Charles Moore's Mailbag

iPad Has Replaced MacBook, Shouting About TenFourFox, the Death of Rosetta, and More

Charles Moore - 2011.04.25 - Tip Jar

My iPad Has Replaced My MacBook

From Dean in response to Steve Wozniak Says the iPad Is for Normal People: How Normal Are You?

Hello again Charles,

I hope all is well with you and your family.

Your latest article on the iPad prompted me to reply. I purchased a 32 GB iPad last November. It was a refurbished unit direct from Apple (those Apple refurbs are such great deals!). I intended it to supplement my laptop and my Mac mini, but it quickly took over my portable needs, and the laptop was quickly sold off when I realized I hadn't touched it once since the iPad arrived.

If you do need a portable computer for writing articles, I think the iPad is more than fine as long as you use an external keyboard. The iPad keyboard is fine, but if you are writing long articles, or articles with many pictures, I find losing half the screen to the virtual keyboard to be a nuisance. For writing emails and a paragraph or two, it is perfectly fine. Anything more than that, especially if it is a regularly occurring need, I would want an external keyboard for. There are several iPad cases with built-in Bluetooth keyboards now, or of course you can lug around an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard. (I have an Apple Bluetooth Keyboard but still haven't had a need to pair it to the iPad)

But for everyday use it completely fills any "normal" user's needs - it's fantastic for email, browsing, YouTube, games, music, etc. I think Wozniak was correct. Unless someone is producing content or wants more powerful gaming, the iPad actually can meet just about any need, and it's significantly cheaper than other Apple products while giving PC users a marvelous taste of the Apple life.

I foresee in the near future many homes having multiple iPads and no "real" computers. It's already a phenomenal learning aid for children. Apple will need to make sure more printers can print directly from the iPad before the iPad can truly replace laptops and desktops.

Also, I'm not so sure Android is going to be a major opponent for the iPad unless Google takes more control over their own creation. I have an Android phone, and while it is technically "open", it is also prey to the same mischief that plagues Windows: viruses, malware, and poor integration of third party software. If iOS had never existed, people would be hailing Android, but once they try an iOS device, the simplicity and dependability makes Android look unorganized. Which, of course, Android is. Google needs to stop letting companies push out new phones and tablets with Android on them that are not ready for prime time and stop letting companies abandon those products with no further updates. It's damaging to the Android name and creates a disappointed user base. I only purchased an Android phone because I could get it on a pay as you go plan, and I couldn't afford an iPhone plan. But my iPad and iPod touch make me hate my Android phone every time I use it.

BTW, was that you who wrote into a PC Magazine a couple of months back about your father opening up hard drives and repairing them while smoking a cigarette? It was amusing, and the letter writer had your name.

Best wishes,

Hi Dean,

Thanks for the report. Sounds like the iPad fits your needs and tastes in computing well.

Personally, for the work stuff I do with computers, I can't imagine an iPad being able to replace my laptops. For example, I frequently have between one and two dozen applications open on my MacBook, including four web browsers with multiple windows all containing multiple open tabs, and Dragon Dictate dictation software, two or three image editing programs, an FTP client, three email clients, and sundry other stuff, with multiple projects on the go simultaneously arrayed in nine OS X Spaces. I also keep at least three pointing devices (hand and foot mice and a roller bar) hooked up, plus an external keyboard, a printer, and other USB peripherals (three 4-port USB hubs and usually few, if any, open ports).

However, for other stuff, I'm hoping that the iPad will help spread the activity around a bit.

However, I agree that it's becoming an iOS world for many users, and that's probably a good thing. Even the lowest end laptop and desktop systems have gotten so powerful that they're overkill for an awful lot of computer users' actual needs.

The PC Mag letter-writer wasn't me. My dad died in 1953, would be 119 years old were he still living, and was a nonsmoker. Charles Moore is a not uncommon name, which is why I usually insert the middle "W" in bylines. There is a British newspaper columnist named Charles Moore, which sometimes causes confusion, as I'm a newspaper columnist here in Canada.


iPad Not for Webmasters

From Scott:

Mr. Moore,

I am a little different position than most regarding the iPad. While my iPod touch does most of the things that I require of a computer for my portable operations, there are two pieces of software that are not yet available for the iOS machines. To maintain my websites, I require iPhoto and iWeb. Without these, I have to transfer my photos to my wife's 10.6 MacBook Pro (as I only just ordered 10.5 for my G5 and the older version of iWeb does not allow FTP).


Hi Scott,

I don't think the Woz would consider website authors and webmasters "normal people" in the context he was referring to, which would be loosely defined as those who are primarily consumers, rather than creators, of web content and program content.

For me, there is no way I could replace my Macs with an iPad or other iOS device, but I'm anticipating that it will prove a useful and convenient complimentary tool.


TenFourFox: Shout It from the Rooftops!

From LEM columnist Simon Royal:


Brilliant article about TenFourFox. We need to shout this piece of kit as loud as we can. It's the one thing keeping PowerPC Macs afloat.

I've been running TenFourFox on my 500 MHz TiBook running OS X 10.5.8 for the past two weeks and it is amazing, so much faster than Firefox 3.

I can also just about watch YouTube vids with a little jerkiness.

It is a stupid name though.


