OS X "Pipe and Slippers" Edition, anyone?

dodginess

Registered
Hi All,

Please excuse my facetiousness but I am growing more and more tired by the day of hearing that there is yet *another* new update or version of OS X on the way.

Is there any chance that, just for once, we can stop all the upgrades for a while and just get to know the software we *do* have? :D For anyone accusing me of fuddy-duddyism, I have heard exactly the same criticisms levelled at the music software scene - so many new 'clever' applications and plug-ins coming out that you get caught in an endless cycle of continually installing/upgrading software and, like a child at Christmas with a hundred toys, after a while you open one present, go "that's neat" then move on to the next when the technical novelty is over.

So consider this a manifesto for better (and cheaper) Mac usage. After all who really benefits from all these upgrades - you or the developers?

dodginess

P.S. The OS X "Pipe and Slippers" Edition (*not* available in the shops) is my idea of a more polite, well-mannered and relaxed implementation of OS X that harks back to a bygone era when tools were functional, workmanlike but with more than a soupcon of flair and form. Who really wants to see an error message or 'Force Quit' dialogue box when they can instead receive a nice warm beverage courtesy of the iTea (or, for the more discerning gentlemen, the iSmallSherry) ? :p
 

CreativeEye

Registered
erm...

if you dont want to upgrade... er... don't?...

i didnt upgrade my OS for a very long while as I simply could not justify cost - a lot of my pro apps get the same treatment for the same reasons. I'm more than happy to be at a certain point with software versions if i can't / there is no reason to upgrade.

i also use a few peices of audio / crative software - and something i'll always say is - don't let the software drive your creativity / productivity - its simply a means to an end at the end of the day. if i dont want the latest filters / plug-ins then it probably means that I dont even know about them! but its never had any eadverse affect on my work.

take away my computer and i'll pick up a pen and note pad...
 

dodginess

Registered
My problem isn't that I feel compelled to upgrade myself but rather that the upgrade cycle is killing off creativity to some extent. My best and most current example is probably the differences (or lack thereof) between Photoshop 5 and Photoshop 7. Yeah, I've looked at both and apart from a new splash screen and the odd one or two minor tools, everything is pretty much identical which, given that the time span between these products was in the region of around four years, makes me think that someone, somewhere, is being a bit cynical.

One possible cause is the naming convention itself - after all, if someone's got a new machine they're not going to go out and buy Office 2001 are they? I'm sure at least a few people will be wondering how current Dreamweaver MX 2004 can really be given that we're (almost) in 2006.

As for not wanting to upgrade, I find that, in my capacity as a home user and a freelance journalist, I am left with little option but to upgrade if the program I need says "10.3 or higher" on the box, whether or not it really does. As an example, my copy of Dreamweaver MX 2004 will only install on a 10.2.6 box but, once installed, will happily run under 10.2.2 - so what gives? Adobe has also been guilty of this practice in the past too so I don't really understand why there is a big push to get everyone running the latest systems. Or, being cynical, is it a lot easier for these companies *not* to have to support all these legacy applications and OSs?

As for the comment in your last point - take away my computer and I'm gonna have to get that old Quadra 700 fired up and raring for action :) Failing that I'll just draw a "sad mac" icon on a cardboard box and make car-crash noises until someone buys me a new computer (or get sectioned, whichever happens first...)

dodginess
 

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
Well, it's a bit difficult, really. Apple _has_ to bring out new versions of their OS from time to time, because only with _new_ features can they market the system well to customers and consumers alike.
Were Apple to say that Leopard (10.5) will be _the_ OS for the next five years and that there won't be feature updates (only bugfixes, security updates), they'd basically dig their own grave. Same goes for Adobe. Sure: There's almost no way around Photoshop (no "real" competition), but if customers don't feel obliged to upgrade to newer versions, Adobe stops making money. Even worse, I guess, it's for Microsoft with Office. They have to really, really work hard to make people think they actually _need_ a newer version of Office...

But if you _want_ to: Yes, you can live with OS 9.2.2 and Photoshop 6 or 7.

As an answer to you being cynical: No, that's EXACTLY their reason. Yes, they don't WANT to support earlier OS versions and their own earlier app versions, because it costs money that they rather spend on luring more and new customers into actually _buying_ the software they create - and of course the development and bugfixing of applications.

