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tanuki65

Use PowerPC for a week?

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Hard to be doable for a week? Maybe if you can't live without video. Otherwise, it's easy. I recently did it without really even trying to take a "challenge". I did it on a 1 GHz TiBook running (mostly) Tiger but sometimes 9.2.2 and occasionally (when necessary) Leopard. I also sometimes used a Digital Audio with a 1.467 GHz CPU running Leopard and Tiger, and with a FireGL X800 video card (with the side door open because of heat issues).

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Just a little bump on this, as no-one has posted on this one for a while. I use an eMac G4 usb 2 for work on a regular basis, and I keep a G4 (800 mhz) iMac as my main music system at home (with a Harman Kardon Jellyfish, of course!). I prefer the richness of the excellent CRT on the eMac display over my iMac Retina, particularly for doing graphics work. For some reason, I find it far less stressful on the eyes. I also run old versions of excellent software, like the final version of CorelDRAW for the mac, and some superb data analysis software called Aabel on the eMac (I cant afford the license cost for the most recent version). Houseguests always comment on how cool the iMac looks (and how much noise it can generate!)...

 

Just because it's old, doesn't mean it's no good!

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Aah, I used to love my old G4 iBook, and was heartbroken when it finally failed... it had a long and very hard life accompanying me to the tops of numerous Icelandic glaciers to download data from some weather stations... The Macbook I replaced it with has never quite been the same, and although that still works and is regularly used by my wife (its only 9 years old, by which i mean the MacBook, not the wife!), it just hasnt left me as nostalgic about it compared to my iBook...

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I like sitting down at a CRT from time to time, but I'm not actually sure I've ever seen anybody write that they prefer one over an LCD as new and good as something like the a Retina iMac display. (Even the newest 21.5-inch non-Retina iMacs are just utterly amazing.) I want to set up my 6100 or 840 with my MCD14 (and eventually get an MCD16) for some writing, but I probably wouldn't try to go to CRT (even a newer/better one) for, say, my photo organization. (I did for a while a few years ago, I kind of regret tossing that display because while not as good as some of my LCDs, it was a quite nice 19-inch trinitron display.)

 

Nostalgia can be an interesting thing. I have some nostalgia for my blue-and-white G3, but almost none for my PowerBook G4. On the other hand, my literal favorite of all time computer is my ThinkPad T400, which itself is 9 years old, and I'd use today (With Windows 10) more often except for a broken part I have yet to replace, it's not portable any more, and it has hit a hard performance wall on a particular task.

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Until I had a 144hz gaming monitor, there was nothing with decent input lag other than my Apple 21" studio display. PPC Macs were the last time Apple made anything I wanted to buy. Maybe they'll start making computers that aren't kids toys again when Gil Amelio #2 is kicked out.

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I still prefer CRT for low resolution systems (CGA/VGA) or anything that does not use the LCD's native resolution.

This is key. I'll grant that high-end flatscreen displays have gotten a whole lot better about depth of color and viewing angle than they used to be (although that's largely dependent on how much you want to spend on them,) but it's still vanishingly rare to find an LCD/OLED display that handles upscaling in a satisfactory way (how difficult is "nearest-neighbor scale to the nearest integer multiple and letterbox", really?)

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Even integer scaling and letterboxing isn't ideal, so it's not like I'm rushing out to replace my IIgs' display with an LCD, even one that should be pretty good for that kind of work. I've been meaning to bring my IIgs in and try out composite on one of the UltraSharp 2007FPs, "just in case."

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I've been meaning to bring my IIgs in and try out composite on one of the UltraSharp 2007FPs, "just in case."

 

Part of me wonders if it would be a worthwhile experiment to hack together a IIgs RGB-to-VGA cable and see if the monitor actually would accept 15.7khz RGB. The manual doesn't say it does but since it has composite input you'd think it should *technically* be capable of it. (Unless the monitor uses some accessory circuitry to specifically upscale TV frequencies to VGA before inputting it to the LCD driver.) Composite is going to look terrible unless you do it in monochrome or the monitor is capable of positively miraculous post-processing.

 

Sort of on this topic, recently I impulse-bought a 4MB RAM card for my IIgs (maybe I should have held out for a card that held 8MB, but this was much cheaper and it still gives me effectively ten times as much RAM at the Finder in GS/OS 6), here's a picture I took of the output from my RGB scaler board displayed on a 1280x1024 LCD. You can see why I describe it as "disappointing". I need to try it on one of the much higher LCDs to see if the resulting combination might do a better job sorting out how to non-integer-ly scale the output from a thing that seems to have some issues accurately sampling the IIgs' slightly weird pixel clock.

 

post-968-0-52967200-1485372021_thumb.jpg

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The IIgs monitor isn't bad (I have 3 one for each system). Composite out is very low rez, not much a monitor can do with it to make it look better.

 

Not sure why you need more then 4MB of RAM in a IIgs (even with GS/OS). I have an 8MB board in the machine I run GS/OS on and I don't really use much of it (and I can only populate the board with 7MB since that system is a ROM 3 with 1.25MB onboard).

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There are component adapters as well, if I remember correctly, and for some fun there is the SecondSight VGA card. The SecondSight is fairly expensive though, enough that I'm never going to end up with one.

 

The original monitor is nice enough and the IIgs isn't important enough to me right now to try to make it work much better or with different equipment.

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Maybe they'll start making computers that aren't kids toys again when Gil Amelio #2 is kicked out.

 

I see a lot of stuff ragging on Tim Cook, but that statement is...more ignorant than usual.

 

You might take into consideration the fact that Tim Cook's Apple is doing something even Jobs didn't accomplish; replacing the Insanely Dated!™ HFS+ file system. APFS just rolled out to iOS beta testers yesterday, so it's very much a thing in coming. 

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LCDs have come a long way, but I've yet to see one that renders reds as well as even a mid-range CRT in good condition. Granted CRT calibration does drift like crazy and if you're particular about color rendition you should calibrate them once a week or so. The late Apple ones with built-in calibration(ADC CRT and 21" Studio) do a great job by themselves-I don't see much difference between using the built in calibration and an external calibrator. To be fair, fluorescent backlit LCDs do drift also, and I calibrate mine at least once a month(although I don't generally see much change). LED backlights are quite stable.

 

I tend to use CRTs also on my "classic gaming" systems precisely for the reason mentioned above-resolution scaling without getting fuzzy.

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Wrote most of this up several days ago and then forgot to post it.

 

Admittedly veering a little bit from strictly PPC discussion:
 
When in photo classes, the WISDOM THAT CAME FROM UP ON HIGH, which I have never seen specific research to prove, is that LCDs of the time (2008 or so) drift in color. As they age, the drifting happens faster and more severely. At about three years of age, they drift so much and so fast that they become useless for color sensitive work within a few minutes. (Perhaps that was at the end of the third year.)
 
In particular, the advice was in the first year, calibrate about once a month. In the second year, calibrate about once a week, and in the third year, calibrate daily. Because LEDs are a much more stable, in theory you should be able to go longer between calibrations, and they should last much longer.

However, CRTs are similarly "unstable" to CCFL backlighting, and there's also the issue of physical of the phosphors wearing out over time, which could change or reduce the amount and accuracy of color a CRT can display over time. Whether a normal person doing office tasks will ever notice on a CRT otherwise in good health even in an improbably long time, I don't know.

About calibrating: 
My colorimeter, which is an i1 Display unit of some sort, which I bought in like 2007 or 2008, takes about 10 minutes to get and apply calibration. Calibrating daily would be annoying but not impossible. By the time you enter the fourth year and the monitor needs calibration approximately hourly, I'd be tossing it out or putting it on the desk of an assistant doing work that doesn't critically need accurate color. (Accountant, file/workflow wrangler who is merely moving files, craigslist)

About color rendition in general: 
Although LCD color rendition has never been the best it has been good enough for professional creatives working with color-sensitive material for on the order of about a decade or so now. The biggest problem has been that with LCD technology there's a relatively big rift between the middle and the top, even now. In 2008, I switched my own photo management/editing workflow over to some ThinkPads (First an R61 then a T400) and although they work fine for the task, the biggest problem I've had has always been with blues -- the displays on ThinkPads, though able to be calibrated, just wont' properly display certain ranges of blue. There'll be a beautiful deep blue sky that you know to be a really great gradient in a photo, and it'll just be a big blotch.
 
