2016 in review

Overall I’m glad to be leaving 2016 behind, as it wasn’t a particularly great year. However, as far as vintage computing goes, I can’t complain at all.

State of the vintage Macs

My smallish collection of vintage Macs had a good year. Touching wood, the older group of beige Macs — SE, SE/30, Classic, Colour Classic, LCII, Performa 630CD, Power Macintosh 9500 — hasn’t manifested any faults or new issues after the latest check-up. Sadly, yet another power supply in the DuoDock II has failed, and I still haven’t had the time to take care of the problems afflicting the Quadra 950. A minor problem has just occurred with the Power Mac G4 — its internal hard drive is on its way out, only managing to complete the boot occasionally and with effort. Repetitive mechanical noises during the boot process are a certain sign that it’s failing. (If you have a spare IDE drive in good health, of at least 60 GB capacity, please let me know.)

As for the older Mac laptops, the PowerBook 1400 with upgraded G3/333 processor remains my most used portable Mac of the pre-PowerBook G3 era. It has a bright display, a fantastic keyboard, and it’s the quickest machine to take out when I have to check old media (it has a floppy module, a ZIP 100 module, and a CD-ROM module, so it’s easy to just insert the one I need and get going), or when I have to pass files from one vintage media to another when I need to perform some kind of data retrieval.

The PowerBook 5300 still works fine, but opening and closing the lid has become really problematic due to cracks in the hard plastic of the display assembly near the hinges, so I’m using this Mac only occasionally. One day maybe I’ll get a better display assembly on eBay and fix this issue, but as you can imagine, it’s not exactly one of my top priorities.

The ‘new’ PowerBook Duo 280c (generously donated to me in February 2015) is working fine and I’m using it mainly as a font database server and as a very portable solution to download and manage the photos taken with the QuickTake 100.

Speaking of Macs of more recent vintages, my four most used PowerPC Macs in 2016 have been:

  • The 12-inch 1 GHz PowerBook G4 — still my lightest, most dependable machine when out and about. I’ve used it for writing, email, Web, some image editing and even for watching videos and movies when I was on holiday last August.
  • The 17-inch 1.33 GHz PowerBook G4 — It’s the fastest, most capable G4 I have, and I use it for pretty much the same things I use the 12-inch for, but when I either need a bigger screen or power is more important than portability. It also has a reliable CD-DVD burner, and it’s a great Mac for exchanging files with various different sources, since it’s equipped with two USB 2 ports, a FireWire 400 and a FireWire 800 port, and a PCMCIA card slot (I use a PCMCIA CompactFlash adapter to quickly exchange files between this PowerBook and the PowerBook 1400, for example).
  • The Power Mac G4 Cube — Always a trusty sidekick, it remains on the left of my main MacBook Pro desktop setup, and its big 22-inch Cinema Display is great for checking additional pages on the Web and my RSS feeds, for performing the occasional image editing, running older applications in the Classic Environment (including games), and it’s also been my scanning workstation for almost 10 years now (I own a 15-year old Canon USB flatbed scanner that has always worked reliably, and its Mac OS 9 drivers and management software are still a tried-and-trusted solution, so why fix what’s not broken?)
  • The 17-inch iMac G4 — Donated to me almost a year ago, it has proved to be another workhorse. It’s a bit of an all-purpose machine (again, I use it for writing, checking RSS feeds, email, browsing the Web, burning CDs and DVDs for archival purposes (its SuperDrive is quite reliable), and it’s also a great Mac for listening to music (local audio files in iTunes, audio CDs, Spotify) thanks to the Apple Pro Speakers delivering a surprisingly rich and powerful sound.

Other Mac laptops (the two clamshell iBooks, the PowerBook G3/400 ‘Lombard’, the two Titanium PowerBook G4) have been used more sporadically, but they still work just fine considering they’re 16/17-year-old machines. I’ll say, the blueberry iBook G3/300 still manages to make heads turn when I use it in some coffee shop or in a library. The battery of one of the Titanium PowerBooks still lasts approximately 2 hours and a half, and I know it’s not much in the era of MacBook Airs that last more than 12 hours on a single charge, but I find it impressive nonetheless, given that that battery is at least ten years old. I still use the TiBook(s) when I want a fast Mac OS 9 machine on the go, or to use some OS 9 and OS X applications and dictionaries whose licences are tied to a specific computer.

iOS devices

Okay, normally this wouldn’t be the place to talk about iOS devices, but considering the fast pace at which both iOS hardware and software are moving, all iOS devices in my collection are vintage tech now, so they’re worth mentioning. I have:

  • A 32 GB iPhone 5 (current main device), a 16 GB iPhone 4, a 16 GB iPhone 3GS and a 16 GB iPhone 3G. All working except the 3GS.
  • A 64 GB fourth-generation iPod touch, a 32 GB third-generation iPod touch, and a 16 GB first-generation iPod touch. All working.
  • A 32 GB third-generation iPad (Wi-Fi only), working very well, with a battery that still manages to last almost 2 days on a charge.

The iPhone 5 and the iPad 3 are my main devices, and the reason I’ve been accumulating other vintage iOS devices is that I’m working on a small book on iOS and I need to have working devices with different iOS versions installed. So far, I have iOS 3 to iOS 10 covered, except for iOS 8. On a practical level, these older devices still retain a degree of usefulness. They’re all still great for listening to music, or even podcasts; or for playing old games or using old apps that still serve a purpose. The iPhone 3G is still in use as my secondary phone, and the iPhone 4 is perfect as a personal hotspot when I visit my parents in Italy and need to use yet another SIM with a great data plan to connect to the Internet.

Newton devices

My Original MessagePad, MessagePad 2100, and eMate 300 are all still in use, but I’ll admit I’ve been only using the MessagePad 2100 on a regular basis in 2016. And sadly I’m in the process of cleaning this unit after discovering that the last batch of alkaline cells I put into it leaked, and leaked badly. The MessagePad 2100 is my true digital notebook, it’s always by my desk when I need to take some notes that a) I know won’t get lost, and b) I can just naturally write down in longhand instead of typing on the relatively small iPhone virtual keyboard. I know it may sound quirky or quaint, or perhaps even cumbersome, but bear in mind I’ve been using a Newton MessagePad since mid-2001 — that’s a lot of time, fine-tuning, and muscle memory; note taking on a Newton is very easy and handy for me.

