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Use PowerPC for a week?

For those talking about YouTube performance on PowerPC, have any of you tried ClickToFlash with the latest Leopard-Webkit release? It allows direct playback of h.264 video natively when available, bypassing flash and poorly-optimized HTML5 players completely. I've had very good luck with it on my trusty 12" PowerBook G4 (1.33), I'd recommend it to anyone trying to play back internet video on a PowerPC machine.

 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
Are there any video downloading tools that run on MacPPC?
 
Back when I had a slow Internet connection, I'd use 4kVideoDownloader to save videos both so I could watch them (if I were the type of person who loops songs over and over again *shifty-eyes*) and so that I can watch a higher quality version without buffering. It's not ideal in terms of workflow if what you wanted to do was just let a playlist or the auto-play guide you through the night, but it's also not really that bad.
 
Thinking about performance: I recently pulled out nachibes, a ThinkPad X31 named after a typo I make extremely commonly while using my phone to access #68kmla on oshaberi. That system has Windows 7, Office 2010, IE9, Spotify, and Google Chrome. For the most part, it does everything I need. Despite shipping in April 2003, it's fairly sprightly.
 
Just in the realm of performance, it's so much better than a PowerBook from the same time. I'm not going to start converting my DNGs on it, but there's no real reason why I couldn't, either. I don't exactly like doing to lots of big web sites on it, but it does work. I use the thing basically as a counter top or sideboard computer, often to keep a presence on IRC if I'm playing a game, but it's small enough that I can use it for an Excel copy of a character sheet during an in-person gaming session, or (if I know power will be available) it's a great system for on-the-go tasks, especially because Office 2010 does a really good job of locally caching my SharePoint document libraries.

It's faster than my T30 too, so this thing should do a lot better than any PowerBook or iBook ever released.

Is it possible that a PowerBook is more fun? It depends. I had a lot of fun with my Pismo, and I get some use out of my 180 and 1400, but I (have probably said this before) don't really get anything out of late PPC. There's some nostalgia there, but given that I was there, and the machine I used a (a 1GHz PowerBook G4) was so bad, it's not exactly an experience I have a whole lot of wish to re-live. perhaps in a few more years I will, but we'll see.

Of course, if you take the view that these machines can do anything they could do when they were launched, then it's not like anything is lost, because Dropbox wasn't invented until 2009, and YouTube wasn't created until 2005, and although PPC machines were still being built, that's so close to the end as to be on the line in such a way that I'm not that sad about the loss of it. (In part because while I'd network a PPC Mac, I would not put it on my main LAN or the greater Internet.)

 

johnklos

Well-known member
If you use ClickToPlugin in Safari, you can download most videos by right clicking the video and selecting "Download".

 

CC_333

Well-known member
I've been using a G5 for upwards of 1 1/2 months now, and I tell you, it works great if I'm not in a hurry.

If I need to get something done quickly, it has trouble keeping up. But it is quite tolerable.

This is a first gen DP 2.0 GHz, by the way. I have a Quad, but the LCS is out for repair, otherwise I would've used that instead (and probably would've had a better experience).

c

 

rsolberg

Well-known member
My folks were using a G4 mini 1.42GHz with 1GB RAM, 160GB HD as a daily driver until a couple months ago. It's now been relegated to their industrial sewing/repair business for iPhoto-- before and after photos are invaluable. I just keep having to set their cameras to 4MP... That mini hates 12MP JPEGs. It just flies once I scale the images down and 4MP is more than ample resolution. I may just build an Automator workflow that downscales the gigantic images upon import.

 

Floofies

Maker of Logos
My mother uses PowerPC all the time, as a full-time personal computer! She has a MDD G4 running OS 10.4, and uses Firefox/Camino/Thunderbird/Netscape with minimal problems. I keep trying to get her to switch to something more modern (you know, so I don't have to constantly fix issues on the ancient machine) but for whatever reason, she will not. Guess I'll have to wait until the thing dies, sadly!

 

rezwits

Well-known member
I consider, making a website that works on 68k a good challenge.  It's almost like making a BBS with text a based interface, except that you DO get to use HTML and picture formats,  I am planning on firing up the old Site Mill 2, Page Mill 3, and maybe a little GoLive 4 on the 68k and just slowly craft a workable site that has nice interface, plus I will get to work on those "Basic" html skills.  It's going to be fun.