I've found that users like you - I know many who are weary of the update-frenzy, too - should simply go the 1-up-1-down route. Get Panther, forget about Tiger, get Leopard. 10.3.9 is a really good operating system, and if you can do without Dashboard and Spotlight (the latter will only be really useful once it comes of age, anyway...), Panther will do just fine until a) Apple releases Leopard or b) you buy a new Mac that comes with Tiger, anyway. Same for Adobe. CS1 works well, don't have to get CS2, why not take CS3, which will quite probably have more going for it for CS1 owners than CS2.
 

dodginess

Registered
fryke - your '1-up-1-down' theory pretty much sums up exactly what I've been doing, though there has probably been more of a gap for me between machines than most people - my previous computer before my current (now old) eMac was an 8600/200, and before that was a positively ancient 486 SX. This has probably been dictated more by money than anything else though :) Oh, to be born into a rich family...Or get paid a half-decent wage for a change...

After reading your post I realise that in a way we *have* to have this continual cycle of re-hashed programs purely to keep any money in the software industry, though I still think it's a bit of a cheek for Apple to keep charging for OS updates - after all, apart from something leftfield like BEOS, what else can you run on a Mac? As if they didn't have a complete monopoly on the machines anyway? Yes, I know Apple have to make money too but - for example - they are very unlikely to ever charge anyone for an iPod firmware update. Of course, in the mind of a cynical person, it's very cosy for the software developers to say "hey you need our new program, which will only run on 10.X.X upwards" while Apple say "you have to have our new OS because it runs all the programs you need and will make you more attractive to the opposite sex, make you look cool, etc."...

Given that we've had jaguars, panthers (which are just black jaguars and leopards), tigers and leopards, how about OS 10.6 Brazilian Tapir or OS 10.7 Caribou? Going off on a tangent (iTea, iSmallSherry, etc.) I've realised that there is definite comic scope for designing future iProducts, so I'm going to crack open my old copy of Lightwave 7 and see if I can come up with anything good. Of course, if anyone has any suggestions (good or otherwise) I'll put a 'product prediction' portfolio together and will formally send the ideas off to Apple R&D once a general consensus has been reached :D

dodginess
 

dodginess

Registered
Just a small postscript - I just saw on Apple's Mac OS X Tiger site that they have an innovative new feature Forgot Password:

"...Conveniently reset the password for any user directly from the login window if you have set a master password for the system."

Great, so what happens what you forget the master password then?

For my money, the innovative new Desktop Pictures feature is probably worth the sale price alone:

"...Choose from a collection of stunning new desktop pictures, including a vibrant new default desktop created exclusively for Mac OS X Tiger users."

Why do I feel so underwhelmed...? :rolleyes:

And that, your honour, concludes my case for the defence...
 

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
I always found those "150 new features" or now even "200 new features" lists quite pathetic, seeing that they count things like Quicktime's individual features and forget to mention totally that QT also _lost_ some capabilities (unless you shell out more for the Pro version, that is...). Then again, they probably really _have_ to have these numbers up, because it helps people persuading their bosses/parents/spouses to get the upgrade for them. ;)
 

fjdouse

UNIX - Live Free or Die
If you haven't forked out for Tiger, don't. That's my honest advice, it's not worth it - really. Stick with Panther which (if you haven't got it) you can pick up at ever cheaper prices.

This 'must upgrade' ethos is something which certainly was not in the Mac user world when I got my first PowerMac 5500/225, it felt like a far more relaxed way of computing. When I was literally forced back into PC (Linux) usage, I remembered how nice Macs were and wished for something which didn't REQUIRE updates every week. Sadly, since coming back, that world has gone and even I feel the pressure to update this or that, it's a filthy habit from the PC world which has polluted Mac use IMHO. Perhaps Macland is occupied by more PC-esque users than before? Sure, you can justify the "upgrade or die" neurosis however you want - whatever helps one sleep at night, but the net effect is, you're constantly paying out for minor improvements - or as in the case of Tiger 10.4, a step backwards. More often than not, the real beneficiary is the recipients bank balance.

Yeah, I know where you are coming from, it yanks my chain! Damn, it's vexed me! I want my purchases to be WORTH something, an investment, especially when some of these greedy, fat-cat profiteers are charging hundreds of pounds for 1's and 0's! Short product lifecycles are an insult to the intelligence and investment of the users, we're not all on fat salaries or have a capacity for justifying the (immoral?) waste of finances.

ooh, I'm getting all bolshy now! ;-)

Rant over... ;-)
 

fryke

Moderator
Staff member
Mod
On the original subject - and in direct answer to your last post, fjdouse: Pipe and slippers edition would be to get Panther 10.3.9 now. And when Leopard ships, people can decide to update to Tiger 10.4.11 (or whatever the last update to Tiger will be...). So: If you truly only want the most finished work Apple releases, you should only get the very last version of each system. That, of course, doesn't work if you buy a new Mac. It'll come with the newest version of the operating system, and trying to install an older version often fails or is not as stable as on an officially supported machine. But for 'older' Macs, "Piper and slippers edition" might simply mean just that: The _last_ version.
 

