For fans of vintage Macintosh computers and truly rare finds, a very unusual item has just surfaced in the wild: a 128k Macintosh prototype that used a 5.25” “Twiggy” floppy disk mechanism, the same kind Apple used with the first generation Lisa workstation.
Apple co-founder and burly all-around cuddle bear Steve Wozniak was in India last week to talk to up-and-coming entrepreneurs a thing or two about becoming a technology legend, and while he was there, he gave a great interview in which he said that competing smartphones were “failures,” just like the Apple III and the Lisa.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.