Mac OS X 10.5, Leopard

Snow Leopard: Do I need Rosetta?

One of the least-understood things about Snow Leopard is its dropping of support for PowerPC processor-based Macs. Let's take a quick look at the issue.

First of all, let's divide PowerPC into its two components, hardware and software.

Hardware

Over the life of Macintosh computers, there have been three different chip types.

The first Macs used Motorola 680x0 chips. They are also called 68K Macs. These chips were used in the Compact Macs, the Macintosh II series, the Macintosh LCs, 500s, Centris, Quadra, and Performa computer with 3 digit names, and early PowerBook computers. Apple discontinued using this chip in 1996. Mac OS 8.1 was the last operating system that could run on 68K Macs.

The Motorola PowerPC was the next processor line to be used. They were used in a wide variety of computers with these chips were produced from 1996 until August 2006.

Apple introduced the first Intel chip based Mac, the Mac Pro in August of 2006. This line of processors is still in use today and it will be used for the future.

It is the PowerPC (and 68K) hardware that cannot use Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard.

Software

The other use of PowerPC is its programming code. It is included in many of the applications that you are using on your Mac today. That element of PowerPC is not being dropped in Snow Leopard

When Mac OS X 10.0 was released in March of 2001, Apple included the Classic evironment, – translation software, that allows applications that were compiled for Mac OS 9 to run in Mac OS X. That feature was available until Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard was introduced in March of 2005.

When the Apple moved to the Intel processor from the PowerPC they introduced Rosetta which allowed code written for the PowerPC processor to be run on Intel processors. Although we do not expect Rosetta to be around forever, there are many applications that are still being used that contain PowerPC code. One group of applications that comes to mind is the Adobe CS3 suite. Another is AppleWorks, and still another is Quicken 2006.

How can you tell what kind of applications you have on your computer? The easiest was is to use the System Profiler. The easiest way to get to it is through the More Info… button in About this Mac:




It will look something like this when you open it:




Locate Applications in the left column and click on it:




Notice the scroll bar indicates that there is a lot of the window that is hidden. Use the re-size tab in the lower right corner to drag the window until it is much wider:




You can change the size of columns by dragging on the line in the column header:




You can change the order of columns by clicking on the column title and dragging it to a new location:




You can change the sort by clicking a different column:




You can change the sort order by clicking the small arrow at the right end of the column:




Taking a look at my list of applications, you can see that I have several different types:




My Quicken 2006 is really old in software age. Parts of it will even run on a 68K Mac! I need to replace it, but I am waiting on Intuit to release a new version of Quicken (hopefully Quicken 2010) soon!




Many of my PowerPC applications are parts of Adobe CS3, which I will retire when Adobe CS5 is released. However, scrolling through the list, I have found a number of applications that I will be deleting. Do this cautiously! Make sure that the item you are deleting is a stand-alone application--that is not a part of something like the Adobe CS3 suite!

PowerPC applications run in Rosetta.

Still another kind of application is Universal. These applications contain code to run on both PowerPC Macs and Intel Macs.




These applications include both PowerPC and Intel versions of the code. When a x is present in their Get Info window, tney rely on the Rosetta software. If you have an Intel Mac, you do not want to be running apps using Rosetta.



The last kind of application is Intel. These will only run on Intel Macs. Many of these applications were added when I upgraded to Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. These may be are smaller (because they do not contain the code for PowerPC) and many are much faster because they run in 64 bit mode. (I will talk about this in a future blog entry.):




So, do you have to get rid of Classic or PowerPC applications? Not necessarily. My Classic version of Quicken is hidden deep inside the Quicken 2006 package. If I remove it, I might break my ability to run Quicken 2006, so I plan to just leave it alone. I have plenty of room on my hard drive and it takes up only 10.7 MB. The slash through it means that it will not launch on my Intel Mac:




I will be keeping an eye on my PowerPC and Universal applications to see if they have been updated. Over time, developers will release newer versions without the PowerPC code. They will be smaller and they should run faster.

However, in my quest to improve my computer usage, I frequently ask myself--


Am I spending my time working on my computer -- or with my computer?

I have noticed that many computer users spend most of their time tweaking the little things while photos, blogs, movies, email and even work are pushed to the side. Someday all of us will stop using our computers. What will be your legacy? I hope mine includes memoirs, photo albums, movies and projects to pass on to my children and grandchildren! They won't really care how clean or fast my computer was!

