LeopardRebirth Theme… and what happened with the PPC Challenge

I’ll start off with the challenge. So about halfway through the week I was making good progress on the macOS Sierra theme for Leopard, and then I found that a member of MacRumors released a theme called “LeopardRebirth” which ultimately made me just give up on my theme, so I just avoided pretty much anything PowerPC related for a while since at that point I didn’t care anymore (and haven’t fired up my G5 Quad since that day), someone released a better pack sooner than I would have ever released a pack. The thing that upset me the most was that I planned to release that pack on the final day of the PowerPC Challenge however LeoRebirth arrived a few days prior to the final challenge day. The PPCStore that is included also pissed me off , more on that later.

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So this theme. I will give @SourceSunTom props for his work on many of the graphic design elements that look similar to Sierra, and overall he did an excellent job. I legitimately feel like I am looking at a brand new machine when I look over at my G5.

I ended up removing my theme page for my pack, and created a page for LeoRebirth on the PowerPC Archive which you can take a look at if you are interested in downloading the theme. There is also a thread on MacRumors about this theme release.

Personally I like the white dock, I wouldn’t mind using the black dock however when you do the menu bar stays white, giving the OS an odd look. White just fits in better.

His pack also replaces the system icons so Leopard does indeed look fresh. The “About This Mac” window has also been modified to resemble the newer style, granted it’s not to perfection but it does look good!

So then there is the PPCStore. More than anything this was what made me take a break for a while. Years ago I wanted to create a program called LeopardMarket which was pretty much an app store for PPC with a little bit of MacTracker influence. However, I did not have any skill in creating programs for Macs, so I was lost and never had a chance to make the program, and after talking to some developing friends the better idea was to stick to a web interface like the website is currently set up.

However, again props to Tom for actually creating his own app store. Nothing I can do about it now but it works well enough. Needs work for sure, but I’m sure he will figure it out over time.

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So what is my official opinion on his theme? I think he did an excellent job, many people on MacRumors were pissed at him for doing this when I was busting my ass to release my pack in a few days, but that is in the past. Nothing I can do about it so I moved on. If you want to make your Leopard machine look modern, download his pack. The installer will do everything you need so there is nothing extra to do.

Then what are my plans for the future? I see some spots that could use improvement in his theme so I will get in contact to share what I think should be modified, however it wouldn’t be hard to make a “DLC” as I would call it that would include a few extra things to complete the appearance. We will see.

As far as PowerPC mac stuff goes, I’ve actually been getting rid of a few machines. I’ve been cleaning house and I decided the only machines I want to keep are the G5 Quad and 14″ 1.42GHz iBook G4. Nowadays I just don’t have room for all of this stuff anymore. I rarely use PPC machines anymore so they sit around most of the time but I do use them a few times a month. So don’t expect me to be leaving forever, I’ll always be here 🙂

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Posted in Customization, G5, Hardware, News, OS X 10.5 Leopard, Software | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Updated iOS 7 Screensaver for Leopard

Almost two years ago I wrote a post about an iOS 7 style screensaver for Leopard. After realizing the link was hosted on a server that is long offline, I found a version I had stored on Google Drive. That and this PPC Challenge isn’t a bad thing, it’s giving me time to fix things that are broken or need to be updated 🙂

Now there is a bonus, @bodysoulspirit at some point in the past made a minor update with a new wallpaper and the text is a bit cleaner. I have included this in the pack as well as the original iOS 7 screensaver.

Download the pack here! It’s a 15.5MB Zip File

iOS Screensaver Preview

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iOS 7 Screensaver Preview

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Posted in Customization, OS X 10.5 Leopard, Software | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

PPCC 2017 – Day 2

Alright. Since yesterday was rough today goes smoother!

I needed to finish installing some software I didn’t get to yesterday, so at this point I am all set with what I need, and if something comes up I’ll install it.

