Lamp jobs: review vintage iMac G434 comment

It is often said that technology becomes obsolete so quickly, how rapidly hurtling forward technical progress of the modern world. However, any rule there are always exceptions, and over the years the electronic industry has spawned a special category of devices, over which not imperiously time itself. In this League of extraordinary gentlemen are true legends in different times modify the appearance of tehnomir sometimes beyond recognition, and now our hero is on the honor roll one of the first places. Now, look and admire — the famous “Lamp jobs” visiting

Born to surprise

Thirteen years ago, in a festive new year season, it seemed that nothing distract from their routine in life “fruit” company. Pet of Steve jobs, the then young designer Jonny Ive, just celebrated a decade of employment at Apple, and jobs himself were still bringing in orders on all levels of the organization of his creation, which during his absence was on the verge of real bankruptcy. It would seem that recently, under the joyful applause of the audience, returned to their native land Steve introduced a completely new product, which became a symbol of its revival — colored iMac (G3). Large out-of-print edition (for those days standards, and then Apple) model, so different from their plain black counterparts, has breathed new life into the legendary Macintosh line and returned the stray Cupertino to the world of computer business.

However, since the announcement four years, the audience clearly missed something new, and in Cupertino were ready for it. 7 January 2002 from the stage of the well-known Moscone Center in San Francisco, Steve literally gave out on-mountain the new creation of Apple wizards. As if by magic, obeying the push of a button on the clever remote control, the gaze of the public brought the device, which was destined to change once again the concept of desktops and forever remain a model of engineering and design skills. Novelty, which is modestly dubbed iMac G4, picked tumultuous applause by its appearance: the combination of a hemispherical system unit, over which rose a thin monitor on a rotating stem, was created simply to amaze the imagination of even the most advanced technology enthusiasts. It is not surprising that for the first three weeks after release Apple has received more than 150 thousand orders for the new iMac, and even increase the already grown-up (from 1299 to $ 1799) retail price is 100 conventional units are unable taken to slow down the machine pace. About this successful “comeback” colleagues on the shop floor would have to dream.

With the iMac G4, which received afterwards the nickname “Lamp jobs” (execution of the computer suspiciously resembled one of the characters Pixar, table lamp named Luxo-younger), began the widespread adoption of LCD displays in consumer devices. The candy bar was produced in several versions, the most expensive of which was equipped with a G4 processor with a clock frequency of 800 MHz, 256 MB RAM, 60-GB hard disk drive and an optical SuperDrive that supports DVD burning, and soon the line got an update in the form of a model with 17-inch monitor. The latter was staffed with a faster 1GHz CPU and HDD increased to 80 GB, and built-in Airport and Bluetooth modules.

But enough of the history. To have such a copy on the shelf, your humble servant going long, but worthy offerings to him somehow did not come across, and “Lamp” for a while slipped from sight. A lot of time on a separate search did not want to spend, and therefore when attention was accidentally attracted a great option at a reasonable price, the emotions were doubly positive. Share them and would love this material.

Blue blood

Trivial enjoyed an Apple product is like a Bentley with plastic interior. The device is supplied in a beautiful box, decorated with large Apple logos on both ends. The design is simple and elegant: as it is comical, but on the package not once stayed the eyes of onlookers. Inside is also not without surprises: meets the new “Aladdin” is a beautiful poster with a picture of the computer, filmed from different angles, and in the layout of the felt’s famous attention to detail, all items are carefully housed in special compartments peoplenow.

The kit included:

  • iMac G4
  • Apple Pro Keyboard (in our case Extended version)
  • Apple Pro Mouse
  • Apple Pro Speakers
  • Network cable
  • Different + clear instructions (in our case, only the installation disk Mac OS X)

Sound system Pro Speakers that came with the iMac, was developed by the Harman/Kardon exclusive for this model, and its sound still to this day surprised even seasoned music lovers. Agree, it is difficult to expect from speakers of this size of any outstanding quality, but the firm of brooms does not knit: after a good decade and a half of complete iMac acoustics plays a variety of music, ranging from electronics Armin van Buuren and ending with hoarse vocals Nickelback. Perhaps it is one of the best mini desktop 2.0 speaker format, which have ever had a chance to meet you, although, of course, “the taste and color”. Complete periphery in the form of keyboard and mouse connects to the computer via a wired USB interface, which is somewhat archaic for today’s Mac, but very progressive for its time. By the way, typing on Pro Keyboard is very comfortable, the ergonomics of the keyboard on top, and its margin of safety is, obviously, designed for very long operation. Classic one-button mouse, enclosed in a case similar to the transparent body, takes some getting used to, but it’s a matter of days or even hours. Unfortunately, the box did not showed up beautiful instructions, this is interesting from a collectible point of view, the element will look later.

