All systems normal

So far, so good. Two more OS updates and we'll have a casual relationship with the 21st century.

So far, so good. Two more OS updates and we’ll have a casual relationship with the 21st century.

One down, two to go. I forgot we also have a Mac Mini in need of an OS upgrade. But the cute li’l Cupertino doorstop only has 2 GB of memory, which is the bare minimum, so I’ve ordered up some mo’.

The MacBook Air install went smooth like butter. The whole process took a shade over two hours, with a long-ass download, a couple-three restarts and six app’ updates. But that’s my newest machine, a mid-2012 model, so it should be open to new experiences; the Mini dates to mid-2010, and the iMac to 2009.

The Air is for lightweight road trips when an iPad won’t cut the mustard. For heavy duty I haul an old black MacBook, ’cause it has software I don’t care to upgrade, like Word and Photoshop and all the other high-falutin’ gewgaws, thingamajigs and comosellamas a fella likes for professional rumormongery of the finest quality. That beast is too long in the tooth to run Mavericks; it’s pegged at Snow Leopard.

The Mini is for watching TV at Chez Dog, and I back up work-related items to it whenever I get The Fear (I also use SuperDuper and Time Machine with an external Firewire drive for regular clones/backups).

And the iMac is The Main Device. It’s how most of the Mad Dog media is generated, save for the cartoons, which get done the hard way — drawn in pencil, then inked, and finally scanned into a superannuated 1999 G4 “Sawtooth” AGP Graphics Power Mac, where I apply color using Classic mode and a full CMYK version of Photoshop (4!) that I got for free with a scanner about a thousand years ago. Hey, it still works.

I thought I might do the iMac today, too, but wimped out. Paranoia strikes deep, as the fella says, and I’d like to fiddle with the Air a bit to make sure it didn’t lose a kidney to Somali pirates or something during the operation.

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20 Responses to “All systems normal”

  1. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    I will be interested in how the 2009 iMac does with the upgrade since that is the same machine I am on right now. It is our only real ‘puter since the other two devices are an iPad and iPod Touch. I am thinking the iPad will be replaced this year. The Touch is a relic but is a reliable backup for all music and photo files, and does duty as a “juke box’ in the hobby room through a Airport Express router hooked up to a stereo receiver.

  2. Steve O Says:

    Free upgrades is an interesting marketing move. Software has always been free money. Doesn’t require fossil fuels, chromoly, or anything else save pizza and lattes for the coders.

    But I’m betting someone ran the numbers and guessed that we’re pretty close to the point where everything is disposable. Crazy that we talk about 4-5 year old machines like they are relics.

    There was an episode of the Twilight Zone where the bookworm survives the neutron bomb, finds himself alone with an entire library at his disposal, only to break his reading glasses. A more likely scenario is, a small group survives the end times, finds a three ring binder labeled “Everything You Need To Know Survival Manual,” only to find it’s filled with 5 1/4 floppies and no one can find a machine that will read them.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I hang onto my relics, m’man. But while they are more versatile in many respects, they are increasingly less useful. Browsing a modern Internet on my G3 “Pismo” PowerBook from 2000 is a slow, painful experience. Even the G4 PowerBook (2005) struggles to keep up.

      But shit, try to find any of these modern whizbangs that will read a floppy, a Zip disk, or even a CD or DVD in some cases. And God help you if you have to do some work under the hood. You need an advanced degree in applied engineering to install memory in some of the sonsabitches.

      People will be throwing these things out with the grapefruit rinds in a couple years, if they aren’t already.

      • Opus the Poet Says:

        Might I suggest Ubuntu for your older machines? I kept a PIII running through the entire first decade of the 21st Century under Ubuntu until an unrepairable hardware failure put the box in the recycle center.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Opus, I don’t have much experience with Linux, but my few brushes with it indicate that it’s an OS for folks who really like twisting wrenches under the hood. Me, I just wanna drive ’em, not work on ’em.

    • Patrick O'Brien Says:

      The iMac parade in this house consisted of a replacement about every 5 years starting with the translucent blue original bought at the local Sears store. They all have been reliable and easily usable up until Apple’s pissing contest with Flash. I was resigned to replacing this iMac this year, but might go one more year.

  3. Larry T. Says:

    We got Toshiba Portege’s here. Tiny lil’ things that are cheap (as long as you don’t buy ’em new) VERY portable and reliable. I send one of the 3 or 4 we keep on-hand out to some folks in San Diego every few years to be scrubbed, get solid-state drives installed (if they haven’t already been installed) and general tune and services..while keeping the others in rotation. A couple hundred $ a year keeps us in ‘puters though we don’t do any high-quality graphic stuff, just Quickbooks for CycleItalia and lots of Power-points and the like for the one who says….”people are…….”.
    I want to avoid the cult of A or I – for as long as possible…kind of a “who do I dislike less….Steve Jobs or Bill Gates?”

