The Low End Mac Mailbag

MacBook Runs Hot, SheepShaver Feedback, Replacing Home Page, and Another PowerBook 1400 Fan

Dan Knight - 2006.05.22

The MacBook Is Hot - Literally

Donald Crease writes:

Dan,

macBOOK

heats up

dramatically

so much so that the computer crashes it is not since I started reading about these crashes, that I've noticed a number of crashes on my present iBook on paper the macBOOK looks great the specs bowl you over it's about putting theory into practice and this is where Apple falls short, until it is able to sort out the kinks

i'm just not sure i feel comfortable purchasing a macBOOK until the end of the year

in the back of my mind, i'm sensing Apple will come out with a revamped macBOOK, sporting a faster processor and possibly, just possibly a less glossy, reflective screen.

ah the drama

Donald, thanks for the tip on heat issues. I've checked some of the online forums, and find that field results are very mixed. Some people claim a lot of heat, others say it's no hotter than their previous iBook or PowerBook.

In general, notebook computers do run hot. That's why Apple doesn't call them laptop computers; they're not intended to be used on your lap. And it's why there are so many cooling stands for notebooks on the market.

Being a new design, the MacBook will probably have some teething problems, just as the 15" MacBook Pro did. One of the MBP problems was overheating, and some of that was due to too much thermal paste. Apple also releases a firmware update that helped resolve the heat problems.

Expect unannounced improvements over the first month or so the MacBook is available. Buying a brand new design right away may work out, but it's usually wisest to wait at least a few weeks and read field reports before deciding whether to invest.

Apple is sure to come out with faster MacBooks, but not until the Pro models have moved up another notch in clock speed. I would love to see Apple offer a matte screen as a CTO option on the MacBook. While most notebook computers today have glossy screens, it's interesting to note that freestanding displays are invariably matte finish. That should tell us something.

SheepShaver on an Intel Mac

In response to my request for feedback from SheepShaver users with Intel Macs, Fred Goff writes:

Mr. Knight,

I downloaded and played around with the latest SheepShaver snapshot last night and today on a Core Solo Mac mini. Here's what I found:

The only ROM image I could get the program to work with was that bundled in Apple's ROM Update 1.0 download. Extract the ROM image from the tome using the TomeViewer program (TomeViewer requires classic).

SheepShaver recognizes dmg [disk image] volumes, so you can create your disk image using disk utility.

The SheepShaver GUI for setting your preferences is very Unixy X-windows ugly, but it gets the job done.

I was never able to boot off anything later than Mac OS 8.6. I could upgrade 8.6 to 9.1, but the emulator then failed to recognize the disk image as a bootable drive.

When you are installing 8.5 or 8.6 (I installed 8.5 and then updated to 8.6), you will need to make sure you erase the hard drive image before you install - even if the image is already formatted from when you created it in Disk Utility - otherwise you won't be able to start up from the hard drive once you have finished the install. I suspect this might have to do with Disk Utility having journaling on by default, but I haven't had the time nor inclination to research it.

Once I got 8.6 installed and running, it was pretty stable.

Issues: Video is very slow. Think VirtualPC slow. Shared files are problematic. It may have to do with having your shared files in a path that has spaces in it, but I need to research this.

Performance: The SheepShaver people claim about 1/8th speed, and that seems about right. On my 1.5 GHz Core Solo, it felt about as fast as on my PowerBook 3400c, which was a 180 MHz machine. Except for the video performance, which feels about as fast as a Color Classic running 7.5.3

Networking: It worked pretty well, although pretty slowly, especially when trying to do Internet downloads. On my broadband connection, I was getting 14.4k dialup speeds.

Some people have suggested installing Linux under Parallels and then running the Linux version of SheepShaver, which is apparently further along in development and has a more responsive video. I may try this over the next few days.

Personally, I think SheepShaver is fun for the hobbyist tinkerer, but you'd probably be better served in migrating Low End Mac into RapidWeaver over the next several months (each day, spend a couple of hours migrating the site, then once you've got it over, make the switch and don't look back) or fork out the money for Dreamweaver or GoLive, which can load and edit your existing site.

Hope this helps.

Fred Goff

Fred, thanks for taking the time to tinker and provide your feedback.

I've long maintained that a 300 MHz G3 is plenty of power for most users most of the time with the classic Mac OS, so emulation in the 200 MHz range shouldn't be too hard to deal with - except for the horribly slow graphics you mention.

