Powerbook 170 visits the Genius bar

Theclamshell

macrumors 68030
Original poster
Mar 2, 2009
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I had to bring my MBP in so I figured I would play a little joke on Apple. I told the genius I needed help with the Powerbook 170. While they knew it was a joke, they all found it funny and they really enjoyed seeing the old laptop.
 

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arefbe

macrumors 6502
Sep 11, 2010
275
168
How would those kids know what it was? They were swimming in amniotic fluid when that PowerBook came out:)
 
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ProVideo

macrumors 6502
Jun 28, 2011
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Now I feel old.

I bet most Apple stores get at least one person a year that comes in with products with the rainbow logo that legitimately think Apple will do something to fix or upgrade it.

I doubt Apple would ever disclose it, but I wonder how many machines are still at Apple's headquarters, if any, that are running OS 9 or earlier. I know Steve donated most of stuff of historical importance from the 80's and early 90's to Stanford, but what happened after that? When Steve declared Classic dead and held it's funeral, were all the machines still running it wiped or discarded? I wouldn't be surprised if Apple has a rule that employees can't have products on company grounds more than around five years old as to not distract from forward thinking. If Steve spotted someone with a Newton he would probably have had them fired immediately.
 
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Theclamshell

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Mar 2, 2009
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Thats a good question. I never even considered that they man not want old machines around. I use a Blueberry Clamshell to take notes on at school and it's a blast to use. I wonder how apple would feel about an employee carrying one around.
 
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ProVideo

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Jun 28, 2011
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If it was an anniversary like the 30th for the Mac, they would likely be fine if an employee brought it in for that day or week to show and tell. Outside of that or some other work related reason I would imagine any supervisor would tell them to take it home and not bring it back.

I could be wrong, but running an OS as dated as 10.3.9 hooked up to a network likely poses security risk as well. It hasn't been updated since 2005. Who knows how many unpatched holes and flaws have come to light since then that will never be fixed, especially when it comes to Flash and Java.
 
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Jessica Lares

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Oct 31, 2009
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Awww. That's a cool picture! Thanks for sharing.

The thing about that clamshell, is that if it wasn't like 7 pounds, I'd love to carry it around too. Because it's such a drag carrying my MacBook Pro in a bag which ends up being the same amount of weight. :eek:
 
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tdiaz

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Feb 7, 2006
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I hauled in a Mac Portable when I went in for a MacBook bulging battery. The MacBook was sitting under the Portable in the black shoulder bag.
 
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Theclamshell

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Mar 2, 2009
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If it was an anniversary like the 30th for the Mac, they would likely be fine if an employee brought it in for that day or week to show and tell. Outside of that or some other work related reason I would imagine any supervisor would tell them to take it home and not bring it back.

I could be wrong, but running an OS as dated as 10.3.9 hooked up to a network likely poses security risk as well. It hasn't been updated since 2005. Who knows how many unpatched holes and flaws have come to light since then that will never be fixed, especially when it comes to Flash and Java.
Great point about the security risks of the old programs. Agreed.


Awww. That's a cool picture! Thanks for sharing.

The thing about that clamshell, is that if it wasn't like 7 pounds, I'd love to carry it around too. Because it's such a drag carrying my MacBook Pro in a bag which ends up being the same amount of weight. :eek:
It is a bit heavier but i don't mind too much. I'm also used to carrying around a 17" MBP so it is a bit more comparable.

I hauled in a Mac Portable when I went in for a MacBook bulging battery. The MacBook was sitting under the Portable in the black shoulder bag.
That is awesome, what did they say? Good thing it didn't crush the macbook :p
 
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Anonymous Freak

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Dec 12, 2002
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Cascadia
I was *REALLY* tempted to schedule a Genius Bar appointment for the 30th anniversary complaining that my Apple external drive wasn't working right.

Of course, I would have brought in my original Macintosh and its external 400k drive...

If I had the later (and *REALLY* hard to get) external SuperDrive (the 1.4 MB floppy drive,) that would have been funnier, since just saying "external SuperDrive", they might have thought I meant the current USB DVD writer...
 
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tdiaz

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Feb 7, 2006
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I had a battery that lasted about 20 minutes, it was enough to let them play with it, the hard drive was a little squeally, so it got "extra" attention. In the end, I left with a new MacBook battery and they had fun.
 
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Theclamshell

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Mar 2, 2009
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I was *REALLY* tempted to schedule a Genius Bar appointment for the 30th anniversary complaining that my Apple external drive wasn't working right.

Of course, I would have brought in my original Macintosh and its external 400k drive...

