Skip to Content
Skip to Table of Contents

← Previous Article Next Article →

ATPM 16.08
August 2010



How To



Download ATPM 16.08

Choose a format:


On Temptation

I very much agree with your feelings about every new device that comes along every few months—cars, electronics—you name it. I still use Mac OS 10.4 on a Mirror Drive Door Mac desktop along with the later systems available on a MacBook Pro, and some external hard drives.

I like being able to keep a system going that does what I want, and I’ll keep using it until it can’t do that any more.

I finally bought a simple, basic cell phone (they practically give those away these days) that stays off most of the time. I don’t get many calls backed up on it because I don’t give my cell phone number out to anyone but family. I have a regular phone at home with an answering machine—that’s good enough.

I rarely buy anything major new—if you do your homework, you can buy things that will last for years used, and save lots of money—particularly on Apple products. They are really good products…and that’s what makes them so good as used products as well.

As you say—enjoy the quiet…read a book.

—Tad Brillhart

• • •

You are right, it is important to be able to get away from the grid, if only because it’s the only way many of us ever allow ourselves a moment to not be working in some way.

I resisted buying an iPad for a whole month! Now that I’ve bought one, I have to say that: a. it doesn’t really replace anything; b. I find it indispensable. The biggest plus is the ease of reading PDFs. The reading is so enjoyable because you can physically resize things, flip the orientation, etc., in a way that is qualitatively better than on a laptop or desktop. The wonderful application iAnnotate lets you annotate with your finger, which is fun and useful. The one limitation of the iPad is that it’s hard to take notes while you read—it can be done, but you have to be very clever about it.

The iPad is way, way, way more convenient traveling by air, and works very well on the go, e.g., in meetings and stuff for the note-obsessed. It’s far less obtrusive than any laptop or netbook, simply because a clamshell always creates some kind of perceived social barrier, but the orientation of the iPad is not a barrier.

I do laugh as I remember that my first Mac was a Mac Plus, which I suspect has a screen about the size of the iPad’s, though of course the resolution, color, etc., makes the iPad far superior. And I seem to recall paying about $2K for that Mac Plus!

I love the foosball game, too!

I think the iPad is here to stay. I think it will evolve to a. be larger but thinner (the screen space available now is really only good for one window at a time, and to be productive, we need at least two); b. have a virtual keyboard that gives tactile feedback.

—Rand Valentine

What a Waste

I have to ask: were all of these purchases really necessary (i.e., replacing bad/obsolete hardware), or just because you want to keep up with the latest kit? Since 1994, we’ve bought/inherited new and used Macs, etc. and handed them down/around to keep them in use as long as possible. A bro-in-law still uses my son’s ’99 G3 iMac, and the Personal LaserWriter 320 lasted 14.5 yr.

Total hardware/software costs for seven desktops, four laptops, two multifunction devices, five printers, six OS upgrades, seven HDs, 18 cellulars (no iPhones): $24.480/16 yr/6 users = $255/user/yr.

By comparison your £30.000 = $45,600/7 yr/2 users = $3,257/user/yr, or 12.8× as much.

I’m certainly not criticizing—only you can gauge the value of your purchases to your life and well-being (our musical instruments are worth more than all our cars); but it does seem like a lot of money…

I guess my point is that it is possible to have a credible Mac experience on a more modest budget.

Your mileage obviously may vary.

Regards from the US.

—Mike Horstman

They have all been swapped out at about four or five years old or when they have broken (as in laptops) or are unable to keep up with the tasks they are bought to do. The first pair in the series seven years ago, were five years old, and their replacements lasted another five years before being replaced.

These are work machines, and if they make work too slow, the Mac gets the push. The last time was because we needed faster video compression. When a 2 GHz MacBook compresses video quicker than the desktop Mac, it’s time to upgrade.

—Mark Tennent

• • •

Not that I don’t have a drawer full of odds and ends, but I am still using the G4 desktop with a 800 MHz upgrade processor as my home server. Laptops I have been going through more—those clamshell iBook G4s seem to really have problems. I haven’t gotten a new desktop unit in years, and all my laptops are used. One of the reasons I like Apple stuff is generally the lack of waste—a used one can last and last.

