RetroMacCast

Where great old Macs live again!

As my trusty Pismo (Powerbook G3 Firewire) turns eight years old, I reflect not only on how I've made use of it over the past eight years, but also on how it has altered my overall expectations of what a great notebook computer should be. I suppose it's worth noting that eight years is an incredibly long time for any computer, much less a portable, to remain viable. That said, my Pismo has in no way come close to calling it quits. Much to the contrary, it sits in our study, anxiously awaiting whatever we might ask of it. Web browsing ...no problem. Photoshop ...a snap. Why not iTunes at the same time? ...piece of cake. It even handles Final Cut Pro 2 without putting up a fuss. So what makes this practically vintage apple notebook tick after eight long years?

First, I'll admit that this little guy has been pampered with a well deserved processor upgrade (Powerlogix 800Mhz G3). That's going from the original 400Mhz G3 it came with (blazingly fast back in 2000), and basically doubling the processing power. Having opted against the 500Mhz G4 option, I must say I am more than pleased with the power that the G3 800 provides. Top it off with 1 GB of ram, a 40 GB hard drive, and a slot-loading Combo Drive, and this eight year old machine performs nearly on par with my G4 iBook. One might argue that spending the time and money on such upgrades is less economical than merely buying a newer machine. However, rather than letting this wonder of design go to waste, by nurturing it with upgrades, I feel that it's true potential is finally realized. Apple worked hard to design a machine that was ultimately intended to be upgraded, and that is just what I have done.

It is also a beautiful machine to say the least. Eight years later I still find myself captivated by it's sleek curvature and aerodynamic form. Perhaps that is why I've held on to it for so long, because it is truly a work of art from a design point of view. And while Apple today
still turns out new notebooks that are the inspiration and envy of the industry, I imagine they'd be hard pressed to find that same "magic" they had with the G3 series. Apple put so much into the Pismo that it tends to age more gracefully than most notebooks out there. So there's no telling how much longer I'll be using my Pismo, but with the proper care and maintenance, I suppose it will stick around for some time...

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