I didn’t know an old Mac could do that…

Last weekend, before starting working on the Touret magazine Thumpah and I were beginning to assess the forthcoming translation work so she could give a decision on Monday morning on whether we’ll do it or not. As we only have the one computer at home, we were considering borrowing her Dad’s portable so she could work at the same time as me.

Unfortunately that wasn’t available, so I decided to drag out my trusty old Mac Powerbook 520 to see if we could use that. The only snag here is that I buggered up the diskette drive a couple of months ago, when it refused to eject one that was already in there. So no possibility to transfer Word or Excel files between my PC and the Mac… well… I thought so, until I looked closer at the back of the Powerbook.

Amongst the many and weird ports along the back is an Ethernet plug – although not an RJ45, but an older AAUI plug. Given the Powerbook dates from about 1994 it goes to show that MacIntosh was already “Thinking Different”.
After researching on the net about this strange quirk and looking on Ebay, I came across an AAUI-Ethernet Cat5 & Coaxial Transceiver (pic below) for the reasonable price of £4.99. Wow!

After checking further on the net, I realised that it could be possible for my PC, running XP, and my Powerbook running Mac OS 8.1, to share our rather more modern Cisco Systems router to access the net. In using an FTP server I would then be able to have an online “network” to share files between the two machines. This would also be useful for downloading Mac software of the 68k kind for installation on the Powerbook. In fact… better than a poxy diskette drive!

So I went ahead and ordered the Transceiver from Ebay, from a place in the UK and this arrived yesterday – quick. In breaks when not typsetting the magazine, I finally managed to get the Mac to access my router by allowing XP to share it. Then last night when I didn’t have any work on, I found a brilliant browser, called iCab, to replace an old copy of Netscape on the Powerbook, and also Fetch, an FTP programme for Mac.

By using these I can not only access Gmail via the Powerbook, but both the PC and Mac now share files without a problem.

To say I’m smug is an understatement… all for £4.99! Seems the Powerbook will not end up in the bin just yet… 🙂

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Technorati Tags: Mac, MacIntosh, Mac OS 8.1, OS 8.1, Powerbook 520, ethernet, AAUI, Word, Excel

0 Replies to “I didn’t know an old Mac could do that…”

  1. What a lovely success story! Getting a 17-year-old machine to work so well… I thought I was doing well with a 10-year-old G4 Sawtooth model.

    1. Sadly I took the Powerbook down to the tip last year. As electrical items are usually recycled from there I have no idea what they’ll make of it. Probably stick it in the shredder. 🙂

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