Little Computer

2009-July-15

Last night I made the decision to bust out the PowerBook 180, "Mortimer." I had made the decision because July is the month of the 68kMLA's Retro Challenge, and of course, because it's a viable mobile computer that I've got sitting around, but haven't bothered to use. Of course, another big part of it is that I've been feeling the desire for a Mac of my own most of this summer.

The PowerBook 180 is in excellent condition. It has a property tag on one side from Princeton University, and other than that, there's really nary a physical defect, aside from the fact that the plastics on the keyboard have shown the effects of time a little bit more than the rest of the computer. However, I'm just not surprised by that at all.

Computationally, it's nothing at all compared to my other computers, or even my telephone. It has a 25MHz Morotola MC68030 and the add-on FPU, along with 14 megabytes of memory, and a 120 megabyte hard disk. The display is glorious, for its age, a 4-bit grayscale LCD, full active matrix, and the keyboard and trackball are really quite usable. Overall, I do consider the PowerBook 180 to be one of the best mobile machines Apple has made.

I received the machine with System 7.1 installed on it, and aside from installing Claris' MacWritePro, I haven't done too terribly much with it, software or experiment-wise, until just very recently, when in an effort to get it to mount the shared volume on "Ken Power", the Power Macintosh G3 tower I've also got hanging around here, I installed Mac OS 7.6.1. 7.6 runs on here just fine, but I would at some point like to get back to the gloriousness of 7.1, which should be pretty easy as I do have a set of 7.1 Pro floppy images hanging around.

The apps I have put on it since installing 7.6.1 are Claris HomePage 3.0, which I am using for writing, so I can also edit what I need to on Ken Power and on any newer system I may need or want to use, along with Nisus Writer and MacWrite Pro, which I may remove in favor of a graphics app I can use to convert screenshots, or maybe a few games.

Speaking of Ken Power, right now it's set up as a headless system, hooked up to the T42p via VNC. I'd like to get a keyboard and mouse for it, and maybe give it its own monitor, but for now it's fine as it is. Another eventual goal for that machine is to become my shell/web server, but we'll see about that, becaues it uses more power, makes more noise, and is, overall, slower than Tacgnol, the ThinkPad X24. Currently, it just hangs out being administered by VNC, and acting as file storage for Mortimer.