Open Source TenFourFox, Refurbishment, Extend Useful Life Of Older Macs’s Phil Shapiro says that in 2001 and 2002, he managed Macintosh computers in the Arlington, Virginia public school system, noting that when he was setting up fast iMac G3 computers, he wondered if and when they would become obsolete. More than ten years later, he reports, it turns out they can still be used thanks to the Open Source TenFourFox web browser, built on top of Mozilla Firefox code. And, perhaps, they can be used for several more years to come.

“That’s the beauty of open source, notes Shapiro. “When Apple and Mozilla abandoned new browser development for PowerPC Macs, some excellent other people took up the banner to make sure these older computers got an extended life. The programmers who created TenFourFox will never meet the families, children and adults, in Takoma Park who are immensely grateful to receive a working computer with an up-to-date web browser.

“I always explain to the families, he continues, “‘This web browser called TenFourFox was created by people all around the world who wanted you to have a good web browser on your older Mac. These programmers are just like the talented and kind prorammers who created LibreOffice, the excellent word processor I have installed on your computers.’ In the sometimes harsh world we live in, open source is kindness and caring, bundled together in software. When we spread kindness, we generate more kindness.”

[Editor’s note; I am editing and posting this news brief on WordPress using a 2000 Apple Pismo PowerBook upgraded with a 550 MHz G4 CPU using TenFourFox. Can’t say enough good about it. CM.]

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Hotrodding A Unibody MacBook Pro

The Register’s Bob Dormon says:

“I need a new MacBook Pro or do I? It’s probably a question that many a Mac user ponders and, given the choices these days, is much more difficult to answer. Having just reviewed the MacBook Pro 13in with Retina Display, I’m not sure Im ready to commit myself to soldered RAM and the hope that upgrades will appear for its custom SSD form factor.

“For me, it seems like Im going to have to eke out another year on my Unibody 17in MacBook Pro. At least that way I can hope the passing of time will lower the cost for a decent amount of RAM and a sizeable SSD. And who knows, I might be a Chromebook convert by then.”

The optical drive in Dorman’s MBP failed recently, which he viewed as an opportunity to have two boot/storage drives – one SSD, one HDD, and with that idea in mind, yet another idea presented itself: a Fusion drive. A hybrid of SSD and HDD tech that keeps the regularly accessed files on the SSD and shifts the rest to the HDD.

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Old Mac, New Mac: Refurbishing An Older Apple For A Brighter Future

Still on the topic of useful life left in older Macs, Gearburn’s Bryan Smith says there’s both a sad and exciting cycle of life between modern computers, and while we’re able to hold on to our digital companions for at least five good years of use, sooner or later we’re forced to overcome the limits of present day technology and embrace the future.

He observes that Apple’s current line of MacBooks, iMacs, Mac Pros, and Minis offer great mileage for the money, but recent advancements in OS X have drawn a noticeable border between future-proof Macs and those less fortunate – example: the aluminium late – 2008 aluminum unibody Macbook’s ability to run OS X Mavericks, while its white-clad polycarbonate annual predecessor, the 2007 MacBook, is limited to OS X Snow Leopard (10.6.8).

However, he says, there’s another use for older Macs beyond the rust heap of history: refurbishment. While an older Mac might never be able to compete with Apple’s increasingly thinner, bolder and brighter computers, there are several steps once can take to ensure an old Mac retains a use, stays in the loop, and furthermore retains a relevancy in use.

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