I did install Virtual PC 7, and from prior experience Windows XP does not run very well. So I decided to try something else, and that is called Windows FLP (Fundamentals for Legacy PCs), which is an extremely light version of Windows XP SP2 designed to run on Windows 98 era machines. Years ago before I even owned my first Mac (a 350MHz B&W) I owned a Dell Inspiron 600m, and that laptop would boot in 7 seconds flat with WinFLP… and this was in an era before SSDs! WinFLP’s installer is like an early Vista style setup with XP accents. The install took just under half an hour.

If you’re curious, the processor is detected as a generic 686, and you can dedicate up to 512MB of ram. Personally, even with maxed out ram and having the VM installed on a SSD, the VM is still slow. Usable, but I feel like I’m using a HP Pavilion from 1999 that shipped with a Celeron and Windows 98SE. It’s slow. The only reason I brought up VPC7 was if I need some windows program to run for whatever reason. I don’t think I’ll need it, but if I do I have a VM ready to go!

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Next up… Customization! I’m done talking about VPC7 🙂

So now I’ll modernize the appearance of my G5 to look a bit newer. I know I still need to release the macOS Sierra theme pack however I haven’t worked on that project in months. You’ll see it eventually. And if I leave the PowerPC world in the future I will be sure to release the pack for absolute sure before I go.

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Well, now what? I have my programs installed and it looks the way I want. So from here on out I just need to use the machine. I’ll document everything I run into, good or bad. I’m not afraid to cover up bad little tidbits about using a PowerPC Mac these days, you guys need to know everyone’s take on these machines.

A few little tidbits for you guys. Using the G5 has actually made me work on projects like the theme pack, so I’m hoping that I will have the pack completely finished by the end of the week, if not earlier. Also, I noticed that the iOS7 Screensaver for Leopard had a broken link, and that is now fixed 🙂 I spent a long time working on the theme today, but I’m still stuck on the traffic lights.

I installed Webkit however I haven’t even tried to use it yet. I will be trying out webkit for day three!

Outside of that, I was outside in our gnarly snow storm and was gone for a good portion of the day. So there is the end to day two! Still pulling through however I had to fight my urge to play some Battlefield 1 🙂

Posted in Customization, G5, Hardware, OS X 10.5 Leopard, PowerPC Challenge, Software, Uses for PowerPC | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

PPCC 2017 – Day 1 – Configuring the G5 Quad

So before I even start the challenge, I need to set up my Macs. I didn’t get home until 6pm this evening, I feel terrible after a long new years night as well as snow wheeling in my truck, and I am tired, but I managed to set up my G5! This post was published on what would be day 2, however it’s midnight and I’ve been working on this post for the past few hours. There will be a separate post for day two 🙂

My G5 had the original 250GB WD hard drive which I removed and replaced with a 120GB Intel SSD from my early 2008 MacBook Pro. My goal is to make the G5 fast so I won’t be sitting around all day waiting for it to do anything, and the SSD certainly makes a difference!

So here is where I ran into some trouble. I needed to install Leopard, and unfortunately my retail Leopard disc was pretty scratched up. I also do not have any dual layer DVDs laying around so burning an image to one was out of the question. My FW800 cables and adapters were at work so I was unable to use those, too. So I looked online for a single layer DVD of leopard, and to my luck I happened to find one to download. (This was last night, the 31st)

And that download was short lived, the .rar file ended up having a password which the website that supposedly had the password is now extinct, and the Wayback Machine has no idea what the website even was (OS X 10.5.6 Single Layer DVD for your reference). Luckily, I had to stop by work so I grabbed the Leopard DVD we had there and created an image to keep on my external hard drive. Burned a copy disc then started the install! I haven’t seen this screen in a while.

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My first issue really bugged me. My keyboard also has a pass through USB port which I plug my mouse into, and the G5 wasn’t happy with them. When I tried to erase the hard drive the mouse would jump around and it was really tough to format the drive, however I pulled it off! The install took less than 10 minutes from a DVD.

