Tag Archives: Mac

Upgrading from OS X 10.5 after it’s Too Late


We have needed to upgrade the two Macs in our house (our 2008-ish aluminum iMac and Beth’s 13″ white MacBook) to the current OS X for a long time.  Weeks ago I discovered it was too late to upgrade online – upgrading to 10.8 is done through the Mac App Store, which isn’t available in 10.5.  Also, finding an incremental upgrade to a version that includes the Mac App Store is impossible.

In Atlanta last weekend I decided to stop at the Apple Store to inquire about upgrading with a disc rather than finding more ways online.  Even the Apple Store couldn’t help, as they didn’t have discs anymore – especially with the age of our OS (we’re now three releases behind).  The associate told us that the only way to upgrade from 10.5 now is to call Apple.  Wow.  When you’re behind, you really are behind.

So that’s what we did.  Last night Beth wanted to put a ringtone on her iPhone (with iOS6) from iTunes, and couldn’t.  Apparently our phones were too advanced for our computers.  That was the last straw – it was time to pull the trigger.  She called the Apple Store at 1-800-MY-APPLE (1-800-692-7753) and spoke to someone who somehow understood exactly what we needed.  We bought a family pack of OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) for about $30, and after upgrading to that we can upgrade to 10.8 (Mountain Lion) from the Mac App Store.  How convenient.

We’ll have to pay for both upgrades, but a total of $60 to upgrade two computers two times is still far less expensive than upgrading a single Windows machine from Windows Vista to Windows 7.

It Was Over a Long Time Ago

I forgot to tell you that my Windows 7 Beta box crashed over a month ago. It wasn’t Windows 7, though – the hard drive was one that I’d bought back in ’01. Maybe before that. The old Seagate 40GB EIDE just couldn’t hang any longer.

I have tried to restore the machine to a new drive via a backup from the Windows Home Server, but the backups weren’t available for some reason. I have not had the time or inclination to try again, and I simply don’t want a computer in my bedroom any longer. I enjoyed the time I spent with Windows 7, and it looks to be a good change for Microsoft.

In contrast, I thought of something the other day: I have been scouting computers for years, even though I have so many. Since I got this MacBook a year ago, I can’t remember the last time I tried to plan out buying another computer. It just doesn’t happen anymore. I believe that deep down inside, I am content with my current computer. The only things I research anymore are servers. I want to build a distributed system for cluster computing. I haven’t shopped for a Windows Laptop (or any laptop, for that matter) for a long time, and I believe my next trip to get another computer will be a short one. The MacBook Pro will do.

Really Beta.

I got an e-mail from Apple yesterday about joining the new iPhone/iPod developers’ forum, now in beta. As an iPhone developer, I have access.

The system runs on Apple servers, running Java, serving JSPs. I had an error setting up my account this morning, and it looks like the whole thing broke. Maybe they should set up a forum to discuss forum issues.

Another Idea Down the Drain

Well, there you have it – right there in the agreement for the iPhone developer program: You can’t drive a cruise missile via an iPhone application. There goes my fancy new government contract. From the agreement itself:

Applications may not be designed or marketed for real time route guidance; automatic or autonomous control of vehicles, aircraft, or other mechanical devices; dispatch or fleet management; or emergency or life-saving purposes.

Doesn’t that suck? Just what exactly are we to do with our iPhones* if we can’t blow something up?

*I don’t own an iPhone and plan to only if I develop something really cool that needs testing.


I’m sitting here this evening with a MacBook that has slowed to a crawl. It further delays my inevitable completion of a school project (fine with me), but I really just want to finish what I’m doing (not the school project) and go to bed.

It’s not the MacBook. It’s the parasite I installed on it.

For the past month, I’ve been juggling the Vista desktop I use at home for development, the Vista notebook I use for school, the Windows XP tablet that I have for my day job, and this wonderful MacBook that doesn’t have many applications I actually use to produce things. It’s cool to blog with it, chat, and play with the camera, but it’s really just eye-candy. I can’t do schoolwork with it (they require Office 2K7 documents), I can’t find an FTP program for it, and I really can’t figure out how to edit raw text – a very important feature I need to edit HTML and do programming.

To combat my two-computer dining room table, I installed Windows (the aforementioned parasite) on the MacBook using VMWare’s VMFusion. It’s a wonderful piece of software and it is very similar to Parallels, only cheaper ($40 vs. $80). I installed the trial of VMFusion, and an old copy of Windows XP. It has effectively slowed my MacBook to where it takes a full eight seconds to open a new tab in Firefox. It’s working really hard right now on installing SP3, and I’m sure a slew of updates are in store after that is finished. It has Office 2007 and I shouldn’t need much more to do everything that I need to do on this beautiful 13-inch MacBook.

The cool thing is that if I ever get really sick of the reduced speed, I can close the Virtual Machine and Windows goes away like a little troll in the closet. I feel powerful.

Okay, I know it’s slow because I am only running 1GB RAM on this computer with two operating systems running. A fix (4GB) is on the way. After the updates and the memory upgrade I should have no problem. I might even install Ubuntu on another VM.

Must go now; I have to write a post to tell everyone that the Web Spider project is not dead – I’m just busy.

Great Laptop For Sale

This is just getting old.

I was consolidating files over the network today and just had to take this screenshot. Vista has its drawbacks, but this is crazy. So…

I have a perfectly good Gateway MT6451 notebook computer for sale. $500 takes it. I’m switching to Mac as soon as possible, because I’m simply tired of waiting for things to happen and downloading hacks to make things work. I just want a computer that works as advertised and has more built in that I can use.

