Saving a Dinosaur from the Dumpster

Posted: May 17, 2007 in Apple, hardware, Mac OSX, technology
Tags: , ,

A little back story, i have 5 macs at home, all varying in vintage from the past 10 years +/-. It’s sad in some ways that a computer that is around 10 years is a dinosaur, but in the world of technology it is definitely true.

The particular mac i am talking about is a second generation clamshell ibook, a true inspiration of design and style, and one i haven’t the heart to mothball because it’s just so darn cool. Rather than spend a chunk of change on an airport card (if i could find one that is) I thought i would try to use a cheaper solution – a wireless USB network adapter. so I picked up a relatively cheap Trendnet USB wirelss adapter – model TEW-4224UB. First off was upgrading the OS. The ibook had OS 9.04, which from my brief researching on the web would not allow me to run the USB adapter i bought. I needed minimum os X.3 for that, so i began the upgrade process to os9.1, then updated that to 0S 9.2., to get ready for the jump to OSX.

My thinking was, I would install OSX and then jump straight to Jaguar. great idea in theory, but not in practice. I did the OSX install and then updated to OSX.1 because I remember how flaky OSX was in the beginning. So after that i inserted the Jaguar cd but it would not install. After a lot of head scratching and pondering I stumbled on the fact that the ibook only had 64 meg of ram, which did not meet the minimum requirements for Jaguar. Thankfully a friend had replaced a stick of ram in his old powerbook and the type was the same so i popped it in and voila, 128 meg ram. the minimum i needed, which made for a rather lengthy install os OSX.3 Jaguar but at least it was installing.

After the install was complete i updated to 10.3.9 and installed the generic software i found for the trendnet USB wireless adapter and then plugged that in. Nothing. Nada. No networks adapters available. I played around for a while with various network settings and resetting my router, making sure i had all security turned off – thinking some setting was stopping the adapter from connecting. Still Nada. At this point i’m questioning the function of the adapter so i install the software onto a slightly newer ibook and try it one there – again nothing. It looks like it’s not going to work. Either the hardware is faulty, or the software doesn’t work with this particular adapter. I’m leaning towards the latter.

All this because i am trying to get a non-supported wireless usb network adapter to work. Sometimes it makes sense to spend the extra money and get the proper hardware, but then again, to borrow a page from Apple, it can be fun to think different. This saga isn’t over yet, i haven’t given up so easily, i’m just taking time to rethink.

(to be continued)

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