Archive for June, 2015

Classic Mac OS 9; Still Getting Stuff Done (Here Comes The Nostalgia.)

Posted in Tech on June 15, 2015 by Q

This is fun. I do this once in a while.

So, while both cost, demographic, and other stuff pretty much shy me away from what is now Apple Inc., part of me will always very sincerely miss what was “Apple Computer Inc.”

I grew up with Apple, and can even remember things as far back as kindergarten. Ours was the first in the county to get a computer, and we had a spankin’ new Apple 2e. My teacher, whom I still remember, was Mrs. Edwards, and she had a cover she kept over both the unit and another for the green screen. We had some simple number games and shapes games that we occasionally got to play, I thought that was so cool. Flashing forward a small bit; It wasn’t however till I was five (in fact just a few months away from age six), Christmas, my step-dad got me one single present, and it was a Mac SE. That little black and white all-in-one changed my life. It’s funny to me how he got it too; he was a commercial and industrial architect and did some big projects, and wouldn’t you know it, there was so many of this particular computer being installed in a facility and the poor thing was lost in the shuffle. Oh me oh my.

He was in fact using Windows/DOS PCs at the time but all the schools were big on Apple and he wanted me to have just that, so he got me one. There was a point when my parents would have to force me to go play outside, I couldn’t be separated from playing with my computer or if not that, my Nintendo. Yep, you have a classic geek on hand.

As I got older, there were just a couple other models of Mac I had been given as I had some of my machines for several years of my school career. I was in my early teens when I learned of who Steve Jobs was and was without a doubt the stereotypical cultish loyalist people make fun of today. I was so in love with what a badass Steve Jobs was, hated PCs and was totally into the original Mac vs PC, or Apple vs Microsoft flame wars, and it was so damn fun. The teachers all loved the Mac, a lot (but not all) of my friends hated the Mac simply because it was a staple of school, and I believe that to be true since some didn’t even have a computer in their home. As for me, I kept diaries (oh, I meant uh, Journals, that’s less girly sounding eh?), had my games and schoolwork, pretty much anything I could do on my computer I did. I was on my machine for hours a day, no matter what grade I was in. The internet and it’s dialup glory was awesome too. I remember the old black and white days, let alone dialing into Prodigy and AOL.

Broadband brought me into gaming online a bit, I know I did my share of Warcraft 2, which mainstream gaming on the Mac was limited, but it was a part of my history too. Moving on, the last Mac I ever got as a gift was a bondi blue iMac candy shell all in one, it was my computer for high school and by the by, while not used for much I still have that very machine laying around and it still works. I tend to sleep to music so my old Mac is loaded up with music and playlists. It’s funny to look back now at the ripe old age of 33 and check out some of my old papers and school projects that I have on there. I will definitely need to show those to my daughter when she’s a lot older. It’s awesome too, because of having that iMac, I was ahead a little bit of my school. My high school had mostly Mac and some PCs, our big computer lab in particular was all Mac, but they were some old Performas and Quadras. Ah, the memories. I did get my kicks out of the way some people would struggle with using those Macs and didn’t know how to do much because they were so used to Windows, whereas I had complete mastery. Maybe it’s a bit crass to have been amused by that, or some prickish nerd pride, who knows.

So, a little later after graduating, I came across a used G3 and used dual-core G4 tower at a local shop for near nothing (though it helps a good friend of mine worked there), and those are where my Mac buying ended. You see, having grown up and been so emotionally loyal, loving and obsessed with Mac, I naturally knew everything a Mac power user (if that actually existed) could know about the OS. Manipulating extensions, ways to trick the OS into certain things, I mean I really knew my systems other than how to actually write code, that never interested me much. As such, saying I love/loved Mac OS is a severe understatement. When OS X was introduced I was a tad disgusted if not just disappointed. It was such a severe departure from the interface and user experience of what was the last true Mac OS: Mac OS 9.

This is what makes me weird if not laughable to the rest of the human race, because of all the advantages of OS X’s underlying framework, I hated it. I had tried OS X 10.2 to be specific and was miserable with that damn interface. I was so comfortable with classic Finder and wanted that shit back. I missed every little detail, from the sounds and the designs of the widgets, the layout of my desktop, everything. I always disabled that control strip in OS 9 and was desperate to remove the dock which really can’t happen (it can but it breaks things.)