I have been meaning to test calibration drift on a new-ish LED backlit monitor. The calibration itself won't be that impressive, I'm pretty sure it's a 6-bit panel.
 
Today, it's easier than ever to find good panels, both in terms of appearance and in terms of systems (laptops, tablets, AIOs) that come pre-calibrated and in terms of displaying as much as possible of the selected gamut. Although there are still troubles displaying all of certain gamuts and it seems like we're moving away from Adobe RGB toward DCI-P3 as the preferred advanced color gamut.

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I am particular about color, and I use a couple of metrics.

 

Admittedly I use LCDs almost exclusively now, and I have a couple of metrics. At the end of the day, though, I want to lay a transparency on my light table, have it look the same on my screen, and have what I see on the screen(and what I see in the transparency) look the same in a print.

 

When I lay a 6x6 or 4x5 of Fuji Velvia on the light table, I have yet to find an LCD or LED display that can correctly render the reds as I see them on the transparency. It's a deficiency in the display, though, as the prints ultimately match the colors on the transparency better than on screen.

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I haven't done a whole much in the realm of scanning and I've never manually processed color film, etc.

 

I haven't had trouble with reds, but I haven't looked at it.

 

Have you seen other displays that do render those reds correctly?

 

One other thing I'd be interested in -- have you looked at relatively recent iPads, certain iMacs, or PixelSense Surfaces? It would be really interesting to see what your take is on some of the newest displays that claim to be able to do wide gamut. It's only in the past few years that we're starting to see LCDs really approach most or even "very much of" (like 70% or more, IIRC) of sRGB, which itself isn't a very huge color gamut, so it's not super surprising to hear about this.

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Just as a follow-up to this thread's original purpose, I've been inadvertently using a PowerPC machine for a couple of weeks without any issues.

 

Where I work I was issued a brand new MacBook Pro. I originally had problems because Profile Manager was used to load on settings which would put the machine to sleep regardless of what settings I changed, which is not good for someone who works primarily in shells. After reinstalling and disabling Profile Manager, I was happy for a few months.

 

Then, my machine started crashing. After the third, I backed up all my files and started using my 2008 17" MacBook Pro instead. The new MacBook Pro came back, so I started using it again.

 

Recently, I had Terminal crash several times while in the middle of important work. Then, the whole Mac locked up. Sorry, but that's not acceptable, so I backed up my files and gave the MacBook back again.

 

I'm in the process of porting code to a nice IBM Power 8 system, so in preparation I brought in an old dual processor Power Mac G5. I was going to install FreeBSD on it and use ocl-icd to provide OpenCL support, then test the same code on the Power 8 system with those fancy NVIDIA Tesla K80s.

 

Since I hadn't gotten around to installing FreeBSD yet, the system still had Leopard. So, when my laptop frustrated me for the last time, I connected the Power Mac, fired it up, downloaded TenFourFox and the latest WebKit, and started working.

 

At some point I completely forgot that I'm on a Power Mac. All web sites work (and no, I don't give the slightest damn about Flash - it's dead, and I'm happy). I'm using Slack through their web interface. I've got a dozen shells open on two 1080 monitors. I've got all of my usual Unix tools installed via NetBSD's pkgsrc.

 

I moved the OS to a 500 gig SSD, but other than that, I haven't touched it. It just runs. The only thing I can't do is run VirtualBox, but with a Xen server on the network, I don't even need that any more. I may just keep using it, or I might swap it for a quad G5 I still have. Viva la PowerPC!

Edited by johnklos

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Neat that Slack works in the browser on that machine. Is that Safari, TFF, or something else?

 

Sorry - "WebKit" is a rather generic name which can be confusing without context. There's a browser project called "leopard-webkit" which is basically modern Safari backported to PowerPC:

 

https://sourceforge.net/projects/leopard-webkit/

 

It's 100% usable everywhere I've tried. I use this primarily and TenFourFox for logging in to Google, since I don't want to browse the Internet with the same browser that's logged in to Google.

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