What fun! If you made it this far, for sure you're some sort of a MacFan! Another time, I'll see if I can fill in some of the gaps, maybe some sordid details of adventures with LaserWriters, or, perhaps, a foray into the joy of trying to pack a 540 logic board into a Color Classic!

The purpose of this page is not to be seriously technical, which would be greatly boring to all but a few people, and, most likely, those few would find what I do of a rather simple nature. Rather, I hope that here you'll gain a better appreciation for all the positive things which have been brought to us by both the Internet and its prodigy child, the World Wide Web, or if all else fails, perhaps I'll at least provide you a bit of entertainment.

To the best of my recollection, I first posted to the WWW early in its existence, sometime in 1994 or perhaps early-1995. Before this, I had first accessed a data-based world-wide communication system in the late-1950s, when my father, a USAF CRYPTO Specialist with a
"Q" clearance (1), would take me with him late in the evening or on weekends when it was required he go into work to decrypt special messages. He would "clear" a teletype machine, perch me upon a stool, and as he worked I would "talk" to other of his guild who were scattered at distant military bases around the globe. I can still feel in my hands the coiled ribbons of punched tape which when fed into a "reader" would print out long banner pictures such as Santa and his sleigh, or, sometimes, a reclining woman wearing nothing but tiny bikini and a nice smile (!), all composed of nothing but but "O's," "X's," backslashes, and other "ASCII" keyboard symbols. Such, I suppose, were the products of creative bored Cold War warriors.

Later, in 1968, while I was attending Classical High School in Springfield, Massachusetts, my 4X-Math teacher set up a remote terminal and, linked to the M.I.T. mainframe, my fellow students and I were introduced to the mysterious world of computer-to-computer communication.

In the mid-1980's, a result of both much frustrating effort and, as often, pure luck, I managed to first "connect" my Apple IIc, and then my Macintosh SE, to the internet (300k - how did we ever survive?). Almost from its inception I became interested in Berners-Lee's brainchild, the World Wide Web, and by reading the few books available and examining other's source code, very slowly I learned to generate my own html. After doing some careful research, I’m proud to say that my original WWW page was among the 40-60,000 first posted!  After that came more powerful computers, faster modems, and Claris Homepage.  Eventually, as coding with Java and Flash and who-knows-what-else keeps became a more and more involved process, I decided to keep my "hand" in this medium simple, if only to allow me to focus my energies elsewhere.

Now, working on a MacBook Pro, I maintain this site using Apple iWeb. My slide shows are generated automatically by my Shutterfly.

Here is a sort of "blast from the past," a brief listing of the Apple computers I've used over the years (2). This is not a complete list, I'm sure, since by "wheelin' and dealin'" I've probably owned at least twice as many machines as are shown here (3), nor, by any means, have I managed to get this enumeration in proper chronological order. Mostly for you MacFans, all this is meant to be is a bit of light fun!

  1. 1.If you don't know what that is and you ask me to explain it to you, I'll also have to shoot you when I'm done.

  2. 2.I will not bother to list my brief strays into the dark world of DOS/Windows machines, all of which were dismally frustrating and very unrewarding experiences.

  3. 3.If this list brings you to conclude that I am fabulously wealthy or that I've a personal connection with Steve Jobs, you would be very, very mistaken. Mostly, when I part with a computer it still has enough value that I usually manage to recoup 50-80% of its purchase price. Also, many of these computers were either acquired by trading, built from scrounged parts, or, in quite a few cases, by restoring to service machines which had been pronounced DOA! All-in-all, near as I can figure, I probably spend less per year on computers than most people do for the sum of their cable television, cell phone, and overdue video bills!


My previous MacBook Pro.  I bought it almost three years ago on the Apple “refurbished” site.  Same one year warranty, but the price was 47% off “new.”  That was a deal!  Airport chip was acting up to the point that I didn’t feel like wasting any more of my time fiddling with it, so I put it on eBay for 1/2 what I paid for it and it was gone in less than six minutes!  Was a deal for both myself and the buyer, especially when after wiping the hard drive and reinstalling the original X 10.4 operating system I found that the wireless was working perfectly!

The battery doesn't hold a charge (a donation would be welcome, thank you very much), the CPU is now greatly dated when it comes to working in Photoshop, and its power connector provides proof of Apple's wisdom in introducing the "MagSafe Power Adapter," but, with a very stable build of OS 9.1 installed, this wonderful little machine continues faithful service providing a platform with which to enjoy all the Marathons, Duke Nukem Atomic Edition, the Zork trilogy, over 300 classic arcade games in MacMame emulation, and, last but hardly least, perhaps the best of the original 1st-person "shooter/mover" games, "Spaceship Warlock!"

