Upgrade 496: 40th Anniversary of the Mac Draft ►

Obviously, this is a very entertaining podcast episode. I really enjoyed listening to it as a fun way to traverse the history of the Mac without being a dry encyclopedia entry. For fun, I’ve “played along” with my own answers below.

The First Mac We (I) Ever Bought

My mom’s first Mac was a used Mac Plus she got from my grandfather, with an HD20 external SCSI Hard Drive that had, you guessed it, 20 MB of disk space. It ran System 6.0.8 that was installed via 1 million floppy disks. I was a kid, so one of the few activities I had available to me was to mess up something and reinstall the OS.

It was my first Mac, but not the first one she bought or the first one I bought. It was underpowered for her work, so she bought a Macintosh Quadra (audience leans forward) 605 (audience is disappointed). The Quadra 605 was her computer, and the Mac Plus became our family computer. We would work on school papers in ClarisWorks 2.0 (or sometimes I would just spend time making various gradients because the black and white dithering was fascinating). Then the Quadra 605 became the family computer, and it limped along with a SupraExpress 33.6 modem, and AOL 2.5, into the internet age before being discarded for a Compaq Presario mini-tower thingy, and an old 486DX that my grandfather gave us. I bought an old Quadra 700 on eBay at one point thinking that I would… do something with it, and then a Performa 6-something because it was my first Mac with a CD-ROM drive, but it was ultimately a useless waste of money. Regrettably, I told my mom to donate them or something when she moved, which was incredibly short-sighted of me if you see the prices Quadras go for on eBay these days.

My real first Mac that I bought with my own adult money, to do real stuff was a brand-new MacBook Pro 15-inch in July of 2007, and I loved it. I still have that one, and fired it up this summer to write about Shake.

Favorite/Best Mac Model Ever

This is a tough category because I had far fewer Macs in my possession than any of the panelists on Upgrade. There were Macs that I wanted a lot — especially in the late 90s. The one that I really wanted was that very first G4 tower. The styling introduced with the G3 tower was great, and the first G4 was a pretty refined take on that. I thought that the later G4s got progressively sillier in appearance, even though they were more powerful, and the cheese grater G5s, and later Mac Pros were a little too serious compared to the flowing lines and materials of the G4. We even had a couple of those G4s in the yearbook computer lab, so I knew first-hand that they were pretty great, and thus, my favorite.

I think the best Mac I would have to go with the brand-new M3 MacBook Pro 16” which can just do everything. If price was no object, I would have one right now. It’s tough to pick between favorite and best here, but I’ll stick with best.

Favorite/Best Mac Software

This is where I was sniped by Gruber with Safari, and Dan with Terminal. I won’t cop out and pick one favorite, and one best, like I did above. Instead, I’m picking QuickTime 7 Pro. No, not QuickTime non-Pro, or QuickTime X, but genuine QuickTime 7 Pro. Accept no substitutes (because Apple never made one!)

It was a transformative media framework, application, editor —everything. QuickTime X never matched it, even though it has some nice stuff too, and a lot less brushed metal.

Favorite/Best Mac Accessory or Hardware Feature

AirPort Extreme! The flat fifth generation one (not the ugly, tall one) was a transformative product for me. Every piece of Wi-Fi equipment I’ve ever owned before, or since, has been a flaky piece of shit. It was so friendly, and easy to use. I could just plug in my printer and leave it very far away from me, where it belonged.

Hall of Shame

Obviously, I would have picked the butterfly keyboard, as Dan did, but I’ll go with my second choice: Apple buying and killing Shake. That is some very niche shame, especially compared to the keyboard, but it was software that I used for my actual job. They didn’t know what to do with it, and botched that, permanently changing the software landscape for the VFX industry. (Jim Gaffigan Voice: Wow, he really talks a lot about Shake. Is he OK?)

2024-01-24 18:15:00

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