Spinning ball of death on iBook G4
December 22, 2015 7:35 AM   Subscribe

I have a first generation iBook G4 that I am trying to repurpose as a music player (all files stored on a portable drive). It has been off for years at this point (though has a new battery), and when I boot it up, I get the following message, accompanied by the spinning ball ...

"Your computer's clock is set to a date before March 24, 2001. This date may cause some applications to behave erratically."

My goal is to strip this thing down, install Swinsian (or, failing that, iTunes) and use it just as a dumb, stand-alone music player. How can I stop the ball so I can see if I can get this to work?

I have no interest in buying a new Apple, but would like to give Swinsian a try if I can make this work.

Thanks in advance, hivemind.
posted by ryanshepard to Computers & Internet (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: When the battery was replaced, the computer lost track of date and time. The OS is telling you that. You can open the Date preference pane and reset the date; that will get rid of the error message.

Swinsian, as almost all software today, is for Intel-based Macs only. An iBook G4 cannot run that program.

An iBook G4 can only run much earlier versions of the operating system; Leopard (10.5) was the last supported version. There are no tricks to make later versions run on an iBook; Apple compiled later versions of the operating system only for Intel chips.

You can look at the PowerPC Archive to see some examples of what you can run.
posted by blob at 7:51 AM on December 22, 2015

Songbird is for PowerPC
posted by blob at 7:54 AM on December 22, 2015

Failing that, you might try Debian PPC if tinkering is your bag. I had great success reviving an old iBook that way. No doubt lots of dead simple music players available in the PPC repos.
posted by Lorin at 9:17 AM on December 22, 2015

I was recently at a friends house where they used one of these ibooks for this. It actually worked great, and with tenfourfox it could even handle soundcloud and most of the streaming services that have web players(!!!). Spotify even worked!

Does it lose the clock time every time it shuts down? That generation of ibook has no PRAM battery, but if it does, the main battery may need to be replaced. Knockoffs are dirt cheap on amazon and work totally fine. Did it have a new battery when it was put away, or right now. Because i've(stupidly) purchased new batteries for old systems... then left them in the closet for a year, and the battery drained itself so low it wouldn't ever recharge.

I wouldn't bother with any other apps, just use an old version of itunes. That's what they were doing and it was shockingly smooth compared to other apps on the system.
posted by emptythought at 10:13 PM on December 22, 2015

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