[iBook] Long Term iBook Storage, Vintage Mac PB 1400

howardpettigrew howard.pettigrew at xtra.co.nz
Thu Apr 1 10:09:46 PDT 2010

Fred, I am a keen fan of Apple products, working in schools in NZ. I take great delight in showing teachers and others the age of some of the iMacs we are using in schools around the place - up to 12 years old, and they are still useful machines, particularly for younger children - older kids really need some of the later machines because of the software / hardware requirements.
However in terms of quality and reliability, I don't think the modern laptops - apart from the MacBook Pro range, are up to the quality of days gone by. I am looking at the four laptops of family members sitting around me, one MacBook Pro has had the fan replaced, the tops of the MacBooks have been replaced and they still have broken edges, and one has a flickering screen (typical early MacBook issues), the batteries have been replaced very early in the battery' life. My wife's black Macbook. supplied by the Government for teachers here in NZ, I picked up a replacement battery for a failed one, and the replacement was dead on arrival - I had to take it straight back. I have replaced countless batteries in teachers MacBooks around the place. I know this is not Apples problem directly but what I am trying to say is that it is one of countless problems that I have encountered in current laptops that we never seemed to have in the clamshell days. Her old black MacBook, and they were a disastrous model here in NZ schools generally, developed a mind of its own and would not come back on, in sleeped or turned off at night, until around 11:00 am the next morning! It took Apple three repeat trips in before they acknowledged there was a problem and they replaced the logicboard. It is now in my wife' class room but the kids know not to try using it before 11:00am because it still won't fire up on occasions.
I still have 4 clamshells sitting out in the collection and they are still working fine, with nothing missing or broken apart from shot batteries due to age, and have never had anything replaced. I used to fly a pack of 12 clamshells around NZ working with Teacher Trainees at our various campuses and they never missed a beat or let me down like the white G3s and 4s did. I have wrecked countless numbers of these for parts and given them to children to take apart as rewards for good work!
Don't get me wrong, I am still a huge fan and would always have any Apple laptop over a PC any day, but I really don't think the quality is still there in the laptops - they went through a time of making them cheaper to match the market. 
It will be interesting to see how the Unibodies go - they are a little too new to show any typical problems yet.
One interesting thing I came across re older Apple laptops I would like to share...I got  a new Powerbook 165C for an additional hours job I was doing in schools with teachers with our leading Telco - still my ISP. They used to invest a few million in education but now sadly, with a change in attitude, that is all gone. Anyway, it developed a screen problem - needed a new video cable which they were going to take a week or so to fix (sort of goes against my argument I guess).
They had another at College which had a failed hard drive, so I suggested to the techies they took my hard drive and put it in the other one to keep me going. They thought this would be a good idea so took mine to pieces to get the hard drive out. I swear this is true but there was a small piece of corrugated cardboard around three sides of the hard drive to keep it in place! We thought that maybe the Telco had replaced the hard drive at some stage, although this didn't make sense as it seemed to be a new or very newish machine. Then we opened up the other one... and found... cardboard around the hard drive! This was in the stage just before Steve J came back into the fold, and the techies had noticed the Desktops weren't of the same quality either.
I have collected up stacks of old Macs going back to a IIe which I hope to set up in a decent mini museum display some time. One this that gets me is the old screens that they had on the LC and earlier series. Despite these going back to the early 90s/ late 80s, they are still so incredibly clear, despite the fact they sit around for ages until you fire then up occasionally. Love to know who made them as they seem to be real quality.
H in NZ
PS - I hope that 900 keeps working. If it does, you are pretty lucky!

On 1/04/2010, at 8:02 PM, Fred Stevens K2FRD wrote:

> Jim, all, et al--
> Thanks to Jim's suggestion, I dug my Powerbook 1400 out of my shed, powered it up with no problem, and it still appears to work just fine despite its age (about 15 years, about 1995) and its long term storage in my shed in the AZ desert with shade temps up to 120F (inside the shed likely gets up to 140F oven temps) has not appeared to affect its performance nor its LCD screen. Apple then, as now, puts out a superior machine.
> Nostalgia time:  I bought the PB 1400 off eBay some five years ago since it had floppy capability (I had some old business floppies I needed to read). It arrived empty and I had to re-install OS 7.5.3. No problem since I'm a Mac vet going back to Apple IIC and IIG (mid-1980s), going through IIvx and 7300 until I upgraded to my now antiquated iBook 900 in 2003. The 1400 did the job for me, After I was done with it, I boxed the 1400 up and stored it in my shed until now when it was again needed, in this instance as an LCD screen test device under extreme environmental conditions. My PB 1400 came with a lot of Apple specifications of which I haven't seen for a long time: OS 7.5.3, RAM about 16mb, HD 1.3 gb (?), 603 processor of 133 mhz. I believe this was the first Mac laptop model which had CD ROM capable drive. It also has ClarisWorks 4 (predecessor of Appleworks and now I don't know what else since I still use Appleworks), Jade 1.2 (to view jpegs), and not much else as part o
> f its system applications.
> I didn't realize the simplicity of use and the stability of these older Macs until now after going through numerous Mac iterations and machines over the years until now with my new MacBook Pro. My now ancient iBook 900 which faithfully served me for 7 years will also go into storage right next to my PB 1400 if for no other reason than they still work and it appears they will continue to work indefinitely whenever I need them and want to turn them back on. For what more can I ask?

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