Shareware and AppleScript
I can’t believe I only just discovered ATPM. I have be an avid Mac user forever. As a shareware developer I have been lobbying the print Mac media to give more coverage to shareware in their magazines. I am delighted to see that Shareware Roundup is a regular feature in your publication. I also like that you provide useful instruction and articles related to AppleScript.
In my opinion, shareware and AppleScript are both fundamental to the Macintosh community and, therefore, to the Macintosh platform itself. Shareware provides inexpensive solutions for everyday users while AppleScript gives those same users the power to interact with their computer in very personal and powerful ways.
Overall, ATPM seems to me to be perfectly attuned to the needs of everyday Macintosh users, providing up-to-date, pertinent information while avoiding all the technobabble that often accompanies this kind of reporting. I will miss no more issues of ATPM. I have subscribed and look forward to future issues as well as browsing through the back issues. Thanks for providing such a valuable resource. And for free too!
Multiple Monitors on a Notebook
I have a Mac PowerBook G3 (Bronze Keyboard) and have one external VGA CRT monitor attached to the VGA out. Is it possible to connect a second VGA CRT or LCD for a total of three monitors, each acting as one virtual desktop (vs. mirroring)? Is it possible with this notebook? Also, is it possible with the new Titanium PowerBooks?
No—you can only use one external monitor with your laptop. If you want to use more than one, you would have to rig up something fancy with the PC card slot. You could either find a video PC card compatible with the Mac, or you could use a PC card expansion chassis that provides PCI slots, and then you could plug one or more video boards into the PCI slots. This would not be a portable setup, but it would work. —Evan Trent
My two cents worth: your reviews of new software programs are the best thing about ATPM. The freeware application Locator, reviewed in your latest issue for example, is a jewel.
Sherlock on my G3 is slooooow to launch and slooooow to search my hard drive. On the other hand, Locator is close to instantaneous.
If you haven’t reviewed Carbon Copy Cloner or LiteSwitch X, may I recommend that you do so. I use them both; others would probably find them very worthwhile to download and use.
LiteSwitch X is mentioned in this month’s “What’s Under the Hood,” and an article slated for October will discuss Carbon Copy Cloner. We welcome reader submissions, so if you know of a cool product that we haven’t reviewed, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org. —Eds
You’ve expressed my concerns quite well.
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I upgraded to OS X, no matter what I had to do. I bought a new printer and will buy a new scanner. I also bought a new eMac. Not having a “frozen” Mac since December is priceless.
—Gustavo J. Llavaneras S.
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One thing I disagree with is the “high prices” [that you say] developers are charging for their Mac OS X upgrades. Please take in to consideration the major development time and energy involved in revamping software for this new OS. There’s a lot of engineering, testing, etc. and time that goes in to it. I’d argue that it is a bargain to get some of these upgrades.
—Jennifer Watson, Aladdin Systems
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Yeah, why doesn’t OS X support my Apple II? Why doesn’t Apple put tons of time and labor into producing completely free operating systems that support every Mac ever made?
Get a grip!
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OS X really looked like it was going to be absolutely revolutionary…Unix with Apple’s ease of use and polish. Wow!
Unfortunately, after using OS X, I have found it to be a second-rate OS.
Don’t get me wrong, I like all the promises of Unix and I have owned Macs since 1988. In fact, I liked my Macs so much that I actually worked at Apple for three years. Because of my experience at Apple, I started my own business doing network consulting and I have Apple to thank for it all.
I would be willing to fully upgrade to OS X if I felt it were superior The money doesn’t bother me in the least.
However, the major problems I have with OS X are:
- It’s slow (yes, my optimized OS 9 machine is faster).
- It includes features that I don’t want to have installed on my computer, namely a Web server, an e-mail server, etc.
- It’s not more stable than a well-set up OS 9 machine. In fact, I have had numerous freezes where OS X couldn’t respond or even force quit.
- It’s complicated. Most users don’t need or care about multi-user computers or logins for that matter. This feature should be optional.
- OS X is huge in terms of the sheer number of files that make up the OS. I don’t know how many of you have noticed but OS X is roughly 40,000 tiny files. This takes a huge amount of time to run a disk utility on to make sure everything is OK.
- OS X doesn’t make it easy to see the crucial files and folders. Most of them are hidden but shouldn’t be.
- Finally, and I know most of you will not like to hear this, I believe that Windows XP is a better-executed OS than OS X currently is. Microsoft did a really good job of migrating and unifying their code base while permitting most of their users to be able to use all their learned skills. With OS X, almost all of the knowledge that I’ve gleaned over 14 years of using the Mac OS is nearly useless. I can’t use any of it to clean up the OS and make it faster or more stable.