My Powerbook 15", now enjoying life on the shore of East Pond!

My Powerbook 12", now earning its keep at a foster home in the British West Indies. I miss how easy it was to carry around this tiny gem.

I owned one of the very first iBooks delivered to New England, one of the early versions with the seriously poorly designed ribbon cable connecting the LCD to the mother board, as well as several later versions of this tidy little machine.

This iMac is still "tickin' and takin' a lickin'," serving duty at Re-Books playing music and showing pictures via iTunes & iPhoto.

To this day I miss my 1400's excellent keyboard. I owned both passive and active matrix versions of this laptop, and even managed to upgrade one with a G3 processor.

One of my favorite computers, my PB 2300c was the first laptop I added a monitor/keyboard/mouse to in order to let it serve double duty as a "desktop" computer. Screen no longer functional, my 2300c is still in service, used in a Duo Dock by my friend as an "electronic gradebook." He is often heard commenting, "None of the brand-new computers the school issues me does as good a job as this little machine!"  (8.13.10 Note:  finally retired, this would have to have been one of the longest functional lives of any of the Apple computers I have ever owned!)

With dual batteries and a gorgeous active matrix grey-scale screen, the "Blackbird" PB520 was a great machine ... until, that is, the so-called "intelligent" batteries opted to function in the "Three-Mile Island" nuclear meltdown mode! Was great if you wanted a computer which could be used as a hotplate. Result was a "win" in my second confrontation with Apple, Inc. (the first was the Scribe non-printer, a lot of us suffered a loss with that one).

I worked with several versions of this form, at least one of which had an earlier PowerPC processor. I upgraded one of these machines with a G4 processor and a wicked fast ATI video board.

The Quadra platform, specifically the 630, served me well, although I'm still cursing the recessed floppy disk slot (as well as the fact that while I would be working the Sony television remote in the hands of my daughters would turn off the computer, that one took awhile to figure out).

I remember how we went up to Orono for the "unveiling" of Apple's "pizza box" computer. The LC, and its successors, both an LCII and LCIII, were a delight to use by both myself and my daughters. I even had one of these machines set up with an Apple IIe card. Also, either my LC or Quadra, I can't recall which, at one point had a 486 card installed, allowing me to run DOS/Windows 95 in a separate window.

I purchased my first PowerBook 140 at the ComputerTown kiosk in the Boston MacWorld convention (those were the glory days for Macfans)! I also owed a PB145 and a PB160, but, alas, by the time I got my hands on a PB170 with its then considered gorgeous active-matrix B&W screen, that particular version of this form was long obsolete.

I bought my Powerbook 100 at Sam's Club off the "returned item" table. Basically an SE/30 in a little case with a lousy LCD screen, its virtue was its small, not really surpassed until the iBook line came out. My PB 100 "blew up" four days before the warranty was set to expire, end result was the funding to purchase a PowerBook 140.

I dreamed of owning an SE/30 when they were the hottest thing going, but, obviously, the $4,000 price tag put it way beyond my grasp. Later, when they began to enter the used market, I acquired one which I "souped up" with a huge hard-drive, an external portrait monitor card, and, eventually, a 50 MHz processor. Eventually, I even managed to "scrounge" twenty-five SE30's and built for classroom my very own computer network, complete with server and LaserWriter NT! Still one of my favorite computers, I've stored away a "perfect" example, loaded with everything from "Zork" to Word to the original Netscape. The SE/30 has served me as a desktop computer, a fax machine, and a connection to the internet (pre-WWW). I no longer grab it up when I see one on a lawn sale, but I've still a special place in my heart for these machines.

This is what I could afford, the Macintosh SE. It served me well for a long time, and I've found memories of trying to create for it an absolutely lean System 7 in order to have a maximum amount of the 20 MB (!) hard-drive space for programs. It even doubled as a "transportable" of sorts, although I myself never attempted to board an airline claiming it as "carry-on" baggage.

At $10-12,000 in 1990, adjusted for inflation the Macintosh IIfx by itself is most expensive desktop computer ever sold, Of all the Macintosh II forms this was my favorite. Obviously, I never purchased one myself, but I put together several from parts donated to us by the Mitre Corporation (we will not discuss here the things sometimes discovered on improperly cleaned hard-drives, in time "the Company" learned to shred such devices rather than give them away). I still think that the IIfx "looks" the way a computer should! If you were a IIfx fan, then you, too, most likely can spin a tale of an epic quest searching for a fabled "Black Terminator!"

