My First Mac

Lucky Me!

Richard J.E. Dalziel-Sharpe

In 1993, at the age of 53, I first sat at the keyboard of a computer. O lucky me - it was a Mac.

In early 1992 I sold my business and, after some months of well earned rest, I started up a new business. I was coordinating a team of over 50 people of all ages to deliver advertising material to 20,000 homes.

I obtain the pamphlets from retailers, advertising agencies, and any other willing victims, and then charge them and pay my team to deliver them at the time and to the households required by the client.

After send out hand written bills and keeping the records for over 50 part time employees for a few months, I realised that it simply was not going to work. I was spending more time on book work than out convincing clients that I was their man.

What was needed was a computer.

So my studies started. I went to the library and read about DOS and Windows 3.1.1 and the Mac. The consensus of my reading seemed to be that DOS computers were the real thing, that Windows 3.1.1 made DOS computers easier to use, and that Windows was a poor mans version of the Mac. Being a complete novice, I had no way of evaluating what I was reading factually, but what seemed to be evident is that for a beginner Mac's were probably best, and then you could later get a real machine.

So came the fateful decision. O lucky me, I decided it had to be a Mac!

But which one? I can't remember now what the model range was, but in my reading I had come across these new and revolutionary machines; the 660av and the 840av.

I talked to my wife about the likely cost and she, understanding as she always is, said, "If that's what you want, get it." I kissed her and drove off to the Apple Shop with my cheque book grasped in my sweaty palm (It was January and very hot in Australia, nothing to do with my excitement).

I arrived home 3 hours later with Aus$8000 less in the bank and a Centris 660av, a 14" AV monitor, a GeoPort modem, and a StyleWriter 2 printer. The Centris had ClarisWorks 2, Norton Utilities, BestBooks (a junior version of MYOB.), Quicken 4, and System 7 installed. It had a CD-ROM drive, 8 MB of RAM, and a 230 MB hard drive.

I plugged everything in and nervously switched on. The chime and the smile made me a Mac man. The only problem I had at first was understanding the Application Menu and the ever changing Menu Bar. It took me an hour or so to work out what was happening when I accidentally clicked on the desktop and the window I had been working on disappeared and the menu bar had changed.

Whenever I have a freeze now (rarely in OS 8.6) my wife laughingly reminds me of my white faced trembling stare the first time it happened. She says she has never seen me with that look of horrified fright before or since.

Needless to say, I had my business running on the Centris in just over a month. MYOB and its smaller derivatives are great Mac programs, and it is to BestBooks and the Mac interface that I owe this. If I had bought a PC, I would probably be still getting the printer and monitor plugged in so that they would work. My Centris only gave me one period of hell, and that was when the PRAM battery failed.

After 5 years of faithful service, I sold my Centris and got a 7300/200 with a 1710 AV monitor. Despite all the problems that the 1710 AV had in its life, mine has worked perfectly. With the standard 2 GB hard drive, I have an extra 4 GB drive and have recently upped the RAM to 192 MB. I have a Miro capture card that I use for making videos with Premiere. I still have my StyleWriter working perfectly, and BestBooks manages my business, one for my 28-year-old son, and another for my wife. Quicken 4 still manages all of our home finances.

As you may have gathered from the foregoing, I enjoy my Mac every time I use it.

O lucky me!!

Richard from Australia.

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