A Lesson in Apple Economics

A new in box Apple //c system was recently sold on eBay. This is quite remarkable; a vintage computer-- twenty-three years old-- that has never been opened. The people who ultimately won the auction posted a beautiful set of unboxing pictures. For a brief moment, it was 1984 all over again.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2008/02/a-lesson-in-apple-economics.html

[Request: Please carry on writing catchy headlines.]

I still have my //c tucked away. It was a blast carrying around and connecting to color TVs and programming Basic in.

How I long for those days!

Reminds me of the good times I have every year at the Vintage Computer Festival Europe in Munich, the European version of the Silicon Valley Vintage Computer Festival.

As European my start has been a Commodore C128.
A that nostalgia …

I still have my //C tucked away somewhere

I felt so sophisticated walking around and plugging it into TVs. ‘War Games’ had just come out and I used to scare a lot of people doing that. This was when the II+ and IIe were the standard, before PCs were mainstream.

If I were to sell it today on ebay, I’d probably only get $20 for it.

I’m always amused when people get annoyed at how much Apple products cost. If they’re too rich for your blood, don’t buy them. If the price isn’t worth it to you, then it isn’t. Nobody said it should be. But people grouse about Apple prices anyway. Endlessly. Sour grapes much?

Hey, Philip Snelgrove. Macs CAN play games, you install Bootcamp and Windows and you have a bona-fide windows box. Couple that with an iMac that’s got a nice 3D videocard and you’re rockin.

I played Half Life 2 Episode 2 recently via Steam on my previous generation iMac. Macs can play games, and quite well!

And it’s my experience Macs are more stable in general (from my own empirical experience of using Macs and Windows based PCs for roughly the same amount of time - 5 years each).

$1295 for a 512K Amiga 1000? Man you got taken dude! Amigas suck in comparison to the awesomeness that was Atari ST.

I just setup a kick-ass PC running Ubuntu for less than a $1000 Australian. I walked into the Apple shop out of curiosity and saw similar spec computer going for close to $3500. Ha ha ha ha ha!

$2,553 for that old thing,man there are some weird people out there.

i’m first :smiley:

Amiga 500 w/ 1mb RAM. Needless to say, it was the bomba.

I’d have to agree with Pete, if you evaluate computers on $ for raw materials, then a Mac isn’t worth it.

I bought my first Mac about a month ago, a bottom of the line Mini for $829 AUD delivered (you can talk apple down, just not by much in my experience, $20 in this case). I have only ever had Windows or Linux machines in the house, all built from parts. My main WinXP MCE 2005 computer that does email, web, skype, music etc for the wife and I started getting some graphics artifacts, then a week later started the perpetual start to boot, show xp logo, crash, repeat. I work full time, so the prospect of finding what was broken, replacing it and then doing a full re-install or re-image of the machine no longer sounded like fun.

I ordered the Mac Monday lunchtime and it arrived first thing Tuesday morning. I set it up in my lunch hour and everything just worked. I probably could have had a similar experience with a dell or other off the shelf system, but I wasn’t keen on going to Vista or sticking with XP.

So what did I get for $829?

  • computer hardware
  • small form factor (the noisy PC was hidden in a custom cupboard, the mini is dwarfed by the answering machine that sits above it on the desk)
  • a quiet computer (the fan only ramps up to audible when gaming)
  • an up to date operating system
  • essential applications, including a automated backup solution
  • quick delivery

For my situation, I was quite happy to pay $829 for the above and the convenience of getting up and running quickly.

We attended a neighbourhood LAN party the other day, for the heck of it I took the Mac Mini as we were playing UrbanTerror (q3a based), and it ran fine (40-60fps, 1680x1050), I would call that a good game and the mac ran it fine. I also loved the game install process of drag+drop.

I build up a custom Ubuntu machine for the LAN, the hardware build took a few hours, then the OS install took another hour. Setup wasn’t too bad (Yay for restricted driver manager), but then things like:

  • Couldn’t get S-Video out working
  • X.org config hacking
  • Sound not working in some games (WolfET), giving up once usual hacks don’t work
  • Games crashing intermittently

I decided to do a quick XP install thinking that would be easier:

  • Most onboard hardware not recognized
  • Mainboard driver CD kept crashing when installing
  • Have to download graphics card drivers

In the end I rewrote the MBR to boot grub and put up with the issues under Ubuntu.

Maybe I’m getting old, but I no longer have the time to enjoy tinkering and sometimes pony up just for convenience!

shouldn’t you be saving your ‘firsts’ for the WoW forums?

The Lisa was WAY more expensive than the Mac – nearly $10k in 1983.

They were even more expensive the other side of the pond, since Apple was using a $1 = 1 exchange rate in the UK, as was common at the time. This is, I think, the main reason that Apple machines never caught on in the same way as a hobbyist machine in Europe in the 80s/90s.

Of course that left it open for a lot of home-grown companies to produce some great machines (although most of these companies are now defunct).

Now that the price differential is more reasonable, there’s been a huge upswell in Mac-enthusiasm over here.

(Happy MacBook Pro user)

Heck, even the box from 3 year old Apple technology goes for $20.

         Apple fans are so homosexual.

I’m a dedicated mac user, and a fag. what of it?

I’d like to have something like this, but I couldn’t bring myself to pay what i’d spend on a new MBP.

This makes my so want to take one of mine out of its box later today! Mine have been out of their boxes tho, and have seen loads of use.

Yes, I’m one of those freaks that collect those oldies…

Macs are competitively priced (except for the RAM) these days, though I’ve a feeling Steve Jobs quite likes the fact that people view them as the “expensive option”, even when they’re not necessarily.

In reality, they’re only competitively priced if you can roughly match the component specs with equivalents from other manufacturers. Dell will give you a lot more choice, which means you can potentially get a cheaper machine that suits your needs just as well, but for the equivalent specifications of the Mac its offering could well be more expensive.

Personally, Apple’s limited choices work well enough for me—I’m perfectly happy with the hardware in my Macs—but for a lot of power user-types, only the level of customisation you get with the Mac Pro is what they’re looking for.