My Macintosh History

The Beginning

My first computer was a TRS-80 Color Computer upon which I started learning how to program in BASIC. I would write my own programs and each month, I would receive Rainbow magazine and type in the programs listed in the back. Sometimes I would understand how the programs worked and sometimes I had no idea! However, this was the start of what has become a lifelong passion. The computer interface was very limited, though. Upon startup, the entire interface was a BASIC interpreter1. Programs could be saved and loaded from a cassette player1.

The first Mac that I ever used was my dad’s Mac 512K, the “Fat Mac”. I was a 10-year old in awe of this computer. Programs like MacPaint and MacWrite introduced me to graphical interfaces, while games like Dark Castle, Transylvania, Airborne, ChipWits, Crystal Quest kept me busy.

The College Years

When I went to college in 1991, I took the Mac with me, but it died somewhere along the drive. After a trip to the campus computer store, I ended up buying a Mac IIsi. I had planned to buy the model that came with 2MB of RAM, but ended up with the higher 4MB model, which also had a larger hard drive1.

The Mac IIsi lasted me about 3 years, at which point the limited RAM and slow processor became a problem with my computer science courses. Another trip to the campus computer store left me with a brand new PowerMac 7100. The speed of this computer1 blew me away at the time. On the negative side, replacing/upgrading the RAM on this computer was a nightmare, involving reaching down into a narrow space between sharp metal brackets. This usually ended up with many scraped fingers.

Upon graduating from college, my parents bought me a Mac clone as a graduation gift. It was a Power Computer PowerCenter Pro 1801. Once again, an impressive speed jump over my previous Mac (at an even more impressive price).

Multiple Macs – Desktop and Mobile

I re-entered Apple’s hardware domain with the purchase of a PowerMac G4 with dual G4 450MHz processors. Yet another giant speed increase over my previous computer, but perhaps an even bigger increase in upgradeability. The case opened easily and provided access to extra drive bays, PCI slots, and memory slots.

The second that I saw the Titanium Powerbook G4 in 2001, I knew I had to have one. It took me a little over a year from when they were introduced, but I bought a refurbished Powerbook G4/550MHz. This was my first laptop and the new dimension of mobility quickly became a necessity; I haven’t been without a laptop since 2002, and I don’t anticipate it happening again unless another mobile solution replaces it1. This laptop was also the first computer on which I installed OS X (the public beta)

The Powerbook G4 was replaced by a MacBook Pro 17″ in 2006. I had planned on buying a refurbished 15″ MacBook Pro with upgraded memory and hard drive. I was waiting for them to become available in the Apple Store. However, Apple introduced the 17″ MacBook Pro before I could buy the 15″ model. The 17″ MacBook Pro came with the memory and hard drive that I wanted in the 15″ model and the price worked out almost the same, so I ended up buying the 17″ model. This new laptop was bulky and somewhat heavy (not a good airplane laptop!), but the extra resolution was wonderful. I later replaced the stock 120GB 5400RPM hard drive with a 500GB 7200RPM hard drive.

Present Day

When OS X 10.5 Leopard was released, I needed to upgrade my PowerMac G4 to an Intel Mac in order to install it. At this point, my desktop computer was my “media hub” and I wanted to stay current on the iLife family of apps. I ordered a Mac Mini 1.5GHz Intel Core Solo, but they ended up being out of stock, so I ended up with a Mac Mini 1.83GHz Core 2 Duo. It cost about 40% more, but was probably worth it as it is still running well and will presumably support OS X 10.7 Lion.

The Macbook Pro was finally starting to show its age late in early 2011. The biggest issue was RAM; it maxed out at 2GB, which was not enough to run the apps that I typically had running (Mail, Firefox, iTunes, and Xcode). I “patiently” waited for the rumored new Macbook Pros to be announced and finally in February, ordered the Macbook Pro 15″ 2.2GHz Core i7 with the Hi-Res Glossy display and 500GB 7200RPM hard drive. I was hesitant to get the Glossy display, but really liked the look of the black bezel. I haven’t really had a problem with the display. The Hi-Res display actually gives me the same resolution with this 15″ laptop as my previous 17″ laptop had. I currently have “only” 4GB of RAM. I expect I’ll upgrade that to 8GB within the next year or so. I’ll also probably upgrade the hard drive to an SSD drive when the prices come down a bit (I’m thinking about $1/GB is where I’ll get on board).