Old Macs in the New Economy
This may seem a bit off topic, but given this site's commitment to keeping old tech going, just give me a little time and I will tie the whole thing together.
Like many Americans, I am a bit mystified by our recent financial crisis. We were cruising along, paying $4 a gallon for gas, when suddenly Wall Street brokerage houses, insurance companies, mortgage companies, banks, and Lehman Brothers were all going belly up.
These bastions of the free enterprise system immediately ran to the government for a handout.
Near as I can figure, some people thought that it would be good to "open up" the mortgage market to some other people who had traditionally been "closed out" of the market because of low credit scores. (These were the same folks who thought it would be good idea to offer federal flood insurance to home owners who live in flood plains.)
The debt that was incurred was then traded around the world's financial markets.
There are supposed to be risk managers around to prevent things like this, but they must have been out to one of those three martini lunches. Faster than you can say "House of Cards", the whole economy went to pieces. I don't care what anyone says, we are in for a period of belt tightening.
Old Macs in the New Economy
What does this mean for us here at Low End Mac?
We are in our element, folks. We always use it up, wear it out, and then recycle it. We are the kings of making our computers last, last, and last some more.
A case in point, my beloved sage green iMac. I was using it as a print server in my wireless network, and I finally realized that perhaps it would be a better idea to use my sons' Dell XPS 200 as the print server, since it was always on (I can't even get in to run some maintenance programs on the darn thing).
I think I wondered for a while what I would do with this old iMac, since I really use my Pismo as my main computer. I was in the middle of recording my vinyl Steely Dan albums to iTunes when it hit me: Why not turn the iMac into a digital jukebox? I could hook it up to my home stereo with a stereo mini-jack-to-RCA cable and have any song in my collection available to listen to. I could even use the iTunes database to customize song selection. And, of course, there is always shuffle.
The first step was to clone the iMac's drive to an external hard drive. With Carbon Copy Cloner, this was a snap. Then I wiped the iMac's drive and reinstalled OS X 10.4.11 with every option I could possible turn off disabled. I ended up with a 2 GB installation, and although my iMac only has a 20 GB hard drive, I should be able to put my music collection on it. ( I currently have filled up my iTunes Library with 7.35 GB of music.)
Next, migrate my iTunes library from my Pismo to the iMac. Fortunately, both computers have FireWire. I hooked up a FireWire cable between the computers, put the Pismo into Target Disk Mode, and imported the library into the iMac. (Memo to Apple - count me as another curmudgeon to whom FireWire is a deal breaker. Just gotta have FireWire on my computer.)
I then disconnected the iMac, with it's many tentacles, and perched it on the top shelf of my stereo cabinet. I also recycled an old iMac "hockey puck" mouse and have been listening to my iTunes collection all over my house ever since.
Old computers can serve new purposes - and save you money has well.
Recent Recycled Computing Columns
- Changes, 2012.10.16. A new job has John Hatchett considered something of an iPad expert.
- In Praise of Optical Viewfinders, 2012.07.30. Although modern digital cameras have digital viewscreens, there's something to be said for the traditional viewfinder.
- The Lion Sleeps (on My MacBook) Tonight, 2012.07.05. Starting with a full backup, a Time Machine Backup, and an OS X 10.7 thumb drive, John Hatchett moved to Lion.
- More in the Recycled Computing index.
Links for the Day
- Mac of the Day: Mac LC II, introduced 1992.03.23. The LC gets 4 MB base RAM, gains virtual memory thanks to 68030 CPU.
- May 19 in LEM history: 99: Student Bill of Rights - 01: First Apple Stores - 03: Upgraded beige G3 problems - 04: The Mac legacy - More for Mac users in superstores than many realize - 06: Smart design make the MacBook a winner - 08: Top 10 freeware - My first iMac
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Recent Content on Low End Mac
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