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History of Macintosh: a 30 Year Love Affair
billpetro.com ^ | January 28, 2014 | Bill Petro

Posted on 01/28/2014 3:21:35 PM PST by NYer

MacintoshHISTORY OF MACINTOSH

The now famous Macintosh computer has just turned 30. When Apple President Steve Jobs launched this computer at the Flint Center on De Anza College campus on January 24, 1984 to the theme from Chariots of Fire he called it “insanely great!” The $1.5M “1984″ Superbowl commercial filmed by Sir Ridley Scott had appeared on TV two days before Macintosh went on sale and the world was holding its breath.

When IBM released the so-called IBM PC in 1981, I remember saying at the time that it “legitimized the desktop microcomputer market,” at least for business. Though it was called a Personal Computer, few people that I knew had one at home. It was driven to popularity with MS-DOS, a character-based user interface, first with green characters on a black screen, then in living color. The PC had been around for almost a decade, back to the Xerox PARC Alto machine, but they were too expensive and too difficult to use for the ordinary mortal. The more hobby-friendly Commodore PET, Atari, TRS-80 were within people’s budgets, but were mostly used by hobbyists. CP/M machines from Compaq were used by early adopters in the business world. Even Apple II computers were around then.

But Macintosh was something different. Steve Jobs didn’t call it “The Macintosh” but just Macintosh, like James Cameron’s movie referred to the big boat as Titanic as if it had a name. Mac was a truly personal computer, ideal for the home as well as professional and educational environments. It was remarkable in that it had:

I got mine in 1985, as part of the Apple Developer Program, by driving up to the Apple loading dock in Cupertino and picking up my box. I’d already spent a few hours with one in the office where only marketing execs or publications folks got to use them. I was the corporate IT Manager administrating three super-mini computers at the time and Macintosh was a curiosity. My office mate showed me how to use MacWrite and MacPaint — the only two programs shipping with the system — and I was hooked. I used it from home to dial in remotely to the office to check the status of my systems, using a text-based terminal program. When I later went to Sun Microsystems I used the same terminal program to do “shell” access to my work computer and keep up on my email and Netnews.

I had gotten the “Fat Mac” which was just like the initial 128KB Mac, but now with 512KB of memory. Who could need more!

Macintosh came with one floppy drive and no hard drive. Later, a SCSI interface allowed connection to a hard drive. For just $1,000 I got a 10MB hard drive to which you could network two Macs. This was living large.

At Sun, the early workstations used 70MB then 140MB SCSI hard drives. When they’d outlived their usefulness, they could be rewired with a SCSI ribbon cable and reformatted to Mac OS. Talk about information explosion.

In those early years I’d regularly attend the monthly A32 Computer Club meetings in Silicon Valley. These were attended by fellow geeks who were interested in the Apple 32-bit systems, aka the Motorola 68000-based Macintosh. There I got to meet the early Macintosh team and hear how they’d developed a particular system or what they were working on currently. Andy Hertzfelt, from the original team showed us “Servant,” an early quasi multi-tasking system for Mac. I was in heaven. Guy Kawasaki would come out to speak. He was a regular favorite, always fascinating and funny.

“Now at the end of my talk I’d like to open it to Q&A or Question and Avoidance. You ask the questions and I’ll avoid answering them.”

I was so into it that I even wrote articles and product reviews for a Macintosh journal at the time.

MacintoshIn 1987 when I was working at Sun, Apple released Macintosh II, the first color, open architecture, expandable system. Just down the hall from me company co-founder Bill Joy had one on his desk. I’d walk by often to drool. Apple continued to come out with more powerful systems using faster 680X0 chips, as Sun was doing. Additionally, Sun was using the same industrial design company Apple used, the German frogdesign. But a marriage between the Apple and Sun was not to be.

In 1990 Microsoft launched MS Windows 3.0. It shared some of the same design elements of the Macintosh user interface and though not as good, was deemed by many as “good enough.” The market responded to the cheaper “Windows PC” which went on to become the market share leader. In the ’90s I was traveling internationally with a Macintosh Duo, a very small and light laptop that was a real head turner. But when I traveled to China, I could not connect it to any projection system unless I brought my docking station.

