The future and high technology are wonderful but, every once in a while, I yearn for the good old days. With the memories of rampant crashes and syrupy-slow computers fading, I miss some of the more endearing features of the pre-OS X Mac operating system. This was brought home to me last week when a client (whose entire company is still on OS 9) hired a new employee who was addicted to sticky notes. Her machine was literally covered with the real paper ones. Since this person was also new to Macs, I showed her the Stickies application that came with pre-OS X systems. She was delighted and has since taken to leaving me chocolates on backup day. Then I heard about an application called SharePoints and, on closer inspection, all the glory of OS 9 came flooding back, making me wonder why I had ever switched to OS X. OK, it was a momentary feeling. And it was quickly handled by the discovery that all the pined-for apps have been replaced with superior OS X versions, if only you know where to find them. The Stickies, of course, can be replaced with the free OhNotes ( www.macdesktop.com/swimpsoft/productsohnotes.html ) , but OhNotes does so much more. They are searchable and can be titled and the interface acts like a portal through which you can search dictionaries, encyclopaedias, thesauruses and even software updates. OhNotes' only deficiency is that it is not yet colour-coded like Stickies. OS 9's Notepad application is easily replaced with Notational Velocity (pubweb.nwu.edu/~zps869/nv.html, freeware). It is more robust than the original Notepad and features instantaneous incremental searching. This means that you can find the appropriate notes even if you don't know how to spell the word you're searching for. Again, its only failing is a lack of colour-coding. Pads X ( www.padsx.com ) has colour-coding and also offers a full-featured notepad component. If you can get over its hefty US$15 price tag, you won't be disappointed. The Stickies can be transparent and set to float above all other windows. If you drag references to a note, a link will be formed to the original document. Even better, the notes can be formatted to your taste. If you remember the tabbed windows of OS 9, wherein the tabs would sit along the bottom of your monitor ready to expose the contents of a file whenever you clicked on them, there is an OS X application that brings all this back. Check out DragonDrop (cs.oberlin.edu/~dadamson/DragonDrop, also free). Drag any file or folder to the DragonDrop icon and, poof, it becomes a tab that hovers above the dock waiting to be reopened when clicked on. If you prefer, the application can also mimic the old WindowShades feature of OS 9. Using AppleShare in OS 9, you could easily access any part of a networked machine to which you were assigned permission. Unless you spend US$500 on Apple's OS X Server application, in OS X you can share files only through the designated public folder in your home directory. In many cases, this is overkill, especially if you are sharing files with family or a small group of fewer than 20 people. I was thus delighted to discover SharePoints ( www.hornware.com/sharepoints freeware). It brings back users and groups management as well as Apple's easy configuration server properties. If you want a small network as easy to use as the old AppleShare networks were, this is just the ticket. Finally, fellow road warriors, someone has been listening to your pleas and brought back the old location manager through an application called Location X (homepage.mac.com/locationmanager, US$20). It allows you to change your network, time zone and e-mail settings with a single click as you travel between work, your residence and all those hotels that pretend to be your home away from home. All of these OS X applications are highly rated and more useful than the original OS 9 applications they replace. If you ever lose sight of the wonder that comes from living in this hi-tech world, they will remind you that you don't need syrupy-slow, crash-prone machinery to find happiness. E-mail Dave Horrigan at email@example.com with your Mac queries.