Tommo

Registered
fryke said:
That, of course, doesn't work if you buy a new Mac. It'll come with the newest version of the operating system,QUOTE]

And there is the biggest gripe of all!!! As a home user I keep up with all new releases of OS on both PC and Mac and if software doesn't work I roll it back to the old version of the OS or dual boot it for a while if I really need it.

As someone who provides IT support in a business environment being forced to update to the latest version just because I have had to buy a new Mac is ridiculous. Especially with Apples record on backward compatability. I have Macs now which cannot run a recently purchased and very expensive piece of software or access the site remotely as the VPN client doesn't work under Tiger.

I'm all for a pipe and slippers version that will work on new Macs especially even if that is 10.3.9.
 

symphonix

Scratch & Sniff Committee
Dodginess, I understand exactly what you mean about the ever-onwards-ever-upwards upgrade cycle - but I think you have to realise it is really just a commercial reality. Companies that make their profit from making TVs need to keep improving on their designs to stay competitive, and software is the same.

You have around about the same amount of "rollback" ability on a new Mac as you would on a PC. If you want 10.2 or 10.3 instead of 10.4, you can go back to these. Yes, current Macs can't boot into OS9, but since its been over 4 years since OS9 was declared dead, and about 6 years since OSX was released, then running OS9 on a new Mac is akin to running Windows 95 on a new PC.

"...Conveniently reset the password for any user directly from the login window if you have set a master password for the system."

Great, so what happens what you forget the master password then?
You can reset the master password by booting from the MacOSX install DVD. There is an option in the menu there "Reset master password". The new "Forgot password" feature is to make it easier for the admin of a machine or network to reset a user's password right then and there at their machine, without needing to go back to the main server, reboot, call help-desk or do any of that nonsense.

I still think it's a bit of a cheek for Apple to keep charging for OS updates - after all, apart from something leftfield like BEOS, what else can you run on a Mac?
Ever heard of Linux? In fact, you have almost the same options for OS's on the Mac as you do on PC ... Debian, BSD, Slackware, Fedora. The only ones you miss out on that a PC can run are Windows and Sun Solaris.

... but rather that the upgrade cycle is killing off creativity to some extent.
While there may be some truth to this, you've obviously never been to, for instance, a Macworld expo, where several thousand creative people get to show off their best work in software and hardware. If we ignored this type of creativity, or discounted it as "not the same thing" as say painting or music, we'd still be writing on papyrus.

Apple is an innovative company. That means that they have to regularly reinvent their products. If they didn't innovate, would you really want to buy their gear?

And frankly, I think Apple's upgrade pattern is the best in the industry in terms of bang-for-buck. Case in point: Garageband. Released as version 1.0, then updated a year later to version 2.0 with some very obvious new features such as multi-track recording, music notation (meaning you can work with the actual notes like sheet music), etc.

Compare them to their competitors. Microsoft takes up to 5 years between major OS revisions. Adobe, as you used as an example before, releases lots of updates that don't actually offer much new functionality to their end users. Don't get me started on Lotus, who seem to go backwards with every new version of Notes or Domino.

Apple set prices that they believe people would be willing to pay. And people do pay, because the added value is there in the products.

There is a drastic difference between the Apple-user culture and the Windows-user culture. When Apple decided to get rid of the ADB connections and make all their mice and keyboards USB, the users applauded. And yet PCs still use PS2 connections, and any attempt to get rid of them in favour of USB results in scathing complaints from the PC crowd. Apple users love innovation and are willing to toss the old aside to move on, while Windows users kick up a fuss to Microsoft whenever a new OS fails to correctly support a barcode reader that hasn't been made since 1985.

Well, I could go on, but I think I might just tell you to unplug your Internet, stop reading the Mac magazines, and just go back to being "creative" in your own way. We promise we won't tell you about Leopard. Or any other innovations Apple might have in the pipeline. We certainly wouldn't say anything about Intel, that would just upset you. ;-)
 

dmetzcher

Metzcher.com
fryke said:
I've found that users like you - I know many who are weary of the update-frenzy, too - should simply go the 1-up-1-down route. Get Panther, forget about Tiger, get Leopard. 10.3.9 is a really good operating system, and if you can do without Dashboard and Spotlight (the latter will only be really useful once it comes of age, anyway...), Panther will do just fine until a) Apple releases Leopard or b) you buy a new Mac that comes with Tiger, anyway. Same for Adobe. CS1 works well, don't have to get CS2, why not take CS3, which will quite probably have more going for it for CS1 owners than CS2.
I just wanted to say that I think this is excellent advice for many users out there.
 
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