More old Macbooks!

Mum and Dad came by today to visit, and brought Elly with them too. They were going to bring Mum’s new little dogs, because she wants to pick Sabriena’s brain about the positive-only training she does, but they get car sick easily and it’s a very long drive, so she decided not to at the last minute.

But Dad brought out some new toys for us to play with together - he’s lucky enough to work with access to an e-waste bin, and managed to pick up some Macbook Pros that were non-functioning, along with a Samsung tablet.

Looking at the largest one first, it looked very similar in age to mine, but was a 15” instead of 17”. It wouldn’t boot, but I did have an Ubuntu Xenial (only about 2 years and 6 months out of support! She’ll be right!) USB stick laying around. It took me a bit to remember how to get it to boot from USB (hold Option/Alt and power on, wait for boot menu) but once we did, it pretty much worked immediately.

It’s older than mine, a late 2008 MacbookPro5,1 from the look of things. Core2Duo, with the multi-drive on the right. Only 4GB of RAM too, and without an SSD it was rather slow. But it’ll certainly work, and the battery seemed functional too. Someone had blanked the hard disk before throwing it away, so we just installed Ubuntu on it, then apt install firmware-b43-installer mbpfan and a reboot and we’ve got wifi too. They were planning on leaving soon, so I didn’t start the process of updating it to Bionic/Focal, Dad’s more than capable of doing that.

On to the other one, which I was pretty sure was much newer… It has an SD card slot on the side of it instead of the ExpressCard slot mine has! However that’s not an indicator, it could be as early as 2010, or as late as Late 2012. The first thing I noticed about it is that the bottom left corner of the trackpad was bulged out, indicating a spicy pillow lurks within.

Sure enough, yes, so much so that it cracked one of the mounts. I had a tri-wing driver, so we removed it and Mum wasn’t comfortable with it in the car due to the fire risk (worried that they’d forget about it, and in the summer heat it would burn their car down), so I’ll take it to the tip tomorrow. The machine won’t boot without it though, but it did have 8GB of RAM (2 4GB sticks) so we swapped that over into the other Macbook so it’d be a little bit snottier.

The tablet? It’s locked out, with FRP (Factory Reset Protection), which I found an open-source reimplementation of a closed source package that’s supposed to get around it… but we need access to the emergency dialler, which because this thing is in airplane mode, we didn’t have. Dad took it home and will try figure it out. I reckon if we can flash the empty firmware back to it, it’ll have the FRP lockout on it, but then we can use the dialler to get it into ADB mode and unlock it. We’ll have to see next time.

Horsham, VIC, Australia fwaggle



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Horsham, VIC, Australia

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