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An OS 9 odyssey: Why these Mac users won’t abandon 16-year-old software

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Enlarge / Andrew Cunningham isn't the only one who's been dabbling in OS 9 within the last five years. (credit: Andrew Cunningham)

Back when Ars Senior Products Editor Andrew Cunningham was forced to work in Mac OS 9 by his colleagues in September 2014, he quickly hit a productivity wall. He couldn't log in to his Ars e-mail or do much of anything online, which meant—as someone who writes about new technology for an online-only publication—he couldn't do his work. All Cunningham could do was play old games and marvel at the difference 15 years makes in operating system design.

But as hard as it may be to believe on the eve of yet another OS X macOS update, there are some who still use Apple's long-abandoned system. OS 9 diehards may hold on due to one important task they just can't replicate on a newer computer, or perhaps they simply prefer it as a daily driver. It only takes a quick trip to the world of subreddits and Facebook groups to verify these users exist.

Certain that they can't all be maniacs, I went searching for these people. I trawled forums and asked around, and I even spent more time with my own classic Macs. And to my surprise, I found that most of the people who cling staunchly to Mac OS 9 (or earlier) as a key component of their daily—or at least regular—workflow actually have good reason for doing so.

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wreichard
19 days ago
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People make me happy.

Also, I can remember when 9 was a huge step up. Yikes.
Earth
zippy72
19 days ago
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I now kinda want to find an emulator and play with OS 9. (Well, it's either that or wait for a G4 notebook to appear in the local Cash Converters...)
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bronzehedwick
19 days ago
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I never owned an OS 9 machine, but I still think this is really cool.
Brooklyn NY
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gradualepiphany
19 days ago
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God I hated this OS SO much. First I had to work on a non linear video editing setup running OS8.(5 I think?) and THE OPERATING SYSTEM HAD A MEMORY LEAK. Then I worked doing graphic design at an ad agency the next summer and had to use OS9... Absolute garbage. I have never hated anything as passionately as I hated Apple's twee, precious, insanely underpowered crashhappy crapbuckets. Irix was so much better it hurt.
Los Angeles, California, USA
kazriko
19 days ago
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There's still people using AmigaOS as their main platform too.
Colorado Plateau

Man Page

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For even more info, see blarbl(2)(3) and birb(3ahhaha I'm kidding, just Google it like a normal person.
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zippy72
112 days ago
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I'm guilty of writing man pages like that. A looooong loooooong time ago...
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bronzehedwick
112 days ago
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This is fantastic
Brooklyn NY
rampras
106 days ago
501 (c) (3) - IRS Exemption :)
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Ferret
112 days ago
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I need this added to all my shells
mooglemoogle
112 days ago
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For easy access:
http://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/47744-Hemiptera
Virginia
nortoon
113 days ago
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One of my favorite XKCDs ever. Reading too many git mans lately.

Inside Facebook’s ‘Trending News’ Team

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Michael Nunez, reporting for Gizmodo:

But if you really want to know what Facebook thinks of journalists and their craft, all you need to do is look at what happened when the company quietly assembled some to work on its secretive “trending news” project. The results aren’t pretty: According to five former members of Facebook’s trending news team — “news curators” as they’re known internally — Zuckerberg & Co. take a downright dim view of the industry and its talent. In interviews with Gizmodo, these former curators described grueling work conditions, humiliating treatment, and a secretive, imperious culture in which they were treated as disposable outsiders. After doing a tour in Facebook’s news trenches, almost all of them came to believe that they were there not to work, but to serve as training modules for Facebook’s algorithm. […]

That said, many former employees suspect that Facebook’s eventual goal is to replace its human curators with a robotic one. The former curators Gizmodo interviewed started to feel like they were training a machine, one that would eventually take their jobs. Managers began referring to a “more streamlined process” in meetings. As one former contractor put it: “We felt like we were part of an experiment that, as the algorithm got better, there was a sense that at some point the humans would be replaced.”

