I LOVE my Macintosh

[Update 10/16/11: I’m returning to my old theme, but have inserted images of the Retro Mac theme at the bottom of this post so folks can see what it looked like when it was displayed in Stuart Brown’s Retro Mac theme.]

Yes, I stole this theme idea from boingboing.net (who got it from Stuart Brown at Modern Life) . . .

I never followed Steve Jobs and his great ideas very closely, but I have owned a Macintosh Computer since 1985. I don’t have an iPhone or an iPad, but I do enjoy my iPod (though I refuse to buy my music via iTunes)   I won’t store anything in somebody else’s iCloud . . . though I understand why that might be handy for others.   (And I wonder why most people today seem totally unconcerned about the loss of privacy which is bringing us MUCH closer to 1984 and Brave New World than the IBM parodied in that famous 1984 commercial ever dreamed of imposing.)

And yes, the first Mac had NO hard drive.   It operated via those little 3-1/2 inch “hard floppies”.  At the time I was writing a dissertation on music perception.   My grad school research had used:  (1) a Radio Shack TRS-80 (with a cassette tape drive!), (2) a Commodore 64, and (3) an IBM mainframe (8″ floppies).   I had programmed in BASIC and FORTRAN and C (and a few other languages I’m forgetting right now).   But I wrote about it on my Macintosh.   And eventually I even made music on that little box that I could carry around.   And I saw plenty of those little “bombs” that appeared when I screwed up the programming (scroll all the way down to the footer to see the little bomb, which was still friendlier than the DOS “blue screen of death”). Yes, I added a hard drive, eventually traded it in for a Power Computing Mac Clone and then a G4 and finally my Mac Mini.   I was never the “target audience” for the Mac . . . I wasn’t afraid of computers or programming them or figuring out how they work.   I didn’t really want “a computer for the rest of us” . . . but I did appreciate an interface that allowed me to SEE what was on my computer in a more intuitive way than I got with DOS and command lines.

Yes, Steve Jobs knew what we needed and wanted before we did . . . he didn’t believe in letting the consumers drive innovation (he knew if he asked we would all just stick with the same old, same old) . . . but he didn’t just change things to change things (are you listening Mark Zuckerberg?).   No, I’m not likely to run out and buy an iPad or iPhone just to honor Steve Jobs (I can’t afford them) and I wish that his notion of “democratizing technology” had found a way to do it at “a price for the rest of us”.  But I do appreciate his work and am sorry that his life ended so soon.

Today many people are quoting from Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address; many include this important quotation:

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma—which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

but the part of the speech that caught my eye/ear was this [emphases mine]:

“Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

You can find a full transcript of Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford speech here.

So today I am trying to listen to my gut/intuition . . . which right now is saying it’s time for lunch . . . and hoping the dots will eventually connect.



Retro Mac Theme Screenshot

The Mac Bomb


I LOVE my Macintosh — 2 Comments

  1. I had forgotten the bomb. I too started using a MAC in about 1986 or so. The graphics overloaded the poor thing all the time. But as I read your quote from Steve Jobs Stanford address I realized that I came at the computer from a very different viewpoint. I worked for a ground breaking printing company. John Bolger was cheated out of going to the University at the death of his father, and then came the war time where he served in the pacific as a navigator.

    When John came back to his small family publishing company he decided to pursue the future from a little different aspect.He was to become a printer / publisher. Being young and adventurous he traveled to a printing expo and found machines that were being used to produce “cold” type. They had changeable fonts, both in size and face, and they were capable of justifying. The galleys that resulted were on special paper that captured the quality of the letters well, but, unless handled with great care, they would smudge easily. These galleys were then waxed and used in makeup boards called keylines.

    When I started working in that department in January of 1964 We had an array of three different machines to produce publications and advertising layouts.
    1. The one I just described, 2. The Justowriter that produced a paper punched tape that produced one size, one face justified galleys and 3. A photo headliner that had many sizes and faces.

    My computer is scheduled for sleep. Me too. More on this lecture tomorrow.