Mid ’90s Apple licensed the Mac OS to 3rd parties to create clones. This foray into “openness” was shut down at the end of Mac OS System 7. I recall a talk at the San Francisco Macworld Expo — the biggest show of its kind in the newly opened Moscone Center and from which I’d bring home 20 lbs of brochures — when then Apple Exec Jean-Louis Gasee gave his astounding pro-proprietary talk “How to Keep the Japanese from Eating Our Sushi.”

The later ’90s were not as kind to Macintosh. Popular software applications became available on Windows first, and on Mac only much later, if at all. I’d often ask software vendors if they were planning a Mac version and the answer was usually “if there is market demand for it” which was code for “No.” By that time I had to start carrying a Windows laptop for my international travel and for almost a decade I wandered in the Windows wilderness.

In 1994 Apple left the Motorola 680X0 line behind for the PowerPC chip, as it seemed a good idea at the time. Even Sun had supported SunOS/Solaris on 680X0, and PowerPC before they moved entirely to the SPARC chip. Apple has since abandoned PowerPC for Intel, allowing Mac to run Windows or Mac OS… or both now a days using virtualization technologies like VMware or Parallels.

30 Years of MacintoshIn the mid ’00s my wife complained to me about how slowly her Windows laptop was running. I explained that I would need to first back it up, reformat it, re-install Windows, and then restore the data. This was the usual response from Windows Support, essentially lift off the radiator cap then drive a new engine underneath it. Or I could spend $600 on a Mac Mini. We went with the later. It took me 20 minutes to set it up and get it on the Internet. I was having so much fun with her machine that after a month she threw me off, so I got my own, an iMac — the successor of the original all-in-one Macintosh. I’ve had three since then and haven’t looked back.

I still have my original 9″ Mac. And the latest 27″ iMac. And I work for a company civilized enough to supply me with a MacBook Air. And don’t get me started on my love for the iPhone and iPad that I’ve written about.

Happy 30th Birthday, Mac.



TOPICS: Business/Economy; Computers/Internet; History
KEYWORDS: computer; jobs; macintosh

1 posted on 01/28/2014 3:21:35 PM PST by NYer
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To: All

2 posted on 01/28/2014 3:22:16 PM PST by NYer ("The wise man is the one who can save his soul. - St. Nimatullah Al-Hardini)
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To: NYer

Well,,,, I just got a new iMac. The electric company blew up the power supply in my ancient Quicksilver G-4. I love this thing. Best user interface there is. My lady friend has some Dell thing. It stinks! The iMac is so much easier to use.


3 posted on 01/28/2014 3:38:04 PM PST by Dr. Bogus Pachysandra ( Ya can't pick up a turd by the clean end!)
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To: NYer

My PC music computer is dying. At the same time the 8 in 8 out Mark Of The Unicorn audio interface is showing signs of age and the recording software version I have is no longer supported.

The new audio interface that I desire (Universal Audio Apollo)ONLY works on Mac. I’ll have to learn a new software AND a new computer OS AT THE SAME TIME! It’s gonna suck!


4 posted on 01/28/2014 3:38:14 PM PST by TalBlack
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To: NYer
I followed the development of Macintosh back in the day. I was an original Mac Evangelist. A True Believer, even when the Death of Apple was predicted by the mainstream. The 1984 commercial was like a message from god.

Today, I don't have any Apple products, just don't really need them, as other products works just as well for me and at a better price. Having grown up, I tend to roll my eyes at the fanboys too, but I know where they are coming from.

Regardless of how you feel about it, there is no doubt that Apple has pushed the envelope, and we are all better off for it.

5 posted on 01/28/2014 3:43:42 PM PST by Paradox (Unexpected things coming for the next few years.)
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To: NYer
I want a new six-core MacPro with the dual D700 video and 64Gb of 1866MHz ECC RAM. I can live with the low-end PCI-E Flash storage for now. Priced this out at about $5700 after tax.

No, I don't care about the premium price. Don't even bother trying to convince me that I can get a lot more Chevrolet for my money than I can buying a Porsche Carrera-Turbo: Yes, I am well aware that you can tinker-build an unreliable bitchin' Camaro in your garage that'll do 10 seconds in the quarter mile for a fraction of the price of a Porsche 997 GT2, but anyone with a brain knows that the Porsche supercar will be the far nicer car to own and drive in every way imaginable.

6 posted on 01/28/2014 3:45:02 PM PST by The KG9 Kid
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To: Dr. Bogus Pachysandra

I love my Mac also.

