About this Project

Abandoned bike: Soon to be parked outside your favorite local cafe.

2 years ago I had a crisis of identity.

The ideals of hipster culture were becoming ever more attractive with their careful balance of frugality and conscious consumption.

What I loved most was the nonsensical obsession with artefacts and obsolete technology, which defines me.

This works well for dusty, old, single-gear bicycles from Dad’s garage, fairy lights in empty tomato paste jars, cute garden settings from Grandma’s place and clothes from the local op shop. Yet, in one area of my life that was so very important to me, there was no option: my computer.

My take on Apple TV

I’ve dabbled in computers hidden in something old-time (see picture to the right) before but never with something portable.

Like so many these days, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a cafe using a clunky PC. I mean, if someone was to glance my way and I was using ‘that kind’ of laptop… let’s just say, I doubt they would understand that I’m a creative, unique intellectual that’s better than them.

(Plus it doesn’t look good next to my fair-trade, organic, single-estate, Guatemalan long black.)

So I got a Macbook. I mean, what other option was there?

But then here’s where it gets a bit complex. Apple makes the best computers in the world. Even better, they were always behind the PC in sales and sat on the brink of extinction in the 90s!

If you had one, you stood out. You were individual like them.

Their roots are in the counter-culture and that sits well with my values, yet when you look at the modern reality of the situation, they’re no longer struggling and everyone uses their products.

They now define the mainstream – and if you’re sub-35, wear skinny jeans and non-prescription, thick-rimmed glasses, that’s not meant to be cool.

But we’re hostage to Apple’s super-slick, awe-inspiring products right?

Wrong!

Introducing the pinnacle of nonsensical computing: The MacBook Portable. So very awesome… but slightly underpowered, very bulky and unlike any computer you’ve ever used before… unless you had one in ’89.

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6 Responses to About this Project

  1. JEFF VOGEL says:

    Wunderbar! I have one of these some where in my dad’s garage.I have to find it now. I still don’t get if you used the mac motherboard or built a hackintosh on a toshiba motherboard. Please explain.

    • Patrick Blampied says:

      Hi Jeff, I’ll take some time over the weekend to write up some information on the internals, but it is an NB100 motherboard in there.

      It was a tight fit believe it or not, as I didn’t want to cut any of the plastic inside. That way if I wanted to I could return it to it’s original state

  2. Risc iT aLL says:

    next time find mac innards to use instead, then it would truly be r33t !
    Speaking of innards post pics of the `89 mac book kthnx

    • Patrick Blampied says:

      I have an 11″ 2010 MacBook Air that’s getting a little slow… I’m tempted believe me!

  3. RiwatermanJuanm says:

    Fabulous.

    I actually have four of these two of which worked fine.

    I am curious about everything but especially the power tool battery and hooking that up. Can that battery be used with the Portable in its original state?

    • Patrick Blampied says:

      Hmmm that’s an interesting idea which I hadn’t really thought about. I came up with the drill battery idea late in the project. I never did find the battery to get the original hardware going but I have a memory of taking it out years back and it got lost along the way. I did the 9 volt backup battery trick to get it going once but apparently that can kill the board if you’re not careful so I stopped… and then hacked it anyway.

      This battery is wired to the adapter plug rather than to the original NB100 battery terminals (it runs without the battery unlike the original portable).

      I did a bit of research and at the time it seemed simple enough. The original NB100 adapter was 19 volts and 1 amp (roughly). I worked out the amp hours against the drill battery which was 18 volts. Checked the original NB100 battery and it was about 13 volts and I figured that if the drill battery wasn’t trying to charge anything then it would never try to draw anything near it’s limits. It’s run for many charges now without an issue so I figure it’s fine but I’m sure an engineer would be horrified at the over simplification!

      Whether it would work on an original I’m not sure but I have seen people that have repacked the cells of the original batteries somewhere. If you have any luck please let me know.