This has been the first year in several that I have not purchased anything new(er) either Apple-related wise or PC Windows-centric wise. I have been on a shoestring (read student’s) budget and have needed to make do with older, less than current technology.
I have postponed upgrading from my iPhone 3GS. I did back off the phone plan I had, though, and have saved a few bucks by not having so many minutes I did not use in the first place.
Since I needed to be able to access my school files remotely, I was delighted to find out my PowerPC Macs could do so running either Tiger or Leopard via Citrix XenDesktop. This was also easily accomplished by my Windows 7 machines but I still like accomplishing the bulk of my daily work on the PowerPC platform.
These past few years I have been waiting (and wondering) if/when I would feel it was time to just say so long to old reliable: my Sawtooth G4. I knew I was going back to school and at the tail end of last year I purchased a 1.8 GHz Sonnet processor for it. I hoped it would give me just enough of a greater performance ceiling and more overall power to keep the beast of a tower viable for the school year.
Little did I have to worry or fear about the Power Mac’s capabilities going forward from that time on. I have learned a few things and used some new software for the PowerPC platform including the Roccat web browser which I find when combined with Leopard WebKit and TenFourFox, does all I need to do in terms of web capabilities. Even though PowerPC users were recently shut out of Twitter, I am undeterred at using the G4 as my daily driver.
There is no office suite productivity vacuum I am concerned with either. When users still can choose between Microsoft Office 2008 for Mac or LibreOffice 4.0.5 (writing this on version 184.108.40.206) there is nothing to worry about in terms of getting the good majority of office work tasks accomplished. I understand the security concerns with using LibreOffice with the old Java version that powers it on OS X Leopard, but I am typically not online when using LibreOffice and can disable Java in Leopard browsers if I have need to feel especially secure.
My more modern printers do not have any flatbed scanning capability and so my very long in the tooth Microtek ScanMaker E3 flatbed scanner running Hamrick Software’s most excellent VueScan standard edition, version 8.5, continues to let me add old photos into the trusty Power Mac. The feeling of comfort at being able to use a scanner that is almost 20 years old is indescribable. When we live in an age of disposable and throwaway technology and the hardware that goes with it, it is indeed truly comforting to be able to be both modern and a functioning “throwback,” simultaneously.
Older versions of Adobe Creative Suite and even iWork 09 can be run (and are by thousands of users daily) as further examples of software that enables professionals, amateurs and home users alike to continue to get the most from their mature hardware setups.
It is no wonder that PC sales will continue to be down the remainder of this year. Sales will continue to be forecasted on a downward trend into 2014 as well. The smart phone market may show some renewed life and vigor once Apple comes out with their new products. Realistically, though, consumers have become more need-based and frugal—even with the sting of the 2008 downturn five years old now.
The future is bright for PowerPC Mac users who never cease to amaze me. The community knows no bounds when it comes to ingenuity. Although many of these users are making the transition to some form of Linux in order to be more secure and up to date, in terms of overall ability to “labor on,” Mac OS X Tiger and Leopard users have plenty to keep living for heading into another Labor Day Weekend.