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You Don't Have to Leave It Behind:

Some traditional Mac wares that have been ported to OS X
by Alan Zisman (c) 2002
First published in Low End Mac.com,  February 11, 2002, X-Wares series

When I first installed the OS X public beta in the fall of 2000, it felt like watching The
 Wizard of Oz for the first time and suddenly, like Dorothy, emerging into a new
 land, where everything glowed in Technicolour -- and everything was very different.

 With the release version the following spring, it was apparent that Apple had
 listened to many of the criticisms made about the public beta. The release version,
 while still different from the classic Mac OS, was much more Mac-like than pre-release
 versions. The Apple Menu was back in the left-hand corner and actually did things. There were drive icons on the desktop by default. The Finder worked in ways that were more comfortable for long-time Mac users.

 Still, there's more that can be done to get the best of OS X's new features
 without tossing out everything that worked well in previous Mac environments. In
 last week's article, Alan's Favorite Things, I wrote about several freeware and
 shareware enhancements for OS X, adding (among other things) WindowShades
 and the Application Switcher to the new interface. (Reader Tod Abbott wrote to
 recommend ASM as a free Application Switcher enhancement.)

 Besides making OS X a little more (dare I say) Mac-like, it may also be a relief to
 know that increasing numbers of favourite Mac applications are showing up in OS
 X-native versions. This is true for many of the big companies' products (Microsoft
 Office, most of Corel's graphics products, some Adobe and Macromedia products),
 but it is also the case for many of my favourite shareware and freeware
 applications.

 Some of my long-time favourites that have reappeared as OS X-native:

 GraphicConverter. The title is more-modest sounding than this $30 German
 shareware gem deserves. Far more than a mere file conversion program, this
 powerhouse does most of what I need when working with graphics. It slices, it
 dices.... Well, it resizes, changes colour depth, converts between a huge of
 number of PC and Mac file formats, can be used with scanners, and can be used
 with filters. It lacks Photoshop-like paint tools, but for prepping graphics for print
 or the Web, it does everything I need faster (and much cheaper) than Photoshop.
 This Carbonized version runs under both OS X and OS 9.x. As with other GC
 updates, the OS X version is free for anyone who has registered an older version.

 Eudora Pro. OS X comes with Apple's Mail application, but I would rather stick
 with Eudora, which I've been using since I first started on the Internet around
 1994 or so. Like several recent versions, Eudora Pro 5.1 comes in several
 flavours, all from a single installation version. Users can choose a full-featured
 free version with ads (but no spyware), a lite (and still free) version without ads,
 or register for the paid (US $40) version with all the features and no ads. The Pro
 versions include support for multiple email accounts and powerful, but
 easy-to-use, filters, among many other features. Like GraphicConverter, the new
 Carbonized version runs both as a native OS X application, and under OS 9 as
 well, but there's a hitch.

 By default, Eudora (running under OS 9) wants to store mail (etc) in a Eudora
 Folder inside a Documents folder. Under OS X, it wants to use the Documents
 folder that's inside each user's named folder inside OS X's Users folder. As a
 result, on my system at least, I get different sets of saved mail and settings
 when I run Eudora under OS 9 and OS X. (Yes, there's probably a work-around for
 this -- and if you know what it is, please let me know!)

 Glider Pro demo. Games are also coming out in native OS X versions. A mere
 237 KB download updates the cavemen in cars game from Pangea, for example,
 while the Mac-classic no-frills Klondike Solitaire was an early addition to the
 OS X download list. I first came across Casady and Greene's addictive Glider in a
 black and white version for compact Macs. Over time, it gained colour while still
 keeping its basic premise: Users maneuver a paper airplane through a series of
 rooms in a house. You can buy the full product for US$20, but the downloadable
 demo is free and lots of fun in its own right, even without killing anyone.

 All of these, and lots of other programs, can be downloaded from Apple's Mac
 OS X download page. OS X users have an instant link hard-wired into the
 non-customizable blue Apple Menu: click on "Get Mac OS software?" and explore.
 (If you want a little utility to allow you to customize that blue Apple Menu, check
 out Unsanity's FruitMenu -- a bargain at $7.)

 You can have OS X and the best shareware of the Mac's past, too.
 



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Alan Zisman is a Vancouver educator, writer, and computer specialist. He can be reached at E-mail Alan