Macintosh computers and Mac OS turn 40 this year, and the media tributes are starting already. The Upgrade podcast linked here asked a few Mac-media luminaries for their picks in a personal Mac retrospective. I did something like this when Steve Jobs died, but that was more than a decade ago, so I figure I’ll play along with their topics:
First Mac owned: the Mac LC, when I went to college, seduced by the color monitor. In retrospect I should have gone with the Classic. I got an Apple //c in sixth grade, so it was logical and comfortable to move into a Mac.
Favorite/best Mac: without a doubt, the Mac SE/30 that I used in the college newspaper office. Quoting my 2011 blog post: “I had on it Eudora, Microsoft Word 5.1a, and a Klondike solitaire app, and it was just about perfect.” Many machines have done many more impressive things in the decades since, but no other computer I’ve used achieved the purity of purpose and sheer enjoyment of use. The classic iPods reached a similar level of perfection.
It’s a bit unfair and crotchety to miss a 30-year-old computer from when I was on a college campus, so I will note that my PowerBook G3 and M-chip MacBooks have also been delightful devices.
Favorite/best Mac software ever: I began using Eudora way back in 1991, and I’ve been chasing the Eudora email experience ever since it went end of life. Even now I have my Outlook UI on my work computer set up to resemble it. Other software I’ve used and loved: BBEdit, Fetch, Netscape Navigator, Photoshop, Napster, Talking Moose (you scuzzball! IYKYK).
Favorite/best Mac accessory or hardware: eh, I’ve never been a peripherals guy, despite having my share of keyboards and mice and external hard drives. I do enjoy and appreciate a good ergonomic keyboard; Microsoft’s have served me well for years. And I once had a super cool desk that fit a computer tower and all its peripherals in an 18″ square footprint by putting a printer stand 5′ high, above the desktop.
Hall of Shame: worst accessory, Mac, or moment: that Mac LC, because, again quoting past me: “I installed AutoDoubler to find hard drive space and my processor slowed to a crawl.” That was probably as bad as it got. I learned some lessons about compacting hard drive storage that spring. And, sadly, I’ve been short on HD space ever since.