For those running Macs of a certain vintage, especially the PowerPC era, the way to get the most out of your computer is to run System 7, primarily System 7.6.1. How do I know this? I learned everything from Dan Palka of System 7 Today. Dan makes a very good case as to why you should run 7.6.1, even if you have enough memory to go to System 8, and even if you think you’re happy with 7.5.3, or something even earlier. Dan is also active on the e-mail lists at Low End Mac, my other beacon of old and moldy Macintosh knowledge, especially the Powerbook list.
More on Low End Mac later. On System 7 Today, besides a lot of knowledge, Dan provides plenty of free utilities and software to make your old Mac as productive as it can be. It was through him that I procured the one program that turned out to be the saving grace of This Old Mac: Internet Explorer 5. Don’t laugh. In my opinion, it is the best browser for 7.6.1. I’d like to say iCab is better, but while many Web sites look better in iCab, it just isn’t as stable as IE5.
And don’t get me started on e-mail programs. After much testing on my part (and some of this is due to my ISP, no doubt), the only way I can get e-mail through a POP account is with Netscape 4.7, which though supposedly “tuned” to the PowerPC chip is very slow. But it does work, and it allows offline reading of mail and Usenet news. Now my “lifestyle,” or should I say computing style makes it better for me to read mail via the Web, so I’m sticking with Yahoo! and IE5 as the best solution for the moment. For those who can run OS 9, I do recommend Netscape 7, but that is pretty much a pipe dream for Mac OS 7.
Anyway, Dan is a very good guy to know, and what’s amazing is that he’s in his early 20s. Now it’s not unusual for somebody that young to have a lot of computer knowledge. But about systems and software that is 10 years old?