Simon has been into computing since his early teens. He started with the likes of a Commodore 64 and Acorn 3010 and then bought an old 486 from his first employer. After that he built his first PC - being his first venture into the insides of a computer.
Simon has a huge passion for older computing and getting the most out of a WallStreet PowerBook G3, Lombard PowerBook G3, Pismo PowerBook G3,a Clamshell G3 iBook, a PowerBook 1400cs, a Sawtooth Power Mac G4, a Power Mac G4 Cube, an SE/30, a Classic II, and some LC IIs, as well as numerous G4 PowerBooks, Dual USB iBook G3s, iMac G3s and eMacs, G3 Power Macs, and a Newton 2000.
Simon has used every version of Windows from 3.11 upwards and the Mac OS System 7 upwards, and he also has a good knowledge of Linux. He has ripped open every computer he's owned and states, "From building a PC from scratch, replacing hard drives and optical drives in iBooks, fitting new hard drives in eMacs, or logic board replacements in iMacs - to name but a few - I have developed a wealth of knowledge, which I use for my benefit and to help others who need it."
In late 2009, Simon took a break to develop his knowledge of Linux, and a few months later he returned to the Mac world to continue his love of low-end Macs and Apple hardware.
Simon is not only a fan of low end computers, but also has a passion for the original iPhone and strives to keep it active as long as possible and has been following the whited00r project - custom firmware designed to bring iOS 4 and 5 features and increased performance to devices halted on OS 3.
- Vintage Computer Festival SouthEast, April 20-21, 2013, 2013.02.25. Old Apple gear and old PCs.
- iMessage: The Ultimate Messaging Service?, 2013.02.21. In most ways, Apple's iMessage is far superior to BlackBerry Messenger.
- iDroid: Run Android on iOS Hardware, 2013.02.20. Yes, you can run Android on an iPhone or iPod touch. But do you want to?
- A Mac User Tries Out Windows 8, 2013.02.18. OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion left a lot of older Intel Macs behind. Could Windows 8 be a real option, or is it just too different?
- whited00r 6 Keeps 2007 and 2008 iPhones Feeling Current, 2012.12.14. Although Apple no longer provides iOS updates for the original iPhone and iPhone 3, whited00r lets them look and function like newer iPhones while improving their speed.
- Your Mac's Text to Speech Is Great for Proofreading, 2012.12.04. Proofreading and editing text on screen can become tiresome. Sometimes having it read to you helps find problems.
- Is a ChromeBook a Real Alternative to a Low-end Mac?, 2012.12.03. With prices starting at $200, a ChromeBook is in the same price range as a secondhand iBook, PowerBook, or early MacBook.
- SeaMonkey PPC: Another Browser Option for PowerPC Macs, 2012.11.02. SeaMonkey is the modern version of Netscape Communicator with browser, email, HTML editor, and IRC client - and SeaMonkey PPC brings it to PowerPC Macs.
- iPhone OS 3: Let's Build an App List, 2012.09.21. Although Apple now ignores the first two iPhones, they remain capable devices, but finding apps for them is difficult.
- iOS 6 Makes iPhone 3GS Feel Like a New Phone, 2012.09.20. Although the iPhone 3GS was introduced in 2009, iOS 6 makes it feel like a newer, faster phone.
- Windows 95: One of the Greatest Operating Systems Ever?, 2012.08.24. "Windows 95 was a massive leap forward in terms of technology and usability."
- Which Macs Might OS X 10.9 Leave Behind?, 2012.07.30. Recent versions of OS X have really raised the bar on hardware. What if Apple decides it doesn't need to do that next time?
- First Impressions of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, 2012.07.26. Installation took 45 minutes, all apps that ran in Lion run well, and everything seems a little faster.
- My Experiences with Efficient Mac OS 8, 2012.07.26. Especially for vintage Macs with limited memory, Mac OS 8 will be far less sluggish than Mac OS 9.
- The Clamshell iBook: Beautiful but Lacking, 2012.07.23. Apple's first consumer laptop was rugged and good looking, but it fell short in specs and ports.
- Burn: A Free Alternative to Toast, 2012.07.12. It's not as sophisticated as Roxio Toast, but Burn does a great job burning data, music, and video discs - and it's free.
