5. 6. 2009

iMac G3: Mac OS X 10.4.11

So my goal to install Mac OS X Tiger has come true. Firstly I needed Tiger on CD's and that was a big problem because you can buy Tiger mostly on DVD although there are also some CD versions but very expensive. But I was lucky because friend of my friend, Neuromanc, lent me this very rare 4-CD version. So thanks again :-).

My iMac is not officially supported because it has no FireWire. But you can override this with software XPostFacto. I downloaded and installed the latest version so I could use it with Mac OS X 10.3 (the previous versions worked only with OS 9).


I erased HDD entirely before the installation just to be sure. After first restart the installation continued from other CD's. The installation process took approximately one hour and ran without problem.

After registration the update process started-up and took another hour or more. It was repeated several times mainly due to Java updates. Then finally I could download software and this time the latest versions. I browsed the net with Safari 3.0.4 and I was surprised with its speed, definitely it was better than version in Panther. I have downloaded also Camino and this time I was not so impressed, because of speed of Safari. I think, they are equivalent now. I used only Safari later on.

What I noticed during downloading and browsing was slow-down of the system. I checked the RAM and - only 8 MB fre
e. I thought it could be because of Dashboard or Spotlight - two main features of Tiger (and differences between Panther and Tiger). I think spotlight is great and very useful, so I decided to turn the dashboard off. It was easy to google it, e.g. here. All I had to do was write this command to console:

defaults write com.apple.dashboard mcx-disabled -boolean YES

and restart Dock:

killall Dock

And voila! More than 200 MB free! But with browsing the net or running a lot of apps this amount of free RAM can decrease very fast. So maybe 1 GB RAM is good choice.

I have installed Adium, OnyX, Cog (nice music player) and because I was curious about speed and performance of Tiger I have installed also Xbench. Benchmark results with Panther were about - 9,48 and with Tiger - 10,75 - so more than 1 point increase. After turning off dashboard Tiger seems to be very swift, at least as Panther.

I made also one benchmark with Geekbench and the score was - 190. Now I can compare my result with Mactracker.

I tried Boxer - application for DOS games based on DOSBox. But I had no success, then I tried DOSBox only but still nothing. I didn't want to spend too much time with it so I gave up quickly. Instead DOS games I have installed these two Gomoku and Goban - two traditional Chinese/Japanese games for Mac OS X.

Because of my family, I tried to find localization for Mac OS X. Unfortunately there is no Slovak localization but at least Czech is available. It is for free and not only for the system language but also for many other applications like iWork and iLife. You can download it here - http://lokalizace.apple.cz. Installation was easy but it is recommended to install it right after Mac OS X installation.

I like Tiger very much. I can experiment with the newest apps and it seems that they are faster than their previous versions. We live in era of optimization now and that's very good for older computers.
I think Tiger is better than Panther and the best and latest OS for iMac G3. Of course it depends on requirements of every user, but in my opinion it is the best OS X for G3 and far more better than OS 9.

So that were almost 2 weeks of experimenting with my iMac. And finally I can prepare for my exams now :-).

Windows 7: Intel GMA and localization

There was a huge discussion between Intel company and owners of laptops with Intel Graphics Media Accelerators. Because lack of Intel drivers for Vista and therefore also for Windows 7 there was problem with video playback and hardware acceleration. But it seems that this problem can be over.

Just for fun I started Windows 7 today on my laptop and I checked actualizations. I was very surprised when I saw I Intel driver and Slovak localization in updates. I have downloaded and installed them. I restarted and everything seems to be OK. Of course there is no Aero theme, but video playback works and I launched Quake III Arena without problems.

I have made a screenshot with full localization and "Graphics Properties" window:


You can see that the Intel Graphics window looks like in Windows XP and I think there is no big change, it just works under 7.

Windows 7 is on my laptop even more usable now. In fact, everything works fine just like in XP. I benchmarked both systems with Geekbench and Quake III Arena and the results were almost the same.
I think that Microsoft is doing very good operating system this time.

