Micro.blog

Ron
Ron

Suddenly I own TWO Mac Mini Core 2 Duo 2.0 GHz (T7200) Mid 2007 Macs. They each have a power supply & seem to turn on OK. No accessories. S/Ns say they are 1 GB RAM, 64 MB VRAM, 120 GB HDD, Optical 2.4X SuperDrive, Mac OS 10.4.10. Can they do anything useful, like MarsEdit?

Ron
Ron

@Ron Well the silence has been deafening so far. It looks like I can upgrade to 2.33 GHz Intel T7600, 4 MB cashe, 4 GB RAM, external SSD and macOS 10.7 (Lion), no higher. The OS is the biggest problem. MarsEdit requires macOS 10.12, so I guess that's out. Bummer. The most expensive part might be the display, everything else is very cheap. @danielpunkass CC: @Manton

In reply to
smokey
smokey

@Ron Micro.blog is a lot quieter on weekends :-)

As a rule of thumb, if you want to try and do something useful and current with an old Mac, you don’t want it to be more than about 5 years old…sometime around the 5-7 years-old period is when the newest OS versions start dropping support. (And because of the forcing-the-entire-web-to-SSL thing, you want to be able to run at least macOS 10.9 to get the most common recent SSL version, TLS 1.2.)

Can you still do something useful with these two Minis (especially if you upgrade [one of] them)? Yes, but it won’t be simple because you’d be tracking down old versions of software, e.g. BBEdit 10 or Acorn 3, and so forth, and you’d have to accept there are going to be limitations (such as any websites that require TLS 1.2 won’t work in Safari). There might be other things you can do with them (music server, maybe? that’s beyond my familiarity), too?

rmcrob
rmcrob

@Ron I was just thinking about your Mac Minis. You don't have to put a screen on them. You could run them headless and access them from another computer as I do with my 2010 Mac Pro. It seems to me that MarsEdit will run on older hardware. Maybe @danielpunkass can inform.

rmcrob
rmcrob

@Ron I guess MarsEdit needs Sierra and that won't run on older hardware than 2010. Unless someone knows a trick.

JohnPhilpin
JohnPhilpin

@rmcrob an earlier version of mars edit .. possible @danielpunkass ?

danielpunkass
danielpunkass

@JohnPhilpin @Rmcrob @Ron Yeah, MarsEdit 3.7.11 will run on all versions back to 10.6: red-sweater.com/marsedit/...

JohnPhilpin
JohnPhilpin

thankoyu @danielpunkass perfect for @Rmcrob and @Ron

rmcrob
rmcrob

@Ron Does that help?

Ron
Ron

@rmcrob Indeed it does. I appreciate your help in getting the conversation extended. I'm now more hopeful that I might be able to make the Minis useful. Thanks for your help!

Ron
Ron

@danielpunkass Thanks, Daniel. I hope to be able to get the Minis up to where I can use them.

Ron
Ron

@JohnPhilpin Thanks for your lobbying effort on my behalf, John! I hope to be able to start an upgrade in a couple of weeks.

Ron
Ron

@smokey Well, I have a glimmer of hope for a useful upgrade. Your overview of the Mac lineup was verrrry helpful. Thanks, Smokey.

smokey
smokey

@Ron Glad that was useful. I’ve had a couple more thoughts over the past couple of days: while apps that use the OS crypto and HTTP libraries (which is most of them that do any connecting to the internet) won’t be able to access servers that require TLS 1.2, 1) most apps probably don’t need to talk to servers that require TLS 1.2 or higher secure connections, and 2) it looks like Firefox enabled TLS 1.2 by default in Firefox 24, and Firefox 48 and Firefox ESR 45 support Mac OS X 10.7, so if you happen to run into a web server that requires TLS 1.2*, you can still visit it in that old Firefox (or possibly an old version of Chrome; either way, between SSL and JavaScript, the old version of Safari in 10.7 is going to struggle with much of the 2019 web, so you’ll want Firefox or Chrome). Also, the 4 GB RAM limit is going to be a bit tight, but should still be useable if you aren’t doing heavy browsing. So hopefully that’s more glimmers of hope :-)

The second bit is that it’s much easier to stay frozen in time than bring a new-found old Mac back to life decades later ;-) If you had been using those Minis in the late 2000s, you would have already had installed lots of software, which would have kept working as-is (you wouldn’t have been able to upgrade to new versions and get new features), but you wouldn’t have had to chase down old versions of software that would work on the old Macs/OS versions. (Thankfully, many indie Mac devs like Red Sweater and Bare Bones and Flying Meat are good about keeping those versions available, if unsupported, for people with old Macs.) You’ve taken on a minor challenge, but it’s definitely do-able with defined usage goals. Feel free to holler if you need more advice once tax season is over and you dive in :-)

* I haven’t found lots of sites that require TLS 1.2, but I’ve run into enough of them to find it annoying on my very old MacBook Pro.

Bruce
Bruce

@Ron For computers, I think there is a trade off between improving software and backwards compatibility. Hardware has improved so fast and we continue to learn new ways of harnessing that. Keeping older architecture is in tension with improving that architecture (As Apple found out when they had to abandon some of the past for OS X).

Ron
Ron

@Bruce You have a kind heart, Bruce. That is probably a very helpful tendency when dealing with software companies. I'm old compared to most and getting older. But I will try to adopt your approach when I begin to attempt this new use of the old. If it drives me crazy, I will retreat to live communication with Morse Code.

Ron
Ron

@smokey Thanks for the offer, Smokey! I will keep your user name on speed dial. There's a local computer repair shop with lots of repair techs. I'll head there first when the time comes, though the idea of opening a Mini myself with a putty knife DOES appeal to me.