2017 in Review

Despite some big hopes and dreams to develop SimpleMarkPPC more, 2017 ended up being a quiet year for the site here. I didn’t get as many updates as I wanted, but that’s not the end of the world. It’s not as if PPC software is exploding with new entries. We are essentially a somewhat viable fringe legacy platform. So, here’s a quick rundown of some of the intriguing news of the past year:

TenFourFox remains the most vital application for our G5s to stay connected and relevant on the internet. Cameron deserves his wide appreciation for the coding he does. Great guy! In fact, FPR5b1 is available as I write this.

LeopardRebirth is also a fun little package that updates the look and feel of your Leopard machine. It also includes a solid little PPC Store app. It’s getting updates and features some apps that I’m not familiar with but seem really useful. In some ways, this makes G5Center a little less relevant, but that’s fine. Grab it here.

On the negative end of things, Dropbox has officially stopped working on my G5. Did the server side have enough tweaks to close down our little loophole? Whatever happened, it gave my G5 a final countdown and no longer connects. I haven’t had free time to take a stab at fixing it, so we’ll see if CZO finds a workaround on the old thread here.

In 2018, I am going to do some more experimentation with a few products that might give us a syncing option with our older and newer Macs. Cross-platform would be the best – something relatively simple and brainless to setup too. I’m also going to post a few articles about vintage Macs here and there.

In truth, I feel that 2017 brought us closer to the “end” for our PPC Macs. Once TenFourFox doesn’t become viable, our G5s will still be useful, but they will be useful in the vein of other older vintage Macs. Software will keep on going, and they can serve a purpose – but the temptation to upgrade to even older Intel-based dual Macs will be irresistible. Heck, I picked up a $150 Core2Duo iMac for this purpose, and it’s getting more use as my regular writing/home office machine. Change happens.

Here’s to a great 2018!

— Nathan

Mailbag & Crowdsourcing – August 24, 2017

Yes, it’s been a while since I have posted. At the beginning of June, I embarked on my first sabbatical experience, so I’ve been away from G5, out of the country, vacationing, and whatever. I’ll be returning to normalcy soon, so in the meanwhile, here are some things from my glorious readers.

Alex from Italy asks about trackballs compatible with the G5 – I figure trackballs are old enough that it is plug and play, but maybe not?

I asked if you know a list of TRACKBALL compatible with G5. On the Mac Pro Intel, I have the Kensington Expert Mouse, I think it’s the top but I can not find the driver to run it with G5 …. Good Logitech too!

Peter asks about two step verification and Mail.app in Leopard:

I’m sure that i’m not alone with this issue, but since July I have not been able to access my iCloud mail account using Mail 3.6 on my G5 (OS 10.5.8) or Mail 4.6 on a Mac Book Pro (OS 10.6.8).  I can still access iCloud using a web browser (TenFourFox on the G5) but this is not as convenient as having a Mail client running in the background, as it has been doing more many years. I have tried setting up the 2 Step Verification (on an iPad with iOS 10), but despite going through the motions, still get a password not applicable message on the G5.  I have also tried using other mail apps, but get the same results. Does this mean that we can no longer use a G5 (or similar) for iCloud mail (except via a web browser) or is there a solution out there?

If you have any suggestions, post here in the comment section.

Now for something completely different, Myles Crawford wrote me with a writeup of his exploration of getting AdonisJS working on a Power Mac. It requires Linux and some workarounds, but I was very impressed by his work. Check it out, complete with screenshots.

— Nathan

Interview with Cameron Kaiser

I happened to be in the Bay area just as Cameron (of TenFour Firefox fame) announced his presence at the Vintage Computer Festival West. Why not stop by and get a few minutes with a guy that is a hero to us PowerPC users?

Check the video below, which should be low enough in quality (360p) to be viewable on most of our machines. If you can’t view it, let me know and I will generate a downloadable version too.

If you can’t get Youtube to work, download a MP4 version by clicking here.

Thanks to Cameron for his work and taking a couple of minutes to chat. Cool stuff!

— Nathan

Our G5s Are Getting Older Everyday

My G5 is nearing its 11th birthday (or thereabouts), and perhaps to celebrate, Apple announced that it was finally introducing a new file system to its line of Macs and devices. (Haha!) HFS+ has lived a long life, and it was about time. But with a new file system in the works, it points to yet another distancing of our old Macs with the inevitable future.

The question will be – how long will we on Leopard (or Tiger) have some interoperability with newer Macs? HFS+ support will be ongoing on newer Macs, so it’s not something that will be imminent. Someday, HFS+ support will go away. Then, for those of us who may use those newer machines on a regular basis, we may have to make difficult choices or find workarounds to keep all of our Macs working in beautiful harmony.

I was also struck by other developments. TenFourFox, our beloved hero of the PPC community, will continue to face hurdles to get later versions of Firefox (and the security fixes and features that go with them) working. Cameron’s work is amazing nonetheless.

I was excited to see Leopard Webkit with a new version out, but it’s likely less secure than TenFourFox and potentially will always be.

The Dropbox hack is also likely facing its end of life – pretty soon, I won’t be able to sync my various files between devices quite so easily. *sigh*

At some point, we will all face the difficult reality that our Macs are not going to get any younger. Already, on some websites, my G5 sputters and chokes a bit, taking its sweet time to catch up on html, images, videos, and javascript that my iPhone 6+ renders in seconds. It makes you appreciate simpler webpages and simpler times.

Already, my G5 longs to play newer versions of Minecraft instead of the old outdated version someone shared on MacRumors sometime ago.

While a 11 year old may seem quite young compared to some old mainframes chugging along after all these years, I do expect that someday I will come downstairs, press the power button, and hear a final sad whirl as my G5 shuffles off into restful sleep. Until then, I’ll continue to marvel at the noisy behemoth and enjoy the many productive hours it has given me creating cool things and interacting with the world.

— Nathan

Updates & Links

It’s a nice, wet spring afternoon up here in the lower northeast, so I got a bit of updates done on the website that have been brewing for a while. I continue to want to improve the readability and accessibility of this website. If you have suggestions or feel like something is missing, please let me know in the comments below.

Meanwhile, one subtle change to the website is that I am trying to include notice of when each page was last updated. Below the introduction text on each page, you’ll see a new line:

last updated screenshot

I hope it is helpful as you make return visits, looking for new links and other updated information.

Meanwhile, around the PowerPC world:

  • TenFourFox is now at 38.8.0.
  • I came across Hack5190’s pretty solid beginning to hardening your G5 to hackers and other potential attacks. Read it here. He lists more information in the posts that follow, if you are so inclined.
  • lotvai77, another MacRumors poster, managed to hack CorePlayer and keep it working on Power Macs. I don’t use CorePlayer, but it may interest you.
  • Updates are coming to SimpleMarkPCC… soon.

Enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

— Nathan