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Mighty Jabba

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Everything posted by Mighty Jabba

  1. I started collecting PPC Macs in earnest just a few months ago, and one of the main reasons I decided to essentially go all out and get all of the ones I had wanted back in the day was that they were extremely cheap. But I’ve been following the prices since then and it seems like they have increased significantly. The titanium PowerBook G4 in particular has sold for really high prices. One went for $535 on eBay recently, which I figured was some kind of fluke (it also surprised the owner, who mentioned it on Reddit), but others have gone for more than $200 as well. Pismos also seem to be going up, with one selling recently for $200. I also haven’t seen a cheap iBook clamshell for a long time. I thought I would ask people who have been paying attention to this for longer than me what they thought. Have you guys noticed the same thing? Is this just part of the natural ebb and flow of prices or does it represent a lasting increase in prices for these machines?
  2. Mighty Jabba

    Recent spike in PPC Mac prices?

    It's possible that prices were unusually low during the period when I was actively looking and now they have gone back to normal. Either way, I guess I'm glad I got most of the stuff I wanted at that point.
  3. Mighty Jabba

    I saved 100+ iBook G3 Clamshells

    This was quite a necropost, but I’m kind of glad since the photos at the top of the post were pretty epic. I’m so glad these got saved
  4. Mighty Jabba

    My compact Mac-themed birthday party

    Since I've been restoring a lot of older Macs recently, I decided to have a compact Mac-themed birthday party. I brought along a couple of them for people to play around on, and we used the SE on the right to play a three-player game of Jeopardy, which was pretty fun. My sister made up some Mac-themed sugar cookies that I thought turned out really well. One of my presents was a "1984" pillow from Throwboy. Unfortunately, as I was preparing for the party, my Mac Plus with a Gemini Systems accelerator (my fastest system and the one I had been planning to use) stopped working. The screen froze up and when I tried restarting I no longer get a chime and instead get garbled video. I have yet to work up the courage to recap a normal Mac, so I'm not sure I'm up to fixing an upgraded system like this.
  5. Mighty Jabba

    Questions to ask when buying a compact Mac on eBay?

    Most people selling these things on eBay seem to know almost nothing about them, so I think it's probably a bridge too far to ask a normal seller to open up the case of one of these computers. In the end, it's always a bit of a gamble. I've bought many computers sold as not working that turned out to be just fine when I got them in hand, or they only required very minimal troubleshooting. But others have been hopeless cases where I basically lost money on the deal. I would think an SE would be significantly more risky than many other models, but for $100 maybe the risk is worth it (assuming you think you are capable of recapping it).
  6. Mighty Jabba

    My Macintosh Portable adventure

    Very nice. Getting a working Mac Portable is a long-term goal of mine, but it is kind of intimidating.
  7. Mighty Jabba

    1988 RCA Dimensia TV

    I'm thinking that the term dementia was not commonly known at this point or I can't believe that any company would name their product Dimensia. Then again, there is a mechanical keyboard called Dierya, so what do I know?
  8. Mighty Jabba

    Found my old Mac in my parents' storage!

    Interesting that it's a Plus but has the keyboard from the original Mac.
  9. Mighty Jabba

    PowerBook 520c Score!

    So you're the one who outbid me... I have a 520 that I can't get any signs of life out of, so I guess I was reluctant to go too high for another untested one, but I'm glad that it worked out for you.
  10. Mighty Jabba

    A tale of 3 Tibooks...

    My first PowerBook was a Lombard PowerBook G3, which I replaced not long afterward with a Pismo. That one I used for quite a while, even upgrading it to a G4 back when such things were possible. I never owned a Titanium PowerBook because I liked my Pismo so much, and I didn't really have the need or money for an upgrade. All of this is to say that while I was around while the Titanium PowerBooks were new, I had never owned one or even used one for more than a minute or two. But I recently discovered that a lot of the computers from the late 90s to early 2000s are extremely cheap on the secondhand market, so I figured this was my chance to finally try out some of the things that I had never had before. Long story short, I ended up buying three of them for around $75. One was separate and was listed as non-working, but it came with some accessories and even the original box, so I thought that even if I couldn't get it working, it would serve as a parts machine. The other two were sold as a lot and I was the only bidder. One thing was that the auction description was terrible, and didn't even make it totally clear that you were getting two machines or what their specs were, and all of the photos were of one machine by itself. Anyway, these were pretty dirty and not in great cosmetic shape, but I took it upon myself to rehabilitate them. The first "non-working" machine turned out to be the earliest of the three: a 500mHz G4 with 256MB of RAM and a 30GB hard disk (this is the one on the right above). Sure enough, it appeared dead when I got it and plugged it in, but I was able to get it to show some signs of life by unplugging the PRAM battery. But I couldn't get it to boot completely unless it was using an external firewire disk (actually one of the other Tibooks in target disk mode), and sometimes it would still have problems booting. After trying some other hard disks, I decided to make this a parts machine. This is not quite as useful as I had hoped, since the other two machines are newer revisions and have pretty different internals, but some things are still usable. I've already taken out the hard disk and RAM for use with other machines. The other two machines turned out to be a 1gHz G4 with 1GB of RAM and a 60GB hard disk (in the middle above), and a 867mHz G4 with a 30GB hard disk and 512MB of RAM (on the left). Functionally, they are totally fine, but they were having some issues in that glue holding the titanium panels to the plastic frames had weakened enough that they were starting to feel seriously rickety. So I reglued these as best I could and gave them a thorough cleanup with alcohol. And while they do have quite a few scuffs and scratches that can't be removed, it's impressive how decent they look from a short distance away (maybe a foot or two). And the interiors of the machine, around the palmrest and screen, are both in very good shape, so you don't notice it too much when using them. I upgraded the 1gHz machine with a 60GB SSD and put its original 60GB hard disk in the 867mHz machine, and also upgraded that machine's RAM to 756MB using the donor machine's RAM. Putting Tiger on these was easy, but I originally had some trouble installing OS 9/Classic because the retail install CD does not appear to work with these Tibooks. So managed to find the original restore CD on Macintosh Garden, and that allowed me to finally put OS 9 on. Since the 1gHz machine is the fastest portable ever made that can run OS 9 natively, it was important for me to be able to get it on there. Even though these machines are showing their age, I'll have to say that I really like how they feel. When they came out, I was kind of critical of the choice to paint the titanium, and of course that decision has resulted in some chipping, but it really feels nice against the hand -- better than the raw aluminum of later machines. And these machines are still fairly usable on Tiger with things like TenFourFox, so I'm very happy to have them in my collection. (As a side note, they are also great because they can natively read and write the SD cards in my SCSI2SD, which my modern Macs cannot do.)
  11. Mighty Jabba