Conclusion

Not long ago, I received an email out of the blue from someone who plainly asked me: How do you manage all that, all those machines and devices? It must be exhausting. Two or three years ago, for a brief period, I experienced a sort of crisis due to ‘vintage tech saturation’, for lack of a better expression. A few of my vintage Macs had developed a series of issues at the same time, and I felt overwhelmed, because I wanted to fix everything but had no time to do so. I started thinking that the fun of tinkering with vintage technology kind of vanishes when it all become a maintenance game. I was weary and stressed and for a moment I even considered the idea of selling or throwing all away and embrace tech minimalism. Of course I didn’t go through with it. When you have a collection of aging vintage machines and devices, you have to come to terms with the fact that you can’t take care of everything all the time, especially if, like me, you have a family, a job (translating/localising), a vocation (writing fiction), and other things you’re equally passionate about (photography).

So you just take it easy. You maintain these machines and devices the best you can, focussing on those you feel you rely on the most, and addressing issues one at a time when they surface. Thankfully, Macs are especially long-lasting, dependable computers, and in the end the real problems a G3 or G4 laptop may present, for instance, all revolve around hard drives, optical drives and batteries. I always try to look for spares when I have some time because I know these are the weakest spots for aging laptops. It’s a bit like having always fresh backups in case of emergency. Still, sometimes I’m caught by surprise — like with the Power Mac G4’s hard drive failure — and I have to wait a bit before I can take care of it.

As a final note, I continue to be amazed at what these 13-to-17 year old Macs can still do (provided you have a clear idea of their limits today and adjust your expectations accordingly). Given the current lukewarm interest Apple seems to display towards the Mac, it feels oddly reassuring to be surrounded by older yet reliable Macs and Mac OS software with which I still can carry out a certain amount of tasks rather effortlessly.

Advertisements

Added to the collection: accessories and materials

With regard to acquisitions for my small collection, I can say that May was a really good month. After the very nice haul I talked about in my previous entry, I received a package from Morgan which contained a few items of interest:

  1. Macally 10BaseT/10Base2 Combo LC PDS Ethernet Adapter. After finally installing a similar Ethernet card in my Colour Classic, now I can give an Ethernet connection to my Performa 630, too.
  2. #alttext#

  3. PowerBook 1400 series User’s Guide in Italian. I’m a so-called ‘power user’, but it’s nice to have these manuals handy anyway. I really miss the quality of this kind of printed documentation.
  4. #alttext#

  5. Macintosh Advantage Information Kit. I saved the best for last. It seems that in the mid-1990s, Apple would send these materials for free to anyone who wanted to evangelise and spread the word about the superiority of the Macintosh platform. Here’s a scan of the envelope:
  6. #alttext#

 

And now the contents.

  • An introductory letter:

#alttext#

It should be readable, but here’s the full text:

Dear Mac Enthusiast:

Thank you for your order. Apple Computer is happy to provide you with these materials free of charge to help you spread the word about the Macintosh Advantage.

It’s easy to talk about the advantages of using a Macintosh if you think of them as belonging to one of these six groups:

Ease of Use: Making sophisticated technologies simple to use has always been one of Apple’s strengths. From true “Plug and Play” to active help through Apple Guide, now more than ever, the Macintosh is the easiest computer to own, use, and enjoy.

Multimedia: It takes more than capture boards, software and input devices to produce and view high quality multimedia. To combine such diverse media types as audio, video, MIDI, text, and animation, you must have an integrated solution; one designed from the ground up. With Apple’s QuickTime technology, three-dimensional graphics, video capture/playback, speech recognition and speech syntheses built into most Macintosh models, Macintosh is clearly the leader in multimedia and will continue to dominate this market.

Internet: Apple makes access to the Internet simple with the Apple Internet Connection Kit. And more web sites are authored on the Macintosh than any other platform. According to a recent Georgia Tech study, over 36% of web sites on the Internet are served by Macintosh servers.

Power: Powerful RISC technology now ships with every Macintosh. And with the introduction of the Power Macintosh 6500/300 with a 300 MHz 603e, and the 3400/240 with a 240 MHz 603e, Apple is producing some of the fastest consumer desktop and laptop computers on the planet!

Compatibility: The Macintosh fits in with almost all multi-vendor environments and can work seamlessly with PCs running MS-DOS, Windows 95 or Windows NT. For the ultimate in compatibility, the Power Macintosh 7300/180 PC Compatible with a PowerPC 604e running at 180 MHz and a Pentium 166 MHz chip on a daughter card allows you to run both Macintosh and Windows programs simultaneously.

Value: Apple is concerned about your investment. That’s why many Macintosh models ship with processors on daughter cards so they can be replaced with newer, faster processors as they become available, without having to purchase a new computer. Now configured with more RAM, bigger hard drives, faster CD ROMS, video in/out (many models), speech recognition, and the advanced features of the Mac OS, there has never been a better time to purchase a Macintosh.

Have you found more Macintosh advantages? Email us at whymac@apple.com. Thank you for your support.

Apple Computer

Platform Marketing

 

  • A 4-page leaflet titled Apple and NeXT — Information about Apple’s OS strategy, January 1997:

#alttext#

 

  • A brochure titled Why Macintosh?, which reiterates a few points made in the accompanying letter. Here’s the introductory text:

More than 10 years after the debut of the Apple Macintosh computer, Microsoft released its Windows 95 operating system. But while Microsoft is just now adding to its Windows operating system features that Macintosh users have enjoyed since 1984, Apple has been busy moving Macintosh to the next generation of personal computing.

Apple remains the only personal computer company that makes both the hardware and the operating system, and we use that advantage to integrate advanced features quickly and seamlessly into our computers. That’s why Macintosh will continue to provide important advantages over PCs running Windows 95 in four major areas: Ease of use. Power. Multimedia. Compatibility.

 

  • A 14-page brochure titled 75 Macintosh Advantages — Why Macintosh computers are better than PCs running Windows:

#alttext#

As you have guessed, it’s a list of subjects and aspects where the Macintosh displays a clear advantage over a PC running Windows (Windows 95 at the time). The list covers different areas (Ease of use, Multimedia, Internet Technology, Power, Compatibility, Value — The same six areas introduced in the accompanying letter), and each point is explained in more detail.

Overall, it’s a fair assessment in my experience (I was both a Mac and PC user back then). There are points that made me smile, such as №5 Windows is loaded with ‘mystery’ files such as DLLs, INFs, and SYSs; Points that really sound dated today, such as №48 The Macintosh gives you 100 percent pure Java; Points that are a bit exaggerated, such as №27 The Macintosh trash can is easier to use than the Windows recycle bin, and №30 The two-button mouse used with Windows can cause confusion; And also points that are still valid today, such as №69 Macintosh computers retain their usability and value longer. It’s a fun read.

