New, Old Project: MacBook Oreo!


It’s not ideal… But - would a power bank with laptop connections offer a solution? Something that can both provide power to the MacBook, but also offer other benefits as well - ie iPhone charging etc.


Maybe? It’d be about the same size as carrying two batteries, which is what I’m doing now…

I mean, let’s be frank, I’ll eventually replace this with a new\new to me MacBook Pro. This is a combination of 1) experiment/proof of concept and 2) to hold me over while I save more money/prices go down. It may not be worth buying a power bank with a laptop connection/AC plug. They’re not that cheap…

I’m trying to think bigger now on what to do with more polycarbonate MacBooks if I can start tracking them down for cheap or even for free and repeat what I’ve done here. I just feel like I want to get these into the hands of young adolescents or maybe kids from a lower income background. As a proof of concept, I think this shows just how much can be accomplished in 2018 on these machines with a small bit of effort.

Save The Polycarbonates!


Frankly that’s what I’ve always liked about Macs. Generally speaking, they hold their usefulness. Yes, they may not handle HD video. They may not load web pages as fast. etc etc. But you can keep using them for a long time. Even if you can’t easily print from your iPad.

Certainly I think computers in general need to be recycled better by finding new homes for them.


Well, that’s the thing, while the MacBook Black being a single core processor can’t seem to do HD, the MacBook White not only can do HD (1080p), it can EDIT 1080p in KDEnlive. And webpages aren’t an issue at all.

This really speaks to a combination of hardware choices from Apple and how far Linux has come as an operating system. I did have Lion on the MBW, and it was pretty much unusable for things like handling the 2018 web (YouTube, HTML5, Amazon Prime, etc), HD video, and a number of programs wouldn’t run. Then there was the issue of security updates. And finally, the lack of a modern appearance.

One of the things I love about many of the recent Linux desktop environments, Mint’s Cinnamon included, is that it has that flat element appearance you find both in recent releases of macOS and in Windows 10. I’ve worked next to classmates with more recent MacBooks (yesterday I was sitting next to someone with a 2018) and they have been shocked to realise that this is a 2008 and not something from just a couple of years ago they weren’t aware of (not everyone is as encyclopedic about Macs as we are). The reasons cited have been 1) the obvious care with which the computer has been treated, it still appears relatively unblemished 2) the speed at which the computer does required tasks and 3) the appearance of the OS.



Components on both the MacBook Black and the MacBook White are beginning to fail after regular usage. The Broadcom wireless chip on the MacBook White has some sort of issue (temporarily solved with an external USB realtek nub, it’s so small one can hardly call it a dongle), and the speakers are failing on both computers. I imagine I’m going to need to obtain more parts computers to keep these devices functioning with actual, daily use coming at them.


A bit worrying when multiple parts are starting to fail… :frowning:

I guess if this is really proving a winner for you, then investing in a few spare machines for parts will make sense - should be reasonably cost effective, too, given the age of the machines.

Reminds me I should get the Pismo out again… Love(d) that machine.


Both machines were used hard when they were contemporary primary machines, and I just spent 5 weeks using the MacBook White as my sole machine, where it was banged around and jostled every day to and from my coursework, and then 5 airplane trips between Saigon, Da Nang, Hanoi, Ha Long, and Tokyo. This isn’t entirely unexpected, I will guess.


I opened up the MacBook Black, and there at first appeared to be no issue other than the speakers. Well, other than the issue with the optical drive (it refuses to function when seated back into its place, connected but left out, it works). This is hardly an issue, not only does leaving it out reduce weight (or add the potential for extra storage if I can find an appropriate connecter), I RARELY use an optical drive, and if I really need one, I can get one of those external superdrives pretty cheap.

It SEEMS like the main issue is the left speaker has died and the middle speaker has a hole in it. The right speaker works just fine. Everything else seems clean since the last time I opened it up (and I redid the thermal paste at that time, so it all looks good). The speakers aren’t very good to begin with, and it’s not a priority, because if I am using this as a work/school machine, I am almost guaranteed to be using speakers or headphones, depending.

After putting it all back together, I even cleaned the entire computer, and it looks really good. I used a magic eraser to pull off dirt and take out all but the deepest of scratches and then I used a moisturising oil to restore the matte. It looks great but picks up finger prints in the worst way. They wipe right away though.


Attempts to fix the MacBook White’s issues (Broadcom Chip, Speakers, Thermal Paste):

Take off the keyboard and… OH DEAR LORD.

Okay, let’s see about that thermal paste. Yup. Chalk.

Clean, clean clean…

New stuff:

Put it all back together and… Oh boy.

So, turns out I had the heatsink too tight. I loosened the screws just a bit and no more GPU issue. Neither Broadcom chip worked, and they are identical. They could both be dead, but I doubt it. I do have a third, but it’s in the MacBook Black, and I don’t want to mess with a working system. So back to the $6 external USB thingie. Honestly, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the connector on the logic board. I bet it is.

As for the speakers… Not both of them needed to be replaced, just the right speaker/middle speaker combo part. Left speaker from the parts computer was also dead, so good thing I didn’t need it! 2008 MacBook speakers might be crap, but at least it’s back to the normal level of crap, and not crappier crap.

Changing the thermal paste did make a difference in temperature and fan usage. It also noticeable increased boot up and shut down (this already has an SSD, so that was surprising). I’m very quickly eating up my spare parts.

I still need to get Tara on the MacBook Black, but when I do, this will look so much better on it than it looks on the White:


Looking pretty decent:

But between the problems with Linux Mint 18.3, my lack of DVD drive without opening the case every time I want to use it in order to install 19, and failing components, I’m living that dongle life with only two USB ports. On the MBW, one is taken up by the wifi usb nub, and in the MBB, the headphone jack is staticy, so I need to use a dongle for that… Basically this means I always need a hub with me.