The Penman's prison.While most of us were all agog with wonder and shivering with lust over the new iPhone and other goodies yet to come, I was wallowing in despair over the state of storage in my house–meaning, the virtual Everest (or, to reverse the metaphor, the Marianas Trench) of old Macs that had grown under my nose over the past 20 years or so. Remember SCSI, Zip drives, ADB mice, 14.4 Global Village modems, and external CD drives?

I’d been dragging these museum pieces–a Mac SE, a Colour Classic, a IIc, an LC, a couple of 6100s, and more Powerbooks than you can shake a stick at, plus a warehouse’s worth of cables, adapters, drives, and installation floppies and CDs–over three or four house moves, and they’ve practically demanded their own room, or whatever nesting space I could spare under the bed or in my study.

I love old Macs, and spent many an hour taking them apart and putting them back together again just to hear that distinctive “Chunggggg!” that told you “I’m alive and well!”, followed by the Smiley face. I picked them up from HMR, from eBay, sometimes even from sellers overseas back when a new PowerBook 5300ce cost a whopping $6,000 (no, I didn’t get one, but I did buy a “new old stock” Duo 270c for $500, all the way from Mississauga in Canada). What I did for love. I was never too big of a desktop fan, but I cut my teeth on a bunch of five or six old Duos someone sold me for P15K around 1998. Armed with a manual and a Torx 6 screwdriver (the only screwdriver you ever needed for old PowerBooks–now you even need an Allen wrench!), I was able to revive at least two of those Duos (still the sexiest PB to me that ever lived), and I was on my way down a well-greased road to digital perdition.

My Mac giveawaysBut good things can’t last forever; I needed breathing space (or maybe I’m just making more space for more collectible carcasses down the road), so I decided one fine day to just give it all away–well, almost all. I’m holding on to the Duos (about six or seven of them, mostly still booting), the PowerBook 100 of which I have two (both dead, but I’m thinking I can cobble a working one together), two 2400c’s, one 3400c, the Colour Classic (yup, with a “u”), plus the two iMacs, one eMac, two iBooks, and one PB G4 that make up the rest of the family. I’m particularly proud of one iMac, the original Bondi Blue 233 mhz that I’ve ramped up to run Panther and do wi-fi in my UP office.

Today a steady stream of Muggers led by my fellow vintage Mac freak Celso Claudio came to the house to cart home one doohickey after another. It was good to see most of them vanishing into the trunk of Celso’s car–I know he’ll do a good job of keeping them well and giving them a new home (sniff!).

Now I need a beer or two, and something to make me happy for all the good I’ve done. Where’s that iPhone?