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Using your pre-00s Apple equipment in the modern day (and not just for goofing off!)

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    Using your pre-00s Apple equipment in the modern day (and not just for goofing off!)

    Hello all, and apologies if this is not quite in the right place/title as it's my first time making a thread. I'm a rather long-time collector and recently got my hands on a QuickTake. Given the recent energy and time to work things out, I've now almost got what I'd call a "retro mobile office" of a Newton MessagePad 130, a QuickTake 150, and a PowerBook 165c. I've got a printer and a dialup modem both coming soon on the to-do list. While the constraints of my needs prevent me from doing everything on it, I'm considering taking the latter two or all three with me traveling to another country, and trying to change a lot of my creative writing and perhaps music composition (which I'm trying to get back into) to be on retro machines. I used to use my Newton as a regular calendar/contact book/notepad, until the calendar issue became too much. Seems that the best updates are for the 2000, not the older ones.

    Besides just enjoying the equipment, I've found that some of it is better for my productivity than using modern smartphones or laptops. My newer digital calendars are so full of alarms, lack of organization/notes, and other issues that they're becoming more useless, especially given how much goes on with my smartphone. I've found using a dedicated PDA to be closer to having a paper calendar as far as keeping me on the ball and organized on my calendar. I can't multitask ten billion open 'net tabs and get distracted by pings constantly if I can't even open much of it on my older computers, let alone all at once.

    Given how far behind we've been left by now, especially as Mac users, I know it's considered a bit of a nutty thing to try doing, but I know other people do use their retro equipment—classic B&W Macs seem to be particularly popular with writers. I'd just like to talk to other people who have an interest in or do this specifically with older Apple equipment, although since I'm probably going to extend this to older non-Apple machines (older DOS portables and 70s minicomputers...) I may want to rephrase/rewrite this thread for more of a general audience.

    So: how do you like using your old Apple equipment for productivity or other things that aren't games/just goofing off?

    #2
    Does archiving software count? I regularly use my vintage computers for archiving my vintage software.

    Comment


      #3
      Does annoying a tech support scammer count? He was quite flustered when he finally figured out that Netscape Navigator on my SE/30 wouldn't run his remote desktop application.

      Comment


        #4
        I briefly attempted to use my PowerBook 5300c on the 'net. Found an Asante (IIRC) ethernet PC card at a yard sale, installed the driver, and got it working. A vintage copy of Netscape Navigator was on the hard drive, and I attempted to use it to surf the 'net, but most pages I tried to visit would rack up dozens of 'errors' which would cause it to crash. One of the few which didn't cause it to crash was Google's main page. Another was my own website, which made me proud since I've kept its coding simple to allow it to be browsed on pretty much any computer. I tried to get a better browser on it, but was unsuccessful. I may return to futzing around with it at some point, but I dunno.

        With regards to non-internet applications, I made much use of my Mac SE for typing up papers and whatnot when I was in high school in the early '00s, equipped with an external hard drive which had been pulled from another Mac. Used Microsoft Word for regular word processing, and also made use of Print Shop for printing up greeting cards and banners used my Imagewriter II printer and its color ribbon. One of the banners I printed using it can be seen here:

        After I graduated from high school, I continued to use the SE in my 'home office'. Equipped it with an AppleCDSC external drive, which I mostly used for playing music CDs through a pair of computer speakers. Unfortunately, I soon found that the drive would overheat if I played more than a couple of CDs in a row, so I eventually lost interest. Here's a picture of what it looked like on my computer desk:
        My home pageMy collection
        My wants listMy goofy music

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by AdamAnt316 View Post
          I briefly attempted to use my PowerBook 5300c on the 'net. Found an Asante (IIRC) ethernet PC card at a yard sale, installed the driver, and got it working. A vintage copy of Netscape Navigator was on the hard drive, and I attempted to use it to surf the 'net, but most pages I tried to visit would rack up dozens of 'errors' which would cause it to crash. One of the few which didn't cause it to crash was Google's main page.
          Oh man, how long ago were you trying this out? It seems like about mid-00s this became much more difficult. Sad that at this point pages are so loaded down with scripts that a G4 is now too long in the tooth—things have bloated up quickly enough that computers seem to be getting obsoleted more quickly for browsing due to dropped support and RAM requirements. Even things a bit newer than that, running Linux, seem to be running into problems. At this point I'm happy to use it for just text-based browsing, IRC, etc, and perhaps for reading sites like yours; I think my PowerBook may do just fine on it.

          Your "office" also has some striking similarities...I own a similar type of clock, the exact same type of floppies, power switch under my SE, etc., just some of it is in different parts of the room. My desk is significantly more cluttered, though. For stuff like playing CDs, I'd probably prefer to just use a stereo outright, likely an 80s one, but I used my G4 pretty extensively for that. It was obsolete at that point but not quite "vintage." (I still feel like it's a stretch, even given that mine is 17 years old...so in years, it is getting up there even if it doesn't feel that old.) I believe I alluded to this in my original post, but it seems like the architecture changes and dropped support make Macs that are "newer" in terms of age, compared to their PC peers, seem older, just because their support cycles were cut off sooner or developers dropped the architecture.

