Instead of boring you with a lot of mundane life history stuff, I thought I could make this sort of my Macintosh Biography. The Mac has always been such a mainstay of my life. Wherever I have gone, whatever I have done, a Mac has always been at the center of things. Without further adieu, here goes.
1985 — I guess I really have to start with the Apple IIe, my very first computer. Those were the days of the early AppleWorks suite. We used black screens with green letters. Yep, totally old school. Boot up the OS with a floppy disk, then swap it out for a program disk like AppleWorks. I got a fair amount of use out of that machine, but then the Macintosh was born.
1987 — I had a friend who worked at Apple at their now gone Milpitas, California assembly plant. They made Macintosh computers there. My friend gave us a tour, very impressive. They had a Apple Logo painted on the roof of the plant. If I remember correctly, there was one Saturday a month where an Apple employee could come into the plant and build their own Mac! Those were the days!! At the time (maybe it still applies) Apple employees could buy something like 2 Macs a year and give them to friends. So, I got my Macintosh SE for a pretty good price. Now, THAT was the precursor of the Mac line. What a fun computer. It had the 9” grayscale screen of course. Eventually I got a larger screen for it. All the peripheral connectors for these early Macs were ADB (Apple Desktop Bus). USB did not arrive until much later on the Mac. I really loved that little computer, so much so that I bought a used one off eBay a year ago, just to have it. When I sold the SE I ended up getting a LC III.
1993 — The LC series of computers were called “pizza boxes”. The reason they called it a pizza box was because it was shaped like one and you just opened it from the back, living off the entire top. The LCIII was my first color computer. I think it had a 14″ monitor with it for a bit until I got a Radius Color Pivot monitor. You could pivot it from landscape to portrait, kind of a fun idea. If I remember correctly, this is when I first started using a really excellent Desktop Publishing app called Aldus Pagemaker. I am not a designer by any means, but I did a lot with that app. I learned a lot in those days, it was really fun. By the way folks, these older machines all used Modems, slooowwww Modems. But, it was still networking and we could still do stuff with it. As is usually the case, I out grew the LCIII and moved up to a more professional Mac, the PowerMac 7100.
1995 — The PowerMac 7100 was designed to be more of a professional computer. It was a powerful computer. I had a 21″ Viewsonic monitor, you know, the kind with a picture tube. It was heavy!! I was doing some Desktop Publishing. That was when I started messing around with website publishing. I used a nice little app called PageMill by Adobe. So, I was doing newsletters and a few websites for friends. It was just basic stuff, but I am type “A” and I really enjoyed learning all this new tech. The Macintosh computer world was going great guns at the time. Eventually I wanted to get into Video editing, just home stuff, but the PowerMac 7100 was not up to the task. So, enter a really powerful computer, the PowerMac G3, also known as the Beige G3.
1998 — I bought the PowerMac Beige G3 so I could do video editing. At the time, it was a pretty powerful Mac. It was fairly easy to get into and install stuff. I forgot to mention, there were card slots in the PowerMac 7100 and in the G3. You could add items by adding a card in one of the slots. I did upgrade the RAM on most of these older Macs. RAM was very expensive in those days because Apple used a special kind of RAM, not the same RAM as the rest of the computer industry. Even though this special RAM was expensive, it really helped the machine run better. Of course, that was about the time Apple released iMovie. That is what I used to edit my home movies. Know this, before iMovie happened I used analog equipment. Editing boxes, time code boxes, analog video cameras, what grief!! I am thankful for the advanced capabilities of digital editing of movies and photos.
2002 — Eventually, it became time to upgrade to the PowerMac G4 Mirror Drive Door (MDD). As programs became more sophisticated, video editing became slower and slower on the G3, so I upgraded to the G4. I did a lot of website stuff, video and photo editing with the G4. However, it ran hot and was noisy. It was nicknamed the “Wind Tunnel” because it was so loud. The side just folded down for access so it was easy to upgrade the RAM and even the processor. It had card slots as well. I think I was still using a newer Viewsonic monitor at the time. The next iteration of the Mac was the Power Mac G5. I never had one, but I tech supported several of them. They were a beast of a machine and extremely heavy! They were nicknamed “Cheese Graters” because of the look of the front grill area. Next, I started into the Intel chip generation which was a real step up in processing power! Also, and this is a big deal. When Apple moved to Intel CPU’s they started using industry standard components like RAM, video cards and USB peripherals.
