The Practical Mac

Writing for Low End Mac Is a Great Way to Share New Discoveries About Old Macs

- 2012.04.06 - Tip Jar

Mac OS X Public Beta
Mac OS X Public Beta

I first discovered Low End Mac LEM) in late 2000 when I was trying to figure out how to get the Mac OS X Public Beta installed on a stock PowerPC (PPC) 604e Power Mac 8500 at work and a G3-upgraded Power Mac 7500 at home. I somehow managed to get the Public Beta installed on my 8500 at work (although I have long since forgotten how) without benefit of any on-point references, and I wrote a "how to" article about it. I submitted the article to Low End Mac but did not hear back, due to the fact I had messed up typing the email address. So I sent it to another website who published it and had it highlighted on their home page for weeks.

After discovering the mistake I had made in the email address, I did get in contact with Dan Knight, Low End Mac's publisher, and we decided I would start writing a regular weekly column. My first column, The Mac as a Business Solution, ran on September 4, 2001 and the second, Some Mindless Entertainment, went live the fateful morning of September 11, 2001.

I continued the regular weekly columns until the Spring of 2003, when the events of Sept. 11 finally resulted in me being called up to active duty in my capacity as an Army Reserve lawyer. I was sent to Kosovo for 8 months. Since that time, I have continued to write for LEM, though at a reduced pace, averaging a column every 6-8 weeks or so.

WallStreet PowerBook G3
WallStreet PowerBook G3

Like Dan Bashur, I am also in a sort of technology renaissance right now. When OS X 10.7 Lion left PPC apps behind because of its inexplicable omission of Rosetta, I realized I had no interest in purchasing expensive upgrades of several PPC apps just so they would run on my MacBook Pro under Lion. Instead I purchased a few older G3 PowerBooks (one each - WallStreet II, Lombard, and Pismo - at a total cost below $100) to try out. I will be keeping one of them as my permanent OS X 10.4 Tiger/PPC/Classic machine and will run these apps on it.

LEM is essential reading for anyone concerned with getting the most value out of their Macs. A Mac's useful life far exceeds the arbitrary support cutoff points established by Apple. For instance, Apple prevented installation of OS X on the WallStreet II/PDQ PowerBooks after 10.2 Jaguar, so installation of neither 10.3 Panther nor 10.4 Tiger was supported by Apple, despite that PowerBook's technical ability to run either OS. However, I recently got 10.4 installed on my WallStreet, and it runs just fine. In fact, that will be the subject of another column very shortly. 10.3 Panther also installs and runs just as well.

This is the perfect case in point of the value that LEM stands for: Through the helpful articles and tutorials on Low End Mac, the useful life of this PowerBook was extended almost four years beyond the point where Apple decreed it obsolete. With the prices of PowerBooks in those days, that is easily $2,000+ that would have been saved by delaying the purchase of a new PowerBook. LEM

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Steve Watkins is the Vice President for Information Technology for a mid-sized bank, an attorney, and an Army Reserve JAG on extended active duty. He has been a Mac user for about 12 years. He has owned some PCs along the way - but always came back to the Mac. If you find his articles helpful, please consider making a donation to his tip jar.

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