Parallels gives you the best and worst of both worlds (Mac and PC).

Run MasterCam on the windows seven side and have really never had a problem whats so ever with my 2010 MacBook Pro.

Girl friend has a Dell and as far as I am concerned it is a terrible machine I am always fixing it for her.


7 posted on 01/28/2014 3:47:21 PM PST by Johnny_cash (10 out of 10 idiots voted for 0Bama!)
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To: Swordmaker

Ping.


8 posted on 01/28/2014 4:24:17 PM PST by conservatism_IS_compassion ("Liberalism” is a conspiracy against the public by wire-service journalism.)
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To: zot; SeraphimApprentice

for those who don’t do windows ping.


9 posted on 01/28/2014 4:29:46 PM PST by GreyFriar (Spearhead - 3rd Armored Division 75-78 & 83-87)
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To: NYer

I was an original mac head. Loved my SE/30. I still think it’s one of the best computers they ever made. I was an early member of the Seattle “DBUG” user group that met at the Seattle center back in the 80s. Guy Kawasaki was an inspiration.

I branched out into Windows NT... Netware... Cisco... And never really got into the comparative religion aspects of computer ownership. There are good and bad things about them all, and they’ve all played their key roles in the development of all the technologies we take for granted today. I managed a WAN with hundreds of servers... Windows, Mac, Unix and even VMS.

Now I still have a couple of windows7 computers at home but I have an iPhone and I’m typing this on my iPad, sitting in a bar. :-).

Viva Steve Jobs. Viva Bill Gates. Between the two of them they created the foundation that I built my career on— a career that served me well enough to let me retire at 50.


10 posted on 01/28/2014 4:44:17 PM PST by Ramius (Personally, I give us one chance in three. More tea anyone?)
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To: NYer
Go Windows! Bill Gates rules!

(Runs and hides)

11 posted on 01/28/2014 5:00:56 PM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist (15 years of FReeping! Congratulations EEE!!)
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To: NYer
Not interested. Apple supports too many left wing causes, and Intel pressured the Boy Scouts to accept homosexuals.

I know Microsoft isn't much better, but with Windows you can buy an AMD and as little MS software as possible.

12 posted on 01/28/2014 5:28:00 PM PST by TwelveOfTwenty (See my home page for some of my answers to the left's talking points.)
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist

Go hide under your Bill Gates mosquito net! Or are you using it to cover your goats like the African peasants for whom goats are worth more than chilrun?!


13 posted on 01/28/2014 5:33:13 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious! We reserve the right to serve refuse to anyone!)
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To: Paradox

competition and dueling egos did make both improve. maybe not exactly the way we wanted, or as fast, but it did.


14 posted on 01/28/2014 5:33:29 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: The KG9 Kid

not really a proper comparison.

corvette vs porsche may be a better one.


15 posted on 01/28/2014 5:34:33 PM PST by Secret Agent Man (Gone Galt; Not averse to Going Bronson.)
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To: NYer

Apple and the rest of us could really use better competition than Blue Screen, Inc out of Seahawkland!


16 posted on 01/28/2014 5:35:13 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious! We reserve the right to serve refuse to anyone!)
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To: GreyFriar

Thanks for the ping. In January 1987 I saw an article about a program called MacInTax that said it was so good that it was worth buying the Mac Plus computer. I did. It was. And I have been a constant Mac user ever since.


17 posted on 01/28/2014 5:41:16 PM PST by zot
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To: TalBlack
My PC music computer is dying.

Get a Mac! It comes with Garage Band ... you'll love it!

18 posted on 01/28/2014 5:42:51 PM PST by NYer ("The wise man is the one who can save his soul. - St. Nimatullah Al-Hardini)
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To: TwelveOfTwenty
but with Windows you can buy an AMD and as little MS software as possible.

Don't forget the Norton! (Not needed on a mac).

19 posted on 01/28/2014 5:46:02 PM PST by NYer ("The wise man is the one who can save his soul. - St. Nimatullah Al-Hardini)
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To: zot; GreyFriar

20 posted on 01/28/2014 5:51:22 PM PST by NYer ("The wise man is the one who can save his soul. - St. Nimatullah Al-Hardini)
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To: Revolting cat!
Or are you using it to cover your goats like the African peasants for whom goats are worth more than chilrun?!

Covering the goats ROFL.

