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Let us mourn the loss of an original 128k

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I don't mind buying modded macs as long as they are done with some form of taste...upgrading a 128k isn't really killing it but rather increasing its usefulness which makes sense for the times when the 128k/512k was actively used. A 128k upgraded to a 512k may be a collectible in its own right as compared to a regular from factory 512k because it is not just a 512k but an upgraded 128k mac. Personally I think it'd be neat to have a stock 128k, a 128k upgraded to a 512k and a stock 512k but that's just me. :)

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I've already stated my own philosophy a little in previous posts in this thread. But I will add that modding Mac 128k's and 512k's isn't really necessary or desirable. Unless you want to conduct some research into how compatible Brainstorm upgrades are, there's really no good reason to do those upgrades now. Why? Because you get the same thing, without hacks, without risking your analog board, for a very cheap price in EBAY in the form of a Macintosh Plus. That's right, quite nearly all the 128k and 512k upgrades basically convert those machines into a Plus. True, some added faster CPUs (e.g., 16MHz 68000 chips), but so did some upgrades for the Plus. That's why 512ke's are so cheap on EBAY. Nobody wants them! They are a stripped down Plus! If you want the new ROMs, get a Plus. But if you want a stock 512k, get a 512k with 64k ROMs, not a 512ke.

 

And so you can see that I prefer to keep my 128k and 512k machines stock, including the floppy drives and ROM. Yes, I do have an 800k floppy drive externally attached to my 512k, but I didn't have to mod my 512k to attach it. I just connected the cable!

 

The SE and SE/30 machines are a bit different story though, since they were built to be upgraded. The original 128k, 512k and even the Plus were not designed that way. That's why the SE stands for System Expansion -- so you can upgrade it. That is precisely why I don't feel my "upgraded" SE/30 is "far from stock" because it was meant to be upgraded that way. But if you yank out the guts and throw a Mac Mini inside, or swap the CRT for an LCD, then that is truly "carving up your machine" and is in no way, shape or form a "stock" classic Mac.

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Any mod that can be completely reversed is ok by me (I'm eventually going to replace that q950 fan). The only problem is that it's very hard to remember how everything was in the first place (esp. in compact macs)!

 

Guys, don't mess with your 128Ks if it's stock.. you can always pick up another compact mac for cheap to play with if that's what you really want to do. There's not much difference across the compact mac range in terms of hardware anyway.

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Even Steve Jobs used a 512K in his demo of the original Macintosh. That's how little you could do with 128K of memory.

 

This doesn't even make any sense. To what are you referring? Steve did a lot of stuff during that

that the 128K was not really marketed to do. Moreover it was a presentation and to make it flow, he needed a more powerful machine. For what the 128K was marketed to do, it did a pretty good job. And still does! As far as that criticism goes, the 1MB Lisa was required to design the software for the Mac and it wasn't really until the Mac Plus that the Macintosh itself could really be used as a platform for software development. But the Mac wasn't really marketed for that purpose, despite the fact developers offered software for it. Look at what Apple included with it, MacWrite & MacPaint. That's what the 128K was designed to do. So you couldn't run Microsoft Excel on it. Big deal. If you needed to run spreadsheets, you could buy the 512K.

 

Any discussion about the 128K always turns into a bashing session and it just isn't fair. It's like comparing my Power Mac 6500 to my MacBook. I went out of my mind waiting for Adobe Photoshop to render an edit back then. The MacBook is like a dream come true for using Photoshop, except you know what, now I'm getting impatient with it. That's not a problem with the computer. It's a problem with what I want to do with it. And unlike JDW, I would venture that most people who bash the 128K never actually used it. Most of what I've read in this thread is anecdotal. Particularly the discussion about Jobs and Scully. A lot of it is just wrong too and nobody cites anything, so the mis-information abounds.

 

What doesn't make sense? You seem to understand what I said. What Steve Jobs showed at the Shareholders meeting is not what was sold to customers. Period. In fact the 512k wasn't even available until 9 months later. I'm not bashing 128k, if anything I'm justifying why the Mac in the auction that started this thread would have been upgraded in the first place.

 

You're correct. I was 5 in 1984. My first Mac was a IIsi, which I received in January 1995, which paled in comparison to the new PowerMacs that Apple was selling... Which is actually similar to your PM 6500/MacBook comparison. The oldest Mac I currently own is a 512ke, so I have a pretty good idea what you can and cannot do with a 128k.

