Computing with Bifocals - More Mac Stories
- May 28th, 2004
In my last column I announced the winners of my Mac story contest. The contest was for Mac users over the age of 50 to tell the story of why they started using a Mac. As I noted last week, I recieved more good stories than just winners, and this week I have five more of them for you. I hope you enjoy them.
Jack Russell is from Georgetown, California and lists his age as "older than dirt." In the mid-90's Jack started working from home. His actual home office is 2,000 miles away from where he lives:
I go back to the days of the [Radio Shack] Trash 80 with computers. At various jobs over the years I have worked with IBM PCs and clones. I had never considered a home computer. In 1989 I became an at-home worker and decided to purchase a computer. I bought an SE 30 and it served me well. I discovered that when co-workers and associates, customers, etc., were forever relating their latest computer crash stories. I couldn't participate. The little SE 30 just kept on running. I called it the "Timex" of computers. That told me that Apple was on to something more than just a user friendly computer.
I use the computer for all types of general business functions, as well as CAD and mathematical programs. It just works. Our home offices have a mid sized server farm and 170+ work stations. All Wintel clones. Recently I was the only employee in the company able to work on line, as the home offices had been hit with a virus. We now have three Macs here; the MDD, a 17" 1.25 G4 iMac and a 15" Power Book, all running 10.3.3, in addition to a couple of iPods and a Cinema display.
Why do I use a Mac? It lets me get my work done, it makes my life easier. My Mac plays nice with Wintel; I use VPN [to network into our Windows network] and it's seamless. My LAN here has all the Mac's plus one Wintel and one Sun box on it. As Apple's ads say; It just works. We are a house of Mac advocates. We attend Macworld every year ( the advantage of proximity. It's only a few hours drive) and between my daughter and I, we have created a bunch of switchers, both here and in Europe. :-)
Bob Poland is 70 years old and lives in Englewood, Colorado:
I was forced to start using a Mac in 1984, I had created a BASIC program on the Apple // and a doctor friend wanted it converted for use on his new Mac (128). I used his till around 1989 when I bought my own Mac Plus. That held me till 1994 when I goy my first Power PC (6112). I then had a number of different Macs all at once. Gave most of them to a grade school teacher. Now I only have a 6100 (OS 0.1), an iBook 366 (OS 10.3.3) and an iMac 800 FP (OS 10.3.3).
Before I retired, I used a Mac and a PC where I worked. I mostly kept them networked so I could use the Mac as much as possible.
My iMac is my most used one now, and it is on 24/7. It runs SETI when I'm not doing other things.
Steve Weinstock teaches school at Pompton Lakes High School in Pompton Lakes, New Jersey:
I volunteered to be my high school's yearbook advisor in 1993 (that's right, volunteered, and that doesn't make me insane, just mildly disturbed). There were no computers in the room when I took over, but the new Taylor Publishing Company representative told me that their new proprietary layout software is revolutionizing the industry. No longer would layouts be done on quad-paks (with type-fitting done by mathematical formulas), but on a computer that would automatically tell you whether everything fit or not and change on the fly). So he recommended I get the administration to buy two LC IIIs with a LaserWriter 300.
I had used an Apple IIe at home and really disliked the DOS system with its command line system. The LC IIIs were wonderful, though, at the time. I couldn't believe how easy it was to work with System 7, and the way it let you do what you wanted. The making of a yearbook was simplified and we were free to create according to our imaginations. After a few years, we graduated to a 7200 and a LaserWriter 16/600 and now use a G4 DP, two iMacs and produce an all-color yearbook for only $60. Unheard of, yes, but that's what the Mac has done for me and my school community. While the school's Dells, Gateways and other cheap junk Windows machines go down every week, we keep plugging along on our Macs. We've never missed a deadline in eleven years. That's what Macs have done.
Henry Marcinkowski is 76.
In 1984, I was the Proposals Manager for a medium-size defense contractor, using a basic IBM computer [DOS] and a Jacquard word processor/printer unit. It worked but was rather painful in that the combination of units did not always work to my satisfaction [or speed requirement]. I probably should not have complained because, for the prior 28 years, I had to do the job with an IBM Executive typewriter.
