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  • The author is a technical buff and had been fiddling with personal computers since 1978. He started with the Motorola-powered Commodore PET until he upgraded to the then, state-of-the-art and legendary Apple II in 1980.
  • Almost all the devices you see in the collection are in excellent working condition. To be included in the collection, the device must be: a) at least ten (10) years old and b) no longer manufactured.
  • COMDEX (Computer Dealers’ Exhibition) had been replaced by CES - Consumer Electronics Show - since 2003 but the venue had remained in Las Vegas and is held every January at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
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3COM Audrey (aka Ergo)

This linen-colored, 3COM Audrey (also known as the "Ergo") is a slightly modified one, but still an, unhacked unit. The OS of the 3COM Audrey is a variant of UNIX called QNX. The OS was updated to the last revision made by 3COM after they discontinued support for the unit in 2002. The unit itself was put out of production in 2001. This update was made possible by a generous soul who still currently maintains a spoof of the original 3COM Marimba server - where the Audrey gets his OS update automatically. This OS update ( FINAL 4/23/2001) was very important - since it enabled one to have "shell" access. With this, I was able to add other apps like the MP3 Player and an electronic Picture Viewer (as a digital picture frame!!!), using the shell window - by simply adding a few line of codes.

As a digital picture frame, the 3COM Audrey is very ideal due to its small size - about 10" x 14" with an elegant 7.9", 640 x 480-capable color screen, rugged construction and a versatile stand. You can either prop the unit in just about any small desk space or counter top (as seen in pic# 2, this is just on top of my small bookshelf speaker) or, even hang it on a wall!

Currently, all our pictures (JPEGs) as well as all MP3s, are hosted in a PC server (though, not the one hosting this web page) running Windows XP. Access to that server is via a 10 Mbps Ethernet (a USB Ethernet Adapter that is connected to one of the Audrey's two USB ports at the back of the unit. Unfortunately, because of the screen's hardware limitation, the pictures "cycle" better only at the 640 x 480 resolution .

Other modifications can be done to the 3COM Audrey to make it run like Windows, by flashing the unit's ROM chip through the use of a CompactFlash card...but, this will make an already elegant hardware and OS...just like another, ordinary Windows box!
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iMac - 1st Generation (Bondi Blue)

The late Steve Jobs left Apple in 1985, went ahead to form Next, Inc and made Pixar a household name.

But his heart remained at Apple. When he returned in 1997, he took off where he left at Apple - creating and developing the Macs.

Since, it was the decade of the Internet, in 1998, he released the iMac (internet Mac). This baby was it.

It is powered by a Motorola PowerPC chip at 233mhz (the G3), 32 MB of RAM (upgraded since to 256 MB via two 128 MB SODIMM DRAMs), 4GB of hard drive - now the IDE variety- (upgraded to 60GB), a 15" multi-scan color monitor, a 24x tray-loading CD-ROM drive, two USB ports, 100 Mbps Ethernet as well as a 56K modem - all built-in and well, NO floppy drive!

Although this computer can now be also considered an "antique", it still runs the latest and greatest (as of Oct. 2003) OS from Apple - Mac OS X Panther (10.3)!
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Palm VII

From computers to handhelds. My first PDA was the Casio PV-100, because the first Palm handhelds were very expensive.

However, by 1995, Palm became the dominant handheld maker after most of the pioneers in the field like the Apple Newton, General Magic (Magic Cap was their OS) and Magic Cap OS-compatibles like Sony's Magic Link and Motorola's Envoy folded up. Palm's brilliant Graffiti hand-writing recognition software blew the competition away.

The Palm VII series (VII and VIIx) were the first Palm handhelds that incorporated a radio transceiver. These handhelds can be recognized by their unique antennas cleverly concealed alongside the stylus on the right side of the units.

By simply raising the antenna and with a subscription to the Palm.Net network, users can access their e-mails, and literally, surf the Internet - wirelessly - via Palm's unique Web-clipping applications.

With the proliferation of free WiFi access and the integration of phones into handhelds, Palm (then renamed PalmOne), tried to refocus its strategy towards that direction.

NOTE: Due to the popularity of WiFi, PalmOne discontinued their Palm.Net service in late August 2004.

