Every time I try to continue using my trusty, tweaked Apple Power Mac G4 Sawtooth tower on the modern web, I am thwarted by yet another team of overzealous developers updating their application programming interfaces, and thus locking me out of things like Twitter on it.
For those of us still using very capable Power Mac G4s and G5s, this is just another example of how things that are considered old and in the way get squeezed out.
But not being able to use something like Twitter on a G4 or G5 is no reason for these Mac users to bow their heads in shame. First of all, we are talking about the ability to use no more than 140 characters on a social media platform. It is not the end of the world to not be able to access Twitter on PowerPC Macs; if it was, then that is one end of the world scenario that completely escaped me.
Power Mac users have been slighted for years ever since Apple’s move to Intel processors. I recently updated a Core i5 processor iMac from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion and although a pretty slick upgrade was achieved, the Mac is still not perfect—just like all the Macs that came before it that were running the latest and greatest Apple OS at one time or another.
I think people would have abandoned their PowerPC Macs entirely if the spinning, fruity beach ball of death had been eliminated altogether by the placement of Intel processors in Macs. But beach ball hell has been prevalent for every user of Macs at one time or another—sometimes the result of hardware failure, sometimes just because new software is “thinking” while it is installing. What I mean by “thinking” is what happens when you do something like update third party print drivers after upgrading from Snow Leopard to Mountain Lion. The beach ball does not lie; you still experience it (at least to some extent) and most likely always will.
The point in all this digression is that people are reluctant to change or update to something new(er) when what they are using is meeting or exceeding the majority of their needs in the first place.
This is why we run our older, used cars into the ground. If we all had cash to burn, it would be easy to trade up every few years for new cars, computers and what have you. But there are far too many of us who shop at 11 p.m. on the last Friday of the month in Wal-Marts all across the country, waiting for 12 midnight to strike so they can pay for their food staples with the public assistance funding they receive. That is the reality of America today: way too much of the population is struggling, record-breaking numbers of people are on assistance and they have to find a way to make their old stuff like cars and computers (if they are lucky enough to have even old ones) work longer, as they are hard pressed to consistently obtain necessities like food and shelter.
I do use Twitter. It is just not going to be used on my G4. I did not ever try to access my account (@skelleyr) from it before until last night, too. I just thought it would be convenient to do so from the Sawtooth as I was doing some work on the Mac. I am fortunate to have other resources and so can utilize either mobile devices or other computers other than the G4.
YouTube is a challenge on PowerPC Macs, too, and is another example of software companies leaving perfectly good hardware behind. But like the used car market, when you use old computers, you learn to live without certain frills. At the end of the day, each of us decides individually what works, what does not, and what will drive us away from older resources into more modern ones.
These are challenging times we live in. The struggles many of us face daily are undeniable. What we use to get to work or the grocery store depends on our respective situations.
Developers that cease to develop are not an issue for those computing on a budget and who have a bit of moxie and resolve. With just a little extra effort, you can keep your older machines on task. When you are thinking of making the jump from either Mac OS X 10.4.11 Tiger or Mac OS X 10.5.8 Leopard on your PowerPC Mac, consider a Debian install. As they used to say about updating to Leopard back in the day: It’ll be like getting a whole new Mac.
- Putting a PowerMac G5 to good use (julipedia.meroh.net)
- PowerPC Users Celebrate Independence Day Every Day (bobskelley.com)