aHead in the CLOUD –

The Quest to Find Office Productivity Tools for an Old Mac

iMac G3

Photo courtesy of Rudolph Schuba

Do you have an old but functional Mac sitting on your desk?  Have you run into problems getting browser updates, Operating System updates or upgrades?  What about software that will run on your outdated and not-updatable machine?

In my case, I’m burdened with an old iMac PowerPC running the Mac OS X 10.3.9.  The machine still runs great, and is useful for checking e-mail, surfing the internet, and playing music via iTunes.  However, I really want to use it for simple word processing.   Word processing is one of the earliest applications for personal computers, so why can’t I find a solution that still runs on my old machine?

First, I tried updating the Operating System, but the machine won’t run the newer versions.  Next, I tried updating the browsers (FireFox, Safari, and Camino) in order to run Google Docs, an online (cloud-based) office productivity suite.  No luck — The current operating system isn’t supported by newer browser versions, and Google docs doesn’t support any of these older browser versions.  So much for cloud computing elegance!

For the Mac, there are a few free office productivity software options, including OpenOffice and Neo Office.   However, neither provides an elegant solution.  OpenOffice requires the kludgy installation of X11(for older OSes like mine) and Neo Office doesn’t offer a version that works with older Operating Systems.  No joy from free software!

Zoho to the Rescue

Finally, I discovered Zoho Apps, a full service suite of online office productivity tools that work perfectly with the old FireFox  With 1 Gb of space and a document editor interface reminiscent of Google Docs, Zoho docs. fits the bill!  I won’t go into an exhaustive review of all of the applications hosted by Zoho, but the docs. app. has many advanced features.  While I’m not interested in converting the format of my documents to fit other document editor formats, Zoho’s docs manager allows users to export documents to other file formats, such as HTMLDOCPDFSXW, ODT, and RTF.


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