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Tom Briant

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Monday, June 20, 2011

The Simplest Answer to the Lion vs Rosetta conundrum

I have read through the forums on and elsewhere till my eyes burn. A lot of people feel upset that Apple did not retain Rosetta in Lion. They’ve grown used to Quicken 2004-2007 and don’t want to change. They’ve grown used to Word/Office 2004 and don’t want to give it up. The same with the Adobe products that cost a bundle to upgrade. They want the goodies that Lion promises, but they want to run their old applications designed for the PowerPC CPU chip. Why can’t they have both?

I feel like the healthcare practitioners who have to keep telling their patients, “No, you have to exercise more and eat less. That magic fruit you see on the Web that’s supposed to help you lose weight without sacrifice? It’s total nonsense. I’ll see you in a month with your new jogging shoes, OK?” You have to make choices in this life. This is a relatively minor one.

Dual-booting between Snow Leopard with Rosetta and Lion with the new features is the best solution I can think of, given the constraints of time, money, technical knowledge and patience. Running Snow Leopard Server through Parallels in Lion would solve the problem; but you’d better hurry up to order Snow Leopard Server at $499 a license before Apple pulls it from the market. You’ll also need more memory to run two operating systems simultaneously. And how much hard drive space do you have left? Um-hmm. Looks like you’d need an external drive to accommodate Parallels’ requirements.

So we’re back to dual-booting. It’s not as groovy as virtualization, but it does the job.

I have another idea, which would allow you to run multiple operating systems at once on a single computer. It involves the use of VNC, adequate ventilation for multiple computers, and some knowledge of networking. If you live in a cramped situation where one computer takes up too much room as is; well, go back to the previous paragraph. If you’re adventurous, wait until next month.

As for going on to other options, such as MoneyDance or iBank in place of Quicken, or Nisus Writer Pro 2.0 in place of Word 2004; I’d say,

Set up a test partition on an external drive

Clone your current setup onto this partition or do a fresh installation of OS X onto it.

Download the free trial of the program you want to try out onto the test partition and install it.

Tell us what happened.

You’re a Mac person. You can move away from the hegemony of Microsoft and Intuit. Try it and see.

I’ll give you a tip if you start setting up several of these test partitions and want to tell them apart. Use the free Onyx program to set up a custom boot screen for each one. It’s just a PNG file. Just set up a blank document in TextEdit. Type, oh, “This is my MoneyDance partition”, then press Cmd+Shift+4 to take a screenshot of just that document. Use Onyx to have it serve as the boot screen for the MoneyDance partition.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Shoes keep dropping...with regard to Lion

I want Lion but...I will wait for it.

Lion won’t run PowerPC programs. I depend on Quicken 2006, which came with my MacBook. In talking to my source, they recommended I look at iBank. It uses military -grade encryption. Go to

We discussed the process of making a boot disk. Up to now Apple sold us CDs or DVDs to install OS X. If the OS broke or the hard drive went bad, we always had a plastic shiny disk to reinstall OS X.

Now Apple wants to distribute Lion, and has distributed developer previews, via the Mac App Store. That’s about 4 gigabytes. Even now, developers complain of waiting all night just for a new version. A similar-sized movie, by comparison, downloads in 20-30 minutes. Unless Apple rents a lot of extra server capacity, I’d expect a lot of complaints the first few days Lion becomes available. Think of the mess Amazon found itself in when it sold a new pop album for 99 cents and the singer’s fans crashed Amazon’s servers. Yes, similar to that.

But back to my topic of making a Lion boot disk. One of my sources showed me a boot disk. It took them several tries to figure out how to do it. IT IS NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART. IT IS NOT APPLE-SANCTIONED.