The IIgs was a great machine, but when I looked at the cost of a Vulcan hard-drive upgrade it made more sense to "change- over" to the Macintosh line. It was a sad move, and, like many, I still wish the Apple developers had been allowed to continue the IIgs line forward.

My first personal computer, purchased in 1984 for around $1,800 with the infamous "Scribe" non-printer, I immediately made "desktop computing" the standard in my classroom. I moved up from the IIc to the IIc+, which I upgraded with 1 MB (!!!) of RAM. I loaded up AppleWorks with every Beagle Bros. enhancement made, and, with the help of Copy II, used this computer to learn the fine art of "hacking." This was the first computer I used to connect to the internet. "Dad, can we bring the computer with us," was a result of this machine being a favorite of my little girls and all their neighborhood friends. "Carmen Sandiego," has it ever been equaled?

Although I had played a bit with Commodore and Tandy computers, the Apple II was the first desktop PC with which I ever seriously "interfaced." In 1980 my school purchased several of the machines, and I can still remember the combination of fear and fascination I first felt late after school in the library when I accidentally managed to fill the screen of the monitor with a grid of lines labeled along the edges with numbers and letters. Using the full measure of my logic skills, I gently removed the floppy disk from the drive, then, with fingers crossed, I turned the machine off, waited a few seconds, reinserted the "boot" disk, and then powered-up the machine again. When the screen prompt properly reappeared, I had discovered that there was such a thing as a "spreadsheet," and, far more important, I learned that a computer could survive its operator!

My unibody Macbook Pro!  Dual video, high contrast screen, and, unappreciated by some, all the peripheral ports on the same side of the case, it was great machine.  It booted in either Windows XP (what can I say, there’s no Macintosh version of Silent Hunter 4) or Leopard, had a huge trackpad, and remains one of the prettiest laptops I’ve ever owned!

Sometime in 1983 my wife and I suffered through one of those “purchase the condo now, you’ll never get a deal like this again” presentations.  Salesperson tried, but after the required two hours I said, “Thanks, but no thanks, where’s my free gift?”  I learned B.A.S.I.C. using this little machine, and, like Bill and Steve and many others, was almost parent proud when my first hangman game ran as I had planned.  2.5MHz and 18K RAM (for those of you who grew up after BLOAD, that’s 1/50th a megabyte), at the time this tiny TI CC-40 was “state of the art!”

Those of you who recognize this little machine will most likely have appreciated this page.  I leave it to the rest of you to find out more about the “Timex” computer!

Considered to by many to be one of Apple’s greatest “flops,” courtesy of Robert’s scrounging instincts my like-new Cube was welcomed as an excellent internet radio “kiosk.”  Played wirelessly through an Airport Express, the traffic in Boston can be heard “on the threes” on my favorite station, WBZ.

After they were discontinued, but prior to their achieving “cult” status, I managed to obtain several versions of this sturdy little laptop.  One of them, a very advanced Graphite iBook, still serves in the West Indies as a “the power’s out because of a hurricane” backup to my sister’s Intel iBook!

Bought as “working partners,” the powerful 21.5” iMac and the diminutive 11” MacBook Air are as if time travelers from some futuristic world, seemingly of a place that should exist only in our dreams and upon the pages of pulp science fiction stories.   Marvels of both technology and design, despite protestations to the contrary it is clear that today they are setting tomorrow’s standards.  What’s next ... ah, I’ve a suspicion that by next year it won’t be only the iPhone people’re talking to!

My Computer History



©2018 - Patrick L. Groleau

All Rights Reserved

It seems a bit odd to add a Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 to this listing, but, thinking about it, it is clearly a “computer” and I use it, so here it should be chronicled!  Truthfully, I only have to scroll about halfway down the page and I see computers with far less processing/graphics power than the S2!  As for “storage,” well, the S2 has more storage than computers less than halfway down the page, and, when you consider the capacity of “The Cloud,” it’s probably fair to say that that comparison is becoming obsolete!

This is the first computer I ever worked with!  Actually, I was never in this room.  My math teacher at Classical High in Springfield had a terminal with which he remotely connected us to the MIT mainframe and taught us all about things which very few of us could understand, and after graduation in 1970 only one was smart enough to jump into that strange digital world!  Of course, at the same time we were just playing around on the other side of the country an 8th-grader in Seattle was seriously studying how to program using a similar terminal that the PTA had provided for his private school!