    A tale of 3 Tibooks...

    By the way, I didn't mention it in this thread before, but I did manage to get a fourth "non-working" Tibook a while back for just $12.99 (not sure how they choose these prices sometimes). When I got it in hand, it was the lowest-end 400mhz version but it looked almost mint. And it turned out that disconnecting the PRAM battery allowed it to boot right up. This is another way that batteries are a big weakness for computers -- so many older Apple portables have trouble starting up without a working PRAM battery. It makes me sad to think of all of the computers that might have been thrown out because they were "broken" when in fact they were just sort of... confused. This Tibook in particular still had all of the previous owner's files on it. Turned out he was a Harvard professor who had passed away a number of years ago. There were things like book manuscripts on there that I can't bring myself to delete.
  12. Mighty Jabba

    A tale of 3 Tibooks...

    Batteries are the Achilles heel of all portables, whether it's the swelling problem (which I have also had multiple times) or just not being able to get replacement batteries anymore. You can actually still buy (what are apparently) new batteries for things like the clamshell iBook and Tibook, but the makers are essentially using their position as the only suppliers to charge ridiculous prices (around $200). I did however find a source for clamshell iBook batteries for "only" $60 and they actually work quite well, getting around 5 hours of life in my testing. I worry that in 10 or 15 years there will be surprisingly few usable examples of the current generation machines left because the batteries are so hard to replace, not to mention prone to catastrophic swelling.
  13. Mighty Jabba

    Rare Macintosh Plus with Total Systems Accelerator Board

    This looks fairly different on the inside from my Plus with a Total Systems accelerator. I do use mine with an external SCSI2SD and really like it. It's my go-to compact Mac because it's easily the fastest one that I have.
  14. I'm a Japanese translator and a Mac fan, so I thought it would be interesting to try and recreate the earliest iteration of Japanese-compatible Mac. However, I don't have a large amount of knowledge about the release of the Mac in Japan. I think the original Macintosh was only available in Japan as imported English versions, and the Mac Plus was the first Mac that Apple officially released in Japan with a Japanese OS. Is that correct? Maybe @JDW has some input about this? Or does anyone know of a site that talks about the early days of the Mac in Japan? I picked up this M01110A J keyboard recently and want to use it in conjunction with a Mac Plus running KanjiTalk.
  15. Well, I've managed to boot KanjiTalk 1, KanjiTalk 2, and KanjiTalk 6 on my Mac Plus. The first two versions seem very stripped down (they can run from floppies, although they require some disk swapping during boot-up just to load the Japanese fonts). So although I was able to boot them I couldn't actually accomplish much with the system. There weren't even any keyboard preferences that would allow you to use the kana keyboard layout, which makes me think that what is available for download online may have been more like simple boot disks and not what people were actually using to run their systems. KanjiTalk 6 is also available on the Macintosh Repository and comes on a number of floppy images, so it feels more like a real OS, but of course you need to run it from a hard disk. This took a little doing because I'm still not an expert at using SCSI2SD, but I got it running from one of my SCSI2SD disks, and it seems to be running fine. I was even able to try out typing using the kana layout on the keyboard above, which makes me feel like a child just starting to learn to type. One thing that struck me right away is that the system font is a lot bigger on the Japanese system. I've used Japanese Mac OS before and didn't really find this to be the case, but I'm guessing that because the screen resolution on compact Macs is so low, they had to boost the font size so they could fit in all the details of kanji characters. Even at the bigger size some of them are very squished together and hard to see. I'll post a photo later. I'm still trying to figure out things like software compatibility.
  16. This has been kind of interesting (if difficult) to research. I do read Japanese, so that helps. From what I understand, the first Macs sold in Japan were actually imported by Canon, who added a special ROM for kanji support, and these were called the Dynamac. I’ve seen pictures of these Dynamac units with English keyboards, and since they weren’t an official Apple product, I initially thought the English keyboard was all there was. But in looking a bit deeper it seems like at least some Dynamacs did have kana keyboards. This guy speculated that Canon must have had Japanese keyboards made, but I don’t know if that’s true or whether they were somehow made in conjunction with Apple (the whole Apple and Canon relationship back then is pretty interesting). The Dynamacs are apparently quite rare, so I guess that would explain why these keyboards are also rare. Since I have no way of getting one of these I am going to focus on the Plus and KanjiTalk as the first Macs officially sold by Apple In Japan.
  17. Well that is interesting... I will have to look into this a bit more.
  18. Mighty Jabba

