Today is the 20th anniversary of the Macintosh computer. If anyone knows me, they know that I am a Mac-guy. It’s not that I won’t use Microsoft products (I use Microsoft Office every day), it’s just that I prefer Macintosh, the way it works, the elegance with which the software and hardware are designed and integrated, and its bulletproof nature.
However, my history with Apple Computer goes back further than 20 years ago. In fact, the first computer I remember using was an old DEC minicomputer on paper-feed terminals. All of the computer’s input and output was done on reams and reams of paper. Talk about killing forests! That was for a summer class I took I think between 7th and 8th grade, the summer of 1981. (It might have been between 8th and 9th grade; the memory’s hazy now.) It was a lot of fun learning BASIC and telling a computer to perform a task and having it do it. We don’t think anything of it today, but back then it was revolutionary.
But my first exposure to Apple computers was freshman year in high school. I took a technical drawing class (industrial arts, you know) with Mr. Berube. He was a cool teacher, a helicopter pilot in the Army National Guard who taught us about responsibility for your own work and treated us like young adults rather than children. He also had in his classroom an Apple II+ with a drawing tablet. We were enthralled by it. You moved a pen on the tablet and it drew a white square on the black screen! I think that first computer had a grand total of 16k of memory. Mr. Berube used it as a reward for those who got their projects done early and correctly.