Breathing Some Life into an old MAC. Now I Just Need Apps.

Mac Mini 1,1

Where does the time go? It’s been months since my last posting and it’s been even longer since I had a chance to share anything here. Here goes…

I am a longtime MAC user. Most people know that. I am soundly secure (I hope) behind the gated community that Apple has built to secure it’s customers. Sometimes I will get nostalgic for some of the older MAC’s I used so this latest project was an eye opener.

I added an original MAC Mini 1,1 to my little collection of MAC’s. This particular model is 10 years old. I acquired it a few weeks back and decided to see if I could go breathe some life into an old MAC as a backup to my other macs. You can easily find MAC Mini’s on eBay for less than $100. Here are a few of the things you can and cannot do on MAC’s today as opposed to 10 years ago…

You can upgrade your RAM, but not anymore

First thing I noticed is that it needed more RAM. This machine was only running 256mb, or two 128mb chips of RAM, hardly enough to run 2 applications at the same time. A quick search of the internet showed that I could upgrade the RAM to 2GB which I was able to do in about a half hour. You cannot do that with MAC’s of today as the RAM is soldered to the motherboard on todays models. If you don’t upgrade at the time of purchase you will never be able to upgrade. Here you realize that Apple gets all it’s money up front when you purchase your hardware like this. In the past you could just slip in additional RAM as needed. Now, buy what you need upfront.

You can upgrade to OS X Snow Leopard, 10.6.8, that’s it

OS X Lion is the last operating system out there that is supported by Apple (as of this writing). Snow Leopard, which is 5 years old, is the version right before Lion. Snow Leopard was as far as I could upgrade on this mini and is no longer supported. Snow Leopard was the last OS X released before they started going all IOS on the operating system. Hereafter Apple started integrating all their IOS features into OS X making it feel more like IOS and less like a MAC. I am actually happy with the downgrade here. Snow Leopard was a solid OS.

If you purchase a MAC Mini 2009 or later you could upgrade even further but this was as far as I was able to go with a Mini from 2006. You’ll find a list of all previous OS X capabilities here.

The App Store works but not the Apps

The App Store was introduced in OS X Snow Leopard but don’t try to download any apps, they are all now unsupported. It’s very eery to login to the app store, see all your apps available for download and none of them work. It’s a virtual ghost town.

You want older apps that work? There is a great repository of old apps here at If your a windows user you’ll find that site very interesting too. I miss Winamp!

No iCloud

Sorry, iCloud was not introduced until later. There is no way to access iCloud off an older machine except through the iCloud website. Even then, Safari 4 had trouble pulling it up. I was able to run a more recent version of Firefox but it looks like Apple is making it difficult to access iCloud from unsupported browsers. I can’t blame them, older browsers are usually not secure.

No Siri….

OK, I know I will sound crazy on this one but when I am working on my other MAC’s I am painfully aware that Siri (An AI) is in there somewhere listening to me and watching me through the microphone and onboard camera. A 10 year old MAC does not have a microphone, camera and no Siri. Call me crazy? Yeah, call me crazy.

In a nutshell, this little mini in my little collection will do for some light work, coding practice or just internet browsing. But now I am on the lookout for old apps. If anyone has a good resource for locating old apps, please let me know.

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