    A tale of 3 Tibooks...

    I used a Pismo for years as my main machine so I have more affection for it versus the Tibook, but I will say that the Tibook feels more like a modern machine in a lot of ways. I should do some comparisons between the 1ghz Tibook and my 500mhz Pismo to see if I can really see a difference in performance.
  19. Mighty Jabba

    Mighty Jabba's Conquests

    I've been going a little crazy buying old computers lately, so I thought I would write about a few of them here. I've already talked about my Macintosh Plus with an accelerator board installed that I got for about $80 + shipping, and that one has worked out pretty well now that I've figured out how to enable to accelerator. It's very fast! And I started a thread about my experience refurbishing 3 Titanium PowerBooks as well. But today I wanted to talk about this PowerBook G3 Pismo that I got for $30 + shipping (on the left). It was listed as powering on with no hard disk and no other details, but it works perfectly and is in noticeably better shape than my own (blue) Pismo that I've had since 2000. The battery even seems to be taking a charge, which seems amazing. The only thing is that it was advertised as a 400mHz model, but System Profiler shows it as a 500 Mhz G3. Could that be accurate? Is there some other way I can check the speed easily?
  20. Mighty Jabba

    Mighty Jabba's Conquests

    I've got enough Macs and monitors that I probably won't worry about trying to make the Sawtooth work with the 23" but I'll keep it in mind. Going back to the PowerBook 165 I mentioned above, I managed to find another very cheap one that turned on with a chime and displayed a blank white screen. I was sort of hoping that the seller just didn't know how to adjust the brightness and contrast and it was actually okay. I did ask them if it had been opened, hoping that it might have a usable hard disk in it. Once it arrived, I found that it didn't do anything but display the white screen, and while there was a hard disk inside, there was no sign of activity from it. It does boot from the boot floppy I made, but there is nothing on the screen. I tried swapping various parts around between my two machines, but was never able to get the screen on the new one to do anything, so I'm guessing it's something wrong with the screen (I tried swapping everything including the board that controls brightness and contrast, but it didn't seem to make a difference. I did apparently solve the issue of the machine restarting when touching the top trackpad button (which I assume was just are result of something shorting somewhere). But no luck with the screen or hard disk, so I'm not much farther along than when I started, although I can pick and choose the components that are the in best shape and make one unit out of them. I do have a new appreciation for how modular these computers were. It's really quite impressive how easy it is to take them apart and swap components. By the way, my old 165 had a modem card in it and the new one didn't. I didn't realize that was optional.
  21. Mighty Jabba

    Mighty Jabba's Conquests

    Well that's interesting to know. I'm just glad it's not a defect with the machine. I can certainly just use it with the smaller screen.
  22. Mighty Jabba

    Mighty Jabba's Conquests

    I picked up a dual 450mhz PowerMac G4 (I guess this would be a Sawtooth) for about $60 shipped. It cleaned up quite well and seems to be working fine, with the exception of one bad USB port. The only thing is that I can't get it to work with my 23" ADC Cinema Display. It works fine with the 17" version and with a VGA monitor, but when I connect the 23" monitor, I only get a power light on the monitor but no image. Pushing the power button on the monitor works as expected, but that's it. Any ideas about this?
  23. Mighty Jabba

    Mighty Jabba's Conquests

    It's a Tada68 keyboard with SA Pulse keycaps. It's not really that similar to a Space Cadet, although they did make custom caps based on that as well.
  24. Mighty Jabba

    Mighty Jabba's Conquests

    Thanks, that did the trick. But the computer does seem to have some issues that make me reluctant to put any more time or money into it. The screen seems to have some odd interference (that is separate from the general crappy nature of passive matrix displays) and pressing the top trackpad button will reboot the computer!
  25. Mighty Jabba

    Mighty Jabba's Conquests

    That’s true. But it costs several times what I paid for this computer. I might like to use it for some kind of PowerBook but it would need to be something nicer than this 165. Does anyone know of a boot floppy that will work with this generation of PowerBook? I’d kind of like to see it boot fully at least. Also are there options for booting off an external disk of some sort? I don’t really know a lot about these early portables.