Archive for the Tech Category

iMiss The Old Days Of Apple.

Posted in Tech, Uncategorized on September 7, 2015 by bitpusher2600

I am a fairly nostalgic fellow in the first place, but lately I’ve had Steve Jobs on the brain, and it’s funny to look back and remember my earliest youth and especially my teens and ponder what it was like being an Apple user vs how it is now.

Nowadays, it’s not an occasional “Mac Sucks” vs “Windows Sucks” debate and it’s over, now it’s typically just Android vs iPhone, there isn’t much depth beyond that. There is rarely debate over the companies cultures and how often do we see flame war fanatics delve into Apple’s other products and software unless the Apple person so happens to bring it up directly? Personally I never felt PC arguers could offer much beyond mentioning the ability or not to a play a certain game or two, but this was all a much different era and different line of thinking entirely.

That all aside, being an Apple user nowadays simply gives you stereotypes, as in you’re either tech incompetent, rich, or excessively uppity. I have never been any of the above, but again, this is the stereotypical perception of an Apple user now. I simply miss the old days, that aspect of my youth for me as the nerd that I happen to be was so important and I will never forget that stuff.

I’m probably a fairly standard tune for the young-middle age crowd; I’m 33 years old at present and have had Apple in my life pretty much my whole life. I got a Mac SE for my one and only Christmas present when I was five (this puts me just a few months away from turning six.) I only know that model from research because I do remember the lines cut into the design of the case and that particular Mac was the only one with those lines. Anyway, that became an obsession for someone so young, between that and the Nintendo. I do not remember exactly if I was ten or eleven but somewhere in there I had finally gotten a new computer, and I still can’t figure out exactly what model of Mac it was. You’d think I would too because I lived and breathed that thing, but there were so many Macs designed similar to that one. It was flat and the monitor sat on top of it, like traditional desktop style. It had a floppy drive and holy crap a CD-Rom. Mac Tracker has helped me nail down a few but I’m still not sure.

Anyway, there was that. I spent so much time on that thing that my mother used to actually have to force me to go outside to play. If left alone, I would likely be on that computer. I had me some internet, albeit slow it was fun. By the time I had hit my teenage years, and I mean thirteen on the nose, I knew a good bit about Apple, some of the struggles, and I certainly was a bit of a Steve Jobs worshipper. The names Bill Gates and Microsoft were cuss words to me and it was honestly a blast. The idea of Apple ever going bankrupt was just not going to happen though that rarely came up in my world. At any rate, it was a good time to be a loud and proud Mac kid, it just felt good. I remember having those desktop cases of Mac formatted floppies, and I was one of very few that had the same stuff the schools did so I could do a lot of homework and projects for school on my own computer, then bring the stuff in and resume work or show if need be.

If you at any point and someone else discovered you were Macintosh lovers, no matter who, you almost instantly had a friend. It was fun to swap discs, which I suppose was sometimes technically stealing software, but what of it? It was all fun and good times. I have vague memories of being in very small groups of us who loved the Mac and everyone else in the school had PCs in their homes. It was kind of fun to get made fun of if that makes sense. Being a Macintosh user and an Apple loyalist was a really truly self-defining thing, a point of pride and expression. How in the hell, you ask, would a computer or an operating system be so defining? How could it matter that much? Maybe that was the magic of Apple, the people in that camp were an outsider bunch and full of craziness. Who would hug their Mac? I did, I admit it. Who else would get so deeply emotional about a computer and feel so liberated every time they fired one up? Mac users. I certainly did and am not embarrassed to admit it. It might be hard to picture such a young kid so in love with a machine or a cause like Apple fandom, but baby it was true and it was me.

Finally, I have to mention high school. The latter three-fourths or so of my high school career was powered by the blue iMac I had gotten for Christmas, and talk about an unhealthy, obsessive relationship. It was pure joy. Fortunately for me, I still have the same iMac that was sitting in my room throughout high school sitting in my bedroom right now. I wish I could see the Macs from my earlier youth again, but this one, I somehow never parted ways with although I haven’t fired it up much except to serve as a music player to sleep to on occasion. That and it’s funny to poke around and look at what little bit of school stuff is still on there though when I graduated I’d tossed away a lot of it. Still, the memories. I will probably still have that old iMac long after the screen dies and it is a big paper weight. I’m ‘that’ breed of nostalgic. For now anyway, I’m glad that puppy still works just fine.

So anyway, what is the point of this giant blab session? Well, it’s just a little whimper for how awesome that piece of my youth was, and a recollection of what Apple used to be. Being a Mac user now is a totally different world. If you even mention Apple in the modern day, the iPhone is the only thing that comes to most folk’s minds. The spirit of unity, the attitude, and feeling of the world on the outside are all toast. If I pull out my iPhone and see someone else with an iPhone, do you suppose that other person gives a shit? Nope, why would they care? I have an Apple product and so do they, so what? That is normal and how people work now, but the point is it didn’t used to be that way. It’s so difficult to articulate, to younger folks especially, how being an Apple man was something special and how much it mattered to one’s sense of self. The Macintosh was joy to those who “got it.” Now, Apple is pretty much just a posh brand name more so than a crusade.

These were such wonderful times in history folks. To have been a part of home computing from it’s earliest times and to have seen it evolve, the mystery and the excitement, it really was a different world entirely than the one now where the youth is coming up with this stuff and it’s as normal and fluent as having a fridge in the kitchen or a toilet in the bathroom. I apologize too folks, I’m not exactly a writer and I’m sure a proper wordsmith could articulate everything a lot better than I have been able too, but I just felt like conveying some emotions thru writing. I dearly miss the Apple that was. I miss the tech world before smartphones, when the center of certain nerd’s worlds was a beautiful little Apple logo dotted Macintosh. They were special times and I’m fairly convinced you have to be both old enough and actually been a part of it all to understand, otherwise it can sound nothing but absurd and you cannot fully get it. Here’s to fond memories, and a special dedication to Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9, the systems of the last true Macintoshes.

Well, now I feel slightly foolish. I just noticed poking around in my WordPress here that I just did a writeup on Apple nostalgia and Mac OS 9 just here in June. I really suck at the blogging game; repeating stuff even if by accident is probably not the best way to do things. Oh well.

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

Posted in Tech on June 15, 2015 by bitpusher2600

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.