Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mac's 25th anniversary

Everyone's written an article about the Macintosh computer's 25th birthday, so I don't have anything new to add. Just to say that it was a great leap forward not just in computing, but in recognition that intuitive, easy to use, attractive user interfaces really matter.

Just a couple of years earlier, in 1982, I'd started to learn to program in Cobol on a large creaking mainframe--"real" computing, we used to tell ourselves. At the same time I learned to program in Basic on a TRS 80 Model III with 16K memory and a cassette tape player for storing programs. Man, the Mac just destroyed peoples' idea of what a micro should look like. Trouble was, I couldn't afford it, and settled for a cheap, underpowered PC clone. My mistake.

I bought a Performa in the mid 90s. It was a huge disappointment. It was sluggish and featureless, and the monitor quit within about a year. I never went back to Mac after that, but I still like them, and I appreciate what Apple was able to do.

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