Charles Moore's Mailbag

Apple Could Learn from webOS, Finding a Modem That Works with Lion, and More

Charles Moore - 2011.10.31 - Tip Jar

iOS Could Learn from webOS

From Jonathan:

Hi Charles,

I had a similar time upgrading my iPad 1 to iOS 5, except I'm a Linux user who can't use iTunes and had the extra special task of transferring all my iTunes purchases, along with family members who made any purchases, to my mother's iMac.

Hopefully this update will prevent me from ever having to connect it to iTunes again. I really am amazed at how one device can be so chained to one program. I had enabled the multitasking gestures in iOS 4.3, as it was available for devs on the iPad 1, however iOS 5 took them away.

Palm Prē

I totally agree with you on needing the ability to download a file while doing something else. I often use GoodPlayer to download videos off my Linux box, as it is faster and easier than converting said videos to MP4 and then importing them into iTunes, but of course you are just expected to sit and wait while the download finishes. My Palm Prē has that ability, and I really wish Apple would steal a page from webOS and implement real actually usable multitasking.

I also really wish Apple would add some sort of stylus digitizer to the iPad, even if it was optional and cost more. That would make it an incredible tool for taking notes and sketching and would be faster than the touch keyboard, but they probably won't, and I probably won't buy such a limited device again.


Hi Jonathan,

As always with personal tastes and preferences, I'm intrigued that an awful lot of people seem to really love their iPads, while I find it, as you say, a frustratingly limited device with a lot of angularities (such as the lack of anything that deserves to be called multitasking, and no user-accessible file directory, as well as the Walled iGarden lockdown).

Since you're a Linux guy, I'm not at all surprised by your criticisms of the iPad. since the Linux philosophy is pretty much the diametrical opposite of the iOS philosophy.

My computer experience has been pretty much exclusively Apple for nearly 20 years, but I've long considered myself to be philosophically more in harmony with the Linux model. It's just that up to now, the Mac OS and Apple hardware have been such a great trip. However, with the iOSification of OS X Lion, the Mac App Store mediating OS upgrades and more and more software installs, not so much.

The hardware is still great. I love the current MacBook lines, but the software dynamic is more and more dissonant with my taste and style.


Firefox 3.6 the Last Version for PowerPC Macs

From Stephen:

I read your article (Firefox 3.6 Probably the Last Version for PowerPC Macs, 2010.08.30) where you stated you got Firefox 4.0 Beta 3 working on PowerPC but "have been unable to find since the release of Beta 4."

Here is the direct link: 4.0 Beta 3.dmg

The complete archive of previous Firefox versions all the way back to 2004 are here:

Firefox 3.6.xx looks like the end of the road for PowerPC, but Safari 5 and TenFourFox both work well on my PowerBook G4 with Leopard 10.5.8.


Hi Stephen,

Thanks for the links.

I've converted to TenFourFox on my two Pismo PowerBooks running OS X 10.4.11 and never looked back. That browser has been a major factor in extending their useful life as production machines. I am still using OmniWeb 5 and Opera 11 a bit as well.

My wife is still using Firefox 3.6.twenty-something on her 17" G4 PowerBook running OS 10.5.8, but I'm planning to switch her to TenFourFox when I get around to loading a Flash plugin for her. I can live without Flash for the most part, but she can't.


Finding a Good Lion Modem

From Ruffin:

Did you ever get around to trying out a Lion capable modem (see Lion USB Modem Options, PowerPC Already Left Behind, 'Real Work' on Tablets, and More)? I'm still partial to using an old iMac and sharing the Internet connection over AirPort, but I would like a backup for the laptop bag.

Still, the less portable Smart One you were considering probably has more forward compatibility than a software modem. Tough choice. Makes me wish I could find my old Hayes Accura.

Any luck deciding and trying one out?


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Hi Ruffin,

Nothing new to report from my end on this matter. I'm less and less enthusiastic about upgrading to Lion and will probably wait until I get a faster computer.

However, my inclination is to go with a hardware modem when the time comes.


On Living and Dying

From Noah:

Hi Charles,

I really appreciated your republished article Steve Jobs on Living and Dying on Low End Mac. It was really profound, and having thought much about Steve's death and what he believed in, as a Christian also it was touching to read your article, and I think you hit the nail on the nose.


From Bob:

Thank you for the article.

As a Christian, it is nice to see writing in a secular venue that speaks openly and straightforward about the faith that saves.

Have a great day and may God bless you and your whole family.


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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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