It’s time for a pretty short blog post from me, mon! Made from an outline that I’ve had sitting around since almost a YEAR ago.
It’s well-known that I own a good bit of old Apple computers at this point. But along with the large-ish collection that I own, I also own a small collection of peripherals and accessories. I think the most notable out of these would be my two Zip Drives…
The Zip Drive, introduced in 1994, was one of the many competing successors to the at-the-time widely used floppy disk. It competed alongside things like the SuperDisk and the Sony HiFD, but unlike its competitors, it had some level of mainstream recognizability to it – the most notable example (to me at least) being its appearance on Daria!
I purchased the first of my two drives in October of 2019, shortly after I received a battered-up Macintosh SE for free. Earlier that month, I bought an 800k floppy disk pre-loaded with System 6, only to find out that the floppy drive in that SE would take floppies, but couldn’t read them. Being that I didn’t want to replace the oddly-installed hard drive* or attempt to repair the floppy drive, I did a bit of research, and found that you could use Zip disks with these old compact Macs, for both file storage and booting! So I went off to eBay and bought a drive and a singular Zip disk.
*(SEs didn’t ship with a hard drive + floppy drive! The hard drive installed in mine was installed redneck style, right behind the CRT’s electron gun. Picture for reference.)
In hindsight, I didn’t do enough research, and I probably should’ve just bought the tools needed to disassemble the SE and discharge the CRT. The reason I have two Zip drives is that the first time around, I bought the wrong type. Iomega had two different versions of the Zip drive for sale at the time – one with a SCSI connector and one with a Parallel port – and I bought the one with the Parallel port. (It’s a bit funny, because the one with a Parallel port is just a SCSI Zip drive with a built-in converter.) I probably would’ve noticed this the first time around if it weren’t for the fact they used the same damn connector!
So I ended up going back to eBay and buying another Zip drive, this one being a little more battered-up but still very functional, and I re-used the power connector that came with the first Zip drive. And it worked just fine! I was able to install System 6 onto the disk using my Sawtooth G4 and boot off of it with no trouble. I haven’t used these drives or these Macs in quite a bit, but along with using it as a boot drive for my SE, I used these for transferring files to and from different computers.
In hindsight, it was still a worthwhile investment, purchasing a Zip drive – their disks are relatively high-capacity considering the machines they’re meant for, work with a wide variety of vintage computers, can be used to boot in a pinch, and can theoretically be accessed by any modern computer with a parallel port and a VM. (I know this sounds contradictory, but some modern business desktops still include parallel ports!)
There. After nearly a year of procrastination, I’ve finished it. Have a wonderful day, and expect more to come from me in the future. c: