My first Apple computer was an Apple IIc. I really don’t recall very much about the IIc. I know that my wife was using Apple computers at work, since she was a special education teacher at the time. We had no children (children absorb any free money, trust me) at that time, and went to the local Apple dealer and bought the IIc and a dot matrix printer. I know that I was interested the “small” size of the IIc (I thought that I could perch the CPU on my lap and see the monochrome screen from a more relaxed position).
I know my wife used it for school, and I wrote a program in BASIC for her. But I can’t say that the computer really changed my life.
Then we started using computers at my job. The firm I worked for had received some feedback from its customers. The customers felt that the firm wouldn’t be able compete in the future unless it added computer equipment to provide magnetic tapes to update their databases.
The firm made three mistakes. One, it bought an IBM mini-mainframe computer and a bunch of terminals. Two, it hired an unfortunate person with the personality of a pit viper to be the IT manager. Third, instead of changing it’s production methodology to match the new computer system, it retained many aspects of its manual system.
It was a mess.
The Power of MS-DOS
My firm did buy a couple of “small” PCs. I don’t know if anyone remembers the old (MS-DOS) Compaq Portable computers (they were shaped like large sewing machines), but luckily I got one with Lotus 1-2-3 on it. The portability of the unit was very intriguing to me, and I saw for the first time how having one’s own computer allowed you to manage information. It was very helpful to have data at your fingertips when the big cheeses were trying to stump you with questions that must have occurred to them when they ate lunch at a fashionable restaurant.
The other nice thing I took away was an experience I had with one of my manager’s Toshiba laptop. It was not a “true” laptop, in that there where no batteries in it. However, my boss rationalized that you were never very far from an AC outlet – even at an airport. How things have changed in the laptop marketplace!
Enter the Macintosh
I started working for my wife’s school about the same time Apple introduced the Macintosh. Talk about an impact on your life! The visual interface was so much better to work with than the text based approach I used with the Apple IIc and the IBM, Compaq, and Toshiba computers. It was easy to use and understand, and there was that fascinating program called HyperCard. I could see that HyperCard could be used to build what we would now call a relational database. Neato.
We had sold off the Apple IIc and started a family. When it came time to buy a family computer, we naturally picked a Mac due to it’s ease of use and compatibility with the computers that the entire family used at school. We bought a sage iMac DV 450 in 1999; I think it ran OS 9. Over the years it has been upgraded to OS X and has had some more memory thrown at it. It uses the latest version of OS X 10.4 Tiger now, and I do get the dreaded “beach ball of death” from time to time.
It went from being the only computer in our house to being a sage octopus that has an external hard drive, eternal disc burner, and three printers attached to it. It is sort of a hub for the wireless network that I built using a free Netgear wireless router. I feel that it can function for another several years in this capacity, although running OS X 10.5 Leopard is not a possibility. Running Tiger seems to be straining it now, even though I did a clean reinstall.
It’s not my first computer or my first Apple, but the PowerBook G3 Pismo that I “found” at work (we even have a couple of PowerBook 170s hanging around) is the computer that has really stolen my affection. I suppose you could say it is my first PowerBook.
It all started with an Apple IIc, but where it ends, nobody knows.
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