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MAKE Flickr photo pool member csc934 wants to know – What would you do with fifty iMacs -

In the fall of 2006, there were a bunch of Imacs in the old girl’s locker room of the middle school. Nobody wanted anything to do with them, and since there were enough of them, it seemed like there might be something interesting we could do with them in the Build Repair class. Enough kids were interested in trying it out that we turned it into an event. The whole class went over to DMS to harvest the imacs. Two machines per kid, it seemed like an easy thing. Imacs are a bit heavy. It was a physical struggle to get them across the street. We survived.

So what would you do with 50 Imacs? They are mostly G3′s, some have OSX, some have OS9.

The deal with taking stuff of the loading dock or anywhere in the waste stream of the IT department is that if they don’t want it, we can have it. They don’t want to maintain it in the future if they chuck it. So they are free machines and have to leave the school. Not a bad deal…Link & wiki.

Phillip Torrone

Editor at large – Make magazine. Creative director – Adafruit Industries, contributing editor – Popular Science. Previously: Founded – Hack-a-Day, how-to editor – Engadget, Director of product development – Fallon Worldwide, Technology Director – Braincraft.


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Comments

  1. -soapy- says:

    Surely “WWYDWFi”?

    It’s got to be a Beowulf cluster for the working ones, and I’m sure the pumpkin chunkin’ guys could have some fun with the dead ones.

  2. cheesy says:

    Reenact the MacWorld Keynote when Steve had dozens of iMacs streaming video from a single PowerMac, of courrse.

  3. mikelaursen says:

    Hang them along the eves of the school like a string of Christmas lights.

    Seriously, though, th electric bill to run 50 computers would be pretty high. I’d sell them on eBay and buy a few new Macs.

  4. murph38_99 says:

    Target practice…..

  5. Takato says:

    I’d steal all the 3D models, area’s and the movement instructions that were used in the incredibles, and re render the movie in 1080p on a cluster.

  6. PLGonzalezJr says:

    If the school didnt have something in place already… put them up in all of the class rooms and use an xserve to stream digital content and morning announcements to them all!

  7. gbiche says:

    make some art

  8. JulianBH says:

    Donate them.

  9. JulianBH says:

    Donate them.

  10. Tux541 says:

    PPC Based Linux and make a Cluster, free super computer!

  11. Oracle1729 says:

    Sell them, they should bring in enough to buy a new iMac or macbook ;)

  12. atomic1fire@gmail.com says:

    i wonder if its possible to turn all those macs into a webserver

  13. entropomorphic says:

    What would I want to do? Linux, XDMX, and maybe beowulf, in groups of, say, 10. Keeping track of 10 monitors on one virtual computer would probably be the upper limit. Nearly infinite desktop space though!

  14. lostsailor says:

    Make a very colorful fort with them. Then play cowboys and indians of silicon valley.

  15. chaunceyjb says:

    Looks like about half of them are tray loading iMacs. They would be more trouble than they’re worth to me. I’d get rid of them, sell them on ebay. Anything over 8GB hard drives have to be partitioned and they don’t support Tiger. The rest are slot loaders and will support drives up to 120 GB. Of the rest, some may or may not have firewire. Some may or may not have CD burners and/or DVD players. If they’re 350, they probably have none of those. For the ones you’re going to keep, I’d certainly keep ones with firewire and then mix and max to make sure you have working dvd players, as that will make it easier to install Tiger. Some may have Airport cards and Airport Card carriers (the slot loaders certainly support it). With the money from the tray loaders, I’d buy some larger hard drives and max out the memory and install Tiger.
    There are several possible uses. One I really like involves some basic multimedia.
    1. Use one as a Darwin Streaming Server (the free version of QTSS.)
    2. Set up another in the gym and get a copy of Nicecast from Rogue Amoeba and a M-Audio MobilePre together with a couple of XLR mics and a couple pair of cheap headsets and broadcast the basketball games to the QTSS and onto the internet. Kids enjoy it and parents that can’t be there do as well. You can also broadcast just about any event. Have an adult work with student. We did that at out school and we have student that’s now interested in going into broadcasting as a result.
    3. The slot loaders should support VGA out (not sure if they’re 350s). The VGA out port is under a plastic cover on the bottom back. Let the kids take pictures of events and make slide shows with music which can be displayed on a projector hooked to the VGA port. Kids love to see pictures of themselves.

    Have fun!

  16. lostsailor says:

    Make a very colorful fort and play cowboys and indians of silicon valley.

  17. tuckerch says:

    Where ARE THEY?

