62 Comments

Summary:

I don’t think I’ve ever had a device as throughly beaten as this old Mini. So, imagine my surprise when, after months of neglect and mistreatment, the Mini powered on and filled my daughter’s room with music once more.

ipodmini_thumb

Today, my daughter put my old iPod Mini into the iHome clock radio in her room and was surprised to see it spring to life.  Surprised, but not nearly as surprised as I was. Astonished is probably a more accurate word for my reaction. Not only had that iPod lasted me for years in my car, at the gym, at work, and at home, I had used it until the battery no longer held a charge.   The Mini came with me on trips around the country, driving and flying, my constant companion. At one point I loaded Linux on it, just because I could, became tired of it and set it back to factory defaults.

After the battery gave up the ghost, the Mini continued to work great, as long as it was plugged in, for a couple more years. After the Mini refused to power on when plugged in, (or so I thought) I put it up, and generally forgot about it until my two year old son somehow found it and decided that he needed it.  Since it was busted anyway, I let him have it, and that’s when the real abuse began.

My son dropped it on the concrete, used it as a hammer, and may have even taken a dive in the tub with it once or twice.  I don’t think I’ve ever had a device as throughly beaten as this old Mini. For months, what was my companion became my son’s, inside and out. So, imagine my surprise when, after months of neglect and mistreatment, the Mini powered on and filled my daughter’s room with music once more. My old iPod is not without its scars, the click wheel doesn’t work, and the black and white display is a little patchy, but it still accepts the buttons on the iHome.

Have you had a similar, jaw dropping, “it still works” moment with your Apple gear?  I’d love to hear about it, sound off in the comments!

Image courtesy of Flickr user mfajardo

  1. Yeah… spilled apple juice on my white macbook (not without recognising the funny) last summer, dried it out and it still worked although with a splodgy screen and loud whirring. Thought rather than paying the £500 repair Apple quoted me, I’d wait for it to thoroughly die and get a new pro or imac, still waiting….

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  2. I have only just stopped using my vintage 1992 Duo 230. My old Performa 5200 is still working in a local school, my tangerine iBook lasted nearly 10 years and many airline flights, the Ruby iMac lasted about 9 years, my imagewriter I lasted nearly 20. In fact if we could still find ribbons, it’d probably still be in service.

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  3. I still have a preG3 powerPC a/v (8900 I think) that I still use to capture VHS tapes on, that’s gotta be like 15 years old!

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  4. Richard Walsh Friday, April 23, 2010

    My iPhone 3G went through a wash cycle after visiting my family for a weekend. My dad thought he was helping me out while I slept in for once.

    I had come home, and just tossed it over to my room mate (who happens to be an engineer). He popped her open and today she works fine as if it never met the dark hole filled with laundry detergent and fabric softener.

    Works as if nothing ever happened to it (even though I still had it replaced at full price). Only thing WiFi takes a little longer to respond when re-establishing connection. But now it sits as our boxee remote in our living room. I use it as my back up (if and when it needs to be).

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  5. I still use my ipod 3g. Holds about 2-3 hrs of charge and works great. I bought it on its release date, in May of 2002.

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  6. I spilled an entire Cup O’ Noodles on my PowerBook 3400′s keyboard. The computer fizzled and popped and crackled, and went down for the count. I dived under the table to pull the plug, but the computer was dead, I assumed. Went black. I disassembled the laptop and dried off the mobo with towels. No luck. Months later I powered it up — and it worked just fine. It still works to this day (although I use a 15″ MacBook Pro now).

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  7. Sent a first gen. Ipod Nano through the wash cycle, twice. I thought it was toast. But after drying out a couple of days, it powered up and I still use it today for the gym.

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  8. Mustang Paul Friday, April 23, 2010

    My first generation 5 gig iPod is filled with Blues and hooked to my home stereo. Everything, but the battery, work as it did day one. I keep it plugged in to a power source, so no problem. It is showing no signs of giving up the ghost anytime soon.

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  9. I bought a Newton MessagePad, model H1000, when it first came out, in 1993. When Apple introduced the iPhone, in 2007, I plugged in the Newton, just for yucks. It still worked.

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  10. Well, I don’t know if this counts, but I dug my Apple II+ out of my dad’s garage on Sunday, where it has sat since the fall of ’85. It powered up just fine, and I resumed a game of Zork I started about a quarter of a century ago.