I don’t mind Apple’s non-compatibility with older systems. They did it that way because no one uses them anymore, so why bog the systems down? It’s what many people do – like outgrowing clothes. You don’t have the same shirts in the closet that you had when you were five, do you? And if so, do you wear them? Exactly.

And the price: the MacBook and iMac will last much longer than the average PC in terms of hardware and software usability, so I don’t mind the $2K price tag. I want three new Apple computers: two MacBook Pro laptops, and one new iMac. I could easily squeeze $6K into a powerful new Windows desktop and new monitors, but I’d rather have three working computers for that price. Plus, they run Windows too. It’s a no-brainer.

…But I Don’t.

I wrote earlier about programming on this cute little Mac, but there was something I didn’t realize at the time. I found that Java development was already available on this machine and I could compile and run my programs with ease. Fantastic.

But actually writing the code on the Mac has become a bit more than trivial. The only text editors I have are in AppleWorks 6, TextEdit, and vi (a command-line text editor). I can’t figure out how to save a file in TextEdit to a raw text file (it only saves in RTF), it’s virtually impossible to do in AppleWorks, and I’m not taking the time to write programs in vi. Looks like I can’t put the Windows box in the closet yet.

I tried Eclipse, but it never tells me it won’t run – it just doesn’t run. Turns out it only works on 10.4. Damn it. I thought I had it all worked out.

Stuffed with Cotton, they Must Be

I sat down to check mail this morning and felt like staying a while. It’s comfortable in this office; no one to divert my attention this week. Just me and this little Mac right now, with a cup of coffee. And my ears are ringing.

It took me a minute to figure it out, but I finally realized why this office is so much more comfortable and quiet since yesterday. It’s because last night before I went to bed I shut down my PC. It is still off. I hear the clock on the wall and beyond the sound of my typing, it is the loudest thing in the room.

Inside my PC there are four fans. One inside the power supply, two on the back of the case, and one mounted to the processor heat sink. Once one of them collects enough dust, it gets a little off-balance and so begins the first vibrations. Downhill from there.

I can’t imagine how much power the entire system uses, either. Connected to the system are myriad devices, including a flatbed scanner, 320GB external hard drive, my iPod, amplified 3-piece speaker set, two printers, and two 19-inch LCD monitors. Everything is on top of my desk and blares right in my face. All of it is off at the moment. Just the sound of a clock powered by 1 AA battery.

How long will it be before I have to turn it back on?

Update: Probably not long, because that 320GB HDD is inaccessible to the Mac due to the drive’s format (NTFS), which, I am guessing, is not supported by Mac OS X 10.2.8. Here I go again…

Speed Bump Number One

Okay. First gripe about my new Mac: iTunes.

The very program that warmed me up to the company told me that I cannot continue using the iTunes store unless I upgrade the iTunes program to a later version. Very well; one always wants the latest version. After downloading version 7.0.2 and beginning the installation, I am notified that I cannot install this version of iTunes on my current version of Mac OS X.

And I wonder why. It works on Windows, doesn’t it? And XP is definitely older than OS X 10.2.8. After some investigation, I come to one conclusion:

It’s going to cost me $129 to listen to the music I already paid for. iTunes will open and operate (I currently have the pre-installed version 4.9) but I can’t authorize this computer so that I can play the music I purchased at the iTunes store (previously, with another computer.) So as I see it, the only solution is to upgrade to Mac OS X 10.4, which, as I said before, is $129.

On second look, it’s $138.99. I don’t have a DVD drive, so I’ll have to get the CD-ROM version for an extra $9.99.

I really don’t mean to put this thing down. Maybe I’ll get past that part and see what every Mac user likes so much about it. My use is still very limited and I have been using Windows for 15 years. It all takes time.

Getting My Mac On

Beth’s out of town this week and I’ve got the house to myself. I’ve been cleaning, mostly, but I got this new (well, relatively new) iBook G3 and am having a time with it.

The fact that I’ve not used a Mac since about 1987 has a bit to do with my apprehension, and the absence of the context menu. I’ve told hundreds of people, “When in doubt, right click.” I have repeatedly found myself in doubt with no way out, but I have resolved each issue fairly quickly.

Take for instance that aged Apple logo. Once I found it, I couldn’t figure out how to save the picture to my computer. In any graphical web browser I’ve used, I simply have right-clicked the image (Windows and Linux) and selected “Save Image As…” or something very similar to perform this task. Not on this Mac. There is no right-click. I tried holding the button down, looking for a “copy image” function in the menus, and then it occurred to me: just drag the damn picture to the desktop, Ben. And it worked. Silly me.

But there are others yet. I still can’t find my Home and End keys. I am a keyboard shortcut warrior; it’s part of being lazy. I think it’s why I like the UNIX/Linux terminal so much – very little physical effort. Having to move that mouse and click those buttons just to advance the cursor to the end of the line is ridiculous.

But truth be told, I like this thing. It’s old (2003 iBook G3, OS X 10.2.8), but it’s quiet, cool to the touch, and doesn’t have any vents on the bottom. I’m blogging from bed this morning, without the worry of blocking an air vent and burning my thighs. I think I’m going to try to upgrade the OS to 10.4 soon because 10.2 doesn’t support the current version of iTunes or WPA WiFi security. I’m learning new stuff every day, and I think I might keep it.