- Mac OS X: Major and Minor Versions, 2012.07.03. Some versions of OS X make a lot of significant changes, while others are mostly tweaks to improve on the previous version.
- What iOS 6 Means to iPhone 3GS Owners, 2012.06.13. The iPhone 3GS is 3 years old, and it will be able to run iOS 6 when it arrives later this year.
- Apple May No Longer Support Your Older Mac, but Microsoft Will, 2012.05.11. Believe it or not, Windows 7 and 8 can run nicely on Macs than can't run OS X 10.7 or 10.8 at all.
- 1998: The iMac Saves Apple, 2012.05.04. Its specs were pedestrian, but the color, lack of standard Mac ports, and missing floppy drew a lot of attention.
- Apple Should Make Older Mac OS Versions Free, 2012.05.03. It can cost more for a copy of the Mac OS than you paid for an old Mac you want to put it on.
- £1 Signalex USB Notebook Cooler: Cheap but Effective, 2012.05.02. Purchased from a local Poundland store for £1, the Signalex USB Notebook Cooler works well with 13" and smaller notebooks.
- 2001: Apple Introduces the Dual USB 'IceBook' iBook G3, 2012.05.01. Although only a bit faster than the 466 MHz clamshell iBook, the new model added a second USB port, a higher resolution screen, and was much sleeker.
- Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger: Perhaps the Best Version Ever, 2012.04.27. In many ways, OS X 10.4 Tiger was Apple's best yet, supporting a wide range of hardware and software.
- iPhone 3GS: S Definitely Stands for Speed, 2012.04.26. Not only is the iPhone 3GS faster than the 3G, it also holds a signal better.
- More Memory Means a Hotter Running MacBook, 2012.04.18. Although you might think that more RAM means less stress on the hard drive and thus less heat, the opposite is true.
- Is the End in Sight for Built-in Optical Drives?, 2012.04.17. OS X 10.7 Lion and most Apple software no longer come on disc. Are optical drives approaching the end of their utility?
- How Much Longer Will Apple Support the iPhone 3GS?, 2012.04.16. Although Apple is still selling the iPhone 3GS, its days may be numbered with a new iPhone and version of iOS approaching.
- Looking Back at the 1.25 GHz eMac, 2012.04.13. The third version of the eMac moved to USB 2.0, a faster memory bus, better graphics, and double the memory capacity.
- Why I Write for Low End Mac, 2012.04.06. Low End Mac has been Simon Royal's constant source of Mac information since he discovered the site.
- 32-bit Kernel Core 2 Duo Macs Can Run 64-bit OS X, 2012.04.03. Confusingly, some Macs that can't run a 64-bit kernel in OS X 10.6 can do so in OS X 10.7, raising hope for 10.8.
- My Experience with the Local Apple Store, 2012.03.29. The 3-year-old MacBook had some cracks. Would Apple really fix it for free?
- More Macs Left Behind by Developer Preview 2 of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion, 2012.03.27. The latest Mountain Lion Developer Preview drops support for several Macs that could run the first Developer Preview.
- Back to My Original iPhone, Thanks to Whited00r, 2012.03.20. After moving to an iPhone 3G and experiencing connection issues, Simon goes back to his original iPhone.
- Good-bye, PowerPC, 2012.03.14. Six years into the Intel Era, Simon Royal once again has an x86 Mac - and loves it.
- iPhone: Enable MMS on an Unsupported Carrier, 2012.03.02. If you're using your iPhone with an unsupported carrier, you may not be able to text a photo. Here's a fix.
- Snow Leopard Macs: The New Low End, 2012.02.20. The days of PowerPC Macs are numbered, but Macs that can run Snow Leopard should be good for years to come.
- 12" PowerBook vs. iBook: Is There Really a Difference?, 2012.02.17. The 12" iBook G4 was dead, and a 12" PowerBook seemed the perfect replacement. Is the PowerBook really a better computer?
- Pismo: In Many Ways, It Was the Best of PowerBooks, 2012.02.16. Even years and years after its introduction, Pismo is a great Mac OS X 10.4 machine and surprisingly fast.
- Tiger or Leopard for PowerPC Macs? Does It Matter Anymore?, 2012.01.31. Does it really matter whether you run OS X 10.4 Tiger or 10.5 Leopard on your increasingly left-behind PowerPC Macs?
