My first personal computer was the Apple Macintosh 512K. I used to type my essays for English class on the black and white screen using the MacWrite program. For fun, I’d play Asteroids, spinning my spaceship in circles firing at the chunky space rocks until they’d break into pieces. It was endless fun that was simple, during a time of the more complex video gaming Nintendo offered. I wasn’t as up to date as a couple of my classmates that had Commodore computers because I owned the 1984 Macintosh model in 1993. What’s most important was that I was privileged enough to have technology in my household, without a fear of missing out. I’m thankful for my hard-working, single mom, who scraped together the funds to give me things like this.
This past Saturday, the Macintosh 512K celebrated its 30th birthday at the Flint Center in Cupertino, California. Most of the folks on-hand that historic day (Jan. 24th, 1984) the 512K debuted were in attendance again over the weekend, except for Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, current CEO, Tim Cook, and of course the late innovator, Steve Jobs.
Bill Fernandez, Apple’s employee No. 4 and the man who introduced Woz and Jobs to each other, served as emcee. Mike Markkula, employee No. 3 and Apple’s second CEO, received a token of appreciation at the event — a bronze sculpture of a Mac being held aloft by six arms with a plaque dedicated to him on its base.
“It’s a great honor to be part of this celebration,” Markkula said. “The world is a different place today because of the magic of the Macintosh user interface. You changed the world, and it’s wonderful that you did.” via San Jose Mercury News
I’m feeling really nostalgic for the Macintosh I owned because I actually sold it last year. I’m kind of missing it having seen how it evolved from my boxy robotic tool that nurtured my literary talent, to my MacBook Pro that helps put food on the table through DJ gigs and freelance writing. When I was recently working at this business-to-business trade magazine for engineers, I met a guy who told me a story about first meeting Steve Jobs in Cupertino when he was ready to unveil the Macintosh 512K to the press. He said Jobs lugged it in a backpack to show its mobility. He was amazed by it, but I didn’t see the stars in his eyes the way I did listening to his story. I dunno; I sense that everyone whose job it is to deconstruct and analyze are skeptics at heart. Granted, it’s a reporter’s job to be objective, but I think there is a level of astonishment that I manage to hold onto, that doesn’t jade me.
I’m happy I photographed these two marvels side by side. I actually don’t even remember the last time I turned on the 512K because I had none of the peripheral parts from the power cord, to the mouse, or the the keyboard. There was no real chance that I would have a use for it. Surely the guy I sold it to on eBay for $94.00 has a greater use for it than me. The lesson I learned here, that remnants of my childhood are priceless.