3. 6. 2009

Krivky zmeny

Seriózne som sa nad zmenami všelijakého typu, hlavne však psychiky, pozastavil asi pred troma týždňami na posvadobnej párty a po dvoch štamperlíkoch pálenky. Hneď ako som dostal túto nebezpečnú myšlienku, šiel som do izby a načrtol som si niečo na papier a potom som na to zabudol.
Dnes som úplnou náhodou narazil na túto krivku:


Našiel som ju na tomto blogu a týka sa "nálady" na trhu. Celkom ma to zaujalo, pretože podobné nálady zažívam občas aj ja.
Nemusel som dlho hľadať a našiel som ďalšiu krivku, tento krát už z oboru psychológia z tejto stránky. Týka sa nálady pri nejakej ťažšej strate.


A našiel som aj "klasickú" krivku niekde.


Občas sa nad tým treba zamyslieť. Myslím, že veľa ľudí prežíva tieto periodické výkyvy - ja dosť často, individuálna môže byť asi akurát dĺžka periódy a amplitúda krivky.

iMac G3: Mac OS X 10.3.9 - Internet browsing & other applications

Software for Mac OS X 10.3.9 is usually old and not supported. That was the first thing I noticed. Another reason to go for Tiger. I had to search old releases and sometimes I found only Windows versions. And sometimes I had to experiment - will it work or not?

Internet


Of course I tried Safari in latest version for Mac OS X 10.3.9. The speed was accepatble but untill I visited pages with Flash (ver 9 for Panther) or JavaScript. I can say that the Safari was unusable. I had to wait too long. My next steps were of course for Firefox. Unfortunately I couldn't download latest version for Panther, only version 2. This version was slower than current version that I have on Windows, so I didn't dowload this old release. To the contrary, I could download the latest Opera browser. It worked well but still slow with Flash and JavaScript.

I searched again and I found Camino. It is something like Firefox but only for Macs. I could download the latest version again, what was great. I visited the same pages like with Safari or Opera and the speed with Camino was amazing. You can't expect 200% boost, but still - I could watch videos on YouTube (not 25 fps, but I got the idea from video :-)) and even use Gmail with JavaScript! Of course You should be still patient, but it is possible.

And I want write just one thing. When I compare web browsing with IE in OS 9 and Camino for example in Mac OS X, it is like ... I don't know, huge difference - and on the same machine!

For web browsing I'm using these two browsers: Safari with disabled Flash, Java and JavaScript - for fast browsing and Camino only with Flash disabled, but you can just click on any Flash object and it will run.

Applications

First of all, this is one of the first pages you should visit -> http://www.opensourcemac.org/. I have downloaded some apps, e.g. Seashore - very nice and fast image editor, Adium - must have IM, VLC and Mplayer - again old releases for Panther.

NeoOffice is OpenOffice for Mac, you can download version 2.2.5 for Panther here. Work with NeoOffice can be fine (I didn't work with it like I normal do with OpenOffice to be honest), but programs load slowly and you have to be patient.

For me very interesting applications were these two: TinkerTool and OnyX. Both are tweaking utilities, but OnyX can do more - clean and optimize system. I was curious about this optimization and I did two benchmarks with Xbench v1.3:

Before optimization: 9,47
After optimiation: 9,49

So no big difference. But the system was newly installed and clean and therefore results are very similar.

I could download QuickTime in version 7 but not the latest. I had some problems with codecs but I have found some old versions for Mac and finally I could play videos with QuickTime. The playback was not smooth. Maybe 20 fps, but not smooth at all.

Quake 3 Arena Benchmarks

I like do benchmarks with Quake 3 on any machine. For me it is very reliable result and I like watching the demos :-). And of course I was wondering about GPU performance on iMac.

If you want to know how to make Q3 benchmark on your own here is short guide:
1) Drop console - in windows version you just press ~, but where is tilda on Mac keyboard? Press F13 and console will magicly appear.
2) Type \timedemo 1
3) Type \demo four - you can use other demo as well but for compatibility or comparison with my results use four.

