Aaron Sumner


The Macs I have owned

Today's the Macintosh's 30th birthday. In recognition, I thought I'd take a moment to think back on my collection of Macs over the years.

Power Macintosh 6100/60 (1994)

This was my first real computer, the old "pizza box"-style shared with the Centris and Quadra lines. I actually almost bought a Quadra, because it had a bigger hard drive (500 megabytes!) but they were luckily out of stock. So I went with the new, faster-but-relatively unproven processor and the smaller hard drive. I added a 14" Trinitron monitor (though not the cool one with the built-in speakers) and a StyleWriter II inkjet printer to my order. I waited a couple of weeks for it to arrive. And would you believe the damn thing wouldn't boot?

I was told that Apple shipped a batch of computers with bad motherboards, and had trouble tracking them, and it looks like I got one, and sorry! So I had to drive into a repair shop in St. Louis, about an hour away, to get a replacement. The repair took all of about two minutes.

After that, this computer was relatively aces. It was my primary personal computer for about five years. In that time I made some changes–doubled the RAM to 16 MB, added an A/V card to make it a 6100/60 AV (complete with a sticker to let the world know), replaced the 14" Trinitron with its bigger, 17" brother, and even scrounged up an old Apple LaserWriter. Toward the end of its life it started giving me fits, but it had a good run.

Macintosh IIci, Macintosh SE-30 (ca. 1997)

I scored these two Macs when a shop in Lawrence was making the switch to Windows, as was the fashion in the mid-to-late 1990s. The IIci was particularly cool because it came with a portrait-oriented monitor. I actually really enjoyed this computer, even though it was well past its prime when I owned it. The reason I enjoyed it was, well, it was well past its prime. I couldn't play games on it. It was kind of a chore to connect it to the Internet. It let me focus on whatever I was doing at the time–and at the time, I was doing a lot of writing. I put a copy of Word 5.1 on this little guy and was off to the races. The portrait display was perfect for this task, too.

The SE-30 was more of a conversation piece, but it did work. I just never really found a use for it, other than the time I ran a little web server on it just because I could. I held onto these Macs until I moved to Seattle in 2001, and I regrettably have no idea what happened to them.

Power Macintosh G4 450 MHz (1999)

Man, I loved this computer. It went with me to Seattle and back Like the 6100/60 it replaced, it received its share of customizations over its life:

This was my main computer for almost seven years. Even after I replaced it, I held onto it for various uses. It started to get picky about when it would boot–and eventually, it just stopped. This was actually a pretty sad day. A few years ago, I dutifully pulled out its hard drives and took it to Lawrence's twice-yearly electronics recycling event for an ecologically-responsible burial.

iMac Core 2 Duo, 24-inch (2006)

I wanted to like this Mac, I swear. I didn't want to spend the kind of money it would've taken to get a new Mac Pro and the necessary accoutrements, and I liked the 24" screen. But at this point I think I was starting to get used to using laptops as my day-to-day computers at work, so I kind of resented being stuck at a desk when working at home. Maybe I should have spent a little bit of extra money on a MacBook. Or maybe I should've just gotten a Mac mini.

I still have this iMac. It's in my barn, where I'd intended to use it as a means to look things up when working on projects out there. As it turns out, an iPad is perfectly suited for such a purpose. Maybe this year is the year I'll finally find a new home for this one.

MacBook Pro, Core 2 Duo, 13-inch (2010)

This is the Mac I'm typing on now. It's going on four years old. It's had its share of surgery–a little over a year ago I replaced the optical drive with a SSD and effectively got a brand new computer as a result. Hands-down, this is the best computer I've ever owned or had assigned to me, even better than the much newer 15-inch MacBook Pro with Retina Display I use at work. I prefer the smaller form factor, and the SSD gets me back much of the speed the older laptop may lack. I'm hoping to get at least another year out of it, then replace it with whatever the current 13-inch model is at that time. Honestly, though, I'm not looking forward to that day.

The rest

Those are the Macs I bought myself, but there have been others. Many, many others. There was the original aluminum, G4 PowerBook (the one that you could almost twist in half if you weren't careful), the 12-inch G4 PowerBook (great form factor, I miss it), the horrible late-90s and early-aughts PowerBooks, a lampshade iMac, a couple of second-gen iMacs, and plenty of beige PowerMacs. Remember the MacBook that looked like a MacBook Pro? I had one of those, and one of the black MacBooks, too (I liked that one). I've had a small server farm made up of Mac minis. I even had a couple of those metal monster Mac Pros (both G5 and Intel variants) hidden under my desk at various times.

Just doing my part to keep Apple in business; regretting not buying stock back in 2000.

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