Posted by: starhorsepax | October 17, 2009

Hard Times Horse Artist & writer

My general trials & musings.

My first real blog here is about the general trials & musings on life with an outdated mac. It is very challenging being an outdated computer user. It is also educational. I love my mac, but even when it was new I ran into the anti mac bias wall on the internet. And Now! The first thing one does is maintance. Then one upgrades. I upgraded the RAM but it still doesn’t amount to much. I upgraded to OS X and that version was already outdated. It won’t go any further and I can’t afford a new computer. Any computer.

That commercial with the young mac guy vs the pc guy? My mac is more like Granddad. Or at least an elder Dad.

So when starting with my Cafepress shops I needed to go outside. I’d tried flashdrives & an external cd burner. (Mac came with a dvd player instead) Now I needed an external. Without it, it would’ve croaked. I have loads of big art files and now store all of it all on the external HD. I only pull one onto the main mac occasionally if its something I’m working with and won’t want to turn on the hd. (The hard drive I turn off at the source at night. Light from it is a bit pesky-and I don’t want it plugged in during a storm. Files do get screwed up if power goes off when its in on.) I also needed a hub to juggle all these usb gadgets.

I use an older photoshop-even if I could find a newer one to work on the newer system, I couldn’t afford it. So it runs (Slowly) on classic. It was largely photoshop that revealed the bias within mac. Perhaps its just a symptom of an overall American mindset. Throw out, buy new. Mac OS X cannot, by any means on the mac itself be optimized or defragged. Its creators said it was unnecessary given the type of system. They know people ugrade, yet apparently fail to factor in those older machines limitations. Now as someone who can’t afford new software this is highly inconvenient. The old utility software would work on an even older version of mac os x but rumor had it, that it caused more harm than help. I had weird cases of vanishing icons after I tried it. I did discover software update does it automatically when if downloads & installs new files. Works great. Until you run out of new compatible downloads.

It’s photoshop I credit with this unfortunate situation. It likes a large block of RAM not scattered bits which is all I have.

Yet we struggle on Mac senior & I, sometimes shutting off all other programs, sometimes restarting photoshop. Minor Inconveniences: The version of photoshop. It doesn’t allow transparencies. How unfortunate. It makes it very difficult to design for dark clothing! I’d never heard of this until I started in on cafepress. As a writer it doesn’t have word. Appleworks is fine. Until you need to send a file and everyone wants word. I finally figured out how to get text edit to do it, but that still does odd things to the formatting in transition.

So altogether what have I learned from aging mac senior?

1. Patience. Perhaps its all these fast computers that have encouraged a faster & faster paced society. It’s very noticeable with an old one. One looks up and the day has vanished. Sometimes I forget lunch. I only meant to be on an hour or two…

2. Prejudice. In spite of the quality of mac, some sites just won’t take anything but Internet Explorer. I’m in the no mans land between no more upgrades for IE and newer versions that won’t work. Even Firefox has issues, mainly as some sites still want netscape. Ironic, considering that’s been left behind by firefox.

3. Troubleshooting. Nothing teaches research like trying to figure out why something isn’t working. Especially with a mac. I’ve posted on sites asking for computer help and the minute you say Mac, they ignore you. Or if you can’t upgrade and they ignore you too.

4. Vices. To me, Americas tendency to dispose of everything is scary. The computers may work fine, but the internet & software force you to buy new and upgrade whether you want to or not. Maybe you just want to research a subject and don’t want all the fancy features. Meanwhile the old one usually ends up in a landfill or something. It may have been a perfectly good computer for writing, or art, but it couldn’t keep up with the internet.

5. Don’t overdo it. Do unto others…, by this I mean I dare not upgrade my site to the point where I, with my aging mac, can get on it. Nor do I want to turn off potentials customers, who are probably horse people and would rather be riding. Why should they sit and wait for an over gadgeted page to load? I don’t.

6. Customer service is important on the internet too. Most of my shops are external, meaning I supply the design, they supply the product. But I always check out the reviews first. I google, even check the better business bureau. Cafepress has turned off some shopkeepers lately. But whenever I’ve contacted customer service regarding products, I’ve gotten results. No place is perfect, but if they try I give them credit. On the other end I’ve tried to set up things on other popular sites (I won’t name it) and found it awkward, run into tech issues and found no help at all. I find it suspicious when they won’t give an e-mail address or a means to contact them and its a guaranteed way to turn me off.

6. Do unto others part 2. Be kind to rookie computer users and the Computer Poor. How often have I found some site trying to walk me through a problem that speaks only tech? Some can’t seem to fathom that some people don’t know a computer cookie from chocolate chip. By poor I mean anyone and everyone-I assume in this struggling economy that is a lot of us-that can’t afford to buy a new computer. The internet has very nearly become indispensible. Even job applications are online. Yet so many sites are set up in a way to totally lock out older users. Why? Would it really kill them to have a simple version? Myspace has a full view vs lite option: this is good. Mac senior likes the lite view. So Be Kind. Do Unto others. And have mercy on us aging computer users. And remember, people with Macs are people too!

Need to get back to my horse & teddy bear art now…Mac Senior has trouble doing both at once. I find it distracting too! Excerpt Lessons learned by a horse artist, taught by an aging mac computer.

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