Friday, January 24, 2014

The Mac Turns 30

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.
I consider myself an early adopter of the Macintosh, even though I didn't get one of the original 128Ks. My parents bought me a Mac 512E in 1986 (the E stood for "enhanced"), a couple years after the famous Super Bowl ad that ushered in the Macintosh era.

So after all this time, it's hard for me not to get nostalgic about the 30-year anniversary of the Mac.

I still remember the near-constant whir of the disk drive ejecting diskettes (it had no hard drive, so you had to insert and remove disks every couple minutes). And while the lack of a color screen was disappointing (even then), it was offset by the quality of the resolution. The Commodore Amiga couldn't compete in that department.

I remember the audiotape that came with the Mac. It explained how to use the computer and started off with an ultra-smarmy, " Macintosh." Even in the mid-1980s, we thought, "Wow, this tape is pretty cheesy."

I used the Mac for schoolwork, sure, but also for games of "Lode Runner," "Deja Vu" and, of course, "Dark Castle."

With "Dark Castle," a friend would work the mouse while I handled the keyboard. It was a pretty spectacular game, especially given the state of technology at the time.

When I was in eighth grade, the motherboard is my Mac overheated and smoke streamed out of the top of the computer. The incident became famous at school.

After that, friends grew fond of shutting me down by saying, "Nick, your computer's smoking." I had a pretty hard time offering a comeback to that.

It's sometimes tough being an early adopter.