A long time ago, in the before-times of early 1994, I bought myself a laptop that would change everything…

The Apple Macintosh PowerBook 165c had come out in February 1993 and was the first laptop to have a 256 color display. It looked like nothing else on the market; it was simultaneously very 80’s and very 21st century – and was something of a dream machine for computer nerds.

I really, really wanted one… But they were about $3400 in 1993, or almost $7000 in today’s money.

In early ’94 I was using some generic 486DX-33 PC as my home computer and I had a Toshiba “Satellite” T1800 that I used when I was away from home – but what I really wanted was that PowerBook.

So, for my birthday in 1994 I managed to find a 165c for the low, low price of $2400 and after selling the Toshiba acquired it. It had 4 megs of ram, an 80meg SCSI HD, a 33Mhz 68030 CPU, and that amazing 8.9″ 640×400 color LCD all housed in a remarkably tiny box – and I was over the moon to have it!

And, as another testament to just how long Apple stuff will last – it looks a bit like this:

The 165c in all of its grey plastic and rainbow apple glory

Mmmm – trackball. And two buttons! (a rarity for Apple products)

The 165c currently runs Apple’s System 7.1 from the built-in 80meg SCSI HD…

Back in the day I primarily used the 165c as a writing tool, so it had things like Office 3.0 and Norton Utilities on it. But I also had a few games on it, like the amazing pinball simulation “Crystal Caliburn”…

The 165c was the first Mac I personally owned (I’d used a Macintosh Plus for a year or so back in ’87, but it wasn’t mine), and it was a big part of my life-long appreciation of the brand and its “Think Different” moniker.

About a year after acquiring the 165c I picked up a PowerMac 8100/100 which was instrumental in my graphic design work at the time, and somewhat cemented my use of the Macintosh platform to this very day…

1993 68030 on the left, 2022 M1 Max on the right – and almost 30 years between them.

Listening to "I Still Believe" by The Call