And finally…in Apple commercials and print advertising, wasn’t it Apple that made fun of DOS users by saying that you’d never have to memorize a string of text to control or use your Mac? What do they consider the Terminal to be? Unless I’ve missed something, I can’t use my mouse in the terminal, but instead I need to memorize a bunch of Unix commands to get to some of the most basic commands [like empty the trash —Eds]. Why? Is this progress? Also, it was Apple that pioneered the use of metadata to associate documents with applications. Now Apple wants to obliterate that and go to using file extensions. File extensions? On my Mac? Apple used to make fun of this as well on Windows computers. Apple said that to use a Mac you’d never have to use a file extension.
I guess things really have changed…and not for the better.
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I am ashamed to read all of the garbage written by these so-called Mac users. All right, don’t upgrade your Mac. OK, don’t move to OS X. And then when you have your way and spread your doom and gloom and all of us other Mac users are following you instead of the path to the future, please don’t complain when Apple is broke and you have to buy a PC and join the glorious alternative and become a slave to Bill Gates and Microsoft.
The only way Apple can continue to be a lone beacon of elegance and humanity in the world of personal computing is if the company continues to make a profit. And no company stays in business if they don’t make a real profit, and they don’t stay in business for long if they gouge their regular customers.
From my scant knowledge of the costs involved in developing an OS, I think that OS X is a bargain. Sure, I have had to buy new software, but in almost every case the change has not only been to accommodate the new OS but has also brought new features and usability.
I have bought all of the OS X versions including the public beta and have found them all interesting and exciting to use. I run three business and have two Macs and will soon dispense with OS 9 altogether when Canon produces a driver for their N650u scanner.
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Hmm, where to begin. I am a photographer and freelance retoucher and use my G4 400 (AGP) and iBook (600) just about all day long. I was extremely skeptical of OS X when it was first released. I flat out rejected it. I figured I know every little inside and outside to OS 9 and every way to fix it when things went wrong! Well, when I bought my iBook, it came with OS X, so I figured I’d give it a try. As much as I knew OS 9, it is total crap when compared to OS X. I no longer need to know how to fix problems because my computer is more stable than ever. I have been running X for about eight months now and have not even looked back. I have now installed Jaguar and it did speed up my machine incredibly. This is a great operating system, people. You just have to get beyond rejecting it and you will embrace it.
Dear ATPM Readers:
As expected, my August column, Why I Haven’t Switched to Mac OS X, generated numerous responses. Some readers misunderstood my purpose for writing that column and some of the points that I made. To put things in context, in July, a top executive at Microsoft openly complained about poor sales of its OS X version of Microsoft Office. He blamed the poor sales on the fact that many Macintosh users failed to upgrade to OS X. My column pointed out some reasons why Mac users have avoided OS X.
In response to Gustavo J. Llavaneras S.: Avoiding a few OS 9 crashes is not “priceless.” Even if you are willing to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to avoid freezes and crashes, OS X was not the solution. The initial versions of OS X crashed at least as frequently as a stable installation of OS 9.1 or 9.2.
In response to Jennifer Watson of Aladdin Systems: Why am I not surprised that a software developer argues in favor of high-priced upgrades?
In response to Les Brown: My column explained that one reason why many Mac users stick with OS 9 is that their Macintosh hardware is not supported by OS X. I did not expect Apple Computer to make OS X backwards compatible with 680x0 CPUs or even the original PowerPC (G1 and G2) CPUs. I did expect Apple to make OS X compatible with all G3 CPUs, especially since Apple promised us it would be.
In response to Richard Dalziel-Sharpe: Macintosh users have no obligation to buy unneeded or overpriced software just to help Apple Computer’s cash flow. First, Apple Computer is sitting on over four billion dollars in cash and liquid assets. It doesn’t need $129 from me to stay operational. Second, Apple Computer is the vendor and we are the customers. It is the vendor’s responsibility to produce products that appeal to customers. Buying unneeded, shoddy, or overpriced goods is also bad economics: it rewards a company for doing the wrong thing.
In response to Steve: I am glad your OS X experience was so good. However, I do not feel that I rejected OS X. I believe that OS X rejected me and my beige G3s. [An aside: I believe that Apple’s rev 2 beige Power Macintosh G3 is one of the best desktop computers ever made. Full OS X support for those computers would be icing on the cake.] —Gregory Tetrault, ATPM Writer