The “Compact Macs Basketball Team”

My invitation is still valid. Have you got a vintage Mac setup you use on a regular basis? Or at least not hidden in some storeroom or attic collecting dust? Do you want to send me pictures and talk about it? Read this past article.

So far, only Nicola D’Agostino has answered my call. I have invited people, I have tweeted friendly reminders. I am a bit disheartened by the general disinterest. I am sure I’m not the only one who still uses vintage Macs, and I’m aware that this blog is not as famous as other Mac-related sites or blogs (this is no Shawn Blanc’s Sweet Mac Setups, this is no Waferbaby’s The Setup — I know), thus people aren’t really incentivised to take photos and write some short presentation of their setup. But come on, guys, I think it could be a nice idea.

Too bad I can't configure them with Xgrid.

Meanwhile I introduce you to my “Compact Macs Basketball Team”. While I was cleaning up and reorganising my studio a couple of weeks back, I took the opportunity to take this group photo. On the top you can see my original 128K Macintosh (more about its story here). On the coffee table, on the left, my Macintosh SE FDHD (2MB RAM, 80MB hard drive, running System 6.0.8); on the right my Macintosh Classic (4MB RAM, 80MB hard drive, running System 7.0.1), which was the first compact Mac I acquired back in 1995. On the floor, you can’t miss the unmistakable shape of the Colour Classic (6MB RAM, awaiting a new 160MB hard drive, running System 7.1), and then, on the right, my last acquisition, a Macintosh SE/30 (more about its story here).

These lovely little guys are more or less all functioning, and after the sudden death of the Colour Classic’s hard drive, I’ve taken their maintenance even more seriously. Since I can’t have all of them set up and running at the same time, I have established some sort of rotation to ensure that each one of them gets its fair share of use. Every fortnight I take one out and put it on the desk in my vintage Mac corner and I use it as my distraction-free writing workstation. I have started synchronising my data across four of them (the 128K is not usable at the moment) using the old-school floppy approach, although I’m contemplating getting a SCSI Iomega (or Epson) ZIP drive and extend the backups to include essential applications and preferences, not just my personal documents.

My simple piece of advice — if you have a vintage Mac somewhere, and has sentimental value, do it a favour: find a way to put it to good use, keep it running, especially if it’s a compact Mac like these. Leaving it powered off for a very long time is usually not a good idea and often, when you later decide to turn it on for nostalgia’s sake, your compact Mac might not work or start showing hardware issues caused by neglect. The Compact Mac section of the 68k Macintosh Liberation Army forums is a good place to find help when you need to do some troubleshooting.

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