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Touring a VC's personal tech museum (photos)

A bonus during a visit to VC Larry Marcus: A tour of his tiny but dense museum of tech.

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Rafe Needleman
Rafe Needleman reviews mobile apps and products for fun, and picks startups apart when he gets bored. He has evaluated thousands of new companies, most of which have since gone out of business.
Rafe Needleman
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Mini tech museum curator (and VC) Larry Marcus

Larry Marcus, a partner at Walden Venture Capital, curates a small but dense tech museum in his San Francisco office. On a recent visit, he gave me a tour.
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The main display

Marcus' prized collection of dead, obsolete, sentimental, and weird old tech products.
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iMac, meet Altair

Behind the iMac on the desk: the original personal computer, the 1975 MITS Altair 8800.
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The original Lisa

The first Mac-like product from Apple was the Lisa. This is the first version, released in 1983. That's a ProFile hard disk stacked on top. We think it is a 5-megabyte model.
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Not the original Lisa

Relegated to a position in the Walden VC conference room, this model of the Lisa had a single 3.5-inch floppy drive instead of the dual "Twiggy" (two-hole) 5.25-inch floppies of the original.
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Macintosh Portable

The 1989, $7,300 first Mac portable. Weight: 16 pounds, but the lead-acid battery (see also: your car) kept it running for at least six hours.
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Getting Steve Jobs' Signature

Larry has an original Macintosh case. Inside molds of the signatures of the designers are baked in. They're hard to photograph, but we figured out a way. See the video. (Don't forget to come back for the rest of the tour.)
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Commodore Pet

What museum of old computers would be complete without a Commodore Pet? Not shown: the Mack Truck-like prop rod that keeps the top unit open when you're working on the circuit board in the lower housing.
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Wall of Altair

The prize of Marcus' collection (other than the Lisa) is the stack of Altair equipment, including a main processor, two floppy drives, an EPROM programmer, and a terminal.
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Altair close-up

Arguably the first personal computer. This unit has been modified with the addition of an outboard cooling unit, bolted to the top.
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CueCat

One of the best reasons Larry calls his collection, "The Museum of Dead Technology."
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Transistor radio

The first consumer transistor radio, the Regency TR-1, from 1955.
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Betamax

The first U.S.-market Betamax video recorder, the 1982 Sony SL-2000 portable. It's sitting on top of a TT-2000 timer unit.
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Odyssey

This 1972 Magnavox Odyssey game console has a strong sentimental value to Marcus.
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The social music player

An original Walkman. Marcus says it was "very social," since it has two headphone jacks as well as a press-and-hold button that turns on a microphone to pipe into your ears whatever someone near you may be saying. Marcus has a special interest in music technology: he's invested in Pandora and Root Music.
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Hideous plastic contraptions

A 1995 Nintendo Virtual Boy (left) and a Weltron 8-track player, which appears to have been stolen from the set of "Space: 1999."

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