I “adopted” the first generation G4 PowerBook from my parents in fall 2001. They bought it when it first came out in spring 2001. I’ve put it to the test from the very beginning (maybe abused would be a better description). I’ve dropped it from desk height a few times, dragged it across desks, put it through airport x-ray machines more than a thousand times (I commute), and I’ve only recently bought a laptop case for it. I just stuffed it in a backpack before. I used it for everything from designing with AutoCAD 2K2 on Virtual PC, to playing DVDs on an external monitor and sound system, to compiling hundreds of pages of data in Microsoft Excel. I’ve only had one problem when the hard drive kept skipping, but that went away after 10 minutes. As you can imagine, the outer case is pretty scratched up, but everything else works fine. The LCD doesn’t even have the keyboard marks everyone talks of. I guess we only hear of the problem computers and not enough of the good ones!
Miracle Piano via USB
Are there any options to successfully use my old Mac Miracle Piano software with my newer iMac (running OS9.x or OS X)? If the software did run okay under OS 9.x, I don’t think it is designed to use the USB ports. So, if I understand this correctly, I would have to use a general MIDI keyboard, get an adaptor to convert it to serial, and then use a serial to USB converter to get the signal into the USB port of the iMac (since the iMac doesn’t have any serial ports). If I did all that, would it work?
This is a problem—it can be difficult to get vintage MIDI apps to work on newer Macs which lack serial ports. The best solution is to use an old serial port MIDI adapter, and then use a Keyspan serial port to USB adapter. Because Apple MIDI does not support USB and it also does not support the Comm Toolbox (i.e. it only lets you pick between Printer and Modem port, no other ports will show up in a pop-up menu, etc.) you will have to tell the Keyspan to use Printer Port emulation and then set the Apple MIDI manager to use the printer port for MIDI communication. This may work, but it may not. It’s a pretty flukey setup to be perfectly honest. But some users are able to get things working.
The problem is that while USB MIDI adapters exist, Apple MIDI is not USB-savvy and the only way to use these adapters is with Free MIDI or OMS or some other third-party MIDI solution. In order to use one of those MIDI software solutions, your application must support Free MIDI, OMS, etc. If it is Apple MIDI aware only, you’re out of luck. —Evan Trent
I’d like to suggest to Marius Pope—and any other seniors in the same situation—that he check out his local Macintosh user group for classes in OS X. No book is as good as a hands-on course, and the support and encouragement of other Mac users.
MacsWest, the MUG here in Sun City West, AZ has been teaching OS X to seniors for almost a year now. It is more difficult for those of us who know the old Mac OS inside and out than it is for the first-time computer owners. But everyone gets there!
This is a fantastic site. It has the best photos on the Internet. Great variety and professional photography. Thank you for making these available for free!
—Rafael van Jonson
I appreciate the work you’re doing here. I’m not a programmer, but I am developing some automation for our prepress dept. I’m having difficulty getting my brain wrapped around Object Oriented Programming. Your approach is good for someone like me. If anything, I’m impatient and can’t wait until the next installment.