The post below is based on a comment I made in a friend’s blog. Reading it back I realised it would make a good post in my own blog…
The first computer I ever used was an Altair 8800. It had a single 8 inch floppy and you had to toggle the boot sequence using the front panel switches. The first machine I ever really programmed in earnest was my father’s TRS-80. When I should have been listening to the teacher at the back of my math class I would be thumbing through a well used copy of Rodney Zaks – Programming the Z80 and hand writing assembler in my exercise book. I wrote a full screen memory editor that way.
Eventually I got my own machine. My trusty Beeb with all of its IO taught me all about programming hardware and is probably why I am an embedded software engineer today. It was the British equivalent of the Apple ][ which I lusted after but could never had afforded at its British price. However I loved my Beeb and was a total Acorn fan girl for years.
I first used a Mac back in 1988. It was an SE and was an all-in-one luggable which was smaller than PCs, but not much, and they had 9 inch screens. They were slow 680×0 machines. Then the PowerPC came along and the machines got better. But just before they did the Acorn Archimedes came along with their 32 bit RISC powered offering pipping Apple to the position of having an affordable desktop RISC workstation. These were machines I was used to; the 32 bit machines had a nice multi-tasking operating system; and macs were expensive; so bought myself an Acorn A3000 and I stuck with my Acorn machines through to relatively late in the 90s. I still have my Beeb, my A3000 and my Acorn RISC PC.
I have always liked Macs but, to be honest, as they went from System 6 through 7, 8 and 9 the operating system became more and more unweildy and showed its age. They were also incredibly costly, a reputation they still haven’t really lost. The hardware was being beaten by PCs and a PC running Linux seemed a far better choice. Jobs was ousted from Apple and Apple looked doomed. Then he came back. With him he brought NextStep. This eventually became the basis of OS X and is still reflected in the naming of Cocoa classes. Macs looked interesting again but were sill out of my price range.
Then a few years ago I was offered an old Blue and White Mac for $100 which I upgraded to running Panther. I loved OS X. Unix with useability and none of the unfinished faffiness of Linux. My PC was rapidly left abandoned even though it was more powerful. I then bought myself an iBook G4. I also acquired a used Power Mac G4 which became my desktop machine. The iBook and G4 have served me for several years with the iBook being my constant companion. The PC sat under the desk virtually unused, turned off for months at a time.
OS X has had a beneficial effect on Linux. It has raised the bar. Modern Ubuntu has more than a few ideas borrowed from OS X which is not a bad thing. So recently the PC was re-installed and is now a development server. But Linux still hasn’t got the sheer useabilty of OS X and Apple kit. And today I took delivery of a shiny new unibody MacBook. My love affair with the Mac continues. I am a total fangirl!