On Saturday, January 24th, the Apple Macintosh turns 25. Over the short history of personal computing, no machine has inspired so much love and so much loathing, so many fanatical fans and so many frothing detractors. And so many opinions. So very many opinions. No doubt, you have your own. And I have mine. Here, I give you the …
Heh, I have one of those, rescued from a dumpster. The only Mac I have ever owned... nice to know I got the very worst. It has a dead battery, which means it is next to impossible to make to run. (I have occasionally succeeded if the 9V backup battery is extremely fresh). I'm keeping it around mainly in the hope it becomes a collector's item someday....
Worst Mac ever
Maybe it's not a 'proper' Mac, but the Newton MessagePad certainly deserves a (dis)honourable mention. The size and weight of a brick, it was distinguished by its ability to recognise handwriting, but v-e-r-y s--l--o--w--l--y.
On the positive side it launched the PDA category and paved the way for Palm to launch a successful product 4 years later.
A Bit Harsh on the Mac Portable
Okay, so it was a bit of a beast. But then pretty much all laptops were at the time. If I remember correctly (and I may not, on account of being very young at the time); it was pretty revolutionary/innovative in its own way.
For example, I'm pretty sure it sported the first active matrix LCD -- required for the GUI, less of an issue for DOS based PCs. If you want a similarly speedy display, you'd have had to have bought a plasma equipped Tosh or Compaq -- and they were very pricey and (I think) ran only from the mains supply.
The trackball could be moved to either side of the keyboard, which was a nice touch for lefties (I don't suppose many other lappies came with trackballs though -- Windows not having hit 3.x by then).
I seem to recall the battery being lead acid as well. No idea why, but I presume someone thought it was a better bet than the prevailing NiCad batteries of the time. Old batteries really sucked.
Paris, 'cos she can really suck too.
Happy Birthday to ya!
Hippo Bathday Macintosh! You may be loved by many, hated by a fair few, but you've managed to keep pushing the boundaries and refreshing the ideas of the home/personal computing world for a quarter of a century. It would be a duller place without you ;-)
Enjoy the cake.
Not a Mac user
For once a Mac article that was interesting to read - no disrepsect to other Mac articles, they're just not of any interest to me.
Portable = thievable
Quite a few years ago I was working on a major international conference in a major Westminster conference centre. One of my colleagues had managed to hire a Portable from somewhere and was using it to co-ordinate studio bookings.
During lunch on day 1 it vanished.
In 1979 I visited Queen Mary Collage London. They had a pair of graphics workstations operated using mice. One user was shuffling a deck of cards on screen using the mouse.
I believe it was the Xerox Parc machines that Apple saw that inspired the Apple Lisa and the the MAC. Then the whole W.I.M.P interface thing took off.
MacroRodent - you can break open the lead acid battery, and replace the lead acid cells you find inside with new ones, and you will have a working Mac Portable. I know 'cos I've done it.
Actually, the Macintosh portable wasn't so bad 20 years ago. It ran all day on a charge, did everything a desktop Mac did, and easily paid for itself for many Mac based consultants. For the left handed, you could pop out trackball and keyboard and put them in the other way around.
Interestingly, Apple then gave the portable to Sony and had them re-engineer it from 16 pounds down to the cute five pound Powerbook 100.
(Waste even more time reading about old macs at lowendmac.com)
My fave Macs
Of course, the SE/30 was essentially the same under the hood as the later Colour Classic but the CC had a stunning little Trinitron display. Lovely.
iMacs. My personal favourite was the iMac "DV" 400Mhz with the clear cover. A beautifully designed and surprisingly powerful little PC.
The Cube. Wonderful, if underpowered, design tour-de-force. A Cube with the matching acrylic CRT display is still an undeniable work of art. The most beautiful computer ever created.
The 'El Capitan' PowerMac G3. This is when Apple put clear blue water between the sordid cloning episode and the wintel workstation competition. The external appearance and internal design of this machine was a revelation, and they were pretty chipper with a 500Mhz PPC chip.
Disagree about the 20th anniversay Mac
It was a concept machine that gave a taste of things to come, hence the price. You should take that off the list and put virtually the entire Performa 63xx series on instead. They really were crap :-)
i still have a MacPlus and a Mac IIci - the ci is in a cupboard, wish i could find a use for it - the MacPlus is actually on display as an ornament - one of these days it'll be a macquarium
i did really like the Cube - never found a problem with the lack of expansion options (such as i don't find a problem with lack of expansion in my iMac now) and when it became too slow, i swapped out the processor and gave it another year or two of life. i should look at the mods that put a mac mini inside so i can keep using it
I just seem to remember Apple Macs being merely a rare oddity before the 1998 iMac arrived. In the late 80's, it was the Commodore 64 and Spectrum that were king, and the Amiga in the early 90's.
Whilst these 25 year nostalgic articles are nice, it's only Apple's success today which means they have any relevance. Don't get me wrong, I have a Mac and love it, but I'd rather read about the history of Commodore or Sega than irrelevant niche machines from back in the day.
You forgot the macbook air.
No ethernet? check. no optical drive? check. non-replaceable battery? check. almost complete lack of useful ports? check. horrendously overpriced and underpowered? check. made by apple and sold to iDiots? check.
My first, second, and third computers were Performas.... not just Performas, but 5 year old Performas to boot. Those rugged little boxes may not have been fast, but they were solid, but I suppose someone who jumped straight onto the Intel (crap) line doesn't care about how long the hardware lasts, just how good it is for the given second.
Have to agree about the SE/30. One of the best ever. It takes for the time, an amazing 128MB of RAM. Stick in a bigger SCSI drive, network card, got your own (fairly) portable server.
Mine's the one with 30 pin simms in the pocket.
Powerbook G4 - Pah!
not bad analysis, but seriously, the Powerbook G4 over the G3 Pismo? a classic case of form over function.
From a support point of view both the Quicksilver G4 and Powerbook G4 are the most unreliable macs of recent times.
I must agree that the 4400 was the most horrendous mac ever- based on a standard PC of the time. I would very much doubt if any are still running, and I am sure nobody has affection for it.
Do not diss the Cube
The Cube was not about making a economic desktop. The Cube was about pushing the limits of the possible.
The Amigan inside me would like to think that the Mac was only a "niche" computer, but I have to take a realistic look at things.
In the late 80s and early 90s, the office desks at my school had Macs, not Amigas. (Though my senior year at a new high school found an IBM token-ring network in place as the entire district had gone to some mainframe. But Macs were still in use everywhere.) Industrial arts: Apple, then Mac. Polisci and art: Mac.
My bank! Macs. Yeah, I saw very few Amigas -- well, none, really -- in place anywhere I visited, with the exception of the Amiga store across from Radio Shack in the South Forks Plaza.
Of course, Amiga was used by the likes of NASA, video production companies, art studios, TV broadcast stations (PrevueGuide anyone?) But never in general business use. All the places I know personally, and most by way of anecdote, of which subsisted on Mac systems moved to IBM and/or Windows systems.
You know, it would almost seem like our beloved Amiga was a niche computer.
Paris, filling a niche.
@ cube people
The cube was really about Jobsy making a copy of the truly excellent NeXT box.
The next box was waaay cooler. Magnesium, black, cube far better than plastic, shiny, cack.
Shoorli shum mishtayk hoshifur?
The five best should include at least most of the present range?
Mac Pro (stunning kit!)
Mac Book Pro (the name really does say it all, and that design ... )
iMac (the all-in-one of all-in-ones? A statement of cool and creative efficiency in any office reception area?)
Mac Mini (a creative elegance that stuns. Netbooks = eat you hearts out?)
Mac Tablet (ok, maybe soon?)
The elegance of functionality synergised across form, components and working methods?
That's a bit harsh on the 4400!
The 4400 was my first Mac, heavy as a box of bricks and a real pain in the arse to open up (to replace the pram battery!) but it kept running up until I got rid of it (about 3 years ago, not bad for a Mac bur brilliant compared to all my friends windows machines!) It was ugly though :-)
Worth a mention is the original G3 tower, an absolute dream to use and upgrade.
One of the worst sold me.
Oddly enough, one of the top 5 worst Macs you've selected is the one that made me a very happy camper with Macs. The first one I ever owned was the Performa 6205. I used it side by side with a faster PC for about a year. My Mac out-performed the PC, even though it was rated as slower. Overall the Mac was a much better quality machine. The pc had many repairs done under warranty. Plus the Mac just worked with the scanner, the PC was nothing but trouble.
The first Mac I bought myself (as opposed to my that provided by my employer -A Quadra 650) was a Performa 6200 and I had it upgraded with an extra 4MB of RAM (cost another £100). At the time I don't think there was another plastic computer box that looked as good as that 6200. I later upgraded to a performa 6400 and kept that until just over a year ago when I finally went Intel Mac Pro.
But back to the 6200, I started my business with that and over the years collected many other mac (most of them sitting in my loft). Occasionally I would get one that was faulty and often is wasn't economical to repair (Apple spares were stupidly expensive - and hard to get) so I would dismantle them for spares. The Mother-board came out just by undoing a couple of screws and pulling a conveniently provided fold-away handle and it slid out on its runners - no cables to disconnect. The outer case came off next to expose the metal-work and the drives (mounted on plastic slide-out sleds). I seem to remember that everything else came apart by undoing one screw per item.
What I was always amazed by (having seen inside so many PCs at the time) was that the internal wiring was a single harness and could be removed in one piece without any effort.
The emr shield is the bottom of a G3 slot-loading Imac is a work of art (though not many see it) spoiled only by the position of two of its fixing screws (in spaces just too narrow for an average blokes finger to get in).
The silent Cube is a thing of beauty (let down only by its unreliable power-supply) and I still have people asking if I can get them one (and those that have them saying "only when I die").
The G4 anglepoise iMac continues to amaze those who have never seen one before (and in my experience - it has been the most reliable of all the imac models, since its launch I've only had one put down as being BER, and that was a couple of years ago. We still have 2 running 24/7 in this house).
And finally, the MacPro - stunning - both inside and out. (And virtually silent.)
However - they all were not that clever inside, some were a real pain to add RAM to, boards or drives had to be moved first. the iBook is a real pain to take apart (but beautiful once you got it apart), the eMac is a bit dodgy with exposed residual HT inside the case when you take the back off (remembering first to disconnect the on/off switch connector before you do).
The original, still running.
Here it is, not a Plus, not a 128k, just a plain original Apple Macintosh from the Corestore Collection, still booting and running on the 25th anniversary:
The MacBook Air is an excellent Mac
You do realize the word "Air" is in the product title of the MacBook Air don't you? It means it's primarily wireless, but it seems you don't understand Apple also makes a line of "Airports"... Air... port? Get it? So everything from backing up, printing, cds, music, web cams, etc... are all "wireless", so cable based ports are no longer needed since you use an Airport instead.
And ah, the battery is easily replaceable for $89, just a few screws on the bottom and it slides out. Lastly, you obviously haven't shopped for similar 3 pound, full featured laptops. The MacBook Air is priced right in line with them, so it's not expensive when you understand that...
So please don't post false information when you don't know how a product operates, it makes you look bad. :)
I see you swallow Jobs Magic Koolaid then
Its an overpriced, underpowered novelty item.
Cable based ports are still *faster* wireless isnt much good if your trying to shift large files round quickly.
..but why no inclusion of the gutless, portless, splodgy-screened Nathan Barley toy that is the air? All the price of a macbook pro, all the power of a £300 netbook... :)
Still, as I say, nice article. As someone who abuses a lot of computers (from my Alpha and my Suns, through to my Mongrel warhorse PCs and my Macbook pro), I have no particular axe to grind pro or anti. However, I do remember those horrible beige powermacs too- they were gutless, flimsy overpriced piles of crap (running an OS with no memory protection or proper multitasking). Dark days indeed.
Nice to see they finally "pulled their head out of their ass" as you put it, as there have always been good ideas, amazingly badly-executed. I have to say that my little Macbook Pro actually holds its own with my other machines now, and seems to be price and performance competitive with various boutique laptop brands- but without the curse of Vista (unless you really want it, of course).
I was expecting to be irritated by this article, mac fanbois usually make my teeth hurt, but nope, it was an interesting read. Thanks for the article!
RE: Ted (The MacBook Air is an excellent Mac)
"...similar 3 pound, full featured laptops. The MacBook Air is priced right in line with them, so it's not expensive when you understand that..."
Agreed that the Air is priced broadly in line with the other similar machines, but those other machines are appearing with DVD burners, Blu Ray, multiple USB and so forth - what I'd consider a "fully featured" laptop compared with the limited options of the Air. The Air might well offer you all the wireless options for doing this, but whenever you appear at a client site, how do you think they react when you go through the process of attempting to interface with the network to load that CD they handed you, (assuming you are allowed onto the WLAN to begin with!) or just pop it into the built in drive? Pulling an external drive out of your bag just defeats the purpose of getting such an ultraportable to travel with in the first place!
I really don't see the point of the Air as opposed to the normal Macbook - for a (little) bit more weight and the same footprint size, you get everything that should be on a laptop, and for roughly the same price as well. If they had made a much smaller machine like the ultraportable Vaio's (11 inch TX, 10 inch TR) then maybe there is a place for this product, but they are just making a competitor for their own most popular machine in the Macbook...
Of course, other manufacturers seem to be on this bandwagon as well - how many internally identical versions of the various sizes of laptop does Asus think it needs?????
AC who liked the Performa 6205
But I bet the PC you had been suckered into buying was some POS from Tiny/Time or Packard Bell. A well specced PC will always outshine a Mac (may not look so good, but only a dandy would give a shit about that)
Centris Fan Writes
Our Centris 650 still runs and is still in use. It's gone through a screen and the enet died long ago, but it is still a good piece of kit. I fondly remember the SE30, the maths co processor meant I could do 3D reconstructions without having to go away and get a coffee while it happened. I might still be doing my PhD without it.
Thanks much for the stroll down Mac memory lane; all I'd ask is some photos to help this old codger put a face to the name and vice versa ("Oh, THAT'S what was in the next cubicle many moons ago"). While, as many will no doubt point out, pics can be found online, did I mention that this old codger is also lazy?
Got a Mac Pro
I'm fairly platform agnostic. From the days of the Amstrad CPC and Sinclair Spectrum I've owned a variety of kit. And it has to be said until recently I wasn't that impressed with the Macintosh line.
But Vista was going to cause me so many problems that I thought I might as well look and see if getting a Mac for the office was a good idea to sit alongside my XP box. I did the sums and because of the costs of Vista sofware upgrades a decent PC ended up *more* expensive.
Opted for the Mac Pro instead and it's an amazing bit of kit. I realise that most Mac's are overpriced, but the Mac Pro is relatively cheap for what you get (always remembering to order the 2 gig model and then buy the extra RAM from Crucial). It's not a bad looker either and the internal design is pretty good.
So I can sit in my office and annoy visiting Mac fans by booting it into Windows, and annoying the PC fans by just having purchased a Mac. Platform wars are dumb, you wouldn't stick with a Ford car and slag off everything else. You just buy the best car you can afford that does the job for you!
Paris, because even she knows the Amstrad CPC is better than a PC or a Mac!
I see you have misunderstood the concept of Wireless (no wires, sans cables, un-tethered)
Please sit down, reread the article you commented on and reflect.
Yes cables are faster than wireless, but then it would have been called the Macbook Wire/Cable, wouldnt it..
But don't forget
Good article - I'd forgotten just what they managed to do with sod all memory and processing power.
If we are thinking about companies that made an impact don't forget Acorn. The BBC micro had a massive impact in the UK, found its way into schools and was Ideal for running experiments in the lab and controlling machinery (I bet some are still running in schools and hospital labs throughout the country) + they spun off ARM.
Paris cos she never had a problem with a small amount of memory but was always pleased to get more RAM
@Got a mac pro
I think I love you, will you have my babies? Brilliant idea. Time for some strategic bootcamping.
The 25th anniversary of the visionary British computer - the Sinclair QL
I recently (about 2 or 3 weeks ago) had to remove a SCSI hard drive from an old Performa. I'm not sure if it has just been used a lot but the case had molded to the inside of the case!
A colleague and I were struggling to get the case off for about 20 minutes or so and we are both Ex-Apple service engineers so not new the process - though neither of us are still working on Macs.
I hate the Performa series though - who makes a machine (even the hard drive tray) out of plastic??).
I remember the Amiga well (I still have a few - A1200T, A3000UX, A4000, A500) and preferred them to the Mac. The thing that got me was my 4000 and 3000UX could both emulate the Mac faster than a real Mac (they had either a 68060 50MHz and 68040 40MHZ Motorola processors), those were the days.
I feel sorry for machines like the Amiga - it was ahead of its time and it was Commodore's management which destroyed the machine not the Commodore engineers (the Amiga turned into a parce the parcel game were everytime the parcel changed hands a little piece of it would be removed and lost for ever). I mean the old Commodore plant in West Chester is now QVC!!!
It would be nice if you would cover machines like the Amiga and maybe other companies rather than just the mainstream? I would love to read an article about Tramel or maybe even Medhi Ali and how they f##ked up other companies and what they are doing now (I know Medhi Ali is some UN person - in charge of drugs or something - I bet he doing that job well too :( ).
Mega-corp loving fools who fall to marketing never go away.
Innovative? No stolen from Xerox.
Made anything but plastic and packaging? Nah, Motorola, IBM, Intel, you name it, they never did it as an original.
When afford ably copied? Starmac? Sued into oblivion.
OS X , MacOS Classics ? Easy to use? Nope. Not at all, just sold that way and marketed through education, whose purchasing departments are corrupt and schools are full of low paid idiot teachers with skills irrelevant to the fast paced workforces.
And even after losing the PPC rules! and AltiVec is "teh best," these fan boys are still around.
Apple stores, greedy consumerism at its worst. Apple and Jobs are not generous companies, not philanthropic in the least. They give nothing notable to science in both software and hardware design, all scientific research could be done without them and not a blip would be registered. Greedy marketeers making average or sub-standard products and charging more than top-dollar for this stuff. And the "think different" aka "think stupid" crown buys this stuff up. Consistently Mac obsessed people I have known range from a guy who just likes them but the bulk of these zealots are religious idiots that suck at their jobs, suck as people and are obsessed with this cult of people who surround themselves with - the saddest of all things - computer terminals and a modern version of the Sony Walkman.
Its like people who congregate around a certain brand of gas pump or obsess about sewer and drain grates. Its really stupid. And its not about getting anything done,like the gas pump one likes is faster, or the grates when made from a certain alloy hold more weight, cost less and are lighter, No no no. Its about style. Its about looking good. Its about showing off.
I've spent time with OS X, with the very first Macs, many models over the years. I would say one of the coolest Apple products I remember was the Apple IIgs. But macs. slow,stupid and irrelevant.
Now that none of this actually matters, and lately I've become more ambivalent about what it is in front of me, Windows, Linux, Solaris, and even OS X, I can use them all. In fact, they all , even OS X, have a place, but the OS X factions are the worst. They are the most annoying to be around.
One of the worst offenses I have seen with Apple is the "old days" Macs and Apple products were always SCSI, always Parity memory and the stuff they used was expensive and generally built well. Today, most of the crap is sub-Dell quality and a number of the "Server" models were offered without ECC memory, which is just offensive and stupid.
Enjoy the Crapintosh, suckers, and making Steve Jobs rich. Enjoy. But the record stands, and most of the apple fan boi arguments were all wrong and have been proven wrong over time, and the only thing that has been proven right is that Steve Jobs knows how to take money from the zealots who call themselves Mac fans.
I've fixed and recovered data for Mac users using Linux bootable/LiveCDs, and just have to snicker and laugh at how bad HFS/HFS+ is. Lol. Linux has to bail you punks out all the time. The real killer is the Darwin bootable CDs can't even do the recovery that Linux can.
Mac IIe's were good machines
Especially with the CPM plug in card.
I had a Powerbook 170 when I worked briefly in marketing. That trackball was the biz. I don't understand why it was the first and last machine to have one.
apple-history.com has the specs of every device Apple has ever made from the satanic Apple I (price was $666.66) to the latest MacBooks and iPhones.
Re:Shoorli shum mishtayk hoshifur?
You're missing the point. The current range might be technically superior but then everything has developed in that time so the models available now are nowhere near as "groundbreaking" as some of the older ones.
Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion and whether you prefer the old macs or the new ones is up to you.
Personally I think they're all shit, but that's just me :)
Good article though and I enjoyed reading it.
If you can get hold of it, check out "On The Edge: The Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore." It appears that Bagnall has a new edition coming out in February called "The Commodore Story: A Company on the Edge." His site, commodorebook.com does not seem to mention anything about it, but Barnes and Noble has it listed for pre-order. I am placing my pre-order now; the original book was a masterpiece and helped to reshape the world of the Home Computer Revolution in which I grew up.
Paris, cheap on the pre-order.
First Mac encounter.
I remember well the first Mac I ever got my paws on. An early monochrome object. It was sat in a building of allegedly smart people and I was the only one prepared to have a bash at declagging its mouse.
I remember thinking at the time (as a hardened command line junkie) that having an O/S that was so dependant on one small peripheral that a problem with same could convert an expensive device into a doorstop was a bloody silly idea. Guess I was wrong.
I don't think they were Xerox machines at QMC. I think they were ICL Perqs. At least that's what was there in 1980. You could play PacMan on them. They were totally scifi....
Worst ever Mac ? PowerPC 7200, thanks to the non-functioning MacOS 7.5.3
When's a PC not a PC?
When it's made by Apple, apparently.
While I have nothing against Macs themselves their marketing department drive me up the wall. By using their "I'm a PC" commercials they're effectively telling the gullible that you only have 2 options: Mac or Wintel -- when there are those of use out there who choose not to buy either.
By all means keep selling your white-goods to consumers who want simplicity -- but please stop trying to peddle Windows as well.
Only read a couple of these, I found them unreadable without pictures.
Not being a fan-boi and not being old enough to be able to form words when the first mac was released, I have no idea what you're talking about without photos.
The writing *was* on the wall
Ah! The classic Mac ,<sniff> I've been on Windows for years now but mid 80's the Mac was the 1st "personal computer" and it still conjures a moist eye. At work there was the PDP-11 in the corner running TSX, supporting half a dozen users and doing everything from "word processing", spreadsheets etc. to stock control on only 256Kwords with point-point RS232 but it was all eldritch green-screen keyboard incantation stuff... Then came the GUI.
The company had a Lisa first but the Mac was it. Thanks to Dr Dobbs I had the wireman upgrade the RAM to 512K and - apart from a moment's panic when the screen seemed very, very wrong afterwards, due it turned out to being too close to a transformer - everything was fine.
More than fine. You could really do "stuff" with graphics and sound - fractals, music... even, occasionally, WORK.
I hacked MacPaint's resource file with circuit symbols and we used it for electronics CAD; ported the state-machine compiler from the PDP to the Mac and had it running 10x faster; hacked into the original speech synthesis demo and had it greet colleagues when they arrived at work as a result of which one of said colleagues then uber-hacked me and had the Mac singing rugby songs [think Stephen Hawking singing "Di-na - Di-na - show - us - a - leg..."
And the games! OK, some were text based still (HHGTTG, Leather Goddesses of Phobos) but then came one (something to do with collecting "scepters"?) with a world to explore, and things that you could pick up by clicking on them.
I seem to remember using it as a terminal to the PDP too... though probably only to play Dungeon.
Of course MS Word (I still have a set of disks) came on a set of about 25 floppies - actually everything came on 25+ floppies - and installation took forever, but it was cool, possibly even belatedly groovy.
And yes, I can confirm that the original Mac had the names of the design team on the inside medium charcoal-grey back wall of the case.
I've still got a Quadra in storage... I'll check it for dead spiders (again) when I get it out and hopefully it will spring to life just like the old days.
The Mac had better be good...
My enduring comment is from my March (I think) 1984 review of the Macintosh (before it was renamed the Macintosh 128) in Personal Computer World magazine. It starts
"The Mac had better be good, or the company might not survive..."
The diametric opinions started then, at the launch. I remember letters to the magazine decrying mice ("it's so much faster to type "DIR<cr>" than pick up the mouse, move, double-click, move hands to keyboard!").
It was two years before I got to use one, but for my money it was already the future of computing. Always has been!
Happy birthday Macintosh!
re: "Innovative? No stolen from Xerox."
If you look at the patents Apple was filing BEFORE its first visit, you would finfd that there was a lot of correlation with the work going on at Xerox PARC. This was a reason (but not the only one) why Apple was so easily able to headhunt Xerox employees, particularly when Apple was willing to do something with it, instead of research for research's sakes.
But hey, let's stick to 'Apple were thieves', so much easier than having to deal with little things like fact.
"Its about showing off."
Or ranting on and on, superiorly spinning dubious opinion as fact... you sure you don't buy Apple?
On the Bad front ...
Why did you overlook the Powerbook Duo, Apple's first try at a subnotebook?
The thing was a dog. They made it out of plastic, and went hog wild on weight-saving. So wild that if you lifted it up while it was running on battery, the case would flex so much that the battery bay contacts would lose the physical connection to the battery and it would die on the spot.
They left a lot of stuff out. Ports, floppy drive, display adapter. Instead, there was an external dock. Smart folks bought the mini-dock which clipped on the back and gave it pretty much everything that the similarly-priced standard duo-dock gave it (except for an extra internal hard disk).
The standard duo-dock was, however, a thing of a horror. Resembling an old-style VCR, you slid the (closed) Duo into a slot in the front, whereupon a whizzy motorized mechanism would latch on and suck it into the bowels of the dock, there to give every semblance of an underpowered gutless desktop machine. Except that sometimes the latch mechanism jammed. In which case, you could either invalidate your warranty with a screwdriver, or schlep the whole mess back to your local dealership.
This motorized dock was hard-sold to Duo <s>customers</s> mugs, while the mini-dock stayed in scarce supply, for no earthly reason ...