I mean think if we all rose up from the 68kmla ranks and formed 68k bunkers?  Where you could actually use your 68k browsers!  Without them being deprecated.   I mean honestly there is no reason you can't target, IE 4, Netscape 4, or 3 Gold, iCab 2.99, and even Cyberdog! (if you can) would be sick!  I know that would be crazy the old opendoc, and stuff but I recently found a copy ClarisWorks for OpenDoc!  But any way back to the topic.

Websites for 68k browsers, that's where I am headed in my free time.  And you don't have to host it on the 68k, just use the 68k to test the site!  Haha just an idea...

 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
It's essentially trivial to make a static personal home page that should look fine on a 68k Mac. Heck: http://stenoweb.net/~coryw/

I think the hard part would be to develop a "web app" or some web 2.0 that'll work well on a 68k. The biggest problem is that you're essentially excluded from using SSL, realistically, at all, so your web site won't really have "security."

It would be a good way to play with database application stuff without worrying about styling (or doing only exceedingly minimal styling) but ultimately, HTML-only web sites are considered "bad form" today, so it also matters how much you care about that.

 

Tam 400

Well-known member
I have few Macs I use on a Dailey bases. MBP 17" 2.1--G5 Tower 2.0 DP/PPC---MMD/DP-1.24 PPC---MMD/DP-800

It can be challenging at times,like last night when I had to look for pics to post here,but they were on multiple Macs

Managed to find them.an when I have a 68k Mac on line,EI/4 an Netscape,it takes about 3 min to just load a modern web page

Way back when web pages were small it wasn't to bad,today there not, So you would need all day just to surf the web at 68k

I don't no if you could build a web page for 68k Mac to work,Iam not a programme,just a Hardware addic.

Cheers

 

Unknown_K

Well-known member
I like using one of my Powerbook 15" G4's for simple browsing (mostly forums for TV shows) while in bed because of the light up keyboard keys. G4 1.6ghz works well enough for that.

 

rezwits

Well-known member
It's essentially trivial to make a static personal home page that should look fine on a 68k Mac. Heck: http://stenoweb.net/~coryw/

I think the hard part would be to develop a "web app" or some web 2.0 that'll work well on a 68k. The biggest problem is that you're essentially excluded from using SSL, realistically, at all, so your web site won't really have "security."

It would be a good way to play with database application stuff without worrying about styling (or doing only exceedingly minimal styling) but ultimately, HTML-only web sites are considered "bad form" today, so it also matters how much you care about that.
That is a CLEAN A$$ site.  I like how simple, fast, clear and concise it is.  Cool!  I gotta try it on my 520c after the Golden State Game is over!

 

rezwits

Well-known member
Yep, pretty clean, (except for sorry arse IE 3/4) iCab 2.99 and Netscape 4 worked well!  Perfectly even.

Felt good to actually browse the web without crashing on a 68k!!!!!!!

YES! But I gotta stop talking about this and not hijack the thread! doh!

 
Last edited by a moderator:

hellslinger

Active member
Anyone who considers flat HTML/CSS pages to be bad form are... part of the problem. There's nothing wrong with simplicity if it suits the content. Pages like drudge report have a format that I like (though I may sometimes find the content offensive :-/ ).

I'd love to use PPC and 68k to browse, but unfortunately things like gmail inbox require that I use a modern browser. I have not yet found a desktop email application that can match the performance and accessibility of Inbox or Gmail. AJAX sites work on these old systems, especially running Firefox on Linux, but are painfully slow. I have to admit, I've never used a G5, and that machine is probably still good if upgraded to Linux or TenFourFox. 

On my modern machine, I have 15 tabs open at any given time in Chrome on Linux, and sometimes this uses ~4G of RAM on a laptop that has only a window manager. I've tried things like, netsurf, midori, and other lightweight things, but they just aren't compatible with a lot of things. 