 

  • A 38-page booklet titled Why do People Prefer Macintosh?:

#alttext#

This is essentially a collection of testimonials of people who switched to the Mac from the PC. The introduction says:

Why do people prefer Macintosh?

Or more specifically, why do people think Apple Macintosh computers are better than PCs running Windows 95?

We asked this question on our web site (http://www.apple.com/whymac/), and thousands responded with their view of the Macintosh Advantage.

And you know what? We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

See for yourself by looking at these excerpts from some of the responses. Find out how computer users — young and old, novice and experienced — sum up what they feel are the most compelling reasons to choose a Macintosh computer.

The booklet is full of different experiences, and it’s hard to pull quotes out of their context. There are, however, a few funny quips here and there:

“A Macintosh is better than Windows 95, because it connects to a Microsoft network easier!” (Hans Sorensen, Canada)

“We’re replacing my grandfather’s PC with a Power Macintosh 7500/75. And that’ll be the end of his late-night calls telling me he just wiped out his SYSTEM.INI file again.” (Tristan Bostone, Virginia)

“DOS, WIN, DLL, PIF, INI, DMA, IRQ.

MAC… The only three letters you really need to know.” (Marc Kodama, California)

“I have now connected my video camera and VCR to my Mac, and have been pumping video (and audio) in and out of my Mac. One of these days I’m going to open those manuals and really learn how to do this stuff!” (Walter Alexander, New Jersey)

This one sums it all up:

“Once you go Mac, you’ll never go back.” (Wade H. Nelson, Colorado)

 

  • A brochure titled Personal Computer Satisfaction — An Independent Study of People Who use Both Macintosh and Windows 95 Computers:

#alttext#

 

  • A brochure titled World Wide Web Server Cost-of-Ownership Study – June 1997:

#alttext#

 

  • And finally, some nice goodies:

#alttext#

I still haven’t had the time to properly explore the MacAdvocate II and the Mac OS 8 Demo Tour CD-ROMs (the latter is still shrink-wrapped!), having been ill for the past 2-3 weeks. The two items below the Mac OS 8 Demo Tour CD are two identical booklets containing information and statistics about the Macintosh platform as of January 1997. The three items on the right are stickers with the original rainbow Apple logo to place inside your car window. (The text on the back of the sticker reads: Show your Apple colors! Static ‘no glue’ logo for the inside of your car window. Call 800-373-0877 for more!).

Here’s how the Go figure booklet expands:

#alttext#

I may return on some of these items in future posts, and offer more details and comments. For now, I’ll just wrap this up and wholeheartedly thank my friend Morgan for sending me these materials. I had previously found a couple of low-resolution images and PDFs for one of the brochures mentioned above, but having the real thing in my hands is a whole other story!

Added to the collection: Power Mac G4 and other accessories

PowerMac and iMac

These past years, my vintage collection has expanded mostly thanks to generous — sometimes very generous — donors. These last additions, instead, came from a ‘rescue mission.’ It’s been a while since I did my last, and I had missed the fun. Thanks to a valuable tip from my brother-in-law, I learnt that a local design studio was getting rid of a few vintage Macs and assorted accessories and peripherals, and they were basically telling people on social media to come and get them.

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you’ll probably understand how I felt. I couldn’t pass up such an opportunity. From the photos the design studio put online, I knew I couldn’t take much with me (there were bulky printers, several beige desktop Macintosh G3 machines, a couple of older Power Macintosh 7300, an 8600, and a few graphite Power Mac G4s, plus three boxes of miscellaneous things covered by an intricate web of Apple ADB mice and SCSI cables), so I resolved to look for useful peripherals for my data retrieval service, and to rescue at least one of those Macs. I wish I could have taken more stuff away with me, but unfortunately I just don’t have the space.

As much as I love older machines, my interest was piqued by those graphite Power Macs. When I got there, I noticed that one of them had already gone. The remaining two were very similar, but one had an internal ZIP drive, the other did not. I have several ZIP disks, plus my PowerBook 5300 and PowerBook 1400 both have ZIP modules, then I have two other external ZIP drives — one SCSI, one USB — so ZIP disks are often a quick way to pass files among my vintage Macs. So, this Power Mac G4 with an internal ZIP drive was already drawing my attention. Still, I wanted to check the specifications of both Macs to see which was the better machine. Thankfully, Apple has this nice habit of indicating a Mac’s base configuration either on a label or by printing it on the computer itself. I wasn’t in a comfortable position, crouched behind the Power Macs, trying to read the tiny labels, but I managed to catch a 400 MHz on the label of the ZIP-less Power Mac, and a 500 MHz on the ZIP-equipped one, so I chose the latter.

Then my attention turned to the various accessories scattered nearby. There were a couple of Apple Extended Keyboard II keyboards, so of course I picked up one:

AEKII

I already have one, but it has the older QZERTY Italian layout, which I find particularly difficult to adjust to. This has the equally older Spanish layout, but it’s QWERTY, and shares more keys in the same position as the US/UK/ITA Pro layout I’m more accustomed with. (I still haven’t cleaned the keyboard thoroughly, but it’s not bad after a first pass, and believe me, you didn’t want to see a photo of its original condition!)

Next up, another very interesting peripheral:

Fujitsu MO drive

It’s not a bulky floppy drive, but a 3.5″ Fujitsu 230 MB SCSI Magneto-optical drive. There was a SCSI cable in good condition attached to it, plus that SCSI passthrough terminator you see in the photo. I took the whole package.

Last month I thought to myself, It’s a pity I don’t have a USB floppy drive, it could be useful for quick data retrieval without having to take out a floppy-equipped Mac every time I need to read one. Guess what I found among the tangle of SCSI cables:

USB floppy drive

It is the typical ‘Made in China’ unbranded affair, but I briefly tested it, and it works. So no complaints here.

I didn’t want to overstay my welcome. There were other things I could have picked up — keyboards, mice, cables — and other things that would have needed further inspection and more time. Then there was at least one thing I regret not taking: a 17-inch CRT Apple Studio Display, but I really really have no space for such a cumbersome item.

Studio17 side

If you’ve never seen one in person, you can’t imagine how imposing this thing is. To give you an idea, it’s bigger than an iMac G3, and is closer to an eMac in size and bulk. It would have made a nice companion for the Power Mac G4, but I guess I’ll look for the flat-panel 17-inch Studio Display, certainly more manageable.

Just as I was leaving, beneath a pile of other non-Mac equipment, there was this nice-looking cassette deck, a TEAC V-210C, manufactured around 1988:

TEAC cassette deck

I still have hundreds of tapes, and my Sony stereo cassette deck broke down a couple of years ago, leaving an old Aiwa walkman as my sole means to listen to cassette tapes. I asked the guys of the design studio whether it worked or not and they told me something along the lines of Who knows, but take it home and find out yourself, heh heh. So I did. And it works!

