How To Get An Ancient Mac To Surf The Web

macplusembedPhoto: Courtesy of Jeff Keacher.
It's hard to imagine why anyone with access to the simply magical mobile computing devices we have at our disposal would want to move technologically backward. The only compelling reason, it would seem, is to see if it can be done in the first place. As technology moves forward, it leaves behind an ever-growing landfill of incompatible objects. Denver-based developer Jeff Keacher decided to see if he could take such an object — a 27-year-old Mac Plus — and adapt it to run a Web browser. With a lot of determination, he did it.
Keacher's childhood computer had some pretty disappointing specs, by modern standards: an 8 MHz CPU, 4 MB RAM, 50 MB hard drive, and a 512 x 384 pixel black-and-white screen. Beyond that, it wasn't equipped for a modern Internet connection; it lacked both an Ethernet port and, of course, Wi-Fi. So, after only one exploding capacitor, Keacher managed to hook up a Raspberry Pi mini-computer to the old serial port and get his computer connected, followed by some improvisation to get a rudimentary browser to load.
And, when Keacher finally got online, it only took about six minutes to load a basic text website. Mission: accomplished.

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