Son of Helios

 

"Fun" With Technology

A return to the PowerBook 2400.

I debate about getting a network card and getting it online to post directly. I think I probably will. But not yet. The CF card in addition to transfer will work for awhile longer. No need to be hasty with old technology, despite hastiness being a strongly ingrained trait of mine, at least when I'm enjoying something.

 

Other technology this evening I did not enjoy.

Set up a new iPad tonight. Working on a project that requires an iPad with an A9 processor or later. My existing iPad Air  just didn't cut it: it has a "lowly" A8. You'll note the new processor is one better. 

The new one is referred to as iPad (2017). For the all the complaints about the confusion of Apple's naming during the Performa era (5200/75! 5215/180! etc), the company's current name scheme is no different. The wild inconsistancy doesn't help. There was no iPad (2010) or iPad (2013), though there were iPad models in those years.

 

The entire setup process was an exercise in frustration. Now, I am aware that I am an edge case. But edge cases are still actual use cases.

I live in an area with slow internet, and it's metered. I only get so many gigs per month. In the past, new iOS devices have been a relatively simple setup situation. Backup previous one to the computer, then restore that backup to the new device. Apps and data move over, and the whole process is (has been? was at one time?) fairly painless. I even backup semi-regularly, so the backup process doesn't take that long. 

However.

Take new iPad out of the box. Go through the several initial steps (wireless network, AppleID, decline to setup TouchID, decline to add passcode, yes I'm really sure, do you really, really not want iCloud drive, we promise it's great, really!, etc), get to the restore from iTunes option, connect to computer, confirm that I trust myself... "Sorry, this iPad is too new for this version of iTunes, please download and install v12.5 or higher." 
Now, on this computer, I haven't installed any newer version of iTunes because I actually used the Manage iPad Apps from iTunes feature, which was removed in v12.5. Okay, well, as far as I know all existing app backups aren't removed, so I will update and figure out how to proceed.

Check for updates, no iTunes updates found. Attempt to download via Safari, for some reason it doesn't. Finally run a remaining security update, which takes forever, restart, and can now update iTunes.

Why don't I install updates automatically, you ask? Did you forget about the metered internet mentioned earlier? Did you also know that Mac OS and iOS have NO built-in scheduling mechanism? There is no way to say "only check and update during these hours". That's a simple feature that would make a world of difference. Instead, when on wifi, your devices will download multiple gigs of updates whenever they feel like it? "Why is the internet so slow today? Oh an Apple device must have decided it was really important." 

So, after a 400 MB system update, followed by a 271 MB iTunes update, I can finally attach, restore, and setup my new iPad, just like the last iPad.

To those of you with decent broadband, those numbers don't seem too large. This took awhile.

However.

"This iPad's system software is too old to be restored with this backup".

Keep in mind, we nearly 700 megs into updates, a decent amount of time in, and my new iPad, that was TOO NEW for iTunes 12.5, is TOO OLD for my iOS 11 based backup.

Software engineers, you can hand-wave this away all you want, "oh, if your internet was faster, if you'd kept up to date, this wouldn't have happened..." BUT I am not the only person in the world with crappy internet speeds.

I am not the only person in the world who would like like to be able to control when my devices suck down giant files.

I want people who live in San Francisco and assume things like ubuiquious internet and constant device traffic are Big Improvements and know that such things are not the case everywhere.

 

So, returning to my new iPad. iOS 11 point something needs to be downloaded and installed. I now go through the setup questions again ("Are you really sure about iCloud Drive?"), and set it as a new iPad, so that I can download the update, and THEN restore from the backup I had previously made. 

I do this.

iOS 11 dot whatever takes forever and is installed. 

I now go through the setup questions a third time. ("Have you heard about iCloud drive?") I still don't want to use TouchID, thank you. This device doesn't leave the house. 

Now, I can finally restore my backup data. It succeeds. (Or, maybe "succeeds")

And go through the initial setup a fourth time. ("I don't know if you've heard of iCloud Drive....")