I have installed version 1.32c for Mac and used demo four. Game Options were like this: Simple items – on, Dynamic Lights – off, High Quality Sky – off; and System Setup: GL Extensions – on and Fullscreen. I changed resolution and some settings like this:

Benchmarks:
Resolution, Color Depth, Lighting, Geometric Detail, Texture Detail (%), Texture Quality, Texture Filter = Result in FPS
640x480, 16, Vertex, Low, 0, 16, Bilinear = 27,20
640x480, 32, Vertex, Low, 33, 16, Bilinear = 27,00
640x480, 16, Vertex, Low, 33, 16, Bilinear = 27,20
640x480, 32, Lightmap,Low , 33, 32, Trilinear = 25,60
640x480, 32, Lightmap, High, 100, 32, Trilinear = 7,30
800x600, 16, Vertex, Low, 0, 16, Bilinear = 27,10
800x600, 32, Lightmap, Low, 0, 16, Bilinear = 24,30

Very surprising results for 640x480 that were almost the same as for 800x600 - I could use only these two resolutions. On my laptop I got like 60 FPS for 1024x768 in high detail and I consider this performance as very good for gaming.
But you can get basic idea about GPU performance and that was the goal of this benchmark.

I can play Quake 3 on iMac but I wouldn't dare play it as internet multiplayer. iMac G3 is for older and more simple games.

Tomorrow I'm planning install Tiger (using XPostFacto) and I'm very impatient about the performance and usability.

1. 6. 2009

iMac G3: Mac OS X 10.3.9

Today is one week since I have bought my iMac G3. I tried to work with Mac OS 9 a little bit and I thought this system fits on old iMacs perfectly and also that it is the fastest option. After one day of using Mac OS X I can say that I was completely wrong.

I didn't like Mac OS 9. The main reason was that it was not an UNIX-like system. I didn't know that before and I looked for terminal and there was nothing. Although OS 9 was fast, web browsing was awful. Only one good web browser I had was Internet Explorer and the formatting was ... Well, current web or web 2.0 is something else than 10 years ago.

Before buying iMac I was decided that I want Mac OS X. I didn't know which version but I was aware that my iMac is really old machine and I didn't expect smoothness and speed. According to Apple, only 10.3 Panther is officially supported on my iMac. Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger runs also on G3 but it needs FireWire and usually it is on DVD. So I looked for some Mac OS X versions on eBay. But the prices were really high there. I wanted just try the system and I will see later if it is worth buying. Unfortunately there is no demo version so my choice was clear - download copy from the internet. I have found 10.3 Panther and downloaded 3 CD's and Xcode. I'm not very proud of this, but I'll discuss this later.

I was a bit unsure if I should install Mac OS X because I didn't have Mac OS 9 installation CD in case of problems. Actually I didn't have any software for Mac. But I didn't want to use OS 9 anymore and I like experiments so I started with installation.
Before installation is very important to check firmware. I did have the right version (4.1.9) so I wasn't afraid of any problems.

Installation process ran without problems, took approximately 1 hour. I was wondering about the system speed and compatibility during the installation process. Finally it ended and after classical Apple registration and setup I could use the system. Dock animations are smooth, but minimize the windows is a bit choppy (use Genie effect), expose as well but it is still fast. Font smoothing and colors are just beautiful.


My first reaction was - wow, that's fast! It really is, mainly if you didn't expect that speed. So I started with system update that took another hour. I was so impatient to explorer the system. But it was very late night or soon in the morning so I went to bed.

Today after school I had started to use Mac OS X and I have installed some useful applications. I will write about these applications and internet browsing later. So answer on question if install Mac OS X on iMac G3 or not is in my case YES and I highly recommend that. I have turned old iMac into even more beautiful and useful machine. Because Mac OS X is based on BSD/UNIX, there are many possibilities what can I do with iMac now.

Usability of iMac with OS X is incomparable to OS 9. And after all, I have written this entry completely on iMac using Camino browser.