when i looked outside my living room window this morning, i saw an imac on the sidewalk. i quickly got dressed and grabbed it, the trash truck just a few houses down. it looked okay, the screen wasn't damaged, but just no accessories, including cables. fortunately i have plenty of power cables and plugged it in to see if it'd work. i was actually surprised when it booted up with a chime, and brought me to the login screen where it asked me for the wireless mouse and keyboard. so it worked! i couldn't tell what model it was, the manufacture date was 2007, most likely a mid-2007 imac.
it didn't matter that the hard drive was locked, that was to be expected. i would erase everything first anyway before installing a new system.
later i grabbed my usb keyboard and wireless mouse and connected it to the imac before restarting it again. the login was password protected, but i was hoping there was a guest option so i could at least log in and get a technical specification info dump. when i moved the imac off of the floor onto the coffee table, i must've mashed some keys and noticed i'd just logged in. that could only mean one thing: there was no password, the password is blank! i tried logging back in and sure enough, when it asked for the password i hit return and it logged me right in.
that's when i realized this imac belonged to my neighbor jennifer. she's been living here for a while now, rent the 3rd floor apartment from my former turkish architect neighbor before he decided to buy another condo and move to a better place. i don't know very much about jennifer, but we're friendly enough and will wave hi when we see each other. i didn't want to pry but from the documents she had on her desktop i'm guessing she's an art teacher of some kind. i could've gotten into her e-mail and dug around for more personal info, but it felt wrong. the only thing i took was 10GB worth of mp3's; apparently her musical taste is quite eclectic, from classical music to buddhist chanting to doctor dre.
so it's a mid-2007 imac, the first of the aluminum body imacs with the flat sides (not to be confused with the older white plastic models and the newer tapered edge models). it's running OSX 10.5 (leopard), most likely the original operating system as it was never updated. the processor is a 2.4GHz core 2 duo, slightly faster than my old 2003 macbook pro which also has a core 2 duo processor. the hard drive is 500GB and it has 2GB of memory. i thought it was the smaller 20" screen but when i measured it i was surprised to find out it's actually the 24". resolution is 1920x1200, not as concentrated as the 2880 x 1800 retina display on my new macbook pro, but the laptop screen is only 15.4" while this imac has a whopping 24" screen. it has a superdrive, which can not only read DVD's but burn then as well. i tried surfing the web with safari but it seemed to be crashing on the default page, which i managed to bypass by forcing it to stop loading as soon as i started the browser. using a 13 year old OS to browse modern day webpages meant a lot of websites simply wouldn't load, or would display funny.
for lunch i had some yogurt mixed with granola and chia seeds. my father stopped by in the early afternoon to drop off my free-standing full-length mirror as well as some peaches. i showed him the new imac i'd found.
in the afternoon i rode out to the malden 88 to get a few things. i was racing against the clock, as there was the potential for thunderstorms beginning at 3pm. riding to malden i felt a few drops. coming back, the clouds had thickened and looked ominous. it was oppressively hot today, like swimming through dense soupy air. it was still relatively cool and dry inside the house though, and i never had any desire to turn on the AC.
one of the things i was looking for was tamarind candy. they didn't sell the ones i'm familiar with that comes in a clear rectangular box, but they did have one in a clear round box that had bigger tamarinds and were spicy, i bought one to try out. while i was paying i also noticed they sold face masks: 2 boxes (50 each) for $30, which is a bargain. i'm guessing these are just normal disposable face masks, not surgical ones, but still the cheapest i've seen so far.
i spent the evening setting up the imac. while i was making copies of the mp3's, i was also creating a bootable usb thumb drive with the highest sytem the 2007 imac can handle which is el capitan (OSX 10.11). i then booted up with the thumb drive and began the slow process of installing a fresh system. it wouldn't let me install onto the hard drive until i realized it wanted me to erase it first. after i did that, it allowed me to continue. the initial installation process took less than 10 minutes, but i think it was just copying the files onto the hard drive. it seemed to be stuck at "one second remaining" until i did some reading online and learned it wants internet access. so i cancelled the install and did it again, this time connecting to the wifi. it seemed to be stuck at the one second remaining mark again, but after a bit of waiting, it continued with the actual installation, which took about half an hour. i didn't have to do anything, just kept watch to make sure it wasn't stuck or crashed. the imac was a bit warm, working hard installing the new system. at one point i realized i could use the heat coming off from the back of the computer to dry my cloth face mask i'd washed earlier today.
once the install was finished, i did some basic tests. surfing the web was fine, especially after i downloaded the chrome browser. i was able to run netflix and youtube tv without any streaming issues. i loaded a few movies and ran them with VLC, no problems either. for daily web surfing and video streaming, this is still a very good machine. if i wanted to do video compression or video editing work, i might consider going with a faster machine, especially not one that's 13 years old. at one point i paired my apple wireless trackpad with the imac, so used i am to swiping gestures.
after playing around with the 24" screen, the 15.4" of my macbook pro seemed paltry by comparison. it's a battle of quantity (physically larger screen) versus quality (higher resolution), and in this case i prefer the quantity option. a larger screen is just easier on the eyes. okay, maybe it can't display fine details like a higher resolution retina screen, but i can always magnify the image if i want to take a closer look. the best of both worlds would be a 24" retina display imac: that actually exists, the 21.5" retina 4K imac, for just $1299. the next higher up is a 27" retina 5K imac, the lower end being $1799. with a faster processor (8-core 3.2GHz intel xeon W), the starting price is $4999. having played with the imac, i really like it better than a macbook pro when it comes to doing work at home.