Edited by Guest

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And fair enough. As I said earlier, my 128K is also stock. The statement I took issue with was your earlier comment that upgrading it today "makes no sense". Now you have clarified that to the far more reasonable "I generally tend to keep my computers stock" I have no objections at all.

 

And why I made my "nuts" comment is because collectibility means so many different things to different people. Almost no one seems to want a stock SE/30, yet everyone wants a stock 128K. I know several people with 128K macs that say "Macintosh" on the back. I don't actually know anyone who has one that says "Macintosh 128K" (though I expect macdownunder must have one. :) ) Who can say if such ones will turn out to be more valuable over time? I actually expect some of the upgrades that went in these machines will prove far more collectible in the long run since they are generally rarer, and also represent quite clever engineering. Yet frequently we have people here dictating what determines value.

 

Ken

 

I didn't intend to make that as much of a blanket statement as it originally sounded. Likewise, thank you for clarifying your "nuts" comment. I mean, this is that last place you should have to justify collecting old computers. ;)

 

JDW's post a couple back pretty much sums up my personal philosophy. My SE/30 even has an Ethernet card... *gasp*

 

While it's sad to see a (truly) dead Mac, I don't mourn them. I mourn my own when they die and that's about it.

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I mourn my own when they die and that's about it.

And that statement really wraps up this oddball thread (I speak of the "thread title" here). For there's truly nothing to "mourn" about, folks, except the loss of a Mac YOU own and cherish! :b&w:

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yea when any of my Macs die, even tho most of them are not in a stock config i will mourn there loss.

 

a Mac that has been upgraded past its stock config is still a Mac non the less. it might not be as collectable but its still a Mac and someone's pride and joy.

 

upgrading a Mac past its stock config dont make it less of a Mac it just makes it able to do more than what it could do in a stock config.

 

just cause my Performa 475 is upgraded does not mean its not a Performa 475, it just has the ability to do more than what its was originally intended for. and that makes the P 475 worth more to my eyes than if it was still in its stock config. and some people look at a fully upgraded Mac (68k or PPC) as being worth more than one in its stock config even tho its a collectors item. my P 475 isnt considered a collectors item to most.

 

Yea some collector Mac's should not be upgraded (so they remain a collectors item). and then if someone wants to upgrade it they have every right to do so.

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Yea some collector Mac's should not be upgraded (so they remain a collectors item). and then if someone wants to upgrade it they have every right to do so.

 

Exactly, just as the private collector has every right to win an original Picasso at auction and take it home and burn it.

 

I swore I would not add to this thread after JDW called it wrapped up, but since that suggestion was broached, the oddball thread continues ...

 

I was itching to respond to this:

 

What Steve Jobs showed at the Shareholders meeting is not what was sold to customers. Period ... The oldest Mac I currently own is a 512ke, so I have a pretty good idea what you can and cannot do with a 128k.

 

What keeps throwing me with this statement in relation to the capabilities of the 128K is that what Jobs showed the shareholders may not have been a 128K, but it also didn't do anything a 128K couldn't do, except execute several different programs in a row. Just to be clear, we're both talking about this presentation, right?

 

 

I had to watch it again to be sure, but it's not like he put the Mac through its paces and ran Microsoft Excel on it or anything. He put on a show. And it wouldn't be the first time a company "rigged" the demo to do things the production model couldn't in order to put on a show. I might even argue that if they had had the time, they might have pared down the software to actually run on a 128K, but they did it in a few days, with different teams and threw the separate parts together at the 11th hour:

 

http://www.folklore.org/StoryView.py?project=Macintosh&story=Intro_Demo.txt&topic=The%20Launch&sortOrder=Sort%20by%20Date&detail=medium

So, to say the 128K had to be upgraded because Steve Jobs couldn't even run a demo on it is a non sequitur. At the risk of being redundant, after viewing the demo again I confirmed for myself that the 512K prototype Mac didn't perform one task the 128K was not also capable of except executing each separate program without pause. I will agree anyone who actually bought a Mac for that exact purpose, probably would have had a legitimate grievance. Then again anyone who rushes out and drops $2500 without further investigation deserves what they get. Besides all reports of this story are inherently biased because everybody wanted the Macintosh to have more RAM but Jobs and here is the perfect "see-I-told-you-so" story. WHen the Macintosh sales began to slow, they didn't just pick up again when Apple fixed the problem with the 512K, in fact as the Folklore story points out, they got worse. Apple had other issues with regard to sales that had nothing to do with RAM.

