Posts tagged “macintosh”.

Reviving an iMac G4 for every day work

November 23rd, 2010


Dave Caolog on breaking out his 20″ iMac G4 (my dream machine):

As my MacBook Pro slowly dies, I’ve called my old G4 iMac back into service. Years ago, that machine was wiped clean and given an install of Mac OS X 10.5 before being boxed in the basement. On Friday I will wrap up one week of using it as my primary work machine. In that time I’ve found that it’s slow, beautiful and perfect. Here’s why.

Caolog notes that things run a tad slower on the iMac, but “waiting a half of a second isn’t the end of the world.”

Even better? “This is the most beautiful computer Apple has made,” he says.

Not only do I agree, but after using a 15″ iMac (and at a paltry 800 MHz) for an entire year as my main workstation, it more than served its purpose. Caolog kept his needs simple: TextEdit, Preview, and a few other apps. That’s it.

When your needs are simple, a simple (and gorgeous) Mac is all you need.

[Via Shawn Blanc.]

Cleaning out my Mac closet

October 4th, 2010

Updating to OS X 10.3.9

It’s decluttering time around Newton Poetry headquarters, which means I’m cleaning out Macs that I either rarely use or that have become redundant.

This includes my PowerMac G4, iMac G3, Mac SE, and Apple Studio Display (the above CRT model that matches the G4). All of them are taking up more space, and less attention, these days.

The Bondi blue iMac may be the exception. It’s an always-on machine for testing Newton stuff, playing games, and doing my household budget. But after digging into the PowerMac G3, I find that a lot of what I do with the iMac can be done with a more flexible, powerful G3 in the Blue and White. It’s not important to have a Mac with every OS on it anymore. The PowerMac G3’s Mac OS 8 can do most of what the iMac’s OS 9 can do (run games, test software). And even though the iMac takes up less space, I’ve been thinking about getting a flat-screen monitor to use with other computers and recycle the ungodly-heavy CRT.

My plan is to either give away or recycle all the Mac stuff. I have to warn local friends that these are older Macs, and so maybe aren’t appropriate for anyone but a dedicated hobbyist.

Except for the PowerMac G4, since it runs OS X 10.3 Panther and handles web browsing and basic computing pretty well. I’ve even tackled some graphic design projects on it using Adobe CS2, which it handled nicely. Having that G4 as an everyday machine, as loud as it is, is still better than having no Mac at all.

These days I’m finding less and less time to devote to my Mac hobby, so weeding down the number of machines will help me dedicate the time I do have to the remaining Macs. To me, there’s a twinge of guilt that happens when a Mac is left off for too long – especially when I can’t think of a good reason to turn it on.

My original plan for the Mac SE, one of two that I own, was to turn it into a Macquarium. But that’s a project I don’t want to think about for a long time, and I’d rather scrap a non-working classic than this perfectly capable Mac.

All this leaves me with my new iMac, an iBook G4, an iBook G3 blueberry clamshell, the B&W PowerMac G3, the other Mac SE, the LC 520, and two Newtons. That’s a collection with a good mix of OSes, software, and desktop-vs.-portable variety. Most of all, it’s a collection I can handle.

With these Macs out of the way, I’m getting ideas on projects to tackle next, like stealing one of the PowerMac G4’s hard drives (or even the iMac’s, with OS 9 on it) and installing it as a second drive in the Blue and White. I’m using the one Mac SE as a writing station, the iBook G4 as an iTunes jukebox in my bedroom (With a fantastic JBL Creature speaker system), while the iBook G3 mostly collects dust.

Newton Poetry readers that are interested in getting their hands on one of these machines would only have to worry about shipping, if you’re interested. Drop me an e-mail and I’d be glad to send you one.

Relax with a Macintosh

August 6th, 2010

Roger Enrico, former head of Pepsi, escapes to his favorite beach resort with a book, a soda pop, and a Macintosh.

I wish my current iMac was so portable.

[Courtesy of Vintage Ad Browser.]

Use your tech ’till it hurts

August 4th, 2010

E-waste 2010 -  TVs

Patrick Rhone at Minimal Mac:

That shiny new phone you want you don’t want bad enough yet. That system that is getting “a little slow” is not yet slow enough. Even if it is too slow for you it is more than most of the world could ever dream of having. Seriously, use your technology until it hurts – bad. Because the pain all of this consumption is bringing to a world that is just beyond yours is immeasurable.

Amen, brother. It’s something I’m fond of saying, and often repeat (and practice): just because it’s a few years old doesn’t mean it’s not worth using or tinkering with.

Rhone points to Free Geek, a larger, more organized version of my One Used Mac Per Child brainstorm a few years back.

But there’s a larger issue here than just taking old computers and fixing them up. The materials inside them, when shipped overseas, become hazardous beyond belief. We sit here in modern comfort, tossing out our old cell phones (I once saw a guy throw his phone out his truck window, smashing it on the street) or “recycling” our old Macs, never knowing where they end up.

