Tech Week in Review

A Unix look at OS X, death of TIL, online unrest, Color Classic decline, framed content, cheap shots, and more

Let's start off the week with some good news this time and save the gripes for later in the article. :-)

OS X Attracts Unix Guys, Too

GreasyDaemon, a site that claims to be "Your guide to BSD Unix," has posted a first look at Mac OS X. It's a very interesting article from what appears to be a Unix enthusiast's perspective, and I think it shows one of Apple's oft-overlooked potential markets for OS X and the Macintosh: the hard-core geeks who are currently running *nix on some sort of peecee hardware. A lot of people forget that there's a significant (and growing) portion of the market that buys hardware to run Linux or BSD or some other noncommercial OS, and one of the big reasons a lot of them seem to do it is the power that *nix has relative to Windoze whatever or the classic Mac OS.

It's Dead, Jim

Moving right along, this one from the "Why-does-Apple-do-stupid-stuff-all-the-time" department: What the heck was Apple thinking killing the TIL? Ah well. I guess they didn't really want to support anyone without a G3 anyway. At least they left the TIL Archive alone (mostly). Those of you with Macs that hadn't made it into the TIL Archive before the "upgrade" will just have to wait until they do for decent support. :-(

The TIL Archive, which contained most of the 68K information, is now redirecting URLs to the new Knowledge Archive and does not require the registration that the Knowledge Base itself does. This being Low End Mac, I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I noticed the 68K section had mostly been left alone. I've already sent Dan a guide to updating all the TIL Archive URLs for the new format (anticipating the eventual case when Apple removes the redirection). If anyone else is interested in knowing specifically what to search and replace on their Web pages, send me an email and I'll show you the differences in the URL formats.

I do have one big beef with Apple about the migration, however. How about a link to the Knowledge Archive on the main Knowledge Base search page? I discovered the redirection almost by accident when a brief search failed to turn up the contents of the TIL Archive in the main Knowledge Base, I tried pasting in the old TIL Archive URL and stumbled across the search for the Knowledge Archive. I bet there are thousands of vintage Mac users out there who can't do this for various reasons.

Oooh, Unrest!

Looks like and The Cube Zone are having a fun time sniping at each other. For that matter, looks like "General Lee" over at Bite is sniping at just about everybody these days. It's Mac news with an attitude, folks — just the way I like it. Usually.

The plan to send a box of feces to the MOSR "editorial team" (a.k.a. Ryan Meader) is a bit over the top, if you ask me. Oh, and speaking of Bite, I commend them for actually putting forth an explanation for why the TIL was migrated to the Knowledge Base, as opposed to, say, Go2Mac, who not only got the date wrong (damaging their credibility even further after the "Son of Pismo" debacle) but offered no explanation whatsoever. C'mon, was it really that hard to find out why Apple was doing it?

eBay Price Breaks — or Not

Speaking of sniping, has anyone else noticed the Colo(u)r Classic really seems to have lost a lot of its value on eBay? Auctions closing under $40 are becoming quite commonplace. A few months back, if a CC closed under $75 it was well worth it.

Along the same lines, call me a commie or any other bad name you wish, but I'm a bit tired of these people on eBay who think a 64 MB DIMM for a PCI-based Power Mac is worth more than $50. I didn't know price gouging was an American "virtue" to go along with capitalism. Velocity Upgrades is selling 128 MB modules for $36 shipped right now.

You've Been Framed

One gripe about The Mac Mind, and then I'll shut up. Most sites have a linking policy that expressly forbids linking if the link causes the linked site's content to be placed into a frame on the linking site. The Mac Mind annoyingly places every single one of their links off the main page in a Mac Mind frame. And they do the same thing with their "Our Friends" section if you vote in their poll (the only way I could find to get back to that sidebar). Something tells me that friends might not enjoy it when other "friends" violate their linking policies. I'm not saying The Mac Mind is doing this; I haven't read every single site's link policy. I'm just suggesting that it's annoying and very likely in violation of at least one or two sites' policies.

OS X is not That Expensive

David Schultz needs to rethink his philosophy on OS X, and he needs to do it now. Plastering "Upgrading to OS X will cost you $650" all over the Mac Web is not the way to, as my dad says, "win friends and influence people," not least because it's outrageously inflated. Let's take a look at his "costs" of upgrading:

Let's say $50 for all of it, and that's being generous.

Let's see — instead of $650, the Unofficial Low End Mac OS X Upgrade Cost is $139. I'm not counting the professional-level software, because most users don't need it, and the ones who do need it (or want it enough to actually get it) will either get it paid for by their employer, write it off on taxes as a business expense, or get it at a huge educational discount (like I do).

Stop scarin' people, Dave!

Microsoft Killed Kenn(ed)y, or Something

In another one from the "I-really-think-there's-a-conspiracy-here" department, Robert X. Cringely's 02 August column looks at a very sinister and perfectly plausible explanation for Microsoft's passivity to the current proliferation of Windoze- and Outlook Express-based viruses and worms. Funny, scary, and quite possible all at the same time. Let's just say if the DoJ ever got their hands on documents supporting Cringely's proposition, Microsoft would cease to exist as a company and Bill Gates would probably be executed by vigilante firing squad. (Not that he probably doesn't worry about this on a regular basis already.)

Cheap Shots

For one from the "if-you-can't-beat-em-join-em" department, let's step back to for a second. Scroll down on their site and read the blurb about, posted on 09 August. Not only was Tim Robertson of MyMac making a very cheap shot at Dan Knight (publisher, editor, and webmaster of Low End Mac), but they now have a column called MacMusings.

Publisher's note: We have received an email from Tim Robertson of "The title was suppose to be 'Nemo Memo: Mac Musings' but the Nemo Memo got left off for some reason. It will be changed." We understand how that can happen and thank Tim for clearing this up.

Dan Knight, publisher, Low End Mac.

Now I'm not trying to get a feud started here, but I just don't think that's too cool. First you take a cheap shot at a well-respected webmaster, and then you let one of your columnists steal Dan's personal column title.

I don't have as much of a problem as General Lee does with Robertson's column itself — I think easily accessible archived content is very important, speaking as someone who owns a lot of Macs for which formerly-current, detailed information is no longer easily available — but I agree completely with his analysis of the situation. To add to that, I'm willing to bet money that Tim Robertson didn't contribute anything to assist in Low End Mac's financial problems, so why is he complaining? Unless I contribute money to my church, I don't have any right whatsoever to complain if it uses other people's money for forwarding the church's business in a way of which I don't necessarily approve.

I'm just going to stop right there, because if I continue Tim is only going to irritate me more. You readers wouldn't want that, would you?

In Closing

One last thing: Does anyone actually read this column? Normally, this would sound like a pathetic little plea for readers, but in this case, I'm saying that it's terribly difficult to tell what you folks like and don't like about the new format unless you e-mail me (or post on the Message Boards) about it.

Until next week.

copyright ©2000-2004 by Chris Lawson