We have been cleaning out our home on the mountain in Roanoke, Va. in preparation for selling it. With a start in the computer industry in 1982, it is safe to assume that cleaning out my computer closet was long overdue.
Actually I have been getting rid of computer stuff for the last several years. This week I sent to recycling some of my favorite computers. Those were the ones where I was willing to put down my own money for hardware even while working at Apple.
Actually buying Macs or Apple gear when you work for Apple is sometimes the only way you can get your hands on the gear. It is not a surprise that most employees at least when I worked there were hardware junkies. Prior to 2000, it was possible to get some great deals on hardware as an employee. I think the bean counters decided to make money on the employees after that.
So what products had I spent my own money on and liked enough to keep in my closet. I had my original "Own a Mac" which I got in 1987 when I transferred from Apple Canada to Apple USA. That was a Mac II.
Then there was the Mac IIcx which I eventually upgraded to a Quadra 700. After that there was my Macintosh 8600 which my son thought was one of the most bullet-proof Macs ever.
Finally there was my Blue and White G3. It was one of my favorite Macs of all time. Unfortunately those were the days when Apple was making rapid hardware changes. It was introduced in January, and I believe the PowerMac G4 eclipsed it later that same year.
One of the tasks in getting rid of the computers was to examine the hard drives to see if I had missed anything in previous migrations. Whatever I found of interest, I wanted to bring over to my dual G5 PowerMac and a new external drive which has Firewire, USB, and eSata ports. Then before disposing of the computers, I pulled the hard drives.
This brought up some interesting challenges, but fortunately my computer closet had enough treasures to allow me get the job done. I tried to boot every system but the Mac II whose drive I had removed long ago.
Every system booted but my Quadra 700 in which I had installed a Microtech 400 meg hard drive. I actually had a second Quadra 700 that I had bought for parts. It had an original drive, and booted.
Wandering through megabytes of old data is a different kind of trip back in time. My two older children both had Macs in college and took external SCSI drives with them to school. I retrieved some of their old files for them that had not made it to newer hardware in my earlier migrations.
It turned out that the Blue and White G3 running System 8.6 was the bridge machine from the past to the future. I had installed a SCSI card in it long ago, and I had even managed to keep up with the special cable required. The B&W was the first desktop machine to have Firewire ports on the machine.
With the B&W I could take files directly from an external SCSI drive to a Firewire drive.
Apparently the B&W was also the first machine where we stored a lot of photos. I had moved those over previously, but I brought over another copy of the folder just in case.
The 8600 could have been a challenge but I just used Ethernet and Appleshare to drop files in the public folder on my dual G5 PowerMac. I could have used one of the external SCSI drives, but using the network was easier.
All this brought back a lot of memories, Apple desktop bus keyboards, transceivers for Ethernet, and stacks of external drives.
I can still remember the excitement when my Blue and White G3 arrived. It had the first flat panel monitor that I owned. Actually the flat panel did not end up at recycling. I have a friend who is going to use it on his home computer. He is still stuck on a CRT. I only have one computer CRT left in the house, and that is the one that goes to the IIe that I bought several years ago for $25.
I was sorry the 400 meg drive would not boot, because it was like a miracle when I first got it. I had been living on 80 meg drives and carrying around an Apple external 80 meg. Having 400 megs in one system that you could put under your arm was like having the world by the tail. I think I also had a Rasterops video capture card in that Quadra 700 at one time.
I did find a folder on the B&W labeled Quadra 700 data so I probably did not miss anything. I also consigned my original Thunderscan scanner that fit on an Imagewriter to the trash.
A few things struck me when working with all the old computers. One is that Apple desktops have gained a lot of weight over the years. That 8600 was a horse, and of course my G5 is probably even heavier.
Getting inside the Quadra 700 was a piece of cake, and the drive popped out by just holding two side clips together. The Blue and White G3 was a miracle of design with its side opening allowing easy access to everything. While you could open the 8600 a lot easier than 8500s and 8100s, it was not nearly as easy to work on as the Blue and White G3.
I did run into a couple of data files that I could not open, but I did not try very hard. It was nice seeing MacWrite and MacDraw on the Quadra 700. I think Excel 98 was on the Blue and White G3.
My only real complaint is that I found half a dozen old Quicktake images that had not been translated into something else. The version of Photoshop on the system came up with a message that it did not have enough memory to open them, so I will have to try to get them open on a newer machine. The Apple support forum says you have to do it on a Mac OS 9 machine so I might be out of luck.
Anyway my computer time travel to the past was a success, and it brought a lot of smiles to my face. It was almost as much fun as a trip to the beach.
I posted some old computer and computer gear pictures on my Picasa Web Albums site. I did get a smile on my face when the guy at Goodwill set the B&W G3 to the side as he threw all the beige machines in a box. Even he knew it was special. Maybe he took it home, and is trying to find a drive for it as I write this.
My next challenge is finding a good home for my Epson 4000 printer that I bought when I had dreams of making money selling prints, but before it leaves, I have some print requests that I have to get done.