More about that Power Mac G4

IMG 1173

Above I said that I chose what appeared to be the better Power Mac by having a cursory glance at the label with the base configuration attached on the back of the machine. Once home, I examined it more carefully, and I was pleasantly surprised by a little detail I’d missed. The label actually says: 500 MHz / MP / 1M CACHE / DVD-V / 256MB SDRAM / HD 40G / 56K MDM. That “MP” stands for Multi Processor, making this a Dual 500 MHz Power Mac G4!

Another bonus: it actually came with 640 MB of RAM, and equipped with a SCSI card as well, which never hurts. The Mac was apparently last used in December 2008 and contained three user accounts which were basically empty. I had to use the Mac OS X Tiger DVD to boot the Mac and enable the root account, which I used to inspect the user accounts and then delete them. Among the software goodies: a full installation of Adobe CS3, plus FreeHand, StuffIt 12, and NeoOffice.

I was happy to find four 512 MB RAM sticks in my stash, which happened to be the exact type supported by this Power Mac, and voilà — I have brought it to the maximum RAM supported: 2 GB.

About this Mac  PMG4

The Mac came indeed with a 40 GB IBM Deskstar hard drive, which I discovered to be a 7200rpm drive. A quick check with Disk Utility didn’t find any problems with it. It’s rather fast, although a bit on the noisy side. The Mac also has a Combo optical drive: it reads CDs and DVDs, and writes CD-Rs and CD-RWs. My initial tests show that it works reliably when it comes to reading discs, not so much when writing them. But what I’m most bummed about is the ZIP drive, which doesn’t seem to work. System Profiler sees it, the unit appears to work when inserting disks, but nothing happens afterwards, and disks (even formatted, known-to-work disks) aren’t mounted on the desktop or detected by Disk Utility.

I thought it was a matter of drivers, but Mac OS X Tiger doesn’t need them to read ZIP disks from an internal drive. I thought it was a matter of jumper configuration on the back of the unit, but I’ve read that its current jumper-less configuration is the right one. I’ve seen units like this go for €25-30 on eBay; I also have an excellent DVD-RW/CD-RW drive salvaged from another computer — I might replace both in the future and have a fully-working Power Mac G4. Still, I really can’t complain. The Mac works very well, and the combination of dual G4 processors, 2 GB of RAM, and a 7200rpm drive makes for a surprisingly snappy machine overall. TenFourFox is quite responsive, possibly even more than under Mac OS X Leopard on faster machines. This is the Gigabit Ethernet Power Mac G4, so network transfers are very fast as well. This Mac has space for another two internal hard drives, so I’m thinking it’s a good candidate to act as a home server of sorts. I can’t wait to put it through its paces.

Everything else works

The Apple Extended Keyboard II only has one unresponsive key, but I’m reserving judgment until I have a chance to clean it thoroughly (it’s very dirty under the keys). The USB floppy drive works. The Fujitsu Magneto-optical drive works too: I was donated a 230 MB magneto-optical disk and last night I was finally able to access it on the PowerBook 1400:

MO drive and PowerBook 1400

And, as I already mentioned above, that TEAC cassette deck works as well. I’m very happy to be able to listen to tapes (and old mixtapes) again on my hi-fi stereo.

In conclusion, I wish I could have rescued more stuff (oh, that Studio Display!) but I’m quite satisfied with what I ended up selecting. The Dual 500 MHz Power Mac G4 is the most powerful machine of all those that were up for the taking, so… mission accomplished nonetheless!

Turning my third-generation iPod into a flash-based device

iPod 3G in box
 
After successfully upgrading my iPod mini, replacing its failed 4 GB MicroDrive with an 8 GB CompactFlash card, I wanted to try to do the same thing for my older third-generation iPod. It’s my very first iPod, a 10 GB model purchased in 2003, and it has a great deal of sentimental value to me. Sadly, its internal hard drive stopped working sometime in 2009, and I never got round to fix it. By 2009 I had many other alternatives to listen to music on the go — I had the iPod mini, an iPod shuffle, and an iPhone 3G — so what was once my only iPod was now left in a box with its accessories. Every now and then I would take it out to recharge the battery (while feeling guilty because I was neglecting it), and every now and then I would search online for a new Toshiba hard drive of bigger capacity, but prices have always been a bit too high for my tastes. But recently I started considering the CompactFlash route, and when I stumbled on a very cheap 1.8-inch drive to CF adapter on eBay, I decided to go for it.

What follows is my personal experience, not a proper guide, so your mileage may definitely vary.

Disassembling the iPod to remove the hard drive

I followed the excellent iPod 3rd Generation Hard Drive Replacement guide by iFixit. Opening the iPod was hard and cost me lots of patience, attempts, a few tiny scratches on the iPod’s white surface, and a moment of panic when I thought I had broken something inside with the putty knife I used to separate the plastic front from the metal rear of the iPod. Follow the guide faithfully and pay special attention to the warning at Step 7 regarding the disconnection of the internal headphone jack connector.

Inserting the CompactFlash card

Unlike the iPod mini, for which it was simply a matter of swapping the MicroDrive with a CF card, in this case a 1.8-inch drive to CF adapter is needed. This is what I found and bought on eBay for a few Euros:

CF adapter

At first I thought I’d have trouble inserting it the right way, but I soon found out that there’s really no risk of making mistakes once you examine how the original hard drive connects to the drive connector. A small obstacle in my path at this point was a small plastic protrusion that enters a hole in the hard drive plastic edge near the 50-pin connector (evidently to help you insert the drive in the correct orientation and to align the pins properly). When I pushed the CF adapter down, this small protrusion prevented one edge of the adapter’s connector to insert all the way down. So I clipped it with a pair of small scissors, just enough to eliminate the interference.

Then I slid the CF card in. I was satisfied with the price and quality of the 8 GB SanDisk Ultra card I got for the iPod mini, so I purchased a 16 GB card of the same brand and model.

iPod with 16 GB Card

Connecting to the Mac and iTunes

Dealing with the hardware for this kind of upgrade hasn’t been particularly challenging. But as I was browsing the Web for information in the past weeks, I stumbled on a few different horror stories of third-generation iPods being especially fussy with this upgrade, some not recognising the card, some not being recognised by iTunes, some needing firmware modifications to work, and so on and so forth. I was ready to face troubles and complications, so after inserting the CF card and connecting the drive and headphones connectors, I didn’t close the iPod just yet.

