Macs to the Max

Save Those Old Macs

- 2006.12.19

Rows and rows of Mac LCs, LC IIs, and LC IIIs lined the computer labs of Lake Middle School back in the good old days when Macs prevailed as the computer of choice.

First they had typewriters, then they had Macs, and now they have Windows PCs. First the typewriters faded away, then, sadly, the Macs were replaced with newer Windows PCs.

Way back when, classrooms and computer labs at Lake Middle had LCs, and they were enjoyed thoroughly. The teachers would often write programs and whatnot to help their classes study and learn. One science teacher there loved these LCs and eventually became a Macintosh fanatic (just like most of us here on Low End Mac).

Out with the Macs

One day, the district decided to switch to PCs, as other districts were doing. So the school held a fire sale and sold each LC, including monitor, mouse, and keyboard for only $15. In the early 90s, that was a steal - heck, today it's a steal!

They ended up selling only a few of them, which is hard to imagine. The next school year, the science teacher came to school expecting the same old same old, but he found PCs instead. What a shock! The programs and upkeep of all those Macs down the drain.

Macintosh LCSo he marched into the principal's office and demanded to know what happened to all his LCs. The principal proceeded to explain the fire sale, and how they had mediocre sales. He concluded, telling the teacher that the LCs were in storage in the boiler room - under a sheet of plastic, waiting for their dumpster demise.

The science teacher rushed to the boiler room and saw them under the sheet of plastic. He couldn't believe it! So he asked the principal if it would be acceptable to use them in his class if he took care of them. Seeing no reason to deny him, the principal agreed - just as long as the teacher took care of them.

The science teacher took them all home and was astounded with the amount of junk that had accumulated over the years. He fully wiped the hard drives, then reinstalled the OS and necessary software on them, which took hours. Finally he had them all classroom worthy.

The question was, "How can I take this one step further?" He would write great programs using Hypercard to help his science class review. He spent hours and hours up-keeping, updating, and improving these machines.

He had them all in working order and kept them that way for six years! He really embraced the concepts of Low End Mac. Then he switched schools to Lake Northern High School, the new high school in the district.

Seeing as how all of those LCs were in good working order, the school should have kept them, right? Wrong.

As soon as he left, they had another fire sale, and they sold them all for $5 - except for one that the science teacher bought.

Not many sold, and the rest were sadly put in the dumpster.

Save the Low-end Macs

How can we stop this from happening? No Mac should have to go through such an undignified demise.

Many of you of you have probably witnessed this type of thing - or even tried to stop it. I know Dan Knight once rescued 40-some vintage Macs from a Michigan shool that was going to have them hauled away as scrap.

What can we do to stop this "dumpster doom" from happening to the next generation of Macs? This is a concept Mac users have been struggling with for ages, but there are many ways to repurpose or re-use a Mac rather than putting it in the trash.

After they're rescued, they can make a great first computer for a friend or family member. Or you can fix them up and attempt to sell them. There are many options, and they are all worth saving a Mac for.

The next time you see a couple of Macs sitting in your neighborhood trash or hear of a school or business unloading a truckload, take them home, get them working, and save a Mac. LEM

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