Monday, August 31, 2009

Moving Toward Leopard

This is the week I'm preparing to move to Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard" as my primary operating system. The reason I've held back is my dependence on Classic Mode to run Claris Home Page. The plan is to have two G4 Power Macs side by side with Leopard on one and Mac OS X 10.4 "Tiger" (and Classic Mode) on the other.

The current plan is to use the Digital Audio Power Mac with the 1.6 GHz dual processor upgrade as the Leopard machine, as that's my fastest machine. It already has the Radeon 9000 card from my 1 GHz dual Mirror Drive Door, which should make it a better match for Leopard. It has 1.25 GB of RAM.

The MDD will be my Tiger machine. It has the video card from the Digital Audio, and there isn't much performance difference in Tiger. It also has 2 GB of RAM, the most I've ever had in a computer. In a pinch, I'll be able to boot this on into Mac OS 9.2.2. (With the CPU upgrade, the Digital Audio doesn't like booting OS 9 natively.)

I hope to set things up so I can seamlessly share the same mouse and keyboard with both machines. I'm looking at SynergyKM (free) and Teleport (donationware). The latter is Mac only and supports OS X 10.3 through 10.6.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tough Times at Low End Mac

It's been a pretty horrible 10 months from an income standpoint. Low End Mac traffic remains good, and we have new content daily, but ad rates - or maybe just the number of ads being sold - have fallen significantly. We've had a lot of really bad months in the past year, but August is shaping up as the worst by far. There simply isn't enough income to cover minimum expenses.

We've added Low End Mac Services as the troubleshooting/consulting/file conversion/etc. side of the business - just need to get the word out there and find clients. We can support clients anywhere in the world by email, in the US by phone, and almost anywhere by mail. Reasonable rates, and we accept credit cards (thanks to PayPal - and you needn't have a PayPal account to use this service).

We've had a handful of clients in our first two weeks, and each has been very happy with the services we've provided. You can learn more in the Low End Mac Services Blog.

If that doesn't take off, I'm looking into employment options in the state with the nation's highest unemployment rate. I'd hate to have to turn LEM into a part-time sideline, but mortgages have to be paid and groceries bought. (We won't shut down. Not ever.)

How Can You Help?

There are any number of ways you can help our bottom line.

1. Buy through the companies that run ads on Low End Mac. This will let them know that LEM is a good source of customers.

2. Buy through the companies listed in our price trackers. Some of them advertise, and some are affiliates, which means that we get a small commission from any sales.

3. Boost site traffic through links on your blog or website. Share links on Facebook and/or Twitter. We earn just a fraction of a penny per page view, but with over a million pages served per month, that turns into real money.

4. If finances permit, send a gift of money to Low End Mac or use the Tip Jar to gift money directly to one of our columnists.

Thanks for being a fan of Low End Mac. We're here for the long haul and hoping the economy will take a turn for the better very soon.

Dan Knight, publisher,

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"64-Bitness" Article a Hit

It's very gratifying to see that nearly 5,000 people have read my article The 64-Bitness of Mac OS X 10.6 'Snow Leopard' since it was posted Wednesday morning. I think it's important that we know that while Snow Leopard may not boot into 64-bit mode by default, that's not necessarily a drawback at this point.

Once Snow Leopard has been on the market for a while, we should see a lot more 64-bit apps and drivers, which will pave the way for 64-bit mode becoming the default, but we're not there yet.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

WallStreet comes through

Back in May, a friend at church gave me his dad's old WallStreet PowerBook. It hadn't been used in years and was in beautiful condition. I got two batteries (one completely dead), a CD-ROM module, and a floppy drive module. I've since picked up a second battery on eBay for about $5 - figured it was worth a shot, and if it was dead, not much lost. I now have two batteries that each hold a nearly 3 hour charge.

I've been experimenting, trying to get newer versions of OS X installed (it only officially supports up to 10.2.8), and upgrading the RAM and hard drive. I went from a slow 6 GB hard drive to 20 GB 5400 rpm (from my dead PowerBook G4) and boosted RAM from 64 MB to 384 MB. It's no speed demon, but it works.

Anyhow, I got to use it yesterday to copy some files from an 800K floppy disk, which USB floppy drives can't read at all. It's nice to have a practical use for this 11-year-old computer!