Just want to point out that today is the 30th anniversary of the beloved Macintosh SE/30. Small in stature but huge in performance, expansion, and overall likability. The king of the compact macs, and considered by many to be the Best Mac Ever. pic.twitter.com/V2h0vJy8hQ
In the 30 years since launch, the SE/30 has become a bit of a cult classic among Mac enthusiasts by virtue of its expandability. It's upgradable to 128MB RAM, the same amount of RAM as the first iPhone. Accelerators quintupled its speed. And that's just the beginning.
For instance, a fellow in Australia recently added wifi to the SE/30, complete with a system extension that lets you pick the network just like on a modern Mac. https://t.co/DCBtshx0jThttps://t.co/L9tGtmGapc pic.twitter.com/JyMJGAxV5A
Another cool thing is you can get a *touchscreen* for the SE/30, allowing your finger to act as the mouse. This is not recent hardware either, it's actually from the early 90s. https://t.co/XoxfOON3KP
There's also a way to add USB to old Macs so you can use your new mouse & keyboard. https://t.co/vm4OClq0r5
And of course you could get video cards to add a second monitor to the SE/30. One of the cards (the Micron Xceed) can even convert the quaint internal 1-bit display into full greyscale. pic.twitter.com/lgV6modRXA
You can also get a new ROM for the SE/30 that boots the machine in about 5 seconds and add an SSD. Other hacks in the works include a Slack client and a brand new 10/100mb ethernet card. It's truly a versatile little machine and there's new stuff for it all the time.
Oh, one more thing - you can even use a system extension to have remote files show up like local files. Keep those remote files backed up on Dropbox (e.g. via a raspberry pi stuffed in the machine) and you'll essentially have Dropbox on your SE/30. https://t.co/aWZOzAyMlQ
My personal fascination with the SE/30 is as a sort of retro-future art piece showing how little ideas truly have changed, so that we remain humble in our work. Most of the things we do on computers really can be done on a 30 year old box with a few modern conveniences bolted on.
We're still chatting via text, making lists, writing text, using simple GUIs to input or retrieve data, etc. Sure screens have gotten bigger, and visuals way more prevalent, but fundamentally we're still sitting around using dumb computer terminals.
Nowadays when I'm designing products, I often think back to my SE/30's tiny 512x342 black & white screen and the UI conventions of classic MacOS, and realize most of what I'm building is essentially still portable to that without any real loss of fidelity or usefulness.
In closing, be humbled by what came before. We're still working from largely unchanged ideas first laid down 30-50 years ago (see also @worrydream's recent posts on Alan Kay's Dynabook). Having a piece of history like the SE/30 is a fun way to remind you of that. Happy SE/30th!
Tonio Loewald @podperson
Hey let’s not wax too tyrical. It was contemporary with the IIcx and shortly succeeded by the LC line.
I never loved the SE as a kid because by the time they were popular the LC was around with color. But I was a kid and not doing actual work.
John Siracusa @siracusa
I had a 24-bit color video card and monitor attached to my SE/30.
External video on it is the way to go, how else can you manage your civ? pic.twitter.com/YWnAG4ILJr
LC was nice but it took 4 full years for the LC line (LC III) to exceed the performance of the SE/30. And it wasn't nearly as expandable.
John Gruber @gruber
I consider the SE/30 the best Mac ever.
Jim Murphy @DrMacsBug
Seconded. It was my freshman computer purchase at Drexel in ‘89. Wrote my resume on it that got me my job at Apple 26 years ago.
John Gruber @gruber
Biggest purchasing regret in my life: picking an LC over an SE/30 in 1991 (freshman year at Drexel). Seduced by the color display.