Retro Computing & Collecting

History has always been a personal passion of mine, and combined with my love of computers, it has developed into a fascination with Retro Computing. This is the art of repairing, restoring, and actively using old pieces of technology. It takes different forms for different people; for me, I enjoy spending my time repairing old machines in order to experience what using them was like. I also enjoy collecting examples of some more notable products throughout time. Here are some of my projects and current machines. My focus is primarily on Apple products, as they have been involved in the personal computer industry since its inception.


Display Collection

2010 Mac Pro

Original iPhone (8GB)
Original iPod (5GB)
3G iPod (10GB)
3G iPod Shuffle (4GB)
6G iPod nano (8GB)
iPhone 4 Logic Board
Motorola 68030 & 68851
Original Macintosh Mouse
PowerPC G3 CPU
Original Macintosh Manual
Original Apple TV
This collection of odds and ends lives in the display cabinet in my living room. It includes some truly revolutionary products, some important evolutionary products, and some evolutionary dead ends. You will see some of these products discussed below.


Apple II

Apple IIc+

1MHz MOS 6502 CPU
1/8 megs RAM
320KB rotating storage
NTSC-resolution video
Apple ProDOS 1.2
Introduced June 1977
The Apple II signaled the beginning of the personal computer age. Introduced at the West Coast Computer Faire in 1977, alongside the Commodore PET and Tandy TRS-80, the Apple II still has a devoted following nearly 40 years later. I personally have an Apple IIc+ in the picture above, and I use it for playing old games on our TV.


The Macintosh

Picasso Macintosh Logo

8MHz Motorola 68000 CPU
1/8 megs RAM
400KB rotating storage
9” B&W CRT (512×342)
System 1-3.2
Introduced January 1984
The original Macintosh is the epitome of a revolutionary machine. This computer gets much of the credit for introducing the concept of the GUI to the public, and as the first computer affordable to the general consumer to feature a GIU. It introduced most people to the mouse, windows, icons, menus, and what we recognize as a computer still to this day. I do not have a Macintosh 128K personally; the oldest that I own and operate is a Macintosh SE from 1987.


iPhone

Original iPhone

412MHz ARM 1176JZ(F)-S CPU
128 megs RAM
4 gigs solid state storage
3.5” integrated LCD (320x480)
iPhone OS 1-3.1.3
Introduced January 2007
"The phone that changed phones forever." This was how the original iPhone was referenced during the introduction of the iPhone 4, and it rings true. As the first wildly popular consumer smartphone, the iPhone set out to influence phones for the next decade. It popularized multi-touch, software keyboards, the all-touchscreen phone, and ease of use for average consumer wishes. Millions of people already knew how to work an iPod, and the iPhone was just as simple to sync media to. It is one of the few single products that one can point to and call a revolution. I stil have my original 4GB iPhone on my desk, and a pristine 8GB model graces my display cabinet.


iPod - Hits

Original iPod

The iPod became something of an icon of the early-mid 2000s before being eclipsed by the iPhone. As with many things that Apple came out with, it was not the first of its kind, but it was the first to fuse together multiple technologies into something that eclipsed others on the market. The iPod combined a music player with a small, high-capacity hard disk, a simplified UI, and simple software to sync music onto the player that made for a winning combination. The iPod and its successors went on to dominate the music player market, eventually settling above 90% market share. In my collection, I have a first-generation iPod.


iPods - Misses

Third generation iPod shuffle

Not every iteration of the iPod was set up for success. Some were definite duds, based on their features or lack thereof. The two most notable examples of these that I have in my collection are the third generation iPod shuffle and the sixth generation iPod nano.
The third generation shuffle was the ultimate expression of Steve Jobs' war on buttons. An iPod that had no physical controls aside from a switch to turn it on and off was in interesting design choice, but one that ultimately did not bear out. It was replaced very shortly thereafter by the current iPod shuffle, which restored physical buttons.
Disclaimer about the sixth generation iPod nano; I have a second one that I actually use and enjoy as an iPod. Regardless, in this iPod, Apple ditched the signature click wheel and replaced it with a 1.5" touchscreen. Aside from the lack of features that the previous nano had offered, such as video capture and playback, the tiny screen makes navigating the iPod difficult for those with large fingers. Nevertheless, this was one of the most fascinating iPods that has come out of Apple, and I truly enjoy mine. I have a silver one in my collection, and a blue one that I use as my iPod.