Posts tagged “macintosh”.

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)

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.

‘Something Old’ by John Carey

March 9th, 2012

Something Old by John Carey

This lovely image comes courtesy of John Carey over at fiftyfootshadows. Carey shares desktop images available for download — and boy, is this one gorgeous for all kinds of reasons. Says John:

I came across an opportunity to take this old Mac out back and shoot it recently. We were cleaning out old storage space and came across our Mac graveyard of sorts. Also In there was a Cube and moving head iMac. Good stuff.

Good stuff, indeed. Download the full version at the blog. You can see more of Carey’s work at his Flickr gallery.

And extra points if you can guess the Macintosh model.

Matt’s Macintosh: 1984

February 27th, 2012

Matt over at Matt’s Macintosh has a lovely office setup.

[via Stephen Hackett.]

All In

October 6th, 2011

I learned to type on a Macintosh. A Color Classic, I believe, because of what I remember from the size, shape, and color-ness of it. That was seventh grade.

From there, I didn’t touch a Macintosh until college, where our newspaper office held a room full of PowerMac G4s. We did our design on Quark, and then on Indesign. I remember coming into that dark office, with all those sleep lights pulsating, and feeling the power of those machines.

Apple was always just on the periphery of my attention back then. I remember being a resident assistant in one of the dorms, walking into a student’s room and seeing a candy-colored iMac G3 sitting on her desk. “What a cool computer,” I thought – me being a computer guy. When the iMac G4 was released, I thought that was even cooler. Back in our newspaper office, I remember Jeremy talking about buying his iBook G3, and how he was wary of buying the “new operating system” and opting for OS 9 instead.

It wasn’t until after college, in 2005, when I thought about buying my very own computer, my first, and I considered the iBook G4. After a lot of research, and a few conversations with friends, I bought into the Apple way of life with that iBook.

And I’ve never looked back.

I went all-in on the Apple lifestyle. The iBook arrived in November, and that January I bought my iPod. It’s still working, and is still my main iPod, five years later. From there I picked up the beginnings of my classic Mac collection, my Newton, and then my iPhone. Each experience was exciting, exploratory, and a lot of damn fun.

Now, six years later, Apple is a part of my everyday life. Not just my working or productive life, with the Mac and the iPhone and all my iPods, but in my mental space as well. I check Macsurfer religiously, every day, at 10 a.m. I read Daring Fireball and listen to MacBreak Weekly. David and I do a podcast where we talk about this stuff. Apple is my hobby. I’ve never been sorry about that.

I still have that iBook G4. It serves as my living room jukebox. It still runs OS X 10.4 like a dream. And every time I start fiddling with it, I remember what it was like, back in those first few months of using the Mac, to have my life changed by a computer. To have so much fun on a computer. To enjoy – really enjoy – using a computer.

Like most Apple fans, I’m extremely biased when it comes to computers. When people ask me what computer to buy, they know what I’m going to say. When they ask which phone to get, well – they should know better than to ask. And as far as spreading the Apple virus, I’m pretty contagious. I have several friends who have gone all-in for Apple, too, thanks to my suggestions.

It’s like that with this stuff. It grabs hold of you and makes you wonder why you ever used anything else.

And not just that, but there’s this rich story behind Apple: couple of guys build a computer, then build one of the best-selling computers of all time, then the company goes on to make computers as we know them with the Macintosh. Founder leaves. Company flounders. Founder returns with a rocket to the moon, invents several more industries, and dies as his company becomes the largest on Earth.

If the products weren’t enough, it’s the story that gets me every time. These are the guys we’re supposed to root for.

So today my thoughts are with all those who lived and worked with Steve Jobs. I feel for his family. I feel for everyone who walks down a hallway at One Infinite Loop. And I feel for Apple, because now I really wonder what happens when the guy you paid $1 a year to say “no” a bunch of times goes away.

Thanks Steve.

Think Different

August 24th, 2011

The New York Times:

Mr. Jobs founded Apple in 1976 with Steve Wozniak, and built the company’s reputation with the Apple II and Macintosh computers. He left Apple in 1985 after a conflict with John Sculley, then the chief executive. The following year, with a small group of Apple employees, he founded NeXt Computer, which ultimately focused on the corporate computing market, without notable success. In 1986, he bought the computer graphics division of Lucasfilm and re-established it as the independent animation studio Pixar.

A decade later he sold the NeXt operating system to Apple and returned to the company. In short order he was again at the helm and set out to modernize the company’s computers.

And so ends a helluva run.

Lots will be said about Steve Jobs resignation, but it’s the above story that always moved me about Apple. Here was a company that kicked out its founder, struggled, brought him back, and went on to achieve greater things. If that’s not a archetype of a story, I don’t know what is.

Navigating the filesystem

January 28th, 2011

Thomas Brand over at Egg Freckles:

Yesterday’s Mac trained users on how to navigate the filesystem, while modern operating system like Mac OS X discourage its use. The gap between the abstraction of user space, and system space is widening. As computers become more like appliances the underlying operating system is becoming harder to access.

The question – is this a good thing or not? – can largely be answered depending on what type of person you are.

Geeks have been talking about Apple products as appliances since the beginning. To Apple, it’s part of their philosophy: computers for the rest of us, whereby “rest of us” means “those of us who aren’t willing to dive into the nitty gritty.”

