Most of you probably know that I have been a big Apple fan for decades. My first interest was awoken while I was working at IBM in Brussels (1976-1981, big mainframes, big, big mainframes, water-cooled too), when I showed an article about the then popular Apple II to one of our technicians for whom I had the highest respect. “Toys!” he said with all the disdain possible in his voice. That was enough to trigger my curiosity. Of course, laying your hands on an Apple II in Belgium in those days was next to impossible.
When I left IBM in 1981 and went to work for Schuitema, a company based near Amsterdam, my new colleagues in the software development department there had just bought a truck load of Tandy TRS-80 compatible clones, from some obscure Taiwan manufacturer if I recall correctly. I wasn’t impressed. I had the detailed specifications of the Apple II etched on my retina (or should that be my cornea?), and wouldn’t succumb to lesser technology. Alas the Apple II was financially still out of reach for me. I would eventually settle for a BBC Model B as an intermediate compromise.
Then, early in 1984 just after I moved to my next employer based in Maastricht, I saw the Apple Lisa. I was awestruck. Remember that at that time the standard was very much green fluorescent characters, 80 in a row, 24 rows deep, on a black background, the infamous CRT terminal. The Lisa had a graphical user interface (GUI), a bitmapped black on white screen and a mouse. It was the first time I ever saw something like it. I remember how I went clamoring around that “I had seen the future!”. My former colleagues at Schuitema laughed at me. I couldn’t care.
I would have to wait until 1987 before I could afford to buy my own Apple computer, a Macintosh SE. It cost about the same as a current day top-of-the-line MacPro with a 3GHz 8-core Intel Core-2 processor and 4 gigabyte of memory. Only the SE had a 8MHz 68000 CPU, 1 megabyte of memory and a 40 megabyte hard disk. I was so happy with it! I upgraded it several times and used it intensively until the early nineties — even wrote a software package on it that has been used by one of the biggest scientific publishers in the world, after which it became Yvonne’s workhorse for another couple of years. After the SE I had various other Apple computers, but none gave me the pleasure of the trusted SE. I kept it until we moved to Crete, when I had to leave it behind for lack of space (together with half a dozen other out-dated Macintosh computers). I only took the PowerBook G4 Titanium 667MHz with me.
So now I have a bright and shiny Apple iMac 24″, a nice machine in all respects, I drink Apple vinegar every morning, I wear Apple underwear and I own a small amount of Apple stock. I would have an Apple iPhone if it would work here in Greece. I would still bleed 6 colors if Apple hadn’t changed their rainbow logo for a dull grey one.
And tomorrow is the start of the yearly Apple Macworld
pilgrimage conference in San Francisco, with Steve Jobs’ keynote as the highlight of the event.
I will be hooked to my screen, 6 browser windows open simultaneously, with an additional 4 of 5 IRC channels, to be sure that I don’t miss anything. Don’t call me, don’t knock on my door. I won’t be home. It’s Apple time!