A long-awaited status update

What a coincidence that the day I finally update this blog after a long hiatus is also the 38th anniversary of the introduction of the Macintosh! But yes, here we are. And no, this is definitely not a goodbye. I realise that, after almost two years without updates, many were thinking that this space had been abandoned. Some even wrote me and asked if everything was alright. Let’s clear things up, shall we?

The hiatus and a vintage collection plagued with issues

This long silence unfortunately reflects a period where I simply haven’t had the time to cultivate my interest in what is the main focus of this blog: vintage Macs and the classic Mac OS. As the pandemic started in early 2020, my main job — translator and localisation specialist — kept me busier and busier. Perhaps some clients thought that, since half the world was in lockdown and many were stuck working from home, I could just work more hours because I had no other place to be. Whatever the case, work started eating up a lot of my time and energies. And sadly my humble collection of vintage Macs has suffered from this unintentional neglect.

As of this writing, half of the machines in my collection are in various states of degradation, and some are entirely non-operational. While some issues are trivial (failed hard drives), other aren’t, and require further investigation. That means disassembling machines and doing tests. Which in turn requires at the very least that I devote an entire morning or afternoon or both to this task. A luxury I haven’t had yet. Mind you, it’s not that I haven’t had a free morning or afternoon in the past two years. But as many knowledge workers know, when you work at almost-burnout levels, the moment you have half a day for yourself, you rest — because you just haven’t the energy to do anything else. Certainly not handling computers when you’re already spending 80% of your day working at a computer.

A particularly sad thing that has plagued a few of my laptops is display decay due to mould formations. This caught me completely unawares, as it is something I expected to encounter on camera lenses and not behind laptop displays. It also surprised me because I generally store my Macs properly and under conditions that shouldn’t facilitate the festering of mould. I don’t live in a particularly dry place, but it isn’t exceedingly humid either. I have an extensive collection of cameras and lenses, and none of them has developed fungus since I’ve had them in my possession.

Another puzzling detail is that this issue has apparently hit my machines randomly. They’re not stored all in the same place, and the mould issue has manifested on laptops stored in different places, and stored with other laptops that have remained unaffected. Unfortunately the only way to fix this is to replace the display panel. Which means finding the exact model, scouring eBay and the second-hand markets for a replacement unit, then save some time to actually perform the replacement, which is something that can be easy or tricky depending on the laptop. You really start wondering if it’s worth the hassle.

My humble plans for the future of this blog

The times when I spent weekends tinkering with my vintage Macs are probably over, but that doesn’t mean I’ve lost interest in vintage machines and technologies, and that’s why I’m not retiring this blog. I want to keep exploring vintage software and maybe talk more about user interfaces, by analysing and presenting how certain things used to work better and be better designed in past Mac OS versions. I want to continue to write posts about apps that were classics in the pre-Mac OS X era. And I want to continue to provide little guides on which software is still made available for PowerPC Macs — my last entry on the subject was last updated in early 2018. It’s time for an update.

In the next days I’ll try doing some housekeeping here. I’ll check all the links in the blogroll (something that has received a lot of praise in private emails. I’m glad you find it useful) and see if there’s some link rot to cure. And hopefully I’ll update the blog a bit more often, so that you won’t have to wait another couple of years to read my next entry.

Many, many thanks to all the people who have stuck around and kept System Folder in their RSS feeds. Many thanks to those who have been writing to check if I was okay, and to those who have sent support via messages and even donations. This has been immensely appreciated.

A very happy 2022 to everybody!

One thought on “A long-awaited status update

  1. Hey, Riccardo…great to hear from you and that your doing okay! Life is an interesting creature…sometimes it can be calm and docile but many other times it gets wild and uncontrollable! COVID and the numerous lockdowns have caused a lot of upheaval for many people….my industry has gone through complete shut down and job losses..and I personally had to sell off a lot of my Mac stuff just to get by. Just want you to know that I’ve always enjoyed reading your blog and appreciated the time and effort that goes into maintaining it and your passion. All the best.

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