Posts tagged “lowend”.

How to fight feature creep

December 1st, 2010

Allen Salkin at the New York Times:

Newest is not always best. For Andre Ribuoli, the director of Pamplemousse Press, a fine-art printing studio in Chelsea, there was never a better inkjet printer than the Iris 3047. Capable of rendering perfect full-color images on sandpaper, fabric or anything else that can bend, the lifeboat-size machine was made in the early 1990s by an Israeli company that is now defunct.

“If I have to be the last man in the world running a 3047,” Mr. Ribuoli said, hands on his hips and gazing lovingly at the beige and black machines one recent afternoon, “I will be the last man running a 3047.”

Isn’t that true with all of us who appreciate the finer, older things in life?

Reviving an iMac G4 for every day work

November 23rd, 2010

simple_imac

Dave Caolog on breaking out his 20″ iMac G4 (my dream machine):

As my MacBook Pro slowly dies, I’ve called my old G4 iMac back into service. Years ago, that machine was wiped clean and given an install of Mac OS X 10.5 before being boxed in the basement. On Friday I will wrap up one week of using it as my primary work machine. In that time I’ve found that it’s slow, beautiful and perfect. Here’s why.

Caolog notes that things run a tad slower on the iMac, but “waiting a half of a second isn’t the end of the world.”

Even better? “This is the most beautiful computer Apple has made,” he says.

Not only do I agree, but after using a 15″ iMac (and at a paltry 800 MHz) for an entire year as my main workstation, it more than served its purpose. Caolog kept his needs simple: TextEdit, Preview, and a few other apps. That’s it.

When your needs are simple, a simple (and gorgeous) Mac is all you need.

[Via Shawn Blanc.]

Apple portable roundup

September 7th, 2010

Mike Grimm, darn near a neighbor to me over in Fowlerville, Mich., shared a collection of his own Apple portables – including an Newton eMate 300, several varieties of iBooks, and a PowerBook 190 (“Ready for PowerPac Upgrade“).

“Eventually there may be some of the vintage desktops, and maybe a couple of PDA shots,” Mike said over e-mail.

I don’t see the neon eMate styluses very often, but Mike shares a bright orange one in his eMate shots.

Seven days of System 7

May 6th, 2010

Seven Day of System 7

Low end Mac users are masochists. There’s no easy way to take a classic Macintosh and do modern, enjoyable work without some pain or effort involved. Everything is a project.

Now, for most of us that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s why we work with classic Macs. Either that, or we know low end Macs so well that using anything prior to OS X comes as second nature. Also, it’s a hobby.

With this in mind, and as I shared on The hello Show this week, I’m undertaking a bit of an experiment: spending an entire week with nothing but my low end Macs. Specifically, I’ll be using:

…as my main computing machines.

I’m leaving my new 21.5″ iMac switched off, using my iPhone 3G for phone calls only, and relying only on Apple products that were released in the 1990s.

I’ll call it Seven Days of System 7.

That’s not totally accurate. I’ll also be using OS 8 (on the PowerMac) and OS 9 (on the iMac). For portability, contact management, and calendar duties, I’ll use my Newton MessagePad 110 and eMate. And I might pull out my iBook G3 and boot into OS 9 for some portable Macintosh.

The experiment, inspired by Morgan Aldridge’s and Riccardo Mori’s experiences, will be me attempting to get by – or even be productive – on non-Mac OS X machines. This includes any writing, web browsing, scheduling, graphic design, and web development. For the week, I’m setting up a special page here at Newton Poetry that will be a sort of proto-blog – where I can post updates through the week. The entire thing will be made on my PowerMac G3 sporting Adobe’s classic HTML editor, PageMill.

Right now, I’m collecting other applications that I might need through the week, including:

  • Claris Organizer for my to-dos, contact management, and calendar, synced to my Newton
  • Corel Graphics 8 for design work
  • PhotoShop LE for image manipulation
  • Panic’s Audion and iTunes 2 for music
  • AppleWorks 6 for spreadsheets or heavy-duty word processing
  • BBEdit Lite for text editing
  • The latest build of Classilla
  • Adobe PageMill for web stuff
  • Panic’s free version of Transmit for FTP’ing
  • A bunch of games for recreation, including SimCity 2000, WarCraft II, and (for the first time) Marathon

Because it’s only a week-long experiment, I won’t need much more than that. I’m not going to do any heavy graphic design lifting, or attempt to do a whole lot. It’ll simply be a week to see how easy it is to be productive and live day-to-day on low end Macs.

