RetroMacCast

Where great old Macs live again!

I know it's an old chestnut, I'm sure, but I'd just like to get an idea of which machines are the most loved and what makes them so...call me nosey, but I find that sort of thing interesting, after all how many people can you think of that would have the same discussion reminiscing about PCs they have owned?

To start off, my favourite Apple Macs are:

1) The Macintosh Classic - first Mac I ever got my grubby mitts on (in, I believe, PC World Croydon way back when - 1992-ish).

2) The Mac LC with 13" colour screen - it was sat next to the Classic, I loved the screen, the speed (hey I was used to a 12Mhz 286!) and the look and feel of the machine. It was, however, way out of my price bracket.

3) The Macintosh IIfx - part of my shaping into a Mac nerd was a visit to the Evening Standard in, I think, 1992. DTP had only just taken over the print world and my Computer Studies class were given a tour of the whole place, including the layout and artwork section. Seeing a Macintosh IIfx running Quark made me want to do stuff like that for a living - I aced the DTP section of my course, even if I had to use Aldus PageMaker on an RM Nimbus PC at school... I'd love to have one of these, but I think I'd get murdered by my wife, as I've already got my eye on half a dozen other machines.

4) The iMac. I love my Blue Dalmation, but I'd have loved to get the specification in the Tangerine colour. Frankly, it made computing cool and it matched the dotcom boom perfectly. An awesome piece of kit.

5) The Pismo. Best laptop ever. Period

6) The iBook G3 (clamshell) - a great piece of consumer design that actually thought about how kids and students would use it. I'd buy one tomorrow if I could get the speed of my Pismo in the case.

7) Power Mac G4 400 AGP. The first Mac I got to own, a real workhorse and it never missed a beat. My mother has it now, but it formed the backbone of a business for five years and it was amazing for video work, when the huge Intel machine that was supposed to replace it kept crashing or putting artefacts into the video. Easy to work on, easy to work with and attractive on the desk - what more can I say?

8) Power Mac G5 - I love the design, I love the speed and the expandability and I love the fact it's still a PowerPC and thus can still run Classic. The MacPro leaves me cold somehow.

10) Mac Portable - I know it's seen as a joke, but in the days when companies like Colossus were stuffing 8086 PCs with tiny amber screens into a suitcase and calling them "portable", the Mac Portable offered good ergonomics, a crisp display and little or no compromise when compared to the desktop. Yes, it wasn't a laptop, but the idea was that it was luggable from car to airport to car to office, where it would be set up on a board room table, or suchlike.

11) Powerbook Duo/Duo Dock - a great concept, if a little underpowered when it came out. I'd like to see this concept revisited with a tablet/laptop hybrid and a dock/screen combo that would replace the iMac. You could use the tablet like a Wacom Cintiq tablet and take it with you to meetings...

Enough about my favourites - what are yours?

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My list is based on Macs which I've used the most. Others may be more significant in Apple history, but these models were prominent in my life.

1. Macintosh Plus: This was my first and responsible for making me a Machead for life. It was simple yet surprisingly powerful and absolutely blew away anything from any other company at the time. I got an external 20MB hard drive immediately so otherwise being totally dependent on floppies would have been painful.

2. Macintosh SE: I didn't have the Plus very long before my parents wanted it so I "upgraded" to an SE with dual 800k floppies. Again, I got an external hard drive but it was 40MB this time. This SE served me well for over 3 years when I was in college. I accomplished so much on it that I should have had it bronzed. It got passed to my parents at some point and eventually I think it was sold to one of my dad's students.

3. Power Macintosh G3 Desktop: I probably pumped as much money into this computer as the original purchase price. I expanded it in every way possible: RAM, bigger and more internal hard drives, CD burner, second video card, and many external peripherals. I got many good years of this and even got started with OS X on it.

4. iMac G4: I did a little video editing on that G3 using the first version of iMovie, but with the iMac G4, I really got into it. The iMac G4 really enabled the digital hub that Steve Jobs pitched to the world. I still have that iMac and we use it as a karaoke machine in the home theater.

5. Power Macintosh G5: This was the first time I was able to purchase the top-of-the-line Macintosh brand new. It still serves me faithfully to this day in an Intel era. One of these days it will move to museum duty but until then it continues to churn away after over four years of 24/7 operation.
For me? Let's see....

