Is Cheap Technology Worth It?

A coworker of my wife’s recently purcased a “new” laptop “really cheap”.  New in this case means new to her.   In reality it is an old Apple IBook.  She did get it for a small amount of mone, but the question is, was it a good deal?

While this person is not a computer expert, I would have to say she is somwhat proficient and certainly not afraid of them.  The problem she ran into recently however was her inability to “get on the Ineternet”.  Of course that is a very ambiguous statement.

The root of the issue really came down to the fact that the version of Internet Explorer on this little clamshell was 4.5 and most of the websites she was trying to access required something better.

This is where I come in.  My loving wife of course mentions that I am a computer “expert”, whatever that means, and that I’d be happy to take a look.  Here’s were the real price of old technology comes in.

The first thing to note is that many pages today do not work well with the old IE 4.5 including mozilla.org and apple.com.  Surprisingly, microsoft.com did ok.  I found myself resorting to an old version of Netscape Navigator to start looking at pages.  ugh!

Microsot no longer supports IE for Mac, which I knew, however I did not realize that they discontinued the download for the last version.  Strike 1.

Firefox!  My browser of browsers, at least for the moment.  It too left support for OS 9 in the dust.  😦

Safari, of course, only works with OS X.  That was a given, and Apple does not have a suitable alternative for their older machines.

I had heard rumbilings of iCab and from everything could find I would have to use unles I wanted to go back to Mozilla 1.2.1.  Not a pretty thought!

I went to the iCab download page and noticed two options.  First on the list, download the latest beta for version 3.  If it were my machine, I’d do it in a heartbeat!  The second was to downlo the last stable version 2.8.  Since it was for someone else, I opted for the stable version.  Little did I know that it would tell me the trial period had expired as soon as I ran it for the first time!   Ugh!  Back to the beta.  Guess what, the beta version gave me the same message!

The only other browser that came to mind after this was Opera.  I’d heard about it, even istalled it last year on a test machine.  I had never associated it with the Mac, however.  Fortunately, the do have an older version, 6.03, that is reported to work with OS 9.  On to Opera!

I’m currently in the middle of trying to install Opera, however it turns out that the OS needs to go through several updates, some of which require firmware upgrades as well, non of which are going good.  The short answer to the original question is no.  Cheap technology is not worth it when you consider the effort it takes to get the machine to a state where it us usable.

Rock on….

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