It doesn't bother me that I can't use these old machines for daily use anymore, really. I can still go back for moments of nostalgia and look at things I created a long time ago. It's still really fun to play Marathon on my Wallstreet G3, or play Grid Wars on my SE/30. Compiling some C on MPW and doing a performance comparison between it and a modern system is astonishing.

My nexus 5 and i7 laptop+linux systems work perfectly, and do everything I've ever wanted a computer to do, which is something I was never able to say about technology before. I just can't ignore orders of magnitude faster using the same amount of power with a more reliable operating system.

 

rezwits

Well-known member
Reliable operating system, is seriously the REAL/MAIN issue.  But with old OSes 7/8/9 you just gotta live and learn and know what you "Can't Do" or else crash!

But you are SO right about people who think they can't use PLAIN HTML as "the problem" and the messed up part is that most people just use the new facilities to put top, left, right, and bottom ADs all over the place and videos everywhere!  And that's what most of the newer designed pages use the "Latest" and "Greatest" technologies for, which is BS and SAD.  Forcing people to get "newer" machines just to browse your flipping ADs!

That's why I just want to make a really plain site that works on Basic.  Kinda like programming in Basic when you can use Objective-C or Swift even.  Consider it basic for the web... :)

 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
Anyone who considers flat HTML/CSS pages to be bad form are... part of the problem. There's nothing wrong with simplicity if it suits the content. Pages like drudge report have a format that I like (though I may sometimes find the content offensive :-/ ).
I think I may have mis-typed something. What's considered bad form is simply not using CSS at all. HTML is meant to be a content structuring markup language, not a presentation or design language, which is what CSS is.

Flat HTML/CSS (which is actually what the old personal site I linked is) is fine, but finding that online is pretty uncommon.

To be honest, I think the biggest problem today isn't necessarily the use of javascript or the use of content management systems -- from a client perspective, a simple page on some kind of web CMS is going to be just as easy or difficult to load as a web page in a "flat" or "static" file.

The problems, I'd say, are unnecessary javascript and abusive tracking technologies. On any given modern profit-producing web site, there are probably going to be somewhere from "dozens" to "hundreds" of little bits being loaded and pieces of data being transferred for statistics and ad tracking purposes. This isn't just the single 1x1 JPG/GIF/PNG for like, internal page statistics that Google Analytics made popular a few years ago.

I'd love to use PPC and 68k to browse, but unfortunately things like gmail inbox require that I use a modern browser. I have not yet found a desktop email application that can match the performance and accessibility of Inbox or Gmail. AJAX sites work on these old systems, especially running Firefox on Linux, but are painfully slow. I have to admit, I've never used a G5, and that machine is probably still good if upgraded to Linux or TenFourFox. 
Gmail is less of an offender for ad tracking because Google runs it and they're only using their own stuff on it.

In terms of G5s: I honestly have a hard time believing it's going to be a good experience. G5s were often outgunned on benchmarks by regular Pentium 4 PCs at the time, and web benchmarks rely pretty heavily on single threaded performance, and part of what makes the G5 Quad in particular "so fast" is that it literally just doubles up on cores.

I'd have to go find/re-do the numbers, but basically a G5 Quad isn't going to perform well at actually rendering sites. perhaps the biggest advantage it has is its ability to hold sixteen gigs of RAM. If Firefox is being compiled 64-bit for it and it can actually use that RAM, then it has a big leg up on three-year-old tablets.

That said, when I last looked at js performance in tenfourfox (using numbers Cameron Kaiser posted to his blog) it was pretty bad. The iPad "3" and the Surface RT were doing just a little bit better in performance at the time. The real weakness on the iPad 3 and the Surface RT is relatively low RAM for each OS. Windows 8.1 on the RT would be a lot better if Microsoft had put 3 gigs of RAM in, or made it a 64-bit system and put 4-8 in. (Ah well.)

Also, of course, it would just generally be advisable to put a G5 running Mac OS X on the web, because old versions of Mac OS X have known and possibly unknown security vulnerabilities.