1. The Compact Macs: What more can you say? They're just so lovable. :-) Nothing beats that all in one design especially back in the day. Great if you've got cramped quarters. Of all of these, my favorite would have to be the Macintosh SE/30. I do love the cosmetic design of the Color Classics as well.

2. Macintosh Quadra 650: Great all-around Mac with an '040 processor. Also, it was my first retro Macintosh. It will always remain as my favorite 68K Mac. :-)

3. Motorola StarMax 4000 MT: I always had an affinity to the clones back in the day. This one in particular stood out to me because not only was it a Mac clone from the company that made the PowerPC processors in Macs at the time, but it was a decent performer with its PPC 604e processor. I absolutely loved this retro Mac clone for the short time I had it before I upgraded to the iMac G5. I hope to bring it back into the fray of Macs here at home. It ran Mac OS 9.1 and Debian GNU/Linux wonderfully for such a meager Mac by today's standards.

4. The G5 Macs: Something about the PowerPC 970 just spoke of power at the time. Plus, the 64-bitness of the CPU was a nice welcome (something that Linux/ppc took advantage of). While not the newest of Macs anymore, I still love my iMac G5 running Tiger. I also envied my father's Power Macintosh G5 until it died, but it still looks just as sexy. ;-)

5. Powerbook 500 series: they are the sexiest 68K portables of the bunch IMO.

6. Pismo: I've never owned one, but they sure are gorgeous. Love the fact that they're so expandable.

7. Pizza-box Macs: thin and sleek, if a bit underpowered (at least in regards to the LC and LC II). I'd love to own an LC III eventually.

8. Quadra 900/950: awesome tower design IMO.
"COCO" - My Color Classic was the one Mac I truly felt outright LOVE for, enough to give Her a name and to flip Her over and verify from the underside that She really was a Her. Equipped with a VideoSpigot LC card - She was a video editing POWERHOUSE achieving anywhere from 7-9 Frames Per Second at 160x120 on a good day with most extensions turned off using Adobe Premiere 1.0, as well as a spectacular 3-D Raytracing and Rendering MONSTER with Infini-D sofware.

Maybe it was that spectacular 9" Sony Trinitron screen. Maybe it really WAS the first 'iMac'. But where She really had a lasting impact was when connected to an ADB B&W Connectix QuickCam webcam at the dawn of the Video Chat era. It gave new meaning to 'Frames Per HOUR' when using CUSeeMe over a 1200b Hayes Smartmodem. The impact on my life has been lasting, and my Mac Compatible Video Chat Webcams site is still part of the video-conferencing legacy that began on COCO.
I like the little LC580. For it's day it was a 68k iMac. The Boss, Quadra 900/950 was awesome..
1.Apple II e Plus (don't how if that was real but it was)
2.Macintosh LC 475 + the Apple CD / Apple Design Powered Speakers kit
3. Apple 2 gs
1. Mac Plus. Like James, my experience of the Mac started off with a Plus but it was much more recently, about 7 years ago. It was given to me by a school teacher and in restoring it and maxing it out I learned loads about older Macs and soon started collecting them. My Plus now sits proudly in the middle of my collection and still gets used for the odd Telnet BBS session or word processing.

2. LC 475. I've got two of these and I think they are just about the neatest, most functional modular Macs Apple ever produced. I first got online with an LC 475 and it was quite a step up from the Plus I had been using for computing tasks before. Now I have an LC 475 running in the bottom drawer of my desk 24/7 as a web server. Address: macman.servebeer.com

3. Quadra 700. A good all-rounder 68K machine which motors nicely through pretty much anything that I use it for. The mini-tower design is especially neat making it perfect for my very small study.

4. PowerBook 1400c. This is definitely the favourite amongst my collection of PowerBooks. It started life as a 1400cs but after it was given to me (for free) I upgraded it to a 1400c with an active matrix display. It has had a variety of other upgrades including maxed RAM, PCMCIA wireless card, ethernet card and a compact flash card running as the hard drive. It was used for some time as my main portable until I recently got a TiBook. However, it still gets used almost every day for a variety of tasks.
My favorite is the Quadra 660av because if you are short on space you can put a monitor on it

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