Now, this generation of iPods was the last to be able to connect to Macs and sync with iTunes over FireWire. And being the first iPod with the long-lasting 30-pin Dock connector, it could effectively connect to Macs via FireWire and to PCs (and Macs) via USB. Tempted as I was to connect it to my Intel MacBook Pro over USB, I instead connected it to the same-vintage iMac G4 over FireWire. Like I did with the iPod mini, I just put the CF card inside without formatting it, assuming it was ready to use with a DSLR camera (therefore being preformatted in FAT-32 format).

Lo and behold, iTunes 10.6.3 on the iMac instantly opened and recognised the iPod and the CF capacity, but not the Serial Number and the Software Version, though it prompted me to update, telling me that “A newer version of the iPod software is available (version 2.3)”. (Also note “Format: Windows”)

IPod recognised 1

And the quirkiness begins

Naturally, I click on Update, and the (very fast) update process begins. iTunes downloads the iPod software version 2.3, copies it on the iPod, then — a typical final step in any iPod update — the iPod disappears from the iTunes sidebar, reboots, and remounts. iTunes warns about this with a dialog box that auto-dismisses itself after a few seconds. But the iPod doesn’t reboot. On the iPod’s display the message “OK to disconnect” appears. So I disconnect, then reconnect the iPod to the Mac. iTunes opens and warns that there’s an iPod with a corrupted drive connected (Uh-oh!) and offers to restore it and update the software. I let iTunes do its thing, and I’m presented with the same situation as before: the iPod should reboot (iTunes is telling me so) but it doesn’t. On the display, again, “OK to disconnect”.

I stop and think: evidently the iPod isn’t able to complete the update process by rebooting, so this time instead of disconnecting it, I manually reset it (by holding the Menu and Play/Pause buttons). It’s the right move, because after rebooting, under the Apple logo a progress bar appears. And since there’s now a CF card inside, the firmware update proceeds at an amazing speed. After 5 seconds, the Language Setup screen appears and the iPod is fine. I quickly go to Settings > About and all information shows up correctly: iPod name, capacity, available space, Software Version, Serial Number and Model Number. Success! But…

But now iTunes doesn’t see the iPod.

I reboot the iPod, nothing. I reboot the iMac, nothing. I disconnect and reconnect the iPod, nothing. Then I remember something I read on the Web… someone complaining that after the CompactFlash upgrade their iPod could only sync with iTunes via USB. So I take a USB cable and connect the iPod to the iMac via USB. iTunes opens and immediately recognises the iPod:

IPod recognised 2

Note that now everything appears correctly, and the Format is Macintosh.

Since I don’t have music yet on the iMac, before closing the iPod for good, I want to try copying some music on it, and to check if everything is okay when plugging the headphones. So I connect it to my MacBook Pro and — whew — no problems with the latest version of iTunes. As predicted, transferring music to the flash-based iPod is really fast, and once I plug in the first pair of earphones at hand, I can hear music just fine. However I notice an interesting detail: the iPod is not charging despite being connected to a high-powered USB 2.0 port directly. Quite baffling. I disconnect it, take a FireWire cable and connect the iPod to the G4 Cube. iTunes doesn’t open, but now the iPod is charging. So, was what I read in that forum true then — that after upgrading a third-generation iPod to use a CF card, it can only be synced over USB and only be charged over FireWire?

At this point I’m still utterly puzzled by the initial fact that, after updating the iPod to the latest software version, it stopped being recognised by iTunes over FireWire and just developed this behaviour. It’s not logical. In the end, what I’ve done is just replacing the hard drive with another ‘drive’, only it has flash storage. And then I have an idea. I connect the iPod to the MacBook Pro again over FireWire (like this: [iPod] → [30-pin to FireWire 400 adapter] → [FireWire 800 to FireWire 400 cable] → [MacBook Pro]). As predicted, the iPod starts charging but iTunes doesn’t recognise it. Then I put the iPod into Disk Mode manually. With this iPod, the procedure is as follows: you toggle the Hold switch on and off (set it to Hold, then turn it off again), you press and hold the Play/Pause and Menu buttons until the Apple logo appears, then immediately press and hold the Previous and Next buttons until the Disk Mode screen appears. (Source: Apple Knowledge Base).

As soon as the iPod enters Disk Mode, it gets recognised by iTunes as usual and it keeps charging!

And then another quirky thing happens: transfer speeds when copying music on the iPod are really slow. Not exactly USB 1.1 slow, but certainly slower than USB 2.0 or FireWire 400. I still haven’t had time to figure out this particular detail, and if I find something I’ll update this article.

Other minor quirks noticed so far

  • The iPod freezes every time I eject it from iTunes after syncing. For both iTunes and the Finder, the iPod has been ejected correctly, but the iPod’s display remains stuck on the “Do Not Disconnect” screen. Rebooting the iPod puts everything in order.
  • I’ve also noticed occasional hiccups: earlier today, I selected a song and playback wouldn’t start, as if I had pressed Pause right away. The whole interface was fully responsive and registered every button press, but songs wouldn’t start playing. Putting the iPod to sleep and waking it again solved that.
  • The battery icon appears to have become rather unreliable at displaying exactly how much charge there’s left (more on this below).

Battery life

When it was a new model in 2003, this iPod had an advertised play time of 8 hours. I used it very often back then: 2003 to 2007 were the years of most intense use. Its hard drive failed gradually, and in the last weeks before finally stopping working, it got quite loud and sometimes copying music was painful, with intermittent transfer speeds, aborted copies, and so on. What I had started noticing in these circumstances was that the iPod got unusually warm, and that battery life had decreased dramatically. So I didn’t expect much when I started my test this morning after leaving the iPod to recharge overnight.

All in all I’m not disappointed. The iPod played continuously for just about three hours (backlight set to its minimum setting, 2 seconds; frequent interactions to change album and sometimes the volume). Honestly, I didn’t think it would last this long, considering the little 630 mAh lithium ion battery is 13 years old.

I also didn’t think it would last that long because the battery icon in the status bar completely misbehaved during my testing. When I disconnected the iPod after leaving it on the charger all night, I expected to see a full battery icon. Instead it was at about 60%, and during playback it trickled down to zero in about an hour. I thought that’s what little life there was left, but the iPod kept going, kept going, and played music for two more hours with the battery indicator completely empty.

