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ppc5500

Phoenix LJ Client Test

On 22nd December last year, the power supply adaptor for my Thinkpad died. This left me unable to use my main computer, and also left me no way to work or access any of the data on it's hard disk since my other two computers are 1997 Apple PowerPCs, that run Mac OS 8, Mac OS 9, Mac OS X Server 1/Rhapsody, BeOS R1 and 503 and SuSE 6.4.

This also left me no contact with anyone via ICQ, Yahoo , MSN or GMailchat, over the entire Yule/Christmas holiday. I have very few friends in the UK, and was quite depressed and isolated without contact with the friends I have in Europe, Asia and the USA. It took over a week to get ICQ and Yahoo working on Mac OS 9, and MSN doesn't work at all. I feel isolated at this time of year anyway since Christmas doesn't mean anything to me, and most people I know outside of Asia go away somewhere at this time.

While Mac OS 9 can access hard disks connected by USB, and I can connect my Thinkpad's disk to USB, Mac OS 9 has no ability to read the filesystems on it. SuSE 6.4 can read the Thinkpad's filesystems, but it's support for USB is minimal, from an era when Unix/Linux USB was primitive and unreliable. BeOS support for USB is non-existent on PPC.

Web browsers on these OS's are also horrifically useless. Pick one from BeOS's NetPositive 3, or Netscape 4.x on Mac OS or SuSE ... these cannot read any site using CSS, let alone Java and Flash later than 2001. Mozilla 1.2 in Mac OS 9 is almost completely usable, reads CSS, Java, Flash, and several embedded 3D/VRML formats ... but is extremely slow and keeps crashing, and bringing down the whole OS with it.

By now you're probably wondering what the hell I use these PPC's for. The PowerMac 5500/275 was designed as a limited edition media system, for video, music and graphics, is black ( the last black computer Apple made until the MacBook released last May) and has video IO hardware from Avid, built in TV, AM/FM radio and ATI GL Graphics and blasting good stereo audio output ... note, in 1997, most computers sounded absolutely crap, and most still do today.

It runs Photoshop, can run animation/3D software like Poser4 , Pixels:3D, POVray and POVchem, and audio software like Logic Audio and Cubase, with their wide range of built in synthesisers, and also runs Microsoft Office 2001, Claris Works and Appleworks. In addition to that, I can run BSD Unix/Mach at the same time as running Mac OS, and on that, the full X11 Unix GUI, albeit several years old since I don't have time to rip it apart and rewrite it from scratch to be up to date. I can also install DRDOS/GEM, Windows, OS/2, NeXTSTEP and OPENSTEP in Virtual PC and run those at the same time as well.

The other Mac is a PowerPC 9600/200MP, meaning it has two PPC CPUs. This is also rare and was designed at a time when Apple expected to complete Symmetric Multiple Processing support for Rhapsody ( The NeXTSTEP based OS intended to replace System 7/Mac OS 8, that became Mac OS X) by the end of 1997, something that took another three years. The PPC 9600/200MP has never been used for anything except biochemistry in the nearly 10 years since it was built.

However, without a stable browser, writing to my LJ becomes impossible, let alone Blogger. Yet again I run through Google looking for old Mac software, and got lucky.

I'm not the only person in this world that loves old RISC systems including Macs, a person named Thor wrote an LJ client for Mac OS X and Mac OS 9 that works on PowerPC's, and I'm using it now. It has all the features I need, LJ tags so I don't have to remember them, lets me select from userpics and decide which journal or community I am to post to, and set comment/public/privacy options et cetera.

Furthermore, he called it Phoenix ... the Apple code name for my PowerMac 5500/275. There is an LJ community for Phoenix and the webpage for it is here

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