Mac User For a Month #2

1999: So how’s the Mac user for a month doing? Well, not good. My Power Mac 7200/120 never showed up due to a snafu courtesy of Ubid.

Mac Metamorphosis

After waiting three long weeks for the new addition to the Zoltan family, a big box finally found its way to my doorstep. Feeling like it contained the answers to the universe, I ripped open the box with my bare hands, grabbed the beige piece of electronics, picked it up, looked at it, and saw that it was a monitor! My heart shattered, and I think a few blood vessels exploded.

It has now taken over a week to get this issue cleared up with Ubid. Never before have I encountered a more ridiculous or ludicrous customer service department. In any case, “Zoltar” is on his way and will be here by November 4. His Ultra2 hard drive is really anxious to meet him.

My other source for hardware, We Love Macs!, came through with flying colors, and as I write this, Mac OS 8.1 is installing on my Quadra 605. I booted from my CD-ROM with no problem and then double-clicked the “Install Mac OS 8.1” icon. The install started up flawlessly, so I picked the hard drive I wanted to install to, selected what I wanted to be installed, and the installer took the helm from there.

As usual, this level of simplicity was not achieved easily. This Quadra and I have come a long way together, and there are some corrections I need to make regarding my last tale.

I initially stated that the Quadra 605 had 64 MB of RAM in it (well 68 MB with the 4 MB of RAM on the motherboard). This configuration left the system highly unstable. “The Little Engine That Could” decided that it wouldn’t every chance it got.

Not learning the errors of my PC ways, I once again decided to rip every component I could out the system. However, on this machine there really isn’t much to pull. I removed everything I could and just left a CD-ROM, memory, keyboard, mouse, and monitor. Ever after booting up off the Mac OS 8.1 CD and attempting to access any kind of application, it still crashed.

Some nights later I was thinking that it was a serious hardware problem and that nothing could help my poor Quadra. I then remembered that the first thing I did when I got it home was replace the 16 MB SIMM that came with it with a 64 MB SIMM. “That has to be the answer! The memory!” my mind screamed at me while I was sleeping. (Yes, I dream of computers in my sleep.)

In what I call my Superman maneuver, I sprang to life, jumped off the bed, ripped out the 64 MB SIMM, put back the 16 MB SIMM, and flicked the power switch. As inner instinct had pointed out, “The Little Engine That Could” could again.

Apple does not officially support 64 MB or 128 MB SIMMs in the Quadra 605, but I have heard of cases where it has been done. The memory chip in question was single-sided, 60ns, and EDO. Being that the chip was EDO may have been the answer why I had so many problems, but when I find the answer I will be more than happy to share it with you.

Mac OS 8.1 has been running for a few hours without a glitch. The install completed its task and was kind enough to give control back to me. I took a deep breath, then flipped the power switch. The system booted in less than 30 seconds! (Try doing that on a 486 with Windows 95.)

A friendly “Installation Assistant” was the next thing I saw on my screen after booting. This feature I didn’t particularly care for. I love the fact that the Macintosh is friendly, but that’s too friendly for my tastes.

Performance is much better than I expected. While it can’t do everything at the speed of light, it sure tries to. Despite the performance issues, I am trying to use the Quadra for all my day-to-day tasks. My tasks involve email, web browsing, telnet to work, and a little writing. So far I am very impressed, considering that the Quadra 605 was made six years ago.

Every new experience teaches you a lesson, and I think this lesson is over.