Beyond some home users, who lack a high-speed Internet connection (“eh, I only need e-mail. I get my movies from NetFlicks!”), this lack of physical media creates problems for institutional users who need to install OS X to tens, hundreds, and thousands of Macs. I can see IT security officers thinking of hundreds of temps installing OS X machine by machine with a company-supplied Mac App Store e-mail account and password. Not to mention a credit/debit card. The opportunities for mischief...

So Apple has to figure out a way to (1) provide physical media for those situations that demand physical media and (2) figure out a way to how to install Lion across an institution. I hope that they have a plan. They just haven’t told us.

Oh, and before you downloading Lion from the Mac App Store? Make sure you’ve got it set up. If you use an insecure password that worked for the iTunes Music Store, the Mac App Store will reject it.

I’d get another e-mail account for the Mac App Store in case that happens. That’s what I ended up doing.

The Mac App Store may still malfunction. It doesn’t like a program you run in the background. My problem came with Unsanity’s Fruit Menu 3.8.x. I disabled it and finally the Mac App Store allowed me to buy Angry Birds.

So in conclusion...

I’m going to wait for Lion myself. When I get my tax return next year, then I’ll buy a Mac Mini with Lion and Thunderbold and a quad-core CPU. Is that too much to hope for? In the meantime, e-mail me at

Monday, June 6, 2011

Initial comments on Keynote Address

Initial Comments on the WWDC Keynote

$29.00 for Lion. That is an aggressive price. Apple wants everyone with the hardware that can run Lion to run Lion.

Only available through the Mac App Store. I thought about Apple slashing the cost of its inventory and implementing quality control.

This may seem a bit esoteric, but a lot of America’s capital is tied up in inventory. It costs money to keep stuff on hand. Imagine how much money Tower Records had to spend per store just to store those thousands of CDs. Rent for the store, electricity for the lighting and cash registers, the costs of trucks to bring the physical product into the stores, and the cleaning service to keep the place looking nice. That just touches the surface of those expenses that the accountants have to subtract from sales to arrive at net profit.

If your inventory exists as bytes on a hard disk (more likely, several big RAID arrays in different geographic areas) that you transmit via broad-band to your customers, then you’ve slashed a lot of your costs. You don’t have to worry about store signage, security for each store, and a cleaning crew for each store.

By keeping sales restricted to ONLY its on-line store at a very attractive price, Apple brings back previous customers and assures quality. If you didn’t buy it from Apple, the copy of Lion you got from a pirate site more than likely is loaded with malware. Don’t take chances. Spend a few dollars, less than the price of a tank of gas for my 2005 Dodge Neon, and get the real McCoy.


I’m not the only one who wonders about the lack of a DVD option. I recently backed up my MacBook with Super-Duper, then reformatted the internal hard drive. Then I reinstalled 10.6 from the DVD. After that, I downloaded several gigs worth of updates.

But I needed that DVD to get started. What do I do the next time I need to reinstall the OS that I lack the DVD for? In the future, will I always need a known good installation of Lion to clone to another drive via Carbon Copy Cloner/Super-Duper? Think of it as the starter for sourdough bread.

As well as lacking a physical DVD option, Apple gave no hint about Rosetta, the software that enables old PPC applications to run on an Intel Mac. So far, no Rosetta in the Developer’s Previews of Lion. A lot of us will feel shocked if our favorite old application that’s run since 10.2 just stops cold.

A few suggestions: If your scanner won’t work under Lion with the manufacturers proprietary applications, try Apple’s own Preview or Image Capture. I’m running an Epson 1200U from 2000 using Preview. I’ve also used Image Capture. For more advanced needs, try Vuescan from


It looks like Lion needs at least Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or a Xeon to run. My 2006-vintage MacBook with its Core Duo CPU won’t make it this time.

Yes, I’ve seen that tip in about borrowing a friend’s recent Mac, install Lion to an external disk drive, plug that hard drive into your older Mac and delete a file. Will it work with the downloaded version? Sigh. I don’t know.

Who’s got a good deal on a Mac Mini with a Core 2 Duo?

Tom Briant



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