11 awesome reasons not to throw out that old Mac

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A really old Apple computer can fetch a fortune at an auction these days, but more recent models that you can easily pick up on eBay aren't going to make you a great deal of money -- especially if they no longer work. But instead of sticking them in your garage and leaving them to collect dust, why not turn them into something useful?

In this gallery, we'll show you 11 old Macs that have been given a new lease of life, like the Mac Pro that's now an aquarium, a group of Macintoshes turned into planters, and an old iMac G4 that's been transformed into a desk lamp.

Photo: theappleguru, eBay

This old Mac Pro G5 case has been transformed into a gorgeous aquarium that would look right at home in any Apple fan's living room. It's fully functional, and complete with lights and an air pump.

"In keeping to my fascination with reusing and recycling things to fulfill a new design and function, this fish tank built from a Apple G5 desktop seemed like an ideal way to give a new life to a dead machine," says creator Michael Garito.

Garito used acrylic to make the tank that lives inside the case, and its miniature air pump is concealed beneath it where the Mac Pro's power supply would have lived.

Garito is currently selling this particular tank, and you can contact him via his website below if you're interested.

Photo: Michael Garito, mgarito.com.

Another Michael Garito creation, this aquarium was made out of two old Apple monitors sandwiched together. Due to its strange shape, Garito had to build a custom filtration system for this tank.

"I built a filtration system that is submerged in the tank, hidden behind the central 'hide'," he explains. "I did not want the aesthetic of the tank diminished by air tubes running over the side so they, along with the filter's power cord, and the tank's drainage tube are all discreetly ran out of the bottom and through the monitor stand."

This tank seems a little trickier to build than the Mac Pro tank, but it looks pretty spectacular. Garito donated this one to an elementary school.

Photo: Michael Garito, mgarito.com

If you've got an old iMac G4 knocking around, turning it into a stunning desk lamp is actually easier than it looks. This particular model was sold on Etsy, but there are lots of guides to making your own.

Photo: SewWhatSherlock, Etsy

Perhaps the greatest way to breath new life into an old Mac is to turn it into a "Hackintosh." That's doing away with its old components, using its case to house a brand new PC, and then installing OS X on it.

Of course, Mac Pro cases won't just take any motherboard and components, so you'll have to make a few adjustments to make them fit. This particular Hack Pro was put together by "Commander Zero" over on the InsanelyMac forums who details each modification that was made in the thread below.

Photo: CommanderZero, InsanelyMac

If you're not up to building a Hackintosh, how about gutting that old Mac Pro case and using it as a cable tidy instead. No one likes the sight of messy cables, but this "Power Tower" from Kiwidee looks great when it's all closed up.

Tucked away inside it there's an integrated power surge, three AC circuits, and up to 30 plug sockets. There's even a handy socket on the front of the case.

Photo: Kiwidee

These Macintosh planters are the ideal garden accessory for any tech freak who likes getting their fingers green - and they couldn't be simpler to make. Simply gut your Macintosh, cut a hole in its top, and fill it with soil.

Photo: Superchou, Flickr

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Another simple hack, this one turns an old Mac Pro G4 case into a mailbox. All you need to do is gut your machine, cut a hole out of its front for your mail and install a door, then add some numbers.

Don't forget to make the case waterproof, though, because you could come home to soaking wet post after a rainy day.

Photo: Digitaldust, Flickr

When it's sunny outside, you don't want to be stuck in with your Mac. So how about turning it into a barbecue grill and taking it outside for some cooking. You can make your own by following the steps in this Imgur gallery.Photo: 100uf, Reddit

If you've got more than one Mac Pro case collecting dust, sticking a block of wood between them creates a beautiful bench like this one from Klaus Geiger.

Photo: Klaus Geiger

Another Klaus Geiger hack turns a couple of old Mac Pro cases into a set of drawers that even Jony Ive would be proud of. This one's a little harder to put together than the bench, but it's well worth the effort.

Photo: Klaus Geiger

This old Power Mac G4 Cube case makes for the fanciest tissue box you'll ever see. Creating this hack is as easy as swapping out the computer's old logic board, hard drives, and other components for a box of tissues. You can find step-by-step instructions via the link below.

Photo: Macgeek, Instructables

Former CEO John Sculley explains how Apple sells experiences

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I’m a sucker for Apple history, and I particularly enjoy hearing from the people who had an impact on shaping Steve Jobs into the incredible force of nature that he became.

