I Bleed Six Colours Too



Everyone knows that I'm the "Apple fanboy" and at work I'm the Mac "evangalist". With the new Steve Jobs book coming out and the Apple Watch launch on the horizon I've been thinking a bit about my own computer history.

The Commodore

The first computer we owned was a Commodore 64. It was an great computer in the mid 80's. I typed in the code listings from computer magazines like Run and Family Computing and learned to program in basic. I had a tape drive and then a magical 1541. Eventually though, I out-grew the computer. I had my eye on an Amiga much to the chargin of my Uncle Jim, who had given my my first experiences with green and black Microsoft Flight Simulator on one of the first PCs I could remember. The Amiga was a dead-end a waste of time he'd say (and he was ultimately proven right.), but the marketing campaign was pretty effective, and there were so many amazing looking games!

Boy Meets Mac

In my 14 year old wisdom I decided on a Macintosh. I can't even rememeber why really.

My parents took me to Computer World. Of course, as a somewhat precocious child, I had done my homework and knew exactly what I wanted. The sales clerk was a bit surprised but soon we were on our way home with a Macintosh LCII (affectinately known as the pizza-box) and a 12" Monitor. $3000 was a lot of money to spend in 1992 on a computer. But what a computer it was!

Going from the 16 colour, low resolution display of the Commodore to the high-resolution 512x384 256 colour display on the LCII was incredible. I spent countless hours using ResEdit to create sprites for video games, even though I had no tools or any way to write code for the computer.

Later we would buy a 300bps modem, and the Mac guru at Computer World gave me the phone number for his home-run Mac BBS, Avalon. Call-waiting became my worst enemy!

And then there was sound! At a time when even the most advanced Soundblaster cards in PCs could only make crude beeps, the Mac could not only play digitized sounds but it had a mic-in jack for recording! I spent hours recording and editing all the sound effects and music from all my SNES and Genisis games. I had stacks of floppy disks filled with .snd files. Oh those classic sounds were great! My perfectly recorded version of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles theme was a prized posession. The Bonus Stage Music from Sonic the Hedgehog 2 was also a favourite.

However, as with good things, the love-affair with the LCII had to end. I wanted to buy a copy of Fractal Design's Painter but it required a 13" monitor. It was 1995. Windows95 was on the horizon and I decided to cross over to into the world of DOS and Windows.

The LC was unceremoniously boxed up and sold for $600. I bought a Packard Bell Pentium 75 that came with Windows 3.1 and spent the next 11 years building PCs, upgrading video cards and troubleshooting the Windows Registry. Apple was having a rough patch and the world of PCs seemed a lot more exciting. There was DooM, Mechwarrior 2 and so many other games to play! I built my own PCs and even started a very short lived consulting and PC repair business with some friends in the early 2000's.

In 2005, Apple announced the Mac Mini. I already knew a few people that were really into the new Mac and OS X and I was kind of curious myself, but the price was always a concern. The Mac Mini however, allowed me to dip my toes back in without much risk. I visited an Apple Store while I was in NYC for Westminster that year to try one and when I got back to Montreal I ordered without hesitation. It didn't take long before my custom built Windows PC was relegated to webserver duties and I was back full-time in the Mac world.

Macs I've Owned

The Museum Pieces

In 2001 I rescued 2 Mac SEs from the trash and made one working machine between them. I painted the case forest green and updated it to System 7, played with it a bit and decided to give it away before moving to Canada.

In the kennel there is a Macintosh IIsi with a portrait display and a Bondi blue Power Mac G4 that I tried to install Ubuntu on, but I couldn't find the proper hard-disk controller to complete the installation.

In the mid 90's I had a Newton Message Pad 100. I think by then the ship had sailed on the Newton so I was able to get one for only $200. The handwritind recognition wasn't that good but I used it to take notes in classes during my senior year of high school. One fateful day while I was out, my dog Nikki used the Newton as a chew-toy and that was the end of that.

There are also 2 C64s in the barn here. Sadly neither machine will power on but there's a 1702 Monitor that still works great!

It's Just a Computer Right?

When it comes to work, I'm pretty platform agnostic. Mac, Windows, Linux - if it has a command-line and an IDE I'm good to go. However if I'm buying a computer for myself, at least until something as interesting and exciting as that Macintosh LCII comes along, I'm sticking with Apple.

I bleed in six colours too. (Thanks to Jason Snell for the inspiration.)

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