Twenty-Five Years Of The Mac

"Why 1984... won't be like 1984."

We drooled over those words, us geeks with our copies of Byte magazine and the latest Heathkit catalog. Forget the TRS-80 or the Sinclair, this new computer was going to be sweet.

And sweet it was, that friendly beige box with the smiley-face at startup. Don't get me wrong, I still loved my Apple II, but there was something about the Mac that made you want to dive in and check it out. It made people less afraid of computers. No typing, just point and click.

And the Mac kept getting better. More capabilities. Better graphics and sound. Networking out of the box, unheard of at the time. Desktop publishing software that quickly revolutionized traditional print. If you were in publishing in the 1980s, the watchword of the day was Aldus. Norton Utilities when it was still owned by Peter Norton and cared about the Mac market. System 7 comes on CD! Mac OS 8 has multithreading!

Then, the Internet revolution. NCSA Telnet and Gopher... those are called hyperlinks, ladies and gentlemen, and this new thing called the Web lets you include video and sound. Viruses that turned your Mac into a monster, and a utility called Disinfectant written by a gentleman of a programmer named John Norstad, with whom I had the opportunity to work as a student. A virus called Melissa that taught us yes, Virginia, viruses can be transmitted via email. Good days (the Mac IIci), bad days (the IIvx), confusing days (what the heck is a Type 1 error?). One glorious afternoon when Steve Jobs took the NeXTSTEP and matured the Mac's system software to become Mac OS X.

Puma. Jaguar. Panther. Tiger. Leopard and soon Snow Leopard. Microsoft, will you please fix Entourage? Yes, Macs need antivirus software. What do you mean you can RUN WINDOWS ON A MAC?!

Cheers to my Mac users, and may you never experience the spinning beachball.

Posted byTriona Guidry at 1:03 PM  


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