Getting a 1990 Mac on the 2015 Web

The venerable Mac Plus was one of the most popular models of "classic" Macintosh. Many old-school Mac users remember it fondly. After two decades, can the Mac Plus still access the Internet? One intrepid fan decided to find out.

I was accessing dial-in bulletin board systems (BBSs) on my "Fat Mac" back in the 1980s, but a Mac Plus equipped with the MacTCP stack is when I really got online. It was the early 1990s, and I'd gotten the machine from friends of mine who'd upgraded and no longer needed it.

I set it up in a corner of the place I was sharing with my girlfriend (now my wife of 21 years) and regularly got online when I got home, accessing e-mail, downloading files via FTP, and chatting with friends over Internet Relay Chat. It was slow going, compared to the fractional T1 line we had at the office, but it was good enough.

Jeff Keacher has some fond memories of his Mac Plus as well — what's more, it's still around. He had his mother ship it out to him and he recently attempted to revive it for Internet access, a story he recounts on The Kernel:

Reviving an old computer is like restoring a classic car: There's a thrill from bringing the ancient into the modern world. So it was with my first "real" computer, my Mac Plus, when I decided to bring it forward three decades and introduce it to the modern Web.

Keacher had to jump through a whole bunch of hoops to get his old Mac working on the modern web, but it finally worked. If you're a Mac user of the same vintage as Keacher and me, you might get a kick out of the story. Check it out!

I have to admit that I still have a classic Mac in storage in my basement, waiting for some spare time to be restored. How about you? Have you held on to any machines from your younger days? Let me know in the comments.

