Charles Moore's Mailbag

One of Apple's Stupidest Moves, QuickTime Pro and OS X 10.6, YoYo Adapter Longevity, and More

Charles Moore - 2010.05.20 - Tip Jar

'One of the Stupidest Moves Apple Has Ever Made'

From Andrew:


No, UTIs (Uniform Type Identifier) do not replace the functionality of Creator Codes; see discussions linked below. Nor is "Get Info" or the equivalent contextual-menu "Open With" a reasonable solution if you have more than a handful of files you need to set. If you have, for instance, hundreds or thousands of files created over the course of years with the same type extension, but you still want them to open in the several different programs in which they were created, Apple has screwed you. Windoze/NeXT users don't have that functionality, so now you don't either. That's progress! (See the comments in the discussions below for the usual "I don't use it, so no one needs it" sentiments from Apple sycophants.)

I've followed the story of the termination of Creator Codes with dismay since the first discovery shortly after the release of Apple's shiny new still-beta Mac OS X 10.6 last August 28. I consider this one of the stupidest moves Apple has ever made, but, as someone remarked at MacInTouch, it looks like the NeXT crew (who came to Apple with Steve's return and took over) has finally won out, and it's unlikely we'll ever see a fix from Cupertino.

As I asked on one forum,

"Since when has 'good enough for Windows' been good enough for the Mac?" The answer is, since the first decision was made (in the first release of OS X, as thoroughly documented and critiqued by John Siracusa in *2001*) to abandon the Mac's superior metadata in favor of the clumsy, simple-minded, often ambiguous file-extension system; the change in 10.6 just finishes the job. It's ironic that - so I understand - current versions of *Windows* are now superior (if only slightly) to Mac OS in file-binding functionality (see John Gruber below)."

Of the several solutions eventually offered by clever, diligent third-party Mac developers, I finally purchased MagicLaunch (below) in March when it was briefly on sale at 20% off (using the code MACINTOUCH - may still work if you want to try it). Can't speak to how it works; I'm still on 10.5, so I haven't actually used it yet.


The Problem

Possible Solutions (short of an Apple fix, which seems unlikely):

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for this expository overview. Explains a lot. I agree with your analysis, and that the likelihood of Apple restoring the previous functionality is slim to zero.

I appreciate that the Get Info fudge is a workaround, and that while it addresses my needs well enough, it isn't the same thing as creator codes. ( I recall that it was fun and sometimes useful messing around with creator codes using ResEdit back in Classic Mac OS days.)

For example, there was a little alternative email program called Green* that I experimented with for a while. A cool thing about Green mailboxes was that you could convert to Eudora mailboxes and vice-versa simply by changing the File Type and Creator Code using ResEdit. You just dragged a mailbox to ResEdit and selected "Get Info For - " from the File Menu. That would bring up a dialog box with the File Type and Creator Codes.

File Type:

  • Green - micO
  • Eudora - TEXT

Creator Code:

  • Green - micF
  • Eudora - CSOm

Change them to the other application's specs, and the mailbox would convert, icon and all, making it possible to move or share mailboxes between the two applications. I haven't done that sort of thing for years, but the Windows style file-extension system is lame by comparison.


* See Moore's Omnibus Mac Email Client Roundup from 2001 for an overview of Green.

WindowShade X on Snow Leopard

From David:



I have not made the switchover from Leopard to Snow Leopard on my MacBook. Leopard runs just fine, and I don't see the need to upgrade now. I keep an external drive with Mac OS X 10.6 to play around with. It is kept current (10.6.3) for checking out useful third-party applications for compatibility when the time come to make the leap.

WindowShade X has been a part of my install since Mac OS X 10.1. I skipped WSX in Leopard to see If I would manage without it. I missed it. Too many times I just wanted to do a quick peek behind a window without having to do a lot of mousing around. When Unsanity released WSX for Snow Leopard only, I just had to buy (along with Xounds) and install it a few days ago.

