Geriatric Apple Hardware: Retrofits Guaranteed To Make You Stop And Stare
Speaking of popular recent online writeups, statistics also suggest that a sizable number of you also seem to have older Mac mini computer sitting around collecting dust. My week-back writeup suggested resurrecting such a system as a living room-based media appliance; although my primary focus was on playback, time-shifting recording is certainly also a possibility. High-def playback is, alas, at best hit-and-miss given the now-archaic CPU and GPU capabilities, but on the other hand you’re able to extend the usable life of something you’ve already purchased instead of shelling out incremental cash…
If a glorified TV set-top box doesn’t catch your fancy, my voluminous RSS archives have just disgorged plenty of other ideas for you to consider, some admittedly more serious than others
- Self-cleaning cat litter boxes will normally set you back a Benjamin or so. Alan Graham decided to make his own removes-gases-but-not-solids-or-liquids approximation of the concept, combining a conventional litter box, a bathroom fan and vent assembly, a motion sensor, an INSTEON-based timer, and an already-operational home automation system running on his Mac mini. A picture paints a thousand words:
- This guy did some serious hardware upgrades to a 20+ year old Macintosh SE/30; I encourage you to peruse the interview for the full monty. Then ponder how much more of a computer he could have ended up with if he’d alternatively devoted that same budget to a newer pre-built system. We engineers sure love technical challenges, don’t we?
- Here is a list of ‘I’ve turned my Mac into a…’ candidates. A doorstop…really?
- And here’s an even longer Mac mini-focused ideas list.
- I thought this ode to an abandoned iMac was touching. Feel free to disagree with me, if you wish
- Speaking of iMacs, what do you get when you mate one of them to a five-floppy-drive storage subsystem? A RAID array (yes, you read that right) that delivers a whopping 4.22 MBytes of capacity (3.9 MBytes usable) and…errr…takes about 32 seconds to transfer a 3.6 MByte file. Ahem
- Don’t worry, G4 Cube owners, you get to have fun, too. How about leveraging your computer’s before-its-time enclosure to construct a robot?
- And don’t worry, Mac mini owners, you get to build robots too. This one is the superior implementation, in my opinion, because it uses not only the Apple case but also the guts. Plus, it plays volleyball; how cool is that?
- A brief diversion; this one’s nexus is a Cisco switch, not an Apple computer, but I still thought it was cool; it’s an automatic cat food-and-water feeder.
- Back to our regularly scheduled programming, and to a far more ignominious outcome; a G4 Power Mac slightly older than mine was gutted and transformed into a mailbox.
- This transmogrification is somewhat more predictable; a guts-upgraded Mac Plus became a Time Machine backup server. Other NAS-reminiscent, software-centric possibilities, enabled in some cases by third-party utility augmentation of the base consumer-targeted O/S and in other cases by a migration to a Mac OS X Server variant, include (off the top of my head) a print server, a FTP server, a Bittorrent server, a multimedia content storage and streaming server, and a web server.
- Remember that earlier Power Mac mailbox? How about a Mac Plus hat, instead?
- Or mebbe a Power Mac clock? Yes, it looks like my Quicksilver system, and that’s a Magic Mouse being used as the pendulum…sigh…