The box also contained this:
Here are a couple more pictures:
|Mystery Device: Left-hand side|
|Mystery Device: Right-hand side|
Plug it in and press "Eject" and here's what you get:
|Mystery Device Ejects|
This derelict piece of plastic is actually a docking station for an old Powerbook, circa 1992 or so. Docking stations are used to attach laptops to external monitors and peripherals, and often to extend the capabilities of the laptop beyond what they could otherwise do (e.g. by adding additional drives, memory, etc). The condition of the device tells a story -- it's so decrepit and dirty that it must've been in a pretty harsh environment for a long time. But the laptop itself is in nearly mint condition:
|Powerbook Duo 230|
It's a blazing-fast 33mhz machine -- if it were 50x faster we would possibly still scrap it. But in 1992 it was the top of the line, and would've sold new for more than $2500 (says everymac.com).
Believe it or not, this machine is on the very threshold of being able to run Linux. Not a modern Linux like Ubuntu, of course -- just a few very basic programs. (For years, the low-end threshold for running the Linux kernel was a 386DX processor, circa 1989 or so, and 4MB of ram.) There are a few pages online describing abortive attempts to run Linux on it e.g. here.
It would be a beautiful curiosity if it could run Linux -- but that would take a tremendous amount of time and at the end of it the machine wouldn't be useful. So with a heavy heart I decided to scrap it. This involves removing the hard drive so that it can be properly destroyed.
|Inside the Powerbook Duo 230|
With the hard drive removed, I re-assembled the machine, and in a touching attempt to delay the inevitable, meticulously cleaned the trackball, which had accumulated almost two decades of lint and grease. This returned the machine to essentially mint condition.
|Powerbook Duo 230, fully embalmed|
Here are its last words, infamous for any Mac user:
|Help me, I'm confused and can't find a disk.|
So -- because there are probably a number of Geeks out there howling for my blood for scrapping this beautiful piece of history: alternatives?
With the hard drive removed, it is essentially useless but bears absolutely no risk for Free Geek Vancouver if it leaves the premises since it no longer contains any private data. The hard disk, I suspect, is too difficult for Free Geek to wipe, but I could be wrong, and even if I'm not, others are probably available online.
Should gems (well, gems in my tremendously biased opinion) like this make their way down to the store for a week before they're finally scrapped? Other ideas?