Here is what I wrote on the 30th anniversary a few years ago:
30 years of Mac and me.
It is the 30th anniversary of the first Macintosh computer, famously announced with a one-time Super Bowl ad. The ad was only officially run once for public consumption. If I saw the ad or even watched the Super Bowl that year I couldn't tell you. I did see a few of the numerous news reports about it but paid little attention since I couldn't afford the $3000 Mac (retroactively referred to as the Mac 128 these days). At the time I dabbled in Commodore and TRS-80 computers but never really did much with them.
A friend of mine however took the plunge and bought a Mac Plus, the 3rd version of the same footprint as the original Mac. This aded SCSI connectivity for a hard drive and other peripherals. He helped me with a database project I was wanted to do and we used the original version of FileMaker to compile what turned out to be a huge (for the time) compilation of radio data. My scanner guys will remember the original “PL List” as a creation of the late, great Brandt Neimuth on 3x5 cards and later typewritten sheets passed around the radio hobby folks in the mid 1980's. What I did was sit down and enter each of the listings, several thousand in all, into a database one by one. At the time I worked as a cop on the evening shift and my friend Bob, who had the computer, worked the overnight shift at a local store. I would sit at a desk in the back office of his store after my shift finished and enter records until I could stay awake no longer. This went on for about a month and, with Bob's help, all of Brandt's data was entered. We then added records from other lists and came up with a database of over 10,000 records, with a dozen fields, all entered individually by hand.
This project was hugely successful and appreciated by the radio club I belonged to. Even the guy whose info we “stole” (with his permission of course) saw the value in having this project done this way and continued to assist in updating the data. The project was so successful partly due to the ease of use of the Mac environment. I had no computer skills at the time, heck, I had no computer at the time. At work we had a terminal connected to the state but that was useful only for looking up license plates and entering stolen bicycles etc.
Bob sat me down and took about 5 minutes to show me how to work the Mac. I figured out the rest on my own by doing it. It was so simple and intuitive that I could have probably trained my dog to do it, if only I had a dog.
After spending the better part of a month cramped in the back room of a 7-11 I finally saved up enough cash to buy a second hand Mac 512K. This was quickly upgraded to a Mac Plus with a new board that required the use of the infamous Mac Case Cracker, special elongated Torx driver and an Exacto knife to make room for the SCSI connector. I then was able to get a hard drive, 5 MB of storage, which was extravagant for the time. Eventually this drive failed and by then a 20 MB drive was available at the local Warehouse club for only $400.
This little Mac was my primary daily use machine fore several years and was then sold to a friend and became his first real computer, eventually being used by several other friends as their intro to computers. Some of us stayed in the Mac world and others strayed over to the dark side of Windows but we all learned on that little old Mac.
Since then I have had dozens of Macs, including a PowerBook 170, a few of the Performa/Quadra line, several other PowerBooks, and eventually a Macintosh Pro. This was at the time the fastest home PC you could buy, with dual 3 GHz. processors, 3 GB of RAM and a whopper video card that could (and did) run 2 30 inch Cinema Displays.
Even the wife, who came along during my PowerBook 170 days, became a Mac person, she too ran the gauntlet of Macs, sometimes taking my old computer when I upgraded. Now she and I each have iMac's and MacBook Pro's.
We also bought into the whole Apple experience with iPhones, iPods, iPads and Apple TV's. Again, we have progressed thru several versions of each and have passed down older ones to friends and family. As true Apple geeks we have evangelized the Apple experience to anyone who would listen and have converted many of our peeps to various Apple products. While we both have had PC's (I still do for some specialized stuff and at work) we live our lives around Apple stuff. From our iPhones to keep connected everywhere to our iPads to make our lives easier on the road and at home to our desktop iMacs at home and our MacBook Pro's for traveling we keep connected to each other and the world. Our TV watching has changed to the point of “if it ain't on the AppleTV, it doesn't exist”. We probably spend way too much time online, but we appreciate the ease of use and the integration of the many Apple toys we have.
If we had kept all of our old Apple products we could have a well stocked museum but then all the other people in our lives would not have had the introduction to the world of Apple. The Second Coming of Steve Jobs made Apple into what it is today, let's hope that the current management can keep it going and going. I am looking forward to the next few generations of iStuff.
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January 25, 1984...The public was introduced to.....Apple Computer's MAC.
Memories from Rich Carlson: