A Valentine to Macs

Keith White
14 February, 2008
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To all the Macs I’ve loved before …

I confess. I lied. In AMW Podcast 7 I claimed to have had fifteen Apple computers. It turns out it was only 13, or more accurately 12. Unless you count the three Blue and White G3s still running at two of my workplaces that I have sole responsibility for.

The first was in fact a greenscreen Apple IIe around 1983. It seemed a step backwards at the time because I’d had a little fun before that programming CoCo — a Tandy Color Computer — in BASIC. But the school I was teaching at used AppleWorks to run everything so I thought I’d get on board.

A couple of years later a colleague ushered a select few of us into a back room, closed the door behind us and unlocked a cabinet. Inside was a funny-looking square box with a tiny B/W screen that I recognised as one of those new Mac things — a 512KE actually. What the criteria were for membership of this arcane group I still don’t know, but I sometimes got to use this sacred Mac. Writing this today in Pages on my 2.16 Intel Core Duo 24-inch iMac seems along way back to poking words into MacWrite on that 9-inch screen.

In 1987 I forked out over two grand for a Mac Plus and joined the club. When I’d paid that off another two grand got me a massive 20 meg hard drive. To last me forever.

In 1990 I attended an Apple hooha in Melbourne where they unwrapped the LC. Woohoo — Little Cutie, and in colour! The Mac Plus suddenly looked old and more like a Mac Minus.

Apart from a PowerBook 100 in 1992 ( I really needed it for a project I was doing) the LC kept me amused until 1993 when the Centris 660AV moved in. This little baby had video in and out and was right on the money for my foray into the new world of multimedia. I replaced its 80MB hard drive with a gigabyte monster. This time I knew it would last me forever. I still have the Centris and it boots System 7 up in seconds.

The 660AV and I were an item until 1998 when a casual visit to my local Apple dealer introduced me to the 5500/250 PowerMac — black, sexy and fast. Love at first sight, but unrequited as it turned out. An absolute lemon, it kept falling over in a variety of ways for no obvious reason. Apple ended up giving me another one. That worked OK but I gave it to my sister, just in case. It’s still going.

In 1999 I wrote Step Aside Spielberg, a beginner’s guide to digital video for AMW. Sony loaned me a TRV900E digital video camera and Apple came up with a new Blue and White G3 with one of its new 15-inch LCD screens and Adobe Premiere. I’d never used a video camera before but wife Diane and I went off to Tasmania, hopefully to capture some interesting footage. It turned out to be incredibly easy and unbelievably impressive. To us anyway. Back home again I used the new FireWire technology and Premiere to edit the footage and I was hooked. Professional video editing capabilities had come to the desktop. I still use the TRV900E I bought soon after reluctantly returning the orginal to Sony, and, of course, I bought a funky Blue and White G3/400 to replace the loan machine from Apple.

This brings my Mac lovelife into the 21st century which I’ll tell you about next time.

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