The Senior Macintosh Center
My Mac Magazine #34, Feb. ’98

Greetings to one and all! I realize that my job is to elaborate on the
glories of the Macs of old. You know, where they fit in society as a
viable utensil to crank out all sorts of wonderful things. Then I run
into a few glitches in that theory. Let me please explain…

Over the past several months I have seen a number of computers come to
my bench with work orders on them that say things like, “RAM upgrade,
System software upgrade, etc.” or “Upgrade printer driver to use new HP DeskJet or DeskWriter…” or this classic, “Can’t run game…” Please
understand I’m not making this a personal issue but I have got to tell
you that when I see these words or something like them, I cringe. I know
it’s going to be a long day.

A few weeks ago I got to work on a Mac IIcx (yes, you read that right).
The customer has been using this under System 6.0.2 for years. Their
primary use for this Mac is to manage a town’s water treatment plant and
the like. The software that they use is a HyperCard stack package that
was developed in 1988 by some local guys that never updated it. Just the
one package (version 1.0) and that was it. The version of HyperCard they
were using was dated 1989, too. They had been using an HP LaserJet IIp
with it. Okay, here’s where it gets fun. They bought a new DeskJet 800
series something and it said that it requires System 7.0 or higher to
run. They also bought a 2GB hard drive to be installed. Initially, this
doesn’t sound like that big a deal. Just upgrade and go. Well, first I
installed the hard drive after backing up the data. Always remember and
never forget, a IIcx doesn’t understand a hard drive bigger than 1.9 GB
so it will always partition the leftovers, in this case about 20 MB. I
should have realized then that the storm clouds were rolling in. After
transferrring the data back, I did the System upgrade to 7.0.1 with the
TuneUp. After that I installed the printer drivers for the new printer.
Thinking that I was the hero of the hour, I tried to print something
from their little database HyperCard stack. LOCK UPS! FREEZES! CRASHES!

Ahhhhhhhh! Oh no! What kind of monster have I created? Sure enough, I
managed to screw up the whole system. Why? Because I didn’t pay
attention to some of the most basic things about all computers. There’s an old line from a funny story that says, “Come to think of it, you can’t get there from here.” Sometimes there isn’t an upgrade path available. Period. Want to know how the story ends? It’s too gory to tell here. Suffice it say, I couldn’t bill out about 6 hours of incredible frustration.

When you purchased your Mac, whatever flavor, it was probably the
latest and greatest for that time. It had all the coolest features available and all the neighbors wanted to ooh and ahh over your newest addition to the family. Believe me, I sympathize completely. Remember, I’m using an LCIII and I’m just getting by. Still, there comes a time when you have to come to the realization that, though you may have paid top dollar, your Mac may not be able to do the things that today’s or tomorrow’s Macs do. I’ve actually had customers ask me to help them make an Apple IIc ready for the Internet. Like the man said, “It ain’t gonna happen!”

I was reluctant to write this article because I know what it’s like to feel like I have been left behind in the ever-increasing momentum of the
technology superhighway but let me offer some helpful advice. Try to
remember what you bought your Mac for in the first place. Did it do
those things well? Of course it did. It still does! It always will! If you need to do something faster, better, more complicated and perhaps
more frustrating, then you’ll have to sit down and consider buying a new
Mac (Whew, I said it). You know like I do that you won’t go wrong. I
can’t wait to get my G3, but in 5 years we’ll all be lamenting about how
obsolete they are.

Oy, computers these days… they never listen. :^D

Catcha L8r, Eddie

Ed Tobey (

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