My Apple Tale.
My story is a long one, but it aptly describes my life with Mac's. It is a tale of happiness, betrayal, sadness, and...um...happiness? *looks behind self* (does that sound good?...I guess so...whatever) *faces keyboard* Anyways... My tale begins long ago in the far away year of 1993. I was only 5 years old at the time. I was living in the carefree, yet idiotic years of my youth. I was over at my grandmother and grandfather's house. They finally felt that I was old enough to go into the spare room that they had in their house. When I entered into the room, I saw on a desk an object covered in a large sheet. When they lifted the sheet, my eyes widened for there under the sheet was an Apple IIGS Woz Edition. It had equipped to it a 5 1/4 inch drive and a 3.5 inch drive as well as an Apple Imagewriter II. To a kid my age, it looked like an amazing machine. My grandmother sat me down in front of it, plugged in a disk labeled "Your tour of the Apple IIGS," and turned on the machine. It made a beep and began to boot. I watched as the sign labeled "Welcome to the IIGS" and a status bar appeared. As it loaded, I was anxious to find out what was in store. I then started to hear music, and before long, I was immersed in the adventures of Ernest and his robot Robin in the world of the IIGS. I guess you could say that that was my first time with an Apple, or any computer for that matter. It was a wonderful thing: Every time I went to visit my grandparents, I would almost immediately head for the spare room and start to tinker with the IIGS. It was always depressing when I would be torn away from it... until a year later.
One day my dad took me to a store called Nebraska Furniture Mart. It had just about every gadget and gizmo you could think of. My dad told me to look at a computer for a while so he could talk to a salesperson. I was parked in front of a Quadra 605 for about an hour till my dad came back and told me that it was time to go home. As a fledgeling computer geek, I was bummed out...until I got home. What he hauled out of the back of his vehicle was probably the best present a lil geek could ever hope for: a Macintosh Performa 631CD! I was overly excited. The tension was mounting as my dad put together each piece of the machine: the monitor, the keyboard and mouse, the modem(which we never used), the base station, and the included Apple Color Stylewriter 2400. When he was finished I wanted to bolt to the machine and hit the power button; but before I could even get there, he slapped in my face the operating manual... He told me that I had to read the manual cover to cover before I could even boot it up. Normal kids would have been morbid about the whole ordeal, probably would whine for a while until the parents gave up...but not me! I snatched that manual out of my dad's hands, hunkered down in a char and began reading. I had the whole thing read in less than an hour. Mind you, I was only six and barely in kindergarten, but I had the reading level of a fourth grader. My dad even tested me by opening the manual and asking me questions. I answered them all correctly, and he let me pass. I'm pretty sure that his little "assignment" was what sparked the flame of geekdom, but I'll explain later. Anyway, as I pressed the power key on the keyboard, I head the distinct boot chime people know and love. My face turned to a smile as I saw for the first time in my life the little Happy Mac smiling back at me. When it finished booting, my eyes were all over the desktop. It had System 7.5.1 on it, and the first thing I was greeted by was the Launcher menu. Now normal kids would immediately head for the games and ignore everything else on the machine; but, as you might have already figured out, I was nowhere near normal. I clicked on the tutorial button and selected the Performa tutorial button. I absorbed all of the knowledge from that, and went to the Performa Tutorial 2 program, absorbing the knowledge from that too. Only when I was done with that was when I finally touched a game.
That Performa 631CD is the main reason why I became immersed in the geek world. The "assignment" that my dad gave me turned into an obsession. I would have my parents buy for me instruction (pre-dummies era) books on how to put my Mac to better use. I even amazed my parents at how much I knew. My dad was blown away by the fact that a six-year old knew more about computers than he did. The machine also earned me bragging rights for the entire neighborhood. You see, most of the kids in my neighborhood had Windows 3.x machines, all with crappy looks and games. When the kids came over, they wanted to get on my Mac and play awesome games like Spectre Challenger, Spin Doctor, Star Wars: Dark Forces, Sam & Max Hit the Road, Day of the Tentacle (sequel to Maniac Mansion), Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis, among others. I had the awesome machine that everybody wanted! My Mac was the talk of the whole Neighborhood, not just for games, but people were asking me about other things about my Mac. They asked a six-year old if they could run DOS files on a Mac, how expandable was it... all sorts of questions. I was also the head of my class when it came to doing papers on stuff. While kids handed in just sloppy text papers, mine (thanks to The Writing Center) had full-color pictures in it. I always got extra credit on papers for my "creative flair." My Mac was the bomb when I was little!
