Charles Moore's Mailbag

Papyrus' Atari Roots, SeaMonkey a Workhorse, Browser Launch Times, WallStreet Keyboard Failure, and More

Charles Moore - 2005.11.28 - Tip Jar

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Papyrus' Atari Heritage

From Ian Baker

I enjoyed your review of Papyrus, long a favourite word processor on the Atari. This heritage might explain why it was less Windows-like than you expected.

Many years ago I used Papyrus on my Atari to print a book my father had written using Word on a PC. In those days Word could not handle printing A5 pages on A4 paper ready for folding into a book.

Regards,
Ian Baker

Hi Ian,

Thanks for the interesting backgrounder.

I don't imagine it will be news to you that iCab, another German app, also started out as an Atari app.

Charles

Papyrus Sounds Tempting

From Jim Strickland

That's impressive stuff. If I were not so stuck on Nisus Writer, I'd be sorely tempted to go with Papyrus. Thanks.

In the spirit of good German software, you might also want to look at www.pl32.com - photoline 32 for Mac. It has many of the same qualities that so impressed you with Papyrus. It's a Photoshop replacement and works with some (though not all) Photoshop filters. It costs about the same as Elements.

Jim Strickland

Hi Jim,

NisusWriter is a great word processor, too.

Thanks for the tip about photoline 32 for Mac. I'll check it out. I do love Elements 3.0 though.

Charles

Is Upgrading to Photoshop Elements 3 Worth It?

From Jim Strickland

I haven't tried [Photoshop] Elements 3; I'm still using Elements 2. Is it worth upgrading?

Jim Strickland

Hi Jim,

Short answer: yes. Elements 3 is a much better program than Elements 2.

You can read my review of the software, Photoshop Elements 3.0: All You Need?, here on Low End Mac.

Charles

WallStreet Keyboard Failure

From Michael Allen

I am so glad to find you. I am using a G3 WallStreet (beige). My keyboard failed, and I have to use an ADB through the serial port. I had to disconnect the ribbons and clean them just to get it to boot. Still no keyboard. Please to advise.

Mike Allen

Hi Mike,

I'm a bit confused by your reference to "beige" (all WallStreets were black as far as I know), but Wegener Media has WallStreet keyboards for $24. They can also probably help you if you need replacement ribbon cables as well.

Also, pre-USB Macs had both serial ports (marked for printer and modem) and ADB ports for keyboards and mice.

Charles

Re: Keyboard Failure

From Michael Allen

Me too on the confusion. I assumed you meant beige in your transcripts for all Wallstreets.

I think mine is black as you mentioned. I'll follow through with your advice. I sincerely appreciate your time. My next project delves into recovering an Adobe PDF writer from an older HD. I don't have the CD to reinstall; I just have it on the HD.

Regards,

-M

SeaMonkey Is a Workhorse

From: Christoph Trusch

Hello Charles,

I was very glad to see the SeaMonkey Suite reviewed on Low End Mac. Some comments I would like to make:

Seamonkey pretty much continues where Mozilla 1.8 (yes, there was a 1.8, but it never got beyong the beta stage) left off. I don't need the email module (Apple Mail rocks!), but I use Composer to make my website, and I can say that I wouldn't know the difference between the Composer modules in Mozilla 1.8 and SeaMonkey 1.1 alpha. They are, like the browser modules, virtually identical. There are some differences to the now "final" Mozilla 1.7 version, though, but most of them were already present in 1.8 beta.

Nvu, which is the new "outsourced" Composer module (like Thunderbird is the outsourced email module), isn't ready for prime time yet, so Firefox + Thunderbird + Nvu are no serious replacement for the suite, especially since Firefox can't keep up with the finetuning capabilities of SeaMonkey. Also, this solution would install the Gecko engine 3 times on your Mac while it's really needed only once in the suite.

The only thing I can't confirm is the startup time: Safari takes just one bounce in the dock to start on my iBook G3 800 MHz (two or three bounces uncached), while Seamonkey takes much longer. It doesn't matter, because it never crashes, but it is definitely not the fastest starting browser on my system. iCab, Camino, and Internet Explorer also start faster.

