My First Mac

Macs Get the Job Done

Brian Miller - 2002.01.08

My first Mac was actually my wife's. It was 1988, I had just started working as an architect after graduation, and she wanted to go back to grad school for an MBA - and needed a computer. I was expecting a generous bonus and told her to go ahead and pick out what she needed; I would pay for it. She picked out a Mac Plus, with an 80 meg(!) external hard drive and a dot matrix ImageWriter printer.

It sufficed for college, but I was hooked. I played SimCity for hours, messed around with PlainTalk, and basically had fun with it for a couple of years. When time came to open my own office, we got a couple of PowerPC Performas (on six months no payments at Best Buy) and a refurbished PowerBook 145B. I ran most of my administrative stuff on that PB for several years.

When time came to expand the office fully into CAD, we played around for a while with an NT machine running AutoCAD, but no-one really made effective use of it. when I decided it was time to really make the switch, we first evaluated CAD packages. The top two favorite programs, Vectorworks and ArchiCad were both supported on Macs, so the decision was easy.

Today our ten person office is entirely Mac, except for the lonely NT machine - stacked on top of a shelf. We're using the latest version of Vectorworks Architect and serving the whole office from a Rev. B iMac running OS X Server (rock solid, easy to use, and fast).

I use a Cube (we've got three of the things - they're perfect for our setups) with a 17" Studio Display and a first gen iceBook running OS X for portable stuff - on AirPort, of course. I love the look on clients faces when we're working wireless from the conference table, especially on the Internet!

Meanwhile, my wife has been working for employers who supplied PCs. She's currently using a Dell and hasn't really used a Mac since system 7.1 or so, preferring to let our son play on the Flower Power iMac DV we've got at home. She gets annoyed at me regularly when I go into "Mac advocate" mode (admittedly, probably too often).

But recently, when she wanted to demonstrate user interface usability on a work task, she started playing around with our DV (digital video) camera. I showed her the basics of using OS 9.1 and iMovie, figuring that I'd need to help along a little more. Two days later she's producing QuickTime movies on CDs, distributing them to everyone at her workplace, and can't believe how easy it was. The CDs worked beautifully (I only wish they could have said "Made on a Mac" at the beginning), and now she's also using a new iPod and iTunes.

Wait until we switch our home machine to OS X.

And what I usually tell people when they remark on the computers (which, of course, look great in the office): "With a Mac, I don't spend time thinking about what I'm trying to do, but thinking about what I can do."

Go to the My First Mac index.