I have had a lot going on lately, and I really haven't posted to my blog. I could probably have put up hundreds of small posts, but they all got lost in the shuffle. I'll concentrate this post on my iBook and next time Linux.
The iMac I have has been little more than a toy to me. With 32 megs of RAM and Mac OS 9.2.2, it didn't do very much. I was looking for a way to get my hands on Mac OSX to gain some experience on the platform. My wife found an ad on Craig's List giving away a few laptops and computers. By the time I got her email the next morning and checked the ad out, the poster had already left notice that all of the computers were claimed. I decided to see what else I could find, and I came across an Apple iBook for $100. The ad said that the power cord had shorted out and the owner took the hard drive out and was selling the computer for parts. I figured that for $100, it was worth the challenge. I was sure that I could recoup the $100 in parts anyway if the laptop didn't work. I emailed the poster to ask if he still had the factory disks, and he said yes. I took my 1 year old, Caleb, with me to pick it up.
My wife was not happy at all with me for buying this iBook, but as far as I'm concerned, I did get a good deal. I had a 40 Gig laptop hard drive that needed to be used. It's home was in a Toshiba Pentium II/233Mhz notebook that has been retired. I found a power cord for $30 on Ebay, so once the cord arrived, I already had the iBook put together. The previous owner gave me all of the software that came with the iBook. OK, just kidding, it's a Mac, so there is little software for it, but there sure were a lot of disks! The iBook came from the factory with Max OSX 10.1, and the owner upgraded to Jaguar, 10.2. While I was waiting for the power cord to arrive, I stuck an extra 64 Megs in the iMac and installed Jaguar. I'm pleasantly surprised at the performance that the iMac is giving me.
The iBook was a lot of fun to put together. For a company founded by computer hobbyists, Apple Computer sure doesn't like hobbyists messing with their computers. Most of the screws are very tiny, and I didn't have a Phillips screwdriver small enough to drive them in. I finally settled for snapping the case together and hoping for the best, which so far has been good enough.
Once the power cord arrived, I plugged it in, hit the power button, and heard that familiar Mac noise. I was happy. Next came the fun of trying to install software. The iBook factory install CDs don't have any disk tools, and I was dealing with a 40 Gig NTFS drive. The Jaguar upgrade CD doesn't have drive tools either, but the 10.1 install CD does. I found from the iMac that 10.1 is about as useless as Mac OS9, but with a more appeasing interface. Jaguar is slightly more useful, but I really need Panther. The problem is that I'm having trouble talking my wife into the money for Panther or even Tiger, and my friends who have them can't remember to produce them for me. I think that using a Mac might destroy your memory.
One thing I can't say I like about Apple is how quickly their software goes out of date. Since 2001, there have been 4 releases of Mac OSX (I believe). The Windows XP CD that I bought in January 2002 is still as good today as it was when I bought it. I hear a lot of criticism from Mac forums about how "Microsoft hasn't released a new operation system in 5 years". Well, guess what? Windows users haven't had to pay for a new operating system in 5 years either. Here I am with a notebook computer originally purchased in 2002, with an upgraded operating system that is 2 releases behind the current.
I almost forgot the hardware specs. This iBook is a G3, 600Mhz with 256 Megs of RAM. I will say I'm impressed. Apple does design hardware to last for a while, and this computer is more usable than the Pentium III/800Mhz with 128 megs RAM that I have.
I did break down and order Tiger, which will hopefully arrive today.