In a new interview with John Sculley, the former Apple CEO sheds some light on what may have been his single biggest lasting impact on Apple: the drive toward making the experience of using an Apple product one of the company’s most important focuses.

Sculley catches a lot of flack for being the CEO who kicked Jobs out of Apple back in 1985, but after Jobs and Tim Cook he was the best of CEO Apple ever had, and someone who’s always interesting to hear talk about Apple. In this particular video he shares his thoughts on the original Macintosh ad and why Apple trumps everyone else at marketing.

More of Sculley’s thoughts after the jump.

9 ways Steve Jobs changed high tech forever

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How Steve Jobs changed the world

Steve Jobs packed an almost impossible number of innovations into a 35-year career. While we've been forced to leave out some as a result, here are 9 ways that Jobs changed computing forever -- and a glimpse at what things may have looked like had he never come along.

Before: Personal Computer

1974's MITS Altair 8800 was the personal computer that started it all for a generation of techies. It was hardly the most accessible machine to ever come out of a garage, however.

Photo: classiccmp.org

After: Personal Computer

The Apple II Plus, on the other hand (seen here with the Disk II and Monitor ///) was a machine that not only outperformed many of its rivals at the time, but felt approachable to an outsider.

Photo: apple2history.org

Before: Desktop Publishing

How an ad, magazine, or other document was put together in the 1970s. Get ready with the scissors, glue and marker pens.

Photo: Hemmings Daily

After: Desktop Publishing

The combo of PageMaker and Apple's 1985 LaserWriter printer gave people the ability to design, lay out, edit and print professional-looking pages from the comfort of their own home.

Photo: Makingpages.org

Before: User Interface

Not only did interfaces like the MS-DOS feel cold and uninviting to newcomers, they essentially forced users to adapt to the computer's way of doing things.

Photo: Computerhistory.org

After: User Interface

The Mac, on the other hand, empowered the user with the sovereignty to carry out tasks as they wanted to. The Mac may not have been the very first computer to feature a Graphical User Interface, but it was the first one most people saw. And it did it better than anyone else.

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After: Digital Music Players

The iPod really is the little device that could. It turned around Apple's fortunes, became one of its most iconic tech designs ever, and was transformed into a byword for any new technology that was (or hoped to be) innovative, stylish and ubiquitous. It sounded great, too.

Photo: Chris Harrison/Wikipedia

Before: Digital Music Players

Before Steve Jobs, digital music players were good ideas in theory, bad ideas in practice; the kind of expensive gift you used once then put away to gather dust. This blobby model was the Creative NOMAD Jukebox.

Photo: Creative

Before: Online Music Stores

Okay, so as a free way to download music Napster wasn't exactly a store, but it was certainly what most people considered the online music experience to be until iTunes came along.

After: Online Music Stores

Steve Jobs was convinced he could get young people to pay for their music if only he could provide an experience that was enjoyable and convenient enough for them. iTunes proved that he could. Even before the iPod came along, the first version of iTunes received a massive 275,000 downloads from Mac users in its first week.

Photo: Apple

Before: Smartphones

Steve Jobs referred to these devices as the "usual suspects." Their designs may have remained suspect, but they certainly weren't so usual after the iPhone came along.

Photo: Apple

After: Smartphones

The moment the iPhone was unveiled, it was clear to most people that this is how all smartphones would look and work one day.

Photo: Apple

Before: Ultraportable Laptops

Devices light the Sony TX and TZ series of laptops were the thinnest notebooks money could buy until the MacBook Air came along.

Photo: Vaio VGN-TX2

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After: Ultraportable Laptops

The MacBook Air quickly snatched away the title of world's thinnest notebook. Tapering down to an astonishing 0.16" in its first version, the MacBook Air remains one of the most beautiful devices Apple has ever created. Unlike most ultraportable laptops, it came with a full-sized keyboard, too.

Photo: Apple

Before: Consumerization of High Tech

This is what a typical desktop computer looked like when Steve Jobs returned to Apple in 1997: a time when more people were starting to use computers, but very few seemed to think about just how bad they looked.

