Sunday, December 2, 2012

My First Mac

This is the Apple iMac G3/400 DV Special Edition (Slot Loading). Identifiers: Slot Loading DV SE - M7668LL/A. This was my first Mac.

Although I worked with Apple IIs when I was assigned to the St. Vrain Valley School District on a special assignment from IBM back in 1981, this was nearly twenty years later before I purchased my first Mac. I bought this computer in 1999, and sold it about six years later to a young man at the church. I originally used this computer as my entrance to video editing. I had a nice Sony video convertor that would convert my 8mm analog video tapes into digital. I used good old iMovie and produced several short videos for the youth group at church. I was even honored with one of their "Academy Awards" that still graces my trophy shelf. I worked with a lot of the church youth teaching them video and editing, and the young man I sold my iMac to didn't have a lot of money, but was interesting in video and storytelling. So I sold it to him for $50.

Before buying this little plastic beauty, I owned a Sinclair ZX-80, a Radio Shack Color Computer, the first IBM PC, the first IBM Portable, the first IBM laptop … no batteries, it plugged into 110v and had two 3.5 inch diskette drives, an IBM PS/2 Model 80, several early IBM Aptiva's, one of the first ThinkPads … at some point I just loose track. I still have four or five IBM PCs here around the house, plus a high end HP server and a Dell Home Entertainment system that replace my old Sony wireless, displayless, entertainment center system.

The Apple iMac G3/400 DV Special Edition (Slot Loading), was based on the Kihei architecture, features a 400 MHz IBM PowerPC 750 (G3) processor, 512k backside level 2 cache, 128 MB of RAM, a 13.0 GB Ultra ATA hard drive, a slot loading 4X DVD-ROM drive, ATI Rage 128 VR 2D/3D (AGP 2X) graphics with 8 MB of VRAM, and a Harmon-Kardon designed sound system packed into a translucent "graphite and ice" all-in-one case design with a 15-inch CRT display. I upgraded the memory to 256 MB … seemed like a lot at the time.

Unlike previous iMac models, the iMac "Slot Loading" series is convection cooled for quieter operation and lacks the internal metal housing for a more translucent appearance. So it was quieter and, in my opinion, prettier than the gaudy models that came previously.

The iMac G3/400 DV SE is effectively identical to the iMac G3/400 DV (Slot Loading — Fruit Colors) released at the same time, but the "Special Edition" model is housed in a more conservative "graphite" colored case — rather than five "fruit colors" — and shipped standard with more RAM (128 MB) and a larger hard drive (13.0 GB). Heaven knows I would always chose "conservative!"

Like the iMac G3/400 DV (Fruit Colors), the "Special Edition" model has a slot loading DVD-ROM drive — as one would expect given the informal name of the series — as well as dual Firewire "400" ports, a VGA video out port, and support for an optional AirPort (802.11b) wireless card. It also shares a system bus, RAM standard (PC100), hard drive standard (Ultra ATA), video processor, and sound system all superior to the iMac G3/333 (Fruit Colors) series that the "Slot Loading" models replaced.

I now have a pretty powerful fleet of Macs, both portable and desktop, and I continue to add to my Mac collection. I have several Windows PCs too. There are some programs only available for PCs, although I do run bootcamp on some Macs to allow dual booting. I suspect I'll always have a number of both PCs and Macs, but the balance is definitely shifting toward Apple now that I am no longer working with PCs on an employment basis. I still fix plenty of PCs, however, so it is good to keep my hand in. However, I doubt I'll ever get Win 8. Just too weird …

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