25 Years of the Mac

happymaciconIt is hard to believe for me, but I’ve been a Mac user since 1984. Yesterday the Mac turned 25 … that means I’ve been a Mac user for the same amount of time. I was lucky enough to get a Mac 128K for my birthday back in March of 1984. I recall that earlier that year I had gone to the local Apple dealer, like I was prone to do, and saw the Mac for the first time. I was simply amazed by the graphics, WYSIWYG capabilities, the finder, desktop, trash, and especially the mouse. I recall on that particular day I had talked my Dad into letting me run in for a few minutes while he waited in the car. I came out so excited by what I had seen … I made him take me back over and over after that. Of course I wanted one, but never thought my parents would actually purchase one. Even though they were both University professors, they didn’t seem to get the whole thing.

I remember that they were going to take me out to dinner for my Birthday and before we went out they called me downstairs to open gifts. There were two big boxes and I honestly had no idea what could be inside them. When I ripped them open I found the original Mac and an Imagewriter I. I was stunned … from that day forward I have been hooked. In the early days I was always wanting to do things with my Mac and I struggled a bit with the seemingly closed architecture. While me friends all had Apple II machines and could write basic and logo I remember having to get a copy of MacBasic to write simple apps. I did all sorts of stuff with MacPaint and MacWrite — and I remember playing Millionaire in my room for hours with my Dad.

My love of technology comes from that moment in March of 1984 and that one gift opened me up to opportunities to work to change things through the application of technology and innovative thought. I think the people who envisioned and built the Mac back in the day hoped that would happen to people. Sort of amazing for me to even think about how one gift could change and chart a course for someone. So I want to thank my parents for finding a way to give me such and amazing gift and to Apple for having the vision to create something that spoke right to me.

Stylin' with the 128K Back in the Day

Stylin' with the 128K Back in the Day

I wonder if other people remember their first Macs and if it was as significant to them?

My Macs through the years … Mac 128K, Mac SE, Performa 600 (for about a week), LC III, Mac Portable, PowerMac 7200, PowerCenter 180, G3 All in One, Blue and White G3, PowerBook G3, Dual G4 PowerMac, PowerBook G4, 12″ PowerBook, G3 iMac, PowerMac G5, MacBooks, MacBook Pros, Intel iMac, and MacBook Air — somewhere in the middle I’ve lost track as work and personal life overlap, but suffice to say I’m hooked.

9 thoughts on “25 Years of the Mac

  1. My main recollection of the early days of Macs is using a model that resembles that in your photo in grad school around 1991 in Kansas U’s one and only student computing lab at the time to use an Arabic language word processor for my thesis. The reason it is so memorable is that someone rigged the machines to make a throwing-up sound when you ejected your disk.

  2. I remember having an application like that while in college that let you change some of the sounds when actions happened. Funny how people spent time finding ways to make the machines more human-like. Now we cart them around with us everywhere. I wonder what the evolution of all this will look like in another 25 years?

  3. I wish I had a similar storybook tale of Macs; BTW nice photo- you in a tie, ready to become an administrator 😉

    My folks did not see the revolution. I did not experience a Mac until 1987 when I was landed a graduate student TA-ship running a new Mac lab in the Geology department at ASU- 20 Mac Plus-es, tied to a laser writer, and one 300 baud modem. I got into some visualization projects using early NCSA software (NCSA Image?) and got special permission to use one of the 2 color Mac IIs in the ASU computer lab. Wrote my thesis on the lab Plus-ss and a box of floppies (still have them) My then PhD advisor had an early Mac IIci and maybe that first heavy white laptop.

    Personal ownership has been…. Mac Classic, mac Color Classic, Blue & White G3, iBook SE, iBook Dual USB then merging with work lineage which was:

    Quadra 900, PowerMac 8600, Powerbook G3 (Pismo?), Powerbook G4, MacBook Pro (2 of them)…

    My most memorable machines may have been the Mac SE/30 I plugged into the network at Maricopa in November 1993 as my first web server.

    What it looks like in 25 years? Hard to even imagine… but it shall be elegantly designed!

  4. Yes, but check out how skinny that tie is! I think that was the “Huey Lewis and the News” look.

    I forgot to mention that my big break with using a high end Mac came my Junior year in high school. My art teacher had gotten a Mac IIci with some serious graphics card and capture card. I broke my right arm and he let me spend the entire marking period in the art room over lunch and during class learning high end 3D and graphics apps and then teaching him. It was crazy.

    I think it is safe to say I was the only guy with a varsity jacket who kept stats for all of his sports in a custom HyperCard stack. Lots of things are starting to make sense to me now that I look back …

  5. I was an undergraduate at an institution which was selected to test drive the original Mac in the fall of 1983. I’d used Apple’s and Apple II’s and seen the Lisa demo’ed in high school (voice recognition in 1979 I think. How cool.). We had Macs for individual and department purchase and what people mostly did with them was word/document processing with MacWrite and MacDraw. Wow, how times have changed! People using computers to create documents…. That’s so 1980s!

    One of my favorite stories about this time was a conversation between a few of my professors before a physics senior seminar in fall 1983. One of them mentioned that he bought one of “those Apple MacIntoshes” and it was a nice toy. “This would NEVER succeed,” he said because, “IT DIDN’T HAVE A FORTRAN COMPILER!” They all howled!

  6. @ Jim Leous Funny how smart people say such crazy things in the moment! I remember listening to teachers when I was a kid tell me it was a waste of time to use my Mac because it was a fad and computers would never be taken seriously for learning.

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