Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Mac reminiscences

note: this was a post I wrote about 6 months ago and never published.
Ever since deciding to pursue a computer science/IT degree, I've been trying to remember what my first encounters with computers were like. I've been using Mac computers all my life and since it's Apple's 30th birthday this year, I thought it'd be a good time to try and write about my Mac usage over the years.

My parents had a lot of historic Mac computers. In fact, even the computer that got used on a daily basis probably became historic after a while, considering the amount of time it took before OS X was adopted in our household (I don't know the year exactly, but I can estimate).
One of our historic computers still turned on. It was a Macintosh LC and we referred to it as 'the Dinosaur'. I have no idea what I actually did on it, but I remember the computer itself vividly - especially the purple stripes on the screen when it failed to boot (which was most of the time) and the creaking noises it made.

There's a long list of computer failures in my memory: dead backlights, video cards, hard drives, power cords, you name it. I experienced several iBook deaths and I still remember the events leading to them in detail. One iBook started making a horrible grinding noise; I'm pretty sure the hard drive got replaced shortly afterwards. One refused to boot after I'd been carrying it around all day in 40 degree weather. One particularly bizarre and prolonged death involved behaviour similar to a broken record: everything would freeze, weird graphics glitches would appear and the last few seconds of any playing audio or video would loop endlessly.

I think the iBook that replaced that one was my last, and it was a great little computer. After my mum gave me her old Macbook, I gradually stopped using the iBook, which became more and more lethargic and eventually died peacefully from loneliness.

About a year ago, the trackpad on the Macbook became very slow and unresponsive and eventually got 'stuck', forcing me to turn it off and use a mouse instead. The trackpad functionality intermittantly returned, and currently seems stable. Meanwhile, during the last couple of months something inside the laptop has started making a gentle growling noise, leading to the nickname "ol' growly".

That Macbook is 8 years old now, still running Tiger, and it's going a similar way as the last iBook. I have a policy of turning it on every now and then to keep it alive, but it's hard to find a reason to do that. Its replacement, running Kubuntu, is the first non-Mac I've ever had. I miss many things about OS X, but I'm enjoying the Linux Experience. Er, I mean using Linux.

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