More on AI. Mac OS Sonoma. Blast from the Past – ARC Browser and more!

MORE ON AI – Release from AI firm Mistral!
Mistral is a French AI firm and they have just released a VERY VERY impressive LLM AI that you can download FREE and will run on pretty much any 16gb GRAPHICS card. Seems to only need a reasonably current desktop – but not some super pricey one!
Price? NO CHARGE!! – and unlike many – there are NO guardrails. If you want instructions on killing your wife, or creating a racist society it will happily tell you how to do it! It’s been heavily criticized by pundits, who say they are worried about ‘safety’ and much prefer ChatGPT and the other ‘restricted’ (some say ‘censored’) AI systems. But lets get real. When a REALLY GOOD one is released publicly – the horse has left the barn, hasn’t it? Meanwhile Midjourney (the graphical AI) has been sued by a number of artists saying it was ‘trained’ on their artworks without their permission.
This ALL was bound to end up in the courts eventually!

I have been playing with Sonoma for a while. So that you don’t have to! Recent releases of Mac OS (I’m looking at YOU Monterey and YOU Ventura) – had the initial versions VERY buggy and much to be avoided. However, Sonoma (OS 14) looks very solid! I’m playing with it currently.

Downside – you have to have a 2018 mac or newer to install it.
FURTHER Downside – if you have an Intel Mac (as I do) a number of the cuter features are NOT available. Only for M1/M2 machines. This will cause real problems I expect. Explaining to a friend how to do some great thing and then finding – its NOT available on his Intel Mac – wont be well received.
And there is NOTHING in these features that could not have been implemented on an Intel cpu. They just are being — well — applitty. (yes I made up that word)
But all in all so far it looks like a GOOD upgrade. The video conference features look neat. The widgets look promising – letting you interact more with your iphones with fewer click. Lots of new features (and a really nifty screensaver/background improvement). Safari really improved. There is MUCH to like. And unlike recent Mac OS versions that all looked like ‘smallball’ improvements (and easier to say ‘stay where you are’) Sonoma has some really nifty additions!

A NEW BROWSER – With some interesting features.
ARC is here – its a Chromium based browser, that promises to change how YOU interact with the internet! BOLD WORDS says I, but from what I see, people DO seem impressed. Currently Mac ONLY but Windows version is promised Real Soon Now! Check it out!

I needed to access one of my older servers with Dell’s IDRAC – a means of talking to a server that may be hung or have shutdown – and rebooting it remotely! I ran into a cute catch-22 – the IDRAC port could be accessed – its web based. But no browser will talk to it as it has older security mechanisms that are currently frowned upon! After thinking on it a bit I found a cute solution – I used VirtualBox to create a virtual Windows 7 machine (from an old boot ISO disk) – and from Windows 7 internet explorer talked to the IDRAC port just fine and I could access the server! The security protocols in Windows 7 matched what IDRAC offered just fine. Now I’m seeing how to update the Dell IDRAC to talk to more current browsers! VirtualBox is free, and you can run it on any platform – Mac, Linux and Windows. And you can spin up a virtual machine with virtually ANY operating system. Need an XP computer? don’t need to build one, you can create a virtual one and run whatever you want from within in!

BLAST FROM THE PAST! My NORTHSTAR Computer – at the shop!
I have written a bit about it – but here is some more information. My NorthStar Horizon was the CADILLAC of the ‘8 bit’ computer world. It used an S100 bus,
and you put cards in it (about 8×6 sized). I have some of its cards at the shop. My memory card was a 16k card. 16 KILOBYTES. 1 Megabyte would be 66 cards!
It was vintage 1977 – and was the ONLY computer – before or since – that came in a Walnut Wood Case! As I tell folks, back then they believed in a Quality Computer – not the cheap metal and plastic things we have now!
It was historically interesting as it was the FIRST microcomputer with the Floppy drives inside the case. Prior, they hung out the back!
Also – check those drives. They used a hard-sectored floppy format (no one else followed down that path) and each disk stored – ready? NINETY KILOBYTES.
Not 900kb. 90kb.
It ran CP/m (ControlProgram/microcomputer) from Digital Research, owned by Garry Kildall. (more on him later on) EVERY S-100 system used CP/m.
Know what it didnt have? support for hard drives! I purchased a minicomputer hard drive, made by Control Data Corporation – the CDC Lark drive.
Larks were about a yard long, and 8in by 6 inch in size. They held an 8mb FIXED Platter and an 8mb REMOVABLE CARTRIDGE. And they were slicker than .. well whatever is VERY slick. The top was transparent, and you could watch the disk head go brr-brr-brr around the platter reading data.
And the head was driven by a LARGE HEAVY Magnet! Weighed quite a bit!
When I got it, I also got to write my OWN device driver to allow CP/m to talk to the drive! All in assembly language of course. CDC Provided example code, and it was a real challenge to bind it into CP/m. But when I issued a drive recal command and saw the heads go swooooosh as they retracted the the center, I cannot say what a feeling of REAL SATISFACTION that was!
Ready for the pricing? The Northstar was $4000 in 1977 dollars. And the CDC Lark with SMD Controller – was $7000 in 1977 dollars.
Its a real museum piece though. I saw one on ebay going for $10k. Come marvel at the technology!

More computers with weird behavior that all got better when Windows 10 was installed! They will fix Win11 I’m sure. Eventually!


Alas, Derek’s car has expired, and we are really short of transportation. Anyone have one we could beg/borrow/steal/trade for nice laptop?

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Sign up and let me know everything works! Any problems? Call me at 7034013806 🙂

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If you want a gift card of our services for a friend just ask! Happy to make up one!) YOUR SUPPORT IS MOST APPRECIATED!

LIQUID SPILL REPAIRS? We can help! NEED HELP WITH GOLD/SILVER? Or Antiques? We have a LOT of expertise 🙂
I’ve been a precious metals dealer for years – started in the Antique Center. And we buy gold/silver – we pay more than pawn shops or jewelers!
And if you have something you THINK is valuable I can find out what pretty much anything is worth!


Just got a great 2019 16in Macbook – i9 1TB SSD. Space grey!
Several other macbooks onhand. And a Mac Trash Can!

VERY nice 11th generation Surface Laptop 4 1964! 16gb 256gb SSD
And a surface laptop 2.
Surface STUDIO 3.
Great Gamer – ASUS Zephyrus G14 14in gamer – Ryzen 9 cpu, RTX 2060 Graphics 500gb SSD. VERY NICE
Acer Nitro AN515-57 11th Gen i5 16gb 500gb RTX 3050Ti!
Dell XPS 9365 7th Gen i7, 16gb 500gb ssd
Nice recent HPs and Dells.
Many others too numerous to mention. Looking for anything? I may be able to rustle it up!
A couple of VERY nice desktops with RTX3000 cards!