Thursday, February 28, 2002

MAC GEEK STUFF
In preparation for Natalie's new iMac, I installed OSX on a partition of my G4 to experiment and learn. I'd heard of many OSX problems, so I waited until version 10.1.3. Here are a few details for those considering the move.

1) OSX is really smooth. The graphics, the dock, the look of the screen and finder are a bit different than OS9, but I got used to them quickly and now love them all. The system speed is fine on my 400 mhz G4 Tower.

2) OSX is much simpler than OS9. There are no more extensions, control panels or memory allotment issues. 95% of the time, crashes are localized and only affect the program itself, not the system. In short IE5 can crash, you quit it and restart it instantly. A pre-defined system of folders keeps everything pretty neat. Newbies will love this, OS9 users - especially those who toss icons all over the desktop - might be a bit confused for a while.

3) Networking (especially complicated networking) is a problem. I got Airport working instantly, but I still haven't figured out how to make my Laser Printer (connected via Appletalk, ethernet and AsanteTalk) to appear and function in OSX.

4) If OSX does see your printer (anything USB is fine), the Print Center is simple and renders the Chooser obsolete.

5) The Classic environment works pretty well, although I notice that when it's open, it can create a drag on some OSX apps (namely IE5.1 and AppleWorks 6.2.2).

As for software, I find that desktop publishing as well as sound and video editing still require OS9. Yes, Final Cut 3 is OSX native, but I don't own that yet (I just got FCP2!). And Photoshop is just coming out for OSX. But for the average user, everything necessary to work is now ready in OSX. To wit:

> BROWSER - IE 5.1 is dandy, although I just download Omniweb and Opera to check them. IE5.1 seems much more stable in OSX than IE5.0 did in OS9.

> FTP - Fetch charges $25 for it's OSX version and it doesn't even support Drag and Drop. Ooops. I went with SimpleFTP instead ($15 shareware). It's clean, well-designed and looks good in Aqua.

> MP3/CD BURNER - iTunes is excellent for playback and ripping, although it doesn't support my old Que burner. I still like Roxio's Toast best and it has an OSX version available for free download (if you own Toast 5). The download also comes with a teriffic media viewer app (iViewMedia), which handles, images, videos, sound, everything. I will probably keep Toast even after I get a OSX-support burner - I just like it better than iTunes for burner discs.

> PRODUCTIVITY - Appleworks 6.2.2 os OSX native, but I've always hated this version (graphically, it was a huge step in the wrong directon from the excellent Appleworks 5). I would love to get the latest MS Office, but I hate the security restrictions (you can't install it to two different machines). Anyone have a good idea about a Word Processor that's OSX ready, reads/saves MS Word files and is cheap/free?

> MAIL - Goodbye Eudora. OSX comes with a great built-in Mail app. No ads, no problems. Needless to say, Outlook Express was forgotten long ago, when it became the conduit for so many viruses.

> DIGITAL CAMERA - iPhoto (free download from Apple) is amazing for organizing and publishing digitial photos. It builds web pages automatically, creates photo books from your pictures, offers greeting card templates and much more. It's a lot like iTunes in set-up, but it lacks serious image editing tools (no doubt Adobe got pissed about iPhot infringing on its Elements space and put a foot down). This is really more of a media organizer, although it's only for images - it doesn't import video, which sucks because I do a lot of that with my digitial still camera. I'll still use the Canon Image Broswer.

> SCREEN CAPTURE - OSX offers a bult-in utility called GRAB, which does this nicely. You can even define the portion of the screen to be captured.

>iTOOLS - Apple's iDisk is still to slow to be useful, even with my broadband connection.

>PALM - Palm software doesn't work in OSX

BTW - insallation of the new programs is much easier with OSX. Just click and that's it - there are no more Control Panels or Extensions to load separately.

So in short, I'm doing all I can to work only in OSX - it's that much fun. And it'll be nice to jettison all those useless programs I had sitting around for OS9 that I really didnb't need. It's time to purge.

If anybody's out there working with OSX, let me know how it's going for you and any goodies you find.

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