Thursday, April 26, 2012

Essential Additions To Your Mac OS 9 Default Install

When you install OS 9, it comes with many things out of the box, some of which are cool, and some of which are hopelessly outdated like IE 5 and Netscape 4. So I thought I'd compile a short list of additional software that will bring your OS 9 system more up to date in the age of bell bottoms. Bell bottoms--those are a thing now, right?

Anyway, here's the list:

Audion was iTunes before iTunes and in addition to mp3s also plays ogg files. Attractive, non-intrusive interface.

Classilla is a web browser based on Mozilla and still under development. Comes with NoScript built-in and you can set its user agent to a mobile device to have websites default to their mobile sites for speed.

Acuity is a simple rss reader.

FLVPlayer plays flv files saved to disk.

YTBrowser9 plays Youtube on OS 9! The homepage is in Japanese, so check here for english instructions.

Flash 7 is required for YTBrowser9, I believe.

Divx 5.1.1 plays some divx encoded videos, but not all. It's a bit of a crapshoot.

Xvid Delegate Component delegates xvid files to be played with the Divx codec. I've never tried this, but it's worth a shot.

iText is a word processor that saves to rtf and was updated as recently as 2009.

ATI_OS9_RADEON_Update_9_2_2_jan2005 is the final update for ATI drivers and is required for later cards like a Radeon 9000. The link takes you to a thread with download links and more information.

DVD Extractor is needed to mount .toast images.

NetPresenz provides ftp for OS 9, which may be the only networking option with Macs running Lion.

CreaseProof fixes creator code problems that might arise from networking files.

PrinTtoPDF duplicates the built-in function in OS X.

MacPython is an OS 9 development environment for python, so if you want to write your own python scripts, go crazy.

Mini vMac on OS 9 is a bit of nostalgia within nostalgia as it emulates a Macplus.

And Virtual PC is needed for bittorrent because the only bittorrent clients that still work on OS 9 were for Windows:(

And there you have it. With these titles installed, you'll find the OS to be not quite as ancient. In fact, when I boot into OS 9 to do something specific, I find myself lingering. What, with writing and playing my ogg collection and surfing the web, I can go on using OS 9 much like I was using OS X.

Monday, April 16, 2012

TenFourBird (or the App Icon Hall of Fame)

As TenFourFox is to Firefox, TenFourBird is to Thunderbird. At least you'd think, right? Well, now it is as a new developer took Cameron Kaiser's lead and released a brand new version of Thunderbird for PowerPC users called, naturally, TenFourBird. I downloaded and installed it and the results were excellent.

Setting up an email account was easier than with any other client I've used. It basically just needed an email address and password and the rest was automated. Importing mailboxes from Apple Mail was successful and so was importing from OS X's Address Book. I couldn't find anything in the preferences about blocking remote images, but it turns out it's done by default. Performance was snappy, though if you notice high cpu usage after importing, it's most likely from indexing the new mailboxes. The only thing buggy I found was a zombie progress bar the first time I ran it, but that disappeared after subsequent startups. Overall I'm really impressed, but that's not what I want to talk about.

I want to talk about TenFourBird's icon:

tenfourbird icon

This is the best icon ever. Now, I'm a fan of "bad" icons, ones that draw the howls of Apple's carefully cultivated aesthetic-fascists but are actually creative and have a well-placed sense of humor about these things. So with that in mind, I thought I'd share my icon Hall of Fame, masterworks of hand-drawn desperation, a clip art purée for your dock's delight, and see if you'll agree.

tenfourfox icon

Let's start off with TenFourFox. This is a marginal choice because, say what you want to say, it at least looks professionally done. But I'm including it here because so many people hate it.

handbrake icon

Then there's Handbrake. The application isn't as fun as the icon, but what was fun was reading the reviews on Macupdate where they'd constantly beg to change the icon.

sheepshaver icon

I couldn't leave out Sheepshaver, not only because it's so literal, but because it's got that 8 bit look to it.

mactheripper icon

MacTheRipper wins the award for most homicidal icon.

phoenix slides icon

And finally Phoenix Slides' first icon. I feel like adding my commentary to this is like trying to add words to the Mona Lisa, so I won't even try. I'll just let this sit here, and linger, until it becomes burned in your retina and you can never shake it loose.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Amazon Streaming

Most of you know Netflix's streaming service is unavailable to PowerPC users as it uses Silverlight, but there are alternatives that are flash-based like Hulu, although Hulu users have to use the Flash hack to fool your browser it's using Flash 11. But I wanted to talk about a new kid on the block, Amazon Instant Video.

Like Hulu, it uses Flash, but it still recognizes Flash 10.1. The bad news is that it's Flash, so performance isn't that great, but they have a good selection of videos. The prices for one-time rentals are a bit high in my opinion, but Amazon Prime members get free unlimited streaming to a separate library of movies and TV shows that don't include new releases.

The fastest G4 I tried this on was a 1.5 GHz AlBook and it was watchable, though there was noticeable frame-skipping. Performance and picture quality were roughly on par with Hulu. So if you have a fast G4 or G5 and were considering signing up to Amazon Prime for its free shipping and Kindle perks, the free streaming might be something to consider.

Though they could always drop Flash and switch to Silverlight and brag on their homepage that they support both Windows and Mac!