Recycled Computing

PowerBook a Perfect Cabin Computer

- 2011.09.01

My uncle owns a cabin on a local lake. It is a traditional NewHampshire cabin, in that it was built by the property owner as asupplement to the boathouse. It's not like some monstrous structurebuilt by some rich flatlanders who made their money in the savings andloans scandal.

You reach this cabin on a dirt track laid down by the nativeAmericans before there were four-wheel drive SUVs. My uncle has a phoneline and electricity, but the septic system is dodgy, and calling thecabin rustic is, well, complimentary.

When I went over to visit the other day, my uncle had scored a12" PowerBook G4 laptop.

I know - the twin of my G4, only in better shape, because it wentnowhere near an athletic department. Apparently, someone at the IvyLeague college that my uncle retired from found this old PowerBook andgave it to him. It has a 512 MB memory card in addition to the 128 MBon the logic board (640 MB total) and a CD drive instead of a DVDdrive.

12-inch PowerBook G4My uncle has a dial-upconnection at the cabin, but the PowerBook was having some trouble withthe browser. As the family's Apple fanboy, I was only too happy to popthe hood and take a look inside.

Well, you don't see MicrosoftInternet Explorer for Mac any more (you can download a copy ofversion 5.1.7 here) andthe PowerBook was running OS X 10.2.3 (I believe that wasthe "Hello Kitty" version of OS X). For some reason, every time welaunched Internet Explorer or the Mail program, an error message fromInternet Connect claiming that it could not open the communicationdevice. Whatever.

I took the PowerBook home and hooked it up to my wireless network -cool, the Wireless Extreme card worked! But Internet Connect continuedit's funky error message. So I bit the bullet and installed OS X 10.4 Tiger and then TenFourFox. As Jim Nabors used tosay, "Surprise! Surprise! Surprise!" The browser launched without anymessages, and I was on the Internet, browsing over to Low End Mac'shomepage.

All my uncle intends to do is use this old Mac to get his email andbrowse the Internet. G4 computers don't really have much value tocomputer thieves (what do they know!), so he can safely leave it thereall year round. Another computer recycled to serve usefully in our newdigital future.

I realize that I am a PPC Luddite to many, someone who will just notmove forward in the day of Intel and Apple chips and solid statedrives, but in this situation, it is a good fit. Using a G4 processor(like I do) as a main work computer is pressing your luck, but sincethe price was free, there are some advantages. I might as well enjoy itas long as I can. LEM

Join us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter or Google+, or subscribe to our RSS news feed

Today's Links

Recent Content

About LEM Support Usage Privacy Contact

Follow Low End Mac on Twitter
Join Low End Mac on Facebook

Favorite Sites

Cult of Mac
Shrine of Apple
The Mac Observer
Accelerate Your Mac
The Vintage Mac Museum
Deal Brothers
Mac Driver Museum
JAG's House
System 6 Heaven
System 7 Today
the pickle's Low-End Mac FAQ

The iTunes Store
PC Connection Express
Macgo Blu-ray Player
Parallels Desktop for Mac

Low End Mac's store


Open Link