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Why I Love My Old Mac
Posted 02 August 2006 - 07:29 PM
I have a G4 Powerbook 800 Mhz I bought in 2000 or so. It has been used and abused, including being backed over by a car, but it still runs (mostly) great and, in fact, I am typing on it right now. Between the hardware and the flexibility of OS X, I have made this system useful long past its normal life.
The greatest advantage of this laptop is its large number of built-in ports and communication options: Firewire, USB, ethernet, modem, Airport, S-video, audio in and out, etc. This has allowed me to slowly enhance the system and replace components from the outside as they have failed on the inside.
The brackets holding the screen failed about a year ago. This is a common failing with this model and one I am upset about, but, honestly, going over it with car probably didn't help. Repairing it would cost about $900. On the other hand, using the ADC-to-VGA adapter, I connected an external monitor (free) and turned it into a desktop. Contrary to a lot of opinions, the PowerMac will run just fine closed as long as it is closed before the display is initialized. A USB Mac keyboard (also free) and a graphics pad (not free) turns it into a decent art studio. The keyboard contains a USB hub, so I have no cable mess and have an convenient port on the keyboard tray for my digital camera or, at night, my USB LED light.
It is still a laptop, though, and is stingy on power. The battery makes a great UPS: as long as the power comes up in an hour or two, I'm fine.
I wanted more hard drive space and a convenient backup, so I attached an external Firewire drive. The drive is bootable with OS X Tiger (10.4) which I have gradually upgraded to from the 10.2 which came with the laptop. It runs 10.4 fine and will probably run 10.5 as well. How many people can go from ME to Vista with the same computer? The bootable external drive is great for repairs if I have any problems with onboard disk.
Since the MAC will boot in target mode (acts like a Firewire HD), I use that to make fast transfers to a Linux box (yes, Linux can read HFS volumes) that would take too long over Airport.
Now the CD-RW/CD-ROM/DVD-ROM drive is finally starting to get flaky, so I am looking at a Firewire DVD-RW to add to the Firewire chain.
I use the video out to pipe movies to my TV. I can either use the S-video out port or the included S-video to RCA converter.With VLC, a free video player, I can send the video fullscreen to any attached device and can even display on the monitor and TV at the same time so can see it from the kitchen. Audio, of course, is piped to my Sony receiver so I can use iTunes with my stereo. With a little (actually quite a bit of) playing, I can also share my iTunes library with the Linux box over the wireless connection.
At the moment (just moved) I have dial-up, which I can share to the Linux box over Airport, Firewire, Ethernet, or USB.
The wonderful thing about all of these upgrades is they are all external and can be moved right to my next computer (possibly a Mac Mini) when this one finally dies or I get tired of it. Even as an 800 Mhz G4 (768 MB RAM), though, it still does all of the jobs I need it to do (except the latest FPSes). None of the Intel laptops I have ever had have gone this long and still been this functional.
Posted 02 July 2007 - 04:56 PM
i really enjoyed reading your post because it made me want to get a powerbook g4 even more beacause i have been wanting one for a while to be able to run native ppc applications but this has not been possible on my intel mac with using emulation. also i was wondering for at home use do you hook up a keyboard and mouse maybe even a monitor?
also how do powerbook g4's cool i wanted to know if they tend to get hot and fry or if they'll keep cool during the day.
Posted 18 July 2007 - 06:48 PM
I've gotten lots of old g3 and now g4's at good prices. I keep an old G3 iMac up and running just for email as I go through a lot of messages a day while my G5's and G4's are rendering Final Cut, Lightwave, or Shake projects. Also I do need to test websites with MSIE every once in a while. Even an out dated version...
Then I have a couple of pieces of software that's still OS 9 only and never worked right in X especially since 10.3 on wards.
What I do is bring them home, keep them in the spare room and then list on Ebay. Even if I only make $45 plus shipping on each machine, that's usually around $500 - $1000 on lots of 10 to 20 old macs. Usually, if I pay, it's no more than $20 per box and most places will just be glad not to have to pay others to take them away.
I keep a look out on craigslist for old macs that are dirt cheap. How I got two iMacs (a 17" and 20" G5) for less than $800 total and I bought a lot of 10 dual 1 Ghz G4's with 1.5GB ram and 80GB HDD's last year for $1500 from a graphics studio. Sold 8 on Ebay for like ~$450 each and kept the two with superdrives.
Posted 28 March 2008 - 07:50 PM
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