My First Mac

A Mac Education

Tony Petramala - 2001.02.09

My first Mac experience was a common one, one that starts at school. In 5th grade we had both Mac Plus and Apple II computers. I loved sitting for hours engrossed in a game of Oregon Trail. But my home experience soon turned to the PC side. While I learned PCs through trial and error, I sat in awe of these rather curious machines called Macintosh. I remember when we bought our first PC. The salesman made Mac seem like the plague.

Then, in middle school, I learned about the Mac platform on various LC 580s, LC 475s, Power Mac 5200s and Power Mac 6100s. I had such a good time, I was able to find my way out of any OS 7.5.3 or 7.5.5 problem. Also in middle school, we were introduced to color games such as "Eric's Solitaire Sampler" and my fave, "Super Maze Wars." When I entered 8th grade, I took my Mac learning a step further; I began saving for my first Mac.

Also about that time, my parents brought home a Wintel machine, oh joy. I remember it being a 486 DX-2/33 with 4 MB of RAM. It ran for a while and then kinda sputtered out. Windows 3.11 was very picky about the type of printer it would print on - and when it felt like printing at all. After a year or so, the 486/33 was sent to my parents' office, to be put on permanent WP and Excel duty. Then another 486 came into my life , this time a 486/66. Still at this point it boggled me why Mac disks didn't work in my PC, but PC disks worked (not well, though) in the Mac.

One glorious afternoon in the hot summer, the rains came, and lighting, too. Luckily the house was hit and promptly did a number on the 486's motherboard. Since my parents had been saving for a new computer, they decided now would be a good time to invest. I pleaded with them, trying to tell them that Macs would be a better investment - at that point, Macs were too expensive. I still had plenty of experience fixing, operating, and teaching Mac skills in middle school, though I felt like I always wanted a Mac of my own.

Once again, another horrible PC. This time it was a Packard Bell P200. I reformatted the hard drive nine times in one day. What a piece of junk. To think I had that clunker for three years.

In the summer before 9th grade, I was able to find myself a nice summer job. I earned the cash to buy myself my own machine. I went Mac, like I always wanted to. I found refuge in a PowerBook 190cs with 24 MB of memory and OS 8.1 for $355. It was a great machine, and it performed well. The few months that I had that machine I learned more than a lifetime in the schools computer lab could ever teach me.

I loved watching the machine boot and hearing the beautiful "bong" that it made before the happy Mac popped up on the screen. I had done something I had never done for a PC, I gave my PowerBook a name. Simple yet beautiful, I choose "Alexandria." While I still have a great respect for the PC platform, I find the Mac is more of a personal experience somehow.

Sadly though, just as my Mac fun was reaching its peak, I attempted a logic board swap with a 5300cs board. The machine, is now dead - it was a fighter, but it just died. I took it to a Mac dealer, and the guy told me it was worthless and a complete piece of trash. He also tried to push me into a $1,600 iBook (the same iBook that sells online for $1,300).

Needless to say my parents were turned off by the whole attitude of the Mac dealer, and they totally ignored my cries that a G3 is the best option for our new computer. Well in the end, we ended up with a Pentium III 500.

PowerBook 1400After about a year of putting the Mac in the back of my mind, I went back to Low End Mac to look for a more suitable Mac. I decided I would save for a PowerBook 1400cs/133. Fortunately though, I happened to see one from PowerMax for $225. Realizing this was outrageously low for a computer of that caliber, I called PowerMax. The confirmed what I saw was true, and that there was only one left. Immediately I begged my parents for the loan, and promised that I would soon pay them back. They agreed.

I now sit with my 'Book, listening to "Pardon Me" by Incubus, and generally loving the Mac experience once more. As always, the family PC is a Pentium III, this one with DVD and CD-R. I know that machine like the back of my hand, and I like what it can do.

But I still sit and use my Mac more often, simply because it seems more, well, I don't know, it just feels better. Keeping with tradition, I named the 'Book, "Miss Cleo" (after the fake accent toting phone tarot card reader). In ending, I don't think the Mac is for everyone, and while I may not be a Mac evangelist, I have become dedicated Mac kinda guy.

Go to the My First Mac index.