Post-holiday miscellany

This space has been dormant for quite a long while (measured in CWAS, or Common Web Attention Spans), so I figured I should send out some life signals before the few aficionados around here decide to leave the ship. This post is in a certain way both a recap and a status update on a few things.

In no particular order:

– Thank you for coming here every now and then to check the place. The archives aren’t that vast to explore, but thank you for taking a look around and enjoying older posts while waiting for new ones.

– Things are hard. Unfortunately, when I’m working (and sometimes overworking), System Folder isn’t much of a priority. These past months, my priorities, in decreasing order of importance, have been:

  1. Family
  2. Work
  3. My creative writing (see the Minigrooves project if you’re interested)
  4. My main website,
  5. Vintage Macs maintenance and this blog

– July was a dreadful month, work-wise, and I was increasingly feeling tired, burnt out, overworked, so I finally took a month-long holiday and spent August as far away as possible from the online dimension. That means not bringing either my MacBook Pro or any kind of work with me while my wife and I were staying at my parents’ place in the countryside. That means little to no email, Web, socially networked assorted crap, etc. I just needed a long rest. The last real holiday I took was maybe around 2009.

– I’m not really doing what I’d love to do, and this is getting really frustrating. My dream is to eliminate all that’s toxic and that eats up a lot of my time, and to be able to sustain myself with my writing, be it creative (stories, novels) or technical (my main site, this site). What I’d really love is to have a big loft with an area dedicated to my vintage Macs, where I could keep them all set up and ready to use, instead of having to keep the majority of them in closets or under desks and perform periodical rotations to keep them working as intended, check on them, maintain them.

– Instead I have to focus on a lot of other stuff, I have to make ends meet, I have to deal with all the shit a freelance translator has to deal with today. That shit is time-consuming and stressful. Time-consuming because of the work itself and also because I have to keep a regular check on clients whose last of their worries appears to be paying me in a timely fashion. I’ve also been suffering from an annoying tendinitis in my upper left arm, and that is taking a long time to properly heal. In other words, I have neglected my vintage Macs for a while, and consequently this place. At least they keep working! And I’m constantly amazed by their longevity and reliability.

– It’s also fascinating how vintage software has somewhat stabilised in a particular stage where, ironically, it gets to be more dependable than more recent, ever-in-development stuff (albeit with fewer features). Or at least, that’s the feeling. Perhaps it looks more stable simply because it gets used comparatively less often than current software on current Macs. Anyway.

– I have to apologise to all the people who wrote me at my email address in the last two months. For a series of reasons that’s too long and boring to explain, I’ve managed to take a look at that mail only very recently. I get an inordinate amount of spam at that account, and some valid messages ended up buried in a pile of unsolicited crap. I will reply to you all in the following days. Thanks a lot for your patience.

PowerBook G4 17

– Speaking of hardware, I’m really enjoying the latest entry in my collection, a wonderful 17-inch PowerBook G4, very generously donated by Ross B., complete with a Booq carrying bag. The PowerBook is in very good condition, it has a 1.33 GHz processor, 1 GB of RAM, an 80 GB hard drive, a DVD-R/CD-RW SuperDrive, a battery that still lasts around 2 hours, a great 1440×900 matte screen, and the best of many worlds if you look at the ports: 2 USB 2.0, 1 PCMCIA slot, Gigabit Ethernet, AirPort Extreme 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth, DVI and S-video, and most of all both FireWire 400 and FireWire 800 ports.

Of course, by today’s standards of portability, this PowerBook is a tank (or rather an aircraft carrier), both in size and weight (3.1 kg!), but the carrying bag Ross included does help a lot in lugging this buddy around. And I do carry it around: I’m progressively tailoring it as a workstation for photo organisation and retouching, thanks to the big screen, and it also serves as a backup machine for my translation work. I keep the work files on the MacBook Pro synchronised with those on the PowerBook, so I can swap machines anytime I need. And with Mac OS X 10.5.8 on board, I both have stability and still quite a choice of great software to use. Of course, when I need a smaller, lighter machine to carry with me, there’s always the trusty 12-inch PowerBook G4.

– I can’t anticipate my workload in the following weeks. As I often say (too often, alas), if I don’t update is not for lack of materials or opinions to share, but simply for lack of time. I’ll do what I can, hoping to avoid another long hiatus like this. But now that you know a bit more of what’s been going on in the background, I believe you have a better grasp of the situation. Again, thanks for keeping System Folder in your bookmarks despite the lack of frequent updates. Long live the vintage Mac community!


2 thoughts on “Post-holiday miscellany

  1. Can you remember me the RAM specs of the PowerBook? And how they are arranged on your setup? I may have a Giga doing nothing somewhere in my studio …

  2. It has 2 RAM slots (for a maximum of 2 GB). RAM type is PC-2700 DDR333 200-pin SO-DIMM. So, if you have 1 GB of this type of memory lying around, it’d be a match.


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