Subject: An old G4 PowerBook laptop which locks up after several hours of use.

  • Test the memory so that, if it’s good, we can resell it instead of recycling it.
  • Wipe the hard disk so that we can recycle the computer.


  • Tech Tool Pro 4 disc
  • Tech Tool Pro 5 disc
  • Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard install disc
  • Mac OS X 10.3 install disc (came with laptop)

You’d think this would be easy… Continue reading

Mac OS X LeopardThe new Mac OS X disc arrived in today’s mail. I opened it up to make sure everything was there, and was surprised to see that Apple has really cut down on packaging. Instead of the ~8×10″ box with folds to keep the disc and manual in place, they’ve gone to a small box the size of a cardboard CD case. Just enough room for the DVD and the “manual” (which is mainly a “Look what’s new!” booklet).

“So,” I said. “I have to ask myself. Do I feel lucky?”
“Well,” Katie replied. “Do you? Punk?”
“What the heck.”

I’d done some research on application compatibility earlier this week, and the PowerBook looked ready. Katie’s desktop is going to need further study. The Mac Classic environment will no longer run under Leopard, and she’s still got a couple of Classic apps she pulls out occasionally. Also, Photoshop 7 is reported not to run under Leopard, and Adobe isn’t testing or updating anything older than CS3.

But the laptop? No critical data to back up (it’s all duplicated from the desktops), and everything we actually use on it has been tested on at least a pre-release.

So I fired up Netscape 4 for old times’ sake (and discovered that this theme is completely unreadable in it; then I switched the CSS around so that Netscape 4 won’t even try). Then I popped in the disc, selected some options, and let it install during Pushing Daisies.

No problems so far. Disk space is running low, but it’s a 3-year old laptop (so the drive is small) and I did an Archive and Install, so it has a backup of the old OS. Once it’s clear that everything works, I can free up ~6GB right there. It may also be time to wipe the Yellow Dog Linux partition. I haven’t used it in over a year.

Some highlights: I really like finally having virtual desktops (what Apple calls “Spaces”). The new search highlighting, previously seen in the Safari 3 beta, appears in other apps as well. Heck, Safari 3 is a big jump itself. (Hey, Apple, where are the Windows and Tiger releases?)

Taking a break from the fire commentary:

Mac OS X LeopardApple: Finally pre-ordered Mac OS X Leopard, removing the temptation to run out to an Apple store or Fry’s this weekend (though I’ve been meaning to put some more RAM in the Windows box). Saved a few bucks by ordering from Amazon ($10 off the family pack, would’ve been $20 off the standard box), and picked the free shipping so that I won’t be tempted to install it until there’ve been a few days’ worth of bug reports.

Meanwhile, I’m wondering when Safari 3 comes out for Windows and Tiger. Tonight at 6:00? Monday? I’m looking forward to this putting some of the new CSS3 capabilities into the hands of potentially 5% of the web audience.

[Opera Logo]Opera: Speaking of web browsers, Opera 9.5 beta came out yesterday. In addition to lots of work on rendering & site compatibility (as seen through the last few weeks’ worth of alpha releases), they’ve launched a new service called Opera Link. It’s primarily a bookmarks sync service, plus a web-accessible interface. So you can automatically sync multiple copies of Opera—including Opera Mini—and also be able to access those bookmarks from Firefox, IE, or a computer where you’re a guest (friend, computer lab, cafe, etc.). I think the biggest impact here is going to be syncing between the desktop and phone, like Safari on the desktop and the iPhone.

On the other hand, imagine adding a bookmarklet or Firefox extension to more easily update from—or even fully sync with—other browsers. Or better yet, a way to synchronize Opera Link with, say,, which can integrate fully with both Firefox (via an extension) and Flock.

Spam: I’m astonished that, with the amount of comment spam that hits this blog (many thanks to Bad Behavior and Spam Karma for helping stem the tide!), I’ve only netted 7 comment spammers for Project Honeypot since they started tracking comment spam 6 months ago. I guess the software is smart enough to only hit the real forms?

WordPress: Just released version 2.3.1 with a bunch of bugfixes and (of course) a security fix. Updated.

After many delays, Apple has finally announced the release date for the next version of Mac OS X, a.k.a. Leopard. It’ll hit the shelves in just 10 days, on October 26—roughly 2½ years since the previous release.

Mac OS X LeopardI’d planned on pre-ordering it from Amazon, since I have no interest in standing in line at an Apple store (though that may have been unique to the iPhone), but I’ve been holding off until the requirements were finalized. We’ve got two Macs, one desktop and one laptop, both G4s, and the desktop is old enough for compatibility to be a question. And while the 5-license “family pack” is still less than twice the cost of the single-license box—$199 vs. $129—I only want to spend the additional $70 if we can use it.

Fortunately, even the desktop meets the minimum requirements, so it’s not quite obsolete yet.

At least I shouldn’t have to repeat the shipping snafu I had with Tiger. The leasing office will hold packages now, so even if UPS (or whoever) does try to deliver while no-one’s home, I should be able to just pick it up instead of spending 4 days trying to get it delivered to the right place.

It’s funny: When Microsoft releases a new OS, my inclination is to sit it out and wait for the first service pack, usually a year or so in. When Apple or Fedora releases a new OS, my inclination is to upgrade as soon as I have the time. Even though all of them have had histories of significant problems on one release or another—the broken video driver I ran into on Fedora 7, for instance, or the firewire drives fried by one version of Mac OS X.

I’m not sure why that is. Maybe it’s trust. Maybe it’s speed of the fixes: Linux vendors will have updated packages within days to weeks. (Heck, some Linux distros have updates available by the time the ISOs go live, because a bug was fixed after the contents were frozen.) And you can count on a Mac OS 10.5.1 in a month or two. Maybe it’s the scale of problems. You risk things like broken drivers or software with anyone’s major OS upgrade, but Windows always seems to have some problem that’s bigger than just a bug fix, something that needs more time and effort to redesign. In short, something that won’t get fixed until the next service pack.

Edit: It occurs to me that since Leopard will include the new release of Safari, we’ll probably also see the final release of Safari 3 for Windows next week.

Safari LogoA few days ago I noticed that while Safari accounts for about 2.3% of traffic to this site, Mac OS accounts for 4.4%. Since Safari only runs on Mac OS X, that means that just over half of Mac users visiting this site* are using Safari.

I realized that the detail page pulls out Mac OS X, which makes up 2.8%…but MSIE doesn’t say whether it’s running on Classic or OS X. Fortunately IE 5.2 is OS X-only, so we can add in that 0.6%, leaving us with an estimated 3.4% on OS X and 1% on Classic.

So, to the extent that these stats are reliable…

  • Nearly one fourth of Mac users visiting this site are still running an obsolete version of the OS.
  • 65% of Mac OS X users are using Safari, with only 20% on Internet Explorer.

Anything more detailed is going to require going through the logs myself or writing my own stats script, so I have no idea how the remaining 15% breaks down.

*All of