About five months ago, my wife brought home an MFA degree from the University of Pittsburgh courtesy, among other things, of a Fulbright grant. I meanwhile, loyal husband, shoulder to cry on, and person to blame for almost everything, including on certain occasions, the fiscal crisis, migraine attacks, and changes in the weather, brought back two Macintosh PowerBook 2400Cs, by far the smallest, lightest laptops Apple has ever produced, which I bought on eBay.
My wife brought her knowledge home; I brought something with which to store them in, especially since storing and using knowledge outside of a hard drive is not my strong suit. On top of the fact that I don’t have that much knowledge to store anyway.
This PowerBook 2400C is the fourth Mac laptop I have ever owned, the first being the PowerBook 500 series (as seen in Mission Impossible I), the PowerBook Duo series (as seen in The Saint), and the PowerBook 3400C (as seen in You’ve Got Mail).
For non-PowerBook 2400c users—which is virtually all Filipino computer users, save for approximately 20 Filipinos, three of whom I probably know—this PowerBook, codenamed Comet contains jurassic software and hardware, circa 1997, and has, up to now, a cult following in Japan and the United States. (Come to think of it, virtually all Macintosh products have a cult following, even some of the lemons that they produced.)
Measuring only 10.5 by 8.5 by 1.9 inches, this Mac subnotebook consists of a 180 MHz PowerPC Chip, a 48 MB RAM, a six-gigabyte hard drive, all in a 4.4-pound affair. It runs the Mac OS 8.6, way behind the much-vaunted, rock-stable, feature-rich, Unix-based Mac OSX. (To get an idea of how low-tech this PowerBook’s operating system is, think Window’s 3.1 in an age of Windows 2000).
But despite its apparent obsolescence, my PowerBook—named Macli-ing Dulag, after the Cordillera chieftain who opposed the construction of the World Bank-funded Chico Dam in the ’70s—still works like a charm.
That sounds so good that I am going to repeat it: my 7-year-old obsolete PowerBook works like a charm.
Not only do I still beat countless, mind-boggling, nerve-wracking deadlines with it, I can also surf the Web and check my e-mail, all without the hassle of looking for the nearest electrical outlet. (While I still surf using a dial-up connection, I have to try out a wireless card so that I can surf wirelessly.)
This is because I have four sets of working batteries, one for regular use, when I am out and about, covering the candy, the corporate, and the communist (also known as the protest industry) beat. The other three meanwhile, are used for bragging rights, just to show off that if ever I need to beat a deadline in the midst of a prolonged blackout, in the jungles of Basilan, or in the hotel lobbies of Makati, I can do so without batting an eyelash, popping a vein, or slashing a wrist.
Due to the unparalleled ease with which I do my work, my PowerBook has been the subject of some discussion between my sister-in-law and my friends.
My sister-in-law for instance, has offered to buy my other PowerBook, which is in storage. Either that or I should give her the right of first refusal should I decide to replace it with a newer PowerBook. A friend of mine has also expressed interest in buying it from me, after seeing my laptop’s compact size.
But so far, I have turned them down. This is because I’m proudly low-tech and I’m loving every minute of it.
By Robert JA Basilio Jr.
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