My Grail has been Achieved! Macintosh Quadra 950

Jun 5, 2020Computer Improvements

A child and his Quadra

I finally got what I’ve wanted since 1994. Nineteen Ninety Four was my first year in middle school. I went to a technology focused middle school that was specially funded to have a computer for every student in every class. So in every room we had enough computers for every kid and these were LC II or IIIs. Each classroom also had a “multimedia platform” at the front of the class which was basically a steel cart that had a large TV, LaserDisc, VCR, Panasonic prosumer camcorder, Macintosh IIci, Apple monitor, SCSI flatbed scanner, and SCSI AppleCD 300 external CD-ROM CD Caddy drive.

We did some cool stuff with all this equipment but there was another thing… The school had an “editing room” with two identical setups (that I will describe in the following paragraphs). I joined the video editing club, which ended up not materializing, but in the first few meetings an eighth-grader who had experience with the system gave us some demos. At that point I was hooked. The editing machines were two Quadra 950s and an incredible amount of pro software and peripherals. The only regret I have is no longer having the content we made with these machines. Some of it was really cool looking.

A gentleman online had posted that he found a bunch of classic Macs in a warehouse he was cleaning out. One of the items he listed but not pictured was a Quadra 950. I asked for photos and if he would sell it in as-is condition and he said yes! Score!

Below are some excepts from my conversations with him and others about the Quadra series, specifically the 950 and software we had. Give those a read and check out my upcoming video/post series of my Quadra and the restoration process coming in the next couple weeks! Since I now have my grail, lets see if I can get it to work!

This is a photo of me making a web page for the school on one of the Quadras that was featured in our local newspaper with an article about young people and technology. My friend there (with his hand not on the mouse) is trying to steal my photo op.

Some noteworthy posts about my soft spot for Quadras

So let me tell you about my soft spot for Quadras (besides the 700 in Jurassic Park). I went to a tech centric middle school (94-97). We had enough Macs for every student in every class, LCs. We had a IIci "multimedia platform" at the front of every class. Then we had one editing room with two Quadra 950s in it decked out with Avid Media Suite Pro and Crystal Topaz 3D modeling and rendering software. That thing has a 2GB Avid branded external hard drive for media storage (enormous at the time!). We had Sony pro VHS and UMATIC-SP video cassette decks on it. Roland monitor speakers, pro video monitor and 21" displays, the whole deal. I got in video editing club early in 6th grade and learned the basics and then self taught more and more over the next few years. In 8th grade somehow I con'd my way in to being in the editing room all the time working on something or another and got my buddy taught how to work with them too. But we really weren't working on anything school related, we were watching movies I'd taped of HBO and episodes of In Living Color and just dicking around having fun with them. I learned so much about editing, 3d modeling, how all this equipment worked. Some point during my tenure there we got school wide internet access. Honestly I could not have been having more fun. Nearly everything I've done since then has not been as enjoyable. 

About 10 years ago I called the School districts head of information systems asking if those machines were still in storage somewhere or what. Of course they were gone. I loved those things and have considered trying to recreate the setup at my house but I don't think its worth it. I have a bunch of pre-g3 PPCs but I do still need to get a good working high end 68k w/ FPU for the collection. I hear Quadra and I get so sad for how much fun and curiosity I had. Enjoy yours!!!  Quadra commercial.

The early Macs are what started my love for technology and there was something magical about computers back then. 

AMEN! I think the thing about it was, if you had a computer and knew how to use it... you had one up on everyone else. A real advantage. Same thing for smartphones in the 2000s. I LOVED my blackberry. 

These machines still bring a feeling unable to be replicated with modern tech for me. 

I know right, I LOVED everything about the System 7-9 Macs. You could tell the people that made and designed them and the software loved their work as much as I loved the machines.
Im so pissed off with the state of computing today, everything is spying and recording etc etc. Im thinking of trying to use my old world Macs for some of my day to day tasks and see how it goes. Old versions of Photoshop and such. I don't need the new features.

A photo of us with the Quadra in the editing room.
A photo from the yearbook of me and a friend in the editing room. We ran that school, we even brought a couch in there to chill.