Intel iMac

On Tuesday I got a call from Patti, her old iMac (CRT) had died, propably a hardrive falure, but like all sensible computer users, she has a fairly recent backup of all her work (Gulp!). I reccomended an Apple Centre that I know does good work: Newton Systems in Gibraltar, but Patti went shopping and came home from FNAC with a brand new Intel iMac 🙂
But now she needed help, what could have gone wrong? Here’s a short list:

  1. She couldn’t print to her new printer.
  2. She couldn’t get on-line.
  3. She couldn’t open some of her backed up files.

The printer she bought with the new Mac came with 2 driver CDs both for Windows! Patti went back to FNAC and they helpfully downloaded the Mac OSX driver for her printer and burned her a driver CD. Unfortunatly this turned out to be the “Mac OS X (PowerPC)” driver and not the “Mac OS X (Intel)” driver which is burried a little deeper on the Epson site. Epson are obviously playing the numbers here; making the powerPC driver easier to find avoids confusion for the vast mayority of Mac users, but at the same time throws down a hurdle for the few early adopters of MacIntel out there. The solution was to download the new “Intel” version of the driver, but first we need an Internet connection.
When I arrived at her home, Patti’s boyfriend was on the phone alternating between arguing in Spanish (not his native, or second language) and being put on hold by an ISP customer service centre. They had decided to upgrade from dial-up to 2Meg-ADSL for the new iMac, but their current ISP had come back with problems with their phone line that would limit them to a 1Mb/s ADSL connection. In the meantime as the upgrade had alredy been put into effect their dial-up account had been deactivated. Now they had no connectivity and were considering ADSL offerings from alternative ISPs. The temporary solution was to connect Patti to GoNutsForFree a “free” dial-up ISP I use whenever I can’t get a better connection in Spain. Now we were able to download the correct driver (very slowly) and get her printer working.
None of this would have been possible if Patti hadn’t also purchased an Apple External Modem on her second trip to FNAC as the new iMac does not have one built-in. I understand why Apple are phasing out the internal modem: It’s the same underlying philosophy they followed when they dropped the internal floppy disk drive with the G3 range.
The issue with old files not opening was an OS9/MacIntel incompatibility. Patti’s old iMac had a dual OS configuration and unfortuatly OS X for Intel does not support OS9 emulation, we did however manage to open almost all her old documents and pictures by right-clicking or ctrl+clicking their icons in the finder and choosing a Mac OS X programme to open them. Patti can now resave her files from OS X applications to have them open normally when she double-cilcks their icons next time.
This is just another example of how being an early adopter of new technology can hurt. I think they call it: Being on the “Bleeding Edge”.

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