Treasures hiding in unlikely places

We’ve all read stories about some lucky guy finding a classic car in mint condition stored in someone’s barn for decades. I have a similar story to share. Only I didn’t find a car and what I found wasn’t in a barn. Ok, it really isn’t that similar after all… But I did come across a nifty little nugget that some of you might find interesting.

Last week I was helping my neighbor set up his wireless surveillance system with his new HughesNet satellite dish ISP. He’d already tried for several days to get things up and running only to run into a snag. I gladly agreed to help out when he asked me for assistance (I owe him big time as he always plows the road and driveway for us in the winter). We were having a heck of time getting his wireless network to cooperate. I could connect just fine with my iPhone, but his Windows laptops refused to connect. Of course I had to jab him a little and tell him that if he was using Macs, he wouldn’t be having these issues ;o) From that comment we started talking about Apple computers and he found out how much I liked them. He got a twinkle in his eye and told me that he had a surprise for me out in his garage…

There sitting on his work bench was a Macintosh Plus! He even fired it up and it booted just fine.

He had worked for Cummins Inc. (same company I work for now) and they had supplied this computer for him in order to have access at home. I’ve worked for Cummins for 20yrs this October and had no idea that they ever used Macs.

This computer has been sitting on his garage workbench for 17 years! It’s really amazing that it still boots up.

Look, it’s a happy little mac face…

And there it is, booted and ready to go with a whopping 1024k of total memory!

Dick told me that I could have the system. He had actually considered throwing it away the year before. ACK! It is pretty grimy, but I’m going to clean it up and have a little fun poking around in this old version of Mac OS (6.0.2).

Do you have a story about some old piece of tech that you accidently found? If so, please share it with us!

11 comments… add one

  • Rob Tillotson September 5, 2007, 6:23 pm

    Ahh… nostalgia… now I need to dig up my old AT&T UnixPC and see if it still boots. (I kind of doubt it.) It even has an Ethernet card, so I could put it on the net if I can find an AUI to 10bT transceiver in my junk room…

    Macintosh… why 1984 won’t be like “1984”.

    1
  • Jeff Wiseman September 5, 2007, 8:07 pm

    Back in 1990, I gave my parents my old Apple IIc when we switched to Macs. I just assumed that it had died and been tossed out or given away long since. But while helping my mother clean out my father’s workshop, we found a box with the IIc, drives, joysticks, and assorted disks.

    I brought it home last month and the durn thing still works! It does look strange hooked up to a 32″ LCD (only tv/monitor in the house with composite input) with the 80 column display, but I did get to play GATO for the first time in 15 years. :-)

    2
  • Tim Morrison September 5, 2007, 10:01 pm

    I’ve worked in IT basically forever (since 1986) but had a real shock one day in the late 90s. A person called the help desk and asked if I could connect a PC they found in a closet. I said I would have to check it out, but if it had the right hardware, sure no problem. They said, “Well, it’s got a screen and another big box that says diskette drive”. I RAN up the stairs to their department… and I found a Commodore Pet computer and dual diskette drive!

    After I explained what they had, they gave it to me. Being a big-time Commodore fan, I loved having something like this to play around with. It worked great and most of the BASIC programs I had I could re-enter into it and with minor tweaking, get it working.

    I didn’t do much more with it, but still, was saddened when my wife was donating some other old PCs I had laying around, she gave that one away too :(

    3
  • Julie September 5, 2007, 10:43 pm

    My first Mac was a Powerbook, so I find this Mac Plus to very cool. I actually worked with one of these for about 2 weeks 11 years ago. Our union was on strike with Cummins and during that time I got a part time job at the only ISP in my town. They were running the company out of their house and were using Macs for other computer related work. Memories… like the corners of my mind… ;o)

    Commodore PET! I wouldn’t mind finding one of them too. I was a major C64 user. Had several of them in fact as I kept frying the power supplies!

    4
  • hollis September 7, 2007, 4:51 am

    My wife has an old C64 and 1541 drive in a closet somewhere. She had it for years in our apartment closet(that I didn’t know of). When we bought a house, she wanted to throw it out but I made her keep it. I grew up using one back in 1984. Go figure, I never thought I’d ever prefer using Macs 23 years later.

    My first modem was a Westridge 300 baud (anyone remember this guy?)! I then moved to a speedy Avatex(?) 1200, than a Supra 2400, and several others, until… the Amiga! followed by DOS/Windows (what a step backward)…

    Fast forward till today, primary computer is now MBP 2.2/2g/160g!

    5
  • Julie September 7, 2007, 7:08 am

    silloh:

    I started with the Westridge and then Avatex too! :o) Ha!

    6
  • Tim Morrison September 8, 2007, 10:19 pm

    I started with the Vic20 and a 300 baud modem, although I don’t recall which one. (I think it was a Commodore modem). Then I bought an adapter and hooked up a 1200 baud, which I then used to run a BBS on my C64 :) I remember thinking how much of a bigshot I was with TWO floppy drives, lol.

    My girlfriend at the time, had one of the “portable” C64s… remember that one? Had a C64 and a diskette drive shoved into a suitcase with a tiny monitor. I think it was maybe 4 or 5 inches at the most. Man, I loved that machine!!

    But when I got my Amiga 500 it was wonderful, I still think it was the best PC on the market at the time. I wished I still had it, but it was donated to Goodwill along with a ton of other stuff in the garage years ago. I didn’t know it was gone until too late :(

    p.s. I don’t have this number any more, but for 15 years my phone number was 646-1541. I was still playing with a C64 at the time I got that, so I couldn’t have been happier, heh heh.

    7
  • Julie September 9, 2007, 11:13 am

    I also tried running a BBS on a C64 a billion years ago. I called it the Weekend Warrior because I only ran it for a few hours on the weekend. That was back when I was still living at home with my parents and we only had one phone line in the house ;o)

    Once I moved out and bought my own house, I went a little overboard and ran a 5 line BBS. Not on a C64 though of course! ;o)

    8
  • hollis September 15, 2007, 4:28 am

    Hey, you guys remember load “$”,8,1 and load “*”,8,1.

    Then came the Epyx Fastload cart which was the run/stop key and the bottom left key whatever that was. hahahah and Blitz! the real time executable compressor! LOL boy that takes me back.

    Let’s see, what else…

    Paperclip was my wordprocessor and some games I recall were Beach Head, Raid over Moscow, and Karateka were cool.

    I think I’ll look for an emulator so I can goof around a little while…

    9
  • Julie September 15, 2007, 8:25 am

    I still have a CD of C64 games around here somewhere. I liked BC’s Quest For Tires, Pharoh’s Curse, and Karateka. Remember magazines like RUN? They would have programs in machine code that you could type in?

    10
  • hollis September 16, 2007, 1:34 am

    Ha! can you .dmg the cd and email it, or post it to an FTP? :)

    Yup, I remember typing in all those programs in BASIC with a lot of poke’s and peek’s, then came the ML input method with built-in checksums that made it muchhhh faster.

    I also remember Compute Magazine as well. My very first “PC” was actually a TI-99/4a that my father won as a sales incentive from a flooring manufacturer. I had a cassette tape recorder as my storage device! I then moved up to the c64 which I used for years.

    Little did I know that all of this “experience” would lead to today where I actually make a living working with computers…. errr, well Cisco networking gear.

    yknow I think I’m rambling… and not in the right discussion thread. I hope the “sysop” doesn’t ban me ;)

    11

Leave a Comment