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20 yrs. as a Mac User

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Editors Note: This is by no means ‘polished’ and it probably will not get to that because of lack of time.

My first experience with an Apple was the IIe and IIc. And then later the 128k Mac and Fat Mac (512k) when I was in 1st and 2nd grade. My experience was mainly due to the fact that my dad. I have never asked him why he chose to use a Mac over a PC (because the school had Apple II’s), but I assume it had something to do with photography, as I have memories of going to football games when I was a kid and dad shooting the game (on 16 mm black & white film).

I never really had an urge to use a PC when I was a kid, or at any point of my childhood. I came to know PC’s as having ugly graphics and cryptic commands you had to type in. I remember in high school swearing up and down why I had to load mouse drivers before I loaded 3D Studio (before the Max). And more times then not I forgot to type in those stupid commands to load the mouse.

I lived with my mom and visited my dad on the weekends, and my mom would not get me an Apple II (of any flavor). My mom was a teacher, and I was your standard teacher’s kid, so I had plenty of access to Apple computers at school. I can remember in 1st and 2nd grade playing Sticky Bears, Q*bert, some math game I cannot remember the name of, Oregon Trail, etc, and text based RPG adventure games on the Apple II.

The next Apple computer I remember using, which was an entirely new experience because of a different operating system, was the Apple IIgs. After all I had learned a little about programming Apple Basic for the Apple II and now there is this entirely new thing with a full GUI, a Desktop. I had seen the Amega by this time and the Apple IIgs was just a prettier Amega desktop. I remember the Amega having plenty more games (awesome games) but I liked the applications and the general user interface of the IIgs better.

I cannot remember what year it was, but I was in middle school (I think) and my dad became the network administrator for Plain Local Schools. This meant, among other things, more computers to play with. Dad’s school had the Internet, and all on Macs, and there was AppleTalk networking them all together.

By far the first moment that solidified for me the reason I love the Mac came in my freshman year of high school. That reason was MacPaint, MacDraw, and shortly after this program called Photoshop. I also learned how to type on a Mac in high school, but of course I would open MacPaint or MacDraw and doodle more then type. In high school I was about the only person who had heard of photoshop, much less used it. I can remember using Photoshop 1.07 and was in heaven compared to using MacPaint/MacDraw.

I started showing our high school photography teacher what the class could do once they scanned their negatives, and soon enough I was teaching photoshop in photography classes during my study halls. At the time the school did not have photoshop for Windows, and I seem to recall they could not get the scanners to work with Windows either, so we never used PCs for photography class.

Our assistant superintendent was a big Apple fan, and we got in the Power Macintosh 6100’s! 33 Mhz! Netscape 1.0N, that was the first time I had used a browser other then NCSA Mozaic. Photoshop was so much faster on the PowerPC chip, so much better then the 680×0 chip. I started to get into web sites and HTML. This was the time I decided I wanted to go to college for computer art, and mainly web related computer art.

My mom never got me a Mac, but my dad always had an abundance of them. He had the Workgroup Server home once I remember, and used it at school. I am pretty sure that thing ran Apple AUX. I started reading this book “I Hate UNIX” to learn how to use the Workgroup Server.

UNIX was really hard for a kid who did not grow up using DOS. But at this point I had experience using things such as telnet and gopher, pine, etc, so learning the commands wasn’t that hard. The thing that was really challenging was learning about TCP/IP, which is a lot different then AppleTalk.

By my senior year of high school I was really into this HTML thing, and had a lot of experience with Photoshop, so I started to help out with web site design for the school, as well as within the community.

When I graduated high school I got my first Mac. A Performa 6400/200. MacAddict called it “the sexiest Mac ever” They were still beige at this time, but this thing did have curves (hense the ‘sexy’ remark).

Through college I doubled the L2 cache on that thing and maxed the RAM in it, that computer served me very well. I did a lot of HTML and Photoshop learnin’ on that machine.

In high school I worked on the yearbook, so had a lot of experience and Aldus/Adobe PageMaker. So I volunteered to do graphics and layout on the yearbook my freshman year in college. This was my induction into Student Publications at BGSU, and I was soon heading up a web staff and putting The BG News online for the first time by freshman year.

At the time we had a Windows NT 3.5 file server I had to deal with, and this was really my first experience with Windows. Friends tell me it was better then starting with Windows 95. In 1997 The BG News used a system called Intrepid, advertising used the same thing (they were 386 boxes running DOS). Production was using Macs though, just like the yearbook. In 1998 The News got Macs, and a couple years later we even moved advertising to Mac. We eventually got rid of the Windows NT file server and ran Rhapsody, and now OS X Server for our file and print server.

I also had the chance in college to work at the Center for Teaching, Learning, & Technology, where I again, worked with people on HTML and Photoshop. The first thing I did for CTLT (even before I was hired there) was a 2 day, 10 hr. course on Dreamweaver. I had a friend that worked for me at The News, Maury Mountain help me out. I had never held such a course! Special thanks to Bonnie Mitchell for giving my name to Dan Madigan, the director of CTLT.

In 2001 I bought my first Mac, a 500 Mhz PowerBook G4 (the first model, why, I don’t know why). The AppleCare Protection Plan really payed for itself on that machine.

I had a lot of fun working at CTLT. We had G3s and G4s. G4 Servers. I was in charge of technical duties when CTLT started creating digital video, Media 100 and then Final Cut Pro.

In 2003 I bought a 1 Ghz PowerBook G4, but not untill after I bought a 3.06 Ghz Pentium 4 rig. The 1st anniversary of my first PC purchase is coming up soon, so I will have more on that later. Suffice it to say cheaper and more powerful is not better, and I am not using my PC for full time work any more.

I don’t think I would have gone to college for computer art without my Macintosh background. The things that Apple has delivered since Steve Jobs came back to Apple are the reasons I am such a Mac fanatic, evangelist, weirdo, geek, whatever you want to call it.

I cannot wait to see what 20 more years brings to Apple and the Macintosh platform!

Originally posted on Breaking Windows.

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About Ken Edwards

  • http://www.resonation.ca Jim Carruthers

    When I first saw a Macintosh 20 years ago, I immediately wanted one. You could immediately start using it without having to know some secret code.

    My first was a Mac Plus with a 20mb hardrive and Imagewriter II, and it only cost $5,000. With the addition of a 1200 baud modem and some BBS numbers, I was online.