Old skool

Posted by: webslog

Old skool - 06/05/04 12:15 AM

Two PB 1400s are just asking for rebirth. Any thoughts? I was thinking of hacking one into a mobile wireless access point/server. Put it in a rollie tool box, add a monster cantenna and wherever there is a power outlet and some sort of wireless signal, I'm golden. Any one heard of anything like this?
Posted by: krusher117

Re:Old skool - 06/05/04 01:28 AM


This company makes robotic sensors that interface with a laptop. I'm sure its for windows only, but how about some sort of mobile robot rig that can drive itselft around a room. I know I've seen it somewhere on the net, but I can't find it.
Posted by: webslog

Re:Old skool - 06/05/04 01:40 AM

OS 9 had speakable items (i think). Imagine either a robot or a stationary "network node" that could listen, go online and check email, etc. by voice command alone.
Posted by: scottk

Re:Old skool - 06/06/04 12:59 AM

You are correct. Technically this is possible in OS9. :-D
Posted by: mark

Re:Old skool - 06/06/04 07:04 AM

Anything over OS 7.6.1 is going to be pretty unbearable on a 1400. 8.6 might be just bearable but anything on top of that will bog it down. OS 9 with speakable items enabled will be about as fast as a sloth.

There isn't even that much WiFi software for the classic OS. The only classic war-driving software is from Alksoft and that requires the Apple drivers. The Orinoco drivers are pretty useful, and they can actively scan for open nets, so I guess all isn't lost. Plus there are versions of it compatible down to 7.5 IIRC If you want to make a email node then its possible, but websurfing with it will be really slow.

For a robot there used to be some mac robotics sites out there. There used to be some serial controllers as well, but they're really rare. If you can get one of those and have some decent programming skills then you could be able to pull off a mac based robot. There have been attempts at it but I've never seen one completed.

Personally I'd go for a Digital picture frame if you get one with an active matrix display. I hate to break the bubble, and I love older systems, but there isn't a whole lot you can do with a 1400.
Posted by: scottk

Re:Old skool - 06/06/04 07:22 AM

Yeah. I'd agree about the digital picture frame.
Posted by: DaleCo2k

Re:Old skool - 06/06/04 12:21 PM

I've always had a soft spot for embedded linux applications. You can load YellowDog on there and there are tons of resources around for interfacing external hardware for stuff like controlling a robotic platform. Plus installing linux allows for a great deal of customization to the speed of the system by removing kernel components that are unneccisary. Just a thought.
Posted by: izenman

Digital Frames - 06/07/04 08:50 PM

I've already read a few sites on making digital frames out of old laptops. I have an old PB5300c that I am working on making into a wireless digital frame. Has anyone else had success in created a digital frame from a PB? How about wireless?
Posted by: mark

Re:Old skool - 06/09/04 03:08 PM

Linux doesn't play with systems that don't support PC Card or PCI, and the 1400s only do PCMCIA. The only *nix that will come close to working on a 1400 is BSD, and even then it will take a whole lot os shoehorning. IIRC the version that supports the 1400 is a half step up from the 68k distro.

Any Mac with a card slot can support wifi, Orinoco has a great driver floating around the web. You'll want something like FTP server or VNC (maybe) to load images onto it but it should work fine.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re:Digital Frames - 06/09/04 03:11 PM

I have an old 5300 as well. I would love to see your mod when done. Will you be posting it?
Posted by: Anonymous

Re:Old skool - 06/09/04 03:14 PM

Sonnet makes the Crescendo PB/G3 running at 466MHz for $300.00. According to their site, they say it is compatible with OS 9.1.
Posted by: mark

Re:Old skool - 06/09/04 03:29 PM

IMO, waste of money. You can get 700MHz G3 iBooks for $700-$800. That can get you a larger screen, better battery, moden ports, and better drives. Plus you get the faster bus and a while lot more memory. Unless you get one dirt cheap or free, forget about an upgrade
Posted by: TheCoroner

Re:Old skool - 10/31/04 05:31 PM

I also have a PowerBook 1400/166, just asking to become something useful. Getting WiFi to work on this thing has always been a dream of mine, but from what I can gather, is more like a nightmare.

For starters, the only WiFi cards that I've ever heard of working on a 1400 are those with an Orinoco chispet. While drivers are available, you'll need OS 8.6 or higher to use them. So, after having spent all that money, what do you get? A PowerBook that runs like treacle, that's what. Even OS 8.1 causes the old 1400 to sweat.

Personally, I'm leaning more in the direction of a digital picture frame, but perhaps with more functions. For instance, why not also use it as a CD/MP3 player? Or a wall mounted personal digital assistant. The keyboad could be mounted in a flip-down panel and the trackpad could be attached to the frame.

The other idea I'm toying with is a carputer, but that would be less useful, unless somebody can prove me wrong about the WiFi issue.

In the meantime, any more oringal suggestions are welcome.
Posted by: whitlock

Re:Old skool - 10/31/04 09:11 PM

The Orinoco is the right way to go. It's a high quality card that has a good warranty to back it up. Also, if you plan on running OS X (using ex post facto) you could also run a card that has a Broadcom chipset. Unfortunatly, there are not too many cards that run those.

