Today the Macintosh computer is 25 years old. The Macintosh 128K was released on January 24, 1984. This machine had no hard drive and only 128 kilobytes of RAM (currently available computers typically have 2 gigabytes of RAM, or roughly 16,000 times as much as the original Macintosh 128K). It was the first computer available to consumers that had a mouse and a graphical user interface. While much has changed in the Mac’s user interface of the past 25 years, most of the original concepts (mouse pointer, icons, windows, menus, buttons) are still used.
I actually owned a Macintosh 128K, though not when it was released in 1984, but rather when I found one in a pawn shop in rural Virginia in 1999. I had a day off my job at ASP when I was exploring the area. I browsed around this pawn shop when I was shocked to find four “classic” style (the original all-in-one design) Macintosh computers. I had to have them. Even if they didn’t work, I always wanted to have a fish tank. The price tags said $20 each. I examined the machines and found that two of them had been completely gutted and had no hope of ever working, but the cases were still intact. The other two seemed to have all the parts, but they were so old the chances of them working were pretty slim. I explained to the shop worker that they probably didn’t work, but I would still pay $20 for all four of them. We had a deal.
The two that didn’t work were a Macintosh SE and a Macintosh SE/30. I was delighted to learn the two that had all the parts were a Macintosh 128K (the first ever Macintosh) and a Macintosh 512K (the second ever Macintosh). Unfortunately, the 128K didn’t work. However, the 512K did work. These machines don’t run without a system floppy disk, which didn’t come with the pawn shop computers and which I clearly didn’t have. So I found one for sale on the internet for a few bucks and once it arrived I had a working 1984 era machine.
Now, this machine isn’t terribly useful for anything other than nostalgia, but it still works to this day. It still surprises me how fast these old machines boot up. Here’s a video where the machine can go from off to fully booted in 16 seconds.
I have owned dozens of computers over the years, all but two (I think) have been Macs:
|PowerBook 5300 CS||1995||1996||in my closet|
|iMac||1998||1998||sold to relatives|
|Macintosh 512K||1984||1999||in my office|
|9 x Macintosh IIcx||1989||1999||9 x recycled|
|Macintosh IIci||1989||1999||in my storage room|
|PowerBook G3 (work)||2000||2000||returned to work|
|iBook SE (Melissa)||2000||2001||gave to relatives|
|PowerMac G4||2000||2001||in my office|
|PowerBook G4 (work)||2002||2003||returned to work|
|PowerBook 12″ (Melissa)||2003||2003||in my office|
|PowerMac G5||2004||2004||gave to parents|
|Mac mini||2005||2005||gave to in-laws|
|MacBook Pro (work)||2006||2006||returned to work|
|MacBook (Melissa)||2007||2007||Melissa’s primary computer, in Melissa’s office|
|MacBook Pro (work)||2007||2007||my primary laptop, in my office|
|Mac Pro||2008||2008||my primary desktop, in my office|
|PowerBook Duo 250||1993||2008||in my office|