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what to do with those mac classics?

We
have two old Macintosh Classics in perfect condition : one is the
first Mac-computer I bought back then and the other is one i adopted
when the mathematics department moved from UIA to our present place and
the secretary wanted to throw it away. But what can we do with them???
Well there seems to be a lot of potential : for instance you can turn
them into a linux-box of sorts, or you can get them to access the internet, some even claim they can be
turned into a webserver. And I think I once saw a page telling
how one could run OS X on a MacClassic (in fact really using it as an
external terminal to a working iMac) but I can\’t find the URL right
now. To me all this seems to be a bit pathetic, why use these nice
little boxes for something they can hardly handle and for which we do
have better equipmet around? So, what shall we do with those two
boxes?

Why not just do the things we used to do with
them back then : playing games (who did not play lemmings on a Classic?
or gnuChess), HyperCard applications, I even wrote a fair number of
TeX-files on a Classic. But as they have a harddisk of only 80Mb we have
to make choices, or dont we? Well, not really as I still have an old
SCSI 2Gig harddrive laying around (at the time 2 gigabytes seemed to be
an enormous amount of space and admit it, compared to 80Mb it is
enormous). So here is the plan : connect these two Classics via a
SCSI-cable to the externed 2 GB harddisk and load the disk with all
interesting stuff one can still find for 68k Macs.

Luckily there is a marvelous place for all these programs on the
web : the UMICH Archive! I will download whatever I find
interesting via normal means (that is an ordinary iMac) and dump it onto
the external HD so we can use the two Classic-boxes mainly to play games
(and there is a huge number of them on the archive). If you have better
uses for them, please let me know…

Some interesting URLs for low-end Macs :
– The
pure-mac Olden section
– Jag\’s house where older macs still
rock

– The Kids domain Black and White Mac Shareware page
and
all links contained in them.

(Added january 6th) I
found the URL for turning a MacClassic into an extra terminal Controlling Mac OS X With A Mac Plus (or other Classic
Mac)

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iHome – a long way to go

Our
situation at home is not that atypical : 2 adults and 2 children, each
having their own (Mac) computer but living in a relatively old house
(end ’50ties) with all electricity recently redone but without any
ethernet-cables. Fortunately for Macintosh users there is for years the
wireless Airport network and that is how we can connect to the net all
at the same time : a first generation Airport basestation
(graphite) connected via a router to the cablemodem together with
Airport cards in most computers. But surely we should be able to get
more out of this network than that, (or can’t we?) and that will be one
of my main projects this year, to see just how far one can stretch it
with minimal investments and using OS 10.3 (Panther) and open
source software.

Surely, a major reason for our poor
use of possibilities is ignorance. Up till recently this was the way one
would go about to get a file printed (we only have one USB-printer
connected to the eMac in the living room) : take a Sony-memory stick
(called the lipstick here) and get the file on it, go to the
living room, start-up the eMac, tansfer the file via the stick to your
homedirectory and print it… Only recently I found the obvious bypass
to select ‘printer-sharing’ (in System Preferences/Sharing) on
the eMac so that one can print directly from any computer provided the
eMac and the printer are both turned on.

Can one do better? Yes, one can provided one is willing to buy a
new Airport Extreme basestation which has a USB-port. Connecting
the USB-printer directly to the basestation, the printer becomes a
network-printer of sorts. As the eMac and a recent G4iBook needed
already an Airport extreme-card I bought a new station hoping to recycle
the old graphite-basestation as a wireless bridge which can be used to
extend the range of the basestation (again in the living room) so that
the full garden gets covered (which may come in handy this summer) and
Apple-documentation certainly gave the impression that this might be
possible. However, Airport-extreme stations (third generation) and
graphite Airport stations (first generation) seem not to be that
compatible. In fact, it is impossible to connect them either wireless
(which should be the only choice given our house) or via roaming.
So whereas I upgraded the network substantially (at least in principle
for as long as there are still (normal)Airport-card computers using it
one cannot make use of the increased dataspeed nor of the increased
security) at the cost of a perfectly working basestation for which I
have no immediate use (maybe I found a way out but I’ll check it out
first).

So, there is a lot of work to be done this
year and much to my surprise there doesnt seem to be a good book about
this type of problem (so what do other people do with their networks
???) so maybe there is a point in blogging my (slow) progress
here.

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a blogging 2004


As it is probably better to run years behind than to stand
eternally still, I’ll try out how much of a _blogger_ I am in 2004. If
you want to read more about blogging, Rebecca’s
pocket
is a good place to
start. She has written an essay on the early days of the
weblog
, an
article on weblog ethics and a couple of (pretty obvious)
tips for a better
weblog.

But let us not talk about ‘better’ or ‘ethical’ at this
moment, I’m just starting out. Give me a couple of weeks/months to
develop my own style and topics and I’ll change the layout accordingly.
For now, I’ve taken the free blog-tool
pMachine which uses only PHP and MySQL on
the server-side so I should be able to get the layout suited to my own
mood shortly. A major advantage of a weblog over a homepage is that you
can feed it to programs called _news aggregators_ by subscribing. The
program can then be tuned so that it ventures out on the net at regular
intervals checking whether any of the blogs it is subscribed to has new
material and reports back with the running title and opening lines. If
more people would turn their homepages into weblogs, the frustrating job
of checking (usually in vain) whether their pages has been updated could
be left to the aggregator. For now, I’m using Rancheros’s
NetNewsWire
as my Mac OSX news
aggregator. Okay, now it is time to make some final preparations for
endyear, but tomorrow I’ll wake up to become a _blogger_…

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