Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Anything to do with New Zealand Classic or Vintage Computing not covered in the other forums

Re: Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Postby acsi on Sun Jul 19, 2015 11:21 am

I love the old PPC Mac's. In some ways its a shame that Apple went the intel way but then development on the PPC's was slow when compared to the intel chips. It will be interesting to see if they change again to their own Ax chips as has been rumoured.
I still have a PowerBook G4 1.67GHz which I use from time to time. Found a half decent browser for it the other day called iCab which I used to use (and still do today) on the Atari Falcon.
One day Ill get a G5 as I've always wanted one. Would make a nice server if nothing else.
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Re: Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Postby xjas on Wed Jul 29, 2015 6:29 pm

xjas wrote:Image


I got fed up looking for a connector. Problem solved.

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(The 2.3DC works great, more on it shortly...)
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Re: Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Postby xjas on Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:54 pm

Dicking around with the 2.0DP (in my office.) I wasn't happy with Debian and it was mostly ATI's fault. The Linux drivers for old Radeon cards are notoriously bad and compounded with the limited development resources of Debian PPC meant all kinds of issues. Since the desktop I installed (Cinnamon) relies heavily on the GPU it wasn't overly pleasant to use. It was also sitting right next to a much more powerful machine running Fedora so was kind of pointless as I'd set them up pretty much the same.

Incidentally I was using a 128MB Radeon 9600 with an ADC (Apple sort-of proprietary) connector for the 'second head'. I had a better, 256MB Radeon with 2xDVI but it suffered from the dreaded black screen of death with the Linux driver. I wanted that second display and the extra vram!

So my boxed copy of OSX Leopard arrived:
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(Nice holographic box cover art, I hope whoever was responsible for this got a raise.)

As aside, you can still get Leopard (10.5 - the last version that will run on PPC) and Snow Leopard (10.6) straight from Apple. Snow Leopard will cost you $19 US and Leopard will run $159. I have absolutely no way to describe my lack of comprehension of this pricing scheme. Fortunately I got mine off a classifieds site for $10.

Anyway I threw it on the G5 and it works great! Set up everything the way I like and it runs just like a modern Mac, plenty of power and really feels like a solid machine. Even the pokey 5400RPM laptop drive doesn't slow it down too much. I'm going to enjoy using this.
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Loaded my usual suite of apps; still lots of great progs kicking around for the PPC. Finding a working download for Visor, the PPC-supporting predecessor of my favorite drop down terminal, was tricky, and getting Python up to date was a pain as it is on *any* OSX (in fact I think I've figured out what's wrong with my Macbook now that I got it running on this.) Dusted the cobwebs off my free Apple Developer account which gave me the last version of Xcode for Leopard (3.1.4) along with gcc/make/etc. Homebrew (actually a fork called Tigerbrew) works great for Unix-like stuff. You could tell me this thing was built last month and I'd believe you.

The only thing missing is an equivalent to XtraFinder or a file manager that doesn't suck (can somebody PLEASE port KDE Dolphin to OSXPPC? PLEEEEEASE?) - open to suggestions here.

I was so happy with how well I got it set up I just cloned the drive to use in the 2.3DP at home. It'll replace my clunky homebuilt Linux box for audio recording.

BTW here's my salvaged quintuple-head setup in my office, for the curious -
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My coworkers must hate me.

EDIT: just chiming back in after working with the G5s some more. Was thinking how computers seem to have stagnated... here's a quick comparo:

Code: Select all
Macbook Pro          G5 tower 1           G5 tower 2
2.5GHz i5 x 4 cores  2.0 GHz G5 x 2 CPUs  2.3 GHz G5 x 2 cores
4GB DDR3             4GB DDR              7.5GB DDR2
512MB video RAM      256MB video RAM      256MB video RAM
Intel HD4000 PCIe    Radeon 9600 AGP      GeForce 6600 PCIe
500GB SATA           200GB SATA           500GB SATA
runs UNIX            runs UNIX            runs UNIX
Mfgd. mid-2012       mid-2004             late 2005


Yeah I'm not gonna pretend that 2 cores of Intel I5 wouldn't blow away 2 cores of PowerPC or that 4~8GB of RAM was remotely common for a workstation in 2005, but I remember the ridiculous arms race around the turn of the century when we went from 166MHz and 32MB of RAM to GHz+, SMP, 64-bit instructions and 512MB in the span of like two years. Doesn't it seem like things have slowed down?