- No Old Apps for You: Apple's Message to Early iPhone Users, 2012.01.23. iOS 3 users can no longer download compatible apps if newer versions are not iOS 3 compatible.
- Is There Room for the Original iPhone in 2012?, 2012.01.11. The original iPhone was no speed demon in 2007, but it can still be a useful smartphone today.
- My First Intel Mac Put Me Off, 2012.01.09. The 1.83 GHz Intel Core Duo iMac was a speed revelation, but over time things began to go downhill.
- Apple's Titanium PowerBook Was a Design Masterpiece, 2012.01.09. The Pismo PowerBook G3 was a tough act to follow, and the first G4 PowerBook did it well, introducing a design still with us today.
- Blue and White Power Mac G3: One of the Most Attractive Macs Ever, 2012.01.05. The Blue and White G3 introduced a new tower design, was the first Power Mac with USB and FireWire, and influenced all future pro desktop Macs.
- Where Is Apple Going in 2012?, 2012.01.05. Will the year ahead see Apple make Macs more and more iOS-like?
- Hack Allows PowerPC Macs to Access Flash 11 Content, 2012.01.03. Although Adobe stopped PowerPC Flash development at version 10, this hack lets you view a lot of content that "requires" Flash 11.
- TenFourFox and Flash: The Future of PowerPC Macs on the Web, 2011.09.19. While more and more developers are leaving PowerPC Macs behind, TenFourFox keeps giving us better and better ports of the newest Firefox. Adobe Flash is another story.
- Hacking the Tiger Installer for Unsupported G3 Macs, 2011.08.31. Although Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger can run on almost every G3 Mac, the installer prevents installation on some models. How to overcome that.
- How to Remove the Markings from Your PowerBook or iBook Keyboard, 2011.08.16. Some people complain when the letters wear from their keyboards, but some prefer an unmarked keyboard. Simon Royal shares his technique for removing markings.
- Is Leopard Killing My PowerBook?, 2011.07.19. The ten-year-old Titanium PowerBook now overheats and hangs. Is it just old age, or has the extra heat from running Leopard taken its toll?
- Is Tiger or Leopard Better for Sub-867 MHz G4 Macs?, 2011.07.15. You can install and run OS X 10.5 Leopard on G4 Macs slower than 867 MHz, but is it any better than Tiger?
- Are 5-Year-Old Core Duo Macs About to Become Low-End?, 2011.06.30. When OS X 10.7 Lion arrives, it looks like all Intel Macs introduced before August 2006 will be unsupported.
- Do We Still Need Email?, 2011.06.17. Email was once the killer app of the Internet, but Facebook and Twitter seem to be displacing it.
- Will iOS 5 Abandon Support for PowerPC Macs?, 2011.06.16. iOS 5 will be available for iPhones that currently work with OS X 10.5 on PowerPC Macs, but what if iOS 5 requires Intel or OS X 10.6?
- Using an iPhone with a PowerBook G3 or Titanium G4, 2011.06.01. The iPhone will work with USB 1.1, but slowly. A USB 2.0 PC Card provides speed but not enough power. A solution.
- Unleash Your Original iPhone or 3G with Whited00r, 2011.05.27. Custom firmware lets you run iOS 3 faster, adds several iOS 4 features, and improves battery life.
- Safari 5: Best Choice for PowerPC Macs Running Leopard?, 2011.04.25. Safari 5.0.5, the latest version, has become the fastest browser for PowerPC Macs, but what does the future hold?
- Leopard at 500 MHz: Good Enough Most of the Time, 2011.04.21. There are some areas, especially Flash, that are sluggish, but for the most part it's a satisfactory experience.
- Camino, a Fast Alternative to Bloated Heavyweight Browsers, 2011.04.19. Other browsers may have more features, but Camino is a sprinter that's great on low-end Macs - and very nice on newer ones as well.
- Powering a USB 2.0 Drive on a USB 1.1 PowerBook, 2011.04.12. A bus-powered USB hard drive is a great laptop accessory, but PC Cards don't provide enough power to spin them up.
- The Leopard Experience at 500 MHz, 2011.03.28. Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard is less outdated than 10.4 Tiger, and with sufficient RAM, it runs decently on older, slower G4 Macs.
- Back with Linux Again, 2010.12.21. The truth is that Ubuntu Linux 10.10 runs faster on a G3 PowerBook than Apple's own, increasingly outdated, Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger.
