Technology

Finding Apple wisdom in the great Lombard resurrection

English: Apple's absolute first logo, pre 1976...

English: Apple’s absolute first logo, pre 1976. Drawn by then co-founder Ronald Wayne. The logo features Sir Isaac Newton sitting under the apple tree where he supposedly discovered gravity, by an apple falling on his head. See http://www.macmothership.com/gallery/gallery1.html for the 1976 Apple 1 manual and advertisements where this logo was used. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The computer I’m typing this on is so old I didn’t use reading glasses when it came out. At the time of its release in May of 1999, John Elway was just four months removed from winning his second consecutive Super Bowl with the Denver Broncos in what would be one of the rare displays of a professional sports athlete successfully riding off into the sunset.

I am able to successfully bridge the gap on this relic between then and now via the software wonders of TenFourFox, XPostFacto and OS X 10.4.11 Tiger. This thing is not a speed demon by any means. It’s amazing it even still works at all.

It was not as simple as taking it out of its laptop bag, plugging it in and pressing the power button. In what became a series of reminders that all electronics have a shelf life, I booted up to the infamous circle with slash inside once the screen came on. It had all seemed so promising at the start, too. I briefly investigated Xubuntu 6.10 for PowerPC as a stopgap, couldn’t boot from either the live or alternate CD‘s and gave up on Linux running on the ancient Lombard.

But, I did know there was an Apple OS underneath all of these surface (more on the “Surface” further down) issues. The Lombard displayed the Apple logo and spinning gear before quickly turning to the aforementioned circle with slash. I fished out my old Panther OS X 10.3 CD’s and decided to run Disk Utility to see if the OS on the Lombard could be salvaged. Sure enough, after repairing disk permissions in Disk Utility and restarting once more, I was face to face with the reborn OS X 10.3.9 Panther desktop.

Not satisfied with Safari 1.3.2 (or whatever version it was) as my web browser, I remembered XPostFacto and how it once had helped me run OS X 10.4 Tiger on this throwback laptop. I would have been content with Panther as my OS save for the fact I could not even access many sites including WordPress–having one variation or another of the error, “Your browser is too old and unsupported for this site. Please update your browser and try again.” Of course I’m paraphrasing (barely), but you can imagine how futile this restoration project was beginning to feel.

Not one to give up my quest for Lombard relevance in the mobile era, I downloaded and installed XPostFacto, grabbed my OS X 10.4 Tiger CD’s and went about the task of “fooling” the Lombard once more into running an OS it wasn’t officially supported for. After installing Tiger and updating it to 10.4.11 via Apple’s still supported Software Update, I was in business, sort of. The Tiger version of Safari is inadequate for the modern web. But, after downloading TenFourFox for Mac G3’s some minutes later, I was here and ready to blog.

The latency is incredible and so it is pretty slow typing inside of TenFourFox, but it doesn’t matter to me. To be fair, the hard disk is still indexing via Spotlight and that accounts for some of the slowness. But, overall, I’m enchanted with revisiting my old friend the Lombard once again. This was one of the laptops originally featured by Hollywood to demonstrate Apple’s star power. I was saddened to see Apple copying Microsoft’s Surface Pro with their recent announcement of their own Surface knockoff tablet complete with “pen” and keyboard.

Sarah Jessica Parker at the 2009 Tribeca Film ...

Sarah Jessica Parker at the 2009 Tribeca Film Festival for the premiere of Wonderful World. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Lombard represented Apple well as actress Sarah Jessica Parker’s laptop for Carrie Bradshaw, the character she played in Sex and the City. I can’t help but think if the show was still on, Carrie would now be using a Microsoft Surface Pro just like NFL teams do. While the Lombard almost made it to the end of this second to last paragraph, the finishing touches to this post were performed on a Windows 10 laptop.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love Apple, always will, but am moved more than ever by value and what works well for my purposes. By adopting the role of copycat when it comes to hardware technology releases, however, Apple has jumped the shark with respect to innovation, and is the latest corporate proof that imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery. Perhaps, going forward, Apple should consider the staying power of products produced in years past like the Lombard. Think durable, anyone?

 

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