Now the fun begins! I watched the Leopard intro video (again for the first time in a while) and the video actually lagged on my 25″ 1080p HP monitor, however the audio didn’t skip a beat.

My keyboard was still giving me issues, to the point where I was unable to select anything, and the Mac kept thinking I was in Australia when really I’m in the United States.I ended up grabbing a Logitech keyboard and mouse, and after unplugging the Corsair keyboard I was able to make my way through the first time setup.

What I ended up doing when I saw the desktop was set up my wireless keyboard and my magic mouse. I really wanted to use my gaming stuff but that wasn’t going to happen. I could care less about the custom light presets and whatnot, all I wanted was basic functionality. Well even with the G5 three feet away from my KB/MM the mouse was lagging as if it had bad bluetooth signal. Luckily, my gaming mouse works fine, and I can still use the buttons on the mouse to change the sensitivity settings.

Next up, it’s time to install some software! I installed all the latest software updates such as the 10.5.8 Combo, wireless keyboard software, Java, iTunes, Security Updates, etc. using the built in Software Updater which took forever to download. The list below is what I will be using, I could have installed more but programs such as Remote Desktop Connection and MacTubes are useless to me, and there are better alternatives to them.

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TenFourFox: This one is a given, and I installed AdBlock Plus so I don’t have to see ads. I also added some tweaks created by @eyongren and @altemose on this MacRumors thread.

PianoPPC: Of course every once in a blue moon I like to listen to new music rather than the same run down tunes of Spotify. PianoPPC works great and is ran through the terminal. Check out my thread on MacRumors outlining this program and a download link!

VirtualPC 7: You might think this is ironic, however if I need a Windows program for whatever reason I can run it under Windows XP. I wouldn’t say I broke a rule since the VM will still be as slow as using a XP machine from the same era.

Dropbox: This was important to me since one of my accounts contain all of the files required for the (still unreleased, sorry guys) macOS Sierra theme pack. If you’d like to download dropbox for your PowerPC, you can download a .zip file here. It’s 93.3MB. All credit goes to @Czo for the work and @eyoungren for the thread on MacRumors.

Spotify: For when I really want to listen to some music! The latest version is available on the PowerPC Archive.

LibreOffice: Mainly for documents and stuff. If I need to I’ll install iWork 09 or Office 2008.

Adobe CS4 Collection: Mainly for Photoshop since I need this at work and my other website that is in the works, so I need it!

TextWrangler: In case I need to edit config files or something, this might come in handy.

UnRarX: To extract more than just .zip files, using this I can extract files like .7z if I need to.

Adium: If for some reason I need to have an IRC program, I have this one! We’ll see if I use it.

VLC Media Player: Absolute must if I need to view any sort of media!

TSClientX: This is a new Remote Desktop Connection program that will work if I need to remote into any servers for work that might be running a flavor of Windows ranging from XP to 10, or any of the server flavors from the same era!

iStat menus: This way I can keep an eye on the temperature of my toasty dual-dual cores! They average 121/130*F

So my graphics card is giving me problems, I’m thinking tomorrow I’ll go out to the shed and pull the other 6600LE card from my other G5 Quad that sits out there due to the ruined LCS. My WiFi is also temperamental, so I’ll be looking at options to replace it with something that will give me 802.11n speeds rather than 802.11g 54Mbps.

Internet has been rough, our download speed is 100Mbps, however due to the limitations of the AirPort card I am maxed out at 54Mbps no matter what. Files that should have been downloading quickly ended up taking a long time, such as a 120MB software update took over five minutes. For reference, I did a speedtest on my MBA and on my G5 right after each other, and the results were shocking, and I say that because the G5 was not able to use all of the 54Mbps it has, and unfortunately I’m quite bummed about this as the faster internet speed would certainly help my experience.

