Archive for the 'Macintosh' Category

Vintage Mac Christmas Art

Monday, December 24th, 2012

A Vintage Mac Christmas Slideshow on

Just in time for Christmas: Macworld has posted a slideshow of vintage Christmas-related Macintosh art and ephemera that I created for that site. I hope you enjoy it.

The Theoretical Christmas iMac

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Theoretical Red and Green Christmas iMac

The thought occurred to me the other day that one could easy make a Christmas iMac G3. You'd simply need one Strawberry iMac and one Lime iMac. Take them apart, then swap out the colored panels to make a mixed red and green system.

Alternately, you can use the later Sage and Ruby iMacs, which feature much richer, more Christmas-like colors. But Sage and Ruby iMacs are not as common as Strawberry and Lime ones, so that might be a problem.

I haven't actually done this myself, but I made a graphical mock-up of a Strawberry/Lime mixture that you can see above. If anybody actually makes one of these Christmas iMacs, please let me know!

[ Snapshots ] A Desk for a Mac Plus

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Benj's Mac Plus DeskA nice place to put a Mac Plus, I think. (December 2012)

Benj's Recent Macworld Adventures

Monday, November 26th, 2012

Macworld Logo

As long time readers of VC&G know, I usually post short entries about my non-blog writing activities on this blog so you can enjoy them.

Recently, I've been so engrossed in writing Macworld articles that I have neglected to mention them. Consider that remedied with this handy digest of pieces I've written over the past two months for said Mac-related publication. Conveniently, they all have history angles to them (or else I wouldn't list them here):

There's more on the way, so stay tuned to see whether I neglect to mention those here as well. The excitement is palpable!

Ten Years of the iMac G4

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

The Exceptional iMac: Ten Years Later at

Yep, the iMac G4 turned 10 this year, and I wanted to write about it. I bought the high-end 800 MHz/SuperDrive model new back in January 2002 (just at launch), and I used it for about five years to do all sorts of casual, media-related things (email/iChat/iMovie/iTunes mostly). It was, and is, a great machine — it's a little slow, but it has always been a joy to use.

You can read my article celebrating the iMac G4 over at Macworld now. I hope you enjoy it.

The Secret History of Microsoft Hardware

Monday, July 16th, 2012

The Secret History of Microsoft Hardware on

Microsoft's recent announcement of its Surface tablet line has brought a lot of attention to the history of Microsoft's hardware products. Unfortunately, most accounts of that history are sorely lacking, rarely going beyond Microsoft's involvement in PC peripherals like mice.

I thought I'd remedy that gap in history by digging back into the past and bringing to light a forgotten era of Microsoft hardware — all of which, it just so happens, launched in the 1980s.

The result, "The Secret History of Microsoft Hardware," is now live over at I hope you enjoy it.

Macintosh II 25th Anniversary

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Macintosh II 25th Anniversary at Macworld

25 years ago this March (1987), Apple released the Macintosh II, the first open architecture Macintosh. Naturally, I've written a short feature about this pioneering machine over at Macworld.

While speaking with Michael Dhuey, the Apple engineer that conceived the Mac II, I learned that Apple patterned the Mac II after the 1977 Apple II, which sported the same sort of flexibility and expandability as the Mac II. That self-referential influence amazed me — especially coming from a company that recently institutionalized the practice of ignoring its own history.

But only two years after Steve Jobs resigned from Apple, the company had no problem making the un-Jobs move of both looking backward and opening up the Macintosh. The result changed the course of Macintosh history.

[ Continue reading Macintosh II 25th Anniversary » ]

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Welcome to eWorld

Monday, January 2nd, 2012

Apple eWorld Online Service Advertisement - 1995The time Apple went AOL.

In the lost era between Jobs (1985-1996), Apple produced many strange and ill-fated products. Here we see an ad for eWorld, Apple's subscription dial-up online service that launched in June 1994.

eWorld offered proprietary features like message forums, email, weather, news, and other information in a fashion similar to CompuServe, Prodigy, or AOL. It also provided an early consumer portal to the Internet.

Due to its high price ($8.95 per month plus $7.90 per hour from 6 AM to 6 PM on weekdays), poor marketing, and the fact that the World Wide Web was breathing down its neck, eWorld never really took off. Apple shut down the service in March 1996.

By the way, Happy New Year!

[ From Discover, May 1995, p.27 ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: Did you ever use a subscription online service? Which one(s)?

iPod Turns 10, Benj Writes

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

2001 iPod 1G

Ten years ago today, Steve Jobs introduced the first iPod to the world. Many people didn't know what to think. It would take a little time for idea of the iPod to sink in, so to speak, but once it did, it did so in a very big way.

I first encountered the iPod shortly after its 2001 launch at a local Circuit City. Its simple white scroll wheel stared at me from across the room like a giant eye that had just opened for the first time. Yep, it got my attention. A ring-shaped kiosk in the middle of the room held iPods projected upwards, each player perched on a security rod, restricted, but available for public tinkering.

I walked up to it and touched it, ran my fingers across the front and spun the wheel. It was almost insultingly intuitive to a gadget freak like myself. It worked, and it was obvious that everyone would know how to use it almost immediately after picking it up.

Before playing with the iPod, I was skeptical of the device — like just about everyone else. But after touching it, I knew that the future of music consumption wore an Apple logo. By God, I wanted one. Bad.

Three Articles about iPod

So here we are, ten years later. The iPod unquestionably shook up the world. How should we mark the anniversary? Well, to start, I have written three pieces about the iPod for this exact occasion. I'll go through them below.

  1. The Birth of the iPod - In this piece over at Macworld, I take a look at the origins of the first iPod — how it was created, by whom, and why. I owe great thanks to Tony Fadell for sharing his time to talk about the iPod's creation, and to Steven Levy and Leander Kaheney, whose previous works on the iPod also provided invaluable sources for my article.

    Despite those sources, this is not some iPod creation rehash. In fact, it puts together a number of disparate information sources for the first time. And thanks to my interview with Fadell, you'll definitely learn some new tidbits about the birth of the iPod.

  2. iPod Oddities - In which I continue my long-running Technologizer-hosted Oddities series by examining weird accessories, art, and history related to the iPod. Fun stuff, as always. Don't miss the iPod ballistics calculator.
  3. The iPod as an Iconic Cultural Force - Also at Macworld, this piece openly muses about how the iPod changed our culture, the music industry, and the world around us.

I wish I could say that I wrote more (ha), but you'll have to be satisfied with that — oh, and all the other iPod tributes you'll find on the web in the next few days.

Happy birthday, iPod.

Discussion Topic of the Anniversary: What did you think about the iPod when you first heard about it? Did your opinion change after you actually used it?

[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Black Tie Optional

Monday, October 10th, 2011

iBook Black Tie Ad - 2000The iBook: a minimalist scan in honor of Steve Jobs.

[ From Self, June 2000, back cover ]

Discussion Topic of the Week: What did you think of the original iMac when you first saw it?