Vintage Mac Museum Workhorse – Wallstreet

The PowerPC G3 CPU is ideal to run software from the final years of the Classic Mac OS era. Its design is optimized for the core assembly language routines of the Blue Box (aka System 7, Mac OS 8 and 9) and it spans a wide variety of Old World (beige) and New World (colored) Macs. Perhaps not surprisingly, one of the most used machines in the Vintage Mac Museum is a PowerBook G3.

VMM Workhorse – PowerBook G3 Wallstreet, Mac OS 9.2.2

PBG3-WallstreetThe PowerPC based PowerBook really hit its stride with the G3-based Wallstreet. Sporting a striking jet-black Batman’esque case, 14″ active matrix screen, 2 PC card slots and dual expansion bays with lots of options (CD-ROM, DVD-ROM, Floppy, Zip, SuperDisk and later CD-RW drives), the Wallstreet – Apple’s internal project name – was built like a tank and is a pleasure to use. SCSI, ADB and Serial Ports gives this laptop full compatibility with a wide range of peripherals and data storage formats.

The VMM Wallstreet is running Mac OS 9 and has a Floppy drive and Zip drive installed in its expansion bays. The (original) SuperDrive can read 1.44MB High Density (HD) and 800k Double Density (DD) floppy disks, which are the most common formats received for old file transfers. Any troublesome 800k disks or 400k disks are shuffled over to the Mac Plus, which shares the same desk.

Because it has a SCSI port I can also read data from both external and internal SCSI hard drives, the latter by using parts from an external drive case as an adapter or “sled” for the internal disk. Ethernet capability allows me to access the AppleShare volume on my PowerMac G4 Cube – the central server for the VMM – to copy completed conversions or grab older data from the Quadra 840av.

The Wallstreet does the bulk of the file format conversion work. The workhorse for these efforts is MacLink Plus, a batch conversion utility which used to be bundled free with all Macs. Most old files are either word processing data or spreadsheets, and MacLink Plus can read a great variety of these formats and convert them to modern MS Word .doc or MS Excel .xls files. For older word processing formats, MS Word 5.1a serves as intermediate software to Save As… to the Word 5 format. Also installed are copies of MacDraw II, FileMaker 4, Photoshop 5.5, etc..

I love using the Wallstreet, it’s a solid machine that holds up well over time. The keyboard is nicer than the one in Lombard and Pismo models which followed, and it’s really quite zippy running Mac OS 9.2.2. The hard drive is only 4GB and is getting rather noisy, when prices for the new Solid State Drives (SSDs) come down a bit I plan to pop one of these puppies inside. That should give a big boost in storage and really make this old girl fly!


5 responses to “Vintage Mac Museum Workhorse – Wallstreet”

  1. Adam Rosen says:

    ORIGINAL BLOGSPOT COMMENTS:

    Jake said…
    I still use my 1998 Wallstreet Power PC G3 292 mhz with added memory,320MB, 75 GB HD partitioned into two, 67 GB for OS 9.2.2 and 8 GB for OS 10.2.8; I find Firefox the best browser for this machine. Best keyboard ever, and I own a much more advanced Macbook Pro and a G4 Power Mac desktop where I keep most of my music and photos. I can only powere up battery on this Wallstreet to 45% of capacity and the hing cable has been an issue; have to slap the back leftcorner of 14 inch monitor when it starts to white out.
    May 3, 2011 at 5:57 PM

    Eric3 said…
    What’s the part number on your Wallstreet’s floppy drive? I’ve seen part numbers 825-4156-A and 825-4267-A on eBay, and I’m wondering if there’s a difference between the two.
    February 11, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Adam Rosen said…
    Mine is 825-4156-A. The Wallstreet was around for a few years, Apple may have done a minor rev on the floppy drive module at some point.
    February 12, 2012 at 9:51 AM

  2. Alex Santos says:

    I have an old powerbook 150 that I recently acquired. I would like to move all the contents from the internal HD to another machine. The 150 has 7.1.1 German, can I use the PB G3 Wallstreet to bridge the data backup gap. Would I use the serial port on the two machines as the bridge through localtalk?

    Hope this message finds you well.

    —Alex

    • Adam Rosen says:

      Yes you can create a direct LocalTalk connection between the two systems via the serial ports. You will need serial port (DIN-8) to PhoneNet adapters with terminating resistors on both ends, you can find these on eBay.

  3. Jennifer says:

    I have a prototype Mac Portable clear plastic . Wanted to know what it’s worth . I worked for Apple in the 80’s This was first portable computer made and weighed 18 or 19 lbs. I have original Carrieg case. I have a clear plastic and one of the protypes regular primal plastic my cell *** *** ****. I live in FL so remember 3 hrs behind Calif time. Thanks bunches , Jennifer McNulty

  4. Jennifer says:

    ****** correction *******
    That was 3 hours later than Calf time. I worked with John Medica and my supervisor Rodger Mohme with about 13 engineers Great group of people. Every time Apple released a product , we would have a party. Heck we had a party just to have a party. Great times. John Sculley was CEO of Apple at that time 1988. I have a book everyone received A Day in A Life of Calif

Leave a Reply