Leaving The Past Behind

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 2, 2011.

  1. Today I moved just about the last mission-critical function off the last
    piece of Apple-branded hardware I bought, an eight-year-old G4 iMac.

    I’d been doing this migration bit by bit for a while now, but what got me
    moving a little more quickly was, over the weekend, when the old beast
    stopped being able to write DVDs any more. I’d been compiling a new set of
    backup discs to put into safe deposit, and I’ve still been using the Mac for
    that rather than a Linux box, simply because I still have a lot of old stuff
    in Mac format. I tried rebooting the Mac, which didn’t help, so I figured
    the on-board “SuperDrive†(remember that name?) really had packed up.

    Plan B was to copy the Mac-format stuff onto a Netatalk volume on a Linux
    box, which it’s all turned into AppleDouble format, and burn the DVDs there.
    If I ever need to retrieve the stuff onto a Mac, I just do the reverse
    process: restore into a Linux directory, and access the files from there on
    a Mac via Netatalk.

    So what was the function I moved today? It’s the system for reconciling my
    cheque account. The old system was kept in a FileMaker Pro 4.1 database,
    with some custom scripts written in AppleScript to match up stub and
    statement entries. It was a system I first got going in 1998, with a few
    tweaks over the years, among other things for AppleScript irritations like
    not liking empty subranges of a list.

    Speed-wise, there probably isn’t much difference in data-entry and querying
    functions. The actual reconciliation now takes a second or two, versus maybe
    a minute with the old system. But that’s not a big deal, given I normally
    only run it once a month anyway.

    I used to be an AppleScript champion back in the 1990s, before I learned
    about more modern languages like Perl and Python. Looking back now, it’s an
    unwieldy language with limited functionality, and lousy performance to boot.
    I’m quite happy to leave the last of my AppleScript scripts behind.
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Mar 2, 2011
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