Conclusion

Working iPod
Overall, I’m happy with how things turned out. The 16 GB CompactFlash card and the adapter didn’t cost much, and I spent about three hours between the ‘surgery’ and the tinkering. It hasn’t been a smooth ride like with the iPod mini, but at least I have revived this third-generation iPod, the very iPod that started the ‘digital music revolution’ for me. The iPod I used as a boot drive to work from my 12-inch PowerBook G4 when its internal hard drive failed and I was waiting for a replacement. I’m glad to see this old buddy playing music again after being left in a drawer for seven years. I still can’t fathom why this specific iPod generation is so fussy when you perform the CompactFlash upgrade, but these quirks I’ve encountered are nothing insurmountable. Ultimately what counts is that the iPod is perfectly usable (by the way, I also put it in Diagnostic Mode, and it passed all the tests), and the occasional hiccup can quickly be resolved with a reboot.

Extending the life of my iPod mini

#alttext#

#alttext#

#alttext#
Second-generation iPod mini — Introduced in February 2005, discontinued in September 2005

I own a second-generation 4 GB blue iPod mini that my wife passed to me when she was given a first-generation iPod touch in 2007. This iPod was never heavily used, and so it has remained fully operational — and with good battery life — for ten years, until sometime around October 2015 its internal hard drive (Hitachi 4 GB MicroDrive) failed while transferring some files. That saddened me. For some reason, despite the obvious convenience of using my iPhone to listen to music, I’ve always preferred the classic iPods for that activity. And my third-generation 10 GB iPod already died in 2008 (another hard drive failure), so now that my iPod mini stopped working too, I was left with just my iPod shuffle.

But while the easiest way to repair a third-generation iPod is to find another small-sized Toshiba hard drive for it, the iPod mini is notoriously easier to upgrade. These iPods used MicroDrives as internal storage solutions, and they are essentially small hard drives with the same dimensions (and most importantly, same connection) as CompactFlash cards. Which means that you can replace them with CompactFlash cards and enjoy a few advantages in return:

  • Today, you can easily find 8, 16, and 32 GB CompactFlash cards at reasonable prices. These cards are usually designed for heavy-duty usage with professional DSLRs.
  • They are long-lasting and offer much higher transfer speeds than the old MicroDrives.
  • Along with having more storage space (iPod minis originally came with 4 GB and 6 GB MicroDrives), CompactFlash cards do not have moving parts, which means better battery life.

The original 4 GB of storage space never felt really tight for me. While I do have a lot of music in digital form, I was never one of those people who have to copy their whole iTunes library on an iPod. I’ve always transferred just a small selection of favourite albums I love listening when out and about. I also didn’t want to get too big a CF card for fear of some unexpected incompatibility or similar issues, so when it was time to purchase a CF card to make the upgrade, I opted for a conservative 8 GB card:

#alttext#

Then I looked online for tutorials on how to proceed with the part replacement. The first stop was iFixit, of course, but this tutorial over at Instructables helped too.

The process isn’t extremely complicated, you just need to be a bit cautious, but the hardest step is definitely the first: removing the white plastic on the top bezel. If you look at the aforelinked iFixit guide, this step appears deceptively simple:

#alttext#
Source: iFixit.com

The problem is that the piece of white plastic is securely glued to the metal underneath, and it won’t come off easily. If you don’t proceed with patience and keep pulling up with a screwdriver, you’ll likely bend or break the plastic. Instead of a screwdriver, I used a small putty knife and tried to gently separate the white plastic from the metal casing. But the best tip to make this step even easier was given to me by Peter Emery on App.net (and it’s also suggested in the Instructables tutorial): use a hair dryer to soften the glue.

I know it sounds dangerous to expose the iPod to heat this way, but my iPod wasn’t harmed in any way. Just to be cautious, I used the hair dryer on the minimum setting and directed hot air on the top of the iPod in short bursts. After 5-6 times of gently prying and heating the plastic, it finally came off. It’s virtually impossible to avoid scuffing the white plastic top a bit — just think that, at least, you’ll have a working iPod later.

Same story with the piece of white plastic on the bottom (surrounding the 30-pin Dock connector), but in my case this came off much more easily. I didn’t even need to use the hair dryer. The iFixit tutorial has the best images, so follow the steps until it’s time to remove the MicroDrive. This tutorial is for a hard drive replacement, so once you get to Step 13, what’s left to do is to carefully remove the MicroDrive from its connector (get rid of the black tape and the blue bumpers), insert the CF card (make sure you keep the label on top — see Step 4 of the Instructables tutorial), and reattach the connector to the iPod’s motherboard. Another great advice is given here in the Instructables tutorial: You don’t need the rubber bumpers or tape but you will need a small piece of double sided foam tape to attach the card to the motherboard and keep it from rattling around inside your Mini. I suggest you follow it. The CF card is lighter and thinner than the MicroDrive — it will rattle if you don’t secure it.

The hardware part of the upgrade was done, but before reassembling everything, I wanted to make sure the iPod was properly recognised and formatted, so I connected the ‘naked’ iPod to my MacBook Pro and iTunes 12 immediately recognised it as a Windows-formatted 8 GB iPod mini. I tried copying an album to it, and the copy went smoothly and was insanely fast compared with the original MicroDrive. But since I read online that a good practice at this point is to do a full Restore using iTunes, that’s what I did, and iTunes 12.3.2 failed to complete the operation, throwing a ‘1430 error’. This Apple Support article (unsurprisingly) wasn’t really helpful. The solution was connecting the iPod to my PowerBook G4 with Mac OS X Leopard and iTunes 10.6.3, which correctly recognised and restored the iPod right away and without problems.

#alttext#

Now the iPod was ready to be reassembled:

#alttext#

Since upgrading the iPod, I’ve roughly filled half of it with music, and I’ve instantly noticed the benefits of having a CompactFlash-based iPod: file transfer is really fast, the battery appears to last more than before (I’m still testing, but in the last period with the 4 GB MicroDrive, battery life was quite poor), and the iPod remains cool. With the MicroDrive, the iPod started getting warm after a while; I don’t know if it’s normal for a MicroDrive to get warm or if that was a sign of imminent failure, but with the moving parts of a hard drive and the heat, it’s no wonder battery life was impacted. Now the situation is definitely better on this front, and I’m actually amazed that a 10-year old battery is still capable of holding such a charge.

Here are a few more photos. As you can see, the backlight is still very bright after all these years. Long live the iPod mini!

#alttext#

#alttext#

Added to the collection: quite the vintage package

My recent post A few About boxes from vintage Mac applications received a lot of attention, mainly because it was first linked by John Gruber at Daring Fireball, and was then mentioned by The Loop and by The Unofficial Apple Weblog among others.

It was completely unexpected, and amazing. The feedback I received — both in the form of public comments, mentions on Twitter, and especially private emails — made me giddy, and I wanted to thank every person who wrote me (I’m still answering emails after more than two weeks from the blog post).

