Life on the Trailing Edge – Part II

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Date: Friday, April 5th, 2002, 10:02
Category: Archive

I’ve computed on Macs exclusively since 1984 and was having mixed feelings about the transition to OSX. I fooled around with X on another partition for the first two months I had my G4 PowerBook, upgrading as many applications and utilities as I could, anticipating the inevitable bump in the road that would occur when I made the big switch.

I was never able to get my Palm V to sync consistently with my new G4 Quicksilver in OS9 but could synchronize perfectly under X once Palm Desktop 4.0 was released, so for this seemingly trivial reason, I committed to booting into X every day and using Classic for just a few critical applications. My feeling of discomfort working in X and getting to all my data while working against deadlines was intense at first. Boy did my productivity drop. I spent three 12 hour days working out a vast number of little glitches and surprisingly, emerged nearly as productive as when I went in. Good thing, since I started the next week very much behind in my work.

Anyone making this jump should block out a big chunk of time to get things sorted out. I would not have been happy working crippled for weeks while making a slow transition. Adrenaline helps. Version Tracker was indispensable. A friend who’s been running X since summer was tapped for advice. Another big help is my trusty 20th Anniversary Mac (500MHz G3) running OS9 at the other end of the office, connected to the peripherals that will never work under X. When all else fails I can push my work to the old machine over the network and just change seats to change my OS . I’m still spending an hour or more a day transitioning.

It’s also expensive to upgrade all your software and abandon perfectly good peripherals at the same time, so budget accordingly. I’ve spent about as much on software upgrades and peripherals as my new Quicksilver G4 cost. It still seems like a bargain since the TiBook, Quicksilver and all the upgrades cost less than my Mac IIfx alone back in 1990. Thank goodness for shareware, since I’ve abandoned some mainstay applications and utilities. My biggest concern was backup software and I could not wait for Personal Backup to make their transition to OSX in early 2003, so I’m using ChronoSync and a bus powered Firewire drive to keep my PowerBook and Quicksilver synchronized.

I wanted a replacement for Action Menus, so I opted for MaxMenus to keep my data at my fingertips. I missed the feedback of Platinum sounds, so Xounds was employed to bring back that familiar element. There was even a replacement for PopChar available as PickChar. Thanks to VueScan I can scan with my Canon 656u in X, but I’m very unhappy that Epson will not support my perfectly good Stylus Photo 1200 printer. In desperation I tried a hacked 1270 driver, but no luck yet. My Photoshop 7 update is pre-ordered, but I almost wonder if Graphic Converter isn’t enough for me. Then there’s the fun stuff like MoonDock, Eggtimer and StickyBrain. I’m floored by the Quartz graphics in Omniweb and the brilliant functionality of Watson. I was also very happy to see my Dazzle 6in1 card reader recognized by iPhoto as soon as I plugged it in to the USB port. OS-X is working very well for me a week into the switch and that’s a good thing, since my G4 PowerBook just lost it’s Firewire port and will be away for repairs.

Many questions came in about the low prices quoted for the G4 PowerBook and Quicksilver. These were both discovered on DealMac and purchased directly from the Apple store with an Apple loan. No payments for 90 days and no interest if paid in 6 months!

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