…is an Apple eMate 300.
I’ve considered buying an eMate on eBay, but I don’t really need one, and the bidding usually goes much too high for my essentially idle interest in the things.
The engraving on the underside of my eMate tells me that it and its brethren came from Mount Riverview Public School. Where, if the condition of the thing is anything to go by, nobody got much use out of them.
(Now some kid who used this very eMate when she was in fourth grade is going to e-mail me and tell me how much she’s enjoying her career as a barrister.)
It’s not surprising that the eMates didn’t get used a lot. Half-assed ineffective school computing schemes are still extremely common today, let alone ten years ago - but it’s still a shame. The eMate remains a very competent assistant to a “proper” computer, at least for people like me whose needs stop at “Palm-ish sorts of jobs, plus a keyboard”.
(Yes, Newton enthusiasts, I am aware that the Newton has some features, even if they were a bit slow, which other PDAs still haven’t matched.)
The eMate is a product from the Golden Age of Apple, when they were concerned that mere high prices and IBM-incompatibility weren’t always enough to prevent people from buying their computers. So sometimes, Apple simply refused to sell things to ordinary consumers.
Lots of regular people would have loved an eMate. The mere fact that it’s still quite useful today ought to make that clear. But Apple wouldn’t sell you one unless you managed to persuade them you were part of the “education market”.
(More recently, they did the same thing with the early eMacs. Then they sobered up and started selling them to everyone.)
Now that I’ve got my eMate, I feel morally obliged to walk out into the bush with it and spend more hours writing something than I could using either of the other (working) portables in this house. I’ll have to rebuild the utterly dead ‘97-vintage battery pack before I can take it anywhere, but that’s no big deal. Even getting data on and off of the thing shouldn’t be too painful, since the eMate has an IrDA transceiver.
(It’s got a PCMCIA slot as well, but you can’t plug any old laptop Ethernet card in there and expect it to work.)
I’ll let you all know how I get on with my new toy.