Another unexpected by equally thrilling side-effect of this brief moment of Internet fame was that a few people, out of the blue, got in touch to donate a few things they saw I was looking for in my vintage wishlist. One particularly generous donor and splendid fellow has been Richard, who sent me a Christmas-worthy package, which arrived this morning. So, for the mere cost of shipping, this is what I’m going to add to my collection — which in my case means, here’s what I’ll be putting to good use as soon as possible:

PowerBook Duo 280c and DuoDock II

PowerBook Duo 280c, DuoDock II, plus a spare battery for the Duo.

As with the rest of the contents of the package, I was blown away by the excellent condition of these items. And most of all I am happy to already have a replacement for my poor Duo 280c which quietly broke down just less than two months ago. And it’s a better replacement, too. It has 40 MB of RAM and a 1 GB hard drive (my old Duo had 24 MB of RAM and a 320 MB hard drive). Unfortunately, the DuoDock II’s power supply doesn’t work, but a replacement may come sooner than later. I also found a spare battery, but it appears it doesn’t hold a charge. Instead the one in the picture, that came inside the Duo, appears to be working. I may have to reset the PowerBook’s power manager, though, because — just like my old Duo started doing at some point — the Mac boots up and works correctly on the AC adapter and with the battery removed, but as soon as I insert the battery, it abruptly shuts down.

 
Iomega SCSI ZIP 100 drive

Iomega ZIP 100 drive (SCSI version).

Again, I was amazed at finding everything in like-new condition. I love vintage packaging as much as the products, so it’s great to have everything in its original box. The SCSI cable included is also great to have, as I have more vintage Macs and peripherals than working SCSI cables. That floppy you see above the drive is to install the Iomega drivers on Windows/DOS machines. It’s still sealed, of course. I tested the drive by connecting it to my Colour Classic. At first the drive was only detected by SCSI Probe, but I couldn’t mount any disk without the Iomega Driver extension. I connected my PowerBook 1400 and copied the one I loaded there, but it was too new for the Colour Classic (version 6.x). Luckily there was also an older Iomega Driver 4.2 extension, and that was the right one. After a restart, disks were recognised, mounted, formatted without issues. I also noticed how quiet the SCSI ZIP drive is compared to my (more recent) USB unit.

And speaking of disks…

 
Lots of disks

ZIP 100 disks, three SCSI terminators, an Ethernet card (Apple branded), Apple rainbow stickers, two 88 MB SyQuest cartridges and a 230 MB 3.5″ magneto-optical disk.

Yes, those are thirty-three ZIP 100 disks. I guess that, together with the dozen or so I already have, I won’t be needing more ZIP disks anytime soon! That’s about 3 GB of storage space, and I can practically back up the contents of all the working vintage Macs I have. I also love those Iomega 6-disk holders — very practical and stackable.

I still have to check, but I hope I’ll be able to install that Ethernet card on the second motherboard (from an LC580) I use when I need to speed up things with the Colour Classic. Tomorrow I’ll also check those two nice 88 MB SyQuest cartridges.

 
Logitech ScanMan Model32
Logitech ScanMan hand-held grayscale scanner Model 32 for Mac.

This has been another great surprise. I remember wanting this manual scanner so bad back in the day, but could not afford it. Now, I know that scanner technology has rendered this product obsolete, but it may be a nice solution to quickly scan a few documents while I have my Macintosh SE or SE/30 set up. When I opened the box, I was surprised by that unit looking like an external floppy drive, and I thought that Richard had actually put one in the box, taking advantage of the perfect size of the cut-out. It turns out that it’s the necessary interface for the scanner, i.e. you connect the beige box to the Mac, and the hand-held scanner to the box. Also worth noting, that Mathematica demo floppy!

Like with the ZIP 100 drive, I love to own the original packaging of the Logitech ScanMan. So I took another photo of the back of the box, which I think it’s worth sharing:

ScanMan box

 

I can’t thank Richard enough for his kindness and generosity — a true gentleman. I shall put all these items to good use and take care of them in the best possible way: it’s the right thing to do to honour donations such as this.

TenFourFox custom icon

I’ve been a huge supporter of the TenFourFox project since its inception. If you still use PowerPC Macs (G3, G4, G5) and you want to browse the Web with a modern, secure Web browser, you’d be a fool not to use TenFourFox. Go visit the site, you’ll find all the information you need to understand where TenFourFox comes from and where it’s headed.

When Cameron Kaiser — TenFourFox ‘founder’ and main developer — introduced me to this project, I proposed to contribute by creating a new icon. The default icon is fun and all, but I thought TenFourFox deserved something more descriptive and easily recognisable. Cameron liked my ideas, but politely declined and preferred to keep the original design. I kept my custom icon and have been applying it to subsequent TenFourFox updates ever since.

Now, with Cameron’s permission, I decided to make my custom icon available to the community, in case somebody else prefers to use a different icon than the canonical ‘Fox with a tiger tail behind the globe’. Here it is:

TenFourFox

The two graphic elements composing this icon are both in the public domain, so I don’t think I have infringed any copyright here (I’ll be happy to pull the icon if proven wrong). You can download the 512×512 .icns file here.

To customise the icon, you can:

  1. copy the .icns file once downloaded,
  2. select the TenFourFox app in the Finder,
  3. select Get Info from the Finder menu (or press ⌘-I),
  4. in the Info panel, select the TenFourFox icon,
  5. paste (⌘-V) my .icns file over the original icon.

or you can rename my TenFourFox.icns file to firefox.icns and replace the original firefox.icns file located in TenFourFox.app/Contents/Resources. (You can get to the Contents folder by Ctrl-clicking or right-clicking the TenFourFox app icon).

Note that with this method you’ll only customise the TenFourFox app icon, not the original icon that appears in the welcome/search window inside the browser. But I’m sure the most tech-savvy users among you will find a way to customise every instance of the icon. (And I invite you to share that method in the comments section, thank you!)

I’m not a graphic designer, but I hope you’ll enjoy this little creative effort of mine. Long live TenFourFox!

Some other vintage brochures (Part 3)

While I was looking for more vintage Italian Apple brochures and leaflets, I also found some printed material from other manufacturers — mostly leaflets, small booklets and mini-magazines printed exclusively for the tech trade fairs I used to attend. While most of such non-Apple material isn’t very striking, imaginative or otherwise memorable, I stumbled upon a few little gems lovers of vintage technology will surely appreciate…

QuarkXPress4 A

The 10 Best Things about QuarkXPress 4.0 (Front) — A cardboard leaflet from 1997. Apologies for the evident crease across the middle: since the leaflet isn’t standard A4 format, I foolishly folded it when I stored it 15 years ago.