    FLASH IS DEAD – JOIN THE HTML5 REVOLUTION!

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  11. I still own a ipod mini 4gb / jan 2005 .. it still works fantastic though had battery replaced once & does not have much battery life as the newer ones but is still really good & Im happy :) It has traveled so much with me & its without a ssd / flash drive!! It has fallen down numerous times from the table still it stands strong !

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  12. A few years ago my 1.5 year old Ipod got a few drops of water on it and never worked again. I brought it in to the Apple store and since the warranty was only 1 year they it would cost $100 to repair. I am a big Apple fan but I have to say I have always thought that Durability and service were always big weak points.

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    1. Sorry, you got your iPod wet and you’re blaming Apple for it breaking?

      The 1 year warranty is irrelevant, it doesn’t cover liquid damage so it should never have been a free repair/replacement.

      It’s very simple with Apple and all other companies: You break it, you pay

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  13. My 7 year old dropped his ipod while coming out of the school bus in October. After the snow thawed on a warm December day, one of the parents at the stop found it and returned it. About one day later, we tried it and it still works today.

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    1. Now “that” is impressive.

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  14. Alvaro Rodríguez Friday, April 23, 2010

    I have an old Mac II FX with system 8.6 on it and 8 MB of RAM. You can still do e-mail and surf the web with it (old Netscape browser). Works like a charm.

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  15. In 2004 I bought a 667 MHz PowerBook G4 “DVI” from a used/refurbished mac website. I used it through a year and a half of high school, taking it to school often in a book bag full of stuff. In college I studied Computer Science, so I put it through it’s paces running Eclipse and Xcode, as well as browsing the web while sitting in class. When 10.5 came out I was stunned that Apple was no longer supporting my still working hardware. Around my second year of college the original harddrive died, and I replaced it with a smoking fast 7200 RPM IDE drive from newegg. It was like getting a new laptop. By this time I had started working part time as a sports photographer. I installed Adobe CS3 on it, primarily for Photoshop. To this day it can handle RAW image processing from a Canon 1-D Mark III, which I feed it regularly at NCAA Basketball games. I spent three summers as a backpacking guide of sorts working in the mountains of northern New Mexico. I spent lots of time hiking and taking pictures, and I edited all of them, thousands per summer, on my PowerBook G4. I kept the thing stored in my trunk in my tent in basecamp for a total of 9 months. It had to endure temperatures ranging from 30 to 90 degrees in an environment ranging from dusty to snowing. The only upgrade I have made to it other than the harddrive was adding an additional 256 MB of ram, to bring the total to a staggering 768 MB.

    So after almost 9 years of life, a year of high school, 4 years of college, and hours of professional workload, my PowerBook “TiBook” G4 “DVI” is still cruising along. My only two problems I have ever had with it were the harddrive crashed (easily fixed thanks to a backup, even the physical replacement wasn’t very hard), and a case early on, maybe a few months after I bought it, where the screen hinges cracked. I took it in to Apple the next day and amazingly, in 2004, it was still under warranty from 2001 or 2002 because the original purchaser had AppleCare. Not only was the repair to my display free, and great quality, but Apple techs also diagnosed a problem with my speakers that I didn’t mention, and replaced those. I was very impressed with the service.

    I have a PowerMac G5 as my primary computer, so I don’t really use the laptop as my “Daily Driver” of sorts. But everytime a new line of Apple laptops comes out, I consider upgrading but then I think to myself, “What for? My PowerBook does everything that I need it to do.”

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  16. I have found Apple products, while elegant and with a great user experience, to be losers when it came to reliability. My iMac G5 first generation had a bad motherboard within 3 months. Of course Apple replaced it for free. Then at 9 months (6 months later) it happened again. Again, free replacement. At this point I bought the Applecare. About a month until my applecare was up it went out again and I got it replaced. 3 months later I have a paperweight. That isn’t even counting the optical drive and harddrives that went out (both replaced by applecare).

    I have had similar issues with my various iPods over the years although my Mac Minis have been very solid.

    That being said, no one beats Apple on customer service.

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  17. I have a Apple II+ with 32kB +16kB (card) RAM, etc, working very well, perfect.

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  18. I have a purple G3 iMac and an original 128K Macintosh from 1984. Both boot and still work as designed.

