New Uses for Old Macs

apple-mac-support-hampshire68k Macs have minuscule Hard Drives, limited ram and move with tortoise like speed. My Performa 580 is no exception. Despite a Hard Drive upgrade from 500k to 6 gigs, maximizing ram from 4 megabytes to 16 megabytes it’s still slow, but it works.

We took it off our home network about six months ago, forcing it into a miserable retirement in the basement. I decided to rescue it.

My plan for the Performa was to use it to display photos. JPGview was the obvious choice of software for the task and I had several CD’s of archived photos to choose from. Setting up the Mac was no problem.

The mouse had some issues and even after spending fifteen minutes cleaning the crud off its rollers it still wouldn’t work properly.

I was ready to give up all hope of having a mouse and was trying to navigate the desktop with the keyboard when my son came home from school. “Give this a try” he said showing me an ancient CH gamepad. It’s not as precise as a mouse but its better than not having a mouse.

After a lot of whirring and clicking I came to the conclusion that either my archived photo CD’s were kaput or there was something wrong with the Performa’s CD drive. It didn’t take long to determine the fault lay with the CD’s they were burnt on the eMac at maximum speed, way to fast for the archaic Performa’s two speed CD drive.

Emailing the photos to the Performa was out of the question. Networking was going to have be the solution.

I spent some time fiddling with the crossover Ethernet cable, which had a few loose wires, before remembering I had a router and regular cables. It was an easy matter to connect the Performa to the aging ibook, set the ibook to connect via Ethernet instead of airport and set the Performa to share its Hard Drive. Almost instantly I could see it on my ibooks desktop.

I had to disconnect the network and change the ibooks settings back to airport so I could get some photos out of iPhoto on the eMac. Then I changed all the settings back again so I could transfer the photos to the Performa.

Finally I had everything I needed to realize my wish, displaying photos on my old 68k mac. I pressed the play button in JPGview. The first picture looked great so did the second and the third. I began to notice the pictures were taking a long time to draw and the colors were becoming muddy, almost black and white despite the Performas ability to display thousands of colors. I soon suspected huge file sizes and only sixteen megs of Ram to be the problem.

I toyed with the idea of loading the pictures intro Photoshop and using the record and batch processing features to automate cutting the photos down to a smaller, more manageable size. Nah, too much work.

In the end I loaded the Performa with my recipe data base and a program called Gourmac which runs in FileMaker Pro. It is easy to add a new recipe, the programs small footprint makes it fast and the screens ability to display thousands of colors make it pretty to look at. I have a quandary.

If I move the kitchenAid mixer, the knife rack and the assorted jars of gourmet vinegars and oils the Performa would fit nicely in the corner, between the stove and the sink, leaving enough counter space to work in. I could throw the knives in a drawer, banish the oils and vinegars to the pantry and put the kitchenAid? However, I like having all that stuff conveniently on the counter

In my next house I going to design the kitchen with the Performa in mind, because I want to be first on the block with a unique, vintage, Mac recipe file.

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