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.
Dan 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.
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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