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Author Topic: Looking for advice, tips, wisdom: Adding my 1st Mac into the [tech] family...  (Read 10881 times)
wreckedcarzz
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« on: June 10, 2011, 01:08:45 PM »

I am really amazed I am not typing this due to being held at gunpoint: Last night I purchased a used, factory restored, and seemingly well taken care of iBook G4. ohmy <insert *gasp* and long pause here>

From what I can tell, I got a good deal on it, and I also know my way around OSX (it is running Tiger) for basic use. The problem arises here: I have an extremely limited idea how OSX's back end works for things like application removal, system tweaking (beyond the System Preferences), and what to do when crap hits the fan. It did not come with installation DVDs, but I could easily find those online if problems occured (OSX is cheap anyways if I had to go and purchase a copy, I don't know how Apple handles licensing... I would assume similar to Windows' Product Key system?). The main problem, however, lives in the fact that is is a PowerPC, not Intel, processor; hence all the updated applications are made for the Intel CPUs, because PPC has died (for good reason, from what I have heard).

So I turn to the only online community I actually have trust in smiley to see if I can learn a bit about what I have gotten myself into, and how I can make the most of this new machine. Specifically, I'm looking for things like

  • Applications that still are updated that run on PPC (I'm running a custom version of FF 3.6 with Flash 9 as it stands; I couldn't find an old version of Opera for PPC, and I also don't know how Opera Link would handle differing versions...)
  • Tweaks I can do to OSX (for any reason, security, visuals, speed, because-you-can, anything at all - I plan on tinkering and screwing it up many many times tongue)
  • Any information or tips or anything that will make using this iBook better (kind of goes with the above) or any general OSX information that could be helpful (I know my way around it, but haven't ever had free reign so my knowledge is limited)
  • What I can do when things don't work - login, startup, hard drive failure, any common issues that anyone has seen/experienced that I should look out for... anything helpful
  • Any suggestions where to go for parts if things break - I know Apple charges you a bazillion dollars for everything, and on my teenage budget, I can't afford that Grin

Thanks all smiley
-Brandon
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40hz
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2011, 02:09:00 PM »

Speaking as a former Apple service provider, strongly consider investing in an AppleCare Protection Plan contract. If anything breaks you'll be glad you have it. For many things, the only source for replacement parts is Apple itself. And they don't sell raw parts so you'll often need to go through one of their service centers to get something fixed. Without AppleCare, that's can be an expensive proposition.  tellme

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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2011, 02:23:14 PM »

 huh ...So... the the only way to avoid giving Apple more money...is to give Apple more money???  undecided ...Must be part of that new math I never learned.. O_o
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wraith808
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« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2011, 02:45:53 PM »

I was thinking that the first piece of advice would be... don't?
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Deozaan
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2011, 03:26:24 PM »

I was thinking that the first piece of advice would be... don't?
That's not just advice. That's also wisdom. Grin
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40hz
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2011, 03:30:25 PM »

Apple makes a fine machine. Yesterday's technology at tomorrow's prices AFAIC - but it presents itself nicely.

Truth be told, it does get the job done. At a cost. And if you want to run FinalCut Pro, GarageBand, or Logic Studio Pro, it's the only game in town.

For artsy or exotic apps, the Mac often shines. It's only when you try mainstream applications like browsers or office productivity programs that the blush comes off the rose and you realize how clunky OSX can be.

But that's the price you pay for "vision" and "insanely great."

However, if I had a spare $500 to play with I'd be more inclined to go for a B3 server from Excito. It's a truly cool and useful device. Does just about anything you'd want a home/media or small office server to do. And it's from Sweden - so it's automatically uber-cool.  Grin



« Last Edit: June 11, 2011, 05:10:36 PM by 40hz » Logged

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wreckedcarzz
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2011, 03:48:19 PM »

Is it still possible to get AppleCare Protection on a machine this old though? I bought it from the previous owner also- I thought you had to purchase it directly from Apple to qualify? huh
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2011, 04:04:37 PM »

I don't think you can buy Apple Care for a machine that old.
From my experience, you can only buy Apple Care for a machine if its warranty hasn't expired yet.
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wreckedcarzz
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2011, 04:39:24 PM »

I don't think you can buy Apple Care for a machine that old.
From my experience, you can only buy Apple Care for a machine if its warranty hasn't expired yet.

