Recycled Computing

Using New Tech with Old Tech

- 2009.02.05

It is nice to have a wealthy relative - especially when they thinkthat your sons need computers.

What to buy? I knew I would have to get them Macs, since I am morefamiliar with both Mac hardware and software. But which laptop should Ibuy? The guys are not quite power users; they would be using thecomputers to do schoolwork, browse the Internet, watch DVDs, and synctheir iPods.

After much consideration, I decided not to buy the base levelUnibody MacBook andpurchase the "old" whiteMacBook. One of the big issues (for me, that is) is the lack ofFirewire on the new Unibody MacBook. Call me crazy, call me an old timecurmudgeon, but I have Firewire accessories, and I am loath to saygoodbye to Target Disc Mode.

I also thought that the older MacBooks were a more proven technologyand perhaps, cheaper.

So I visited the refurbished section of the Mac Store and discoveredthat I could purchase two MacBooks (2.1 GHz processors, 2 GB ofRAM, and a 120 GB hard drive) and I could replace my daughter'sG4 iBook with a white MacBook with a2.4 processor, 2 GB of RAM, and a 160 GB hard drive.

My daughter needed a new computer since (a) the G4 has a narrowstrip of dead pixels on the screen, (b) its hard drive is not very bigand, most importantly, (c) it has no built in video camera so she canvideo chat with her bff. That's very Important to a freshman incollege.

Naturally, I thought that it would be a snap to connect her old G4to the new Intel Macbook via Firewire and migrate all her settings,preferences, and files to her new laptop. So much for the plans of miceand men. Try as I might, the Intel Macbook could not pick up the G4iBook's drive. Next I tried making the connection using my Wifinetwork. Still no luck. Fortunately, I happened to have a pocket harddrive with a USB connector. I cloned the G4's drive to this portabledrive, and then I was able to migrate my daughter's files to the newMacBook.

I don't know why the new laptop couldn't find the old laptop'sdrive, but when I wiped the G4's drive and installed Leopard, I wasable to migrate my faithful Pismo's files to the G4 as a part of theLeopard installation via Firewire. Easy-peasy.

So far I switch back and forth from the Pismo to the G4 iBook andhaven't really noticed any big differences between Tiger (installed onthe Pismo) and Leopard (installed on the G4). Leopard does supportMobileMe, so the files on it and my iPod touch are always synched. Ihave yet to figure out how Spaces works, but in its defense, I haveonly played with it for 15 minutes. I need to try out Time Machine, butin order to do that properly I should move my 160 GB (with only 128usable) hard drive out of my Pismo and swap it with the 60 GB one inthe G4. No problem removing the Pismo's drive, but that G4 iBook lookspretty daunting. You're talking 14 steps and maybe 30-40 screws. Butsince I once removed the hard drive from a tangerine clamshell, Isuppose I can do it.

Last but not least, with the Remote program on my iPod touch, I amable to remotely control iTunes on my old sage G3 iMac. The G3 has found aretirement home as a host to my 9 GB (and growing) music libraryon my network.

I have the same library on my Pismo, the G4 iBook, my iPod touch,and the G3 iMac. Keeping them all synchronized could be an issue. I amtrying out an application right now and will let you know how it worksout.

It's still real neat to be able to use my new tech (iPod touch) witha 9-year-old iMac. Coolness. LEM

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