Saturday, November 28, 2009

I Can't Stand The Suspense!!!!

After months of lamenting my bad luck concerning my inability to afford a new Mac, I won a Mac Mini on eBay. It wasn't just any Mini, either. I am waiting on my brand new, shiny, late 2009, 2.26GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 2GB DDR3 RAM, 160 GB hard drive, dual layer DVD+-RW, NVidia GeForce 9400M GPU Mini to arrive. Granted, my savings weren't all that great considering I used a 10% coupon and still payed $517.50 for it, but that's below the $599.00 Apple would have hit me for it. When it arrives....I'm going to tear it to pieces! Bwah-Hah-Hah-hah!!!!!

Seriously, I'm going to retrofit an old G4 Cube with the Mini's innards. Why? Hmmmm.... let's just say I'm looking forward to having the most bitchin' Mini on the planet, okay? I will be adding 8 2TB HD's and a Blu Ray drive to the mix along with 8GB of RAM. A friend of mine is going to bump up the wattage on the external power supply to ensure I don't have any power issues with all the extra hardware.

Still not impressed, you say? Did I mention it's sitting in a custom paint carbon fiber cage that fits snugly inside the original acrylic casing? Oh, yeah.... it's gonna be awesome. When next we meet, I will have the Mini/Cube hybrid build on here. TTFN.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Choking On Bad Apples

All right. I took a step backwards yesterday and tried to reason with Apple. I spent the day on the phone with them trying to get them to sell me the necessary parts I need to make my aging G-series machines viable once more. Like you, I like the direction Apple is taking with Snow Leopard and it's phenomenal potential for RAM expansion. Naturally, me being a die hard MacHead, I wanted in on the action. Unfortunately, I am not made of money and cannot afford a Mac Pro, the only truly upgradeable Mac there is. So, I found myself pleading my case to a cadre of Apple reps who were obviously instructed to be unsympathetic to my plight. I say instructed because they all tried to help at first, then changed their tunes when a supervisor got involved in the background. One of those supervisors was rather rude to me. After thinking about my situation, I started thinking about some of the differences between Apple and most PC manufacturers....

1. Apple is like a Totalitarian Regime that restrict freedoms at every turn. You cannot buy parts to upgrade your Apple machines to make them Intel units. With any PC, you can buy a new motherboard and processor from a myriad of sources, keeping your machine viable for decades.

2. Apple does not offer any upgradeable economic models. The Mini is a joke. It has one HD...two if you forgo having an optical drive, and no expansion slots whatsoever. Most mini ITX boards, mobo's the same size as the Mac Mini's HAVE expansion slots and usually come in a mini tower that can house at least two drives and, thanks to the EFiX dongle, can also run OSX.

3. Apple's EULA is a monopolizing tool. Microsoft doesn't tell you what hardware you can or can't run Windows on, does it?

All of this leads me to think Apple has totally no interest in being the people's computer company I'd always hoped it would become. It's a shame Steve Jobs and company are that greedy. On the positive side of things, it did inspire me to make a new comic strip......I've added dialogue for those who don't have a 42" monitor.

PC: Hi. I'm a PC and he's a Mac.
Mac: MINI!!!!!'re so tiny and not user upgradeable. In fact, no inexpensive Macs are...if there's such a thing as an inexpensive Mac.
Mac: MINI!!!!!!

PC:As A matter of fact, Apple recently launched an operating system that rendered a lot of older Macs obsolete. What do you think about that Mac?
Mac:ROWR!!! MINI!!!!!

PC: Dear lord. I'm working with a retard.


PC:What the hell? (Dude, that's so unprofessional.)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Build On Hold

The G4/Mini retrofit I was working on is now on hold. I took a rather nasty spill and smashed all the connecting tissue in my left wrist. It could be over eight weeks before it heals, or so the doctor says. I hope others will take heart and go forth with their own projects. On that front, I have some interesting news: ExpressHD is now offering the EFiX Dongle which allows you to run Snow Leopard on hardware readily available from most online computer stores. It is possible for us to retrofit our old Macs with third party gear to bring them into the new age. The EFiX Dongle sells for between 130 to 250 dollars depending on which model you buy. Here are some links to builds using the new technology. I've added the pros and cons views on it to let you make an informed decision.

