Matt's Macs

My Performa and My iMac

- 2002.01.28 - Tip Jar

Growing up in suburban Southeast Michigan, tools of the trade meant many things: a slide rule, mechanical pencil, and horse hair brush were my Dad's tools used as a draftsman; an old typewriter on my desk in my bedroom to bang out book reports, along with a gallon of Elmer's glue for pasting photographs, as well as 45 records and a transistor radio used to listen to music were my tools of the trade.

The digital hub at that time meant engineers using CADAM devices to design parts for cars, cassette tapes used to to record music from the radio, and those huge computers NASA used to ferry men to and from the moon. The digital hub wasn't at home; it was in the workplace.

Fast forward 25 years or so to the era of the digital hub. The hub is now in the home. Well, for yours truly, call it the proto-digital hub.

My digital hub got its modest beginnings by the purchase of a brand new Performa 635 in 1994, a computer that what then (and in some ways still is) an impressive multimedia workhorse. Over the years it has lived up to that label through the addition of a TV tuner card, MPEG video card, and the external Apple Presentation System. Along the way, a refurbished QuickCam, used QuickTake 150 camera, a new StyleWriter 2400 printer, and a new 4.3 GB hard drive found their way into the core of the hub.

Last year, we reached a critical mass that prompted me to buy another Mac. First, it seemed that several graphics and Web applications that had some desirable features were PowerPC-only. Second, my daughter wanted to try Instant Messaging; we tried it on the Performa, but results were mixed at best. Third, new, current apps were for the most part PowerPC-based - such as the current version of MacLink.

This time we purchased a refurbished Mac, a summer 2000 indigo iMac DV 400. A great machine! Since then I have added a USB printer and a FireWire CD-RW drive.

Below are my ten uses of my two Macs, from most to least, along with software and peripherals.

Hardware/Software Usage
iMac, modem, Internet Explorer, AIM Chatting with friends (kids)
Sherlock Web surfing, research tool (all)
iMac, BBEdit, Graphic Converter Writing and composing Web pages
iMac, AppleWorks Homework, general writing
iMac, Epson 820 Printer Printing homework
iMac, ethernet hub, Performa, QuickTake 150, PhotoFlash, and ColorSync Plug-In Downloading pictures onto the Performa through the serial port, tweaking the color using ColorSync plug-in in PhotoFlash and transferring to my iMac via the ethernet hub
iMac, CD Playing CDs or games
iMac, ethernet hub, Performa, MacLink Version 11, AppleWorks 5 Transferring files to the Performa for backup purposes; using the floppy drive on the Performa to retrieve files from PC disks from work, translating files as required using MacLink and saving as AW5 files, transferring over the hub to my iMac
iMac, CD writer, Toast Burn back-up data CDs, Video CDs, music CDs
Performa, Finder Back-up to my iMac

My Performa 635, running OS 8.1, is serving as a tool to prolong the usefulness of my QuickTake camera, serve as our fourth TV in the house (also used to watch VHS tapes, as the VHS player is hooked up to AV ports in back of the Performa), and as a back up device. The Umax SCSI scanner is rarely used, nor is the SCSI Zip drive.

For the future, an iBook is on the horizon, as well as an AirPort station and two AirPort cards. This should be a good fit as my iMac and the ethernet hub connected to the Performa are both AirPort ready, and it would be compatible with my USB printer and FireWire CD-RW drive.

An AirPort hub would allow placement of the three computers throughout the house. Hopefully that day will be soon. LEM

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