- Create a Triple Boot Mac with OS 9, OS X, and Linux, 2010.11.30. If your PowerPC Mac can boot into OS 9 and X, here's how you can turn it into a triple-boot machine with Linux.
- Mac and Linux Side by Side, 2010.08.18. After leaving Macs a year ago for Linux and Windows, Simon Royal is coming back to the Mac - but not leaving Linux behind.
- Could a Smartphone Replace Your Laptop?, 2010.06.25. With the ever-improving iPhone and newer Android phones, a lot of what you do on your laptop can now be done with a smartphone.
- Is Ubuntu a Realistic Alternative to Mac OS X?, 2010.06.23. Ubuntu is better than ever, great on x86 hardware, but maybe not a good choice for that old PowerPC Mac.
- Why Run Leopard on Slow G4 Macs?, 2010.03.15. Tiger has lower demands and runs more smoothly on low-end Macs, but Leopard gives you access to more up-to-date software.
- OS X 10.4 Tiger Still Very Usable on a 500 MHz G3 Mac, 2010.03.11. For writing and basic Internet access, a 500 MHz G3 provides sufficient power and Tiger provides fairly up-to-date software.
- Back to My Comfortable Place with OS X, 2010.03.09. After 10 years on Macs, switching to Windows and Linux only highlighted the elegance and consistency of the Mac experience.
- A Place for the Classic Mac OS in the Age of Snow Leopard, 2009.10.19. Mac OS 9 has been out of production for nine years, but for basic tasks, such as word processing and email, it provides plenty of power.
- Adding USB 2.0 to a Titanium PowerBook G4, 2009.08.20. TiBooks have built-in USB 1.1, but with a compatible USB 2.0 CardBus card, you can go 2.0. Problem is, not all cards work.
- 'Snow Leopard' and the End of PowerPC Macs, 2009.08.14. Mac OS X 10.6 will be the first version of OS X without PowerPC support. That marks the beginning of the end for G4 and G5 Macs.
- Lombard, the Forgotten PowerBook, 2009.05.06. Sitting between the legendary WallStreet and the widely known Pismo, Lombard provides great value and handles OS X nicely.
- Does Using Matched RAM Make Your Mac Faster or More Stable?, 2009.04.28. Most Macs don't need matched memory modules and seem to run just fine with mismatched brands and capacities, but matching modules may be a bit faster.
- Hacking a WiFi PC Card to Work in Apple's AirPort Card Slot, 2009.04.21. Apple's AirPort Card has become expensive since it was discontinued. Here's how you may be able to adapt an 802.11b PC Card to replace it.
- Is Leopard Slower than Tiger on G4 Macs?, 2009.04.17. Truth be told, when you have 1 GB of RAM, Leopard benchmarks an insigificant 4% slower than Tiger.
- Is It Worth Maxing the RAM in Old G3 and G4 Macs?, 2009.04.15. Increasing memory can make your old Mac faster and make you more productive, but it probably won't improve resale value by the amount you spend.
- Is Running Leopard on a Sawtooth Power Mac G4 Worth Doing?, 2009.02.02. There are several ways to get Leopard running on an AGP Power Mac G4, but a slow CPU, limited RAM, a slow hard drive, and an old video card can bog it down.
- Do G4 Macs Have What It Takes to Remain Useful in a Multicore World?, 2009.01.15. With dual-core Intel CPUs running beyond 2 GHz, is any G4 Mac a practical choice?
- The Road Ahead: Snow Leopard, Windows 7, and Mac OS X 10.7, 2009.01.12. With 'Snow Leopard' expected to be a minor upgrade to 'Leopard', don't expect significant changes until Mac OSX 10.7, which should arrive a bit after Windows 7.
- Leopard on an 867 MHz G4 Trounces Vista on a 2 GHz Core Duo Notebook, 2008.12.16. Apple makes sure that each version of OS X runs well on the minimum supported hardware, while PCs well above minimum spec struggle under Microsoft's latest version of Windows.
- The Leopard Experience at 867 MHz, 2008.12.02. Mac OS X 10.5 requires an 867 MHz G4 with 512 MB of memory, but is performance really acceptable on a minimum spec system?