I'm happy that the suite is being continued, and I test & report bugs frequently. But there are only some very minor bugs (mostly cosmetic) even in SeaMonkey 1.0 alpha, most of which have been carried over from Mozilla 1.8. I've been using the suite in various alpha versions (the nightly builds are already at 1.1) for the last few months and also found it to be as stable as the previous Mozilla versions.

I'm glad that there is such a myriad of high quality browsers for the Mac to choose from (probably more than for any other OS). I currently have 21 browsers installed, but SeaMonkey continues to be my workhorse.

Best regards,
Christoph Trusch

Hi Christoph,

Thank you for your comments and observations. I think it's too bad that SeaMonkey Is not more widely known and used. I certainly found it extremely stable and quite fast.

If you are looking to have to your collection of browsers, checkout this site: http://darrel.knutson.com/mac/www/browsers.html

Re: startup times. you're right; Safari starts up faster than SeaMonkey, 8 seconds and 11 seconds respectively on this iBook G3 700 MHz. Firefox takes 17 seconds, and Opera forever. As you say, Internet Explorer is a quick starter, too, but it's not a browser I use if I can avoid it.

Charles

Browser Startup Times

Your startup times seem (partly) unduly long in my eyes. Does the 100 MHz difference to my 800 MHz G3-iBook (10.3.9, 640 MB RAM) really make that much difference? Safari *never* takes more than 3 seconds to start. On the other hand, SeaMonkey takes longer on my Mac. I just tested startup times (averaged of 2 measurements each) after a complete reboot of OS X and then again cached. Clicked stop on the watch when all window/menu elements were completely drawn.

If you are looking to add to your collection of browsers, checkout this site:

http://darrel.knutson.com/mac/www/browsers.html

I know about this website. Look who hinted Darrel at the Jazilla browser. I try to stay more or less up-to-date with the most important browsers and also try them out for several days each. So my favorite one, Mozilla/SeaMonkey, is constantly being challenged, which is a good thing and helps me to make informed decisions when it comes to choosing the preferred web browser. It pains me that there are still so many Windows users out there who equal the Internet with Internet Explorer, but also Mac users who never go beyond the pre-installed Safari. Although I have to say that Safari is a very acceptable browser.

As you say, Internet Explorer is a quick starter, too, but it's not a browser I use if I can avoid it. It's a relief to see that there are hardly any website left that only work correctly with IE. This is also in part due to the fact that Gecko compatibility is now mandatory since Firefox has reached considerable popularity. Very interesting times for browsers nowadays, and especially on the Mac!!

Best regards,
Christoph Trusch

Hi Christoph,

My iBook also has 640 MB of RAM, but I wasn't on an especially fresh restart (four days) when I timed the browser startups. I also had about 15 applications open, and the system had accumulated some swapfiles, which slows things down. I'm running OS 10.4.3.

Odd, though, that SeaMonkey started up faster on my Mac than the times you recorded. Goes to illustrate the danger of generalizing.

Charles

Re: $100 Laptop Project Shuns Free OS X

From Proz:

Seems to be a bit more complex than the MIT headline leads one to think...

http://arstechnica.com/journals/apple.ars/2005/11/15/1834

scroll down 2/3 of the way to one of the comments about it, links to...

http://news.com.com/2061-10793_3-5954333.html?part=rss&tag=5954333&subj=news

Proz,

Thanks for the feedback.

CM

Code Built-into OS X to Supports Dual and Multicore CPUs

From Alvin

Hi, is it possible for Apple to have a built-in code in OS X that takes advantage of dual and multicores without depending on developers to include support for dual and multicores? For example, OS X users don't need to worry if a particular application is using all of the cores and CPUs. Does Linux for PowerPC already have this built-in code already?

If they have that technology, it'd be good to then buy a Playstation 3 [and] use its 7 cores (as well as with Xbox 360 and Revolution multi and dual cores) which is shipping with Sony's Linux (after a hacked OS X)? That'd be a cheap Cell chipped desktop PC replacement for the Apple and Dell desktops.

God bless,
Alvin

Hi Alvin,

Answering your question is way beyond my level of knowledge and expertise in the workings of operating systems. Perhaps someone in readerland will be able to help.

Charles

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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at Applelinks.com and a columnist at MacPrices.net. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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