I have a new friend sitting on my desk this week: a working Powerbook 160. I don’t know why this particular model struck my fancy—I suppose it was always something I wished I could afford back in my poverty days. Manufactured in 1992, it originally listed for $2,430, or about two months’ salary at the time. Last week, it cost me $10 in postage and a DOA powerbook gathering dust on my shelf.
It’s not small. It doesn’t have a battery, and still weighs quite a bit. The screen is tiny. But it feels solid—something my fancy color 520 never did. It boots up in about 10 seconds, running System 7.1. The keyboard is springy and tight. The trackball (remember those?) is smooth and fast.
There are applications for modern Macs which are supposed to aid in productivity—going so far as to black out the entire screen so that the writer isn’t tempted to check email, surf the internet, etc. My solution? I installed a copy of Word 5.1 and was writing within minutes. I can’t get the machine on the internet without a dial-up account and a lot of patience, so there’s no temptation to fool around reading the IMDB. I’ve already used it to produce some writing for work, which means it’s paid for itself already. Sometimes the simple solutions really are the best ones.