch Bar MacBook Pro has made a lot of news. There’s good reason: it’s a signal to us longer-term fans of Macintosh computers that things are different now.

I don’t have a whole lot to add to the commentary that’s circulating, but what I do have is personal thoughts about my working relationships with Mac, sprinkled with a bit of sentimentality.

The Chime

You don’t buy a Mac because it does spreadsheets and websurfing better than any computer. You buy a Mac because you appreciate the design, enjoy using the operating system, and love the little personality quirks.

Like the start up chime.

The Mac start up chime doesn’t add anything to its usability or purpose. It doesn’t make your work stand out, or help Safari render websites faster. What it does do, however, is help you appreciate the computer on your desk, or on your lap. It’s the spark of personality that inspires people to name their computer. It’s a signal to say, “I’m going to work on this computer that I enjoy using.” It’s the orchestra warming up before the big performance.

The lack of the chime, while not the end of the world, is another example of the Mac losing its personality over time. And that makes me sad.

(I mean, the sound is so iconic it’s in a Pixar film!)

While surely it added nothing concrete to the Mac user experience, taking it away eliminates a bit of the spirit that was in the Macintosh all these years.

Ports and Dongles

I get it: introducing and picking a winning port has historical precedent, and maybe it’ll all end up just fine.

But Stephen Hackett’s point that a G3 PowerMac held on to legacy ports is apt – in fact, it’s why I keep my blue and white Yosemite around.

For “pros,” a diversity of ports is important: photographers’ needs are different than audio engineers’ needs are different than illustrators’ needs. Over time, it may be that USB-C takes over the world, but we don’t live in that world yet, and pros have to get work done today.

Now it seems Apple is in the dongle business more than the personal computer business.

Limiting Options

Only so much hard drive room. Only so much RAM. Only one kind of port. No upgradable hard drive.

You thought Steve Job was insistent about limiting your options on a Mac, Apple of late is taking his philosophy to another level.

Recent Macs’ lack of upgradability has been a real downer. I’ve owned my 2009 iMac for seven years now, and it’s lasted this long because I’ve kept up with upgrades – especially RAM. Memory needs change, and the fact that you can’t touch a lot of the parts of the make is depressing.

Want an upgrade? Buy a new Mac.

Not Meeting Eye to Eye

I feel like Apple is making a computer that works less and less like I do.

I’m a photographer, so the lack of an SD card slot stinks. The personality is leaving. The upgrade path is non-existent. Maybe the only saving grace is that Macs still run macOS, still the best operating system out there.

And it could be that I would be just fine owning one of the new MacBook Pros. It’s just that right now I’m in the market for a new iMac, and those options aren’t all that appealing either. If/when an iMac update comes, do I see things getting better or worse?

Worse. That’s what makes me nervous.

Quote of the Week: After the Revolution

January 27th, 2014

“I can easily imagine how foreign, odd or slightly mad all this effusion must appear to those on the outside, to people who have never quite understood this emotional tie to a pile of circuit boards, chips and glowing icons.”

- Patrick LaRoque, in a lovely set of photos and thoughts.

Happy birthday, Macintosh.

Apple’s White Period

July 9th, 2013

Apple eMac

Andrew Kim has a lovely collection of Apple’s “white period” Macs over at his blog, Minimally Minimal:

The designs of this age were so calm, warm and pure, despite the brutally honest and analytical design. I especially love the way the clear layer interacts with the opaque white inner shell.

Agreed. And while Kim includes the G5 iMac in his Mac trio, I’d throw in the lovely harbinger (along with the eMac) iMac G4.

The current aluminum lineup of Macs makes for good design as well, but “white” says “Apple” to my mind. And I’ll always favor white Apple products: the iPhone, iPods, etc.

It’s not always a practical design choice, as Kim points out. A lot of these Macs show their age because of smudges and scratches. I think it’s worth it, to have that gleaming white machine brightening up a room.

Get your (classic) Mac lingo straight

March 27th, 2013

Mac OS extension manager

What’s an extension? An extension conflict? The command key?

A fantastic little site called The Essential Mac has all these keywords listed and defined — great if you’re new to the classic Mac operating system.

It’s also a great primer for everything from Control Panels to those pesky extensions in pre-OS X Macintoshes. And since time on this site seemed to stop in 1997, you have a classic reference piece. The Essential Mac comes courtesy of the South Shore Mac Users Group in Long Island, NY.

(via System Folder)

PowerBook G3 Round-Up

December 26th, 2012

Stephen Hackett at 512pixels:

In retrospect, it’s easy to see just how important the PowerBook G3s were to Apple. The machines bridged the gap between old-school and modern Macs, and each generation included significant progress in Apple’s mobile technology.

The photos are great, as is the analysis. Having never owned a PowerBook G3, I often find it hard to get the naming system just right.

[via Thomas Brand.]

System Folder: Vintage Italian Apple brochures

October 31st, 2012

Page 2 of a 1998 Italian Apple brochure introducing the iMac G3, the PowerBook G3, Mac OS 8 and related software.

Good “vintage” stuff from Riccardo Mori over at System Folder. Love the lady’s shirt.

Medicinal eMac

August 20th, 2012

Funny what you find in a top-rated, university-backed medical research facility.

Man, those eMacs. Still plugging along.

Skeuomorphism throughout Apple’s history

July 25th, 2012

Thomas Brand at Egg Freckles gives us a history lesson in Apple skeuomorphism, all the way back to the beginning:

Before the Mac there was no skeuomorphism, because there was no graphical user interface. For almost thirty years the iconography of desktop objects have greeted users as they stare into their computer screens. The desktop metaphor has given new computer users a familiar foundation to ground their experiences upon, and expert users terminology such as “files” and “folders” we still use today.

Brushed metal, DVD players, and even the calculator – Brand shows that skeuomorphism is nothing new for Apple.

Even the Newton had its share of skeuomorphism, with the lined paper metaphor greeting us in the Notes app.

Iron Man, circa 1984

May 18th, 2012

Pretty fantastic.

[via Devour]

Mac Floppy: disk stories of yore

March 12th, 2012

Thomas Brand, he of the delightful Egg Freckles, has done it again: Mac Floppy is a tumblog of the old Macintosh disk days.

Brand covers everything from classic Mac games, to MacPaint, to Disk Swapper’s Elbow.

With Egg Freckles focused on longer-form pieces, Brand says Mac Floppy helps him get creative with shorter pieces on classic Mac software.

“A lot of people grew up staring at a Macintosh with a monochrome 9 inch screen,” he told me. “I am hoping to collect some of those memories from the Macintosh community by sharing screenshots from my early Mac software collection. If everything goes to plan we should see the comments start to fill up with recollections from other users.”

Brand is looking for guests posts, so let him know if you’re dying to write about an old-school application.