We all know the stories of old computers or old operating systems still dutifully performing their tedious little tasks – the examples of electronic billboards running Windows 98, or ATMs running os/2 are abundant. A recent example that has been making its rounds across the internet is testament to the sturdiness of the Mac Classic IIs.
The Virginia Trading Post arts and crafts store in Santa Fe, California, bought six Mac Classic IIs machines back in 1991, and while unpacking them, shop owner Arch Sproul was surrounded by his employees, who were in awe over the machines. We are almost 20 years down the road, and three of the six Classics still perform their duty as cash registers and inventory machines. A Power Macintosh 7500/100 (1992) is still in use as well.
Sproul went for the relatively expensive Classics because he had heard horror stories from his friends about IBM machines. “They were ridiculously expensive for that time: $2,000 for a classic with 20 megabytes of memory,” remembered Sproul, “It looked like a little R2-D2, from Star Wars.” Sproul sold his store in 2003, but the current owners still use the Macs, and don’t have any upgrade plans.
This story brings back a lot of fond memories of the machines at my previous job. I worked in a shop where the registers were Windows 98 machines running an MS-DOS register application. It was old and looked really ugly, but it was blazing fast and was very easy to use. The machines were a little newer, but the MS-DOS register software was really, really old. It is still maintained, however, by a Dutch company.
I’m sure most of you have fond memories of certain machines at your job. Share!