I feel Brand’s apprehension about operating systems, with the iOS devices and with the new version of OS X, moving away from the ability to navigate the file system. I’m a folder-and-text-file kind of guy, too. When I got my first OS 9 Mac, it was a joy to dig into the System Folder and poke around at what was in there. This is probably why people ask me to help them work out software and hardware problems at work and at home. My brain is comfortable in a file system environment.

But golly, I’m surely in the minority. And so is Brand. We navigate the file system because it brings us the joy of discovery. For most people, they recoil in horror.

“Where did that file go?”

Brand says OS X provides too many options to find that file:

On Mac OS X Apple has hidden the Hard Drive icon and replaced it with a pre established list of shortcuts that offers speed of access at the price of user confusion. Should I go to the Dock, or the Finder’s sidebar to launch my application or open my file? How about a Spotlight search? With so many possibilities it is no wonder Mac OS X users are often confused about where their files are located.

But maybe the problem is that, either way, you’re forcing them to think about a certain file in a certain place in a certain folder. Right now, OS X fails to make that file easy to find, no matter how many UI schemes Apple introduces. People don’t care about where the file is, because they aren’t interested in organization or structure. They just want to work.

This is what makes iOS devices so popular: you don’t think about where the file is, you think about which app you’re going to use. And with iOS, apps couldn’t be easier to find.

Maybe it’s about expectations. I didn’t expect to go anywhere near the file system when I bought my iPhone. But I bought a Mac expecting that tinkering is a part of its operation. As long as Mac OS X has it both ways, where you have dashboard-style navigation cues for regular folks and the geekiness of the file system for the rest of us, I won’t put up too much of a fight.

Random thoughts on the Mac App Store

January 10th, 2011

Browsing through Apple’s new Mac App Store, a thought hit me:

If you’re a non-techie person (define that however you like), systems like app stores allow you to try out software that, without the store, you might not have known about. In other words, the applications that aren’t allowed on the Mac App Store don’t appeal to people who only find apps on the App Store. If you don’t know about Onyx, or have any idea what it does, would it appeal to you even if it was in the App Store?

That’s why I think some of the pro-style apps, and their developers, will be fine making a living in a world where the Mac App Store exists. Those developers’ products cater to a different audience. So maybe those apps that rely on root access in OS X, like backup applications, cater to those of us who know how important it is to backup and make sure to do it on a regular occasion. For everyone else, there’s Time Machine.

And as long as Apple allows Mac users to use applications outside of the App Store, the platform will still appeal to UNIX geeks and users like me, who use and appreciate more of the pro-level apps.

Also, what do you do about software developers who still sell their applications in boxes in a retail environment? These titles, on physical media like CDs and DVDs, are obviously outside the reach of the App Store. So the App Store can’t be the only place to try and use Mac software. Otherwise, you’re excluding all these retail titles.

Personally, I like have my applications in some sort of physical form. It made me feel better, for instance, to purchase Bento at the Apple Store, bring home the DVD, pop it into my iMac, and install it. I could have purchased the application online and downloaded it that way, but there’s something reassuring about having a backup copy – you know, just in case.

Which is why I’m conflicted about an application like Apple’s pro photo editor, Aperture. Purchase it at an Apple retail store and you pay almost $200, but you get a nice box and DVD. Purchase it on the Mac App Store and get it for better than half the price ($80), but it’s a download-only install. It’s hard to argue with the dramatically discounted price on the App Store, unless you’re like me and you value holding the app in hand.

The benefits of having it as part of the App Store, however, are obvious: automatic updates, lower price, no physical media to lose or damage. And the good news is that Apple still allows free 30-day trials of Aperture 3 – something the Mac App Store doesn’t allow for its titles.

app store aperture

For Apple, having a title like Aperture available on the Mac App Store helps it become more discoverable. As I write this, Aperture is in several of the “top” lists on the App Store, which means Macs users can find it on the App Store homepage, which means more users are more likely to buy it. This approach might be working, because Aperture ranks as the top-grossing App Store title. That could be because of its relative high price tag compared with the rest of the Mac App Store titles.

Searchability, discoverability – if only the App Store had try-ability, it would be perfect.

I wonder where we, in the Newton community, would be if it weren’t for sites like UNNA, where all the available Newton software that ever existed is in one convenient spot. Imagine if we had to hunt all around to find that one app that we want to try. It used to be that way, with some Newton apps sold retail style, in boxes on store shelves, while other titles were available only as online downloads.

Today, however, Newton sites are disappearing. Thank goodness for one, centralized hub like UNNA.

What would’ve happened if the Newton, back in the day, had it’s own app store? If we could have accessed Toolkit and DataRescue from one central location, and have the ability to try out apps for fun (something, admittedly, Apple’s own App Store doesn’t even allow)? It’s a fun thought experiment.

There are repositories like this for classic Mac software as well. I browse the Macintosh Garden on a regular basis for fun, pre-OS X apps. We should hope that someone is doing this for OS X apps as well.

I think the whole idea of a well-run, successful app store will be one of Apple’s great legacies. You could extend that to stores in general, based on how well the company runs its retail and iTunes stores. Making things easy to buy, and easy to try (like iMacs at the mall, or song previews on iTunes) is a win-win for the customer and for Apple.

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.]