What was Your First Mac?

mac
It’s the 30th anniversary of the Macintosh computer, and the technostalgia is frothing all over the Internet. Now, I’m not trying to start any Mac vs. PC arguments here – I’ve been a steady user of both platforms for my entire computing life; though I will admit I personally prefer Macs at this point in my personal life, but the tools I use in my professional life are still PC-only (yes, I do virtualize sometimes). But the very existence of the Mac is a huge part of personal computing history, and for many of the geek set, getting their first Apple computer (Mac, or even Apple ][) was a transformative experience. So, I’m putting this post up to ask you, our geeky readers out there, to tell us your stories of getting your first Apple computer, and how it changed your life.

Just to start the ball rolling, I’ll tell my story. I was fresh out of college in the early 1990’s, and had my first professional job and professional paycheck, and I knew I needed to upgrade from the old PC that had taken me though school. My buddy Randall had a Mac, and I knew it was way cooler that any PC, so I went down to Whole Earth Access in Berkeley, CA, which was an Apple authorized retailer at the time. This was the Scully era, so there were all kinds of models available, and it was a bit confusing. But I ended up finding my dream machine: an Apple IIgs, which was (at the time) the bee’s knees, because it did graphics and sound right out of the box. I also sprang for one of the new-fangled color inkjet printers, which was just amazing. That computer lasted me for years.

About Ken Denmead

Ken is a husband and father from the San Francisco Bay Area, where he works as civil engineer. He also wrote the NYT bestselling GeekDad series of project books for parents and kids to share.

About Ken Denmead

Ken is a husband and father from the San Francisco Bay Area, where he works as civil engineer. He also wrote the NYT bestselling GeekDad series of project books for parents and kids to share.

10 thoughts on “What was Your First Mac?

  1. They had inkjet printers back then? Both my parents were educators so we had an Apple IIgs at home, with dual 3.5″ drives (I think one was external). I drew tons of art, printed tons of cards and banners, and chased Carmen Sandiego all over the world on that computer.

    We had a color-capable dot matrix printer though, and you had to swap the ribbon cartridge to go from b&w to color printing. I still have a soft spot for continuous feed paper and the sound of a dot matrix printer printing.

  2. We had an Apple IIe and my brother had the Apple IIc (portable – LOL). For graduation from high school in 1989 I got my Mac Plus. I still have it a closet in it’s original (portable) bag. I was an Apple guy until I got my first job in 1992…then I had to put up the Apple and learn how to type CD\.

  3. I don’t know if this counts, but my dad has been been a programmer longer than I’ve been alive. He made the switch from Math teacher to programmer when a local AFB was advertising programming jobs. For that reason, I can’t remember a time when we didn’t have a computer in our house. The first was an Apple ][e and us kids had a case of floppies with all the games we could play while my dad had a case for all his floppies (and the original copies of the games in case we messed up our copies). In the late 80’s/early 90’s, he would occasionally bring a Macintosh home from work for holiday weekends so we could play the vast array of shareware games he had installed on it. Then, when he was finally willing to upgrade our home computer, he purchased a Macintosh Performa, which lasted until he upgraded to an iMac in about 2000 or so. Apple flows through my veins, but nowadays I prefer PC because they are cheaper and adequately do everything I need a personal computer to do.

  4. One Saturday in the Fall of 84, my dad told me to get in the car for a surprise. We drove to the computer store in Gulf Breeze, FL and picked up the very first model of Mac. My dad had seen me teaching myself programming (BASIC) on the school’s Apple II and he also had an interest in the MacWrite software that was being demo’d. Short story — we got home, unpacked the thing, and life changed. That computer was a game changer and opened up opportunities for me (I was the first freshman in high school writing papers in MacWrite and printing them on a dot matrix), and I will always be grateful for the sacrifice my dad made for my two siblings and myself — that Mac paid for itself in fun and productivity for years on.

  5. Add me to the GS group. It was my first computer that I got for christmas one year. It was mostly used for gaming and printing cards/banners that I made in the old Broderbund Print Shop software. My dad had a couple of Macs for his network business that i was able to mess around on while he was on the road. Even though they were a little older and black and white I prefered them to my GS.

  6. Apple ][, upgraded later to a +. Used to load programs with a tape recorder before we got a disk drive. My Dad used VisiCalc, I remember the first Wizardry game…. came in a cool black box.

  7. I think the first one I used was a early Quadra in a dead end job straight out of school in 1991, and the first I owned was a Performa 400 (aka the LC) at Uni. The College had banks of classics with the black and white screens and we had great fun learning how to use Hypercard. They had a big Quadra (hilariously named “Big Mac”) on which I first saw Photoshop being demoed. Mind blown right there.

    From there I’ve had a Performa 6200, the original iBook, two more iBooks and a MacBook, before jumping back to a desktop with a succession of iMacs. Along the way there have been many Pros at work, an eMate, ATVs and of course various iPods/iPhones/iPads.
    And let’s not forget the old Classic converted to a Macquarium which was home to two goldfish – called Mac ‘n’ Tosh!

  8. The first Apple computer I *owned* was a Centra 631, acquired ca 1996. The first *Mac* I used was a Mac SE (IIRC) in 1986 or 1987. The first *Apple* I used was an Apple IIE with CP/M card on a programming job for the high school I had graduated a couple of years before, in the summer of 1985.

  9. For me it was the Apple ][e. I was given one with two monitors when I was 8, in 1989. One monitor was orangish and the other was green. I played several games, but the only one I can find online is Summer Games. I remember taking mine to school in 4th grade to “teach” my class how to draw with a LOGO application that I had. I also had a “light pen” that I think never really worked very well.

  10. Apple II Plus in the early ’80s. It had 64k of memory, and we plopped our old black and white tv on top for a monitor. When we booted it up for the first time smoke started to pour out of the 5.25″ floppy disc drive; it melted the disc and we had to get a replacement. I still remember playing Sir-Tech’s “Wizardry: Proving Grounds of the Mad Overlord” (black box with red letters and a green dragon) on it for hours.

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