    • David R Says:

      Hell Larry, if I bought, or didn’t bought, things based on who I didn’t dislike less, I don’t think I be buying much of anything. The Apple/Mac thing for me is completely based on how the interface works for my brain. I’m not a computer guy, but I’m on one every day, and the Mac way of working, viewing and moving files, downloading stuff – well, all of it – works for me. Is it perfect? Far from it. But when I’m at my father’s house, working on his PC with the latest Micro$oft OS, I just tear [what’s left of] my hair out in frustration.

      • veloben Says:


        Years ago when I worked in the software industry supporting mainframe code (as a librarian to librarians) the Engineers would come in every Monday morning telling tales of how they wrestled whatever “Must be Installed’ Windows update into submission and on to their PCs. When I made the ‘mistake’ one day of relating now the upgrade to Mac OS 8 took like 45 minutes and went over flawlessly I got looked at like I was some kinda space alien.

        I rode to work most everyday and still not manly enough for a bunch of software engineers.

        Still my life was considerably better with all the additional riding time I had not spending 3 hours on an install.

        The Mac stuff works and until I got this new Mac Book Pro uni body I could do hardware installs and upgrades like memory, WiFi cards, new hard drives with minimal research.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        Exasperating, isn’t it? I bought the AGP Graphics tower from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News for the cost of shipping it from California to Colorado (about $50) and went to town on it.

        I maxed out the RAM and added an Airport card, replaced the optical drive, installed a second internal hard drive, upgraded the processor card and USB card, you name it. It was my main workhorse for years.

        Now it looks like we shade-tree mechanics can’t even upgrade the damn’ memory in the new iMacs. Consarned newfangled gizmos anyway. …

      • Larry T. Says:

        Well, I avoid shopping at Wal-Mart or buying Rapha stuff either…but that’s just me. And we don’t really buy much of anything these days, but maybe you’ve hit on something – the whole Apple/I-crap marketing spiel is pretty much “you are what you buy” an idea that just rubs me the wrong way.
        We’re still using the ancient XP Micro-crap stuff, which seems to be plagued by far less issues than the newest-latest versions. This is no ringing endorsement, it’s just like voting – the lesser evil kind of thing.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I started using Macs in the late Eighties, when we had a Mac SE for downloading Associated Press graphics at The New Mexican. They’ve been the ideal machines for me — they get out of the way and let me work, mostly, and I can do some basic troubleshooting when they act up. I’m comfortable with the Mac OS, and I’m getting used to iOS.

      Now Herself, being younger and more resilient, bounces around from Windows to the Mac OS to iOS without a bobble. And the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation helped her get her masters in library science, so chapeau to the other side of the technological turnpike, too.

    • Steve O Says:

      Larry, stumbled onto this a decade ago, and it needs tweaks here and there, but the basic theme holds true.

      Click to access scholar1.pdf

      It’s not that I’m an Apple fan. I just think they suck less. I waste less time on their devices. It’s not a slam dunk by any means. In my book, they win by a tire width, not by 30 minutes after a first km breakaway.

  4. David R Says:

    “Relics” indeed. The [much] better half has been flogging a MacBook Pro since late 2006, running 10.4 Tiger, and the damn thing has been flawless. The problem now cropping up is a support issue. There are websites she visits that don’t want to play nice with 10.4 and Apple, of course, stopped supporting it years ago. She’s even got a “you better gityershit together” notice from Firefox announcing, basically, that soon you won’t be able to go there either. If you don’t want/need to go to the ‘Tubes, and use the machine as a basic workstation for writing, editing, photo work and the like, then everything is jake. Later, who knows.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      David, has she tried Opera, iCab or SeaMonkey as a substitute for Firefox? That might keep the old beast hobbling along for a while yet.

      Also, an upgrade to Snow Leopard (OS 10.6.8) might help extend the functional life of her Mac. I run Tiger on the G4 PowerBook, the AGP Graphics tower and the G3 iBook, but I run Snow Leopard on the black MacBook, the iMac and the Mini, and it chugs right smack along. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been in no hurry to take The Great Leap Forward to Mavericks. If it ain’t broke. …

  5. veloben Says:

    Nice Buffalo Springfield reference.

  6. Patrick O'Brien Says:

    Bigger, harrier, and close to the ground. Did you see the prophet on Mystery Mountain?

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