Going Ten, Part 3: Progressing Slowly

2002 – Let me be right up front and state that it’s going to be a while before I stop booting into Mac OS 9.x to get my work done. I’ve developed habits that depend on classic Mac features like a series of popup windows at the bottom of my screen and being able to select two noncontiguous files in list view without having the OS select everything between them.


Nice as OS X is, and I appreciate more each day, it is a different OS. That’s sometimes forcing me to work differently – which is sometimes good, sometimes bad, and sometimes just different.

That’s the nature of change.

I’ve resolved to work in OS X for a week before I try any enhancements, such as utilities to turn off drop shadows (and increase display speed), try the beta of Default Folder (a program I’ve found invaluable with the classic Mac OS), etc. The first week will be OS X an sich – after that I’ll start tweaking.

AppleWorks 6

No program I’ve used makes the transition to OS X as effortlessly as AppleWorks 6. I didn’t have to download an updater or install a native version to use the OS X version of this workhorse application. All I had to do was double-click any AppleWorks file and watch it open in OS X, not in Classic Mode.

Very, very nice. Very impressive. I wish every program made upgrading to OS X this painless.

Internet Explorer 5.1.3

Maybe it was because I had OS 9.2.2 installed on X-drive (my 2 GB partition that holds OS X and my native X applications), but the first time I launched Internet Explorer, it didn’t ask if I wanted to import all my old bookmarks. Maybe if I’d installed to a clean partition….

Whatever, it’s not hard to use an alias so both versions of IE can share the same set of bookmarks.

iCab 2.7.1

The same goes for iCab, which also has a distinctively different appearance under OS X. Where IE looks almost identical, except for the rounded corners and colored traffic lights, iCab uses a whole different set of icons, as shown in these two snapshots:

iCab for OS X

iCab for Classic Mac OS

While I find the old iCab icons juvenile and uninspired, the new ones seem antiseptic, uninspired, trying too hard to look cool, and not differentiating themselves readily. If there’s one place iCab shouldn’t copy IE, it’s in Microsoft’s blandly monotone browser icons. Next revision, let’s have some color.

For the record, I have been trying to use iCab as my default browser for the past couple weeks. I’m about 50% successful – WebChecker doesn’t link to iCab, and I’ve grown accustomed to IE’s auction manager. That said, I’ve only found a couple places where IE works better than iCab – more on that another time.

GraphicConverter 4.2.1

I downloaded good old reliable GraphicConverter while writing this article. I’ve always preferred it to Photoshop 4 (the only version I have) for creating JPEGs. The only drawback is that GraphicConverter on OS X doesn’t read the registration code from the classic Mac version. I’m going to have to dig up that code….

PowerMail 3.1.1

After so many years of relying on Claris Emailer 2.0 and using it constantly, I think I’ve found a replacement. I’m switching over to PowerMail 3.1 one email account at a time, starting with my mac.com address. I especially like the fact that PowerMail 3.1 (and later) can share an address book, email files, etc. between OS 9 and OS X.

Best of all, I can configure PowerMail to look and work pretty much like an Aquafied version of Emailer. Although there are differences, a lot of things about PowerMail already feel comfortable.

Count on a review of this one later. I’m especially pleased with the clever way it lets me create filters – drag the email to the folder I want it in, open the message, and choose Create Filter. Then click on the new filter button (it looks like a gear) and PowerMail will automatically create a filter to put any message from the sender’s address into that folder. You can change that if you wish, but it’s much friendlier than Emailer’s system.

For the record, PowerMail bills itself as “a lean, mean and efficient alternative” for people who just want email, not all the bloated text stylings Apple, Microsoft, Eudora, and so many others are attempting to pass off as the norm. There’s even a script for PowerMail that will strip HTML from incoming messages.

I haven’t launched Apple’s email client since the Public Beta.

Stuffit Expander 6.5.1

The first time I downloaded a file, Stuffit Expander told me there was a new version available. Very nice. Download the disk image, open it, drag the folder to Applications, and let it do its thing. Nothing exciting to say about it, other than it works as expected.


And there’s one more piece of X-ware I’ve loaded onto my TiBook and the Beige G3 – SETI@home for OS X. I’ve got it set up as a screen saver on the TiBook, and I often have the CPU Monitor running to see how heavily we’re using the 400 MHz G4. Living up to its promise, OS X has no problem letting SETI@home use all available CPU cycles, even when the program is running in the background, but it never makes foreground applications feel sluggish.

SETI@home crunched its first work unit on the 266 MHz Beige G3 in just under 33 hours. We’re on target for about 14-15 hours on the TiBook.

Other Software

Speaking of screen savers, Apple’s beach screen saver has me wanting to get away from the snow and go to the water, the warmth, the green, the sunshine, and the beach.

I haven’t yet tried iTunes under OS X – or even downloaded iPhoto. I also need to upgrade MYOB Account Edge and use the OS X version of BBEdit Lite I’ve installed.

We’ve begun to experiment with the Apache Web server software (access it by turning on Web sharing) on the Beige G3. This will become our family testbed for the kids and I to experiment with PHP, MySQL, and other things before putting them live on our sites.

Closing Thoughts

Is there anything I hate about OS X? Yes, just one thing (at least so far). I hate the way open windows can get behind the Dock so you can’t grab the resize corner. Because the Dock is translucent, you can see the corner, but you can’t grab it and resize your window.

The normal solution would be to put the Dock on the right, but right now I have X-Launch, a classic Mac OS application launcher, over there – and if I swapped X-Launch and the Dock around, X-Launch would hide those popup windows I’m so fond of.

Speaking of the Dock, I quickly discovered that magnifying the icons may look cool in a demo, but I didn’t like it in practice. No problem – easy to turn off.

I’m spending about one-third of my time in OS X. It’s great for surfing, but some classic applications are kinda sluggish (particularly uploading changes to Low End Mac in Claris Home Page) – and I miss those popup windows. Yes, I’ve put aliases to them in the Dock, but it’s not the same.

It’s going to be a long, slow transition, and I don’t foresee the day that I won’t need or want the Classic environment. (I’ve got one game going back to the Mac II era that plays just fine – and I doubt the long discontinued Solitaire Royale will ever be ported to OS X.).

Keywords: #macosx #osxpuma

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