I guess the equivalent today are mobiles which have gone apesh*t crazy in the same timespan. Maybe we're running up against the limits of how powerful a full-featured desktop workstation *needs* to be.
Last edited by xjas on Sun Aug 02, 2015 4:39 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Postby xjas on Sun Aug 02, 2015 3:09 pm

Also, check this thing out:
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No idea if it works yet (it probably does) but it was too stylish to leave there. I "needed" a cassette deck to play the one tape I have (this one) anyway.

As for the control panel, it is useless but cool as hell. I suspect somebody dismantled a listening lab. Not sure what I'm going to do with it, all the LEDs and switchgear are intact. Maybe some kind of Arduino controller project? Dunno.
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Re: Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Postby xjas on Sat Aug 29, 2015 8:12 pm

Here's another one of my oddball finds. Full-size 'ergonomic' keyboard with a large-DIN AT connector.

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No make or manufacturing date on it anywhere but it has the dumb "windows" keys so must be mid~late '90s if not newer... I don't remember when the 'ergonomic' design got popular but pretty sure full-AT connectors were well on their way out by the time win95 rolled around.

Surprisingly not-gross by used keyboard standards, aside from the thumb smudge on the space bar (which I suspect is brake dust... Maybe this was used in a garage?) Was priced $3.00 at a nearby op shop but I walked in on "half-price *everything* day" so $1.50 it was. Grabbed it for my 386. :mrgreen:

(On that note, why are keyboards without the stupid, useless "windows" & "macro" keys completely extinct these days? Nobody used or wanted those keys, ever. I understand the old ones are probably mostly long gone, but why can't one of the retro-minded manufacturers make a new one? I don't want a cutesy penguin or something else there either, I simply don't want a key in that location! Argh!)
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Re: Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Postby techexpress on Sun Aug 30, 2015 7:08 am

xjas wrote:Here's another one of my oddball finds. Full-size 'ergonomic' keyboard with a large-DIN AT connector.

Image

No make or manufacturing date on it anywhere but it has the dumb "windows" keys so must be mid~late '90s if not newer... I don't remember when the 'ergonomic' design got popular but pretty sure full-AT connectors were well on their way out by the time win95 rolled around.

Surprisingly not-gross by used keyboard standards, aside from the thumb smudge on the space bar (which I suspect is brake dust... Maybe this was used in a garage?) Was priced $3.00 at a nearby op shop but I walked in on "half-price *everything* day" so $1.50 it was. Grabbed it for my 386. :mrgreen:

(On that note, why are keyboards without the stupid, useless "windows" & "macro" keys completely extinct these days? Nobody used or wanted those keys, ever. I understand the old ones are probably mostly long gone, but why can't one of the retro-minded manufacturers make a new one? I don't want a cutesy penguin or something else there either, I simply don't want a key in that location! Argh!)


I always wondered what kind of octopus mutant like folk would demand a Keyboard like that?

Image
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Re: Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Postby TheM on Wed Sep 02, 2015 1:31 pm

xjas wrote:(On that note, why are keyboards without the stupid, useless "windows" & "macro" keys completely extinct these days? Nobody used or wanted those keys, ever.


While Windows key used to useless, it started to become useful around Windows Vista, I think? Definitely Windows 7. Try Windows key + direction buttons to snap a window to different parts of the screen. This alone justified its existence for me. Old Windows + E is very useful; Windows + R is not bad either.

However, with Windows 8 learning to use Windows key was a difference between loving and hating that OS. Windows + X and Windows + S made the lack of that Start Menu irrelevant. There is also less often needed but nice to have Windows + C.
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Re: Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Postby SpidersWeb on Wed Sep 02, 2015 11:46 pm

I haven't checked the date on mine but I've got a genuine Microsoft version in the garage with an AT plug - I think I remember that being a thing around 1997/1998 and then getting canned not too long after because of reports it made it worse?? I've never really liked typing on them. Many home built style machines were still rocking the AT plug for quite a while - I've got one or two motherboards from around 1998 (K6-2 450 I think, and a Celeron 433ish?) around here somewhere with AT plugs, just from someone upgrading their 486 AT system (I wanted the cases!).

TheM - WIndows 10 adds to that again with multiple desktops, CTRL+START+D to spawn a new instance, then CTRL+START+LEFT and RIGHT to flick between them. I find it incredibly handy for work because for each type of job I'll have 3-5 applications open and ALT+TAB between them - multiple desktops means I can set each up so when I press ALT+TAB, I'm only seeing relevant windows to the current task. Also it looks really neat when it swipes across :P
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Re: Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Postby TheM on Thu Sep 03, 2015 3:10 pm

SpidersWeb wrote:TheM - WIndows 10 adds to that again with multiple desktops, CTRL+START+D to spawn a new instance, then CTRL+START+LEFT and RIGHT to flick between them. I find it incredibly handy for work because for each type of job I'll have 3-5 applications open and ALT+TAB between them - multiple desktops means I can set each up so when I press ALT+TAB, I'm only seeing relevant windows to the current task. Also it looks really neat when it swipes across :P


You switched to Windows 10? I'm staying with 8.1 for the moment. Although I like 10, I just can't get over what it does in the background. I considered DoNotSpy10 (http://pxc-coding.com/portfolio/donotspy10/) but not sure if that's enough to covert it from a trojan into a well behaved OS.
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Re: Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Postby SpidersWeb on Thu Sep 03, 2015 6:46 pm

Tek Syndicate recently put up a "Windows 10 - Stop spying on me" video which discusses it and shows various methods of disabling the potential concerns.

