back to article Motorola-powered Mac from 1989 used to write smartphone apps

Our ongoing look at very, very old computers still in production has turned up another ancient artefact in the form of a 1989-vintage Mac that's still being used, for the very modern task of developing smartphone apps. Reader “Pascal” says he does most of his work coding apps for Macs, iOS and Windows on a 2012 Mac Pro. Part …

  1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken


    1987 while being a student I worked part-time at a copy shop/printer. We had one Macintosh 128K or 512K, can't remember, but it did not have a HD and just the one single-sided floppy drive. And used Aldus PageMaker to do DTP. On a 9" black-and-white screen. Using 2 floppy disks, one for the sowtware, one for the file you were working on, and at least once every 5 minutes you had to swap them.

    Still, given the cost of a Mac, a laser printer and the software compared to, say, a Linotype system, it was a breakthrough.


  2. BurnT'offering

    Pascal on a Mac

    Well done that (wo)man (assuming nothing)

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Pascal on a Mac

      That's a fair approach!


      Pascal is a common masculine Francophone given name, cognate of Italian name Pasquale, Spanish name Pascual, Catalan name Pasqual. Pascal is common in French-speaking countries, Germany and the Netherlands. Derived feminine forms include Pascale, Pascalle or Pascalina.

      - Pascal (given name) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

      1. 45RPM Silver badge

        Re: Pascal on a Mac

        And don't forget the Gaelic Pascoe - common in Cornwall.

        1. BurnT'offering

          Re: Pascal on a Mac

          True - but it's not unknown for internet commenters to adopt male names to avoid gender-based bullying. For example, my real name is Cynthia. And I'm a bloke.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Pascal on a Mac

            I spent a couple of years posting to Usenet (remember that?) using a female moniker. "Gender-based bullying" as you put it was very rare indeed.

  3. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Great machine

    The SE/30 is well known and loved as just about the best 68k Mac ever in terms of bang per buck.

  4. Frank Bough

    Love that keyboard, how I miss using it (though I do still have one in my loft somewhere amongst the Amigas and whatnot). Former Color Classic user here.

    1. captain veg Silver badge


      Surely the plural is Amigae?


  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nine inches? Not very big is it?

    Any decent modern phone will be bigger than that, this time next year.

    1. davidp231

      Re: Nine inches? Not very big is it?

      True, but the Classic style cases make for good iPad mini docking stations. Now if only one could add a bluetooth module to an Apple Extended Keyboard...

  6. P. Lee

    I visited my daughters' school

    Saw 5 Apple ][s at the back of the classroom.

    Apparently they are still used - not sure if that counts as "production."

  7. Bronek Kozicki


    I looked at Wikipedia article on this one and can understand why it's preferable to keyboards currently on the market. Although I suspect if Pascal sold his Mackintsh to a museum one day, he might be able to replace this keyboard with proper mechanical one, like Topre or something on Cherry MX, not to mention Alps (which are still in use)

    1. 45RPM Silver badge

      Re: Keyboards

      That keyboard (Saratoga) is a proper mechanical one, with Alps key switches. Which might explain why they're so sought after.


      1. davidp231

        Re: Keyboards

        It's the "IBM Model M Keyboard" of the Mac world, in regards to its longevity, sound and feel.

  8. Thesheep

    Oh the memories

    I remember moving up from the Mac Plus to the SE/30 and revelling in the power of PageMaker... And with an external 20MB HD drive the size of, well, something quite big.

  9. davidp231

    Made even better when you drop in the ROM from a IIcx (or was it the IIci?)

    "Although advertised as a 32-bit computer, the SE/30 ROMs were “dirty,” containing some 24-bit code, meaning it could not run 32-bit applications without new ROMs (which Apple never produced) or a software patch. To use the SE/30 in 32-bit mode, you need a free copy of Mode32 from Apple (search the page for “mode32”). (You only need 32-bit addressing if you have more than 8 MB of memory.)"


    Originally it was going to be known as the SEx (SE, because that's what it was, and the 'x', denoted that it had an '030 processor. It can also munch 128MB of memory, you can find a sufficient number of matching 30pin SIMs.

