2 of Apple's Best Notebooks Ever: PowerBook 3400c and Pismo

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2 of Apple's Best Notebooks Ever: PowerBook 3400c and Pismo

Post by Knight » February 11th, 2008, 1:00 pm

Two of the best PowerBooks ever have birthdays this week. The Pismo turns 8, and the PowerBook 3400c has been around for 11 years. The author explains why these are among Apple's best.

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Re: 2 of Apple's Best Notebooks Ever: PowerBook 3400c and Pismo

Post by WyoMac » February 11th, 2008, 11:01 pm

Thanks for the writeup on these two fine machines. I was lucky enough to own one of each and they were both gems. My 180 was on its last legs and I was in need of a new machine. I bought the 3400 when Apple was closing them out right before the G3 was released. The machine had sold for well over $3K but I bought mine for about $1700 with 3 extra batteries, cd and floppy drives, and a vst zip drive. It did replace my desktop machine as well as it would operate with the lid shut. I had a keyboard, mouse, and monitor that I would plug it in to and it worked very well. I only had it for about a year before my employer bought me a Wallstreet, but while I had it, it was a wonderful machine.

That Wallstreet lasted several years, but one of the hinges broke and it was difficult to keep the display standing up. At the time I was working several conferences and seminars along with a sales rep and tech from Apple. The company I was working for provided me with a decent Toshiba laptop, but would not pay for a new Mac. even so, I often preferred to use the Wallstreet. I called the Apple tech to see if he had access to any parts as the hinges for the Wallstreet were hard to find and expensive. He said he'd check the graveyard to see what he could find, and lo and behold he gave me a Pismo. When I got it, it had no optical drive and was running yellow dog linux. He installed Jaguar on it for me and it was a very good machine. I later found a combo drive on ebay and used it for about 3 years before selling it in favor of an ibook g4.
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Re: 2 of Apple's Best Notebooks Ever: PowerBook 3400c and Pismo

Post by Manymacs » February 16th, 2008, 11:17 pm

What a wonderful homage. I cannot agree enough. I still use mine every day. Tho' I own an iBook 1.33. I believe Pismo is the best of the best off. It's amazing the performance actually got better as the OS became farther from it's release. Provided the Ram is sufficient. Pismo's endurance in my opinion is due to it's simplicity in design as much as it's performance and durability. Looking at the MB Air, I find Apple took cues from Pismo..... round rubber feet, a slight 'divit' where on the palm rest where the thumb clicker is, pinched edges, and... most subtly, a construction that diminishes the number of dangling peripherals. The MB Air's power supply profiles back... out of sight to the user. Pismo was the last and probably the only Apple laptop (save for lombard) that left NO visual detractors.... add a thumb drive, a firewire enclosure, a USB bluetooth dongle... add anything and you won't see it on Pismo. Just Pismo. That is as brilliant as it is sublime. I hope Apple engineers find a way to maintain structural integrity and get the ports our of the way when they update the MB and The MB PRO. Love Love Love Pismo. Like an old prom date that you married.... great memories and still gets all the love.
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Re: 2 of Apple's Best Notebooks Ever: PowerBook 3400c and Pismo

Post by Claudesgirl » March 20th, 2008, 6:32 pm

Completely agree. I love love love my Pismo. I really don't use it but haven't been able to part with it. It was pure simple beautiful function of design. It had power and grace, like a cat. ahhh.
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Re: 2 of Apple's Best Notebooks Ever: PowerBook 3400c and Pismo

Post by hank » June 13th, 2008, 9:26 pm

I still rely on my Pismo (900mhz CPU now) for botany field work.
And I've got to start looking for one of these forty dollar strokes of luck before it dies on me, I guess.

Replaced the CD with a Matshita CW-8123 that works like it was OEM.

Finally had to replace the batteries with new ones for a recent ten day trip -- one of the new FastMac batteries lasted 18 cycles then died (it's been sent back, awaiting replacement, hoping for better luck). Another, from NewerTech, arrived at zero volts and had to go through three complete calibration cycles but seems to be working now.

I never found drivers for the VST expansion bay modules when I moved to OSX (VSTtech.com is owned by some advertiser, nobody home, I guess VST went out of business a while ago)

So I have a LS-120 floppy drive module that's useless even for ordinary HD floppies; never did get any of the higher density floppies.
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