After: Consumerization of High Tech

The colorful, blobby iMac changed all of that -- with a computer that put style right up front. Apple's aesthetic may have changed since the toyetic iMac first burst onto the scene, but this was Apple's first computer which ever looked good enough to sit comfortably in a design museum.

Photo: Apple

Before: Tablets

There were tablets -- like this Microsoft Tablet PC -- before the iPad, but few computer users bought them or took the idea seriously.

Photo: Janto Dreijer/Wikipedia

After: Tablets

Launched in April 2010, the iPad took an idea Jobs had heard about from computer pioneer Alan Kay and turned it into the kind of mass-market product no one else had been able to.

Photo: Karl Mondon/Contra Costa Times/MCT

The 10 biggest Apple announcements of all time

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Steve Jobs presided over some memorable announcements during his time at Apple. (Picture: Flickr)
Steve Jobs presided over many memorable moments during his time at Apple. Here are our all-time favorites. Photo: Ben Stanfield/Flickr CC

Apple’s most-anticipated — and likely most-eventful — product introduction since the iPad is set for later this morning. It will undoubtedly be Tim Cook’s biggest moment yet as Apple’s CEO, with the company reportedly ready to unveil new products from what has been described as its most exciting product pipeline in a quarter century.

Anticipation among the Apple faithful couldn’t be any higher. Endless speculation and massive expectations about finally laying eyes on the long-awaited iWatch got us thinking about other memorable announcements from Apple’s 37-year history.

While you wait for this morning’s 10 a.m. liveblog from Apple’s big event, relive some of Cupertino’s past glories. Here are our picks for the 10 biggest Apple announcements of all time.

Here’s the mystery building Apple is crafting for its big reveal

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Apple's latest mystery is its biggest yet. Literally.

CUPERTINO, California -- What's inside the mystery building Apple is fabricating for its big September 9 event? The giant construction project is almost as big of an enigma as what the iWatch will actually look like or do.

The boxy structure, which sprang up behind the Flint Center for the Performing Arts here on the De Anza College campus, looks like a cross between an igloo and a winning confection on Cake Wars. Naturally, the enormous two-to-three story building sparked intense curiosity among the Apple faithful when pictures emerged Thursday, so we had to go take a look for ourselves.

Will it hold something as mundane as a demo area where tech journalists can fondle Apple's latest, greatest gear? Does it contain a full-size home of the future to show off amazing HomeKit implementations? Will it house a runway for an Apple wearables fashion show or a giant stage for a post-announcement Dr. Dre concert?

Whatever it holds, it is truly a massive undertaking. It's surrounded by green fences and countless security guards. We, like you, can't wait for Apple's big reveal — here's what we saw walking around the outskirts of the secretive project Thursday afternoon.

Something big is brewing

The temporary venue where Apple will hold its September 9 press event sits directly outside the 2,405-seat Flint Center, which is notable for its role in Apple history: The company has revealed some of its most important devices in the theater, which is tucked away on a quiet community college campus just a couple miles away from Apple HQ.

"There have only been two milestone products in our industry: the Apple II in 1977 and the IBM PC in 1981," Jobs said at the Flint Center in 1984. "Today, one year after Lisa, we are introducing the third industry milestone product: Macintosh."

Hook you up

Apple is definitely laying the groundwork for something big on September 9: Workers are running a fair amount of power from generators outside the fence that surrounds the construction site, which is set up with table saws and other tools of the building trades.

Behind the fencing and hidden from prying eyes, the workers are building something on the site. The huge, pristine structure also features a stage that could host a concert or iWatch fitness demonstration.

Box me

No one can fill a big white box quite like Apple. We can imagine the iDevice of our dreams jumping out of this one: Will it be the iPhone 6? Or how about the long-awaited iWatch? Perhaps it will be something totally new that the rumor mill hasn't even dreamed up yet.

Fort Apple

Most of the trucks on campus appeared to be generic white rentals, but we spotted one with a sign indicating it was owned by Devcon Construction. Was the company hired to build this tantalizing structure for Apple? Devcon is known around Silicon Valley for building sleek, modern, high-tech campuses for companies including Adobe, Cisco and Yahoo!

Cult of Mac contacted Devcon's vice president of construction but did not receive a reply by press time. Workers on the super-secret Apple project know the secrecy drill, though, and were very tight-lipped about the goings-on at the construction site. Security was tight.

All photos: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac. Additional reporting by Nicole Martinelli.