30 Years of Macs

Introduced on January 24, 1984, the Macintosh forever changed the way we work with our computers. Instead of memorizing and typing arcane commands, we could point the cursor using a mouse and click to do things – all for well under the $10,000 price of Apple’s Lisa.

Apple LisaDan Knight: I cut my computing teeth on an Apple II+ starting in 1979. This was the future, according to my boss. I took to it like a fish to water. I started buying Byte and Creative Computing magazines, typing in programs, and teaching myself BASIC. From there I learned to program the Timex Sinclair, Commodores, and CP/M machines. The first computers I owned myself were a Commodore VIC-20 and later a Commodore 64.

I got a job at the local Computerland store in 1981, and I was there when the first IBM PC shipment arrived – yet another computer with a text-based interface. This was all I knew until late 1986, when I first worked on a Macintosh Plus to design a booklet. I did not take to it like a fish to water; it was too different from what I was used to. I moved from Commodore to MS-DOS in 1987 and probably would have stayed there if not for an Apple sales promotion in 1990. I earned enough points to get a free Mac Plus and a genuine black Apple carrying case for it. It took a few months to get hooked, but within six months I’d swapped my PC for a SCSI SyQuest drive.

Original Macintosh

The Mac completely changed the way I worked. I could write papers and see what they would look like when printed. I could create maps and charts for grad school papers. And I pushed that Plus to the max with 4 MB of RAM, System 7.5.5, a 40 MB external hard drive, the first version of ClarisWorks, and a great paint/drawing programs called UltraPaint.

I wasn’t an early Mac adopter, but once I jumped ship from MS-DOS, I never looked back. I have played around with Windows XP and Linux on PC hardware, but only to see how the other half lives. My work computers are all Macs.

Simon Royal: My love of computing stemmed from an early age beginning with a Commodore 64 and Acorn 3010 and then moving on to Windows. I arrived in the Mac world quite late. Apart from playing around with a small network of Classics at high school in 1993, it wasn’t until 2000 at a design firm that I got my real first taste of what a Mac could do.

I joined their design department, and as the bottom of the pecking order I was given an old Performa 5200/75 LC to write on. Within days of using Mac OS 9 I was enthralled. Even on such old hardware it was fantastic, so different from Windows. When people were away, I would use the other machines, Beige G3 and early G4 towers all running Mac OS 9.

With a shuffle round in the department I was eventually bought an iMac G3 600 MHz – a big improvement and it also came with Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar – my first real taste of OS X. I was given the old Beige G3 tower to take home, and my passion for Macs grew from there. In the 12 years since then, I have owned 30+ Macs from iMacs, eMacs, Power Macs, iBooks, and PowerBooks to LCs and SE/30 – and my current beauty an Early 2009 MacBook.

I play with Linux, dipping in and out of it – even switching to it for a few months – but sharply came back to the Mac. My kids use a Windows machine firstly running XP, then Vista, and now Windows 8. I despise it. It constantly reminds me what I love about Apple and OS X.

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