Celebrating 30 years of the Mac

Tech Life

In case you didn’t notice, the Mac turns 30 today. Apple has created a fantastic mini-site to celebrate this milestone. I wanted to celebrate in my own way, going down memory lane with a bunch of photos of the Macs in my collection, the majority of which still work today.

My first Macs

My first Mac wasn’t a Mac I owned, but a Mac I worked on while apprenticing in a small ad agency in 1989. It was a Macintosh SE FDHD (so called because it had a 1.44MB floppy drive and a hard drive, instead of two 800K floppy drives), with 4MB RAM and a 40MB hard drive. The other part of my first Mac workstation was a LaserWriter IINT printer connected to that Macintosh SE. I spent a lot of time working in Quark XPress 2.1. That’s how I got introduced to Desktop Publishing.

My first personal Mac was a Macintosh Classic, with 4MB RAM and a 40MB hard drive, purchased second-hand in late 1990. I still have it, and it still works. A few years later I got my first Mac laptop — a PowerBook 150 (16MB RAM, 250MB hard drive), purchased second-hand in 1995 with an external 2x SCSI CD-ROM drive. It’s probably one of the most underrated Macs due to its limited expandability (it notably lacked an external ADB port and a video out port, and had only 1 serial port and a SCSI port), but I really liked its screen and it was a little workhorse overall. It also had one of the most reliable floppy drives I’ve ever seen on any Mac I’ve owned. It’s also one of the very few Macs I sold. On the one hand, I regret selling that particular Mac, on the other it helped me raise funds to purchase a PowerBook Duo 280c with an external 14-inch Apple Color Monitor and DuoDock II unit for a complete Duo workstation. The DuoDock broke down in 2005, sadly, but both the PowerBook Duo and the monitor still work today.

My Mac collection

At present, these are the Macs I own. An asterisk after the name means the unit is not currently working.

Desktops and towers:
  • Macintosh 128K *
  • Macintosh SE FDHD
  • Macintosh SE/30
  • Macintosh Classic
  • Macintosh Colour Classic
  • Macintosh LCII
  • Macintosh Performa 630CD
  • Macintosh Quadra 950
  • Power Macintosh 9500/132
  • Power Mac G4 Cube
  • PowerBook 100 *
  • PowerBook Duo 280c
  • PowerBook 5300ce
  • PowerBook G3/400 Lombard
  • iBook G3/300 blueberry
  • iBook G3/466 SE graphite (FireWire)
  • PowerBook G4/400 Titanium
  • PowerBook G4/500 Titanium
  • PowerBook G4 12″ Aluminium (1 GHz DVI)
  • PowerBook G4 17″ Aluminium (1.33 GHz)
  • MacBook Pro 15″ (Mid-2009, Core 2 Duo 2.66 GHz)
  • Original MessagePad
  • MessagePad 2000
  • MessagePad 2100
  • eMate 300
Other Macs I have owned:
  • PowerBook 150
  • Macintosh Quadra 700
  • iMac G3/350 blueberry

Memories in photos

Five compact Macs
My compact Macs — on top: Original Mac 128K. Middle row: Macintosh SE FDHD and Macintosh Classic. On the floor: Macintosh Colour Classic and Macintosh SE/30. Also visible: my blueberry iBook G3/300. This photo was taken on April 2010. Save for the 128K, which needs some repairs, all these Macs are still working. (See also this article on my System Folder blog.)


At the old flat
Photo taken at my old flat. This was my studio in October 2004. Zig-zagging from top to bottom you can see a Macintosh Colour Classic, the Duo workstation mentioned above, a Macintosh Quadra 950, a clamshell iBook G3/466 FireWire SE, a PowerBook G4 12″, a PowerBook 5300ce and a PowerBook Duo 280c. (See more photos from the old flat in Past setups, another article over at System Folder).


Mac SE30 and Colour Classic
Passing some data between a Macintosh SE/30 and a Colour Classic connected via serial cable.


PowerBook and Newtons
PowerBook 5300ce, Newton MessagePad 2100 (in a 2000 case) (top), Original Newton MessagePad (bottom).


PowerBooks and Newton
The PowerBook G4 Titanium (right) connects to the Internet and downloads software for the Newton. The PowerBook 5300 (left) connects to the TiBook via Ethernet and installs the Newton packages on the Original MessagePad (center) via serial cable.


iBook and eMate
Another Newton connection: the eMate 300 (left) connects to the iBook G3/466 (right), again via serial cable and a Keyspan Twin Serial Adapter.


PowerBook Duo 280c.


Power Mac G4 Cube connected to a 22″ acrylic Apple Cinema Display.


My studio in April 2010. Visible from left to right: PowerBook G4 12″, PowerBook Titanium G4/500, Power Mac G4 Cube connected to the Apple Cinema Display, and a MacBook Pro (mid-2009) connected to a 20″ Belinea display.


This was a fun thing I did one afternoon: connecting my iBook G3/466 to my 42″ Sony TV using the Apple A/V Cable I got when I purchased the iBook in 2002.


IMG 5780
Left: Macintosh SE FDHD connected to a Maxoptix SCSI Magneto-optical drive; right: PowerBook Duo 280c.


IMG 5783
Left: PowerBook Titanium G4/400; right: PowerBook G4 17″ (1.33GHz).


17 and 12
Left: PowerBook G4 17″; right: PowerBook G4 12″.


IMG 2911
After a writing session on my PowerBook G3 Lombard at a Starbucks.


IMG 0720
iBook G3/300 and a borrowed copy of the seminal AppleDesign book.


Detail of the original Mac 128K motherboard.


The Motorola 68000 at 8 MHz of the original Mac 128K. (See other photos of my Original Mac 128K in this post over at System Folder).


A detail of one of my AppleDesign Powered Speakers II, that were released in May 1994 in beige and black colour variants. They still work, still sound great, and are part of my main Mac setup. (See a beautiful gallery of the black speakers at Shrine of Apple).


Left to right: Original Newton MessagePad, original Macintosh manual, Commodore VIC-20 Programmer’s Reference Guide.


Left to right: PowerBook G4 Titanium, Mid-2009 MacBook Pro.


iMac G3 Accessory Kit box: it contained the keyboard, mouse, power cable and documentation. Sadly, that iMac died in 2003, but I still own the box and all the accessories.

 IMG 3186

Another photo of one of my favourite Macs of all time, the Macintosh Colour Classic.


My beloved iMac G3/350 blueberry, with matching Iomega Zip 100 drive and CD-RW burner.


iPod Mini
iPod mini 4GB (introduced in 2004).



If you want to see more photos of this kind, I have a couple of Mac-oriented Flickr photosets: On Macs and men and The setup.
On my System Folder blog I also collected a few Apple vintage Italian brochures (here and here) and other brochures from the 1990s. Enjoy.

The Author

Writer. Translator. Mac consultant. Enthusiast photographer. • If you like what I write, please consider supporting my writing by purchasing my short stories, Minigrooves or by making a donation. Thank you!