The years came and went. Me and my Performa were inseparable... that is until I hit fourth grade. The school I went to only used IBM based systems, so I would always see Windows 95 and Windows 3.x. If I had a computer-based assignment, I couldn't do it at home because the Microsoft Office files were incompatible with my Mac at the time. I was "forced" to use Windows on a weekly basis. Sure, I still used my Performa from time to time, but the usage became less and less. Plus, I never heard any news on Apple or any new Mac stuff that came out. My little and naive mind came to the conclusion that Apple had died a slow painful death... So I fully converted to Windows usage. Although...I never did get rid of that Performa(still have it to this day). During those days, I only used my Performa for games, but it mostly collected dust. My conversion to Windows was complete when I was given as a back-to-school present a Dell computer with Windows XP in 2001.
In my mind, since I never heard any news on Apple or seen any of the commercials( I never did watch much TV) I thought Apple had moved on to the great Junkyard in the sky. I was however proved wrong. In 2005, I was in the Civil Air Patrol learning to fly airplanes, when one of my friends from (not Joking) Cupertino California whips out a PowerBook G4 and begins using it for notes. I was surprised to see that good-old Apple logo glowing on the back of the display. I asked her if Apple was sill existent; she looked at me and stared blankly into my face, the proceeded to laugh hysterically. She told me to visit an Apple store sometime, but I replied that in my area there wasn't any Apple stores. She looked at me and said: "Boy are you in the wrong neighborhood," then looked away and resumed taking notes. When I got home, I had a new interest in my old Performa, so I started it up and began playing with it again. However...to my horror, as I was booting it during my senior year in High School, I got the Sad Mac logo. I about cried when I heard the Death Chime. My dad told me that since it was old, it was going to break down anyway. He also said to get rid of it since there was no point in fixing it, but I held on to it anyway, hoping someone could resurrect it...
My Windows brainwashing was still in place until 2006, when I first went to college. I was in english class, typing on my Compaq laptop that I got for a graduation present, when I looked over at one of my fellow classmates. He was typing notes on an iBook G4. I talked with him and asked how Apple was doing in the computer business. He told me to get out of town. I told him that I was being serious. He stopped laughing and said, "Why don't I show you?" We sat in the cafeteria and he opened up the iBook. It had OS X 10.4 on it. Still Windows brainwashed, I put that laptop to the test against my brand new Compaq laptop. It blew me away how advanced Tiger was compared to Windows XP. I then told him about my old Performa. He said he would be glad to take a look at it, saying that no Mac deserved to die like that. The next weekend, I brought it over to his place. He tried starting it and figured out the problem: dead hard drive. So he replaced it with a 2 Gb drive and, much to my surprise, ramped up the RAM to 52 MB. When he hit the power key with the System 7 disc in the tray, the Performa sprang to life! I was once again greeted by the Happy Mac icon, and you could have sworn a tear of joy came down my cheek. We tinkered with it for a second, then threw in OS 8.1 on it as a bonus. I was so excited! After the day was nearly over, my friend asked me if I wanted to have a Mac that could run OS X 10.3 on it. I was shocked to see that in his room was a Power Macintosh G3 in the corner collecting dust. He told me that he was getting a newer Mac soon, and that the minitower would be taking up too much space. Of course my answer was yes. So the next day, I came over, and the great experiment began. We ramped up the processor to 400 MHz from the original 333 MHz, threw in 10.3 and added 256 Mb of RAM to it. We got it up and running, and I hauled it home and put it in my room.
You know, I am forever grateful to my friend for re-introducing me to the world of Apple. That friend of mine is known on this site as Coius. Ever since that day, I have been converting back to Apple, and today I am completely Windows-free. Sure, I still have that Dell, but it's been converted to a server for data storage. The Compaq I still have, but I am planning on selling it to a Windows junkie I know. I now have 5 Apples in my possession: the old Apple IIGS that my grandparents had, my Performa, the G3 Minitower, an iMac G3 Summer 2001, and the iBook G4 my friend Coius used to own(he's got a new MacBook now). I was a little geek when I was young, I strayed from the good path of Apple for a while, but now I am back on the straight and narrow. I am now and forever will be... an AppleGeek.