I hope the information on these links will give you a better insight on this remarkable little device. I'm looking forward to getting back on track in the weeks to come and continue mt own build.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Mac Retrofitting

Like a lot of other Mac users who own dated hardware, I have looked for ways to keep my machine up with the latest and greatest technologies available. After Apple's decision to exclude pre-Intel machines from utilizing OSX 10.6, Snow Leopard, I grew a bit distraught. Why, I asked, can't I also have the computing power the newer machines were capable of without shelling out thousands of dollars on a new computer? Where was an Intel motherboard upgrade for my G4, or any other vintage Mac for that matter? It quickly became apparent Apple wasn't concerned with my plight so I've decided to seek an alternate means of making my Mac viable doing it myself. It may surprise some of you to know that every component needed to build your own Mac Pro can be purchased directly from the third party sources that supply Apple. In fact, the ONLY difference between a PC and a Mac is the I/O format. PC's use BIOS (Basic Input Output System) to tell their machine what software OS to run while Macs use EFI (Extensible Firmware Interface). It has come to my attention that a number of EFI motherboards will soon be on the market. According to my sources, this will allow native OSX booting from an unhacked disc. If this proves to be the case, I am going to send a set of board specifications to my step-brother who builds motherboards for a company in Austin, Texas to see if they can engineer solutions for our Snow Leopard problem. Who knows? Mac Retro may become a hardware company as well as a blog site.

Friday, October 16, 2009

It's Here! It's Here! Woohoo, It's here!

My G4 Cube came in via UPS today after an undisclosed delay. It didn't include a power supply, but I'm not too unhappy about being denied the chance to play with it before I tear it apart and turn it into the coolest Mini ever. I'm not alone in my quest, either. I joined up with a group of visionary MacHeads on Stephen Foskett's blog site and, I have to tell you, I was blown away by their innovative thinking. Several of them have already begun making their own G4 cube conversions and given me insights I otherwise would never have thought of for how to approach my own build. I'm probably one of the least experienced members of that noteworthy group, but I have more than enough style and imagination to make up for my technical shortcomings. I've invited them to post their builds here for your enjoyment and help with your own projects. I hope all of you hot rod MacHeads will join up and help me create a new underground movement in the Apple world.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

The Mod Squad

Inspiration abounds, my friends. In my previous post, I showcased a Mac G4 Cube another MacHEAD built. Ever since Apple's unfortunate decision to drop support for G-Series Macs in their latest OS, I have been looking for a solution to my Intel conundrum. I own a PowerMac G4 tower Dual 450MHz Gigabit Ethernet and an iMac G3 so old it's processor speed can't be seen with the naked eye. As of today, however, I am also the proud papa of a G4 Cube 450MHz. My goal, now, is to make all three of them sporting Intel Core 2 Duo 2.26GHz processors on Mini mobos. Of course, I will make them shine, too. I really like EL wire, so I'll be putting it in them to highlight my works of art. Viva La Retrolution!

I think I will post some different themes here for members to vote on for the Cube build.

That's What I'm Talkin' About!

I had a thought to put the guts from a Mac Mini into a G4 Cube. I, however, did not have the money to do so, but a gent named Andrew did. Moreover, he did so with aplomb and a sense of style I don't think I could reproduce. In my quest to find the middle ground between Mini and Mac Pro, this is the closest I've seen yet.

With any luck, my own forthcoming attempt will also be a success. I am hoping to improve a bit on this design and add multiple hard drives and a second optical drive by stacking my components horizontally instead of vertically. Also, my unit will sport strategically placed EL wire and a more powerful power supply and distribution bus to allow for the addition of multiple drives. With any luck, and my electronic expertise, I should be able to envision my own Mini dream.