          I'm doing some research into vintage MIDI and FM synthesizer controls and composers. Macs had a decent number of them, it's just finding them first, as well as getting a MIDI adapter for a vintage Mac within a reasonable price range. Found some MIDI programs, but the editors for FM synths seem harder to find. I have a period correct synthesizer that could pair nicely with an SE.

          Also, RE the banner...I actually received a birthday banner made in the same way, this year! That was a pretty great gift from another collector. Should put it up for a party. There's something unique about dot matrix-printed banners. I'm curious to try printing out my photos on an impact printer. Have been doing photography on the QuickTake 150, still getting the hang of lighting/color balance, don't have a color impact printer, however. The camera does seem to draw some questions or attention, since it looks more like binoculars than a camera until you actually pick it up and take a photo...

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by Clarus View Post
            So: how do you like using your old Apple equipment for productivity or other things that aren't games/just goofing off?
            Kind of sad this thread never really took off. Now that it has been a few years, I would love to see your "retro mobile office" using all the PowerBook and accessory goodies you've mentioned in this post. Also would be nice to see some of the photos you've taken with your 150.

            Something happened about a month ago where I accidentally stumbled upon a really nice PowerBook and color Stylewriter setup and kept going back to it but was on the fence because the book had a power supply connector issue that would most likely require some soldering. By time I figured on trying to figure it out, the auction had already been purchased by someone else.

            Fast forward to last week and someone on Twitter posted about taking a picture with their... you guessed it, Apple Quicktake Binocular 150! This sent me down a spiraling path of history and research that I've somehow missed. It also caused me to become a very naughty boy lol, by buying basically everything for a complete retro mobile office setup as you described above. Interestingly, the price of admission for the entire set after a few days of research and pricing, etc. meal piecing together the entire thing only rang in around the $400 mark.

            I think I'm more fascinated with how the pictures from the Quicktake really gives whatever picture you're taking an essence of the 90s, as it would be really hard to tell you took them today unless something notable stood out as such signifying it's actually 2021 and not... well... 1996. That fascinated me. Granted, I have no realistic plan or idea to use this setup as any sort of replacement or grand touring road business setup but I've had a spare open foyer space that hasn't been used and have always had it in my head to either setup a nice nook there for a typewriter with some books and a plant, maybe an IBM Selectric... but then stumbled upon the Panasonic CRT Processors with built-in printers that were kind of wonky but super cool and then finally decided to just go the Apple route.

            None of it is here yet but it's incoming and I've got some things I need to finish up on the spare room so that it's cozy to place said new retro mobile office As such, it also turned me to learn about the PowerCD, which was another early release I had no idea Apple even made. So much cool history that I've sadly overlooked, I've always been an Atari guy and more into the PC/DOS/Windows side of things but have also had my fair share of Apple computers along the way and throughout, just never a cool PowerBook, though the cool blue G3s almost had me at one point, the last mac I had was the iMac white lamp shade version.

            It's funny you mention about being distracted with the phone, having a dozen notifications and forgetting the entire reason you picked up the phone to begin with only to set your phone down 20 minutes later realizing you forgot to even complete the task you had originally set out to do to.
            Apple QuickTakeCollector Instagram Photos
            My Random Accessed Computer Memories Blog here on VCF!
            Follow me on YouTube | Twitter | Instagram

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by MindThreat View Post
              It's funny you mention about being distracted with the phone, having a dozen notifications and forgetting the entire reason you picked up the phone to begin with only to set your phone down 20 minutes later realizing you forgot to even complete the task you had originally set out to do to.
              This is pretty much entirely why I use vintage computers for my work, with modern-day ones pretty much just for email and internet. The distractions provided on modern platforms are so great they get in the way of what I need to do, so stuff often doesn't get done.

              Regularly used systems: PowerBook 1400CS/117 (MacOS, a Mac Classic (MacOS7) and a clamshell iBook (MacOS 10.4 with Classic). I also use an NEC PowerMate Portable running DOS 6.2, and Toshiba T3100e/40 (DOS 6.2), and a Tandy 102 if I really need to be portable - the 20 hour battery life on 4 AAs is unbeatable!

              I have other systems too, which get less use, but all do get used. The only one that goes on the internet however is my 17 inch G4 iMac - and that is so slow on most sites that it really isn't worth it.

              I write briefing papers, training courses and some creative writing projects - none of which are assisted by the plethora of notifications, dialogs, updates, nag screens and pop-ups/overs/unders that are part of modern computing, and which impossible to turn off.