    It would be nice to know where they are, in case someone would like to, you know, give you money for a couple of them.

    Or did that thought never occur?

  18. MarkusFrieauff says:

    The German Association of World Shops (volunteer-run shops selling fair trade products from developing countries and promoting fair trade) ist trying to develop kind of an information terminal for the world shops where customers can surf through the world of trade and find information on small producers, world trade and the concept of Fair Trade. The iMacs would be perfect for that – are you interested in donating them? If so please contact us at http://www.weltladen.de or at m.frieauff@weltladen.de!
    Thanks and have a nice holiday season!
    Markus

  19. MarkusFrieauff says:

    The German Association of World Shops (volunteer-run shops selling fair trade products from developing countries and promoting fair trade) ist trying to develop kind of an information terminal for the world shops where customers can surf through the world of trade and find information on small producers, world trade and the concept of Fair Trade. The iMacs would be perfect for that – are you interested in donating them? If so please contact us at http://www.weltladen.de or at m.frieauff@weltladen.de!
    Thanks and have a nice holiday season!
    Markus

  20. garbagepit says:

    RENDERFARM!

  21. fguarien says:

    Hello,

    I am working for http://www.novacel.cd a small company which is trying to suggest ecological solutions to the world.
    We are employing indirectly 3000 people (30 families).
    We are building schools and computers would be welcomed.

    This is not a joke or any kind of “arnaque”.

    If you want more information on what we do I’d be glad to chat more.

    The main question we may have is how much does the whole package weight? What would be the size?
    What would be the cost to
    1 F/A Quartier Banunu – Commune de Matete – Kinshasa
    République Démocratique du Congo
    BP 749 Kin 1

    Thanks

  22. nicfinch@gmail.com says:

    Instal Ubuntu on them and give them to community centres and youth groups / squats or hostels.
    Damn! send one to a friend of mine who is too poor to buy a computer, but is really creative and would be able to do so much with the modest power of a G3 imac.

  23. aplumb says:

    What would I do with them? I’d send them to Mark and see what he can do with them. :-)

  24. makmo says:

    Hi,

    I like either one of the ideas posted above. If you have the space and time, time especially, go for the cluster idea. Otherwise give them to your community or younger siblings with a linux distro so they can learn computing.

  25. garbagepit says:

    RENDERFARM!

  26. Gesiwuj says:

    Donate to deserving students such as moi :D

  27. footballplayr69 says:

    Give them to me, at least 2 of them.

  28. Gohoog says:

    I think you should donate one to me, cause all I have is a piece of shit comp and I dont care if its a pc or a mac as long as its better.

  29. Gohoog says:

    I think you should donate one to me, cause all I have is a piece of shit comp and I dont care if its a pc or a mac as long as its better.

  30. Gohoog says:

    I think you should donate one to me, cause all I have is a piece of shit comp and I dont care if its a pc or a mac as long as its better.

  31. kaymo says:

    String them together and make the world’s phattest necklace.

    Bling Bling Yo.

  32. TokyoDan says:

    Well, as an educator (in Japan), I would definitely find an elementry school and give it to the children. That would be the best thing (if the school wants them). Alternatively, go around a neighborhood with a big truck and just give them out randomly to people especially if they have children or Windows PCs. ;-)

  33. TokyoDan says:

    Well, as an educator (in Japan), I would definitely find an elementry school and give it to the children. That would be the best thing (if the school wants them). Alternatively, go around a neighborhood with a big truck and just give them out randomly to people especially if they have children or Windows PCs.

  34. bstafford20 says:

    I would set them up around the school and have them display slidesshows of students and their work at school. They could also function as a sort of school wide information kiosks. Of course being a middle school this is all predicated on keeping the kids from defacing the “puters.

  35. bstafford20 says:

    I would set them up around the school and have them display slidesshows of students and their work at school. They could also function as a sort of school wide information kiosks. Of course being a middle school this is all predicated on keeping the kids from defacing the “puters.

  36. Fusion says:

    Gut them and mod them as the pcs that they should be.

    wait that one guy did that once and got death threats from mac lovers, even though it was a joke.

    I’d still do it tho, just to say I did.

  37. Johnny_Action says:

    UBUNTU PPC LINUX ( http://www.ubuntu.com/products/GetUbuntu/download#currentrelease ) can be loaded on these, either by cd or by network boot. Thus loaded they can be basic internet boxes for Senior centers, Boys N Girls club’s and local non-profit groups that help poor people such as Salvation Army, Groups that help homeless people, battered women’s shelters etc.

