Life changing … 

No, I would not descri­be any of the Mac­in­toshes I used or owned as life chan­ging. My cour­se of life was too much direc­ted towards pro­fes­sio­nal geek­dom; my inte­rests had always been ali­gned with that stuff so that I would not call any sin­gle of the com­pu­ters I had life changing. 

The first Mac I ever had the fun of having on my desk was one of the very ear­ly models, and I must have been around ele­ven or so. My dad had got­ten it on loan from Apple Aus­tria for a while, and I got to play with it. I fondly remem­ber the sound that the disk dri­ves made on ejec­ting the disks – and I remem­ber my hun­ting for paper clips to get disks out once the eject func­tion did not real­ly work anymore. 

I remem­ber owning a Mac emu­la­tor for one of my Ami­gas, and even a hard­ware inter­face so that I could con­nect an exter­nal Mac flop­py to the Ami­ga. But that never real­ly work­ed so well.

The first Mac I owned in a while was a Power­book 170 – any­bo­dy remem­ber lap­tops with mono­chro­me dis­plays? I bought it becau­se I had wan­ted to install Net­BSD on it, but I never got around doing that. Part of the reason was becau­se at the time I had an inte­rest in that, the video card in that lap­top was not real­ly sup­port­ed well enough and the only opti­on to use Net­BSD on said lap­top was via seri­al con­so­le, which sort of made having a lap­top point­less. Ano­ther part was that the­re was no built-in ether­net, and the exter­nal solu­ti­on I had was also in no way sup­port­ed by Net­BSD, so this would have made me the owner of a very, very soli­ta­ry Net­BSD system. 

I sold the Mac­Book to a fri­end who used it for DTP on the road for a while; I don’t real­ly know what he did with it. 

After tho­se months with the Power­book, I got hold of a used NeXT cube, for which I later also bought the NeXT­Di­men­si­on board. That was quite a fun machi­ne to have, and it ser­ved as my work hor­se for a good num­ber of years. I still keep it around for nost­al­gic reasons, but am rather cer­tain it no lon­ger boots. 

At the same time, my sis­ter had a Per­for­ma Mac that she made still frame ani­ma­ti­ons with, and pro­ba­b­ly quite a num­ber of other things. 

All the fond remem­bran­ces of Mac­in­tosh com­pu­ters of the past ages must not let us for­get that Apple did pro­du­ce a num­ber of crap­py pro­ducts. They let their Ope­ra­ting Sys­tem fall behind tre­men­dous­ly befo­re they swit­ched to what ear­lier had been Next­Step; they had a chao­tic pro­duct poli­cy befo­re Ste­ve Jobs retur­ned and I’m sure most of us remem­ber just how clo­se they came to bank­rupt­cy in their bad days. 

But whe­re Apple shi­nes is put­ting the focus not on tech­ni­cal aspects or just the data of their machi­nes; in how they pre­sent things to the world, it always is about the things you can do with them, the new worlds that are available to you, the fea­tures you can accom­plish with just the right tools (which hap­pen to run on Apple pro­ducts) and your talents. This is what sets them apart; that in ever­y­thing, they see the stuff the pro­du­ce as a means to an end. Or at least they want us to belie­ve that.

And on that note, hap­py bir­th­day, Macintosh. 

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