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21 More Uses for a 68K Mac

I got a lot of mail on my article detailing how to use an old SE/30. Several readers pointed out you can use the SE/30 just fine with AppleWorks 5, which I didn’t know. There were so many stories about how you use your SE’s, in fact, I decided to start a list of uses.

I am sorry to report that all the computers I have belong to the district, and I am expressly forbidden from selling or trading them with people outside the district. Long story. Anyway, there’s more than one way to skin a cat, so here are some other things that popped up in my in basket.

Here’s the first pass at an extended list:

  1. Adobe publishing computer: My SE/30 does have a Micron Xceed card, but that is only because the suite of Adobe publishing software I use (all older and thus compatible with a 68030) is so much more pleasant in shades of grey. ClarisWorks 5 still functions in black & white just fine. (Matt Olson)
  2. Unix Workstation
  3. DNS server: You can run NetBSD or OpenBSD on them, so they become Unix workstations. Thus you can run, say, a DNS service or perhaps a email server, or even a Web server. Right now I run a DNS (domain name server) on an SE/30 for our local intranet. (John McIntosh)
  4. Fax receivers. (Marion)
  5. I am using an LC III with an external SCSI drive attached to run NetBSD 68K version 1.4.2. Once NetBSD boots, the system runs Bind 8.5.3 for tertiary DNS on our network. It has been rock solid for almost two years now. It is a slave server which receives its’ updates from a QuickDNS Pro DNS server. (Peter)
  6. StarAtlas, which is freeware, will run on a 68000 machine. I used to take my PowerBook 100 out to help me view the night sky – even once or twice wrapped red cellophane around the screen and attached it with rubber bands, for night use at my astronomy club’s observatory. The PB100 is pretty equivalent to your SEs. StarAtlas is painfully slow in drawing a sky on a 16 MHz 68000, but it does work, and the planets don’t move too far while you’re waiting. I think it wasn’t optimized for speed, but rather was a Mac programming exercise for the program’s author. (Bill Higgins)
  7. Using iCab in kiosk mode: Just thought I’d let you know that iCab has a nifty kiosk mode built in, and it doubles as a file browser. You can open anything from directly within iCab (sort of like Windows/IE integration). Now, I don’t know diddly ‘bout SE/30s, since I’ve never been able to get my hands on one (If you feel like shipping me a spare, feel free!), but I think iCab would run on one with little trouble under [System] 7.1 or 7.5, then you could set it in kiosk mode and run the planetarium software. Nifty. You could also build simple web pages with timed redirects to produce a simple slide show on it. (Tim Baxter)
  8. POP3 mail server. USE AIMS, EIMS, or SIMS.
  9. List server. Use Macjordomo or similar.
  10. DNS server. Use MacDNS.
  11. BootP or DHCP server? Maybe, but I don’t know a package which will do this.
  12. Web server. Copy the Web sharing extensions from Mac OS 8. Run personal web-sharing on the SE/30. Might need Open Transport, but that installs fine on System 7.5.3.
  13. Software Library. All Mac network support is made easier by having a machine dedicated to holding the software library. That way, if software gets corrupted, it’s easy to reinstall over the network, instead of trying to reinstall from local floppy or CD. An SE/30 can handle this load fine.
  14. LocalTalk bridge. Got an old LocalTalk printer without an ethernet interface? Plug it into the SE/30. Use Apple’s old (and free) LocalTalk bridge software and let the SE/30 share the printer on ethernet.
  15. LPR spooler. Got an EtherTalk printer that can’t understand TCP/IP? Grab a copy of Print66, which will accept lpr print jobs and reroute them to the printer. Even better: grab the free lpr client for Win 95, and have your Windows clients print on an old Apple LaserWriter via your SE/30 lpr spooler. Crazy but cool.
  16. DEC LAT router. A bit obscure this one, but DEC used to supply in their PATHWORKS package an AppleTalk-LAT router which worked a treat on an SE/30, linking MacTerminal sessions to VAX hosts. No doubt other protocol routings are possible.
  17. Run Unix. Try A/UX, NetBSD, or a version of Linux. Weird but doable. Link two more SE/30s, running Mac OS and a terminal emulator, via the serial ports (crossover, remember!) to the host, and you have a three terminal setup for learning Unix commands. Weirder still.
  18. Creative use of old Macs – the AV department at my high school had (and still does I’m told) an SE/30 (I think, although it could have been a Plus. The original motherboard died, so we replaced it with functioning compact Mac motherboard was in storage.) as a rolodex. Quite useful, really. Of course, most of the PC people enjoyed using compact Macs as.
  19. … doorstops… (Patrick Pietrasz) [That’s what I use my old Dell for. JA]
  20. Enjoyed the article. I have an SE/30 that is used as a floppy disk and Zip disk “peripheral” for my wife’sPowerBook 2000 (Pismo). The Zip drive is one of those original dark blue external units connected by SCSI. When she needs to read or write to a floppy or Zip disk, she turns on the SE/30 and connects via ethernet (the SE/30 has a ethernet card). She can’t access the drives directly over ethernet (unfortunately), so she copies to the SE/30 hard drive first (which has been upgraded to a 500 MB unit that used to be in my Power Mac 8100). If your school has or gets the more recent Macs that have no built-in floppy drive, it may be useful to set up an older 68k Mac (like an SE/30) in each room to act as a “floppy disk” station – especially true if you are outfitting some of the kids with take-home older Macs. An SE/30 would work well for this function because it is so small. Floppy drives may be archaic, but they are useful and convenient for moving small files between computers. (Ken Watanabe)
  21. Maybe if you have a demo running of an ancient game on one they’d think otherwise. You know, borrow the “game machine” as incentive for something. Or maybe you could set up 5 in a circle and get an old networkable game going on them, etc. (David Deckert)