              Sadly, I don't have either QuickTake 150 or 200 cameras any longer, though these were my introduction to digital photography many, many years ago.

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by AndyO View Post
                This is pretty much entirely why I use vintage computers for my work, with modern-day ones pretty much just for email and internet. The distractions provided on modern platforms are so great they get in the way of what I need to do, so stuff often doesn't get done.

                Regularly used systems: PowerBook 1400CS/117 (MacOS, a Mac Classic (MacOS7) and a clamshell iBook (MacOS 10.4 with Classic). I also use an NEC PowerMate Portable running DOS 6.2, and Toshiba T3100e/40 (DOS 6.2), and a Tandy 102 if I really need to be portable - the 20 hour battery life on 4 AAs is unbeatable!

                I have other systems too, which get less use, but all do get used. The only one that goes on the internet however is my 17 inch G4 iMac - and that is so slow on most sites that it really isn't worth it.

                I write briefing papers, training courses and some creative writing projects - none of which are assisted by the plethora of notifications, dialogs, updates, nag screens and pop-ups/overs/unders that are part of modern computing, and which impossible to turn off.

                Sadly, I don't have either QuickTake 150 or 200 cameras any longer, though these were my introduction to digital photography many, many years ago.
                That sounds fantastic! Would love to see your setup sometime if you ever manage to find time to snap and upload a picture.
                Apple QuickTakeCollector Instagram Photos
                My Random Accessed Computer Memories Blog here on VCF!
                Follow me on YouTube | Twitter | Instagram

                Comment


                  #9
                  I used to take notes in meetings on an emate 300, back, that is, when we had in person meetings.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Towmater View Post
                    I used to take notes in meetings on an emate 300, back, that is, when we had in person meetings.
                    So 2019? If so, I would love to hear some of the comments you received!
                    Apple QuickTakeCollector Instagram Photos
                    My Random Accessed Computer Memories Blog here on VCF!
                    Follow me on YouTube | Twitter | Instagram

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by MindThreat View Post
                      So 2019? If so, I would love to hear some of the comments you received!
                      Last year I started taking notes during meetings on a Z88 - newly acquired by me having wanted one since my original died in 1990. It typically brought meetings to a fairly rapid end. The only comment being 'what is that thing?'.

                      They are rather used to seeing old equipment in my office now, including at various times a Tosh 3100e, eMate 300, Tandy 102, Apple IIc, iBook SE clamshell and Mac Classic. The Z88 is the only one for use in meetings though - nice and quiet!

                      One of my colleagues decided to have a closer look at it and used it for a couple of days, after which he wanted to know where he could get one himself.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Part of my workspace, with my Performa 630CD bookended by a 2016 iMac on the left, and Windows 10 system on the right.

                        That's ClarisWorks 4, and a condensed black key USB keyboard. The Tosh 3100e normally lives in the space next to the PC, so has had to be relocated.

                        IMG_2408.jpg

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by AndyO View Post
                          Part of my workspace, with my Performa 630CD bookended by a 2016 iMac on the left, and Windows 10 system on the right.

                          That's ClarisWorks 4, and a condensed black key USB keyboard. The Tosh 3100e normally lives in the space next to the PC, so has had to be relocated.

                          IMG_2408.jpg
                          That's a beautiful setup, love it! Thanks for sharing <3
                          Apple QuickTakeCollector Instagram Photos
                          My Random Accessed Computer Memories Blog here on VCF!
                          Follow me on YouTube | Twitter | Instagram

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Have been using my setup lately to take and edit QuickTake 150/200 pictures, print them on the StyleWriter 2200, save old photos from old QuickTake camera owners such as the picture seen below and send them to InstaGram:

                            CouchoTatoes.jpg

                            These cameras seem to do really well with graffiti and I'm impressed with the printout on a 1995 color inkjet:

                            printout.jpg

                            Still waiting to finalize the foyer area to set it all up properly but it'll probably be another 3-4 weeks before I can get around to doing that, if that soon. So right now, it's definitely portable in being setup in any given room at any time as needed and either importing camera pictures or importing 35mm slides/negatives from a Minolta Dimage scanner. Imagine my surprise with just how amazing they turn out, all using this old hardware:

                            1968cathedral.jpg
                            December1990Mountains.jpg
                            Minolta.jpg

                            Where the setup currently resides:

                            setup.jpg
                            Apple QuickTakeCollector Instagram Photos
                            My Random Accessed Computer Memories Blog here on VCF!
                            Follow me on YouTube | Twitter | Instagram

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Originally posted by AndyO View Post
                              Part of my workspace, with my Performa 630CD bookended by a 2016 iMac on the left, and Windows 10 system on the right.

                              That's ClarisWorks 4, and a condensed black key USB keyboard. The Tosh 3100e normally lives in the space next to the PC, so has had to be relocated.
                              So what do you actually use the Performa for?

                              Comment

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