Mac Fallout Shelter

The Great Old PowerBook 100 and the Death of the PowerBook Name

- 2006.03.07 - Tip Jar

My first portable computer was a PowerBook 100. Coincidentally, it was Apple's first true laptop as well - the PB 100 ties for honors as the first ever PowerBook along with the PowerBook 140 and 170, all introduced on October 21, 1991.

I'm writing about my PB 100 today because Apple is retiring the PowerBook name. They supposedly changed the name because the MacBook Pro is not powered by a PowerPC chip - but early PowerBooks weren't either. My PB 100 has a Motorola 68HC000 CPU running at 16 MHz.

The PowerBook 100 replaced the Macintosh Portable which was too big to carry around and really didn't look like any of today's laptops. It was one of the first computers anywhere to not have a built-in floppy drive (like the iMac).

I also miss the trackballs that Apple used to build into PowerBooks.

PowerBook 100The story behind my PB 100 is a common one. I got my PowerBook 100 back in 1996, when I traded a Sony Portable CD player, a set of Aiwa headphones, and $100 to a girl who attended my middle school. My PowerBook 100 has a 20 MB hard drive, a non-working battery, and a power brick.

The battery was a fairly heavy lead-acid battery, similar to the one you have in your car, and I eventually threw mine out.

I would transfer files to my PB 100 using AppleTalk. A few years later I got a SCSI adapter so I could connect an external hard drive to it.

Once I got my PB 100, I felt like I was at the top of the world. I do admit that it was a slow machine and crashed with almost anything. The only really good thing was that it was maxed out in RAM, and I ran a few games in Mac OS 7.1.

I upgraded to a PowerBook 145 in 1998 and really didn't use the PB 100 very much after that.

PowerBook 100 and PowerBook G4

My PB 100 eventually died when the back and white display started to have problems. I recently tried to get it working again in order to turn it into a Web server, because I have never heard of anyone using one as a Web server. But I couldn't get it to boot, so it just sits on my bookshelf. I'm including a picture of it next to my TiBook.

Stick With It

In my opinion, Apple should not do away with the PowerBook name. The word "power" inspires even slow machines to think they can do anything. "PowerBook" will keep going strong forever in my world.

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