If you need some help with your computer -- or help learning to do new things, consider booking a tutorial session with me at Dr. Mac Consulting. The cost is $60 per hour and we will cover just what you want to learn. Give us a call at 408 627-7577 or send us a message at urgentrequest@boblevitus.com.


--Pat

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Snow Leopard: Slow to empty trash?

Whenever Apple releases a new version (or even an update) to the operating system, all sorts of strange things seem to happen. While some problems can be blamed on a bug in the newest software, other issues occasionally appear, but it is difficult to point to a cause for them.

I have seen several reports that the trash can take forever to empty in Snow Leopard. However, I have not seen it happen on my computers or those of any of the clients of Doctor Mac Consulting.

So, what is causing the problem, and how can you fix it?

When you put a file into the trash and use the empty trash command, your file is not really erased. Instead, the name is removed and the space is marked as available in your hard drive's directory file. The file can be recovered if that area of the hard drive has not had a new file written to it.

Sometimes users want a file to really be deleted. They want to make sure someone cannot easily recover the file. In Mac OS X, there is a Finder command to securely empty the trash.



Since there is an ellipsis at the end of the phrase, a dialog box will appear:



But, just what does Secure Empty Trash do? It writes 1's and 0's over the information in the file eight times. If a file is large, or if there are many items in your trash, that can take a LONG time!

Some people want every file that they throw away to be securely erased. There is a finder preference to do just that:



If the check is present, be prepared to wait--and sometimes wait--and--wait--and--wait!

If you only occasionally want a file to be securely erased follow this procedure:

  1. Empty the trash.
  2. Place the file to be securely erased into the trash.
  3. Use the Finder > Secure Empty Trash… command.

Until just a few years ago, data that was over-written eight times was considered to be unrecoverable, even for government security purposes. However, today they require 32 overwrites for a file to be considered unrecoverable.

Mac OS X Snow Leopard has lots of hidden new features. While there are lots of articles and resources available, some of us learn better with hands-on learning. If you would like a bit more help, consider booking a tutorial session with me at Dr. Mac Consulting. The cost is $60 per hour and we will cover just what you want to learn. Give us a call at 408 627-7577 or send us a message at urgentrequest@boblevitus.com.

--Pat

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Using Speak Text in Snow Leopard

My transition to Mac OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard has not been entirely trouble-free. While I await the release of Bob LeVitus new book, Mac OS X Snow Leopard For Dummies, I am doing a bit of searching to find features that have moved in this new version of the Mac OS.

One feature that I use every time I write an entry for this blog is "Start Speaking Text." This useful command means that my computer will read text that I select to me. When I am editing a new post, I will often read over my mistakes. But when the computer is reading the text to me, I can spot errors in what I have typed and I can hear places where what I have written is awkward or unclear. I also use this command to have text from the Internet and emails read to me.

Getting to this feature was not easy in Mac OS X 10.5, Leopard, but I had learned how to get there:
Click here to read more...
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Christmas Cards Addressed?

December 2???

Where did the year go? Have you started your Christmas card list? Would you like to print the envelopes out easily?

Getting ready to send out the cards can be a lot easier if you spend some time getting ready, then use your computer and printer to streamline the process.

The first task is to clean up your address book a bit.
Click here to read more...
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Did you know iCal could do this?

There has been a search function in iCal since it was released. It works by typing in a few letters that are in the title of the event into the search area at the top of the iCal window. You will then see a list of events with those letters in their title at the bottom of the window.

But, how can you make a list of events from one or more calendars?

First you need to select the specific calendar (or multiple calendars) by selecting them. You can show or hide calendars events by checking or unchecking the box by the calendar’s name.

Now, if you want a list of events, how do you get that?…
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Rethinking Periodic Maintenance.

There are lot of good sources of Mac information and there are some people who you come to trust and respect. The crew over at Macworld produce an outstanding web site and magazine and Dan Frakes, who joined the staff in recent years, is one of the people I regard as a true Mac expert.

The July issue of Macworld magazine has a series of very good troubleshooting articles. Much of the content has also been made available on the web site. Dan Frake’s article, Five Mac maintenance myths has brought quite a few comments. In reading them, I was compelled to add my own. This is what I wrote: Click here to read more...
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Aging eyes and tiny type on the web and in Safari

Darn, this getting older is not much fun! Back when I turned 40, I began to notice that small type was getting harder and harder to read. That was just a few years ago, but sometimes I land on a web page that must have been produced by someone with unbelievable visual acuity!