—Avery Ray Colter

• • •

Over the years, I’ve learned to slow down that Apple replacement cycle just a bit, but it’s gets hard not to rush out and buy the latest and greatest from Cupertino. We have 4 desktops in the house, complete with LCD monitors, 1 MacBook, 1 iPad, two iPods, one of which lives on my Sony clock radio dock full time, an iPhone 3G that’s going on eBay the second I buy an iPhone 4.

We have old cars too, including a 15-year-old Civic, a ten-year-old GMC pickup, and a 13-year-old Escort. You’ve got to draw the (replacement) line somewhere! :)

I think Macs are a incredible value because their life-cycles are so long. I remember teaching my toddler son on one of the first PowerPC Macs back in 1996, just before the Blue and White G3 hit the stores. I sold that B&W unit to my now current boss, and his kids are using it! Longevity. A term never used in conjunction with PCs. I can apply it to every Mac I ever owned from desktops to laptops. It’s a shame so many people see the price tag on a Mac Pro tower and buy a PC at half the price to find out two years later they bought junk that isn’t worth a dime. Being cheap never pays off.

—Grover Watson

BearExtender n3

Sounds great and just what I need to boost the coverage to my iMac G4 at home. However, the BearExtender doesn’t seem to be readily available in the UK, which is disappointing. They do ship to the UK, but I would then get hit with a hefty delivery charge and presumably customs duty. Shame, as it sounds like just what I need.

—Tony Hacche

The defining feature of the BearExtender is that its vendor attempts to be as Mac-friendly as possible. Other than that, it’s just another USB Wi-Fi device. There are a number of other such devices based on the same Ralink chipset that should work just fine on a Mac, many of which can probably be located in the UK without customs or shipping fees, if you’re willing to put in a little more effort in setup and configuration. I haven’t personally tried any of them, but it’s worth a shot.

—Chris Lawson

BusyCal 1.2

Thanks Frank, for a useful review. I have been trialing BusyCal for about a week now, and while I accept it does have some more features than iCal, BusyCal does have a big let-down for me in its printing department. On my iCal, I have run for ages now, a mix of personal and work calendar groups, and I can thus print a “work only” weekly timesheet in iCal via its hugely useful print configuration step. So for now, if I am going to buy BusyCal, I expect to run it in the foreground, but print via iCal, thanks to their seamless syncing.

BusyCal’s tags is an interesting feature, one with a lot more potential. For my use, I would like to have a calendar application with something like tags, which can sync with say a FileMaker or Bento database of job numbers and job names, to provide a context sensitive pick-list. My impression from some shallow-depth searching is that iCal can be made to do this, so I wouldn’t be surprised if BusyCal could, too.

—Simon Woodward

A Tutorial on Resolution

I have been searching for a simple, concise explanation and yours was perfect, I finally get it! Thank you so much!

—Shannon Miller

Glad you found it useful.

—Lee Bennett

LogTen Pro 5.1.4 and LogTen Mobile 2.4.1

Thanks, Chris. Your review has been most helpful. I’m also a regional FO that has been procrastinating on the purchase of an e-logbook, and your candid words have been insightful. This will positively influence my decision to take the leap.


Coping With Mac OS X’s Font Rendering

I just got my first Mac, and though I’ve used them before, I never realized how much I’d be bothered by the font they use. Everything just looks somewhat blurry to me, and it’s bothering my eyes.

I’ve tried using TinkerTool to get rid of the blur, which helps some. I wish there were a default option somewhere to display Windows-style fonts.

I may have to install Windows 7 so I can use this baby. :(

—Adam Capriola

PowerBook G4 Titanium

I’ve owned my Titanium PowerBook G4 since 2002 and have used it every day since. These days it is too slow to run any applications with efficiency but still surfs the Internet like a champ. As far as breakage, the only thing that has gone wrong is my optical drive. Apparently the weight of my hand over the years has crushed the optical drive.

I am buying a new laptop (PC for cost) and am still planning on using this PowerBook G4 for surfing the Internet without concern of viruses, spyware etc.

I am so impressed with this machine that I can’t endorse it enough. I can only hope my new Lenovo W510 will last as long.

—Greg Cart

Also in This Series

Reader Comments (0)

Add A Comment

 E-mail me new comments on this article