Another that will work with your machine is a Buffalo Technologies card. From personal experience the Buffalo cards are crap. Yeah, I wouldn't endorse them with a ten foot WiFi pole. But if you want to, that is cheap card you can try on your PB.

Now for your WiFI issue. After updating to OS 8.6, you will get internet access, but it's not going to be very fast. It's going to act like if you plugged a NIC into it. Pretty much, your limited by your machines speed. So if going online is high priority, then get a card. If not, go with one of the mods.

The 1400 makes a good picture frame with the right software. They are not too hard to modify, considering all you will need are some Torx screwdrivers to take apart. The carputer, I'm sorry, would not be a good idea. It will just run slow, and not be too impressive. A good carputer, in my opinion, should be atleast a G3. With the speed, and processor, you can run OS X where there are some *nix apps made that would look great in a car.

I'd go for a picture frame that can play MP3's.
Posted by: TutAnGeek

Re:Old skool - 11/01/04 02:38 AM

Actually, whitlock and mark, the serious problem with the 1400 is that you can only use 16bit pcmcia cards in its slots. This limits you to only the original lucent/orinicco cards, and anything else that is 16 bit. There are ways to get many cards to work on powerbooks, but for the 1400, it must be a 16 bit card. The 1400 works nicely in a picture frame (i did one), but make sure that you get ample flash storage so that you don't have to have a loud hard drive spinning.

And whitlocck, the PPC will do fine playing CD's, and if you put in enough ram and set up a nice cache, you can have nice MP3's too. Also, it's a pain in the ass to set up a simple "carputer" on OS X.

And there Is support for NUBUS powermacs under linux.
Posted by: whitlock

Re:Old skool - 11/01/04 03:51 AM

It is true that you can only use the 16bit cards, because that was an issue that plagued Mac technicians for a long time. That is why finding decent USB or Firewire cards was such a pain, because you had to line up a working chipset as well with the bus. I had a vendor that screamed one time when I asked if he had a Firewire card that would work with a 5300cs, and he screamed, literally, screamed at me. I dropped that vendor, and just decided to pay full price w/ MacResQ.

With OS X, there are more apps available to setup a "carputer", as opposed to OS 8.6-9.2.2. I cannot name any apps made for a "carputer" in OS 9, because I could not find any after a few minutes of searching. Atleast I can find *nix applications for OS X. Considering you can put a slim install on there and run a better version of iTunes, like one running party shuffle, is more than enough to say that the possabilites are endless when running X. Not to mention you can compile apps if you find one that would work better. That and speakable apps work better in X than in 9 in general.

And whitlocck, the PPC will do fine playing CD's, and if you put in enough ram and set up a nice cache, you can have nice MP3's too. Also, it's a pain in the ass to set up a simple \\"carputer\\" on OS X.

Who said the PPC would not play CD's well? A pox on the person that said that in this thread. Seriously, no one in this thread mentioned that the PB would not be able to play CD's very well, that was your own statement. Watch how you structure your phrases Tutan, because that was directed at me, if you were wondering why I'm irked right now.

Post edited by: whitlock, at: 2004/11/01 03:57
Posted by: TutAnGeek

Re:Old skool - 11/01/04 05:48 AM

whitlock wrote:
The carputer, I'm sorry, would not be a good idea. It will just run slow, and not be too impressive. A good carputer, in my opinion, should be atleast a G3.

This implies that you don't believe that a 1400 can't decode MP3's well enough. A "carputer" could include audio playback, or navigational purposes. Surely the navigation couldn't be limited by the processor, so therefore, I imagined that you were implying that the 1400 wouldn't be able to decode audio fast enough.

Have you tried setting up a "carputer" on OS X, whitlock?
It seems to me that many people are under the impression that "it works on "*nix" so therefor I can download the source and compile it on OS X!" Guess what? It's not like that. Sure, there are many cases where this may be true, but there are also many more where it takes a fair bit of tinkering and patching to get the program to compile and run decently.

iTunes has a huge GUI that makes it easy to use from a mouse and keyboard. How does that make it more implementable in a "carputer" set up?

Why don't we just end this here, though, no?
Posted by: whitlock

Re:Old skool - 11/01/04 10:04 PM

I would like to clarify two things though.

One of which was my general statement about the G3 being a better "carputer". That is true. It's a better machine overall, and depending on which G3 PB you get, you can get a DVD drive to play movies as well. Nothing was said about the 1400 having issues with MP3 playback. If you are going to install a carputer, it would make more sense to install a machine that has more edge to it than an older PB.

And I have never tried setting up a "carputer" with OS X. I never saw the point of it until everything is integrated and you can access the inboard dash computer to tweak fuel settings as well. A good old MP3 deck is good enough for me at this time. I have seen a few good home brew Linux 'carputers' and MP3 players throughout the years, and decided that since people already have the apps made for atleast Linux, a good recompile for a known good piece of software is worth it, as opposed to using older OS 9 legacy applications that do not have a driver or car friendly interface.

Pimp My Ride had a 'carputer' that ran Windows. The first thought I had was that it was going to crash something on the way home.
Posted by: oojacoboo

Re:Old skool - 11/01/04 11:56 PM

lol, I saw that episode Whitlock. It was pretty funny. laugh