Saturday, December 1, 2007

Buy a Mac

In 1984 I bought my first Macintosh computer. The odd looking beige box with a nine inch screen called the Macintosh Plus. The crazy machine did not have a hard disk, only one non-standard 3.5" 800 MB floppy drive, a one-button mouse, and the most astonishing feature at that time was a incredible 1 MB of RAM. One megabyte! Who would ever need more?

One of the two Steve's who founded Apple Computer, Inc., Steve Jobs liken the Macintosh to a toaster - a people's appliance that would be easy-to-use yet highly functional and purposeful. The Mac would be an insanely great tool but a simple one to use also.

My good friend Mike had convinced me to buy this scary toy personal computer against my better judgement. After leaving my full-time job for a life as a work-from-home freelancer in New York City, I had narrowed my search to two other computers at the time that were better hardware devices. The other two boxes were the Atari 1040 ST, and the Apple IIgs. These desktop machines had big color monitors, they had better audio capabilities and some serious gaming potential.

But Mike insisted: "Buy a Mac!"

I asked, "How can you compare a Macintosh with it's 9 inch B&W screen with an Atari color monitor?"

Mike's answer: "Atari is dead!" and "Nobody is writing software for the Atari TOS" ( which meant the Tramiel Operating System)

"But, but... Apple is the only company writing software for the Mac, isn't it?"

"No, he answered on an inside tip, " A company in Seattle called Microsoft is going to revolutionize the software industry and they are writing an application called Excel for the Mac. I have beta copies of Works and Word. And soon I will be getting a Mac program called File."

"What do I care about spreadsheets? I want a computer that will allow me to make and produce graphics, compose and play music, and possibly edit video or at least act as a controller for the tape deck. Even Commodore is promising these capabilities."

At the end of the day, I bought the Mac. Probably the most abstract and unprovable reason Mike gave that finally convinced me not to buy Atari, Apple IIGS, Commodore or even an IBM PC XT was:

"Mac is the future of computing."

And Mike was right.

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