(Pics at the end)
As many have done here before, I've reassessed what I want out of a Macintosh collection. For now I've decided to stick with a couple of machines that, to me, represent the spirit of the Macintosh. The first is the Macintosh Classic, as I think its form factor is the height of the compact black & white design and as a 68000 based machine, embodies the spirit of the original introduced six years earlier. The other machine I've decided on was the iMac G3. This was the machine that was largely responsible for bringing Apple back from the brink of failure and helped change industrial design for a good many years following its introduction.
I've owned a few different iMacs in the past, including a Rev. B Bondai and a 350mhz Blueberry. But those have come and gone. Now I was on the look out for another. For awhile I thought about finding an final production 700mhz Snow or Graphite. Both those machines are very nice, but were missing something. I reflected a bit about what made the iMac so intriguing and desirable to so many people. Certainly the all-in-one integration was a big part. It's cute, rounded form factor was another. But one of the things that really caught peoples attention when it introduced was it's bold use color. While initially it was just Bondai, the next major release included a whole host of colors that would continue to expand until the machine was finally replaced by the iMac G4.
After a little bit of research, I decided that it would be down to two machines if I could find them. Both are slot-loaders. It's my opinion that slot-loading iMac, with it's fanless convection cooling and its face unobstructed by a CD drive tray, it is probably closer to Steve Jobs desired intention of the iMac than the original revision A-D models. My first choice would be one of the 400/DV models, specifically Tangerine, which I thought the best of "fruit flavor" colors. It was also capable of running Mac OS 8.6, which is my favorite iteration of the Classic OS. My second choice would be an iMac DV+ Ruby. Even though it didn't run 8.6, it did have a wonderful, rich ruby-red hue.
After some time spent looking on the trading post, eBay and Craigslist, I finally found one. It was on my local Craigslist and from the picture it looked okay. The biggest problem was the $100 price tag. Ouch. For the next couple of weeks I watched the ad get reposted numerous times and the same price. Then finally yesterday it dropped down to $60. I figured that the owner was starting to get desperate to unload it and willing to barter. That was a good sign for me, so I made the call and arranged to take a look at it.
I met the owner and before we could get back to look at the iMac, the she tried to sell me a couple of games systems and a NES TV storage cart. As we stood there talking, I noticed a sweet yet powerful odor throughout the house. A cursory look and I could see that someone entertained a cigar smoking habit as there were multiple ashtrays with cigar butts around the house. We made our way toward the back of the house and there it was. It looked very cheery with its orange dome and accents. After some discussion about the age of the machine, potential problems and how iMacs in general are fairly common, we settled on a price of $15.
After I got it home, I noticed that Mr. Cigar's hobby had left it's mark, or at least odor, on this iMac. A couple of wipe downs with some diluted alcohol and it already started to smell a bit better. I've since wiped it down a few more times and let it air out and most (but not all) of the smell has dissipated. It's in very good cosmetic shape with just a few drywall scuffs on the back. The screen is bright and clear with no burn in that I can see.
It has a few problems. First, the DVD drive has a problem ejecting discs. It will struggle to push it out just enough for me to grab it and pull it out the rest of the way. Otherwise it mounts discs just fine.
The second problem with it the memory/Airport bay door is stuck. The lock/unlock slot has is very chewed up and has been turned pretty far passed the unlock position. I tried using a coin and then a screw driver to try and turn it, but the plastic seems kind of soft and I stopped before I damaged something.
The third is minor and that is the PRAM battery needs replacing as it won't hold a date.
I plan on finding some SDRAM modules and hope to pump it up to the full 1gb if possible, bringing it up from the current 192mb. I have a 40mb hard drive that I'll use to replace the paltry 10mb original unit. Currently, it has OS 9 and 10.3. I'm going to downgrade to the original 8.6 and upgrade to 10.4.
After the upgrades (and some more time to air out), I think this will be an excellent part of my new limited collection.
Here it is booted into 10.3. (Mismatched Bondai keyboard in the foreground.)
The OS X 10.3 "About This Mac..." box.
Here we are in OS 9. Someone named Nathan made a lot of use of this iMac. Nathan apparently really liked a girl named Leanna. I gathered this from an AppleWorks document named "the most important people" which was soley comprised of Leanna's name being repeated for sixty-five pages. Nathan also REALLY liked Slipknot as he had four folders of Slipknot songs, a photo album along with various documents and folders with their name.
The original configuration sticker.
Scuffs from rubbing onto drywall. Hoping these will rub out with a little effort.
The memory/Airport door with the well worn & jammed screw.