This is how the story got started, with an email to Janet.
It is a story I hear pretty often: “I am in desperate need of advice/help. My blue and white G3 tower (yes, still using it) was being flaky - the USB was intermittently working and not working. So I unplugged the power, opened it up, took out the battery, pushed the SMU button, waited 20 minutes, and put it all back together. But I forgot that the front power button stopped working a while back. So I tried booting it up from both the ADB keyboard and the USB keyboard and … nothing. I have a project I'm in the middle of that I need to polish up for tomorrow and finish next week. Do you have advice and/or know someone who might be able to help me make it come back from the dead?”
After going over all the steps this person had done I recommended that he
1. look for a different computer that could run the same older system he is using.
2. renew his PMUG membership
3. recheck and reseat everything in the computer.
However after talking to him and hearing that his USB ports stop working after awhile I’m pretty sure that getting it started up again is only a temporary solution and that finding a replacement computer should be his best solution. By the way, the problem of the USB ports dying really sounds like he has a bad solder joint on the motherboard.
Shortly after I talked to him, we got another email. “If you can thank Charles for his help please do! I went through the computer one more time and just wiggled all the connections and re-seated the battery, and lo - it started up from a USB keyboard! So I'm back in business for now, will try to find a backup plan computer since this one's obviously seen better days.”
Many of you out there are facing or will face the fact that 10 to 15 year old computers are at end of life. In fact most computers do not live such long healthy lives. My best advice is to look for a replacement before you are in stress mode and can’t find some type of replacement. There are folks out there that really do not need a full computer; an iPad or even an iPhone will do them just as well. However for those of you who do need one, start asking what people are doing with their old computers. You may get a really good deal on their old one or they may point you to a electronics recycler who fixes up old units and resells them. Free Geeks may even have something that will fill the bill. I have seen people bring computers to PMUG meetings and ask for a $10.00 donation to the club for them. This is another great reason to come to the meetings.
This will get you started on hardware, now you need to think about software. Saving most of the data as Text or Rich Text file format means that just about anything will open it up and allow you to make corrections. If you are worried about fonts, spacing and formatting then you may want to save it as a PDF although corrections are harder on PDFs. Keep in mind that those old ClarisWorks documents may need to be opened and saved by old computers, then transferred to other computers to be updated and saved again before they can be used on current programs. It’s harder than you think to save it so that it can be read. I have a Macintosh 8600 that I use to read old documents off of floppies, then they are saved to an external SCSI hard drive and moved to a G4 tower because that Mac has a SCSI card inserted in it. In the G4 I upgrade the document to an old version of Microsoft Word, then move it to a USB drive and transfer to a 2007 iMac where the Word document is saved off as RTF and docx formats and then copied to whatever format the people need. Yes all this takes time and the right equipment along with the knowledge of what to do next. So that great American novel you were writing 10 years ago need not be recreated from scratch if you pay attention now.