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Christmas Gift Guide

Mini tech museum curator (and VC) Larry Marcus

The main display

iMac, meet Altair

The original Lisa

Not the original Lisa

Macintosh Portable

Getting Steve Jobs' Signature

Commodore Pet

Wall of Altair

Altair close-up

CueCat

Transistor radio

Betamax

Odyssey

The social music player

Hideous plastic contraptions

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.
Caption by / Photo by Rafe Needleman/CNET
Marcus' prized collection of dead, obsolete, sentimental, and weird old tech products.
Caption by / Photo by Rafe Needleman/CNET
Behind the iMac on the desk: the original personal computer, the 1975 MITS Altair 8800.
Caption by / Photo by Rafe Needleman/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Rafe Needleman/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Rafe Needleman/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Rafe Needleman/CNET
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.)
Caption by / Photo by Rafe Needleman/CNET
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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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.
Caption by / Photo by Rafe Needleman/CNET
Arguably the first personal computer. This unit has been modified with the addition of an outboard cooling unit, bolted to the top.
Caption by / Photo by Rafe Needleman/CNET
One of the best reasons Larry calls his collection, "The Museum of Dead Technology."
Caption by / Photo by Rafe Needleman/CNET
The first consumer transistor radio, the Regency TR-1, from 1955.
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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.
Caption by / Photo by Rafe Needleman/CNET
This 1972 Magnavox Odyssey game console has a strong sentimental value to Marcus.
Caption by / Photo by Rafe Needleman/CNET
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.
Caption by / Photo by Rafe Needleman/CNET
A 1995 Nintendo Virtual Boy (left) and a Weltron 8-track player, which appears to have been stolen from the set of "Space: 1999."
Caption by / Photo by Rafe Needleman/CNET
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