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Monday, April 30, 2001


OpenDoc was a good idea, but it never quite got off the ground. Apple's goal with OpenDoc was to make the computer "document-centric" instead of "application-centric" . Instead of opening a document with an application, you could access applications as plug-ins, and edit any OpenDoc document with any OpenDoc-compliant software. Unfortunately, Apple quietly stopped developing for OpenDoc a few years ago. The only proof that it ever existed is a vestigial Extension that was required by previous versions of AppleShare IP. In the distance, a novice Mac technician cries, "What's OpenDoc?!?"

Monday, April 23, 2001

1 Infinite Loop

Before DVD-ROM and CD-ROM, the only way to install software was with floppy disks. But what if the software was too big to fit on one 1.4MB floppy? The installer application would piece together a sequence of small "tomes" of data from multiple disks, a process which required the user to insert the next disk when the previous one was ejected. This was easy enough, but sometimes a funny thing would happen. A disk would eject, and the Mac would prompt for the next disk. Once that disk had been accessed, it would eject, and the Mac would ask for the first disk. Then the next disk, then the first disk, then the next disk, then the first disk. This would go on ad infinitum, or until a frustrated user decided to pull the plug on his installation. Maybe this is how Apple got the idea for their address, 1 Infinite Loop?

Monday, April 16, 2001

No Floppy

"We don't need no stinking floppies!" That's what Apple said when they decided to exclude the popular removable media drives from their entire Macintosh line. It really is a step in the right direction. Floppy disks are an unreliable method for backing up a computer, as they degrade and lose magnetic integrity over time. Besides, these days most files are too big to fit on a floppy, and small files can easily be e-mailed to another computer. But what about all the poor souls who bought a new computer and need to read their old floppy disks? They can either buy an external floppy drive, ... or cram their floppy disks into the built-in Zip drive and see what happens.

Monday, April 9, 2001


There is firmware, and then there's FIRMware!  Perhaps "Strictware" or "Draconianware" would better describe Apple's latest firmware update, which prepares G4s, PowerBooks, and Cubes for a Mac OS X install. Sure, Firmware Update 4.1.8 "includes improvements to FireWire target disk mode, network booting and system stability." But what Apple forgot to mention is that Firmware Update 4.1.8 will also disable your third-party RAM that used to work fine with previous Systems, but doesn't quite meet the new, stricter RAM specifications for Mac OS X. Of course, this could be Apple's way of weeding out the sissies who are unable to get OS X to work with only 64MB RAM.

Monday, April 2, 2001

HFS minus

The Mac OS Extended Format (HFS+) was supposed to make more files fit on large volumes than the Mac OS Standard Format (HFS) allowed. When Mac OS 8.1 was released, all you had to do was reformat your hard drive and install Mac OS 8.1 to benefit from the improved hard disk format. But what happened if you tried starting up your newly updated computer with the older System Startup disk that originally came with your computer, like System 7.5? You would find a single file with the ominous title, "Where have all my files gone?" For those Mac owners who refused to read the manual, this riddle of a message probably caused a few panic attacks. But those who read the manual—or had the moxie to double-click on the document—would know that their files were inaccessible while starting from an old System Software, and they need only start up with a Mac OS 8.1 disk or higher to view their precious data.
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