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The Jobs of a Lifetime

Steve Jobs & the Mac Plus

So we went to Atari and said, `Hey, we’ve got this amazing thing, even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about funding us? Or we’ll give it to you. We just want to do it. Pay our salary, we’ll come work for you.’ And they said, `No.’ So then we went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, `Hey, we don’t need you. You haven’t got through college yet.’ Steve Jobs

My friend Pilch laid an original Macintosh on me in 1985. He had received the cube-shaped computer as a gift from his employer, Burroughs, taken it out of its box, played around with it, and then, upon giving it to me, pronounced it “a toy.”

I used my freebee Macintosh for seven years. In 1988 I met its designer, Jerry Manock. He was a customer of the high-end seating company I worked at. He tried to convince my boss to junk the office IBM PC. No dice. The only benefit from this episode was that I learned MS-DOS. I could always go home to my computer, the one you could just turn on and get to work/play.

Over the years I went back and forth this way, between the office PC and the home Mac. (Through the nineties I also kept up with Apple’s technology by using the computer center at Middlebury College stocked with up-to-date machines.) I cannot imagine anybody being in this situation and not favoring the easier-to-use Mac computer.

Still, ‘whatever floats your boat’ was my attitude. After returning to Cleveland, I used hand-me-down Macs supplied by mom, Macintosh Plus, LC, LC III; my partner’s PPC 638; a Powerbook 140 given to me by a friend. Finally, in 1998 I bought my first brand new Apple computer, a G3. My first recording was produced on it in 2000-2001. Next, in 2003, came a refurbished Mirrored Drawers dual-boot PPC. It was the platform for my second recording, and my first OSX machine. I used it until I bought my first Macbook in late 2009.

That Macbook died a horrid death last year when I plugged its charger into a shorted house circuit. Yet, I ran out and picked up a MacBook Pro laptop, upon which i am typing this recollection.

Except for the MacBook I slaughtered, and the G3 that I scavenged for drives, all my legacy computers remain in my personal Apple Museum, and, presumably each one of the six could be started up tomorrow.

I will always associate Steve Jobs with Apple Computers rather than with the revolutionary media appliances and vertical industries he helped bring forth. When he returned to Apple in 1997, he, soon enough, saved the company, and, in effect, saved it from itself. Given this personal association, the contemporary 12 core Mac Pro at $5,000, draws the line all the way back to the original Macintosh, with its 128k of memory, and 400k floppy discs.

Yet, revolutionizing computing while sitting won’t be the capstone on his legacy.

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…but little drama. I’ve been an Apple user ever since a fried hauled a six month old original Macintosh, (‘the Macintosh-128k, floppies only,) and gave the $4,000 computer to me in the fall of 1984. I used that machine until 1992, when I got a hand-me-down Macintosh HD30, and in short order had an LC, LCII, shared a Performa 638, was gifted with an old Mac laptop; always running several years behind the leading edge. In 1998 I bought my first new Apple, a G3, and used it for seven years. Then, in 2005 I bought a refurbished MDD, which remains my principle computer. I’m tied to the current PPC by virtue of the investment toward turning it into a digital recording platform.

It adds up to seven Apples over 24 years. Having to use godforsaken PC’s at work has only verified the superiority of my almost completely trouble-free experience. For example, my two year old HP tower at work crashes more in a week than my Macs due in a year. Actually, my five year old MDD running Tiger has crashed twice in the past year. I don’t have a big brief against the Wintel XP experience except for the crashing, almost all of which has to due with piss-poor memory management on the 2gb RAM HP hunk-o-junk.

Over the years I’ve experienced one hard drive failure! And, it was trivial since it was a font server. Although I’ve learned how to get into the box and done lots of upgrades, I’ve never had to deal with any kind of serious computer problem. I’ve helped lots of people to enter the Apple world. Over the past few years this has meant hipping people to the value proposition of refurbs from Apple.

But, when it became clear Apple was going to refresh the MacBook line, I set my eyes on a new one. My wife has a white refurbed MacBook, and I figured the new ones would be just the ticket. I started reading the forums and macrumors to learn what was to be in store for me. I dismissed what seemed to be preposterous ‘early’ intel on removal of Firewire.

Imagine my surprise when the new line was released and it turns out Apple has plucked the Firewire out, and, worse, has opted for the slightest uptick in speed in the new chipset. Although Firewire isn’t immediately necessary, my audio dreams prefer Firewire. The new graphics set-up held little appeal because I’m not a gamer. I waited to see what the speed boost would be in relation to a last generation plastic MacBook. It was about 15%.

I jumped on a black last generation MacBook. It cost $400 less than a new one, cost the same as a new white one, and so I accepted once again being behind the edge. Although I was surprised Apple didn’t release substantially faster machines, the fact is I simply opted for the best value proposition given my current and future (audio) requirements. No real knock on Apple, but the underwhelming new laptops won’t excite me until the next refresh spawns refurbs.

Except I won’t need a laptop. My attention will eventually turn to replacing the desktop and, even if the horizon is several years away, I assume I’ll be looking to build (what’s termed,) a Hackintosh–a DIY machine that leverages a plug-in BIOS advantaged by the open source underpinnings of OSX.

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