OS X Upgrade (1.1.5)

By Greg Pak

Several months ago I bought the Final Cut Pro 3.0 upgrade and tried to use it on my G3 and G4 desktop Macintoshes, running OS 9.2.2. Much to my distress, the program worked horribly, dropping frames and refusing to digitize materials properly. I talked with a number of editors who loved FCP 3.0 and had none of my problems — but they were all running OS X instead of OS 9.2.2. So I finally bit the bullet and bought OS X to see if I could get things working properly. Here are my trials and tribulations.

Don’t buy OS X until August

My first mistake was buying OS X when I did — July 11, 2002. Within ten days, Apple announced it would ship a major upgrade to the program on August 24 — and it will charge the full price of $129 for OS X.2. This means that in order to benefit from the upgrade, I’ll have to spend $129 AGAIN. Ridiculous and deeply offensive. The company should give half price discounts on the software to anyone who unwittingly bought the now old OS X software off the shelves in the last three months.

Nonethless, here I am and here we go…

Following instructions

Doing the basic upgrade was pretty simple for anyone who’s installed software before — for the most part, I just followed directions. But I was sideswiped by a few surprises.

  • On my G3 B&W, I have an old PCI card — the Turbomax ATA 33 — which I use to run two internal drives. When I started the computer up in OS X, those drives weren’t recognized. After mulling over the possible source of the problem, I called Turbomax. The salesman confirmed that the ATA 33 isn’t compatible with OS X and sold me the Turbomax 133 at a 33 percent discount. I’ve installed it and it seems to be working fine.
  • On one of my beige G3s, I have a no-name Firewire card I bought from a vendor on eBay. The card works fine with OS 9; it doesn’t work at all with OS X. I ended up buying a new Firewire/USB combo card.
  • USB printer sharing doesn’t work in OS X.1.3 and X.1.5. This is deeply annoying — in OS 9.2, I could hook up a USB printer to one computer and print to it from other printers on the network. Can’t do that now, which has disrupted my office considerably. This is a feature which will be replaced in OS X.2 — which, as I’ve noted above, I’m going to have to pay another $129 to get my hands on. Ugh.
  • Most of my current programs, including FCP, Pagespinner, Final Draft, and Fetch, have updates which run natively in OS X. They seem to be good, clean, fast, and efficient. On the other hand, Outlook Express, my preferred email program, doesn’t run natively in OS X. This means that when I start it up for the first time, the computer first starts up an OS 9 emulator program which allows Outlook Express to work. It’s a bit clunky, but so far it’s working acceptably well.
  • My Toast Titanium 5.0 wouldn’t work with OS X — I went to the Roxio.com website and downloaded an upgrade to 5.1.4, and now it works fine.

Software hints

I’m liking OS X — after installing it, I almost felt as if I had a new computer, full of new capabilities. But there are also new quirks — here are just a few I’ve figured out:

  • When you install AOL for OS X, the program puts your filing cabinet in the Users > Shared > America Online folder. It used to go into the System Folder > Preferences > America Online > Data folder.
  • When you’re saving a file from another file (or trying to navigate through your computer to pick a place to save files from within a program), it may appear that the computer will only let you save into your Users folder. But if you slide the bar at the bottom of the dialogue box to the left, you’ll see icons representing your hard drives — you can still save to anywhere in the computer.