  • I know that there exists a twitter client for Commodore 64 :)
  • My oldest computer I have kept is the HP Omnibook 300 from 1993, which still works and can connect to things as well. In general I sell off older things, so all of my old Macs, from Apple ][+ up through a 2008 MBP I sold to buy an Air ... are gone.
  • I've got a Mac IIsi sitting in some corner of my basement. I'd bet my bottom dollar it would still boot up if I plugged it in right now. Not sure about internet, though...
  • I still have my Commodore 64! Sent from the iMore App
  • My dad has a Mac II around somewhere, I need to take the time to find it and see if it works.
  • I so regret getting rid of my Apple II and my Mac Plus, back in the day... Would have made a nice little museum exhibit today... Sent from the iMore App
  • If he'd done I/O through SCSI perhaps he'd get more than 1kbps?
  • I used to have a Commodore Vic 20 with a cassette tape drive and modem that I got for Christmas in 1985 I believe. I used to to write simple apps in basic and play video games.
    My dad bought a used 1986 Mac Plus (no hard drive) in 1987 for like $2000, and later bought a laser writer and other cool stuff for it. I just got rid of the like new laser writer 2 years ago, and the Mac plus is still in storage. Sent from the iMore App
  • I had one of those Vic 20's as well!
  • I've still got my old Apple ][+ in my basement closet, with green phosphorus monitor . It's been quite a long time since I dug it out, but I am planning to get it out and show my kids sometime (if it still works).
  • Yes I do!!! :-D In terms of dedicated computers that are not used, but I still have: Somewhere in storage, I believe I have what's left of an old custom built PC based on a Cyrix CPU, with a Voodoo 3 PCI video card, an AWE sound card, and various other things. It used to run Win98se and crash continually. We named it Betsy. It's no longer complete. I believe the CPU and the RAM are gone, and the hard drive. I still have a late 2000 Power Mac dual G4 sitting in storage. It originally came with OS 9, but I eventually upgraded it to 10.3. It ran faster and smoother in 2005 than the budget level Acer desktop we bought that same year. I may or may not also still have my first computer (an IBM 386) in my mom and dad's basement. If so, it has Win 3.1 on it. I think there's also a cheapie custom built low spec PC in one of our closets. I know there was recently. In terms of "console computers" (computers that you hook to your TV and these days are more like old school video game consoles): Commodore 128, Commodore Amiga, and Texas Instruments TI994/a. In terms of dedicated retro video game consoles: APF TV Fun (mid 70's Japanese generic Pong Clone), Atari 2600, Odyssey 2, Intellivision, Colecovision, Atari 5200, Atari 7800, NES (models 1 and 2), Mastersystem, SNES, Genesis (with 32x and Sega CD hooked to a model 1 - have a couple model 2s and another model 1 in spare), Turbo Duo (with PC Henshin region converter card), Neo Geo AES, Neo Geo CD, Magnavox CDi, Atari Jaguar, Panasonic 3DO (original FZ1), Sega Saturn (model 1), N64 (with RAM expansion). Sega Dreamcast, Model 1 PS2, GameCube (with Game Boy Player add-on), and the original XBox. Not really retro, but 7th and 8th gen consoles: Wii (model 1), 360 (model 2), PS3 (model 2), WiiU, XB1, PS4, OUYA. Handheld gaming: Game Gear, Gameboy Color, PSP, 3DS. original Kindle Fire, HP TouchPad (waiting to install Ubuntu Mobile). I have no viable gaming PC. :-( Current Computers: 2009 MacBook Pro 17" 2.8GHz core 2 duo w Yosemite. 2009 HP 17" laptop with Win 10 Tech Preview. 2012 11" Acer Network with Ubuntu 14.10. Of all of these, none of the old "computer computers" are hooked up. The TI is the only "console computer" hooked up, and then all the new and retro consoles are hooked up except the Odyssey 2 (needs new coax out), and Atari 2600 (since Atari 7800 plays Atari 2600 games as well as its own 7800 library). Between all the consoles, and "console computers", I have approximately 1000 games. My next project is to build a serious gaming PC, install Steam and DOSBOX as well as Emulators and ROM for all the systems/games I have in hard copy. After that, it'll be time to get a new Mac. The plan is to use the Windows PC for games and Office, and the Mac for everything else. After that, I'll probably get a better netbook than that huffy Acer. Maybe a Chromebook, maybe something else with Ubuntu, maybe a Surface Pro something (Probably not a MacBook Air, but never say never). :-) Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • Oh, I can't believe out of all the things I could've possibly left out of my reply in the light of this article: I actually did have one of the classic macs. I can't remember which one it was specifically, nor do I remember when I got rid of it, or if I sold it, traded it, or gifted it. But at one point in the early - mid 2000's I did have one of these with the small B&W built-in monitors. At least superficially, it looked like the one in the article. Man, can't believe I left that out. :-) Posted via the iMore App for Android
  • I have my Mac Classic in a box in my office. It booted up fine when I showed it to a friend a few years ago. I also have my wife's Mac IIsi in my office, and although it has an Ethernet card, I have no clue if it even boots. I think they were running some version of System 7. For DOS, I have my old Compaq 386SL 20MHz luggable (with docking station, like a BOSS!). Not sure if that boots either.
  • I still have a functioning HP-75c. Sent from the iMore App
  • I am presently using my old iBook G4 (late 2003-early 2004), which still gets online, using Safari. Very slow, but usable. I use it mostly for editing my YouTube videos, and backing up important files. My main computer, however, has been my Note 3, since December, 2013. I'm hoping to fix my MacPro (Nahalem, 2009) desktop soon ..... I do have a nice collection of old Macs. I'm saving up for a computer workstation, then I will set up at least one of my SE/30s (with 128MB of RAM !!!), my SE/SuperDrive, 9600 tower and 7300 upgraded with G3 500mhz !!! Would be awesome if I could figure out how to get at least one or more of my old Macs online, even just for E-mail ...... I have two of the original iMacs (all-in-one). Not sure if they still work. I have an old Mac Plus, Fat Mac (128), SE, four SE/30s, old Mac laptop, and maybe an LC or Classic.