TechPublishing Now MS Certified

TechPublishing Now MS Certified
Professor Robert McMillen, MBA Microsoft Certified Trainer and Solutions Expert

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Macintosh 25 Years Later. I have a Confession to Make.

Macintosh 25 Years Later. I have a Confession to Make.

By Robert McMillen- Koin’s Tech Guru
            On January 24th 1984, 25 years ago this week, Apple’s Steve Jobs delivered Macintosh to the public for the first time. We knew it was coming, but the things they said it could do would never be able to live up to the hype or dreams we held in our hearts. But it did, and it did even more.
I remember graduating high school in 1982 and seeing the first school computer lab my senior year. (I can remember that far back.) It was all based on IBM PCs that ran on Microsoft’s DOS. Yes, before they made Windows they made a black and white operating system that looked like it was hooked up to a terminal, but didn’t have near the same functionality. Some people, most people actually, believed that this was going to be the wave of the future. I looked at DOS for a couple minutes on that black and white screen, after pondering the fact that I had graduated before the class was offered, and I thought to myself “no big loss”. It looked ridiculous. How would anyone get anything done on such a device? It took ten minutes to format your own floppy disks using a series of commands you had to type in.  There had to be something better. Then just two years later there was.
            A friend of the family brought the shiny new Mac to our home for a few months for us to try. This was a computer worth using. I wrote documents in MacWrite. I created spreadsheets and databases. I even played games. The mouse and the graphics made all the difference. At that time, I didn’t want anything to do with programming a computer. I once tried my hand at basic programming with the Texas Instruments 1000 computer for $100 and didn’t like the results, or the chaotic language used to make the program. I just wanted to use the computer. I didn’t want to be an expert at it. Sound familiar to you?
            The Mac’s GUI (Graphical User Interface) was beautiful. We stayed up all night playing with the text to voice. We made our Mac say ridiculous things. (Mostly about Microsoft’s DOS.) We didn’t even notice the things that would drive us crazy today, such as the incredibly slow speed. The processor was only 8Mhz. The average computer sold today is 375 times faster than that processor just by numbers alone, and that doesn’t include other enhancements that make it even many times faster than that. The screen was a small black and white fuzzy noisy tube. If you took the cover off you were risking your life because of the lack of shielding from the electrical components. Every time you wanted to save anything you had to constantly swap out floppy disks. Just to shut it down took an average of two minutes, and more floppy disk swapping. Actually, except for the floppy disk part, that hasn’t changed.
The memory was a measly 128kbs. The average computer sold today has 2 Gbs of RAM which has over 15,000  times more memory. The floppy disk was 400 Kbs. The average hard drive sold today is one terabyte. That’s an increase of 2.5 million times more bytes.
I was a Mac guy. I admit it. I finally bought my own and used it to run my first business in my 20’s and loved it. You would have had to pry it out of my cold dead fingers to get it away from me. I bought subsequent Macs as years went by, and then suddenly I was faced with a dilemma. The market for the product I was making at the time went away like the dinosaurs, so I had to change careers. I decided computers were the way to go for me. But something changed when Steve Jobs was temporarily fired from Apple. The Mac I loved didn’t matter as much to me anymore. Microsoft did a great job copying the Mac and it looked like a better path for me if I was going to get into computers as a business. I went back to college to learn about them and then I converted. Yes, I spent many sleepless nights wrestling with my decision to join the dark side. The “Dirty Window” seemed more appealing as it called to me with its Siren’s song. “You can’t make money servicing 6% of the population’s computers” it said. “Windows 95 will be the best operating system ever, and it will never crash.”
            It was then that I converted. Apple was now a target to be laughed at. “Hey remember Newton? Ha! Macintosh is a ‘has been’ and never will be again. You fooled me enough times with your horrible System 7, and your false promises of everyone eventually leaving Microsoft for Apple.” I was the one throwing stones now. It’s true that Apple did lose a lot of customers like me when they created some really bad products. Remember the Mac Portable? It weighed 16 pounds. Your desktop doesn’t even weight that much.
            The years went by and Apple did finally redeem itself with a decent operating system with great features from OS X, but it was too late for me. I didn’t want to turn back. Microsoft is the future for now. Their products have far more “killer apps” that are necessary to make businesses run. You have to decrease security just to incorporate Leopard into a Windows network, and the Apple server was such a joke that even Apple admitted it by dropping the product.
            I’m no longer embarrassed that I once was an Applephile or a MacTard as some would call us. Compared to MS DOS, the Mac was just better. But times have changed.
 I do get a little crazy that schools are once again filling their computer labs with Macintosh computers when there’s almost no chance they will ever be accepted into businesses by any other job than graphical and video artists. I admit there’s room for them in this world, but let’s keep our heads on our shoulders people.  The Mac isn’t ever going to be used as the primary business computer. Linux has a far better shot at unseating Microsoft in twenty more years than Macintosh. Let’s train our kids for reality before another generation has to go back to school to learn how to use a Windows computer before they can get a job in the real world.
Ok, now you want a piece of me? Well, send me an email and we’ll hash this thing out; Man to Granola- eating, Birkenstock- wearing Metro sexual.
(Actually, those Birkenstocks are kind of comfortable.)
Next week, I will be covering the digital television cutover so you’ll have all your questions answered in time for the big day in February. I promise to be less cynical or controversial.
For more great tips, check back here and listen to me on the All Tech Radio show at 9:00 Sunday mornings on AM 1360 KUIK, or listen online at http://alltechradio.com.

If you would like your technical question answered here, just email rmcmillen@koin.com. Even if it doesn’t get answered in the column I will always answer by email.

Published Monday, January 26, 2009 11:39 AM by Katatkoin