What can be done with older technology
Here's a comment from an AmeriCorps member manager in an elementary school. The comment was posted a few years ago to CNSTech, a discussion group for technology issues and information for Corporation for National Service staff and volunteers:
"we have a pile of old Mac SE computers and we love them. We have them hooked to an ancient laser printer through a local talk network. They make wonderful word processing machines for kids, and they are the most problem-free computers we own.This is from 1997 - and it's still true now (from "How Much Technology is too much?" in the Washington Post , October 6, 1997):
Software is evolving faster than the hardware and system software needed for its operation, application software such as word processing are slow to reflect the best features the operating environments have to offer, and there's a growing disparity between computer power available in the box and computer power actually used. The focus on issues of productivity shouldn't hinge on faster processors or more memory, instead it should involve creative and efficient use of computers. This "gap of delivery" is probably because it's simpler to announce great leaps in technology than for users to realize the actual benefit.
Choosing an ISP for Your Older Computer
Look online for information regarding whether or not an ISP can service an older computer. For instance, type in the name of the ISP and the phrases like vintage Macintosh or OS 9.x. Even if you find something online that says the ISP will work with your vintage computer and operating system, call the company and confirm, and ask if you will receive an immediate refund if it doesn't work. One thing for sure: they probably WON'T provide you support of any kind if you have trouble with your Internet connection.
Call the local Goodwill or look online -- many operate computer refurbishing programs, and offer used software at a discounted price. Look through their book shelves as well - they may have an old book that provides details on how to use older software you are trying to use. Also look for organizations such as Free Geek PDX in Portland, Oregon - they can also help you with parts and software for your vintage computer.
Many, but not all, companies feature downloadable versions of older software on their Web sites. Apple is getting rid of it as fast as they can. Your best bet is to use Google and type in things like vintage Apple operating system and old version FileMaker Pro.
There are also these suggested Web sites specifically for users of "older" machines (there are more, but these are my favorite); please note that, for any site that no longer works, simply type in the URL to archive.org:
I created a web page from a post by user in Montreal on some online group about the value of older computers, and another page from a post by Christopher Sunner about Why Someone Might Need an Older and Not a Newer Macintosh. Both are from the 1990s, and both talk about what those computers could do even 15 years after they were first released. And all that they say was true then. But now, no - I'm not sure anything on these web pages could still be done (but if I'm wrong, let me know).
Low End Mac is a commercial site that offers a tremendous amount of resources for both older and new macs, including several e-mail discussion groups for different brands of vintage Macs. Lots of info on how to get cutting edge functionality out of trailing edge (or any!) Mac hardware and software.Mac Domain features a large amount of various types of classic Apple Macintosh abandonware and support for these great old machines, even post about Mac OS X, the iPod or newer Apple products. Enjoy!
Apple Official Support & Resources for Older Macs. Owners of iPad, iPhone, iPod or Mac products may obtain service and parts from Apple or Apple service providers for five years after the product is no longer manufactured (or longer where required by law). Apple has discontinued support for what it considers technologically obsolete and vintage products - that's pretty much anything older than five years. Also see Apple's official discussion forums , which includes branches on old hardware and software (and sometimes, talking to users is a lot better than talking to the company itself).
Accelerating Your Older Mac
by Christopher Sunner. This is a guide on how to accelerate your older Macintosh through the use of various methods such as good maintenance, clockchipping, program usage, accelerators, and other means.
File extensions are (usually) three letter codes at the end of computer file names that tell to operating system (Microsoft Windows, MAC OS X, Linux and Unix operating systems, etc.) what kind of file they are dealing with. For instance, a file with ".doc" is a Microsoft Word document (but can be opened by just about any word-processing program). File Extensions.org is a very large list of the file extensions, many with detailed explanations of each file type and the way they are used. "We have also tried to include a few of the common software programs that are associated with each of these file extension types." If you find a file in your computer with an unknown file extension, you can look up the information about desired file extension and its file associations.
Site of Steve Wozniak, inventor of the Apple Computer. Very useful info.
Linux Documentation Project
Linux is a good program to use because you can install is on DOS if you dont have any type of Windows. Lots of helpful links.
What browsers work on older machines (Macs, machines running older versions of Windows, Amiga systems, machines running old MSDOS systems, NeXTStep/OpenStep systems, VM/CMS systems, etc.
MAC/PC User Groups!
"MUGs" and "PUGs" can help you find older versions of software for use on your older model machine (mac user groups tend to be better about this, but there are a few good user groups to find software for older IBM/clone PCs). They are also great for trouble-shooting. To find users groups, visit your favorite search engine and try the words "PC" or "Mac" and "user group." Apple also maintains a list of Mac User Groups Also try finding a local group via the Association of Personal Computer User Groups (APCUG).
cnet, http://www.cnet.com, is an excellent place to find downloads of older versions of browsers and various other software.
Call the local Goodwill or look online -- many operate computer refurbishing programs, and offer used software at a discounted price. Look through their book shelves as well - they may have an old book that provides details on how to use older software you are trying to use. Also look for organizations such as Free Geek PDX in Portland, Oregon - they can also help you with parts and software for your vintage computer. NOTE: if you buy a used computer, you definitely should contact the original manufacturer and check into buying a service plan for the machine.
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