And, finally, my iPad is ready to go, exactly where the old one was....except, thanks to iTunes 12.5 and higher's lack of app backup, every single one of my non-default apps now has to DOWNLOAD. Because, of course, San Francisco engineers, everyone has fast unlimited internet, right? That's just easier than moving some files over a USB cable, right?

It's still merrily downloading away nearby. It won't be done until the morning. Who knows what percentage of my monthly bandwidth was burned up due to poor software design? Software design that previously was be able to install a good chunk of this locally? This is data that just does not need to be re-downloaded. It exists on the previous iPad that is still just a few feet away. 

But iOS doesn't work like that. 

Created on a four-and-a-half pound subnotebook

Greetings from a PowerBook 2400c. It's time for a battery test. It's 11:55 AM, computer booted up probably 2 minutes ago. It seems...longer when waiting for it to start.

The PowerBook 2400c came out in ~1997, so twenty years ago. The fact that the battery functions at all is a miracle; the fact I can get over a half hour is astonishing. Something I've forgotten with more modern hardware is the NOISE. The old hard drive in this is noisy. Just when it's spinning, not just reading/writing. The system spins it down after a couple minutes of inactivity and you can hear it, clearly. I didn't realize due tohow long I've had an SSD in my laptop (and granted, when working, I do always have music playing as well)

This laptop has 2 PC card slots, I've been moving files back and forth between my OS X machine via compact flash, in a PCMCIA adapter on here, via USB on the desktop. No networking has been set up yet. Interestingly (well, to the right person), I have been unable to get any operating system other than Mac OS 8.1 to read and write to the compact flash card. The card is formatted HFS+, or "Macintosh Extended", which can still be read and written to via Mac OS X 10.12. Mac OS 8.1 introduced support for this format...I've upgraded and tested this laptop to both Mac OS 8.5, 8.5.1, and 8.6, and all three are unable to write anything larger than a text file or two to the card without freezing. 

I'm not sure I'll need an OS higher than 8.1 yet, so it doesn't really matter, but it's been a fussy journey trying to make sure I can move files in two directions, rather than a one way street.

One of the ways I attempt to justify keeping old technology around is to find a purpose for the machines. (Naturally this is mostly backwards justification for keeping what I want to have)

What is the purpose of this machine? It's an intermediary between Mac OS X and any older hardware. Due to the PC card transfer, as well as a SCSI port and so on, this machine can bridge system 7 and the newer items. I don't have nostalgia for this particular machine as I never owned one when younger-- this was a very expensive business class machine for travellers who wanted the most power and most portable mac possible. It's rarity makes it appealing right now as it's hard to come by in the states, as it was primarily designed for the Japanese market. 

I did have a PowerBook Duo for awhile when I was a teenager, and I recently owned one again, but the lack of simple file transfer capability meant it was more hassle than I wanted. The simplicity of downlading something from the macintosh repository and popping the compact flash card in makes it more useful. The Duo would require a dock and some other hardware I didn't have. 

What's next? Figuring out networking of some kind. I know there are farallon ethernet cards that are easy to come by as well as Lucent wavelan cards for basic wireless, but a lack of WEP support for wireless doens't make it as appealing as you'd think (aside from the delightful novelty of a 20 year old machine online). I've read about bluetooth support for the Newton; I don't know if anyone created bluetooth drivers for Mac OS 9 or earlier. It's worth investigating.

I'm also interested in any weird music or audio PC cards and software. I'd like to pickup some kind of serial -> midi converter, as well as experiment with an old version of Digital Performer.

more to come.

Test from phone

It appears that getsimple cms can be posted to from a tiny, 6 year old phone. Fantastic. WebOS lives!

Just Do Something

Creating is better than complaining. 

Creating is better than sitting.

Creating has more impact that reading politics.

The latest news panic will pass and the next panic will start.

Markets will rise and fall.

The perfect time to start something new was yesterday. The second best time is right now. 

 

Just do something.

Just Make Something.