My $80 Macbook

Hot rodded with a 240GB SSD and 4GB of RAM, it’s a screamer.

James Ellis@jamesellisnyc

I really liked the white Macbook, and I had been curious about running Linux on these older machines. So I bought one on ebay for $80. A 2008 model. (That’s 14 years ago.)

This Macbook originally shipped with Snow Leopard, which is snappy on this 32-bit rig. I did play with it some. I was able to get IceCat working. But I was most interested in running Linux. I chose to install Pop! OS from System76. Wifi drivers required a bit of fiddling, but otherwise the install was smooth and I’ve been impressed how Pop! performs.

It’s a fussy old machine. It runs slow. It gets hot fast. The screen looks bad when you catch it at a good angle. It looks awful off-axis. But still, it works surprisingly well. Here it is running the PA Destination Homepage:

Why bother? Why tinker? There’s no reason really. I’ve always had good computers around. My work has mainly taken place inside computers, usually inside a creative studio space. The machines were always changing so fast, always unlocking new capabilities. It was best not to get too attached. I got good selling machines on craigslist and ebay. I enjoyed letting them go. But now that I’ve been a computer person for so long, there is something nice about keeping certain older machines around. I like seeing our website still work. It’s just nice. Worth the $80.


We edit the web from
our destination homepage.
Weekdays we send an email.
Join Public Announcement to
secure service and unlock
full functionality.

More Weblog



Working on a fix

We are investigating why our homepage’s connection to the Twitter API started failing.

Day One Sessions

A concept for up & coming guitarists with a passion for teaching.

Your business card is CRAP!

Your card should be so good that, even if they don’t like you, they won’t throw it out, because it demonstrates incredible marketing capability.

Songs with Go! parts

Sometimes it’s right before the solo. Or just after. Sometimes it signals mosh and really sets things off. Some tunes go! right out the gate.