A Remembrance of Things Past 10.10.2007

I was digging around some archived files, and found a folder of really old screenshots I’ve taken. It definitely brings a rush of nostalgia.

Click any of these for the full-size version.

This was the earliest screenshot I found — a shot of Linux that was running on the PowerMac 8500 (with 180mhz PPC 604e!) I grabbed from the high school lab after it was put out of commission. For a long time it was running Mac OS 9, but then AOL Instant Messenger kept crashing, so I installed Linux. At this point, it was Yellow Dog Linux running an extremely early version of the Blackbox wm.

I carried that PowerMac 8500 to college. Its motherboard had eight RAM slots. Each holding at most a 128MB stick, for a maximum total of 1gb of memory from 8 slots. At this time, I upgraded the machine to a PowerPC G3 400mhz, a bigger 8gb seagate hard drive, and filled 4 of the 8 slots with 128mb sticks for a total of 512 megs of memory.

I also had a thing for blue.

By this time, I had wiped the original Yellow Dog install on the 8500 and went for Debian instead. My fondness for apt continues to this day with Ubuntu. Even if portage is better.

I really, really loved this background picture of Asuka. I loved it. If I manage to find it today, I’ll still use it. The entire theme was painstakingly customized via Blackbox’s config files. The entire Blackbox wm was based on vectors and gradients, so it was just defining a bunch of colors.

The red aTerm was a primitive form of pseudo-transparency. It simply took a snapshot of the wallpaper behind it. It wasn’t until I started using OS X that I really started seeing true transparency.

This is the first time I used Mac OS X, back in 2002. Believe it or not, this was installed on a “Pismo” black Powerbook G3 233mhz machine with an ati rage mobility 4mb embedded video card. It was slow. It was big. It was incredibly awesome.

There will never be a Powerbook1 quite as sleek as the Pismos, the Wallstreets, and the Lombards. These were the halcyon days of MacOSRumors, and it’s bi-weekly predictions of quad-core “Apollo” chips.

So entranced with OS X was I that I completely erased2 Linux from my PowerMac 8500 desktop and installed OS X 10.2 over it. The wallpaper was a Slayers background done by Emily, and judging from the Dock, I hadn’t yet mastered the delicate art of not putting every single application I used in the past year into a permanent position on the Dock.

You’ll notice that there are three hard drives showing up on the desktop. This is not an error. I actually did have three physical hard drives installed into that poor, bloated 8500. At this point, I also filled out the remaining 4 RAM slots.

So, to keep tally, this PowerMac 8500 had an upgraded G3 400mhz daughter card stuck into where the 604e 180mhz PPC card was, had its eight RAM slots filled each with a 128mb stick, had a PCI USB/Firewire combo card installed so I could use the USB keyboard and mouse, had three hard drives, an upgraded ATI Rage 128bit 16mb video card, and had built-in video in and out capture via an out Radius video capture card.

It was awesome. It was magnificent.

It was pilfered from the high school media lab after the Tech Team closed it down. Though all the other parts were added afterwards, with the exception of the Radius card.

Edit: I notice that this is the first time I set the Dock to be at the bottom, locked to the right. I did this because that way the trashcan remained where it always should be on a Mac: in the lower right corner.

Eventually, my PowerMac 8500 went to that giant scrap heap in the sky (two hard drives died, the motherboard started having issues, and the power supply was going to hell), and the Pismo Powerbook G3 developed a loose hinge and couldn’t stand upright by itself. Around this time, Apple introduced the new 700mhz G3 iBooks. These were a marked step up from the previous 500mhz G3 iBooks, in both bus speed and graphics. The new 700mhz iBooks came with a 16mb ATI Radeon Mobility. Enough to run Max Payne, Return to Castle Wolfenstein, and a slightly stuttery Quake III LAN game. It ran Unreal Tournament (the original and best!) beautifully.

In an amusing case of synchronicity, the screenshot has me looking at a directory listing on my poorly departed Corneria of the same screenshots I’m going through now.

This is also, I think, when I started using the Domo-kun icon for Adium in the Dock. I use it to this day.

I don’t have anymore recent ones than that. After the iBook, I owned a string of laptops:

iBook to Powerbook G4 12” back to iBook to a Sony 12” Vaio to a Gateway 15” laptop back to that same venerabe 700mhz G3 iBook that kept on working to a Powerbook G4 15” back to that old iBook to a MacBook.

And the iBook still works. It’s at home. Lid closed. Powered off. But still waiting.

  1. And even more sad, there will never be a Powerbook. It’s the end of an era. MacBook Pro still doesn’t have the same cachet or alluring ring to my ears that “Powerbook” did.
  2. Funny story. A big motivator for erasing Linux and installing OS X was my then inaccurate belief that Linux simpy would not work with the 33.6kb U.S. Robotics modem I had at home. Whatever I did, it just simply wouldn’t coudn’t. All the AT strings returned okay. Everything seemed fine. It just couldn’t establish a stable connection. Supremey aggravated by what I assumed was a flaw in Linux’s modem scripts, I installed OS X, since it worked with another U.S. Robotics modem I had in the basement. As it turns out, Linux worked fine with the other modem. About as OS X did. But neither OS X nor Linux worked with the initial aggravation-causing modem. That one was shot. But still. OS X rocked. I don’t regret it.