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You are here: MacNN Forums > Enthusiast Zone > Classic Macs and Mac OS > What can I do with an original Macintosh?

What can I do with an original Macintosh?
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Forum Regular
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Sayreville, NJ USA
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Aug 23, 2001, 02:21 PM
I just got a nice original 1984 Mac (yano, model M0001) from eBay, and while it's fun to play with Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Mind Prober for a bit, I'm kind of running out of stuff to do. Is there any way I can put it on my home network? Even if I can only run a terminal app or something, it's an improvement.

How about the external floppy connector on the back? Is there anything "modern" I can plug into that?

Hrm. This hardware from Apple's ultra-proprietary old days is proving to be, umm, not exactly very expandable today . . .
Mac Elite
Join Date: Feb 1999
Location: California
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Aug 23, 2001, 08:22 PM
AFAIK, the original Macintosh was criticized for not being very expandable even back then. You can hook up a disk drive, a printer, or probably a localtalk network, but that's about it, I think. No hard disk support.

Ethernet connectors exist for models as early as the Mac Plus, but I suspect the original doesn't have enough memory (only 128K RAM). Plus something like that would probably require disk space greater than 400K.

What can you do with it? Word processing, old games, printing, fooling around with MacPaint, etc. You might want to look at Resources for the Older Macintosh -- tons of links for older Mac software and stuff.

[ 08-23-2001: Message edited by: Patrick ]
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Join Date: Aug 2000
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Aug 25, 2001, 08:28 AM
The original releases NEVER had any NETWORKING. That only came after the 512k Macs. You basically have a computer relic and interesting museum piece, but not a really useful computer.

I have two MacSEs which 'could' be useful, but they're so slow and I have them just for curiosity's sake. One is an FDHD (floppy and HD) in the unit with 1MB of RAM. If I get the right case opener and torx, I've got additional RAM for it.

The other I already upgraded to the max of 4MB and it had two floppies. But the SCSI connector is on the board in the SE models and I squeezed a HD into that one too.

If you want something with appletalk ability or ethernet, I'd get an SE or better an SE/30 which could have a lot more ram (8MB? 16MB?) I don't recall exactly. Its still *way* cool just to have your original model for the sake of having it. I had one I gave away with the small greenish keyboard and the 'telephone' like cord for the keyboard and the mouse that plugged into a big PC-like serial port. I think it was the 256k second release or something.

Ah the stone age of Macintosh!

[ 08-25-2001: Message edited by: bluedog ]
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Join Date: Oct 1999
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Aug 25, 2001, 03:42 PM
Besides using some very low-memory footprint applications like MacWrite and Mac paint (v1.x with both of them), you could have the original Mac 128 connected to another Mac using a crossed-out serial cable (called a null-modem cable). This would be a little bit like a LocalTalk connection, using terminal apps like RedRyder on both computers. However, it will be just for the sake of playing around, with protocols like xTerm and zTerm at speeds of, say, 9600 bps at best.

To the 512KE Mac I still have around there could be a serial port external hard disk attached (I never had one - back then they were available in capacities of 5 MB, 10 MB - maybe even a whopping 20 MB) from Apple and also from a today long forgotten supplier named Jasmine Technologies. I do not know if these serial hard disks would be usable with a 128k Mac.

As a whole, the biggest reward you get out of your 128k Mac is just having the original that started graphical interface computing and keeping it in good condition. If I were you, I would try to get this 128k Mac as complete as possible, that is looking for the original system disks, manuals, mouse and keyboard, etc. If you happen to have all these additionals already, my congratulations to you.

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Aug 25, 2001, 03:53 PM
By the way, it will be a challenge of its own just to get some 400k disks (single sided, double density) in working condition that can be used in your original Mac. Remember, these floppies were the same type that was formatted to 360 KB under DOS so this might make your focus a little wider when you are looking for storage at auctions etc.

The terminal app RedRyder (or was it Red Ryder?) was called White Knight in its later versions.

Good luck,

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