Macintosh is 30 - share your story

The Apple Macintosh changed my life.

I was not an early adopter, I did not buy one immediately but had one by Christmas of 1984. I was a mainframe guy but by 1987, I learned to code on a Macintosh II. A buddy and I then convinced our boss to let us start a development project for a Macintosh version of our PC product.

That led to a job as one of the first Windows programmers for a PC company creating a Windows 3.0 version from a Macintosh product.

I doubt that a mainframe career would have been as much fun or successful for me.

“128k is plenty. Plenty, I tell you. Don’t even talk to me about more, you crummy little engineers. And stay out of my strawberries!” - Steve Jobs

it was the computer for the rest of us and it sucked.

i had used the Apple II, a great computer and OS thanks to the smart Steve. i had written various utility, scientific and educational programs on mainframes and various minicomputers. the Apple II and other minicomputers could connect with the world outside the box.

i was used to having control, options, logical processes. that machine and OS just made life harder and a pain in the ass. i used it some helping in school computer labs, everything else worked better for that. i learned to use the machine some to teach some people that got one, they weren’t part of the rest of us either.

When I was in elementary school, my neighbors across the street had a monochrome machine of some sort on which we could play that game where you guide a snake around a screen? I assume it was a Mac. They were young, hip parents.

20 years later, I got an iPod Mini.

Sorry, I’m not following. I didn’t have any type of computer until the early 90s, are you saying the Apple II was a great computer and OS, or a machine and OS that make life harder and a pain in the ass? I’ve heard both opinions about early macs and never understood what made the difference.

For me, I’m not a programmer so mac haters tend to talk down to me, but I have always liked Apple. I still run the Dali Clock on my Mac Classic (though it’s too noisy to do it all the time), and I haven’t been able to bring myself to toss the cherry iMac I got in 2000, it technically works fine too. The worst thing I ever did was try to install system 8 on a shitty Performa and I could never use it again. I wasn’t really sorry to get rid of that one, although I lost a lot of work.

I still mourn the day I was no longer able to play Columns.

There was a time when my daughter listened to me. Now, she has grown up and I listen to her. She said, “Dad, get a Mac.” I did. Very happy to be listening and learning from my daughter.

I didn’t really get into Macs until OS X. We would use them in college quite a bit and in the newspaper industry, but up until about seven or eight years ago, I never owned one. Before that, my home computer was a Windows XP machine. And way before that, I cut my teeth on a Commodore VIC-20, then a C128.

But, I’ll be honest, OS X was the first operating system of any kind I actually enjoyed. I wasn’t as much a fan of the Mac OSes before that, but OS X fit my personality perfectly. It was elegant and intuitive, plus, if I wanted to tinker, it had a UNIX-like shell I could access which let me do all the tinkering I wanted to. I’ve got the new MacPro on order (to replace my MacPro 1,1 that has been upgraded as far as it will go), and I’ve got a couple of their laptops around, as well, so, yeah, I guess you could say my experience with them is positive. :slight_smile:

Great, top quality hardware, nice, solid OS. All under the dictatorial control of one sick, sick man.

Why do I say that? Because I fix the hardware, and I curse Steve Jobs to the uttermost depths of Hell every time I have to work on nearly any piece of Apple hardware. Work on an iMac? You need suction cups! Change the battery in an iPod? You need a “scrunger”, guitar pick or a paint scraper!

Roast in Hell, Steve. Roast in Hell.

if you could use other computers, if you liked other computers, if you learned computer logic then then Macs were a pain in the ass.

Apple II family (which i should have specified above) had good hardware, OS and programming languages that improved with time. AppleWorks (the Apple II version) was a fantastic integrated office suite.

I went through High School in the 70s in Los Alamos NM, lots of computer-nerdy classmates and the expectation that as another nerdy science-fiction / science fan I’d like them too. The computers we had had no screens. Yeah, no screens, period. What they called “terminals” looked like freaking typewriters. You would type instructions to the computer and it would type back to you on the paper. Arcane as hell. I didn’t take to them.

For reasons I’ll skip, I was entering my undergraduate career in college in the mid-80s and in my sophomore year a professor told us to rise from our seats & follow her to the school’s computer lab. I was sure this was not going to go well.

