[Noisebridge-discuss] Mac Hacking Friday report (2015-01-09)

Josh Juran jjuran at gmail.com
Sat Jan 10 09:58:15 UTC 2015

Tonight was my second attendance of Mac Hacking Friday, and my first since moving back to the Bay Area.  I was the only attendee.

I looked at four Macs in the space.  There's a G4 iMac running OS X 10.4, or at least trying to, but not doing a very good job at it since it only has 256 MiB of RAM.  Also, it mostly fails to interpret mouse movements (two different mice tested, one of which I confirmed working elsewhere).  I recommend installing a lighterweight OS.  Sadly, my understanding is that Mac OS 9 will not boot on this machine as is, though it might be possible with some reverse engineering.  On the other hand, Linux should work on it just fine.

The lime G3 iMac has a Gentoo live CD stuck in the drive, which I was unable to eject via the trick of holding down the mouse button on boot, though the eject motor tried its best.  After the ejection failure I got the flashing question mark, indicating that there isn't a hard drive with system software on it.  There may or may not be a hard drive at all, functional or otherwise.  Booting from the CD got me to yaboot and Open Firmware prompts, though I didn't explore further.  Next time I'll try putting it in FireWire Target Disk Mode and see what happens.  Ideally, it should be disassembled temporarily so the disc can be removed.

A 12" PowerBook G4 has some missing screws above the keyboard, but booted as far as the flashing question mark.  In addition to Target Disk Mode, booting from a CD or DVD is an option.

Finally, I was able to power on a Mac Pro, but didn't get a graphics display from either of its three DVI ports.  Maybe it's busted, or maybe it couldn't satisfactorily negotiate a resolution with the screen through the VGA adapter.  I'm done with this one.

Next week I'll bring my Raspberry Pi and make it emulate a Mac.  Unless of course I get wrapped up in conversations with other Mac hackers. :-)


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