Okay. I'm planning on shooting up to the (somewhat) local Apple store this afternoon and asking them if they can run a quick check of the hardware. I've tested USB, audio-out, power/battery, and normal functionality (screen/keyboard/touchpad/wifi/etc), but I want reassurance that there isn't something amiss that I am overlooking. That, and to see if I can get Leopard to run on this (doubtful, but I figure it can't hurt to ask).
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2011, 05:00:09 PM »

I've seen a powerbook G4 running Tiger and it was very slugish, I suppose with Leopard it can only be worse tongue
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wreckedcarzz
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2011, 05:06:21 PM »

This isn't sluggish in the least for what I've been loading onto it thus far - custom Firefox build, Skype, Adium IM client, messing with the Dashboard widgets, iTunes and file syncing from other machines, etc. The only thing that has brought it to its knees (it went down like a sack of bricks) was Flash 10.x, and reverting to Flash 9 somewhat resolved it (Flash 8 fixed it completely but youtube looked worse than it does on my phone over a bad 3G connection, ughhhh).

EDIT: That, and 720p MP4 videos made Quicktime implode as well.
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jgpaiva
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2011, 05:27:08 PM »

Oh! That explains a lot, I remember the owner of the computer complaining a lot about flash, maybe the whole slugishness was related with that smiley
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justice
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« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2011, 05:51:14 PM »

Some misconceptions rectified here:
* Os versions get faster not slower on OSX in general. That said you won't be to run versions requiring intel.
* apple doesn't use any product key system. you are limited by the license but software wise there is no technical limitation that stops you from installing the 'OSX upgrade' as a full new install, or on as many systems as you can find. But family packs (5 license) are relatively cheap.
* get  a flash blocker to only run flash when you want in the browser.
* http://apple.stackexchange.com/ for questions to your answers.
* you could listen to good quality podcasts such as http://5by5.tv to keep up to date.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2011, 05:54:24 PM by justice » Logged

JavaJones
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« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2011, 05:53:16 PM »

While I unfortunately have no sage advice to offer, I'm just wondering why in the world you would buy a PowerPC Mac at this point. Sure it may be able to run some stuff for a little while, but its days are extremely numbered, even more so than WinXP. Apple is much more serious about its forced obsolescence.

- Oshyan
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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2011, 06:30:06 PM »

While I unfortunately have no sage advice to offer, I'm just wondering why in the world you would buy a PowerPC Mac at this point. Sure it may be able to run some stuff for a little while, but its days are extremely numbered, even more so than WinXP. Apple is much more serious about its forced obsolescence.

+1

Microsoft has always been about backwards compatibility, while Apple is always about getting you to abandon your current religious paraphernalia for newer baubles.

"You STILL have a black iPhone 4? You poor thing... It's out in WHITE now you know..." tongue
 
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« Reply #15 on: June 10, 2011, 09:35:36 PM »

Sad but true. I'm not at all opposed to bringing a Mac into the family for almost any reason, but if cost was a concern - as it seemed to have been here - I think there are better ways to get Mac-ified under budget without getting stuck with legacy. I guess there's not much point worrying about it now though as the purchase has been made and, being used, likely there's no return. Wink

- Oshyan
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« Reply #16 on: June 10, 2011, 09:43:20 PM »

Sad but true. I'm not at all opposed to bringing a Mac into the family for almost any reason, but if cost was a concern - as it seemed to have been here - I think there are better ways to get Mac-ified under budget without getting stuck with legacy. I guess there's not much point worrying about it now though as the purchase has been made and, being used, likely there's no return. Wink

I think WWDC is the official expiry date for all Apple products. After that, they're all legacy. smiley
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wreckedcarzz
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« Reply #17 on: June 11, 2011, 03:28:38 AM »

Justice: Thanks for the information! I'll check out the links in the morning, I've run myself down today and need to squeeze as much sleep as possible into the next few hours tongue

... why in the world you would buy a PowerPC Mac at this point...

