Getting the Most from Your Older Mac

Luddite MacLuddite Mac is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek celebration of vintage Macs — and even Apple IIs. The point we always try to make at Low End Mac is that until it dies no computer is ever less capable than it was when you bought it, so try to make the most of it.

Our other focus is helping you know when upgrading your hardware and/or software makes sense, when it doesn’t, and when it’s simply time to invest in a new Mac, whether new or previously enjoyed.

We’re not really Luddites, but we do appreciate the value of older Macs, even if we have left them behind for our day-to-day work.

This site covers everything from the Lisa to the latest Macs – because sooner or later, every Mac becomes low end. Due to our focus on value, the primary focus of Luddite Mac is older models.

For the benefit of low-end users, this site uses no frames, no Java, no sound, no QuickTime movies, no PNGs — just text, tables, GIFs, and JPEGs. We do make some use of image maps for navigation, so you are best off with a graphics-enabled Web browser. For best viewing, your browser cache should be on.

Site History

I began Low End Mac in April 1997 as a way to keep track of the older Macs I had to support at work. (That was the year we finally began retiring Macs – by selling our beige Mac Plus with a GCC HyperDrive to one of our employees. Although the drive has since expired, “Blitz” is still running.)

Originally called The New Low End Mac User and served on my personal Internet account at, Low End Mac joined the MacTimes Network in November 1997. There it grew tenfold in popularity. During our months with MacTimes, we also created the iMac Channel, MacInSchool, and a lot of other content which would later be integrate with LEM.

In February 1999, we moved to the domain as one of the few Mac-related sites served on a Macintosh computer. The Power Mac G3 server was capably managed by Innovative Technologies.

At the end of March 1999, Low End Mac severed its relationship with MacTimes. We joined the infiniMedia Network in May 1999, moving to their server. Although it was a bit of a disappointment no longer being served on Mac hardware, the simple fact is that their Unix server was much faster.

Low End Mac is currently hosted by BackBeat Media, who also handles our ads. The site is running on Apache (Web server software) on the Linux operating system. And we try to celebrate April Fools Day every year with something just a little bit special – like Luddite Mac.

Personal Mac History

For several years, I worked as information systems manager for Baker Book House. Baker used Macs for over a decade and had a network of about over 90 when I left in January 2001. Since then, I’ve been working full time for Cobweb Publishing, Inc., the company I formed to publish Luddite Mac and my other Web projects.

I’ve been working with Macs since 1986, began selling them in 1987, and got my first Mac (a Plus) in 1990 or 1991. Owning that Mac converted me from being a DOS geek and put me on the path to becoming a Mac guru.

Not only do we have a lot of older Macs at work, but I’ve acquired a collection of low end Macs for home and personal use as well. At home we have a Plus, SE, Mac II, IIcx, IIsi, IIci, IIfx, PowerBook 150, LC, LC II, Color Classic, Centris 610, Centris 660av, Quadra 950, Radius 81/110, SuperMac J700, SuperMac S900, iBook, and PowerBook G4, among others. They’re all over the house, and many are connected with ethernet.

My Mac II, built in 1988, has 8 MB RAM, a 160 MB hard drive, and an ethernet card. It functioned day in and day out as a personal web server (running NetPresenz) and mail list manager (running Macjordomo) for my domain for several months. (The site was subsequently hosted on a Mac IIfx, and later moved to a Quadra 650.)

In 2000, I reacquired my first Mac – a platinum Plus with a 16 MHz Brainstorm upgrade, 4 MB RAM, an external 800 KB floppy, and a wicked fast, rock solid Microtech hard drive with a 40 MB Quantum mechanism (well, it was wicked fast when I bought it) – from its third owner. I even have a genuine Apple carrying case: black with a stitched Apple logo. Except for the drive being dead, everything works just fine.

For fun, I’ve obtained a Portable, a IIfx, Centris 660av, and lots of other vintage Macs and started a personal collection, the Low End Mac Computer Museum (donations gladly accepted).

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