Macs are very interesting machines. They come with their own army and cult. (1999) Net resources are available from the deep to the bleeding edge. Macs are cool. Apple is alive. Steve Jobs rocks. Attitude available without request. Latest news gets better. Cool things are being made with Macs.

2006 - Mac Mini (Early 2006)

(2007) Another Refurb, at the time of purchase, it was the top of the previous line up, so it's go the 80GB HD and the 1.6GHz Code Duo processor. This was always intended to be a home theater machine (an HTPC) and with the addition of a few goodies, it's started to become that. Some of the items added as A Miglia TVMax, an Elgato EyeTV Hybrid, a 300GB external hard drive in a Mac mini-matching enclosure, a RadioShark and network connections to the TiVos. Software includes the TiVo Desktop Preference Pane, TiVo Download Manager, Tivoizer, EyeTV 2.x, and xHub. It's not the perfect solution yet, but it's getting there.

2006 - Amy's MacBook Pro (15-inch 1.65/1.5GHz)

(2007) Amy got this the first month it was available. This was our first Intel-based Mac and because Classic wasn't supported, Amy had to give up a lot of programs she was used to. The transition was made, but upgraded versions of Photoshop and other apps were needed. The MBP looks very similar to the PBG4, but the trackpad is wider.

2005 - PowerBook G4 (15-inch 1.65/1.5GHz)

(2007) The iBook was retired and given to a friend working his way through college. I picked up a PowerBook G4, which turned out to be the next-to-last revision of the G4. This particular model has a great screen and a solid workhorse. While I was at Hot Pepper it was my main work machine as well as being my personal Mac. This had a lot of advantages as I could keep lots of things organized in my schedule, do various little things (like host development versions of sites) and always have access to work and personal mail and info and projects.

2004 - Wireless Music (Airport Express / Wi-Fi / 802.11g)

 (2004) Amy bought us a new addition for our network, an Airport Express. (First generation to be sure). This thing really is the swiss army knife of networking devices: wireless repeater, printer-sharing hub, wireless base station, and iTunes "AirTunes" receiver. To start with, it will only play the role of glorified stereo component, but it does mean that I'll need to get a WiFi PCI card for the B&W G3, since I still want to use the G3 as a music server, but I don't want to run an ethernet cable across the living room for this. Eventually I'll need to replace the old "Graphite" base station, and when that happens I'll probably get an Airport Base Station that can take advantage of the WDS network extension capabilities. I doubt I'll ever taking advantage of the printer sharing capabilities until some one comes out with a printer that looks good on a stack of stereo equipment.

2002 - iBook (Dual USB)

My White iBook (2002) I used the money from my PSU classes to buy an iBook. It's my first laptop. It's my first Mac OS X machine. It's my first AirPort-enabled machine. It's my first machine where the default browser is Mozilla. It's a great machine. I chose it for a number of reasons, but in particualr for the size. This 12.1 inch diagonal screen is small, but it also has a great pixel density: 106 ppi. It's one of the highest on the market and really makes OS X shine.

I am concerned about its lack of upgradability. Sure it has FireWire and USB which will support lots of stuff, but it would be nice if I could get the video card upgraded (It's stuck at 8megs) and the ceiling for the RAM is 640MB, which I have already maxed out. I will at some point upgrade the hard drive from 15 GB to a faster and larger drive which will also help the system's overall speed. I do wish I had a PC Card slot, but I can work around most of that.

One thing I'm waiting for is for Bluetooth to be more ubiquitous. I would love to not have to constantly plug and unplug my mouse and keyboard. And I don't want to keep buying receivers for wireless mice and keyboards that are incompatible.

(2004) I bought a very cheap Bluetooth dongle that plugs into a USB port. So far I've only used it to connect to other people's BT enabled devices. A certain mouse from MacMice might be in my future.

2001 - Amy's Powerbook G4 (Titanium)

(2001) Titanium Amy got a PowerBook G4 Titanium in April of 2001. She's named it Ti Ti and she seems pretty happy with it, though some more memory wouldn't hurt. An additional 256 MB of RAM is only running about $60. Amy also got an optical Logitech Wheel Mouse and the USB Compact Flash card reader that came with her 32 MB CF card that she got for her Canon PowerShot 100.

As a Chistmas present one year I got her a set of really nice Harman Kardon speakers. Since then she's started using the Powerbook in more mobile ways, away from her desk. I think the speakers will eventually migrate to the G3 once it becomes an MP3 server. [Amy says "uh.. no."]

2000 - Wireless Network (Airport / Wi-Fi / 802.11b)

 (2000) I went out and bought an AirPort Base Station just for the Modem/NAT/DHCP stuff. At the time it was one of the few pieces of equipment out there that would let people share a modem. At our apartment we were constantly trying to work out who would be on the phone line. Having the shared modem of the AirPort was a relationship saver. The wireless connectivity was simply a bonus for us.

Getting the AirPort started our road to actual networking. In order share the AirPort's modem, we needed both machines to connect to it via Ethernet. My G3 had it onboard, and we got the 6400 an Ethernet card. Sometime we'll get a shared DSL or cable modem into our living arangement.

