Charles Moore's Mailbag

Classic Still Useful, A Cooler Running MacBook, Panther vs. Tiger for Text Editing, and More

Charles Moore - 2007.11.19 - Tip Jar

Classic Isn't Dead Yet

From Robert Snell:

Hi Charles,

I, for one, am not pleased with the death of Classic. In particular, I use FrameMaker, which I run in Classic, since the snobs at Adobe never released a Mac OS X version. The alternative is to buy a version that runs under Windows (yuck!!). This will also be the reason that I will always need to own a PPC Mac.

Cheers
Robert Snell

Hi Robert,

I think there are a lot of us in the same boat.

Lots of avant garde minded folks are celebrating the removal of "dead code" (like Classic mode support) from Leopard. But it wasn't dead yet to me or you or a lot of others by a long shot.

Charles

'I Will Determine When Classic Is Dead'

From Christopher Laspa:

Hi Charles,

I too haven't been jumping for joy and breaking out the champagne on the finalization of Classic. I still use it. And like it. One of the things I have really liked about 10.4.x is how smooth everything works within each other. It is sad to see Apple not continue support, and I sort of understand the business reasons, but in the end, as I move forward, I will determine when Classic is dead - not Apple or anyone else.

Regards,
Christopher M. Laspa

Hi Christopher,

Yes, I like Tiger, but Classic is still a lot smoother performer. I love the positive feel of Classic apps. running in Classic mode. Also fast! OS X has always seemed a bit ragged by comparison.

I still like Classic too, and it won't be dead to me for a long time yet, because I intend to keep using Tiger on my Pismos indefinitely.

Charles

Tiger vs. Panther Performance for Editing Text

From Sumeth Chaochuti:

Hi Charles,

Thank you for your valuable time responding to my question. The reason I asked is because I had a little problem installing Tiger, and I would have to find a workaround if it's doable on my machine. Should the performance suffer a bit as a consequence, I would still do it, as I had done upgrading from 7.5.5 to 8.1 in the past.

Since you mention the graphics card, I looked up mine and found this info in System Profiler:

ATY,RageM6:
Type: display
Bus: AGP
Slot: ATI
VRAM (Total): 16 MB
Vendor: ATI (0x1002)
Device ID: 0x4c59
Revision ID: 0x0000
ROM Revision: 113-XXXXX-125

[BTW, the board is the replacement for the original defective one when it was still under warranty],

With this specs of hardware, do you think I should go ahead and find a way to install Tiger anyway? Actually I have a second partition prepared for this where I also have OS 9.2.2 installed. If it's working fine, then I'll just swap partitions with Panther, moving the latter to the same partition with OS 9 and Tiger to the first partition as the main OS.

Your time and courtesy on this is greatly appreciated.

Yours,
Sumeth

Hi Sumeth,

My pleasure.

Your iBook has an ATI Mobility Radeon graphics processor with 16 MB of dedicated graphics memory and AGP 2x support, a slightly less powerful card than the Radeon 7500 with 16 MB VRAM in my 700 MHz iBook. It should support Quartz Extreme in Panther and Tiger.

I would definitely go ahead and install Tiger if it were me. Tiger runs great on my G3 iBook, and I like its performance and features better than I did Panther on that machine. As as you say, you always have reliable old OS 9.2.2 as a backup.

Charles

Hi Charles,

Thank you for your mailing, it's a pleasant surprise to find it in my mailbox this morning :) I had gone ahead and installed Tiger on my second partition before hearing from you. Surprise! Surprise! Things are generally lively, as you had said, but TextEdit 1.4 is crawling instead of running. Reverting to 1.3 was a little better, but not much.

Finally, I had resorted to writing my manuscript on Mail.app, which is much faster than the aforementioned apps. BTW, I have tried nearly all the free text editor apps and found them to be as slow as TextEdit.

So for my writing (actually translating crime novels from English to Thai), I have to go back to Panther. I'll keep Tiger and play with it when I have time, but for now I'm behind schedule already and deadline is not that far ahead. Thank you again for lending advice.

Cheers,
Sumeth

Hi Sumeth,

You do what must be very interesting and rewarding work on your iBook. Are you in Thailand? A neighbor couple, old friends of mine here in the little Nova Scotia community where I live, spend half their year working in Bangkok, and my daughter spent a month there in 2005.

I rarely use TextEdit, so the sluggishness you are noting isn't something I anticipated.

