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I’ve updated this article several times this week with more details and photos.

As the Apple Macintosh turns 40 this week, I’m browsing a few of the early writings and stories about how the Mac came into the world and the people and dreams behind it.

Apple Computer Inc barcode on the original Macintosh keyboard

The back of my Apple Macintosh keyboard, the M0110.

By: Luke Dorny Lic: CC BY-ND 4.0
Apple Computer Inc barcode on the original Macintosh keyboard
The back of my Apple Macintosh keyboard, the M0110.

As the Apple Macintosh turns 40 this week, I’m browsing a few of the early writings and stories about how the Mac came into the world and the people and dreams behind it.

How the Macintosh changed my interests and career

Many of my friends and family would classify me as an Apple Geek/Nerd/What-Have-You but I haven’t classified myself as that as much in my own mind.

I’ve been much more fascinated with the technology that has changed my life.

High School and the Labs

My first intro to the Macintosh was at a local computer store near Seattle around 1984-5 that I would frequent after school. The store owners would kindly let me tinker and test out programs like MacPaint on it without objections.

Then it was the computer labs and especially my Communication Arts class in High School, where I had the opportunity to design silkscreen tees, posters, and print projects. Those were likely quite upgraded machines compared to the original Macintosh, like the Apple IIc/IIe/IIGS/IIc Plus which were released then at the time, which had a monitor sitting on top of the machine, the machine being connected to the keyboard! Using PageMaker to design a newspaper and the LaserWriter to output spreads and also film positives to burn screens are some of my favorite memories from this period.

Also, let’s not forget Karateka gaming sessions during our lunch periods.

Karateka game
Friends and I must’ve played several hours of Karateka in the Macintosh lab in school.

Dirty Mice Balls

Speaking of Mac Labs, the Apple Mouse came with a rubberized steel ball inside it that you could remove and clean (because they gathered so much gunk), but there were times when a Mac was available but the mouse ball had been taken. Eventually, I took one of the mouse balls, cleaned it, and kept it in my backpack for this reason. Later the lab would check out mice for you, likely because of this persistent problem.

College Library

I should mention my experiences tinkering in the mid-’80s with Apple’s Finder and MacPaint with my experiences using computers at college in the ’90s at the school library. It’s almost like someone swapped decades on me. Apple, with its ease-of-use, and the ’90s library computer that had “amber text only” was like hunting for power generator controls on a dinosaur island on a mainframe, but was sadly NOT Linux. “I know this!!” It was an altogether frustrating and fruitless (!) experience that reminded me how great the Apple OS was and still is.

After class at college, I’d head to my job where I designed packaging and monthly magazines in Japanese, Russian, Spanish, and more for a healthcare company. The contrast was so strong that I wondered if the college computers were from 1980.
It would be many years before I owned one. The post photo above is the back of the Mac Classic I have now in my office (it works, btw!). And I’ve had several Apple computers in my career as an artist and designer over the last three decades.

Computers have I owned

I’ve managed to collect a few old machines for my shelves that remind me of my past, including a G4 Cube and my Macintosh SE & SE/30.

Macintosh
An old photo of my SE and SE/30.
Macintosh SE
The Macintosh SE that I’ve had on my desk for many years, this photo was taken before the iPhone even existed.
I also grabbed a gutted-out Macintosh that a colleague had that was destined for the old Macquarium mod that sat tired and lonely in their garage. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macquarium
Once I stared at this historic Macintosh case for some time, I installed an auto speaker in it and connected it to the iPod I was using at the time to make a MacBoomBox for the family bus Sandy. I could’ve made it more enjoyable with better air sealing to keep the sound clean, but it would’ve required more cutting and modding. Now that empty Mac sits on my office shelf next to one or two other Apple gems. I’d considered inserting an iPad into it but that required more cutting, too.

I could not tell you how many Apple computers I’ve worked on or owned over my career, but it has shaped how I see and interact with the world.

Some photographs in my time

I’m including a few photographs I somehow have of my journey here. Digital photography is not like it once was in the early days, as you’ll see here. It’s much better now. Like an old photograph of the Apple PowerMac 8500 that I had around the year 2000 when I moved to California:

Apple powermac
My Apple PowerMac 8500 that would run several design and creative software on in the late ‘90s.
I don’t have this one anymore, otherwise my office would qualify under marriage laws as a computer museum and Marlo and I would likely have to enter into an additional binding agreement where there was an entrance fee to said museum. Or something. I’m not that nerdy.

Two versions of iMacs I’ve used back in the 2000s:

two imac computers on Lukes desk
Here are two early iMac iterations on my desk around 2005

Here is my ‘not-sure-which’ Mac running OS 9 from the ’90s but in 2005:

Photoshop and Mac OS 9 on my iMac
Here I’m running Mac OS 9 and Photoshop 5.5 in 2005.

Recently I found these decades-old gems while cycling through my office ephemera:

Compact Discs for Apple OS
MacAddict, Apple’s Internet Connection Kit, and Newton Demo discs.

Around a decade ago a bunch of close friends and I visited the installation that opened in Seattle near me. Here’s a photo I took of my great friend Brian Warren at the Living Computer History Center in Seattle:

Brian at the living computers museum
Great friend Brian Warren sitting at what is probably an Apple II or Lisa at the Seattle Living Computers Museum in 2018. https://livingcomputers.org

Greatest Keyboard of All Time (GKAT)

apple keyboard circuit board
My AEK II Apple Extended Keyboard II circuit board while cleaning it recently. The Aircraft Carrier of keyboards.
Best keyboard of all time from my perspective.
Here’s my favorite keyboard of all time. A strange but important decision. The amount of time a computer professional spends using an input device and building muscle memory is key to speed and accuracy.

What’s your favorite tool/device that you use to do your task/job/work/passion?

The Tech That Shaped Me

My preferences for both interfaces and design have helped me to understand and become involved with various design niches throughout my career. Certainly, the font choices of early Macs encouraged me and others to understand the power of typefaces at an early age.

  • Now I have distinct preferences for hundreds of typefaces for all sorts of use cases.
  • Now I’ve given talks on integrating type design into web designs to hundreds of people.
  • Now I tinker with typeface creation using GlyphsApp to use on my creations and website.
  • Now I design websites using much of what I’ve learned about interfaces and user experiences influenced by Apple’s famous Human Interface Guidelines …and so has the rest of the design world, to be frank.

Apple’s foray into researching, creating, and encouraging both clear and purposeful design choices in interfaces has shaped the world and the web that we have now.

Thank You, Visionaires

So thank you, Steve & Steve & Co, and everyone else involved, for your vision. It has changed the world.
Happy 40 years of Macintosh, Apple.

You’ve certainly changed my life and career for the better.

🥋🖌️🎨👨‍🎨🖥️

Like it? You can ☕️ Buy Me Cocoa.

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