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Green uses for older Macs

With a garage full (about 50) old macs, from CIs & CXs to LCs and Beige G3s, there just has to be some uses for all these old computers. Things like house monitoring, watering the lawn, security, temperature control. I know a lot of this would be dependent on software, but what's available? There's nothing wrong with my Mac+ 4MB, I just need to be able to put all these wonderfully built machines to use. What do you do with yours? Desktops and laptops?

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Hi Richard. Here is a article about the kind of use you have in mind I think. Ralph http://www.macworld.com/article/46576/20...

by rj713

Also here is a site I frequent often whose purpose is to keep old Macs going. Ralph http://lowendmac.com/

by rj713

Ralph, That's the kind of thing I was looking for. I can't count how many Macs I've given away. Trouble is they all want full internet now and get disappointed when the old machines won't do it. Give a machine to a lot of places and you just set yourself up for 4-5 free service calls because if it's free they'll call you every time they forget a keyboard command instead of reading the manual. There's a lot to be said for anonymous giving, leave it on the door step and run.

by mayer

That's the way I give them to the kids--I give them to the teacher to pass on to the child. Ralph

by rj713

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Hi Richard--What I usually do is refurbish them and find appropiate OS and browsers for them and one of the free word processors. I then download the users manual and give them to kids who can't afford them. I used to do this with windows machines but it got to expensive buying the OS's from Microsoft and I find the older Mac OS's very reasonable. I don't want to start kids out as pirates so every computer go with the software that's loaded on it. I'll be passing on a nice Pismo with 512 MB memory and a 40 GB drive with Panther this week to an 8 yr old. On occasion I pass on some old crt iMacs to a local home for unwed mothers to be used in training them for employment. I find the biggest problem just now with the older machines is finding usable browsers.

As a hobby I feel its a useful way to spend my time a give back a little. Sorry to be so long winded but this is a subject that's important to me--anyway its an answer to your question. Ralph

+ on the question. Ralph

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ever tried a simple linux distributtion on those computers ? kid's like them, i used mostly ubuntu, simple design and free software all around the os situation here is slightly different than in the usa - osx is very expensive - a used leopard setup dvd can cost +100$, tiger goes sometimes in the same price range - windows xp cost sometimes around 20-30$ - and ubuntu is free ;-)

by markus weiher

It may come to that Markus. Its getting more and more difficult to find a useable browser for the OS's that I can afford to give away--usually OS 10.2 or 10.3. I want the kids to be able to go online and do research and that calls for a fairly modern browser. I have several copies of ubuntu on hand and have tried installing on Macs with limited results. I may have to go back to Windows machines for satisfactory results. Ralph

by rj713

thanks ralph + I'll respond after I have some more input

by mayer

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95% of what most people use a computer for hasn't changed since the TRS-80 first hit the market. Folks want word processing, spreadsheets, and a fun game or two. Your older machines can still do all of this.

Additionally, you can give them to high school science clubs, electronics classes, or even art classes. Those machines make great teaching tools when kids are allowed to do tear-downs and such. As a kid I used to tear apart anything and everything I could get my hands on. Doing so gave me a real passion for tinkering.

Hope this helps,

Jessica

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thanks jessica, watch out or you might become a tech ;-)

by mayer

And btw - around here we say: "Quake runs on a toaster" ;-)

by remacberlin

berlin - I think that may have lost a lot in translation

by mayer

jessica, i did something like you and now i am a freelance tech on the side, it could happen to you

by Nick

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Here's a GREAT use for Apple IIs that I just ran across:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j622EyPX6...

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That's the kind of thing I'm looking for! bravo +

by mayer

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I work with a friend in his project, which is called "The More Than Tomorrow Project" and what we do is we fix old broken computers, usually install Windows XP, or Ubuntu onto the machines, and send them off to india where computers are scarse there. I think the best usage of old computers that we no longer have use for is to fix anything broken inside of it, and give it to people who need it. Also my friend gives to the local community by giving computers to some people who need it, teaching classes (which I helped to teach) to kids and adults on how to take apart and diagnose computers (and their problems).

So in the end, if I were you, I would see if there was an organization near you that does the same, or if you are in the NYC area, you can donate it to him.

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thanks Gabe + I'll respond after I have some more input

by mayer

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We sometimes refurbish windows boxes (linux too) and give to a school for autistic kids. Mostly we get the machines from a local company that uses them to render animations. When they frie a graphic card or a power supply they don't bother repairing them so they give them to us.

OK, slightly off topic, but there are a lot of uses for older computers.

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thanks +

by mayer

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Well, you could make teardowns, and repair guides on them. I have an Old Macintosh IIsi, as well as a LC II, and LC III that I am currently making repair guides for.

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thanks Chris +

by mayer

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What you can do is keep them around for good spare computers. I've been known to do this with Core 2 Duo machines myself. Another thing you can try to do is donate them to people who can use them, or even schools. Some schools can't afford Intel Macs, so they use old PPC Macs. Maybe even repair guides, since nobody will source these out and you have some. Or better yet, use them to gain experience. Not many people know older equipment well, and they could give you a marketing advantage. Refurbishing them may be a good use, too.

What I'd do is keep them for spares and for old OS X apps. Nobody really wants PPC gear anymore, so they're hard to sell.

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thanks nick +

by mayer

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Definitely Puppy Linux, Bruno 2

The operating system AND apps all fit in under 512Mb.

Obviously that means they run fast (lean coding)

It can be run from CDROM(can load entirely into RAM for super speed), HD, or USB drive.

This Bruno version seems to find everything i've thrown at it. I use the USB Puppy Linux Bruno 2 stick as a Rescue tool to retrieve data from botched Winblows systems for friends. Awesome.

For up to date FireFox and most office functions with full codecs for music, cameras, phones, video etc, ready to run in such a small download, Ya gotta try it. ;-)

The newer Puppy Lucid is Ubuntu based for compatibility.

Ubuntu has done WONDERS for making Linux GUI accessible.

And the Mint project has made Ubuntu EASY!!- Great Job Folks!

Enjoy!

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Brian where does this fit in with the question?

by oldturkey03

it fits in kind of way, using old computers in general. if it isn't only about apples from the garage. i have a lot of old PCs i am going to give away to my local school... so this reply makes it easier for me to decide what to use as operating system on those...

by palokiller

My VAIO i am using now has Ubuntu 10.10 on it and runs smooth

by Nick

Dear Oldturkey03, If an old laptop or PC can run Unbuntu as in the replies above, it can run Puppy Linux. Puppy linux gives its user up to date Brpwser/Internet compatibility along with all modern formats and media especially when OpenOffice is added. These can run on old machines MUCH faster because of the very lean coding the Puppy engineers employ. Most often, I hear "old" described as running slow or can no longer run a modern OS without bogging down. (or worse; just virus ridden) Puppy Linux is effectively virus immune, inherently fast, and extremely small, and totally free. I don't work for the project (i WISH I were that good!), just a user-fan. Sincerely, for old hardware in a new WEB, its the best, easiest distro I've come across (over 12 distros tried) Brian

by Brian

Brian I am not saying you are wrong. So the green use would be to run a much leaner OS and donate it to local charities.

by oldturkey03

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mayer will be eternally grateful.

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