The big announcement comes out then that Apple is ditching Power PC (which I believed whole heartedly was superior) to Intel, and that signaled the death of Apple for me. I still very much loved and respected Steve Jobs, and held it as my own fault that I couldn’t love “modern” Apple. I hung on to using Mac OS 9 as my daily driver for quite a long time after that, and it slowly become more and more unusable for internet stuff as the web continued to evolve and the browsers at hand didn’t. Besides that though, I could still do a lot. I also was becoming quite proficient with Slackware Linux and for the most part, up until five years ago or so, that was my daily driver, not to mention a brief experiment with FreeBSD. Oh yes, BitPusher does love the WindowMaker UI. Anyway, I was already done and then that announcement about “we’re changing the name to Apple Inc and dropping the word computer from our name”…well, different company for sure now.
***

Excluding that iMac by my bed I sleep too, I fired up my old G4 tower, signed into my old ICQ and AIM accounts for fun, and began playing. All of my old emulators and games work, I still have Appleworks, and some other toys that run perfectly smooth and well.

So, still getting stuff done? Yeah, I can use my beloved old OS and accomplish some stuff. I have an old Brother brand laser printer that connects via USB to scan and print stuff with. I also had added a four-port USB 2.0 card to this Mac to expand it’s capabilities. 2gb of ram is probably way more than OS 9 would need but it’s great. So, that said, I have Appleworks for word processing, I have Audacity for audio stuff which is a fun experiment. Using the RCA prosound mod on my Gameboy, I recorded audio to the old girl and it recorded and manipulates raw audio smoothly, so for whatever, I will do my future chiptune recording on this old Mac and audacity has what I need to clean up or modify my mixes as I see fit. I can also fire up the assorted emulators I have for when I’m in the mood for some old school gaming and they all run so smoothly and perfectly, very happy about that. I can mount thumb drives and external hard drives to move stuff around, and I can burn data and audio CDs. As for the web, it’s still a struggle. I am writing this very post on OS 9 thanks to some tweaking to a browser called Classilla. It is a classic Mac browser built and surprisingly still maintained based on Mozilla. There are still a lot of websites I can’t load up, and a few you can make happen although quite sloppy like if you play around with the browser agent. Excluding internet browsing (not entirely), there is still an awful lot of daily “givens”, mounds of basic stuff people would take for granted, that OS 9 can still do with ease. It feels so good to be actually using OS 9 again, it was always so good to me and apparently I am an overly-emotional sucker for nostalgia. I mean yeah, I’m far beyond childhood now but I can’t quite let some of those memories go and miss it all very very fondly. It’s good to know that if the only working machine I had available to me was one of my OS 9 Macs, I could still get a lot done. Rest In Peace classic and traditional Mac OS, your memory will live on a bit longer with me.
–BitPusher

Busy Personal Life Stuff, Not Out Though.

Posted in Personal on June 6, 2015 by Q

Indeed, I haven’t touched LSDJ for a little while, haven’t even had an inkling of inspiration for a little while because I’ve been quite busy with that whole adulthood thing.

After 10 years at my job, I recently worked out a two week resignation to begin a new job which is definitely going to be a nice increase in income. This all seemed to move so quickly, and talk about nervous. It felt weird to do the whole resume and interview thing again, and now that I’ve completed the orientation thing, I’ve got alot of new stuff to learn in short order. A friend of mine has been at this job and more or less talked me into it, just something too hard to pass up. I had supervisory status, tenure and job security, and I threw all that away, a gamble, to make a better income for myself. Hopefully, I didn’t just make the biggest mistake of my life.

Suffice it to say, I have been under some stress, but I find myself beginning to miss making my horrible attempts at dropping some kickass chiptunes. I suppose at some point I may yet get to finish my Gameboy album, but in the meantime, shit may finally getting better for me. Time will soon tell.

As a brief side note, I just found out that my main man, my most favorite rapper and lyricist since I just a kiddo (the Prime Minister Pete Nice of 3rd Bass) has a Twitter page at @haulsofshame. This is all for his baseball history project, but hell, I’m just glad to see the man still active in something. I wish so much he’d come back and start making some music again.

Alright folks, much love to my two or three listeners 🙂 Later.
–BitPusher