QuarkXPress4 B

The 10 Best Things about QuarkXPress 4.0 (Back)


IomegaZIP1

Iomega Zip 100 Drive (Front) — A leaflet from circa 1996.


IomegaZIP2

Iomega Zip 100 Drive (Back)


IomegaJAZ2GB

Iomega 2 GB Jaz Drive — A leaflet from 1998.


Two last-minute Apple-related bonuses:

A Mac today

A generic Macintosh Italian ad. Judging by the type of PowerBook the guy is holding (a 190 or 5300), I’d say this ad is from 1995-1996. I didn’t remember having this among my stuff and I certainly don’t remember seeing it around much at the time. Translation: “Take it to the max. Get Macintosh. TODAY.”


Apple Masters of Media

Front cover of the 1996 Italian brochure “Masters of Media”. Quoting from this press release, Masters of Media was an initiative introduced at Seybold San Francisco 1995:

Perhaps the most important single place to visit at the show will be Apple’s Masters of Media Showcase, reportedly produced at a cost of more than $1 million and featuring several Seybold Hot Picks within its walls. It will include multiple vendors with real-world workflows (print, CD-ROM and the World Wide Web). Visitors will participate in authoring, editing and distributing content across all media. The theme will be integrated marketing based on a 1984 Macintosh commercial, including the making of a video, a magazine insert, a merchandising catalog, an in-store CD-ROM kiosk, customized direct mail, a newspaper, point-of-purchase displays and Web sites.

It has three primary components: Digital Brand Building; Cross-Media Authoring and Network Color, which will rely on ColorSync 2.0 as the universal translator so that color can be consistent across a desktop network.

Among the Hot Picks appearing in this Showcase but described below are the Canon ColorGear color-management system, the Agfa Chromapress digital press and the Indigo E-Print 1000 digital press.

Like many Apple printed advertisements, the tag line started on one page and ended on the next. Here the translated message is “Should we communicate more…” and turning the page you can read “…or better?” in big black letters set in Apple Garamond in the middle of a blank space.


And that’s all — for now at least. As I revisit my archives, I may find some other materials of this kind. If I find anything worth sharing, I’ll definitely scan it and publish it here.

Some vintage Italian Apple brochures (Part 2)

Here are some more vintage brochures and advertising materials I’ve scanned from my archives. Enjoy.

Apple Multimedia Festival

I was probably given this at a tech trade fair in Milan around 1996, but a brief Web search informs me that the ‘Apple Multimedia Festival’ took place earlier than that. On the Advisory Group on Computer Graphics (AGOCG) website, I found this bit: “The Apple Multimedia Festival in November 1993 was a precursor to a nationwide attempt to raise awareness of multimedia among prospective customers. Everybody who attended the Festival was given a free pack including a brochure of the Apple product range and a free CD which included, among other things, film trailers and video guides to British cities. Much of the importance of multimedia was sold on the idea of interactivity, a buzzword almost as powerful and ubiquitous as multimedia itself.”


Apple Expo98

This leaflet is very easy to date: October 1998, when I attended the SMAU trade fair in Milan. Translation: “For those who don’t want to stop thinking — Apple Expo 98: The biggest Macintosh-centred event ever organised in Italy. SMAU, Pavilion 8, 22 to 26 October 1998.”


Power Macintosh

This brochure is from 1996, and it was meant to advertise the Power Macintosh ‘pro’ lines of the period: the Power Macintosh 7600, 8200, 8500 and 9500 series. Translation: “Those who do serious work take Macintosh very seriously. Here’s why.”


Apple brochure PMG3 BW

This is the Italian version of the famous Power Macintosh G3 (Blue & White) ad, “Another year. Another revolution.” (1999)


Apple brochure PMG4

…And this is the Italian booklet introducing the Power Macintosh G4. The literal translation is “The speed of light? Not enough for us.” But it’s probably derived from the original tag line “Move over, speed of light” featured on Apple’s website in 1999 (see it via the WayBack Machine)


IPod outer

IPod innersleeve

This is a bit of an oddity: it’s a small, A5-sized leaflet from late 2001 promoting the then-new 10 GB iPod (1st generation, scroll wheel). I say it’s an oddity because it appears to be a smaller, more minimalist version of a longer 12-page booklet that I remember seeing circulating around that time. On the outside, just the iPod (front/rear). On the inside, just the Jimi Hendrix photo. No tag lines, no words whatsoever. Yet still quite effective if you ask me.


And this is it for Part 2. In the next and final installment I’ll upload non-Apple brochures (from Iomega and Quark) of the same vintage.

Some vintage Italian Apple brochures (Part 1)

The other day I was going through some old folders and I decided to take a look inside one in particular, containing various catalogues and brochures (by Apple and other companies) I had picked up while visiting some tech fairs in Milan during the 1996-2000 period. I scanned those I found most interesting to share with you, I hope you’ll like these.

Apple brochure iMac PBG3

Page 2 of a 1998 Italian Apple brochure introducing the iMac G3, the PowerBook G3, Mac OS 8 and related software.


Apple brochure imac pbg3 2

Last page of the aforementioned brochure. I always loved this image of the PowerBook G3. It had a really attractive and innovative design for the time. Compare it against the earlier PowerBook 3400c, for example.


Apple small brochures 1

Small brochures from 1996-1997 to promote the Performa family of Macintoshes. Translation: “Learn – Create – Communicate.”


Apple small brochures 2

While the brochure on the right is newer, and part of the same Performa advertising campaign as the two brochures above, the one on the left is actually from 1994-1995, and introduces the most affordable Performa line ‘for home users’ (Performa 200, 400 and 600 series). Translation (left) “Apple Macintosh makes you feel at home”; (right) “Learn – Create – Communicate – With Apple Magic Collection.”


Apple small brochures 3

Two brochures from 1997-1998. The one on the left introduces the Power Macintosh G3 ‘beige’ series (Desktop and Minitower) and it also contains a photo of the first PowerBook G3 ‘Kanga’, which had the same design of the PowerBook 3400c. On the right, a thicker booklet to outline different business solutions involving the various Power Macintosh and PowerBooks available at that time. Translation: (left) “The new generation – Power Macintosh G3 Series – The new computers sporting supersonic speeds”, (right) “Apple: products, systems and solutions. From the success of the Macintosh to the power of the Power Macintosh.”


Abcdefgh Performa

Another brochure from 1996-1997 to advertise the Macintosh Performa 6400 line. Translation: “Macintosh Performa has taken all family needs to the letter.”


It’s all for now. In the following days I will post more of this kind of stuff, so stay tuned if you’re interested.