Thanks much to readers who sent in their Mac memories. Many were sweet and some brought a smile or a laugh on this side of the screen. For example, the young boy in the picture, Jason Piper, is now president of a Mac User Group (and he still has that same sweet smile).
Here are a few letters that offer a look at experiences that were echoed by many writers, and a link to an early User Group Connection video. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did:
“I started my business in 1982 with a Kaypro computer. Then a friend said I would do much better with a Mac. I bought a Mac Plus and found the holy grail of computers. I sure needed a lot of help learning computing vs file drawers and hard copies.
Now I have a late 2017 iMac 27” Retina 5 K and almost consider myself an expert!
I’ve owned all the Macs since the Plus.
“My first Apple product was an Apple ][ Plus with 16K of RAM which I got for Christmas in 1979. I couldn’t afford Apple’s memory prices, but my neighbor worked for Control Data Corporation and told me where I could buy the 4116 memory chips. I bought another 32K for about $100 and plugged them in myself. I’ve been an Apple user ever since. I used that Plus up until I could afford a Mac Plus in 1988. The Apple ][ still works, though I no longer have any functional DOS 3.3 or proDOS disks.
David A. Stempnakowski PMP • SMSgt, USAF, Retired”
“Well, my first “Mac” wasn’t a Macintosh computer. No, indeed. It was a beautiful, hard-working Apple Lisa 2/10. She was the first computer to feature a Graphical User Interface and a mouse.
Actually I bought two of the extremely expensive—I think the price was $4,999 for each, more than $20,000 in today’s dollars—Lisas for my publishing business—one for my office manager/bookkeeper and one for me. Accounting programs were in short supply, but we did eventually locate one that worked well. I bought two printers, a dot matrix for quantity and a daisywheel for print quality.
Lisa came equipped with the Desktop Operating System that included LisaWrite, LisaDraw, LisaList, LisaGraph, LisaCalc, LisaProject, and LisaTerminal. A communications program, Red Ryder, introduced us into a whole new world. Better than e-mail in some ways, I could see the other person typing in response to my comments or questions and vice versa.
Plus, my Lisa worked faster than any other computer at the time at a blistering 5MHz and with the largest possible hard disk, 5MBs that you’d never fill up. There was one slot for 3-1/2-inch micro-diskettes.
Then the first Macintosh appeared. Have to report that we Lisa owners laughed at it. I bought one for a son, and he eventually got “Macintosh wrist” from having to swap diskettes in and out so much to first boot up and then to run a program. And, there was no, absolutely no, hard disk inside it. I remember Apple offering we Lisa users some laughable amount such as $500 for a Lisa as a trade-in for this obvious loser of a computer. Who were they kidding?
I loved my Lisa, and used her until much later when I bought a Macintosh IIci. I’m writing this on a 15-year-old PowerMac G5. I still have both Lisas in a storeroom in the basement, and intend to get one of them fired up again some time soon.
Chester Peterson Jr.”
“My daughter had her 12th birthday on May 1, 1980. Her gift from me and my wife was an Apple II. (By the way, she is now 50!) The Apple II became our family computer.
Originally it had Integer Basic roms, which I found limiting. I found a castoff CPM card and pulled out the Applesoft (floating point) rom chips and installed them into the Apple II.
I also upgraded from the original 16K memory to 64K (I forgot the cost, it was not cheap.)
No disk drive, we used an audio tape cassette to load programs. Our TV, tuned to channel 3, was our display.
What I really loved about this computer is the fact that it became a GREAT teaching machine. First of all, it came up in Basic (AppleSoft Basic, after I changed out the roms.) Through the “peek” and “poke” commands, one had access to every memory location in every register. (If you weren’t careful you could really screw things up!)
We played Raster Blaster, Mavis Bacon Typing Teacher, PacMan, Brickout, and the program that eventually overstressed the keyboard, Olympic Decathlon.
We also learned what a “spreadsheet” was. Visicalc was a great addition. You could get up to about three columns and four or five lines on a page! Word processor programs were not so hot in the early days.
Eventually we bought an external disk drive for floppy discs. Also a monitor came later.
In 1984 my office installed a Macintosh. What a fantastic machine! I replaced the old Apple II at home with a new Mac in about 1985 or ’86.
Since then, many Macs, iPhones, iPads. My home office now has two 27-inch iMacs and two MacBook Pro laptops.
I am now 87 ½ years old and still a Mac enthusiast. I live in a high-end retirement community near my alma mater, Stanford, where I wound up in graduate school after a BS in EE at Georgia Tech. We have a small Mac UserGroup here at The Sequoias, primarily to help the old folks get more computer literate.
Keep up the good work!
“My first Mac was the 128MB Classic with two floppy slots, only $2,495!!! . . . this was after 5 years of Apple ][ use which started with the 48K Integer version. Attached is a picture of my second Mac which is being controlled by my 3-year-old son Jason (who is now the President of our appleJAC Users Group).
Fond memories, indeed.
Apple User Group Connection – 1991