Apple defines simplicity

“Simplicity. OS X’s built-in dictionary (based on the Oxford American Dictionary) defines simplicity as “The quality or condition of being easy to understand or do.” The thesaurus gives words like ease, clarity and effortlessness,” Chris Howard writes for Apple Matters.

“In the last day or so, I have used a PowerBook G4 1GHz, an eMac G4 800Mhz and an iMac G3 400Mhz (on which I’m writing this). On all three computers, I’ve run the same system. I’ve been running off an external hard disk drive that has my operating system, my applications and my files on it,” Howard writes.

Howard writes, “I’ve been working this way for about six months, ever since my PowerBook’s hard drive gave up the ghost. And every time I switch to another computer, I’m amazed all over again.”

“All I have to do is plug the hard drive into a Mac and boot from it. (Hold the Option key at boot-up to see a list of bootable drives.) No configuration or reconfiguration necessary. ZERO. Zilch. Nil. Nada.” Howard writes. “I can plug my external hard drive into any Mac with Firewire and it will boot up fine. Try that on a PC!”

Full article here.


  1. Yup, not a chance on a PC. In fact, everything on a PC is a pain in the ass. But I’m preaching to the choir here.

    Now if I could just afford another iMac for home ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”hmmm” style=”border:0;” />

  2. My brother and sister in law ran an older model G4 off an external Firewire HD for over a year before the hard drive finally gave out.

    They called the manufacturer who was surprised they were able to get it to work for that long. Apparently the hard drive was not designed to function as a system volume.

    I’d be careful of doing this with an external Firewire HD, and I’d make sure to check with the manufacturer if this is a recommended practice.

    System volumes go through more wear and tear than external storage volumes.

  3. Ignore the last poster – there’s no difference between external hard drives and internal hard drives, whether used as a system volume or not.

    There are SCSI and SAS drives for server use, which are actually the same drives as the cheaper SATA… except tested and certified, and not pushing the limits like consumer drives.

    A bad external enclosure can definitely shorten the life of a drive. I picked up a couple of Welland ME-740J enclosures today and they seem OK.

  4. It’s a little misleading too. Yes, it works on all those macs he mentions, but will not work for across the PowerPC/Intel mac divide.

    Isn’t this the kind of innacuracy MDN would yell from the rooftops about if it was ont the other side / written by Thurrot/Enderle / syndicated to AP ?

  5. Not any just Mac with FireWire–you must use a PowerPC Mac. You cannot boot any Intel-based Macs using the installation for a PowerPC Mac. The applications can be Universal, but the entire OS installation is not. I don’t believe it is even an option to have such an installation with Apple’s installers.

    It’s for good reason, too because so much of the OS installation consists of executable code, which would require both versions side by side, that most users wouldn’t want the extra bloat.

    Technicalities aside, the author’s sentiment still rings clear. You can’t do that with Windows–even if the processors are the same.

  6. Hywel,

    The footnote clearly states that it doesn’t:

    “Because of the significantly different architecture and totally different partion scheme of the Intel Macs, you cannot yet boot an Intel Mac from a boot disk created on a PowerPC Mac – and vice-versa.”

    Perhaps MDN should have inluded this in their selection.

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