Out to Pasture or Back in the Saddle? What to do with an old MacBook …
When I purchased an 11” MacBook Air in November, I had to make a decision about what to do with my beloved & still viable ‘06 MacBook (MB).
My first Mac since college I was reluctant sell it. I started looking for reasons to keep it. The most obvious was as a backup laptop. In the event the Air got stolen or died, I’d be back in the saddle in less than two hours (SuperDuper!).
Other Uses for an Old MacBook:
- A ‘clean’ machine for screencasts.
- Private & secure computer for house guests.
- Remote Desktop device for access to my video content from the road.
At the time, the Macbook needed $130 in repairs. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a machine that was already four years old. However, since I’d extended the useful life of the computer by upgrading the memory and doubling the hard drive capacity, selling it wasn’t appealing.
The last & best use sealed the deal. I’ve wanted an affordable A/V solution for my Living Room. I had a 1st Gen MacMini but it never got the job done. It was more of an experiment than a viable TV accomplice.
By using my MacBook in the Living Room, I’ll get DVR features w/unlimited storage potential (via Elgato EyeTV), access to all my digital movie content (via Plex), and won’t have to migrate any content over to iTunes. Plex also adds content from dozens of providers like Hulu, Vimeo, Al Jazeera English, etc.
So I made my decision and here’s the progress …
- Re-Installed Snow Leopard on repaired ‘06MB to wipe all old data off the machine.
- 7 time pass to clean and reformat a Western Digital 500GB HD that will be used to store movies.
- Created a list of all critical applications & utilities needed for the MacBook. I use DropBox to store application .DMG & .ZIP files. If I need a particular app or sometimes, a specific version of an app, I’ve found it much simpler to find and install from DropBox vs. going out on the web to retrieve it.
- Installed EyeTV software - This along with the Elgato hardware, allows me to use the MacBook as a DVR to record live TV. I recovered the $200 Elgato by selling older TiVo’s & DVR’s on eBay.
- Installed Plex - This is an open-source media content management app. Haven’t used it before but I’m excited to dig into it. It basically allows me to view content similar to Front Row without needing iTunes .
- Two cables: The first connects the MacBook’s Display Port to a DVI-D (female), then that cable connects to a second cable via DVI-D (male) to an HDMI input on my TV. Works perfectly.
- Copied DVD library from Drobo to WD 500GB HD. Currently the library is 200GB. As I add content to the Drobo, I’ll periodically sync the external HD. By the time it fills up, 1TB externals will probably be under $100.
I’ll post a follow up in the future after I’ve had some time to mess around and see how it all performs.