(2001) Later on we got the PBG4 and an AirPort card. I'm also looking into Range Extenders and perhaps providing a public access point for a local wireless networking co-op. We also got DSL via Qwest. Bringing in the DSL connection to replace our modem connection was a piece of cake. It also validated my idea of the AirPort being the perfect stepping stone from our POTS modem line to our DSL connectivity.

(2006) Purchased a refurbished Airport Extreme Base Station simply for the speed increase. The old one still works, but the higher speed was necessary as we began to grow the home entertainment uses of the network.

1999 - Blue and White G3 -

 I have a Power Macintosh G3 (Blue and White). It's got a 400 MHz PowerPC 750L which uses copper-based technology, rather than older aluminum-based technology. I've got two 256MB DIMM RAM modules plus the original 128 that came with it for a total of 640MB, leaving only one of the 4 slots I have available. I could drop as much as a gigabyte of RAM into this machine. I can't imagine upgrading too much stuff at this point though, except for system software. I finally installed Mac OS 9.1, quickly followed by 9.2 and 9.2.2. These have not been the best upgrades. I might drop back to 9.1.

 Some additions would be nice though. Like an extra drive to install LinuxPPC on.

I'm lucky that the G3 has an ADB port so I can continue to use my older peripherals from my Centris 610, rather than suffer through the puck mouse and cramped keyboard that Apple shipped with the G3. I've added an ADB splitter piece that allows me to use my ADB keyboard, mouse and my old Wacom tablet at once.

TidBits is the best Mac Newsletter. Subscribe today. In the mean time, I've got plenty of reading material to look through, including lots of Tech Info reports.

(2002) The next step for the G3 is as an MP3 server to sit next to our stereo. I want to get a second hard drive in it still. Once I do, I'll put OS X on it and get it all set up right.

(2003) Yep. From OS 9 to OS X 10.3. Still kickin' it up. And in 2004 I dropped in a 60 gb hard drive.

(2007) Given to my parents to work with so they could get used to a Mac and see if they want to go that way. "No Mom, you don't need to purchase Norton Anti-virus for this. There are no viruses for the Mac yet."

1998 - Power Macintosh 6400

 Amy had a Power Macintosh 6400 (more notes) that we've taken to OS 8.6 and now the machine is stable but pretty slow. So we tried throwing in a 64 MB DIMM. (The 6400's can't take 128MB DIMMs, unfortunately.) It brought the system to 104 MB (8 on board + 64 + 32) but the machine is still pretty slow. We added a USB Port PCI card. There's also a CommSlot II Ethernet card (Apple Ethernet CS II Twisted Pair: Service Good #: 661-1171, Finished Good #: M4772ZM/A) that we picked up for about $20. It's soon to be deployed as the Print server for our growing network, or, if we have a static IP address, as a web server. (2004) Quiet, but waiting for a use. (2007) Still waiting.

1993 - Centris 610

 My old Centris 610 was the first mac I bought, when I was in college. I remember buying the monitor first: a Radius 21-inch greyscale that supported the Centris, right out of the box. Why greyscale? Because it only cost $1100 rather than the $3000 of a color screen. It was on Bob Loeser's recommendation that I hold off on the machine itself until the following generation came out. This was around August or October. Once the 'Quadra 610' came out, I was able to get the older Centris model at a discount. I used that Centris for 5 years, upgrading very little except the RAM and the Video RAM.

I did finally get an original Apple Extended Keyboard II to replace the very PC-like keyboard that I originally bought. Up until this time, I had always used my brother's PC, so my tastes in keyboards and keyboard layouts kept me on that path for quite a while. But I switched to the AEK2 once I had one full time at work (I think that was at Creative Multimedia.)

Of Keyboards and Mice

 (1999) I have yet to find a keyboard that I like better than the original Apple Extended Keyboard II. There's no USB equivelent to the feel and the placement of the keys. The same can be said for the very solid Apple Desktop Bus Mouse II which has great balance and good aural and physical click. (2000) I finally let loose and picked up the Intellimouse Optical which has 4 buttons in addition to the scrollwheel and the optical sensor. It would be nice to update the Wacom tablet as well, but it works just fine as it is. (2002) Next on the mouse front came the Logitech Cordless Optical Mouse, who's only draw back is the receiver which is too unweildy for me to want to take with my laptop, so it stays in one place. I'm waiting for the keyboards and mice to go Bluetooth with a nice small USB dongle or on-the-motherboard support.

(2003) I got my employer to spring for a Logitech Cordless Comfort Duo. That keyboard rocks. Its my new favorite.

(2007) Apple's tiny Bluetooth keyboard which is thin and light becomes a great addition for the Mac Mini.

Other Miscellaneous

(1999) For both of us, it would be nice to get a good set of Uninteruptable Power Supplies to regulate the power fluxuations that we seems to see a lot of around here. (2002) Now that we're both on laptops, this wouldn't be for our work machines, but more for the machines that I want to set up as servers: The G3 as MP3 server for the stereo and the 6400 as Web server.

There's a Mac SE that Eric gave to me just before moving to New York. I want to convert it into an aquarium along with the shell of an iMac that I picked up for free at the local CompUSA.


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