Sometimes it is not the whole site, but just a particular section: Click here to read more...
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Bob LeVitus is presenting seminars in metro Washingtion DC

It is always fun when Bob LeVitus comes to Washington DC. This year he will be doing two days of seminars for my user group, Washington Apple Pi.

These seminars will be much like attending his seminars at Macworld Expo, except the price is MUCH cheaper!
Click here to read more...
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The best tool for Mail is back!

The day I installed Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard was a bittersweet one for me. I had come to rely on a little tool, Mail.appetizer, to make sure that I immediately saw any messages coming into my Bob "Dr. Mac" LeVitus Consulting email mailbox. Unfortunately, the old version broke in Leopard.

Because Mail.appetizer was a beta application and it had not been updated since July 2005, I held out little hope of seeing a new version coming soon.

This morning I received a message from Stefan Schüßler of Bronson Beta, the developer of Mail.appetizer. He has just released a new version that works with Leopard Mail! It is still a beta, but it seems to be very stable. Click here to read more...
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Where is that darn Quick Look button?

Eventually, in the life of every Mac user, that "something" disappears. In the case of Terry, a recent potential Bob LeVitus Consulting customer, it was the loss of the Quick Look Button in the toolbar of each window.

Now, while we are in the business of making money by fixing people's computers, answering question and giving tutoring sessions, there are many questions that are so easy to answer that we simply cannot charge for them.

Bob answered this one, using a great new program, Skitch, to take a screen shot and annotate it. These were his instructions:
Click here to read more...
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What is this SUID thing?

We get questions – lots and lots of questions over at Bob LeVitus Consulting. While many people really need help (and that's why we exist), there are some questions for which the answer is so simple, that I put up an entry here on my MacMousecalls blog.

In the case of SUID warnings, just what they are and how to fix them would require a LOOOONNNNGGGG explanation, but Apple Inc. provides an easy answer in its Technical Information Library article #306935 – just ignore them!
Click here to read more...
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How to write a date

Back in elementary school, we learned to write dates by putting the month, then the day, then the year. That date form works just fine for things like letters, and although it was a little inconvenient, it works just fine for hand-sorting things like checks. But it is terrible for sorting things by date on a computer.

While many things can best be sorted by a title, many items that we store on our computer work best by date. For example, each time I buy something on the Internet, pay a bill, or receive a password, I make a pdf of the document and store them is a folder that I call Passwords and Receipts.
Click here to read more...
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Teaching an Old Dog New Tricks – Part 1: Fonts and Spacing

I am so old that back when I was in high school learning to type, a computer took up a whole room. To type a school paper you used a typewriter, a device that many of today's children may never have seen).

Much of a typing class was spent learning how to lay out a document. Students learned the rules for spacing, paragraph format and page layout. Times have changed with the use of computers and word processing software, but many of the old-time rules are still used. Unfortunately those rules help to produce documents that are impossible to correctly format in a modern word processor. I will take a look at some of those old rules over the next few blog entries and show you the current way to handle text in a wide variety of applications.

We will begin with spacing after punctuation marks such as periods, colons and semicolons.

Back in the days of typewriters, most had a "well" of bars that contained the letters. Click here for a picture. Each of these bars were the same width and so all letters produced by the typewriter were the same width. The font produced by using the typewriter is called a monospace font today. Here is a example of what type would have look like along with the same line in a proportional font Click here to read more...
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Checking your spelling

One of the really nice features of Mac OS X is the system-wide dictionary that is available in all applications that are written in Cocoa, Apple Inc.'s programming environment for programming.

For you, the end user it means that when you make a spelling error, the same database is used to check the spelling of a word. This means when you add a word to your user dictionary in an application such as Mail, that same user dictionary is used to check the spelling of the same word in TextEdit, Pages, Keynote and a wide variety of third party applications.

For example, each time I type my last name, Fauquet, it is underlined with red dots as shown in the illustration below. Click here to read more...
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Quick Look - Making it Easier

After I installed Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, I spent some time learning my way around the new operating system and assessing its features. One thing that really did not impress me is Quick Look. My daily working computer is a 17" MacBook Pro.

I make use of every inch of my screen real estate. I keep several application windows open and position them carefully so that I have instant access to the tools I need. While some users enlarge every window to fill their screen, I keep windows large enough to be useful, but small enough that I can move between applications by simply clicking in their window. Click here to read more...
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