2007 — I began my adventure into the Intel CPU with a White MacBook. It was a fun little laptop that I got for my wife. It had the Intel Core 2 Duo processor. I upgraded the RAM in this Mac. Speaking of that, getting into these White MacBooks was a real bear. I have repaired several of them over the years in my tech support role. Eventually, I opened it up for the last time and upgraded it to a SSD drive. Then I gave it to one of my granddaughters! She still uses it from time to time. Macs just never seem to die, they just fade away. These little laptops had problems with the top case (keyboard area) cracking. I think I replaced the top case on this particular MacBook at least once, maybe twice. During this time I was getting kind of fed up with my G4 because of the noise and lack of power. The G4’s were still running the old PowerPC CPU’s made by IBM. So, you know what happens next. I upgraded to an Intel iMac.
2008 — I love iMacs!! I know, Mac laptops are all the thing, but I just love the whole iMac form factor. I kept my old G4, still have it in the basement. I bought a 24” Intel iMac. This was a really nice machine. The screen real estate was great. I am constantly multitasking, doing several different things at once on my Mac. At this time I was moving away from video editing. I was doing several websites and getting into photo editing in a big way. I upgraded the RAM on this machine. The iMacs at that time had a small door on the bottom that you opened to insert more RAM. It was fairly convenient. I have taken this iMac apart a couple of times over the years to upgrade the hard drive and also to replace a faulty Optical drive (lots of screws). Oh yes, that was when Macs still came with an Optical drive. This iMac is still in use today by my daughter. Their whole family uses it for different things. You know the drill. Eventually, it was just too slow for my needs so I upgraded to my current machine, a Late 2012 iMac 27”, the first thin iMac with the glued on LCD screen. But first, I should mention that between the 2008 and 2012 iMac, I got a MacBook Air for my wife.
2011 — My wife’s old MacBook was a little slow by now so we decided to get her a 13” MacBook Air. I really like the Air’s, they are a nice computer suitable for an intermediate working environment. The fact that they are thin and light is very nice. My wife is still using this machine. I am debating whether to upgrade the CPU from OWC (Other World Computing) or get her a new Air. Yes, the new MacBooks are nice, but we just like the Air form factor. Have to wait and see how it goes.
2012 — I gave my old 24” iMac to my daughter and upgraded to a Late 2012 iMac 27”. This is my workhorse today. I use it for a bunch of stuff including writing the Macessence blog. This was the first thin iMac. It has a glued on screen. On the 27” model you can upgrade the RAM through a little door on the back. I upgraded mine to 32 GB. You can never have enough RAM. The iMac came with the first “Fusion Drive”. The Fusion Drive is a combination of a spinning HD for storage with a small SSD to run the OS and your mostly used applications. It is a pretty fast setup. I do all kinds of things with this machine like websites, photo editing, audio work and a million other things. It is a really hard working Mac.
Eventually, though it did start to slow down a bit. That was when I decided to upgrade the Fusion Drive to a straight SSD. Getting into one of these glued on screens is very difficult. The iFixit website rates this repair as “Difficult” and they are not exaggerating. Before you can do this repair you have to split out the Fusion Drive. You have to separate the spinning HD from the SSD. This is a software procedure. A good backup is in order here. You are going to restore all your stuff from this backup to the new SSD after it is installed. After splitting the Fusion Drive I got into the iMac and replaced the spinning HD with a 1 TB Crucial MX300 SSD. This is a nice, fast drive. The repair took a long time, but it worked fine. Once the SSD was installed I restored my whole system from a clone and I was off and running. There was a definite speed improvement. I knew Apple was coming out with new iMacs at the time, but I just did not want to afford one right then. Anyway, the SSD upgrade is working great and will allow me to get another year or two out of this machine. Probably just in time for the next iMac upgrades from Apple, we’ll see.
I have always been the Mac “go to” guy for all my friends and family. If they need Mac help, I am there for them. Eventually, I got into Mac tech support formally. I was an ACMT (Apple Certified Macintosh Technician). I worked as a Mac tech guy for about 10 years. I have taken apart a lot of Macs during that time. It is not too difficult if you take your time and do it by the numbers.
Well, that pretty much sums up my Mac history. Oh yes, we have several iPhones and iPads which compliment our Macs. That is the great thing about the Apple ecosystem, everything seems to work well with everything else. Hope this look into my Mac DNA was not too tedious. After all these years, the Mac is just a part of who I am.