Charles Moore's Mailbag

Quitting Lion, Bypassing Flash, Chill Mat Fan Failure, and More

Charles Moore - 2011.09.15 - Tip Jar

Lion: I Quit

From Troy:

I tried to swallow the new flavor of the Kool-Aid: OS X 10.7 Lion. I bought it, installed it on my iMac Core 2 Duo and on my MacBook Pro. I tried to work with the backwards scrolling, tried to like the new iOS style apps, tried to like the new way Mail is formatted by default, and tried as hard as I could to do without some of my favorite games (SimCity 4 Rush Hour in particular), but I could take it no longer. Sure, I could tweak, but why should I have to?

So I spent $30 on iPartition and installed OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard there. The more I am back in Snow Leopard, the more I am thinking it is time to ditch Lion.


Hi Troy,

The more reports I hear from frustrated and disgruntled Lion users, the more thankful I am that I resisted the impulse to upgrade my Core 2 Duo Aluminum MacBook to give Lion a look-see in service. I'm now anticipating that Snow Leopard may be the end of the upgrade road for this machine, the way that OS X 10.4 Tiger has been for my Pismo PowerBooks.

That's fine for the immediate future, but the Mac OS world will move on, and the conundrum for me - still far from resolved - is whether I will move along with it. I suppose I probably will eventually, but not with a spring in my step and a song in my heart.

I still harbour faint hope that Apple may be brought to its senses by a user revolt, but that's likely fanciful. I don't think there is probably a large enough cohort of Mac power user veterans dismayed enough to boycott Lion to exert sufficient pressure. The best we can probably realistically hope for is that Apple can be persuaded to fix some of Lion's more egregious shortcomings and/or make some of the "iOS-ified" feature set optional and restore traditional Mac OS conventions, and that's likely optimistic. Apple didn't invest heavily in setting up the iCloud infrastructure to change course now, so we'll have to like it or lump it.

This week, The Register's Tony Smith, a longtime Mac user, remarked that he and his colleagues at The Reg who made the mistake of upgrading quickly wonder if Lion may turn out to be the biggest boon Windows has ever had in the Mac/Windows OS wars. Smith observes that least they can, with some difficulty, "downgrade" (in this instance a misnomer) to Snow Leopard, as you've done, but that's alas not an option for owners of Mid 2011 and future Mac models who are stuck with Lion and whatever follows it. Consequently, he's calling on the Hackintosh community to develop a hack that will allow the real Mac OS X, Snow Leopard, to run on Mid 2011 and later Macs.

Sounds like something we should be encouraging.


End of Apple USB Modem Support

From RL in response to Lack of USB Modem Support Could Be a Lion Deal Breaker:

I couldn't agree more. It's such a trivial thing, but it pisses me off that they couldn't be bothered to support the modem they sold less than three years ago. Yeah, I could put out another $50 to get a compatible one, but seriously? I don't rely on a modem for dialup, but I do use it for onscreen caller ID, occasional faxing, and automatic dialing.

And Rosetta would have been nice too. I've spent days looking for a suitable replacement for Quicken. And the nanny OS? No thanks. It all makes me really despise Apple, or what it has become. I agree they have contempt for perfectly functional older technologies.

If you know of a place where venting might actually get someone at Apple to listen, I'd love to hear about it.

Hi RL,

Apple listen? They don't even do focus group market research. Or at least they didn't with Steve Jobs as CEO.

To be fair, they did put a second USB port in the second-generation iBook after finally adding a FireWire port to the original clamshell iBook design late in its product life. Then they took the FireWire port away again in the Late 2008 Unibody MacBook. Then put it back in the Early 2009 13" MacBook Pro. Then released the first-generation MacBook Air with only one USB port and no FireWire. Then added a second USB port in the second generation Air, with a Thunderbolt port added to the first revision. And so it goes.

I expect that they do pay some attention to customer and pundit critique, but rarely act on it.

I fear that we're stuck with the nanny-OS.