I use Tex Edit Plus ($15 shareware) for 95%+ of my text-based work, and I can affirm that it works really well on the iBook in Tiger, or, if you really want to fly, run the Classic version of Tex Edit Plus in Classic mode. It has a few less features, but is extremely lively.

Charles

The Case for a Quiet, Cooler Running, Low Powered MacBook

From D. F. Stein:

Great article. Makes too much sense. We see the same thing with digital cameras. How about a quality, quiet, even single focal length camera for advanced amateurs. Will never happen.

Hi DF,

Thanks!

Good suggestion about the camera too.

Charles

Best CPUs for Portable Computing

From Yuhong Bao:

Comparing the heat that a Core 2 Duo generates with the heat a G5 or Pentium 4 Prescott generates, the former is much better. Also don't forget the ULV and LV version of the Core Duo and Core 2 Duo.

Yuhong Bao

Hello Yuhong Bao

Good points.

Of course, Apple was never successful in getting the G5 to run acceptably in a PowerBook prototype due to heat.

Charles

From Yuhong Bao

"it is to be hoped that Intel will be able to produce a modern CPU for portables that runs relatively cool and doesn't require batteries with the potency of nuclear fission to power it."

It is already there. It is called Pentium M, Core Duo, and Core 2 Duo.

Yep, the G5 and Pentium 4 Prescott generated so much heat that no one put them in portables.

Yuhong Bao

Hi Yuhong Bao,

I haven't seen any reports of what temperature range the latest Santa Rosa MacBooks run. The early Core Duo models ran at about 70-80° C, which is hotter than I really want to live with.

My G4 PowerBook is bad enough, with the fans cutting in (frequently) at 58.5° C.

My ideal criterion for "acceptable" is if the cooling fans only spin up on very hot days in the summer, as with my Pismo and iBook, which means running heat in the 40°s and low 50°s it seems.

Charles

From Yuhong Bao

But guess how much heat a notebook based on a P4 Prescott or a G5 would have been generated. Also guess how many people need a notebook with the power of a G5.

Yuhong Bao

Hi again,

Oh, absolutely, which is kind of my point. I'm definitely willing to trade off some power for quieter, cooler running and longer battery life.

Charles

Buffalo G54 WiFi Card Great with Pismo

From John Black:

Charles,

I read one of your email discussions about the use of Buffalo WiFi CardBus adapters in Pismos. I found the version you mentioned getting from Wegener (WLI-CB-G54A), but mine came from eBay. The price was great, and the Buffalo works perfectly, showing up as an AirPort card with its Broadcom chipset. I've only tried it so far on our home network, but I hope sometime to check it out on one of the WiFi networks at retail locations.

Thanks for the reports that help those of us who don't have all the tech savvy you possess.

John Black

Hi John,

Yes, you're having the same success with the Buffalo card as I am, and I can report that it works perfectly in our local library's WiFi hotspot, which is my only access to broadband within 50 miles.

The PowerBook thinks it's AirPort.

I dunno about tech savvy. I can't claim a whole lot. Just a bunch of trial and error experience - and being fairly well-informed.

You can read my review of the Buffalo G54 802.11g Wireless PC CardBus Adapter on Mac Opinion.

Charles

Moving Word Files from 800K Floppies

From Patrick:

Mr. Moore,

Mac PlusThank you for writing about the Mac Plus. I have about 25 floppies from my old Mac Plus purchased in November 1987 and am desperate to find someone who has the hardware and expertise to transfer my files (old MSWord docs) onto a modern medium I could access via my PC. Do you know where I might turn for such help?

Thanks,
Patrick

Hi Patrick

First you need to find a Mac with a floppy drive that can read your old Mac Plus floppies (hopefully the data hasn't deteriorated - floppies are no archival storage). That may be a bit tricky these days, but there must be someone in your area who still has old Macs around. You may well be able to pick up a machine yourself at a yard sale or on eBay for less than $50 that would do the job for you.

If there is a local Mac users group, you can probably find someone there who would help you out.

Ideally, it would be great to also have a copy of MS Word 5.x available, in which case the best solution would probably be to just open and save all your old files in either RTF or plain text format. Then format floppies in DOS format on the Mac floppy drive and use them to transfer the converted files to your PC.

Tex Edit Plus and presumably other text editors can open Word 3, 4, and 5 documents, albeit without formatting preserved, and save them as plain text, which would salvage the contents for you.

The shareware application ICWord can read and translate Word 5 documents into RTF and Text formats.

Hope this helps.

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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