Revised with new information August 1, 2013
lime green iBook     to     black macbook     to     silver macbook

From an iBook to a MacBook to a Newer MacBook

(& upgrading from Leopard to Snow Leopard & beyond)

In January 2008, I transitioned from my lime clamshell iBook, running OS 9.2.2, to a MacBook running OS X. Part of that transition was figuring out what the software on my MacBook wasn't just a demo and what such was actually for.

Then in March 2012, I upgraded my MacBook from OS 10.5.8 to OS 10.6.8 (Snow Leopard). According to the Apple Store genius bar guy, it's as high as I should go on this machine; even with a memory upgrade, he feels this MacBook would struggle too much with OS 10.6 (Lion) or above.

Then, in April 2013, I had to upgrade my hardware, because advertising, Flash and JAVA on web sites were slowing my web surfing to a crawl and interfering with running multiple programs at once - something I absolutely must be able to do for my job.

Below is a list of software I was using in the iBook (which I still use, FYI) and what I upgraded to or switched to for the MacBook, if anything. While I am extremely upset at having to upgrade hardware so often, at least the transition from one MacBook to the other was oh-so-simple (took about 48 hours, all done automatically once I went through the setup transfer process). I still use the old MacBook, for when I need to take a computer with me outside the house, whether down the street or across the country.

Also see below for troubleshooting your MacBook tech issues (and, believe me, you will have MANY -- the hard drive in my black MacBook went bad not six months after I bought the MacBook, and nothing could be recovered; backup frequently and regularly!).

Please note that in some cases I am still looking for suggestions, and yours would be welcomed. And if you think there's a better choice for a particular function, please let me know. And thanks to the two people who have ALREADY written with recommendations, less than 24 hours after I first posted this page back in 2008! (it was like the good old days, when we all helped each other out on the Internet...)

Function   OS9 / lime clamshell iBook
Software used
  OS 10.5.8 / MacBook
Software used
  OS 10.6.8 / MacBook
Software used
word-processing files, spreadsheets, and databases, both those created by me and those created by others, developed in various different programs and on various different machines   AppleWorks & Microsoft Office   NeoOffice (open source; donation requested)   OpenOffice (open source, free; much quicker than NeoOffice on this OS, and much better, friendlier online support) and GoogleDocs.
maintain my contacts database of a few thousand business contacts that tracks my interactions with them and "action needed" items, as well as oh-so-much-more information; maintain my project management database of my many activities; and maintain a billing database   FileMaker Pro 5.0   Never found an alternative!  I didn't buy a new version of FileMaker because it does far more than I will ever need it too & is very expensive. So I saved money & bought FileMaker's "Bento" instead. MISTAKE! Incredibly hard to use! Tried the database function that came free with NeoOffice but was still never to create the the interfaces I needed for my databases.   Bought FileMaker Pro 11 (can't find a used version of FileMaker Pro 10). Sure wish there was something like "FileMaker Lite" - Bento is NOT it!
spreadsheets   Microsoft Excel 2301   NeoOffice     OpenOffice and GoogleDocs.
presentations   Microsoft Powerpoint 2301   NeoOffice (open source; donation requested)   OpenOffice and GoogleDocs.
creating graphics, and altering graphics and photos   AppleWorks 6 (came with iBook)   AppleWorks 6.2.9 (advice on doing this: the original AppleWorks installer won't work in OSX. Move the entire AppleWorks 6 folder from your OS9 machine to your OSX machine, and AppleWorks 6 will work in the OSX environment; then upgrade from the Apple web site (for free). You can also try this free version of Paintbrush, a paint program similar to the long-defunct MacPaint.   Still figuring this out. The AppleWorks still on my iBook is corrupted; I'm hoping to reinstall it, and then follow the directions at left to get it onto my MacBook. I'm also still using Paintbrush.
design and manage various printed publications   AppleWorks 6 (came with iBook) and Microsoft Word 2301   NeoOffice and AppleWorks 6.2.9 (see above)   Still looking
design and manage my web sites   BBEdit 5.1   Smultron 2.2.7 (freeware)   BlueGriffon (web editor for Firefox)
organize, edit and alter photos from my digital camera   software that came with my camera   iPhoto (came with MacBook) & manually moving things where I want them. Most of my photos are on Flickr too.    iPhoto and Flickr
uploading web pages via FTP   Fetch 3.0.1 (freeware)   CyberDuck (freeware - donation requested)   fireftp (freeware)
email (reading and writing email OFFline)   Eudora 6.1.1 Classic (freeware)   at first, Eudora 6.2 (freeware). But since it's no longer updated or supported, I switched in January 2009 to Mozilla Thunderbird (freeware)   Thunderbird (make certain you are backing your mail up, because it deletes email all the dang time!)
surf the web, and access newsgroups (yes, those still exist) and various web-based discussion groups (and still a few email-based ones as well).   Netscape 7.02, Mozilla 1.2.1 (freeware), Opera 6.03 (freeware), iCab 3.03 (freeware), and Internet Explorer 5.   latest version of FireFox (freeware)   Latest version of FireFox (freeware) and Safari (came with MacBook). 
monitor various news outlets, online discussion groups and blogs, as well as to monitor newswires automatically per certain keywords   My.Yahoo, until it no longer became compatible with OS9   My.Yahoo and GoogleAlerts   My.Yahoo and GoogleAlerts
PDF reader   Adobe Acrobat 5.0 (freeware)   latest version of Adobe Acrobat   latest version of Adobe Acrobat (free)
chat live with friends all over the world   Yahoo! Messenger 2.5.3 (freeware)   Adium (freeware), allows me to combine my Yahoo account, Windows Live account, MySpace chat, FaceBook chat and Skype chat into one single chat / instant messaging interface (allows even more accounts to be incorporated into the interface as well)   Adium (freeware - see info at left)
talk with other people via live audio chat   iVisit   Skype and WebEx   Skype and WedEx (still haven't tried iChat)
interact with other students at Open University   First Class Client (freeware)   First Class Client   Graduated!
download and watch short videos   Quicktime 6.0.3 (freeware), Real Player 8 Basic (freeware), Windows Media Player 7.1 (freeware)   latest versions of Quicktime, Real Player, and Windows Media Player   latest versions of Quicktime, Real Player, and Windows Media Player
splice together short videos I take with my digital camera, bought in 2301, and add my own voice overs and music as well as some text, to make short Quicktime movies   iMovie 2.0.1 (came already-loaded on my iBook when I bought it) with MoviePlayer 2.3.7 (version released in 1997; see this database of vintage Macintosh applications for alternatives)   iMovie version that came with the MacBook pro (however, first I have to download the footage from my camera to my iBook, and use MoviePlayer 2.3.7 to save the footage in the proper format; then I transfer it over to the MacBook to use with iMovie)   iMovie version that came with the MacBook pro (see more details at left)
making audio files (including podcasts)   for short files, Simple Sound version 1.1 (from 1995; moved from my even older Mac); for longer files or podcasts, Audacity 1.0.0     Audacity 1.2.5 (freeware)   Latest version of Audacity (freeware)
listen to the radio via the Internet; my favorite stations are Hober Thinking Radio, AirAmerica Radio, and KUT Austin (Texas).   either Real Player 8 Basic (freeware) or iTunes 2.0.4   latest versions of Real Player and iTunes   latest versions of Real Player and iTunes
listening to and organizing mp3 files   iTunes 2.0.4 (freeware) or Audion 3.0.2a 9 (freeware)   latest version of iTunes   latest version of iTunes