On my modern machine, I have 15 tabs open at any given time in Chrome on Linux, and sometimes this uses ~4G of RAM on a laptop that has only a window manager. I've tried things like, netsurf, midori, and other lightweight things, but they just aren't compatible with a lot of things. 
It is really interesting how workloads have changed over the past few years. In 2009 when I bought the system (dual core Penryn laptop) that I consider today to be my "main computer" I got it with four gigs of RAM and by and large,  a few heatsink re-goops later, it still does everything performantly. Windows and web browsers have actually gotten a lot faster and more efficient.

That said, I have a much faster and beefier desktop at home, a quad i5 sandy bridge system with sixteen gigs of RAM, and each of these systems has a point at which web browsers and spun-out processes (IE and Chrome both do process separation, Safari is 64-bit to start with, and Firefox is slowly becoming 64-bit) will just stop responding well.

It probably depends on the mix of sites you're visiting and whether they're "load and sit" types of pages or "application" pages that must keep network connections open and do work, even in the background.

For better or worse, I definitely see web as the thing driving performance for average computer users over the next few years. In a situation where an otherwise well maintained Windows, Mac, or Linux/UNIX computer with modern/patched software and no hardware failures is honestly probably better today than it was five to ten years ago, it's doing more poorly at web rendering, and just generally, web use has probably gone up over the years.

It'll be interesting to see how this continues to impact the design of systems available to purchase and what systems get advertised as mainstream. Most desktop and laptop CPUs today can turbo boost to gain additional frequency on one or two cores when needed, within a certain thermal limit, and that's probably how we'll see systems with Core M chips (which are quite slow at sustained workloads) do well in more intermittent/bursty web workloads.

Reliable operating system, is seriously the REAL/MAIN issue.  But with old OSes 7/8/9 you just gotta live and learn and know what you "Can't Do" or else crash!
Different people seem to have had different experiences with this. I had an iMac/233 from like 2001 to 2003 and then I had a 1.0GHz TiBook.

My experience with Mac OS 8/9 has always been that you need to be very careful about what you do and how you do it when Internet apps are concerned, but that you can pretty easily mix things like Final Cut, Adobe and Macromedia apps, Microsoft Office, even QuarkXPress mostly played nice with other things on the system.

I think the problem is that really big ticket, high end software like that was invested in creating a consistently good user experience, even on a platform where doing so was really difficult, from a technical perspective. (Let's face it, UNIX and NT were miles ahead of System 7/8/9).

Where it really showed was in low-budget Internet applications.. The things I always had the biggest problems with were browsers, simply because they've always been memory hogs relative to the systems they run on, and things like AIM, which just seems to have been unstable.

I think a big part of this is that "web" applications and people having always-on Internet connections where it made sense to run a lot of these things at the same time only came onboard at the tail end of Mac OS 8/9's lives. It's possible that if that idea had permeated in the US earlier (like if the telcos had rolled out ISDN in the late '80s or 45-megabit symmetric fiber in the '90s) then Classic Mac OS may have adapted better or just gotten replaced earlier than it did.

But you are SO right about people who think they can't use PLAIN HTML as "the problem" and the messed up part is that most people just use the new facilities to put top, left, right, and bottom ADs all over the place and videos everywhere!  And that's what most of the newer designed pages use the "Latest" and "Greatest" technologies for, which is BS and SAD.  Forcing people to get "newer" machines just to browse your flipping ADs!
I think the question is how you fund web sites otherwise. The web is going to be an interesting place over the next few years as we find content creators starting to answer that question.

Of course, the standards commitees also really consider HTML-only web sites to be a problem. HTML is an information markup language, not a design language. If you want it to look good, you use CSS.

There is such a thing as reasonable and minimal CSS, but it's the presentation layer. I think there's an important distinction to be made between "HTML only like it's 1993 and I'm in fifth grade computer period" and "a reasonable HTML+CSS site that looks good, and performs well, and forgoes the worst parts of web advertising.

I don't think this is necessarily a "right tool for the job" kind of situation, as in choosing between modern programming languages to do a task. HTML+CSS is the only tool that exists for this job, unless you simply exit the web and go to an app that makes direct calls to a middleware application, such as the twitter or  facebook apps on a smartphone or tablet.

------------

TL;DR: CSS is an important part of the web, standards committees are who says it's important. That said, statistics and advertising on the web causes a lot of problems and is probably the thing that's most to blame for performance problems and high data usage.

