My First Mac

In From the Start

Gary Adams - July 1999

My first computer was an IBM mainframe that I programmed in Fortran. We had to use an IBM 029 card punch and print out the output (which was on cards) on a line printer. I was enthralled. After graduating from college (in the dark ages - 1971) I moved on to graduate school in the humanities.

In 1982 I purchased my very own computer - a Kaypro II (2-360 kb disk drives, 64 kb ram, running C/PM). I was in heaven! I could write, do spreadsheets, construct a database, and even play games! Of course it was the game "graphics" were in ASCII, and I got a little bleary-eyed looking at the green phosphors playing "Ladders." But the computer was a bargain at $1895!

Then my older brother, who'd never been computer literate at all, told me about a new computer he'd bought - The Macintosha Macintosh 128. I was green (almost the same color as the phosphors on my Kaypro II's screen) with envy. I found an Apple computer store and went in and looked at one. They had what they called a "Fat Mac," the same machine my brother had, but this one had not 128k ram, but 512! I played "Airborn." I fell in love.

My love took the form of a bank loan to buy a 512 Mac, an external 400k drive, and an ImageWriter printer - over $3000 worth of hardware. And it came with two neat little programs, which we all know were MacWrite and MacPaint. I was amazed at what the machine could do! And the screen wasn't green. It was like a TV set and you could really see pictures and they looked like what they were.

That was in about 1985, and my love affair with Macs has only been hindered by cash flow. I remember telling a friend who'd just bought a Plus that he would never need more than 1 MB of RAM (I was envious of all the RAM he had).

I still have the original Fat Mac, which I upgraded to 4 MB with a Dove upgrade. It still works, and I still use Deluxe Music Construction Set to compose some fair music. Over the years I was given a couple more Fat Macs, and I bought my first Plus with a real external Hard Drive (20 MB - who could need more disk space than that!).

It must be an addiction because I still have every Mac I've ever owned. In addition to the Fat Macs, I have an LC 550, 2 LC 631s, a PM 6220CD, a SuperMac C600/240, and a PM 6500/300, all of which have been maxed out on RAM.

I troubleshoot Wintel machines for fun and entertainment. Just this past weekend, a friend who'd purchased a new high-dollar Compaq and had two computer consultants working on it for two days to get a FoxPro database to print asked me to look at the program. I opened it up, and within two minutes was outputting a 96-page report to his high-dollar laser printer/copier. I told him, "If you'd listened to me, you'd have a Mac and wouldn't have this problem." The guys had charged him $100/hr.

Why doesn't everybody have a Mac? I don't know. Some people just never learn.

Gary Adams was using computers before the Apple I.

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