In 1985 or 1986, I went to a one-day seminar on proposal presentation techniques, sponsored by Hy Silver, a proposals management consulting firm. At the seminar, two presenters showed us the same procedures for preparing proposals on different computers: one on an IBM and the other on a Macintosh. The differences in terms of speed and efficiency were glaring; the Mac was greatly superior to the IBM for my purposes.
Our Information Management Manager, who controlled our IBM mainframe computer, would not hear of anything but IBM personal computers in the company. It took six months to convince my boss [Vice President of R & D] to let me buy a couple of Mac IIs for my department. The Publications Department [Tech Manuals] quickly jumped on board with us, and we soon became as fully effective and efficient as management could ask for.
Now that I've been retired for 10 years, I still rely on my Mac [a flat screen G4 iMac] for all my needs. My previous systems were a Color Classic, a Performa 630 and a beige G3. I am currently the Managing Editor of a Macintosh User Group newsletter [MetroMac Express], and my Mac is constant use. In addition, with iLife on my computer, I am scanning and cataloging boxes full of old family pictures to add to recent digital photos to burn onto CDs for the family. I just bought an A-D Video converter and plan to do the same with all our old videotapes in several formats. If I can find an inexpensive way to digitize all our old Super 8 movies, I could make quite an extensive family history for our grandchildren.
And, the last story for this column is from Adam Bell, retired Dean of Engineering at Dalhousie University. Adam is 67.
In 1984 I left teaching at MIT and joined the Faculty of my Alma Mater in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At MIT computer access was so universal that virtually all faculty had VT 102's in their offices with access to a huge VAX network, many had PDP-8s and Data Generals in their labs, and quite a few had Apple IIs, Commodore 64s, and early DOS machines on their desks.
Arriving in Halifax in September '84, however, to take up duties teaching in a much smaller university, access to a huge central Control Data machine was pretty awful and was heavily focused on pure computing - nothing we take for granted today. And then the Macintosh (which all those here in Nova Scotia knew was misspelled) arrived on the scene. My brother bought a 128k Mac for his business, I played with it for an hour or two, and was hooked.
My first machine was a 512k Mac. I loved it, and loved MacPaint, MacWord, and MultiPlan even on that tiny screen with floppy disks. Next, I bought an SE/30 with a hard disk and an external 19" monitor and used ClarisCAD to do my drafting. I convinced half the department that they had to have one too, and we set up a LocalTalk network to share a laser printer. I got a grant from Apple Canada and built a Mac student computing lab. Its server had a monster 80MB Jasmine Hard Disk and served about 15 SE/30s.
I've never switched. Since the 512k which is running in a lab somewhere taking data, I've owned (and still have) an SE/30 with a Dayna ethernet card, a PM 7100/66 now running IPNetRouter/IPNetSentry as my LAN router/firewall machine, a PB 3400c, which I use as a battery backed up Quid Pro Quo server, a Beige G3 in which I run OS X and use as an Apache/MySQL/PHP/pMachine experimental blog server, and a B&W G4 which is my main machine.
The other day, I flashed up the old SE/30 (Sys 7.5.5), plugged it into my network and, after a moment's work setting it up, was sharing files with it from my G4 running Panther. Now that's compatibility and plug'n'play workability at its very finest. My brother, on the other hand, soon switched to Windows machines (based on price), and not long ago we spent half a weekend getting his new Windows XP machine to even acknowledge the existence of his Windows 98 machine only 3 or 4 years older.
I retired at 65 in 2002, so a G5 should not be in the works, but perhaps I can add just one more Mac to my personal Chaos Manor; after all, boys and their toys.....
The next column will have more of the contest entries.
Copies of Nancy's book Tips, Hints, and Solutions for Seasoned Beginners Using Apple Macintosh Computers With OS X are available in PDF download versions for US$9.57 and in print version for $18.15 plus $4.00 shipping. To view sample pages and get ordering information visit the September 14, 2004 column.
|Check out Nancy's complete index of all her columns for the most complete list of tips anywhere. The list is categorized and is a great reference when you are looking for help!
Nancy has a Master's degree in Human Services Administration and prior to her retirement she worked for almost 30 years in field of mental health and mental retardation. She has been a Mac user for 11 years, and has recently developed an avocation of teaching basic computer skills in both group and one-to-one settings.
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