I do my part, but I’m only one person. I do know many others that care about this stuff, and care about geeking out with old Newtons and Macs and keeping that stuff out of landfills and smelting pots. Kudos to Rhone at Minimal Mac for spreading the word.

The hello Show, episode 11 with Damian Ward

August 1st, 2010

It’s finally here: episode 11 of The hello Show, with David Kendal, me, and special guest Damian Ward.

Damian is a classic Mac collector in the truest sense. We talk about collecting old Macintoshes, why people do such crazy things, and a bit about recent Apple news.

Side note: when it comes to Mario Kart Wii racing, David and I are dead-even. Balloon and coin matches however? That’s another story…

What’s fun is that, with David in Northern England and me here in Michigan, we played a great series of Mario Kart races – even an ocean away.

Friday’s the day

June 10th, 2010

Looks like I have a few things to do tomorrow.

Organize your Mac museum

May 26th, 2010

Adam Rosen at The Vintage Mac Museum Blog:

In a Major Step Forward each model now gets its own shelved box in the attic (photo above) – a MUCH easier system than digging through a bag or box of old stuff and trying to remember if this unlabeled power supply belongs to a IIci or a Quadra. It took a few years but now I should be able to better manage growth via the addition of shelving and boxes. At least, to a point.

Organization is super important, especially with something so esoterically weird as a vintage computer collection.

I’ll admit that my own system is lacking. I have Macs scattered everywhere, with my two every day Macs (my G3 iMac and new 21.5″ iMac) getting prime spots in my office/dining room. From there, however, things get weird.

To help, I’ve dumped most of the equipment, pieces, and RAM chips I own into a box. That way, if I need something, there’s one place to get it. Software and hardware, however, are another thing entirely.

Then again, I don’t have nearly the collection that Adam or some others have. It’s a degree of scale, but organization is needed no matter the size of your obsession.

So thanks for the inspiration, Adam. Surely I need it.

Seven days of System 7

May 6th, 2010

Seven Day of System 7

Low end Mac users are masochists. There’s no easy way to take a classic Macintosh and do modern, enjoyable work without some pain or effort involved. Everything is a project.

Now, for most of us that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s why we work with classic Macs. Either that, or we know low end Macs so well that using anything prior to OS X comes as second nature. Also, it’s a hobby.

With this in mind, and as I shared on The hello Show this week, I’m undertaking a bit of an experiment: spending an entire week with nothing but my low end Macs. Specifically, I’ll be using:

…as my main computing machines.

I’m leaving my new 21.5″ iMac switched off, using my iPhone 3G for phone calls only, and relying only on Apple products that were released in the 1990s.

I’ll call it Seven Days of System 7.

That’s not totally accurate. I’ll also be using OS 8 (on the PowerMac) and OS 9 (on the iMac). For portability, contact management, and calendar duties, I’ll use my Newton MessagePad 110 and eMate. And I might pull out my iBook G3 and boot into OS 9 for some portable Macintosh.

The experiment, inspired by Morgan Aldridge’s and Riccardo Mori’s experiences, will be me attempting to get by – or even be productive – on non-Mac OS X machines. This includes any writing, web browsing, scheduling, graphic design, and web development. For the week, I’m setting up a special page here at Newton Poetry that will be a sort of proto-blog – where I can post updates through the week. The entire thing will be made on my PowerMac G3 sporting Adobe’s classic HTML editor, PageMill.

Right now, I’m collecting other applications that I might need through the week, including:

  • Claris Organizer for my to-dos, contact management, and calendar, synced to my Newton
  • Corel Graphics 8 for design work
  • PhotoShop LE for image manipulation
  • Panic’s Audion and iTunes 2 for music
  • AppleWorks 6 for spreadsheets or heavy-duty word processing
  • BBEdit Lite for text editing
  • The latest build of Classilla
  • Adobe PageMill for web stuff
  • Panic’s free version of Transmit for FTP’ing
  • A bunch of games for recreation, including SimCity 2000, WarCraft II, and (for the first time) Marathon

Because it’s only a week-long experiment, I won’t need much more than that. I’m not going to do any heavy graphic design lifting, or attempt to do a whole lot. It’ll simply be a week to see how easy it is to be productive and live day-to-day on low end Macs.

There are a bunch of sources I have to credit for the help, including my podcasting pal David Kendal (for the links to Panic’s free offerings), System 7 Today for some game ideas, UNNA for Claris Organizer, and eBay for PageMill and WarCraft II.

The experiment will take place in the next week or two. In the meantime, if you have any ideas or software to try out, let me know.

Most of all, wish me luck.

iMac G4 ad insert from 2002

April 8th, 2010



Here we see a great switcher message, and a kick-off to the “digital hub” strategy Steve Jobs laid out at Macworld the year before.

[Via David Kendal’s tip.]

Who needs a computer, anyway?

April 5th, 2010

Matt Groening Apple ad

Neat brochure designed by The Simpsons creator Matt Groening. Looks like it’s geared toward college students.

[Via Daring Fireball.]