11 cool uses for your old dead Mac

6. In the garden


Developer: Jim Lower
URL: www.techquarium.com
Specs: Macintosh Classics and Macintosh SEs, soil, water, a variety of plants, a supply of Baby Bio

Jim Lower's Maquarium and Lisaquarium are the stuff of Apple legend, but his colourful Mac Planters are just as impressive. However, turning dozens of classic Macintoshes into planters isn't as simple as you might think.

Lower used a Dremel tool to carefully cut out the tops of his old Macs, removing the screens and replacing them with sheets of clear acrylic. Those sheets enable the planters to double as photo frames. With its innards removed, you need to add weight to a Mac won't tip over: Lower prefers PVC and bits from old light fixtures. But just look at the wonderful result!

And here's a fascinating titbit: one of these horticultural innovations is a 1986 Macintosh SE whose case boasts the signatures of the original Apple team behind the design; perhaps Lower should now add his own?

7. As a stereo


Developer: Klaus Diebel
URL: www.kiwidee.com
Specs: 2.1 amplifier (2x15W and 1x40W) with original Apple Pro speaker, audio/sync/charge cable and Bluetooth audio

The G4 Cube is arguably the best-looking computer Apple has ever made, and now it's one of the best-looking iPod docks money can buy. The SubCube is another Klaus Diebel creation and promises to "take out the Mac and put in the bass" and it uses the G4's enclosure as the home for a powerful 2.1 amplifier delivering 15 watts per speaker and 40 watts through the subwoofer, a hefty, down-firing Apple Pro speaker.

Sound dampening is added to the interior to prevent buzzing and rattling, and the integrated iPod dock is iPhone-friendly. The laser-cut base plate is hidden underneath, delivering all the controls and connections you might need - subwoofer level, bass and treble controls and an auxiliary input - without spoiling the Cube's minimalist good looks.

It's not the cheapest way to resurrect a Mac - you're looking at €499 (£437) plus speakers if you provide the donor Cube - but you'll end up with a genuinely striking iPod/Mac sound system that's as good to look at as it is to listen to.

8. As an iPad dock

iPad dock

Developer: Klaus Diebel
URL: www.kiwidee.com
Specs: Angle-poise iMac with integrated amplifier, subwoofer and iPad dock (first generation)

Klaus Diebel started transforming Macs a few years ago, but while "I received a lot - really a lot - of virtual claps on my shoulder," orders weren't so forthcoming. "I almost gave up," he says, but instead he decided to build something else. The result is the PadiMac, which Diebel calls his masterpiece.

Designed for the first generation iPad (making it work with the slightly thinner iPad 2 is just a matter of fitting a thicker bar spacer) the iPadiMac turns an iPad into a desktop machine.

Diebel took the shell of an angle-poise iMac, stuck an amp and subwoofer in the base and replaced the screen with an iPad dock that clamps the iPad in place and connects it to the sound system. Instead of the iMac's standard ports you have a speaker connector, auxiliary input and USB connector, together with a control for the subwoofer volume.

9. For halloween


Developer: Tim Siedell
URL: http://badbanana.typepad.com

When Tim Siedell's studio decided to offload a bunch of old Mac Classics that they had been collecting for an art project that didn't get off the ground, a Twitter conversation led to the Macs becoming Mac-o-lanterns. Yes, you read that right.

The Macs were cleaned, their screens masked and their bodies painted in pumpkin shades; keyboard cords were painted green and mice became leaves. Spooky faces were created in Illustrator and turned into JPEGs in Photoshop. The images were transferred via an external floppy drive, with JPEGview software showing them in slideshow mode.

We've had Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, but we reckon Attack of the Killer Macs has a better ring to it. They're enough to give George Clooney nightmares…

10. For storing coffee


Developer: Klaus Diebel
URL: www.kiwidee.com
Specs: WMF 1 Pad coffee maker with injection filling system and optional Clatronic Milk Frother

If you thought a USB coffee warmer was impressive, how about an iMac that's been turned into a coffee machine?

Klaus Diebel's iMac Coffee Edition takes an original iMac, disassembles it, and replaces its display with a printed image of your choosing. Diebel then installs a high-quality coffee maker - you can also add a milk frother - and all the necessary cabling and piping; the unit is then injectionfilled and reassembled. Two sugars, please.

11. Storing cables


Developer: Klaus Diebel
URL: www.kiwidee.com
Specs: APC Performance SurgeArrest surge protector, 3x6-outlet and 3x4-outlet power strips

The irrepressible Klaus Diebel strikes again: the G4 PT - Power Tower - delivers up to 31 free plug sockets with an APC surge protector to keep your kit safe. Inside the G3 or G4 case you'll find three six-outlet power strips, three four-outlet strips and enough room for even the bulkiest AC adapters. We're impressed.


First published in MacFormat Issue 237

Liked this? Then check out Mac OS X 10.8: 10 things Apple needs to fix

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