Have you seen Different Thought?

If prose is not your first language, a rough translation into cheesy rhyming poetry is available here.

If anyone tries to sell you a PowerBook 1400cs/133 with a floppy drive in the expansion bay and a few cracks behind the screen at the bottom, it might be my Different Thought. Here's the story of what happened to Different Thought.

Once upon a time (January 2001) my boyfriend Steve and I decided it was time he bought me a Christmas present. We went to MagnumMac, as he was considering buying me an ethernet card for my Mac, or if that cost too much, an iClock. He ended up getting me the iClock - well, actually it was a different brand but much the same as an iClock... an iMac-shaped world clock, radio, calendar, calculator and thermometer. I took my Mac with me to MagnumMac to see about getting the cracked plastic replaced, but on finding how much it would cost, I decided not to go ahead with that. If I had left my computer with them to replace the plastic, things would have been a lot different now.

Steve and I then went to see my sister Liz, who lived nearby. After a while there, Steve and I decided to take a bus back to his house, but on the way to the bus stop we decided it would be easier to take a taxi. Steve was carrying my Mac, and put it down in a phone booth to call for a cab.

It wasn't until we got to his house, perhaps half an hour later, that we realised he hadn't picked my Mac up again. We got Liz to run up there and have a look, while Steve frantically left on his motorbike to look for it - only to have his bike break down. My Mac wasn't there.

Coincidentally, the night before I'd put a piece of paper from a letter with Steve's name and address under my Mac's BookCover, as a makeshift measure to cover the picture of my previous boyfriend (more than a year previous... I'm lazy) until I got around to updating the BookCover. Because of this, we thought there would be a good chance of getting my Mac back, because if anyone honest picked it up they'd know where to take it. The next day I played with Steve's old Macintosh SE, and hoped for a phone call or visit from someone with my Mac. The phone call came, and sounded promising - but when Steve hung up he informed me that the man who had my Mac was holding it to ransom. I thought he was joking at first, as we had joked about something like that happening, but he wasn't! It's not every day that people have their possessions held to ransom. I would have paid a reward for my Mac, but not forced like that.

Naturally, Steve called the police and arranged for them to be there when he met the man with my Mac. To the amusement of some onlookers (one of which even dropped his icecream in surprise!) the man was arrested for extortion. However, he did not have my Mac with him and would not say where it was, or even if he knew where it was. We suspect it had already been sold. Since Steve is the one who was carrying my Mac, he feels responsible and offered to sell his computers to buy me a new one.

I still have a small and exponentially dwindling hope that Different Thought will turn up eventually, it has several distinguishing features like the cracked plastic and my mother's passport number in invisible ink.

Luckily a lot of software and web pages of mine were on the internet, and I have printouts of most of my creative writing, so those aren't lost. However, I'd just finished another HyperCard stack which I hadn't released, and there were several other things I was working on. I also had made a few improvements to the Acronyms stack.

Sad huh?

Oh, but that isn't the end of the story...

After all this ransom stuff, I checked my email to find that Liz had sent an email to Steve "the Woz" Wozniak (co-founder of Apple, genius, prankster, and all-around nice guy) telling him about my missing Mac, and asking if he knew of any organisations which might be able to help replace it. Woz knew of Liz and myself because Liz had arranged for him to call me on my twentieth birthday, and I'd also emailed him on several occasions. I thought it a bit premature of her to be thinking about replacing my Mac, when there was still a slim chance of my old one turning up. Anyway, Steve Wozniak replied with this:

You can tell me her address and I can send a laptop. It won't have her own data but will be new and modern. That might be a problem, as it won't have Macintosh serial ports but rather USB and firewire. So she may need adapters. My big problem is time, but I'll try to get it done.

Which cheered me up, to say the least! A few more emails were exchanged between Liz and Steve, and a few days later I went to MagnumMac again and came out with a key lime iBook Special Edition! The man who processed the order (who remembered me from when we were in the shop days earlier, the numerous other times I've been there, and the Apple Spring Update) thought it was a joke when he first got an email from Steve Wozniak, but knew the email address was correct. I had another surprise when I saw that Steve had also paid for an extra 128MB of RAM - although even as it was the iBook had twice as much RAM as my old Mac!

After a lot of setting up and downloading, this iBook feels more like it's mine... but I still can barely believe that I actually have an iBook... there was no need for Woz to do this for me, when we don't really know each other. I've almost finished remaking the HyperCard stack I'd been working on on Different Thought, and I've reimplemented most of the extra stuff in the Acronyms stack, plus more.

I've made some web pages for my new iBook, who for the moment is called myBook - they're here. Different Thought's web pages, apart from this one, are still as they were before she was lost - click here to see the old front page, or use the links at the bottom of the page to see the others.
pictures software friends links Angela