My sister is computer-illiterate. There’s a PC in the house, but my nephew and a little girl who is a daughter of a friend have managed to click on things they shouldn’t and the machine is seriously infected. I don’t know the whole story, but the upshot is that my sister claims she can’t go online or something.
It’s much more convenient for me to use email, rather than the phone; which means that it’s rather inconvenient that sis doesn’t use her PC. So I had a thought: Why not a Mac? She could use it with less fear of its becoming infected. But there’s no way she’d buy one, and I don’t want to spend a grand on her. So I found this:
I’m using a PowerBook G4 1.5 GHz, and it’s fine for me. I have a 450 MHz iMac G3 that’s perfectly usable for telecommuting, and the machine on eBay is faster than that one; so it should be good enough for my sister. I thought I might get the iMac from the eBay seller and give it to her on her birthday in June.
What are your opinions? Is $199 + $50 shipping a fair price? Any known issues with the machine? As I haven’t bothered to look at other machines for sale, are there others I should consider for my sister?
That’s a reasonable price for that machine in good working condition. It’s a nice computer, but it’s getting pretty old. It will run Leopard, but that’s the end of the OS’s. These machines had issues with overheating, especially in houses with smokers and pets. When you get it, use a vacuum and a brush to clean out all the vents. They also had some video problems, but if it’s working now, it will probably remain working.
That’s not really an issue, technology-wise. As I said, I use my G3 (running OS 10.3.9) as my telecommuting computer. The iMac G4 is faster than my ‘work computer’, and my sister would only be using it to surf the web and sending emails (assuming she’d actually use it).
She lives in San Diego, so it can be a little toasty down there; and there are a couple of cats.
The RAM is pretty low, at 256MB. I had an eMac G4 and it got a huge speed boost going from 384 to 768 MB. It depends on what you do with it; it will work for basic tasks but if you have multiple applications and especially multiple web pages open then it will be pretty slow.
I think memory for those older machines may actually be more expensive than current memory, maybe because it isn’t made anymore or something.
You could go with either. There were multiple versions of each, so you’d have to see which individual one has better specs.
The eMac has a slightly larger screen, but the screens seem to get blurry over time. The iMac’s screen will remain sharp, although I don’t know if the brightness degrades or not. The eMac is pretty big and heavy, so I would tend to go for the iMac, all else being equal, but it’s up to you.
eMacs have several known video and power supply issues - I would avoid them. They are CRT-based, so they are big and get hot, which tends to shorten their lifetimes. Still, they aren’t as fashionable as a flat-panel machine, so you might e able to get one really cheaply.
Yes, I went back to eBay and saw that eMacs are faster, have more RAM, and have bigger screens than the iMac G4, and are also cheaper. But they’re big. As I said, my guest/work computer is a 2001 iMac G3. I’d sent that one to my sister, use this PowerBook G4 as my guest/work computer, and get a new MacBook Pro for primary use; but the G3 just looks so cool. (And it’s also perfectly fine for telecommuting, and I’ve put an AirPort card in it.)
That looks like a good computer at a decent price, but given that a kid (or she) might click where s/he oughtn’t, I’d like to stay away from PCs. Besides, if she has any trouble it would be easier for me to talk her through it while referencing my PowerBook.
I have this exact same system purchased new in early 2003. My wife uses it for email, web browsing, etc. It has been an workhorse and is still going strong. Make sure you have 768 MB or 1 GB of memory and MacOS X 10.4. The unit I have came with 256 MB of memory and OS 9.something.
Do note that this model only has USB 1 ports which are slow. If you want to add external USB devices you may want to get something with USB 2 ports. This is an issue for current iPods or the iPhone.
There were a rash of bad video boards and power supplies on the eMacs. They use completely different electronics from the iMacs (which had their own set of problems). In general, CRT-based computers are subject to more stress (more heat, higher currents) than newer LCD-based machines. Even with the known issues, both machines were pretty reliable in absolute terms.
Okay, you are aware that Apple products CAN get viruses, right? There’s nothing intrinsically special about the OS that prevents viruses, it’s just that the virus writers don’t bother too much–why write a virus variant for a very small subset of the computer community? A Windows 64 bit OS is just as virus resistant as a Mac is for the same reason. Whatever you get her, put a good anti-virus program on it if virus infection is an issue. Macs ain’t magical…
Oh, prove it.
I’m so sick of people who say that OS X isn’t more resistant than Windows, with absolutely no proof. Just a statistical analysis shows that this reasoning is flawed. Macs make up a few percent of the installed base of computers worldwide, and yet have something like .0001% of the number of pieces of malware. If OS X was equally vulnerable, one would expect the number to be 1%-5%
My husband does Tier 2 tech support for a leading online tech support company which also supports a major anti-virus software package. Yes, he does get Mac calls for virus removals. Last night, according to the company IRC channel there were two Mac disinfections–he gets a lot of chatter whenever it happens since he’s one of the few support engineers who’re familiar enough with Mac OS to take those trouble tickets.
As for your statistical analysis, perhaps you aren’t accounting for low level virus scamsters not bothering to learn the Mac OS, considering it’s not a big target and therefore not a big revenue stream. Macs are spendy, script kiddies don’t get them when they’re young and learning their trade and the vast majority of computers out there run Windows, with a long, long history of known vulnerabilities and a huge database of existing viruses to exploit them. It’s just easier to keep perfecting and refining bugs to attack Windows, which admittedly does make it easier for them to exploit.
As Mac OS gets more popular, so does writing viruses for them. Here, for example, is what you get when you do a Google news search on “iworks virus.” Get used to seeing more of this.
The two current attacks are Trojans - anyone can write one. I can whip one up in 15 minutes for you if you want. Nothing you have said refutes what I said previously. Also, I’ve never said that OS X is invulnerable, just that it’s much, much, much better than Windows.
Well, that’s all right then–I hear people all the time who insist they don’t need anti-virus software because “I have a Mac!” shudder
And all I’m saying is that if the husband were to suddenly decide to write any sort of an attack bug targeted specifically at Mac OS it would take him no more time or effort to do it than to whomp one up that targets Windows. We’re all lucky he doesn’t do that sort of thing, because being the sort of perfectionist picky bastard he is he’d write a horrible doomsday bug that was targeted to hit Windows, Mac AND Linux–he’s methodical like that.
There’s nothing magically fabulous about Mac OS that keeps it from getting infected, end of story. There’s nothing magically fabulous about viruses, either, they all get in pretty much the same way–because people are stupid, they will click on anything that says “click here!” and they go to dirty places without their condoms on and they ask vampires in for a cuppa tea. If anything, the only intrinsic protection the Mac OS gives is in being a tad more “idiot proof” than Windows.