::: Adventures in Orange :::
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I am a sucker for a cute face

This is a little story about learning to love and living on a budget.

I think it all started about a year and half ago at the MIT Flea. We had just finished upgrading a stock Apple Power Macintosh 7100av [$20] to a G3 (of sorts) for La's sister. When it was all finished we had spent about $600 and ended up with a mighty fine little machine and it was cool. And maybe I should tell you that I really don't know much about macs, but using the information on the internet it was "soooo easy". And you know I am SO tempted to tell you all about it, but I'll save that for another post.

So when I read a juicy little article in MacAddict about what the "good" older mac models were to buy for upgrading (look, La is the "mac" girl, but I am a hardware geek, ok?) I snagged a slightly forlorn PowerMac 8500av/120 at the flea. It had only 48MB of memory and a 1GB hard drive. And its CD bezel was a little broken and taped to the body to keep it in place. I plunked down $200 for the 8500, an apple extended keyboard and a CD for OS 8.6 and headed for home.

La and I tore that little mac apart in an effort to clean it out (*cough* dusty!) and peek inside. Here's the thing. The 8500 is like a 3-D puzzle and that does not begin to describe it. Well, we didn't really have the time right then to upgrade it so basically it sat in...well...pieces for a year and a half. ::: innocent look :::

Well. About a week and a half ago, I picked up an Apple LaserWriter 4/300 PS for TEN DALLA at my fave thrift store's half off sale. And even though my first impulse was to resell it for a small profit I got attached to the idea of having a schweet little laser printer. FOR TEN DALLA. (ok, we paid another dollar for a bag with the serial cable in it, but there was an apple ADB mouse in there too). But did it work?

Since La is the driver of the mac in the house, I set her up with the task of testing. The thing we discovered is that...well...the G3 doesn't have a serial port. Ha. But the little 8500-in-pieces did. HaHA! I was able to get it at least LOOKING like it was all together. Sort of. And then I powered it up.

Nothing. I mean...the power was definitely coming on in both the computer and, briefly, the monitor. But...you see...when the mac is happy...it tells you so. And this is where it all started. There was no little *bong* (ok, no jokes about a "little bong"). Well, I tried a few things and still...no *bong*, no happy mac.

I knew I had left out a part or forgotten to plug something back in. I knew it was all my fault. Yes...I felt guilty. About a machine. I went to bed kinda sad. Poor little mac.

I joined the LEM PCI PowerMac list and got some suggestions. Between the PDF describing the specs, innards, and case of the 8500 and a link to the motherboard at MacGurus I finally found that I had left one cable unplugged (it was the 3.3v line to the power supply...I KNEW you were jonesing for that detail).


and and and! It smiled at me.

And THAT is how I fell in love. With a Mac. Because how could you not love that face? Really.

After a little n00b rigaramarole, I figured out the the printer not only works well, but has only printed a bit over 3100 pages in its whole life. So...that's like...extra fine. I was so proud of my little mac that I promptly got online and started researching parts. Cuz shopping is like...so key.

I hooked up with a new CD bezel and a drive sled for the empty bay at Proline's mac clearance sale for WAY CHEAP. Sadly, this is the only "upgrade" I can afford at this time. But when I get the change, I'm gonna spring for an XLR8 CarrierZIF card [$60] (to pop the current G3 chip in, cuz that is getting replaced with a G4 chip I bought when I thought I had the money) and 256MB of RAM [$55] at OtherWorldComputing. And definitely 2 more MB of VRAM [$20?]. And most likely an adapter [$10] so I can run this 4.3GB SCSI drive in it too.

What I'm really saying is that for about $350 I will have a pretty cool little almost-G3. With a laser printer. And it smiles at me. And it goes *bong* when it wakes up. And that's why I think this love affair will bloom. Cuz its really gonna kick ass when I hook it up to my TV downstairs (yeah, did I mention it has S-Video out? RCA Stereo out? YEAH BABY!)

Now you want one? Don't you?

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::: Feb. 13, 2003 :::
::: 12:40 PM :::
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