I’ve been away for the last two weeks or so. For the most part, away meant also away from the Internet, and it was really refreshing. In my absence, as my wife informed me, a long-awaited package had finally arrived. In that package I knew there would be a couple of things I asked for, but I also knew there were going to be surprises.
A couple of months ago, two things happened:
- I decided I was fed up with an old Apple Keyboard II which I used to attach to whatever compact Mac I was using. The left Shift key had stopped working soon after acquiring the keyboard 15 years ago, and the Tab key recently started working intermittently. So I decided I’d look for an Apple Standard Keyboard (Model M0116) which, although bulkier than the Keyboard II, matches perfectly with my Kensington ADB Turbo Mouse.
- Regrettably, the internal 80 MB SCSI hard drive of my Colour Classic stopped working without any warning sign.
So I asked a very good sir, Grant Hutchinson, if he had a spare M0116 keyboard, and indeed he had. Furthermore, reading on Twitter about the loss of my Colour Classic’s hard drive, he also added a spare 160 MB SCSI drive to the package. I felt instantly relieved, since — alas — my small army of reusable SCSI drives is by now only made of missing-in-action soldiers. In our email exchange, Grant asked me if I needed something else, since there still was space available in the box. To which I playfully replied along the lines of Surprise me.
There have been some postal hiccups, but — some weeks later — here I am with the box Grant sent. And boy, has he surprised me.
So here you can see the aforementioned keyboard and hard drive (nicely wrapped in colourful thin cardboard), but the other three surprise items really made my day. In order of appearance, as I opened the box:
- Commodore VIC-20 Programmer’s Reference Guide — This brings back good memories, since the VIC-20 was my first computer ever. I used to spend many weekends vigorously typing programs and games on it. At that time I was taking this new ‘computer’ world very seriously; I didn’t just use the VIC-20 to play, I remember I went looking for books and manuals which could explain me more about that little computer’s architecture. So a fit of nostalgia caught me on finding this book in the package.
- The original Macintosh manual — Another thing I was seeking. This copy, although damaged by water or humidity, is still enjoyable and very readable. I still think it’s one of the best manuals, both graphically and stylistically. It is well written, well composed and contains gorgeous photos and pictures. Elegant. It’s Apple design applied to books.
- Imagine my amazement when I opened a second, smaller box, and found an Original Newton MessagePad (yes, the H1000 model) in pristine condition (an original Apple service replacement, in fact). It lacks the battery holder, but when I connected my 7W Newton AC adapter it booted just fine. The Newton splash screen flashed by very quickly but, if I’m not mistaken, the operating system version is 1.04. I never saw anything earlier than NewtonOS 1.3 before.
Needless to say, I will treasure these surprises, and I once again thank you, Grant, warmly and profusely. You’ve been a true gentleman and I’m much obliged.
In the next days I plan to take more detailed photos of the Original Newton MessagePad: it’s really beautiful and deserves a photo session of its own. As for me, a shiny new iPad could not have made me this happy.