Welcome to Macintosh.

I caught a documentary on CNBC (I don’t even know what the “C” stands for) called “Welcome to Macintosh.” It was excellent. At least, it was excellent for somebody who already loved the Mac. I do love the Mac. I had such a flood of memories come back as a result that I had to write them down.

They didn’t show The Commercial. I saw The Commercial, I watched that Super Bowl. Maybe they couldn’t get the rights to it. But like nearly everybody else, that was my first introduction to Macintosh. I had played with a friend’s Apple II, so that was my first introduction to Apple.

When I worked for Paragon in St. Louis, we had proprietary Compugraphic computer phototypesetting machines. Some crazy guy from the printer downstairs had a Macintosh. He talked about it all the time. Finally, he brought it upstairs to show us. It was so small!

Shortly thereafter, I was spending most of my days at work trying to get Quark to run on this thing. It crashed a dozen times a day. I called it “Macintosh wrestling.” LWC hated the Mac, and she’d never laid eyes on one. All she knew was that I cussed it day and night.

After I left Paragon, I worked for Focus Graphics. They had seven different kinds of Macintosh computers. It was my job to keep them working. I’m not a hardware guy, anybody can tell you that. I was asked in my interview, “Do you know how to fix computers?” I did not equivocate. I said, “No.”

The documentary talked about the “Jobs-less” years at Apple. When Apple lost its way and made a lot of crappy Macs. Those were the machines at Focus, and they didn’t work very well.

But the highlight of my day, every day, was turning on the Quadra. It had advanced sound capabilities and terrific speakers and it made the most wonderful noise. The documentary talked about “The Startup Sound,” and they interviewed Jim Beekes, the guy who made that sound. He said it had to be good and strong and bold and happy and uplifting, because you heard it right after a crash and reboot. It’s an excellent sound. I have an MP3 and I can play it any time I like. It makes me happy.

A few years later, I was working at Decipher and I noticed a new device in the IT department (right next to the game designers, until they threw us out for making noise). I said, “That’s a weird looking monitor.” They said, “It’s not a monitor, it’s a computer. It’s like a laptop with a CRT on top.” That was an iMac. A Bondi blue one.

Soon thereafter, I had a strawberry iMac of my own. My first Macintosh. I still have it. I haven’t plugged it in for years. I never think about getting rid of it. I think, “I have that iMac in a box downstairs.” I don’t think I can get rid of it. When I got rid of my first Windows machine, I heaved it into the dumpster without a second thought.

You either get this stuff like I do or you don’t get it. If you don’t get it, I hope you feel this way about something else. If you do get it, you know what I’m talking about.


7 Responses to Welcome to Macintosh.

  1. George Haberberger says:

    I’ve had 4 Macs. My first was the Mac IIx which apparently an unusual model. My wife got it from her company when they upgraded. My Macs were usually like that, almost obsolete when I got them. Most recently I went from a G3 to an iMac. The iMac is not the trailing edge of technology so that was a major change.

    I consider it a shame that Jim Kiske, (the crazy guy from the printer downstairs), has played such a significant part in my introduction to Macintosh.

  2. So, what does a guy have to do for you to get you to email him that startup mp3?

  3. Michael Bishop says:

    Decipher’s the reason I can’t stand Macs. Not that it’s really Apple’s fault. My first computer there was a pretty substandard unit. I can’t recall the model (PowerPC maybe?) but it was pre-iMac. I used it to compile the “images bibles” sent for approval. Running Quark was extremely slow; multiple pages of multiple images. Had to save frequently and get as many pages done as I could before it crashed. It was worse for Photoshop. Running a macro against a bunch of images to resize them and save them in a different directory? That’s a lunch break right there. Mail merges for tournament directors? Time for one of the famed “Eckards Run.”

    I can’t recall the next model either (one of those larger silver tower cases). There was something wrong with the hardware in that thing. It wouldn’t run DreamWeaver and Netscape at the same time without crashing. Sometimes it would boot up and give me that icon with a question mark. Finally, it wouldn’t stop doing that and had to be repaired.

    For the record, I have no problems tossing Windows machines out either, but it’s a little different. A Windows machine is a machine I built from parts that has the Windows OS. A Mac is an all-in-one product from a single company. Hell, I still have my Atari 2600, but I think I’ve tossed out all the computers (after taking the hard drive) I’ve owned, save the ones that I actually use.

  4. Michael Hercus says:

    Due to my recent move, I had to toss my old MacSE, that all-in-one precursor to later all-in-one Macs. It was the hardest thing I had to do, even though I hadn’t run it in years (over a decade, I’d guess). I couldn’t bring it with me, knowing it would just be a paperweight-in-storage for the rest of its life.

    I do, however, still own my PowerMac (Gen I, no less). It didn’t make the move either…but it is in storage at my mom’s house. I kept it because I could logic-away the excuse: “some of my accounting was done on that thing, and should I ever need it, I’ll have to turn it on again.” The odds of that ever occurring are relatively close to that of a mouse becoming President of the United States, but who knows — it may happen…someday.

  5. Kindralas says:

    Apple, and Steve Jobs in particular, has had a knack in providing devices that aren’t simply tools but extensions of life. They’re really not good for real grunt computing, not in the sense that a lot of techies really want, but they’re exceptional devices for managing and improving quality of life. Because of that, people have a tendency to get attached to them as something more than a tool.

    I still feel sort of sad that I don’t have a Mac, because I do love the OS, and I loved the computers. I owned a Mac before dad did (I had an original non-fruit iMac shortly before dad got his strawberry), but I made the jump to PC for two reasons: One, the gaming (Dark Age of Camelot still has no Mac client), and two, the price. The quality of the product was never an issue in that decision.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s possible to convince someone coming from a PC type of mindset to switch over easily. But people getting into computing flock to them like flies because they’re developed with those people in mind. They understand that a new user doesn’t want to hear a lot of numbers rattled off that really don’t impact their experience when buying a machine. They just want to know if it’ll work, work well, and do the things they want it to do.

  6. Victor Sadik says:

    You need to add a retweet button to your blog. I just “liked” this post, but had to do it manually. Just my $.02 :)

  7. Shocho says:

    Buttons added. Thanks, Victor!

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