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Guillermo Esteves

Macintosh 512K

A Macintosh 512K next to a G4 PowerBook on a wooden desk. A fourth-generation iPod sits on a cradle between them.

Today I was in the car with my dad, and he’s telling me about the garage sale my family’s having at my grandmother’s house, and he mentions that my uncle brought a really, really old computer to the sale, and that he was about to sell it to some guy for about Bs. 40,000 (20 bucks, give or take). I asked him if he knew what kind of computer it was, and he said “an Apple”. “What kind of Apple?”, I ask, and he tells me that it’s one of the first ones. “Why? Do you want it?”, he asks me, and I tell him “sure, why not”. He calls my uncle, and he tells the guy that the computer had already been sold earlier.

So we drive over to my grandmother’s house to pick up the computer. It’s an Apple Macintosh 512K, circa 1984. According to the Wikipedia article,

The Macintosh 512K Personal Computer, the second of a long line of Apple Macintosh computers, was the first update to the original Macintosh 128K. It was virtually identical to the previous Mac, differing primarily in the amount of built-in memory, which quadrupled the original’s. This large increase earned it the nickname Fat Mac. The additional memory was significant because more ambitious users with computer experience stretched the capacity of the original Mac almost immediately, despite the limited number of applications.

It’s in pristine state, except for a slight scuff mark at the top of the computer, and the 20+ years worth of grunge. It even works perfectly! I have a whole stack of floppies (copies, unfortunately, instead of the original ones) with apps like MacPaint and MacWrite, and the original System Software, plus the original keyboard and one-button mouse (“hello, computer!”). There was also an Apple printer (I forgot to write down the model) at my grandmother’s house, but it was rather heavy and I don’t really have any place to put it, so I left it there in the meantime, and I told my family not to sell it.

Now I’m the proud owner of a great piece of computer history.

Update: I picked up the printer today, it almost broke my back… that thing must weigh at least 30 pounds. It’s an Apple ImageWriter I dot-matrix printer, model A9M0303. That’s all I know about it, so if you have any further info, please contact me. I also spent a few minutes checking out that stack of disks, and I found some good stuff, like two versions of Finder: System version 1.1 with Finder 1.1g; and another System software with a version of Finder number E1-5.3; a few games, including Hangman, Memory, Billiard, IAGO and On-the-Contrary; and A Guided Tour of Macintosh, which, among other things, explains in detail the use of that newfangled device called the “mouse”. I can’t imagine how alien that thing must have looked like 25 years ago.

Update (08/31/2006): Sweet, one of my pictures of the Macintosh has been featured on TUAW’s Rig of the Day. Go Digg it!