Slow Printing, Safari Beta, Mail, and Faster Classic Mode Launches

2003 – It’s been a month since I upgraded from OS X 10.1.5 Puma to 10.2 Jaguar and tried to make OS X my primary operating system. It worked, and now that I’ve done it, I don’t like going back to OS 9. Classic Mode is fine for all of my software – except for backup, and that awaits the money to update my Retrospect Client license pack.

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Slow Printing

I still find the uploading part of Claris Home Page poky in Classic Mode, but until a few days ago, there was nothing about OS X that seemed particularly slow. Yes, applications do take their time launching, but I can launch several at a time or work in one program while another is loading.

But then I printed 50 sheets of letterhead for my wife’s business. That’s a two-step process. We first run the Kodak Bright White Inkjet Paper through my Epson Stylus Photo 870 to print the 1″ icon and company name in color at the top of the page. Then we run the letterhead through the HP LaserJet 2100TN for the black text. It lets us use color at minimal expense, provides much sharper text than any inkjet, and didn’t used to take very long at all.

Past tense. Under OS X, it seemed to take about 4-5 times as long per page. It loads the page, prints a bit, pauses, prints some more, stops for a good long time, finally ejects the page, and then goes on to the next page. Excruciating, especially when you’re doing 50 sheets at a time.

So I asked on the G-Books list (our email list for those with G3- and G4-based PowerBook and iBooks) for help. “Download Epson’s driver” came the answer.

Huh? I was printing to the Epson printer. The OS recognized it. I just assumed that meant the Epson driver was installed, but these were just Apple’s drivers.

Off to Epson’s website in search of OS X drivers. (If you have an Epson printer, here’s the link to their printer support page.) Find the driver. Download the driver. Or, more precisely, download an HQX file containing an SEA file containing a folder containing a disk image containing an installer PKG.

Yes, you read that right. Instead of simply putting a .DMG or stuffed disk image file on their server, Epson has you download a 3.9 MB file that creates a 2.8 MB file (huh?) that creates a folder containing a 4 MB file that creates a 5 MB disk image with a 2.8 MB installer package that installs 7.4 MB worth of files on your OS X computer.

And then it’s another one of those wonderful installers that demands you reboot the computer after installation. Grrrrrrr. Why in the world must this Unix-rooted OS be restarted so often?

Well, I did all that, and it helped. A lot. It still doesn’t seem quite as fast as it did printing in OS 9, but the pauses are much smaller now. I’d say were close to OS 9 speed.

Safari Beta

I love just about everything about Safari. It’s fast. It makes efficient use of space. And it pretty much displays things the way all the other browsers do.

SBut there’s a glitch in the way Safari wraps text around graphics. In every other browser I’ve ever used, there’s no problem. In Safari, we get a mess like the screen image to the right. (And, if you’re using Safari, this text will fail to wrap around the graphic in exactly the same way.)

For me, that’s the biggest glitch the Safari team needs to address, since it’s very obviously wrong.

Some have reported problems using Safari with online banking sites, an issue I haven’t run into. The only other place I’ve had any problems with Safari are in my euchre league. When I want to view the standings, it opens a window with two frames. I can select any report, and Safari will display it just fine. But when I select a second report, nothing happens.

I’ve reported this using the Bug Report feature in Safari.

Not a bug, but something different about Safari compared with the other browsers, is the way Safari doesn’t select the text in the Google or URL windows when you click them. Other browsers automatically select all the text, making it much easier to type in new text, since you don’t have to manually Select All first.

Mail

I’m working more and more with Apple’s Mail application. I’m getting used to the way it works, but I’m not enamored of it.

The primary reason for using Mail is catching spam, and it does a pretty good job of it. I’m only using Mail with my mac.com email address so far, which Apple already filters for spam, so there hasn’t been a lot of spam for Mail to catch. In the past week, it’s only misidentified one piece of email as spam (an email newsletter) and received a single piece of spam that it didn’t correctly identify. That’s a pretty good track record.

I wish Mail had a feature for reporting spam back to your ISP and/or the sender’s ISP. That would be icing on the cake.

I do like Mail’s real time spell checking. I do like the way it handles what I consider the bane of email, styled messages, and lets me choose whether to reply in kind or with plain text email. And I’m glad I learned about the Bigger and Smaller type options for styled text, which makes messages with small text readable.

But Mail is bulky. Even with smaller icons, it takes up a lot of screen real estate; it’s far less efficient in that respect than Claris Emailer or PowerMail. I also don’t like paned email software; I prefer having each message open in its own window, not a tiny pane. You can work that way in PowerMail and Mail, but it’s not the default behavior.

Finally, I dislike the way Mail works when replying to a message. I’m used to an email program that puts the cursor after the quoted text, making it easy to do what’s called bottom posting. If Mail offers that option, I can’t find it, so I have to manually move the cursor where I want it to be instead of where Apple wants it to be.

That’s annoying.

Classic Mode

I finally got smart yesterday and set things up so that OS X automatically opens the classic environment when I reboot. After all, I end up using it every time, so why wait for it to load later when I can tell my Mac to open it right away?

I use ClassicBooster 1.1 to speed launching of the classic environment. ClassicBooster (CB) is an extension that gets installed in the Extensions Folder of your Mac OS 9 System Folder. When OS 9 is launched, CB can tell the difference between a native OS 9 startup and launching the classic environment inside OS X. When it detects a Classic Mode launch, it creates a new set in the Extensions Manager called Classic that only has the necessary extensions and control panels for Classic Mode to function.

Classic mode can launch in as little as 15 seconds with this minimal set of files being launched.

On future launches of the classic environment, CB looks for and uses the Classic set, and you can use the Extensions Manager to add control panels and extensions, such as QuickTime, that your classic Mac applications require – as well as the nice little add-ons like SmoothType, QuicKeys, Default Folder, and iMacolor that you’ve always used to personalize your Mac experience.

Sure, they make booting into classic mode take a bit longer, but if they’ve done good by you, there’s no reason not to keep using them in the classic environment.

ClassicBooster is $10 shareware. Try it; I think you’ll like it.

Crash

At this point, my only frustration with Classic Mode is one way in which it differs from native OS 9 – if one application crashes, you have to restart the entire classic environment. Good old OS 9 would almost always give you a chance to break out of the troubled program, save your work in other applications, and then restart – or even keep on computing if you wanted to take a chance.

That’s one of the big differences between the classic Mac OS and the modern Mac OS. In the old days, a crashed application could crash your whole computer, and even when it didn’t, you were at greater risk for more lockups if you kept working. With OS X and other modern operating systems, only the program with problems crashes. Everything else goes on as normal.

I’ve still got a lot to learn, and I’m slowly working my way through portions of Mastering Mac OS X, 2d ed. (the one that covers Jaguar) to learn the things I probably won’t discover just using the OS.

Keywords: #safaribrowser #osxjaguar #macosx

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