For me personally it wasn't really a concern but I did take the time to go through the settings afterwards and disable features I wasn't going to use (no point sending data out if it's of no benefit to me) and I do feel they should be more upfront about it during the install process and letting users make informed decisions rather than trying to sneak stuff in the background. I'm confident the motivation was more for the sake of making things simple, and ease of use / better experience than spying - but the user needs to be able to choose and be made aware of what is being sent.
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Re: Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Postby xjas on Fri Sep 04, 2015 8:20 am

^^ One of the many reasons I haven't run windows on anything since ~2008 (aside from an occasional XP VM that doesn't touch the internet)... For me the 'windows era' was over long ago. 8)

That said, so they finally put the 'windows' keys to good use (rather than just remapping ctrl+esc), like 20 years after forcing them onto every keyboard off the assembly line. I still don't forgive them for breaking the classic arcade game control scheme of ctrl+alt+shift back when the hateful things first appeared though. And couldn't any of those functions you mentioned just be done with alt or ctrl+alt?

(I am aware that they're functional in most Linux desktops and map to 'command' keys in OSX BTW.)
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Re: Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Postby xjas on Fri Sep 04, 2015 9:51 am

BTW check this out. In line with the title of this thread, I saved this from the side of the road:

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It's in great shape, everything works. Dual boots OS9.1 and 10.3.9. Surprisingly quick & responsive for what it is. The pictures hide some dirt, but it's not too bad at all.

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^^ Probably the best model of the G3 iMacs, with firewire built in.

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^^ Display is still really nice and crisp. Has some interesting software installed too. :lol:

Artsy shot:
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Not really sure what to do with it, I vaguely wanted an OS9 machine to try out some software I have lying around (more DAW stuff.) I was looking out for a 'Lampshade' or 'Cube' G4 but this is cool too. The speakers are pretty punchy for how tiny they are, and 3D accelleration with its 16MB Rage 128 surprisingly doesn't suck. (There are a few OS9 games on there that I've never heard of, was cool to find.)

It's a good thing electricity up here costs ~1/4 what I was paying in Auckland, so I can afford to keep all these CRTs running like it's nothing. :P

Also I found an unexpectedly good use for the unibutton 'Pro Mouse' - the touchpad on my Macbook is fine for every day stuff but incredibly annoying on click & drag-heavy apps like Photoshop or Inkscape. This mouse makes a great foot pedal. Swipe around the screen with your fingers as normal but click and hold with your foot; it's amazing! Shame the cord is so short (~30 cm) but I had some USB extensions lying around.

(Secret: I have *another* oldschool PPC Mac waiting to be inducted into this thread. Just waiting until I have time to hack together a DB15->5BNC cable as I'm pretty sure it goes with the monitor on the previous page. Somehow I've gone from 0 to 6 PowerPCs in the span of a few months, all for the grand cost of FREE.)
Last edited by xjas on Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Postby ZL2AOX on Fri Sep 04, 2015 1:08 pm

Nice :)
I've picked up a few of these little gems myself - all gratis and in working order. I still use the best spec-ed one daily, though its optical drive is a bit dodgy. I plan to upgrade one by doing the Mac Mini conversion, retaining the monitor and extending all connectors to out to the side.
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Re: Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Postby xjas on Fri Sep 04, 2015 3:28 pm

ZL2AOX wrote:Nice :)
I've picked up a few of these little gems myself - all gratis and in working order. I still use the best spec-ed one daily, though its optical drive is a bit dodgy. I plan to upgrade one by doing the Mac Mini conversion, retaining the monitor and extending all connectors to out to the side.


Cool, do you run OS8/9 or OSX? What's its job? :wink:
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Re: Thrift store / garage sale / side-of-road find thread

Postby ZL2AOX on Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:20 am

I run OS X on the one I use daily, but also have OS 8/9 installed on other machines.
I mainly use it for programming - OS X and also DOS running under VPC 6. Also word processing.
Not really usable for internet as the browser is so out of date.
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