This move left users of the Palm VII series and i705 handhelds unable to use their PQA (web-clipping apps) as well as the WAP browser.
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Handspring Treo 270 PDA/Phone (GSM)

Handspring was the first company to directly compete with Palm in the PDA market in the late 90s.

It offered more hardware via its unique Springboard module slot - which was actually just a Compact Flash (CF) card slot.

They came out with a Springboard module in 1998 called the Visor Phone, which paved the way to the first PDA/phone device.

In 2001, they released the first truly, integrated PDA/phone with a built-in keypad called the Treo 180. Another model, the Treo 180g did not have a physical keypad - it used Grafitti for data input.

With that head start in technology , they released the Motorola-powered (Dragonball VZ -MC68VZ328VF) Treo 270 (my pics above), which was the GSM-variant of the Treo 300 -- it used the CDMA network (which is still very popular in the U.S.), in late 2002. The Treo 180 and the Treo 270 share the same physical characteristics except that the former was a gray-scale release while the latter came in a bright color STN backlit display with over 4,000 colors.

And, once more, by the end of 2003, PalmOne (after they acquired Handspring) upped the ante in the "smartphone" wars by releasing the much-sought after, Treo 600 as well as the redesigned version, the Treo 650 in late 2004.

It was in mid 2003 that Handspring, the company, was bought-out by Palm, which in turn, was split into separate software and hardware entities - PalmSource and PalmOne, respectively.
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The late 70s was the hottest period in the then budding personal computer market. Apple, Commodore and ATARI and a small British-firm, Sinclair Research were the market leaders.

Texas Instruments -then the dominant calculator maker aside from HP- jumped into the PC bandwagon by releasing the TI-99/4 in 1979.

The original TI-99/4 was a silver and black contraption powered by TI's TMS9900 CPU at 3.3mhz. The next rendition - although, it also originally came out in silver and black- was the unit you see here - the TI-99/4A (note the extra "A"). What's the difference?

The TI-99/4A used a slightly different graphics chip -the TMS9918A- than the TI-99/4's TMS9918.

That was the main difference between the two models, aside from the better keyboard layout for the TI-99/4A. It also came with 16K of RAM and 26K of ROM, where its OS- TI ROM Basic- resided.

The unit above is a redesign of the original TI-994/A when beige and plastic were becoming the traditional colors and cases of PCs...a trend obviously started by Apple Computer. Other features are a ROM expansion slot in the front, right portion (see pic# 1 & 2 above), a peripheral expansion slot on the right side of the unit (pic# 2), an audio/video output (pic# 3) - you use an RF modulator to hook it to your TV/monitor -and a joystick port (pic# 3)...yes, for games!

Introduced in 1981, the TI-99/4A, was, for a time, the best-selling PC in the U.S. market by the end of 1982.

After suffering massive losses due to the very cut-throat PC market throughout the 80s, TI totally abandoned the PC market in 1993.
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Apple QuickTake 200 Digital Camera

The Apple QuickTake 200 is an interesting species since it has the features that you can find in most of the older - the ‘primordial’ - digital cameras as well as the current state-of-the-art ones.

Notable of these are the removable optical viewfinder and the use of SmartMedia card for picture storage.

This fixed-focus, 640 x 480, 24-bit color-capable digital camera also features a 1.8" LCD screen, a serial connector, an RCA-type video out.

It was powered by four (4) AA-type batteries. It was also originally bundled with Apple's QuickTake software which was - on other releases- supplemented with Adobe PhotoDeluxe imaging software.

This is the last relic in the Apple QuickTake digital camera series (100, 150 and the 200) after Apple decided to discontinue manufacturing non-core peripherals including printers and scanners.

The QuickTake 200 was essentially an Apple-designed, Canon OEM'd unit - like most of Apple's printers -and was selling quite well until it was abandoned in early 1997.
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Apple iPod Mini (1st Generation)

Officially released by Apple in the U.S. on Feb 20, 2004 - yet already a passé gadget for true-blue hardware geeks, since the features are no different from the white-colored, different-capacity-of-songs iPods which were released a year earlier (the original iPod was released in December 2001).

