A Steve Jobs doll towers over this 1/3 scale mini Macintosh. (All photos: John Leake)
It stands shorter than a Steve Jobs doll. It can be held in the palm of your hand. It runs System 6, and elicits squeals of delight from vintage Mac fans.
It is the Smallest Mac in the World.
Hot on the heels of the news of the world’s oldest working Macintosh comes a breakthrough of much more modest proportions. John Leake, co-host of the RetroMacCast, has created what may be the world’s smallest working Macintosh using a Raspberry Pi computer, PVC, some off-the shelf parts and a Mac emulator running under Linux. He calls it “Mini Mac.”
Why? As Leake writes on his blog, “this is one those ‘because I can’ projects with no practical use – my favorite kind!”
Apple makes some really great software and hardware. We love it. But sometimes there are certain little things you want out of your computer that Apple can’t or won’t provide. That’s why we have jailbreaking and modding.
We love it when someone takes an Apple product and morphs it into something completely different. There have been a lot of Apple hardware mods that have crossed our desks over the last few years. Some have been simple, while others have required over a hundred hours of work. Here are the five greatest Apple hardware mods we’ve ever seen.
Vintage computers and books in David Greelish's collection
Apple is all about the latest and greatest, inventing (and selling) the future. The computer marketplace as a whole evolves with ever accelerating speed – that two year old iPhone or laptop, so passé. Sometimes its helpful to take a step back and appreciate the long view of computing.
David Greelish is a computer historian who has been studying vintage computing for many years, as a writer, collector, podcaster and now vintage computing festival sponsor. His journey has included playing Star Trek text adventures on teletype machines, rescuing orphaned Lisas and Commodore 64s from unloved futures, and lobbying Apple to create a visitor’s gallery of company history in their new corporate HQ. He’s still getting flak for that last one.
As we move into the touch computing era and our fingers again become the primary pointing device, it’s interesting to look back at the beginnings of earlier forms computer control. Dan Knight has posted a nice retrospective of the first few decades of mouse design over at Low End Mac:
The first computer mouse was carved from a block of wood and used two wheels to track its motion. The first commercial mouse was the Telefunken Rollkugel, an accessory for Telefunken’s computers that replaced the wheels in Engelbart’s design with a ball, making it essentially an inverted trackball.
Early mice started out with more buttons than later models – first three, then two, then whittled down to a single button with the Apple Lisa and Macintosh. It’s inverted cousin, the trackball, had a similarly downward growth trend over time:
…the first trackball used a 5’ Canadian five-pin bowling ball. The trackball first came to popularity with Missile Command, an Atari arcade game introduced in 1980 that used a 4’ ball.