Happy Birthday Mac

Today is the 30th anniversary of the launch of the Apple Mac, so Happy Birthday Mac.

My first Mac was in 2002, and it was a Titanium G4 PowerBook. I was Director of the Western Colleges Consortium in Avon, and one of the partner colleges was not happy about the support they were getting in using the shared VLE and online learning content on their Macs they used. They were using G4 PowerMacs, so in order to support them better I decided to order the “cheapest” G4 Mac I could and that was the Titanium G4 PowerBook.

Titanium G4 PowerBook

I remember thinking that if I was going to really understand the needs of the users of these strange devices I had better use it as my main device for a few weeks.

Within a week, it had become my main computer and I soon upgraded it with an Airport 802.11b wireless card so it was more useful. I remember how much I liked the fact that you shut the lid, and when you opened it, it came back on almost immediately.

It was a dual boot machine running OS 9 and OS X 10.1 Puma. It had a 500MHz G4 chip, a 10GB hard disk drive, 128MB of RAM and a DVD Drive.

It was a very different experience to the Windows 2000 PCs I was use to, and the user interface was in many ways a combination of “easy” and “challenging”. It took me a few months to work out how to drag and drop.

It lasted a few years and was eventually replaced with an Aluminium G4 Powerbook a few years later.

Since then I have had and used many Macs, including the G5 PowerMac which was an amazing computer, very powerful, various incarnations of the iMac, most recently a 27” model. With the move to Intel, I used a range of MacBooks, I really liked the MacBook Pro Retina and I am currently typing this article on an 11” MacBook Air.

Changing the battery

On my old G4 PowerBook, changing the battery was a piece of cake. Shut the lid, wait until the light glowed, then remove the flat battery and replace it with a fully charged battery, lift the lid and back to work…

With the MacBook Pro you can’t do this… in theory it is suppose to suspend the computer and save the current state if you remove and replace the battery in the same way as I use to with the G4 Powerbook. However from my experience it is very much a 50/50 chance that what will actually happen is that replacing the battery will result in needing to boot the MacBook Pro. Of course this means that any unsaved work is not saved.


The problem is that (as far as I am aware) there is not a way to set the state of suspension manually, you have to let the computer do it.

As a result I do like the hibernation mode that you find on Windows laptops, very easy to replace the battery then, though it can take an age to resume from hibernation.


I maybe getting spoiled.

I am feeling that my G4 PowerBook is somewhat on the slow side.

Now it could be that I have been using way too many Intel Macs recently and as a result, the G4 is not slow, just slow compared to them!

Or it could be the wealth of Web 2.0 services out there and Ajax is playing havoc with my browsers and memory. If I surf simple sites such as the BBC News, then no real problems; problems arise if I use Jaiku, Twitter or WordPress (ie this blog).

The thing is it doesn’t really matter which browser I use either, whether it be Flock or Firefox or Safari.

I think I am getting spoiled, now the question is, if I upgrade the PowerBook to Leopard 10.5, will that make any difference, make it worse or make it better.

Slow Flash video on G4 PowerBook

Though it is nice to have fast computers, sometimes now and again you need to use an older model.

However I am finding more and more that my old G4 PowerBook just can’t cope with the new modern internet.

I already know that it isn’ capable of playing HD video like the Apple trailers, but I am also having issues with Flash video as in the BBC iPlayer and video clips on Amazon.

Now I and you both know that video is not the only reason to use the web (though I guess there are a few YouTube addicts out there who may think differently) I do find it frustrating when I am browsing the web and there is a video clip and I can’t watch it as my computer is too old.

Wearing out…

Do you know I think I may need to replace the batteries for my aging G4 PowerBook.

In their prime they would last at least three hours sometimes longer.

Today the first only lasted just over seventy minutes!

Batteries do wear out and I think I may need new ones or is there someway of refreshing old batteries.

At £89 apiece for new ones, I think I might try and see if there is a way of refreshing them.


It shouldn’t I know, but I always get surprised by how hot my PowerBook gets when I am using it and it is charging at the same time.

Take out the battery and it cools down pretty quick!

Just means that if I use the PowerBook on my lap I have to watch just in case it burns my legs.

Duplicate Bookmarks

For some reason when my iMac today synced my bookmarks (via .mac) it added all my bookmarks again to Safari, so I had duplicates of every bookmark both on the menu bar and in the bookmarks themselves.

No idea why .mac decided that I needed to add all my bookmarks again.

This is (I have found) one of the problems with maintaining multiple bookmarks across computers.

I can add a bookmark on the iMac, it will sync, be added to my .mac bookmarks and then be synced to the PowerBook. As it should be.

But there have been times when I have changed as in updated a bookmark on the PowerBook and in theory this should update back, but I have found later that .mac has synced the old book mark back again.

Though what happened today is very weird. I will probably need to do a manual sync to replace all the duplicated bookmarks with a single copy from .mac.