Classic Macs in the Intel Age

PowerBook 150 Still a Winner

- 2008.03.27 - Tip Jar

My Turn is Low End Mac's column for reader-submitted articles. It's your turn to share your thoughts on all things Mac (or iPhone, iPod, etc.) and write for the Mac web. Email your submission to Dan Knight .

Old PowerBooks can be a lot more useful than you might expect. Sure, they may not run recent games and high-end video editing software like Final Cut Pro, but if you just do a little Googling, you'll find lots of nice apps to make your oldie just as useful as a new MacBook.

I am a big fan of classic Apple notebooks, because they have a nice, sturdy design and are also very good word processing machines. When I first got my 1994 PowerBook 150, I was just using it occasionally to do some word processing for school in ClarisWorks.

But all of a sudden, things changed. I read the 30 Days on Vintage Macs articles here on Low End Mac, and I was stunned at how the author could use his old Macs for so many of his normal tasks that were usually performed on a modern computer.

I decided to do the same thing.

PowerBook 100 SeriesMy PowerBook 150 already had 8 MB of RAM and a 250 MB hard drive, but the battery was done for. So I got a new one off eBay, and suddenly my little Mac was useful on the go again. But I still wanted to do more with it.

I found my old ImageWriter printer and hooked it up. It worked fine. I made sure to install System 7.5 on the Mac, and I also gave it the iCab web browser and some old version of Eudora for mail. It was a little slow in iCab, but Eudora was quite fast.

I also made a small LocalTalk network between it and my "Pizza Box" Quadra 610. It worked just fine, and I was able to share the printer and the Internet connection, too.

The 150 is a great machine. Unlike most people, one thing I like about it is the screen. My PowerBook is in very good shape, and the screen is among the most crisp and nice b&w screens I have ever seen on a laptop - way better than my old PowerBook 160. Plus, the screen is big. It offers a resolution of 640x 480 - much better than other old PowerBooks with 640 x 400 black and white screens.

In conclusion, the PowerBook 150 is a great machine that makes a nice networking buddy to my Quadra and PowerBook 165c (which I rarely use these days - the trackball broke).

Forward Into the Past

But my PowerBook 150 adventure isn't over yet. On Thursday, March 27, I will pick up a Classic II and two PowerBook 100s. I hope to make a nice little vintage Mac network with the Quadra being the server, the Classic being my office machine, and the 150 being my laptop of choice for trips. Finally, my PowerBook 100 will most likely serve as a compact writing machine.

Count on me to get you another article as soon as the 100s and the Classic II are set up.

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