Reusing Old Stuff

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trevor: what to do with an old G3 or Pentium?
the world: pretty much it’s so old that it’s old. recycle it.

don’t listen to the world, Trevor! there’s lots of life left in that old, old Mac (or Pentium). we’ve got lots of ideas about what it might do. but we know you wouldn’t make a $1000-2500 computer do something dumb. it’s too expensive and too useful to use for something that is for art. it’s always hard to justify dedicating a computer to a single task like scanning, playing music, or displaying information. but that changes when the machine is free or nearly free! while you wouldn’t think of using a ten year old computer for day to day work it’s certainly powerful enough to do hundreds of dullard tasks.

but before you get excited about putting memory lane back in to production here are the some rules or guidelines to help you:

the rules of reuse:

    -1) some things are too old.
    0) free is good. nearly free is okay too.
    1) don’t get sentimental about what the hardware was to you.
    2) don’t spend money on making it better. use it like it is.
    3) okay, you can replace the hard drive(s) and noisy fans. we like SSD drives for this!
    4) take out what you don’t need to reduce the power footprint. cards like modems. old CD/DVD drives. 
    5) clean the case. completely take it apart to remove the dust.
    6) as long as you have it apart paint it!
    7) ditch the CRT unless it’s built in. VNC, SSH or PC Remote into it.
    8) don’t try to run the latest software
    9) keep it specific to one task. maybe two. okay three. but that’s it!
    10) have fun. if you break it that’s okay. there’s more.

here’s the details on what the guys at Panic made for their work place. it’s got lots of useful data in one glance.

but what could it do for you?

    alarm clock
    remember keyboard hacking is a easy way to get inputs
    what else can a mouse do?
    weather station
    scan station
    MP3 Jukebox
    web cam
    wall art
    GarageBand station
    stop mo camera controller
    Home Automation
    Show Me My Today
    run OS 9
    run OS/2

the best old stuff tools to have: