Sunday, September 04, 2011

Back to the future: OS X Parental Controls, DVD Encyclopedias, and MacKiev

I was born into a world of progress. Things were supposed to get better, the old would fade away.

That was then. Now we live in a whitewater world. One year we get the iPhone, another year movie viewing fails. Bits and pieces of solutions come together then fall apart again. Cloud services come and go with bewildering speed (fear the cloud).

In this world all-but-forgotten DVD Encyclopedias are making a return to our home. That's weird.

They're coming back because OS X Parental Controls have failed me [1]. Lion's PC "bug fix" was the last straw.

Sure, I blame Apple -- but it's not their fault alone. For reasons both good (bypass tyrants) and bad (involuntary marketing) the web fights controls. I can't win this fight.

So, in addition to the child accounts we monitor by log tracking (%$$# OS X Log Viewer), I've created a completely open account on one of our machines. That account can be open ... because it has no net access. None at all.

This account has old-school local apps like iTunes (access to our media server, App Store and Ping disabled) and AppleWorks. The machine is old enough to also include a 6+ yo copy of World Book encyclopedia.

That old encyclopedia could do with a tune up. So I took a look at what's available in DVD land. Amazon has the 2011 copy of EB (Mac/Win) for $23. That's a good end-of-year deal, but I'm skeptical about the quality of their OS X software.

On the other hand, MacKiev, a Ukranian OS X dev shop that did a great job resuscitating Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing produces the Mac version of World Book Encyclopedia. It runs on both legacy and Intel machines all the way from 10.3.9 (!) to Lion. It's more money ($40) but I'll give it a try once the 2012 edition comes out.

I've really got to hold onto my old software going forward.

[1] Incredibly, iOS is even worse.

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