Mac Mangling Madness

My wife says to me, after reading that last post, “Why is it, every time you want to work on a Mac, it involves a trip to the hardware store?”

She’s referring, of course, to the fun and games I had getting into an all-in-one Macintosh – specifically, a Macintosh 128, the very first “Mac” – some years ago.  It involved buying torx drivers and hacksawing off most of the handle part so the driver part could actually reach the deeply recessed torx screws, then using something to pop open the case.

They used to make special tools for working on the all-in-one Macs, called “case crackers” – they look like a crowbar with a 90 degree bend near the end.  They don’t look like anything you’d use to work on expensive electronics, more like something you’d use to work OVER expensive electronics.  They have been obsolete for at least 15 years now, but I’m sure that there’s a few long-time Mac owners who keep one in the tool chest just in case…  I never owned one, I mostly did what I could with really wide-bladed screwdrivers.

The Mac Mini, while not exactly EASY to get in to, is not in the same class.  It took a few minutes of fussing at it with a putty knife and occasionally scowling – on the principle that electronics recognize threatening looks, I guess – but it opened.

Then I got to experience the joys of working inside a mini, which were few in number.  I did not expect how tiny all the screws and connectors were going to be, or how fragile the drive cable was going to look.  It was a bit nerve-wracking.

It booted afterwards, though, and it’s running through the Leopard install now.  I can’t yet see whether the full 2GB of RAM is being recognized, but at least the drive seems to be working.

Oh, and I’m really glad I had a spare USB keyboard and mouse sitting around, because my super-fancy Apple-branded bluetooth keyboard and mouse are kinda useless for doing an OS install on a completely bare Mac.

Edit: Actually, OSX is a little too smart for its own good.

See, my “spare USB keyboard” came with an import copy of “The Typing of the Dead: Zombie Panic”, so it has a Japanese key layout.

After the first reboot, OSX correctly detected that the USB keyboard I was using wasn’t a US model and happily offered to default to Japanese keyboard layouts from then on.

That could have been bad. 🙂  I’m not a big enough geek to use a Japanese keyboard on a daily basis.

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2 Responses to Mac Mangling Madness

  1. Brian Huberd says:

    A _hacksaw_, sir? A simple email to me would have netted you the loan of my classic Mac cracking tools to get the case open. You never know when these things come in handy…


  2. baudattitude says:

    If I ever need to crack open a classic Mac again, I may take a hacksaw to myself.

    But thank you for the offer.


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