But, credit Apple (again!) for the sleek and innovative features they had crammed into the tiny (2" x 3.6" x 0.5"), anodized-aluminum clad music marvel.

Inside was a 4 GB micro hard drive that held up to 1,000 songs. The small (1.67") but crisp LCD display has user-controllable backlighting as well as a very intuitive user-interface.

Separate control buttons were incorporated on the "touch wheel" in the original iPod and was renamed the "click wheel"

The original "touch wheel" was a heat/pressure sensitive pad that allowed one to scroll on the menu you see on the LCD screen by simply touching the pad in a circular motion. This was no different from touch pads found in newer laptops and notebooks.

This music widget also packed other features like games, clock/alarm plus calendar, memo and PIM.

Previously left-in-the-cold Windows users bought the Apple iPod mini and worried not about connectivity since the device supported both the fast FireWire and old-reliable, USB 2.0 - with both cables included!

Also added in the set is a holster which was an optional item in the original iPod.

Apple hit another jackpot with the warm reception it had on its Feb 20, 2004 release - as well as the on the Feb 28. 2004 opening of its flagship Apple Store in San Francisco and the gadget became very popular and ubiquitous in all major airports, trains and other forms of mass-transport.
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Timex-Sinclair 1000

I first laid my eyes on the British-made Sinclair ZX-81 in 1982, in a small electronics store in the outskirts of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The unit was initially released a year earlier -1981- as a follow-up to the highly-successful ZX-80 (released 1980 in the U.K.).

The price of the ZX-81 was about Saudi Riyals SR 350 (Saudi Riyals) which, in those days, was about US$ 112.

In 1982, Sir Clive Sinclair, owner of Sinclair Research, Ltd and creator of the ZX-81, entered the U.S. home computer market in a tie-up with watch maker, Timex.

Hence, the ZX-81 was renamed the Timex-Sinclair 1000 for the North American market.

Powered by a 3.25 MHz chip- the Z80A - made by one of the early microprocessor companies in Silicon Valley - Zilog, it was among the cheapest personal computers afficionados could buy at that time, that it became very popular. But it was mainly regarded as "a toy" by personal computer purists and hence, did not take off as a mainstream PC.

Small and handy at about 6.7" x 6.5", the Timex-Sinclair 1000 was your very BASIC computer -its OS resided in the unit's paltry ROM- with only 4 IC (integrated circuit) chips on the mainboard. A port on the left side hooked it up to your TV (via an RF modulator) while another interface at the back, made the unit upgradeable (16K RAM pack, cassette recorder and thermal printer).

Timex ultimately dropped out of the computer market in 1984 while Sinclair Research, Ltd continues to operate and currently purveys an assortment of non-computer related gizmos in the U.K.
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Apple PowerBook 2400c Notebook

Codenamed by Apple as "Comet", the Apple PowerBook 2400c was the smallest notebook (only 10.3"x 8.2" x 1.5") the company ever produced until the 12" PowerBook G4 was released in early 2003.

Only two versions were released - with the faster variety (with a 240 MHz Power 603e chip) sold only in the Japanese market. The product was truly designed for the Japanese market - where it had already achieved cult status -, with its compact keyboard and very, very 'cutesy' design —features that Japanese easily fall in love with.

Underneath the facade is an engineering marvel - a collaboration of Apple and IBM-Japan - that include features such as a motor-driven, push-button controlled PC Card slots, an SODIMM RAM slot (16 MB of RAM is built-in while the slot takes a max of 96 MB for a total RAM capacity of 112 MB), 10.4" active-matrix color screen, a touch pad with clicker, IRDA, as well as, a unique, blinking green, indicator light on the latch when the unit is closed but is in "sleep mode".

Despite the absence of a built-in floppy or CD-ROM drive, ample connectors & ports at the back of the unit -as well as the PC Card slots- enable it to still access today's new hardware including printers and external monitors.

The one in my collection is the U.S.-released version (at 180 MHz), with 80 MB of RAM and 2.1GB hard drive and a matching external floppy drive. The unit was discontinued in 1998 but remains as one of the most sought-after PowerBooks in the pre-"Gx" series of the Apple PowerBook line-up.
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