I’ve got nothing better to do than to catalog my Macs, so here we go. (I’m a little bored.)
Mr. T (a Mac Plus)
I bought this one new from the UF bookstore in the Fall of 1989, tricked out with two, count ’em: TWO megabytes of RAM. Throw in an Imagewriter II and a 20 megabyte external hard drive, thanks to that ultra-fast, 2.1 MBps SCSI bus… and I was the envy of Hume Hall! (It was sad to hear the place was torn down a few years ago to make way for a new honors dorm.)
This one came out during Apple’s dark days. We bought it sometime in the Summer of 1994. It was probably my least favorite Mac. Out of the box it was underpowered, making me wish I had done a little research before buying it. We should have saved a little more money and sprung for one of the PowerPCs that were just starting to appear at the time. It was still better than the PC I had at work that ran Windows 3.1/95, but doesn’t really say much, does it.
I found it interesting at the time that despite this job being my first experience with Windows, I was the de-facto tech support guy. It was shortly after this experience that the local school system decided to replace all of their Macs with Windows PCs; to give students “real life” experience on the computers they’d be more likely to see in the world after graduation. It’s kind of funny that the Mac guy in the office was the expert trouble shooting Windows PCs (and training folks in the “real world” how to use them).
Two revision B, Bondi Blue iMacs
We bought our first one new, shortly after they came out in the fall of 1998. We bought the second one used in 2000. I fell in love with computing again on this computer. Mr. T was mostly a homework machine. The Performa got us by. Our first iMacs were part of the family. After they were replaced by the eMac and an iBook, they continued to serve us as the server for this site (until 2004).
12″ iBook G3/600
We picked this one up in November 2001, along with a second generation Airport base station. It was my first purchase at the Apple Store in Tampa, my first laptop, and the least reliable computer I’ve had. I’ve had it in for service twice. The last problem was never fixed, due to the cost to fix it. As a result, you can’t open the lid beyond 90 degrees, or the screen goes black. It’s still in use though, as a homework machine for my daughter. It’s just not portable anymore. One thing this did do: it addicted me to portable computing… a purchase my wife may rue till the day she leaves this world.
After we picked up the PowerBook, this little guy replaced the Bondi iMac as the server for this site until late 2006 (when we shutdown the home server, took apart my set-up of multiple routers and firewalls to isolate the server from our home network, and moved everything off site).
eMac (800 MHz)
We picked this one up at the Apple Store in Tampa in the Summer of 2003. It would have been one of my favorites, if the fan wasn’t so darn loud. Otherwise a really nice machine. The clear case on the keyboard looks really cool, until it gets filled with crumbs, bug parts, and all sorts of small, indecipherable gunk. Then it looks a little disturbing.
I got this mint, 20th Anniversary Mac for free. It’s ten years old and I still use it every day, as a second computer in my office at work – playing iTunes and NPR through its Bose sound system (and FM tuner). Some people loved this computer. Others saw it as a BIG waste of money, and I hear Steve Jobs really hated the thing. This is one place where Steve and I disagree (I’m sure he’s losing sleep over it).
12″ PowerBook G4
This little guy is my baby. We picked this one up with a state employee discount at the Apple Store in the Summer of 2004, while Cheryl was pregnant with our son. (Is it sad that I associate the purchase of a computer with the birth of a child?) Even though the iMac is faster, brighter, and prettier, my 12″ PowerBook is like an extension of my hands. I know this isn’t the most responsible use of energy, but since we bought it, I don’t think it’s been off for more than a few hours (for take-off and landing on various flights we’ve taken). I don’t remember having to restart it for a system crash (or kernel panic)… ever. Part of that is probably luck, but I think it’s at least partially because of the solid OS (Mac OS X was pretty mature by the time it came out – I believe it shipped with a mid to late version of Jaguar). Compared to various Dell notebooks I’ve used for work, and several iBooks I’ve used (all of them being the G3 “Icebooks”), my 12″ PowerBook is a work of art. The case is tight, the keyboard is just the right combination of firm and responsive, and the size is ideal (for my purposes). By comparison, the iBook keyboards were a little mushy, and the Dells were/are a creaking, flimsy piece of crap. I’ll bet my PowerBook cost more, but sometimes you do get what you pay for.
This is the most excited I’ve been about a desktop computer purchase, and the biggest performance jump I’ve noticed since we went from the Performa 577 (33 MHz, Moto 68LC040 processor), to the Bondi iMac (233 MHz G3 processor). The difference between our two G4 Macs and the dual core Intel processor is substantial. It’s just this side of silent (you can barely hear the high pitched hum of what may be a fan, if you turn off every other noise making device in the house), and as many reviewers suggested, I have gotten used to the quirky keyboard.
If you’ve spent any amount of time on this site (or read this entry), you probably know I’m partial to Macs. It’s true that I’ve never owned another kind of computer, but I spend all day working without them (Macs) at the office (the Windows hegemony).
I use Windows at work because I have to. I use Macs at home because I want to.