If I had the later (and *REALLY* hard to get) external SuperDrive (the 1.4 MB floppy drive,) that would have been funnier, since just saying "external SuperDrive", they might have thought I meant the current USB DVD writer...
That would have been awesome. Superdrive does make one think it's the current one.

I had a battery that lasted about 20 minutes, it was enough to let them play with it, the hard drive was a little squeally, so it got "extra" attention. In the end, I left with a new MacBook battery and they had fun.
That is very cool. I love when old laptops have working batteries, especially with the way the portable is designed where it does not work if the battery is dead.

That picture of the old guy is hilarious.
 
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ElectronGuru

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Sep 5, 2013
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Oregon, USA
Great pic. Reminds me of my first client. He really didn't want to give up the trackball from his 170. Couldn't stand the new fangled trackpad on the 540!
 
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tdiaz

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Feb 7, 2006
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I held out on a Duo 2300c for until the Powerbook G3 Wall Street was on closeout, because of the trackball.

A specifically upgraded 280c was the original machine. I had a loaded DuoDock II for that thing, at home and at work. Portable desktop. :)
 
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Hrududu

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Jul 25, 2008
2,214
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Central US
My favorite experience working at an AASP was when a little old lady brought in her Color Classic and Style Writer II printer because she couldn't get it to print. Naturally, nobody had a clue what to do with System 7.1, so I got called over. A quick adjustment in the Chooser had her up and running in no time. She told me she loved the little computer and just used it for typing letters. I made sure she knew that she was welcome to bring it in anytime she had a problem, and I'd be sure to get it taken care of.
 
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Anonymous Freak

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Dec 12, 2002
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As an on-site computer support technician from 2001-2010, I saw more than my fair share of "unusual service calls".

I had a few "antique system" calls during those years. The oldest was a small business that used an IBM PC-AT (circa 1984) for their payroll system. The power supply had died, and I had to hunt down a new one for them.

Also saw a couple "really old Mac" calls. The best one was a woman who used a Macintosh IIcx with a Portrait Display to write. She had some form of cheapish laser printer (either an HP or Apple "Personal LaserWriter", I don't recall which. Just that it was one of the Macintosh-oriented 'personal' models from that era.) She was a professional writer, and she used Microsoft Word 5.1 on it to write. She had a new manuscript due to the publisher in a few days, and had a trifecta of hardware failures: Modem died (so she couldn't send it electronically,) floppy drive died (so she couldn't mail an electronic copy,) and printer died. So she had no way to get the manuscript out of the computer!

I ended up fixing the floppy drive (a prior floppy had lost its metal shutter, and it was stuck in there. Some "Operation" with long tweezers later, and it was fully functional again,) figuring out that the imaging drum on the laser printer had gone bad (thankfully, it was a model that had a "still manufactured" imaging drum, so I told her which one to get,) and told her to go get a new modem. (She had the Mac-mini-DIN-8-to-25-pin-PC-serial cable already, so any serial modem would work.)
 
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Theclamshell

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Mar 2, 2009
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Those are some really awesome stories, I bet a book or website full of Apple employee stories would be awesome.
 
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Rampant.A.I.

macrumors 6502a
Sep 25, 2009
579
9
I had a PowerBook 5300cs in 1996. In fact, that model sold me on Apple, and ruined me for the Genius Bar.

I dropped it and broke the LCD, called Apple, and within 3 days they had refurbished and mailed it back to me, free of charge. Times have changed, and while their Cupertino support is still good, half the Genius Bar has limited experience, are disgruntled when they have to fix hardware, and like to avoid doing so.

I sold the same laptop 5 years later, for $300.00.
 
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Mr Rabbit

macrumors 6502a
May 13, 2013
637
5
'merica
I bet most Apple stores get at least one person a year that comes in with products with the rainbow logo that legitimately think Apple will do something to fix or upgrade it.
This. During my time behind the bar I saw many a rainbow Apple products. Sometimes people would bring them in just for show & tell but more often they were legitimately looking for help.

How would those kids know what it was? They were swimming in amniotic fluid when that PowerBook came out:)
Hey now, not everyone there is 18 ;) One of my fellow Genii was in his 50's I believe and much earlier in life was the first Apple reseller in town, later moving on to run an Apple training service before later coming to the Apple store. Not every team will have some cool old cat like that but you might be surprised in a lot of cases.

If it was an anniversary like the 30th for the Mac, they would likely be fine if an employee brought it in for that day or week to show and tell. Outside of that or some other work related reason I would imagine any supervisor would tell them to take it home and not bring it back.

I could be wrong, but running an OS as dated as 10.3.9 hooked up to a network likely poses security risk as well. It hasn't been updated since 2005. Who knows how many unpatched holes and flaws have come to light since then that will never be fixed, especially when it comes to Flash and Java.
I'm sure every team is different but I doubt the majority of them would care. While I don't recall hearing or reading "Don't connect personal devices to the physical network" it was at the very least universally assumed. In several years there I never encountered a proper reason to connect a personal device to the firewalled network.
 
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HereBeMonsters

macrumors 6502
Jul 5, 2012
319
7
Fareham, UK
My favorite experience working at an AASP was when a little old lady brought in her Color Classic and Style Writer II printer because she couldn't get it to print. Naturally, nobody had a clue what to do with System 7.1, so I got called over. A quick adjustment in the Chooser had her up and running in no time. She told me she loved the little computer and just used it for typing letters. I made sure she knew that she was welcome to bring it in anytime she had a problem, and I'd be sure to get it taken care of.
Good work that man. A lesser chap would have dismissed everything and tried to sell her something modern. Sounds like she's got what she needs, and no point in getting her to learn a new system when knows that one already.

Same reason my Gran still uses her Nokia 3310. She only wants to call and text, the battery lasts for a week, and she knows how to use it.
 
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AmestrisXServe

macrumors 6502
Feb 6, 2014
263
2
I was *REALLY* tempted to schedule a Genius Bar appointment for the 30th anniversary complaining that my Apple external drive wasn't working right.

Of course, I would have brought in my original Macintosh and its external 400k drive...

If I had the later (and *REALLY* hard to get) external SuperDrive (the 1.4 MB floppy drive,) that would have been funnier, since just saying "external SuperDrive", they might have thought I meant the current USB DVD writer...
You can convert an 800K drive to a 1440K drive by swapping the mechanism. The internal PCB is compatible, and only the host controller on the system differs. For the Apple II, this means that you'd need a FDHD controller card, but for the SE FDHD and later, you need nothing.

I wonder what they would do if you hauled a Lisa in there. :D

As an on-site computer support technician from 2001-2010, I saw more than my fair share of "unusual service calls".

I had a few "antique system" calls during those years. The oldest was a small business that used an IBM PC-AT (circa 1984) for their payroll system. The power supply had died, and I had to hunt down a new one for them.

Also saw a couple "really old Mac" calls. The best one was a woman who used a Macintosh IIcx with a Portrait Display to write. She had some form of cheapish laser printer (either an HP or Apple "Personal LaserWriter", I don't recall which. Just that it was one of the Macintosh-oriented 'personal' models from that era.) She was a professional writer, and she used Microsoft Word 5.1 on it to write. She had a new manuscript due to the publisher in a few days, and had a trifecta of hardware failures: Modem died (so she couldn't send it electronically,) floppy drive died (so she couldn't mail an electronic copy,) and printer died. So she had no way to get the manuscript out of the computer!

I ended up fixing the floppy drive (a prior floppy had lost its metal shutter, and it was stuck in there. Some "Operation" with long tweezers later, and it was fully functional again,) figuring out that the imaging drum on the laser printer had gone bad (thankfully, it was a model that had a "still manufactured" imaging drum, so I told her which one to get,) and told her to go get a new modem. (She had the Mac-mini-DIN-8-to-25-pin-PC-serial cable already, so any serial modem would work.)
The shocking part of this, is that her publisher can read HFS floppy diskettes. I suppose, at least she doesn't need to worry about the files in WordPerfect format, but I would think that they would have one terrible time of trying to determine why the media is 'unformatted', unless she sends them in DOS format.

When I was still doing technical work of this kind, there was no system I wouldn't repair, including vacuum tube equipment. The way I look at it, I charge for time, and for parts, and as long as the client is happy, I will do the work. I always consulted to those with semi-modern PC equipment, that they are best replacing it, as the cost vs. outcome projection is always in favour of replacement with generic PC hardware, but anyone with vintage equipment usually knows that they want that specific system working, and aren't looking for something new, and as I didn't sell new hardware, I had no complaints.

It is nice that some Apple Store teams are doing this. The last time I was in an Apple Store, the salesman that was trying to push a Air model at me was instantly perplexed when I complained about it lacking a Firewire port. He didn't know what that was, much less know how to repair an M68K system; or that such a ting existed.

Apple service centres used to be required to know the entire Apple product line, and now, Apple have this five-to-six year turnaround policy. Quite sad, really.

As I said, any serviceman should look at a repair job as a time and parts project: If the customer can pay for the time, and the parts, why turn the work aside? In doing so, you only offend a customer, who will go elsewhere for the same thing. The entire idea of a system being 'too old to service' is rubbish.
 
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