If news curation can be automated, there’s nothing inherently wrong with it. Progress in the industrialized world has always involved previously labor-intensive jobs being replaced by automated machinery. We’ve gotten to the point now where some of this work is white collar, not blue collar, and some journalists seem offended by the notion. Their downfall is their dogmatic belief in not having a point-of-view, of contorting themselves to appear not to have a point of view — which, as Jay Rosen has forcefully argued, is effectively a “view from nowhere”. The irony is that machines don’t have a point of view — they are “objective”. Over the last half century or so, mainstream U.S. journalism has evolved in a way that has writers and editors acting like machines. They’ve made it easier for themselves to be replaced by algorithms. Most readers won’t even notice.

I do two things here at DF most days: find interesting things to link to, and comment on them. An algorithm may well beat me at finding interesting links. My job then, is to be a better writer — smarter, funnier, keener, more surprising — than an algorithm could be. When I can’t do that, it’ll be time to hang up the keyboard.

Update: Kevin van Haaren:

@gruber Computers algorithms aren’t objective they reflect the point of view of their creators. It’s a reason diverse teams should make them.

I didn’t mean to imply otherwise, but this is a good point. What I’m saying is more If what you do can be replaced by a robot (whether hardware or software), it will happen — and modern U.S. news journalism’s brand of “objectivity” feels algorithmic.

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bronzehedwick
149 days ago
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I think the ending line sums it up well.
Brooklyn NY
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The Encryption Farce

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Scathing editorial from the WSJ in the wake of the Department of Justice dropping another last-minute “never mind”, this time with an iPhone in a drug case in Brooklyn:

Such assertions were as false in Brooklyn as in San Bernardino. Two hours and a half before a deadline on Friday night, the government withdrew the case after “an individual provided the passcode to the iPhone,” according to legal filings. This second immaculate conception in as many months further undermines the FBI’s credibility about its technological capabilities. Judges ought to exercise far more scrutiny in future decryption cases even as Mr. Comey continues to pose as helpless. […]

Yet forgive us if this “conversation” now seems more like a Jim Comey monologue. The debate might start to be productive if the FBI Director would stop trying to use the courts as an ad hoc policy tool and promised not to bring any more cases like the one in Brooklyn.

The Obama administration does not escape their attention:

Meanwhile, the White House has taken the profile-in-courage stand of refusing to endorse or oppose any encryption bill that Congress may propose. If the Obama team won’t start adjusting to the technological realities of strong and legal encryption, they could at least exercise some adult supervision at Main Justice.

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bronzehedwick
157 days ago
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Yup.
Brooklyn NY
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sirshannon
157 days ago
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Thanks Obama.
satadru
158 days ago
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.
New York, NY
fxer
158 days ago
In a Murdoch vessel no less

Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Backdoors

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Hovertext: See, the problem is it would also be REALLY COOL if they could do it.


New comic!
Today's News:
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bronzehedwick
165 days ago
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Hahahaha ughhh
Brooklyn NY
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norb
165 days ago
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Going to send this to the next person that uses "I don't do anything illegal/I don't have anything to hide" argument.
clmbs.oh

City Talk Pages

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I don't think the Lakeshore Air Crash Museum really belongs under 'Tourist Attractions.' It's not a museum--it's just an area near the Lake Festival Laser Show where a lot of planes have crashed.
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bronzehedwick
175 days ago
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So good
Brooklyn NY
zippy72
174 days ago
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FourSquare, qv
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ashaw
175 days ago
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+1
jscartergilson
175 days ago
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Why is this town so bad at mining?
Covarr
175 days ago
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My hobby: Adding [Citation Needed] flags to talk page discussions.
Moses Lake, WA
Cthulhux
175 days ago
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Not a single request for deletion? Unlikely.
Fledermausland
rraszews
175 days ago
For the page, no. For the city? Several.
jimwise
175 days ago
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Heh
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