Vintage Mac

These retro Mac fans were podcasting before it was cool


James Savage and John Leake know a thing or two about computer history, especially when it comes to Macs.
James Savage and John Leake know a thing or two about computer history, especially when it comes to Macs.
Photo: James Savage

Cult of Mac 2.0 bug When James Savage and John Leake uploaded the first episode of their RetroMacCast, they were thrilled with the number of downloads: 18.

Not exactly a meteoric start, but considering neither host ever had that many people at one time interested in hearing them talk about old Apple computers, this was a pretty big deal.

What it’s like to use Photoshop 1.0 on a vintage Mac, 25 years later


Photoshop 1.0, 25 years later. Screengrab: Cult of Mac
Photoshop 1.0, 25 years later. Screengrab: Cult of Mac

First released in 1990 for the Macintosh Platform, Photoshop 1.0 turned 25 years old last month. To mark the occasion, CreativeLive asked eight Photoshop professionals to try to do their jobs — on camera, of course — on the original 1.0 version of Photoshop.

Spoiler alert: they didn’t have an easy time. “Only one level of Undo? No live preview? Is this even real life?”

This vintage Frankenstein iMac is a dual-booting time machine


Screen Shot 2014-06-24 at 9.28.04 AM

It may seem hard to believe, but there was a time when Apple shipped computers without built-in monitor, not as an exception, but as the rule. Such was the case with the venerable Apple II, which shipped with a behemoth of a 320 x 200 CRT monitor that weighed a monstrous 22 pounds… more than a 27-inch iMac weighs today!

So in a very real way, this computer — built from an old Apple II connected by some kind of magic to an iMac running as the display by Franceso Zaia — isn’t just a sext Frankenstein. It’s actually a lighter, more efficient Apple II monitor than the original. And as an added bonus, you can dual boot up to OS X when the mood suits.


What Was It Like To Unbox A Vintage 1984 Macintosh 128K? [Mega-Gallery]


Everything that was in the 1984 Macintosh 128K's original retail box. Swoon.

Back in 1984, Apple released the first Macintosh home computer, a magnificent piece of vintage computer design that would shape the destiny of the next 25 years of Apple’s corporate history.

What would it have been like to pull a vintage Macintosh 128K out of the box? To first separate the keyboard from its styrofoam lining? To first snap open the hard plastic floppy disc case? To first learn how to use MacWrite using an audio tape?

Over on eBay, one seller has been trying to sell a vintage Macintosh, still in box with complete documentation, equipment and even packaging. In his attempts to sell his prize, he has given us all a treat: a wonderfully thorough and loving unboxing of what it would have been like to open a vintage Macintosh up for the first time.

Since eBay items disappear when the auction ends, we’ve archived these incredible unboxing pics on our servers. Prepare to see a lot of them below.

Every Classic Mac Design, Beautifully Distilled To Its Essence [Gallery]



Aakash Doshi is a third-year student at the Srsihti School of Art, Design & Technology in Bangalore, India, and he has a wonderfully hobby: he distills Apple’s Mac line-up down to their essence in bright, colorful, beautiful abstractions of their classic designs. I love them. We’ve put more after the jump, but be sure to check them out in hi-res on Doshi’s Tumblr, where he’ll be adding more over time.

Ghosts In The ROM: Hacking Into A 25 Year Old Macintosh Easter Egg



An old-as-the-hills Easter Egg has been rediscovered by New York based hacker collective NYC Resistor: hidden pictures of the Macintosh team from 1986 hidden in the Mac SE’s system ROM. The Easter Egg has been known about forever — references to it on the Internet go back to at least 1999 — but more interesting than the Easter Egg itself is how NYC Resistor discovered for themselves how it was done: by good, old fashioned hacking.

The Greatest Easter Egg Of All Time Was Exclusive To The Apple II


Screen Shot 2012-08-14 at 8.49.43 AM

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of inserting an old floppy of Jordan Mechner’s classic beat-em-up Karateka into a vintage Apple II, you already know it’s one of the most timelessly classic video ames ever made.

