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need input from Mac users

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by DigMe, Feb 1, 2005.

  1. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I have a student who really wants just a basic computer so she can type up papers and do research on the internet. I'm sure she'll be doing email on it and stuff as well. I think it will also be helpful for her when she starts applying to colleges and looking for scholarships. A teacher told me that she has an old Powermac 6400 that she'd donate.

    Since I know nothing about Macs can someone tell me if that would be sufficient for her to surf the net and write papers? If she's used to using MS Word would she have any trouble using whatever word processing program comes on the 6400?

    brad cook
  2. Against Will

    Against Will Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2003
    Big Sound Central
    Surfing the web might be a bit of a problem; depending on which sites she wants to visit; however, Clarisworks (which I believe came on the Powermac computers) shouldn't be too hard to use for someone who's used to Word.
  3. elros


    Apr 24, 2004
    Proprietor, Helland Musikk Teknologi
    Here is a specs page for the PowerMac 6400: http://apple-history.com/frames/body.php?page=gallery&model=6400

    It can't run OS X - but I remember we had one much like it where I worked a couple of years ago, and it worked really well. We ran Mac OS 8.6 on it, IIRC (we actually used it for video editing!). It can do all the stuff you mention, but setting it up isn't IME quite as easy as the new ones.
    But hey, if it's free, go for it!
  4. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    If you squash the entire 136mb of ram that it can hold in there, it just barely do what she wants. In other words, should be fine. My sister had the next MAC up from that one.
  5. Wrong Robot

    Wrong Robot Guest

    Apr 8, 2002
    It will work fine for word processing, using an older version of word or clarisworks. Internet is a little bit more challenging, because webpages these days have more pictures, flashy ads, text.. and overall space. The computer will have a difficult time rendering, and even with a very fast internet connection, will still be severely bottlenecked. In addition to that, Since it can't run OS X, She may find herself with compatibility issues here and there. The stereotypes that Apples are incompatible with everything were wrought from pre OS X days when that was largely true. Since OS X and wide spread push towards open source and standards development, compatibility isn't much of an issue. That said, OS 8.6 is a very solid operating system that is both fast and secure.

    You can't beat free I guess, but it might be something of a struggle to get that dinosaur into working and useful condition.
  6. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    You could get by with it, and the price is right, but a used iMac G4 or something like that on eBay can also be found for a reasonable price. That would work FAR better.
  7. Nick Gann

    Nick Gann Talkbass' Tubist in Residence

    Mar 24, 2002
    Silver Spring, MD
    Check out the new Mac Mini, if you don't think the powerbook will be up to snuff. I plan on getting a Mac Mini sometime this summer, it looks like an awesome little computer.
  8. Kelly Coyle

    Kelly Coyle

    Nov 16, 2004
    Mankato, MN
    We used to do all those things with that computer, so you almost certainly still can. With OS9, If you can get something like iCab for the browser, and Mariner Write for the word processing (it's MS Word 4-a-like), I doubt that you'd much notice that it wasn't current. And free is much cheaper than the $6-800 bucks you'd pay to get a G4.
  9. tkarter


    Jan 1, 2003
    As already said Internet browsing will be it's only downfall. No secure site capabilty in the browser for that.

  10. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    I think based on these comments and combined with the fact that she's not familiar with macs I'm gonna say no. I may still talk to her about it.

    brad cook
  11. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    Plus, you can get a Dell that will do far more than what she needs for less than $500.
  12. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm... Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    I second most of the opinions here....

    This was a very good computer........... in 1997.
    I used to work with these computers back in the day.

    As others said, you can run Claris Works, also an old version of MS Office for macs, but it is pretty useless in internet browsing nowdays. Imho, it will be hassle to use it.
  13. DigMe


    Aug 10, 2002
    Waco, TX
    $500 is a little more than free though. However if you're willing to donate that I'll go for it. :p

    brad cook