Posts tagged ‘OS 9’

June 3, 2008

Happy Mac


And a little addendum to my previous entry on older technology still having a place in my life. I love music and films and my favourites reside on one or the other of my iPods so I can enjoy them at will. Yesterday, the external firewire drive that holds my music and video library decided to go wonky resulting in music not being able to be transferred to my iPod and a rather unpleasant error message. After some fiddling around trying to fix the problem and thinking my 80gig iPod Classic had malfunctioned I ended up with both a naughty firewire drive and an empty iPod. Losing my music and treasured films was the equivalent of the average mother having her baby stolen by a dingo with not even the consolation of film rights. I tried dragging the files off the external drive to my desktop only to have OS X give me some silly message that the drive could not be read or written to. I launched Diskwarrior that heroic rescuer of endangered Mac drives and it could find no problem with the drive. It was a bleak moment in the life of Vern. As I sat reconciling myself to having to listen to BBC World Service radio and bad music from my friends for the rest of my life I suddenly looked at Sybil ( my dear Power Mac dual processor) sitting next to me as I fretted over the iMac and remembered my previous blog ode to OS 9. Would my staunch defence of the virtues o fthe last true Mac operating system make the Mac Gods smile at me? Could I even hope for such a miracle?


I cranked up the old girl and, after hearing the familiar “bong” of OS 9 starting up and seeing the Happy Mac icon, her 5 drives mounted on the lovely clean OS 9 desktop followed by the demonic firewire drive. So far so good…at least the firewire drive was showing up. I opened the finder and dragged the movie and music folders onto one of Sybil’s drives. Was I greeted with an admonishing and curt warning about being unreadable? Nope. OS 9 , eschewing the fussiness of OS X/UNIX’s concern about file corruption, happily started the process of copying the folders. All my music and film is now safe and my iPod has been refilled with days of listening and viewing goodness. As they say in Trinidad “ a good working old ting better than a new ting” and OS 9’s Happy Mac face has now brought a big smile to mine. Cheers to the Apple programmers of the late 1990s for actually choosing to  “think different”.



Here’s to the crazy ones.

  The misfits.

    The rebels.

      The troublemakers.

        The round pegs in the square holes.


The ones who see things differently.

They’re not fond of rules.

     And they have no respect for the status quo.


You can praise them, disagree with them, quote them,

     disbelieve them, glorify or vilify them.

About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.

      Because they change things.


They invent.    They imagine.    They heal.

  They explore.    They create.    They inspire.

    They push the human race forward.


Maybe they have to be crazy.

How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art?
Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written?
Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?

We make tools for these kinds of people.


While some see them as the crazy ones,
   we see genius.

Because the people who are crazy enough to think
they can change the world, are the ones who do.


Think Different – Apple Computer ( TBWA/Chiat/Day) 1997


May 21, 2008

Back to the future

I am the first to admit that when it comes to technology I am about as addicted as they come. When i am not plugged into my iPods I am tinkering with something and spending hours trying to get the most arcane little system preference just right. I am also typically human and I find that I sometimes get nostalgic for an old movie or, quite often, an older piece of technology. This explains my pleasure in getting Sybil ( the resuscitated dual processor Power Mac I am using to type this entry) to feel as loved and useful in the world of 2008 as she was in 2001 when she was born. She is running OS X Tiger at a speed that is not discernibly different to my G5 machine or my Powerbook ( both running Leopard) and though my benchmarks indicate she is lagging far behind both of them in a technical sense I cannot tell the difference in real world use. Having proven she can run PhotoShop and web surf like a trooper I felt that twinge of nostalgia that led me think back to my many happy days in the original Mac OS before the advent of pretty  UNIX pretending to be a bona fide Mac operating system.

Now I know that my handful of readers are most likely not computer ( much less Mac) inclined but I think there is a bigger picture here. Let me explain. Before the introduction of Apple’s current operating system ( the thing you see when you turn on your computer…not the desktop picture of your cat..the general thing with icons etc.) us Mac users were a blissfully happy lot plodding away on the old system called OS 9 in its last iteration. We did everything one would want to do on a computer, running all the usual programmes and wasting time on the internet, and we were quite fond of our unique machines which we touted ( as we still do) as the best computers on the planet. Sure we had some less than honest moments when we lied to our Windows friends that our systems never crashed – even though they froze more regularly than plumbing in Antarctica – but such  is the job of the evangelist. Then Moses ( aka Steve Jobs) came unto us and gave us OS X ( really OS 10 following on the heels of OS 9) which was based on UNIX which is a serious industrial operating system. It was prettied up ,had bouncy things,useful things like column view and even buttons that  Steve described as “lickable”. To most younger people and Mac owners after 2003 this new crash-proof and pretty thing is what constitutes a Mac.

I have stubbornly refused to get one of the brand new Macs with Intel chips in them precisely because to me a true Macintosh is one that has a different processor namely a RISC processor ( we shall avoid that explanation this time around)  but in the back of my mind I missed our old operating system with all its quirks knowing that it was that OS along with the different internals that truly made using a Mac a unique experience. Now that I have this older machine that can still startup in OS 9 ( as well as OS X) I have spent many an hour getting her to run it perfectly. For the past few days i have been reveling in the joy of using my old OS and I am still amazed by how perfect it was in many ways. It takes up hardly any drive space and uses hardly any memory to the point where I have been unable to get the computer to use even 20% of the available memory when running 10 programmes simultaneously. To be sure she has frozen once in the last two days and OS X has only frozen once on me in 5 years but i found myself sighing in nostalgic joy watching her freeze.  Other than that I have been able to write, surf the net, send instant messages, check email, run Photoshop 6, listen to music and even watch movies. In short, I have not noticed any major difference in my computing life using an operating system that was introduced in 1999 which is an eternity in the technology world. In fact, I can say with 100% certainty that many of the older programmes that were designed to run on machines with far slower specs than mine are faster than their equivalent OS X versions running on my newer machines.

In our endless quest to get the latest and greatest technology we sometimes forget that there was nothing wrong with the old technology we were using. Sure the newer one may be prettier and glossier and even better in some ways but does it make it more useful? I am left to wonder with my latest experience. Were it not for the  fact that I cannot use iWeb to write my blog on the older system and that the older internet browsers have not kept pace with the requirements of modern browsing I don’t think I would have a problem going back to using OS 9 at all.

Perhaps there is a life lesson in my experiment that we should not dismiss the effectiveness of the tried and true or perhaps the true lesson is that you never forget your first love.

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