DYI Airport Express

Ha! Recipe:


  • An old powerbook with a mostly broken screen and a very broken hinge (priceless).
  • A long wire to the stereo (10$)
  • A short wire the printer.
  • Ethernet cable to the household hub.
  • VNC.(free)
  • Web Remote, lets you control iTunes over the web. (10$)


  • Plug in power adaptor
  • Install OS10 from scratch, wiping disk clean.
  • Plug into Ethernet
  • Run short cable to printer
  • Run long cable to stereo, considering selling CD player.
  • Install VNC. So we can work on machine without leaving our chair.
  • Enable print sharing, so we have a print server.
  • Enable file sharing
  • Copy all the music (mp3 etc.) into the household onto this machine.
  • Load mp3 into iTunes
  • Via iTunes preferences enable iTunes sharing, so we have a tune servers.
  • Install Web Remote; have it start up at reboot.

When you done you can play your iTune’s library on the stereo; just like you’d bought an Airport Express. If the old powerbook has a airport card you can also let is act as a wireless base station.

I gather some people can get their powerbooks to keep running even when the lid is closed. That didn’t work, dependably, for me. (Did you know there is a magnet on the lid of most of the powerbooks; aligned with the mousepad?)

You can print from OS9 to an OS10 printer if you create on the OS9 machine a desktop printer that uses the right lpr server and queue.

I couldn’t get Darwin to run on an olde iMac; maybe later. I was doing something analogous on a FreeBSD box; but this was really easy.

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