- Will Snow Leopard Support Some PowerPC Macs?, 2008.11.26. It just doesn't make sense that Apple would ship a new OS that won't support Macs sold less than three years ago.
- Could Linux Ever Replace Mac OS X?, 2008.11.24. Linux has become more powerful and more friendly month after month, but can it compare with the Mac OS X experience?
- Leopard Runs Very Nicely on PowerPC Macs, 2008.11.19. Some claim that Mac OS X 10.5 is so optimized for Intel Macs that it runs poorly on PowerPC hardware. That's simply not the case.
- Free Alternatives to Microsoft Office, 2008.11.17. Microsoft Office is powerful and expensive. OpenOffice provides a full alternative, and Bean and AbiWord are excellent options for word processing.
- The Future of PowerPC Macs and Software as 'Snow Leopard' Approaches, 2008.11.13. Apple phased out Classic Mode and G3 support with 'Leopard' last year, and next year's OS X 10.6 won't support any PowerPC Macs. Will other developers abandon PowerPC as well?
- Is Running Leopard on a Sawtooth Power Mac G4 Worth Doing?, 2008.10.27. There are several ways to get Leopard running on an AGP Power Mac G4, but a slow CPU, limited RAM, a slow hard drive, and an old video card can bog it down.
- G3 and Low End G4 Mac Performance Comparison, 2008.10.15. Factors that impact performance are the version of CPU, the size and speed of the Level 2 cache, and how much RAM is installed.
- How to Clone Mac OS X to a New Hard Drive, 2008.10.07. Whether you want to put a bigger, faster drive in your Mac or clone OS X for use in another Mac, here's the simple process.
- Getting the Most from Your G3 Mac, 2008.10.03. Most G3 Macs can be upgraded so they can run Mac OS X 10.4 'Tiger' quite nicely. Here's how.
- What is a Low-End Mac?, 2008.09.30. By definition, a low-end Mac is enough Mac to do what you need to do without slowing you down significantly.
- 9 Browsers for G3 and Older G4 Macs Compared, 2008.09.26. The latest versions of Opera, Safari, Shiira, iCab, Radon, Firefox, Demeter, Sunrise, and Camino that run on Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger".
- Mac or Windows: Does It Even Matter Any More?, 2008.09.25. Today computing is all about applications and the Internet. Does it really matter whether you're using the Mac OS, Windows, or Linux?
- Tiger vs. Leopard: Which Is Best for You?, 2008.09.22. Two great versions of Mac OS X, but unless your Mac is well above the minimum spec for Leopard and has lots of RAM, stick with Tiger.
- Can Smart Phones Replace Laptops?, 2008.09.16. Smart phones and mini notebooks are all the rage, but can even the iPhone replace your notebook computer?
- Are G3 Macs Still Viable Work Machines?, 2008.09.08. For basic tasks - writing, email, and using the Web - a G3 Mac with Mac OS X 10.4 and sufficient memory provides plenty of power.
- 11 Mac Browsers Compared, 2008.09.03. The latest versions of Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, Shiira, iCab, Radon, Firefox, Netscape Navigator, SeaMonkey, Flock, and Camino tested in Leopard.
- 10 Mac Browsers Compared, 2008.08.28. A look at Internet Explorer, Radon, Opera, Safari, Shiira, iCab, Firefox, Netscape Navigator, Flock, and Camino running in Leopard.
- Upgrading Your Lombard PowerBook G3, 2008.08.25. Step-by-step instructions for getting inside the Lombard PowerBook to upgrade RAM, replace the hard drive, and swap out the CPU card.
- Replacing Your Lombard or Pismo Optical Drive with a SuperDrive, 2008.08.15. It's not difficult to swap out the CD-ROM or DVD-ROM drive in a Lombard or Pismo PowerBook with a CD- and DVD-burning SuperDrive.
- WiFi Cards for PowerBooks with PC Card Slots, 2008.08.12. PC Card and CardBus 802.11b and 802.11g cards known to be compatible with Apple's PowerBooks.
- Macs are where I want to be, 2008.07.28. From his first exposure to the Mac in 2001, Simon Royal has been hooked by the 'better alternative' to Windows.
- Hooked on Macs, new and old, 2008.07.15. Starting with an old Quadra in 2000, Royal left behind Windows and began acquiring his own stable of Macs.
Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Mac Driver Museum
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