I don't think we'll ever find an especially responsive/optimized emulator from the Open Source community, but they've given us some decent ones (Mini vMac, PearPC, Basilisk II, SheepShaver). I still have some hope that we'll see a commercial PowerPC emulator that's responsive and easy to install.

On the HTML front, I'm quite content with my workflow: write and edit in Claris Home Page, apply classes in Nvu, convert HTML to XHTML in TextWrangler, and then back to Home Page to upload the site updates. Nvu is the slow step, but it does let me preview with CSS styles and classes applied.

I'll probably stick with this workflow as long as I'm using PowerPC hardware. That's how comfortable I am with Home Page. (Not to mention that Apple has all but abandoned AppleWorks, so we'll probably never see an Intel version of the word processor and spreadsheet I use daily.)

It's a low-end solution, and it works just right for me. Playing with Dreamweaver and GoLive has convinced me that such complex are overkill when all I need to do is write, edit, insert graphics, and then drop it into my standard page template.

Replacing Home Page with Nvu

Hello Dan Knight,

concerning your ongoing search for an HTML editor to replace Claris Home Page - maybe it seems too obvious to be noticed, or it's entirely an unsuitable application in comparison to Claris Home Page: Have you ever tried Nvu, which is the standalone successor/derivative of good old Mozilla (now SeaMonkey) Composer? It's not a high-end pro application, but it's nevertheless much better than apps "for beginners", and it will definitely let you open existing HTML files. It features WYSIWYG mode as well as HTML source edit mode, has a built-in CSS editor, and produces w3.org-valid code.

Best regards,
Christoph Trusch

Thanks for writing. I've tried Nvu, I really want to like Nvu, and it is part of my workflow, but I find it both slow and unstable. It is the closest thing I've seen to Claris Home Page for OS X, but it seems stuck at the 1.0 revision. With improvements in stability and speed, it could replace Home Page.

Freeway Pro and HTML Import

Following up on Replacing Claris Home Page, Gilbert Wildin writes:

Yes, that is a serious drawback! They have a method, but it sounds like it is for Freeway Pro. It might be possible to cut and paste into an HTML object.

Here's what they say:

You can import existing HTML pages via the File > Get HTML menu and browsing to the location of your existing files.

As Freeway does not work directly in HTML the conversion process is unlikely to result in an exact match after import and you should expect to do further editing and fine tuning. Sometimes this can require a lot of work.

Freeway was developed to offer the greatest possible flexibility for the creation of websites from scratch. You can simply drag and drop images from your current site in the browser directly onto your Freeway page. Text can be copied and pasted from the browser directly into HTML items within your document.

If you use Internet Explorer, you can also save the HTML text from the page as a text file and import this into a HTML item in Freeway.

Should you want to recreate the site completely, you can use Master pages to place any common elements quickly and easily on pages throughout your site . . . saving you loads of time.

Note: This feature is not available in Freeway Express.

Gilbert Wildin

Gilbert, thanks for the info. From my perspective, a webpage design program that can't import existing HTML properly (as the above says, "the conversion process is unlikely to result in an exact match after import") is the equivalent of a word processor that can't import simple text files properly.

I'd love something as quick and simple as Claris Home Page, and the free Nvu editor is the closest I've seen. But IMHO it's not yet polished enough to replace this Classic app.

Great PowerBook 1400 Article

Hey LEM

Whoever put the following article together [What's a Good, Inexpensive, Useful, Older Mac? The PowerBook 1400] - it's fantastic - I've just brought an old 1400 and this was an immense help.

So thanks!!!

Regards
Trent Rule

Thanks for your kind words, Trent. I've forwarded your email to Thomas Ahart, the author of that article.

I've been a fan of the PB 1400 since it first came out, although I have always seen Apple's failure to include ethernet and an internal modem as shortsighted. I acquired my first 1400s over Christmas break, and while the 1400cs has a decent display, the active matrix display on the 1400c is fantastic.

Most of the 1400's drawbacks can be overcome. RAM Doubler 8 will let you emulate 3x the installed RAM, larger and faster notebook hard drives are readily available, and it's still possible to locate G3 upgrades (usually used).

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Dan Knight has been publishing Low End Mac since April 1997. Mailbag columns come from email responses to his Mac Musings, Mac Daniel, Online Tech Journal, and other columns on the site.

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