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Tag: All-in-One

Compaq Presario 3060

Compaq succeeded in getting the better of IBM throughout the 1980s. First, reverse-engineering the PC’s BIOS when creating the trailblazing Compaq Portable. Then, introducing Intel’s 80386 processor in the Compaq DeskPro computer. Finally, spearheading industry opposition to IBM’s proprietary Micro Channel architecture and developing the competing EISA bus. Though Compaq soared through the ’80s, it suffered when PCs were commoditized in the early ’90s. Lagging sales in 1991 prompted Compaq’s chairman, Ben Rosen, to orchestrate the ouster of long-time CEO Rod Canion. Rosen and Canion disagreed on how Compaq should respond to the industry’s race to the bottom, with Canion favoring in-house technologies and Rosen wanting to purchase off-the-shelf components. In June 1992, under new CEO Eckhard Pfeiffer’s leadership, Compaq…

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Apple Macintosh 512K

In January 1984, Steve Jobs triumphantly unveiled Macintosh. An “insanely great” computer for the rest of us. And while the original Macintosh was amazing, it also struggled to complete basic tasks. Limited to 128K of RAM and a single 400K floppy drive, the computer was a contradiction, with state-of-the-art software and limited hardware. The Apple IIe (with 64K of RAM) was Apple’s most popular product when Macintosh was released. But the Mac’s bitmapped graphics and robust operating system devoured memory. Jobs was committed to keeping the original Mac at 128K of RAM to control costs. Burrell Smith knew it was a trivial matter to replace the 4264 DRAM chips with 41256 chips instead, and he surreptitiously modified the logic board…

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Apple Macintosh SE SuperDrive

Steve Jobs was forced out of Apple in 1985.  In a now-famous boardroom brawl, Jobs was outmaneuvered by his chosen CEO, John Sculley.  Directing the Macintosh team had been Jobs’ most meaningful accomplishment to date, but Jobs and the team were exhausted by the rush to launch the Mac in 1984.  Exhaustion, coupled with Apple’s management confusion, led most of the original team to leave Apple to pursue other interests.  John Sculley knew the Apple II line was far from state-of-the-art and would not sustain the company much longer.  He also recognized the genius of Macintosh.  Though he resisted lowering its price (solidifying its reputation as an impressive but expensive computer), he did support enhancing the Macintosh to ensure its…

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Apple iMac DV (G3)

During the mid-1990s, Apple’s products were largely derivative and uninspired. John Sculley ended his ten years as CEO in 1993, and Michael Spindler did considerable damage during his two-and-half-year run. Profits were crashing, and by 1995, Apple had reached its revenue peak. Not surprisingly, the introduction of Windows 95 magnified the company’s problems. Apple was desperate for new ideas. Gil Amelio stumbled but did his best to save the company when he stepped in as CEO in 1996. One of his first actions was to authorize the development of a new low-end computer. But it took the historic return of Steve Jobs in 1997 to turn this project into a seminal success. I was transitioning out of my early IT…

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Apple Macintosh (128K)

Apple’s Macintosh computer changed the trajectory of technology. The hobbyist systems of the late ‘70s had grown into the gaming and productivity platforms of the early ‘80s. IBM focused the industry when it debuted its PC in 1981, but Apple hoped to upend the definition of the personal computer with the Macintosh. I used an original Macintosh at my first job. In 1988, I was a teenager working for a boutique furniture store. The Mac was a cool but limited computer housed in a small office shed behind the store. While the owner had a newer Macintosh Plus at home, I used the original Macintosh to make product labels and price lists with the connected ImageWriter II printer. Many websites,…

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Apple iMac G4

The iMac G4 was the memorable follow-up to Apple’s revolutionary iMac. Upon the return of Steve Jobs in 1997, he boldly transformed Apple’s products and inspired a historic line of devices. This “Flat Panel” iMac was built to highlight its attractive LCD monitor, which turned the traditional Macintosh all-in-one design on its head. I first encountered an iMac G4 when I helped a friend set one up in 2002. Every experience was new. From taking the alien-looking device out of the box, to seeing OS X, to launching Safari, it was my first exploration of a now common-place world. The Bondi Blue iMac released in 1998 demonstrated Apple’s renewed prowess. It ushered in a series of bold decisions, including using…

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Apple Macintosh SE/30

I suppose I should thank YouTube’s recommendation algorithm for getting this started. Sometime in 2018, I ran across several vintage computer repair videos that got me thinking about the great computers of the past. The videos both scratched a nostalgic itch and fed a need. I’d been looking for a hobby to get my mind off the daily grind, but I couldn’t think of anything that didn’t feel silly or uninteresting. Then I saw YouTubers explaining and repairing computers I’d spent countless hours hunched over in my youth and many others I only saw in magazines. As these things go, a few videos turned into a series of weekend binges, and before I knew it, I was on eBay bidding…

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