My Turn

The Irony of Low End Macs

John S Comeaux - 2001.11.16

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

Last night, my sister brought over her Performa 476 and monitor. She said it wouldn't start. This has happened before, and she said a new battery always fixes it.

Sure enough, I replaced the battery, and it started right up. I used the Norton Disk Doctor on it to fix any problems, then reset the time and memory options, and it is running just fine. She can resume writing workshops for her spiritual retreats.

I love working on these old Macs, and now I realize why - they are so limited, I can probably fix anything that's wrong with them. They will never have Mac OS 8 installed and can never use anything later than AOL version 4. You can forget Flash, Real Player, or Microsoft Word past version 5.1 (or is that Word Perfect?).

But I can reinstall the system, tweak the extensions, and make it work like it was supposed to work - reliably. I can increase the RAM, replace the hard drive, clean out the Preferences folder. This little Mac can sing!

But when it comes to modern Macs, I can't fix them as assuredly. Take my Cube, for instance. I can't seem to make it stop turning itself off or on at random times. Too complicated. Too nebulous. Is it the DC converter card? Is it stray static electricity in the air? Is it a part that needs replacing? I checked the Apple Knowledge Base, brought to an authorized service center (it never once misbehaved, of course), and fiddled with it myself.

I think I'll keep the old Macs around for a while longer. They really are my favorites.

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