New Gimcracks for the New Millenium!
Hardware Updates

It's been a while since I updated this page and there have been some changes.

PowerMac 5400/200
A year or so ago, I was given a Power Macintosh 5400/180 computer and an Apple LaserWriter 4/600 PS printer.

The 5400/180 and LaserWriter replaced the Performa 6200 CD and StyleWriter II printer I had been using. This was a major step up for me. Due to a lucky find, I was able to upgrade it to a Power Mac 5400/200.

From a friend of mine here in the Boston area, I obtained an Apple Color OneScanner, and I was also given a ZIP 100 megabyte external disk drive. A few years ago, I was given a pair of Creative Labs computer speakers.

My new optical mouse

This past August, I bought an optical mouse off eBay. Manufactured by the Japanese company, Elecom, the mouse was designed by Shirow Masamune, the artist behind the Ghost in the Shell manga and others. But as this mouse needs to be plugged into a USB port, this could be a problem. The 5400/200 does not have a USB port. It does, however, have a single PCI slot. And there are numerous USB port cards that plug into a PCI slot.

I was able to get a suitable card and appropriate software for the card. Once everything, hardware & software, was plugged in and power up, the mouse worked perfectly. The original Macintosh single button mouse was a technological marvel in 1984. Well, it's 2003 and the single button mouse has evolved. This mouse has two buttons and a scrollwheel that can act as a third button.

From both a techincal and esthetic standpoint, it's a great mouse. I'm very happy with it and do not regret the expense of the mouse or PCI USB card.

The New Kid in my Pocket
image of Palm IIIx handheld computer

I was able to pick up a Palm IIIx organizer for real cheap, thanks to a mate of mine in a major Boston-based company. Technically used, the box was still sealed in the factory shrinkwrap when I got it.

As I now have a PowerMac computer, I was able to install the latest operating system for the IIIx and use MacPac II for the Palm. The new Palm Desktop for the Mac is a thing of beauty! I can do SO much more now with the Palm than I could in the past. One very spiffy feature of the Mac Palm Desktop is the ability to print labels from the address book, complete with graphics, and I can print return address labels, also with graphics.

Currently, I have Planetarium, TrekSoundsHack, DinkyPad, Smart Doc, diverse hacks and Doc readers installed. One of the hacks, ImagerX logo, flashes a graphic on the Palm screen when I power it up, further "personalizing" my Palm IIIx. Despite the small screen, reading books donwloaded from the Gutenberg site is quite easy. The address book has proved quite handy recently. In the near future, I will be getting the Palm III modem for it, as well as installing the needed software to get this thing set up as an adjunct to my PowerBook and for use as a standalone Internet appliance.

I have come to see why the Palm has become indispensable for many people. It's very handy, easy to use and the Grafitti handwriting recognition software is quite good, making it simple and reliable to jot down information and address book entries on the screen.

During my recent trips to NYC for HOPE2000 and Las Vegas for DefCon 8, I used the Palm extensively for making notes and sharing contact information via the Infra-Red "beaming" feature.

The New Kid in my Pocket, Part Two
image of Nokia 5170 cellular telephone

This past January, I purchased a cellular phone and hooked up with the Sprint Wireless service. They had the ideal plan for my needs and, with tax and whatnot, I pay them about $30.00 month with no long term contract/comittment. A very satisfactory arrangement, I feel.

The phone is big enough that I know it's in my pocket and small enough so not to be a burden when I'm out and about. It's primary use is as a second telephone "line", so that people can call me at home and tell me to hang up the damn modem so they can talk to me. Also, it's something that gives me some peace of mind. My health isn't the best, and knowing that I can dial 911 and get help from virtually anywhere in Boston is a Good Thing.

The sound quality is good, actual connect quality varies a bit during the day. At times, due to the need to share some busy nodes, it can get a bit scratchy with some slight drop outs, but all in all , I am quite satisfied with it.

The Big Kid on the Desktop
image of Macintosh computer and monitor

My old friend Keith in New York City recently bought a Mac G4, and as it's not worth his time or effort to clean it up and prep it for sale, he gave me his old Mac Performa 6300cd. I picked it up from him while I was in New York City recently.

It took well over a week to clean it up, install my favorite software, get it connecting to my ISP and otherwise tweaked to my satisfaction.

And well satisfied I am! It is very fast, and when coupled with PowerPC specific software, it just blazes along.

Boasting a 100mhz PowerPC processor, a built in CDROM drive, ample RAM and HD capacity, this is the ideal Mac for me these days. My Mac IIsi just couldn't deal with the new streaming media formats available on the Net, nor could it play MP3 files. The IIsi now resides in the closet, soon to cleaned up and made ready for a new owner.

One thing about getting the Performa is that it'll also benefit a friend of mine in Pittsburgh. I set her up with a Mac Color Classic some time ago, and as the Performa will come with an Apple Extended keyboard, I can send the keyboard to her to replace the limited Standard keyboard that came with the Color Classic. As I have an Extended keyboard already, I won't be needing another. I'll tuck the mouse away in the closet, just in case I find a need for it in the future.

The Older Sibling

Click the picture for a larger view

Apple PowerBook 165c. 33mhz 68030 processor, 12mb RAM, 240mb internal hard drive, Global Village gold internal faxmodem. 256 color passive matrix 640 x 400 display.

The other siblings include a Macintosh Plus, Macintosh SE, Macintosh IIsi, Macintosh Performa 6300CD PowerMac and an ImageWriter II and StyleWriter II printers. The kissing cousins are a Commodore 128 system, Commodore SX-64 (portable computer, color monitor and disk drive console) and Commodore VIC=20 & VIC 1541 disk drive.
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