Or, Flying toasters are a go
A few weeks ago, I received a nice and unexpected email from Roberto, a reader of my blogs, where he said he would like to donate me a Macintosh SE/30 since it was on my vintage Mac wishlist. I have already twenty Macs or so, but what could I say? I couldn’t let one of the prettiest compact Macs go to the recycler, so I gladly accepted the offer. It certainly soothes the pain I was feeling after having never received a PowerBook 170 that was promised to me and supposedly got lost.
And it certainly puts an end to my very personal saga with this Mac model. The Quest for the Holy SE/30 officially started back in 2002, although I had fallen in love with it a decade before, when I met the SE/30 in a graphic studio of a friend who asked for my assistance to finish a DTP project. I spent a whole week on that SE/30 running Aldus PageMaker and driving an Apple LaserWriter, and it was a hell of a time. So when my vintage collecting fever kicked in later, the SE/30 was one of my first targets.
First I was contacted by an acquaintance working in London. He said it had one soon to be decommissioned (yes, amazingly it was still used in an office environment as of late 2001), and we exchanged some emails to arrange shipping and everything. In his last email he wrote “Tomorrow morning I’m off to the post office to ask about shipping costs to Italy [where I was still living at the time]”. I never heard from him again. Every email I wrote him went henceforth unanswered.
Then another acquaintance, working in a large graphic & media company, told me they were throwing a bunch of ‘old Mac stuff’ away, and yes, there was a SE/30 among that stuff. So he said. We arranged a meeting (thankfully this time I could actually go where the ‘stuff’ was) and went to the Room Of The Discarded. He made his way through a pile of assorted computer parts and peripherals, and finally came up with… a Macintosh SE. Well… I already had one, and, and it was not a SE/30 but tempting anyway… But strange burn marks on the back weren’t a good sign. We tried to power it up, but the analogue bord was shot, as I imagined.
And these are just the first two episodes that come to mind. In these last seven years I frequently went this close to getting the beloved SE/30, but it never worked out, in a way or another. And no, I hadn’t even considered eBay. Shipping costs (especially from the United States) for a well packaged SE/30 are prohibitive and much higher than what the Mac itself is worth today.
The SE/30 arrived last Monday, with two issues. The first is that the Mac is mute. It boots fine, it works fine, but no sound at all. I cranked up the volume via the Sound control panel, but nothing happens. I played a brickout-like game and, pressing my ear against the Mac, I could hear something, but very faintly. I’ll work on this when I have more time, after the summer holidays. The other issue was that the hard drive was not recognised at boot (the SE/30 gave me the floppy icon with the blinking question mark), but after opening the Mac, I quickly found out that the drive’s power cable was not connected to the analogue board. It was a quick fix. After closing the Mac and turning it on, the drive was instantly recognised and mounted.
And I stumbled on to another nice discovery: After Dark 2.0 is installed. Flying toasters!
So, thank you very much Roberto, for your kindness and generosity.