    Casualities include Grey iMac with WiFi and firewire (along with its heartbreakingly good backward compatibility), blue and white iBook (died at age 5) and a 2003 PowerBook 15″ that just died in January.

    Still functional Macs that left me as sales or gifts and gifts to others include Mac SE, MacTV, Mac II, and Peforma 6115.

    Original iPod, 40 GB color iPod, original iPhone, and now a new 16GB WiFi iPad to tide me over until the iPad gets a next generation 4G wireless radio or AT&T finally allows tethering.

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  19. Last I checked (about two years ago) my Apple //gs and my dad’s Apple ][+ ran just fine. I’m typing this on a 5-year old iMac that has seen 250+ days of use a year, never been brought in for hardware repair or software problems, and which has on multiple occasions gone >1 month between reboots. I’d kind of like a new iMac but I really can’t justify it – this one works great for everything I need.

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  20. TheOtherGeoff Friday, April 23, 2010

    my 1992 NeXTstation Mono still boots, after 8 years of storing in my Northern Plains unheated garage. The rubber feet have corroded off, and the fan has a bearing scream. Alas, my 1988 (and upgraded to 040 in ’90) NeXTcube doesn’t drive it’s video anymore… but I can still telnet into it.

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  21. I have a 14 iBook that I dropped on concrete from 4.5 feet. It was in my backpack at the time, but it had no padding. I was quite relieved to find that the computer was not damaged in any way and it powered on perfectly and continued to work for another year with no trouble.

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  22. one can find so many of these kinds of stories for all kinds of brands. This might seem out of context but reliability is something that Apple needs to improve on the macs. they are probably above average but macs are (on average) not the most reliable notebooks on the market. they are not as reliable as the toshiba’s or even the sony’s. what the apple hardwares have are original ideas, e.g. magnetic power cable. and I’m not just talking about the notorious macbooks. even the macbook pros that people spend their hard earned bucks on are disappointing in my opinion. coping with heating macbook pros under your palms is frustrating enought but dealing with reliaiblity issues in spite of spending all that money is just too much. I’m refraining to buy a mbp mainly for that reason. I just believe that the people deserve better. this post might disappoint some mac fans but I’m defending the interests of the people not Apple computer. sorry! :(

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  23. I still have a 3rd gen iPod the ones with the sweet red 4 buttons and the touch sensitive wheel. God I loved that thing. Bought it pretty much when it first came out. Unfortunately it did not last as long as I’d hoped (I would probably still use it as a car iPod). I’ve been through two batteries, replaced the harddrive and now I’m fairly certain it’s dead. It still powers on but promptly shuts off and won’t sync with iTunes. Lasted me 5 solid years though, and I beat the living bejesus out of the thing. I’d listen to it for literally 8 hours a day, rain, sun, snow everything.

    Makes me nostalgic.

    Oh my parents also still have a lampshade iMac from good ol 2002. Sucker is still going strong, only problem we had was a harddrive failure but it was covered under Applecare. She’s still going strong though. Unfortunately because I want my parents to get a new computer!

    I also have 2 clamshell iBooks that work flawlessly, one with 3 hours battery. Damn I have too many macs…

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  24. 2G iPod (w/Firewire port on the top)

    Got it in the fall of 2002, still works fine.

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  25. I spilled partially mixed whey protein all over the keyboard of my Macbook. The machine died immediately and I wiped off what I could. I then left it open and upside down in my tub until it dried. I left it in this position in my closet, and after a week, it was risen.

    I then called Apple, as I was told when I bought Applecare that they would take care of accidental spills. It turns out the salesman was a little over-zealous and it was not covered at all. In an act of great generosity (although I suppose they were just doing what they said they would. Either way, they have bought me as theirs forever), they replaced the entire face of the machine.

    It’s been a year since the spill and there are absolutely no signs of the goop that once seeped through my machine.

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  26. Apple hardware definitely lasts longer than the PC counterparts.

    I have a 2nd generation iPod that still works (bought this 9 years ago… in 2001). And I have a PowerBook G4 that still runs (bought this 7 years ago… in 2003). Right now, I’m using a Unibody MacBook Pro.

