Friday January 30, 2004

Happy Anniversary, Macintosh!

[ Lest anyone consider this entry to be belated, please consider that some people (such as myself :-) prefer to mark anniversaries by their proximity to other events. Apple aired the "1984" Macintosh introduction ad during halftime on Super Bowl Sunday, January 1984. This year, Super Bowl Sunday is later, on Feb. 1. ]

At halftime on Super Bowl Sunday, January 1984, Apple Computer aired one of the greatest commercials in the 37-year history of the Super Bowl. The ad is among the ten finalists for's Super Bowl Greatest Commercials, which airs on Saturday, January 31st, 2004 at 9 pm.

Since 1967, there have been 37 Super Bowls, containing approximately 60 commercials in each, which works out to more than 2,200 Super Bowl commercials in all! We've narrowed the field down to ten.
On January 24, 1984, Apple introduced Macintosh. The first Macintosh (you didn't call it a "Mac" yet ;-) had 128K of memory (the same as the first Palm Pilot 1000), a 9" diagonal black and white (not grey scale) screen, a graphical user interface with a "desktop" metaphor, a one-button mouse and a floppy drive. It didn't have a hard drive (or any way to connect a hard drive). There were several applications, including Write and Paint, but no business software, yet. And it sold for $2500. (c.f. The Computer for the Rest of Us).

Although Rich and I were intrigued and spent several conversations discussing the possibilities (we even visited an Apple Store that February for a demonstration) we didn't buy one of the early Macintoshes. In fact, neither of us was "properly introduced" to Macintosh until September, 1986, when I joined Apple Computer to work on A/UX, Apple's first commercial, mass-market, Macintosh-based Unix offering (and even A/UX was not Apple's first dabble into Unix ;-)

The first Mac I had on my desk was a Mac Plus, with a whopping 1 MB of RAM and a 10 MB hard disk (not SCSI). I was soon upgraded to a 20 MB SCSI drive and then (wow) to a Mac II, the first of Apple's "open architecture" machines and the first machine to run A/UX. My first purchased Mac (on Apple's loan-to-own program) was a Mac IIci (a marvel of easy-to-work-on hardware design).

Today, Rich and I both use Mac OS by choice as our primary desktop systems. I switched in the late 1980s (an A/UX Mac was a great improvement over a VT-220!). I convinced Rich to abandon his Sun workstation in early 1996 (and he wrote 6 "I/Opener" columns for SunExpert, discussing and recording his adventure :). Over the past 15 years, we've also gotten most of our relatives (and a great many of our friends) onto the Path of the Mac.

We use Mac OS X (Panther). We're both pleased to see Unix rise again at Apple, this time playing to a more appreciative audience (both inside and outside the company). Although we both lust after the "latest, greatest, and fastest" Power Mac G5, we're each still running a blue & white G3 (we have to admit we have no rational need to upgrade).

We're both fully sold on the Mac interface and the Macintosh Way.

Happy Anniversary, Mac ol' buddy!

I can't wait to see what you do in the next 20 years!

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1984_3b 1984_4 1984_5

Happy Anniversary, Macintosh! ( in category Computerware , Special Interests ) - posted at Fri, 30 Jan, 19:41 Pacific | «e»