Read that you were having issues with WindowShade X on Mac OS X 10.6. So I took a look. I don't have thunderbird and Tex-Edit Plus installed. But TextEdit is not having any issues with underlining, italicizing, or changing type to bold. Attached is a screenshot of TextEdit with Safari in WindowShade X.

Best Regards,

Hi David,

I'm back on Leopard for now and enjoying WSX 4. Have you noticed that your MacBook runs hotter in Snow Leopard than in Leopard? Mine does, and by a substantial margin: 10-15° C.

I found that the WSX/APE text formatting issue was present in all applications I checked, including OS X TextEdit. Things returned to normal when I uninstalled WSX 5. Perhaps some conflict idiosyncratic to my setup.

Glad you're having better success.


Using QuickTime Pro 7 with Snow Leopard

From Alejandro:

Dear Mr. Moore,

A post on your Miscellaneous Ramblings today from one of your readers, Mark, said: "The lack of a true QuickTime Pro version in Snow Leopard keeps me from using that as my primary boot." You might like to inform him that it is indeed possible to use QuickTime 7 Pro on Snow Leopard, as explained by Apple in Installing QuickTime Player 7 on Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard.


Hi Alejandro,

Thanks for the info and link.


Can I Use 10.5 on New Macs?


In reading posts both on Low End Mac and elsewhere, I've become convinced that I'd rather wait for 10.7 before upgrading beyond 10.5. (Things like the buggy responses you've just reported, plus no "real" QuickTime.)

My dilemma is that I may be required to buy new equipment at work which will come with 10.6. Reminded of PC users who bought Vista equipped machines and backwards installed XP, I'm wondering whether anyone has experience with retrofitting current (10.6) machines with 10.5, or can it not be done?


Hi Dick,

IMHO, you're not missing much staying with Leopard other than a whole bunch of bugginess - and compatibility with programs that demand Snow Leopard.

However, the idea of "retrograding" Mac hardware that originally shipped with Snow Leopard is a dead end to the best of my knowledge. Generally (and perhaps comprehensively - there may have been the odd exception I'm not aware of) Macs have never supported Mac OS versions earlier than the one they shipped with.

The good news is that you can use QuickTime 7 Pro with Snow Leopard, as explained by Alejandro in the post immediately foregoing.


YoYo Power Adapter Longevity

I was just looking through the Miscellaneous Ramblings archive and noticed several instances of yoyo adapters failing. I have seen this happen firsthand, although not to my unit, which is the point of this email.

You, being a bit of an expert on (at least PowerBook) Apple portables from the G3 era, I was wondering if you could give me an opinion. I got my YoYo with my Revision 2 iBook Clamshell, have used it heavily for over a decade, and yet I have not had a single problem with it. Ever. From my general understanding of these units' track record, how is that possible?



Hi Dan,

I'm extremely wary of using YoYo Apple power adapters since I fried a Pismo that was using one at the time, although an exacerbating factor may have been a bad extension cord.

The information I have is that the yoyo or "flying saucer" Apple power adapters came from three different suppliers in three countries over the years, and that the Chinese ones fried their cables sooner or later, and sometimes it got messy. I looked at the bottom of my suspect one after the unfortunate incident, and sure enough, it says " I was made in China." Cute. The other two countries versions were and are reputed to be much more reliable. The other countries of origin are Singapore and possibly Korea (I don't remember the latter for sure).

Since you've had no problems in a decade, my guess is that yours is not one of the Chinese ones.


Editor's note: The one that came with my WallStreet says "Made in Thailand". dk

'I Am Done With Mac' = Trolling for Readers

From Brett:

At first the video seemed interesting, but as I listened and was looking around, I kind of got the feeling it was one of those "let's post a controversial video on my web store to funnel traffic and hope that someone sticks around and maybe buys something" kind of things.

It just ended up seeming pretty staged to me... :)

(I say that as someone who uses Mac, Linux and Windows . . . and sometimes BSD. I'm not defending Mac; there are a lot of things it does right, and a lot of things it does wrong, which is why there are multiple machines on my desk.)