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TenFourFox has been slow for me, trying to load up any settings is slow, and three tabs open (Gmail, NOAA, DrudgeReport) is slow on websites that hardly use any resources. This G5 has 16GB of ram and 14GB of it is sitting idle, and with the SSD I would imagine that it shouldn’t be this horrific. Facebook is usable, however extremely slow. The one thing I will say, is in my news feed I have not seen one video appear. All I’ve seen is photos and links! For kicks I clicked on an ad on the side with a video and I received the message “Something Went Wrong” oh well. Maybe I won’t see people “going live” in my news feed either!

Writing this post on WordPress is doable, and I plan to write every day from this machine, but it is hard to use.  For some reason my cursor stays in one spot and doesn’t move as I type. Spotify has been okay, music plays so you really couldn’t ask for anything else! Don’t even get me started on YouTube. Videos play under TFF, however only in 360p, and the video is jerky, however the audio is fine. For the life of me I can’t get the videos to work in anything. QuickTime Enabler for TFF does not work. A VLC plugin for TFF does not work. Opening YouTube URLs manually in VLC does not work.

The core OS has been fast with zero complaints, but once I jump into any sort of program the G5 falls flat on its face.

Overall, day one has been making me pull hair! I have counted four contestants that left the challenge, and it seems like they had issues with YouTube, any sort of video playback, and HTML5 games that are unplayable. There were 44 contestants, now we are at 40!

Some are going with vlogs on their journey, and some are writing about it like I am. I’m glad to hear results from people and see how they are doing!

Stay tuned for day two! Tonight was more of a night piecing things together. Tomorrow I’ll work more on customization!

Posted in G3, G4, Hardware, OS X 10.5 Leopard, PowerPC Challenge, Uses for PowerPC | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

PowerPC Challenge 2017 – Introduction

If you follow either the PowerPC Centre facebook page (give us a like while you’re at it!) or ponder the PowerPC subforum on MacRumors, you might be aware of the PowerPC Challenge. This challenge takes place for the first week of the year (January 1 – 7, 2017).

The goal of this challenge is to use a PowerPC machine as a daily computer for the duration of the week, and thus far there are 39 participants on the MacRumors forum (including me). Many PowerPC users use G4 or G5 machines daily, so this may not be a challenge for them.

However, this will be a challenge for me! I have two machines that I use daily, and the first one is a custom built computer with an Intel Core i7-4790k, 24GB of ram, Radeon R9 290x, and a 250GB Intel Solid State Drive running Windows 10 Pro. My portable is a 2015 13″ MacBook Air with a 1.6GHz Core i5 and 4GB of Ram.

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I rarely use a PowerPC machine, and when I use one it’s to either test software to add to the PowerPC Archive or to write a post on here. So, this is going to be a challenge for me!

So what will I be using for the challenge? A late 2005 Power Mac G5 Quad, 2.5GHz, 16GB DDR2, 6600 128MB, and the hard drive situation I have no idea about. I have a few hours to make my mind on this! For a portable, I will be using a 2005 14″ iBook G4 1.42GHz with a normal hard drive. I really wanted to have a PowerBook G4, and almost bought a DLHR right before the challenge… but I didn’t!

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The unfortunate thing here is I will still need my MacBook Air at work for some programs that will not work under Leopard, so I will try my best to use the iBook as much as possible. At home I’ll be using the G5 for everything.

So that is how I’m starting this challenge. I figured it would be interesting to document and all of our followers may find it interesting! I’ll be posting daily updates on here with my adventure for the week, so stay tuned! My next post will be setting up the G5 Quad which you’ll probably see tomorrow afternoon since tonight is going to be a busy night for me!

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Posted in G3, G4, G5, Hardware, News, OS X 10.4 Tiger, OS X 10.5 Leopard, PowerPC Challenge, Software, Uncategorized, Uses for PowerPC | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Ex-College 17″ Studio Display Rescue

Not many people agreed regarding my comments with the Mac mini G4 on the last post, but this is a bit more promising 🙂

So last week I drove up to the college with a friend, and there is this shipping container and behind this container is where they “recycle” old stuff. I’ve grabbed a few things from here such as a Windows 2000 Pro Pentium III era Gateway tower, Dell 17″ flat screen, keyboards, and a few other things.

