My First Mac

My Own Little Computer War

Carl Hult - 2001.08.21

As someone said in his/her story, my first Mac wasn't my own. It was a computer in a university library. How I loved that computer!

It all started back in 1995 when I took a course managed by the unemployment agency where I used to live. They were giving lessons in computers, PC-clones made by Toshiba - dreadful beings which came with Windows 3.11, and they were pretty tough to learn and handle. I know this sounds like the typical "I-had-a-dreadful-time-with-PC-but-now-I-use-Mac-and-am-happy" - that's just what it was!

When that course was over, I entered the university in 1996 to study history and came across the Mac. It came in the shape of a Performa 630. It was a lot easier to learn than the Toshiba had been. But the first day was a little awkward. I was used to having a computer behave in one way, and since I didn't know two kinds of computers from a hole in the ground, I wasn't prepared for this new experience.

At first I was puzzled - where's the damn start button? A fellow student pointed me to a button on the upper right of the keyboard, and a strange sound came from the computer as it started. It sounded like a very tiny boat whistle.

I wasn't prepared for the interface, either. On Windows I had to type C:/win or something like that (I haven't used that horrible OS in 6 years now) to get into the system. Here was a tiny little computer with a smiling face on the screen. But you all know the rest. Let's skip that.

Let's just say I was puzzled.

The first thing (which really bugged me at first) was the way menus behaved. They didn't stick when I clicked on them to get a function.

The fact that closing a window didn't close the app didn't bother me at all. I was actually pleased with that, since I had lost lots of work when working on Windows 3.11 and closing a window. Sometimes the program didn't even warn me that I had unsaved work! Not so with the Mac. I soon learned the trick of both holding down the mouse button to have the menus work for me and quitting an app with the keyboard (command-Q).

After this lesson in what a computer should and could do, I knew I must have one of my own, but where could I get the money? Rob a bank or join a drug syndicate? I scoured the Mac magazines for used computers and drew many circles around ads. I knew I would have to save to afford even a used Mac, but it didn't matter. I had to have one.

It took me some years, but in 1998 I finally could get my hands on a PowerBook 5300cs. Sadly, it died on me only a few months later, and I had to let it go. One year later I got what I wanted, a brand new iMac 333 MHz Grape. I brought it home and set it up at once. It hasn't given me any big problems, and I could afford it. I must say I know a lot more about computers through learning about them the Mac way than I would probably know through all the Windows courses in the world!

I am not a very computer-savvy person, and there are a lot of things I still don't know about when it comes to computers. But ever since that day when I first met that 630 I knew one thing: computers must be made so everyone can use them, from beginner to pro. It's that simple.

And yes, we do read Low End Mac in Sweden.

Go to the My First Mac index.