21 posted on 01/28/2014 5:53:50 PM PST by Extremely Extreme Extremist (15 years of FReeping! Congratulations EEE!!)
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To: NYer
Don't forget the Norton!

Not the only option. In fact, neither is Windows if you're tech savvy.

(Not needed on a mac).

I wouldn't bet anything of value on that.

22 posted on 01/28/2014 5:53:59 PM PST by TwelveOfTwenty (See my home page for some of my answers to the left's talking points.)
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To: Secret Agent Man
I suppose, depending on whether you were going to buy a high end HP workstation (Corvette Z06) or do a build-it-yourself from NewEgg parts (Bitchin' Camaro).

I'm seeing on forums that the prosumer HP gets within about the same price as a MacPro only cannot match the MacPro's proprietary configuration at any price right now with PC hardware. The difference in price is small even if the HP offers greater 'right now' expandability (that you'll never take advantage of, like supporting 512Gb of 1866mhz DDR3 ECC RAM because it costs $120k) and won't be bested until more external Thunderbolt devices become available.

The bitchin' Camaro builders can build a powerful rig that may come close to a MacPro in power and save $600, but when all is said and done they're going to be Windows users driving a homebuilt PC of questionable reliability and no warranty.

Dollar for dollar, nothing beats the MacPro right now as a prosumer rig that mortals can afford. Best part about it is that it runs OSX Mavericks and can also run Windows in VM about as fast as the comparative PC can run it natively if you simply must have Windows around, like I do.

23 posted on 01/28/2014 6:08:48 PM PST by The KG9 Kid
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To: Extremely Extreme Extremist

It’s no joke, it comes from a recent book that was actually sympathetic to Gates and his misguided programs.


24 posted on 01/28/2014 6:16:41 PM PST by Revolting cat! (Bad things are wrong! Ice cream is delicious! We reserve the right to serve refuse to anyone!)
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To: NYer; ~Kim4VRWC's~; 1234; Abundy; Action-America; acoulterfan; AFreeBird; Airwinger; Aliska; ...
I love my Mac on its 30th Anniversary —PING!


Apple Mac 30th Birthday Ping!

If you want on or off the Mac Ping List, Freepmail me.

25 posted on 01/28/2014 9:48:14 PM PST by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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To: Swordmaker

26 posted on 01/28/2014 9:53:28 PM PST by Liberty Valance (Keep a simple manner for a happy life :o)
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To: Liberty Valance

LOL!


27 posted on 01/28/2014 9:56:19 PM PST by Swordmaker (This tag line is a Microsoft insult free zone... but if the insults to Mac users continue...)
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To: Johnny_cash

I just installed parallels and now have to install my Adobe suite, which only works in Windows.

Some people here don’t like Mac. I’ve gotten to HATE Adobe, who continually upgrades their stuff and locks you out of updates while treating every one of their users like they are made of money.


28 posted on 01/28/2014 10:42:20 PM PST by gortklattu (God knows who is best, everybody else is making guesses - Tony Snow)
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To: gortklattu

Quark was the only game in town for desktop publishing for years. The product was so buggy that workarounds were a core professional competency for anyone in the business. The company was a-holish in the way only a monopolist can be, took forever to get updates out, had bugs unfixed through several major releases, and took every opportunity to squeeze more money out of loyal customers.

Adobe came out with Indesign, which took over the market with astonishing speed. Quark had PO’ed every one of its users so thoroughly that they were eager to jump to anything almost as good, and as a bonus, InDesign was better.

Fast forward a decade and a half, and Adobe is just like every other former insurgent turned dictator, and the masses are waiting for the next revolution.


29 posted on 01/29/2014 1:07:45 AM PST by ReignOfError
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To: Johnny_cash

Love my Mac also.

I also run Windows Parallel for the few programs I require for work that are not supported for Macs.

Not a gamer so I really don’t care about that advantage of PC’s.


30 posted on 01/29/2014 2:07:45 AM PST by PeteB570 ( Islam is the sea in which the Terrorist Shark swims. The deeper the sea the larger the shark.)
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To: Swordmaker

I still have my Fat Mac (512K) that I purchased back in 1986


31 posted on 01/29/2014 2:29:04 AM PST by big'ol_freeper ("Evil is powerless if the good are unafraid" ~ Ronald Wilson Reagan)
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To: NYer

It’s been about 10 years for me. The first 4 (Compaq) were pure hell.
Someday, I’ll learn about all these cool little toys (in my “spare time”), but it’s more than enough that on my dumbest day, it gets me where I want to go & does what I want it to do- withOUT a struggle.

You better believe I love my Mac!


32 posted on 01/29/2014 4:07:35 AM PST by KGeorge (Till we're together again, Gypsy girl. May 28, 1998- June 3, 2013)
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To: NYer

I had seen and used Mac in school during the mid-80’s and early 90’s, but never seriously used them. (I did use the lab Macs in college to write meeting minutes for an organization I was in - the only WYSIWYG option at the time - and also used them to format my resume for job hunting in my senior year). I was a UNIX guy, after all.

When it cam time to buy my own computer, budget was an issue, and I got a low-end no-name PC, because I could afford it, and Macs were way out of my price range. And so I started my chain of heartbreak with PC-class systems. Buying a cheap computer, more often than not, gives you what exactly what you pay for, maybe less.

Eventually, I was making enough money to get a high-end computer, and had a custom-built rig that was pretty solid. But event hat showed signs of “age” within a couple of years, and eventually it was turned into a file server in the house running some variant of Linux. I replaced with with a Sony Vaio system, which again, worked smoothly for a few years, but couldn’t really keep up with the demands of XP after SP 2 or 3. I’m currently typing this on that machine, but it now runs Fedora Linux (core 14, as it lacks the minimum requirements to upgrade to a later version) and I really only use it for web browsing and very light document editing.

Vista was the final straw. I wanted no part of it but needed to get a new computer or do a lot of upgrades to the old one that I felt was probably not going to be worth the time, money, and hassle. After pricing around higher-end computers, really, the iMac wasn’t “overpriced” compared to the machines it was competing against on the PC side - not the “budget” ones, but what we’d call the “prosumer” class. The Mrs. and I visited our local Apple reseller, spent a little time with the iMac, and decided to give it a go.

I haven’t regretted that decision once in the years since. I did have to replace the iMac once, about two years ago but that was due to my own stupidity in actually physically breaking the thing (out of warranty, even). I’d probably still be using that first one quite happily if I hadn’t broken it.

Since then, the Mrs. pushed me into getting a smartphone, and the iPhone specifically. I had had an iPod (3rd gen) for quite a few years at that point, using it on my commute, so I was well-versed with iTunes (I even used it on XP) and having a portable device, but the iPhone was simply amazing, and continues to be, as I”m looking ahead at getting my third one in the next few months.

I’m now just trying to put together a purchase for my next generation computing needs. I’m going to get myself a MacBook Pro (Retina), which will be my primary personal computer (freeing up the iMac for the Mrs. to take over as completely as she wants) and a Mac Mini to serve as my home media server (including DVR).

I do have one Win7 machine still, it was bought specifically for the kids as I was given a whole slew of Win95/XP educational games that my sister’s kids outgrew. While I think Win7 is actually a pretty good OS, for Microsoft, at least, I have zero temptation to switch back to Windows. (I also user Win7 at work, but that machine is so crippled by an over-zealous security group in our IT department that I try not to let it cloud my judgement.) Frankly, when they’ve outgrown those games, I’ll probably slap a Mac Mini in that computer’s place, as this 3-year-old machine is already showing signs of wearing out.


33 posted on 01/29/2014 5:10:59 AM PST by kevkrom (I'm not an unreasonable man... well, actually, I am. But hear me out anyway.)
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To: NYer

Get a Mac! It comes with Garage Band ... you’ll love it!

You know, I’d forgotten about Garage Band. The Apollo interface that necessitates the Mac comes with UAD 2 plugs. That might be workable! I’ll try it before I shell out for Cubase 7.


34 posted on 01/29/2014 5:14:40 AM PST by TalBlack
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One thing I’ll pass along that’s based on something I heard one of the Macworld editors say: 30 years is a long, long time for a single product to exist in the tech industry. Yes, both the hardware and software have evolved over the last 30 years, and so you could make the argument that it’s not really the same product. But consider this... if you took the latest iMac running Mavericks and sent it back 30 years into the past, the user of the original Macintosh - after recovering from shock - would instantly recognize it as a Mac.


35 posted on 01/29/2014 5:45:17 AM PST by kevkrom (I'm not an unreasonable man... well, actually, I am. But hear me out anyway.)
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