Thursday, May 22, 2008

Mac Nostalgia

I have been an owner of at least one Apple Macintosh computer for more than 23 years now (sometimes I have owned and/or personally managed more than ten Macs at once).  In fact, my very first Mac was the original 128K (the total memory of the machine) model, complete with a black-and-white, 9-inch screen and an 8 MHz Motorola 68000 processor.  Everything (i.e., all my files) was saved on 400 kB single-sided floppy disks, and you had to run all the applications off the floppy drive as well, as there was no internal storage.  I bought it as part of a university student package in the fall of 1984, which included a modem and an ImageWriter (a nice dot-matrix printer).  It cost me about $3000, which was equal to my entire federal student loan that year.  About a year later I was so in debt that I had to sell the whole thing off to pay some loans.  But, I quickly bought another Mac, and another one after that, and so on.  I remember watching other students working on their IBM PCjrs or clunky big PCs, always wondering why they preferred the ugly interface of their machines over that of my cool Mac--except, of course, I knew that their machines were much cheaper.

Anyway, I have endured many changes in my Macs over the years, and have spent tens of thousands of dollars on Mac products.  I finally decided to invest in Apple stock in 2002.  Lucky for me, I bought most of my stock prior to the launch of the iPod for Windows, and when I sold off my final Apple shares last year, I had made a very healthy profit, quadrupling what I had originally invested.

It's strange to think about how so many aspects of my life have been enmeshed with this specific computer line all these years. My Macs have helped me with dozens of undergraduate papers, scores of applications for graduate school and academic jobs, online chats with hundreds of people, thousands of email messages, statistical analyses of every research project, editing photos of my family, and even writing this blog.  Is it no surprise then that I get a bit nostalgic when I come across pictures of old Mac desktop screens, a story about the original start-up sound, and a link to download a collection of early OS alert sounds? Yes, I am sure that you Windows users have similar pangs of nostalgia, but I think they would be even sweeter if you had owned a Mac!

1 comment:

Tors said...

When I was in elementary school, there was a big nationwide promotion by Apple to help put computers in schools. At some point, we ended up with a lot of Macs. I remember playing games like "Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego" and "Oregon Trail" on the old orange screens. Classic.