2017: A Low End Odyssey

Twenty years ago today, Dan Knight began an odyssey. Using a Macintosh Centris 610 and Claris Home Page, he set out to make it easier to support low end Macs. Little did he know, April 7th, 1997 was a day that would change his life and the Mac Web forever.

Original Low End Mac home page

Low End Mac started as a resource aimed at supporting older Apple hardware. Since then it has become one of the oldest and most trusted sources on the internet for information and advice on Apple technology.

The Macs of the Day

PowerBook 3400cLow End Mac – or The New Low End User as it was known at the time – went online the same day as the last update to System 7 (7.6.1) was released. This was a time before Mac OS 8, G3 processors, and even before the iMac. Low End Mac started when Macs such as the Power Mac 4400, 5400, 5500, 6500, 7300, 8600, 9600, and the Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh were the latest and greatest. At the top of the line, the new PowerBook 3400c came with up to a blistering 240 MHz PowerPC 603ev processor (and an equally blistering $6,400 price tag).

Today many of you may not even recognize most of those models because they are so old. Back then Low End Mac didn’t know them either, because they were too new!

Low End Mac has always been about getting the most of older equipment, and at the time that meant focusing on Macs like the Plus, SE, SE/30, Classic, Classic II, Performa 200, II, IIx, IIcx, IIci, IIfx, IIsi, LC, LC II, LC III, Performa 400-460, Color Classic, and Colour Classic II. Those were the machines that Dan Knight had regarded as the oldest usable machines at the time, and he had a point. Every machine on that list could run at least System 7.5.5, and the 32-bit clean machines could run Mac OS 7.6.1 (which was the newest version at the time). It is hard to believe today, but every one of the machines listed above was still actively supported by Apple when Low End Mac launched in April 1997. Some of those machines were 11 years old!

As Time Goes By

Eventually Low End Mac grew to support Centrises, Quadras, PowerBooks, and Power Macs, and Dan even dedicated tech spec pages to the earliest Macs, the 128K and 512K. Dan eventually started writing editorials and advice columns, such as Mac Daniel’s Advice. He later brought on additional columnists, such as Evan Kleiman and Charles W. Moore, to provide even more content for the website that continued to grow at an exponential rate.

Over the years Low End Mac has done many things for the Mac community worldwide. It has email lists where people can connect with each other, find solutions to problems, and buy and sell used equipment. Low End Mac has even evolved to support social media and has pages on Facebook and a Twitter feed. We have over 3500 members in our Facebook group and over 1400 followers on Twitter.

Going Beyond Macs

Low End Mac has become a resource for more than just Macs. Today it focuses on everything, from how to get the most out of your car to how to save on doing your laundry. We even help out with Windows PCs and Android devices. However, the goal hasn’t changed – we are here to help you get the most out of your life. Whether you need help getting that old Mac to last another 6 months or you’re wondering what Android-based device might be a good solution for you, we are here to help make your life a little easier, a little greener, and a little bit more fun.

Bumps in the Road

As with anything in life, occasionally you run in to trouble. Low End Mac has weathered a number of storms over the years, including the dot com bubble burst in 2001, a divorce, financial troubles, moving to WordPress, and most recently Dan’s second wife walked out on him. But, through it all, we have survived. We have survived thanks to readers like you. We cannot thank you enough for all of your support over the years. It is only because of you that this site continues to be online, serving the same wonderful purpose it always was meant to.

Thank you for your support!

The Odyssey Continues

Low End Mac has been a very special place to me for a very long time. I’ve been an avid believer in what Dan Knight and Low End Mac do since nearly the beginning, and I am honored to be a part of it journey. Low End Mac has chronicled everything new from Apple in the last 20 years, including every Mac OS since Mac OS 8, every Power Mac since the G3s, every iMac since the first, every iPod, every iPhone, and every iPad.  It has been an amazing 20 year odyssey, and with a little luck we’ll still be going strong 20 years from now.


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