Vintage Mac Living

Five Ways to Use Your Old Compact Mac

- 2005.11.09

A lot of people tell me that a compact Mac (Plus, SE, SE/30, Classic, Classic II) isn't good for anything anymore.

I am here to tell you that is simply not the case.

As a matter of fact, I am writing this article on my trusty SE/30, which has 8 MB of RAM and a 40 MB hard drive.

I do all of most of my serious work on these vintage machines. The screens are tack sharp, the interface is simple, and I don't think anything is nearly as responsive as an SE/30 running System 6.0.8 and ClarisWorks 1.0.

Anyway here are 5 ideas on what you can do with your compact Mac:

1. Use your compact Mac to keep a personal log using Note Pad or SimpleText.

2. Use your compact Mac to keep your schedule. This works best if you have an old copy of Now Up-to-Date or something similar.

3. Use your compact Mac to play games! There are also over 800 abandonware games on the Macintosh Garden (link below), and quite a few of them will work on compact Macs.

4. Use your compact Mac to get online. Yes, it is possible to get online with these dinosaurs!

For a basic email system, you'll need the following:

  • Mac Plus or later with 1 MB RAM and an 800K drive
  • System 6.0.8
  • MacTCP (Control Panel)
  • Config PPP (Control Panel)
  • PPP (Extension)
  • Eudora Lite 1.3.1

For a basic Web browsing system, you'll need the following:

  • Mac Plus or later with 4 MB RAM and a 20 MB hard drive (I recommend at least a 40 MB drive)
  • System 7.1
  • MacTCP (Control Panel)
  • Config PPP (Control Panel
  • PPP (Extension)
  • MacLynx, a text-based Web browser for 68000-based machines, or WannaBe (a text-based web browser for 68020-based machines and up, which requires that you install Drag Manager and Thread Manager are running System 7.1)
  • GIFwatcher DA (image viewer)
  • GIFConverter (converts GIFs to PICTs and PICTs to GIFs)
  • Fetch 4.0.3 or earlier (FTP client)

You can download most all of this from Jag's House or using the links at the end of this article.

How to set up MacTCP:

  • Open the MacTCP control panel.
  • Select PPP and then click the more button near the bottom of the screen.
  • Under the Obtain Address field select Server.
  • The following is how the IP Address Field should look:
    Class: A Address:
    Subnet Mask:
    Net | Subnet | Node
    Bits: 8 0 24
    Net: 0
    Subnet: 0
    Node: 0
  • You will also need your ISP's DNS numbers in order to get online.

How to set up Config PPP:

  • Open the Config PPP Control Panel
Config PPP
  • Select Modem Port next to Port Name if the modem is connected to the modem port.
  • Click on the Config button at the bottom left corner of the ConfigPPP window.
modem setup
  • Select the modem's speed next to Port Speed and type the phone number in the Phone Num dialog box.
  • Use AT&F1 under Modem Init.
account setup
  • If you want Config PPP to save you username and password, click on the Authentication button and a window will come up asking you to enter your username and password, then click the OK button.
  • Then click on the Done button, that should take you back to the ConfigPPP window.

To Connect, click Open, when you do that the computer will start to connect. If you do not want ConfigPPP to save your username and password, you will have to type in both each time you connect.

Once you do that you should have no problems getting online with your compact Mac!

5. It's fun to watch a compact Mac run the Randomizer module (Randomizer runs a different screen saver at an interval you select) in After Dark 2.0.

Well, there you go - five ideas for what to do with your compact Mac.

You'll never know just how much you can really do with your compact Mac unless you try. So what are you waiting for? Dust it off and see what that old puppy can really do! LEM


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