However, I was driving past and on the side I saw an Apple logo, so I stopped, walked over, and saw that it was a G3 era 17″ Studio Display CRT. I threw it in the back of my truck and drove back into town. I stopped in a lit parking lot and took this pic of it.

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So for the rest of thenight this thing tumbled in the back of my truck and tumbled the morning after on my way to work (I was actually planning to ratchet strap the thing in place in the parking lot the night before but I said screw it and didn’t bother).

Cleaned it up a bit, and connected to my dual 1GHz FW800 MDD. Works great! I have the resolution set to 1280×1024 and have been super happy with it.

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Always good to recycle 🙂 If I come across a Cinema Display for the MDD this Studio Display will be used with something else!

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Posted in Accessories, Hardware | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

How Useful is a Mac mini G4?

I purchased a 1.42GHz model off ebay a few months back for less than $40, and at the same time questioning myself why I bought it in the first place.

In the past, I owned a 1.33GHz mini and thought it was the stupidest thing ever. Two USB ports (enough for a keyboard and a mouse) without a hub, no Bluetooth, and no AirPort. Still to this day I would still hate this particular model if I owned it.

The only saving grace for this 1.42 is the fact it has BT (albeit v1.1) and AirPort, if not, I would have never considered bidding on it.

So the specs of this bad boy. You know already it has a 1.42GHz G4, and an AP/BT card. It’s also packing 1GB of DDR, 32MB Radeon 9200, SuperDrive, and a spacey 74.53GB Hitachi (which I would love to replace with a SSD, in the future however). And last but not least, Mac OS X Leopard. To overcome my bitchy attitude towards the USB ports, I am using a Wireless Keyboard and a Magic Mouse. The Intel mac mini ditches the modem and instead has 4 USB ports compared to the lame amount of 2 on the G4. If you’re even more curious about this machine it was made in the last week of January 2005, either in China or the Czech Republic, also was the 1,319th machine to be built that week.

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If you are new to the mini, here is an overview of the ports:

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  • Power
  • Ethernet
  • Modem
  • DVI out
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • FireWire 400
  • Headphone Jack
  • Kensington Lock

The point of this post is to see if this Mac mini can do enough for me to keep it around, and from here on out I’ll focus on the usability of programs and software categories. I attempt to do my best, and I’m sure people will argue that this is just my opinion, but I can’t judge for everyone! This post is also focused on the Mini G4 line. A G5 would do everything on this list a billion times easier, but I’m not discussing that today!

MUSIC & RADIO:

I constantly listen to music, and at work we listen to KSFO for Rush Limbaugh every day, and sometimes even my local radio station. This category is focused on online radio/services.

Spotify 

Spotify
The Mac mini is actually perfect for this. Plays music without any issues using the Spotify 0.6.6.10 app from 2011. To be honest, so far this is the thing I think the mini does the best! If you have Spotify Premium the ability to save music offline works flawlessly.

Pandora
Pandora does work, however requires Flash player. Attempting to use Pandora under TFF brings me to the page “We need flash player xx or higher to continue”. And using a third party program such as PandoraBoy or PandoraBox do not work whatsoever.

However, we do have some better luck with Safari. Pandora will allow you to sign in and listen to your different playlists, however this uses up your processor and memory resources (saw a max of 91% CPU and 25.74MB free of 1024MB RAM). There is also a weird bug where it will not play the next song unless you open the window again (if you minimized it).

So my conclusion: It’s functional, but the resource requirements and the minimize bug gives it a “functional, with bugs” rating.

Online Radio [KSFO & JDX] ⍰ ❌
Of course online radio uses flash, I attempted to use TFF for streaming with disappointment. With Safari, I was able to listen to KSFO with the iHeartRadio link, but streaming this actually ate up 100% of the CPU and 990MB of RAM. I was also able to listen to my local radio station, again maxing out the Mac mini, and to be honest if I only used the mini for radio streaming I’d rather buy an AM/FM radio since the mini would cut out the radio feed quite often.