    1. 45RPM Silver badge


      Apparently, if you use A/UX then A/UX replaces the dodgy 24bit code with a 32bit alternative of its own - permitting use of the entire address space. I haven't tried that configuration though - so I can't confirm.

      A better alternative to using the ROM from a IIsi or IIfx (the IIx and IIcx had more or less the same ROM as the stock SE/30, and IIci's ROM was soldered to the board) is to use a custom ROM specifically for the SE/30 - but 32bit clean. You can buy them (with a natty skull and crossbones silk screened onto the board), and they work very well - even with A/UX (or OS 8!). In fact, using modern chips, there's even enough room for an OS (just like a Classic) if you so choose.

  10. Kurt Meyer
    Thumb Up

    Love my old Macs

    I still have two Mac IIci's at home, 32 mb ram each, one with a 715 mb HD, the other with a 230 mb HD. They're connected to each other via AppleTalk/PhoneNet, and print to a LaserWriter IINTX which sports 8 mb of ram, and its own 40 mb HD full of fonts. A hell of a DTP setup.

    System 7.5.3, Aldus pagemaker, Lotus 123, and even some games. I still use 'em often enough to keep them out of storage. When I think of the money I paid for that lot. ;-(

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

      Re: Love my old Macs

      I've got a IIsi (expansion-challenged cousin of the IIci) and Stylewriter II in the attic. I should get them out and see if they still work (last booted circa 2003). I suspect I'd need to replace the capacitors and ink cartridges, at least...

  11. Michael Jennings

    The SE/30 was a beast

    I remember just how screamingly fast the SE/30 was considered when it came out. Essentially it was the guts of the much bigger and more powerful (and more expensive) Mac IIx fitted into the classic Mac form factor.

  12. Lee Mulcahy


    "That 9” black and white screen is part of the pleasure of using it"

    You're not one of them there mass-o-christs, are you? I stayed away from the original Mac because it just looked like a toy, and even in my 20's the screen was too small to read for very long or to take seriously as a programming tool. Now, the Mac II was a different thing.

  13. deadlockvictim


    Hi Pascal,

    This machine is 26 years' old. The caps on the motherboard, the analog-board or the PSU are likely to go soon. I would strongly recommend that you get at least the first two and preferably all 3 re-capped. There are people on sites like that'll do it for you or at least sell you the capacitors themselves to allow you to do it themselves. The internal SCSI on mine went 2 years' ago and I had my motherboard recapped.

    Also, invest in a new PRAM battery. They are 3.6V ½AAs. They cost about €10. The red and white Maxell brand batteries have a notorious reputation. They are known to explode and destroy keyboards. I don't think that anyone expected that machines would still be in use well into what was then the new century.

    Lastly, I would recommend that you invest in a SCSI2SD. It is an adaptor that allows you to plug a micro-SD card into the 50-pin SCSI inside the SE/30. This has three benefits — it makes your SE/30 much, much quieter, it improves the airflow inside the Mac and it reduces the amount of heat generated, this putting less heat stress on the internal components. If you are lucky with your choice of HD, you can put in a 80-pin U320 SCSI drive with an 80-pin to 50-pin adapter. If you get one, be sure that it has jumpers for termination. Many U320 drives, but not all, support 8-bit SCSI. These are quieter and faster than HDs from 1990.

  14. MT Field

    I have a Mac Plus gathering dust in my office. For some reason I don't feel quite so nostalgic about the win'98 machine that replaced it.

    1. MikeCorris

      I still have a Mac Plus. I have converted it to boot off the EMU SD card reader (

      I converted the external floppy drive to take the SD card. It's fast but oddly quiet...

      So far I havent had any problems with the caps but I the tracks on the logic board did corrode when I stored it in a slightly damp location so I had to buy another board. Other than that, still running good!

  15. Brennan Young

    Kensington ADB mouse

    I had two Kensington ADB four-button mice. ("Thinking mouse") Really great, with drivers that p*ss over anything from logitec or any other vendor. But the build quality of the switches was not good: The buttons failed mechanically on both, eventually. Kensington's replacement USB thinking mouse was considerably less good, slightly too big in the hand (and I have big hands) with a weird 'spine' and by default the left click was in the 'wrong' place. This design has been abandoned. I haven't tried Kensington since.

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