Vintage Mac at home and in the office

When your vintage Mac hobby has taken over your home, what do you do? Bring it into your place of work, too!

That’s what I did earlier this week, when I set up a G4 iMac with OS9.2.2 installed on my office desk.

iMac G4 in my office

So, my productivity’s going to go down the toilet, right? Probably. The fact is, I’ve been so busy with work (I’m currently involved in five businesses…) and family (two young kids at home, a wife who works nights twice a week, an autistic brother I take to jiu jitsu classes) that I simply wasn’t getting any time to lock myself in my den, fire up my G4 PowerMac MDD and do some vintage Apple computing. Bringing a spare vintage Mac to work made sense as, being my own boss, I can quite easily find a spare half hour in the day to make new disk images for the Internet Archive, say, or write an entry for the site. So far, so good; I’ve made a bunch of great items for the archive, launched a Patreon, and written a few site updates! And, I gotta tell ya, it’s real nice to have an iMac G4 on the desk. It’s a decade and a half old computer, but there’s been nothing that looks like it since, so it still looks amazing and really daring. It runs OS9 like an absolute *beast*, too.

The home setup, though, is even better.

Vintage Mac setup at home

My main “production” machine is the G4 PowerMac MDD. it’s a single-CPU 1.25Ghz model, and I’ve maxed the RAM out, installed a high-end 128MB video card, installed two 128GB SSDs driven by a SATA PCI card, replaced all the case and PSU fans with silent ones to reduce the “wind tunnel” effect (the original fans are deafening!), and wired in LED strips internally so light glows out of the front speaker port, in which I’ve removed the speaker and placed an extra fan. It’s a monster of a computer, and with the high processor speed and the solid state hard drives is completely insane for running OS9 on; it goes faster and is more responsive than Apple’s engineers could ever have hoped for.

The other machine in shot is a LCIII+, a lowly consumer model from the early 90s when Apple had a dizzying array of slightly different machines in their very confusing line-up. But the LC is a peach of a machine, one of the good Macs that Apple made back in the Bad Old Days. It runs OS7.6.1, which is a delightful operating system, and I use it as a bridge machine; stuff that’s too old to work with in OS9 I place on this machine, do I what I need to do with it, then transfer it back to the G4 via Zip disk.

I’ve got many other old Macs out of shot and not currently in use, and I’m in the process of sprucing a bunch up and selling on. I do have half a dozen PowerMac 9600 towers gathering dust, I don’t really want to sell those ones as they’re great machines, but I haven’t booted any of them for at least six months, so maybe it’s time? Or maybe I should dig one out and fit my Windows compatibility card in it and install Windows 98 on it? It’d make for an interesting article, for sure!

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