Ron Mader writes:
I have some old Macs that either need to be repaired or donated to charitable organizations (after they are fixed, of course). Does anyone have good tips of where I can go with these 5 year+ machines?
From the perspective of long time Mac user, who in the past has been talked into participating in a couple spectacularly bad refurbishing/redistribution projects, I'd like to suggest that you want to look towards either (a) a group who can support the Macs after you've left them behind, and/or (b) a group who's already making substantial use of Macs. Although this doesn't have the same visceral appeal as seeing little Mary and Johnny (o Maria y Juanito) getting their first computer, or hardworking Father Brown being able to electronically tabulate equipment, donors, and volunteers for the home construction project it does mean that your old equipment will remain in use more than a month or two.
In addition to the platform-agnostic time-warp that people tend to enter when they purchase computers which blinds them to the fact that their old equipment is obsolete ("I paid $3,000 for this computer five years ago - what do you mean it doesn't run the version of Internet Exploder that I just spent the last two hours downloading by modem???"), us Mac users forget with all the ease of use and elegant hardware design and assembly, our Macs do break at times. When they do, the bright young kids who hang out at the local internet cafes or school computer clubs who volunteer up free labor can be mystified by both the hardware ("There's 10 extra pins on this hard disk connector....." - "Yeah, it's called a 8-bit SCSI drive.") and software ("Where's RegEdit????" - "There isn't one, it's not needed."). Additionally, most, if not all end-users with a pretty new machine hear about some piece of software that's going to revolutionize the way they work, or just sounds like a lot of fun to try. With five plus year old Macs, you're talking about machines that quite possibly can't run the current operating system with the hot new apps, and may very well have been dropped from the support list during one of the MacOS 8.x or 9.x revisions (Windows users, before you get snotty, do we really need to delve into the Win 95/SP2/98/NT/2K/XP nightmare?).
As conduits linking donors to end-users and possibly offering up the continued support, coaching, and assistance needed, I'd suggest checking out a local Mac Users Group. In their official directory, Apple lists several in Mexico
, including at least one in the DF. Because Apple's support of users groups is uneven, there's also a strong possibility that there's other UGs that aren't listed in the directory - try hitting a local Apple reseller
in the DF to see if they know of local groups. Because of their somewhat cult-like following ("Steve, Steve, I believe....."") you also find bright-young kids hanging around the dealer who might be interested in assisting in the effort, or the dealer themselves might be donating the cast off equipment they undoubtedly end up with to some worthy organization (hint - if you want to make sure that your equipment is going to good use, plan on doing a bit checking on what projects and recipients a group has already worked with. At least one of the refurbishing projects I got recruited for turned out to be skimming all the worthwhile equipment for their own use.).
PS - If you need the service source manuals for the equipment, drop me a private note. There's also some fully legal licensed versions of the MacOS (mostly english language localized) and applications which are no longer in use, and which could probably be shipped electronically as disk images.