I had the opportunity when I graduated to use my employee discount and I purchase a PowerMac 6100. For those of you who don’t know, the 6100 was the LC version of the Powermac line. It was a think desktop and had very limited upgrade paths. I liked it, it was faster than my other one but I grew out of it very quickly… I did remember having fun playing Marathon on it though.
I chugged along with my IIsi for about a year or so. The first PowerMacs and Performas started coming out on the sales floor and the older systems started collecting dust. Once again I made a deal to help move one of them out at a great price. That day I brought home my Quadra 700! It had 3 Nubus slots. It was upgradeable to 20MB or RAM. The VRAM was upgradeable so I could run Millions of colors on 13″ or 17″ monitor. I called it a monster because I upgraded it in so many ways.
- Maxed out memory
- Maxed out VRAM
- Hard drive upgrades (multiple times)
- Video Capture board
- MediaVisions – PAS 16 audio breakout board
- PPC 601 card
- Various video cards for dual monitor display
This was the machine that I finished college on. With a modem I was dialed into the campus network and online via Gopher and Lynx. I was downloading, chatting and even hit into NIUs Mainframe for my school work. I even delivered my Color Theory’s final project via my Mac.
While in love with my little b&w Mac, I was also messing around at work with color systems. The LC II, the IIsi, the IIci and a Quadra 700 were some of the first system we had at the store. Eventually I ended up buying a IIsi from another co-worker and it had a 12″ color monitor too. It was a great system and one of the first ones that I actually used to get online. I also started to mess around with connecting with serial cables and AppleTalk cables with the my little system. I learned a few things on this:
- I loathed constraints! The 12″ color ran at 512×384 while the 13″ ran at 640×480. Not a big deal except games started coming out requiring the 13″ resolution.
- The IIsi had a weird propriety expansion port. It wasn’t Nubus so I really couldn’t add anything to it. No expandability sucked!
- With two systems, I wanted to be able to connect and share between them. AppleTalk was a start but it was painfully slow.
But what can I say. I had a color system and it was still an upgrade and a lot of fun.
So with my little black and white Mac Classic, I started exploring the Macintosh. I started out with System 6.0.8 and 1MB of memory. I quickly found myself buying the memory expansion board and moving it up to 4MB. At this point I still wasn’t taking it online though. I was able to fetch some things down at work and then floppy shuffle them over to it.
This is the point where I found some of the games made by John Calhoun. Both Glider and Pararena were two of my favorites. They were perfect for this machine and I spent hours playing through them. At some point here I also found myself upgrading into System 7.x as well. The one thing I really remembered is that I learned to use a Mac at this time and cut my teeth on this little machine.
My first year of college was interesting. Let’s just say I had to take a detour and learn some better study habits. But I found myself and then found out that SIU was not the school for me. In probably what was one of the best career decisions I’ve made, I decided to stay at home, take all the classes I could at the local college and then transfer to NIU to complete my degree. The big catch was that I wanted to work with computers while I earned my degree so I could graduate with experience. Everyone was gunning for a “computer” career but when I finished I wanted experience to get job. It worked out great.
I did some temp work for Household bank processing data into massive spreadsheets. And then I was called in to interview with CompUSA. This was back when it was a real computer store and it had computer sales people. People that had to know computers and had a real job selling them. It was a great job for a number of years while I completed my degree. But once I started back at NIU, I worked part time coming home to work the computer job and then going back to school.
I had to make sales and CompUSA was one of the first Apple Authorized mass retailers. The problem was that no one took the time to learn the Macs because most people were coming in for PCs. This was everyone chasing the same nickel. Average PC sales were between $1200 and $1500 while average Mac sales were $1500 – $2500. Since no one were selling these, I spent more time learning and selling. So as I part time salesperson I had some really good numbers.
The first Mac I bought was a floor model of a Mac Classic. It was not selling and I made our GM a deal. If I were to sell (5) systems that day, that I could buy it for $100. I was the last salesperson that day and closed the day out with my 5th system and got my my Mac!
College was an eye opening experience for me. Up until then my world was my TI and my PC. I knew linear languages but nothing to deep. Even grasping the concept of compiled languages was something new to me. But one thing I knew were games.
I started school out at SIU and lived in one of the tower dorms. A couple of people had computers, including me. There was this one guy on my floor whose father was in the business and he had one of the original Macs. I remember playing Shufflepuck Cafe and Strategic Conquest on this little black and white system. I was amazed. The graphics, the sounds and the play was so much better than my PC. All of this in this little unit. Thus started my love with Macintosh!
So for my 10th birthday, after all of the loving computer stuff, my parents did two things. First, they took me to see War Games. Second, they bought me a TI-99/4a computer. The TI was no Apple but it was what I had and I loved it. In fact, I had my TI for 8+ years and after the market fell and they went out of business with it, I continued to pick up items for it. First was the Expansion System so I could get a disk drive with it. When I kept taking classes, even into Highschool with Apple IIe computers.
Once I got into high school, I even picked up an 8088 PC system. This is I think where my real frustration began. Every time I wanted to do something, I had buy or add something. Want sound? Add a card. Want graphics? Add a card. Want a mouse? Add a card, add a mouse, get some Windows. It was a constant effort to add more. Mind you, I was in school and new a lot more about systems, building them, working on them and so on then most adults. My parents really loved the phone bills I ran up with my first modem too!
Back in the 4th grade ( 1980-1981) I was introduced to the a TRS-80 in school and I was completed hooked. I went to some friends house and they had an Apple computer and it was the first time I got to see a graphic adventure. During the summer of 1981 I signed up for a “computer” class where we spent an hour a day, for two days a week, for four weeks, learning and playing on the Apple computer. I found out that the library had two of these and that you could sign up for computer time.
Not many people or kids were using the computer during the summer and I found myself walking about 2-3 miles by myself to the Library just to play on the computer for most of the day. One of my friends made me a copy of Secret Agent: Mission One and Super Bunny which I played over and over. The rest of my time was working on simple Basic programs and play around with the Monitor. This is where it all started for me.
In about 1 month it will be the four year anniversary of passing of Steve Jobs. Steve passed away about 3 months before my wife passed. I’ve been an Apple fanatic for a very long time and I’ve decided to do a daily update from now until October 5th. Here’s to you Steve!
My wife passed away a couple of years ago at an early age from breast cancer. I kept her MBP 13″ and my daughter has been using it. She came down to me two weekends ago and was upset because the left side of the glass had cracked! She was probably carrying it and holding it by the screen.
LCD itself was fine, just the glass was cracked. A quick search on eBay and I had a replacing glass on the way for $15 bucks. A visit out to iFixIt and I found all the tutorials to remove the upper LCD from the base/keyboard and then how to, with a heat gun, remove the old glass.
Just took my time with it and made sure to keep the parts/screws and other stuff labeled and in order. The reassemble went fine and my daughter is off and running again play Minecraft and Gary’s Mod. The system is amazing once inside of it and how they engineered it. Its about 5 years old and it’s still running like a champ.