Simply because I can't afford an Intel-based Mac, even used Minis are going for twice as much as what I paid, and I don't have *that* much disposable income (sadly). I'm just trying to jump into something new that I've been wanting to do for a few years now, and this is all I can afford at the moment.

I could return it, but I'm unaware of any Intel based Mac (desktop or notebook, new or used) for anywhere near the $140 I paid (and I can't go much higher than that, unfortunately). I dabbled a bit with Hackintosh a couple years back, but the huge amount of hardware that has to have custom drivers, the poor support for uncommon hardware brands, and seemingly random issues even with working builds, I ran from that shortly into the process. If there's something I'm not aware of though, I'm all ears!
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mahesh2k
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« Reply #18 on: June 11, 2011, 03:39:19 AM »

With 500 Bucks Apple Mini (with current OS and Applecare plan) is much better deal. But now that you have purchased it, play with it.
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Renegade
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« Reply #19 on: June 11, 2011, 03:51:20 AM »

Hey, for $140, you're set! Do what you can with it. Play with it. Make some money with it then splurge on the newest one~! cheesy
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40hz
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« Reply #20 on: June 11, 2011, 07:19:12 AM »

Hey, for $140, you're set! Do what you can with it. Play with it. Make some money with it then splurge on the newest one~! cheesy

That is one of the best pieces of advice I've ever seen given here.  Thmbsup

 Cool

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wreckedcarzz
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« Reply #21 on: June 11, 2011, 03:30:29 PM »

Hey, for $140, you're set! Do what you can with it. Play with it. Make some money with it then splurge on the newest one~! cheesy

That is one of the best pieces of advice I've ever seen given here.  Thmbsup

 Cool

I may just do that smiley
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #22 on: June 11, 2011, 04:00:21 PM »

If all you plan to use is out of date firefox, skype and avoid flash why not buy a new second hand Windows 7 laptop rather than an ancient used Mac?

I am really amazed I am not typing this due to being held at gunpoint: Last night I purchased a used, factory restored, and seemingly well taken care of iBook G4. ohmy <insert *gasp* and long pause here>

OK  ohmy ............................

Oh and what were you drinking last night?

Quote
What I can do when things don't work - login, startup, hard drive failure, any common issues that anyone has seen/experienced that I should look out for... anything helpful

The usual approach is to buy a new one - most Apple enthusiasts vehemently argue that this can never happen (mainly because they buy new kit every three months so it never has long enough to break down)

Quote
Any suggestions where to go for parts if things break - I know Apple charges you a bazillion dollars for everything, and on my teenage budget, I can't afford that Grin

Memory: Crucial
Hard Disk: Any HD manufacturer

both are standard bits of kit. Anything else you are stuffed.

Actually you are probably stuffed if you want to do much with faulty memory or hard disk as Apple laptops are notoriously difficult to take apart and probably require specialist tools.

Good luck - enjoy your new toy  Grin
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wreckedcarzz
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« Reply #23 on: June 11, 2011, 04:11:35 PM »

I have a Win7 netbook, and I'm typing this out on my Win7 gaming machine. I recently wiped Ubuntu off of the netbook because I wasn't using it much and I was having issues with it. OSX is the only mainstream OS I am unfamiliar with ("mainstream" to me are the last few flavors of Windows (2k and newer), OSX Panther and newer (I know Panther users still), Debian/Ubuntu and its variants, and other largely-popular distros like Fedora or Gentoo, etc).

OK  ohmy ............................

Oh and what were you drinking last night?

 Grin

For parts, I guess I'll go to NewEgg if something simple breaks down, then. The hard drive in this is below the keyboard, AirPort card, RAM, and then you have to remove a couple more pieces. From what I read, it is over 20 screws total. Ugh.

Good luck - enjoy your new toy  Grin

I hope so smiley
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Stoic Joker
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« Reply #24 on: June 11, 2011, 04:25:14 PM »

[Desperately scrambling for a "bright side"]

If the entire experience is documented throughly, it should make for an excellent cautionary tail.
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