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  27. Yep…I still have a PowerBook 100 that works like the day I bought it…33hz processor, 4MB RAM, and a 20MB hard drive. The battery started to swell, and had to be “professionally removed”. Also, one of my dogs pee’d on my 15″ MBP the other day…seeped into the battery compartment. After 2 hours of taking apart and cleaning, it is fine. People wonder why we pay more for Apple products….THIS is why.

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  28. I crashed on my skateboard with a powerbook g3 in my bag. It was in a case but when I got home some of the plastic casing had cracked and a piece had broken off. My jacket and knee were also damaged in the crash. I didn’t think the computer would start up but it did. I continued to use it until I sold it on ebay a year or two later.

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  29. [...] Apple Hardware Longevity [...]

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  30. I really like Apple products… but… I’ve gone through two screens, am on my third hard drive (the other two died), and have a case that is cracked and falling apart on my MacBook. Mac hardware isn’t all great, unfortunately. I can see why they switched to the unibody design as the previous MacBook case blows.

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    1. Yep, I was really disappointed with the older MacBook case too. The unibody design is what it should have been all along, miles away from therevious design. I also thought that the iBook case was higher quality than the original MacBooks.

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  31. Well, until last year I was playing around with an old computer, it worked fine. The mouse is not tracking correctly but the cpu works perfectly. We actually don’t use that machine because of the obsolete software, just because of that. The computer is a Macintosh LC III that my dad bought in 1991, that’s 19 years ago!!! I’m really amazed at it’s performance because, even though it’s not precisely fast, it’s still working as if it were new. We also have a 10 year (more or less) old PowerMac G3 with Panther still running. Apple machines just work :)

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  32. It hadn’t been abused, but yesterday I donated a bunch of old electronics for recycling. One was a Power Mac 7100/66, from 1993 — seventeen years ago.

    Since it still had a hard drive inside, I hooked it up and turned it on to see if I could reformat it. And it worked! I even reinstalled Mac OS 9.1 on it, and things went without a hitch. It wouldn’t view a YouTube video or even play an MP3 file (too taxing on the processor), but it could go on the Internet and check email, run Word 5.1a, and generally do the job.

    It’ll surely be scrapped for parts, but it was fun to see it come to life again:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/penmachine/4544105817/

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  33. Powered up my dads Macintosh 120k from college and it works perfectly. It still has all his files. I especially love the MacPaint application. He even has all the floppy drives with all the games. Hours of fun, even runs equvalent programs faster than my aluminum MacBook… Sometimes

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  34. I still use a Powerbook G4 12″ from 2003 as my primary laptop. I will buy a new Macbook as soon as they make a 12″ model!

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  35. Exact same feeling, I have a mini that once died of hard drive disease, it’s been transplanted with a 8Gb flash card and is pretty much working every day since then. It’s been for a while in my daughter’s room when she needed lullabies to go to sleep, and is still my favorite when I travel… I really love this little buddy!

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  36. The scroll ball on the mouse for my iMac stopped working within the
    warranty period and was replaced free of charge by Apple. The replacement has gone the same way so I just don’t use the scroll ball.
    My iPhone 3G was replaced twice as the battery stopped holding sufficient charge. Apple won’t allow you to take out Applecare once an item is out of warranty. I’m reasonably confident that reliability will be good and would
    plan to undertake repairs myself if the need arises.

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  37. I think this only applied to the old Apple products… well definitely not the iPod touch. I’ve had two die on me(1G then 2G), one of which just stopped working without any physical abuse. I have an ipod touch 3g now and it’s working well so far…

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  38. No abuse but I have an Apple Personal Laserwriter 320 that is still going strong. The manual paper feed is a little dodgy but other than that it works just fine.

    I keep an old G4 Mac mini as a print server running Leopard because Snow Leopard can’t talk directly to it any more. I added a localtalk to ethernet adapter sometime in the late 90s so that I could keep using it after the last localtalk serial port was eliminated. It has 2 MB of RAM. That’s right, 2 MB.

    I bought it in 1994. It is almost old enough to vote. It has printed some 40,000 pages. I’m on my 6th or 7th toner cartridge. I just put the last one that I own in. When it runs out, that will be it. The toner cartridge itself (genuine Apple) must be 8 years old. I bought a pile of them years ago.

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  39. My iPod touch 2G was submerged in a pool. When I took it out, I could hear it sizzling, the metal was getting intensely hot, and you could see steam condensing inside the LCD. After drying it in a bag of rice, it still wouldn’t turn on. I was sure it died. A couple months later, I decided to try to turn it on for no reason at all. My jaw dropped when it actually worked. The following week, however, it started to die again. The touch screen eventually failed to respond after a couple days. :( Still amazing.

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  40. My first generation 5GB iPod retired into service as the deliverer of hold music on the phone system at work – it’s run 24/7 for the last 3 years without a hitch.

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  41. Yeah,,. My 1st Gen iPod Touch was my first ever Apple device. It later was followed by a Unibody MacBook Pro and now an iPhone 3GS because of things like this. That iPod Touch has received more drops than any other gadget I’ve ever had.. and still works like new. Surely it does have a couple of bumps around it, but you’d have to look closely to notice them.

    Apple products are simply built to last,.. or how often do you find Aluminum unibody laptops in the market?

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  42. I knocked a beer over onto my MacBook keyboard, while holding my toddler in my arms. Fortunately had the presence of mind to put the toddler down first, then uprighted the beer, then pulled the power from the MacBook, flipped it on its side and pulled the battery, and then set it on the top of the stove to dry out while I cooked the turkey…
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/billwesterman/367569927/

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  43. Still got my silver mini! Works absolutely fine after having it for… 7 years. Obviously the battery only holds about 20 minutes worth of charge but still XD

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  44. I have the perspective of someone who uses macs for work, with a typical inventory of about 20 laptops at any one time. We tend to sell off surplus equipment between projects and upgrade to newer equipment as needed. The computer reliability has been great in that we have never had to write off a laptop. Most repairs have been covered by warranty. I can only recall two cases of having to pay for repair, and we have probably cycled through 50 laptops over the last decade. I can also say that the new Macbook variety seems to be a lot more reliable. We were early adaptors to the iBook and had a few daughterboard failures (under warranty). When we mentioned we had bought a lot of 20, the Apple Store took them in on a rotating basis and did a pre-emptive replacement on the rest of them.

    The batteries do wear out and I have been less than impressed by the durability of the power cords (again, the mag safe cords have been much better in this regard). We have 9 MacBook/MacBook Pro laptops and a few PowerBooks but also have 7 2001 iBooks that, while a bit worse for wear and are a bit discolored with a funky smell to them (think old elevators) still do what we need them to do.

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  45. Once i accidentally wiped acid on the front of my ipod. It was one of the first with a click wheel, black and white display, 20GB.

    I rubbed the acid from an acidic graffiti removal wipe by accident on it, and the face slowly started to melt. I ended up panicking and using the wipes to wipe off the layer of melted plastic that kept forming as the layer underneath melted too. Eventually after 4 melted layers of plastic the screen was incomprehensible. But I could still see the light was on and text was displayed! the click wheel still worked full (though a little rough to the touch) and it still played music!

    unfortunately I had it repaired with a new front face. wish id kept it that way just to keep it unique!

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  46. Don’t start me talking on Apple hardware!

    I am the owner of a 1Tb Time Capsule that broke down before it turned two years old.

    There are two lengthy threads on Apple discussions with comments from others with the same problem.

    I think Apple handled this whole Time Capsule issue very poorly.

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  47. Back in 1996 or so, I was working some separations/artwork late at night at a screenprint shop in Arizona. Unknown to me, the roof had caught fire, and it took people banging on the doors from the street to let me know it was happening.

    Well, the entire building went up in flames. Burning roof collapsed straight down into the work area, the fire department pumped tons of water into the area to put out the fire…total disaster.

    Two days later, after the insurance adjustor declared everything a total loss, we started clearing out the debris. I came across my first generation PowerPC Mac, the casing completely melted, the interior charred. I took it home, cleaned it up, plugged it in, and I’ll be damned if the thing wasn’t still trying to rip the postscript file it was working on when power went out in the building.

    That charred, molten beast became my first of many Macs, and it didn’t cost me a cent! Used it for at least two or three years before retiring it completely (of course, I upgraded/replaced video cards and ram over time).

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  48. [...] Apple Hardware Longevity [...]

