The Power of Mac

Why I Use a Mac

Eric Schwarz - 2001.06.14

Since I'm the new guy at Low End Mac, I decided that my first article would share with you some of my previous experiences with computers in general. Future editions of this column will be about various Macs and Mac-related experiences.

Back in March, when Apple released OS X, I had mixed feelings. I liked that OS X was more advanced that previous versions to make Macs run better. However, I did know I was going to miss the personality of the "old" Mac OS. For future development, I guess you could call the old Mac OS dead. Apple will no longer sell it. It's gone. Dead. That made me decide to write this article looking back at how far I've come using Macs.


I started out using computers with a Compaq LTE/286 laptop for word processing. It wasn't mine. While I learned DOS, it wasn't my cup of tea.

Next, I started using Mac LC, LC II, and LC IIIs in school. These were cool at the time, especially the few with external CD-ROM drives. I used to tinker with the System Folder and toy with HyperCard.

In 1995, I got an IBM Aptiva PC at home. It was like the Mac, but it could run the DOS software I had. It also could use some of the peripherals from the dead Compaq. This started my time of the Mac OS being dead to me. I didn't leave it on purpose; I just avoided it. I learned about the stuff Windows 3.1 could do, but I yearned for something more integrated with the computer itself.

Fast forward to 1998 - I got an Apple IIGS - my first "Mac" (sorta). It had the Finder and worked like a Mac. I loved it - until I set the RAM disk too high and it wouldn't boot. I fixed than and added a parallel card so that my old Epson printer from the Compaq would work with the IIGS. I got a bunch of games and software for it for $1 per program from a local computer store. The Epson wouldn't work with some of my programs, so I looked around for an ImageWriter II.

A year later, we got an IBM Aptiva Pentium II. It had Windows 98. Good, I thought, I could finally use the Internet. Unfortunately, I learned about Windows98's appetite for RAM and disk space. Don't forget about the crashes and other problems. My IIGS worked much better than the IBM, so I used it for a little while longer.

While at a computer show/sale, I looked for stuff for my IIGS with no luck. After the show, I stopped in at the computer store where I got the GS software. They had a Mac SE Macintosh SEwith an ImageWriter II for $75. At the time, it was a pretty good price, considering that the SE was upgraded to 4 MB. I bought it, and the SE started to take over for my day to day stuff. The IIGS was eventually boxed up, but I do take it out every so often.

April 1999: I wanted more. I wanted more RAM, color, more drive space, and a microphone. I ended up getting an LC II for $25 from the same place where I bought the SE. I found a monitor for it. It worked well, especially, since it had 10 MB RAM. I also had Zip and CD-ROM drives for it. We finally got the Internet in March 2000. The LC II was dog-slow with it's TelePort Bronze and 16 MHz 68030 processor, so I wanted more.

April 2000. This is when the disease started - the PowerBook bug bit me. I found a PowerBook 180 on eBay for $30. I loved it. It had a 14.4 modem andPowerBook 100 Series 120 MB hard drive; I could take it to school with me. It was great. I started using this instead of my LC II.

July 2000. Well, my PowerBook had an accident that June, and I ended up realizing that it would cost more to fix it than to replace it. I also had been ripped off on eBay that month for a Quadra 700 for $25. Things weren't going so well.

The computer store had moved, so I found their new location and bought one of the best Macs I own - a Performa 475. I got it for $50 with 36 MB RAM. I got OS 8.1 and a TelePort Gold II modem for it. It was great. The SE found its way into the back of my closet; it will come out when there is more room. The LC II found its way into the hands of my brother. The PowerBook 180? It's pieces found their way into the hands of people on the Low End Mac Swap List.

November 2000. I yearned for another PowerBook. With every part I sold, I wanted a PowerBook more and more. I finally got in touch with Blackbirda person on LEM Swap who sold me a PowerBook 540c for $50 and a PowerBook 170 for $15. They are both great computers, and my 540c is now my primary Internet and homework computer.

May 2001. I bought a PPC upgrade card for my PowerBook 540c, and it became my main Mac. I now started using MP3s and newer Internet software.

June 2001. I started writing for LEM and actually reflected on my computer usage. What can I say? My name is Eric Schwarz and I'm a Mac addict. Long live the Mac! LEM

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