The Legacy Corner
Welcome to The Legacy Corner. Each month the terrific staff at ATPM brings you the latest in Mac software and hardware news and reviews, the newest goings-on at Apple, and opinions on what would make us better computer users—and better people. With millions of people around the world still using older Macs on a daily basis, I thought we might need a place to host discussions and information about older Mac models and the software to help them run their best. Since I am the oldest member—by quite a margin—of the ATPM staff, who better to write about older Macs?
I have been using a Mac since the earliest days of System 7 when I purchased a Mac LC. Currently my wife and I have up and running an LC 575, a Twentieth Anniversary Mac, and my workhorse Power Computing PowerCenter Pro 210, so I feel that I’m a little qualified to speak on behalf of those who find that Legacy Macs still suit their needs. If I don’t have an answer to your question, I’m sure one of the other members of the staff can help. What I would like to accomplish is to provide a forum for help with older models, software and hardware upgrades, and a look into the life of those of you who still use older Macs on a daily basis.
If you have a special relationship with an older Mac, need help with a problem you are having with software or hardware, know a special tip or trick that might help others get the most out of an older Mac, or just want to let me know how you use your Mac, please e-mail me at email@example.com and I’ll use the best questions, hints, tricks, and stories in future columns. I originally planned to limit this column to pre-G3 computers, but I might be convinced to include Beige G3 info, since they are the last Macs with a stock floppy drive and external SCSI port. We can also include Macs upgraded to G3s. Let me know what you think.
I would also like to have a little fun with this, so every month we will feature a few Legacy Mac trivia questions. If the response from you is good, we can even offer prizes for future trivia contests. Here are a couple of trivia questions to start you off—the answers are at the end of the column.
- Which model was the first shipping Mac that came with an internal cooling fan?
- Which model was the first to come with an “ignition” key?
- What does the “SE” in the Mac SE stand for?
I would also like to provide links to good Web sites that promote older Mac use and help. Here are a few to get started; if you know of a good site please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll post it in a future column.
For info on almost any Apple Macintosh model made, try Apple Specs On-Line or EveryMac.com.
For specific info on only older models, a very good source is LowEnd Mac. Before you load that older version of software, you might want to check out our very own ATPM Reviews to see what we thought of it when it came out. You can also search the ATPM archives for hardware reviews.
Here Are a Few Tips
- With most RAM prices very low at the time I write this, you should max out your Mac. Although a lot of the 68K RAM is still kind of pricey, you might check out some of our sponsors or one of the many auction sites to see if you can pick up a bargain. There is no other single upgrade that will provide as much improvement as more physical RAM. If you do deal with an auction site, make sure you check out the seller’s feedback rating to ensure a smooth transaction.
If your Mac is more than two or three years old, you should consider replacing the PRAM battery. All kinds of strange things can happen if the PRAM battery dies, and on most Macs it can be easily replaced. Try one of our fine sponsors for a new battery. If you can’t, or don’t want to replace it yourself, it shouldn’t be too hard to find someone to do it. Investigate a local Mac user group. They are not only fun to join, but are usually well populated with experienced, helpful Mac owners. They’ll be happy to help you install a new battery or upgrade your RAM.
That’s it for this month. Please e-mail me at email@example.com if you have any ideas for future columns, or just want to talk about your legacy Mac and how you use it. I would really like to hear from the guy who fit the G3 in an SE case!
- The SE, in 1987.
- The Quadra 900. You actually turned it on by turning a key! It was also the first Mac to come in a tower case!
- “System Expansion” because of its PDS slot.
Also in This Series
- Picking the Optimal OS for Your Mac—Part 2 · October 2003
- Picking the Optimal OS for Your Mac · September 2003
- Bluetooth & 68K Browsers · January 2003
- Where to Get Free and Inexpensive Software for Legacy Macs · November 2002
- The Legacy Corner · June 2002
- The Legacy Corner · May 2002
- The Legacy Corner · April 2002
- The Legacy Corner · September 2001
- The Legacy Corner · August 2001
- Complete Archive
Reader Comments (10)
Wow. An ImageWriter-II on a Quadra 800/950. I have not seen that combination of old and 'new'.
Is the ImageWriter-II file in the System folder or in the Extensions folder inside the System folder? It must be inside the Extensions folder or the Chooser will not be able to find it.
All Apple brand computers (not the kits, the fully assembled computers), including the Macintosh (and the Lisa, and the Apple ][, and the Apple /// - but not the Apple -"One" KIT) all use "switching" power supplies. Try replacing the fuse first (if there is a fuse holder). If that does not work, try to find a new power supply. There are many places on the internet that sell parts and/or complete machines pretty cheap. I have seen many Macs selling for $10 to $50 (+S&H). Do not try to replace a transformer inside the power supply on a Macintosh - no user servicable parts inside.
Avoid the Pizza Box Macs! And avoid all LC, Performa, and Centris Macs. They are endless headaches. They came with undocumented software (no manuals), they required their own personal Boot CD (they would refuse to boot from a 'normal' MacOS Boot CD), they had many 'special' problems specific to each individual model, and there were many different models of Performa and Centris. They were much cheaper than the other Macintosh computers, so lots of people bought them, but there is no need to buy them now that much better and more reliable machines cost about $50.
I believe the problem David mentioned about not turning on the video output unless the battery still had some juice in it was a common Centris problem.
Some (all?) of the Quadra cases are hard to open and close, but otherwise they are great machines. I have a Quadra 800 (with an APPLE brand PowerPC [G1 - PPC 601] processor upgrade card). Very hard to open and close, but I rarely need to.
Is there a site I can down load it from?
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