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  49. I won a 2002 eMac 800MHz in a bingo night we organized among staff at the Apple Reseller store I work at. Just a way for us to clear out all the old stuff we had gathered thru out the years. After lugging it home and pondering what to do with it, my bedroom tv gave up.
    I installed XMBC and RemoteBuddy, bought a IR receiver and now it plays all the media on my Popcorn Hour NMT or my NAS via ethernet from my living room. Even MKV files are no problem (after a 5to10 second buffer). To bad it has no fancontrol, so it’s a bit noisy, maybe someday i’ll open it up and look at a way to turn the RPM down somewhat.

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  50. My 4-year-old dropped her iPhone 3GS into her large bowl of morning cereal while she was using her facebook app. After rinsing with a light stream of water under the sink and letting dry for 48 hours it still works fine.

    BTW, she now uses her iPad much more than hre iPhone. No worry about dropping iPad in cereal bowl as it is just too big !

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    1. “Her” iPad? As in, you gave your 4 year old an iPhone and an iPad? :)

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  51. I thought I had lost my first gen nano after a couple of years of solid use and abuse. It had be “gone” for about 6 months, replaced with a shiny new red one, when I found it in the drain of my front loader washing machine. After 6 months of wash cycles for two people, I dried it out for a couple of weeks and jacked it up. It first complained about needing to reload the firmware and it wouldn’t hold a charge anymore, but other wise it worked just like the day I left it my blue jeans! I also found a USB thumb drive in the drain at the same time that wouldn’t even light up.

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  52. My son’s iPod Nano 3rd Gen (fatty) went through the washer and the dryer and still works fine (well, it won’t make On-the-go playlists for some reason)…
    …my 3rd gen iPod is still going strong (on its 3rd battery)…and I have a ton of old Macs that won’t die. A G4 Cube is running as a music server (and with a souped up CPU, HD and video card was my primary computer, running Leopard, ’till I picked up a June 2009 15″ MacBook Pro), an iMac DV is running as a wireless proxy server for filtering my kids Internet… my 10 y.o. uses my old indigo iBook, my 14 y.o. uses (and abuses) my old G3 800 iBook. My first Mac, a PowerBook 150, still boots up, and my wife’s Mac Plus still boots off an old system 6.0.3 diskette.
    Even my old AirPort (Graphite), which has been on 24/7 since 1999, is still working, as are 3 original 802.11b AirPort cards.

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  53. my sister knocked my macbook aluminium off a bench onto concrete… despite a smashed glass (the screen still worked), destroyed superdrive and a bunch of scratches and dents, the thing powered on (only when it was plugged in though)… i ripped it open, fixed a few wires that had come out, replaced the superdrive and then took it to apple to do the screen… alot cheaper if you do SOME of it yourself…

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  54. i’ve owned 2 gen 3 ipods, a shuffle, and a nano … only the nano continues to work, despite the great care i took of all the ipods.

    the 2 gen 3s lasted about a year each; the shuffle, less than a year.

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  55. Photochromatic Friday, May 7, 2010

    I plugged in a Newton Messagepad 130 a few weeks ago. I had found it in a box in a storage locker I had just cleaned out. After charging overnight, not only did it work, but it fired right up and showed me my last notes – from July 1998!

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  56. themanwiththetanfromacan Saturday, May 22, 2010

    while, first i sent my plain old ipod headphones through the washer and they are fine the wires are just curlier now. then i got the iphone headphones with remote and mac and those have been through the wash at least twice. they still work fine, remote and mic too, the wires are just curlier. on an unrelated note my png 2gig flash drive has been throught the wash twice and both times and just let it dry out and it was fine. didnt even lose any data.

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  57. It only requires the member to log into his MySpace account, and then open the page where he desires to upload the background. The MySpace backgrounds will come with simple codes, which anyone can follow. They just need to copy paste the code onto the page where they want the background to be seen. Backgrounds can be used with either images or texts
    =================
    Serve Technology

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    1. well here are my two cents. i have a 6100/66 “yeah” remember those that look like a pizza box, man i paid like 2600.00 for this 66mhz 16 meg of ram 250 mem hardrive……then spent like 1000.00 for an extra 8 meg or ram for a total of 24 meg of ram. anyway i use this machine for work and i swear i to you this machine has been on about 90% of the time for the last 20 years or so more so then less. there is no feature to turn down or sleep the hard drive either. really great machine the odd time it will freeze and i reboot but great for faxing stuff, fax modem remember those and claris works……now i gave my son my imac and bought a new mac book pro 15.4 i5 and really love it, nice piece of art as well.

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