My First Mac

From Big Iron to Personal Computers

Steve W. Young - June 1999

I started on computers in 1963 as a freshman at a high school with a cool blue and white teletype/printer/terminal (no CRT) with a tie in to the main frame at Lawrence Berkeley Lab. Graduated to keypunched card programs at UC-Davis. And then I got a DEC PDP-11 using RT-11 to do experiments at UC-Berkeley - it had a CRT. It only occupied one rack, and it had its own enclosed air conditioned room. We could play that neat dungeons game. The wall behind us had the complete map to the game that we were all working on.

I went on to more DEC machines at a defense contractor, and then they brought in desktop PCs - ugly, boxy, and cheap. I resisted all the ones offered until a 386 landed on my desk, but only because they had taken my nice graphics terminal away. It was functional, but as soon as I got into editing the startup files and configuring all the hardware, I knew there must be a better way. One day I needed a larger hard drive. The tech came and four driver boards, two hard drives, and three days later I could use my machine again.

Around this time I went shopping for a personal computer for home use. I came home with a new Mac IIsi, a monitor, and a printer - and a hole in my wallet. But I got an elegant machine. I have never looked back.

Through a 630 and three IIcis for the kids, we are a Mac house. All the kids rooms are ethernetted. Son has an iMac, youngest daughter has a PowerBook 5300c, I have my 6360 and SE/30.

Oldest daughter is off to college in the fall and wants a tangerine iMac with matching Epson printer. Do you think she'll get it? No doubt about it!

Now I'm at a defense contractor that had been all Mac, but in a takeover last year, the know-nothings decided to go PC. I've still got two Macs in my cubicle, 4400 and 630, and no PC (piece of cr*p).

The only good thing is that they are surplussing all the Macs, and I can get them fairly cheap.

Resist the dark side.

Steve Young describes himself as "your basic rocket scientist turned rocket project engineer." He has a BS in math and has taught both math and science. Also holds a MS in Engineering.

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