Best personal regards,

Hi Brett,

Possibly so. He did sound pretty fed up, but was frustratingly light on specific complaints.

As you say, there's no "one-size-fits-all" platform solution. I would argue that the Mac comes closest, but that could be my pro-Mac bias plus familiarity.

I do admire Linux, especially the new Ubuntu Lucid Lynx GUI, although that's probably not Linux's major virtue. Even Windows, at least with version 7, is arguably a decent OS these days, but I still detest the look of the thing, and the whole Microsoftian vibe in general.


Hi Charles,

Thank you for your reply - I must admit that I also feel Mac comes closest to the "one-size-fits-all". That is why I bought one, and I run Fusion on it so I can have everything on one machine.

You're right about Linux and Windows (7, especially), too - Linux is a rock when used as a server, though the latest versions are polished enough to be a desktop, and 7 is actually pretty good under the hood, but the out-of-box experience is pretty ugly... I tend to prefer switching back to the Classic interface, truth be told!

(At which point, 7 looks like Server 2008, meaning I'd might as well go all the way and just run Server 2008... which reminds me, I should move the 7 machine to 2008 this week and be done with it.)


800K Mac Floppy Data to Modern Macs

From Troy:

Okay, I know what you are saying . . . a question about a machine over 20 years old? Talk about the prime definition of obsolete. But I ran across a ton of my old 800K floppies from my college days and wanted to get that information off the disks as soon as possible. So I bought a Mac SE FDHD with a 20 GB hard drive and 1 MB RAM.

Now, while I wait for it to arrive ($24.99 + $20 shipping on eBay with "refund if not satisfied" seller) my question is this: What the heck can I get to put it on my local network, since it does not have an RJ45 connection? The expansion slot is still available.

I cannot seem to find an ethernet card made for the SE PDS slot on the Web anywhere - have any idea?

RAM upgrade is on it's way to me for $3.00.



Hi Troy,

You can't complain about the prices at least. As for ethernet on the old SE, I really haven't a clue.

You could check out this article on Network Wiring, which addresses the issue to some degree. Floppy Drive Observations: A Compleat Guide to Mac Floppy Drives and Disk Formats may be of some interest as well.

One possibility would be to copy the data from those old 800K floppies to the SE's hard drive, then connect to a later Ethernet-supporting 680x0 Mac running System 7 or 8 via AppleTalk. I think I hazily remember doing file transfers between my Mac Plus and LC 520 over a printer cable with AppleTalk, although the exact details of the setup are lost in the haze.

This will cross Dan Knight's desk before it's posted in Miscellaneous Ramblings Mailbag, so he may have some wisdom to contribute on this topic.


Editor's note: Indeed I do. You can use an ImageWriter II printer cable to network two Macs that use Apple's old RS-422 serial port. It's not fast, but it's a lot easier than finding an ethernet card for the SE. From there, you have several options.

If the second Mac has PCI slots and Mac OS 8.5 or later, pick up a cheap Mac-compatible USB card, and you'll be able to use a USB flash drive to move your data to a more modern Mac.

If your second Mac is a PowerBook with PC Card or CardBus, pick up a cheap Compact Flash reader. Compact Flash is compatible with virtually every USB card reader that supports multiple types of cards.

If your second Mac has ethernet (look to 10Base-T, not Apple's oddball AAUI ethernet connector) and is running System 7.5 or later, you should be able to connect via TCP/IP to any modern Mac that has file sharing enabled.

I'm sure there are other options, but these are the first that come to mind. dk

Getting that older Mac with ethernet would be an issue. My other Macs are an Intel Mac and an Intel MacBook Pro. That is why I was wondering about getting this one on ethernet via internal or external adapter.

Signed up for the LEM Swap List to hope for that. Tried looking on eBay for every card listed in the first article - none to be found.

Oh well, hopefully LEM Swap can get me somewhere!


Re: Response to iMac G5 System Support Dilemma by Jim

From Mark:


Good news: Jim may stay a Mac user.

Bad news, Jim will not buy a Windows computer . . . so he will hang onto his G5 iMac . . . instead of giving it to me, for the cost of shipping!!! Still, I am glad he is giving Apple a second chance.

As to Snow Leopard, I also have issues with the creator code issue, such that I am going to try and use the LaunchCodes shareware to see if that makes file opening closer to what it was pre-Snow Leopard.

Aside: My hometown, Grand Junction, Colorado, somehow manage to be ranked 2nd in iPad users for our MSA [metropolitan statistical area] in the USA. 320 iPads out of a MSA population of about 140,000 is %0.28. Considering this town is not a hotbed of Apple users . . . we barely have Best Buy with its diminutive 'Apple store' section, it was a bit surprising to get this distinction. I do not have an iPad [yet], but their are 2 members in our Mac Users Group that have them, so far.

Take care,

Hi Mark,

In his latest communication, Jim sounded like he's in no hurry to move on from his G5 iMac now that he's got Tiger and his new printer works. He may even upgrade to Leopard.

Let us know how LaunchCodes works out. I've reverted to Leopard myself, at least until version 10.6.4 is released and hopefully fixes the dropped keyboard input bug (see I got sick an tired of having to reboot two or three time a day to get my keyboard working again, and as a bonus Leopard runs a lot cooler than 10.6.

I noticed in that survey that Colorado had a high concentration of iPad early adopters.


Spirituality and Religious Experiences

From Troy:

Well, I am not a Christian as I stated, so I do not accept the Biblical evidence you provided, although respect that it is your belief and is sufficient evidence for you.

One point of thought when quoting religion or religious texts to others.

"A Christian becomes intensely aware of the infinite love of the Christ during a prayer; a Hindu whose devotions are awarded by a vision of the goddess Kali; a Lakota on a mountain during a vision quest has been answered by the appearance of the buffalo spirit and is given the song of healing. All of these are religious experiences, and each involves the appearance of a single religious entity. Yet, within broad similarities, these are marked different experiences. To say these are the same religious experience is like assuming that because three astronomers are looking through telescopes are all looking at the same star. These are just some of many examples that prove a crucial point: religious experience is inherently polytheistic."

That is a quote from author John Greer, and I cannot agree more. But I can respect that we can agree to disagree.

Thanks for your help recently on both SETI and on my Compact Mac purchase!


Hi Troy,

Indeed we will have to agree to disagree on Mr. Greer's assertion.

Serious orthodox Christianity and pluralism are uneasy bedfellows at best. Jesus Christ's essential claim to personifying the unique and universal truth leaves no room for ceding equal status to other religions. If I believe in Christ and affirm the one, holy, catholic (universal), and Apostolic faith - as everyone who recites the Apostle's and Nicene creeds at mass does - it would be logically absurd to imagine that another religion could be "equally true", although it might hold element of truth in common with Christianity.

Religious pluralists assert that all religions lead to God and that personal sincerity of belief (in whatever) is what really matters. Jesus Christ taught that the one and only way to God is through Him. Christ claimed to save the world because He Himself was God, and that He had personally defeated sin and death. No room exists in genuine Christian belief for the notion that other religions can be "just as true as Christianity". If Jesus is not God and there was no literal Resurrection, then all of Christianity is a fraud and not worth bothering with. That's the choice it confronts us with.

On Jan 28, 2000, the late Pope John Paul II stated at the plenary session of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "It is against the faith of the Church to hold the thesis on the limited character of Christ's revelation, which would find its complement in other religions," The various religions are not equivalent, said the Pope, because Christ is the unique Savior of mankind. John Paul II dismissed notions that relativize "Christ's revelation and his unique and universal mediation in regard to salvation," observing that "if this is permitted, the Church would also lose her reason for existing because she would no longer be the universal sacrament of salvation. Therefore, it is an error to consider the Church as one more road to salvation together with that of other religions."


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Charles Moore has been a freelance journalist since 1987 and began writing for Mac websites in May 1998. His The Road Warrior column was a regular feature on MacOpinion, he is news editor at and a columnist at If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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