There are a bunch of sources I have to credit for the help, including my podcasting pal David Kendal (for the links to Panic’s free offerings), System 7 Today for some game ideas, UNNA for Claris Organizer, and eBay for PageMill and WarCraft II.

The experiment will take place in the next week or two. In the meantime, if you have any ideas or software to try out, let me know.

Most of all, wish me luck.

Tackling the RetroChallenge with an eMate

January 4th, 2010

A few weeks ago, Morgan Aldridge wondered if going absolutely retro, with nothing but a Newton eMate 300 and an old Apple StyleWriter, would be possible.

Now, he’s testing himself – and the RetroChallenge – at his word:

The challenge is very open-ended, so I was content with setting a reasonable goal of repairing & updating an eMate 300 as a clean & simple environment for focused writing. It needs the hinge repaired, battery recelled, 2010 patch applied, and a few other issues addressed, so there’ll be more involved than merely clearing away desk detritus. If I manage all that with time to spare, then I’ll venture to craft a working modem script which allows me to get online with AT&T EDGE/GPRS via Bluetooth, but I’m not counting on it.

It’s a heckuva challenge, to use a mid-’90s-era Newton to manage your daily tasks and projects.

Aldridge is trying to use the simplified desk space to organize his life. What could be simpler than a monochrome proto-netbook? He says that being a Newton power user doesn’t make the RetroChallenge that challenging, but he gets two benefits: accomplishing a goal, and completing a contest.

“With less than an hour to go before the start of the challenge in my time zone, I’m very much looking forward to a clean, minimal, and usable Newton desk at the end of the month,” Aldridge says.

Can’t wait to see how it goes, and his results at the end of January.

Mac-o-Lantern

October 30th, 2009

Mac-O-Lantern time. on Twitpic

Happy Halloween, everyone.

Via badbanana.

Mac Plus for design work

September 29th, 2009

Mac Plus

“If you look at the some of the work done in the early to mid-eighties you can see the limitation. We finally got a 512k machine, the Mac Plus, which is how Design Quarterly was done. We used MacVision, which was a little beige box that hooked up to a video camera and ported right into the Mac. You could scan over an image and it was tiled out. We kept moving the camera, scanning and repeating.”

- April Greiman, designer, in an interview on idsgn.org.

Perhaps the quality wasn’t all there, but Greiman’s interview shows that even the lowest end of the low end Macs were capable of design work. Great two-part interview.

Newton quote of the week – beating the ‘Mac tax’

May 26th, 2009

“You can buy a Mac desktop for between $100 and $350 or a nice laptop for between $500 and $999. It all depends on what you are willing to give up in order to save a few dollars.”

- Frank Fox at Low End Mac, on buying used Macs instead of new. I’m all for making good use of used Macs. I’m typing this on an iMac G4 that I got off eBay for a great deal. Sometimes “good enough” really is good enough.

Keeping productive with vintage Macs

March 30th, 2009

Riccardo Mori over at System Folder:

When your main system is capable of keeping multiple applications open, it’s easy to be distracted by incoming emails and updated RSS feeds. Not to mention the temptation to search the Web by following the spur of the moment — when that happens, the best case scenario is that I find myself two hours later digesting a lot of information I found following link after link, yet without doing anything really productive.

His solution? Write on a Mac Color Classic, or a Newton eMate 300 when away from home, to cut down on distractions.

“No browsers, no emails, no distractions: just me, my ideas, and the word processor,” Mori says.

It’s a brilliant (and, in a recession, cost-effective) solution to a problem a lot of us face every day. Why be productive when there’s another blog post to read? I’m working on my own, similar setup with my eMate 300.

Nice to see that Mori is getting something done on perfectly capable hardware.

Film director still uses ‘obsolete’ iBook G4

November 29th, 2008

Film director Jonas Cuaron still uses an iBook G4 as his main computer, and is fine with it.

Amen, brother. My iBook is still my “main” Mac, even if the iMac G4 gets more day-to-day use.

What’s your “everyday” Mac?

[Courtesy of The Guardian.]