I’m giving the online radio category the same rating as Spotify, because some things work, but have bugs.

INTERNET BROWSING & ONLINE VIDEOS:

Web Browsing 
Simple web browsing is not all that great under TenFourFox. With a WordPress and a MacRumors forum tab open, the fan immediately increased speed. The Google homepage lags, loading Gmail takes a 10 or so seconds, Drudge Report takes forever to load (and this website is pretty plain, text and photos), among any other websites I try to view, even with ads blocked and TFF tweaks added.

Safari was not much better unfortunately, and it is not my internet (stable 30Mbps down / 9.5Mbps up) which I had been testing alongside loading web pages on the G4. Wikipedia loaded much better, granted, it is 95% text. Due to the incompatibility with so many other websites I give web browsing on the G4 a fail rating.

Online Videos 

YouTube Safari

I tried YouTube under Safari, and it would act like it was playing, then jump to the 34 second mark then jump 20 seconds, and so on. By default the quality was set to 460p, I changed that to 240p and it was still terrible. 144p? Still wouldn’t play properly.

What about TenFourFox? I still had to stare at a black screen for a minute, then it would skip every 20 seconds or so too, however it would barely, just barely, play the video. Under TFF, you can’t select any other quality other than 360p.

MacTubes

Or MacTubes? Yeah, I gave that a shot too. Impossible to do anything, MacTubes kept giving me errors ruining hopes of playing a video. This category receives a fail rating as well.

MULTIMEDIA (AUDIO & VIDEO):

This category I have hope for, consisting of music and video downloaded on the computer (unlike services such as Spotify or YouTube that use the internet).

Audio 

VLC Audio

I played a test audio file in iTunes and VLC media player, with no lag whatsoever. Once I started messing with audio visualizations in VLC, the audio started to cut out but would come back. I give audio a pass.

Video 

VLC Video

I didn’t have any 1080p videos to test, however the 720p TV show I had played fine, but the audio would lag under VLC. The .avi file wouldn’t load in QuickTime without additional codecs. I give this category a plausible rating, that it could have just been the file I had.

So that is what I think the Mac mini G4 can do, granted I’m bashing the poor little thing. So, in light of things, what is the mini good for outside of what I listed above?

Well, you can plug in external hard drives into the mini using USB or FireWire 400 and then share them on your network if you are okay with 54Mbps over the wifi speeds or 100Mbps LAN speeds. I personally prefer gigabit if I need to move several massive files at once, so the mini is not for me in this category.

Spotify works pretty good! You can’t control the song from another computer or your phone, however if you have a big speaker system in a garage or whatever and need to put the thing to use, the mini will work great for that. Low powered music box.

Typing up documents is doable, and is doable on pretty much any machine (shoot even Office 2003 on a Windows 2000 Pro box is more than capable), and if you go this route there are many different programs available to do just that. iWork 09, Office 2004/08, NeoOffice, LibreOffice, your choice. Hook up a printer and you are good to go.

I personally don’t have a dedicated (or a good) use for the mini, and everything I listed above can be done easier and quicker on a higher clocked G4 or G5 with more processor power and definitely more RAM.

If you are reading this and are considering buying a mini G4, I would recommend finding one with at least a Core 2 Duo running Snow Leopard. Everything, good or bad, that I listed above will perform a hundred times better than the G4. If you own a mini and are reading this, make the most out of what you have!

So what are my plans with the little guy? Honestly I have no idea, it might just end up on ebay since I have nothing I can use this machine for unfortunately! If I do post it to ebay, I’ll share the link with the PowerPC Centre facebook page.

Until next time…

Posted in G4, Hardware, OS X 10.5 Leopard, Software, Uses for PowerPC | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments