Tripped into the dark side...Mac-Help

rvvaquero

rvvaquero

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Started working with computers in a bank processing center in 1968. Got the bug and been hooked ever since. I've had dozens of PC's, DOS and Windows driven over the years. Never had a Mac.

So, since I'll soon be 70, I figured it would be about time to learn a little about the Mac OS. A guy down the street had an iMac he had used in a business. He said it'll surf the net and teach you about Macs. So, I bit and bought. I knew it wasn't much, but for $100......why not?

It's an iMac 5,1 model is A1208, built in 2006 running Snow Leopard. For having just a Core 2 Duo processor and 3 gb ram, it's pretty frisky. It says it's 64 bit. I"ve learned a lot about the Mac system just in the hours I've owned it. I love the quick boot and shutdown. Really impressed.

However, it won't open certain websites. Or, it will open the main page of a website, but balk when I click on a link. I get a blank page with a message in the center saying that it failed to establish a secure relationship with that webpage. It'll open a video in YouTube and play the sound, but not the video. If this was a Windows PC, I'd say that the video or processor was inadequate, or perhaps it was lacking a software component which can't be installed because of lame hardware.

Finally, here's my question for you Apple guys. Is this machine capable of browsing in today's modern environment? Is the hardware or software too deficient? I go to the App Store and enter Lion, Mavericks, Mountain Lion and the OS's don't show up as available. Mojave is available, but I know this machine won't run that. I've done internet searches on the subject until I'm crosseyed.

Any comments appreciated. Thanks.
 
harshness

harshness

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The security issue seems likely related to lack of support for TLS 1.2 and later. Using an OS X 10.6 compatible version of Firefox is probably the easiest way around that. Google Chrome 22 or later should work too but you may have to jump through some hoops. Same with Opera.
 
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Foxbat

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I'd advise you create a non-privileged account for your day-to-day activities. There are plenty of exploits for the older versions of Safari and OS X that Apple won't be patching as Snow Leopard is past support. The last thing you should be doing is accessing the Internet with the account you use to install software and change settings.

This discussion over on the Apple Communities board seems a perfect answer for what you can do, OS-wise, with your iMac 5,1: Highest OS Version for iMac 5,1? - Apple Community
It looks like OS X 10.7 (Lion) is as far as you can go, much like my Mac Pro (late 2006). I ended up installing Ubuntu on my Mac Pro, but it isn't what I use for my daily driver.
 
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TheKrell

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I ended up installing Ubuntu on my Mac Pro

Is there any version of Linux that runs on PowerPC processors within my truly ancient and never used Mac hand-me-downs?
 
rvvaquero

rvvaquero

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The security issue seems likely related to lack of support for TLS 1.2 and later. Using an OS X 10.6 compatible version of Firefox is probably the easiest way around that. Google Chrome 22 or later should work too but you may have to jump through some hoops. Same with Opera.

Thanks, I'll have to do a search for the older Firefox.

I'd advise you create a non-privileged account for your day-to-day activities. There are plenty of exploits for the older versions of Safari and OS X that Apple won't be patching as Snow Leopard is past support. The last thing you should be doing is accessing the Internet with the account you use to install software and change settings.

This discussion over on the Apple Communities board seems a perfect answer for what you can do, OS-wise, with your iMac 5,1: Highest OS Version for iMac 5,1? - Apple Community
It looks like OS X 10.7 (Lion) is as far as you can go, much like my Mac Pro (late 2006). I ended up installing Ubuntu on my Mac Pro, but it isn't what I use for my daily driver.

Yes, if I could get Lion on it I could at least run my camera software and use it as a surveillance monitor. I'm not sure where I'd get Lion from though, it doesn't come up in the App Store. Thanks for the link, I'll do some reading.
 
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Neutron

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Love our iMac at home. I’d much rather use it than my work laptop that’s running Windows 10.
 
rvvaquero

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Here's a followup. I did get Firefox and Chrome installed and they both work great. That's probably as far as I'll go. I do understand that the machine is not secure using old OS and software like that. I have no intention of putting any personal info on it. I don't even have an Apple ID. I may let my grandson play his Lego games, but he doesn't have an account and won't put any identifying info out either.

At least now I can learn to use the Mac and do searches and such without having to run back and forth between computers, search on the PC then try to apply it on the Mac.

I always said that whatever hardware you got in a Mac you could get the exact same hardware for about half that price in a PC. That may be true, but I have to give it to Mac, they make the most out of what they use. This Mac has a Core 2 Duo and it boots up in less than 30 seconds. I've had PC's with similar processors which take four or five minutes to boot. Programs boot right up without much lag at all.

I may have to buy a modern Macbook and use it for a primary machine. There's just something about paying $200 extra for another 8 gb of ram which rankles me. I mean, that same ram is $40 on the market. In fact, I pulled the ram out of this iMac and it was the same old cheap Korean chips I've used in other laptops. It just had Apple's name on it.

Anybody recommend a Mac I could use for my everyday machine, mostly surfing the net. I don't mind staying near the cutting edge, just don't put me on the bleeding edge. How old of a machine could I get by with, just anything which will run Sierra or newer?

Thanks again for the responses.
 
Foxbat

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I've used MacofallTrades.com in the past to get some older Macs for "reasonable" prices. Many of the "affordable" prices are units that may not support current or future macOS releases. For example, this 13" MacBook Pro for $349 is from 2011 and macOS 10.13 High Sierra is the last version that it will support.

TheKrell, I'm not aware of any PowerPC Linux flavors, but you never know what a Google search will turn up: 2.1. Supported Hardware
 
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harshness

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Ubuntu and Gentoo seem to be the remaining PowerPC options according to DistroWatch.

Due to memory constraints, I'd imagine most everything interesting (especially web browsers) is a battle.

Given that you can get a serviceable i5-based Pee Cee for around $200, you have to be a hopeless romantic to fuss with a PowerPC based Mac.

I'm currently using a Gen 3 i5 Dell desktop that boots Debian 9 (Stretch) from its SSD in about 12 seconds. Memory can be expanded in seconds to as much as 16GB and other hardware is available and not entirely expensive. USB 3.0 support is a big, big bonus. With 8GB of RAM and the 256GB SSD, I'm into it for about $240.

Memory and support for modern hardware (especially hardware-based encryption/decryption used by HTTPS) is going to be a problem with all systems that are more than 10 or so years old. MPEG4 hardware support likely isn't there either.

The hassle of running Pee Cee hardware is running Windows but if you're going to run Linux anyway, you don't have to suffer Windows.
 
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rvvaquero

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Well, a guy wants to sell me a Macbook Air A1466 from 2013. He says and it looks like it's used very little. i5 1.3 processor, 4 gb, 128 ssd, 13.3" screen. Comes with Mojave and Office. It looks like a really clean, lightly used unit. Comes with original box and power supply. He wants $500 for it.

My only concern, which further displays my ignorance, is with the OS. He says they don't come with disks anymore. So, what happens if the OS gets corrupted or the flash drive crashes? Is there a recovery partition? Can you make a bootable recovery disk or usb in advance which would install the OS back on the machine on a new flash drive? Can you download the OS from Apple and validate that it belongs on that computer somehow? In other words, how do you recover from a drive failure without paying big bucks for an OS from Apple?

Thanks again folks.
 
rvvaquero

rvvaquero

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MacOS can be installed from a USB drive (just as most OSes are today).

I didn't test this, but it seems to speak directly to your concern:

How to Download a Full Size MacOS Mojave Installer

I understand that it can be installed from a USB drive. So, if I bought a machine with Mojave on it, I could make a usb installer in case mine ever crashes? Apple doesn't care who uses it for what? There's no machine license on OS like there is on PC's for Windows?

In the link you provided, everything is done on a Mac machine. If my Mac crashed, I wouldn't have one to do it on. Just to be clear, I would be able to create a bootable OS install usb from my working machine with the same OS?

Thanks for helping the newbie.
 
Neutron

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Depending on the model of MacBook you can self upgrade the memory on it and save the overpriced option from Apple.

I may look at a used MacBook if I can find a way to replace the battery.
 
Neutron

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I've used MacofallTrades.com in the past to get some older Macs for "reasonable" prices. Many of the "affordable" prices are units that may not support current or future macOS releases. For example, this 13" MacBook Pro for $349 is from 2011 and macOS 10.13 High Sierra is the last version that it will support.

TheKrell, I'm not aware of any PowerPC Linux flavors, but you never know what a Google search will turn up: 2.1. Supported Hardware


They have a $399 MacBook Pro from 2012 that will support MacOS 10.15 when it releases next month.
 
Foxbat

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If my Mac crashed, I wouldn't have one to do it on. Just to be clear, I would be able to create a bootable OS install usb from my working machine with the same OS?
Regarding loading a fresh OS X (or macOS on newer models), most Intel Macs offer a Network Boot which starts up the Recovery Tools Environment from Apple's CDN. If you have a reasonable Internet connection, I like this method. Command-Option-R when you power up your Mac to do this. Here's a good page that shows your keyboard startup options:
19 useful Mac startup key combinations you should familiarize yourself with

I have a MacMini that was near a lightning strike and while the Ethernet NIC and HDMI output got toasted, the rest of the machine seems to work just fine. MiniDP to HDMI takes care of the monitor output, and a Gigabit Ethernet Thunderbolt 2 dongle addresses the LAN connection (although I could use the WiFi). I had removed the SSD to put in the replacement MacMini so this one was diskless. I put a spare 2.5" 1 TB 5400 drive in it and put Ubuntu 18.04 on it.
 
harshness

harshness

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According to the Apple website, only Macs that shipped with Snow Leopard or later (starting in mid 2010) have the Internet recovery option (and only if the EFI firmware has been upgraded).
 
harshness

harshness

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In the link you provided, everything is done on a Mac machine. If my Mac crashed, I wouldn't have one to do it on. Just to be clear, I would be able to create a bootable OS install usb from my working machine with the same OS?
The idea is that you create the media before the machine buys the farm, not wait until after. It may be possible to build the drive from another OS (like Windows or Linux) using a ISO to USB application if you absolutely can't wait to trash your system before backing it up.

The likelihood of a Mac borking its hard drive spontaneously is pretty low. If you're that concerned about the hard drive, perhaps you should pass on it.

In Finder, if you choose the "About this Mac" option, you'll find what bittedness it is running. A 2006 model will likely be running 32 bit with the attendant RAM limitations (~3.2 - 3.5GB) that mode necessarily involves.

A web search will lead you to a wealth of information (some of it inaccurate) on various topics related to Macbooks. Don't let your experience with other operating systems scare you off.
 
rvvaquero

rvvaquero

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Guys, I've spent the entire long weekend researching and reading up on Macs. I'm not afraid of learning something new. I'm just trying to absorb it all. For example, you guys talk about the "Intel" macs like they just started. Isn't that all they've used for at least 13 or 14 years? Anything built before that is pretty much useless nowadays anyway. I know all the iMacs, Mac Minis, and Macbooks I've looked at were Intel.

As far as hard drives go, they fail all the time. Apple uses the same drives as everyone else, they're no more immune than any other OS. I just was trying to understand how to go about replacing one and restoring the OS on a Mac. No particular apprehension involved.

My 2006 iMac core 2 duo is 64 bit, or at least About my Mac says it is. I've enjoyed playing with it, but can't use it as a daily because the OS is old and unsupported and vulnerable.

Thanks for all the comments and help.
 

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