Bypassing Flash

From David in response to PowerPC and Flash:


Excellent suggestions regarding bypassing Flash on PPC; I have a couple more:

DownloadHelper extension in TenFourFox. Download Flash or MP4 files from most Flash sites and play them in anything, VLC, QuickTime with Perian etc. Also, there is the FlashVideoReplacer extension that uses QuickTime plugin instead of Flash. Works okay, a little buggy on my Mac though. Herr Kaiser is also working on a neat little TenFourFox haxie that hands off some web video content to QuickTime. Works quite well but is very beta right now. None of the above help with Farmville or anything Facebook, but honestly growing virtual crops has never been my thing, and I got off of Facebook when I hit 123 friends. Something was very amiss: I have never had 123 total friends in my life, period.

Also, one can always try out MintPPC. From your recent round tables, I know you LEM guys aren't fans of Linux, but I have MintPPC on my iBook G4, and I gotta tell you, it's a fracking revelation. Iceweasel 6 is hellaciously - almost mindblowingly - fast, renders perfectly, and runs circles around TenFourFox. Above methods work well for 80% of the web video I want to watch, on Linux FlashVideoReplacer uses Gnome Mplayer, and it works way better than QuickTime on Mac OS X. There is a project called Lightspark to bring an open source Flash to PPC Linux; so far it doesn't work well in MintPPC. Developer is looking at porting Gnash, but that won't get us more than Flash 10.0 equivalency, if it even works.

over and out

Dr. Dave

Hi Dr. Dave,

Thanks for the comment and suggestions.


Using YouView for YouTube on PowerPC Macs

From Sebastian P.:

Dear Charles,

in your recent mailbag you discuss the options for PowerPC users wanting to watch YouTube videos. A while ago I discovered an application that allows to browse, watch, convert, and download YouTube videos. It was specifically designed for us PPC Tiger folks. I put it on our family's PowerBook G4 (1.33 GHz, 1 GB RAM), which had trouble playing YouTube videos. Thanks to YouView it works fine again. I thought you might like to add that to your next mailbag.

Don't forget to send the author a small donation if you're satisfied, hopefully encouraging him to do more updates in the future :-)

Best Regards from Germany


My blog: We're "Obsolete"? Who Cares!

Hi Sebastian,

Thanks for the helpful information.

My wife watches quite a bit of YouTube video on our old 17" 1.33 GHz G4 PowerBook, but it's running Leopard and has 1.5 GB of RAM, which I assume helps somewhat.


Chill Mat Fan Failure

From John, following up on Chill Mat for Mac:

Hey, Charles,

Since I emailed you, one of the two fans in the Chill Mat quit working. I think it's just a loose connection, as when I whack it on the frame near the fan and then start it up, the dead fan tries to run but then quits. It doesn't really matter though, because I mostly use the mat without the fan(s) on. I find that the mesh top and bottom allow a lot of natural airflow while keeping my lap cool.

As far as laptops go, I intend to use this 1.67 GHz G4 as long as I can. It's plenty fast, and its only shortcomings are the 2 GB RAM ceiling and the choppy video performance on certain websites. As a matter of fact, right now I'm listening to the audio of an NFL Tennessee Titans video, and that video plays perfectly. Others apparently are denser, however, and play at varying rates.

My wife is a high school computer teacher at our church's school, and she has the latest MacBook Pro (MBP) that the school provides. Our college son, the baby of the family, has a 2006 or 2007 MBP that I got for him on LEM Swap two-plus years ago. No. 1 daughter just finished her dermatology residency at Vanderbilt, and part of her deal was the medical center bought her the computer of her choice. She went for a 17" MBP, which she likes very much. No. 2 daughter in Atlanta, having been raised on Macs, convinced her PC husband to get an Intel iMac and an iPad. We're pretty well covered.

Keep up the good work.


Hi John,

It probably is a bad connection as you suspect, but still annoying. Should be grounds for a warranty replacement or repair.

My wife is still getting great service from our old 17" 1.33 GHz PowerBook.

Sounds like you have a great family of Mac enthusiasts!


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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 and a columnist at If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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