I finally got around to upgrading Yingwen’s old Tangerine iMac to Panther. It’s an improvement on the old machine, sporting 266 MHz of unbridled G3 power and whopping 256 MB of RAM.

We had remodeled our office a bit by taking out the gigantic desk that the iMac was sitting on, replacing it with this swank new futon, and cleaning out the piles of crap that had been collecting in there for years. We were preparing it for an extended mother visit to help out Yingwen with her difficult pregnancy situation.

With the new futon set up and everything cleaned up and organized, I put the old iMac on the desk on the other side of the room. This desk is quite a bit smaller, not a corner unit, but it also had some cool spotlighting that I installed on the above bookshelves and it all seemed to come together with the fashionable relic now sitting there. It looks all retro there with the spotlights, the dark cherry woodwork, and the orange gumdrop form on the desk. I even have a framed Yum poster from Macworld 1999 on the opposite wall, above a red velvet sofa chair I got from Funky Sofa.

With only six GB of internal disk space, I decided to wipe the drive clean and install Panther without Classic. I installed a minimum of software packages with it – in fact, just the default Panther programs for now. The sole function of this machine was to be an internet terminal for my mother-in-law, with activation of the Traditional Chinese keyboard layout, Safari and Mail localized for Traditional Chinese so she can keep in touch, and maybe a little iTunes for ambience. I even connected a trad. Chinese keyboard connected with all the zhuyin and bo po mo fo marks on the key caps, and a new Kensington Optical Elite mouse.

The machine runs significantly better under Panther for these basic tasks. Obviously, the UI is a bit slow overall, but Safari and Mail are quite useable. iTunes runs fine if you don’t try to force the poor machine to render visualizations at full screen.

The machine just won’t die. We got this thing in 1998 I think. It’s got plenty of life left in it. Plus, it adds plenty of cool décor to this room.