I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the summer of 1984 and I had just graduated from high school. On my way to Dartmouth, I was perusing the large packet of information sent to me to prepare for college life.
When I pulled out the brochure for the Macintosh, I knew that I just had to have one.
While Dartmouth didn’t require all freshmen to have one, it highly suggested it. I told my parents that I needed a computer and they looked at me like I had just flown in from Mars.
“We can’t even afford to send you to college – what makes you think you should buy a computer?” my father asked me.
I looked at the computer and just imagined having it on my desk. MacPaint looked amazing, and the thoughts of ditching my Brother electric typewriter thrilled me. I checked off the box to include the Mac in my financial aid package and the rest is history…
I remember when the trailer truck pulled up during orientation week and we all were in line to receive the new 128K Mac. The campus was stream of students carrying large white boxes with the contemporary “painting” of the Mac on its exterior. We rushed to our rooms and unpacked them. I played with MacPaint and drew a bird. I couldn’t wait to write my first paper.
Those first machines did not have a hard drive. The system files and programs all lived on a 3.5 inch floppy (also a new technology at the time), so if you wanted to use MacWrite, you had to insert a disk with MacWrite and the system files. If you wanted to use MacPaint, you would insert another disk with the system files and MacPaint. I took it home over Christmas break and amazed my friends with the new technology.
I think it was sophomore year that Dartmouth wired our rooms to the college network. We were able to send email – except didn’t know why we would need to. We could even instant message over the XYZ network. Students could stop off at any computer terminal on campus and message friends if they were online and signed in. We used it to track our crushes through Baker Library. The network also allowed us to print papers at Kiewit – I remember stumbling across campus in 14 below degree winter weather to pick up my paper that sat amongst hundreds of others waiting for us to claim them.
I upgraded to a MacPlus in 1988 with an external hard drive. When I entered the working world, I moved over to PCs exclusively and did not own another computer until 1999. It wasn’t until 2006 when I bought my first MacBook, and since them have upgraded to a MacBook Pro (on which I write this post now – on the train between Millbrae and San Francisco). Yes, I grew to love my MacBook. I also have Apple TV and two iPods. Times have indeed changed.
Thanks, Apple, for the Mac. Happy Anniversay and Steve, be sure to get well soon!