He may abide with you Mac

To say that the computer is really beautiful, then do not say anything. It’s safe to say that a few cosmetic enhancements like edge-to-edge touch display Yes replace the shiny Apple logo to something more space — and the machine is ready to serve as a working tool captain Kirk, and if you add a holographic interface — and then some mischievous guy with the Jedi sword on his belt. The language tried to mention and favorite the Normandy, however, and military rigor, our hero is clearly no different, and I think even Miranda Lawson would be considered the iMac G4 is too bright for my office. However, refuse does miss Perfection by such additions to the home interior — still a big question.

On the front hemisphere of the hull is located the mirror Apple logo, and compartment optical drive, tray which is removed by pressing a specific key on the keyboard. In the case of booting the computer from the installation disc tray is opened by using retained when you turn the mouse button. The instance in question is equipped with a SuperDrive, which allows you to read and write CD and DVDs.

The rear part hides from view many different interfaces, some of them look very unusual in our time: modem, FireWire, DisplayPort, as well as a special connector with a diameter of 2.4 inches for the speaker connections. Unfortunately, it is proprietary, and use Pro Speakers with another sound source requires a separate manipulation. In addition to the above, there is a plug to the power connector, three USB (two more, by the way, is built into the end portion of the keyboard), Ethernet, standard 3.5 mm audio interface for headphones and even a Kensington lock. In short, everything you need was home not only to the user of the beginning of the twenty-first century.

Enthusiasts have repeatedly mentioned that the iMac G4 has made a significant contribution in a kind of “blur” the boundaries between professional and consumer areas, because the older models could work as undemanding “user”, and quite a serious graphic designer. For example, the guys from CNET comfortably run on a newer machine this series development environment software, video conversion and playback DVD. Of course, at the same time.

Monitor, the device is made by technology TFT and has a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels at a screen diagonal of 15 inches. The brightness of the screen according to the spec is 200 CD/m, contrast — 300:1. Monitor mount swivel, you can adjust the angle of inclination relative to the base and the legs, which in addition can be rotated 180 degrees in the horizontal plane — a kind of mini-transformer. Boast adjustable in such a wide range may not every modern unit (honestly, the author has not yet met such models). The claimed viewing angle is 120 degrees horizontally and 90 vertically, which is approximately true. Note the rather thin even by today’s standards framework — should be, in the days of the bulky CRT devices, this was seen as particularly impressive. Around the base of the attachment holes of the ventilation system, through which the emission of hot air. The display is decorated with an interesting design element of transparent plastic, creating a visual impression of larger than actual size, and on the back above the hinge mounting flaunts all the same mirror “Apple”.

Overall design concept corresponds to the sunflower, which was inspired by Steve jobs in mind for his second iMac. The monitor itself (matte, like most models of its era), of course, is not amazing characteristics and shows the average image quality and slow response time of the matrix seen with naked eye. However, all this automatically turns out to be “overboard”, if you remember that this is a 2002 machine year of manufacture — I guess many users have worked for units with CRT, when the “Lamp” already carried the weight of a new ideology of flat screens. Summing up the consideration of the design of the device, it is possible to return to the analogy with cars, e.g. Mercedes. If the PowerMac G4 (the type of the Pro) is, most likely, powerful SUV Gelaendewagen, iMac of the same series is undoubtedly the “winged” cat SLS.

The power and beauty

Computer built on the Power PC platform is a joint development of Apple and IBM. Of course, no multi-core CPU at the time of the release of “the Lamp” of the question, and set here the chip under the label 7441-one core with a clock frequency of 700 MHz. Into the CPU includes a special element for processing vector graphics — AltiVec Velocity Enging. Interestingly, in such a compact package (less than 11 inches) is set and the dedicated graphics card GeForce nVidia 2 MX with 32 MB VRAM, plug-in interface AGP 2x (older configuration also equipped with 4 MX). The amount of RAM the instance in question is 1 GB is the maximum capacity for 15-inch models, but a lot of their time. Hard drive our “Lamp” provides enough space (about 160GB), allowing his breakdown to install different operating systems. By the way, about the standard software was delivered just two versions of Mac OS, this is a classic “nine” and OS X 10.1 (“Cheetah”).
However, using the installation disc our copy easily earned on OS X 10.4 Tiger.

