Discovering the Mac after Learning to Hate Windows

Bong! . . . :-) . . . Welcome to Macintosh! More specifically, welcome to the first article of Welcome to Macintosh. I thought the first article should tell the story of how I came to the Apple world.

Welcome to Macintosh

Back to the Future

light Apple iCarStepping into the DeLorean to travel back to the year 1987. That was the year. The place was Lone Oak Elementary School – kindergarten, to be exact.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Our school and class had won a contest put on by our local grocery store, Community Cash. Whoever won the contest would win a brand new Apple IIe computer. Our school and our class had won!

They wheeled it into our classroom on it’s little cart. The teacher, as well as all of us, had no idea how it worked or what to do. I should mention that at the time I was barely reading at five years old.

For whatever reason, I remember asking the teacher if I could read the owner’s manual. She said I could, and out of nowhere, I started reading to the class and to the teacher to tell them how to start the computer and how to load programs.

I had never touched a computer in my life, and the teacher was amazed (to hear my Mom tell about it years later).

In 10 minutes, I turned it on and loaded two or three programs. From that day forward, I was hooked on Apple and its simplicity! I would go on to use the Apple IIes that were in the library from 1987 until I left Lone Oak in 1993. Sadly, it would be many years before I would rejoin the Apple world.

The World of DOS and Windows

Windows 3.11By 1993, I had graduated from Lone Oak Elementary and moved on to Fairforest Middle School. No Apples, only PCs running DOS/Windows 3.1 and a few Ataris.

That was also the same year that my parents bought our first home computer. Yep, you guessed it, it was not an Apple. My parents weren’t convinced that Apple was suitable for the home due to limited software availability, so they bought a PC – an IBM PS/1 Advisor. I had a lot of fun times on the PC, and I have it to this day. But even then I missed the good ol’ days of the Apple IIe.

Windows 95 splash screenI started out my days in the PC world in 1993 with DOS 5.0 and Windows 3.1. I liked Windows in the beginning. It was when we upgraded to Windows 95 that I grew to hate Windows. Simply put, Windows 95 was a nightmare!

Windows 98 was a little better, but by then I had grown sick of Windows.

In 1997, I wanted an Apple, but my parents still said no.

In 1999, I met up with a guy who would go on to be my best friend, Sean. I had just moved to a new district and was going to a new high school. We met up in math class and struck up a conversation about Apple computers.

Discovering Macintosh

Quadra 650He mentioned he had an Apple IIGS and a Quadra 650. And he let me use them. He said the Quadra 650 was a Mac. This is something I’m embarrassed to mention to anyone, but until that point I never knew what a Mac was. All I knew was the Apple IIe.

Apple IIGS

When I booted up the Apple IIGS, I heard the cluck, cluck, cluck of the 5.25″ floppy drive as I loaded all of my favorite programs one by one. All the memories of the late 80s and early 90s came flooding back! Word & Number Munchers, Oregon Trail, Odell Lake, and many other wonderful games I had played – I remembered them all!

Curiosity got the better of me, so I decided to plug in the Quadra 650 and see what the Mac was all about.

Once I plugged it in, I remembered Sean telling me how to turn it on by using the power key on the keyboard. Then I heard the bong sound!

Happy MacSomething told me I was going to like the Mac. And then I was greeted with a happy Mac. I knew I was going to like the Mac at that point.

This particular Mac was running System 7.5.3, and I was in heaven! It just worked! No crashes, easy to use. I fell in love all over again!

Later on, Sean gave me the IIGS and 650, but I wanted to experience more of the Mac.

Mac ClassicLater on, I found a Classic II for 50¢ at a thrift store with a keyboard and mouse. I loved the whole design! The image kind of had the shakes when it was accessing the hard drive, but it was wonderful! And I would later go on to find a Centris 610 that was gutted in a trash can at a flea market.

indigo iMac G3But I knew I wanted a new Mac. Finally, in December of 2000, I bought my first ever computer of my own, an indigo iMac! Five months later, the screen started turning pink. After three unsuccessful repairs, Apple replaced it with a slightly upgraded iMac. I’ve had it ever since, and it’s been trouble free!

Sadly, due to space restraints and being in a weird frame of mind at the time, I donated the Apple IIGS, the Classic II, Quadra 650, and Centris 610 to the local thrift store. I especially regret getting rid of the IIGS and Classic II.

Mac Color ClassicBut don’t despair – there’s a happy ending to this story. I now have the following Macs: Mac Plus (2 of them, one died early last week), SE, Classic, Classic II (Sean gave me this one after his cousin could no longer use it), Color Classic, and my iMac, of course. It’s been a great ride with Apple.

That’s the story of how I came full circle, rejoined the Apple world, and learned about the Insanely Great Macintosh.

What was your first experience with Apple? Everyone’s got a story, and I’d like to hear yours! Email me your stories at thomas (at) lowendmac (dot) com (or click on my name at the top of this column). Some of your stories will be included in a future Welcome to Macintosh.

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