> Any better suggestions as to a format for backing up files in a more
> future-looking format? (I just want to be able to always retrieve my
> past work.)
> Without going new (I find that with each Mac upgrade, we seem to be
> paying for too many bells and whistles which I personally would never
> use), what would be a decent next-step Mac which would handle my
> current software (plus some PDF-creating software) without problems? I
> could even set it up next to my 7100/80 and work between the two of
> Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated
What system software are you using on your 7100? Are you using any
software which is not compatible with OS 9.x?
I ask because the most optimum upgrade path these days from a price/
performance point of view is to buy a used G4 machine. The MDD
(mirror door drive) machines are still a couple hundred dollars (I
think) but most of the older models are down in the "make it worth my
while to let you carry it away" price range. All of them except the
FW800 equipped MDD machines (MDD machines without FW800 run OS 9.x)
will boot up with OS 9.x natively, and they have USB and Firewire
built in and PCI slots so you can add any interface which isn't built
in (e.g. SCSI).
If you have software you must keep which will not run in OS 9.x then
my next suggestion would be a Beige G3. These are very nice machines
and they can almost be found lying in ditches these days. However,
while they will run OS 8.x, I am not sure if they will go back to
7.x. I do not think they will run 7.x.
If you need to run OS 7.x then your next best choice is to get one of
the x500 or x600 series. Which one is best is a substantial topic in
itself which I'm not going to cover unless you come back and say yes,
you need OS 7.x. However, keep in mind that USB drivers and
firewire drivers for PCI cards are not available until 8.x and I don't
think they were very refined until OS 9.x. Still with an x500 or
x600 machine you could use your software and SCSI devices in OS 7.x
and then reboot the machine into 8.x or 9.x in order to use USB or
Any of the machines with a PCI slot either has a built-in IDE
interface or can use a PCI card which will provide an IDE (ultra-ATA)
interface, so you can use the newer DVD-RW drives and the big IDE
drives which are now available. Many of the machines before the MDD
do not support hard drives larger than 128 GB on their built-in
interface, so you must use work arounds or smaller hard drives or get
a PCI card.
Finally, the topic of back up is a big topic. How much back up do
you need to do in terms of gigabytes? DVD burners are cheap ( ~$30)
and a DVD will hold 4 GB and costs about $.20 each. They're not
rewritable, but at $.20 each you can make a lot of one-time backups.
I guess you would need a version of Toast software (ver. 5 for DVD
support, but ver. 6 is OSX only, so just ver. 5). Large external
hard drives are also a choice, but that merely changes your failure
point from single to double--which is a big improvement, but people
who do backup would not consider that adequate backup. Removable
media is great because it is removable. A power surge/lightening
strike or even a fire doesn't have to destroy your removable media,
the way it would a connected external hard drive.
I would not use ZIP for backup. Their reliability has been found to
be poor by many people. That doesn't mean you won't be lucky, but it
is a matter of luck.
But really your path forward depends on what restrictions you may have
on the OS you can run.