Hi Simon,

Delighted to hear that you liked the review. Over my second week of running TenFourFox, I'm still not finding much not to like. Fast and stable. My new fave Gecko browser for PowerPC.

I agree that the name isn't the most brilliant, although it does cryptically convey the Tiger (Mac OS X Ten Point Four) support.



TenFourFox does convey Tiger support at the expense of Leopard. With Mozilla killing off PowerPC support, a lot of Leopard users are looking for an alternative, and the name my not instantly attract them.


Hi Simon,

I hadn't thought of that, being Tiger-centric I guess with my Pismos, but excellent point. I must install TenFourFox on my wife's 17" PowerBook G4, which is the only Leopard machine that we still have on the go. Leopard is actually my favorite version of OS X so far, and I've found OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard buggy - and it also makes my Unibody MacBook run hotter. However, I've gritted my teeth and switched up for software compatibility reasons.



I'm a believer in if it will run it, do so. My 500 MHz TiBook is running Leopard, and if and when I up to an Intel laptop, I'll run Snow Leopard or Lion on it.

Leopard is a fantastic OS. I didn't think you could beat Tiger, but they did. Haven't had any experience of Snow Leopard.


Hi Simon,

I know some folks are running Leopard on Pismos, but I've heard that there are performance compromises. I'd love to have Spaces and Quick Look on the Pismo, but it struggles enough under the demands I'm placing on it in Tiger that I'm not optimistic that I would be satisfied with performance in Leopard.


Regarding the Death of Rosetta

From John in response to No Rosetta in Lion Breaks Installers That Depend on PPC Code:

While I sympathise with the issues caused by loss of Rosetta, including the not immediately obvious inability to run PowerPC installers, I despise the developers still using various ancient third-party installers. There are still some developers using versions of the VICE installer that look identical to the ancient Mac OS Classic version, let alone the more Mac OS X style version.

Apple has for years provided a completely free tool for creating installers. Even Microsoft, who have a poor reputation for playing friendly in the Mac world, have switched to using Apple's installer. So from one perspective, Apple are forcing these pathetically backward developers to finally enter the modern world. There have been absurd situations of Intel-only applications requiring the use of a PowerPC only installer!

Note: I would equally despise Windows developers who willfully refuse to use Microsoft's MSI installer system.

Following the same arguments, I could see a case for Apple killing off Carbon and only supporting Cocoa to again force developers after 10 years to get up to date. Carbon was only supposedly originally introduced as a temporary bridge from Mac OS Classic after all. (I am aware of the irony that even Apple has still not moved all their applications to Cocoa!)

Note: The writing is clearly on the wall regarding Carbon: Xcode no longer supports Carbon for AppleScript Studio development, and only Cocoa supports 64-bit GUI applications. The writing was equally on the wall regarding Rosetta since it became an optional - and not standard - component with Snow Leopard.

Saying all this, it would still be preferable to be able to run PowerPC applications in Lion as there are various discontinued applications and utilities (Freehand was mentioned) that many people including myself would still like to continue using. However I would also like to see current developers kicked up the backside and forced in to bringing their software up-to-date.


Hi John,

I pretty much agree with your analysis. I never expected Rosetta support to continue indefinitely, and I anticipate that the same will apply to Carbon. The dropping of Rosetta will be the most traumatic shakeup in the Mac OS world since the transition to OS X itself, and the likely inevitable death of Carbon support will be even more so. For me, losing Rosetta will be an inconvenience, but losing Carbon would be quite problematical because at least one Carbon application is a mainstay of my production suite. The developer tells me that he is planning to create a Cocoa version, but no sign of it yet.

Good point about the loss of support for PowerPC installers when Rosetta goes. I hadn't thought of that.

However, I expect that Rosetta is a lost cause for reasons of increasing integration with the iOS.


Logitech Solar Keyboard Comments

From Laurence in response to Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750:

Some of your best writing ever.

Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750
The Logitech Wireless Solar Keyboard K750 has a standard Windows extended keyboard layout.

I've been trying out the Logitech solar and agree with what you say, but I just can't get used to the lack of separation between the main keyboard and the section with the arrow keys. But it is very comfortable.


Hi Laurence,

Thanks for the approbative comment.

Keyboard preference is extremely idiosyncratic. I can't say that I'd noticed any problem adapting to the Logitech Solar's arrow key configuration, but that's just me. I don't use the arrow keys a lot in desktop mode, although I do use them extensively for keyboard shortcuts - along with the fn key - when I'm typing directly on a laptop keyboard. The PC key labeling and arrangement is more of an adjustment, but I don't really have much difficulty switching back and forth. A good analogy might be alternately operating automatic and manual gearbox automobiles, which I'm able to do without thinking about it.


Me too.

Question: All my wireless mice have died or disappeared, and I've gone back to an old red Danger Mouse. It's so light and easy to handle (although this one is rattly and out of alignment) - what's the modern equivalent???


Hi Laurence,

Hey, I too am a Danger Mouse fan. Here's a link to a review I wrote for Applelinks in late 2006.

I haven't used mine much recently, having become addicted to a Logitech V550 (also now discontinued) wireless mouse with a weighted, freewheeling scroll wheel,

However, the old Danger Mouse is still here on my desk, and it would be no hardship to put it back into service.


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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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