In front of each seat was a little boxlike thing with a screen and a keyboard and a tiny rectangular boxy doohickey off to the keyboard’s right. As we filed in, we were each handed a thin rectangular piece of plastic with a metal thingamabobbie of some sort attached to it. I took my piece of plastic and sat down with a sigh. Get on with it. We were instructed to hold our piece of plastic, a “disk”, like so, with the metal part at the top, and push it into the slot and wait. I did, and it slid in with a thunk and the funny box —— the computer, or so I gathered —— began making squonky squonk squonk noises. On the bezel it said “Macintosh”. There was a multi colored logo of an apple next to it. My computer eventually quit squonking at me and the guy at the front conducting the session asked if everyone say the same thing on their screen, a rectangle at the upper left and a trash can down at lower left. I did. Everyone else did. OK. Now we were to reach for the little boxy thing next to the keyboard, he called it a “mouse”, and when we moved it the arrow on the screen would move. Yeah, with you so far. Mine does that. OK we were to move the pointy arrow so it was on top of the rectangle thingie at the upper left. Then there is a button the mouse, we were to click the button twice, very quickly, and if we did it correctly the screen would change, a “window” would open, whatever the heck that meant. I pushed the button twice very quickly as he had said and yes a grey square thingie showed up on screen with things written inside it. If I had been using my Smith-Corona word processor I’d be typing papers already. I wasn’t impressed. And some folks had not had the grey “window” thingie open on their screen so he had to walk around and help them with clicking the button on the mouse.

Finally everyone had their “window” open. He said to look in the window and find something called “MacWrite” and put the pointy arrow on top of it and double-click it again. Click it twice rapidly like we had before. I did. Everything on screen disappeared and the computer make more squonky squonky squonk noises for awhile. Then a new screen appeared. It had a ruler at the top and the rest of the screen was white. The ETC guy said this was how we would write papers. We would do everything he had walked us through doing, each time, and then when we had gotten to this point we would write our papers. He said to write something, anything. I wrote “I hate computers”. He said use the mouse and move the pointy arrow up to the upper left where the word “File” is and click and hold and a menu would drop down. I did that and saw what he meant. I had to keep holding the mouse button down to keep the menu down. It had a lot of stuff in it like “New”, “Open”, Save", “Save As”, and “Quit”. He said to go to “Save”, meaning slide the arrow down by using the mouse and then let go when the mouse arrow was aimed at “Save”. I did that and other stuff popped up in front of what was formerly on screen. It said “File Name” and there was a blinking thing just like the blinking thing that had been on the screen where I had written “I hate computers”. He said “OK, now give your document a title”. So I wrote “Introduction to Computer Hating”. He said now move the mouse arrow to the oval button that says “OK”. Yes, I saw that. Now click. I clicked. Squonky squonk squonk squonk squonk squonky squonk. It went back to the screen where I had written “I hate computers”. He said “Your document is now saved. You can quit and shut down the computer and take your disk with you and that document is stored on the disk. And you can open it later and work on it some more.” I understood what he meant from my experience with the Smith Corona typewriter. It was where I could retrieve it later, and it was on this plastic thingie he called a disk. OK so far a lot like the Smith Corona. I could do this. It was more steps to get started but I could do this. So he walked us through quitting out of MacWrite and then shutting down the computer and it spat out the plastic disk and then he had us stick it back in and wait (squonky squonk squonk squonk squonk) for it to “boot up” and then reopen our document and yes it was all right there.

The screen showed so much more than the little Smith Corona strip; I could see entire paragraphs in front of me. He showed us how to print and had us go pick up our printouts at the printout window. Then he had us change FONTS. The typeface changed from one appearance to another. It could do all these typefaces. There were SIX of them! Not only that but they had different SIZES and you could make any given font be boldface, italic, underline…wow! OK, I could not do that with the Smith Corona. But… I raised my hand. Yes? I asked if this thing could cut and paste, because my Smith Corona typewrite let me cut and paste. i could move a sentence or phrase from one place to antother. He nodded approvingly. “You are getting into the power features now!” He showed me how to use the mouse to “highlight” some text and then go to the Edit menu and select “Cut”. Then click the mouse button where I wanted to move it to and go to the Edit menu again and pick “Paste”. I glanced up. Class period was over and most of the other students, and the professor, had left. I stayed a little longer. “How about if I want to indent?” He showed me how to use the ruler. It had margin markers. He showed me how to insert a new ruler and everything under that ruler point was affected by where I put the margin markers. I made an indented paragraph and then after that made some more sentences that went back to the original settings. I saved, quit out of MacWrite, went to the Special menu and picked Shut Down has he had told us, and the computer spat out the disk. I slid over to the next computer over and stuck in my disk. (Squonky squonk squonk…) I opened my document “Introduction to Computer Hating”. It was all right there. All the important stuff was on this plastic disk. I could write anything I wanted and take it with me in my shirt pocket. Keep it in my dorm room. Come back and edit it later. They had printers behind the front desk counter, and the printing was incredible; they were called “laser printers” and the pages looked like professional publications. Yeah. Maybe I didn’t hate computers so much after all.

I learned how to use a phototypesetter in college, so my standards as to what to expect from computer graphics were very high. I had exposure to graphics workstations (including the Xerox Alto, for those of you who know it’s significance), and i wasn’t interested in a personal computer that had only a CLI, or primitive graphics. In 1984, I was working in the semiconductor industry, and a friend of mine from the Bay area called me, and asked if I’d heard about the Macintosh. I told him that I really hadn’t heard anything about it. He said - “Well, you need to see it - I think you’ll really like it.”
The next time I went to Silicon valley on business, we stopped by a computer store, and I got to play with my first Mac.

**It was magical.

I used MacPaint, and was able to make a drawing without needing any instructions. I completely understood the GUI, and knew that I had to have one. I started to do research, and decided to wait until the 512K (“Fat Mac”) came out, in early 1985. I bought it - for $3,000 (real money in 1985!), and have never looked back. I’ve owned many of Macs since then-
Mac II
Quadra 840AV
G5 Quad
Wall street
Mac Mini
MacBook 13
MacBook Pro
(and probably a whole lot more)

I’m currently working on a Core i7-2600K Hackintosh I built.

I’ve been a Mac consultant for nearly the entire time I’ve owned Macs, an Apple developer, and an Apple fan. I used to say I bled 6 colors, but now I guess I bleed chrome…

Oh, yeah, that’s my one major complaint. I need a what? A pentalobe screwdriver?! What and why in the fuck?

Keeps the rain off and is very handy for flashing.

ETA: Although this is an iPhone complaint. That said, I was swapping out batteries on a couple of MacBook Pro unibodies that were I think a year or less apart, and, while the layout on both machines looked identical, they used slightly different sets of screws (one I think had Torx and maybe the other was a plain Philips) so I had to go rummaging through my drawers to find the right screw screwdriver for the second one after disassembling the first. I was just swearing and muttering to myself why in the fuck did they have to change the screws?

I had quite a bit experience with Xerox Altos so I was familiar with that sort of GUI and all. So my reaction came down to:

Holy crap, that’s one tiny screen!

I am still astounded that anyone bought one of those. It had a tiny, tiny, tiny built-in CRT. Monochrome. Couldn’t be replaced. And, did I mention?, it was tiny!

It was clear from then on that Apple had given up completely on the business market.

One of my “Oh, that’s weird.” moments in computing was seeing a picture of a Cray supercomputer, with a runty little classic Mac as the console.

I was in elementary school when they came out, and looking back, it’s surprising my dinky school had at what the time were brand new computers. They were set aside for the “gifted” kids to use. All I remember is playing The Oregon Trail a lot and my teacher’s amazing 125wpm typing speed.

My mom was a fan of them when I was a teenager, and one day she brought home a Power Mac 7200. It had a blazing 75MHz processor and ran System 7.5 off a 500MB hard drive. Those numbers are so cute now.

When I started college, I saw the need to have my own computer, so I saved my McPaychecks for several months and bought myself the iMac SE, the graphite one. I wrote a lot of papers and played a crapload of Diablo 2 on that machine. It’s still in my closet at home.

Over the years, I have accumulated many Apple products. I currently use a 27" iMac, and an iPhone 5; I have retired my iMac SE, a PowerBook G4, and at least 4 different types of iPods. All were terrific. I plan on getting an iPad Air soon.

I’ve used PCs at school and work for 15 years now. I flirted with Windows 7 once. But no PC experience has ever been enjoyable enough to get me to switch.

I bought the third Mac sold in my small town the week they came out. I know because only one store had the new Mac and they only had three. Since then I have bought my kids some pcs for games, but other than that-well I have lost count of the number of macs I have purchased. Always $500 more than an equivalents and always worth it to me. Ymmv

A few years ago I had to use a borrowed Mac laptop for a while after the PC I had been using went kaput until a replacement could be afforded.

It was the worst month of my life that didn’t involve someone dying.

I can say that I am way, way past the Mac-v-PC bullshit and particularly since OS/X Macs are very fine machines, especially for users who don’t want to be bothered with technical issues.

However, I can count my good experiences with Macs on one hand and have the middle finger left for other purposes. A lot of it - a lotta lotta of it - has to do with Mac support people. F’rinstance, my wife was issued a company laptop that she neither needed nor wanted, but was essentially forced to take. It’s an older Macbook. At some point, its network configuration and WiFi capabilities were crippled so badly it will only work on the HQ network - all attempts at trying to register it on other networks, even other ones within the company, failed. The IT troll responsible won’t give out the information needed to use it on anything but one of his controlled networks. I don’t know what the issue is, only that with 30+ years of experience I can’t make it see or connect to a network under any circumstances, and none of my wife’s co-workers can make theirs work either.

So the shiny, tank-built brick has sat on a shelf for two years, doing nothing much, while my wife uses her ASUS thinbook, which even she can configure any time she needs to.


My first Mac was an SE30, bought used for $1,100.00. When new it was introduced at $6,500.00! :eek: 16MHz, OS 6.0.3, 40MB HD and 2MB memory. I added a color card in the Processor Direct Slot that ran a 17" Panasonic color CRT. I upgraded the internal HD to 350MB, maxed out the RAM to 128 and the OS to 7.5.5. Still works fine, especially for Crystal Crazy.

Then a 7500, later a 9600, 17" flat panel iMac, 12" iBook and now a 15" MacBook Pro. I’m thinking about resurrecting the FP iMac that needs, I believe, an inverter.