2024i24, Wednesday: One more thing...

2024i24, Wednesday: One more thing...
By © Raimond Spekking / CC BY-SA 4.0 (via Wikimedia Commons), CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=63412837

I couldn't let this day go by.

I have to admit it, though: I hadn't spotted the date till Dave Winer wrote about it last night. It's 40 years today since Steve Jobs unveiled the Macintosh to the world.

The Macintosh, for more than 30 years, has been the mainstay of my tech life. More than my iPhone or iPad (although the former has been my phone of choice since the 3G in 2008, and the latter absolutely invaluable since I brought home its first ever iteration in 2010). I first touched a Mac in 1990, because I didn't own a computer and my college's computer room (the Turing Room - I look back with fond and grateful pride that my first tanglings with modern computers were in a room named after that guy) was stocked with Mac Pluses, IIs and the occasional LC.

Who knows if I'd have been a PC guy had things been different? But they weren't. My first exposure to computing had been a BBC Micro at home in my teens, and then (of all things!) the TRS-80s in my school's computer lab. But the Mac changed my world: opened it up, and let me see what computers could do and be.

I've owned more Macs than I can recall. Offhand, the Duo 230 was my first (lovely, although ludicrous by modern standards). The Lombard remains my touchstone for sheer beauty in computing design. The TiBook had its charms, peeling titanium coating aside. The black MacBook (bought on the cheap early in the morning at a Black Friday sale in the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in Manhattan - I was there to buy baby clothes for our soon-to-be-born child, but the saving on tax and exchange rates back then was mad) was a thing of beauty too. The 2013 MacBook Pro lasted me for ages, up till 2019; and my current M2 MacBook Pro is just heaven. (I have an iMac G4 which currently doesn't work: a mission for 2024 is to get it up and running. It's too beautiful to leave dead in a corner.)

And we're a Mac family too. My beloved has only ever owned Macs; we still have her old Duo, and PowerBook 1400, and her Pismo (also on the "get it working this year" list). And our daughter, after a brief dalliance with a Microsoft Surface (my doing, I should stress; not hers), is back in the Mac fold with an M1 touchbar MBP which she loves. (Weirdly, I rather miss the touchbar. Never thought I'd have said that...)

Are Macs better than PCs? Once, and for a long time, I'd have said yes. Now, not so much. They're different. I think their apps - not including the big names, of course - are generally made with far more love and care; craftwork rather than mass production. (Times without number I've gone looking for PC equivalents for elegant, thoughtful Mac applications and been so... well... dejected by what I find.) And they're far more me; having used PCs at work (till coming to the Bar in 2018) and Macs at home for the best part of two decades, I feel capable of saying that with confidence.

So Macs have been a fundamental part of my life for some 80% of their existence, and 60% of mine. Call me a fanboi, a sucker; go ahead. I don't mind. But I've done so much, and been so many places, with Macs. I'll always be grateful for that day in January 1984. Which - whatever anyone says - changed the world.