Sep 162012

For over a decade Dan Knight over at Low End Mac has been publishing useful information to help people get the most from their older Macs. For as long as I can remember it’s been a “go-to” site  for looking up specs, advice, recommendations, and those vital tips save hours of time when I begin a restoration project or ponder how to approach one. The Low End Mac sponsored LEM Swap mail group is invaluable for finding scarce parts  and meeting fellow collectors of vintage Mac gear.

For anyone who shares a love for older Macs, LEM is a vital resource that we’ve come to rely on and take for granted. Recently Dan posted a gentle plea on his site for donations which I hope you’ll take a moment to read and consider. The information he archives and shares for us is invaluable; please help keep it alive!

Dec 172011

For lovers of Apple products both old and new, there is a new web site with beautiful photos and videos for you to enjoy. Created by Jonathan Zufi of Atlanta, the Shrine of Apple exists to “…  showcase the entire spectrum of products that Apple have sold to the public since 1976 – every product Apple Inc has ever produced, in the highest quality and definition possible.”  These are not the same PR pictures you’ve seen for years on dozens of different web sites – they are original, capturing every detail and nuance, and the quality is top notch. Check out their profile of the PowerBook 100 to see for yourself.

Take a moment to check out the Shrine. It’s just starting out so the collection is far from complete but it will be fun watching the site grow to include more and more Apple products. I am especially eager to see a System 7 retail box and its contents added since my first job at Apple was as a System 7 support specialist.


Apr 212010

6.0.8 system startup window

I took a few moments to launch Mini vMac and play with Mac OS 6.08 on my MacBook Pro that runs Snow Leopard. Since Snow Leopard will not let you write to or create HFS disk images I was limited to what was available on the 6.08 Disk Tools disk, namely the venerable Disk First Aid and Apple HD SC Setup.

I was very proud of myself for remembering that there is a secret key combination to expose the logging window of DFA so you can see what it is doing. Back in the early days DFA just worked it’s magic and expected you to wait patiently for the watch cursor to disappear and the application to report it’s cryptic results.

If you press Command-S while DFA is open a window underneath appears that displays the status of the DFA processes. Since this always begins  and ends with a date/time stamp and the message “Scavenging begun” or “Scavenging ended” I presume Command-S was chosen to display the Scavenging process.

Disk First Aid 1.4.3

Disk First Aid 1.4.3 with secret window revealed

Later versions of Disk First Aid by default display the disk examination and repair process, but back in the System 6 days you had to know the magical keycode to watch its inner workings as it churned away performing its diagnostics and repair.

Apr 152010

Which one of these fits a PowerBook 5300?

If you’ve assembled a nice collection of older Mac laptops, or if you just started a collection with a laptop that came without a power adapter, you may wonder what you need to power it.

Fortunately, Apple has a series of excellent articles in their KnowledgeBase that will point you in the right direction:

Dec 052008

If you aren’t sure which versions of the Mac OS are compatible with your Macintosh, here are some excellent resources to find out:

AppleCare’s Knowledge Base includes several relevant articles on the topic:

My favorite tool for finding a quick answer to this question is Ian Page’s awesome MacTracker, a comprehensive collection of vital information about every model of Macintosh that is available as a free Mac OS X or Windows application, or via a web site that’s optimized for viewing on an iPhone or iPod Touch.

Now, as for which version of the Mac OS is optimal for your model of Macintosh, well, that’s beyond the scope of this article. The folks over at have a number of helpful articles on this topic, though.