Ever tried inserting the floppy disk upside down, though? If you’re one of the few people who have, whether by accident or design, you’ve experienced one of the greatest and funniest Apple easter eggs of all time: the whole game played upside down.

NASA’s Nuclear-Powered Mars Rover Curiosity Essentially Has The Same Brain As A Bondi Blue iMac G3



Here’s an interesting little factoid for you. The Curiosity rover — which landed last night on Mars, remote controlled by a team of NASA scientists armed with MacBook Pros — runs on a RAD750 radiation-hardened single board computer.

This computer, in turn, is based on the IBM PowerPC 750 CPU, which Intel first introduce on November 10, 1997. This CPU was used by Apple in many computers in the late 1990s, including the original iMac.

As one insightful redditor notes: “Curiosity is essentially a 2-CPU Power Macintosh G3 with some nifty peripherals and one HELL of a UPS.”

Source: Reddit

This Cat Tweets His Dreams From A Bed Made Of An Old eMac [Video]



We think it’s adorable that this fat, fuzzy cat sleeps in an empty eMac fitted out with warm lights and cozy blankets, but it’s not particularly unique by itself: those old vintage all-in-one Macs have been turned into pet carriers and aquariums since time immemorial.

What sets the so-called eSleeper apart is that every time puss pushes his way in for a nap, it sends out a random tweet thanks to a controlled Arduino. And the tweets aren’t bad, although that cat certainly sleeps a lot. Less a Nyan Cat than a Nyarcoleptic one.

[via TUAW]

Blast from the Past: Jony Ive Shows Off the Twentieth Anniversay Mac (TAM)



Back in 1997 at the beginning of the Second Jobs Dynasty, Apple introduced a special edition Twentieth Anniversary Macintosh (TAM) to celebrate the company’s 20th year in business. The TAM was positioned as a high-end luxury system, selling for $7000 and delivered by a tuxedo clad technician, but highlighted where Apple was heading in industrial design with a vertical orientation, elegant fit and finish, and an LCD display later adopted by the iMac.

In this promotional video a (then) relatively unknown Apple designer named Jony Ive (with a full head of hair) shows off his newest baby and explains the company’s design philosophy. The TAM was a flop in the marketplace but foreshadowed Apple’s subsequent design renaissance, and has since become a coveted collector’s item.

[via 512 Pixels]

If You Can Point, You Can Use a Macintosh [What’s Old Is New]



I picked up a Magic Trackpad this weekend, and while browsing Apple’s instructions printed on the box was struck by the similarity between the tagline and photo of the hand with the trackpad, and the original ads for the Macintosh and its revolutionary mouse back in 1984. As well as how much simpler the directions for use are today.

Look familiar?

Mouse Design – the History of Our Favorite Electronic Rodent


Mouse Design

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.

For more see the full story at Low End Mac: Mouse Design 1963-1983

Vadernet: Running The Empire on System 6



It’s been a good week for Apple-Star Wars Geekdom. News today of a Death Star desktop screenshot, circa Mac System 6 era. TK-421 is not at his post (again), Darth is urgently looking for two lost droids, and spam exists on Vadernet even Far, Far Away.

Kudos to designer Matt Chase for this awesome vintage mockup of a black & white Safari, Mail and the right-click menu option to Move to Trash Compactor. Complete image (1920×1200) available here.

I suspect Darth has a Steve Jobs in Carbonite case on his iPhone, too. Or would that be Han Solo?

[via TUAW & Neatorama]

Yum iMac Coffee Table an Innovative Form of Computer Recycling


Yum iMac Coffee Table

Classic Mac collectors are a creative bunch. Where others see digital trash, we see potential. Steve Abbott, curator of MacAbbott’s Mac Museum in Charlotte NC, has just created an innovative coffee table using those five-flavored candy-colored original iMacs in the style of Apple’s iconic Yum advertisement.

Steve stripped the guts out of five systems – blueberry, grape, tangerine, lime, and strawberry – added opaque white paper and light fixtures inside, then fashioned a table around them with a glass top and birch base. Reminds me of the kids tables inside Apple retail stores, with the retro glow of high tech lifesavers. The Yum coffee table is one-of-a-kind and for sale, bids start at $5,000; contact MacAbbott for details.