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Happy 25th Birthday, Macintosh!

by DigitalDoyle

There’s nothing like a birthday to make you reflect and realize just how quickly time passes. Twenty five years… In the blink of an eye.

On January 24, 1984 Apple Computer released the very first Macintosh. I didn’t hear about it until I received the very first issue of Macworld magazine in March, I think it was.

Being the packrat I am, I saved and preserved that issue. That’s a scan of the cover on the left. If you click it you can see a larger version.

I had to have the Macintosh. I’d been lusting after an Apple IIe for quite a while, and couldn’t afford the ten grand for a Lisa, but this Macintosh thing was a whole new ballgame.

I went down to my local computer store… Compuware, I think it was, and happily plunked down $3300. For that princely sum I got the original Macintosh (with a whopping 128K !), an Imagewriter II dot matrix printer, and the only three, (count ’em, THREE!), entire programs that ran on it at the time; MacWrite, MacPaint, and Multiplan(a spreadsheet program). That was it.

I still have that Macintosh and the Imagewriter and every piece of software I ever bought for it. And you know what? It still works. I never use it though. I keep it here on a shelf in my studio as a memento and a personal trophy.

I was one of the first people in Texas to own a Macintosh.

Here’s what it looked like the day I bought it on May 19th, 1984, and it’s on my original Unistation prototype workstation.

I justified the purchase of the Mac by using it to produce marketing materials to help get a government contract for my line of Unistation workstations (which I was awarded a year later and had to refuse, but that’s another story).

In the early days I designed, built, and sold solid oak furniture for the Macintosh. Below is a shot of some of those items. I sold a bunch of these tower stands, and rolltop disc storage boxes to the very first CompUSA store, when it opened on Beltway Rd, off Beltline Rd in far North Dallas. I was about to spend a big chunk of money (for me, anyway) on magazine ads to ramp up the business, but right before I did, a company overseas started advertising very similar units at about half the price I could make them. So that ended that. Better to find out early than late!

I use Macs to this very day, although I started switching over primarily to the dark side [*grin*] back in 1996 when Newtek came out with the first version of Lightwave 3D for the PC.

Eventually it got too expensive to keep software updated for both Mac and PC, and I gradually migrated all my production apps to the PC. I still love my Macs, though. I’m platform agnostic. Use the tool you’re most comfortable using and be happy.

 

So what can we do for you?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy Stewart January 26, 2009 at 9:32 pm

Loved the story and the photos! I took an Apple IIe to college and was the only one with a computer on my floor, so everyone used to borrow it for their papers. I should scan in the Appleworks instructions I typed up in 1985 (and saved in a box, because I too am a packrat) and send them to you for humor value– HILARIOUS.

I just got my first issue of Macworld a few days ago. How funny. (It came free with something or other that I registered.)

Reply

DigitalDoyle January 26, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Amy,

Ha! I would love to see those sometime. At the time I was lusting after the Apple IIe, I was typing ideas, scripts, and screenplays on a crappy old electric typewriter, or else writing manually in stacks of notebooks. I kept all those notebooks and one day I’m going to scan them all in so I can access them digitally. But that’s a job for a much older me to do in the future. 😉

When I saw the post on Twitter this weekend about the Mac’s 25th birthday, I remembered that old original copy of Macworld that I’ve kept in a big ziplog bag in my studio closet all these years. Figured it would make a nice addition to the post.

I think the magazine actually went out of business for a while, but came back. I could be thinking of MacUser, though… that was a huge Mac magazine early on.

Well, it’s time for me to make some css changes to the blog so it’s at least a little easier on your eyes. I left you some comments in that first post. Thanks for those links!

Reply

Jonathan January 27, 2009 at 3:57 am

I’m soooooo jealous. It’s not often that I wish I was a packrat (I’m a shocker for chucking everything!), but that’s a magazine edition I’d be proud to have on my bookshelf.

(Couldn’t help noticing the $4 price tag. That seems pretty expensive for a magazine in 1984? – though I guess the $/£ exchange rate was a little different back then.)

Reply

DigitalDoyle January 27, 2009 at 10:46 am

@3 Jonathan

Well the packrat thing can be both a blessing and a curse. I also keep all my old PCs in what I call the boneyard. I’ve cannibalized many of them to Frankenstein other machines along the way. But I’ve learned through experience that it’s often wiser to buy more modern components than re-use old ones.

But I’ve kept all my Macs pretty much intact for legacy purposes. So I can get to old projects, should I ever need or want to. I have digital archives going back over 20 years now.

And, yes, $4 was a bit high for that magazine, but the thing is, it came in the mail free. I don’t know how they got my name, other than maybe through the local Dallas chapter of the Apple User’s Group. But I did subscribe as soon as I knew it was available.

Macworld used to be a great big thick thing. I can remember issues that were over a half an inch thick. Let’s see… that would be around 16mm or so.

Reply

Jonathan January 27, 2009 at 5:34 pm

Doyle,

Just to confirm, WPTouch is displaying your blog perfectly on the iPhone.

Best,

Jonathan

Reply

DigitalDoyle January 27, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Thanks Jonathan!

I appreciate both the suggestion to use WPtouch, as well as the verification that it’s working.

Sweet! Now all the cool people can see this drek! 😉

WPTouch still won’t let the iPhone see Flash, though, correct?

You ROCK, Jonathan!

Reply

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