Please note that in several cases I am still looking for suggestions, and yours would be welcomed. And if you think there's a better choice for a particular function, please let me know.

Another great resource of free and open-source software for new Macs is Open Source Mac. I use so many of these tools myself.

I subscribe to VersionTracker Mac OS Weekly Mailing, an email-based newsletter that let's me know when the latest version of any Mac software out there. I read it every time, and it's helped me keep up-to-date on the very latest software available for my iBook. A similar site is MacUpdate.


I've had a lot of problems with the MacBook. Twice the hard drive wouldn't start up, and I had to take it to an apple shop. The second time, the hard drive failed completely. It's frozen a couple of times as well, and hangs occasionally when trying to do something simple, like open a file.

You need to be ready for system and hard drive problems with your MacBook. For sure, backup EVERY DAY. Also, here are some ways to try to start up a MacBook that's misbehaving. Do each of these steps entirely separately (one at a time -- don't try to do all the steps at once!):

Some important how-tos to keep in mind: SO WHY UPGRADE AT ALL?

Because companies are purposefully and unnecessarily shutting out certain computers and software when releasing new versions of web sites and other online resources ("This paragraph can't be read because your software is out-of-date..."). This is almost always because of the choices the web designer has made (not because of any enhancements for the user).

Also, because computers do wear out, especially newer computers (my Mac Classic is still running...).

I still use my lime iBook. Plus, it still works, so why get rid of it? It's nice to have when the MacBook fails (see above).

And, of course I'm keeping the black MacBook - it's my on-the-road computer.


I'm sad to say that, according to Greenpeace's Guide to Greener Electronics, Apple ranks near the bottom in getting toxic chemicals out of its products and adopting a first class recycling policy. The toxic chemicals Apple uses in its products end up in scrap yards in Asia where they contaminate child laborers and the environment. Apple's voluntary 'recycling' program is weak and non-existent outside the U.S. unless required by local governments (I've certainly never heard of it, and I visit the Apple web site frequently). In addition, Apple continues to oppose the adoption of strong recycling programs in the U.S. Please tell Apple to go green. I have!

See this profile of how I still use my iBook and resources for the iBook

MacBook and other Mac Resources

You can read more about My tech: the networked technology tools I use (and have used over the years).

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