 

Scott Baret

Well-known member
If it weren't for the need to utilize the web, I probably would have never bought an iBook G4 back in 2005 and would have kept using my clamshell as a daily driver. The other reason I felt the need to upgrade at the time was because my clamshell is a tangerine model without FireWire and I was using a FireWire camcorder quite heavily at the time.

Had the web not evolved as quickly as it did, I likely would have stuck with the iBook G3 for at least a few more years. I loved the design and color, still like the keyboard, and still prefer the interface of OS 9 to any operating system since then. In fact, up until the day I got the new iBook G4 (replaced three times since), I was using the clamshell regularly for Photoshop and Word...basically the two programs a high school senior needed most aside from AIM (which ran fine on the iBook) and iTunes (ditto). Aside from The Sims, I really never ran many games on it. (I got the G4 as I got ready to go to college...but it didn't even make it past my third year).

My suspicions were correct about the web passing it up. The iBook already felt sluggish on a good connection by the time I graduated high school, but when the aforementioned iBook G4 died during finals week during my third year of college, the clamshell got pressed back into duty as a daily driver for a week until I was able to buy the replacement computer. It faltered badly on a lot of websites. Facebook stopped working on it around the time news feed was introduced. Yahoo mail didn't work by the end of 2007. I'm lucky the college email system worked on it.

I rarely, if ever, take the clamshell online today. It does work with my email system, which is on my own domain. Eudora still works fine with that, and I intend on keeping it that way. Usually, if it's online, it's because I need to send a particular file to it. It no longer works on my wireless network (where it was obsoleted years ago) and I have no cord set up for its desk (I simply move it to another desk when it needs to be online, which, in the past two years, was maybe once or twice). I last used it regularly online in 2012, and even then, it was mostly just getting the occasional email fetch. (In fact, my history in Classilla still has 2011 and 2012 dates in the cache).

Now, the question of the thread...a PPC-only week. I truly believe I could do it as long as I agreed to give up most internet usage on the computer. (As long as I could write e-mails, it would be fine). Since I do a lot with the phone for correspondence, keeping in touch with clients and friends wouldn't be a huge problem. The online clients would have to be done on the iPhone (not the best Skype client, but it could be worse). I do use an Intel computer with the kids on the road, but that wouldn't be a huge deal if I truly were to give up newer systems for a week--remember, I have a whole lab of 68Ks and could just take a Classic or SE with me. (The poor man's portable in the day). I'd be able to remain productive with Office 98 (in fact, I could probably still do some serious damage with ClarisWorks 1.0 or even MacWrite II). 

If there's ever a competition for this, sign me up, and I'll accept the extra challenge of doing it as a businessman who uses two Intel Macs on a daily basis.

 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
Going back to the core of using some form of PowerPC for a week -- it's not really a very interesting challenge. Buy a Quad, put 10.5.8, Office 2008, iWork and TenFourFox on it and pat yourself on the back for a job perceptibly done.

I think introducing the OS 9 element is what makes it a more interesting and realistic challenge, because a good G4 or G5 will (eventually) render every web page I need and I can use all my documents in Office 2008. The workflow will be annoying because I don't believe Office 2008 came with Office Document Connection, for easy access to SharePoint, but it'll be doable. At worst, whatever I write on the PPC will be a .doc or an .RTF instead, at which point why not just use TextEdit anyway?

Perhaps hilariously, yesterday I was actually thinking about how nice it would be to have a fast G4 or a G5 of some kind on hand so I could run Final Cut Studio. I would be able to do it offline, but I had some video clips I needed to cut together and iMovie on my Mac mini is very oddly behavior for what I wanted to cut (1440x900 screen recordings, it scaled them down to 1366x720 and chopped off the top and bottom.)

The phrase "Legacy Hackintosh" actually came up as a potential way to run my old boxed copy of final cut studio 2.

 

Cory5412

Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
I also remembered that 2008 can do docx files natively, that was one of the big points of 2008.

So, I'd be set in terms of my daily productivity.

I wouldn't recommend it because I fear that old versions of Mac OS X are going to be insecure and problematic online, but I could do it with no real trouble.

 
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