My path to the Mac

Michael O'Keefe
26 October, 2010
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We all wonder why hindsight is such a wonderful thing, I know now I should have made the leap into the future some years ago. Starting out in this modern computing age I found myself sitting at a school desk in the maths department looking at a screen, surrounded by excited maths nerds and wondering what all the fuss was about.

It wasn’t until my father purchased a Commodore 64, years later, that I realised that not only were they practical, these computer things could be fun. Stretching a few more years into the future I had heard of this marvellous thing called the internet and what it was all about, waited patiently for a service provider to supply us country folk with a telephone link and I was in for my first computer purchase.

Working for a engineering company that was tied into the ANI (Australian National Industries) and owned then by Kerry Packer, we had access to buying the latest and greatest at the time. So I ended up with a brand new Compaq DX2 486/66MHz – the CD drive I had to install myself. That was around April 1995. The internet connection speeds of the time were, from memory, 9600 bit/s dialup.

From then on I was hooked. Many more PCs followed with work notebooks, but nothing Mac … not even a mention of it. The only thing I knew about Steve Jobs was that he and another guy Steve Wozniak were in competition with Bill Gates, and at the time Microsoft was huge.

Enter Mac

Christmas had arrived and I had heard about the iPod nano (you could have any colour as long as it was silver). I learnt how to drive iTunes after a few attempts and was on my way.

Christmas the following year, it was an iPod for my eldest daughter as we used to fight over mine. Well, I got the new one and, being miserable, I handed the nano down to her.

Then 2008 arrived, and so did the second-generation iPod touch. I had to have one, and have one I did.

This was the pivotal moment in my evolution to the iMac. It had taken some time to bring broadband to our home – only by lobbying the government and telephone service providers did we finally get it in late 2008.

The following year my wife was up for a new mobile phone. Enter iPhone 3GS 16GB. She had to have one, I told her. The company supplied my mobile phone, so the only way I could get my hands on one of these new Apple gadgets was for Lisa to have one. So I told her she needed to jump into modern technology or she would be left behind! It worked!

Now we are both Wi-Fi at home, teaching each other about functionality and new apps, downloads, podcasts – all that neat stuff. Our conversations have changed somewhat, from our normal pursuits – long-distance horse riding and boating activities – to anything to do with computers, apps, iPods, iTunes, etc.

Getting deeper

On a chance visit to our local Apple reseller to purchase some earbuds, the27in  iMac was on display. The screen had me dropping my jaw. Seeing this iMac for the first time was like seeing colour TV for the first time after all those years of black and white. I spent considerable amount of time looking at the applications and the pictures it brought to life. The affordability factor was in there too, for the 20in model.

I looked on the net at the Apple store and also visited various websites, researching until I was happy. All I had to do now was wait for the new model to come out.

While waiting the new iPhone 4 was released in Australia and I decided to buy one direct from Apple even if I had to wait three weeks. When buying the iPhone 4, I was talking to a guy called Lonnie T Edwards III, for my introduction into Apple service.

Lonnie is great. I work in a service industry and this guy runs rings around anything I’ve ever seen.

I liked the service so much, I not only bought the iPhone from him, I now have the 27in iMac (decided to spend a few extra dollars and go for the 27in) and we are looking very hard at a MacBook Pro.

When I call Lonnie, I say, “Hi Lonnie, it’s Mick from Down Under” just the way Crocodile Dundee said in the movie, and do you think he knows me by this? Yes he does.

While waiting for my Apple purchases to arrive, I downloaded the D8 conference video with Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher interviewing Steve Jobs. I converted it so I could watch it on my iPod touch over and over. That one-hour interview just blew me away. I am impressed with Steve Jobs.

The big event

As usual the packaging of the newly arrived iMac makes you not want to open the box. When you have teenage girls around it’s like Christmas, though no ripping – just a controlled “Let’s see what’s inside the box, please.”

Within 20 minutes the iMac was running in a new position all by itself on my desk.

Having just researched the iMac I came across Australian Macworld. I bought the September issue and, after reading the iPhoto article about keeping all my pictures on an external drive, I started my first user-initiated task. A whole new learning process had begun.

That wasn’t the end for AMW. After reading the feature article on backing up and Time Machine in the same issue, I found myself buying a 1.5TB external drive, partitioning it, running Time Machine on half, and a free HD cloner on the other half.

Wow, this computing thing is fun. My path is somewhat straighter now – straight to the online Apple Store to see what’s on offer.

I love my iMac and now there is no turning back.

Mick from Down Under


4 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Peter T. says:

    My path is somewhat similar. My first Apple device was an iPod Classic 80G. A couple of years later, I bought an iPhone 3GS. Several months later, I bought an iPad and a few weeks later I bought a 27″ iMac. Each time I used an Apple product I became more respectful of the quality and abilities of what Apple is able to do. I’ve been associated with computers since 1973 and I’ve used DOS and Windows since the early days, but I don’t miss them. In my opinion, my iMac is the best computer that I have ever owned.

  2. Leon Dive says:

    Mt path goes a little further back than these.
    I started with a dual processor Z80 machine running DBaseII (Archive Brand) with some form of DOS then onto a couple of Tandys, MkI and MKIII, then I saw a Lisa with a daisy wheel printer that printed graphics (Macintosh XL later) cost a fortune but recovered cost in 6 months in 1982. I later sold this , been kicking myself ever since, then a Mac 128K upgraded to 2 MByte RAM and added a SCSI port with a 5MByte Hard Disk over 2 years, then virtually every model release by Apple since. All the Macs I still have and all of them are running (just fixed a quadra 950). As far as reliability goes, the only one that actually failed was the Quadra (-power supply).
    Curently I have an iMac 20″ for home, iPad, IPhone 4 plus a G5 dual processor, platinum G4 (web server) for work. Not to mention a couple of G4 mac Books. Various iPods etc.
    My original iPhone (version 1) I gave to my wife to replace her work supplied phone. Loves it.
    I would like a quad core 27″ iMac or a Mac Pro 12 core and one or the other isn’t far away, as soon as I can justify it.

  3. Richard Watkins says:

    Ah, Leon, someone about as old as me!
    My first program was for CSIRAC, a valve and mercury delay line computer at Melbourne University. After that it was all mainframes (IBM7044, IBM1401, Ellott803 and assorted others) until Apple IIs and 286 DOS machines.
    Then on to Mac 128K and others, but the first one I bought with my own money was a Mac IIci.
    One thing I have noticed is that the about 1000 times increase in speed and capacity from the early Macs seems to be nearly completely absorbed by inefficient applications.

  4. Jimmy George says:

    Like Richard my first Mac was a IIc. Second hand. I had been in computers then for over 30 years and was a network manager. I knew DEC, MicroSoft (all flavours of PCs) and SUN backwards and my first home computer was that ancient Mac

    I stick with them. My first NEW Mac was the then top of the line 7200/200. My latest is a 27″ iMac, 8Gb, 3Tb of HDD.

    The machines have improved but some of the applications just try to do too much.

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