As a result fully functioning machine running both versions, and switching between them is done by changing the startup disk in system settings. Unfortunately, the Windows installation on the computers Power PC is not possible due to incompatibilities on the architecture level, if you want you can use virtual machines, but the performance of this solution can hardly be called satisfactory.

When the module Airport computer connected to the WLAN router (though the latter had to be transferred in mode WPA-1). And here the fun begins: proprietary Safari browser of the 4th generation of good feeling in today’s Internet, quickly loading web pages from the official Apple…

…to the best source of information about her.

The main reason why the device is still not suitable for full surfing, is the dominance in today’s Network, all kinds of banners and other elements constructed on the newest versions of web technologies. Support for this implemented in old browsers on rudimentary by today’s standards the level, and the task of rendering falls entirely on the CPU. Of course, HTML 5 is missing here. However, the video streaming is quite possible, if comes to technology QuickTime. Surprisingly, hardware acceleration of the video card is enough for most of the YouTube videos in standard definition and without “brakes”. For this we used a free program PPC Media Center, which allows you to open links in the video through the QuickTime player.

To assess the overall performance of the system was used in popular synthetic test Geekbench, the results of which our hero scored 339 points. It’s not bad. The responsiveness of the OS interface is very high even when using the latest for version 10.4, there are all standard “features” such as Exposé, Dashboard, show desktop, etc. On the test sample also installed some software packages iWork and iLife.

Note — in those days the life cycle of Apple products was for a long period, and in total the computer has worked under the management of five operating systems starting with Mac OS 9. The latter, incidentally, is to be expected works the fastest. I think, to dwell on the features of OS X there is no need, everything here is quite familiar, but “nine” is interesting from a historical point of view is a product worthy of separate consideration.

Introduced in 1999, Mac OS 9 was the last in the series and was positioned by the manufacturer as “the best system for the Internet”. There were good reasons: a new version was integrated with online services Apple iTools (MobileMe ancestor, iCloud and subsequently) and was equipped with a built-in search tool Sherlock 2, for which the contextual search can be called by some the prototype of the modern Siri. As a regular browser were Internet Explorer (Yes, it is), and other improvements included automatic download of updates and support for multiple user accounts. Supported system and your favorite company the voice features of the Macintosh with which she could articulate menu options and even utter the e-mail addresses. For OS 9 was produced even popular games, including such hits as Sid Meier’s Civilization II and series Marathon.

The latest version of the OS is 9.2.2, and it works “Light”.

And here is our favorite Internet Explorer. C a search in Google it copes without any problems. Unfortunately, support Cyrillic (text) characters here, instead of them showing question marks.

Here is another program from Microsoft Outlook. Also pre-installed proprietary iTunes and iMovie.

But the interesting thing is built into the system a means of training… to the Internet. The special program contains clear instructions accompanied by step-by-step animated demonstrations.

In General, funny as it may sound, but the system that was released more than a decade and a half ago, still workable. Moreover, many programs that used to work “old school” users, available only for “Classics”. Especially many such applications among various audio editors, because of what some professional musicians even now use “nine” as an additional OS.

The Captain Of The Uniqueness

Surely many readers will be interested in the question: was there a G4 iMac is one of a kind? The answer is simple — no, it wasn’t. However, before writing an angry comment that Apple is “always” provided an existing solution as a novel, we recommend you take a look at what was also quite powerful (built on the Pentium IV), but certainly not a great opponent, “Lamp jobs” — Gateway Profile 4. By the way, who else remembers this brand?

But to look like a typical computer at the time. By the way, it’s fast and expensive name-brand PC series Pavilion Hewlett-Packard.

Well, it’s time to end our little excursion into the “Apple” story. Sure, “Lamp jobs” left nobody indifferent, and let’s once again say thanks to Steve for his creative genius, which has raised a whole generation of lovers of the beautiful from the world of electronics. Thanks to the talented team assembled by founder of Apple, the company continues to delight customers with unusual products, and there is no doubt that after several decades of such materials will be dedicated to new, released in this era classics.

P. S. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Vintage iMac G4 is obviously one of the best options to spend hard earned hundred dollars (well, almost).

Clifton Nichols

Clifton Nichols

Hi! I’m Clifton and I am a full-stack engineer with a passion for building performant and scalable applications that are beautiful and easy to use.

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