Filed under: family, Family History, Farm, history | Tags: Agriculture education, Apple Macintosh, children, family, farm, history, Mac, machines, personal computer
I admit it, I’m a Mac fan, have been for 30 years now. In the winter of 1984 I was ready to take a big step. I was ready to get a personal computer. I had experience with some of the mainframe computers when I was studying at the U of Minnesota. When I started farming I used a service that helped compute farm profit and loss through one of our area ag. banks. These were huge faraway things. I was young, ambitious and ready to buy one of those new things called a personal computer.
My father-in-law was a business professor at the time and thought I should buy an IBM. Anytime I worked on one of those machines I was confused by all of the code you needed to have at hand. The green blinking screen and single font were just so hard to deal with. I thought there must be a better way. Then Apple Computer introduced their Apple Macintosh.
The first Mac was a little box with keyboard and mouse. It used a 3.5 inch floppy disk in a hard case for storage and had 128K of internal processing power. Those 128K were used to make elegantly simple programs fly. OK, remember, this was the dawn of the PC movement, it seemed fast at the time.
At first my parents thought it was a toy. Then when we needed some farm information, I printed it off for them, and they understood. I started producing farm records that got us through the tough farm times of the 80’s. My dad says it was that little Mac that made it possible to survive when so many others went broke.
My son was 4 at the time we purchased our first Mac. In an era when school computers were prone to break down for the slightest misstep, he had his own disk and programs that always worked. The machine seemed bomb proof. That first Mac introduced my kids to dependable computing and they have embraced the technology of computers of all forms ever since.
The Mac was the first PC to give you a what you see is what you print interface. It had multiple fonts and the capacity to show you multi column pages with the art already in them. It was the Mac that started me writing our Barbershop Chorus newsletter.
I’ve been through several versions of the Mac since 1984, but that little elegant Mac is still in the house and still works. I plan on introducing it to my grandchildren.
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