Adobe CS4 Questions

In the last few weeks, I’ve gotten a few emails from readers with great questions, feedback, and encouragement. Thanks for the support!

One common question is about Adobe Creative Suite. As I mention over on the Office page, Adobe CS 4 is the last version to run on our Power Mac G5s. If you are interested in the actual system requirements, head over to the Adobe help site.

What you will notice missing is this – only “Design Premium and Standard” and “Web Premium and Standard” will run on G5s. “Production Premium” and “Master Collection” will not. This is likely because they include software like Premiere, Adobe’s film editing app, and After Effects, a visual effects app, which both moved to Intel only with CS4. The last version of Adobe Premiere to work on G5s is 6.5, which was released back in 2002. The last version of After Effects to work on G5s was included in CS3.

Confusing? I suppose. Navigating old system requirement pages is a skill to be acquired for those of us running old computers.

By the way, I also get asked where to find these old software packages. I’d recommend going legal routes, even though you can’t necessarily buy older versions quite easily. Ebay is an option. Sometimes, I see Mac retailers like Megamacssporting good deals. If you are just wanting to grab Photoshop or InDesign, don’t be afraid to go a little bit older. I’ve done a lot of web design and graphic design using CS2 in the past, and they remain really capable tools for G5s.

– Nathan

New SSD Recommendations

I love getting feedback from readers that can help expand the information on the site.

One reader, xz, wrote in to share experiences with a couple of other SSDs. Consider them a review or confirmation, as individual results might vary in our particular G5s and their different specs. Read more:

I was browsing your site a while back when adding new life to this g5 powermac7,3 that I have; and I found the SSD section most helpful. Even purchased an Intel 320 (80GB) SSD. Also, wanted to let you know that I have an OCZ VERTEX2 120GB disk and it is working as my “Macintosh HD”, with no problems at all. Didn’t know if you’ve tested one with any hardware configurations in the past. Wanted to let you know that it does work, and works well! Thanks again for your site; one of my favs! Very helpful as well! Thanks and have a great day!

Thanks for the feedback! I hope this saves someone time or money as they scour the internet for deals to upgrade their G5.

— Nathan

OS Alternative: MorphOS

I heartily recommend Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard for your G5, though a lot of my readers get a ton of use out of Debian Linux or some other variant. That’s great. But there is one more option off the beaten path – MorphOS.

MorphOS is not an open source operating system. In fact, I initially thought it had some connections to AEROS, which is an attempt to use Linux underpinings to recreate the Amiga OS, but I was wrong. Amiga OS was never super popular, but it had its uses and was great for media editing workstations. In fact, that was my first experience working with any version of Amigo OS, way back in high school in a video production class.

I can’t say I have a love for Amiga OS or enough experience as to extoll its virtues, but MorphOS has emerged in recent years as a viable alternate for PowerPC machines. Again, it’s not open source, and you do have to pay for it. But you get a slick, capable enough operating system that continues to evolve and runs super fast on older machines, especially our Power Mac G5s (with some caveats).

Check out the video below, which mirrors my experience of giving MorphOS a test run on my Mac Mini G4. It boots and loads quick and is pretty damn responsive.

MorphOS continues to add support for PPC machines. Check to see if your G5 (or other older Mac) is compatible. It appears you can only use certain Mac models, but you also need a Radeon video card (meaning my G5 won’t run MorphOS). The base system comes with a small package of apps to get you started, including a decently updated Webkit browser. The GUI leaves something to be desired – I would like it to be a bit more clean, but it might work for you. I gave it a good run through on my Mini, and I really enjoyed the responsive and appearance of stability. Maybe when TenFourFox dies out, could this OS be an another option to keep these old Macs purring?

If you want to try it out, you can download a CD image and run a 30 minute demo. I’d recommend it if you want to burn an afternoon. You will have to pay around $79 Euros to get your own copy, but updates are free after that.

— Nathan

SimpleMark is updated

Two quick issues have been solved in SimpleMarkPPC.

First, the great Cameron Kaiser reported that SimpleMarkPPC did not run in Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger. Well, it ran, but it did not produce any elegantly formatted Markdown text. The culprit was my internal build of multimarkdown which was linked against 10.5 SDK. He compiled mmd linked against 10.4, replaced it in the app, and success. I’ve updated the app download which includes his compiled version for maximum compatibility. Let me know if it works for you.

Second, I noticed a potential showstopping bug in that as you scrolled through a larger document in the “live preview”, the app would keep updating the file even if you had stopped typing. You would keep losing your place if you were reading or checking out the results of your exhaustive MarkDown editing. Part of this relates to the numerous, repetitive disk writes that I will eventually solve, but the other part was figuring out a way to let the live preview have the focus when you were browsing it. For now, I hacked it to work. As long as your mouse is in/around the preview area, it should not refresh. I’ll fine tune this a bit more with testing, but please check it to see if it works on your end.

Oh, and I crafted a simpler, colorful icon.

— Nathan

Dropbox Logged Me Out But It’s Not Over Yet

Dropbox is logging out PPC users left and right, deporting us from the land of simple file syncing functionality.

But the battle ain’t over yet.

I just did some goofy sleuthing around and experimenting, and I got Dropbox to log back in (for now). I don’t think this is a long term solution. No doubt, Dropbox will probably invite one of their programmers to block this solution (somehow) rather than figure out a simple legacy way to keep file syncing operational. For PPC users, if we want to keep using Dropbox, we will have to find another solution that is more permanent.

But click, read, and try if you really need to.

The fact that this goofy trick worked makes me laugh.

— Nathan