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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Thomas the Rhymer Tech: Little Mac Corner (10) Tech: Little Mac Corner 21 Dec 07


Appropriate Technology.

With all of the technological advances in computers lately, it can be a real relief to simply find an older computer that does just what you want it to do... and call it good. And because the parts are cheap and available... experimentation becomes fun again!

And thus...

I've been having SO much fun with my old iMacs! Last summer... to the veritable tidal wave of knowing disapproval and condescension of my local community... I purchased a 333Mhz G3 iMac at the local yearly rummage sale for 40 bucks. Really... I got more support from my friends as a small child... stomping on caterpillers all afternoon...

So, after messing around with the older 'system 8.5' for a few hours, I quickly realized that I really wanted more from my 'new' toy... so... after finding that this model isn't really DVD upgradable, I took the thing apart using an easily retrieved 'googlette' (quickly downloaded instructions), and I removed the hard drive.

Taking the hard drive over to my faithful old dust covered Blue and White and replacing it's HD with the one from the iMac, I loaded the OSX 10.4.6 disk into the Blue and White's DVD rom and replaced the 1998 operating system with last year's "state of the art". After a very stimulating hour or so (don' you just love to watch your computer download huge programs?), the installation was complete, and I lost no time placing the HD back into the iMac... and I turned it on.

It started up fine... but was REALLY slow... so I upgraded the Memory (RAM) by ten-fold... from 32Mb to 384Mb... and started up again... and PRESTO!.. it went from REALLY slow, to sluggish... but... aside from heavy loads like Videos and Photoshop... it surfs online at DSL speed without a glitch.

Yeah, so?...

Well, the newer system is WAY better... you pretty much have to -try- to get the iMac to crash... but the new programs are so much better... you'll have better things to do.

Well, to make a long story short, my mission was increasingly clear to me. I already knew that G3s do music recording quite well... My 'Blue and White' PPC works great with the BETA version of Audacity (a free audio editor/multitrack studio)... and so... off into the world of virtual studios and and VST/Audio units I dove.

What I finally found surprised me! The iMac was just a little too slow to do all I wanted... but it could do quite a lot of it! What I was after, was a complete "all in one" signal processor and recording studio... and it needed to be rather small... but not nano... Portable and affordable appropriate technology.

So... I picked up a 600Mhz G3 iMac with 500Mb of RAM at the recycler for less than 100 bucks without a hard drive, and put the one into it that I had done all the work on already... and it worked great. Even small video!

At this point... I found myself wondering about WiFi... and since the iMac is rather portable... well... I just couldn't resist. After calling around for an 'airport' card I soon realized that we were talking about an antique... and It's cost had doubled in the last year because 'they don't make them any more'. So... it came down to a USB wireless interface adapter. Best Buy... 60 bucks... works great... downloads very fast at most offices, coffee shops, and libraries.

Anyway... back to the point... unbeknownst to me, System 10.4 (Tiger) comes with a basic audio unit 'host' that doesn't download with the 'basic install'... and since most of us aren't programers, we probably don't install the programing tools... and I didn't, cause I don't know the first thing about computer programming. So... out of the computer came the hard drive again... and I loaded it with the 'Core Audio' program "AU Lab".

There are lots of free Audio Units available online...

It works!

I can play through it as a signal processor in real time if I allow 'playthrough' to occur. this covers the latency (the tiny but otherwise noticeable lag between playing the note, and hearing it).

I'll update this thread periodically.

ttr


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