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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.

Updated:Caption:Photo:Rafe Needleman/CNET
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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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