    There is a need in these groups of non-profits for computers for basic network access or for internal processing of documents.

  38. jkatka says:

    Strip the internals out and place them in a self constructed case. The motherboard is quite small. Install linux or OSX and set them up through out local area schools as a weather station. I believe there was a weatherstation post about a year ago that utilized a 1 wire setup for the external wind, moisture, etc. monitors

  39. ctb says:

    Donate them to a worthy cause.

    Like Free Geek, for example, who just experienced a huge break-in. They would probably take the iMacs, install Ubuntu, and then distribute them to a non-profit such as the Lower Chinook Tribe, National Council of Jewish Women, Veterans for Peace, or Bolivian Medical Exchange.

  40. JasonWeimann says:

    1. Get a big chain.
    2. Connect them all together near the end of the chain.
    3. Sell it as the worlds most colorful boat anchor.

  41. christooss says:

    Make a videowall like this

    http://www.kiberpipa.org/~igzebedze/cp/vw-howto/

    Sorry only Slovenian language but you will get the picture. Please ask question if you want a little translation

  42. Skyhawk_Flabberjacket says:

    Donate them to IFP (Independent Film Project) in one of their member cities. The one in Minnesota could use them to teach Final Cut Pro (or iLife/iMovie). They’re always in need of working systems to teach hungry creatives about film and videomaking!

    Here’s their website:
    IFP Minnesota

  43. mastershake916 says:

    Hide them around the school and network them as file servers.

  44. rafanto says:

    Salve io sono italiano e vivo in un piccolo paesino della calabria , io con il vostro contributo ho di mac ho di pIII non ho preferenze particolari di creare una piccola rete pure 2 pc per l’accesso ad internet per il mio paese, anche perchè nn ci sono tante possibilità in merito.. essendo in una zona dove l’informatizzazione nn è così alta! avrei intenzione di creare un luogo di ritrovo e di studio e divertimento per il mio paese .. e per tutti quelli che nn possiedono un pc .. grazie a tutti

    Traduzione:

    HELLO!
    I am Italian excuse me for my english! I live in a small small village of the Calabria in Italy, I with your contribution of mac or pIII I do not have particular preferences to create one small 2 net PC for the access to Internet for my country, also because nn there are many possibilities in merit. being in a zone where the informatizzazione nn is therefore high! I would have intention to create a place of meeting and study and gaming for my village, and for all those that nn possess a PC. thanks to all
    bye bye Antonio Di Cello

  45. cmkilger says:

    If the computer still works, use it. I’ve gotten several old iMacs like these, upgraded them, and gave them to my friends and family (and kept some for myself of course).

    1. Add RAM if it hasn’t already been upgraded (have at least 256MB). You can find out what kind of RAM you need at OtherWorldComputing, try here

    2. Add a larger hard drive. You can get an 80GB drive at a good price. I would try Newegg.com. Make sure it’s an IDE drive and no larger than 120GB, try this search.

    3. Install Mac OS X. You need a DVD drive in order to install Tiger, or you can put the hard drive in an enclosure and install from another Mac. As a student you can purchase it at a discounted price. Or if you’d rather you can try and obtain Panther, possible from Ebay, try this. When installing, the first partition (where you will install the OS to) can be no larger than 8GB.

    4. Move your Users folder to the second partition. This can be done using NetInfo Manager in your Utilities folder.

    Now you’ve got a great computer. It’s may not be the fastest computer in town, but you can do school work (install MS Office or NeoOffice), web browsing, email, music, photos, and even play games.

    5. Let me know if you need any help.

  46. uninorth says:

    * Make 50 people happy with them… gifts for christmas.
    * Even for those macs that wouldn’t be working – they will be great for spare parts for anyone who has a G3 that needs parts …
    * An iMac G3 would be great in kitchen, with a cook book wiki and for reading morning newspapers.
    * Upgrade the ram and hard drive of some of them for being enough to run OS X 10.4 and donate to some blind people who can’t afford a mac – with built-in voiceover it will be a usable computer and does not cost thousands for the screenreader software (like it would in windows).
    * Those would be great for small clidren.
    * A Macquarium is a classic … some of those would be nice to sell or give for people wanting to build a macquarium.

  47. F-Y-O-D-O-R says:

    Hello.
    Excuse me for bad English language, I simply live in Russia.
    At me a question, and I iMac can be presented and sent one by mail to Russia? Very much it would be desirable.
    I shall be grateful to You for the answer.

  48. christooss says:

    Where can I find 50 Macs????