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Make a Power Mac 7200 feel like a G4

I’m all over the place today. So fasten your seat belts. We’re going for a ride.

How do you make a Power Mac 7200/120 feel like a G4? Install vintage software on it. We’re dumping some old Power Macs at work, but since they’ve recycled some of the software licenses (and lost most of the rest), the only legal thing to do is to wipe the drives, install the now-free Mac OS 7.5.5 on it, and perhaps another free package or two. I went ahead and threw in WordPerfect 3.5, which Corel has made available free of charge. The systems boot in 45 seconds (even less if I defrag the drives and then run DiskWarrior) and WP loads in 7-9.

I hear System 6.0.8 on an SE/30 running programs like WriteNow is even nicer. From what I remember of using such a machine in 1992-93, it’s probably true. Memories fade and tales grow taller with time, but I remember that SE/30 was just about the fastest computer I ever used. It didn’t multitask, but then again, the PCs of the time didn’t multitask well. In those days if you wanted real multitasking, you had to get a Unix workstation or an Amiga.

In those days I used the SE/30 at school and had an Amiga 2000 at home. The SE/30 was definitely faster, but the Amiga let me multitask, and I abused the privelige. It’s arguable which machine made me more productive, as much as it pains me to admit.

I’ve also heard arguments that the SE/30 makes you more creative. That’s absolutely not universal. Having strong emotions about the tools you’re using certainly helps–and that can go either way. Intense hatred is as inspiring as intense love. Why do you think we hear so many love songs and love-gone-wrong songs? It might be more inspiring. I find it much easier to write angry angst-ridden punk or self-loathing goth (the two extremes of love gone wrong songs) than to write worship music, which, face it, is basically love songs to God.

I think a 1.2 GHz Athlon with a 15,000 RPM SCSI drive and 256 megs of RAM would make me more creative, but mostly because it wouldn’t stand in my way or slow me down.

And a stolen insight. I was talking and praying with another church member Wednesday night. He’s a psychology PhD, brilliant mind. We talked about work, and he was talking about a couple of his more extreme cases, and at one point, remembering what my own mind can do sometimes, I asked, “Is anyone normal?” Then he let loose with a pearl of wisdom.

Don’t focus on the disorder. Focus on the order, the things that work right.

Like my creative bursts! They’re usually accompanied by a mood swing. Focus on the creativity, good stuff happens. Focus on the mood swing, bad stuff happens.

We do this in other stuff. Nobody cares that the x86 is quite possibly the worst CPU architecture mankind ever foisted on itself. Trust me, it’s awful. I can program every other chip I’ve tried. OK, so me not being able to program something doesn’t make it awful, so let me state that another way. I can program other architectures. They’re easy, so they’re awesome. Not the x86. But the x86 has so much software for it–because programmers gave up and just decided to write in high-level languages–so no one cares how awful it is.

Nobody seems to care that the Mac never had preemptive multitasking or memory protection because it looks cool and makes you feel warm and fuzzy when you use it. It’s got that cuteness factor that people go ga-ga over.

Why is it we give these stupid machines the benefit of the doubt, but not each other? I don’t get it.

From: “James Cooley” <>

Subject: S3 ViRGE 325


Enjoy your column and read it daily. You refered to the above video card and I wanted to share your enthusiasm. I also wanted to point out that I use the driver at (try for a direct link)instead of the huge Diamond drivers or the generic Win98 driver.




Thanks. Yes, I also downloaded the S3 reference drivers for comparison; for now I’m just letting the Microsoft-supplied drivers do the job. I’ll
probably switch it this weekend though. S3 and Diamond definitely know their chipset and card better than Microsoft does.

I’ve always been impressed with Diamond’s cards; too bad their days as a prominent graphics card maker are pretty much over. I’m sure Guillemot’s video cards are fine, but Diamond was familiar.

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