 

My point here is you further indicate you know the limitations of a 128K based on your experience with a 512Ke. Again, it seems you are not giving the 512Ke enough credit and by comparison, further maligning what the 128K could do without any real experience. And to suggest the 512Ke is somehow limited shows a biased frame of reference. The 512Ke is a fantastic machine. To fully understand how great, you have to look at it from the 1984 perspective, not a 2007 one. The 128K Mac was revolutionary. Not hype – Earth-shattering! It was the first computer of any kind in commercial production that offered the GUI. I can't even conceive how significant that was because I was a kid at the time and had not really experienced computers in any practical sense and I am guilty of taking it for granted as well. But in context, it was a magic box that did miraculous things. And the 128K WAS a very useful Mac. Admittedly the 512K was more useful, but then my MacBook is more useful after I added another GigaByte stick of RAM to it.

 

People upgraded their 128Ks because they wanted and/or needed a more powerful computer, just like today, but the 128K had sold them on Macintosh, so they did that rather than switch to a PC. There is no dispute that the 128K short changed a lot to meet a price-point. That doesn't mean it didn't work well. In fact, my argument would be you wouldn't be able to find today a single 128K that had not at least been upgraded to a 512K if the 128K was so unusable in its stock configuration. I used my 128K for years and never had the need to upgrade it. Would I have liked a more powerful computer? Sure, just like I'd like to have a Porsche over a Corolla. But both cars will get me where I need to go.

 

So back to the original topic ... there's no reason to mourn the upgraded 128K, since it's not really destroyed – just changed and it can be changed back with no harm done. And it was changed legitimately at a time when the need to make it more useful was desirable and encouraged by Apple. Not because it wasn't useful as it was, but because the user wanted more. The same thing we crave today. But today we are spoiled. I had a perfectly useable G3 PowerBook which works as well today as it did when I bought it 7 years ago. So why upgrade to an Intel MacBook? Because software changed and if I wanted to run it, I needed more speed and power.

 

Oh and JDW, I was fortunate when I bought my used 128K, the previous owner who made me a deal because he had upgraded to a new Plus, threw in the 2nd disk drive for free because it was "obsolete". If the 128K had a single failing it was that Apple was not prepared to offer the 2nd drive simultaneously with the Macintosh release, nor were they able to supply them in sufficient numbers when they did become available, or for a price that mitigated the frustration of using a single drive on a 128K. Frankly, the 2nd drive is indispensable for any of the early floppy disk based Macs. If the original Mac had debuted with 512K, I would have still preferred a second drive and less RAM to any disk swaps at all.

 

From my perspective, the need for more RAM was only a necessity to run bigger, better faster software. I'll put it in terms that Steve Jobs intended at the time in his effort to create a computer "appliance" for the rest of us. If the 128K were a coffee maker, the only question you need to ask is: does it make coffee? As long as the answer is yes, then the product meets expectations. After you start using it for awhile and decide you need an automatic timer, pause and serve, thermal carafe, built-in filter and any other features you might find useful, you can't blame the original appliance because it can only brew a pot of coffee. And the 128K computes. Period.

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Mac128, you read FAR too much into what I am saying. I've seen Steve's presentation dozens of times, I've read Andy's articles, I bought his book, etc...

 

I agree with most of the things you are saying, though I'm not about to suggest that Andy wrote that article to say, "I told you so" to Steve Jobs.

 

The Mac was revolutionary. I never made any statements about slow sales. The comparison I made with the 512ke was to illustrate how much MORE you could to with the extra memory.

 

All I really ever said was that Steve Jobs needed more RAM than the standard Mac offered to run his presentation at the shareholders meeting (yes, we are referring to the same one).

 

Once we integrated all the pieces together, the demo didn't come close to be able to run on a standard Macintosh. Fortunately, we had a prototype of a 512K Mac in the lab, so we decided to cheat a little (there were only two in existence at the time) and use that for the demo, which made things fit.

 

Also, please don't assume that I am looking at things from a 2007 perspective, my roots are very much in the past... If anything I look at things from a 1990 perspective.

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